Category Archives: awkward conversations

Epic Journey: Musical Chairs

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As any one who has had to plan a wedding of any size knows the first thing everyone freaks out about is the guest list. The cost, venue, or any other small number of things that can make you break out in hives. The guest list selection is one of the most humbling and nerve racking experiences every couple must face. It’s like a choice between cake or death* (see footnote).

When my fiance and I sat down and made a rough draft list it was daunting. We purposely had a long engagement so we could make a lot of decisions over time, and tried not to make snap decisions based on emotional knee jerk reactions. We both have large Catholic families…with lots of kids and other extended family. We had a hard time trying to figure out how to negotiate the scope of our list.

When we tell people how large our guest list is (only if they ask) their eyes get big. Then people begin to say, “Just elope!” Then we have to do a little dance and explanation of how that isn’t possible** (see below for short answer). Long answer: his family and our friends love to party and dance and they will make it feel like an awesome party. My personal reasons for not wanting, or ever imagining a large wedding, is due to my own family bringing drama to the table. Like our wedding favors, we had to adjust our settings every time we addressed the count of the guest list. Every few months the number and names changed, parents gave extended family members names, and we realized we left someone off the list by accident that we hadn’t seen in a while. Having a long engagement helped us deal with these small surprises over time.

Even after we made a final A and B guest list I had a few extra blank envelopes set aside just in case we had a few seats open up. Which they did, and not from friends or family we expected. Having a long engagement also opened up seats due to break-ups, travel arrangement issues for family and friends coming from out of town, and some life events in general. Sad to hear some are not able to attend, and happy I have the ability to strategically replace those empty seats with other people we love.

The dance of musical chairs has been an interesting aspect of wedding planning that I was afraid to tackle from the beginning. It was (literally) my worst nightmare. It is now over a year after our engagement and only two months away from the wedding. Planning and writing about this whole experience has been enlightening and an educational process. I would never wish this kind of societal torture on any of my friends, but maybe a few “frenemies.”

The latest development has been all the in-fighting happening in both our families. It’s gotten so dramatic we have a little over 3 tables worth of family, on both sides, who are requesting to be seated with their own group of people. To add to the complications I’ve also been instructed to seat them across the hall from each other for fear they will walk out and leave the reception. Drama.

I will say I am greatly disappointed to be given these types of requests and restrictions for what is suppose to be a day “about us,” and be made to feel like we’re the ones making it difficult for them to be able to attend in peace. You would think these “adults” would put their personal and petty feelings aside for one day to let us enjoy ourselves but I guess that was asking for too much.

*Eddie Izzard joke reference from Dressed to Kill

**Short Answer: His family and Mother would kill us.

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Don’t forget to watch me freak out on twitter and pretend I can accomplish all my Pinterests!

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Epic Journey: Social Media Fiasco

Oh the joys of social media interaction with family!! And the follies that come with it.

About a week ago my bridesmaids and I got together to design and organize the Bridal Shower invitations with the help of my talented fiance. After we hashed out all the details I spoke with my Maid of Honor about sending family and friends a quick note on Facebook so they can save the date for the shower. I put together three different group messages: one for my family, one for his family, and one to friends. I kept it simple, gave them all a link to the wedding website, and a sneak peek image of the invite. I finished it up on a Monday night and didn’t think anything of it.

A screen shot and cropped image of the Bridal Shower invite designed by my Fiance, Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid.

A screen shot and cropped image of the Bridal Shower invite designed by my Fiance, Maid of Honor and Bridesmaid.

The following morning was…a bit hectic. Apparently, one of my Aunts on my Father’s side of the family replied to the message and began to have (what she thought) was a private conversation with me about my Dad’s reservations about helping with the wedding…and child support…and other awkward stuff. For everyone to see. *face palm* Then another Aunt replied (all) and informed her of the mistake she had made. They both began to fumble and continued to talk to each other in the group message. By then quite a few of my relatives had seen the embarrassing mistake, a few cousins made a few jokes, they laughed, and I began to methodically delete some stuff. I removed the accidental message and added a note telling family that if they would like to ask me a question privately they are more than welcome to create a separate message and ask me questions. The Aunts apologized BUT continued to try to message each other…in the same group message…asking if either of them had “spoken” to me about the mistake. GAH! *second face palm* Finally, I politely asked the group to stop messaging each other in the group message with “Ladies….please stop replying to this message.” Luckily, this time they got the hint and stopped messaging everyone inadvertently. Another extended family member said it best: “The ‘real’ of families is what makes them special.”

The final word.

The worst part of this is that my Step-Mother (my Dad’s wife) witnessed the FB message and all the shenanigans. The best part was deciding to NOT include my Mother in any of the FB messages. I then started to laugh and realize why I hate using Facebook for general conversations with family most of the time. Obviously my family uses FB mostly on their smart phones…which they barely know how to use.

It’s also difficult to navigate the FB app when they change their settings every six months! Their latest update gave me this weird bubble image in the corner of my app when I first used it to send a message to a friend. It took my about half an hour to figure out how to remove the message bubble. Lame. Despite all the drama, everything else is moving along smoothly…mostly. Trying to (not) manage my Mom’s anxiety about the Bridal Shower, my Grandmother’s nervousness over her home being invaded by strangers, and juggling appointments with my Bridesmaids has been a BIG adventure in the last few weeks. I just keep taking a deep breath and trying to laugh about it all. What else is there to do? Laughter is the best medicine. 🙂

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Epic Journey: Bridesmaid Dress Double-Take

Over a year ago, once all my bridesmaids were chosen, I made the decision to have the girls chose their own dress within our color palette for the wedding: red, black and white. Of course, the goal is to have them buy a dress they would like to own and possibly wear again, and make it easy on their own pocket books. I would hate to have to spend over $100 on a dress I think makes me look like a tulip or giant puff-ball. Salmon is the worst color for either of those situations, by the way.

They’ve had almost a year of research and window shopping under their belt and have just started to narrow down their choices for a dress. Then….stuff started to happen. My Maid of Honor made her selection, ordered the dress, and sent me pictures. It was awesome! Then a few weeks later one of my bridesmaids started to make her selection and sent me a link to the dress of her choice…It was very similar to my MOH’s dress. HI-larious. I couldn’t help but laugh. The three of us ended up in a long, and funny, text message conversation, which lead to emails being exchanged with pictures of both dresses, and all of us laughing, stressing, and coming to terms with the awkward situation.

The black Maid of Honor dress, and a red Bridesmaid dress.

The black Maid of Honor dress, and a red Bridesmaid dress.

I felt it was an ironic twist of fate that my MOH and one of my bridesmaids chose fairly similar dresses. They aren’t identical, and have different styles. The above picture shows each of their selections. The black lace dress is a little more formal, possibly longer, and has a short lace sleeve. The red dress is possibly shorter, sleeveless, and has a matching belt. I think they’re both amazing and adorable choices! I love them both. After our texting and emailing of photos and opinions back and forth I reassured them that both choices were perfect. Different and cute for each of them in their own way.

It was a fun afternoon chatting with them both about the whole thing; which is what made me happy to have chosen them both to be in the wedding and a part of my Epic Journey.

To good friends, and a good laugh. ❤

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Introspective: 4:20 No More

Most of my good friends know that I am a bit of a pot lover (meaning Marijuana). I love a good smoke like most love a good stiff drink. I’d rather smoke in the privacy of my home than sit in a bar and be ignored by hipsters. Alas, as of this month my Medical Marijuana card will expire and I will no longer have easy access to one of my favorite past times. Trying to save up for a wedding is…a bit costly. In hopes of trying to act like a better adult I’ve decided to let go of one of my vices. Mostly because I can’t afford it any more.

My fiance and I have made a lot of sacrifices over the last year in preparation for our big wedding. We no longer buy too many groceries and let them go to waste rotting in our fridge. We’ve started saving a good chunk of money to establish a savings account, and prepare for our honeymoon and wedding expenses. We finally put in a subscription order at our local comic book shop in hopes of not spending frivolously when we happen to stop by once a month. Trust me, that’s an improvement. Last, but not least I am not renewing my Medical Marijuana card.

Since I’ve spent the last few months trying to stay out of the house and writing more consistently (while doing serious wedding planning) I have fewer opportunities to smoke. I’m not complaining, but I have come to realize that I used it as a crutch for a long time. Stressed at work. Smoke. Complaints about family. Smoke. Frustrated with friends. Smoke. I smoked like an alcoholic drank. I was okay with that…for a while. It was my vice. I still paid all my bills on time. Never missed a day of work, and am actually a workaholic. I have never, in my life, gone to work while stoned. Ever. I hid this habit from co-workers and new friends for fear I’d be judged and labeled a “stoner.” I wanted my work to speak for itself. I’d spent the last five years, or more, delving further and further into this closeted existence.

I use to smoke before doing arts and craft projects. I completed this Wine Cork Trivet while stoned!

I use to smoke before doing arts and craft projects. I completed this Wine Cork Trivet while stoned!

Almost a year ago I decided I didn’t want to live like that any more and became (slightly) more open with friends and family about my vice. There was a lot of drama in the headlines regarding Medical Marijuana legislation, the legality of medical cards, collectives, and dispensaries being close to parks and schools in certain neighborhoods. I took it personally. I’m a proponent of personal freedoms like any other common sense American: Pro-Choice, Pro-Gay Marriage, Immigration Reform, and Medical Marijuana. The reason I began smoking was due to my chronic migraines, (WARNING TMI!) severe and crippling menstrual cramps, and being diagnosed with carpal tunnel all at the age of 25. Over the years, and with access to medical insurance, I’ve gained control of my mental and physical health. It took a lot of time and patience to get where I am today, and it was never an easy road to take.

I occasionally get migraines. I still suffer from back-breaking menstrual cramps. I manage my carpal tunnel better than I use to. Medical Marijuana helped me gain control of my health…over time. It wasn’t the only answer to my problems, but it did help me take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy a moment of happiness. I was an over-worked, stressed out, and manic girl riddled with issues. I’m still struggling with some of them to this day. However, sitting down and hitting a joint with a few good friends reminds me that my life could be a lot worse. I’m grateful I experienced those moments in life, and thankful that I found something that allowed me to appreciate what I have in life: love. Once I started smoking marijuana I quit smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and started eating healthier (not all the time, of course) and drinking water instead of soda and other sugary drinks. Marijuana allowed me to reflect on my life without freaking out about it. I still have a lot to learn about life, but one thing I’m always happy about is knowing who I am, how far I’ve come, and how much I have left to live for. I’ll still occasionally treat myself to a smoke here and there, but I’m no longer going to depend on any type of drug to make me feel better about myself.

Here’s to adulthood! For however long it lasts. 🙂

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Epic Journey: Defective Geeks Interlude

Hola!

I’ve been a bit…distracted this last week. Working on a piece for The Defective Geeks, in full wedding planning mode, and trying to work out some business on the side that will hopefully improve my financial prospects. Yay for productivity!

On the flip side, I haven’t had much time with my thoughts to keep the blog going. 😦

I’ve had some guest list drama, family drama, and honeymoon planning drama in just the last week. Bleh. I’ve been venting on the Offbeat Bride Tribe section so I can keep the drama to a minimum and not get people involved in my bullshit. 🙂

HOWEVER, the real reason for this post is to let my lovely followers and fellow bloggers know that last night I was excited to finally record and appear on the next Defective Geeks podcast!! YAY! {insert pic of me dancing up and down} The episode will be up on their website by tomorrow. We talk Vampires, Zombies, vampire fiction/literature, and life lessons while having a few drinks at one of my favorite local places Alex’s Bar.

My evil plans of taking over the podcast are starting to become revealed….MUAHAHAHAHA! *cough* I’m gonna go finish my writing and wedding planning now. 🙂

Until next week!

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Delicate Dance of Social Ettiquette

This last week my boyfriend and I have been house sitting for our good friends who are out-of-town for two weeks. They offered their place to us due to all my previous gushing over their beautiful, quite, and petite home. It also gave my boyfriend and I some much-needed alone and quite time. We haven’t’ been able to do many weekend getaways this year due to saving for our big trip to Spain, which is two months away.

My boyfriend has felt a bit awkward staying in someone else’s home. I, on the other hand, love it! He feels like everything we do makes a mess, and I feel like we have hardly done anything other than the usual coffee table clutter and dishes. This then started a discussion about how I felt relieved to be staying somewhere else for a bit, like a mini vacation. Which then brought us in to a larger discussion about social etiquette when living with other people, and the additional effort it takes to maintain those social relationships.

I’ve lived with many, many, many different people. Friends, family, strangers, friends of friends, etc. Through all those different interactions I’ve learned how to be a better person, and a better roommate. It’s not easy. Most of my friends now live on their own, without roommates, with a few less, or still live with family. Since we (technically) own our home, we couldn’t afford to not have roommates to help pay the mortgage. Which is also true of many other home owners who have to rent out their own homes and live with family because they can’t afford to pay their own mortgage.

However, having endured awful roommate situations I’ve learned that keeping to a certain level of social etiquette has its rewards when living with roommates. For example, saying “Hello” and “Goodbye” helps to make people feel welcome in their new home, and this may seem simple enough but you’d be surprised how many people don’t put forth that effort. Saying “Thank you” and “You’re welcome” also makes a huge difference in helping feel appreciated for their effort of cleaning up, or helping with the dishes from time to time. Again, simple gestures that make a huge difference when living with people and how you make them feel. Especially when you live with people in a large place, like we do, your mood affects others mood. Even if I’m in a bad mood and I say hello and let them know I had a bad day will help them be more understanding of me, and listen to me rant for a bit. This goes both ways of course. If I place all the dirty dishes from the sink in to the dishwasher, I then ask, “Can someone please put away the dishes once they’re clean.”

I’ve lived with many people who never say hello or goodbye and just wonder in and out of our home like it’s a hotel. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s not very polite, and it does effect how you see the other person and how you will react to them once they do talk to you about bills, cleanliness, other roommate situations. If I’m usually friendly and making conversation it then becomes easier for me to ask them when they will have a check ready to pay rent or utilities versus only speaking to them when a bill is due. Not very friendly.

I’m not gonna lie, I have not always been a great roommate, or friendly. However, I’ve at least grown as a person and learned how to live with other people more harmoniously. It’s not easy, and it takes a lot of effort on my part to ensure not only my happiness by their happiness as well. I don’t want to have to look for a new roommate every 3-6 months because I can’t learn how to be polite.

I still know a few people who have never learned these small social cues, and it’s been interesting to watch how they react to these roommate discussions. It’s also been interesting to see how others react to small things like asking to pay a bill. For example, one roommate we shall name Rm A, another to be called Rm B react differently to the same questions. When I ask Rm A if they have a check for the utility that is due tomorrow their reaction is, “Yes,” with no further response. Rm A does not make a motion to write a check, or ask when I would like the payment. They simply reply with an answer. Not the greatest interaction, and preferably not what most people would be expecting. I then have to ask Rm A when they can pay the bill, and then follow-up the next day if nothing has transpired. Rm A is also the same person who never says hello or goodbye. When Rm B is asked the same question they respond with, “Yes, do you need it now? Can I write a check for you tomorrow, or pay you in cash?”, which is a more preferred, at least for me, and makes the tedious task of paying bills more tolerable for everyone. Rm B also says hello and goodbye every chance they get, and makes chit-chat when talking about their day. The interaction with Rm B makes both of us more comfortable, informed, and brings a more mellow mood to the household. I’m in no way implying Rm A or Rm B is better or worse than one another, but their varied reactions to innocuous things makes everyone’s life that much more livable depending on what you prefer, or expect out of one another. Everyone assumes people will pay their bills on time if left to write a check or give cash to the person in charge of collecting money for bills. I have learned this is not true. You don’t need to nag, but sometimes people get caught up in their own lives and forget from time to time, and when you have to actually go to someone and ask them to pay the bill the personal relationship you have with them, whether good or bad, will affect how they respond to your request.

A few years ago I made an effort to always say please, thank you, you’re welcome, hello and goodbye to every single person I interacted with on a daily basis. I found these small social cues tend to make people feel more comfortable and responsive when you have to interact with them on a deeper level. There is a higher level of respect and you are viewed in a more positive manner. Even going so far as to introduce to myself to others instead of waiting for someone to do it for me has made interacting with people more positive. I’m no longer seen as shy or silent and brooding. I am now seen as friendly and positive. I’ve been in a few social situation lately with people I’ve never met before and tried to be friendly, but they didn’t really want to know me. I tried to say hi, they ignored me. I was talking to the others in the room, and they would interrupt or pretend I wasn’t there. It was really awkward. The old me would have made a scene, or started talking shit in front of them without actually talking to them. Realizing I’m an adult, and I was at another persons home, made me bite my lip, and wait for an appropriate time to let me friends (who lived there) know how I felt about what happened to me. They were surprised, to say the least, that I kept quiet about their rude behavior, and apologized for not introducing us to the selfish people.

Living with multiple people is a bit of a social burden from time to time. Making sure I’m polite, but not overly talkative can be a challenge. Listening politely when the other person is being friendly and talkative, even though I’m in a bad mood and would be prefer silence, is also an adjustment from time to time. Offering to make enough food for everyone who are home has been helpful in making people feel welcome in our home, and I love cooking for others because I feel it’s rude to eat in front of other people without offering at least a taste (I love to taste other people’s food, as my good friends know). Even making polite conversation helps everyone to understand where you’re coming from, and helps build those relationships to ensure you don’t grow to hate one another. I may avoid talking about Harry Potter with one of my roommates, but I know I can chat about novels, writing, and politics from time to time.

Every bit makes a huge difference when you want to stay positive and be known as a welcoming place to stay, or just being someone other people want to know. Leaving your shoes in the living room is not a big deal, but if you leave dirty dishes or trash behind often you probably might be annoying to live with. So stay positive, be polite, and please just say hello, and thank you next time to someone you just met and you’d be surprised at the reaction you get. 😉

<;3 The Roommate

Let me know what you think about being polite!

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Tree Required

This is our second year in our new home and I wanted to buy a few more decorations for the house. However, last weekend while visiting my boyfriend’s mother we inquired why she hadn’t put up any lighting or decorations. Earlier this year her mother, my boyfriend’s grandmother, passed away and it is traditional for children of the deceseased to mourn for two years after their death. No decorations, or lights, or trees.

Dammit!

My boyfriend and his grandmother shared a birthday, and to respect the family wishes, we are not decorating the house with anything. Except, a Christmas tree! I cannot live without a real tree in my home every year. If nothing else, I always want a tree.

Ever since I little one of the few things I would volunteer to do was decorate the tree. My grandparents always bought a 6ft. tree and my brother and I would be in charge of decorating. Plus, every Christmas my boyfriend and I have spent together we buy a new ornament for our tree as our new tradition. Last year, we kept a small piece of the tree stub that was cut off at the time of purchase and we wrote each of our names, including our roommates, with the date. This year we turned our Christmas card into the new ornament. Decorating the tree has always been a great way for my family to get together before the holiday and do somethig together. It’s also the one thing we never fight over.

I can live without decorations and lights on the house, but no one keeps me from having a fresh tree in my home for Christmas!

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Halloween Weirdness

Halloween doesn’t seem like it would be filled with political discussions, but that’s exactly what happened at my house last night.

My new roommate met up with her friend and her boyfriend before they left to see a band in the neighborhood. The discussion started with her asking if either of them had seen the new Michael Moore film “Capitalism.” The boyfriend proceeded to say, “You know his films always have bad timing. Just like Farenheit 9/11.” I politely waited a few more moments before jumping into the conversation, and his throat, before I added my piece to the discussion. He argued that Moore’s films always come at inappropriate times and don’t help the political situation. Which is why, in his opinon, Moore’s new film is not a good thing right now. He has not seen the film, nor does he even follow what happened with any of the bank bailout situations, or politics in general because “no one wants to understand it” therefore it does no good. This guy is his own worst enemy.

This was followed by myself asking him if he participates in politics at all, i.e. sign petitions or email his Senators & Congress. He said he use to, but is now waiting for the results of a Supreme Court decision regarding petitions. I asked him to elaborate and I found a coward sitting on front of me. He explained that the case was going to help decide if your name could be released to the public if you signed a petition, for example, regarding Gay Marriage. His fear is that your neighbor could use this information to retaliate against you. Maybe show up to your house with a gun and scare you in to chaning your opinon, or vote. I reminded this young moron, that the neighbor was the person commuting a crime, not him, for assaulting someone for their beliefs, not the other way around.

He didn’t seem to think his name being released should be legal because “your ballot is suppose to be secret.” I reminded him that a petition is not a vote or a ballot, which is why it can be public knowledge, in hopes of getting enough signatures for it to become a ballot measure citizens could vote on. He seemed disturbed that people would know his opinion on political matters and was very against the idea of having information be public. However, this seemed ironic when he asked our small group if any of us was in favor of Gay Marriage, to which we all answered yes, and proceeded to use this as his example of how our votes and signatures could be used against us. It was an odd and ridiculous discussion.

He seemed to have fairly liberal ideals, with a conservative base of “I want to be able to deny I said that” attitude. His common answers were riddled with, “You can’t change people’s opinions” followed by “my signature should be secret.” He seemed to be part of a generation of idiots who don’t want to take responsibility for their own beliefs, and would rather finish the arguement with, “Well, I don’t follow politics too well” and then tell me how I was wrong.

I’m sorry, not in my home. Back your shit up, or get our of my face, you irresponsible shit-faced moron, who can’t tell his ass from his head. Defending morons for being morons is no excuse. I choose to believe people can have an informed opinion if they are properly informed. So please do not come to me and say you’d flake on your friends and family because some psychopath holds a gun to your head to change your vote on Gay Marriage.

Fuck you.

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