We’re now officially just under a year away from the wedding, which is just far enough away that it doesn’t feel like a real thing that’s actually happening yet creeping closer enough to make me aware of what I have left to do. Fortunately, most of the big stuff is already tackled, and I’m hammering out details.

I’m trying to save money where I can, too, of course, which means keeping an eye for “wedding fleatiques,” because I guess calling it a flea market isn’t classy enough for the modern bride. So I tackled one of those on Saturday with my mom, and to be honest…it was disappointing. It was small and, as I said to Paul later, “overrun with pyramid schemes.” Things like Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Origami Owl, etc. Now, I understand why women who are representatives go to these things–it really is a good opportunity to get out there and possibly make some sales. But the thing is, when you’re a bride looking for centerpieces and decorations on the cheap and the show is small enough as it is and about half the tables aren’t even wedding-related and are just companies peddling shit, it’s frustrating. It was small enough that I don’t really feel like they took up space that could’ve been occupied by couples reselling things, but there were enough of them that I felt like I didn’t get what I wanted out of the event. At least admission included a free drink.

The whole thing felt like a waste of time and money, really, but at least we salved some of the drive by heading to nearby Greensburg, having some lunch, and doing a little shopping. It was mostly practical stuff, but I got to take advantage of my mom’s Sam’s Club membership and get us stocked up on some stuff a little cheaper than usual.

That occupied a good bit of the day Saturday in the end, and Sunday was the usual church/groceries/walk in the park day.

The wedding planning continued today with a meeting with a priest at church, and I guess it won’t be truly official until we’ve done the marriage prep, but we pretty much have the church locked down. Things are falling into place!

Saturday 9: Hello

Saturday 9: Hello (2015)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This video begins with Adele and her flip phone. Is your cell phone a simple or a smart phone? It’s an iPhone. My fiancé, though, still has the most basic of basic flip phones that can’t even take or receive pictures.

2) As soon as her cell is fully charged, Sam disconnects the adapter from the outlet to save electricity. Are you careful about conserving energy? I try to–I try to make sure lights are turned off if they’re not needed. One of my pet peeves is that most people who live in my building leave the laundry-room lights on constantly. It’s so unnecessary. I seem to be the only one who ever turns them off when I’m done.

3) Adele sings that she must have a called a thousand times but her former lover never picked up. Think about the last call you made. Did you get through? Did you leave a voice mail? Or did you just hang up? It went through–it was a brief one to my fiancé to tell him to come help me unload my car.

4) Adele brews a cup of tea in the video. How often do you drink tea? Year round? Only in winter? Never? I’ll drink it all year, but in warmer months, I tend to only drink it when I’m sick.

5) Adele told Glamour magazine she like two sugars in her tea. Do you watch your sugar intake? I try.

6) This song is about reaching out to someone and extending an apology. When is the last time you said, “I’m sorry?” Not sure. I haven’t done anything lately where I needed to. The only thing I can think of is my tendency to accidentally, like, elbow my fiancé in bed.

7) Adele was a heavy smoker who enjoyed the habit and didn’t quit until 2015, after  doctors convinced her it contributed to her chronic throat problems. What’s something you know you should do for your health? Eat better and/or exercise more. I am doing a little of both, just not probably as much as I should be.

8) Even though she is one of the world’s highest-earning entertainers, she recently had her credit card rejected while shopping at H&M. She admits she was “mortified.” Have you ever experienced that moment at the counter when your card was rejected? Nope.

9) Random question: When you were a kid, did you keep a neat or messy bedroom? I’ve been messy pretty much my whole life. I’m bad for clutter.

Friday 5 for August 26: Two Thousand Zero Zero Party Over Oops Out of Time

  1. What’s your favorite song from 1999God, there are some real gems on that list–all the TLC and Sugar Ray songs, Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker,” “Mambo No. 5″…and that’s not even getting into music that came out and didn’t chart. I’m limiting myself to the list, though, to avoid a black hole of looking up random songs, and I’m gonna declare my favorite to be “Steal My Sunshine” by Len.
  2. What are some of your favorite films from 1999More gems! 10 Things I Hate About  You, American Beauty, Annie, Dogma, the first Harry Potter, The Iron Giant, The Mummy, The Sixth Sense, and South Park. The only one of those I actually remember seeing in theaters that year was The Mummy.
  3. What’s something interesting that happened on your birthday in 1999Apple released the first iBook, a line of laptops.
  4. How did you ring in the new year as 1999 became 2000? I went to my friend Sarah’s house–a different Sarah than the Sarah I’m friends with now–and us girls had a sleepover. At midnight, we called her brother and tried to convince him that the power had gone out and Y2K was happening. Sleepovers there run together, so I can’t remember if we watched The Cell or Jaws that night, or if that was the time I was sick by the next morning.
  5. What’s something that’s gotten better since 1999? Technology is the most obvious answer, but I think just looking at how my life has changed is interesting–I turned 10 in 1999, and I’m 27 now. I’m an adult now with a job and my own place and I’m planning a wedding, and while some people would consider growing up and becoming and adult with responsibilities a downgrade, I’m calling it a win.

As always, from Friday 5.

So as the third (and final) wedding of the year slowly creeps closer, so do wedding-related events, like Katie’s bridal shower on Sunday.

It was nice, the food was great, I had fun, I came back with your typical prizes like bath products and picture frames, and really, there’s not much else to say about the bridal shower. Well, except maybe that Katie was prepared to kick out Jacob and Paul’s mom if need be, but fortunately, she behaved.

See, wedding planning has just about been the shit show we all expected. So far, with Paul and I planning our own wedding, we’ve only gotten a small taste of it–the focus is on Katie and Jacob, so we’ve been able to slide by largely unnoticed. I said my goal is to get as much done before their wedding as possible while she’s not paying attention, but I know this will just cause a separate issue entirely of her being pissed she was left out rather than trying to control the whole thing. And Katie tipped me off that it might not matter anyway and that she might still try to change things. I’m reminded of a phone conversation I overheard on my break at work once where a bride called her caterer and had to tell them not to accept any changes from her mother-in-law, and I thought, “My God, I’m listening to my future.”

The biggest story I’ve heard has been about the wedding cake. Basically, their mom doesn’t like what Katie wants, which I feel like probably sums up the whole wedding in a nutshell. Their mom said she was “putting her foot down” about it, and like I told Paul, there shouldn’t be any of that. You don’t “put your foot down” about someone else’s wedding. And when I heard the whole story, I said, “Katie’s including her too much.” Our method has been to only discuss wedding planning when asked about it and to only answer her questions, because we know we’re gonna hear all about what she doesn’t like about our plans. So I’m dealing with it by doing my best to not even give her the opportunity. Katie liked the sounds of that, but since then, their mom has complained that she’s not being included. So I’m not sure if Katie shut her out or if she’s just pissed that she’s not getting her way–I also made the comment that what she calls “being included” is what just about any bride on the planet would call “overstepping.”

I’m getting a taste of this, too, when it comes to my own bridal shower. Because I don’t want one, and this is unheard of. She came up to me at the end of Katie’s and said, “Your luncheon is next”–because she’s calling it that instead, thinking I’ll agree to it–and I just flatly said, “No, it isn’t.” I know I’m gonna have to eventually go full bitch on this and “put my foot down” and probably soon, but I don’t know how much good it’ll do me. She mentioned to my mom about throwing me a surprise shower, and I already knew she’d probably try. Julie said she’d do what she can, and because I know their dad thinks she’s going too far, too, I asked Paul to let him know I don’t want anything so he can try to put a stop to it, too.

And the thing is, if my reasons for not wanting a shower were different, I’d get it. But I just don’t want one. I don’t mind going to them, for the most part, but it’s not something I want for myself, especially watching two other brides have them this summer. I don’t sit there and think maybe it would be nice, I think, “Yep, I definitely don’t want to do this.” Having lived on my own for four years and since Paul and I have been living together for one, we don’t actually need it, and I don’t want to get a ton of gifts that I don’t need or have space for anyway. Plus it’s time, effort, and money I’d rather put towards the wedding itself. If she were to plan a shower behind my back, I’d be pissed, and then she’d be pissed that I wasn’t grateful for it. To me, it’s directly disrespecting my wishes, and most of all, I don’t even feel like it would be for me–it would be for her. If a bride tells you she doesn’t want a bridal shower, gives you her reasons why, and her friends and family all know she legit doesn’t want it but you think she should have one and you do it anyway, you’re doing it for you, not for her.

So be on the lookout for my inevitable post about losing my shit on my future mother-in-law for…being herself, I guess.

First, a writing update–I have a new essay up on The Good Men Project. When I first found that site, I thought they’d be a good fit for that piece, which is a few years old now. Turns out they agreed. In fact, they accepted it and told me they found it moving within a few hours of my submitting it. Meanwhile, the work I do for CBS Local OnTopic is gonna be coming to an end, which is a bummer because it was the best of my paying writing gigs. So now I’m on the hunt for another.

Speaking of hunts, I’m still on the hunt for a new job, too, although I did get a good annual raise and am being given more responsibilities. My parents have subtly advised me to stay, and I get where they’re coming from–the work is stable, I’ve gotten a raise every year I’ve worked there, and they apparently like me. My solution is the same as it’s been, which is to go ahead and explore other opportunities but just be really picky. Nothing more than a half-hour away, and no pay cuts unless it’s a dream job. And even then, only a small pay cut.

I still have a good bit of vacation time left–another perk–and took two days off to go to Ohio with my parents for the dog’s annual cataract checkup. I spruced the place up a bit, picked us up a quick lunch, and we hit the road early Thursday night. Duke still makes an amusing travel companion, although this time he was kind of restless. He got up a couple times in the middle of the night, and of course he still doesn’t like it when someone leaves the car or hotel room without him. The solution to this is to either take him outside at the same time we want to, say, get food or go to the pool, or to distract him. My mom and I slipped out for breakfast Friday morning and just took our food up to the room, and while he was begging her for sausage, my dad snuck out unnoticed to get his own.

The vet appointment went well. His eyes are about as good as expected three years post-op, and aside from his diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are under control, he’s in good health. When it was done, we hit the road and headed back home, where I spent the rest of the day plus Saturday just kind of hanging out. It was nice to have a day in, especially after a day or so of travel. It allowed me to get some shit done and devote time to some fun stuff I haven’t had much time for lately.

Saturday 9: The Trolley Song

Saturday 9: The Trolley Song (1944)

… Because Stacey suggested Judy Garland. Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) In this movie clip, just about everyone (except Judy) is wearing a hat. Do you wear hats for fashion, for warmth or for both? Usually only for warmth.

2) This song is from Meet Me in St. Louis, which was a huge hit and the second highest grossing movie of 1944. When is the last time you watched a movie in the theater?  Last month, when I went with my parents to see The Secret Life of Pets.

3) The movie follows the Smith family as their hometown, St. Louis, to prepares to host the 1904 World’s Fair. What’s the biggest thing happening in your hometown? We have the Whiskey Rebellion Festival every July, so that’s already come and gone. The county fair, which is held just outside of town, is coming soon, if it hasn’t ended already.

4) This week’s featured artist, Judy Garland, is best known as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. That movie is shown so often that Sam thinks she may have seen it a dozen times. Is there a movie or holiday special you’ve seen over and over? So fun fact, The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorites–I discovered it before I was even two. So I’ve seen that probably more than any other movie.

5) Judy admitted to being perpetually tardy. Are you usually prompt? Or are you always running late? I’m always late, but I’m working on it. This means getting my fiancé on the same page. I joke that he subconsciously sabotages us being on time because his family is late for everything, and whenever we’re actually on time, he finds some way to stall us.

6) Judy’s first professional performance was a rendition of “Jingle Bells” when she was just two. How old were you when you entered your chosen profession? I’ve loved writing six I was a kid, but my first professional experience with it came in college, probably when I was 19 or 20. As for my official day job, I got that a few months after I graduated college, so I would’ve been 22. I’m 27 now.

7) Thinking of “Jingle Bells,” here’s a wintery question for a hot summer day: What’s your favorite carol? I don’t know that I can narrow down one favorite, which is a problem I have with a lot of things. But I’m a big fan of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” I love Christmas music in generally, really. I also love Christmas in general, especially for someone who’s not particularly religious.

8) Judy was a very demonstrative person. She enjoyed hugs and admitted that, when she nervous, she took emotional support from physically reaching out. Are you demonstrative? No, but my fiancé is. We’re mismatched in that way–he’s much bigger on physical affection than I am. In fact, I’d say he’s a lot like Judy.

9) She told Barbara Walters that people would be surprised to learn that she was a good cook and specialized in desserts. Do you have a sweet tooth? Very much so. I think it’s genetic.

Friday 5: French Kissing

  1. What’s your favorite kind of French fry? Man, as long as I have Heinz ketchup to dip it in, I really don’t care.
  2. Where can you get really good French toast? You know, it seems like I should love French toast, but I don’t. I’m kind of indifferent. So I don’t know.
  3. What are your feelings about French salad dressing? I don’t know that I’ve ever actually had it. I’m pretty loyal to balsamic these days.
  4. What’s something you know how to say in French? I took French all through high school, and I have retained some of it, so I know some words and phrases here and there. Yesterday, I wore an old shirt of my mom’s that says, “Embrasse-moi, je parle Francais.”
  5. What French films have you seen? I think I’ve seen at least a couple, but the one that really stands out is Amelie.

As always, from Friday 5.

Booking Through Thursday: Mind-Blowing

What’s the most mind-blowing, world-changing book you’ve ever read? (Or article, poem, whatever.)

Ya know, I think I’m gonna go with Harry Potter for this one. I got into it a little later than most kids–between the third and fourth books–and I was already a bookworm, so it’s not like I’m one of those kids who was introduced to a love of reading. But I think it was the first actual series I read, and it was the first time I can remember get really, really wrapped up in something and having that feeling last me through the rest of the series, which ended up being another several years. I was 10 when I started, and I think I was in college by the time it ended.

It’s also probably the only book to survive the transition from childhood to my teen years to adulthood.

In the days after Brandon’s wedding, Paul wasn’t feeling well. We both were kind of dismissive of it–he had a sore throat and had smoked a cigar at the wedding, so we both just kind of thought that because that’s something he doesn’t normally do, it irritated him. We were wrong. We discovered this when I got sick, too.

I started feeling congested near the end of my shift at work Wednesday and hoped that I could just sleep it off, but nope. I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible sore throat.I still have this thing where I feel guilty for calling off work, but this was one of those times that it was just not happening, so I called, left a voicemail, and went right back to sleep after my alarm went off in the morning.

And then I slept for pretty much two days straight. I mean, sure, I was awake for parts of the day and did some other stuff, but for the most part, I slept. I started to feel back to normal and Saturday and we went out to the Chinese buffet, but aside from church and some errands, that was the extent of my weekend activities.

I’m still congested but did go back to work yesterday, where I finally found out just what I’ll get for my annual merit increase. I’m pretty pleased.

It’s also a short week–it’s already time for Duke’s annual road trip for his cataract checkup, so I took off Thursday and Friday. Kind of makes me feel bad that I ended up only working two days last week, but I did earn the days and they wouldn’t have wanted me there anyway. My lingering mild cough is probably raising enough eyebrows.

After the excitement of Brandon’s wedding, we kind of hung out Sunday morning, then hosted some family–Uncle Clark more or less just showed up, not knowing we were having anyone else over, and we invited aunts and uncles and Kelly’s family. My mom’s uncle brought a disk of pictures he’d taken of the wedding, so we watched a slideshow of those and ate the tons of leftovers we had from the caterer.

Meanwhile, Terra was in town for the weekend, and she’d invited Paul and I out to see Beatlemania in the park, which we usually do go to. I told her it was iffy and figured we’d just kind of see how things went. The guests hung around long enough that I would’ve felt weird leaving with everyone there when we didn’t really have to go anywhere, and on top of that, Paul fell asleep. I left hime alone for a little bit, then we packed up some more leftovers and headed home. I have so many cheese cubes in my fridge even now.

Turns out Paul wasn’t just tired, he was coming down with a cold. He called off work Monday, while I went into the city to Terra’s brother’s place to hang out with her for a bit. We went to lunch and I discovered I’d left all my money in the little bag I took to the wedding and felt terrible asking Terra to pay, but at least I made good on it by paying her back and then some. God bless online banking. The other problem with this was my gas light came on just as I was getting into the city, so I had a fun time hoping my tank would last me until I got home–and on top of that, my phone was dead, so if I would’ve run out of gas, I would’ve been fucked. Fortunately, I made it, stopped back at the apartment, charged my phone for a hot minute, gathered my money, then went back out for gas and light groceries. Because how many groceries does one really need with a fridge full of meals from a rehearsal dinner and wedding and tons of veggies and cheese cubes?