Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and all the Trimmings

Chris and I wisely decided to stay put through the holidays. With all the changes in our lives over the past few months it makes much more sense for us to have time to settle in. Add to that the fact he works in a hospital, is the new guy, and is likely to work over the holiday. All in all this seemed like a wise decision and turned out well.

This was not my first introduction to family dynamics, nor was I unaware of the possible misunderstandings of family. But what started as a simple Thanksgiving at home, turned into a full blown who is going where and when fiasco that left my head spinning a bit. It all started by us announcing to my Mother-in-Law that we were going to spend Thanksgiving very low-key and probably have dinner with just Dixie at her home. Dixie is Chris's 97-year-old grandmother who does much better in small groups due to hearing issues and with her developing memory problems, is obviously much more comfortable at home. This was met with, "Fabulous idea." I, of course, told Lynn (MIL) that she should come to make it a truly lovely Thanksgiving, but we really wanted to do the dinner at Dixie's house. Of course, of course, all is well. Then a week later she asks what are plans are again. Chris tells her our plans for a second time, quite clearly that we will be visiting Dixie at her home and Lynn should come so we can all be together.

Imagine my surprise when 2 days before Thanksgiving I get a message from my new Sister-In-Law saying how she and Brett can't wait to see us at Lynn's house on Thanksgiving night. They are doing lunch with her family but will be stopping by to see's been so long. WHAT? I quickly leave a message saying we have no intention of going to Lynn's house. Chris has to work the day before and Thanksgiving Day the graveyard shift so we are having an early dinner with Dixie. Come to find out Dixie will be at Lynn's. Are you kidding me?

I didn't want to step on any toes or cause any problems, but Chris needs to sleep and we had expressed our wishes, so why was everything being changed? And how do I change it back without starting a big family feud? This is one thing you have to figure out when you have been "in-lawed." You have spent your entire life learning the best way to deal with your parents and family and now you have a whole new set of parents to deal with. Come to find out, they do not respond the same way as your family and they have entirely different ways of getting what they want. A whole new map must be built.

Now, I hate to say the universe stepped in to provide me with my way...I think that might be overreaching, but I was annoyed. Then Lynn got a horrible flu. This forced her to stay in Virginia longer and ended with us getting to have a small Thanksgiving at Dixie's house. I did all the cooking and we transported it over, Lynn came cause she was feeling better, and Chris got to sleep as much as possible. I would never wish illness on anyone, but the change in plans provided us with EXACTLY the Thanksgiving we wanted and Lynn even got her split-pea soup. I think it turned out for the best...leaving me thankful for my family and the flu.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Too Windy for hiss!

I am beginning to think Chris and I might be some sort of wind gods or something. If only we could truly learn to harness the power, we could use it for good instead of for evil. We made it up to Mammoth, finally, since the wedding the last great wind storm of 2010. The purpose of the trip was to pick up our ski passes and maybe take advantage of some of the early snow. Instead we seemed to attract tornado like wind the scope of which made the lift terrifying and snowboarding impossible.

Plenty of beautiful snow was falling but due to the windy conditions Chris wanted to wait a few days. I couldn't blame him, he gets cold easily and no one wants to have their face hurts.

It seemed a little windy in the morning but no big deal. Now, I have lived in and been going to Mammoth since 1996 and I can say I have never experienced a wind like this one. We arrive at chair 2 excited and ready to go. I am excited, Chris is freezing. But he's being a trooper and we head to the lift line. We suffer our way through as it is even pretty windy at the base. Finally on the lift we are trying to stay warm as the lift stops part way up the hill. The wind is blowing us practically sideways. Now, not only does this cut through our clothing making us as cold as ice cubes but also it is swinging the chair in a way that even frightens me. I love heights, climb to the top of everything and here I was suddenly feeling that the wind from our wedding day was nothing and I was about to fall off a chair dangling 50 feet in the air. Our wedding was gorgeous, but it was so windy I ripped my veil off my head in the middle of the ceremony. I had kind of forgotten it until I saw the DVD of the wedding. Now I begin thinking of how to use the wind to my advantage. Of course my mind goes to the idea that as long as I stayed pointing downhill and landed on my board I could probably navigate my way down. My snowboard could act a bit as a sail floating me to the snow. That thought only lasts for a second before I realize my knees would probably blow out the moment I hit the bullet proof snow below me and I am likely to be unable to move, this isn't a sail attached to my feet but a lead weight, duh! At least we have our helmets on, oh wait, no, I have my helmet on, my husband thinks they are unnecessary. Has his life insurance kicked in yet?

We make it safely to the top, where when we stand the wind pretty much makes us stand still. We push our way to the slope and manage to feel our way down despite being able to see pretty much nothing. Needless to say, a single run, that was all we managed, and it was back to the warmth and safety of the house. Hopefully our next trip will be more successful. Maybe I should try and wish the wind elsewhere? Are there any good books on how to control your wind magnetism? Right now I am just looking into the costs of a wind farm...maybe we can buy some cheap land in Mojave.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Wedding Photos, the Dreaded Decision

So I am not sure how many of you out there have seen the movie "Beaches" or even the old front room of Gabby on Desperate Housewives, but these are the two walls that pop into my mind when I think of narassitic women who put large photos of themselves on their walls. Both these walls were done in retro Andy Warhol style photos, but large montages of just the face of these women. Now seriously, is that what you want in your house? Emphatically NO! But then on the flip side, you have just had these amazing photos taken of you, your hair is done, your make-up is fixed, there is photoshop correcting going on making your arms not look so pudgy, and let's be honest you love the dress and you NEVER, sans pretending to be the corpse bride at Halloween, get to wear it again. It makes sense you would like to display some of your better looking photos, even if they have been somewhat "enhanced." Hey, at least it's just the picture and not irreversible surgery.

I digress. Now you have all these blank walls in your new living room staring at you and the temptation is to fill them with photos or my case mostly photos because I love Ansel Adams-y landscape, outdoorsy stuff. While it takes a bit for you to talk your insane husband out of hanging the Hollywood butt picture (thanks, Mom) in the middle of the living room over the ginormous TV, you are left with how big and where do you put a wedding photo? And what wedding photo? Just the two of you? That seems lame. Family shot? Well that would be easy if you came from the land of Ozzie and Harriet but with two sets of families on both sides along with remarriages, random brothers and sisters, etc, etc, etc, you would need a panorama shot that would look like a mural. Not to mention that it is physically IMPOSSIBLE for all those people to have their eyes open at exactly the same time.

I plow through the photos numerous times and pick a few shots to put up. I also have multi-window frames, and we now have professional shots of many of our friends and family. These seem like the perfect places for these photos and as long as I am not in them with the big cottonball dress, it isn't THAT obvious they are wedding photos. Technically they are RECEPTION photos. There, walls filled lots of smiling faces, everyone happy...great job. You have one of your first guests over. First words out of her mouth, "it's so funny how you have all these wedding photos everywhere." And here I thought I had done a good job. After she left I am running around staring at the photos. I swear there are only 3 of me in the of them a landscape shot. The rest are reception, rehearsal dinner and other people. I proceeded to throw my pride away and leave the photos up. It's our house anyway!

By the way, the butt picture has found an appropriate home in the bathroom, because really, where else do you hang an enlarged picture of an ass?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ode to a Pancake, I Miss You!

Leaving West Hollywood was a bit traumatic for me. I don't want to sound overly dramatic about the whole thing, but when you have lived in the hustle and bustle of WeHo for awhile you become accustomed to certain things. These include but are not limited to the interesting "working girls" near the donut shop, the screaming Russians who live upstairs and seem to always sound as though they are bowling, the constant din of helicopters chasing Paris Hilton, Lilo, or any number of other celebs living in the area, taking a six dollar cab ride to the Sunset Strip, or walking to the Melrose Improv.

None of these things compare to being walking distance to both the Grove (shopping and movies) and The Griddle. The Griddle won me over to the side of the pancake. You see I only eat waffles or crepes I believe pancakes to be the spawn of Satan. BUT, pumpkin pancakes at the Griddle are like pumpkin pie for breakfast. You have to know the secret because even splitting just one you won't finish it and if you place an order they bring you THREE plate sized pancakes. According to the employees, they have only ever seen 2 people finish them and one immediately proceeded to toss his pancakes. Pair these delicious pancakes with the Papas Y Benedict...served on potato skins instead of English muffins and DROWNING in Hollandaise sauce: you have a feast for at least four people!

Chris burnt himself out on the Griddle, despite my warnings. When I first introduced him we went every time he was in WeHo. We never had to wait in line as we would get it to go and eat at home. That led to me meeting Nikki Sixx and him not which added to the mystique of the place as I had already refused to give my table at the Griddle to Tommy Lee once. This celebrity refusal was a major source of contention as Tommy Lee supposedly should get whatever he wants in Chris's book, Motley being his favorite band, but I digress. We had recently started going again because of all the guests in town prior to the wedding. After the burn out, saving it for far away guests made it special again. Our re-addiction was complete when I found a new pancake to love. The Griddle found a way to make a RED VELVET pancake with a CREAM CHEESE drizzle! Red Velvet is my favorite cake. I am not just some band wagon addition to the sudden influx of red velvet everything across the country. This pancake is a culinary dream come true for me. So yummy and perfect. The cream cheese on the top slightly melts into the chocolaty goodness of the fluffy red cake below. It is simply scrumptious.

We had our Last Breakfast at the Griddle (of course we can still go there, we just can't walk and we have to **gasp** wait in line!) and all I could think is that I had not gotten enough time with my new found love. It seemed so sad to part ways with such a delectable treat. I miss you pancake!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moving Trucks and Space Issues

How is it that a room full of furniture looks bigger than an empty room? I am loving this concept even though I do not understand it. Turns out we have even more room in our new place than we thought we would..great news! Getting here was a bit more of an adventure. Priorities of men and women vary slightly causing the inevitable "you are annoying me but I don't want to ruin this fun moment so I am going to grin and bear it" portion of your new, shared life.

We had a wonderful last evening in our old apartment. My uncle came by to purchase a TV and we all ate Costco pizza on the floor (I forgot how good that pizza is, I mean not NYC, but still yummy.) Then Dawn and Mike came by and we went to the Surly Goat for a few drinks. Just what you need, find a really cool bar just a few blocks away the day before you move...C'est la Vie, there will be cool bars in Long Beach. Of course 5:45 a.m. rolls around far too quickly as the movers arrive slightly after 6am.

Now Dawn had told me the night before that hiring movers was the best money she ever spent. After watching them load our apartment in record time with very little lifting on my part I 100% agree with this statement. AMAZING and left plenty of energy for the unpacking on the other end. Here's where the issue with priority comes in, you see before we even had the movers scheduled, Chris had scheduled our cable appointment. The cable guy was coming between 1 and 4 to set up the cable. It was now noon, we had no TV's set up nor any stands on which to put the TV. An hour previous I had kindly, gently suggested Chris start putting the TV stand together. We have just gotten a new TV (thank you wedding money) the size of a movie screen to put in the living room. I am a TV junky, but I can honestly say I never in my life expected to own a TV almost as wide as Gretchen's mom is tall. It seems a little ludicrous but we got a good deal and it makes him happy.

Of course my suggestions went ignored as we belabored where the desks were really going to go. This was an important decision as I made it clear once my oversized, massively heavy, armoire desk was placed it was never going to move again without the hiring of many men or purchasing our own crane. It was now he's going to put the stand together, right? Nope, now we are going through the drawers and making sure the shelves in the closet are cool.

"Chris, it's getting late, wanna put the stand together? I will help."

"Okay." I think the extent of my helping was deciding what side of the box we should open as the insides were almost entirely glass. Shockingly, we managed to pull out all the pieces without breaking anything. The look on my husband's face was priceless.

"What's wrong?"

"I thought it came in three pieces."

"Why did you think that?"

"It looked like that on the box."

"Okay, so???"

"I don't know how I am going to get this together in time. I'll start doing it, you start unwrapping the TV."

It is my turn to look at him incredulous. Seriously? I can lift things. I am quite strong for a girl, heck for a person, but I was in no way dumb enough to think it was a good idea for me to be in charge of a television only slightly shorter than myself. The bulky aspect alone makes it a bad idea. My head begins swirling like the eyeballs do on a classic WB cartoon as I have images of me slicing the TV screen or pulling too hard and the top pops off. Terrified. But pride also prevented me from saying no.

Needless to say we got the TV set up by the time the cable guy was done with the other rooms, though I felt judged from the moment the cable guy arrived until the time he left. I actually think he was a bit annoyed we managed to get the TV up in time. I think he was hoping he could leave before we finished so we would have to have another service call. With a little team work we made it....then I opened a beer.