Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Update Time

Now that summer is officially here in the Northwest (the clouds broke up and the mercury finally brushed up against the 80 degree mark), I felt it was about time to provide a brief update on some previous posts. Just to prove that I am able to keep up with life, you know. 1. And the Winner Is... You may recall a post way back when I wrote about the incredible luck my family has at supermarket drawings. Well, the prize fairy has struck again...this time bringing my brother a barbeque grill. Seriously. I couldn't make this up if I tried. 2. VOTE FOR DAVID COOK! You would have to be living under a rock for the past month (or have a life outside reality TV) to not know that DC won American Idol. Holy crap. That's right. I went to high school with the Season 7 American Idol (and all I have to show for it are some goofy Forensics pictures, a fuzzy VHS tape of our middle school musical, and an autograph in my yearbook which reads, "Avoid the clap, David.") 3. School Daze No more babysitting...er, substituting, for this girl because I found a job teaching junior English next year... 4. This Trip Brought to You by Facebook ...which leads directly into the next update: I broke down and joined Facebook. Like I predicted, I'm already addicted. (Do I smell the beginnings of a poorly written poem in the previous sentence?!?) But don't worry--I'll still find the time to update the blog.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Joy of Gift Registries

Bed, Bath, and Beyond is the bane of Jon’s existence. Getting him in the store to set up a bridal registry was painful. Like watching David Archuleta squint on American Idol painful. I had to use my best nagging skills to do it, but I knew that it would make our lives easier in the long run. We slowly made our way through the store with the scanning gun, whose toy-like appeal wore off in about 3.7 seconds. We made an overwhelming amount of decisions, but then we were done. I made a few more additions on-line, but for all intents and purposes our job was finished, right?

I wish. And Jon wishes even more. But thanks to our overly-generous family and friends, we found ourselves with an abundance of gift cards and dinero (thank you again—too much, too much!). So, back to “B Cubed” once more. Since the store offers a discount to complete gift registries that expires after a certain period of time, we had a limited window to cash in. So even though it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day (seriously), we decided to go shopping last week.

In retrospect, perhaps we shouldn’t have attempted such a feat the day after getting lost in IKEA for 3 ½ hours. A much more enjoyable and delicious shopping experience, yet no less overwhelming. We stuffed Jon’s “old man car” with boxes full of put-it-together-yourself furniture and frozen Swedish meatballs and Bond-Ost cheese.

On one hand, I suppose you could say that we were in shopping mode. On the other hand, we had a very low tolerance for making decisions and making purchases. We also should have gone to the store more than 90 minutes before closing time. For that reason, we decided to divide and conquer. Jon tackled the cookware and knife sets while I grabbed a cart and “the list.”

I was in the zone. Fulfilling all of my Supermarket Sweep fantasies, I tore around the store, filling the cart with cookie sheets and trouser hangers. I could not be stopped. My packing gene kicked in as I wedged cake pans and kitchen rugs in between boxes of cutlery and picture frames. Face flushed with exhilaration, I rescued Jon with ample time to spare, so about 15 minutes prior to the store’s closing, we rolled up to the customer service counter.

We must have been their worst nightmare.

The staff was extremely nice and helpful. It wasn’t their fault that the computer rebooted smack in the middle of the massive transaction, which included a special on-line order. There we stood, with the doors locked, and other staff members cleaning up for the night, while the manager and assistant manager started over from scratch, scanning item after item. I felt horrible that even though the store had closed 30 minutes earlier, they were still trying to get us straightened out.

This time, Jon was not the only one who left the store with a glazed overwhelmed expression. At least we have some new cookware to console us.

[Addendum: The madness has not stopped. Since originally writing this yesterday, we have continued to be tracked by the massive BBB empire. When I came home from "work" this afternoon, there was another box outside the door. We excitedly tore into the packaging...only to discover that it was really a "Get Well Soon" gift for some lady in Illinois. Rather than receiving her completely appropriate gift of a comfortable body pillow, she is probably wondering what the heck to do with a 14-piece set of stainless steel cookware...]

Let the "Wedding-a-thon" Continue...

For those of you keeping score, we have now successfully completed Round 3 of the “Getting Married Since 2007” Tour. Now that we’ve officially been married for 3-7 months, we thought it was only fitting to celebrate that blessed event…again. Two weddings simply were not enough, so we continued the party in Blue Springs.

Before you start to think that we’re just selfish and greedy or hopeless romantics who can't stop getting married, please bear in mind that our motivations are purely altruistic. We want to be able to share this experience with people all over the country, all over the globe, really. While the wedding in Bamberg was amazing, I don’t think I would have been able to bear not having my grandparents and other family members present at some wedding-type activity; Jon feels the same way. Hence, a party…er, reception, in both of our hometowns remedies that conundrum. What a difficult cross to bear.

Thanks to video technology, we were able to show highlights from the wedding in Bamberg so that guests would feel like they were there. (And thanks to having too much time on my hands due to unemployment, I was able to put together a slide show of pictures and video as well.) Everyone else came for the cake.

I had heard that when you have a reception after a “destination wedding,” the mood is much more casual and relaxed. True. However, this was the stage that involved most of the planning that turns ordinary women into “BRIDEZILLAS.” Venue, photographer, caterer, DJ, cake, decorations, flowers, hair, etc. Even though I didn’t feel that way, I totally understand why couples are ready to just have the whole thing over with when they start getting into the nit-picky details.

We were very fortunate to find great vendors (wedding lingo—I read too many back issues of Modern Bride), so if anyone in the KC area needs recommendations, I would be happy to share. Perhaps it wasn’t the fanciest or classiest affair, but since we still haven’t figured out the validity of charger plates or seat covers, we were really only concerned that our guests had fun. In that we were successful, I think. And if not, everyone we know is too nice to tell us otherwise…even those who got stuck cleaning up afterward (a huge thanks—you know who you are!).

Speaking of help, now is the perfect time to “publicly” thank everyone who helped with the reception. Thank you to my lovely cousins, friends, and assorted relatives who came early to help set up—there is no way it would have gotten done without you. Thank you for arranging a beautiful bouquet, decorating a May Pole-esque cake, doing my make-up, taking care of the adult beverages, and for dancing the night away. Thanks also to those who gave advice along the way and answered all of my ridiculously wordy questions. And of course, thank you to everyone who attended, especially those who traveled long distances. We really can’t express our gratitude enough, although we will continue to try.

It probably sounds redundant by this point, but we truly had a phenomenal time. I didn’t sit down the entire night and I didn’t want to stop and eat (a momentous occurrence), both of which are excellent indications that much fun was had. Okay, so it wasn’t exactly perfect—our first dance song was played sans words, we didn’t get to talk with everyone who was there or long enough to those we did get to talk to, the projector wasn’t quite loud enough, we almost forgot the blessing—but we don’t really roll that way (no matter how much of a perfectionist I am).

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that you can’t plan everything. Life is just going to happen. You have to embrace the good and learn from the bad. (End touchy-feely, philosophical wandering.)

For instance, how could we possibly plan for my younger brother to don homemade lederhosen, dance his way across the room, and do an impromptu polka with my grandma while we sang “Happy Birthday”?!?

Did we have any idea that the dance floor would fill up with people mimicking Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and McDonald’s when the DJ played the “Burgerdance” song (a favorite at German fests)?!?

Would it have been reasonable to expect all of the grandsons and grandsons-in-law to serenade Grandma with a touching rendition of “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’”?!?

Could I have hoped for my grandpa to grace us with a more perfect blessing at the beginning of the night?!?

We certainly had no idea that we would be hoisting the tables in the air as we (well, really only Jon knew the words) sang and drank along to the German “Holzmichl” song…

You would think that after all that planning, preparation, and fun, we would be experiencing a bit of a let-down as we returned to “real life.” On the contrary. We have another reception to plan!