Friday, June 30, 2006

"We’re on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!"

"…and we’re having a ball!"

That’s the song JG’s dad would sing when his family went on their vacations, and JG has continued on the tradition. We haven’t determined whether it’s an actual song or just a Dad Original, but either way, it’s fun. So yes, we’re on vacation! Tomorrow morning, JG and I are leaving to drive to the Jersey shore to meet up with the rest of his mom’s side of the family:

  • 1 grandmother
  • 2 sets of uncles and aunts
  • 6 cousins
  • 2 parents
  • 2 siblings

Yes, that’s at least 15 people (including us), plus an undefined number of significant others and friends who will be dropping by. We’ll all be in one house for a whole week, and it’s a tradition that goes back at least thirty years. Yes, I am stepping, for the first time, into a tradition that is older than I am.

I grew up with New England beaches, which were very cold, rocky, and inhospitable, so when JG describes Ocean City to me, I just stare back and say things like, “Sand? You go into the water? The boardwalk is on stilts? How does it support businesses and people walking on it?” And then he just laughs at me … I still don't completely get it, but I assume it'll make sense when I see it.

This trip will also be my first time spending an entire week lounging on a beach, which is completely foreign to me. See, my childhood vacations involved exhausting a city of every tourist attraction it had to offer. My engineer father would put together an itinerary that took us from museum to aquarium to historic restaurant for lunch to landmark gardens to probably another museum to city-specific-cuisine dinner to the ballet. In one day. Throw in some frustration over getting lost and thereby being late according to the itinerary, and it was a lot to take for at least five days. I usually felt like I needed another vacation to recover from my vacation, and it’s not that I didn’t learn a lot and gain a lot of culture. I was just tired out. In that sense, I am looking forward to a week where I could possibly read the nine books I packed, but I know that I’ll feel oddly guilty about it.

I know this trip will be interesting, but I have high hopes for its being fun. From what I hear, Mack & Manco’s Pizza, the Shell Museum, mini-golf, donuts from Dot’s Bakery, the Clam Bar, and Hoy’s Five and Ten are all in my future. I’m looking forward to spending time with the bevy of family members, and we haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving. There will be a lot of games played – Catchphrase, Apples to Apples, and Dutch Blitz, to name a few – and I always love games. With a lot of reading and picture-taking, I think I can reach my main goal: by Tuesday or Wednesday, I want to be singing,

“We’re on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N, and we’re having a ball!”

Thursday, June 29, 2006

First One Bites the Dust

Today, we had a sad, yet semi-momentous event: we broke our first plate.

It was like I was watching it in slow motion. JG put the two plates not quite far enough onto the counter when they toppled off, took a piece of the garbage can with them, and crashed on the floor. One didn’t survive the fall. He did his best to save it, but even if it seems like things are falling in slow motion, they actually aren’t. JG felt kind of bad about the dish, and I’m sure it didn’t help when I fake-wailed, “But that was a wedding plaaaaaate!!!”

Now, I’m not exactly broken up about this because I knew this would happen at some point. I was almost positive that it would be me breaking the [insert fragile item], since I’m much klutzier than JG, and I just tend to drop/run into/trip over things much more frequently than he does. I suspect it’s some sort of depth perception problem. It makes me sympathetic to JG feeling bad about breaking it, and the plates didn’t cost too much to the point where it won’t break the bank to replace it, so this breakage really isn’t a big deal in the scheme of things. Am I a cool wife, or what?

At the same time … it was a wedding plate. JG and I didn’t get formal china because I couldn’t rationalize making our guests spend over $100 for a place setting that we might only use twice a year, especially if that money could be better spent elsewhere on our registry to get us things that we could use on a regular basis. Like an iron. Or silicon oven mitts. Anyway, instead of both "formal" and “everyday” dishes, we got two sets of “everyday” dishes that we use everyday, believe it or not. I’m ashamed to admit that, yes, I knew that I wanted these dishes since I was about 12, but not because I had visions of wedding plans dancing in my head – it was because I loved their mix-and-match economy and funky colors. I chose the very sensible white and cobalt, chosen expressly because I thought food would look appetizing on them and despite the fact that green is my favorite color (“You can’t put green food on green dishes!”). If I ever had an occasion for fancy dishes, I planned on adding cloth napkins and candles to a table with the white setting, and I’d be all set, right?

Is it pathetic that I really love these dishes? They’re solid, simple, and they’ll never go out of style, and they were among the first gifts I opened at my bridal shower. My registry inspired a gift from JG’s grandmother of her original candlesticks and salt and pepper shakers; we wouldn’t have been able to buy them anywhere, and we love having them on display. So in a way, the loss of this one cobalt dinner plate is a tiny loss of one of our wedding gifts, and that’s a little sad. But maybe this is a symbol of our new-ish marriage. You know, we’ll go through tough times and not everything will look shiny and new, and we won’t always been nice to each other…

On another note, I think this is a perfect time to start adding to my collection. I can’t be stuck with SEVEN cobalt plates, can I? I don’t do well with odd numbers, much less odd, prime numbers of things! Forget trying to divide those up! Ooh, so many colors to choose from… Maybe turquoise … or shamrock … or yellow …

Monday, June 26, 2006


My little corner of the world is swimming in a steady downpour, and we've had at least 12 hours of rain today. It's not the kind of rain that makes you scared, like your car is going to drift away. It's the cold, stinging kind that makes you dread stepping outside because you know your skin is going to prick up from the tiny pellets of coldness falling from the sky, and you're going to be uncomfortably damp and chilly for the whole drive home because you're forced to run the defroster. I would even settle for the "it's so hot that this is refreshing" type of rain, but this is not even close. There isn'’t even that saving grace that maybe the rain will make the humidity lift. Just like that stubborn storm system, the humidity (the humma-DITTY, as my radio DJ said this morning) is content to camp out over the east coast. Fabulous.

Thanks to that big fat streak of green, yellow, and red on the radar, I had the scariest commute home today. I usually get nervous about driving in the rain because I'm afraid that a) I might lose control because of the water on the road, b) someone else will lose control near me, and/or c) the people behind me will get so frustrated at me for driving below the speed limit that they'll try to pass me illegally and we'll all get into a terrible accident that'll leave people hurt or at least standing in the rain. Not that I have specific fears... This is how you know that it became scary rain: I used the highest setting on my windshield wipers.

I have never used the highest setting, ever. Somehow, I always felt better knowing that I had it just in case I needed it. I know, if I never used it, then it was like I was always using the highest setting... I know it doesn't make sense. It couldn't be avoided this time, though, because the regular medium setting was just not cutting it against the torrential downpour, and I could barely see the car in front of me, much less the lines on the road. I almost felt like I was flipping up one of those plastic boxes over the red buttons that launch big missiles in movies. The crazy-fast wipers definitely helped in the visibility department, but the frantic motion keyed me up even more; it made it seem to me as if the blades were panicking because they were moving so quickly, kind of like I do when I try to kick-box. Then, I heard an incessant high-pitched beeping noise, which freaked me out even more, because I know nothing about auto repair or behavior, and the last thing I needed is to be stranded somewhere on a country road in the rain due to mysterious beeping. After this paranoid train of thought ran through my brain, I realized that it was just the panicky wipers squeaking across my windshield. That was when the lightning and thunder started. Did I mention that I hate thunder, to the point where I actually begged JG to make me a soundproof room that could double as a recording studio? Agh. I was so relieved when I was finally home, especially without hydroplaning or frustrated motorists, and I was even able to turn down the windshield wipers back to regular.

My day wasn't all bad though; I managed to get a great parking spot at work, thanks to a funny old woman who flagged me down as I prowled through the lot. It was my second time circling for the line of spots nearest to my office -– yes, the rain was that bad! - and she waved at me as she walked to her BMW. Hallelujah! It was a bright spot in a day where I watched the sky go from dark gray to light gray, and back to dark again, and I was glad to take it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

One Down

A year ago today, I became a Mrs.

The Mrs. thing is strange on its own, but it's really surreal that a year has already gone by. Our big day flew in the face of all of those wedding magazines, complete with my dress from J. Crew, barbecue chicken for lunch, and a location that put us back a whopping $60. JG and I had so much fun and we ended up married at the end of the day, so that was good enough for us.

And how did JG and I celebrate our very first anniversary? By going to a wedding, of course! Our close friends had been engaged for what seemed like forever, and it was great to be there for them yesterday. The best part was when they said their vows and we knew that we were saying them at the same time. Plus, we got to dress up, dance the night away, and hang out with our friends who were at and in our own wedding, and that's pretty hard to beat.

I’ve never been much of a sappy feelings person – that would be JG in our relationship – so I’m not very good at saying the things people usually do about being married or in love. I don’t really even say that I’m in love; I just know that I love JG. I love coming home to him, cooking really heavy casseroles for him, and reminding him that yes, we have people coming over for dinner on Tuesday. I love that he puts up with my utter lack of knowledge about dogs (“Why don't they make the chow in mini size?”), prefers me in sweats and without makeup on, and lets me listen to show tunes while he plays video games. You know it's love when he tolerates hearing "Luck Be a Lady" while his NCAA football game is on mute.

I’ve heard that you’re only a newlywed for the first year, and I don't mind passing off that baton to our just-married friends. I’m pretty sure that I’ll still catch myself admiring my rings, and JG will still laugh at me for it. And that’s okay.

Fine, that was kind of sappy.

Happy Year, kiddo.

Friday, June 23, 2006

In Which the Husband Makes a Fort

JG and I were at a rehearsal dinner for a wedding we’re attending this weekend, but that isn’t the point of this story. The real action starts after we’ve practiced standing and walking, when JG sees a Lowe’s on the way home and says, “We’ve been talking about getting a grill for so long – do you mind if we stop there?”


[I pause for a sidenote to say that, yes, we’ve been talking about getting a grill, and yes, it’s totally in the budget, so this isn’t some figment of JG’s imagination. I should also point out that home improvement stores make me slightly uncomfortable because I’m like a freshman exchange student on the first day of American high school in them: “Vare ees, how you say, zeh spackle?” It’s not pretty. Even better, I’m wearing heels and a semi-nice skirt, and we all know that these make up the traditional hardware store garb.]

First, we examined the grills outside. Lots of models are available, and the gas ones were 10% off, but only for the next three days! After a stint inside the store that involved me babysitting one of those giant dolly-cart things, we finally haul home The Grill. The BBQ Grillware 3-Burner LP Gas Grill. Booyah. Better yet: JG wants to assemble it…tonight.

As I type here, the grill is being assembled in my downstairs hallway, and it looks like a cast-iron spaceship/fort. No wonder guys enjoy grilling and all that it entails. You get to make your own fort of solid metal that will allow you to make lots of flame and impress the other menfolk! Meanwhile, the laundry room is filled with packing box debris, and the 40-minute time estimate for assembly has run out at a point when JG estimates that he is “over halfway” done.

After a total of 1 hour and 26 minutes, the fort has morphed into a grill, but not without these gems overheard from the assembly line:

  • “If it gets to be midnight or something, stop me, okay? By the way, what time is it?”
  • “I didn’t realize this had so many parts! I mean, you see a grill and you realize that you have to put it together… but do you realize it has 13,000 parts?”
  • [sounds of clanging] “Sorry!”
  • “What a crappy screwdriver. Why include one if it stinks?”
  • “I hope the grill cover I got is big enough.” [It was]
  • “All riiiiiiiiiiiight, we’ve got wheels! Watch this bad boy roll now!”
  • “The directions were real good up until this point.”
  • JG: I have no idea what these are for. RA: You have three of them! [He figured it out]

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This is my inaugural entry. I admit that I’m a little scared. I’m itching to write, but it’s kind of intimidating to take on The Internet as your primary audience. As opposed to, you know, your eyes only on your scribbled journal pages.

I’m curious to see where this whole thing will lead me. I have a weird ritual where, at the onset of a new experience (starting high school, college, a job), I ask myself questions that I look back on in the future. Usually, I find that the answers are way off from what I expected, or that I didn’t ask enough questions, but it’s interesting to see what was going through my mind. So, for nostalgia’s sake:

  • Did I update as regularly as I wanted to? Maybe 3 times a week?
  • Did anyone read this other than me and JG?
  • How do I feel about writing in general?
  • Have I met anyone new?
  • How often did I get writer’s block?
  • What’s my favorite part about blogging? Least favorite?
  • What have I learned?
  • Am I looking back at these questions and thinking, “I can’t believe I thought that was a good idea…”?

Here we go.

Deep breath.