The next few weeks will be interesting. I've packed up most of my apartment, gone to some off-site work events, changed my address on some (not all) important things (credit cards, but not my driver's lisence, registration, or the post office, which shows you where my priorities lie), registered for the wedding, opened a joint bank account, and am now leaving for a week long conference in San Antonio (where I'll get to see my sis, TO, Mookie, and the girls all in one shot, yay!). When I get back from the conference, Fiancé and I have about 3 days (evenings, really, since we'll both be working) to move me. Then we're off for our 10 day Minnesota trip which will include a shower, a 'ladies lunch' (don't ask me, I don't know), and a college reunion.

After we get back, we'll have a few days to move my clothes and I'll hand over my keys. I needed the clothes to be a separate move cycle, since I can't pack for our Minnesota vacation with my clothes in flux. My life can withstand a certain amount of transition, but my closet cannot.

You'd think I'd be exhausted by now, and depressed that there is no end in sight. But I'm not. Because I have horrible allergy-induced headaches, which means I have Sudafed. I am a girl on speed.


Everything's a competition

When I came back from the gym today my coworker asked me how my workout went. I told her that I'd gotten a really bad cramp while running, but that I'd pushed through it.

"Why did you push through it?"

"Because if you grit your teeth and keep running eventually it stops hurting."

"Doesn't it also stop hurting if you stop running?"

"Yes. But then it wins."


Words of wisdom

"It is almost always a clumsy balance between the things you try to make happen and the things that happen to you." Tom Freston, May 14th, 2007

Amen to that, Tom. Sometimes you need to let go of the wheel and see where you end up, and sometimes you need to steer. If only it were clearer which time is which.



This morning I walked into my therapist's waiting room and saw a coworker sitting on the couch, waiting for her own therapist to come out and claim her.

That's a bit awkward. I smiled, and said as much.

"No, it's not," she replied. "This only makes me like you even more."

Really? Why does this make me more likable? I'm pretty sure she never liked me very much to begin with, so this probably only helps my case marginally.


Straight shooter

In a previous post I mentioned that I like the new Carrie Underwood song "Before He Cheats." The reason I gave for liking it is that it has the words 'Louisville Slugger' in the lyrics. And while that reason stands, I bought the song on iTunes last night and realized I like it even more.

In an age of excused bad behavior, we forget that sometimes simpler is better. The act of smashing in the headlights of her unfaithful boyfriend's car might have more therapeutic value for the song's protagonist than hours on a psychologist's couch.

It is what it is, and occasionally an evened score might be all we need for some good old-fashioned closure.

Maybe next time he will think before he cheats.


You can't put a price tag on love. But this is gonna cost you.

"You're selling dreams, and you can charge anything."

I think Fiancé and I are reasonable people. We're romantics, but we've got our heads on straight. We shell out for the things we really want, and bargain hunt for the less important things in life. We're money savvy, sort of. And so we went into wedding planning with the unrealistic expectation that we could afford to get married, we just had to be smart and avoid overspending.





I've already learned a lot since this whole process started, so I'm going to expose some of the best tricks of the wedding business trade.

My first mistake? The wedding dress purchase. My dress is obscenely expensive. But I wasn't prepared when I walked through the door of Allegria Bridal. I fell victim to the most powerful pitch in the biz. The saleswoman stood behind me on the podium and placed a veil on top of my head. "This is the most important day of your life," she told me. I have heard this statement time and time again. And it's loaded. The. Most. Important. Day.

Now, I'm an almost-32 year old woman. This is the most important day of my life? What have all the other days been?

So I handed over my credit card. What have all the other days been? Oh, right. Of course. Practice.

Now, just when I thought I'd learned from my mistake and could anticipate the lure, I fell into a whole other trap. "This wedding isn't for you," the reception site coordinator told us. What this does is very effectively corner you once again. You can't be overly frugal, because you're not spending the money for your own benefit. Even though they've just finished telling you it's your day, now they're going to convince you that it is in fact your duty to provide the perfect day for everyone else. This translates into upgraded china and linens, top shelf liquor, and the brie display instead of the domestic cheeses.

Then there's the classic statement that catches you in a tandem web: "This represents you as a couple," the woman at PaperSource reminded us. We went into the store with the goal of spending as little as possible on invitations and response cards; after all, it's just paper. But suddenly overlay vs. mounting, bows vs. buttons, square vs. rectangle, engraved vs. letterpress... it all has new importance. It's how we announce ourselves. To the world.

All these cliché phrases, they're just words. But they pack a punch. This sounds very silly from a distance. Surely an intelligent couple can navigate through this emotionally charged minefield and dismiss the crap and the sales pitch for what they are? But once the platinum diamond ring is in place, they've got you exactly where they want you. It's as if the very weight of it on your finger throws you off-center.

These are the tricks of the trade we've run into so far. I don't doubt there are many more, as we're only two months into the planning process. But this has been enough to open our eyes to the monster we're up against. Why we thought we, unlike everyone else, would be able to resist the hype is beyond me. These people are skilled. If you're resistant, they just work harder to make you realize that you're being cheap and irreverent. Because they know: the shittier you feel, the more important chivare chairs become.


Why don't you like me?

Every time I walk past the scowling security guard in my building I sing the refrain of Mika's Grace Kelly over and over in my head until the elevator comes.


Great expectations

Have you ever had a reaction to something that you didn't expect to have?

Today I got an answer I was looking for, and instead of saying "yeah, that's how I thought this would go" I started to cry. What's with me?


Taco hell

On Saturday we went out for Cinco de Mayo with some friends of ours. We chose a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant near my apartment (okay, okay, I chose it). When we drove up there were tons of people standing outside drinking margaritas and eating chips - that should have been our warning sign, since there wasn't an outside eating/drinking area. People were just crowded on the sidewalk.

We waited two hours for a table. Thankfully, the company was good. And since our friends are relocating, we had a lot to talk about.

Still, we did the inevitable - we ordered up some margaritas and chips and milled around like everyone else, and we were stuffed by the time we got seated.


Sunday schooled

Last Saturday I told Fiancé that I thought we should get an SUV as a second car when we move out of the city. For convenience... to fit the (future) dog, the sporting equipment, and the (future) kids in the back. Fiancé had some environmental concerns with the SUV plan but I brushed him off. Then on Sunday I got totally schooled at church, when our priest chose to focus on global warming and personal responsibility in her sermon. Timely.



Yesterday after work I swam. After I finished my final lap I took off my googles and swim cap and sank down in the water. I was worn out. I came back up for air, and grabbed onto the wall, letting my body float up behind me. It was in this position that I noticed a new sign painted on the pool floor right above my lap lane. I looked at it, turned my head a little, looked again. Wha?

The guy in the lane next to me, a swim buddy who I see once in a while at the pool (I've nicknamed him HG for Happy Guy) pulled off his goggles and followed my gaze. "Hey, Elle."

"What does that mean?" I asked him, pointing to the sign. It was a picture of a stick figure swimming backward and seeming to hit his head on something hovering above him. It was inside a circle with a bright red line through it.


"It looks like it means don't do the back stroke and hit your head on the wall?"

HG thought about this, and shook his head. "No, I think it means don't swim with a kickboard over your head."

The guy sharing his lane, who I think is his partner but I'm not sure, paused to check out what we were so carefully examining. "No," he chimed in, "I think it means don't dive and hit your head."

I wrinked my nose. "But the stick figure is hitting his head above his head. If you dove in you'd hit the top of your head on the bottom of the pool."

He considered this. "Maybe it means don't dive in backward?"

HG wasn't buying it. "Even if you dove in backwards you'd still hit your head beneath you."

"Maybe it means don't hit your head on the ceiling?" I offered.

Both men looked over at me with raised eyebrows. But they didn't have anything better.

Cut to this morning, when I saw this on the car in front of me:

It took me a few minutes to figure out what it meant. At first I murmured to myself, "End this endless war? This endless war?" My inability to decipher the message is probably a result of stupidity, or nearsightedness. But I still think that's a bit too complex for a bumper sticker.

Keep it simple folks. That's the moral of the story.

(See how I spelled that out for you? Case in point...)