“The name we give to something shapes our attitude towards it.”
Good. Grief. Men just have to cough up enough for a sparkly ring, rent a tux, and show up. Us girls not only have to go through the angst of dress fittings, agonizing over catering (incidentally, I didn’t get to eat a thing at my reception; a fact about which I am inordinately bitter), fret pointlessly over flowers, and basically worry for months at a time. And THEN, after the whole affair is over, we get to go around sorting out an entirely new identity, complete with documentation.
Our marriage certificate came in the mail last saturday, a fact we celebrated by almost immediately consigning it (accidentally) to the garbage. I blame J., J. blames me (I think I have a much more convincing case since I’m gone all day and, even though I’m a horrid klutz, I’m not usually that much of an idiot). Either way, I got off work early today so I trekked on over to the county buildings and got a new copy and then, in a burst of energy I know regret, I decided to be productive and get my name changed on a few things as well. An hour later, still waiting in line at the Social Security Administration (listening to the endless repetition of numbers of people who had long ago thrown in the towel, “47?…47?…47?…Is 47 here, please?…47?…”) I finally got that sorted. There was the minor hiccup of me not being born anywhere near the Continental United States, but that minor heart attack was glossed over by the fact that they had my previous information from when I was employed as a student.
Then off to the Driver License Division (otherwise known as the 9th circle of Hell)! However, getting there was a mess because there were two places listed and somehow in my temper frayed state, I managed to superimpose the numerical address of one place on the opposite city. Which meant that I spent another 45 minutes doing loop-de-loops across town trying to find this office. It was housed (read: hidden) in a small bank without any labling on the outside to indicate its presence within. I must have circled that parking lot half a dozen times before I worked up the nerve to just march into a building and demand guidance. Then we had a repeat of the line process, the only difference was that this time I got to sit. Right next to one of the more unusual characters I’ve seen in weeks.
This woman was tiny, the size of a 12 year old, and from the waist down she could have been an octogenearian: varicose veins, droopy tatooes working their way down her calves, and crusty feet. But she had plump childlike hands and arms and a head that I honestly can’t put an age on. Grandma-ish features on a young face and hair color that looked natural. Midway through my wait she answered a phone call and started arguing in the meekest, quietest voice about some sort of payment.
“You’ve gotten me into something I can’t get out of,” she mewed, “I’m a student” [to add further to the riddle of her age] “and I can’t possibly afford to pay for this.”
My ears perked up in spite of themselves, though I kept my nose firmly buried in a David Sedaris book. It sounded serious!
“I didn’t know I had that option,” she chirruped softly, “I was told I was under a contract and that I had to keep buying, so I did, but I can’t honor those commitments now.”
A gambling addiction? A vicious, silken-tonged bookie on the other end perhaps?
“But I only wanted the animated Bible stories and you made me buy lots of other films! It’s terrible of you to try and make me pay for this, it’s about religious material and you were completely false in selling them to me, you should be ashamed of yourselves!” She took a breath and said in an even meeker voice, “I’m sorry you alwas see the worst side of me in these phone calls, I don’t like being so unpleasant, but I’m just so upset.”
A huge letdown, in my opinion.
Another half hour later I was called and with a brief repeat of the question of my natal origins, I got my name changed on my license as well. Then, driving home, I rolled down my window because I thought my car was making a funny noise. Having ascertained it wasn’t, I rolled my window back up but managed to catch my sun visor in the closing pane and heard two terrible crunches before I managed to reverse the window and survey the damage. My visor now has a definite dent down the middle where the plastic inside has been snapped in half and my mirror was shattered. All the way home I was showered with confetti-like shards of glass.
And halfway home I got a text from J. telling me his parents are coming over for dinner. Bless him for cleaning up and doing dishes, otherwise I might have tossed our new certificate right back in the trash in a mood and gone straight to bed. Thank goodness tomorrow is a state holiday and I can sleep in!
“I’ve made a terrible mistake…”
Kidding! KIDDING! Yikes, people, have a sense of humor. No divorce yet, all is well!
The wedding was gorgeous! Everything ran on time (miraculous) and the closest thing we had to a disaster was that one of my younger brothers’ tuxes was too short in the sleeves, the boy actually grew between when they measured him and when he arrived. Puberty: a growing frenzy that largely passed me by (lengthwise speaking) but that still doesn’t look convenient from the outside, but I digress. The day was crazy!
7am: Mama, bridesmaids, and C. to the salon
9am: at the ceremony venue
1030am: married, then pictures (even though my smiling muscles gave out well before we were done) until-
3pm: wrap things up, decamp to reception center (after the usual lost clothes, keys, etc.)
5pm: restyling, re-accessorizing, fixing hair, and squeezing back into dresses after a few glorious hours of oxygen on the part of the girls. J. and Val (Venice’s husband and unofficial groomsman by the end of the day) played halo in the mens’ area
6pm: florists arrive, minor hiccups with flowers. Resolution achieved with help of the bridesmaid Dream Team
7pm: reception starts
9pm: reception ends
It was a long day, but it really flew by for me at least! And everything turned out gorgeous. I’ll get pictures up soon, because towards the end I was going mostly on Tylenol and adrenaline so some of the details are fuzzy and I’d like a reminder.
And let me recommend Marie, Venice, Peregrine, and Snickers as Bridesmaids Extrodinaire! These girls should go into business, they’d be millionaires in no time! Seriously, they ran the show. I can’t say enough good things or thank them enough for turning a potentially harrowing day into a glamorous, seamless work of art. And they did it looking absolutely splendid. I’ve known professional hostesses with less than half these girls’ panache!
By the way, going back to work after a week of family fun time, wedding, and honeymoon weekending…kind of sucks! But it was such fun while it lasted. We saw Cirque de Soleil’s KA and the Blue Man Group, both of which were amazing. I’d never seen a Cirque show, and since I was dying to see one as well as BMG, we squeezed both in. Incredible. I’ve no idea how Cirque performers are able to do what they do, and as for the lads in blue platex…absolutely unique, never seen anything quite like it.
Back in reality, we’re swamped in gifts that need opening, sorting, and thank you notes that need writing. However we have a much nicer area to accomplish all this in because my parents painted our flat for us! Loveliest surprise homecoming ever, I could have cried when I realized our walls no longer looked a bad whitewash job.
“I’m finalizing everything this week so I can spend the weekend panicking uninterrupted.”
Good grief, I’m getting married in nine days…and worst of all, mostly everything is done! I get to make a million and one confirmation phone calls this week, and then sit around twiddling my thumbs and waiting for everything to come crashing spectacularly down.
Any second now J. is going to awaken to his danger and take off running. My immediate and extended family will decide not to show up…or they will, and get into a huge fight culminating in a salad slinging war throughout the luncheon site. The florist will die of swine flu and they’ll send her final creations to her funeral in tribute instead of the reception. My family’s luggage will tumble out of the plane halfway between London and Chicago. Mika (my loveably but hyperactive dog) will sneak her way into a suitcase and reduce my gown to shreds in her excitement. There will be an awful gas leak at the salon which, thanks to the oceans of hair spray that are going into my, Mama, Snickers, Venice, Marie, and Peregrine’s hair, will result in a doubly horrific explosion when a stylist goes outside for a ciggy break. One of J.’s exes will kidnap me to prevent the nuptials (seriously, could happen. Our department is running security on an wedding that’s happening on campus for this very reason). I’ll stumble groggily to the car way too early in the morning to go get my hair done and halfway to the city realize I’ve forgotten everything. The wedding license will spontaneously combust. Despite all my careful working out and eating, I’ll wake up the day of so plumped up with stress that my dress will pop open at the seams when we try to force me into it. I’ll trip going down the stairs at my flat and end up in a bodycast and with a mouthful of broken teeth (this one is actually most likely…).
Though ludicrous, and yes I do realize they are, these are real fears. But I’m not alone. Yesterday both Darling and Mama gave me slightly more realistic-but no less-terrifying possibilities to consider: my family’s luggage could not arrive (never mind being left at Heathrow!), and everyone could come down with food poisoning! J.’s family, on his mother’s orders, will probably be eschewing all restaurants ‘twixt now and then, and I’ll be popping vitamin C likes it’s candy to ward off the cold several helpful and loving friends insist is coming (you jerks!).
“Calm me down. Tell me I should buy the croissants instead of make them!”
“Holy mother of baking…buy the croissants, woman and don’t be ridiculous! You’re throwing a small shower not a presidential ball, I forbid you to bake a single french pastry!”
-Venice and C.
Venice is throwing me a bridal shower tomorrow…J.’s mom and sister are coming…and all of my friends have been asking me my lingerie sizes. If I never post again it is because I have either A) died of humiliation, or B) been killed by his affronted family!
At least we’ll die well-fed! Venice just called me at work to confess she’s gone overboard with the cupcakes (red velvet of course) and has dozens. But when I said, “Yeah! More for us!” she came back quickly with, “Wedding in less than three weeks. Dress, dear.” She is such a good friend.
Disheartening : knowing that your fitness goals (lose about one pound every two weeks) are attainable and therefore you have absolutely no excuse not to achieve them.
Soul-destroying : working out religiously all week only to discover you have gained a pound instead of lost it.
GAH!, C. cries out to you in angst.
But, C., you say helpfully and soothingly, you know that muscle weighs more than fat and you have been sticking to your weight lifting with admirable regularity. You spend an hour in the gym every weekday, and sometimes saturdays, and you try really hard to eat a balanced diet, you even take vitamins. And look how flat your stomach is! The arm flab is gone too! Do try and have a little perspective here. And C., you say a little more firmly and with much less patience, it is one pound. Surely your melodramatic tendencies can be put to more effective use on another angsty problem.
No! (C. wails) I am picking up my wedding dress on Saturday and already in a nervous panic to see what they alterations girls have done to it and now I am the size of a walrus! And it’s not even about the wedding (C. howls, swathing herself in sackcloth)! I know it’s just one pound. It’s just one of those days: I’m fed up with my job, my internet keeps cutting out, and I gained a pound. And I really…want…a brownie…! !
You, shaking your head in disgust and turning about sharply, merely curl your lip. C., you are being ludicrous. Let’s talk when your sense of reality reinstates itself.
“Look for the woman in the dress; if there is no woman, there is no dress.”
It never fails. Whenever I recommit to frugality (and, though I don’t mind spending money, I already do live well within my limits) I remember something I need to buy, find a place that tempts me to dump money into it, or go shopping with Venice. Usually some combination of the three.
Last night was the third option. I told the girls I asked to be bridesmaids long ago that I want them to pick out a dress they liked, that flattered them, and that they could wear again…I had no idea it would mean frantic searching and agony on their part, I thought I was doing something nice! Venice and I went on the hunt for bridesmaids dresses, and since we live in wedding central, we reasoned, surely there must be something. Two hours later we had encountered monstrosity after monstrosity (long, hunter’s orange, chiffon with a BOW! I didn’t know they actually were legally able to sell something that ugly!) and I could tell she was getting frustrated enough to chew nails! David’s Bridal was explored and discarded, some pretty dresses but ridiculously priced and the alterations would cost a separate fortune. Other bridal shops were the same, the dresses in varying degrees of loath-ability. We’re about the same height (aka short) and let me tell you, no one makes pretty petite bridesmaids dresses. In fact, I’d say that very few people make pretty petite clothing for women in their early twenties period, but that’s an entirely different rant for another day. As if finding a nice bridesmaids dress wasn’t a chore to begin with, finding one in a “specialty size” was pretty near impossible, we continue to be confounded by our height (or lack thereof).
Finally we through in the towel (after we had both stopped into Anchor Blue for flip flops because we both needed a pair, were still both in our work heels, and dying) and slumped home in defeat. Then! At 10 o’clock she called (ironic, since we now live two doors down from one another) and I hurried over to see this marvelous site: Shabby Apple. Another friend had introduced me to it months ago but the memory of it was long gone. It’s a small business run out of Salt Lake City, UT and they sell nothing but fabulous dresses! She found one she really liked (it’s so classy, and not something vile that one tosses in the back of a closet never to be seen again) so we ordered it and we’re now a step closer to being done with this whole parade!
…of course, there were repercussions…I’ve had next to nothing to do at work today so I spent the day cruising the website, having to physically restrain myself from whipping out the credit card! I’m currently drooling over a few and debating which to buy first when I’m no longer out of my I’m-getting-married-and-have-better-things-to-spend-my-money-on hell. …that and today I’m buying a pair of stunning emerald earrings to wear on the big day. A girl can’t have everything. At least not all at once.
For your horror/viewing pleasure you may check out the following. I can’t belive so many people are this cruel to their friends!