Saturday, April 30, 2011


Until a few months ago, I was scheduled to have a horrible party from hell (I mean, "wedding") this coming Friday.  Then my fiance/husband finally gave in to my incessant pleas not to make me go through this agonizing experience, and we got married two months ago at our local sheriff's-office-slash-jail.

I had always been pretty neutral about weddings.  I just didn't think about them much.  I went to my first wedding when I was seven, and I had no idea what was going on.  This was my uncle's wedding; he and his wife were both forty-something, and they had a short ceremony, then food and cake.  I was mildly grossed out when some of the women started crying, but other than that, I figured weddings weren't so bad, and I got cake.

Then, a year ago this Thursday, we got engaged.  We were going to have a ceremony with immediate family, then a reception for about 60 people.  I did not want bridesmaids or a color scheme.  I didn't even know what a rehearsal dinner was until we'd already been engaged several months.  My mom was going to French braid my hair because I hate salons.  For food, we were going to buy snack trays from Sam's Club.  Aaaannnd wedding planning DONE.

So imagine my surprise when, after explaining my super-low-key plan to people, they would still ask questions like, "So do you think you'll have catering?"

I was never the one to initiate wedding conversations.  I knew what I wanted to do and didn't really want to talk about it with anyone else.  Ari was never pestered with wedding questions the way I was.  I guess everyone assumed that because I'm a girl, I must be bursting to talk about my wedding.  They were wrong.

At first, I tried to give people the benefit of the doubt when they barraged me with wedding questions. 

When are you doing it?  Aren't you afraid it's going to rain if you do it outside?  How does it work with you not being Jewish?  Where will people park?  You need to think about these things.  What are you doing with your hair?  But going to a salon is half the fun!  What kind of lights will you have?  Oh, that won't work.  Why don't you just do it before dark so the pictures will be better?  What are the centerpieces going to be?  What kind of favors are you giving out?  Who all's invited?  Don't forget to invite my best friend.  Can you just e-mail me your guest list?

Maybe this was their way of expressing support, but my goodwill ran dry when people started giving unsolicited advice.  I'm a huge control freak, and getting unsolicited advice sends me into a spiral of rage.

WELL-MEANING PERSON:  Ari says you're having pies at the reception instead of cake.  How is that going to work?
ME:  Oh, I figure we'll just have about eight pies or something like that.
WELL-MEANING PERSON:  That's not going to be nearly enough pie.

I stewed passive-aggressively for months, until eventually I realized the next person who asked me a wedding question was going to get punched in the face.  I think Ari agreed to cancel the wedding 40% because he felt genuine sympathy for me and 60% because he sensed my impending violent meltdown.

It also didn't help that since getting engaged, I went to a couple more weddings, one of which looked like it cost more than my dad makes in a year.  I'd always wondered why some people are so cynical about weddings.  Now I understand.  This is what I learned from these recent wedding experiences.

Here's when to expect a wedding to be kind of fun.
    •    You're a distant friend, co-worker, or acquaintance of the bride/groom.
    •    You're the date of a distant friend, co-worker, or acquaintance of the bride/groom.
    •    You're a small child and no one expects anything of you.

Here's when to expect a wedding to suck.
    •    You're distantly related to the bride/groom.  While everyone else is sleeping in and hanging out at the hotel, you'll probably be stuck dragging chairs and tables around the reception hall at 8:00 AM until they're in the perfect formation.  You'll also probably have to get to the ceremony an hour early to be bossed around by a photographer for a group photo that takes five minutes to shoot.
    •    You're related to the bride/groom, or you work with them or know them from college, but you're not really that close.  You'll be the one disinterestedly staring off into space near the guest book, or performing some other menial task no one else wanted to do.
    •    You're closely related to the bride/groom.  In this case, you're going to have to do something really involved, like stand up in front of everyone and talk, or (God help you) be in the wedding party.
    •    You're a very close friend of the bride/groom.  You'll probably get stuck as the Best Man or Maid of Honor, in which case you're going to have to do something really excruciating--like help pick out the "color theme" or throw a huge shower for all these people you barely know.
    •    You're in the wedding party.  This is pretty much the most inner circle of hell.  I've never had to do this, but it looks awful.  You have to be everywhere super early and pose in Every. Single. Photo.  You have to wear something the bride picked out for you, and believe me, that bitch did not have comfort in mind.  And while everyone else is sitting comfortably during the ceremony, you're standing pointlessly up front, trying not to scratch your sweaty, nylon-clad boob.
    •    You're a small child and someone thought it would be a good idea to make you do something "cute," like carry the rings or throw the flower petals.  You will probably spend the whole day trying to squirm out of your dress clothes, with a vague feeling that something important is happening but you're not quite sure what it is.

I should point out that all of the above circumstances are somehow 10 times worse if you know or are related to the bride rather than the groom.  I can't explain why.  I don't make the rules.

And that's why I never want to go to another wedding ever again.  Except I'd probably go to Emily's.  She knows I wouldn't hesitate to kill her if she tried to make me throw a bridal shower or wear a thematic dress.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aunthood > Motherhood

I'm going to begin this post by telling you that I actually wrote another post about neti pots recently, which turned out much better than the post you're about to read.  What you're about to read is something I wrote in honor of my best friend, Emily, who became an aunt last month.  (Congratulations, Emily!)  Unfortunately, I just didn't like the way this turned out when I initially wrote it, so I saved it for a time like now, when I'm really desperate to post something. 

You see, I'd intended to come home from work last night, do the illustrations for my post about neti pots (which you are now going to expect to be much funnier than it really is, because I've now made the mistake of mentioning it to you in advance and allowing you to form expectations), and then post it.  Instead, I came home and got a call from my mom, who lives in Alabama, telling me there had been something like 130 tornadoes there and pretty much the whole north half of the state was without electricity.  Also, people died.  Fortunately my parents and grandparents are fine.  Long story short, this storm was supposed to hit North Carolina last night, and we live in a trailer, so we packed up our cats and went to stay with our extremely nice neighbors who live in a real house.  And that's what I did last night instead of illustrating my blog post.  This is the first time in ages that I actually had a valid excuse not to do something.  For the record, the storm broke up over the mountains, and things up here are fine.  Yay mountains!

So here, to hold you over, is that other post, which I've edited a little.  I'm still not thrilled with it, but I'm starting to feel really guilty about only posting one thing this month, so at least this is something.  (Because I know that when I don't post something new, you all just sit in front of your computers, staring blankly at my unchanged page in a state of suspended animation.  And I just can't live with the weight of that on my shoulders.  Your families and employers must wonder what has happened to you.)

 Aunthood > Motherhood

Aunthood is like getting a brand new car but never having to pay for gasoline or insurance.  When I was growing up, my mom really seemed to have the raw end of the deal:  she had to do all the boring stuff, like drive me to band practice, or go to the grocery store.  My aunt, on the other hand, was the person who took me to see The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas when I was twelve and bought me fries and a shake at McDonald's at 10:00 PM.  Compared to moms, aunts have the best job ever. 

Think about it.

  • No pregnancy or child labor required.
  • Kids think you're way cooler than their parents, yet you did basically nothing.
  • It's okay to be a crazy aunt.  Try being a crazy mom and suddenly Social Services is all up in your case.
  • You don't have to spend any money on them unless you feel like it.
  • You can blow them off whenever you want.
  • You get all the satisfaction of participating with the next generation and imparting your lifetime of wisdom.  Then you hand the next generation back over to their parents when they get annoying.
  • You can ignore them until they're old enough to hold an adult conversation and go to the bathroom on their own.

  • Your kids spend most of their lives being completely ungrateful for everything you did for them, like, say, pushing them out a ten-centimeter opening in your body.  Then they're embarrassed of you for the majority of their adult lives.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth are pretty much mandatory, unless you want to pay someone to do it for you.  But that usually goes pretty badly when people try to do it on TV or in movies.
  • You can't ignore them when they're too young to hold an adult conversation or go to the bathroom on their own.
  • You can't get rid of them at the end of the day.  They live with you.
  • Kids are really, really expensive.  You could fund your retirement with what it costs to raise kids.  (This statistic provided courtesy of my brain.)

As you can see, there's pretty much no reason to choose motherhood over aunthood, although I guess some of you have to choose motherhood so the rest of us can be aunts.  So thanks, mothers, for taking one for the team.  That's really nice of you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Toilet Paper Spool was Clearly Meant to be a Stand

I now bring you my long-anticipated post about toilet paper.  I'm typically pretty traditional in my household preferences:  no spots on the dishes, no clutter lying around (unfortunately I'm physically incapable of sticking to that one), and so on.  So you might be surprised when I tell you I never put the toilet paper on the spool.  I am, I confess, one of those people who just leave it resting on top of the spool.

Before you denounce me as a heretic, hear me out.  Below are ten whole reasons why the toilet paper spool was clearly meant to be a stand.

1.  When the toilet paper is on the spool, you end up spinning and spinning it endlessly, waiting for it to unravel, only to realize you've been spinning it in the wrong direction the whole time.  I bet over the course of a person's lifetime, they spend at least a day spinning toilet paper in the wrong direction.

2.  Even once you've found the beginning, sometimes you pull slightly too hard, and way too much toilet paper unravels.  Then you have to painstakingly roll the toilet paper back up, but no matter how meticulous you are about this, it never goes back quite the way it was.  I bet over the course of a person's lifetime, they spend an additional day trying to roll toilet paper back up.

3.  Still worse is when all that extra toilet paper you didn't mean to pull off breaks.  Then you feel obliged to fold it and set it on top of the spool so the next person can use it.  Inevitably, it just gets knocked in the floor and ends up spending the remainder of its lonely existence crumpled in a remote corner of the bathroom.

4.  Putting a new roll of toilet paper on the spool takes a good 5-10 seconds.  Usually, the spool springs into two pieces the moment you release it from its holder, and you have to go chasing these errant halves across the bathroom and reassemble them.  I bet over the course of a person's lifetime, they spend at least half a day chasing toilet paper spools across bathrooms.  All this for the convenience of having toilet paper that spins.

5.  When you just set the toilet paper roll upright on the spool, it's still right there where you need it.  Except now, (6.) instead of spinning it endlessly, you can just pick it up and control exactly how much toilet paper you tear off.

7.  Sure, there's the risk the toilet paper might get dropped in the floor, but when you accidentally unravel too much toilet paper as outlined in Point 2, it also touches the floor then.  Besides, how nasty is your bathroom floor that you can't even let a roll of toilet paper touch it for one second?  Clean your disgusting bathroom!

8.  Not to mention, using the toilet paper spool as a toilet paper stand saves time and energy.  Think of all the things you could do with the 2.5 days of your life you're getting back!

9.  When you use an object for something other than its intended use with the intention of making a process more convenient and/or efficient, that's called "innovation."  When you use your toilet paper spool as a toilet paper stand instead, you're being innovative.  It looks great on a resume.

10.  When toilet paper isn't on the spool, your cat can't derive endless hours of amusement from unraveling it.

Don't let society dictate what you do with your toilet paper.  Or your roommate, or mom, or significant other.  The toilet paper revolution begins now!