Though some of the stereotypes the South lives up to are regrettable, there is never disappointment in a small town Southern wedding. And don’t jump to conclusions. This is no backwoods affair. This is wedding in which tradition is king and good taste his loyal queen.
J. was initially very dismayed at having to attend this wedding. We had both been traveling all week and he was ready to spend the day clearing out his DVR. We compromised by agreeing to drive back after the wedding, and then he was cranky about that. Luckily, the 90 minute drive was a breeze (for once, no Atlanta traffic) and though hot as hell, it was sunny for the first time this month. The wedding was exactly what I had always pictured it would be when the bride – who I’ve known since college – would talk about having to one day get married in her small hometown. She loathed the idea! She had no reason to. Highlights included:
- A hand bell choir. With white-gloves!
- The same minister that baptized the bride thirty years ago
- A white lace dress and a processional to Edelweiss
- A buffet dinner (particularly poignant to me as the buffet was a battle I fought, and lost, with Sooz)
- A lemon cake with buttercream icing
- The following conversation overhead in the ladies lounge:
“You must be the groom’s grandmother. I’m the best friend of the bride’s mother. We’ve know each other since 7th grade and my daughter, the maid-of-honor, grew up with the bride. My granddaughter is the flower girl.”
J. and I agreed on the car ride home (as we listened to this awesome CD that they handed out as a favor) that if we could redo our wedding, we’d go ahead and copy a lot of what they did. Especially the playing of Edelweiss. Every Christmas we watch The Sound of Music and have to rewind that part of the movie several times. This year we had friends over and it turned into a bit of a maudlin sing-a-long. But I digress. The main point here is that in this damn economy, it’s nice to see that some things don’t change for the worse. And that tradition can’t be bought.
What can be bought are diamonds. Recently, J. has created a sticky sitch for himself by telling me something he shouldn’t have. Apparently while I was in Chicago for work, he hit a couple of jewelry stores in search of a new (translate: bigger) stone for my engagement ring in honor of our five-year anniversary. He wanted to surprise me with it when I came home…but he didn’t. After shopping around, he realized he doesn’t want to spend the money. And here’s where the big mistake comes in. Instead of not ever telling me about this field trip, he tells me within ten minutes of my arrival home. And though the thought of changing my ring had never crossed my mind, now that it has…whew, obsessed!
Per an email from J. I received yesterday, if we were getting engaged today, he would get a ring that was a bit different (insert above translation for “new” here). At first I thought this might be an expensive yet highly strategic jab to remind me that J. thinks we got married too young. It turns out he just really thinks I would like it. And though I loved then and now my current engagement ring, I think he’s right. Sometimes tradition takes a backseat.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Though some of the stereotypes the South lives up to are regrettable, there is never disappointment in a small town Southern wedding. And don’t jump to conclusions. This is no backwoods affair. This is wedding in which tradition is king and good taste his loyal queen.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Things have been busy. The super fun Florida trip was soon followed by D's arrival home from college. And when she's home there's just more -- more activity, more errands, more comings, more goings, more mess, more fun, more food, more laundry, more life. More. More happiness. And when she's gone again, as she is now, there's also more -- more wishing that time did not speed by so quickly, more quiet, more loneliness. All the mores that add up to less.
I'll adjust again. Today is already better than three days ago. It's not an unfamiliar process but it's still hard. Seems a bit unfair to pour one's life into raising kids, striving to make them independent, and then you succeed and they ARE independent and gone away. Not exactly a welcome reward for a job well done.
Okay, days have now passed since I began writing. D is happily settled in New York City and I have returned to a good routine. Less self-pity, more normal. And before more time can pass, I do want to tell you a little bit about the trip to Florida because it was just. so. fun. First, the weather was Chamber of Commerce perfect. This is important to mention, not only because while lolling under the clear blue skies and soaking in total sunshine, we missed five of the nine straight days of cold rain at home, but also because it has done very little except rain here since. And I'm now talking over a month's time! Yuck. It doesn't even seem summer-like; there have been only two trips to the pool since the Memorial Day opening. Back to Florida.... we stayed at an oceanfront private club, very posh, sooooo nice, with every amenity imaginable. Nothing so vile as money exchanged hands on the grounds; discreet signatures only, please. All this was made possible by my friend Annie and her reciprocal agreement with a Washington, DC club of which she is a member. We sunned, we ate, we watched tennis, we napped. It was truly the perfect vacation. We also had the opportunity to see a number of yachts docked on the inland waterway. When I say yachts, I am not speaking of larger boats, I am talking YACHTS! Those that require crews to run, and surely come with staff as well. Although I enjoy the occasional ride on a boat,I have never had any desire to own one of my own. That is, until I saw the yachts. I quickly became obsessed with ownership and could easily picture myself spending my days in sunny exotic locales. When we got home I researched my favorite boat, The Gallant Lady, as well as similar models, and learned that the yacht purchase may just be a little bit out of reach in the current economic climate. Those suckers are expensive! That disappointment in no way mars the great memory of the trip however -- it was a fabulous getaway!
Coming up on Monday is my granddaughter's birthday! Sweetums will be 3 years old. It's really hard for me to believe that she is no longer a baby, and is now very much a little girl. I say it over and over, but only because it is so true, being a grandmother is just the best! More love, less aggravation. Who could ask for more?
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Things have been breaking. My cell phone won’t hold a charge, our gutter fell off, a routine oil change revealed nails in two of my tires, an altered pair of pants is now silly short and our air conditioners – both of them – have leaky coils. We’re $500 in with about $2400 in repairs to go. J. (aka Hubs) is seeing stars. I’m unnaturally calm. As Dad (I refuse to call him Joe since that isn’t even close to his real name and I don’t know why he wants his grandchildren to call him this) says, “It’s just money.”
In other news, J., bowing to the pressure of my sighs every time I opened the door, cleaned out the refrigerator.
J: Honey, check out the fridge. It’s clean!
Smash: Nice! Did you actually clean the shelves too?
J. (undaunted): No. But I threw away a ton of stuff. Freezer too.
- Smash opens freezer.-
Smash: Where are my potstickers?
J.: You haven’t touched those in at least a month so I threw them away.
Smash: But I was going to eat those! I thought I could have them one night while you are out of town. (An outrageous lie. I hated those potstickers. )
J.: That’s an outrageous lie. You hated those potstickers. And besides, you know we shun buying in bulk.
And that’s true. We do shun buying in bulk. I let it go and showered him with praise.
It’s finally consistently warm/hot here in Atlanta so we went to the pool this weekend, which was nice. My stomach got burned and I’m convinced it was because I made J. stop at the Publix beforehand for a grilled Italian sausage which I accompanied with chips and a soda. My stomach was thus enormous and entirely too close to the sun, hence the burn. The whole pool experience is humiliating anyway because we (“we” used loosely as not to hurt feelings) are too cheap to buy a membership somewhere so we have to sneak into our old apartment complex, which we call our “Swim/Tennis.” It involves lurking around the front gate and then dashing in on foot behind the first car that drives in. I hate it. Am convinced we will be thrown out and possibly arrested for this. We’ll go again next weekend.
The hot weather has also, inexplicably, drawn a crowd to the bird feeder and I am very frustrated by the birds’ lack of self regulation. I’m running through a 20 pound bag every other week! Sometimes I put them on probation and don’t fill it up for a day, but then feel so bad that I get anxious and drive home from work super fast so I can fill it up before the sun goes down.
The last bit of news is the best bit. J. surprised me with tickets to Bruce Springsteen and the concert was Sunday night. We met up with some friends – friends that I always love to see and never see enough of – and then headed onto the floor of the arena for what I thought was an incredible show. It was so. much. fun. The title of this post is actually a nod to a favorite Boss song – “These are better days.” 100% agreed. Best days even.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
I'm getting ready this week for a four day vacation beginning next Saturday. Joe and I are going to Florida with some friends. In preparation, I went shopping and bought a pair of pants that had to be hemmed. Needing any tailoring work done is always an adventure. I don't sew myself, but I have found someone who does. He runs a local drycleaners, can sew like a dream, does the work quickly, and charges reasonable prices. The only downside? As far as I can tell, he does not speak a word of English. We manage to communicate by pointing, folding material and hoping for the best. In the middle of the non-verbal communications, he often startles me by yelling out "Ye-ha." I have no idea what this means. He never gives a receipt for the clothes left for tailoring, and often retrieving ones garments requires lots of gesturing, pointing, and sighs of relief when the clothes are back in hand. Recently when I went to drop off a dress for alteration, the tailor's son was in the store. The son was in his thirties, well-dressed, and spoke perfect English with not even a hint of an accent. Noticing that I had no receipt in hand, he asked if I had been given one when I left the dress. I told him no, and he sighed with obvious distress. His dad went "Ye-ha." We have a system; no need to make changes.
I'm looking forward to being away for a few days, although beneath my happy anticipation is an undercurrent of worry about my dad. For the most part he seems to be doing okay, but there are still days when he tells me that he is so weak that it hard for him to get up from his recliner. I feel panicked and think that his congestive heart failure is catching up with him, but then the next day he reports that he feels much better. He's definitely more frail. I'm not sure why I worry about taking a trip -- I'm five hours away from him when I'm at home, and I expect if needed, I could reach him from Florida in about the same amount of time. Still, I just feel uneasy being "off duty" as it were. I'm not sure whether I will tell him that I am away. I think he would worry, so it may be best just to make my daily phone call from my cell and not mention that the call is being made beachside. I'm still thinking about what to do.
Perhaps worry about my dad, on top of worrying about everything else, has set off my recent wave of insomnia. For me, sleep has always been a refuge. When happy, I slept. When troubled, I slept. When bored, I slept. Naps, no problem. Early bedtime, all the better. But no longer. I can't sleep, and it's awful. I plan my whole day around sleeping. No caffeine, no naps, plenty of activity. Sometimes after dinner, I'm so tired I think my eyes just won't stay open a minute longer. But as soon as my head hits the pillow, my mind starts racing at a million miles per hour, and I am wide, WIDE awake. I toss, I turn, I get up, I go back to bed and finally at some point late into the night, I finally sleep an unrestful sleep. I hate it. I spend a lot of my time scheming as to how to lay my hands on an unlimited supply of ambien. So far, no good ideas.
The town where I live was named this week "The Most Affluent Town In America." I'm sure that people across the United States, hearing this breaking news, are picturing a vibrant downtown, fancy restaurants and stores, and even fancier people. I've lived here over twenty years; the thought makes me laugh. Sure we're up to our necks in politicians and rich folks, but what a dump! A dump we treasure, but still a dump. This is fodder for another post, for sure.
And finally, over dinner I was complaining to Joe that my blog is double dullsville. So, he's given me new ideas for upcoming entries. Stay tuned.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Apart from the economic gloom and doom discussed by Smash in her last post, I'm feeling fairly optimistic. I always prefer April to March. March is my least favorite month --long, gray, and usually cold with just enough days with a hint of warmth to remind us of what we're missing when the next day is back to cold and windy. I was glad yesterday to bid March goodbye. So there's one for the Joy Journal.
The last few weekends have been fun-filled. Smash was home to visit, an increasingly rare treat. I love all three of my girls, but it's nice when I can have time to visit with each one individually. I'm not saying that having them together isn't wonderful as well, but sometimes it seems as the one-on-one time brings out the more adult, reasonable side of each darling daughter, not a return to the sibling squabbles of previous decades.
March Madness is always a fun time as well. I am usually spot-on with my bracket choices, and take great pleasure in pointing that out to all family members around me who have not made such wise choices. This season has been an exception; my brackets are busted. I blame that on the dismal economy. Obviously my worry about the financial future clouded my prognostication ability. D is leading the pack in her pool of 25 sorority sisters; unfortunately she is the administrator of the pool and failed to collect each person's one dollar in advance. There will surely be a life lesson there -- always better to get the money up front.
This past weekend we attended D's sorority Parents Formal. This is our third Parents Formal, and each year has been more and more fun as we've gotten to know more parents. The girls themselves are so lovely -- there's little fault to be seen in a group of so pretty 18-21 year olds all dressed in great dresses and escorted by handsome tuxedo clad dates. It was interesting to me that in the 100 or so young men that were in attendance, I didn't see one tuxedo that looked as if it were a rental. Do all college boys have their own tuxedos? Surely wasn't the case in my day, but as the evening with the sorority certainly pointed out -- college for me was a LONG time ago. I spent a good part of the evening avoiding the roaming photographers. A sure fire way to look old and feel depressed is to view myself in a photo standing next to the dewy skinned coeds. Someone took a picture of D and me on my camera.... one glance and I hit delete with record speed!
Following the college visit, we continued on to North Carolina to visit with my dad who lives in an independent living facility. Perhaps that should always be my next step after a visit with the college set.... I'm the youthful guest with my dad's crowd! Those visits are always interesting; the group dynamics are fascinating. There are always squabbles in the works about who sits where in the dining room, who is visiting whom, and the parking wars are vicious! When I commented that it seemed an awfully lot like high school, Joe corrected me and said he thought it was more like junior high school. He's right.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The exhaustion I feel does not preclude me from feeling concern for the people who are really struggling, but to the rest of us: enough already. Even Sooz, a true "snap out of it" personality, is dwelling in the dumps. With all the bad news and sad feelings, it actually feels inappropriate that I am in a good mood. But I just returned from a very nice long weekend with my parents and when I got back it was all sunshine and warm weather; Atlanta has made the switch to spring. Work is going fine, my husband is still the funniest person I know, it's Tournament of Champions week on Jeopardy.
Are our stocks down? Yes. Am I a smidge worried about my job? Sure. Even so, I'm abstaining from my favorite pastime of intense worry. What's the point? When my dad -- a loving but particularly gruff personality -- starts complaining (about anything) the family chants, "Time to get out your joy journal!" It's a therapist's method (or maybe it was from Oprah) for taking stock of the good things in life. I know, it's so good-natured I can hardly stand to write about it. But since it's the only tool I have right now, I'm giving it a try.
Today's joys (gag!) will include Obama choosing UNC as the NCAA champion, light traffic on the commute and, happening currently, watching a Jeopardy with my husband that I already watched with my parents and thus appearing as if I am really, really smart.
Yesterday the list included: America's Funniest Home Videos, the recent New Kids on the Block song and watching the cardinals on the bird feeder. It's the list of a loser. A happy one.
PS: My husband just announced he's making popcorn. Double joy.
Hubs: Do you want some of this popcorn?
Smash: Not really, just a handful.
- Enter Popcorn -
Smash, tasting a piece: Did you put sugar on this?
Hubs: Yes, just a little.
Smash: But I hate sugar on popcorn.
Hubs: You said you didn't really want any.
Smash: Yeah, but just because I'm not having any doesn't mean you shouldn't make it how I like it.
Hubs, en route to basement: This is what I'm living with.
Monday, March 9, 2009
On Saturday, while I shopped for the makings of my lasagna dinner, Joe decided to take our old Jeep, the one D uses, in to our local mechanic for an oil change, tire rotation and brake check. Fine, good idea. A few hours later the mechanic called to say that both the front and rear brakes, pads and rotors, need to be replaced. $700.
On Sunday, our friends arrived. We settled in to watch the game. At half-time, I stuck the lasagna in the (relatively new) oven. 45 minutes later I went upstairs to check to make sure that everything was okay. Inside the oven looked like a bang-up July 4th display. Sparks were flying everywhere, and the lower heating element was flaming. After a few screams, I cut off the oven, rescued the now well-done lasagna, and decided to deal with this problem later. However, I was overheated from the excitement, so went to the thermostat to turn on the furnace fan to blow a little air through the house. I pressed "Mode", the thermostat flashed, and then went blank. Another problem to deal with later.
Monday morning. When the cats came into the kitchen to be fed, I saw that one of the kitties had a red and swollen eye. I called the vet, scheduled an appointment, and took her in. An hour later I left the vet's office with my cat who has pink eye, three prescriptions, and $207 less in my checking account.
As I drove home, I noticed the car making a strange noise. I am ignoring that for now.
Back at home, I called for oven repair, but no one can come out until next Monday, so I'm left thinking about what we'll be eating for a week that does not require oven cooking. At the very least, I know the lower heating element will need to be replaced and I'm betting that will not come cheap. ARGGGG.
The HVAC company was able to send someone out this afternoon. He was just here. His diagnosis: a wire has shorted out that connects the thermostat to the furnace. We can either cut dry wall throughout the house to find and replace that wire or (he recommends) we can purchase and install a wireless thermometer for just $568. He will be back tomorrow for the installation.
I know that none of this is a big deal. Things break and need to be replaced. But that damn thermostat could be money left in the bank or, better still, the new spring Michael Kors purse that I covet. So, I'm feeling grumpy. And sorry for myself. And out of sorts. Welcome to my pity party.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Then last week I panicked. What if I really win? I can’t afford those taxes! And how much would it cost to heat and cool the monstrosity? We could never sell it in this market!
The only prize I’m winning is for most paranoid person. It’s the uncertainty of it all that gets to me. Experts throw out “roller-coaster” and “unpredictable” and “I’ve never seen this before in my life.” So how I am supposed to know what to do? Even my husband, the absolute calm in all my storms, feels queasy.
Last weekend I handed over $8 and saw Confessions of a Shopaholic. (I felt ashamed that I had the $8 to spend but justified it since it was the matinee.) The message of the movie is that you don’t need things to be happy. And that’s true, but man did that actress have some nice things! I left the theater and went straight to the mall. More shame. More guilt. After all, people are losing their jobs, their homes, their retirement packages. I’m at Dillards gleefully sorting through the dresses.
According to my friends, I shouldn’t feel guilty about shopping since I am stimulating the economy. This may be true, but I hunkered down this weekend and didn’t spend a dime. Today, however, I’m back. After a multi-year struggle, a dear friend of mine just had her first baby and I plan on sending the first gift that strikes my fancy, whatever the cost. Her shiniest day has come despite these very gray times and I’m going to celebrate. In this damn economy, joy remains recession-proof.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I actually made pre-trip to-do lists in my head before I went to sleep last night. And this morning I anticipated the ringing of the phone. Knowing that the day of shopping and packing ahead would be busy, I was up early and into the shower --- with the phone right outside the shower door. The phone rang -- Daughter D. It rang again -- Verizon wanting to sell me FIOS service. Another call -- Daughter J. I checked the Oprah website thinking there might be some sort of announcement. Nothing. But while on the website, I read the information about attending the taping of a show and noted that neither Annie nor I should wear white or beige as those colors interfere with the show's lighting. At noon, Annie called. When I saw her name on Caller ID, I thought this might be it! But, no. Annie said that she had actually received a wrong number call earlier and looking at the unfamiliar name on her Caller ID, she had felt faint. Annie also confessed to listening to her own dial tone several times to be sure her phone was in service. We had been so sure that we were going to win.
As Annie and I talked, her husband, in the background, laughed and said we were "misguided." But I don't think that's right. We were exceedingly hopeful, and I don't think that can ever be a bad thing. Plus, we had such fun anticipating and planning the trip, and isn't that an important part of any getaway? Anyway, realizing that the winner had no doubt already been notified and sadly it was not one of us, Annie and I jumped right into discussing how Oprah had really missed out on a good thing. We talked and laughed until I was almost crying, and I was reminded once again of how great it is to have a really good friend. We may not be attending Oprah's party, but we had a great time.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I'm struggling with this post. I've written and deleted several times now. It's my birthday, and naturally I'm filled with thoughts of getting older. Being old. Yikes. But my day has so far been filled with sweet cards, calls and messages from the people I love, so who can go wrong with that? Age really sneaked up on me. Whew! Time has flown by. Yet how lucky I am, because I have everything I've ever wished for.
So let me say on this, my day, how delighted I am with my life. No one ever had a better husband. At age 19, I looked across the college library and met eyes with a boy I had never seen before. Time literally stood still, and I can still feel the moment. I knew he was "the one" and thankfully, he came and talked to me and that was that. And then, our girls. The joy, the fun, the frustration.....I would not trade a day. The girls are so different in looks and temperaments, yet each so perfect. Smash does not like the word "proud" but that is what I am.... I am proud of these so very lovely young women whom I so much adore. And I am so thankful for the close relationship I have with each of them. I didn't have that with my own mother, but having my daughters has made that not matter.
And, of course, the icing on this birthday cake is my granddaughter. Even though she loves her mommy the very best, and will barely give me the time of day when that mommy is around, just looking into her big brown eyes is a pleasure unparalleled.
I'm old(er) today. And I'm wrinkling, sagging, and filled with aches and pains. But man, am I happy. I'm holding the plastic fork.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Maybe it’s the weather, but nothing is holding my interest lately. Even finding something to post was a struggle. I work. I work out. I eat out. I sleep. Again. Again. Again. Even my body has the doldrums – the heartbreak of psoriasis is more painful than ever, my hip flares up with every temperature drop and my nose alternates between too dry and too runny. I am grouchy and judgmental. Chuck on NBC in 3D? Stupid. $1 photo valentines at the mall? Ridiculous. I sneer. I slump. I sigh.
The most telling symptom of my malaise is my bank account. Usually filled with debits from dinners out, new clothes and pedicures, my last three major purchases are as follows:
· Three 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles ordered online
· Overdue library fines (Who has the energy to return books?)
· An $85 bird feeder
The hubs almost fainted at the cost of the bird feeder, but I insisted. There is a fat red cardinal that I want to woo to our deck in hopes he brightens these winter days. I’m 30, living the life of a 90 year old.
My friends at work have expressed concern. Is it Seasonal Affective Disorder they wonder? Oh, if only it were something so topical and interesting. She’s too young for a midlife crisis, they verify. And work is going fine, so what could it be? One particularly kind friend emailed this weekend, urging me to discuss my mood with my husband. I take her advice and as I fold laundry while he packs for a trip I proclaim, “I’m in a major funk!”
“I know,” he says, without looking up, “That’s why we got you that bird feeder.”
Good enough. Another day…another A.
PS: Scoots, we know you’re reading. What we don’t know is: are you enjoying?
Monday, January 12, 2009
So, imagine how I felt on the morning of December 30, when I awoke with a sore throat. Undeterred, I got up, dosed myself with zinc, vitamin C, and Advil and assured myself it was nothing. I would get better. I would in two days time feel great and welcome the new year with open arms, assuring myself a change of fortune and happier days ahead. I felt lousy on the morning of the 31st as well, but surely I would make the turn-around and be fine for the planned evening activities of a nice dinner and a movie. Okay, Chicken Out eaten while lying on the sofa was not what I had in mind, and I was in a feverish fog at midnight, but still I planned on waking up on January 1, 2009 feeling great and ready for a happy new year. Fast forward to January 10, ten days of misery and a Z-Pack later, and hello 2009. It's time to get this party started. But wait.... there's the sound of sneezing and snuffling. Joe is sick. And 2009 remains on hold.