Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Using Your Words

On the phone with The Boy, I just said, "Foof."

"Foof is right," he replied. And so, it has come down to this. I have lost my vocabulary.

The rental coordinator, Ira, called today to tell me he "took the liberty" of scoping out Federal Hill this morning. He mentioned newly planted grass and orange caution tape at our wedding site. He assumed I knew about it. I didn't. We're taking a trip over sometime (we're running out of it) to assess the damage and plan the control. How would tulle look draped over caution tape? (In a related story, our wedding coordinator, Marlene, sent us an email a couple of weeks ago mentioning condoms and needles she saw while walking in the park. We appreciated her...specificity.) I don't worry about the pictures; our photographer has already made it abundantly clear that he has no qualms using PhotoShop. I just wish there were an internal PhotoShop we could impose upon our guests.

We sat at the O's/Red Sox game last night for The Boy's birthday (we celebrated it, albeit modestly, against all odds) and I thought I might have gotten in my first girl fight. The stakes would have been higher if I hadn't had the perspective of wedding pictures in mind. The girl behind me talked a couple of octaves too high, and not by nature. Before the National Anthem, when the announcer said that the Boys' Choir would sing their rendition of the song, she said, "Rendition? Like that's even a word."

She called Trot Nixon "Trotty Trot," loudly and often. She cheered for every out, and even for a few bad plays and strikes against her own team. At one point, with a Sox runner on first, she said, confused, "Wait, why is there a guy in a white jersey there? That means he's an Oriole. I thought the Red Sox were up." One of the males around her informed her he was the first baseman. Later, she and her friend suggested staying at least until "halftime," and when I saw them in the bathroom, they regarded the paper towel holder, looked up into it and stormed off in frustration. Apparently, they were not accustomed to manual machines.

We survived until the 8th inning, when we couldn't take it anymore. We stopped for a beer at the Wharf Rat where many, "Can you believe we're getting married THIS WEEKEND," statements were made. At The Home we split a bottle of Asti while finalizing our rehearsal dinner list. Far from romantic, better than nothing.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Daisies, Thongs, and Fender Benders

These adorable little babies are some of our practice flowers. A bit beat up, but they make my day. The morning flower session was mostly a success, but I was not meant to be driving that early on that little sleep with that limited of a caffeine supplement. A couple of curbs were injured in the process, and I turned left on red for no apparent reason. We made it mostly in one piece.

As we left, I noticed that my car smelled funny. Edie and I tried to name the scent. "Rotten Chinese food?" I suggested. She agreed. We hunted around the car. Under the seats. Nothing. As a last ditch effort, I popped the trunk, only to find a couple pounds of 9-day old broccoli. The stems stayed some semblance of green while the flowers were radioactive yellow. The stink is gone.

The rest of the day was spent scanning pictures and skipping between stores. I made two trips to Wal-Mart, two to separate Targets. With flip flops, bug spray, a Tide pen and Melatonin in hand, I ran into a church lady who was full of honeymoon advice. I grabbed McDonald's on the way home as I coordinated Mother's Day with my dad on the phone. McDonald's is my low point.

Sunday morning I was bombarded with hugs and personal sermon illustrations. "This is the last time I can hug you as a single girl!" Fran said. I heard my nickname and last name paired repeatedly by many because it would be the last time they could say them and have them be accurate.

At The Home, Mosotos threw up what appeared to be a lace thong. Not just any thong-- my wedding day underwear. Fantastic. I'm in the market for a new pair.

Later, groggy and irritable and wearing my hot pink i {heart} mom shirt, I waited at the light at President and Lombard. The woman in front of me abruptly threw her car into reverse. I watched her coming toward me. I swore and laid on my horn. It didn't stop her. Teary-eyed she jumped out of her car, handed me her business card and allowed me to compare it to her license. She was nice. Damage was minimal. But who would ever believe a reverse rear-ending?

After dinner for Mom, I sat on the couch squished between Mom, Little Sister and the obnoxious beagle. We looked through two decades of pictures. My younger hands with the old engagement ring. A glimpse into a different life. Mom with two kids at my age. It felt warm, vaguely sad, mostly triumphant.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Like Old Times

"It definitely needs to be lower," Edes said, making eye contact with me in the three-way mirror, where my reflection stood in my wedding dress. She was right. I tried to explain this to the Russian seamstress, tactfully.

"I know I'm driving you nuts." It was my third fitting. A mere 9 days before the wedding, I knew it would not be my last. "I know I asked you to close this up, and you did a great job." I did not lie.

"You want me to open it up," she offered. She took scissors to my bustline, and it was much improved. We dithered about the bustle, the shoulders that are still too big. She pinned and clucked. I have what has to be a final appointment for the 18th.

I worked and ate popcorn and M&M's in my office while Edes borrowed The Boy's computer and internet. "This feels like college," she said, "except we never would have worked this early." She IM'd me from across the room. It was 3:00. In our younger days we would have done that at 3:00, but in the morning.

Later, we hit the O's game in borrowed seats and new hats. We took this picture and sent it to The Boy, who is spending the evening with his father and friends blowing money at Mohegan Sun on day one of his Bachelor Extravaganza. He verified, once again, that there would be no inappropriateness. He's been sending text messages all night.

Today I built a template for a proposal, handled a cake crisis (spice in place of banana walnut) and dodged the rental facility who wants a ceremony "floor plan," which does not yet exist. I coordinated musicians, made wedding accoutrements. Tomorrow morning at 7 :30 I'm headed with my aunt to the wholesale florists to discuss options. I've already set the coffee timer.

I'm whitening my teeth and crossing off days; I'm savoring "singleness" but dreaming of Tahiti.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Anatomy of a No-Brainer

I have been working since 6:30 at my desk in the "blue collar" room with the white board on the wall listing the names of every person who will be at my wedding and with whom they will sit. Are the old people far enough from the DJ? Are the exes far enough from each other? Is it really obvious that one of the tables should probably be named, "The Island of Misfit Toys?" I don't actually have time to ponder these mysteries, but then again nor do I have time to yell at the dog for sneaking the remains of my breakfast out of the trash can. We do what we have to do.

Suddenly, I am on deadline for the consulting job, and a newborn offer for a "real job" sits by my flip flops in a FedEx envelope. They want me to deliver it back to them today. I haven't even given it much thought. I arrived at my interview 45 minutes late because the secure facility was a little too secure. Eight of us sat around a table. We talked. They laughed. And when it was over, my potential boss walked me across the parking lot and gave me the thumbs up with a "just between us" caveat.

Two days later, they are offering me more than I asked for, different than I wanted. But not different than I need. My budding family needs stability, security, health insurance coverage. A job when I get back from Paradise. So, I'll sign my name on the line. In 10 days, even my name will be different.

Monday, May 08, 2006

An Independent Communications Consultant

And, as abruptly as unemployment began, it has come to a halt. At an impromptu breakfast meeting on Friday, I became an independent consultant. No benefits. Thus far, no contract. Just a check and a handshake and a whole lot of work. After two hours on the beltway, I met my current boss at Starbucks, then headed to our day of meetings regarding a proposal for which there will be a review on Mother's Day, but, so far, we won't be needed there. On the way home, after another two hours in the car, my new acquaintance Andy called.

"Christina, our Proposal Coordinator is out sick for the week. So I need to know,"

Oh, jeez. I already had three different "opportunities" waiting in my inbox, not to mention the 9am interview tomorrow or my wedding, now only 13 days away.

"How are your Word skills?" Gahhhhh, I thought. Anything else, I would have had the potential to be woefully underqualified. But word? Please. I could format templates in my sleep.

"Andy, I hesitate to answer that question," I sighed. "My Word skills are considerable."

"Really?" Andy scoffed as if he didn't believe me. "Templates?"




"I hear you're an outstanding editor. Can you integrate the components of this document so it sounds like one person wrote it?"

UGH. "Yep."

Not only did I end up volunteering myself for something I have no time or obligation to do, I made this guy hate me by answering the following question:

"So where are you going on your honeymoon?"

When I told him Tahiti, he sounded as if I deserved all the work anyone could throw at me.

Sigh. But it's all far better than being unemployed. Now at least maybe I'll feel like I earned the break.
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