Archive for August, 2011

August 10, 2011

A Little Wedding Planning Commiseration

Searching through my email for our vows to post on APW’s open thread last week I came across this: an emailed to-do list to my then-fiance.

From 10 days before our wedding.

It should also be noted … I sent this less than 2 days before I LEFT THE STATE for the wedding. Oops.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Sarah
Date: Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:31 AM
Subject: Things to do
To:  The Boy

1. Pick a song for our “first dance.”
2. Practice dancing briefly, so we don’t trip over each other. *
3. Put together the music (four hours worth) we want for the reception
4. Put together the music (processional, bridal, recessional) we want for the ceremony
5. Call about the guys suits **
6. Decide if you want Dustin to stand with you. If so, ask him to. ***
7. Choose vows
8. Make a decision on the menu & contact Collette’s
9. Contact the Betancourts and Huffs (Ray didn’t reply to me when I asked about his parents)
10. Work on Susan’s jewelry (this one is me)
11. Pack for the trip
12. Unpack the apartment
13. Get things put into storage
14. Write thank you notes for shower gifts (this one is me) ****
15. Mail said thank you notes (also me)
16. Eat an actual meal or two
17. Get SOME sleep

I’m sure there are things I’m missing.

10 days out, people. To say we were behind is to understate it significantly. Then again, this WAS about the time when we figured out the things people (my mother) told us had been taken care of actually WEREN’T.

My point here? If you’re planning and getting overwhelmed … just know that THIS is what my list looked like (and it got longer before it got shorter) only 10 days out … and we still ended up married. Without dropping anything we felt sad about. =)

And if you’ve already been through it and are safely on the other side? You’re welcome for the laugh. ::winks::


* Boy. Doesn’t. Dance. (SADFACE) We barely moved during our first dance. Everyone thought it was because we were so wrapped up in each other … really, it was because he was terrified he would step on me.

** Yah, the guys suits ended up being acquired … by me … 4 days out. You read that right. They ALL dropped the ball. ::shakes head::

*** Yes, we’re talking about our wedding party here. Yes, 10 days from the wedding. Dustin had been asked to be an usher (and was already planning on renting a suit, so no unexpected costs were involved), but Jon at last second started wavering on having just my brother with him, or Dustin as well. As it turned out, he stood up with us. And did so with extremely good humor and grace, for being asked SO late.

**** THIS. NEVER. HAPPENED. However, I DID make a point to find each woman (this was the shower the church ladies threw me) within the following weeks and thank her profusely. Maybe not as good as a note, but it was appreciated the same way. Whew!

August 8, 2011

We’re Too Old For This

Oh man … Saturday. Kirsty’s already made her apologies, but I’m thinking everyone should just be grateful that my drunken ramblings took the form, not of tweets, but texts … to the people I was drinking with. No harm, right?

This weekend I was up in NYC. The plan was to have brunch with my friend Margaret, meet up with Mary for dinner, and see my friend Paul’s workshop show. The remaining hours would be filled as things came up … but no real plans were made. As luck would have it, I was able to meet up with Paul prior to the show, and he requested that we grab a drink afterwards. Standard practice, and I was happy to oblige.

Now, I’m thinking Paul needs a little background. We met when I was 22 and he was 24, and became fast friends … working in the storefront theater scene in the OC leads to  you knowing anyone and everyone and oftentimes feels fairly incestuous. We never dated (though nearly everyone we knew assumed we did), and in hindsight, that’s a good thing.

Now, being in our early twenties, we were … idiots. Alcohol was easy to come by, and we took full advantage of it. This weekend we laughingly reminisced about the nights we were gather a bunch of people at his place, and basically just drink our faces off, trying out new recipes and games. One particular night involved all but three of us (me, Paul, his roommate) leaving early. Paul got trashed, got sick on the lawn, and proceeded to drunkenly hose off said lawn. His roommate got drunk, got pissy and locked himself in his room. I looked around, realized I was the only one NOT drunk, and proceeded to fix that.

Like I said, idiots.

In any case, years have passed, and we’ve remained close. I’m pretty sure I’ve only missed one of his shows (due to being on the wrong side of the country), and he’s never missed one of mine. He stuck around and helped me when I had my accident (not many people did that … nothing like a major crisis to really sort out your life), and was the ONLY person who made an effort to see me before I left California for good. He made the move to NYC in early February, and I could not be more thrilled to have him only a few hours away. This year we’ll be 28 and 30.

So let’s get back to Saturday night. The plan was to find a place we could grab a drink and catch up, but after the show, his cast decided they wanted to GO. OUT. This being the first time they’d ever done so, we were totally tagging along.

Problem #1: With one exception, the cast is all under 24.

Problem #2: Being under 24, many of them are college students. As such, they wanted to go to “this awesome bar” across the street from NYU.

Problem #3: Being under 24, and mainly female, they were not looking for a ring on my hand, and as such DID. NOT. SEE. IT. (This also held true for the many 21-year-old NYU boys in the bar. Even when I practically waved it in their faces. Honestly, I got a kick out of it.) This led to both of us having to field “Is she (are you) your (his) girlfriend?!” several times throughout the night. ::headdesk::

In any case, to the college bar we went. And started off with whiskey … as you do.* 4 hours later the following had happened:

– Upon observing the college kids, the joke “we are too old for this” was made several times.

– One of the bartenders had decided she wanted one of the cast members (the only other one over 24). He, of course, second guessed that she was actually flirting, and came to me for advice. Apparently my advice worked, they let me know last night that they have a date this week.

– The object of Paul’s affection had made it clear she was put of by my being there. “Is she your girlfriend.” “No, I’ve known her for years and she’s married to a good friend of mine.”** “Are you SURE? She’s really pretty.”*** “I’m sure, don’t worry.” ::laughs:: It must be said, the girls were all genuinely friendly all night, just put off by the idea that he wasn’t single. He is, sweetie, flirt on. =)

– Much whiskey, rum, and beer were consumed.

– I was proclaimed the BEST WINGMAN EVAR, and Paul was proclaimed a “lucky bastard” for being able to reap the benefits. Reasons I gained this title included:

     1. The fact that being a straight female, I wasn’t going to change my mind and run off with the girl he liked.

     2. I was giving good girl advice … you know, being a girl myself and all.

     3. I explained the “jealousy game” to the boy who gave me the title. “You know how it goes … you think you might 
        like a girl, but aren’t really sure. Then she shows up with some random guy and is clearly close to him. And you 
        think “THAT ASSHOLE! Back off buddy!”. But it turns out he’s a good friend, or a cousin or something, and 
        therefore safe. But NOW you are SURE you like her. See what I mean? If my being here drums up a little jealousy 
        on her part, so much the better for Paul.”

Yah, that last one earned me a look of awe, and a drink. You’re welcome boy-who-now-understands-women-a-tiny-bit-more.

It was a good night.

Paul and I left at 2, as yet ANOTHER wave of students was stumbling in. (Side note … I’m from California … last call is at 1:30 … 1:45 if you’re LUCKY. What’s this 4am nonsense?) Street food (gyro and rice FTW) and 2 subway rides later, I (gracefully, of course) let myself into my friend’s apartment, inhaled half a pint of ice cream while sitting in front of the air conditioner’s window box, and then passed out.

I woke up at 12:30pm Sunday. Texted Paul to make sure he was alive (we were supposed to be getting brunch). He responded with “Alive, but definitely staying in. You?”

“I hurt. Paul, seriously, we are too old for this shit.”


Ah, growing up. =)


* It must be noted, we were the only ones drinking anything other than beer. I’m pretty sure our group finished the keg of Blue Moon. At least their taste in beer is decent!

** Good friend NOTHING. They’ve met ONCE. But, it helped ease her fears.

*** Ok, that was super sweet of her. Totally made my night.

**** The aftermath: I actually made it out the door, but only because I had to catch a bus back to DC. 4 bottles of water, some Motrin, and a big burger later, I was hurting less, but EXHAUSTED. Paul eventually made it out of the house as well … but I beat him by about 3 hours. Clearly, I win. ::winks::

August 5, 2011

Save The World

You pull me by the arm, tell me what to believe.
Tell me that there’s only one way, one way to see.
Whatever faith you choose may not be for me.
How can I be saved while being forced to believe?

– Rufio, Save the World,  2000 *

I’ve mentioned … mostly in passing … my struggles with the church I, for all intents and purposes, married into. But I wanted to dive a little deeper, because it KEEPS COMING UP.

I was raised Lutheran. Left my childhood church over ever-changing, ever limiting moral guidelines (when they decided they were going to side with the “Being Gay is an Abomination” crew (no, not Westboro), I was done).  Started attending an area non-denominational church with a friend. Fell in love with it, felt at home, felt closer to God than ever.

Then I moved. Looked, but couldn’t find a church I felt as comfortable at. Resolved to drive the 50 miles each way, each Sunday.

The husband, on the other hand, was raised very strictly in a relatively young (it was established in the 1920s) church. The teachings are Christian, and vaguely Protestant …. and so far I haven’t found anything that I disagree with in the doctrine. His dad is as close to a pastor as one can come in this church (they subscribe to the old no-clergy rule), so it was pretty non-negotiable for him growing up.

Then we got engaged, and I moved clear across the country. And by default, we ended up at the church he’d been attending while in school.

I have to say, up front, that I’ve met some lovely, lovely people through this church. People I’ve grown close to, and people I admire a great deal. The things I am about to say have nothing to do with them.

Right away, I felt something was off in this church. Over time I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing wrong, it was just my gut reaction to something so SO different from anything I’d ever experienced. For example: prayer is out loud, and done in call-and-response style (you know, “AMEN” after every sentence). Those not singing are encouraged to loudly read the words of the hymn while everyone else is singing. The terminology used is often the original, or a different translation (for example: “prophesy” in place of “testimony”.) Emphasis is put on the origin of something, not the intention (for example: Christmas – the date of celebration is believed to have been chosen to correspond with the winter solstice and the pagan celebrations then, therefore, they believe Christmas is a pagan symbol and is not be celebrated. Blessing someone when they sneeze – originally done because of the belief that you sneeze your soul out, and need to be blessed to ensure  the demons running rampant don’t snatch it up. This is still not common practice within the church, even though now it’s become the polite thing to do and has nothing to do with demons. And so on.) Sunday meetings (services) aren’t led by one person in particular, anyone can get up and speak.

There’s nothing WRONG with any of this. But, that last point leads to most of my problem. If anyone can get up and speak, anyone can say whatever they want. Including the man who, during a discussion of prayer, said that if you don’t pray in a certain way, it doesn’t count. He went on to say that most new believers are mistaken if they think they’re praying at all.** Or the gentleman (who I actually like quite a bit, even if I don’t agree with him) who insists that if you don’t worship in the manner he chooses to, you’re never going to be as close to God as you could be. Or the woman who forcefully told me (several times) that my baptism “doesn’t count” because I wasn’t baptized “into The Church”. I stayed away from church for 3 weeks last December (Christmas and the Sundays before and after) because I was so worried about what people would say. (I wasn’t the only one who did this, I later found out.)

I realize, after much thought (it’s been 2 years at this point) that it’s not the church I have difficulty with, it’s the people. I can recognize that what so-and-so says is their personal viewpoint, and not something this church promotes. But it’s difficult to hear someone telling you what you believe is WRONG, that it doesn’t count, that you’re misguided.

The husband has suggested I talk about my concerns to someone I trust, within the church. To someone who will understand what I’m talking about. But the thought that these people I trust would look at me and find me lacking … that my disagreement would turn into “oh you poor thing, you need guidance” … holds me back.

We recently had a discussion about the fact that while I, as an adult, can realize that “oh, that’s just Joe***”, I would not be comfortable raising children there, when “Joe” would be the one teaching them. Children don’t know the difference, and it would make it very easy for that misguided principle (the prayer one, for example)  to become their belief. I wouldn’t be able to handle it. That being said, we don’t currently have children … so I just deal with it.

And then we had a new addition to our Monday night bible study group (a group of 20 and 30-somethings). He has an incredible testimony, and we were thrilled to have him. But then things started coming up. In a pretty intense conversation on where we wanted this Monday night group to go (split into smaller groups, continue as one big, take the focus off the “study” portion, focus on it MORE, etc.) he spoke up and said “Everyone’s talking about what THEY want. But it’s not about what THEY want, it’s about what GOD wants. He wants us to worship him, not focus on ourselves. We shouldn’t be chatting, we should be praying, nonstop.”

Wise words, but it felt like he was scolding us. I thought about it for the next week, and then when the discussion picked back up the following Monday I said “I’ve thought a lot about it, and I cannot presume to know what God wants. But I know without a doubt that he DOESN’T want me to come to a meeting where I’m not focused because I’m not into whatever we’re discussing or doing. It’s counterproductive to go through the motions when just because we HAVE to, if we’re not feeling it.”

Nearly the entire group agreed.

I wasn’t trying to argue with him, just to express what I’d decided. Not one to be disagreed with, he launched into a  lecture on how even when we’re eating before the bible study, we should be focused on God, not on “earthly things like work, or how you hate your job, or how this coworker has it out for you.” And on and on and on. All the while, staring straight at the girl who’d spent dinner catching us up on her difficult work situation (at our request).

That settled it, he WAS scolding us. I was NOT a happy camper, but I let it go, so that the night didn’t turn into one big argument.

But then this past Monday he shows up … and promptly comes over to tell me thought my dress was awfully low-cut, and did I really think that it was appropriate for church?


First off … the dress was not at ALL low-cut. In fact, I’ve worn it around some VERY conservative (morally) people and been told how lovely I looked. Secondly … WE WERE NOT AT CHURCH. We were at someone’s apartment, getting ready to eat dinner. And for that matter, I HAVE worn it to church. Thirdly … BACK. THE. EFF. OFF.

I desperately want to be able to say, like I do about the others, “It’s just him. No one else thinks that way. Don’t worry about it.” And I know that’s true. But after a lot of thought, I finally put my finger on it … I do not want to continue in an environment where he feels comfortable enough to say things like this, and act this way. An environment where he assumes everyone will agree with these thoughts. All it does is hurt my faith, and that is the exact OPPOSITE of the point.

I told the husband this, and he agrees. But now it becomes tricky. This is very important to him, and it’s also important to him that I be happy. But I know, if I don’t go with him, if I find another church, he’ll be disappointed. And I don’t want to do that to him.


What do we do?


* Ah, Rufio. Do you guys know them? If not, look them up, and welcome to Rancho, circa 2001. This was the music of my college years … and the band was made up of my friends. Their first album officially came out in 2001, but I’m saying 2000 for this song because 1. I know when it was written and what it was about (the girl the lead singer desperately wanted to date was Mormon, he was not … half the album is about her) and 2. I have a demo, with this song on it, from early 2000. And 3. I can claim partial credit for the band, as I was at the bassist’s house (his younger brother was one of my closest friends) the day he came in with the lead singer and asked us if we thought they sounded good and should try and do something with this band. They recorded their demo, on our prompting, 3 weeks later. So there.

** I seriously almost flipped my shit right there in church. In my book, “you didn’t pray right, it doesn’t count” is among the VERY WORST things you can say to a new believer.

*** There is no Joe. Well, maybe there is, it’s a big church. My point is that this is the first name that came to me.

August 4, 2011

Boxes Boxes Boxes

Around our little corner of the blogosphere in the past few weeks, there has been a LOT of moving talk. People forced to move, people thrilled to move, people contemplating moving. So, today, let’s join in al the talk.

Guys, for the first time in the past 3 years, I’m not moving. HOORAY!! But MAAAAAAAN do I have some stories from past moves … you see, I’ve moved a grand total of 11 times in my life … and no, I’m not a military brat. Lots of stress? Yes. But it makes for good story-telling.

Take, for example, the fact that it wasn’t until 2 moves ago that I learned moving is a great time to purge the general collection of nonsense that you tend to accumulate. I was more of the mentality “I’m moving from a 1 bedroom apartment into a rented room? I’ll make it fit, dammit!” Ugh. Too. Many. Boxes.

But here are some of the highlights … if only to make you all feel better about your moves…

1. Moving from one rented bedroom to another in the same house.

Somehow, though I had 2 weeks to shuttle all my stuff, oh, 20 feet down the hall (I was taking over the master bedroom in an effort to rid myself of a shared (with 3 guys) bathroom) I managed to be sitting, in the middle of my bedframe (the mattress having already been moved) surrounded by little bits of randomness, at 10:30pm the night I HAD to be out of the room (the new guy was showing up at 6am to move his stuff in). A friend came over to help (read: brought booze), and ended up making a game out of how much he could carry the 20 feet without dropping it … you know … as you do with a load of laundry when your basket is nowhere to be found. Stray socks anyone?

At one point (while sitting in the middle of the floor) my best friend called to break up with me. I shit you not. I sat there on the phone, slightly drunk, while she went on about how she needed to “reevaluate our friendship” because the guy she liked liked me instead. (Said boy was the one who was currently moving my belongings down the hall.) I remember going “well, ok then”, hanging up, and continuing along with the booze-and-moving-games routine.

This would be the same move where I electrocuted myself by being a GENIUS and not turning off my  power before installing a new light switch. Note to all the geniuses out there … bare live wires are not for touching. ::nods::

2. Moving out of my apartment a week before heading across the country.

The movers came to take away all the large pieces of furniture, and (of course) I was not ready. Things were not packed. (Do we sense a theme here?) So as they took my furniture, I was running around, throwing things in boxes, to be trucked across the country. Somehow, that got done.

Or almost. They left, and I realized I had 4 large boxes hiding in my closet. Well, crap. Enter the shiny new fiance who’s come over to help me load the car for our trip. 6 hours later he says it’s not going to fit. I’m adamant it will. He can’t get everything to fit. I tell him he’s doing it wrong.

Fighting ensues. 20 minutes later he looks at me and says all weepy-like “Happy Anniversary.”


3. The cross-country move.

A week of family vacation after the above mentioned anniversary debacle, we repacked the car to head out to DC. This time my dad and I did the arranging. EVERYTHING FIT. ** Barely, but it fit.

Barely, in this instance, means that when I bought a bag of chips at the first gas station, I had to hold it on my lap, because I had no other room. Oh, and whoever was in the passenger seat had to sit with their legs up. For a 2,600 mile road trip. Hrm.

Told you … the tea/bags? The box wouldn’t fit, so I had to start shoving little things everywhere.

The overexposed bit? That was the blanket covering my knees, since I had to keep my feet up.

We were such healthy eaters.

The drive itself was … exhausting. 5 days in close quarters with your shiny new fiance can go really well, or really poorly. In our case, we fought. A LOT. BUT … we came out on the other side feeling like we’d accomplished something big together. So all in all … win.

Then the truck didn’t show up for 3 week and we had to sleep on the floor, waiting for the bed.

You win some, you lose some.

4. The most recent move – 2 miles.

Moving 2 miles sucks. It’s close enough that hiring movers is stupid, but still far enough that you need to have a friend with a truck. Luckily, I had a friend with a truck. =)

We got the keys to our new apartment 1 week before I left for California for our wedding. I spent the first few days painting the walls, and then moving things over bit by bit (dishes, clothing, etc.). The furniture and final boxes, however, had to wait for the truck.

So, we started out bright and early, on a clear, warm day, 3 days before I left for Cali. We determine it’s going to take two trips, but no big deal. We get the first done, no problem. (Though it did involve a friend hanging out the back window of the pickup truck, holding up the bookshelf that was too tall to lay down in the truckbed. I was following along behind, FREAKING OUT.)

The second trip is lighter, and takes much less time to get everything packed into the truck. The bedroom furniture, all the lamps, and various boxes. Easy easy. Jason (the truck owner) and I decide to head up to the old apartment one last time to see if we missed anything. I head up first.

Suddenly, the power goes out … and now Jason is stuck in the elevator. NO GOOD! It comes back on a minute later, only to shut off again right away. This happens for about 2 minutes.  Finally he makes it out of the elevator and we do our last sweep. At one point I go to look out the window, for a final look at the view.

It was pouring.

We raced downstairs (not ABOUT to trust that elevator again) to find the 2 other friends who were helping wildly tearing everything they could out of the truck bed … which had by then (5 minutes tops) collected almost 2 inches of water. We all set to work, and get almost everything out before we realize it’s just too late. The mattress, luckily, hadn’t yet been loaded, so it was dry. But the dresser, nightstands, and several boxes? Drenched.

These amazing people helped me load everything into the smaller cars, and take it over to the new apartment … where they also helped me unload … even though we all looked like we’d jumped into a swimming pool. The dresser was beyond help (I’d had it since college, and it was cheap Ikea pressboard. The thing just cracked up the side), and the nightstands had some nasty water damage. Only one box was beyond help … and of course, that was the one with all our tax records. ::sighs::

It was not a good day.


So yes, I’ve had my share of nightmarish (even if they make me laugh later) moves. Which is why, when faced with the idea of moving into the city this year, we spent a whole 24 hours thinking about it and looking at renters websites … and decided to extend our lease.

Thank goodness for home.


* This is definitely not the first, or last time I’d been particularly vicious on a happy occasion. For example … I gave him HELL about not saying he was ‘in a relationship” on FB while he was at school on the opposite coast (What? You know you’ve been there.). ROYAL HELL. On the day that he’d decided to do it … to surprise me. ::sighs:: This apparently runs in my family, as my sister gave her fiance hell about not feeling like he was committed to their relationship … the day AFTER he bought a ring he’d yet to give her. At least we’re idiots together.

** My dad and I ROCK at the packing-a-car game. I think it has something to do with the hours upon hours of Tetris matches we played when I was younger. Spatial awareness FTW!

August 1, 2011

Silver Spoon

As an avid fan of discounts, I tend to follow my favorite stores/websites on Facebook. For the little bit of newsfeed spam it generates, I tend to be rewarded fairly frequently. But lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing phenomenon.

In this age of online shopping, things sell out quickly. Websites sometimes can’t handle the traffic and are down. Glitches happen and orders are lots. You know, basic online errors. It’s frustrating, but we all understand that shit happens, right?

Apparently, wrong.

Here are some of the reactions I’ve pulled off the Rent the Runway, Gilt, RueLaLa and Loft pages*:


“This type of error is completely inexcusable. It seems as if this is a scam of sorts and that does not bode well for my future purchases with your company. Make this right or I’ll report you.”

“They should credit everyone $20 for going our of our way!!!!”


“I am so disappointed in this company. I logged in and everything is already sold out. If you want to turn my bad review around you should give me a discount.”

“What the hell, only in store? All your coupons need to be online, too!”

“Why can’t I use this in store? I don’t shop online! This is bullshit!” **

And my personal favorite … the winner of an online “style contest”:


I regularly rant to the husband about this. How in the HELL did people become so entitled? A store gives a coupon good for a day or so, and that means they OWE you a coupon? Or better yet, because your favorite item was sold out they owe you something else FOR FREE? SERIOUSLY?

The sad part is, these companies all have fantastic customer service. A pair of shoes I bought from Rue didn’t fit … and the sale was over. But I called to do a return, and the CSR offered to track down the right size and do an exchange, though their TOS says no exchanges. An order I placed on Rent The Runway got lost in the interwebs somewhere, and when I wrote to see if they could track it down they immediately responded saying they couldn’t, but would extend the promotion I’d used (which was now expired) to my new order.

Both of these instances were service above and beyond what I called/wrote for, or expected. It’s a wonderful way to keep customers, and get recommendations.  I do not understand how people can take service like that, and demand something even more.

Grow up, and learn how the world works. The stores are their to sell you things, not cater to your every whim. They don’t need to discount their product, or give you special treatment. You’re going to have to pay full price sometimes. DEAL.


* If you need invites to any of these sites let me know. I’ve got ’em!

** The funniest part about these last two comments were that they were back-to-back on the FB page, talking about two different coupons. ::shakes head::