Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The final chapter

Today. Today marks the 1 month to go mark. This time in approximately 720 hours I’ll be almost smack bang in the middle of having tied the knot. And I’m in total denial about it. I feel like if I admit to how close it is, I’m going to lose my shit again. As much as I want to marry my Fiance, the love of my life, I know that I’m really going to miss this process.

The best way I know how to describe the feeling, is when you’re reading a really good book that you can’t put down. Late nights spent reading in bed, when you can’t keep your eyes open but you can’t bear to put the book away mid chapter. A bitter sweet feeling as the equilibrium shifts the moment you cross that half way point, you have read more pages than you have left and although you’re eager to get to the end, you’re also acutely aware that ‘the end’ is nigh as the pages become thinner and thinner. The book you’ve become so attached to, the characters that have filled your psyche for a duration of time, will be finished, closed, and stowed away. Until you find a new book.

So that’s where we are at. We’re speed reading through this last chapter, the most exciting and eventful one of all. Lots happening and lots to do. How easy it would be to go off the rails now, but we’ve come too far. Just have to keep it together for a little longer.

Fiance remarks at how calm I appear. I don’t know how to respond. I think I’m hibernating in my own anxiety. Perhaps I’m removing myself from the process as a way of shielding myself from the impact of its impending absence. There could be numerous psychological explanations for how I’m currently feeling. Truth be told, I’m actually a little exhausted. I think the shoe episode really took it out of me.

It may also be that RSVP week has just closed. Mostly without a hitch, besides a few, last minute broken relationships that have thrown a spanner in the works for some guests scrambling to replace their ‘plus ones’.

Back to my clever book analogy, I have actually come to a conclusion of sorts. We actually need very few things in order to solemnize our nuptials. I need 1) a groom b) some rings c) a celebrant d) a couple of witnesses. That’s it. The rest is totally incidental! And I have those things. So we’re pretty much sorted. And that, beloved readers, is just how far I have compartmentalized my real thoughts.

My dress, an incidental, is almost finished after a brief fitting yesterday, cut short by my spontaneous and completely out of the blue, little moment of weakness in the legs - to this end I believe I was thoroughly talked into by the crazy dress lady. She gave me a red snake and made me sit down and drink water from a purple plastic wine goblet while she fanned me with my train - definitely a moment I won’t forget anytime soon.

Once I had been extracted from the dress and been somewhat composed, it was time for another lecture on nutrition. Although this one was different from the last, “what not to eat”, instead “what TO eat” to maintain the cm’s in the final few weeks whilst dealing with “nervy tummy”.  For those playing along at home, the bride diet plan for the last few weeks leading up to the wedding consists of the following:
Breakfast – porridge and banana
Snack – a strawberry and coconut milk smoothie
Lunch – a “nice” Chicken and Hommus sandwich
Dinner – Some nice organic chicken with some lemon and some coconut oil.
Snack – coconut oil. Cook with it, eat it on its own, bathe in it.

So much more than just a dress shop. I think it’s a sort of verbal disclaimer for them in the event that you continue to lose weight, struck down with nervy tummy syndrome and ruin the fitting of the boning and therefore rendering your dress non-couture.

Plenty of excitement to be had in the upcoming weeks, and I’m likely to forget the things that I’ve been meaning to share with other brides to be, or just single chicks that might get married one day. These are things that no one tells you, well no one told me, and although it’s nice to be on your own journey of discovery, here’s a heads up on a few things anyway:

1.    The bit of your left finger, closest to your hand, is actually quite a fatty area. If you lose weight, your finger will lose weight and you’re engagement ring will become loose.
2.    Tiffany’s want 21 days to clean and polish a ring. Albens Master Jewellers will do it in 2 hours.
3.    Don’t expect to ‘feel’ a certain way when you find your dress.
4.    Don’t expect to ‘feel’ a certain way at any point apart from desperate to marry your best friend.
5.    It’s best not to have to many expectations on anything at all, take it as it comes and deal with it in the best way you know how.
6.    No one cares about your wedding as much as you do. Get that straight from the start.
7.    Bridal shoes are ugly. In general, stay away from anything that gives itself the ‘bridal’ label, it’s going to be old fashioned and overpriced. You can find a pair of earrings that will be perfect without getting them from the ‘bridal’ section. That’s where all the shit, ugly stuff lives.
8.    Surround yourself with a good team of suppliers and trust them to do their job.
9.    Not everyone understands RSVP date. They just don’t. Be prepared for this.
10.    Have a makeup trial and a hair trial early. Don’t leave it until the last minute.
11.    Remember at all times that you only need a few ingredients to actually make It happen, it’s about you and your Fiance embarking on a beautiful new chapter together.

So as we are hurtled into the remaining weeks, I’m going to take some of my own advice, stop being a serious slow learner, stay safely inside the bubble and maybe never come out. Oh, and stock up on coconut oil.

To be continued….

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tiny Bogans, trials and tribulations

Ahem. Hi. I see it’s been a while since my last blog post. I know I harp on about it, but seriously? September? Really? I feel  like we're in some kind of cartoon when something magically appears or disappears  like magic with a little ‘poof’ sound and a cloud of smoke and everyone left behind just stands there with a look of disbelief on their face. If I’m completely honest with you all, I actually started writing this post in August, early August, so I apologise in advance for the disjointed ramblings to follow.

Things that have materialised since last blog include:
-          Invitations and most returned RSVP’s
-          Bonbonniere gift tags
-          Wedding bands
-          A shoe order
-          A small problem with alcohol
-          A small family drama

Things that have disappeared include:
-          My sanity
-          Time, oh dear john, so much time
-          A few packets of mint slice from the secret office stash

Amongst other things…

I believe some, if not all, of the new things have largely contributed to the disappearance of those items on the second list. See previous post re: paperjams and juxtapositions . Oh, and the alcohol problem may have been a pre-existing condition but there was a definite flare up.

I’d like to point out at this time, that I’m fine again, mostly back to normal after what was quite a spectacular mental breakdown. Like, I completely lost my shit. I can’t really pin it on one particular thing that brought it on, and I definitely didn’t see it coming but boy did it come, really in the space of one particularly busy and irritating afternoon at work. Possibly wasn’t helped by the decision to blow off the gym and spend some quality time with my old friend - red wine, in conjunction with an offsite meeting, also of the particularly irritating kind.

Anyway, like I said, it came on quickly, and by the time I’d hopped in my car and left work to the time I’d driven to the petrol station just a couple of minutes away, the waterworks had started. From that point on I pretty much became on emotional wreck, stood there sobbing, in the rain while I filled up my car with its premium unleaded.

I cried the entire way home in a hysterical sobbing sort of way, not even caring about the sideways glances I was getting from the cars stuck in peak hour traffic next to me. I need a sign that I can just put up in times like those: “Meltdown in progress, feel free to stare but approach with caution.” A loyal BM met me at home after receiving my distress call, interrupting my flailing around the house trying to disguise my horrid, blotchy face. We agreed that my face was not a quick fix and headed for the nearest wine bar with a dim and ambient atmosphere. I cheered up for some time and we ate and drank some wonderful morsels and drops, but, after much prodding from BM to “just lose it, just fall apart!” I very much obliged. By the time I went to pay the bill, the tears were again involuntarily running down my cheeks, provoking a very polite and cautious “are you ok?” whispered from the waiter. “She’s fine. She’s getting married,” offered BM. “Oh.” Came the response like that was a completely acceptable excuse for my irrational, persistent and very public falling apart spectacular.  Getting married = behave like a complete dickwit and get away with it 100% of the time.

To this point, I had diagnosed myself with mild bubble invasion. Remedy: get the f back in the bubble, repair puncture and reinforce vortex, carry on, and never, never leave bubble ever again. Ever. Totally realistic way of dealing with things I know.

Anyway, a lot of time has passed since that little bump in the road, and we (me) are now seriously considering our strategy as the finish line approaches (and much more mentally stable). Will it be a sprint finish? Or more of a controlled, relaxed stroll with perhaps a bit of skipping thrown in as a testament to our pure delight as we revel in the lead up.

Truth be told, we have certainly had a few little hurdles to overcome in the last few months. Definitely nothing major, but somewhat significant to an emotionally fragile poppet bride. Now we are through it for the most part, I can look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

A trip down south for a hair trial resulted in mild panic after a cold roller set was applied in order to achieve a ‘glam’ look as opposed to steering my “dry and porous” tresses down a more boho path – not me (according to this complete stranger).  

The scene, set in the ghetto part of Busselton in a home salon, involved a small child, recently returned from a trip to the tip with his father. We were unsure whether they had gone to the tip to dispose of things or in order to acquire some new possessions, but after the hairdresser told me the best places in the South West to hang out at bulk rubbish collection time, we had more of an idea. We were given another clue when the child beat down the door to the salon, bursting with excitement to share with his mother the new addition to the toy pile. A small rocking chair complete with foot stool. A demonstration of just exactly how the chair rocked ensued, and the small child instantly revealed himself for what he was. A tiny bogan. Any doubts were quelled when BM ventured into the main residence later to use the loo and came across the tiny bogan, perched at the kitchen bench eating dip, for lunch. I imagined he would subsequently adjourn to the living area to practice the art of reclining in his new street verge chic, mini rocking chair, imitating the behaviour of his father whom BM suggested bore an uncanny resemblance to the serial killer guy from Wolf Creek.

Needless to say, the trial was less than a resounding success. I would need to be finding myself a new hairdresser with 3 months to go. What do they say about the best laid plans?

Anyway, time has moved on, stress levels have fluctuated and I’ve landed myself an awesome replacement hairdresser who totally ‘gets’ it.

The shoes have now arrived. As have some other bridesmaids bits and pieces with packages arriving daily at reception and most of the admin staff predicting the intended recipient of the package before the courier has uttered my name. In fact their complete outfits are now ready to go. We just don’t know if they fit yet. My dress is currently in production with the calico toile having now been fitted, accompanied by a couple of stern lectures about weight loss and diet. That’s the thing about a couture dress. It’s made to fit. Exactly. No room for any weight loss or weight gain. As per my previous post, at an initial dress appointment/interview it was expressly stated to me that I had 3 months to get to my desired weight/shape. I did lose some weight, I think (mostly from the boob area – awesome), but after having made the mistake of mentioning it to the girl at my measurements appointment, I was going to have to pay more attention to what my body was or was not doing. I made some fly away comment about eating/not eating which she picked up on straight away “Have you lost weight???” she snapped? Caught off guard by her violent outburst I stuttered “I – I – I I don’t know? Maybe?”  “Well are you stable now??” came her reply. “Ummmm, yes?” i really wouldn’t have a clue, my body does what it wants. I can exercise religiously and have the cleanest diet ever and put on but tuck in to the secret biscuit stash at work on the daily, and exist quite happily on the red wine diet and appear quite boney. Body and I have a mutual agreement, it does what it wants and i do what i want. We live together happily and harmoniously like that without causing each other too much grief. “Well”, dress lady continued “stay away from creamy pastas. And coffee.” I looked at her in disbelief, it may be a little too late to be giving me diet tips love considering a) I’m a 30 year old woman and b) I’ve already exceeded my time period allowed to me by your boss to get into desired shape! So this is it and you’ll have to work with it! She then added the exceptionally helpful advice “although chocolate just seems to go straight through you when you’re getting married...” F’in SWEEEETTT. Mint slice here I come. Music to my hips! Ha. Luckily I have chosen a dress that is slightly more forgiving around the problem areas just in case all that chocolate doesn’t happen to “go straight through me”.

All in all the last few months have probably been the most difficult since Wedding arrived on the scene. Stress does come into play and it effects all of us in very different ways. I’ve discovered I’m the one who has it all under control, which I do. And now I’m not sure if I’m actually stressed because I’m stressed or if I’m stressed because everyone is expecting me to be stressed. I’m just not sure. In fact it’s quite fortunate that we’re almost there with the planning, as I’m beginning to lose all ability to make a decision at all.

So much has happened that I know I just really haven’t done this blog justice. You have missed out on some very important and funny stories but I just don’t have TIME to fit it all in. I promise I will endeavour to be more punctual with my blogs in the remaining months.  Yes MONTHS. As in 1 and a bit.
All I can say is that those of you out there who know an impending bride to be. Look after her. She is fragile even if she won’t admit it. She won’t ask for help. She doesn’t need help. She needs compassion and understanding and a packet of chocolate biscuits.





Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Paper jams and juxtapositions

Well this might just be it peeps. I’m starting to doubt if I’ll ever have time to blog again before the ‘Big Day’ as everyone has started referring to, well, the big day. Things have well and truly spiralled out of control, as I knew they would from the minute we crossed the six month threshold. We’re now staring in the face of 4 months to go. 4 measly months.

We’re well and truly into the ‘fun’ stuff now, the nitty gritty, and still getting that same panicked reaction from everyone I meet, when they ask “when is the wedding?” and I reply, “November.” And they reply, “Wow, that’s soon!” The worst is when you get that reaction from prospective suppliers, partnered with a sort of grimace on their face like and that noise that goes with it like “Sheesh (insert grimace) (pause for effect). Soon. (stern face).” Oh come on! It’s not that soon! I’m not the lady looking for her wedding dress 9 days before the “big day”. Everything is absolutely 100% totally ON TRACK!! Woooooo.

To be honest, I was starting to get a little incey bit panicked for a while there. Not sure why. I think it was that other invisible line of end of financial year, starting to book things in at work for August, September, October….yeah it gets really real.

Also, I have been rendered completely incapable of having a conversation with anyone at all which does not somehow end up with me making it about, well, me and the wedding. I know I’m doing it, but I can’t help it. And I know it annoys everyone, I can sense their eyes glaze over (if we are face to face) or the sudden lack of eye contact as they busy themselves with something, anything, else. If we are on the phone, it’s an audible eye roll and a bit of a sigh, like here we go again. I’m sorry to all my friends and family for this, I can’t help it, and I don’t expect it will improve. So either avoid me at all costs, or suck it up. You have been warned. 

I have busied myself making the ancillary parts to the invitations; info sheets, rsvp cards, hand drawn maps and labels while I await the arrival of the pièce de résistance letterpress. The most beautiful pieces of paper I have ever seen in my life, which had me close to weeing my pants (along with the bridesmaid dresses) as I made that amazing discovery a few months ago.

During this process, I discovered a few things about myself. As I ran back and forth to the big printer in the office, trying to execute some sort of convert operation, I realised that, firstly, I was starting to lose the plot. Not helped by the fact that I fucked up more than once with the upside down back to front issues involved when one is double sided printing. Oh yeah, and that’s only after I had already printed and guillotined at least half of the little buggers without remembering I was meant to double side print first. Bah! Admin migraine ensuing.

 Also not assisting in any way, was the fact that every time I selected print from the manual feed tray and then proceeded to sprint (in highish heels) to the printer just 5 metres away to load the paper and then wait for the printer to ‘warm up’ and then usually fail to detect the paper at all and have a small meltdown, that the State Manager would curiously extract himself from his glass office and more often than not end up standing directly next to me, wondering why his memo hadn’t printed. Me, a fairly hideous liar at the best of times, more than likely had the most pained look on my face as I attempted to hide the fact that I was not only wasting company resources but a fair chunk of my time as well as I loitered for minutes at a time around the hunk of old crap printer, waiting, watching and randomly jabbing at unresponsive buttons that did nothing, NOTHING, to expediate the process.

Oh hang on, here we go, choom, choom, choom, yay! Printing. Beep beep beep. Oh shit. Paper jam. Why does the paper never jam when you’re just doing run of the mill work stuff? In my experience, it only ever jams when you’re doing personal shit. It’s like work ethic gods cursing you from their ergonomically designed chairs up in work ethic heaven. Damn you work ethic gods, gimme a break. I need to get this shit done while the boss is eating his stinky tuna and salad. 

Enter paper jam from hell. A Marketing Manager, a Receptionist later, some heavy labour involving separating the printer bit from the paper feederer bit and smashing them back together at least ten times, the paper jam debacle is over. Enter next debacle – guillotining. I didn’t go to admin school. Instead, I wasted a large portion of my life chasing down some interchangeable, elusive dream of which a pre-requisite was a pretty useless university degree. It taught me nothing in the way of practical skills that would one day, unbeknownst to me, be a fairly major pre cursor to making your own ancillary invitation bits and pieces! Short story, guillotines are the quickest way to lose your mind. They’re usually as blunt as bat shit and after I had spent countless minutes trying all manner of ways to calculate and formulate a way to create a straight line, it is just not possible. Not possible.
Admin is not healthy, everyone that is not highly trained in this discipline should stay away, especially brides to be. Don’t do it. There are people that can help. It’s not worth it.


Then, we decided to go suit shopping. A task that had been pushed aside, neglected and bumped at every opportunity. Needless to say, it wasn’t at the top of Fiance’s to do list, and it would be like “yeah we’ll do it when we get time. Oh look this weekend is reallllly busy -  we have to sleep in, get coffee, make breakfast and watch TV. Can’t fit it in. Maybe next weekend?”

So we finally found the time to go. We just kind of breezed our way into the city. I had done some initial research of course but, given the time lapse, I had misplaced my piece of paper in amongst all the shoe clipping (which have largely taken over my entire life). So the first stop was the only stop that I actually knew of off the top of my head. Problem. Closed . Couldn’t get near it. Shittety do da, shittety da, my oh my what a shittedy day, not many suits coming our way, shittedy do da, shittedy da.

Ok google (still unsure how people existed without it) show me the way! Great, one suit shop in town I have heard of even remotely, has to be in the tardus arcade which no one, not even someone who spent a year working in it (me), could ever find there way around with its tunnels and levels that make no sense. Somehow we managed to find the food court on level 3 and the shop conveniently located opposite to it, even though the shop number would have it located on level 1, phaseII. Anyway, in between discovering some sort of snot like substance on my dress, and talking to the most helpful suit expert ever, turns out Fiancé could literally click his fingers and make everything simple. First suit he tried was perfect. Done. Shit, it’s really that easy?

So, after a few high fives, and in my complete and utter disbelief at how the random snot got onto my dress, we decided to have another crack at wedding band shopping.  Fiancé, still coming off his suit finding success, waltzes in with an air of confidence, and within 10 minutes, we were signing up for his gorgeous wedding band to match. OMG. So deliriously happy. Not only have we just ticked two major things off the fiancé to do list, but this man has just singlehandedly and effortlessly, brought me back to a more peaceful wedding planning reality… and way of life…peace is restored and life is again as it should be. For now. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Time and shoes

So it appears that Fiance and I have now entered something known to those in the bridal business as the Wedding time vortex. This scenario applies really only to those bride and grooms to be who had previously entered a voluntary state of wedding hibernation. The down time has been nice. There was a period there – albeit brief, where we just got to sit back and bask in the highly organised, not to mention sweet, loving glory of engagement. That time is now is a distant memory, as we transition into the “holy shit where did the time go” phase.

The “holy shit where did the time go” or HSWDTTG phase is not something that comes in peace. It is like a version of some kind of commando personal trainer who yells a lot. I don’t like people yelling at me. It alarms and disarms me. In saying that, HSWDTTG did kind of creep up on me, but in an obvious way if that makes sense. Looking back, the best way for me to describe it, would be reminiscent of playing hide and seek with my niece and nephew. After I count to ten, twice, he goes to hide but usually in the same place that I had hid previously or in an alternative but still fairly visible hiding place. Although I can pretty much see him straight away, I pretend not to for a while, until my niece comes bouncing alongside me nearly bursting at the seams with excitement, frustrated with my inability to see the obvious nephew, if I ever ask “where could he be??” she usually tells me. Straight out. Like “Where is Oscar? I can’t see him anywhere!” Izzy: “He’s over there!”

It’s sort of been the same with wedding. Although most people I have spoken to over the last few months have done the obligatory check in with the wedding plans, it has never been in an invasive manner or enough to jolt me out of my wedding slumber and into motion again. It goes like this, them: “How are the wedding plans going?” Me: “Good.” And we move on to other things. And it’s been like that in my mind too. I think of something or see something, acknowledge it, and then put it away on the wedding shelf in my mind. Well, I think the shelf got full, or something was put on  awkwardly, because a couple of weeks ago, everything came spilling out and down and now it’s really all in a bit of a mess. 

I can’t recall the single moment that set everything (back) in motion but everything sort of started to happen at once. Correspondence with the Celebrant, booking a hair trial, starting to think about invitations and then the kicker, ordering the invitations. Well, for someone to print details on your invitation, you kind of need to know them. Of course, we knew the venue and the time and the date. We also have a bus booked. But it was the small things like wishing well v gift registry and rsvp collection and self addressed stamped envelopes that really got things moving. Now my personality tends to be a little bit on the addictive side at the best of times, add to that a good portion of easily distracted and well, that’s me in a nutshell. A very crowded, dizzy, creative space that lacks cohesion at times but seems to have a nice, hard exterior that keeps it altogether. So I’m the nut. I’m probably most like a walnut. Pretty tough shell to get through, weird looking on the inside with all these different chambers that all branch off in different directions.

Anyway, so I get set about finding a Gift Registry. Although we have lived together for pretty much the entire duration of our relationship, give or take a few weeks at the start and then a couple of days in between that were complete torture (sorry MOB), we seem to find ourselves quite the traditionalists when it comes to gift giving. It’s a precarious little issue. Some people can be offended to be asked for money, but some people prefer it. So we’ve toed the line on this one. It stems from that feeling of giving gifts ourselves. Everyone is different and you want to feel comfortable and happy with the process of giving a gift, should you, of course, choose to give one at all!

Oh god, how could I forget? That in between all this craziness, a honeymoon was being planned, booked and partially paid for!! That, my friends, is a whole other story in itself but got pretty stressful and unbelievable there for a short time. One word of advice to those thinking of booking a European Ski Holiday Adventure/Honeymoon – Get. In. Early. And start saving. Now.

And with that, I got sucked up into a big, fat wedding cloud. Invitations got ordered without any major hiccups besides a fat looking letter ‘B’ and a similarly strange looking ‘D’. Made two variations to the offending B and D and then settled on the first option.

Spent two, ok maybe three, days browsing through some amazing gifts on the registry. Decided that most of our guests wouldn’t be too keen on gifting us a $700 luxury quilt set. Spent another two days choosing more appropriate gifts. Looked at some shoes for bridesmaids. Got distracted by the Tiffany’s website to find gifts for bridesmaids. Decided that they would be ok with me not buying them a $5000 bracelet. I had my first go at delegating something! It worked well and I thought I might try it again down the track. Looked at more shoes. Bought some paper for rsvp cards. Changed my mind about it in the car on the way home. Had an amazing idea for place cards. Started designing place cards. Changed my mind about them the next day. Remembered we haven’t organised wedding rings yet. Re-tiled our bathroom. Looked at more shoes. Filled out our Notice of Intention to Marry. Found some really lovely ideas for vows. Put ticks on a page next to order of ceremony. Spoke to the bus people about pick up locations. Got freaked out about jewellery. Got over it. Shoes. Emailed the florist. She didn’t respond within two days. Followed up florist. She responded. Decided florist is amazing. Grouted the bathroom. Rang wedding dress people to make sure sample dress would be around at the time of the measurements fitting. Started to freak out that my dress hasn’t even been started yet. Got over it. Got introduced to someone as “getting married soon”. They asked when. I told them. They said “oh wow, that is soon.” Ordered a hair accessory.

Yep, it is soon. It seems like there is still a lot to do, but to be honest, If my main concern is shoes, then we are doing ok. Things will start to fall into place in their natural order and I know I can do it all without an Excel spreadsheet telling me what and when. I’m very proud of that.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shedding for the Wedding

Every bride dreams of her big day from a young age. Somewhere, a long time ago, a younger version of me planted a wedding seed in my own head. The little seed came with preconceived inherent ideas of what Wedding would be like, what we would eat and, of course, the dress. Poor, little, innocent BB had no idea what was really in store when the seed finally came to fruition and exploded in my head.

The last couple of months have been a bit of a crazy whirlwind. Milestones are flying past at break neck speed. We’ve past the six month to go mark and in a couple of days, we reach our one year Engagey anniversary. As soon as we reached the 6 month mark, time seemed to speed up. I’m almost at the point where I can see a big Masterchef clock counting down in minutes and seconds above my head wherever I go. The Wedding train is well and truly hurtling towards us and, whilst I’m still enjoying the ride, there’s not too many more stops left before we will arrive at our matrimonial destination. Add to this overwhelming, super powered time vacuum, a new player has entered the game.

Engagey was first, my darling Engagey, so young and fun, of course we have Wedding who has been present throughout, and now we have the Moon. The Moon has been loitering for some time, existing more as a vague and fluid concept rather than something with real presence. But once Moon arrived on the scene, it certainly asserted itself in an undeniable fashion and firmly entrenched itself in our lives. Moon is amazing. It holds such promise for both of us and, at times, can overshadow even Wedding. More on Moon another time.

But the issue at hand is one I’m sure is quite common amongst most brides. We gotta whip that bridal booty into shape! Must start “Shedding for the Wedding.” For me, the moment took place over 6 months ago, in a time filled with excitement and joy - the day I found my dress. Sitting in the boutique, listening to the lady explain the details and the schedule of the dress making process, the exultation and jubilation soon turned to anxiety when she suddenly stopped, and asked me one simple question... “How are you feeling at the moment?” Easy! “I feel amazing! Overjoyed! Super excited!” I replied. “No, love….how are you feeling? As in about yourself.” Now, say this out loud whilst looking in a mirror, peering down your own nose at yourself. With a slow glance up and down that sears through your clothes and leaves you naked, ask yourself “how are you feeeeeeeeling?”

Suddenly, I felt stripped and vulnerable as my self-esteem started to seep slowly from my being. In that look she gave me, that slow scan of my body - she could see every lump, bump and dimple, she could smell the calories I’d consumed at lunch, and she immediately knew that I was a girl who was partial to a good meal and great wine, not to mention the occasional beer. I looked at MOB for support, reassurance that I hadn’t been living in some parallel universe where I was a fatty boomba. She looked back at me, sensing my panic, she understood what was going on, and gave me a nod of encouragement. Eventually I replied cautiously… “Good?” now completely unsure if that was the right answer. Well, I was good. Now I feel like shit. Ha.

“Do you plan to lose much weight or perhaps just tone up?”
“I’m not really sure…I guess I’ll tone up a bit.”
“Great well we can give you until July to do what you need to do before we take your measurements. Is that enough time for you?”
“Yep.” Shit.

So, 6 months down the track, I now have 1 month left until July when I need to walk my svelte, toned self back into that boutique for another round of ego battering. Can not wait. The problem is, how the F do I do it. I’m already quite an active person. My week looks a little bit like this. Monday  5:30pm -  freestyle Spin class, Tuesday 6:00pm  - RPM, Wednesday 5:30pm -  Ashtanga Yoga, Thursday 5:30pm – RPM, Friday 5:00pm  - Pump. Add to this, brisk walks or runs with two very lively Staffy’s 7 days a week, rain, hail or shine. There’s even the occasional Saturday morning run or another class thrown in there. At one stage, I was doing double sessions, hitting the gym up at lunch time or walking through the park when the weather permitted. I got tired of that pretty quickly.

Then I stumbled across a story about a woman who had stuck a feeding tube down her nose in order to shed a few unwanted kilos before her big day. OMG. This is pure insanity. It involves the “patients” carrying around a solution in a bag, which delivers fats, protein, and water (no carbs) through the nasogastric tube into the stomach. Patients consume about 800 calories a day, and no actual food ever passes their lips over the 10-day period.

A doctor speaking out against this idiotic diet put forward some alternative solutions for a quick weight loss: “Why not a medically induced coma/anesthesia for weight loss?” he wonders. Why not a10 day cocaine binge? Which he suggests would work just as well, and probably be more fun.
So, whilst every bride wants to look amazing on her wedding day, it could be that last chance to show off a hot rig before it is wreaked havoc upon by childbirth or a job in administration, coupled with a stubborn metabolism that shows no signs of ever getting back to those carefree, eat what you want, nothing will happen days.

But guess what? A skeleton in a big, ill-fitting dress is not pretty, sexy or beautiful. Like marriage itself, maintaining a healthy weight is long term, there’s no quick fix, and no cheat sheet that doesn’t come without kidney damage, headaches, dizziness, vitamin deficiencies and dehydration.

Yesterday I had two chocolate biscuits.

The thing is, there’s enough to stress about other than how many calories are in a cup of green tea. The last thing anyone is ever going to think of the bride at her wedding is that she would’ve looked soooo much better carrying a little less junk in the trunk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bridal Olympics

The last couple of months of engagement have been blissful as our little life carries on pretty much on track. This is what we wanted, the time to sit back and enjoy just being engaged. Not that there is a lot of ‘sitting back’ going on. As I said, life continues on its own trajectory, and we find ourselves pretty preoccupied with day to day life at the moment. However, there is a sense of looming for me. It’s coming.

As the time ticks by, the milestones are reached and things continued to be metaphorically ticked from the list, it feels like Wedding is building swell, a mega force, and I’m caught in the undertow as it drags me out to sea, quietly and peacefully.

I find myself in quiet moments, at times, absolutely terrified of the magnitude of the task and the occasion ahead. In a few days time, we’ll find ourselves at the 6 month mark. That’s 6 months to go. 6 months is such a short time when converted to wedding hours. And even though I’ve earnt myself the tag of ‘relatively organised bride’, I’m apparently not in the upper echelons of the ‘ultra organised bride’. Which sounds distinctly like a challenge to me. About time I stepped it up a notch.

It’s funny that no matter where you are, or with whom, Wedding is always a popular and familiar topic of conversation. Just today, while at a training course with a grand total of 3 people, I struck common ground with both other participants on the topic of bridesmaids dresses. One lady told me her daughter had recently become engaged, opening up a plethora of conversation topics for the duration of the 3 day course, the other – a bridesmaid herself, caught deep in the midst of (seemingly not unusual) bridesmaid dress angst. At work, my boss is attending a wedding in a few weeks time and is quite close to the bride and her planning process. We have some friends who are getting married just a week before us, so wedding chit chat and the exchange of experiences and feelings to date is fairly prevalent whenever we get the chance to catch up. I have an old colleague that has recently become engaged and is scrambling to organise a wedding by October. She likes to contact me via Facebook to ask me all manner of  wedding planning questions ranging from quite specific to very random. Add to this, the thousands of people we come into contact with over the course of each week, who are already married and relish the opportunity to impart their own wisdom and experience, regardless of their connection to myself or fiancé. So, even if I wanted to escape from the wedding mania, I can’t.

While we’re on the topic, I’ve decided that wedding planning should be a sport in the next Olympics. I’m ready for London if they’re keen. Even better, it should get an Olympics all of its own. The Bridal Olympics. You have to agree, it would be a spectacle filled with fierce competition from brides to be, who are in well and truly under the influence of acquired situational narcissism, battling it out for the best venue, best DJ, best dress, best flowers, best honeymoon, bridal waltz, bonbonierres, bridesmaid shoes, hens night, etc.

Of course, everyone thinks their wedding will be/was the best and that’s completely 100% understandable, that’s how it should be, but I’ve certainly come across some brides who are particularly aggressive and somewhat standoffish at the same time when in the company of another bride to be. I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. There’s plenty of weddings to go around, and the only thing you should be worried about, is that you are totally in love with yours.

I recently asked a friend of mine if she had experienced a similar thing when she was in the bride to be boat over 4 years ago. She said she didn’t really have any immediate friends getting married at the same time as her but that she knew where I was coming from. She said she had felt a similar thing from married woman, who would ask her how the planning was going only to turn their noses up and make disapproving noises and accompanying faces when she replied, not what they did/had, and so, therefore, not the best she could do.

OK, I’m not completely innocent here. I can’t say I haven’t raised an eyebrow or two when I’ve been privy to the details of the impending nuptials of my acquaintances that weren’t 100% to my taste. It’s hard not to judge when you’re so deeply entrenched in orchestrating your own dream day. Of course, tastes and budgets differ and that’s absolutely fine. It’s when someone steps up the plate to question my vision that I start to get a bit irked. Especially when the person in question is a) not a close friend b) very very different c) unaware that they are very very different and persistent in trying to play the game at a higher level than their intelligence and skill will allow. This particular person came to me for advice, somewhat at a loss of where to start, as all BTB’s can understand. At first I felt humbled by her plea for help, that she chose me to come to for advice, she must’ve heard about my ‘relatively organised bride’ ranking, word had spread, I get that. First things first, I told her she had to start with a venue. It was to be the cornerstone for the rest of her planning, especially since this particular case was dealing with a tight timeframe. I was sceptical she would find one in such a short time but she replied almost straight away. “Found one!” Hmm, this instantly aroused my suspicions. Booking a venue in Perth 5 months out? Obvs onto a winner.

As the conversation continued, she asked if I would share a sort of checklist with her, to make sure she had covered off “all the main things” in her initial jottings down/ripped out to do list from her ‘Cosmo Bride’. Of course, I obliged, more than happy to share my tailor made spreadsheet with her. I questioned leaving all of the figures in there, what does it matter if someone else knows my budget? But decided to take out the cost of a few big ticket items, including my dress. Luckily. Her response came moments later… “You’re paying over 4K for a photographer??????” Oh dear. Deary, deary me. Oh dear. Thank god I took the price of the dress out. You see, I wasn’t dealing with a knowledgeable bride to be and I don’t know her well enough to have a category for her but I soon realised that if we were in the Bridal Olympics, she would be in the Special Bridal Olympics. A completely different event altogether, and it would be completely unfair for me to compete with her. Of course I would win, but I soon realised weren’t on a level playing field.

This was despite her best efforts to try to get me to later send her some pics of my bridesmaids dresses so she could “get some ideas. Don’t worry I’m not going to copy them.” Unfortunately, right at that moment, our server crashed and I was unable to send her the entire blueprint and game plan for our wedding for her “not to copy”.

She continued on over the subsequent days and weeks with more questions as to the progress of my planning and asked if I was ‘stressed’ amongst other things. I replied in earnest, telling her that I was loving the process and that I had recently had a marvellous realisation that I was falling in love with fiancé all over again, caught up only in the fact that soon I would be standing side by side with the man I love, looking into his eyes, and pledging a lifelong commitment. And that honestly underpins every decision I make for wedding from this point forth. I play our selected bridal waltz song every now and then, and it sends me crazy with excitement. I can now see the day clearly, how it will be and, most importantly, my fiancé will become my husband. She assured me she agreed and felt EXACTLY the same, that when she thought about her fiancé, she felt all “mushy”. Hmmm, mushy. Not exactly the words I would use (ever) but that’s it. That’s the essence of the whole thing. No matter what you’re budget, you’re timing, or how badly you’ve been ripped off by your photographer, the thing that all of us have in common is the feeling of excitement at beginning the next chapter with your favourite person. In the meantime, it’s game on bitches.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Red, i see red, i see red, i see red, i see red.

Find a heart that will love you at your worst, and arms that will hold you at your weakest. I think I have found that heart and it’s definitely got two of those arms attached. I feel extremely lucky and blessed. I can whole heartedly say that now that Engagey and Wedding are on the scene, I have magically fallen in love with Fiance all over again. Perhaps it’s being surrounded by cake and flowers all the time that does it. Who knows. But as Wedding hurtles toward us at break neck speed, it pays to take some time out to reflect on the relationship, what it means now and what we are in for post wedding.

More and more these days we are faced with friends and loved ones in the midst of relationship dramas. Add to this the seemingly never ending stories of friends of friends and complete strangers alike, going through whirlwind marriage break ups to rival even that of Kim Kardashian, you have to wonder where and why it all goes wrong.

I don’t know if I’m just ultra sensitive to it given my current state of wedding mania but it seems to be nearly weekly that I’m hearing of a called off engagement, a quickie divorce, or simply the breakdown of a long term relationship. Although I’m guessing it never ‘simply’ at all.

Did these girls go through the same thing I’m going through? Experiencing overwhelming feelings of love for their partner combined with an insatiable desire to make them happy forever? 

Lord knows no relationship is easy. Times get tough and arguments get had. That’s just a given when two people share their life, bed, breakfast etc.  If we were all the same, that life would be insanely boring. And I for one am an absolute stickler for a good argument. I love it. I find one of Fiances most frustrating traits is his inability and therefore resolute refusal to indulge me one single out and out screaming match. It drives me crazy. The moment he senses an difficult moment is brewing, he becomes a clam. I become a fierce dragon and he becomes a clam. A smart clam that knows anything he says will be twisted and manipulated and misconstrued just to maximise the ferocity and duration of precious argument time. Well I have news for you my molluscular companion, you’re friend Ronan Keating is wrong this time. You don’t say it best when you say nothing at all, at all. You say it worst when you say nothing at all. Your silence is fuel to the fire. But still, I have to pull out all the stops and come out with some outrageous, embellished statements in order to extract any kind of response from him. But usually it’s just silence.  “JUST FIGHT WITH ME GODDAMMIT!!” I am going to make chowder out of you.

I have sneaky strategy, based on building the pressure slowly. I guess it’s a bit like fishing. Start with a little bit of bait. No bites. More bait. No bites. Maybe throw some fishy burley in to encourage a bit more action. Hmmmm. Be patient, he will bite eventually. Hide the hook so he won’t see it coming, frame the argument in such a way that he will no longer be able to maintain his stubborn silence. Because we all know that silence does not constitute any kind of defence. Argue your innocence. It’s the only way through this. You know what? Fuck it, I hate fishing, don’t have the patience for it. I’m going in for the kill, time to ramp this baby up. So the pressure builds in the form of ridiculous, conniving remarks now crafted with one goal in mind. Bang. I’ve broken him down. He finally responds. But it’s always in this preposterous, high pitched whingey voice and the words tumble out of his mouth so fast that the punctuation and the oxygen is left behind. Words spilling over, drowning me in outlandish decibels. “OMG – shut up!” Fiance’s second most annoying trait. But it is effective. Mission accomplished. I do not wish to pursue the argument any further for two reasons;  a) I’ve already won b) the noise and the speed of said noise is so unbelievably irritating, I’d actually prefer the clam treatment. Sometimes it’s actually hard to keep a straight face after the squeaky speedy argumentative fiancé appears.

Some other soccer wags and I have discussed perhaps introducing a card system into the house, much like those used by the referee during a match to warn and discipline offending players.  After years of careful observation, it seems that once they’ve fouled on the pitch and aroused the attention of the ref, they undergo this amazing transformation into the nicest guy in the world, instantly showering the opposing, downtrodden player with affection in the form of hugs, back pats and hand shakes. “Sorry mate, sorry, I’m sorry – you right? Didn’t mean to hurt you mate. Come here and give us a hug. You right? You’re alright. See ref, he’s fine. I didn’t do anything wrong ref. Let me explain to you what happened.” The biggest production ensues to try to convince the ref they didn’t mean it, it was an accident. It usually doesn’t work and the ref flashes his yellow card in their face, regardless of their Oscar worthy performance,  at which point they skulk off muttering obscenities under their breath.  Yellow means you have been naughty and if you do it again you can’t play anymore. Two yellows equals a red. Red is bad. There is no coming back from a red. Red equals sin bin to go and think about what you’ve done. Sometimes, if you’re really naughty, you can get a red straight away with no yellow warnings.

So, as long suffering wags, I could see how this method could be more effective than my current argument inducing strategy. You’ve pissed me off so you get a yellow. Cue pleading and begging for forgiveness (as per above) . Yellow cards trumps a clam. Or if it’s really bad, no argument, red card, get out of my face. Or maybe just get out.  Which leads me to believe that perhaps a few red cards have been involved in all these break ups lately. Whether they are the result of a single act or the culmination of several yellow card warnings.

Every relationship needs a few yellow cards now and then, but repeat offences are not tolerated. Anyway, the yellows in our house are largely infrequent and mostly for made up offences. The moral of the ramblings today is to maintain an acute awareness of where you are both at, all of the time. You have to keep checking in and checking up on the health of your mojo. It's so precious. Ignoring it will make it go away. People  change and people grow, keep rediscovering each other and grow  together. Be conscious that it is probably not a fairy tale. It’s not meant to be. It’s having a hand to hold  tightly along the journey, a hand that is attached to the arm that will hold you at your weakest which is powered by that heart. The heart that will love you at your worst.