Tag Archives: true story

in which planning does not occur in a vacuum

Hey. Hey there. Long time, uh, long time no write.

So I was digging around in the admin area of this blog recently (don’t ask) and came across this draft post from May of 2010. That… was a long time ago! But… it was practically a finished post! That I never got around to publishing! So that’s fun.

You know what’s even more fun than an unpublished post? A published post.

So here it is. Taking you back to the pre-bridal-shower days in three, two, one

My mom called me up the other day. She had some urgent bridal shower business to talk about. I put on my frowny face and readied myself for a serious discussion.1

Wanna know what we talked about? Are you sure? Get ready….


“Maria,2” she said. “What about the dishes and utensils for the picnic lunch?”

“What about them?” I asked, dumbly.

“I am worried the plates you get won’t be heavy duty enough for the food,” she said.

“Uh…” I had no idea what to say to this.

“Because you don’t want the plates to start bending or folding from the weight of the food,” she explained.

“I can… I mean, I can make sure to get some heavy-duty ones,” I mumbled lamely, grasping at straws.

“But you don’t know what kind of food you’re having yet,” she reminded me, stridently. We had already established that she is Worried That I Haven’t Thought About The Food. And now the Plates. My God, will someone please think of the Plates?

Can I take a moment to point out that he bridal shower is over two months away.

Okay, well maybe I would pay extra if the plates looked like THIS. // Image credit paperchase.co.uk via Pinterest

“Have you thought about the color of the napkins?”

Yes, mom. The color of the napkins will be black, in honor of my cynical shower-planning heart.

No, I have to confess, I haven’t thought about any of these bridal shower details. None of them. Not a whit. Because for some crazy reason I was convinced it was as simple as going down to the local Whole Foods, looking in the glass case, pointing out some nice-looking edibles, and paying for them. Then, I’d go and pick out some sturdy-looking plates, utensils, and napkins with an eye toward price, not color.  Then I’d take all my stuff home and put it out on tables at the bridal shower and everyone would dutifully chow down on the grub and proceed to throw away the hand-selected plastic kitchenware and then we’d all, somehow, some way, move on with our lives.

But not my mom. My mom has Thoughts. She has Worries. She has Issues. She has Plans.

Plans about Plates. Plate plans.

And you know what? Sometimes, you just have to play along. Because even though you and your partner are the only ones getting married, you’re not the only ones involved. And the people involved frequently have different priorities than you do.

Sometimes you have to let things go.

Sometimes, you just have to think of the plates.

1 My mother can detect mockery long-distance.

2 She calls me Maria sometimes. No, Maria is not my given name. I’ve learned in these situations that it’s best not to ask.

social networking has ruined my communication skills

At the caterer’s place, working on the timeline

Caterer: “OK, so are you guys going to want to do the grand entrance?”
Me [exchanging confused glances with Beau]: “… Grand?”
Caterer: “You know, when everyone goes to sit down after the cocktail hour, and you kind of hold back for a minute, and then when everyone’s finally seated you walk in as the DJ announces, ‘Please welcome for the first time as husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. [Lastname]!’”
Me: “Oh. No. I guess not. I mean, I’m not taking his last name, so that wouldn’t work.”
Caterer [eyebrows shooting up]: “Ah ha ha! You guys are too funny.”
Me: “I mean, I guess we could say ‘Please welcome Lyn [Lastname] and Beau [Lastname]!’ But that’s kind of weird, because everyone already knows our names.”
Caterer: “OK!” [writing notes to self] “No… grand… entrance.”

Much later, at home

Beau: “So, you finally figured out that last name thing, eh?”
Me: “Yep.”
Beau: “When were you planning on filling me in?”
Me: “Whaaaat? I already told you. I’m sure I did.”
Beau: “Nope. News to me.”
Me: “I swear I told you. How did you not know? I mean, I tweeted about it.”
Beau: [gives me a look before dissolving into laughter]
Me: “Oh, shit.”

a year ago today

The beau thought we should go wine-tasting. I had no problem with that. We packed up some provisions and got in the car.

So we drove over the mountains and into the winery-laden Santa Ynez Valley. We had no real plans; we just roamed. We picked up some sandwiches in Los Olivos. We took a detour to Solvang and procured some rocky road fudge. We stopped off at a few wineries along the way, but kept striking out on good picnic spots. So we just kept going.

We ended up way north in the valley, far outside the normal winery circuit. We finally found a place named Rancho Sisquoc with a number of picnic tables in the sun, and proceeded to spend a lazy couple of hours tasting wine and snacking on sandwiches and fudge. On our way back out to the road we found an old American Gothic church with an overgrown cemetery. Seriously. Check this shit out:

That’s some serious business.

At this point in the afternoon it was getting kind of late, so we pointed the car towards home. We were passing Lake Cachuma on the 154 when the beau suggested we try to find a scenic area and have some drinks.* He took a turn for a lookout point over Bradbury Dam.

As far as dams go, this wasn’t a particularly, um, scenic one. Consisting of almost all parking lot, the place was surrounded by trees that blocked all views of the lake save for a small clearing directly overlooking the dam, which was guarded by a rusty rail. The only place to sit down was a lone picnic table under a scraggly tree. Not promising. Not to mention I was feeling sleepy and allergic. But the beau had already mixed up some vodka drinks in plastic hypercolor cups, so I rallied and we ambled over towards the “view.”

On the way there, however, we spotted a small trail down a hill. We set off down the trail eagerly for several yards only to have our hopes for adventure dashed by a barbed wire fence. There was, however, a hole at the bottom of the fence that looked just big enough to fit a person. We looked at each other and shrugged. He held my drink while I ducked and shimmied underneath, then passed the cups to me through the fence before he scrambled through.

I was wearing highly inappropriate footwear for this spontaneous and illegal hike—cheap flats with absolutely no tread. We passed copious amounts of poison oak as tiny rocks gathered in my shoes. Just as I was starting to second-guess our decision the trail once again came to a dead end, this time on the shore of the lake. There we encountered a gorgeous, sweeping vista. The water stretched out to either side of us. Big white puffy clouds sped by overhead, chasing their shadows over the mountains. We stood there for several moments amidst the sun-bleached branches of dead wood and the deer tracks, sipping our vodkas.

Suddenly, a fish jumped out of the water to my left. “Hey, did you see that fish?” I asked the beau, but he was too distracted to answer because he was really digging into his pocket. I pretended not to notice and kept looking off to the left where I’d last seen the fish jump, like it was the most sincerely interesting section of water I’d ever seen. Then the beau said, “I love you.” So I turned around to look at him and he asked, “Will you marry me?”

He was holding out a ring. “Yeah!” I said. I took the ring from him and for some bizarre reason told him, “Thank you!” Then for one long moment we stared at each other like deer in headlights, and then he suddenly began to sink like he was going to drop to one knee. I grabbed his elbow and murmured, “No, no, no!” He stood up again, uncertainly. I slipped the ring on my finger and exclaimed, “Wow!”

We were engaged.**


* Yes, we had brought a cooler full of booze to accompany our wine tasting trip. Stop looking at me like that.

** Entirely unintentionally, we got engaged exactly 50 months to the day after we met. Strange thing, that. My friend thought it was silly, but I liked it. It feels auspicious when the numbers line up and click into place, you know?