Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't Forget Me When I'm Gone

OK, I'm a terrible person. I dropped off the face of the Earth leaving what appears to be throngs, indeed hordes, well, at least 27, brides-to-be in agony by failing to recount how my wedding actually turned out. After a year of complaining about every single moment leading up to the wedding, I never told you how the wedding went.

I am a horrible person.

But I have a great excuse!

No, I really don't. My excuse is that I have been doing nothing but eating and watching TV lately. And not thinking about weddings. Most especially, my weddings.

But here I am! Five pounds heavier and with a mind full of useless plot twists on Grey's Anatomy.

And I am ready to go back to part II of my wedding day....

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, dancing with Mr F, my husband-to-be, during the time we should have been taking family photos.

(By the way, while attempting to take you back in time, in my head I keep hearing the "da da da" noise with the wavy motion of hands, a la "Wayne's World" which I can only assume most of you are too young to have actually seen. But it's a great movie. Watch it.)

We were dancing.

And then, moments later, Mr F realized we were awesome at dancing and we were totally going to rock the first dance. I was given permission abandon dance practice and move on to the family photos.

Which I have to admit, didn't go as planned.

Because we were a half an hour behind and were on a seriously tight schedule to begin with.

Weeks earlier, at our final meeting, Big Hugs recommended we take the pictures in The Library, a lovely room which was, in fact, a library. Or might have been at one time since there weren't books in sight. But there were old pieces of distinguished furniture, and a fireplace, and richly colored walls. So I can believe it may have housed books at one point and can justly be called said library.

I told the photographer the plan the week before the wedding and so that afternoon we herded everyone into the room. As the photographer began frantically snapping photos, taking pictures of me and my mom, my dad, me and my brother, Mr F and my parents, and every iteration in between, I could feel myself tensing up. This was taking forever.

And then the next group moved toward me and Mr F - my father's family. And within moments, it became readily apparent that the Library was not nearly big enough for all of the people.

Oh Big Hugs, I knew you would fail me miserably. And before we even said "I do."

It was E&E in the Library with the candlestick.

At which point the photographer proposed we move elsewhere, to a bigger room, but a quick glance at the clock made us realize that this was not an option. So we pressed on, taking pictures of grown men and women squeezed together like they were high school cheerleaders about to throw their teammate up into a double cupie.

And while I was happy and excited, honestly, this part kind of sucked. I couldn't let go of the knowledge that we needed to take all of these photos but that we only had a certain amount of time. The only thing that made me feel better was the knowledge that this seems to happen at most weddings. (Or at least at my family's - since I distinctly recalled having little to no time to take the pictures at my brother's wedding the year before).

We took photos of about 40 people in about half as many minutes.

And having now seen those photos, I can assure you - no miracle happened. Those photos kinda suck. At least someone has their eyes closed in every one. But you get what you allot time for, and at least we have pictures, right? Even if they will probably only be used as expensive kindling on a very cold, very drafty night.

So as the pictures were winding up, I was thinking about the next step, which was in fact, the final step before the really final step. Confused yet? The signing of the ketubah was next, which I was (if I can admit) a little apprehensive about. Although I very much liked our officiant, she mentioned during our meetings that we should "leave the ceremony during the ketubah signing up to her." Hmmm. I don't leave much "up" to anyone. And certainly when there is not the possibility that lots of Jewishy religious things that I don't believe in could occur.

But I pushed that out of my mind as I asked one of my bridesmaids to check that the hall was clear so we could make our way over to the Boardroom, the room that we set aside for the ketubah signing.

I chose that room because there was an amazing Rembrandt (yeah, like the toothpaste, only older and more like a REAL FRICKIN Rembrandt) hanging over the board table and there was a gorgeous ceiling with beautifully intricate detail.

My bridesmaid came back looking a little confused. "Uhm, the Boardroom is locked. Big Hugs has your ketubah and stuff in another room...." her voice trailed off, clearly scared of what was in store for Big Hugs.

This was the Hug that broke the camel's back. "Well tell her to open the goddamn door on the double, because that's where we are supposed to have the signing!" And with that, badly beaten down bridesmaid disappeared back across the hall.

I don't know what transpired, but what I do know is that five minutes later we made our way over to the board room like nothing had happened. I have great friends.

Until someone stepped on the train of my dress and my body yanked backwards. I spun around ready to yell at whoever the perpetrator was.

It was Mr F.

Lord, it was going to be a long life.

I shot him a look from hell.

We started walking again at which moment I once again felt a yank from behind and almost tumbled backwards.

Once again I spun around and was face to face with my soon to be husband.


A silence fell over the crowd as Mr F meekly stepped off of my dress and moved next to me (instead of behind me which seemed to be what was tripping him up, literally).

I smiled sheepishly, realizing I was acting like a crazy person and turned to my husband-to-be. "I know you didn't mean to do it. Sorry....we're just a little behind and I want this all to go so perfect." I took a deep breath and smiled at him.

Mr F came over to me and took my hand and we walked to the Boardroom together. And I have to tell you (because I'm sure you're wondering if I managed to sabotage my WHOLE wedding, or just the parts leading up to it), I didn't lose my temper, yell at anyone, act crazy or freak out another single moment after that. Really.

And as we walked into the Boardroom, I suddenly felt the most calm I had all weekend.

There were no more items to check off the "to do" list. (Which is what getting the family portraits felt like.)

Our Cantor brought us over to the ketubah (the Jewish marriage contract, traditionally promises to each other for the couples' life together; signed at the same time as the marriage certificate, prior to the ceremony). And she gathered our parents near us as well and began to discuss our future together and said a Hebrew blessing.

She smiled as she praised Mr F's ability to give the best hugs ever (take THAT, Big Hugs) and explained that the fact that I asked so many questions was actually a good thing and not a bad one in Jewish tradition (I knew I liked this chick). We were surrounded by just our parents and the wedding party as we signed the contract and promised to honor and love each other for life. It was a great moment.

And then it was time to walk down the aisle.

We were ushered into a holding area where the wedding party lined up in couples.

Big Hugs asked if we were ready. I was ready. I heard the notes of the pianist playing the recessional music. Let's get this thing going.

Mr F's father was not ready.

He needed to use the bathroom.

Really? Now?

He returned to his place in line and Big Hugs asked if we were ready.

We weren't.

Mr F had to use the bathroom. Like Father, Like Son.

I was thinking we should have changed the vows to include loving your significant other through bladder issues. (Although in reality, I'm pretty sure Mr F gets the short end of the stick on this one since I get up every night at about 3 a.m. to go to the bathroom. But I suppose we can discuss bladder issues another day.)

Finally, we were all ready. Properly lined up, our wedding party began to walk two-by-two down the aisle. Like burgundy-colored species boarding a gardenia covered ark.

I was so happy. Honestly, I felt like I was experiencing an out-of-body experience. As if I could float up above my body and look down at the luckiest girl in the world. I had both of my parents there to walk me down the aisle. Both of whom loved me, each other and wanted only the best for me. (Even if sometimes the way they expressed that wasn't what I had hoped).

And I told them that.

At which point my Dad started to cry.


And then my Mom started to cry. OH NO OH NO.

We were just moments before stepping down the aisle. And I was at a loss. There was a giant lump in my throat and butterflies in my stomach.

Luckily, Mom put the kibosh on any more displays of emotion and we all snuffled our tears back and somehow became clear-eyed in a matter of moments. (OK, well I didn't actually cry, because I never cry at happy events. Even my own wedding. But I felt like I could cry, if I was that kind of person. Sorry, but I feel like I need to explain the lack of tears since just about anyone else would have been bawling at that moment.)

I heard the first few notes of "In My Life" play on the piano and I felt like I could barely breathe around the lump that was in my throat. But I had to smile as my father managed to swap tears for his OCD and began to count "1-2-3..." to ensure we all started on the same foot and walked in unison.

As we proceeded down the aisle I grinned. And looked straight at Mr F. (who I always envisioned locking eyes with as I made my way down the aisle, he being unable to take his eyes off his beautiful bride as his eyes brimmed with tears at my loveliness).

But Mr F was scanning the crowd.

Uhm, I'm right HERE! I used Jedi mind tricks to make him look at me. And then I remembered. Months earlier, he had told me one of his "friends" gave him the great advice to make sure you "take it all in" and see all the people in the crowd who were there for you.

Typical Mr F.

I'm pretty sure the "friend" did not mean when YOUR BRIDE WAS WALKING DOWN THE AISLE.

And finally he looked at me and grinned. And I grinned. I was grinning so wide my teeth felt dry and I had to keep swallowing. I was just so...HAPPY.

Stay tuned. I promised to finish this up in the next few days. (No, really.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Bought A Toothbrush, Some Toothpaste, A Flannel For My Face

ACT II. The Wedding Day. (To clarify, that would be the first Wedding Day.)

Act II, Scene I. The Morning.

INT. A swanky hotel room. E&E awakens to a ringing telephone, an early wake up call. Despite her exhaustion, she pops out of bed.


Let's back up.

Before we explore the morning of The Wedding Day, can I take a moment and gloat about two decisions I made the night before my wedding? Decisions I actually made without the advice of Martha Stewart and/or that editor chick from the Knot with the sassy blond haircut, my bridesmaids, my Mom, and/or the consultation of any blogs? (Ultimately shocking me with the conclusion that perhaps people were once able say their vows and get married without media assistance.)

Hearing no objection, I shall proceed.

Awesome Decision Number #1 - The night before The Wedding, I took a high-powered blissfully sleep-inducing Ambien pill. That white little pill (and the four glasses of wine I had before it) put me to sleep quicker than C-Span's Book Notes (sorry, I love to read, but dammit if that show isn't boring as hell).

Drugs are awesome, kids. Little miracles ground up into potent powder and molded into gifts from God, bestowed solely upon those who can afford them. Or are smart enough to live in upstate New York and travel to Canada for their purchase.

Awesome Decision Number #2 - I spit on tradition and forced my fiance to sleep over in my hotel the night before. We snuggled in our sin (and 400 thread count sheets). It was warm and cozy; and for me, it made me calmer and saner.

Granted, Mr F actually wanted (and intended) to bow to tradition and stay separately (he in our apartment and I in the giant hotel suite).

So I got him drunk so that he was unable drive home and had to stay with me. Less romantic, but same outcome.

Anyway, back to the Wedding Morning.

For some reason, when I pictured my Wedding Morning I thought I would be transformed into Juliet (with a sprinkle of Cinderella). I don't know where I conjured this image from. (Well, actually I guess I sort of do....I mean, come on, it's a day where I am flanked by ladies in waiting and corseted into a large ballgown - my only experience with these events hereto are Disney movies and William Shakespeare.) But I envisioned myself awaking in a lovely silk chiffon full length nightgown and the birds and mice (cute speaking germ-free mice, not dirty city mice) would bring me over the clothes I would be wearing for the day. I would sweep down the stairs (or uhm, hotel elevator) and be a princess.

Much to my surprise, when I looked down I was still wearing my pink Hello Kitty fleece pajama pants. When I looked in the mirror I also saw I had a pimple. And Mr F was groaning that it was too early as I tried to roll him out of the bed before my Mom arrived.

I don't recall Cinderella wearing Japanese anime. And there were no mentions of blemishes in Juliet's soliloquies. Death, yes; skin irritation, no.

So maybe I wasn't an actual heroine per se.

But whatever. I was too tired to really belabor the fantasy.

Luckily my mom and my darling bridesmaids knew that I may not be a character from the page of literature, but I am indeed a woman of chemical substance, and so no less than three people brought me coffee.

Now, that's what I call Princess for a Day.

And a good thing too. Because as my harem of bridesmaids accompanied me down to the bridal dressing room, we realized that we were locked out.

At 8 a.m.

And we couldn't find anyone to let us in.

So I did what any rational Bride would do. I called my wedding coordinator, Big Hugs.

Who answered the phone and promptly yawned.

"Oh, did I wake you? I'm sooooo sorry!" (I was in no way sorry.)

In her sleepiest voice: "That's okayyyyy." (Clearly, she was not okay with my wake up call.)

"We are locked out of the Bridal Room." (And if you don't solve this soon, I'm going to freak the frack out.)

"I'll take care of it." (Spoiled princess.)

"Thanks! I'll see you later!" (You better not mess up my wedding, dum dum.)

"Can't wait!" (I don't get paid enough for this crap.)

Within five minutes someone appeared and let us in. (Well, not before accidentally bumping into me and the wedding dress and having it crash to the floor and get smooshed by a door. Well, it was ruched. No one would notice, right?)

And then, the next 3 hours were generally a blur. I made myself relax and sat around and chatted with my bridesmaids until they got their hair done. I had a great time.

We had sandwiches, we read trashy magazines (do you think Tony Romo really cheated on Jessica her own bed?), and I started to get my hair done. Fun all around.


I looked at the clock and realized Mr F was supposed to be at the hotel in the "Groom's Dressing Room." So I decided to just "check up on him."

I got on the cellphone while the makeup artist began to work on my makeup.

And asked Mr F if he was downstairs.

He was not.

He was at home.

But according to him, he was "leaving momentarily."

Mr F's leaving momentarily is about as likely as a lunar eclipse, peace on the Gaza Strip, JLo having a lasting marriage.

So I hung up while my makeup was being done. I remained calm. Ok, calm-ish.

And then called him back twenty minutes later.

He had not left.

We were supposed to start pictures in 20 minutes.

I had a mini freakout.

Everyone thought I was worried that he wouldn't show.

That was not my fear at all. I knew he would show. I was worried about the timeline.

To which everyone said (in very calming tones) that "I was the bride!" and "The day can't start without me!" But if I can be quite frank, I knew both of those things.

The issue was really this: I knew Mr F was going to marry me. Not concerned at all. But if we started pictures late, then we would have less family portraits (which did end up happening by the way) and we couldn't really be too late making up time taking pictures because I hated the idea of our friends and family waiting for the ceremony to start for more than a half an hour and dammit, I wasn't cutting down that cocktail hour by a single minute. When you're paying like a zillion dollars for that crap, you want people to enjoy every minute you've paid for.

I know, I'm a little crazy, but that's where my neurosis came from. Not that he wouldn't show.

Oh, I knew he would show. That crazy guy loves me.

So what did I do? I delegated.

I got my Mom to call Mr F and tell him to get there pronto, my sister in law to call my brother (a groomsman) to then call Mr F to tell him to ease on down the roo-oad, and Mr F's sister (my bridesmaid) to leave him a stern message telling him to get his ass to the hotel on the double.

And so, only an hour after he was supposed to be there, I learned that Mr F (at that point Mr F-U), had indeed entered the building.

With that burden off my shoulders, I looked in the mirror at my hair and makeup and couldn't believe that they had actually come out so perfect. Un-frackin-believable.

At which point I was told that Mr F asked that I call him immediately.

Stop the presses.

If there is one thing I learned from "Sex and the City: The Movie", it's that if the groom calls you on your cellphone on your wedding day, you'd best be answering that call.

Which is exactly what I said. And so everyone looked at me with inquiring eyes as I called Mr F back.

I listened for his voice, curious to hear the emergency.

Mr F paused for a moment and then said, "Do we have time to practice our first dance?"

Sweet matrimonial dowry, of course we had no time! We were already running late and there was a Schedule to adhere to, for goodness sake.

So what did I say to my husband-to-be?

"Of course, sweetheart. I want you to be happy and comfortable when we do the dance."

And so I stepped into my totally gorgeous silk satin mermaid-bodice gown (which I loved!!! loved! loved! - I was a movie star!) and then got back out of it as I realized I needed to pee.

I ran to use the ladies room. I returned breathless and bladder-empty, and stepped back into my gorgeous silk satin gown and my Mom and bridesmaids buttoned and zipped me up.

I looked in the mirror and loved my whole look. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

And then I said screw it to the Schedule, and went and practiced my first dance with Mr F while the hotel staff set the tables in the reception room around us, so that he too would be happy on our wedding day.

As Mr F twirled me to the clang of charger plates, and dipped me to the clink of wine glasses, I had no doubt it was going to be a wonderful day.

Stay tuned. Act II, Scene II awaits.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

I know, I know.

I disappeared.

I fell off the face of the Earth.

And here's the worst part: I haven't even gone on my honeymoon yet.

Clearly I could not anticipate the amount of exhaustion I would feel after attending two weddings.

That were both my own.

But now I'm back and ready to give you the play-by-play on all of my many weddings.

Well, I'm not so much "back" as about to depart for my honeymoon in two days. And I'm not so much "ready to give you the play-by-play," as I have mentally checked out from my job and am sitting at my computer with nothing to do because I need to stay here until 5 p.m.

And by nothing to do I mean that I don't want to write my thank you notes. Because man, those suck.

So, without further adieu....

The Wedding.

A Play in Three Parts. (Or possibly four, depending on how I decide to write this up.)

Act I. "The Rehearsal Dinner"

I've been trying to think of a way to not start this post with the rehearsal dinner, because it was not my proudest moment. But all of the things that happened before that - namely, Mr F not packing up to leave for the hotel until 3:00 because he was watching Sports Center and the hotel only having one person at the check-in desk for a line of 20 people - don't really merit much discussion. They were really just speedbumps along the proverbial wedding road.

Although I suppose that they may have provided a backdrop for what happened next. For it was because Mr F made us an hour late to get to the hotel, and because the check in took another half an hour (since I learned one cannot "cut" in line at a hotel even if one is single-handedly providing them with massive amounts of revenue by filling up 25 guest rooms and also happens to be holding a 10 lb wedding dress), that I only had 20 minutes to get ready for my own rehearsal dinner.

There are entire magazine articles on how to dress for your rehearsal dinner. Some people have their makeup and hair done; others have official photographers.

I was forced to get ready in less time than I do for my job every morning.

This put me on edge.

And so, when at 4:30, the time when I asked my bridesmaids to come over so I could give them their bridesmaid gifts and the time which I rushed my guts out to be ready by, no one showed up at my hotel room, I started to freak out.

And I called one of my bridesmaids.

"Aren't you coming over? Didn't you see The Schedule said to come to my hotel room at 4:30?"

"Uhm...oh. I didn't know we were supposed to. The revised schedule you sent us took that off the schedule. So I didn't know we were supposed to."

And then I could feel the tears pricking at my eyes.

I had stayed up late writing all the thank you notes to each girl and packing their gifts just perfectly and now no one was coming and I didn't know when I would give them their gifts because if it wasn't now, when would it be and how did I take this off The Schedule since I only revised The Schedule to give them more details and I went through all the trouble to get them champagne so we could have a toast and I even got cranberry seltzer for the pregnant girls so who is going to drink the seltzer now?????? My mind was racing, I was sweating and I wanted to cry but I knew that I didn't have time to re-do my makeup. And I hated seltzer.

I was just overwhelmed. Truth be told (and Monday Morning Quarterbacking Be Used), I didn't give a crap about people showing up at 4:30. But this was all too surreal and too much to handle, so my Type A personality focused on The Schedule.

So I sniffled and whined: "That was a mistake! You were all still supposed to come here." And then my voice cracked as I was about to say something else, so I hung up.

Meanwhile, my front door rang and I opened it up to see my Co-Matron of Honor. I practically cross examined her: "You knew you were supposed to be here at 4:30, right?"

She looked confused. "Uhhhh, I thought you changed the schedule. I was just stopping by to say hi."

And then.

I lost it.

I went off on a diatribe, spewing all the words that had been in my head out onto my poor hapless CMOH. Who had come up to my room just to be nice and check on me.

"Well I guess no one really cares then. Since everyone else has already been married it doesn't matter to them about my wedding. They had their day. Who cares if E&E is doing everything herself with no help. And maybe if any of you responded to my emails then someone would have asked if we were still on for 4:30...."

And that was only the half of it.

Somehow during this meltdown there must have been a red wedding bell silhouette beamed onto the TV screens of each of my bridesmaid's hotel rooms alerting Bridal Danger because in the next 5 minutes all of the bridesmaids showed up.

At which point I realized what an idiot I was being and started saying "I'm sorry."

For I realized I had done exactly what I resolved NOT to do.

I let a little bump in the road (well, a few bumps and a few potholes) completely waylay everything.

God damn it.

So I apologized AGAIN. To EVERYONE. Even the girls who were blissfully unaware of my craziness.

I noted to my CMOH that this was my first freakout in 13 months of wedding planning. And didn't I deserve just one? I was no Bridezilla, but couldn't I be a little tiny Tricera-bride? Or a Bride-a-saurus Rex?

I gave them their gifts (which I thought were awesome by the way - in addition to the pashminas, each person got a sterling silver necklace hand crafted by a local Baltimore artisan who made each one unique but generally related to the "branches" motif that we were using).

And then we went downstairs for the rehearsal. As I walked over to the rehearsal space, I cursed myself for my derailment and promised myself I would not let it happen again.

The rehearsal went perfectly.

Sigh of relief.

So I put on my fabulous fancy coat, and we all went on over to the rehearsal dinner. And in the cab I closed my eyes and repeated the words "do not get off course" over and over in my head. (I think saying them aloud might have confused the cab driver, not to mention alarmed Mr F's grandma, who was sitting next to me.)

I resolved that no matter what unexpected surprises came my way the rest of the weekend, I would have FUN.

So when we arrived at the rehearsal dinner restaurant, and I realized they were not serving any of the wines that we discussed at length and ultimately agreed on, I just ignored it and ordered a Chardonnay.

And when the steamed parchment-wrapped fish that we agreed on was not on the menu, I said screw it and ordered the pan-seared bass they substituted without my permission.

Similarly, when I realized that the food was less-than-delicious and barely more than lukewarm (according to Mr F and the untouched portions on everyone else plates), I simply encouraged more booze to our guests.

Moreover, when Baskin Robbins' son ran around the restaurant non-stop for three hours and cried because he could not sit where he wanted to, I simply ran away from him. (OK, and I talked some serious smack to my bridesmaids about the fact that she needs to learn to control her child. But I still consider that a zen moment.)

And finally, at the end of the meal, when the waiter brought us the check and I realized that the restaurant charged us the wrong price per person, we simply paid the bill and decided to call the restaurant and let them know the day after the wedding that they were schmucks and overcharged us.

And so, as we left the restaurant to go meet the rest of our friends at the bar across from the hotel, I didn't have to say my mantra anymore because I was already having a ton of fun and had somehow succeeded in seeing the bumps in the path as unique characteristics making my trip down the aisle special.

Well, at least for that night.

Act II was another story.

Friday, February 13, 2009

But It Ain't No Lie, Baby Bye Bye Bye

It's 8:30 in the morning on Friday and I have been up an hour already. Luckily, this dovetails nicely with my inability to fall asleep before 2 a.m. last night.

Thoughout this past week everyone asked me: "Are you nervous?" And well, no, I wasn't.

But now I am.

I can't pinpoint what it is. I'm not nervous about marrying Mr F (thank God, one less thing to worry about). And I'm really pretty much done with most (though definitely not all) of the planning required. So I'm not nervous about getting things done. And thankfully, Big Hugs has been in line this week and seemed to be mostly on the ball at our final meeting. So I'm (shockingly) not nervous about her toppling my wedding plans like dominos.

So what is it?

I don't know.

Maybe it's because I haven't had a drink in about two weeks. (No, I don't have "other" news to announce, I just decided that mixing antibiotics, bronchitis, and Chardonnay was likely not doing anyone any favors).

Could the butterflies in my stomach be the flapping of withdrawal?


No matter the reason, I can't sleep and I just feel nervous and apprehensive.

Maybe it's the general symptom of a Type A personality's awareness that she is placing massive amounts of small tasks in the hands of other people for a very important day and will likely have little to no control over how the events of that day run?

Whatever the cause, I will take slight comfort in the fact that I think Mr F might feel the same way (though he would never admit it) even though he's not the one single-handedly planning a large scale event for 130 people (make that four events, if you count the rehearsal dinner, the gathering after the rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself and the brunch).

My evidence? The other night I got into bed at about midnight and I heard him mumble to me from his slumber, "We gotta practice our dance. We gotta dance."

Nice. I wish I taped that.

But apparently the wedding has invaded his subconsciousness as well.

Anyway, all this leads to the fact that the wedding is on Sunday and it's Friday, so I'm self-suspending myself from blogging until post-wedding. (Holy crap - that means that the wedding is close enough that I can talk about LAW - Life After Wedding). I think I want to focus on my friends, family, and monitoring my tan, instead of blogging.

That being said, I have complete and total faith that I will have a plethora, indeed a boatload, of stories that will spin off from the next 72 hours.

But worry not, I will try my very best to heed all of the advice I have gotten thus far, which for the most part really just echoes good common sense: I plan to simply enjoy everything - come what may - because hell, after the year of craziness that I have experienced, I sure deserve to actually have fun over the next two days.

See you on the other side, kids.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Oompa Loompa Doopity Doo, I've Got Another Puzzle For You

This may be an anonymous blog (well, anonymous from my family at least), but I will disclose one identifying detail so you can understand my latest plight.

I am pale.

Not pale like the olive-skinned girls who look in the mirror during the winter months and lament in a high pitched voice, "I'm soooo pale!" because their skin has not retained the same bronzy sheen as during the summer. No, I am pale like the gauzy hue of a piece of thin wax paper. Or the almost glowing iridescence of a full moon.

In fact, during the winter, much like a piece of wax paper, I am practically translucent.

I am a natural redhead (or at least, I once was, now it's more auburn) - but my skin has retained its natural paleness. I make Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore look like the Coppertone Girls.

So when I tried on my wedding dress (in ivory) and stood in the dressing room against the white walls, my parents, the seamstress, and I all simultaneously realized that my skin was lighter than both the dress and the walls. I was like a floating head of hair. I was the gecko bride.

Which resulted in a conundrum that I have faced before. But never on such an important day.

How do I get a tan without subjecting myself to cancerous rays of light and/or potentially orange, hand-staining artificial methods?

Now normally, I would just pop on a little Clarins self-tanning lotion (the stuff is the BEST) and end up a nice hue of bronze and accept the corresponding streaks on my hands and deliciously orange color deposits on my knees and elbows. (I chose this path last year for my brother's wedding.)

But on this day, I don't really want to risk orange streaks (or even brown ones, for that matter). I want to avoid the telltale sign of fake tanner which is pools of brown tanner next to pearly white skin. Not to mention, I'm acutely aware that there will be a ton of "hand photos" (that whole wedding ring thing and all) and I don't want to focus on my striped hands when perusing through my wedding album over the next 50 years.

So what to do?

Operation Anti-Loompa. A quest to seek color, but without streaks or orangeness.

Sort of like the "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" of the tanning world. All of the taste, but none of the bad side effects. And no Fabio.

I have been in a spray tan booth before, so I knew that while the color could be good, the streaks could be bad. This is why I thought that having someone hand spray me with the stuff (using a machine that is frighteningly like a spray paint gun) would be my best bet.

However, after standing stark naked in front of a bored spa employee who, after spraying my body with a misty substance, left me to stand in all my glory in front of three giant industrial-strength fans (in a room that was about 50 degrees to begin with), I began to doubt my decision. (Or perhaps hypothermia was setting in and my faculties were not functioning properly.)

And right I was. Though the color wasn't bad, my feet looked like I had stepped in cheez whiz and my hands looked like I had dipped them half in orange paint.

It was back to the drawing board.

So I continued to look on the Internet for alternate tan options and found a spa which did a "body bronze." In essence, a woman will actually put the tanning lotion on you (and by having someone else out it on you, it hopefully avoids those pesky spots and stripes).

If nothing else, the application process certainly beats the ice-cold-spray-and-stand I was forced to endure last time. This time I got to lie on a heated spa bed and have some chick rub the lotion onto me. It was basically like a poor man's massage (if a poor man was forced to pay a ridiculous amount of money to turn himself brown). Not bad.

And the results?

Also not bad. I got home and looked at my hands. Nary a stripe. And the color? A nice light brown. Hopefully not overwhelming (since the goal was not so much to have people say "When did you get back Jamaica?" as to comment "Oh, you don't look as sickly as you did last week.").

So I was ready to call this a success.


I undressed for bed. And I looked down at my stomach, my legs, my arms and my back.

And they were covered with spots. Hundreds, thousands, of SPOTS. Red spots.

I ran into Mr F. "Look at me!! Look at me!!"

"What? I see. You're brown. It's nice."

"No! I'm allergic to the dye! I'm not brown, I'm red. And bumpy!"

He motioned me over to his side of the bed and turned on the light. "Hmmm. Yeah, you're definitely having an allergic reaction."

(OK, I'm not going to say it yet again, but I think I definitely have an Edding-Way Llergy-A.)

I stared at myself in the mirror and counted the days until my wedding. On one hand. Because that's all there was.

Then I popped three Benadryls and slept like a baby.

The next day the red dots had mostly cleared up.

Now I just have to figure out how to avoid turning my ivory wedding dress orange via contact with my artificially-colored skin. But that's another conundrum for another day.

Too bad there are only two more days to figure it out.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right, Here I Am, Stuck in the Middle with You

Table assignments. Saving the best for last, I suppose? Just when you think you've got this whole "wedding thing" all wrapped up, you're left with this doozy.

I led myself to believe I was going to get a free pass on this one. After all the responses were in, I did some quick math, took out a piece of paper and jotted some names down, and WHALA! (Wala?), I was done! I decided tables of twelve were the way to go (why have two extra tables, when that means spending extra cash on two extra centerpieces and table cloths and everything else?). And besides, I like the idea of people sitting at large tables and getting to mingle with more people.

So the math led me to the conclusion that each branch of the wedding pyramid would get 4 tables to seat (that would be me and Mr F together, my parents and Mr F's parents) with likely a little bit of sharing between the three to fill in tables.

As I said, I jotted our tables down in about 15 minutes. I then dashed off an email to the Mothers asking that they pass along their seating arrangements in tables of 12.

Two days later I got my Mom's list.

5 tables. 8 people at a table.

Needless to say, Mom does not follow directions well.

When I casually mentioned to Mom (ok, so maybe it wasn't so casually) that she exceeded her table allotment, she pulled the Ace card.

She cried.

Time out here. Not to be melodramatic, but shouldn't I be the one crying big elephant tears? Shouldn't the bride be having meltdowns and temper tantrums to get my way? Is this like that book "The Wedding" by Nicholas Sparks (don't judge me for having read it, that's neither here nor there right now) where the Mother is actually the one getting married and not the daughter and it's a giant surprise to the reader and when you finally realize it you're like "Oh my God! It's the MOM!"?

"It's the MOM!"

I'm taking a moment. Hold on.




OK. So anyway, Mom is crying and telling me that she can't combine her tables with other random people because she doesn't want her guests to feel like she doesn't care about them. I'm trying to figure out how seating someone with another person translates into anything other than the statement "Math dictates that only 12 people fit at a table so I am seating you with eleven other people to add up to 12."

More importantly, I'm trying to figure out if the antibiotics I'm on will be rendered impotent if I drink a giant goblet of white wine while on this phone call. The orange bottle doesn't have a little sticker that says "don't drink while on this medicine" but I remember hearing that you should never mix antibiotics with alcohol because they won't work (not the alcohol, the antibiotics...I'm pretty sure the alcohol will work even better).

Oh, did I not mention that I have bronchitis and the wedding is a week away? Yeah, well if you didn't think I was allergic to my wedding before, I think we have indisputable proof now.

Since I can't keep my mouth shut, I ask Mom to explain why I should spend hundreds of extra dollars so that her friends and family don't have to break bread with others' friends and family (mind you, the "other" people we are talking about are Mr F's family and my friends - not exactly strangers off the street. Funny how Mom was all "into" the engagement and melding of families, until of course, her niece has to sit with Future Mother in Law's great aunt.)

At which point, Mom changes tactics and goes back to what a Jewish Mom knows best.

She sighs. And pauses. And then says "You do what you want, E&E." Her barely dried tears are still glimmering on her cheeks (and she declines to wipe them away). I recognize this ploy I know so well and greet it accordingly. Hello, Jewish Guilt! How are you today? I, for one, am doing shitty.

So what do I do? I choose the path of least resistance. Which is, believe it or not, just giving in to Mom. I tell FMIL that she must seat all of her guests at three tables and Mr F and I squeeze all of our guests (and some of FMIL's) at ours.


Or so I thought.

Until Mom gives me a diagram of where she wants her tables to be placed in the reception room.

All by her. At the front of the room. So that all of my friends will be wayyyyy across the room from me.

Keep following the path of least resistance and apparently you end up at the bottom of a lake of quicksand.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hit Me With Your Best Shot, Fire Away

No more Mr. Nice Bride.

I'm too tired and we're getting too close to this silly wedding for me to beg the people I'm paying to...well, to do the frickin jobs that I paid them for.

And that's why Big Hugs, bane of my existence, free wedding coordinator extraordinaire, and likely she who will cause more stress than assistance, received the Wrath of Bride.

I placed calls. I emailed. I simultaneously emailed and placed calls.

And I got no response.

My wedding is just around the corner and the woman who is allegedly supposed to coordinate said event will not give me answers about my menu, the room set up, the number of bars available, what time I will have access to the bridal suite, and other annoying details that I would like to ignore, but unfortunately not only have to deal with but now have to persistently stalk the woman I am paying, to disclose.

Oodles of fun for the whole family.

So finally, I got sick of this shit.

And I called Big Hugs' boss.

And left a message like this:

"Hi, this is E&E - my wedding is on February 15th at your venue. I am working with Big Hugs, the wedding coordinator. I emailed her a few times over the past month and never got a response to my questions. I also called her about 3 times during this period and haven't heard back. This has been going on for about a month now and I haven't been able to get in touch with her. I'm just wondering if this is typical and what I should expect on the wedding day?"

OK, it wasn't the harshest call I've ever made, but I acutely aware that no matter what happens, given the late date, this woman still does hold the timeline of my wedding in the palm of her (very inefficient) hand.

My phone rang back five minutes later.

It was Big Hugs.

Her voice was sweet as pie, telling me she has been "sooo" busy lately and it's been "just so hard!" to return all her emails. And she went on to ask me how she could help me.

I have some ideas.

She could best help me by returning my calls the same day.

It would be helpful if she could remember what food we are planning to have at the wedding instead of asking me "are your guests having the chicken?". (That would be NO.)

And it would be great if she could send me paperwork that was supposed to get to me a month before the wedding, without requiring that I ask two weeks before: "Shouldn't there be some paperwork I should get explaining all this?"

And hells, while we're at it, it would be nice it she took her hug and shove it up her kisser.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

(S)he drinks a Whiskey drink, (s)he drinks a Vodka drink

My bachelorette party was the weekend before last (before last...which is three weeks...crap, time flies. I have like ten posts that I've started and none are finished because I've been so busy *doing* the wedding that I haven't had time for *writing* about said doing).

Anyway, I had a blast. I have ridiculously creative friends. They gave me clues which led to different bars in the city and each bartender had the next clue. Too cute, right?

You know what's not cute?


I'm never drinking again. OK, that has a slightly false ring to it.

Thus, I must clarify: I am never having another shot again.

Who thought of this thing - shots? And shouldn't an intelligent person be wary of a drink consumed in a form bearing the same name as the artillery fired from a weapon of death?

Needless to say, I haven't had a hangover of this proportion since college. Actually, I take that back. I didn't get hangovers like this when I was in college.

This is actually a new phenomenon and clearly a predominant reason for a severely decreased consumption of multiple glasses of alcohol in one sitting.

Even of my faithful companion, White Wine. Even White Wine has become the friendly neighbor who makes you temporarily happy by plying you with food, until you realize that you are gnawing on a poisonous apple.

OK, that's a stretch and I think mixing some fairy tales with apartment dwelling, but right now my neighbors are having a massive argument and it's giving me a headache so I'm having a hard time separating fact from fiction.

But alcohol now affects me in a way it never did before. It hurts.

A Haiku On Hangovers
O, my dear White Wine,
why do you betray?
Were you not my friend?

Getting old sucks.

Hangovers suck.

Eggs benedict with a side of homefries when you think you're gonna boot in a Murray Hill restaurant with 10 of your closest friends looking at you with concern tinged with pity while in NYC sucks.

But friends who travel from around the country just to go to your bachelorette and watch you make a fool of yourself until you can't remember anything (and then watch you try not to toss your cookies the next morning) are the best.

That sounds an awful lot like a Mastercard commercial, doesn't it? I didn't mean for it to.


Friday, January 23, 2009

I Get A Kick Out Of You

I have a new best friend: his name is Michael.

I go to his place at least once a week. While I'm at Michael's, I wander around aimlessly. The air is soft and peaceful, thick with the artificial, yet oddly calming, smell of silk flowers and scented candles. I can drift up and down the aisles, gazing at the endless possibilities. I know there are others who love him too; sometimes I catch their eye as we both spy the last silver ink pad at the exact same moment. But we're not competitive. I'm content with buying gold leaf paint and she is just as happy to buy multi-color yarn. We exist together peacefully. Michael has enough room for all of us.

I love the way he cares about me. I know it from the way he offers me deals for just one dollar as soon as I walk in the door. And he reminds me about every upcoming holiday - just in case I was going to forget. Just yesterday he reminded me that Valentine's Day is near and St. Patty's is mere moments later by providing a shelf of pink and red ribbon, with heart wooden boxes and cupid-imprinted stamps. Shamrocks galore wink playfully, begging to be affixed to a decorative bag, should I feel so inclined.

Unfortunately, for all that he does for me, Michael can be hurtful at times. Michael is gifted with the ability to be crafty, whereas I am not. So when I am at Michael's I sometimes find myself moved by the siren song of scrapbooking. Or knitting. Or necklace making. Or perfuming. There are so many appliques you can buy! But I know (from experience) that I will glue my fingers to the cotton with the hot glue gun or drop the fragile glass jar and Michael will be ashamed of me. So I scuttle away, empty-handed and embarrassed.

The other problem with Michael of course is that I suspect Mr F is a little concerned about our relationship. And perhaps he should be. Because I spend a lot of money on my new friend (more than he even knows). But I don't have much to show for it. I have ribbon, and a calligraphy pen, and some cardstock. And moss and flower foam. And a hot glue gun. And 32 glue gun inserts. Which are sitting in my closet. And will make a cameo appearance at my wedding. If I can figure out what to do with them.

But Michael made me bring them home! He knew I would take good care of them. Like he has taken care of me.

I can't wait to visit Michael's again next week. If only his handmaidens of checkout weren't so slow. (Really? Ten minutes to try to wrap a mason jar? Come on, people.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag

A few months ago my Future Mother in Law asked how she could help with the wedding. As I've mentioned previously, to say that my FMIL and I have different tastes would be an understatment. To me, simple is better. To her, simple is just...simple.

So upon the suggestion of my MOH, I decided that a good way for her to "help" would be to lift the mammoth burden of filling the out of town bags from my shoulders (which were carrying so much mental weight these days they made Atlas look like a lightweight). I told her I would create a label that she could just peel and place on the bag. A perfect situation - she would just have to buy the bags and fill them up.

Except that FMIL is rabid. Like a wedding dog. She emailed me asking what exactly it was I wanted to put in the bags. But between holding down a full-time job and rushing back and forth meeting with vendors and mailing out invitations, I didn't have time to focus on the out of town bag contents.

Then she called.

And emailed.


Asking what I want in the bags.

Mind you, this was months ago, before Mr F and I even bought a wedding band. Or had written vows. Or created programs. In the hierarchy of wedding planning, I firmly believe that out of town bags are somewhere between the color purse I will be holding at the rehearsal dinner (don't know) and the name of the signature cocktail (no idea). Important, but not to be focused on prior to, say, determining what song we will use as a processional.

Nonetheless, I had a general inkling of what I wanted in the bags, so I sat down and spoke with her about precisely what I wanted (which was her request - an exact list).

I wanted to fill our bags with healthier options than the typical "out of town bag" fare. While I love a chocolate molten flourless cake, I loathe vending machine snacks (Twinkies make me ill). So I gave FMIL a list of healthy-ish snacks. I also told her a few items that I would love to include to celebrate the fact that we were getting married in Baltimore; it was a nice way to introduce people to the flavors of the city.

I explained to her that I just wanted to put the stickers I created on a very simple bag - brown, preferably recycled, paper bag. Simple. Low key. Put the stickers on the bag and presto - done.

FMIL visited a couple of weeks ago and excitedly told me that she had gotten "options" for the bags.

My mind tried to comprehend the statement. "Options?" I was pretty sure that there weren't a lot of variations on the brown bag theme. It's brown. It's a bag. The end.

As we are sitting at my kitchen table, she pulls six gift bags out of her bigger plastic bag.


Each bag is more fanciful than its predecessor. One has pearls, another has lace. One is white with some sort of hologram on it (I swear). And the grand finale was a giant shiny white bag with wedding bells on the front in glitter. FMIL's eyes sparked and she grinned. "Aren't they great?"

I looked inside the bag to see if perhaps there was a mini bottle of Stoli. Because that was the only way these bags were going to achieve greatness.

"Uhm. Well, they're very fancy."

I racked my brain for a way to say, "These bags are fugtastic, but you are truly such a sweet and loving mother that I don't want to hurt your feelings or strain our future relationship. But these bags make me want to retch."

I realized there was no way to politely convey this message, so I kept my mouth shut.

She looked at me. I think she looked into my soul. And saw a deep hatred of the wedding aisle at Michael's. Or she wasn't looking at my soul and just saw that I was frowning and giving the glittery wedding bells the evil eye. Which is generally also considered a "give."

"You don't like them?"

"Well...they're just not my 'style'... I prefer a simpler look."

She looked confused. "Less lace?"

"No lace."

A light went on in the attic. "Ohhhhh. Simple. Ok."

So to ensure that she understood what I meant, I went out and bought a bag and put on the sticker and sent it to her back in New Jersey. My aching back was not feeling un-burdened.

A few days ago I got an email that told me the following:

"Honey - the bags are done!! I used the brown bags. I couldn't find all the things you asked for so instead I just bought other things!! I included the following: oreo's, M&M's, potato chips, and peanut butter and cheese crackers."

My cholesterol doubled just reading the email. Hey, what's a little trans-fat between friends?

But the email went on: "I didn't know where to get that Baltimore stuff - so I guess that's out or you can just get it on your own."

Yup. This was helpful. I took out my "to do" list and erased the line I had drawn though "out of town bags" so it could reclaim its rightful spot on the list. Still, I'm awarding FMIL an "A" for effort. Just cause I'm feeling benevolent today.

Time Keeps on Tickin Tickin Tickin....Into the Future

One month from today.

One month from today at this time I will be sitting in a hotel room chair, having my hair and makeup done by dueling professionals, just hours away from walking down the aisle.

One month from today I will be chugging Red Bull and coffee (though hopefully not together) since I will likely have accumulated only 8 hours of sleep over the previous 7 days (if past insomnia is any indication of the future).

One month and one day from today I can throw out all of the wedding magazines.

One month and one day from today I will have my own Bonfire of the Vanities. I will dispose of the ribbon, the ink pads, and the cardstock. I suspect they will be deliciously flammable.

One month and two days from today I will sleep.

One month and fourteen days from today I will wear my wedding dress for the second time and have a sequel to my wedding.

One month and fifteen days from today I will sit on the couch and eat the top layer of the wedding cake that is supposed to be eaten exactly 13 months from today.

One month and sixteen days from today I will sit on the couch and watch "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Whose Wedding is it Anyway" without anxiety. I will sip Chardonnay as neither a shield nor a sword.

One month and seventeen days from today I will balance my computer on my lap while trying to think of a new name for this Blog.

I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Words, Like Silent Raindrops Fell

I've been thinking about how to write this post for a couple of days now, and I'm still not sure I'm going to do it right. But like everything else in life, you just need to jump in, so I will.

Over the past year, I have heard the same refrain over and over again: "Just relax and enjoy this time", "It will go by so quickly," and most frequently, "In the scheme of things, all the little details aren't important."

I hate when people say that to me.

I would love nothing more than to relax. I would relish the opportunity to not stress. I wish I could heed that advice, but my brain truly won't comprehend it. I just can't, no matter how hard I try, let all the little things go. I try to tell myself that I don't need to create menus (and, intellectually I really know that I don't) but I can't just not do them. I don't know why; it must be the way I'm hardwired (which is apparently with the red and blue wires crossed so that I could blow up at any second).

But this past weekend I actually experienced something that put things more into perspective than all of the advice in the world. It's one thing for someone to tell you that "it's not a big deal in the scheme of things" and it's a whole other to see why it isn't.

On Saturday, my Mom and I were well into Wedding Trial Weekend when we went to the salon where I was to have my makeup trial. I was clutching my file of "wedding makeup looks" which the Makeup Artist suggesting I bring along with me. I was also psyched because the Makeup Artist had told me that she would do my trial for free. (For FREE? This is unheard of in the wedding industry! Even the bridal shows charge a price for tickets. Cake tastings come with the burden of a commitment to order a full cake for $600 and the trial for my hair cost the same amount that my hair will cost the day of my wedding.)

We walked into the salon and I breathed in the wonderfully relaxing smell of eucalyptus (the salon also happens to be a great spa). We sauntered up to the check in desk and mentioned that we were there to see Makeup Artist and we had a 1:30 appointment.

Her eyes widened in surprise and she became silent.

My Mom and I looked at each other.

The receptionist began to speak slowly. "You didn't hear? ... Makeup Artist passed away two weeks ago."

My mouth dropped open and my stomach dipped. I conjured up Makeup Artist's face in my mind - she was a young woman - I was sure of it. Perhaps there was some mistake?

"What...what happened? Are we talking about Makeup Artist? I thought she was young...." I trailed off.

The receptionist's eyes filled with tears. "She was. She was only thirty-two. She died suddenly of an aneurysm the day after Christmas. She left an eleven year old son."

Thirty two. Exactly my age.

My heart started beating more quickly and I started to sweat. I had a lump in my throat that was making it hard to breathe, but I had no right for such sadness - I barely spoke with the woman for more than ten minutes.

I suddenly thought of the phone message I had left last week on her cellphone, reminding her of our appointment. It occurred to me that when I left the message, she was no longer even living. Did her husband watch the cellphone ring and ring, but couldn't bring himself to answer it? It was too horrible to imagine.

We excused ourselves from the salon and sat in the car in silence. I'm not a religious person at all, but I counted my blessings.

Do my parents drive me up a wall? Yes. Am I lucky to have two loving parents? Yes.

Do I think about hitting Mr F over the head with a frying pan at times? Yes. But I'm lucky I will have the chance to walk down that aisle and see him waiting for me at the end of it.

Will I continue to obsess over the little details of this wedding in light of what happened? To be honest with myself, probably yes.

But will I keep the image of this young woman, snatched away from life at the same age I am today, tucked into the corner of my consciousness, ready for recall when I start to dwell on the superficial? Yes. Truly, I will.

When I got home that night, I opened my wallet and pulled out the business card that Erin had given me when we met in mid-December. After a fun conversation about how much we both loved makeup, she scribbled her name and cellphone on the reverse side and the words "free makeup consult" on the front.

As the tragedy of it all bounced around my head, I walked over to the garbage, ready to toss it in. But I decided to keep it.

I placed the card back in my wallet.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me

My parents came to visit this weekend for the Law & Order of bridal weekends - full of trials. (Yes, I'm fully aware that was a terrible joke. But I just spent 48 hours with my parents and their Catskills-inspired sense of humor is contagious. Like the black plague.)

To clarify, my parents were in town for my floral trial, makeup trial, hair trial and dress fitting (i.e., dress trial). I was definitely nervous about all of the aforementioned trials, especially the hair and makeup since I selected my beauty professionals by closing my eyes and pointing at a listing in the phonebook. (OK, it was more like pointing at the Google results on the computer screen - but you get the gist.) Baltimore is an interesting mix of cultures: while it has a bunch of chic new boutiques, restaurants and bars, there is also a strong blue collar contingent that (let's face it - is less superficial than I am and) prefers spam to spumoni and smokes a pack-a-day instead of working on their six pack each day. I tossed and turned each night as I dreamt of a hair trial that resulted in a John Waters-inspired bee hive hairdo and eye makeup that looked like Cher's Vegas Show team had gone on a rampage.

Thus, I was actually very happy to have my parents coming along on these meetings, if for no other reason than they are certainly not known for keeping their opinions to themselves. (Not so helpful when selecting a wedding venue, very helpful when they need to tell a makeup artist that powder blue is NOT my best color.)

So no sooner had our Marathon Wedding Trial day began, then I found myself sitting in my parents' Volvo on my way to the mall. My mom started asking about her favorite topic - whether Israel is justified in continuing violence against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. No, not really. She started talking about the wedding. Which I must grudgingly admit was justified being that it was Marathon Wedding Trial Day. So we begin to chat about wedding details when she starts asking about my bachelorette party, which is next weekend.

"When are you going into the city? Do you want us to give you a ride?" [Incidentally, The City = New York City. If you grow up in NJ, there is only one City. And it's not Philadelphia or Baltimore.]

I was flabbergasted. It was so nice and so unlike my parents to drive me all the way into the city, only to turn around and immediately drive the hour back to central New Jersey. (They were the parents who used to always say to me when I was younger: "Can't you get someone else's parents to give you a ride to soccer / dance class / drama practice? We always have to drive."). And so, delighted that two old dogs had apparently learned some new tricks, I exclaimed "Yeah! That's so nice of you - to drive me there and then to turn around and go right back! That would be great."

To which my Mother replied breezily, "Oh, we're not going back. We're going to spend the night in the city to belatedly celebrate my birthday."


My mother (rightly) took my silence as annoyance so she continued defensively, "There are eight million people in the city."

Indeed, there are. Which I was aware of. But still, when I lived in Manhattan, I always managed to run into ex-boyfriends while I was picking up a whole pizza to eat by myself, obnoxious girls from high school when I was wearing no makeup, and random cousins who I cared little for and wanted to have to pretend to make plans to see even less - all on a regular basis. Eight million is actually kind of small.

But I was determined to remain level-headed. She was right really. It was a big city and somehow I doubted that we would go to the same restaurants (or bars or lounges for that matter). My parents would stick to midtown and the Upper East Side and we would likely be in the Meatpacking district or downtown. I took deep cleansing breaths and began my wedding mantra. It will be ok. It will be ok. It will be ok.

And suddenly I would be. It's fine.

So I continued to chat with my Mom and realized of course I actually couldn't get a ride into the city because I was going to go early Saturday morning and they were going later in the afternoon. Foiled again. I was immersed in thought, trying to figure out whether I could stomach taking the super cheap and moderately dangerous Chinatown Bus to NYC or if I should just suck it up and pay an obscene amount of money for Amtrak, which was sure to be less dramatic and offered bathrooms and snacks onboard, when suddenly my Mom asked "Whose apartment are you girls staying at?"

I replied, "Oh, well we actually got a hotel because there are so many of us coming in from out of town that we decided it would just be easier and more fun. And besides, we'll all meet there before we go out."

"That's a good idea. Where are you staying?"

"The Murray Hill Shelbourne - I got a great deal on a suite so it worked out really well!"

This is the point where my Mom made what can only be described as a sort of "tsk-ing" sound.

My stomach sank. Was the place a total fleabag motel? I was picturing all of us huddled on a small shabby sofa looking around the room at rodent infestations. Gross.

But she followed up the tsk-ing with the following, "Isn't that funny? That's the hotel that Dad and I are staying at!!"

Eight million people, huh?

I lost it. I would love to say I acted maturely, like a 32-year woman about to get married. But instead I threw a tempertantrum. I'll admit it.

"WHAT?!? Come ON! I TOLD you I would be in the city that weekend! God, I can't get AWAY from you people!! I want to GET AWAY! I don't want to SEE YOU AT MY BACHELORETTE PARTY. Sweet Jesus."

I told you. I lost it.

I knew I was acting like an ungrateful brat and that my parents had just as much right to stay at the hotel as I did, but that didn't diminish the fact that I really didn't want my parents to see me stumble out of the hotel for dinner at 9 p.m. as they were coming home after their 6:30 dinner plans.

But I knew I was acting like a baby, so I shut up and stewed in silence. I had clearly conveyed my displeasure and there was nothing else to say. Well, on my part at least. I was definitely hoping my parents would realize that it was their responsibility to say that they would find another hotel.

Instead, my mother said "We booked this hotel 6 weeks ago."

I put on my Parental Translator Hat and pressed "Start." Just as I had suspected. According to my calculations, that sentence in parent-speak actually meant: "I know you're our daughter, but screw you - we want to stay at this hotel. Go find another one if you're not happy."

So I quietly sulked.

When we arrived at our destination (the mall to look for tuxes for my Dad), I continued to sulk. I placed a quick call to Mr F and told him to look for alternate hotels for me. And then I tried to move on with the day.

My Mother and I were looking at patterns when my Father excused himself (presumably because he cared about tuxes just about as much as Mr F did). About a half an hour later he reappeared and walked over to me.

"Mom and I discussed it and we decided to switch our hotel. So we won't stay at the one you're staying at."

[Pigs flying; Devil wearing snowboots; Cats and dogs living together; LC and Heidi hugging.]


He continued: "I made a few calls and we got another hotel to stay at..."

Wait for it.

Wait for it....

"... Instead, we're going to stay at the Marriott."

Yup. In an incredible turn of events, I have been saved by my nemesis, mon frere, Le Marriott. I never thought I'd utter such words, but I want to take this opportunity to shout from the cyber-hilltops: "Marriott, I love you!"

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Signed Sealed Delivered, I'm Yours

On Saturday night I once again found myself in New Jersey. Whoever said that "All roads lead to Rome" never had two Jewish mothers and an impending wedding.

As I sat eating pasta, meatballs, chicken, mini hamburgers, and meatloaf and potatoes (a typical Jewish mother's meal for her prodigal children) and drank a large goblet of Cabernet (a typical Jewish daughter's antidote to Jewish mothers) with my Future Mother and Father in Law, and Future Sister and Brother in Law, the conversation meandered on over to the wedding guest list. And by "meandered to the guest list" I mean that from the moment we walked in the door I was pelted by searing nuptially-focused questions and thus, the topic of the group's discussion transitioned only from the food at the wedding to the cocktails for the wedding and from the clothes to be worn at the wedding to the clothes to be worn the night before the wedding. I was an innocent fawn, slowly waking from deep slumber; its tender eyes open to a sunny and quiet meadow, until it's suddenly face-to-face with the first day of hunting season and the double barrel of a shotgun.

I looked down at the bulls eye on my chest as my Future Mother in Law said to me: "How many of our friends have not responded yet?"

I considered my after-life as finely prepared venison at a top restaurant. "Well..."

"Well what?"

"Well actually, almost none of your guests have responded." Anticipating her next question, I said "The responses are due in a week."

She became indignant. "Well if they don't respond, then I'm assuming they're not coming and well, we're not going to be friends with them anymore!"

Now I was the hunter. "What do you mean, you're assuming? Aren't you going to call them to ask if they're coming? You're just going to not talk to them? But we need a definite answer!" I was a hunter whose voice rose a variety of octaves to achieve a piercing decibel during the hunt.

At this moment, FMIL looked at me as though she were indeed welcoming a wild boar into her family. Her look said, now why in the world would I possibly call the people who are my so-called closest friends and those who I insisted we must invite?

OK, maybe her look didn't say that. But that's what I thought. Why in the world would she not call the people who she insisted we must invite because they would be so hurt if we didn't, because they are Such Good Friends? Doesn't she talk to these people anyway (if they are, indeed, such good friends) and is it really a big deal to call them?

Invocations of Verizon and T-Mobile aside, this is really just a symptom of the bigger issue at hand: why oh why, can these people not RSVP to begin with? Dear Lord, my Sauveur, what more can a person do to garner a response then send someone a self addressed and stamped envelope? Is it really such a burden to take a pen to the paper and check off "yes" or "no" and to take the envelope to the mailbox? This seems only moderately more rigorous than other taxing tasks such as breathing, walking, and sleeping. (I do feel compelled here to disclose that apparently there is an in-between option of just sending in the response card with no indication of whether you will, or will not, be attending and/or any corresponding indication of a food choice should you be coming. This possibility was presented to me in the form of a response from one of FMIL's friends who dumped the completely blank response card back in the mail to us. Not a speck of ink on that sucker to be found. I'd give you my two cents on that one, but since I already spent 47 cents on a stamp that served no purpose, I'll keep it to myself.)

Indeed, there is a part of me that is tempted to send over a courier to the homes of those who have yet to respond to solicit a yay or nay from those delinquent invitees - mostly because I am curious if they will respond, or just deem it too difficult to stand up and answer the door for the courier.

I'm aware how obnoxious and impatient this sounds. I assure you that it will sound even more judgmental in light of the following: I've been that person. I am the person who gets the envelope with the stamp on it and puts it aside thinking "I should really decide if I'm going to this wedding." And then I lose the envelope. Or I forget about the reply date. Or I go on a three-week bender and groggily wake up in Tijuana in the bed of a Mexican stripper named Carmen.

Man, I am so craving enchiladas and a margarita (on the rocks, with salt).

Anyway, needless to say, I won't be doing that again any time soon (turning in replies late; you can never be sure you won't find yourself in Tijuana). Go on, invite me to your wedding. Try me.

All that being said, that doesn't solve the problem at hand: my future In Laws apparently feel comfortable just assuming that lack of reply equals non-attendance. I, on the other hand, happen to know that many people believe that it is so obvious that they will be attending that they don't need to turn in an RSVP. Or if they're anything like my parents (which, being my parents' friends, presumably they are), they tend to firmly believe that they have said and done things that they have not, in fact, actually done (i.e., Mom assuring me that she sent me an email telling me the status of said RSVP list, when indeed no such email was ever sent. By the way, here's a hint - thinking about doing something does not actually make it happen. Or, as previously discussed in this blog, were that the case I would have a fridge full of ice cream, a house that sparkled like the Chrysler building and a closet that that boasted more Louboutin shoes than Saks Fifth Avenue.)

So where does this leave me? You guessed it. Eight days away from calling up 30 people I've never met and asking them point-blank if they are high-tailing it down to Baltimore in 40 days to attend my frickin' wedding. Somehow I suspect that this will not lead to much endearment by my In-Laws' friends; similarly, I suspect it will fail to lead to wedding gifts from said friends. Whatever. I didn't need a complete set of martini glasses anyway.