Happy Birthday to the Future Mr. Bridal Bird

October 17, 2008

I was going to get you a puppy:

 

But then this one kept saying, “Unhand me, damnable woman! I already have an owner and her views are much more politically compatible with my own than your hippie dippie sensibilities.” Also, current dog seemed a little pissy about the whole idea.

Then I was going to get you Amy Adams:

But current redhead seemed a little pissy about the whole idea. 

Then I was going to get you this (a few weeks late)

But I remembered this was supposed to be about you, not me. Oopsie daisy.

So I settled on an iPod Chromatic:

and me:

In seven days you get me, in a $*,*** bow. On second thought, happy birthday to me!

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When Only the Best Will Do

October 15, 2008

Yes, of course this is going to be our cake topper:

 

Were it not already a given, it certainly was when I hit the portion of the ad copy describing it as “funny but still elegant.” Apt description, as “elegant” is just what comes to mind when I see this. I believe Grace Kelly had the same one when she married Prince Rainier, but it featured a piece of Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club gear on it. 

A few more sneak peeks. 
Our new bedroom set:

 

Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that the lampshade is unadorned with the glorious A&M logo.

And our dishware, called to my attention by sorority sister Allie who wondered why in heaven’s name I hadn’t registered for this already:
 

We’ll be wanting a brand new set of course. This pic was pulled from a craigslist sale posting by one tbowdentigerluvr45@clemson.edu. The guy really had it priced to move. Zing!

The Icing on the Cake

October 14, 2008


“I know it seems like your wedding is right around the corner, but really I don’t start worrying about them until three days out.”

With that line, my cake vendor found herself out of a client. That shoulder-shrugging admonishment to a bride whose wedding is in fact just around the corner was the last straw. (Backstory: I thought I had to use this baker because of some sort of exclusivity contract with the hotel. Mother Bridal Bird—a far more careful reader of the catering contract than I—discovered that we do not in fact have to use her.) Anyway, the previous straws:
1. I’d been trying to contact her since August and until yesterday at 11 a.m. was never able to get her on the phone. 
2. She left me a message a couple weeks ago saying that, based on the messages I’d been forced to leave for her, we were “totally on the same page” about what cake I wanted. That was right up until I was forced to leave a message yesterday morning saying that I wanted to be sure she understood I wanted buttercream icing, not nasty rolled fondant icing. That was the magic bullet because she instantly returned my phone call.

Cake baker: “Can I ask why you don’t want fondant?”
Me: “Because it doesn’t taste good. Also, I indicated on the order two months ago that I didn’t want it. I’m a little concerned that you left me a message saying we were “on the same page” about what I wanted and you were about to bring me a cake covered in a frosting that I find inedible.”
Cake baker: “I know everyone thinks that but mine is realllllly good. It’s like a thinly rolled vanilla Tootsie Roll.”
Me: “That doesn’t sound good.”
At this point cake baker offers to bring a slice for me to taste, but then adds the following in an “whatever, it’s your funeral” tone. 
Cake baker: “I will tell you though, at this time of year you can still have buttercream frosting melt. And it doesn’t look like we’re going to have any comfortable weather snap in the next two weeks. I wouldn’t want your cake to look bad.”
Me (after holding phone away from face and staring at it in disbelief): “The wedding is indoors. It’s projected to be in the low 70s/high 60s for the next two weeks.”
Cake baker: “So what is your priority with your cake: taste or it looking good?”
Me: “As it goes in my mouth, my priority is taste.”
Cake baker: “Alright. What kind of cake did you want again?”
Me (bordering on hissy): “Key. Lime. Mousse. This order was sent over to you more than two months ago by the hotel.”

We basically sign off with the equivalent of mean girls’ hair flings and “whatevs.” I immediately call Sugarbakers, the Baltimore cake vendor I used for my fiancé’s 40th birthday party, and beg them to do my wedding cake in two weeks. They oblige and schedule me for an emergency cake tasting. Mmmm…emergency cake tasting-y. Later that day, I settled on a scrumdiddlyumcious lemon mousse wedding cake as well as a chocolate-with-chocolate-mousse groom’s cake. Nobody puts Baby in a fondant-covered corner.

Djyooouwanna kiss me ’cause isss totally my las nightoffreeeedom?! Wooo! Gamecocks rule, bitchez!

October 9, 2008

Let’s get this out of the way: I’m sure they’re all really nice girls. 
Let’s also get this out of the way: If you tell me that I need to lighten up and they just wanted to have a little fun and let down their hair and Crystal is a really nice girl and I’m such a bitch, I cannot guarantee your safety in the comments section.

Tonight, J, K, and L and I (I require all my friends to be consecutively alphabetized) are mustering at a U Street wine bar for a few drinks that happen to coincide with my imminent stroll down the aisle. This is not, I repeat not, a bachelorette party. It is, to quote the invitation designed by the lovely K, an “un-bachelorette party.” I’ll save you the screed about why I hate the traditional bachelorette party because this guy succinctly nailed it back when I was still in blogger preschool. No point reinventing the “whore party” wheel. Look, I’ve got no problem with people going out and getting shifahssed. What I do have a problem with is them doing it in a cheap white tank top laden with LifeSavers and the magic-markered introductory offer to “Suck 4 A Buck!” Also, if you’re going to throw up in a bar, it better be beer or bourbon, not something that looks like it would secrete from Strawberry Shortcake’s pores. 

 

“The extended pinky’s because I’m completely classy. But I’m totally funloving though. I have a really important job on the Hill. I mean, I went to Amherst. Wait, you’re not going to put this on Facebook are you?”

 

 

“Um yeah, the Hawaiian thing is totally creative, ladies, thanks. Even though my parents were Thai. Also, I was born in Lansing, but no, this is super sweet of you.”

 

“OMG, MY FAVORITE COLOR IS PINK THAT’S WHY THIS IS ALL SO PERFECT!”

 

“My older sister did a Paint Your Own Pottery bachelorette party. She is such a prude.”

 

Actually on this one, I have nothing but congrats for these two BFF brides who, despite being plastered with condoms, plastic penis paraphernalia, and the dreaded S4AB T-shirts, managed not to be the most mockable ones in the photo. 

And yes, there were at least a half-dozen pictures of bachelorette party honorees posing suggestively with cakes shaped like portions of the male anatomy at my disposal for this post. They’re not getting posted though. Because I’m completely classy.

We Venture Into the Belly of the Beast for Round Three

October 7, 2008

There is a certain euphoric and/or contented look on the face of a man about to be handed a marriage license that will send him on his way to a lifetime of wedded bliss. And there is a certain look on the face of a man who has been forced to get that marriage license from the District of Columbia in a three-month-and-counting, at-times-extralegal process:

Yep, we took lunch hour Number Three today in the hopes that we would actually get our marriage license. (For the time being, I’ve shelved my quest for my $10. Temporarily, I assure you. But my main goal until the wedding is getting the document itself into my tiny clenched fist.) Long story short: we got the license. At least twice during today’s field trip to the Marriage Bureau, our kindly (and genuinely trying to be helpful) helper said, “I couldn’t believe it; it was right after y’all left the other day that we found out the law had changed!” And my fiancé and I just kept exchanging glances that loosely translated to: “Yes, it was right after we left because a city reporter called to find out why you were demanding documentation for a test no longer required by law.” But we stayed silent. The Future Mr. and Mrs. Bridal Bird, smiling politely.

Whilst we were in hellthe Marriage Bureau, they played four songs:

1. “Fire and Rain,” James Taylor – Maudlin tune about Taylor’s own substance abuse and the suicide of a former acquaintance. (Not a girlfriend’s plane crash as folklore would have us believe.) 
Suitability for a marriage license office: -1

2. “If I Can’t Have You,” Yvonne Elliman – Eh, not a bad choice. Obsessive maybe. But could work.  
Suitability for a marriage license office: +1

3. “Viva La Vida,” Coldplay – Are they using this to ascertain if couples are secretly gay, thus preventing them from marrying?
Suitability for a marriage license office: 0

4. “You’re In My Heart,” Rod Stewart – Yes, the song from So I Married an Axe Murderer. Awesome. Someone at the D.C. Marriage Bureau has a sense of humor.
Suitability for a marriage license office: +15

I’ll let Rod sing us out, because seriously, the lyrics to this song are pretty cool when you’re about to get married in 17 days.

The One Where I Will Beat the D.C. Marriage Bureau

October 6, 2008


Longtime readers of the Bird know that I tend not to take a lot of garbage from government entities. For the newcomers, I once got the D.C. Police Department to tow our truck back to our house after parking enforcement erroneously towed it. So it was with great zeal this morning that I added “make someone at the Marriage Bureau cry” to my wedding to-do list in flowery script. Why is that? Grab some popcorn. Settle in. This one is worth the length. Trust me. And spoiler alert: by the end you will likely want to become a Libertarian, swear off marriage in our fair city, or strangle someone. You will come to know that those are the three stages of D.C. government-imposed wedding grief. 

July 15
I call the Marriage Bureau and ascertain that in order to get the license that will usher us into wedded bliss, we will need to get blood tests for syphilis. You remember that, because I wrote about it. We bring our paperwork saying we’re syphilis-free and $10 per person to get the paperwork converted to the “official” blue index card, to the D.C. government Serology Lab. Then we go next door to the Bureau to get the license. I specifically ask the person on the phone how long those tests are valid, explaining that we will likely get them done but then not be able to come get them authorized and get the license for a while because I will be in North Carolina campaigning. “When’s your wedding?” the person at the Marriage Bureau asks me. I tell her Oct. 25. “You’ll be fine,” she said. 

 

 

  No, actually we won’t be. Read on.
  
July 18
I go get my blood test. I detest giving blood. It is awful as always. Test results are mailed to me on a plain piece of paper.

Aug. 5
Fiancé goes and gets his blood test. Test results are handed to him by his doctor on one of the official blue index cards issued by D.C.’s Serology Lab. His doctor tells him that he’s one of the few authorized to directly give the card to patients. 

Sept. 5
Because I am home from the campaign trail, in D.C. for two weekdays only, we decide to go get our marriage license together. Won’t that be romantic?

 

 

 No, it will not be. It will be the start of a total *&$% pain in the @*#&. 

We walk into the Serology Lab to convert my test result paper to the official blue index card. With glee, the bureaucrat behind the reception desk informs me, “No, ma’am, I cannot do that. This test is expired.” She makes sure to accompany this pronouncement with the pursed lips and circular neck motion that has become the universal symbol for “Ha ha, your fancy college degree can’t help you now because you’re in my house.” I tell her that I was informed these tests do not expire by the person I spoke with at the Marriage Bureau before I left. “No, that is not correct,” she says, sending the neck hula hooping again. I begin to hit a voice octave known as Bridal Bird is Displeased and a Tad Emotional, causing a kindly gent to come from the adjacent office to see what the problem is. He informs us that yes, in fact my test is expired and I got bum info, but my fiancé’s is fine because it’s on the official blue index card and that doesn’t expire.

 

 

 Yes, it does. We will learn this later.

My fiancé gallantly points out again that I specifically tried to head this problem off by calling well in advance and explaining that I’d be gone and asking if the tests would expire. Getting nowhere though, we thank him, write down his name, and leave with me still sniffling.

Sept. 6
I haul tail over to my doctor to get blood drawn yet again for this flipping syphilis test. Yet again, I am miserable because I hate having blood drawn. Yet again, I shell out $25 for this service. 

Oct. 2
12 p.m. 

My fiancé and I meet at lunch time for attempt two at getting the marriage license. OK, won’t it be romantic this time?

 

 

 No, it will not. Because after two hours, we will still not have our marriage license.
 

We walk into the Serology Lab to convert my second, unexpired test to the official blue index card. I pay my $10 and we’re on our way. As we head to the Marriage Bureau my fiancé notices that in small script at the bottom of the card it says that the blue card expires on Sept. 4. “It’s OK, I say. [Kindly gent from last month’s freakout] told us it doesn’t really expire. We walk into the Marriage Bureau and wait for for our names to be called.

1:15 p.m.
Our names our called. “Do you have an application filled out?” the woman says eyeballing our hands that contain only the magic blue index cards. “No, nobody told us to,” I reply. NOW we are handed an application while someone leapfrogs us in line.

1:25 p.m.
We finally get to the desk where she begins tapping away, entering our application info into the computer. This takes forever because of some sort of problem she’s having with her computer. Finally she says that she’s all set, writes our reference number down on the application. Then she looks at our blue index cards. “Ohhh,” she says. “I can’t take his. It’s expired.” My fiancé begins the explanation that no, in fact we were informed by the official at the Serology Lab that the official cards don’t expire. Now, it is important to realize one immutable law in the District: when you tell someone at one D.C. government office that someone at another D.C. government office told you a particular piece of information, you might as well phrase it, “Poobedy boo boo in the heeban habben blabbidy blah blah.” Because no piece of information issued within one set of walls in a D.C. government office in any way corresponds to the reality within a different set of D.C. government office walls. She informs us that yes, my fiancé will have to go get a new blood test. It bears mentioning at this point: his blood test cost $100 at his doctor’s office. Between the two of us we are up to $160 in testing and certification fees. Let me repeat that: $160. This is when my fiancé, a normally cool and collected guy, begins strenuously objecting to the Marriage bureaucrat that “The entire system is completely illogical! So we get these tests done today and our wedding’s not for three weeks! What’s to keep us from going out and getting syphilis in those three weeks?!” It is at this point that I hustle him toward the door and a waiting taxi.

2:45 p.m. (my office phone rings. It is my fiancé)
After the afternoon’s fracas, my fiancé walked back into his newsroom and began unloading about the idiocy we’d been dealing with. His colleague, city reporter Michael Neibauer finds all this odd because…wait for it…THE EFFING LAW REQUIRING THE EFFING SYPHILIS TEST EFFING EXPIRED ON SEPT. 11! He begins making calls and learns that, whoops! nobody decided to tell either the Marriage Bureau or the Serology Lab, so for a month, they’ve been putting nice folks like us through the ringer. (He writes a story in the Washington Examiner that runs this morning, which is later picked up by the Associated Press because folks across the nation are always happy to have their stereotypes of D.C. confirmed.)

Oct. 3
Less than 24 hours after a reporter from D.C.’s finest newspaper calls to ask why it is that D.C.’s Marriage Bureau is still requiring proof of a costly test when the law requiring that test expired a month earlier, I get a phone call. “Hello this is [Bureaucrat]. I was calling about the status of your application. As it turns out, effective today, a blood test is no longer required.” Oh really, Bureaucrat? Effective today, you say? Well how about that.

 

 

 Nice try, dear. Try effective Sept. 11. 

 

This morning
I call the Marriage Bureau and ask how I am to be refunded my $10 I was charged to convert my test results to an official blue index card when that card is no longer required. I am told by the supervisor that I need to talk to the Serology Lab because they’re the ones who charged me. He is the first of many people who will tell me that they were “just informed Thursday about all this so it’s not our fault.” He says he will transfer me to the lab. Instead of the Serology Lab, he transfers me to the DNA Lab, which promptly hangs up on my after telling me they’ll transfer me. I call the Marriage Bureau back and ask for the number to the Serology Lab. The woman who answers says, “I can give it to you but you don’t need a blood test anymore.” “I know that,” I say through clenched teeth. “I’m calling about how I get my money back.” We have, I kid you not, the following exchange:

Her: “You want your money back?”
Me: “Yes. I was charged for a test that is no longer required.”
Her: “Hold on.” (Leaves phone for a moment, talking to someone. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess the guy who already snipped at me minutes earlier that it wasn’t his office’s fault. She comes back to the phone.) “You think $10 is too much to pay?”
Me: “For a test that is at this point no longer required? Yes, I do.”
Her: “So you think you should get that $10 back?” (I swear to God in Heaven I can HEAR her neck circling.)
Me (in an octave called Bridal Bird Has Had It With This Incompetent, Illegal Bullsh**): “Yes, I do think that $10 is too much to pay when your department tells me incorrectly that I need a test that hasn’t been required by law for more than a month!”
Her: “Well we just found out about that so it’s not our fault they charged you that money.”
Me: “Transfer me to the Serology Lab. Now.” 

The Serology Lab, as of 10 a.m. Monday, still knows nothing about this. “Who told you you don’t need a blood test?” the bureaucrat on the other end demands to know, incredulous. I point out that as of that very morning on the Marriage Bureau website it says that. She asks me for the URL so she can check it out. I also offer to send her the article from D.C.’s finest newspaper which points out that at least 200 other people were improperly charged by the D.C. government for the expired test conversion, to say nothing of what we all shelled out to our doctors and the time we wasted during the weekday. Oh, and this fellow bride probably won’t be too happy to learn that she passed out during her syphilis blood test and required emergency medical attention for nothing. She calls me back a few minutes later and informs me that yes, in fact the law has expired. “How do I get my refund then?” I ask. She pauses and says, “Well that money goes to the D.C. Treasury. You need to call them.”

 

 

 Bridal Bird’s not calling anybody at the D.C. Treasury, sugarbuns.

I said, “You want me to call the main number of the D.C. Treasury and ask them for my money back? You realize that that will get me nowhere. Certainly your office can provide a refund, as at least 200 other people were charged incorrectly by your office.” Bureaucrat says, I kid you not, “Oh I know. I totally get why you’re upset. But we don’t have your dough.” I thank her for her candor and support and tell her to have her supervisor call me. 

I’m getting my $10 back.

To be continued…

I Tried to Get Out, But They Kept Pulling Me Back In

October 5, 2008

Sept. 1, 2007
“I’m not going to get any bridal magazines. I think they’ll just make me a little crazy. Plus, it’s so much about the materialism that the wedding industry pushes.”

Oct. 1, 2008
“Oh God, I hit a foot.”

Freakout in 3, 2, 1…

October 1, 2008

Twenty-three days.

Do you have any idea how much I have to do in the next 23 days? What was I thinking leaving for nearly two months for the campaign to return only 35 days before my wedding? Why in the name of Jennifer Love Hewitt didn’t any of you step in and say, “Um, hey, Bridal Bird, I was thinking about it and it turns out…you’re an idiot.” Now it’s midnight and I should be stuffing welcome bags, prepping itineraries, getting my shoes dyed, scheduling a facial and a massage, figuring out what in the heck kind of earrings I’m going to wear, and brushing up on my waltz (why did we pick a waltz for our first dance?!), etc., etc. All this to do here in D.C., yet on Friday I’ve got to go up to New York for a dress fitting. And instead of tackling some of the list now, I’m sitting here watching the Sox-Angels game and stalling on going back through the kitchen because there’s a mouse in there. No foolies. Saw him earlier tonight. The wheels have come off the trolley at wedding central.

Never mind, I am going in the kitchen, to get a beer. I need a beer. Maybe the mouse will accept a beer in exchange for tying the ribbons on the giftbags.

The Texas Two Step

September 22, 2008

Phone exchanges with and messages from the bachelor in Texas for his mancation–which included A&M v. Miami football game, beef, and allegedly no strippers this past weekend.

Call No. 1
Fiance: Hey, I’m in Houston. At the airport now. Oh, here comes (best man).
Me: Cool. Tell him I said hi. Have fun!

Call No. 2 (roughly three hours later)
Fiance: Hey! We’re hanging out in the hotel watching McNeil Lehrer Hour. We’re wild!
Me: Holy god. And why do you keep calling me from your bachelor weekend?!

Call No. 3 (voicemail roughly three hours later)
Fiance: Hey! So you need to cheer for the Aggies tomorrow because I made a bet that if we lose the wedding’s off. Funny, right?! (If a s**t-eating grin made a sound it would be transcribed here.)

Call No. 4 (voicemail left roughly three minutes after that)
Me: Oh you’re hilarious! A real hardy har har that one! You know the bigger gamble is that I would actually find that joke funny 34 days before our wedding. And stop calling me!

Call No. 5 (roughly one hour after the Aggies got their rears handed to them by Miami)
Fiance: OK, so I figured out a loophole. I will now re-propose to you. [Bridal Bird], will you marry me?

Call No. 6 (voicemail left later that night)
Me: Yes, I will marry you. You’re lucky.

Football, Brisket, and Strippers, Oh My!

September 19, 2008


+

+

= (half-hearted) bridal eyeroll

As we speak, my fiance is en route to Texas for his bachelor party weekend–his mancation as it were. I’m keeping myself deliberately fuzzy on the details, but it will apparently involve going to the A&M-Miami game (in a coincidence, his best man is a Miami grad), eating copious amounts of beef from old favorite Luling City Market and/or newcomer Snow’s, and perhaps a visit to a gentlemens establishment in Bryan-College Station called the Silk Stocking that is referred to colloquially as “The Dirty Sock.” He claims the latter isn’t happening–and it really isn’t his style anyway–but as I said, “Hey, when in Rome…go check out the aqueducts.”

I’m genuinely not too worried about this manly chicanery. I remain confident that the Aggies will break his heart, the brisket will clog his heart, and the strippers will have names like “Heart” and he’ll come home to me happily.