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Friday, June 29, 2012

The wedding was perfect...we are not...#3

Hello everyone!

THE DAY OF THE WEDDING!

Saturday dawned bright and clear...probably.  I haven't a clue because I was recovering from my attack of the half brat the night before.  We didn't even attempt to make it to the free breakfast at the hotel.  Instead, we all met at the Ihop attached to the hotel.  (Four steps from the "free breakfast."  Yeah, I'd close up shop early if I had to compete with Ihop.)   We all had a lovely late, late breakfast and decided that we had some time to shop before the wedding.  This was a NEED for me because after seeing myself in pictures in a dress, I realized that 1)  the terrain was far too rocky and grassy for me to manage ALL DAY in the high heels and 2)  I wasn't quite confident enough to appear in public in a loose fitting dress again...not just yet.

Hubby mentioned he'd spotted a mall on the way to the airport and the kids and we decided to GO TO THE MALL.  (Grandma stayed at the hotel and read a book.)  

As we got out of the car for what seemed like the 11000th time, Hubby confessed that he wasn't all that sure that this mall was...a real mall.

I wasn't quite sure what he meant until we got into the mall and I realized that it felt familiar.    It felt like...that casino in "Vegas Vacation" where they played Rock Paper Scissors.

There was not a single normal store in the entire mall.  About 50% of the mall was made up of empty stores whose windows were filled with stuff from other stores and directions where to find the stores in this mall.

There were several sports memorobilia stores.  Some looked legit, some looked like a woman got all the sports stuff in the divorce.  There were a couple costume shops, two furniture stores, a good health "Experience,"  and my favorite, "Christian Karate."

I was looking for shoes.

I was not succeeding.

Until we saw a Dillard's!  It was a department store, but it was the closeout store, so the racks were a mess and the shoes were mismatched and everything was 65% off!

MY KIND OF PLACE!

I found a skirt and a pair of shoes that were comfortable and looked okay on me.  The kids were bored because it wasn't a normal mall.

We got back to the hotel with enough time to fix our toe nails, shower, and get into our wedding duds.

Two hours later we attempted to collect everyone, load them in the car and get to the wedding venue in time for PEaches and Grandma to get dressed for the wedding.  (THe rest of us had to already be dressed.)

It's at this point in the story that I have to go back a couple days to the night we left.  Parker's mom dropped him off at our house.  Parker had a duffle back and a wedding outfit covered in plastic hanging on a hanger.  Flash forward 24 hours to our arrival in Asheville when the kids were unloading their stuff I said, "Isn't that Parker's bag of wedding clothes?"

Hubby said, "No, it's mine."

Parker and Peaches said, "Parker didn't have a bag with wedding clothes.  It's all in his duffle."

And we're back.  We're back to the moment when I get to the kids room and Peaches says to me, "Parker's still in the bathroom...he can't find his wedding clothes."

I, alone, knew exactly where those clothes were.  They were hanging up in my house.  In Wisconsin.

Now this was going to be a casual sort of wedding, but Parker's B outfit was a shirt and shorts that he'd worn all day the previous day.  It wasn't going to be THAT casual.

Thank goodness for Walmart!  We loaded everyone into the car, drove to the venue where Hubby dropped off Peaches, Grandma, and me and then he and Parker drove to Walmart to find the boy some suitable clothes.

With everyone I knew busy, I got to regail complete strangers with the story of our wedding trip thus far.  The two groomsmen's wives I was chatting with weren't really that impressed with much until I talked about the shoes I got. 

"Oh, what brand are they?"

Now, friends, I couldn't care less about brand names.  I look for clothes that 1) fit  2) don't make me look like a hippopotamic landmass and 3)  are comfortable.

I never look at labels.

I pulled off the sensible shoe I was wearing and said, "It's says Antonio Melani."

Had I said, "Jesus Christ Himself designed these shoes," those women could not have been more impressed.

They went on for several minutes about how awesome the shoes were.  Frankly, I thought they were sort of ugly, but they were almost comfortable, so I was happy.

hubby arrived with Parker all dressed in his new Walmart clothes just in time for the wedding.  The wedding was PERFECT!  The ring bearer was Carolina, The couple's basset Hound.  It was a fifteen minute ceremony followed by hours of fantastic food and beverages.

Oh wait...beverages.

One more thing I have to tell you, because it wouldn't be a story unless there was one more trip to Walmart involved.

As the reception was starting, the Bride's mother, Hubby's sis, approached us and said, "People want bottled water and we aren't serving bottled water."

Frankly, I was delighted with the raspberry lemonade...who would want bottled water when Wine, beer, lemonade and TEA were plentiful?

Apparently a lot of people.

So Hubby and I put Parker in charge of taking pictures  (I know...it was a huge leap of faith.)  and we went back to Walmart to get a few cases of bottled water.  While we were getting ready to leave, one of the servers managed to get stung by a bee.  So, hey, as long as we're going to Walmart, we'll pick up some Benadryl

She asked if she could repay us.  I told her to keep the fried green tomatoes coming right to me.

So there it is my friends...a three volume travel log.  Feels like you were there, doesn't it?

I have to share some of the pictures with you:

The groom and the ring bearer.
The happy couple.
My two beautiful nieces.
The bridesmaids and the couple.
Parker and PEaches...and Parker's Walmart Wedding outfit.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wedding was perfect...we are not...#2

Good evening!

So after the drama of the previous night, we looked forward to Rehearsal dinner Day.

Now for those of you who have never been in a wedding in the US, the Rehearsal Dinner is the meal that follows the Rehearsal which is theorhetically the run through of the wedding so that no one, like the groomsmen, the bridesmaids, the minister, the groom, whatever, screws up the Bride's big day.

Rehearsal  Dinner Day, for most of us, Hubby, Parker, and I, was planned to be a quiet day of sightseeing followed by a dinner at the venue.   We had no idea where the venue was because 1)  Neither of us had actually looked at the invitation since February and 2)  Peaches, the bridesmaid had never actually seen the invitation.

So, first order of business...free breakfast at the hotel.

Why do hotels offer free breakfast, and then close it up by 10 AM?  That's like making check out time 11 Am, it's just wrong.  It doesn't take into account what most people use hotel rooms for...messing around until late at night and then sleeping in.

So we were about the last people to show up for the free hotel breakfast.  That meant we had a choice of toast...and toast.

No worries, the coffee was adequate.  We planned on doing some shopping and sightseeing and what not.

And then Peaches announced she was getting picked up by the maid of honor to pick out the flowers for hte wedding.  Oh, and we had to be at the rehearsal because we were driving Grandma, so we all had to be at the venue by 4.

After you get five people of different generations moving in the same direction at once you realize you have about 90 minutes to sight see before you have to get the five people moving in another direction.

Side note:  The maid of honor couldn't give us the name or address of the wedding venue either.  I'm just sayin'.

We got to the venue...five minutes late due to the fact that apparently when it rains in North Carolina all traffic on the highway STOPS moving, and it was lovely.  IT was some sort of resort house/palace where everything smelled amazing.

The rehearsal took about twenty minutes, which was good since the Bride's mother, Hubbby's sister  (A master chef in her own right) forgot she'd left the beans to cook on the stove.  The rehearsal ended when she yelled, "THE BEANS" and ran back into the house. 

The meal that Sis in law and her husband put together was pure Wisconsin, with some flair.  We had corn on the cob, watermelon, brats, beer, wine...more beer, more wine.  The flair was a great green bean and bacon dish and crab rolls...yum!

One of the bridal party...we called her an assortment of names based on the clothes she wore, imbibed a tiny bit too much. How do I know?  When she was looking for the wine opener to uncork yet another tankard of wine for herself, she referred to Parker, a fifteen year old boy, as her "Sexy little monkey."

Meanwhile, Sis in law made fried cheese curds.  For those of you not familiar, well, clearly you haven't read my book "Dream in Color"  So now you must go to Amazon and buy it...right now...I'll wait...

Anyway, deep fried cheese curds are simply the best food you're ever going to eat.  Ever.  Period.

It is as this point I should remind you that I'm one of those women who doesn't eat food so much as wind up wearing what she's had for dinner.  Soup, salad dressing, sandwich toppings, meatloaf, whatever, if I'm aiming for my mouth, a portion of it can, and will, fall onto that handy shelf 18 inches below my chin.  I'm telling you this because hubby, in a fit of romantic passion, fed me a deep fried cheese curd, and about half of it wound up on that shelf.

Except I was wearing a dress.

I don't wear dresses.  I don't like how dresses tend to accent the super gut I'm building on myself.  But I figured I'd wear a dress.  So the cheese curd went down the neckline of the dress...through the gap between my new and therefore still stiff bra and my cleavage, past my waist, which was unencumbered by a belt or waistband since I was wearing a dress, past my knees and onto the floor.

Sort of like an elevator ride through hell and onto the ground.

There is no way you can emerge from something like that gracefully.

So I didn't.  I continued having a conversation with my neice, and I kicked the cheesecurd away from me...I think it went under the fridge.  I have no way of knowing.

After the cheese curd debacle, I decided to eat a brat.  Rather, I decided to eat half a brat.  Given how I've pretty much fallen off the vegetarian wagon Hubby and PEaches ride, I've indulged in chicken, fish, and the occassioinal hot dog.  But I haven't had Wisconsin's claim to culinary fame, the brat.   I only ate half a brat.

We had a lovely time, but by 8 Pm it was time to go. We had a couple things to get before the wedding  (most important was a pair of shoes for me.  Oddly enough, when the Bride told Peaches to wear flats to the outdoor wedding, I didn't think that applied to me, in my dress.  After navagating the grounds all evening, I realized...style be darned, I was going to be crippled by the end of the wedding if I didn't get some flats.)

So we went to the place where everything is possible:  Walmart.

As we got out of the car to go to Walmart, Parker said, "I think I forgot my phone...at the venue."

Let's remember this for the next chapter, shall we?

So Hubby and mother in law agreed to run back to the venue while the children and I got some snacks  (wine)  and looked for shoes.

Ten minutes into our shopping spree...I realized that my system hadn't quite gotten used to meat yet.

Especially not the spicy grilled goodness of a bratwurst.

I was at the back of the Walmart, and it was a SUPERWALMART, but thank goodness I know my way around the super walmarts.  Of course, I was still in my dress...and high heels, so I was basically doing a weird sort of butt clench hobble limp run to the bathroom before my entire digestive system ruptured.

I made it in time...and thank goodness I was wearing a dress!  (No fussy zippers or buttons to get in the way.)  Of course, I'm pretty sure my picture is now up on a wall in that restroom with a note that says something like, "If you see this woman in this restroom...run!"

Something about firing an entire day's worth of food right out of you...it pretty much wears you out. hubby returned to the Walmart with Parker's camera and we drove the 30 minutes to the hotel, where I hit the hay and was asleep within minutes.

Sooo...what's left?

Well, my friends, what's left is the wedding day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The wedding was perfect...we are not! #1

Good morning!

Forget Ihop's claim about fluffy omelets.  This place WINS.
I'm back from my lovely niece's beautiful wedding in the mountains of North Carolina.  I love traveling to the South.  The people are super nice and helpful, the food is unbelievable  (Two words...Waffle House!)  and the scenery makes me rethink my wish to retire to the shores of some huge  body of water.  (Sorry Oregon...)
Just one of the many views we
saw in NC.
Of course, you know that any driving trip 14 hours long and a big family event like  a wedding is going to bring out the very best in my story telling.  And this trip did not disappoint!  Try as we might...we are not perfect.

So this week I thought I'd do a three part blog on how my ability to get into unintended mischief made a beautiful, perfect wedding a series of hilarious events.

We got into the car at 5:06 AM Central time.  It was Hubby, Peaches, Peaches completely platonic friend Parker (who was a stand in for Skippy, who was unable to attend the wedding due to circumstances beyond his control), and me.  Everything seemed to be going quite well.  We stopped a couple times for gas and food, but for the most part, we were having a remarkably smooth trip.

Until we got to Asheville.  Karen, our female GPS, announced that we had arrived at our destination address, which would have been fine...had a Ramada...or any hotel...be visible in the dark of the Asheville night.  (It was 9:30 PM Eastern time, and we'd been on the road, thanks to a serious construction jam in Tennessee, 15.5 hours.

We realized our mistake:  NEVER have the 15 year old program the GPS at 5:06 in the morning...in fact, never make ANY 15 year old responsible for ANYTHING at that hour of the morning...but that's another story.  Turns out, Peaches had programmed the address to the wrong hotel in.  We were roughly 15 minutes from our actual location.  (Thank goodness for a data plan!)

So we got to our hotel, happy that one small mistake was all we'd had to deal with on the trip down.

We should have waited to celebrate. 

We booked two rooms and after much debate decided that the kids were going to be in one and we were going to be in the other. Go ahead, raise your eyebrows, but you lock yourself in a Hyundai Elantra with three other people for almost 16 hours and see if you want to look at anyone under the age of 40 again.

We got to the door of the first room, and it was very, very clear that this room was either already occupied or hadn't been made up from the night before yet.  Lights on, beds unmade...do not disturb sign on the door.

We got into the second room and the kids immediately choose beds and unbundled their crap while Hubby went down to the front desk and got the keys to a room that was actually ready for guests.  We then went to our room and unpacked.

Fifteen minutes later, Hubby's mom sent a text that she was at the Ashville airport and was going to take a taxi to the hotel.  (She was staying at the same place.)  Hubby said it was a short ride to the airport, he'd be a good son and pick her up.  So at 11:00 he got back into the car and headed out.

Meanwhile, the kids showed up on my doorstep to inform me of the three following things:

1)  There was a HUGE and SCARY bug of some sort terrorizing them.

2)  They had no bathroom lights at all.

3)  Peaches had dropped her razor in the toilet and was too grossed out to shave her legs with it now...so she needed mine because after all, she was a bridesmaid, I was simply the aunt of the bride. 

So I gave her the razor, told them to man up and crush the bug when they saw it next and said I'd call the front desk in the morning to take care of the light.

At 12:30 hubby returned, sweaty and exhausted.

"You tell me your story and I'll tell you mine,"  I said, thinking I had the better of the two stories.

"Well, I went to pick up Mom and got her to her room, which is right next to the kid's room, and the kids informed me there was a big bug in the room and the lights didn't turn on in the bathroom and Peaches needed a razor.  So I went down to the front desk to ask for a light bulb and the girl down there didn't know where they kept the light bulbs so then I asked her for a key to the room we were supposed to have and I'd swap out that light bulb for the one in the kids' room.  Which I did.  And then Mom stepped out for a smoke and locked herself out of the room, so I went down to the front desk to get her a new key.  So what's your story?"

Clearly, hubby had the better night.

"Ummmm, the kids came by to tell me about the razor and the bug and the lights."

So them, at 1 AM local time, we fell asleep in separate beds.  (Hey, you spend almost 16 hours in a Hyundai Elantra and see if you want to be closer than ten feet away from everyone again.

Tomorrow:  More locked out of rooms and the rehearsal dinner!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Size apparently matters when you want to cancel HBO.

Good evening!

As many of you know, I'm a fan of the TV show Friends.  I'm reminded tonight of the episode where Ross and Chandler wanted to quit their gym, but couldn't figure out how because every time they tried, the gym made it difficult.

Don't worry, Golds, I don't want to quit you.  I just haven't been there in a while, but I haven't quit!

No, I called my DirecTV people because I am nearly at the end of my free 3 months of HBO/Showtime/Cinemax...you know, all those movie channels that run movies you already have seen or own.  And I love Showtime's original programs.  But I love them more streaming on Netflix or on DVD...when I don't have to wait a week for a new episode.

So I called DirecTV today and I said "I want to cancel the premium channels."

I got Zach, a young fellow with a Texas accent.  Just my luck, I thought.  Usually I get Lolita from the Philippines who speaks almost no English.

By the end of the phone call, I was aching for Lolita.

Zach's first response was, "Really?"

"Yes," says I .

"But don't you watch the premium channels?"

"No," says I .

"Don't you like the original programming?"

"Yes," says I, "but it's not as convenient as netflix or my local video store and in a week it's going to be four times as expensive.  I want to cancel the premium channels!"

"But..." and then Zach went into a long description of the many facets of programming I would be missing if I cancelled the premium channels.

"Zach."  I said.  I repeated him name six times before he stopped for a breath.  "I WANT TO CANCEL THE PREMIUM CHANNELS!"

He then put me on hold for a moment.  When he came back he said I was all set.  And then, and I have no idea how this happened, maybe because I asked for an up to date channel guide  (the one they gave us is horribly outdated)  I don't know, but then he said, "Do you have a high def TV?"

"Yes."

"How big?"

"I don't know...42, 45 inches.  I have no idea."

"Well mine is 60 inches."

Silly girl...don't you know...Zach's TV is bigger!
I kid you not.  Zach was getting into a size contest with me.    He then went on to regale me with how many Disney movies he acquired from eBay on Bluray.  I wanted to ask if he had children or was just a creepy guy who watched kids movies, but I didn't...because he didn't let me get a word in.  He then went on to talk about how much he paid for his TV  ($1000)  and how he'd put a lot of stuff into the TV  (movies, games, blu ray players, another $500)  and then he talked about the really, really obscure Disney movies he loved.    (Bed knobs and Broomsticks, I remember...but not the Incredible Mr. Limpet.)

From there we went on to talking about how everything Liam Neeson has done since "Taken" has been blah and how Kristen Stewart has one facial expression.  I have no feelings one way or another about either actor, I just wanted to be sure my premium channels were canceled.

After 22 minutes of movie reviews, Zach finally informed me that we were all set, and that my premium channels were canceled.

And...his TV is bigger than mine.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Five for Friday: Clothing choices I'd like to recall.

Good morning!

So this past week the entire state of Wisconsin was in a mental flurry about the recall election of the Governor.  With record turnouts at voting places, many of us spent a lot more time doing what usually 1)  Only happens about twice a year at best and 2) generally takes four minutes, if you include two minutes of pleasant chit chat with the poll workers.

I spent almost an hour in line to vote, and I'm not here today to talk about politics, I'm here to talk about a few fashion trends I'd like to recall.  These are all things people wore while standing in line waiting to vote on Tuesday.

Let me start by saying I'm not a fashionable person.  I don't read fashion magazines and I only watch "Project Runway" out of a twisted sense of schadenfreude.  But summer is coming and I would hate for any of us to ruin these precious days outside by wearing...

Red-T and sparkly skirt...I
like your spunk, but it's a no.!







So here's a quick list of summer wear I'd like to recall:

1)  Words on butts.

Unless you are between the ages of 16 and 18, are a girl, and are actually coming from a sporting event, you should not have words written on your butt.  And only, if those are the circumstances, should the words be something related to your team name or sport.  Words like "Juicy"  "Sweet" or "Hot to Trot,"  are a big no no, especially for the 7-12 year olds out there and their equally creepy counterparts;women over 32.

a Sub category to this would be words on underwear, or wearing pants that reveal your underwear.  Standing in line to vote, I was behind a young father who played with this darling 2 year old daughter.  He picked her up and put her down endlessly while waiting to vote.  However, that meant he was bending a lot, which means, since we live in a culture where no one can apparently feel a draft on their butt cracks when they bend of squat, I got to see quite a bit of his underwear.  Navy blue, with Kiwi fruit.  See, I shouldn't know anything about the underwear the guy in front of me is wearing.

Friends, before leaving home, do a squat test in front of a family member.  If they can see butt crack or underwear, go back to your room and try again.

2)  Lounge pants in public.

Oh sure, I've been guilty of this.  BUT I WAS GETTING THE MAIL.  Lounge pants are okay if you are running in to a truck stop at 4 AM after a long driving vacation.  They are NOT okay if you are a 40 year old  man standing in line at a bank.  Cartoon characters are great, and whimsical on a t-shirt.  They are just sad on pants.

3)  Tube top/no bra look.

If you are over the age of 35, over a B cup, or overweight a bra, ladies, is a "Don't leave home without" piece of clothing.  Tube tops are right out.  Period.  Don't even ask no matter what age you are.  And I know, believe me, what a pain a sweaty bra can be on a hot summer night at a concert.  BUT...understand that those around you will mentally thank you for NOT subjecting them to thought that your girls could, at any moment, come flying out from over the top of the tube top or...worse yet...out from under your shirt.  (Hey, I'm in my mid forties...that's a very real possibility.

4)  shorts/mini skirts

Double whammy no-no!
Ladies, I'm not in the greatest of shape, and I'll admit that.  So I've pretty much given up the whole shorts/mini skirt thing at a young age.  But even if you are in tip top shape, if you are over the age of 40  you need to really, really think about what, exactly, you are revealing when you wear short shorts and mini skirts.

Our knees are not pretty under the best of circumstances.  Why would we want to force strangers to stare at them?

I also want to address the idea of a skort.  For those of you who don't know, skorts are shorts encased in a short skirt.  Seems like  a great idea, especially if you want to look sort of dressy but don't care to sit like a lady all afternoon.

Here's something I learned the hard way about skorts.  The shorts part rides up...and when you sit in a chair and think your lady bits are all protected by the shorts, they fail.  The entire world then gets to see what weird, super pale area of your thigh that never sees the light of day...or a razor.  If you must wear a skort, remain standing at all times.

But for those of us over the age of, let's say, 45, or perhaps over a size 12 dress, let's focus on NOT showing the world our pocket linings because our shorts are too short.  Capris and skimmers are cool enough for summer.

Oh and guys...short shorts on guys are simply a no no.   Unless you're actually running in a marathon, get those nice knee length cargo deals.   As much as you might like the idea of a woman's naughty bits being accidentally revealed due to too short clothing...we women...we just aren't that interested in seeing your random naughty bits popping out.

5)  Shoes

This is a really new item to the list, inspired by a woman standing next to me in line.  I know flip flops are now perfectly acceptable in all social situations.  I'm find with that.  Fuzzy bedroom slippers, however...



Let's think about this for a moment.  It's 5 PM on a Tuesday.  You're going to vote.  You get up from where you are, you put on your tube top  (she was wearing one) and your cartoon short shorts  (Ditto...)  and you FORGET TO PUT ON SHOES?

Well yes, thank goodness she keeps her bedroom slippers in her car.  And I'll you...it really did round out her ensemble.

As a parting note, and I can't believe I even have to mention this...

Moms...yes, you are going to be spending a lot of time at city pools with the kids this summer.  But NO...it is never okay to then go to a public place like a library, a grocery store, or VOTING  (and the city pools weren't even open on Tuesday) wearing your swimsuit top and a pair of shorts.   18 year old girls who live on the beach don't even try that.   Put on a t-shirt and a pair of sweat shorts over the suit and then  run errands.  Otherwise, use a drive through.

Now, if you follow these simple rules of fashion, we can all have fun and yo you won't find yourself the topic of a middle aged woman's rant.

Let's have a great summer!

We now know what Hubby does NOT have in his pants.

Good morning! So last weekend Hubby and I joined my parents, brother, and my brother's kids on a trek to Kentucky to see the Crea...