Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A breath of fresh air

The last couple of days here have been delightfully cool, with the nights even delightfully cooler. I'm not actually ready for fall yet; this was clearly demonstrated by my rummaging around in the storage closet looking for sweaters when I realized that it was only going to get to 72 yesterday and today. (Note: because we are oh-so-organized, the cold weather clothes only got moved to the storage closet maybe a month ago, so having to get some of them back out already was a bit ironic to say the least.) But I have GREATLY enjoyed being able to sleep with a comforter on the bed again for the last couple of nights.

Of course, to balance that lovely, happy, snuggled-under-the-covers feeling, the cats have felt a need to wake us up every couple of hours for the past two nights. It seems that the heat puts them into sort of a lethargic stupor, rendering them incapable of moving during the night. But once it cools off a little, they're suddenly young and frisky again and think that 3 a.m. is a great time to squawk at your moms until they wake up and play with you. Or throw things at you, one of the two.

In addition to cool days and cool nights, this weather has also evenings (funny how that happens, right?) And cool evenings are the perfect time for knitting! Yeah, knitting, remember when I used to do that? The temporary onset of cooler weather, coupled with rapidly approaching September, has suddenly reminded me of all the knitting projects I had planned for various gifts this fall and winter. And yes, at least a couple of them were things that I said months ago "oh, I really want to finish this for Christmas this year, so I need to just work on it a little at a time all year to make sure it's done on time." Guess how well that went? Oh well, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to knit in the next few months--it's not like I have anything else to do, right?

Wait, what's that? The wedding hasn't planned itself yet? Hmmm.

Speaking of wedding planning, I know Carrie already told you all about the limo issue. So we had emailed a well-recommended limo company and were all excited about their price. Until, of course, we discovered that they were passive-aggressive homophobes. C'mon people, if you're gonna hate on us, at least have the decency to admit that you're hatin' instead of not responding. But in all of our wedding-planning so far, this was the first negative vendor response (or, I guess non-response) that we've gotten regarding being a same-sex couple. And it stung, more than I expected it to. After they didn't reply the first time, I thought "okay, give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they're just slow, even though they did reply to the online form super fast." But after there was no reply to the second email, my thoughts mostly involved a lot of expletives that I do not feel to be blog-worthy. And then I was upset because it's really hurtful to have someone reject our relationship (I mean, besides the federal government and 45 US states that won't recognize our marriage, such as the states we're getting married in, live in, and work in) and because I was pretty convinced that we were going to have to pay significantly more for a limo from another company. (And if you know me well, you will know that I have some money anxiety, so it shouldn't surprise you that the wedding is no exception). But I'm so glad that we asked the question, as we have with everyone we've dealt with in planning. I would much, much rather avoid any awkward situations on our big day, and of course I much prefer that none of the wedding budget be going to homophobic businesses or individuals.

So, I was in a funk over the limo, to say the least. And then I got an email from Carrie while I was at work, forwarding me the response to our quote request from the limo company made of Awesome. I was quite pleased when I saw that the quote was lower than we expected it to be (including lower than the aforementioned meanie limo company). But when I got to the end of the quote and read, "As far as being same sex couples, we are gay owned and operated and have chauffeurs on our staff that are gay...All of our staff is VERY diverse and open and you would not have a problem with anyone," I actually started to tear up at my desk (Fortunately none of my co-workers were nearby!) Needless to say, the limo is booked, and I am ecstatic about it.

So, the limo was a learning experience, and I'm glad it all worked out in the end. Just when I was getting tired of summer, we got a break with some cool air. And just as I was getting depressed and angry about some people's views of our relationship, I was reminded that there are supporters out there. The limo good news and the first few RSVPs all arrived at a very good time, particularly as we're starting to panic about how much we still need to do in the next 10 weeks or so. Yikes! Okay, back to breathing...

This post brought to you by the rambling thought and the overused parentheses....

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wedding progress, bit by bit

This lovely (coughpouringraincough) Monday brought some very satisfying wedding progress that I have come here to our humble little blog to share with you.

First of all, we received our first RSVPs!! And they were both yes! We had a bet going and we both lost because neither of us thought the first ones would come so soon! It's kind of fun the way we could make a guess from the postmark, but especially when it's the Twin Cities area or the Fond du Lac area we won't really have any clue! Having actual RSVPs in hand is sort of trippy and fun, because it means that this is actually really happening. We both go through moments of panic that no one is going to come (ok, and also moment of panic that everyone we invited is going to come!) and it's nice to know that at least SOMEONE beyond our immediate families and wedding party type peoples is going to come! I'm looking forward to watching them roll in over the next six weeks.

Secondly, our convoluted search for a limo company seems to have come to an end. Several weeks ago we e-mailed several companies for price quotes. They were all higher than we wanted, and so we did what all good procrastinators do, and did nothing for a few weeks.

Last week we decided it was time to take the project up again. We dug up reviews on several more companies and requested a new batch of quotes. One company came in clearly with the best set of price point and reviews. We exchanged a few pleasant e-mails with the company and thought we had basically made our decision. And then we asked the "we're a same-sex couple..." question. And suddenly... Bueller? Bueller? No reply. We gave limo guy the benefit of the doubt and followed up with a repeat e-mail. Still nothing. And so, sadly, we resigned ourselves to the idea of paying nearly $100 more and selecting a second choice.

Until... we sent out a few additional e-mails, including a second contact with our initial first choice that we rejected due to the expense. We went ahead and asked the gay question right up front to avoid disappointment. And guess what? Not only is the company gay-friendly, they're actually gay-owned and operated. And, the best part is, because fate was on our side, it turns out that the price is actually LOWER than Bueller's price. HAH, TAKE THAT!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baby names and Maps

Becky sent me an e-mail yesterday with the title "I'm almost afraid to tell you about this." Apparently she knows me too well.

Since childhood I've loved baby names. I loved going through books of names and coming up with names and personalities for enormous imaginary families. The families had chore schedules and pets (with names!) and all kinds of details. But mostly, names. For years I've talked to Becky about baby names and she has refused to participate, being one of those women who has not had her future children named for decades. Now that we're finally engaged, a few months ago, she finally let me have one conversation in which she entertained the idea of naming children something other than Rainbow Cloudforest and Cookiedough Christmastree. So yes, I love baby names.

I also have a long standing love of maps showing regional differences. For example, here is a really awesome one of the great pop vs. soda debate. Seriously, I could stare at that thing for hours. I love election returns maps for similar reasons. This cool one shows changes over time and this awesome one shows the 2004 presidential election results by county and population size. And here is an absolutely amazing collection of regional American dialect maps. So, if I haven't convinced you I'm a nerd yet...

You can imagine my excitement when Becky sent this my way. How cool is that? I wish there was some way names could be shown in colors on a map, but this is still awesome. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer's ending

In some oddly pessamistic way, my summer is really short. I don't really consider it summer until it gets warm enough to swim in the ocean and the kids I work with finish school, which pretty much means the end of June. But now I find myself prematurely declaring summer over when Becky's summer hours end and her kids start coming back for the fall, despite the fact that NYC public school kids still have three weeks left.

And once again, I don't feel ready for the season change. I'm never ready for the heat of summer to start, and now I'm not ready for it to go. The past week or so I've started to notice the sun setting as I finish a late visit for work. Soon those late visits will end in total darkness, and after that dusk will be falling even on the miraculous days I make it out on time.

But even with a few weeks technically left, I'm happy to reflect that it has been a really nice summer. We've taken small steps into doing more fun stuff, eating better, keeping our house cleaner, and generally being a bit more like the people we want to be. Theoretically that was the theme when Becky started this blog, but I think only a small portion of it has really been reflected here. I'm always preaching to clients to recognize and celebrate the small positive changes, because that tends to be how positive change realistically comes. In my own life though, its still easy to get caught up in the vegetables I didn't eat yet, the weight I didn't lose yet, the dishes that are still sitting in the sink, and the money I didn't save.

And now of course I want to rest on my laurels and enjoy the rest of the summer at the beach and camping and eating outdoors. But instead its time to focus furiously on planning for the next steps.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So much weddingness

Just a quick post to let the world know that we're still alive. I'm not quite sure what happened, but suddenly it seems that all the wedding tasks are coming at us fast and furious. Invitations have been mailed (Thanks for all your help, Jen!) and all sorts of little things taken care of, but it seems that every time we cross a little thing off the to do list, we discover three more things to add!

Fortunately, this sudden insanity has coincided with the end of "Summer Fridays" at my work. During the summer, my office is closed on Fridays, but in exchange, we make up the extra hours Monday-Thursday, which meant that I frequently didn't get home until after 8:00. By the time we then made dinner, it was after 9:00 before the evening really started, which left little time or energy to think about anything other than staring blankly at facebook and then going to bed. Hopefully now that I'm getting home a little earlier, this trend of being able to get wedding stuff (and more fun blogging!) done will continue.

To close, a real-life conversation from our couch for your amusement:
Carrie: Is it a sign that I've been looking at too much wedding stuff that these personalized tote bags are starting to look like a good idea?
Me: Yes.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Weekend Recap

There was no theme of this weekend per say, but we did manage to pack a lot into it! Friday evening Becky's friend Meagan came over to discuss music for our wedding ceremony. Becky whipped up some delicious spaghetti and garlic bread (I'm jealous of summer Fridays!) for us to eat and we busted out some champagne and orange dreamsicle cocktails (the Becky and Carrie signature cocktail??) and ended up having an enjoyable social evening talking about pretty much everything you could think of. By the time we were thinking about bed Meagan realized it was really late to be dragging herself back to Brooklyn alone and decided to crash on our futon. The next morning we continued the music conversation (have I ever mentioned that we're crazy indecisive people, which makes planning a wedding a close to impossible feat?) over pancakes. Yum.

Meagan had hardly left us and we had barely settled into some productivity when who should appear on our doorstep but Kara! Two friends in one day is pretty much unprecedented for New Jersey lepers! We had another nice chat and then sent Kara off on her way to sit in horrible traffic on the George Washington Bridge.

Saturday evening we did something we had never done before. Roller Derby! Spectating, not participating, because we're way not anywhere near hardcore enough to do that. We watched the Bronx Gridlock face off in a bout against the Queens of Pain. In usual Becky-and-Carrie-watch-sports tradition we each selected at random a team to root for at the beginning. I ended up with Bronx Gridlock, while Becky took Queens of Pain. She won, but only because Suzy Hotrod could pretty much eat any of us for dinner. We quickly learned to appropriately use words like "jammer" and "blocker" in sentences, and actually somewhat passionately rooted for our teams. Which is saying a lot, if you've ever watched sports with us (or, you know, read our fascinating live blogging of sporting events). Roller derby is a very random mix of gay, punk, and awkward misfits. You decide where we fit in there.

Sunday we headed the other direction to Six Flags: Hurricane Harbor. It was on our summer to-do list, and we had $10 passes from earlier in the summer when Becky and a friend experienced electrical problems at regular Six Flags. We had a fun day in the end, but let's just say I wouldn't go if you don't have $10 passes. As best I can tell proximity to the ocean is inversely related to quality of a water park. Hurricane Harbor staff could learn a lot about efficiency, cleanliness, and friendliness from Noah's Ark staff. At one point we waited forever to be allowed to put our tube in the water while listening to a SEATED lifeguard complain about how the waterslide we were not choosing to go on was better. Then, when our tube was stuck the lifeguard didn't bother to get up and instead let a little kid behind us in line get off of his tube and come push us off and yell "have fun!" after us. We also probably stood in line for about an hour at one family tube ride because they didn't have enough tubes so the line had to stand and wait for tubes to come up the conveyor belt, the staff were only loading one tube at time, and it took approximately 5 minutes to load because of all the needless steps the lifeguard created (get in the water to position the tube, get out, unhook the chain, let us through, re-hook the chain, get in the water to hold the tube, allow us to get in...). The wave pool was only 5 feet deep, had no tubes, and was about as packed as a mosh pit. Not to mention, we had to pay $17 for a locker that we opened only at the beginning and end of the day, and we decided to pass on food once we saw that a single Italian sausage cost $9. I think the only reason we ended up actually having a really good time was that we got to go on 5 or 6 slides right in a row at the end of the day as the park was clearing out. Plus, the next door KFC was cheap and deliciously fried.

However, as Becky noted on facebook or twitter or whatever she was doing while I was driving, the fabulous Noah's Ark is a sixteen hour drive. Guess that'll have to wait for another summer.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Despite the lack of talk here, we're still chugging along on the wedding planning. The current major project that's taking all our energy we're procrastinating on like crazy is invitations. We're semi-DIYing them--we let someone else do all the printing and cutting rather than fight with our dying inkjet (or buy a new one) and a paper cutter, but now everything needs to be glued. And stuffed. And stamped. And addressed. And all I can say is thank goodness we didn't try to completely DIY these or we might have both gone completely insane!

Fortunately, Carrie's sister (you may know her from the comments as "Anonymous") has graciously offered to help us with a bunch of this stuff, and her husband also graciously offered to watch the boys for the weekend so that she CAN help us! I also hear he is providing food? I'm there! So we'll be hauling our big box o' invitation supplies across several (teeny Northeastern) states next weekend for an invitation assembly extravaganza.

But in the meantime, we need to get all these envelopes addressed. And that has proven to be a much more contentious task than I had imagined. I remember reading stuff about invitation-addressing etiquette online back when we first started planning and thinking, "Who cares?" Apparently, some people care. And I strangely discovered that I care much more than I expected and in very conflicting ways. I like the formality of doing it the "right" way as determined by etiquette guides, but I really hate the fact that the formal way includes omitting the woman's name in most straight, married partnerships in which the woman takes her husband's last name. So I debated long and hard over whether to fight against Mr. and Mrs. Hisname; Carrie and I actually spent the better part of a day discussing this as we tried to make a spreadsheet with everyone's addresses and how to list their names. And in the end, formality and consistency won out for all but a couple close friends who I knew weren't fans of that convention.

And then in addition to the debate over how to address straight, married couples with the same last name, there are all the other variations of names and relationships to consider. Couples where one or both partners have professional titles. Unmarried couples. Married couples with different last names. Unmarried couples who may or may not view themselves as in a marriage-like relationship. Divorcees. Widow(er)s. And how does that "and guest" thing work again? Oh, and let's not forget that at least 10 people on our guestlist have moved just in the last 3 months since we sent out the Save-the-Dates. And did we keep track of these address changes in an organized fashion on our address spreadsheet? Of course not. Does that really seem like our style?

Anyway, after much digging through emails for addresses and consulting with moms and the internet, I think we finally have a list of how to address everyone's invitations. Since I have been voted "handwriting that looks least like a 1st grader's" in our relationship, I was awarded the task of addressing the envelopes. And of course I got some bright idea that writing in cursive would look prettier than printing, I am painstakingly writing them all in my best Zaner-Bloser script, which I have not used on a regular basis since about 6th grade. Why? I can only conclude it's because I'm a crazy person. So in sum, if you get an invitation in the mail from us, please pause for a second and admire the pretty handwriting. Unless you hate that I wrote your name as Mrs. Yourhusbandsname. Then just throw it out and don't hate me, please?

Apologies for the lack of pictures--I forgot that Carrie already used them in a previous post. I guess that's what I get for sharing the blog with which I mean getting her to co-blog and then neglecting to post anything for weeks. Oops.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Death of the Brontosaurus

I learned something tonight that I feel compelled to share with you, despite the fact that it embarassingly exposes my paleontologic ignorance. Regardless of the fun-making that I have endured from Becky in the long minutes since I learned, I am daring to share my new knowledge, that it might enlighten any fellow unknowing blog readers.

The brontosaurus is no more. That's right, they no longer exist.

Now, I had seen photos of our long-necked friend mysteriously labeled "apatosaurus." Close relatives, I assumed. A new dinosaur. I had even briefly pondered (brief in this case should be measured in miliseconds) the lack of modern (and by modern, I mean post Land Before Time) representation of the brontosaurus. But never did it cross my mind that the brontosaurus was just gone! Until tonight.

Headlines on my internets announced to me that new research shows that the Triceratops was also doomed. OH NOEZ! Thankfully, further inspection revealed that the headlines were probably incorrect, and in fact some boring Torosaurus will actually gain the Triceratops name rather than the other way around. The articles noted the similarity of this problem to the Brontosaurus problem. Say what, I said. Frantic googling, paired with Becky's laughter at my ignorance, brought me to the truth. The brontosaurus has passed.

So this is the way it works. Scientists find out that two previously named dinosaurs are actually one dinosaur. One name has to go. They decide based on which name was recorded first. The Triceratops is spared only because Othniel C. Marsh named it in 1889, two years before he named the Torosaurus. Brontosaurus had no such luck.

Of further note is the fact that apatosaurus apparently means "deceptive lizard," whereas brontosaurus means "thunder lizard." I think they need to reexamine their naming system, isn't the cooler name painfully obvious??

So there you have it. The more you learn, the more you know. Or something. I'll be back to blogging when I finish mourning Littlefoot. And Pluto.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Key Limey

And here again is Monday. And a Monday to start a new month none-the-less, which means not just that we must pay rent and that we get to flip to another page in our 1000 places to go before you die wall calendar, but also that the summer is almost over! Perhaps a bit over dramatic, but seriously, where did it go?

This weekend we crossed something delicious off of our summer to-do list. However, I have sadly just realized that there is absolutely no photo documentation. Bad bloggers.

On Saturday we made plans to go visit a friend in Queens. We hadn't seen her in a while, which of course is sad, and also we hadn't yet made use of the pool in her apartment complex to cool off from this unbearably hot summer. Naturally the weather decided to provide one of the first comfortably warm days of summer in honor of the occasion. It was still really nice swimming weather and we definitely had fun. Before we left home though, I was looking at our summer to-do list and worrying that we weren't crossing anything off of it. And then a brilliant idea came to me! We could drive to Red Hook and get pie! After a bit of convincing Becky and generally fretting about the state of traffic, off we went on a grand driving adventure through four of the six boroughs of New York (north Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens) in order to acquire Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pie and bring it to our friend's apartment for dessert. I used to not like Key Lime pie. In fact, I thought it was a pretty lame excuse for a dessert. And then I tried Steve's. The bakery prides themselves on using the freshest, most unprocessed ingredients possible, including real key limes. They operate out of an industrial warehouse type building in Red Hook, which is located on a dead-end cobblestone street that tried awfully hard to give my car a couple of flat tires. The only things they sell are two sizes of pie, the Swingle (delicious dark chocolate dipped key lime pies on sticks), and limeade. To make the trip completely worth it we decided to enjoy Swingles for lunch and purchase a whole pie for post-dinner dessert. Just as good as I remembered!

The rest of the weekend was mostly focused on boring household stuff and trying to make progress on wedding things. It seems like every wedding task expands to fill whatever time we offer it to fill. After mostly rejecting our previous idea for a solo during the ceremony, we spent at least 3 hours scouring iTunes for the perfect song. And in the end, we concluded that maybe our original ideas weren't so bad after all. At least we did make some solid progress on the invitations, as they need to get sent very soon. I'll leave you with a few photos of us working diligently at the kitchen table (please ignore piles of clean laundry and other junk - that's evidence of the household stuff we were doing simultaneously!)