Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Take a picture - it'll last longer.

In the last few days, I've had the "well, of course that's the photographer we'll use" wedding photographer tell me that she's already booked for our day. Bummer. But she did give us the names of three other photographers to try.

Of those, Photographer Number One evidently doesn't know how e-mail works. Photographer Number Two sent back a price list of the "are you kidding?" variety. And Photographer Number Three sent a very sweet e-mail:

Dear Cha Cha -

Congrats on your engagement! As it turns out, that day is also the day I am getting married. I would suggest other photographers to you, but they will all be at my wedding that day.

Good luck -
Photographer Number Three

And then my head exploded.

I pictured every photographer in the metro at one wedding, laughing at and toasting to the misfortune of every other bride in town. It would be the opposite of Mr. Ecologically Friendly Wedding's "you know, being in the agency world, we had three photographers covering our wedding" obnoxious-yet-well-documented nuptials. It would be me and a box of crappy disposable cameras taking crappy pictures.

My mom offered a better take on it. "No!" she exclaimed. "We can do Polaroids and old Instamatics!"

I considered. "The ones with the square bulbs? Totally!"

Then my mama really outdid herself. "You know ..." she said slyly. "We still have grandpa's movie camera."

And then I lost my mind.

My grandpa had this movie camera that had two huge lightbulbs on the top of it. The thing put off more heat than the sun, and more light, too. I vividly remember him documenting our family, holidays and get-togethers accompanied by the whirr of his camera.

The best part, though, was that the blinding lights meant that in every movie, all of us kids look like Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds with crazy, looking-glass eyes. We have no pupils. We are blind, frozen in our polyester plaid slacks. As the movies go on, we start to sweat, too.

I would love nothing more than to see those movies now.

Last weekend, My Guy and I had lunch with his grandma. She's sassy and I adore her. And, truth be told, I think I have a greater appreciation for her because all of my grandparents have passed.

As we said good-bye, My Guy's grandma asked if I had any grandmas. No. She asked if I had any grandpas. "No," I said, "but I was so lucky to grow up five minutes away from a set of my grandparents. They were such a big part of my life, and I was so fortunate."

As My Guy and I walked away, he asked me some question and I realized that I couldn't talk. I was crying. Hard.

We finally got to the car and all I could say was, "I miss my grandma."

Now, I think I've figured out some good options for the wedding photography. This little interlude has shown me how important the photos are to me, and the idea of my grandpa's movies reminds me of how precious all of these times are. But no wedding photographer in the world can put the people who are missing back in the picture. And that makes me sad.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Time management fail and personal entertainment win.

So, evidently, if you kill yourself working all week, you don't automatically wake up refreshed on Saturday morning just because it's the weekend.

Shocker, I know.

And if you work in your yard and get eaten by bugs and generally exhaust yourself? You are extra exhausted. And if you take naps both Saturday and Sunday? You can still be tired ... and sleep through social engagements. And then you will write the world's dullest blog post and feel like a huge loser.

So, I'm breaking the cycle of violence. First of all, I'm going to go to bed early. Secondly? Well, secondly, I'm gonna tell you a funny story. Just because I find it entertaining and, well, it's better than reading more about how freakin' tired I am.

I have a bad habit. Just one. I tend to repeat things that I think are funny. Like, My Guy once commented that I say "herpes simplex ten" from Beverly Hills Cop about four times a week. Because I think it's hilarious.

I'm right, right?

Well, another thing that I say a lot, especially in the summer months, is a quote from my darling brother, Poochie. As a youngun, Poochie had a thing for my Barbies, and especially for Barbie's pink Corvette.

I think this is just proof that nobody can resist a bubblegum pink Corvette. Just sayin'.

Anyway, Poochie's favorite thing to do - and keep in mind, he was still in diapers at this point - was to strip Barbie down, stick her in the Corvette, and then drive over to where I was playing with the other Barbies. He'd drive up, his Barbie all nekkid-like, and use his best 2-year-old-impersonating-a-woman voice to interact with my Barbies. Invariably, his Barbie would ask my Barbies, "Hey you guys. You wanna go to da poo?"

Yes. And in this usage, "poo" means "pool."

So, about once a day, I find myself saying, "Hey you guys. You wanna go to da poo?" Because it's funny. And we can all use a laugh, even if we're the only ones laughing.

And yes, my mom does have pictures of a diapered Poochie playing with the pink Corvette. I hope they appear in his wedding slide show.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Nameless, faceless corporate drone.

I feel like the world's worst blogger. Or maybe just the world's worst human.

I've been working like a crazy woman all week. As in, working late, coming home, then working some more. Waking up in the middle of the night, thinking about work, not being able to go back to sleep, and deciding I should just get up and work. Then, next thing I know, I've slept through my alarm and am late for - you guessed it - work.

Balance? Huh? Whaaa?

But I have managed to walk Dachshund Nation every day this week. Tuesday night, I managed to coerce them to go to bed at 9:30. So, little victories. But I haven't even had time to watch my DVRed Miss Universe Pageant, chock full o' national heritage costumes and hosted by Mr. Bret Michaels.

Now? Now, it's almost the weekend. And I promise to have something - anything - to write about then that will be at least marginally interesting.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I want to get married, not weddinged.

So, My Guy and I have been engaged for three whole weeks. It's been educational. And happy - don't get me wrong. But there's just so much to do and learn and people are wonderful and weird.

There was the friend who kept asking me if My Guy was "worthy." Uh ... yeah, I vetted that pretty carefully. And it's funny how newly engaged women become merely the vessel of The Ring. No one really wants to look at you - it's The Ring they want to see. I bet this is what it's like to have a newborn.

I've been amazed to see that now your wedding is supposed to have a theme. From David Tutera to pretty much every wedding blog, people are all, "Oh, my theme is April in Paris, and here are my Hobby Lobby 3-for-$1, made-in-Taiwan polyester flowers. Don't they scream Parisian opulence?" Other popular themes appear to be "I'm tattooed and wearing a wedding dress, get over it," "I want my whole life to look like an Anthropologie photo shoot," and, of course, "My dad gave me a blank check."

I'd now like to announce the theme of our wedding. It is ....

... ready for it? ...

"Dude, we're getting married."

Yep. It really wasn't that hard to narrow down the theme options.

We've selected a venue, despite the fact that the coordinator caused me to discover what might actually push me over the edge into Bridezilla territory. The initial proposed menu included salmon ... after I specifically stated that I am allergic to everybody's favorite pink fish. My response to the coordinator was simply, "Since I am allergic to salmon (per my original note), can we perhaps trade out that menu item for something else?"

But inside? Inside I was all, "I'm allergic to that fucking fish and I don't want to be fucking puking my fucking guts out on my fucking wedding day!"

Hmm. So this is how it starts.

But I did manage to smile and nod when we looked at one venue where the lady told us that they don't have enough chairs to cover seating at both the ceremony and at the reception. "It's so easy, though," she told us. "After the ceremony, you just have everybody grab their chair and carry it up the steps to the reception area!"

Right. I'll just ask My Guy's grandma to carry her own damn chair up a flight of stairs. That's DIY wedding planning at its finest.

So, we're getting married in April. I still appear to be somewhat sane, even though the teetering stack of wedding books from the library might lead you to believe otherwise.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Like the last scene in The Way We Were. But worse.

A few days ago, I got a message via Facebook from Ex-Ex.

My gut reaction was what you'd expect upon hearing from someone you dated for seven years and had broken up with more than five years ago: I sighed like an overweight lady trying to board a bus while carrying lots of bags. And then I thought, "Whaaaat? What now? Jeeezus."

He'd found some old photos and scrapbook-type stuff of mine from college. He wanted to know if he could drop it off, or meet for coffee.

Cue another public-transportationesque sigh.

I knew exactly what photos he had found - I had torn the house apart looking for them when I moved out, and eventually had to make peace with the lost photos being the price of admission to my fabulous new Ex-Ex-free life.

I asked if he would just leave them on the porch and I'd pick them up. He demurred, saying he'd rather meet me. Jeeezus.

I figured he was planning on breaking it to me gently that he was married. Whatever. I agreed to meet him at a coffee shop. And then I dreaded it. Like it was a horrible errand, akin to a pap smear. After all, it took me four years (4! Years!) to forgive him. It's not like I want to be his BFF.

But then I started thinking ... what, exactly, had he done that was so awful? He'd robbed me of my sense of self and treated me horribly? OK, but people don't exactly do that kind of shit without your permission. Really, what was so awful about Ex-Ex?

And then I saw him today and I remembered!

I had my laptop. I specifically sat at a table that had only one chair. But instead of just dropping off the bag of random stuff, he sat on a hearth next to my table. And talked. For more than an hour.

It started out with niceties about families, acknowledgement that he was married and I was engaged, where we are working, etc. And then it morphed into a diatribe (his) about how he and his wife planned an ecologically friendly wedding with bamboo plates and utensils and had a fancypants print company here in town print everything on cork paper for them and how he planted a garden and makes his new stepson eat vegetables and how they had three photographers covering their wedding since they're in the agency world and all, and two photos from the wedding have already been optioned for stock photography by some national company and how he has a client whose restaurant logo features clowns and oh, could I even believe it, and well, I would appreciate how he told them that it just haaaad to go and our former house is now rented to three college baseball players, but the college is one of his clients so he called the college president, who called the three students into his office and put the fear of God into them stating that landlord Ex-Ex is his close personal friend and he would stop by to make sure they were taking proper care of the house.

Meanwhile, I was having an inner monologue about that crazyass eyebrow sticking about an inch out from his face and I would have at least pointed that to his attention when we were together but he looks like he has an antenna and how can one person talk so much - like a 90 / 10 distribution of talking between the two of us and gawd, it's just so tiring listening to him talk and good LORD, did he do this when we were together because surely I would have developed some sort of hearing loss just to save myself some heartache and I'm so tired and I really want to tell him to SHUT THE FUCK UP but instead I keep nodding and why don't I at least tell him I need to work but really I just want to tell him to shut up and, really, if we're being honest, move far, far away and yes, it really was nice of him to save the photos and contact me and go to the trouble of getting them to me, but JEEEZUS, listening to this diatribe of how awesome I'm supposed to think he is soooo isn't worth it and ohmygod, that EYEBROW.

And then he told me to stay in touch and he hugged me and he left.

I felt the need to go home and either have a drink or take a nap. Maybe both. I gathered my stuff and realized that the overflowing shopping bag he'd brought me had a broken handle. Classy.

So, along with my purse and laptop bag, I had to schlep a broken shopping bag. Like I was an overweight lady getting on the bus while weighted down with too much stuff.

At least there was that symmetry to the entire experience.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Are you freakin' kidding me?

The good“Look at your clothes – they’re all tiny! They’re like little Barbie clothes.”

--My Guy, watching me fold two sweaters. Yes, he’s visually challenged. No, I’m not going to correct him.

The bad“You want sugar scrub pedicure? Good. And you’re here for eyebrows, too? Oh, no? Well, OK.”

--Nail tech in the process of exfoliating my feet. Instead of being relaxed, I spent the rest of my pedicure thinking, “My brows? What’s wrong with my brows? I know she was just going for the brow wax upsell, but have I been walking around with hideous brows and no one has been telling me? Do I have yeti brows? I’m pretty detailed oriented – wouldn’t I know if I had shag carpet on my face?”

The ugly“I wear this to work every day!”
--BFF, who lives in Zambia.

I was all totally distraught because I thought I missed the Miss Universe pageant and its fantastic national heritage costumes. This would have been worse than forgetting to call my dad on his birthday. (Don’t worry, I did send a gift.)

However, I’m safe! The pageant is on Monday. But the national heritage costumes have already been unveiled! Yessss! You simply must go here to see the bestest national heritage costume recap ever. Seriously. You won’t be able to stop saying, “Russia! We get shit done!”

Image courtesy of Reuters. Link courtesy of BFF, who, sadly, will not be able to watch Miss Universe in Zambia. Donald Trump, how could you let this happen?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

He'll make her happy.

I babysat last night for my friend Leeza's three awesome kids. These are the same kids who have previously delighted me with agreement on the middle son's love of eating boogers. The serious little boy nodded in solemn agreement, totally owning his culinary peculiarity.

Well, last night did not disappoint. The first-grade daughter told me that the casserole we were eating was her favorite food, although she loves her dad's spaghetti. "It's red sauce with meat and noodles - spaghetti. Have you heard of it? It's been around for a while."

The 4-year old came next. "Hey! Do you want to smell my feet? They smell really bad!"

I demurred. But later, when we were sitting on the couch, I asked him not to put his feet on me. His response? "But they smell really bad!"

Yes, boys really are just born this way.

Finally, the sweet 2-year-old was beside himself that we were going to have popcorn. Or, as he called it, "popturn." He helped me make the popturn, picking out which color of bowl each of us should have. And when he wanted seconds and thirds of the delicious treat? It was, "Popturn! POPturn! PopTUUUURN!"

I'm telling you - the kid took a lot of joy from his popturn.

It was a fun night. And, guess what movie we watched? No crappy Barney for us, oh no. No, we watched The Muppets Take Manhattan. Which I initially saw in the theatre.

Now, this film doesn't bring me the intense glee that fills my soul when I watch The Great Muppet Caper, but it's pretty darn good. I love all the little jokes that the kids don't appreciate - like, I had to explain that the Muppets were broke and that they were sleeping in lockers at the bus station. The kids nodded solemnly, but still regarded bus station living as an acceptable arrangement. Thus is the magic of the Muppets.

I was so excited that we found a movie that held everybody's attention - including mine. I will, however, share with you my great shame.

I got teary-eyed at The Muppets Take Manhattan. Specifically, the scene where Kermit and Piggy get married.

Yes. I got emotional at the church full of all of my old friends - Big Bird and Waldorf and Statler and Link Hogthrob - and at the weight of two Muppets pledging their lives to each other.

Part of me thinks, "Cha Cha? Girl, you need to step away from the wedding magazines and get a grip."

And the other part of me thinks, "This is what it's all about."

And that was about the time I had to ask - again - for a certain kid to remove his stinky feet from my person. It's all good.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Thank you all for all of the kind wishes last week! It’s pretty cool to have a community of online friends, and I am so amazed that anybody a) bothers to read; and b) really bothers to leave a comment. My mom actually printed out all of your comments about my engagement. Seriously. You guys rock!

And then I go and repay the favor by not posting for a week. Huzzah!

I’ve been traveling, and feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of wedding planning. But more on that later.

No, a little Comment Round Up is long overdue. We really need some follow-up on these important bits of information.

Remember when I explained The Dog Anus Game? Sure you do – everybody wanted to play! OK, not quite. But Molly had an interesting comment:

one time my sister accidentally stuck her finger up the dogs butt... How many points does that get her?

Let’s not overlook Sherilee’s follow-up to Molly:

I have to ask Molly above how someone accidentally sticks their finger up a dog's butt?
I’m with Sherilee. Uh, Molly? What’s the scoop? The poop scoop, if you will?

Then, there were the many guesses as to what the guy at the bar was referring to when he said My Guy and I should have a daughter and name her Carma, “you know, like the smell.”

Jan thought maybe he meant Carmex. This sounds like a great theory, but I’ve always found Carmex to be positively revolting. (I know, I’m insane and un-American and deserved chapped lips.)

I tend to agree with Sara’s take on carma:

Names like Carma? Are what late, court-ordered child support payments smell like …
This, admittedly, made me snort water through my nose.

Finally, when I admitted that My Guy failed miserably at playing the recorder in junior high? Many of you begged for compassion, stating that recorder failure was probably a virtue, not a character flaw. But none pleaded for my leniency with the same fervor and heart as Magic27:

Oh, Cha Cha, please don't be too harsh on him - he's had to live with all his life. And believe me, as someone else who's been there (tell me you won't block me from your blog, pleeeeaassseeee?), I know how hard it is. In fact, I was so poor at all things musical instrumenty, that I was given the ultimate loser's role in primary school - the TRIANGLE. Yeah, you know, ONE NOTE in the musical spectacular? That was me.
Oh, Magic. It’s OK. You’re safe now. You’re among friends. And really? Really, My Boyfriend Dave Grohl values the triangle so much that every show in the last Foo Fighters tour featured a triangle solo.

Yes. It’s true.

So, thanks for commenting. Keep it coming. Well, except for you Japanese spammers. You guys can suck it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Actual elevator conversation.

Cool coworker: So, how’s it feel on day two?

Me: Huh? How’s what feel?

Coworker: Well, I guess it’s like day five or whatever. Being engaged!

Me: Oh – right!

Coworker: Guess the magic has worn off already, huh? It’s like you’re an old married couple.

Me: Well, I did find out last night that My Guy failed miserably at learning to play the recorder in junior high.

Coworker: WHAT???

Me: Yeah. Last night he finally ‘fessed up that he is horrible at playing the recorder. He’d expected it would come up sooner or later, but then realized he needed to lock me in before I found out.

Coworker: Nooo! Did you guys break up?

Me: Well, let’s just say I’m doing a lot of thinking. A. Lot. Of. Thinking.

Coworker: Well, since he’s not savvy with the woodwinds, does he at least have skills with percussion, or maybe some sort of stringed instrument?

Me: Umm, no.

Coworker: The recorder. Damn. You gotta get that straightened out and address it now. Otherwise, it’s the sort of thing where one night, he’ll just start sobbing at the dinner table.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And then what happened?

You mean after he put the ring on my finger, and after I stopped jumping up and down and freaking the fuck out? After that?

Well, after that, we still had to walk two miles back to the car. But it was great.

We had a lot of conversations that went like this:

“We’re gonna get married!”

“I know – isn’t it awesome?”

“Yeah! Hey – let’s get married!”

“What a great idea!”

Yes, we are disgusting.

My Guy also asked if he had put the ring on the correct finger – he’d had to look it up online to have a plan of action. He also had a ton of Kleenex in his pockets because he knows I can be quite the crier. But I didn’t cry at all – I laughed like a hyena. Because I hear that’s what most men are looking for in a future wife.

We decided that the only proper way to celebrate our engagement was to head to our favorite restaurant. So, we ran home, didn’t even take showers after our sweaty walk, and changed our clothes in flash. Then, we headed out to the hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant downtown that has the best lasagna on the planet.

We each had lasagna and we split a piece of chocolate cake.

As we were leaving, I asked the guy at the register if he’d take our picture since we’d been engaged for a whole hour and a half. He did, but he wanted to know if we’d had any Champagne. Uh … no?

By this time, it was after 11 and the place was empty except for the regulars gathered around the bar. And all those regulars got glasses of Champagne and toasted our engagement. I was overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the restaurateur and his customers.

The Champagne was on the house because the restaurateur was so excited we wanted to celebrate with them. Oh, and the lasagna is so great because his mom makes it every morning.

One man at the bar bought us shots. A woman gave us each big hugs and gave me a rose. Many folks offered congratulations and advice. It was such an amazing gift, and one that I will never, ever forget.

A man with exactly two teeth sat down next to me and proceeded to offer his congratulations. He wasn’t a regular so much as probably a nuisance to the regulars. He told us, “Me, myself and I? I won’t never get married, cuz I don’t want no one woman telling me what to do. Me, myself and I? I get enough trouble trying to keep all of my ladies apart. You know what I’m sayin’?”

Mmm. Yes. We know.

He did have bit of advice. “If you ever have a daughter? You should name her Carma. It’s a beautiful name. C-A-R-M-A. You know, like the smell!”

At this point, one of the old Italian guys sitting at the bar told our toothless friend to leave us alone. But we’re still trying to figure out what carma smells like.

Monday, August 2, 2010

One foot in front of the other.

On our first date, My Guy and I went on what we now lovingly refer to as The Death March.

After e-mailing and talking on the phone, we met on the morning of Mother's Day to walk his dogs. There's a trail that's an old trolley line, and I figured it would be a good place for a first date. If he turned out to be a serial killer, I'd be in the middle of a neighborhood and could scream loud enough for someone to hear me.

See? I'm a planner.

So, we met and walked his two labradoodles. But we were talking and having so much fun that we just kept walking ... and walking ... and walking. And then we realized that we still had to turn around and walk back to our cars. The dogs were dragging. We joked that they hated me and would forever associate me with this trail of tears.

Fifteen months later, My Guy and I still walk a lot. It's my preferred form of exercise, and it's a great way to just spend time together. We talk. We make up elaborate stories about the places and people on our routes. And, lately? We put up with each other sweatin' like farm animals and smelling like truckers. Because it is humid.

Friday night, we were back on the trolley trail. And we joked about The Death March while also walking much, much farther than usual. It started to get dark, but the sticky day was relaxing into a lovely summer night. We were just a couple of nerdy, stinky kids thinking this was a really good way to spend a Friday night.

And then he got down on one knee. And pulled a ring out of his pocket. And I couldn't stop laughing.

And then I said yes.