Monday, September 29, 2008

The streak continues

Tonight I was halfway through a TiVo'd episode of Desperate Housewives when our apartment phone rang. I had expected it to be my mom, but the caller ID said it was our doorman. Odd. Since it was almost 9pm, I figured he was calling by mistake to tell us that "our" Chinese food had arrived or something. At which point I would have said, ya know, send him up.

But instead, a man who spoke shoddy English told me that I had a letter waiting for me downstairs.

A letter? Did you mean "package?" No? Well, if it's just a letter then put it in my damn mailbox, man!

But, no, he seemed very concerned that I come down and get it now. So I agreed and immediately got a bad feeling.

Since I watch way too many crime shows, I just KNEW this was a set-up and that he was going to kidnap me in the lobby of our busy highrise. I knew it. I told Dave to call the police if I wasn't back in five minutes. I grabbed my phone and hopped in the elevator.

When I got to the front desk, I saw a maintenance man behind the desk instead of our doorman with an ominous-looking tall man in a red jacket waiting for me.

Dammit, I knew I should have brought my mace!

Instead of kidnapping me, the man in red asked if I was Elle.

"Um, yes," I answered.

"From apartment 34xx?"

"Yes, you just called me down here for a letter...?"

"And you're with Dave?"

Oh, for the love of God. "Yes," I said, exasperated.

"Oh, okay, I was confused," he said. Clearly. "Here, this is for you."

He handed me a letter with our first (not last) names on it. I was going to snatch it and run upstairs, but he didn't seem to want me to leave without explaining the letter.

He said, "Now, in there, that's everything you need to know..."

"Uh, okay."

He stared. "Did she not tell you what was going on?"

"I have NO idea who or what you're talking about," I said. Am I supposed to open this letter in front of him? Am I not? What the hell is going on?

"Oohh," he said. "Okay... well...."

My stomach tightened.

"Your owner is selling the unit."

WHAT THE FUCK. I haven't even been here for a year! I move every single fucking year! Every year for the past 5 years! I had finally found a great building in a good location with a pool, balcony, tons of closet space, new appliances -- my mecca.

"Now," he continued, "the good news is that the terms of your lease are still in place."

Now it was my turn to stare. What does that even mean?

"Yeah, okay, when do I have to move?" I demanded.

"Well, the terms of your lease are still in place."

I turned my stare to a glare. I folded my arms.

He stumbled, "Um, so, um, when did you move in?"

"January," I answered flatly.

"Oh, well, realistically, I don't think the unit will sell before then, so I would say by January."

That's right, folks. My condo owners have already put my apartment on the market. They are selling it for DIRT CHEAP and even had the audacity to write "must sell fast!" on the listing. I might have 3 months to move, I might have 3 weeks.

I took the real estate agent/dream crusher's card and took my stupid letter upstairs. Dave immediately started cursing. I immediately emailed our building's leasing agent asking about the next available units and called my ex-real estate agent mom to discuss exactly how much of an asshole I'm allowed to be without getting sued (more than you'd think... watch out). And then I scoured Craig's List and emailed about 10 different people about their buildings.

Talk about bad timing. We just spent a shit-ton on money on the honeymoon, we were FINALLY getting a break from wedding-related chaos, we had just bought a few new pieces of large furniture, we were looking forward to getting settled. Instead, we'll have to spend more money moving, dive head-first into moving-related chaos, sell some furniture if we have to downgrade our apt size and do anything EXCEPT get settled.

I am SO drinking tomorrow.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Wedding, Part 3

Ceremony time!

When we last left off, I was still jittery and drunk. Okay, not really. But I DID have some champagne to calm my nerves -- no nerves about Dave or being married (trust me, I know I'm the lucky one in this relationship!), just nerves about having the spotlight focused sooo brightly on me. Some people relish it, me, not so much. But the time had come and there was no changing it now.


A quick picture before the actual ceremony.

Ang made our programs!

Favors/name cards for table seating.

Our beautiful programs again. Programs that were designed and printed 3 days before the wedding. That's how we roll.

Our florist lined the aisle with our reception centerpieces, then transferred them after the ceremony.

Sister-in-law and niece goofing around before ceremony time.

Dave and his mom walking down the aisle. Vitamin String Quartet playing Coldplay.

Walking down the aisle to Incubus. A good friend MADE my veil, by the way.

Hi, Dave!

Aww, my dad.

And now for the actual ceremony. I wrote the entire thing myself because, well, I'm just THAT neurotic. I read a ton of other ceremonies, but couldn't find something I really liked. (Plus, none of them were secular-except-for-breaking-the-glass, which we were doing to appease my grandmother.) So, I pieced together parts of some ceremonies and also wrote in my own stuff until I got something Dave and I were happy with. I'll stop my snarky comments and post the ceremony instead, so you can get the full effect. Side note: the ceremony was over within 15 minutes.

"Welcome, family, friends and loved ones. We gather here today to celebrate the wedding of [elle] and David. You have come here to share in this commitment they make to one another and to allow [elle] and David to start their married life together surrounded by the people dearest and most important to them.

"So welcome to one and all, who have traveled from near and far. [elle] and David wholeheartedly thank you not just for your presence here today, but also for the continuous love and support you each provide to them individually and as a couple."

"We come together tonight not to mark the start of a relationship but to recognize a bond that already exists. We are here to celebrate your desire to share your lives permanently and totally, while honoring and encouraging your growth as individuals and partners in marriage.

"Only you can create this growth in marriage -- through love and patience; through dedication and perseverance; through talking and listening, helping and supporting and believing in each other; through tenderness and laughter; through learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and by learning to make the important things matter, and to let go of the rest."

"As you all know, at the foundation of [elle]and David's love is an unwavering friendship, a genuine connection that helps them understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies.

"In the spirit of the importance of strong friendships to a marriage, [elle] and David have asked [elle's] grandmother, [Drunky], a woman who enjoyed 56 inspiring years of marriage, to read a selection that especially resonates with them."

Grandma: This is a passage written by Judy Bielicki.

"It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel. True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life -- it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic. True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential. Today, [elle] and David pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship."

"As you come this day to affirm your love and commitment, may you always remember to value each other for the differences that make your love strong and complementary. May you respect each other's thoughts, ideas and feelings. May you be able to forgive and forget the slights.

"David, will you embrace [elle] as your wife? As your companion and best friend for life, will you treat her with love and devotion, honor and respect? Will you stand by her in the triumphs and challenges of life, as a faithful and caring husband?

"[elle], will you embrace David as your husband? As your companion and best friend for life, will you treat him with love and devotion, honor and respect? Will you stand by him in the triumphs and challenges of life, as a faithful and caring wife?"

As your [husband/wife] and your friend,
I vow to honor and respect you for all that you are and will become,
taking pride in who we are, both separately and together.
I will support your dreams and goals
and strive to keep our lives well acquainted with laughter and joy.
Where there are troubles, we will face them together.
I, [name], commit to you, [name],
a life of unconditional love, respect, honesty and growth.

"As an enduring symbol of the promise we have just heard, you will now exchange rings. May these rings always remind you of the vows you have taken today.

"[elle], please repeat after me: I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you.

"David, please repeat: I give you this ring, as a daily reminder of my love for you."

"We conclude this ceremony with the breaking of the glass. Breaking the glass, a Jewish tradition, signifies many things. Although some joke that this is the last time the groom will ever put his foot down, David will now break the glass in honor of its more traditional significance.

"First, [elle] and David will take a sip of wine from the same glass, symbolizing something very special between them that only the two of them share.

"A broken glass cannot be mended; likewise, marriage is a transforming experience that leaves individuals forever changed. As this glass shatters, may your marriage never break."

"David, [elle], may you both remember that love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all.

"By the power of your love and commitment, and by the power vested in me by the state of Illinois, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Okay, now let's party!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mother, may I

So, I went to the lady doctor this past week. For all you male readers (uh, all 2 of you?), don't flip your shit. I'm not going to delve into details. Trust me, that's fun for no one.

Anyway, because my company recently switched its insurance from Kick-Ass Insurance to Unbelievably Craptastic Insurance, I went to a brand new office with a new doctor, determined to get a new birth control that my UCI actually covers.

I tentatively walk up to the right address and see "Playboy Headquarters" carved into some fancy-looking marble. I hesitate. I look around. I see a pregnant woman waddle up the stairs into the building. Safe to assume she's not going in there to pose for a pictorial, so I follow her in.

I wander into some elevators and pile myself (and my obnoxious purple purse) into the cramped space. I notice that EVERYONE is going to the same floor I am. Okay, then.

I manage to find the doctor's office, double-checking to make sure my doc's name is inscribed on the door, and wait in line at the reception desk. There's a young woman in front of me, doing the "I have to pee" dance.

What's wrong with her, I wonder.

[Woman dances from one foot to the other.]

Is she THAT nervous about the gyno? Is she just a jittery person? Oh, Jesus, is she ON something?

[Woman crosses her legs.]

"You can go pee," the receptionist tells her.

Whaat? Did you just need permission to use the bathroom? Okay, I am SO not asking for permission if I have to pee. What kind of warped third-grade world did I wander into?

At this moment, a pregnant woman walks into the office with her husband, doing the exact same pee dance. She checks herself in and sits down, wiggling in her seat.

Damn, I think, these chicks are odd. Why didn't they pee before they left the house? Am I in some sort of special needs ward where grown women forget how to use the bathroom until some overworked, underpaid, gum-snapping receptionist grants them permission?

I look around. Everyone is pregnant. Everyone.

Oooooohhhh. It finally clicks with me that these preggos have to show up to the doc with a full bladder. (For ultrasound reasons? Feel free to correct me here.) In one sense, I am relieved that they're not just slow in the head. On the other hand, I'm wondering what the shit I'm doing in the doctor's office on Pregnant Lady Day.

So I finally meet with the doc and we go through some questions.

Doc: So, you're married, I see.

Me: Oh. Yeah, I am.

Doc: So when are you two thinking about having kids? Or are you thinking about it?

Me: Oh, God, no.

Doc: Haha, you're probably finding now that you're married, everyone's asking you about kids, huh?

Me: Actually, no. Maybe they think I'm far too superficial and selfish to transfer my shoe-and-handbag fund over to a diapers-and-college fund, plus I'm hardly able to feed myself, much less a breathing, shitting, crying human. Wait, should I be offended by that? Nah, it's true.

Doc: Well, there's no rush.

Me: No kidding. I'm young! I can wait, like, another 10 years.

Doc: Sure.

Me: Maybe even 15!

Doc: Don't push it.

Or -- another idea -- we don't have kids at all. We've been talking about that option more and more lately. I guess it's hard for us to ever see ourselves as mature enough to be responsible for ANOTHER LIFE. Don't get me wrong, I love babies as much as I love white wine, but I don't know that I'll ever be ready to have that massive, never-ending responsibility.

So now when I accidentally get knocked up, we can all link back to this post and laugh, laugh, laugh. Well, you'll laugh. I'll cry because it means my happy hours are gone forever, along with my ability to grant myself permission to pee.

How do you moms do it??

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wedding, Part 2

Ha, when I first typed the title, I wrote "Party 2." Guess you know where this is headed.

On second thought, I'm gonna cap this off before the party. If all you're looking for are a bunch of boozed up, dressed up, dancing fools, go ahead and skip this post.

Now, we've come to...


Because Dave and I had a lot of out-of-town guests (as in, 90%), we decided NOT to be assholes and smartly opted for having the ceremony and reception back-to-back in the same location -- the 39th floor Penthouse/Ballroom at Hotel 71. That meant we had to take our pictures before all of the hooplah. No biggie.

But before I get to all that, let's go through the primping and preparations.

And so it begins.

I LOVED the photographers.

Drunky McDrunkerson getting her hair done.

Priceless look.

Okay, now me!

Finishing up.

Right around this point, I realized that I could NOT calm my jitters. I turned to my mom.

Me: Ma. I can't freaking calm my nerves. Do you have anything that could just relax me?

She's no drug dealer, but she is, unfortunately, an unhealthy person. As such, Mom always has an arsenal of pills. Pills that she likes to keep for herself.

Mom: Um, nothing.

Me: Come on, just LOOK at me here, I'm a wreck.

I know. I was demanding pills from my sick mother. This wedding made me have no shame.

Mom: Well, I guess I could give you an Ativan...

Me: Yes. I don't know what that is, but that sounds fabulous.

Mom rolls her eyes and goes up to her room to grab a pill. A tiny, tiny, pill. Seriously, it was smaller than my birth control. After a while of feeling no change, I asked for just one more. Mom told me I could only have it if I didn't drink. I said okay.

I lied.

The Ativan relaxed me a bit, so I could continue getting ready and be photographed.

Was able to get the back strapped up with minimal confusion.

Loved my hair! I told him what I wanted in the front, but left the back up to him.

And then came time for the Big Meet-Up. Dave and I met across the street from Hotel 71 at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.

Posing like a jackass while waiting for the elevator.

The big reveal.

Dave is so freaking cute.

Smiles and corncobs. (You call those the Corncob Buildings too, right?)

Corncobs and Trump.

Then we loaded the wedding party into our party bus and drove around the city to places like the Kinzie St. Bridge, La Salle St. and the Chicago Theater. We had hoped to get pictures by the beach with views of the city in the background, but Redbull Flutag took a big, giant shit all over that idea. Oh well! Didn't turn out bad, I'd say.

Photographers really liked the urban thing, as did we.

La Salle Street. Sweet car on the right, by my brother.

The boys. Even though Ryan, on the left, was MY bridesmaid.

Pretty bridal party.

Dave! Triangle hair!

We were told to strut. Only my sister and I did it.

Twirling in the street. You drop me, you die.


Kinzie Street Bridge. Don't fall, Constance.

Love it!

Clouds, but no rain. That would have SUCKED.

Chicago Theater

This reminds me of a Mentos commercial.

Wedding bands.

Small wedding parties = goodness.

Don't trip on the sewer. Don't trip on the sewer.

My siblings and I pay no attention. Dave and his Best Man do.

Again, Dave steals my friend Ryan. Okay, OUR friend Ryan, but he was mine first.

Waiting while the girls get a few pictures.

Ladies' turn.

More kisses!

Dave wanted to go on the train. Not in my Nicole Miller, sweetheart!

These steps were as far as I would go.

What if we were really like this? Creeptastic.

For all the brides out there, if you really want good pictures, just shut up and let your photographer do whatever he wants. We gave our guys complete and total freedom, and we couldn't be happier with what they did. It pays not to be pushy. For once. ;-)

Anyway, once the pictures were all done -- only took about an hour -- we headed back to the hotel to sit in tense, tense anxiety for another 45 minutes. Just sat near the windows, listened to a bit of music and waited. Well, and I drank more wine. Big shocker.

FINALLY, it was time. My heart was pounding. I couldn't believe that after nearly 2 years of planning, it was all really happening...

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