Flying is like a little escape where you're expected to do nothing more than read, watch movies, eat, drink and sleep. I like that. I like that order too. There's something calming about these mild expectations. To-do lists and stresses are checked with the luggage and carry-ons are providers of goodies to keep me entertained. Airplanes also feel like some parallel universe where I can eat a costco-sized bag of chocolate almonds in one hour and it doesn't count. I love flying.
On Thursday evening we're heading to West Edmonton Mall for a long-weekend getaway with Luc's family. We have parents to hang out with, nieces to spoil, a new boyfriend to meet, brothers and sisters to catch up with, and a sweet little baby nephew to play with....and a roller coaster that will all the while be beckoning for us to come ride it. The flight there will no doubt be grand, but the time spent with family will be priceless. And no, this is not a mastercard commercial.
We've emerged on the other side of this disaster unscathed, but still somewhat stunned. Of all the stresses a couple has to encounter when wedding planning, the reception venue burning down is not something one would ever anticipate. After receiving the bad news, most of Friday was spent in tears of disbelief. BUT!!! The good news is, we got on the phone and internet right away to hunt for a new location. My two choices after Mayfair Lakes were both booked already, and changing the date of the wedding would mean changing all of the things that we've already arranged: church, DJ, decorator, photographer, florist, tux rentals, makeup artist...it's a long list that I wasn't willing to do over again.
Thankfully we found a new location that was available on our day, and we beat the other bride gunning for the same date by getting in there quickly and throwing down a deposit as fast as we could sign on the dotted line. Her wedding was scheduled for the weekend before ours, and the only available date close to that one at this new venue was ours! According to the food and beverage manager, he's been trying to accommodate many stranded couples from Mayfair. We ran into one of them when viewing the new venue. Their wedding is in July and they already printed all of their invitations- my heart goes out to that bride, and all of the others who were booked at Mayfair and are now up shit creek without a paddle. In a sinking boat. With no life preservers.
We're still bummed out that we had to switch venues, but this one has a better view, a bigger dance floor, and two bars. Which just means that we're going to be drunkenly dancing more wildly against a prettier backdrop.
We can consider the reception venue as good as in ashes, because our contract has officially been canceled and I am officially devastated. As if this week (and life in general) couldn't get any more stressful. I'm considering launching an investigation for the arsonist responsible for this...in my spare time between school, trying to line up an internship for the summer, trying to find a new wedding venue, other various wedding planning tasks, and life in general. Upon finding this individual I will kick them in the shins and then go full-out Bridezilla. Whatever that means. I have so far prided myself on not being a crazy bride. I'm trying to keep this light hearted because I'm quite broken up over this. The venue was the most important part of the entire day for us. And unfortunately all of the other good ones are booked. But, at the end of the day, I'm still going to be married to the greatest guy there is. And now the only thing to do is eat ice cream...and plenty of it.
Have you ever seen TV shows or movies where a couple is getting married and their venue is double booked? How awful, right? Ours wasn't double booked...it burned down. OK, it's not a pile of rubble and ashes or anything, but we got an email from the coordinator this afternoon telling us that there was a fire and that our room and the kitchen were both badly damaged. And if you think I wasn't upset enough, I then discovered that it was due to an arson, and then I was just full out angry.
They don't have a projection yet for when the venue will be repaired and everything will be up and running again, so Luc has made me promise not to lose my shit....until I find out. We should know next week whether or not we have to start searching for a new venue...and caterer...and hotel for our guests close to the venue...and ceiling decor that fits our new venue...and I just really don't want to think of how much stress this will cause. The venue was one of the most important choices and the first thing we booked. I looked at reception spots before I looked at wedding dresses.
I don't want to belabour the point any further though - until we know for sure that we're screwed. For now I'll try and forget about this fiasco until we hear back from the coordinator next week, and I'll be thankful that our wedding isn't in May, as we had first planned.
One of the conditions of me going to grad school was that we would no longer be able to buy our own place. At least not until I graduated and got a job. But when I have time, I revel in the torture of browsing for condos on realty sites. My other favourite exercise in masochism is watching Property Virgins, where young couples in the US buy 3-bedroom houses for less than the price of a single bedroom condo in Vancouver. My anxiety to get our own place has nearly peaked, and my dreams of being carried over the threshold into our own place when we're finally husband and wife have been quashed. Now before I sound like a big whiner (too late?), read on to see what I'm talking about. And keep in mind that I just finished blow drying my hair - you'll know what that means in a minute...
I have a tumultuous love/hate relationship with our rental apartment. I love that it's got three huge windows in the living room, but I hate that those windows have obnoxiously ugly blinds from nineteen-whenever the hell they built this place. I love that our bathroom is big, but I hate that its colour scheme is fuschia and baby blue. Yeah, the blue toilet matches the blue bathtub, but I feel like they clash with the pink tiles on the countertop. I love the hardwood floors, but I hate the crusty tiles in the bathroom that are no longer physically possible of looking clean even after you scrub them on your hands and knees for an hour. I love the size (for a one bedroom), but I hate that when someone from out of town visits we have nothing better to offer than a blowup bed. I love that we have lots of cupboards in the kitchen, but I hate that not one of them can fit an upright cereal box. I love that we can control the heat to our apartment, but I hate that our heaters have two settings: off and sauna. And the one last hate that has no love to balance it out...I hate that I have to turn off every light in the place before I blow dry my hair (except in the bedroom where I have to do my hair because the pink bathroom has no sockets) and still, even still, with just one light on in the entire place, the fuse blows. I know we don't have it that bad, but sometimes, when I trip over some shoes that don't fit in the hall closest on my way through the dark to fumble with the breaker again, I just really want our own place that doesn't have a million little hates.
As if the constant stresses of grad school and wedding planning weren't enough, I'm going to add to my anxiety with a little side project. I was browsing my epic 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days list, and realized, I'd better get down to bidness. But instead I'm going to start a '365 days of photos' project (which was foolishly excluded from the list). My projection for tomorrow...starting it off with a bang: photo of my laptop, perhaps? I've gotta keep it real...and if I'm keeping it real, it's a photo of my laptop, my coffee mug, or the jeans that I wear every day because I'm too lazy to think up anything better to wear. And now you're all surely on tenterhooks for tomorrow's big reveal! I promise I won't disappoint! The photos will have their own page on my blog which can be found here: 365 Days of Pics
For the past hour or two I've been the only attendant of a private panflute/recorder concert courtesy of our downstairs neighbour. It's just her, leaning out her window, and me, sitting here trying to write a paper for school. Luc is off on a snowshoeing adventure with a friend, which affords me an entire day of silence and solitude (my prerequisites for productive Saturdays). It's just me and my brain (and my neighbour), trying to hammer some sense out of all the ideas in my head. But right now all I can think of is this:
The music is more distracting than Luc playing those video games that look like action movies. And it conjures up hundreds of images of elves dancing around in my head. So much for productivity.
Did anyone notice all of the alliteration in this blog post? Too much alone time (and too much panflute) makes me go a bit loopy - I might be turning into a Dr. Seuss character. Or maybe I just need some decadent downtime with dessert and a drink? Definitely.
When getting coffee this morning at my regular place, I needed to speak with the proprietor to get some info for an article I'm writing, so I asked the guy working there, "Is the owner here? The guy from Boner Isl.....uuhhhhhh, I mean BOWEN island....Is Alan here?" To which he responded, through laughter he did not at all try to stifle or disguise, "BONER ISLAND!!! Now how's THAT for a freudian slip???"
All I could do was laugh. Boner Island? Yes....Boner Island, that just happened. Try and say "bowen" right after saying "owner" though...it could have happened to anyone. Embarrassing, nonetheless.
I got some great advice from Luc, which he got from his mom, which she gleaned from Luc's sister who was planning her wedding last year. Did you follow that? No? It's ok, this is the important part: Don't read too many bridal magazines, it gets depressing. The same goes for (certain) wedding websites and blogs. I hate to pick on Style Me Pretty (because I read it EVERY day), but they're a great example of how brides are led to set fantastical expectations for their big day. I always have to remind myself that someone designed these weddings, or there was at least a wedding coordinator to lean on. A company, whose job it is to buy pretty things and decorate a room or area is dedicated to conveying a theme and usually has a large sum of money thrown at them to do so. They're always lovely, but if you're not hiring someone to do this for you, chances are you'll make yourself crazy trying to achieve it on your own.
The photos on these sites and in the magazines are out of this world beautiful and, for the most part, out of reach. I don't actually get too bothered by it though- I think our wedding is going to be amazing and very "us", and I love drawing inspiration from these sites and mags. However, it's the photographic treatment that feels a bit contrived. It feels like design showcase (rather than a wedding) where someone has been hired to "style" a room and the photographer takes "artsy" photos that are, arguably, unrelated to the wedding. A few examples:
-a vintage fan
-a stack of books
I understand that these are all contributors to the atmosphere, but when they're featured (alone) in photographs, it bothers me. Yup, just another weird thing that bothers me.
Ever notice how Facebook and Gmail read your content to customize the ads they display for you? Ever get annoyed that they're judging you? These days it's pretty much all the same - bridal this, wedding that...but then..."trying to conceive"? WHAT? Not so fast there, let's get this MPub degree and get married first, then you can pander to me with your baby ads and monthly conception charts.
My March blog banner was meant to be a prophetic signal for the month to come (read: It's gonna rain. Then it's gonna rain some more). But I'm finding that my umbrella is more of a liability than a friend these days. When it's raining sideways, an umbrella provides minimal protection between you and soggy you. Everyone has to face the point in their Vancouver winter weather life where they make the significant choice to abandon their umbrella altogether and construct a near-rainproof outfit that doesn't flip inside out and make you look like a fool when it's windy. My day has almost come; I've been resisting it with great futility and my excuses for carrying an umbrella have been reduced to useless dither. When I'm still soaking wet from head to toe (except my feet which are fantastically warm and dry thanks to my red rain booties!) after carrying an umbrella, it becomes nothing but a cumbersome carry-on. When I'm already juggling a lunch bag, school bag and cup of coffee, I have no patience for another item that, frankly, isn't performing its only duty. Keeping myself dry with an umbrella has become a clumsy sidewalk ballet that always ends in failure. It's a battle that I no longer have the energy to fight. With my hair tucked in a toque, and my head bowed down against a wall of rain, I'll trudge forward umbrella-less until April showers bring May flowers and I can wear regular footwear again.
Me: "Can you slice these chicken breasts so I can stuff them before baking?"
Luc: "What?? I can't do that...I'm a power player, that's a finesse move."
Luc: "I just cut and chop, that one's all you."
-When SNL cast members break character to scream "LIVE from NEW YORK it's SATURDAY NIGHT!"
-Mixing hot chocolate powder with milk rather than water (which the package tells me is "more indulgent")
-When you can tell that an animal is smiling (my dog does this all the time)
-Making a baby laugh
-Wedding planning (I'm completely serious - it's actually really fun!)
-Getting snail mail that isn't a bill
-Free dessert when you're out for dinner
-Laughing so hard that you cry
-Lindt chocolate balls
-The quench of water after a really intense workout
-The airport hello (the happy antithesis to the airport goodbye)
-Laughing out loud from a book
-The view from the peak of Whistler on a clear day
-Shooting the cork off a bottle of champagne
While watching Survivor a few days ago (on TV at the gym, so technically I had no choice), I noted to myself how much it has changed over the years. I recall watching it in high school, but I don't remember such gratuitous displays of sexuality like greasing up half-dressed people and getting them to push themselves along a lubed up slip'n'slide. This was a 'challenge'. Yes, they had to throw a ball in a bucket at the end of the slippery track, but the real feat was for the viewer, squinting at the screen and hoping the pin-thin women didn't snap any of their twiggy limbs in the process. This made me wonder: how many days (weeks, more like) have they been there for? These poor women look starved to death. It was day 9.
What I'm really wondering, though, is if the show was always like this? Maybe as a naive teenager I didn't notice the inappropriate body images and blatantly obvious innuendos (oxymoron?) being pandered to me every week. It's OK though, because now I only watch quality television like One Tree Hill.