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.


Nicole Scott-Tate said...

I suggest that you read my November 2nd post about Daughter-In-Law Rules. It may help. Good luck with your FMIL!

Krista said...

... I think you must have told her "healthy-ish foods" on opposite day!

Marte said...

Amazing. I just don't have another word for, well, nearly anything that I read on your blog.
The way your parents handle this (your and your husbands!) wedding is just incomprehensible.
Good luck.
After this, being married will truly be a blissful walk in the park.

Autumn Witt Boyd to be said...

I am not even kidding when I say a little laugh escaped my lips when I read what actually went in the bags. So. friggin. perfect.

Miss Ready said...

This is greatness! Even though I'm across the country from you, the wedding planning dynamics are the same, which is why it's so hard. You can't get help, because it's not help when you have to go back and redo it! Keep these posts coming, they are so validating for me!

Jennifer said...

I love your blog. I wonder why it took me so long to stumble upon it. I thought I was the only crazy person who hates wedding planning but is compelled to do so anyway. Thanks for the laughs.

Liz @ McFargan: A Midwestern Matrimony said...

Oh my god. I freaking love you right now. I just came across your blog and am SO sad that you just got married. Well, maybe sad isn't the word I'm looking for. Very happy for you.... congratulations.... but I feel like I am reading my own journal. It's like reading all the things I can't post on my blog because my mom and MIL read it. So thanks. :)