Tuesday, January 30, 2007

They Put the Letters "EZ" behind that 1040 for a Reason

It's because it really is easy! Easy as pie! Except I don't really know about that, because if they mean easy as making pie, then it's way easier, and if they mean easy as eating pie, then pie wins every time.

Unless it's coconut cream pie, because EW.

After a couple of years of filing as a business owner and all the extra paperwork that entails, I found this year's federal return filing to be a complete breeze. In fact I kept looking it over to make sure that it was just that one page to fill out. Shouldn't there be more? Or, like, a back to that page? This is it? Seriously?

And then when I saw that I get a sizable sum back even though I'm not claiming a loss on a small business, I was doubly pleased.

I may be alone in saying this, but: I love tax time!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ignoring the Clamor to Bring You This Important Message

When I first moved into the last apartment I had in Kansas City, there was a woman who lived beneath me who had a young son. During the four years that my floor was their ceiling, the boy experimented with various instruments--recorder, saxophone, drums. When he was home alone on a Saturday, he'd often awake quite early and, as a means of occupying himself, turn on the television and begin practicing one of his instruments. I thought I'd die from the agony, but I lived to see another Saturday, and another Saturday, and yet another Saturday of simultaneous television-watching and instrument practice downstairs. Eventually he settled on one instrument, the drums (of course!), and he started to get better, and it started to get a little more bearable. At least the kid had rhythm. Then, he got old enough to want to sleep in a bit, and it was even better. The first Saturday after they moved out, even with the odor of polyurethane seeping up through the registers, it was the best ever. I had been delivered from the cacophony for good, or at least until I had my own children.

Ahem. Right.

Al is currently learning not one, not two, not three, but four whole instruments. The piano I can manage, as he plays well, and also I cannot hear it during my off hours in my room with the door shut. The violin nearly drives me mad, but it is still not loud enough that I can't drown it out with my iPod on. From the recorder there is no escape, but what troubles me now, at this moment, this very moment, when I am attempting to write a blog post that actually makes sense, is the guitar. If you've ever heard an eight year old try to play the guitar, you know just what I mean. The strumming may make it impossible to be even marginally sensical. And yet! I plow on ahead!

Last Friday I had Jarod set that thingy I got him for Christmas up to record the Today Show. A blogger whose blog I've been reading and enjoying for quite some time was going to be on, talking about moms having drinks at play groups, and I wanted to see how it went. I was hoping it would go well, that even if whoever else was on didn't agree with her position, that it would be a fair discussion. Shortly after the segment aired, I found out that the fancy thing didn't record enough of the show to get it, so I went hunting for it on the internet so I could watch it. I couldn't believe what I saw. Melissa did a fine job, as I knew in my heart she would, but the whole thing was so biased and unbalanced that it barely left room for anything other than what The Today Show decided was appropriate to show. Their sense of judgment must be more than a wee bit off, because what they deemed worthy of footage, and the questions that were asked, were far from fair. Not only did they make what seemed to be normal moms having a glass of wine with friends (because they can, because they are adults), they pitted both the show's host and a psychologist with plenty of on-air experience against a normal mom who was making her television debut. I'm sure there were plenty of others of you out there who are (or know) moms who are just like Melissa who were looking at their televisions or computer monitors and doing the ol' mental "WTF?" I certainly was.

Which is why I am doing my best to ignore the off-rhythm strumming downstairs to tell you this thing that I think is important. I think that it is perfectly all right for responsible parents to have an adult beverage while their children are around. In fact, I think it is a healthy way to model moderation. I grew up in a home where my parents didn't drink much, and when they did, we didn't know about it except that we found the empty wine cooler bottles under the sink later. I understand the thought behind it, but what I came away with was that drinking was not okay, and if you did decide to do it, you should hide the evidence. (Which is not to say that's what my parents meant to do--hi, Mom!--but that is the thought process that resulted for me.) I spent years coming to a place where I didn't judge people who would have a drink, years becoming comfortable with a drink being on the table in my presence, years getting to where I am now, which is a place where I know that there's nothing wrong with the fact that I like champagne and chocolate martinis and Bailey's in cola. As an adult, I can have a drink if I like, and there is no harm in it. Though I wouldn't wish to change my parents, who are still mostly non-drinkers, I would wish to change the fact that I grew up understanding only the two opposite ends of what turns out is a fairly big spectrum. I wish I had somehow come to understand the middle. Moderation. And that is where I think healthy modeling, either by parents themselves or exposure to other responsible adults, comes in. I want my kids, when I have some, to understand that grown-ups can have a drink and still be good, upstanding people. I want them to see that many people can have just one or two and then stop because that's enough. I want them to understand that there are some things that are reserved for grown-ups, and that that's good and right. They will grow into adults someday, too, and then they can decide if and when they will have a glass of wine or a very tasty chocolate martini with their friends.

Melissa did a fine job on the Today Show. You should watch the piece and go tell her so.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This is What Dreams Are Made of

Right here.

Good thing I put that cupcake carrier on our Target registry. Not that I'd want any of the cupcakes actually leaving the house once I make them...

It's Like Living in an Alternate Universe in Which All the Light Switches Have Dimmers

I don't know why, but lately when I get into bed to go to sleep, it suddenly occurs to me, after daylight hours of not really thinking about it, that it feels really weird to be living here. In the beginning I just didn't think about the circumstances I find myself in very much; there was so much to get used to with the job that there wasn't much brain space for anything else. And then I found myself knowing that I have a wedding to plan and then the holidays came up and it was all a jumble. My mind was more than occupied by other thoughts. But now it's mid-winter, most of the wedding plans are coming along quite smoothly, the holidays are over, and I find myself agog at what my life really looks like. Here's what I'm getting at:

Hello, my name is Mary, I am thirty-one years old, and I live in a room above someone else's garage, a room I can't redecorate, a room that will belong to someone else in about six months. I don't go home after work because this is where I work. I can only go upstairs.

Most of the time that's okay. It rather feels like I am living in a hotel room for a very long time. I happen to be one of those weirdos that unpacks everything into the hotel drawers and hangs things in the hotel wardrobe. I arrange all my cleansers and lotions neatly on the hotel bathroom sink. I completely take over the hotel under-sink cabinet. The furniture all belongs to someone else, but it's got my stuff all over it. And so it is here. I fall asleep at night hearing other people's voices. I awake in the morning to the noise and vibration of the garage door going up beneath me as the kids' mom leaves for work. It is what it is, and I suppose I've become used to it. It just gets a little old sometimes is all. No one wants to live in a hotel forever.

I'll be fine for the time I have left here. I am actively redecorating Jarod's house, even from afar, and when I move in next September, I'll be moving into a place I can call home. For now this will do. After all, being here is what will allow me to have my brand new IKEA kitchen. For that, I think I can do hotel-like living for as long as it takes.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It's a Good Day for a Story

One year ago today, on a Tuesday, I stood anxiously in the Apple store, waiting for my date to come upstairs. I hate that sort of waiting, that sort of showing up to meet someone and then hanging around in a public place, being asked from time to time if I need anything, or, in this particular place, why I wasn't playing the SpongeBob typing game, as was my usual. It seemed like it took forever for him to emerge, and then there he was, with a stocking hat on, even though the day had gotten sunny and fairly warm. I distinctly remember telling him that it was warm, and that he wouldn't really need it, and he explained to me that it was all part of the outfit because the Apple stocking hat went with the Apple jacket, and he wore them both together. And at that point I thought, "Whoa. Geeky."

We walked around the corner and down the block to eat at Panera. I don't remember what I had, but I'm guessing it involved a chicken panini, since I rarely go to Panera and get something that is not a chicken panini. I don't remember what he had either, though I'm guessing sandwich because I'm real good at that educated guessing thing. I do remember chatting, and then having to walk back, and the part where I had to rush away so I wouldn't be late picking Jack up from school. We parted at the corner of Broadway and Nichols Road, and I called Nicole to let her know how it had gone. I said something to the effect of, "Wellllll, I dunnooooooooo, I mean, I dunnoooooo," and she replied, "Well, if it's not a match, it's just not a match." We'd been through this sort of post-date evaluation enough times that I could take it if this wasn't the guy for me, and not only that, but it wasn't like he was the only guy whose attentions I was entertaining, so, hey! More where that came from! Next!

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I'd taken to be awkwardness might have just been nervousness. The more I turned over in my mind how I'd say no gently but firmly if he were to ask me out again, the closer I came to the conclusion that maybe I should give him one more chance. The way I'd approached dating matters in the past hadn't exactly worked out for me; perhaps it was time to do things differently. Maybe I'd written off people who were good people just because the first date wasn't perfect. I reasoned that it wasn't as if two dates would somehow bind me to him. I called Nicole back and this time told her that I thought that maybe if he asked me out again, then maybe I'd go, just to see. Maybe he was just nervous. Maybe I was just too particular. Maybe next time he wouldn't wear that stocking hat for the entirety of the date.

The next night I was feeling out of sorts, and I blogged about it. When I hopped on iChat, he asked if I'd like him to come over to take care of me. And that sounded nice. So I said yes, and I gave him my address, and he came over. He sat next to me on the couch once I'd convinced him that he didn't have to sit across the room in a separate chair, and we looked at photos and talked. It came easily, and it felt nice to sit next to him. He was tender and kind, and he wasn't wearing that stocking hat. And I liked him. I liked him a lot. I'm not sure it counts as a second date, but if it does, it was a good one.

What transpired for the entire evening, I won't tell you, in part because it's boring, and in part because it's none of your business. What I will tell you is that it wasn't long after that that he asked me, on iChat, of course, if he could call me his girlfriend, and I said, "I won't answer that ON ICHAT. And also, they're called flowers, and girls like them." Despite my rude reply, he brought flowers the next time he came, and when he asked me then if I'd be his girlfriend, I said yes.

One year later, with a ring on my finger, and a date set to become his wife, I'm so very glad I did.

He's a good man. He puts up with a lot from me, and he rarely complains about it, though I believe that sometimes he has every right to do so. I will be the first to tell you that I am not easy in romantic relationships. I can be a bit prickly, and I can be very emotional, and I can talk way more than is necessary in any given evening. He takes all of that in stride. I have not hidden anything from him about the way I am, not even from the very beginning, and he grew to love me still. He tells me that no matter what happens, that nothing could make him love me less. After all the missteps and hurts of the past, I very much need a man like that. I know a lot of girls who need a man like that, but they are still waiting. And that is why I don't take lightly the fact that I've got the man I need, that I am very much blessed and lucky indeed.


Happy Anniversary, Jarod. I love you very, very, very, very, very, very much.

Monday, January 22, 2007

But First, A Tip on Making Chicken More Tender

Soak it in water before you cook it.

No, really. I noticed that the chicken that I defrost is always more tender than the fresh chicken I've just gotten from the store, and my hunch was that this was due only to the fact that I defrost by sinking the bird into a big bowl of water. So today I dropped my fresh-from-the-store chicken into water for a couple of hours before I cooked it, and TA-DA! Moist, tender chicken. So there you go.

And now, what you've all been waiting for: What I Did Over the Weekend, as told by before and after shots.

My room, before:
(Or, um, after I'd emptied my file cabinet contents among all the other crap that was already out, but before I'd cleaned anything up.)

before, from one side

You're welcome for putting away the bra that was carelessly tossed over the back of the couch. (Or maybe I should be saying "I'm sorry" if you're some sort of sicko.)

Now, from the other side:

before, from the other side

I know. The horror.

But it got better, because I worked real hard like or something:

after

Look, Ma, no random receipts or unread People magazines! (Yes, reading those was part of cleaning up. I KNOW. Shut up.)

For balance, the opposite side:

after

Yes, I am aware, a miracle has occurred her. Amen. Hallelujah. Let there be praise for anal retentive filing systems everywhere and the people who feel it's necessary to make them.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

More Bits of Nothing Important for Your Reading Pleasure

After spending a little too much money in the city two weekends ago, and spending plenty of time there with Jarod last weekend, I've decided to stay at home this weekend and next. This is good on the not-spending-money front and also on the home-organization front. Because, DUDE, you should see my living room type area. If I were a kid, I would ground myself until it got all cleaned up. Who knew a file cabinet could hold so much crap, and that emptying it all out would take up so much of the rest of my space?

...

I had this notion that I would be able to sort seven months worth of piled up kind-of-but-not-really organized bills/keepsakes/photos/etc. in just a couple of hours, but I'm beginning to think that was a bit too ambitious. In fact, I've given up completely for now and am sitting around eating chocolate cookies. If you can't beat the mess, just learn to hang out with it for awhile.

...

I'm also trying to sort through my closet, but this proves particularly tough, as my method of dressing myself here is so different from my usual. My habit in Kansas City was to go running after work, then shower and dress for whatever I was doing for the evening. Most of the time it would be something pretty low key, and the clothes would still be fresh at the end, so I'd just lay them out neatly and put them on the next morning. Since the people I worked for were different than the people I hung out with in the evening, no one was the wiser. However, here I work later and rarely go out in the evenings. So in the morning, there's nothing from the night before neatly laid out. I have to go to my closet and, you know, pick something out. This is a little much for me to attend to in the morning, so I generally wear the same few things over and over. I have multiple shirts here that I haven't worn at all this season. Normally, I'd take that as a cue that they need to go to Goodwill. Except, wait, will I want to wear those when my life returns to something a little more normal? I DON'T KNOW. And that, fine internet friends, is the problem.

...

There are a lot of things that are different about the way I live here. I don't read as many books. I don't hang out with friends on weeknights. I have a very hard time going to church. As much as I am loving being close to New York City, and as nice as it is to make good money, I am very much looking forward to moving back to Kansas City. I feel more like myself there, more like I have a life as opposed to pressing through the week just to make it to the weekend.

...

The family is gone to their ski house in Vermont most weekends now, which has been sublime. No offense to the family, but I feel so much more relaxed when no one else is here, when I can shuffle into the kitchen anytime and not have to interact with the people I interact with all week as my job. Imagine being off work, yet finding your boss and coworkers having a pancake breakfast in your kitchen in the morning. You're wandering in all squeegee-eyed and not yet awake, and there they are. Then, later, when you go down to find a snack or get a cup of tea, guess what? There they are again. And they want to talk to you. Geez.

...

I think a nap is a good idea for a Saturday afternoon, don't you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This is Why We Need a Heaven

I don't think there are ever the right words to eulogize an infant. There's not an "I'm sorry" that works to convey how awfully sad and sick I feel inside when I know that someone's tiny baby isn't going to make it. There isn't anything that makes it easier or better, that can give back the hope that baby's family felt for his life. It doesn't seem right or fair that someone so small should live such a short time, that we would never really get to know them. And this is why we need a heaven. So that there is somewhere for that baby to be, a chance to grow up in some mysterious fashion, an opportunity that we might meet him someday and say hello and how we wished he'd been a part of our lives here, how we loved him without knowing him because we loved the people who loved him with all their hearts.

I didn't know Tyler, but I know the people who love him. I know that their hearts must ache with an ache that will not be soothed. And for what it's worth, I am very, very sorry, and I wish with all my heart that it hadn't turned out this way. I am thinking of you, Tyler, and of your family. May heaven be sweet for a little boy born too soon, and may the kind friends on earth be enough to carry your family through these difficult days.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It Gets a Little Harder Every Time

To say good-bye, that is. Only seven more months of this, I tell myself. Seven more months of a commuter relationship, and then we'll get to be like real couples and hang out whenever we want. No flights required.

Jarod and I had a superb time kicking around NYC together this weekend, despite the fact that I forgot that I hate people and led us into the very heart of People People Everywhere, otherwise known as the Museum of Natural History. At first I was all excited about seeing the animals! The animals! I just want to see the animals! And also dinosaurs! And then it all went straight downhill as I realized that the people, they were everywhere, and they were invading my natural personal space area of at least eighteen inches on each side. How dare they! We saw a few exhibits, then settled on the floor of the fourth floor to eat the sandwiches we'd brought along. As I chewed silently, I eyed all the people with suspicion. Why were they there? (It was rainy out, what else were they going to do?) Why did they bring so many children? (It's a museum with dioramas of all sorts of animals, and kids kind of dig that, duh.) Why won't they just leave? (They paid a lot of money to be here, and they want to get their money's worth, too.) Jarod asked me if I was having a good time and I nodded without thinking about it, to which his reply was to look me in the eye and shake his head no. He's totally onto me. I mean, even though I kept saying that I hate people and my body was tensing up when a room was too full, I really thought I could fool him by nodding, but he's no dummy! He stuck with me through the dinosaurs, after which I asked, probably rather loudly, "Is there anything you want to see before we go? Because I'm pretty much DONE HERE." I may have also cast looks of displeasure at fellow museum-goers all the while. Who can say? So we went backwards around some space/planet/model thingy and then (sweet relief!), we exited the building. I couldn't get enough fresh air after that. I also couldn't get enough cupcakes, but that had more to do with the fact that I could only afford one for each of us, and not because there weren't lots more in the case that I would have gladly consumed.

I tell you what, the man is a saint to put up with me.

together in nyc

Still, he looks pretty happy about it, doesn't he? So I guess it works out well in the end.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cures for the Usual Ailment

And by Usual Ailment, I mean, a case of The Meh. The Meh will sneak up on you when you are about to have a three day weekend and your fiance is coming into town. It'll creep right up when you have the whole afternoon to yourself because the people you work for all left early. It will hit you right between the eyes when you sip your favorite Starbucks beverage. The Meh is not very kind. It likes to remind you that you can't do some of the things you really want to. It doesn't hesitate to mention the ways other people have wronged you and not apologized for. It enjoys bringing up petty disappointments and inflating them like Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. It is relentless. And as far as treatment is concerned, my particular strain only responds to two things:

1. Chocolate
2. Lottery winnings

Since I have not been playing the lottery, I'm going to have to go with the first option for relief. If you need me, you can find me by looking for the girl with her face all the way inside the bag of mint chocolate candies.

Enjoy your weekend. I'll bring back photos of mine.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Many Fears of Flight

I've been doing a lot of flying in and out of LaGuardia lately. For a minute there, it looked like it might taper off, but that is not the case. LaGuardia, thank you for being my second home. I love your coffee and your chocolate croissants. I choose to ignore your carpet stains, if not to love you all the better, to at least live in a cocoon in which the possibility of someone vomiting there and it not being cleaned properly simply does not exist.

Most of the time when I return to LaGuardia, I am flying in at night. The city is lit up, and I can see all the bridges. It is beautiful, and it makes me feel better about coming back. I tolerate Connecticut, but I love New York City. Seeing her lit up like a sparkly evening gown always makes me smile. That moment when the plane seems to be smoothly sailing just above the water, before the runway sneaks up out of nowhere and meets with the landing gear; now that is a moment not to be missed. I always choose the window seat; it just wouldn't be the same staring across someone else's space to take it all in. I love that.

Except when I don't.

From time to time the wind will shift a little bit, or maybe the pilot's just had his eighth cup of coffee, making him a bit shaky, and the plane dips a little or there's a bit of a wobble, and then it goes straight from The Poetic Beauty of Flying into New York at Night to CRAP!CRAP!CRAP!CRAP!WEMIGHTALLDIE! In those times, I'm glad the runway comes up so quickly to meet the plane, that I am hastily assured that I won't, in fact, be drowning somewhere in Long Island Sound, holding onto a stranger for comfort. I always feel a bit grateful, and a bit foolish, to realize that my overactive imagination was just doing it's thing again. I breathe easier every time it happens, knowing that the last time it happened, I lived, and so it is likely that this time I'll live, too. And so I've made my peace with flying, at least mostly.

And I say mostly because now it turns out there's the possibility of this happening, and I just don't know how I can ever fly again without being completely skeeved out, just knowing that there's the slightest chance that, while I am slouched against the window in a Dramamine-induced stupor, something could just go crawling up my pants.

Eek, eek, eek.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I'm Hoping They at Least Noticed How Neatly I'd Lined Up All My Used Water Bottles by the Door

I try to keep my room here fairly neat. It's partly because small spaces can go from Oh Hallelujah to Hell In A Handbasket in two point four seconds if you don't watch it, but honestly? It's mostly because this is not my house, and people who are not me sometimes come up here. Because it's their house. Which they own. And there's stuff up here in a storage nook which, hey, they also own since it's their house and their storage nook. So sometimes they need to get something, or sometimes they need to decorate or undecorate (someday that's totallly going to be a real word, just wait for it) for a holiday, which includes decorating or undecorating every window in the house, including mine. Most of the time they'll ask if they can come in, but if I'm not here, they just go ahead.

So I've had these Christmas wreaths hanging from my windows since the day after Thanksgiving, and just Friday I looked up and thought, "Huh, those are looking pretty, well, dead. I wonder when they'll get taken down? Perhaps I should keep things especially tidy just in case it's soon." And then I promptly forgot all about that. I had Pajama Day, during which cleaning up is strongly discouraged unless the item(s) in question may rot, attract bugs, begin to smell bad, or get tripped over more than once. I pretty much spread a ton of papers and magazine all around my rug and left bits of electronic devices (chargers, earphones, etc.) throughout the room at large. This morning, to add to the mess mayhem, I woke up a bit later than I planned, rushed through getting ready, and decided at the very last minute that the shirt I was wearing wouldn't do, and I'd simply have to try on at least eleven others before I found the exact right one. Due to the last minute shirt crisis, I didn't end up putting away any of my makeup, hanging up my bath towel, or even remembering to turn off the closet light and shut the door. I left all the discarded shirts wherever they'd been discarded and rushed out to catch my train, hoping no one would need anything up here. They hadn't been up here for weeks, why would they need to come in today?

Um.

I'll take Dying Christmas Decor for 800, Alex.

Fan. Tas. Tic.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Welcome to the First Pajama Day of 2007

My name is Mary, and I would have been your hostess, except that it's a little late for that now, don't you think? It's nearly real pajama time, and it just won't do to start now, when it's too late in the evening to enjoy the freedom of living the whole day in pajamas. Choose another day if you like, and feel free to follow my lead by doing the following:

1. Chocolate for breakfast, chocolate for lunch, and then a sensible dinner. Kind of sensible. Read: Does not have to include vegetables if you can't find any already prepared. Actually cooking on Pajama Day just won't do. If you can't cook it by hitting the button marked "EXPRESS" on the microwave, it just isn't worth it.

2. Watch every episode of Grey's Anatomy that you haven't seen. If you didn't begin your obsessive television watching until the show was already in the middle of Season Two, this could be a lot, and that's okay, because it's Pajama Day.

3. Decide that it's too much trouble to go somewhere just to have someone give you bangs, and since today is Pajama Day anyway, and leaving the house might necessitate putting on clothes, just do it yourself. If they're a little uneven, it's okay. Just keep the scissors by the sink for touch ups and stray hairs you might have missed. If you cut them slightly shorter than you meant to, that's okay, too. It's hair. It grows.*

4. Take a nap at 5pm.

5. Work out only because you don't want to do it tomorrow, and it will need to be done over the weekend. Do the easy version of all the yoga poses until you feel guilty enough about it that you do the very last two right. You may wear something other than pajamas (you know, like workout attire) for your workout because, let's face it, at least the ladies among us need something more supportive than a pajama top to keep the girls in check. Especially if we're doing cardio. (And I did do some cardio. So ambitious for Pajama Day, I know.)

6. Don't shower right after the workout. Settle on the floor, eat Hershey's Kisses, and watch a couple more episodes of Grey's.

7. Have some hot tea in the evening and just relaaaaaaax.

*I realize that you are all now going to want to see a photo of my new bangs, but you're just going to have to wait. It's Pajama Day. I don't do self-portrait work on Pajama Day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Could Be Watching Grey's Anatomy Season One, But Instead I'm Blogging

It's because I'm a giver. A giver of what the requesters are asking for, this time the story of the proposal, which isn't a long story, so I can get back to Grey's Anatomy without feeling too troubled.

Jarod and I had been talking about getting married since, oh, I don't know, the times we talked about it without actually saying the M word because, ACK! Who says the M word anymore? It is veiled in secrecy, shrouded in mystery, untouched by man and by all women who know what's good for them. Still, we talked about it. Eventually we began looking at rings, and then there was the question of whether or not he should ask my parents, to which I said something like, "Well, it's not really up to them since I am already an adult and all, but they'd probably appreciate it, so sure, go right ahead." And he did go right ahead! He went right ahead way back in October. So my mom got all excited and my dad thought it was nice and they started plotting about how to move all my crap from their basement to Jarod's basement. It was all very good, and I felt a sense of relief knowing that a proposal was forthcoming and that I would never have to date again unless there was some sort of tragedy.

And then we started planning the wedding. We booked a reception site. I shopped for decorations. We decided what sort of delicious finger foods we would offer our guests. October came and went. Then, so did November. And then, most of December. And this is where I have to pause and say to the gentlemen who love their girlfriends very much and would rather not drive them crazy: Please don't ask her parents until you have the ring. She will go nuts, and most likely so will her mother, because her mother will want to tell everyone she knows, and she just can't bear keeping her mouth shut about the good news. And then your girlfriend will feel all stressed out from the pressure, not to mention the fact that she's trying to intercept wedding type mail (which she shouldn't have gotten anyway, seeing as she very carefully marked the box indicating that her information should not be shared outside the wedding organization site) since she hasn't told her employers, in whose home she lives, that she is getting married. She might cry a couple of times.

The hindsight, it is 20/20, is it not?

Finally, on the day I arrived in Kansas City, he proposed. I was hoping he wouldn't waste any time, because my patience was pretty much nonexistent by then. (He's getting such a gem, isn't he? An impatient complainer! Lucky!) He took me to dinner at Lidia's (which I chose, which was kind of sneaky of him, because I kind of figured that he would choose the restaurant if he was going to propose), and when we arrived back at his house, there was the ring in it's lovely little box, beneath the little ceramic Christmas tree around which we'd arranged all our other gifts. I didn't notice it at first because I was busy taking off my coat, but then the sparkle caught the light and I said, "Oh!" He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him, and, because I am nice, I said yes instead of the other smart alecky answers I'd thought up. It was all very sweet and simple and good. And we are very happy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I'd Tell You All About the Holidays, But After I Tell You This One Thing, You Won't Care About Anything Else

So, here you go:

the hardware

(A better photo of the setting is here, if you're interested in that sort of thing.)

(Also, I know I need to use lotion more frequently. If you can't look at the photo because of my crackly finger, I understand.)

We'd known for quite some time that we'd be getting married, and, being the backwards people we are, had already been planning the wedding regardless of the fact that Jarod hadn't actually proposed or handed over the bling already. However, now it's official, so you can all know now and either shout for joy or weep, depending on whether you're incredibly happy for us or terribly distraught over the fact that we're both off the market.

It's going to be a good 2007, don't you think?