Monthly Archives: July 2014

Cinnamon Spice Tea and Mexican Coffee

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With whiskey.

It’s important to note that the cinnamon spice tea is, in fact, some sort of mildly alcoholic beverage.

Because it’s not coffee. 

Not even remotely.

Now the other night, I bent and made myself a Mexican Coffee.

(This is before I came down with a real, tangible fever and decided that tea at 10 o’clock at night was perhaps a better choice than coffee. This just goes to show how feeble-minded I can be under the influence of a fever.)

I had no idea that such a thing as Mexican coffee existed until I went to Cozumel, Mexico, and attempted to order an Irish coffee. The waiter politely informed us that they did not have the ingredients to make an “I-rish” coffee, but that I would most likely enjoy a Mexican coffee.

He then went on to explain that it had ice cream, whipped cream, and tequila.

Tequila? Why didn’t you say that first? Did you even have to ask if I’d want one?

But then, alas, the drink order never arrived. So here I was in coffee-interruptus for nearly a month, having ordered a delicious coffee beverage that I did not, in fact, receive.

So I took it upon myself to make one while I was making a rootbeer float for my child. Scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, dark magic coffee, tequila, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup.

The first thing I noticed was how smooth the ice cream made the coffee and how well it blended with the tequila. Then, being an incorrigible whipped topping licker, I attempted to siphon off all the chocolaty whipped cream with a masterful side cup sipping technique. Then I sipped the coffee, and it had already incorporated the chocolate, tequila, vanilla, and cream into its general coffee goodness. So I reasoned that I could go ahead and enjoy the ice cream before it all melted. By then it was a small spoonful that sipped up in delicious cold contrast to the heat of the coffee. I savored the rest of the cup and decided that I should ban myself from the knowledge of its making if I didn’t want to die from over-exposure to delightfulness.

But that was the other night, when I did not have a fever. For me, fever = no milk based anything, not if I ever want to get better. 

So tonight it is cinnamon spice tea. With whiskey. It makes it quite palatable.

Now I can just hope that I will knock this fever out and be able to enjoy a trip to the beach tomorrow.

Paint by Numbers

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scuba_painting

So I really, really wanted to paint last week. I got the go ahead to one of those painting studios where you pay a fee and get to have a class wherein everyone paints the same basic painting while imbibing alcohol.  I approve of this, and I am unanimous in this. The alcohol part rather cinches it.

I got the money together, got Fiancé Man to watch both my kids, grabbed the BYOB’s that I wanted, double-checked the website, and drove to the painting studio.

It was closed.

I was dejected. I really just wanted to paint. I wanted to make some art. Yes, it was going to run at least $35 for one painting, but it was the experience I wanted. I just wanted some paint time. But no, no paint time for me. 

See, at home I’ve got all these blank canvases and paint supplies just begging to be used. At home I also have nearly endless chores or commitments, so I very rarely turn my hand to painting. It’s just so frustrating to start making art and then get interrupted by everyone needing a piece of me, even if it’s just me listening. Because I don’t listen if I’m doing something creative. I get interrupted. And frustrated.

But here, here away from home for an entire month, I’d managed to get an evening free from tethers in order to go paint and reconnect with my happy place. But no.

Then yesterday, I dragged my children all throughout this one Town Centre (it’s officially high-class if they can afford to invert the ‘e’) window shopping. Lo and behold, there was another one of those little painting studios. And it had kids’ classes.

I had to ask: how much were the kids’ classes? $25.

Now $25 is not bad. It’s reasonable. Paint, brushes, canvas, instruction, childcare? In all honesty, $25 is cheap.

Except when the sale of your house didn’t go through and you realize that it would be $50 because you have two children. And really, would you want them to come home with two of the same painting? And what about my paint time? Well, they offered adult classes at $35-$45. Let me get the math straight: $50 + $35 = $85, plus wine. And that would be one painting each.

So on the way home from yoga today, I stopped by the arts & crafts store and investigated. And walked away with seven canvases, 25 assorted brushes, paints in every color (plus some) of the rainbow, palettes, and an extra 4-piece canvas set for $45 after tax.

Yes, I am the coolest mom ever. I could ensure painting bliss in multiple quantities for my kids and have a date-night “in” with my fiancé painting, too.

I opened up the canvases and paints and started researching great subject matter, and my kids decided that they wanted to redeem their extra hour of XBOX play time instead of painting.

And I honestly only felt a teeny tiny smidgeon bad about that. Because in all honesty, I had purchased the supplies for me. I wanted to paint. I was making that happen. And, by the numbers, I was saving money doing it at home.

I searched around for subject matter, and pulled a blank. I wanted something I’d like to see hanging for a long time, not just something whimsical and topical, not just something I could copy from someone else’s idea mill. 

So I sketched a close-up of my red-eared slider turtle, Snowflake. Halfway through the sketch, I started to lose interest in the subject, so I knew that would be an awful thing to try to muster up the stamina to paint. Then I thought about paining one of the sea turtles we’d seen while scuba diving, so I browsed the underwater photos.

And that’s when inspiration struck: us – my fiancé and me – scuba diving the week he proposed.

I didn’t think I’d get tired of seeing that any time soon.

So I turned to a new page in my sketch book and the sketches came easily – one from a photo I’d taken of him along the ocean floor, one of me skirting a coral outcropping, and several of the coral and fish we’d seen.

And then I decided I wanted it to be silhouettes of all of it. I love silhouettes. I’ve always loved silhouettes, and they don’t require perfection of detail, just perfection of outline.

A couple of hours later, I had my finished piece.

Even better, I was at peace.

And my fiancé? He liked it, too. And that was kinda sorta the point.

Coffee Hot Toddy

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Summer colds suck.  Let me just get that straight. I don’t want you to think for one moment that I’m enjoying this experience…

Except that maybe, perhaps, I have found a way to make them suck a little less.

Two days ago, my fiancé caught me doing a throat cough.  You know, one of those little coughs you don’t even think about because it’s like you’re clearing your throat.  Except that it was during the conversation about me being concerned about my daughter’s symptoms – runny nose, cough, congestion, but thankfully no fever.

This morning, I woke up at 3 am thinking I was going to die. Yes, I think one of my dreams was the funeral eulogy, in which I’m sure coffee was praised for its significant role in my life.

Rolling out of bed this morning, I imitated a toad croaking as I informed my fiancé that I felt as though the French resistance had installed barbed wire in my throat.

Immediately, he brought me water and medicine (Can you see why I love this guy?), which I downed and then realized that hot liquids would make me feel that much better, thank you.

Then I recalled my BFF mentioning a “hot toddy.”

This involves tea.

Tea.

Now, tea in the abstract is a good thing. Tea in the specific is a good thing. It’s just that tea in my mind happens post coffee. 

Coffee is in its own food group in my life.

Morning: Coffee. Breakfast. More coffee.

Mid-morning: Ah, there’s my coffee.

Lunch: Water before more coffee.

Mid-Afternoon: Coffee. And, why yes, thank you, I’d love another cup of coffee.

Evening: Water. Hmmm… you know what would go great after dinner? How about a coffee? Oh, my cup is empty. Do you have free refills?

Now, it just so happens that I managed to procure Bailey’s Irish Cream the other evening.  And my fiancé just so happens to believe in a fairly well-stocked liquor cabinet.

So, coffee + whiskey + Bailey’s Irish Cream + whipped cream + chocolate syrup = coffee hot toddy = deliciousness = yay happy goodness.  The only sadness is that it is completely a non-menu-friendly food. 

**Update: a couple of hours later, my throat still feels happy, and my day is going great.

Bailey’s Irish Cream is Always a Good Idea

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At this point, I have NO idea how much alcohol I have consumed.  Suffice to say, enough that I allowed my children to stay up until 10:30 pm without me pitching a fit, and still playing Settlers of Catan with them.

Apparently, Bailey’s Irish Cream is a GOOD THING.

It sounded appealing.  I mean, when we got out of yoga and out of the gym tonight, it sounded good enough that I was willing to make a liquor store stop for some.  And that’s when I realized I’d left my debit card at the house. Cue the theme music, because that’s when Fiancé Man came to the rescue.  He offered to run in and buy the Irish Cream I requested.  (At the time, I had no idea it would only come in a 1.75 Liter bottle at $50)

So we got back to his house and the girls and I settled in to let them have some warm milk and me have some Bailey’s.  It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 9:15pm.  And at 9:50, I called it as time to stop the game at 10:00.  And then I kind of really enjoyed the Bailey’s and decided that it was maybe a good night for us to keep playing just a few more minutes while I refreshed my glass.

And then I noticed that my younger daughter hadn’t finished her milk yet, so it was a good enough reason to still have some company while I sipped my Bailey’s.

And then it was Time To Go To Bed.  And my glass was empty. Sadness.

But there was still a whole giant Costco bottle of Bailey’s right there on the counter. And I was Doing Dishes so I deserved a Reward. Full glass. Bonus.

And then snacks sounded like a good idea. So far, I have had almond butter, almonds covered in burnt caramel and dark cocoa powder, plantain chips, a caramel chocolate robin’s egg, a couple of pecans, almonds, and Brazil nuts, and another happy spoonful of almond butter.  I  have officially decided that the world is right when there is almond butter.  The world is even more right when you get to make the almond butter freshly ground at Whole Foods at the push of a button.  It’s SO MUCH FUN!  And then it tastes good, on top of the fact that you got to use a heavy-duty grinder like a mad scientist to fill a little plastic carton, all crunchy and smooth and rich and a hint of sweetness all at the same time.  I am ADDICTED.

My cup is now empty again.  Well, empty is a relative term.  It has ice cubes.  Hypothetically, if I wait long enough, they will melt and combine with the Bailey’s residue to create enough liquid to be sipped.  Either that, or I could pour myself just a teensy bit more, just enough to finish blogging, even around all my increasingly amusing typographical errors. 

Ah, that’s better.  A teensy bit more.  Fleshed out with more fresh ice cubes.

That makes me think about the wedding and the party.  How will we handle alcohol?  I mean, we both like to drink.  Not to excess (all evidence notwithstanding in this particular post), but we do enjoy a hearty adult beverage with good company.  I know some venues just charge per person on alcohol and you have to hire one of their bartenders.  I’m actually completely agreeable to that.  I just want it to be as hassle-free as possible and to have us all have a good time.  

And speaking of weddings, it may be crazy, but I was looking forward to selling the house I’d bought with my first husband because it looked as though this deal was going to go through where I would be able to sell the house and walk away with enough money to cover my high-interest debt.  I’ve been drowning under this house for the past five months what with repairs and house payments.  I’ve been renting it out, but the rental fees are only going to cover the cost of the sewer system and roof repairs I had to have done.  I’m supposed to have even been giving them more money on top of all that, but I’m tapped out.  

See, Robert, my first husband, decided he’d had enough with pretending to be a responsible adult and a high school physics teacher, so he “walked.”  Actually, he drove away from me and my kids without any warning, without any word, without any contact.  And he took his paychecks and cashed out his bank account and went to live with his mistress Lynette in Utah – and her kids, her husband, and her dad.  And Robert changed his name to Jack and started living a completely different life and created a new Facebook profile (because who can live without Facebook, I may ask) and decided that he only felt moved enough to try to contact me around major holidays – such as just before Thanksgiving, right at Christmas, cards for my daughters’ birthdays, mid-February (Valentine’s, perhaps?). He didn’t actually show up for any of the divorce proceedings – not for the temporary orders, not for the final decree.  The only time he drove through was when Lynette decided to visit her family, and he tagged along.  One thing and another, he missed seeing any of us because we were all out of town that week.  Okay, so that’s the sob story in a nutshell.  But the hard truth of the matter is that he has sent absolutely NOTHING in child support. Not. A. Dime. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Nothing to cover the children’s medical, nothing to cover child care, nothing to cover new clothes, nothing to cover food. So here I am stuck with a house that’s in my name with a loan in his name that is not transferable and nearly $1000 a month house payments on top of everything else.  Honestly, if i just didn’t have to fork over the house payment for that rental property, I’d be doing okay. But back in March the sewer system went out. Then in April the roof went out. And that was a total of nearly $10,000 I had to find. And that was on top of $4000 in taxes for the house I live in plus about $7000 in attorney fees. So in the course of six months or so, I lost my husband and his income, incurred debts nearly equal to 40% of my annual income, and have been scrambling to cut costs and reduce financial entanglements everywhere I turn. Did I mention that Robert hasn’t paid a dime of child support? That money would have been exceedingly helpful almost the whole time. But it’s a lost cause. There’s no way to get blood out of a turnip, and there’s no way to get money out of a deadbeat dad.

The important thing about all of this was that I was going to sell the one house to get myself on  solid financial footing. I was going to become the kind of person financially that I wouldn’t be afraid to marry.  I was looking at this financial deal as a kind of permission to go through with getting married to my fiancé because I didn’t want to have him supporting me. I didn’t want to be a drag on him financially. I wanted to bring something to the relationship, something tangible and of concrete value.

His argument is that I am bringing myself and my daughters to the relationship, that we complete his life and make him feel fulfilled by being with him and sharing in his life, pursuits, entertainments, and interests, that he has always wanted a family and he realized after a certain point that if he was ever going to connect with a woman, she would be divorced, she would have kids, and he would have a “ready-made” family. And somehow I was that woman.

Even knowing that he is completely supportive, even knowing that he would drop everything to come to my rescue, even knowing that he is my rock, I still feel as though the rug was ripped out from under me when this house deal fell through. I saw it as a way to validate myself and show that I am capable of taking care of my messes, that I don’t always need rescuing, that I am rock-steady in my own right. Instead, it was a day when he held me as my body was racked with gut-wrenching sobs, as I fought to pull myself together and get a new perspective, as I had to come to terms with more months of living lean and denying my kids some of the basic things they want and need in order to squeak by.  

Because regardless of how much he cares for us, I will not ask him to be the sole provider and breadwinner.  It may take me another month or two to get on my feet, but I will persevere.

Hell, I’ve lived through all of the bad days with 100% success rate so far; I might as well embrace the fact that I can live through more.

And, some nights, a glass – or two – or four – of Bailey’s might just help with that.

Let them eat cake!

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So I was kind of dreading asking my fiancé about the wedding cake.  I mean, he’d already had a minor explosion over the whole concept of a reception anyway, and cake can be a trivial detail.  It’s just that I like to start getting the details in my head so that I’m calmer.

We were in the car, driving back on a two-hour return trip from diving at an area lake, and I broached the subject.  

Lo and behold, this boy likes his cake!  He knows cake.  He orders cake.  He is something of a cake aficionado.  And he knew exactly what he did and didn’t want.  HOW FREAKIN’ EASY IS THAT?  BOO-YEAH!

Honestly, his biggest issue was trying to figure out a way to NOT have his sister-in-law make the wedding cake.  Oh, I can handle that.  It’s not even the argument that she’d have a hard time getting it to travel well on a five hour commute (there are ways around that problem!), but to

a) let her know that our primary goal was to have the least stress for everyone involved, which meant that we would want them to show up and have a good time without having to plan or do much of anything,

and b) ask her to make the reception cake or cupcakes.  

Anyhow, he knew that he would order a cake from Whole Foods that served the 30 people we intended to have at the party.  He waxed eloquent on the fact that everything would be all-natural, fresh, no artificial colors, and delicious.  So yesterday, we went on a field trip to Whole Foods to check out their bakery offerings, and they did look scrumptious.  (In fact, the only thing that kept us from buying up the whole bakery case was the sure and certain knowledge that he was baking banana bread when we got back to his house.)

Then I got to thinking about it and wondering if the cakes would be over-the-top expensive for having been made at Whole Foods (I have come to think from talking to people that Whole Foods actually translates to “Whole Paycheck” for cost).  So this morning I was playing around online and found their catering menu.  Their cakes are actually reasonably priced!  

I mean, I don’t exactly know how much most wedding cakes cost people, but I know that regular, run-of-the mill special order cakes can be over $100 in nothing flat.  And that’s just for a kid’s birthday party.

These cakes were less than $50 to feed 30 people.

Holy mackerel!  

Now that’s something I can sink my teeth into.

Wedding Dress?

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The order arrived today. 

I suppose I should put exclamations marks after that last.  It did, after all, contain the dress I was thinking of using for my wedding.

It’s just that it seems presumptuous of me to do this on my own, without input from the prospective groom.  

And how, exactly, does one get input from someone who doesn’t want to be “a detail person?” 

So, the box came, and I met the postal carrier and skipped off with the girls to the far side of the house to try everything on.  

The girls looked radiant in their dresses.  They were absolutely perfect, save for the fact that my younger daughter wanted her dress to fit perfectly for today, not perfectly for next year.

My dress?  Well, it was perfectly white, and simple, and exactly like the picture.  

And that was sort of the problem.  

Because he’d told me that he wanted to be a little more formal than shorts.  

Yeah. This dress was above the knee in the front, with a high-low effect.  It was simple in the extreme.  

So how would he react?

Well, we got ourselves all straightened out and went to surprise him – just as he was coming out of his office, so he saw us before we were ready.  Then we all hid behind various pillars (very mature, I know) and he very gentlemanly-ish turned around and said, “Aren’t I not supposed to see that until the wedding day?”  So, yeah, he knew what was up.

And he said nice things, even though he wasn’t feeling well at all.  He’s good like that.  But he’s also hard to get a read on if that is something he’d like to have as his bride’s wedding dress.  Which I guess is all just academic.  I mean, he said it best, “You’re wearing it, so I love it.”

And I really did look pretty amazing in it.  I just couldn’t see my whole self because he lacks a full-length mirror.  So I don’t exactly know.

Anyhow, regardless, it was $18.90 for the dress, and I really love it.  It’s the kind of thing I’ve wanted all summer, so it’s not as though it was money wasted.  

Besides, when he talked about it some more, he said, “It’s not like you want a train on a sailboat.”

So maybe he liked it.  Or maybe it’ll grow on him.

Personally, I like the caché of being able to claim that I got my wedding dress for less than $19, and I can wear it all summer afterwards.  That’s the sort of thing that makes me happy.  My prom dress was like $20, and I’ve gotten years of mileage out of that.  Most of the jewelry I buy is el-cheapo, but looks smashing or attractively unique.  For instance, my most recent acquisition was a green and black heart-shaped glass pendant and earring set to match the dress I’d gotten in Cozumel – and this set cost all of – get this – $2.  Yeah, I’m that kind of girl.

I guess I’ve only got two issues with the dress:

  1. Is it too simple?
  2. Is the fact that it’s white and the girls’ dresses are ivory going to be a problem? (I was playing around with the idea of giving it a coffee bath to tone it down a notch from its brilliance, but was afraid I’d really mess it up.  Besides, is it necessary?)

So, I’ve got a dress.  I’ve got bridesmaid dresses for my girls.  I’ve got a groom.  I guess I’ve pretty much got “everything.”

PS – I told my BFF/adopted sister that she could wear anything she wants.  I just Googled “mismatched beach wedding attire” and fell in love with everyone wearing something they personally like within a color range.  So I’m thinking that my color range will be the Tanzanite and Black Opal (Turquoise Blue & Green) – basically Teal, Turquoise, Green, Blue, and Purple – the colors of the Caribbean.  

(I tried to upload a picture of the engagement ring, but WordPress hates me right now)

 

Sharing

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I want to share my blog with my fiancé.  I just don’t know if this would be a monumentally bad idea.  It’s not a secret.  It’s not as though he doesn’t know I’ve been spending time updating and writing and “testing out my voice” through my blog.  

But here’s the thing: do I want him to see the part of my thoughts I write down?  Would he have a hard time understanding what I’m trying to say?

Boy Jitters

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(Apologies in advance for the rambling quality of this post.)

So yesterday I was angry.  I know I had questions about why in the world my fiancé had reacted the way he had to logical questions about the wedding. After all, I reasoned, he asked me. Therefore, he must have been the one who wanted a wedding – he was the one who was talking about it!  

But he was experiencing “boy jitters.”

(I now know that these are really anyone jitters.  These are the feelings of being overwhelmed by needing to make decisions about minutiae that really isn’t important to you, but you feel should be because someone else – someone you love – is asking you to care about and decide on something trivial.  A decision needs to be made – even if it’s just the decision NOT to have it, but the mere act of deciding and the mental effort of planning something down to the level of detail “needed” for a wedding is exhausting and frustrating, especially when it’s some tiny, insignificant thing that’s NOT important to have.)

Last night we went to see his masseuse, and on the way there, I broached the wedding topic again.  Hey, I’m getting married.  It’s totally legit that this is somewhat consuming my attention.  I could see that parts of “wedding talk” were perfectly fine with him, but as soon as the reception came up, he squirmed like he was undergoing the worst kind of torture.  It was as though his body was radiating pain from every pore!  

So I changed my whole approach.  

Instead of What do you want the reception to be like? it became Do you even want a reception at all?

And that’s when we got to the heart of it.

He really just wanted a party with his closest friends celebrating this milestone in his life.  He didn’t want a prescribed ordeal that involved people who required him to put on a public face instead of be himself.  He wanted an intimate gathering instead of a big spectacle.

Thank God.

Because let me tell you, that’s all that I really would want, too.

So I said, “Let’s do what makes us happy.  What would make you happy?”

And that’s when we got a goal: thirty people, no kids, just the people we most want to hang out with.

Now that’s something I can handle.  Crisis averted.

Except for one significant detail: I have kids.

So I rolled with it for a little while to allow us time to sink our teeth into the idea and experience its flavor, its texture.

Then I said, “Okay, but I would like my kids to be able to celebrate because this is a big occasion for them, too.”  

His eyes opened wide.  He had forgotten to think of my kids as children, or at least that’s how I took it.  My thought is that he either assumed that they would be under the care of their new grandparents or that they were so integral that they didn’t count as “kids.” I flatter myself to think it’s the latter, frankly.

So I started to play around with ideas that would give my kids a party at the same time that the adults were free to let their hair down and relax.

After a bit of thought, I came up with my current solution: rent a room or suite at a hotel (preferably close to the party venue – or charter a party bus to drive people back to the hotel) and bill it as a slumber party.  Hire a W.O. (Watcher-Over – that’s my older daughter’s term for a babysitter), supply pizza and treats and pray that there’s a good pool for hours of entertainment.  The kids will have an amazing time, the adults won’t have to worry about their kids, and everyone will be safe and accounted-for until morning.

So we get back to my fiance’s house, and spend a couple of hours just talking in his office.  And he explains (once again) that he sees the big picture on things, not the details.  He doesn’t like to micro-manage.  And that’s fine.  I can respect that.  Except that with a wedding, you need to get input from both people.  Otherwise, you run the risk of either hosting a Bridezilla – no, thank you – or completely ruining the day for your intended.  Again, no, thanks.  

Here’s the thing: I know what I like.  I know what I would want.  I know my priorities, and I know what’s important to me.  I don’t *necessarily* know all of that from his point of view.

Here’s what I like: simple, elegant, comfortable.

Here’s what I want: economical without cutting important things, fun, stress-free, celebratory, not encumbered by outside people’s wishes.

Here’s my priority: that the marriage is good and built on mutual respect and shared direction, that the partners are equally yoked and in general accord.

Here’s what’s important: spending quality time with the people I love and making sure that they know how much I love them.

I did need to know what he preferred.  So he was finally willing to get down to the detail level.  Yes, he had actually pictured himself in a tux.  He realized that a tux may not be the best choice for a shipboard wedding.  So I told him I pictured him in his ubiquitous shorts, and he balked amusingly at that.  Apparently that was too casual for him.  Then he said he’d get a pair of lightweight khaki pants from one of the Caribbean outfitters he prefers.  That made me cringe a little, because then I had to wonder if the dress I’d bought was too casual.  Oh, well.  We shall see when it arrives at the house.

Then he started vacillating about the size of the party after we disembarked.  One moment it was the intimate gathering of maybe thirty people.  The next moment, he remembered all the extended family he should invite and got trapped in the “If I invite this person, I’ve got to invite this other person.”  It’s an easy pit to get sucked into.  I know; I’ve been there.  And, speaking from experience, I can now safely say that you don’t HAVE to invite anyone.  You are under absolutely no obligation to invite anyone at any time to any event.  You may realize it’s a good idea to maintain a relationship, but it’s never required.  But I digress.  

Every time he started thinking about inviting more and more people, he started to get more and more agitated.  So I called a halt to it.  Did he really want a reception?

Well, that made him pause.  Thankfully.

It boiled down to friends offering the advice that he wanted to have a big reception because that’s when people brought gifts.

So I had to ask Are gifts really that important to you?

Because I had come to the realization that gifts really weren’t that important to me.  There really wasn’t much that I needed, and I could generally go out and buy what I did need.  

But the registries.  Those looked like fun. And the saddest little puppy dog face you ever saw – that he might not get to scan things at the store with a gun.

Ok. We can register… but you get to write all the Thank You notes – by hand.  I will rub your feet while you write them, and I will happily sign my name at the bottom of each note.

Because, really, I hate registries.  Gift registries are for either specifically setting yourself up with things you desperately need (and therefore probably won’t receive) or to help the people who don’t know you from Adam.  The people who know you well will either give you something really unique that suits you perfectly, give you nothing at all because they know you don’t need anything, or give you money because they know that money is a great gift that is always the right size, shape, and color.

And really, I argued, the people who will be at the party will all want to give you something anyway because they’re your best friends.  They are the people who are the most excited for you.  So just keep it to the party for friends.  

Then I hit upon another stroke of brilliance – have a “reception” a month or so later, up farther north, closer to all the rest of his family, and bill it as the nice way to celebrate with them because it kept them from having to drive over five hours just for a party.  My best friend, when I told her about this idea, latched onto it with a glee heretofore only known by puppies with a new chew toy. 

“That’s right!” she said, “Have it at his parents’ house.  Have his parents plan it all because then they can have the party they’d always wanted for their son.  Then no one is going to get in their way.  They know what kind of food they want to serve, they know who they want to invite, they know how they want everything to be.  You can just show up.”

And you know, when she put it like that, it made me realize it would be a disservice to his parents to have a big wedding reception that we plan and host.  And why would I ever be so heartless as to do them out of a grand fete?

Then my fiancé checked his Facebook, and he saw a wedding photo.  “Wedding photos!” he exclaimed.  

Wedding photos indeed, I thought. Give the camera to your sister-in-law and we’ll be set.

“I don’t want to just have my sister-in-law take photos.  She would make me pose so bloody much that I would want to throw the camera overboard.”

Oh. Well, so much for that idea.  “You could just give out a small list of the 5-12 photos you’ll pose for and then just go for the rest as candids.”

And then he got a smirky grin on his face.  The kind that lets me know he just thought of a really great, off-beat idea.

“What?!”

“Oh, just that what if we had your younger daughter as our photographer?”

Diabolical.  I liked it.  A lot.  And it would give him bragging rights for the rest of his life: how he not only used a member of the wedding party to take photos, but that it was his idea and it incorporated his future step-daughter, a ten-year-old wedding photographer.

So, “boy jitters” somewhat eradicated.

  • Reception “nixed” – replaced with party
  • Numbers kept small – and only really good friends
  • Photographer established
  • Groom’s attire established
  • Wedding gift registry – meh.  I’ll allow it, but he gets to hand-write those thank-you notes. haha!

Run! Run! Run!

Standard

Okay, I am having a hard time with this one.

My boyfriend asked me to marry him.  He had this whole idea of a wedding in his head.  He even knew what he wanted the overall idea to be.  He wanted a shipboard wedding.  He wanted to be able to dock near a waterfront restaurant and join a party and then leave from there for his honeymoon.  I thought that sounded IDEAL.

So I figure, Hey, I’ll just do a little footwork research today and see what all it would take to make his vision a reality. 

I spend some time on Pinterest, I dig a little into the restaurants and such that are available for docking and dining.

I find a dress and bridesmaid dresses for my daughters on severe clearance and order them online.

And then I ask him for more specifics.  Well, he knows he wants the wedding on the ship, with a maximum of 12 guests in the wedding party.  He knows he wants it to be in warmer weather and for us to have a week together being pampered afterward.

O-kay.

But what about the reception?  He had mentioned the reception at one point.  He had mentioned wanting to have a catered or restaurant reception.  He had mentioned having one of the biggest costs as being the alcohol.  And then today he says, “I don’t give a $*!% about the reception.”  Seriously?  I am the one who could care less about the whole wedding thing.  I already had one, thank you very much.  I can do without any amount of wedding stuff.  So is that statement because he’s frustrated that he didn’t really think about it – is it because he really doesn’t want to do it?  WTF?  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday?  Wednesday!  

So I asked him, and he does want it, but he just isn’t ready for it to be quite real yet.  He isn’t ready to plan for that.  And I’m so confused.  I am not pushing for this wedding.  I am not even pushing to get married again.  I will marry him.  I can see spending the rest of my life with him.  

I do not want an event, a party that he wanted to get him so upset when I ask him what he’d like.  What was it that got such a visceral reaction from him?  What made it so bad when he had already basically spelled it out once before? 

You know, I was just playing around with ideas.  I was just initiating the planning process because it’s what I do.  I like to try to plan things out a little to get a better deal, to be more economical, to trim out the unnecessary fluff and focus in on the important things.

To me, this is what is important:

  • Marriage to the man I love
  • Less stress
  • Including my children in our new family
  • A wedding reception to celebrate with good friends
  • Time with my new husband

I just got spooked when he said that asking questions about details was enough to make him want to run.  “I’ve already run once before.”

Now that’s assuring.  Thanks.

 

 

A Wedding?

Standard

It kind of hit me today:

I’m actually getting married!

It never occurred to me that this would really happen again.  I mean, once seemed like an amazing thing – and something I would never, ever want to repeat.  And here I am, engaged.  Engaged to be married.  With an actual wedding.  

And so now I have permission to actually look at wedding things.  To dream about a wedding.  To plan for a wedding.  To think about… gasp… myself

Don’t get me wrong – I think about myself pretty often nowadays.  I make time for yoga.  I drink coffee.  I eat mostly healthy foods.  I practice a lot of positive self-talk.  But to think about an event to celebrate me being united with someone else?  My head is still reeling.  

So the past couple of days, I have even let myself look at wedding bands.  I’ve looked at diamond rings.

And this weird morning?  I dug online to try to find the dress I wanted.  And I kind of did.  It was very nearly the dress I had seen a month or so ago – a simple, white gauze dress with a ruffle tier on the bodice.  And I have to admit, I loved that the dress was on clearance for less than $20.  Seriously.  I spent well over an hour agonizing over purchasing this dress, which very well may actually wind up being my actual wedding dress. 

Wedding Dress

And then I bought it.  Just now.  I went ahead and clicked “check out” and bought it – and accompanying bridesmaid dresses for my daughters, also in white gauze, also on clearance, also less than $20 (combined!)  Wow.  And they’re going to be shipped in the next 4-7 business days and arrive at my fiancé’s house.

Bridesmaid Dresses

I rationalized the purchase by telling myself that I had liked the dress even before I got engaged and that I would want to wear it even if the whole “getting married/wedding thing” fell through.  Ok, I may not believe the last part, but the first part is completely true.  And who knows?  I may just like it well enough as a cover-up that I do wear it all the time and have it be my little “in” joke.  At the very least, I can toodle around town – or the beach – or whatever – in a little dress that matches my daughters.  

And I realized that I’m not expensive.  I don’t want to be expensive.  I don’t want to be miserly or cheap, but I do like the idea of being economical.  I like the idea of having nice things and maybe even some expensive things, but I much prefer the idea of being smart and getting exactly what I want – even if what I want is the least expensive thing out there.  

Take my engagement ring, for example.  I have what is probably the cheapest knock-off ring, but I love it.  It’s probably cubic zirconia and some kind of fake opal, but it’s beautiful.  It looks like the colors of the ocean in Cozumel, and it was purchased in Cozumel, and I paid more than half its cost.  I wanted it for its own beauty, not its value to anyone else.  

If it were real black opals and real tanzanite, it would have been a $1000 ring.  You know what?  I’d rather than $1000 be spent paying off debt or investing in the future  I would actually feel guilty about someone spending a lot of money on me – on a trinket, a bauble.  As it is, I have a beautiful ring that strangers ooh and aah over.  And I don’t have to worry about insurance or loss or damage, except as a keepsake of a special moment in my life.  Heck, I would have taken a piece of twine – anything – as a symbol that I was spoken for, that I had been asked and had accepted a proposal of marriage.

So I may be setting a trend here with this wedding.  I may be finding ways to be economical and yet fulfilling my dreams.  

My dream is to have a simple wedding, a celebration that does not create unnecessary headaches, stress, or expenses, but instead creates a beautiful memory I can hold and cherish for many years to come.