Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wedding Plan Update

The Czarina left a message on my phone yesterday. "Are you dead?" she asked. "I haven't talked to you in weeks."

No, I'm not dead, but by the sound of that message, I bet I will wish I was when I call you back! I thought. This kind of voice mail means only one thing with my mom: she wants to talk about something. A lot. Please don't let it be my weight and lack of diet and exercise, I thought.

I called her back on my lunch break and told her that yes, I am still alive, how we are moving on August first, how I am not coming up for her annual party this year, and how I still love my new job. Other than that, I'm just busy with mundane things. I did not tell her that most of those mundane things include eating and watching tv, which is why I still haven't lost any weight. Which is the real reason why I am not coming up to see her this weekend. I told her I don't have much vacation time saved up (which is true), but I could have come up if I wanted to.

"That's ok, honey, you need to save your time up to make a trip up here maybe in August so we can go dress shopping, anyway," she said.

"Yeah, I am already dieting in preparation," I replied. LIE LIE LIE

Then she launched into wedding plan mode. We discussed changing the date -- again. Now it is looking like mid-July of next summer, rather than my dad's birthday like I wanted. My aunt won't be able to attend if I get married on my dad's birthday, because she has to work that weekend, and I want her to go. So I guess that is out, because she HAS to attend or I will cry. I told The Czarina how important it is to me that I get a photographer who will take lots of action shots, instead of just lame-o glamour-shot poses. I want an artistic photographer, ya know?

We discussed the bridal party. "Actually, Mom," I explained, "I was thinking of not having a bridal party."

*huge pause from The Czarina*

"But you have two sisters," she said flatly. Her brain was saying in a robotic voice: Does not compute. Does not compute.

"Yeah, but....I was thinking....and CN doesn't....." I tried to explain. I could hear her irritation over the phone.

"Ok," I surrendered.

Somehow, now I have 4 bridesmaids. When I didn't want any. It's no offense to my sisters, I swear! Well, ok it is a little bit. My older sister might think I would be rubbing it in her face that I'm getting married and she's not. (Yes, she's like that.) So I just don't really want to even go there with her. No bridal party = No pissed off older sister. And although I love my MJ to death, I know she doesn't like being a bridesmaid any more than I do. She's totally not the type of person who would be upset about not being one! She would be relieved!

Add to that the CN is such a loner, and he doesn't have any brothers. So who the hell is he going to have as his groomsmen? My brothers? So the entire wedding party consists of my people, and none of his? That is so lame. I don't want to do that to him.

Actually, one of my big worries is that the wedding will be all about me and my mom, and not about CN or his family. Most of his family lives in Alabama, and asking them to go to a wedding in Virginia is a lot. CN doesn't have a lot of friends, and they are all in South I am picturing a church that is totally lopsided -- everyone on my side of the church. Ugh. That is so not how I want it to be.

The Czarina told me one of her friends recommended a wedding planner to her. I told her I purchased a wedding planning book, but it is now lost somewhere in my overstuffed apartment and that I was going to start officially planning when we move and unpack. This was no excuse for her. Shocker.

She wants me to get cracking on things.

"Look, I want a guest list. We need to know how big this thing is going to be, because we may not be able to fit into the train station if we get more than 150 people coming to this thing," she told me. (The old train station in my hometown has been converted into a perfect place for wedding receptions, but it's not a huge building.)

"Mom, I can't make a guest list until I know what my budget is," I replied. Holy cow! 150 people?? I was thinking like....75! I thought. Oh dear...

She told me what she was planning on chipping in. I was relieved to hear it was not a lot. I do NOT NOT NOT want a big wedding. I have enough debt and I don't want a dog and pony show where half the people attending don't even know me. No, I have not figured out how to get tons of presents despite holding a small wedding. I need to strategize for maximum gift receiving, despite a tiny guest pool. Hmmm...

We are going to save a ton of money on food, because we are going to serve BBQ. (For those of you who are not Southern, no this does not mean hot dogs and burgers from a grill. I am talking about a good Southern buffet -- pulled pork, baked beans, tater salad, biscuits, fried chicken, shrimp and grits, etc.) This is what Mom, CN and I all wanted, so that was an easy thing to decide! Mom wants to reserve most of the money for the band and the alcohol, which is exactly what I wanted to do. I want all my guests drunk and dancing, much like a frat party. Again, another easy decision. So we are on the same page for much of it.

"And when is this jerk planning on proposing to you, anyway?" she half-joked. "I am sitting here, looking at this ring and it's gorgeous."

"Mom, you are not supposed to be telling me anything about the ring or its whereabouts. You will ruin the surprise. Besides, CN said that he is waiting until we move before he does that. We have a lot of things on hold right now until we move," I explained.

Things on hold include: wedding proposals, wedding planning, buying things bigger than a loaf of bread, exercising, organizing, cleaning, major cooking and doing anything other than watching tv at home. Because we live in a sardine can. Everything has something on top of it, so there are no places to spread your legs, your papers, your projects, your cooking implements, your books or your board games.

I was kind of mad at her for saying this, actually, because I was secretly hoping that he had somehow already gotten the ring from her. (She was in Charleston, SC a few weeks ago, just by coincidence.) Then again, maybe that is a red herring....hmmm...I wouldn't put it past her.

Anyway, I guess I need to get going on this wedding planning stuff. But I have mixed emotions:

33% of me is thinking, "COOL! This is actually happening!"

33% of me is thinking, "OMG. Nononono. Elope now, while you still can. You will kill your mother if you don't."

34% of me wants to boycott this whole thing until I get that damn ring on my finger. I am tired of explaning to people how I am only partially-engaged. I'm trying so hard to be patient, but let's face it. That's really not my forte.

Friday, June 26, 2009

We're Moving! Again!

After what feels like looking at about one million houses and apartments, CN and I finally decided on where we are going to live.

We were almost going to sign a lease to live in an adorable house in this neighborhood called Ardsley Park. It's a really nice area just south of downtown, full of charming homes, mostly little bungalows from the 1920s-1940s. There are porch swings and hardwood floors and screen porches and sidewalks and little parks sprinkled throughout. Plus, it's nice and quiet and safe. Mostly young couples, with the occasional kid or two. And lots of dogs. *sigh* (If you ever watch that show, "Ruby", on the Style network, she lives in Ardsley Park. You could get a feel for the area if you see that show.) Anyway, Ardsley is a very desirable area, and it's a shame we aren't looking to buy, because we'd be there in a heartbeat.

So we were all ready to go for this 3BR, 2BA brick home in Ardsley. It had a really nice kitchen, lots of charm, a finished attic (where CN could have his office and his Man Room) and a big backyard for Sammy. But we looked at Craigslist one more time.

We had been keeping our eyes on these brand new townhomes, over in an area called Thunderbolt. What a name, huh? We had gone to see them, but they were a little more than we wanted to spend for the location (it's not a bad location, but there aren't any parks or places to take walks, and there's a lot more traffic on the main road in and out of there.) So these townhomes were originally for sale, but thanks to our awesome economy, they aren't selling, so the builder is now renting them out. At first, they wanted $1200/mo, which was basically what we would be spending in Ardsley. But they dropped the rent to $1000/mo! How do we say no??? We would be stupid to live anywhere else.

These townhomes are in a quiet little cul-de-sac near Bonaventure Cemetery. If you remember Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this is the cemetery where the Bird Girl statue is. So it's pretty quiet! LOL Each townhouse has a ground-level garage, which is huge. Then the next floor up has a living room, half bath, eat-in kitchen and back porch (which can be screened in at our request -- I am so excited!). Then the top floor has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths, along with the washer and dryer. This means I get my own bathroom and closet. Be still my beating heart. And the kitchen??? I can totally cook in it. I am so excited. And since it's new, it is well-insulated, unlike the box of swiss cheese we live in right now. Our electricity bill this month? $120. This is for an 800 sq ft apartment. Which is absurd.

Ok, I have to go beat CN into the bathroom to get ready for work, so I gotta go. Here's some pics. I'll try and post more often, y'all. I know I stink.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Public Service Announcement: Job Seeking

Hello, Readers! Hooray for spare moments for blogging!

I feel this post is both timely and educational, as due to our unfortunate economic times, jobs are becoming scarce and there are a lot of new graduates out there. This is especially true in the library world.

To be more specific, I am in the middle of hiring for my department, and there are a lot of wack jobs out there. I wanted to share a list of dos-and-don'ts with you, in case you are a crackhead applying for jobs. Of course, I realize my readers know better than to make these errors when applying for positions, but this is still entertaining.

1. Do not submit an application that is entirely in bright blue, swirly font. It hurts my eyeballs, whose nerve endings are linked to the very finger I use to hit the "delete" button. If you are that obnoxious via pdf, I don't want to know you in person.

2. Please remember to read the job requirements. "Must have a library science degree" does not mean "...but it's ok if your entire work experience can be summed up in three letters." The three letters I am referring to in this particular case? KFC. Oh, how I wish I was making this up. Look, I know times are tough, guys, but even if I did have a soft spot for fryers of chicken (and believe me, I have a special place in my heart for them), my boss would shoot me if I hired someone like that and expected them to understand Boolean operators and database licensing agreements. Hey, you'd be a hit at the pot lucks, but let's be honest, it's just a complete waste of time for both of us.

3. It's a good idea to leave your political, religious and socially volatile views out of your cover letter. Funny, but I thought this was an obvious one.

4. If you do not know how to explain why you are interested in a job without sounding condescending to the potential new boss, get a good, honest friend to proofread your cover letters. And leave your ego at home.

5. There is NEVER a reason why your resume should be eleven pages long. Unless you are the leader of a G8 nation, keep it to 3 max.

6. Actually, no, it's not ok to say, "In lieu of a cover letter, I have expanded my resume with extra details. I hope this is ok." Especially not when the application instructions clearly state you have to submit a cover letter in addition to your resume.

7. Before you send in your references, double check to make sure they are not all personal friends. If they are, lie to me and say they are former coworkers.

8. Please do not call, email, then call, then email again, then call...and basically harass the crap out of me. It's annoying. Guess what kind of people I don't like working with.

9. Sending me an email apologizing for the spelling errors in your cover letter and resume will only convince me of your lack of attention to detail. They invented this thing called "spell check". Use it.

10. How the hell did your pdf pages end up out of order AND upside-down?? It was a word document to begin with! You are deleted, because I don't want to have to untangle your messes all the time.

11. If you went to Super Awesome Ivy League School, and you rest on your laurels for 35 years, yes, I will delete you. I don't care that you are smart and/or rich. I need someone who is active in the field and realizes that typewriters are as dead as dinosaurs. Who types their resume on a typewriter anymore????

12. That being said, there's the other side of the coin: if your resume looks like a train wreck, with a new job and/or career every six months, that does not bode well. I don't want to be your next experiment. Nor do I want to work with someone who can't get along with anyone. I could be wrong, but in my experience people with resumes like this either have no direction in life or they are very difficult to work with and are fired left and right.

13. If you are applying for the position I am offering, and accepting it means a massive pay cut and/or demotion in title and duties for you, this freaks me out. Hey, everyone has their dream job, but very few people want to go from being The Big Cheese to Bottom of the Totem Pole. This situation makes my warning bells go off. Something is not adding up right. Especially if you are still working at your old job. Fired or laid off, ok, I get it. But you're still the boss? And you want to volunteer for entry-level? Sounds suspicious.

14. If you have a question about the position, fine. That is understandable. (I personally go by the philosophy of, "Ok, I will just apply. If they like what they see, I will get to ask my questions in the interview.") But to hunt me down while I'm at work, then interrupt me while I am helping someone does NOT fly. Especially when you are wearing jeans and only want to know if the position is still open. Jeezus!!! You're applying to be a librarian. Someone who works with people. And guess what. People don't like being interrupted!!! Does the phrase "customer service" mean anything to you?

15. Speaking of what to wear, I am still young, and I consider myself laid-back and still relatively hip. I'm one of those people who doesn't care about small nose piercings, tattoos or black nailpolish. It's an art school. People are artsy. I get it. Just keep in mind that not everyone is like me. One of those people is my boss, who has ultimate veto power. And although the students wouldn't have a problem with it, some faculty members might. Guess how that reflects on me. Yeah.

I might have to add to this list if things keep going the way they are going! I had over 100 applications for my two positions, with more coming in every day. It's a long process, but at least it's an employer's market!