24 July 2008

Ten, nine, eight...

OK we're not quite that close, but not far off. It is now 7.45pm the night before my wedding. I can't BELIEVE it's tomorrow. Where the hell did it come from?? You plan something for ages and then suddenly WHAM it's right there. I've a feeling it's going to flash past so fast.

Mum is down, she got here, which is great. She didn't think she was going to for a while, and she was hot and flustered and exhausted by the time she arrived, but could be worse. Dad had rubbed her up the wrong way in the morning, but to be honest anything he had done was likely to do that. He doesn't help himself though, he does do some stupid things sometimes (for example, trying to force her hat box into the cupboard in the hotel by turning it upside down and pushing it hard, when she's already said "Is my hat still alright?" ten times in half an hour). Anyway, so she's here, their room wasn't ready for 20 minutes after their arrival, which is annoying because I was told 2.30 so they arrived at 2.40, but eventually we got them in. They've been bumped up to a sea view too, which is great. It's a bit hot in there, no air conditioning in the rooms, only downstairs, but it's a nice room.

So anyway, that's one big hurdle out of the way, and she's so pleased to have made it. I'd got as far as having mild chest pains during the morning, I was that worried about it (another of my phantom pleurisy episodes, for those who've known me long enough to remember the last lot). I feel better now though.

Bit scared, can't believe it's tomorrow, but looking forward to it, and I know I'll miss not sleeping in the same bed as Chris tonight.

23 July 2008

A much better day

OK, today has been a much better day than yesterday, and I'm feeling a lot more positive. I have done LOADS of wedding stuff, and it is starting to feel like it is all coming together. And so far, nothing I've done today has gone wrong or unearthed a problem. I have:
  • checked my suit jacket fits OK - it does
  • got the car ready for going up to Heathrow (washed and full of petrol)
  • polished my smart shoes
  • been into the music shop to check our booking is OK for Friday - it is
  • called New York to check they still have our reserveration - they do, and I had a lovely chat with a man in the hotel about the best way to get there from the airport
  • called San Francisco to check they also still have our reservation - they do
  • tidied up the flat a bit and cleaned it lots in preparation for our house guests - including the horrible black mould that has been accumulating on the bedroom window for four years and that has resulted in us never opening the blind in there a) so we don't see how horrible it is, and b) so it doesn't try to ensnare and eat us
I have also spoken to Mum, and she is feeling quite a bit better today, and certainly sounded better. Her pills have kicked in that help stop her getting too anxious, thank GOD for prescription medication.

So all in all I have had a Productive and Good Day.

Two days to go

God, I've been so busy this last week that I haven't even had time to write on here. The wedding is now TWO days away, or 52 hours.

Mum has now kicked into major freak out mode and is stressing to the point that it's making her ill, so I spent quite a bit of time on the phone to her last night helping to get her grounded again. She's basically said she's not going to be at any of the reception now, and will have to eat in her room or something. That's probably a knee-jerk reaction, because she won't know how she feels until the actual day and time, but I think she's basically trying to set me up for a worst case scenario. I've already told her I don't mind, several times in fact, but she still needs constant reassurance. She's stressing about the journey, about what time to leave, about what food she'll want and be able to get when she's here, about the ceremony, about the reception, even about washing her hair before she comes. What can you say to that apart from make soothing noises and mostly useless things like "just try to do one bit at a time"? Her stress and anxiety contributes to her illness more than anything else half the time.

So anyway, that bummed me out last night and made me feel like I'm not looking forward to the wedding at all, which is really very sad when it's my wedding day and it's the only one I'm going to get. Probably, there's always divorce I suppose, he has got weird feet.

And then Chris and I had a chat about it, which upset me because I know I'm having an effect on him and his ability to enjoy it all. Although he's quite resilient and is likely just to say "well I'M going to enjoy myself". But I do feel like I'm letting him down. He basically tried to remind me that I need to step back from Mum for this, as hard and as unusual as that is for me - otherwise I won't be able to enjoy it, and I'll likely regret it. I need to trust my Dad and brother to look after her, but it's hard because I don't really trust anyone to do anything; I just want to do everything myself so I know it's done properly, and more importantly so that I know I've done all I can.

Oh well anyway. It's Wednesday now, not long to go at all. I'm off work now for two and a half weeks, which is nice, and I've been getting on with some of my initial chores from the last stage of wedding preparation. I've been to Moss Bros to check my suit fits OK (and in doing so, to check our suits are there and ready), and it does and they are. So that's good, my pigeon chest isn't well suited to off-the-peg clothes half the time. I might pop round to the music equipment shop in a minute to ask a couple of contrived and relatively unimportant questions, but which will also allow me to check they haven't forgotten our booking either. And then I need to blitz the flat so it's clean for Chris' cousins, and phone the two hotels in America to make sure they've still got our reservations too. So much to do already, and today is meant to be the "slow build up" day!

18 July 2008

One week remaining

This time in a week, I should be dancing around my wedding reception. I hope that it'll be at the end of a nice day where the sun has shone and everyone has arrived on time and it has all generally gone well.

I'm feeling just about OK about everything at the moment, we've done pretty much all we can do this far in advance. Chris is finishing off the music playlist as I'm typing this - I think it should be really good, we've got loads of good songs on there. I was surprised how quickly 5 hours gets filled up with relatively few songs, we ended up having to cut loads of stuff out just to keep it down to the amount of time we'll have. I don't know yet if I'm actually going to get to dance to all the songs I'll want to dance to (basically all of them) - I'll have to choose: either talk to guests, and miss the dancing; or dance and be a bit antisocial. I think Chris has already said to everyone that he's not planning on talking to people so don't expect him to, he wants to dance. Which is fine in a way because we'll hopefully be seeing quite a few people the following day anyway for additional food, drinks and maybe clubbing, so hopefully we can talk to them then.

Other than the music, there's really not that many things we can do now. We've just got to wait until Wednesday and Thursday when we can start doing things for the actual day. I'm only at work on Monday and Tuesday this week, which is good, but I think I'm going to have a hard time concentrating on my work - I just want to get on with the wedding now.

And I really ought to start doing some stuff for America now - it's so unlike me to have thought so little about a holiday when it's only a week and a bit away! Thank god for the eight hour flight on Monday... I think that'll be the first time I get to relax from about the previous Wednesday!

16 July 2008

9 days remaining, people

I'm feeling moderately less stressed than I have been at the moment. Chris and I sat down and decided what tasks are going to need doing and when, and then who is going to do what, and that made me feel quite a bit better. I have trouble accepting that I don't actually need to do everything myself, but once Chris said "well I'm going to do that, and that, and the bridesmaids are doing that bit", I started to realise that I haven't actually got loads to do.

My key tasks are to help set up the room on the day before, sort out our flat for Chris' cousins to stay in, meet Chris' cousins and my brother on the day and help them get parked, and help to collect the music equipment. So the only thing I'm doing on the day of the wedding is meeting people and going to the music equipment shop, and then getting myself ready. So that shouldn't be too bad, surely I can manage that without freaking out??

I'm a bit worried that I'm going to burst into tears the minute I see Chris at the registry office though... And he's worried that he's going to laugh hysterically throughout the whole thing, so we're going to look like a right pair - me crying, and him laughing at my pain.

I spoke to Mum last night, and she is obviously getting a little more worried as the day gets closer. She's worried about the journey down here, and about having enough time to recover from the journey before the ceremony, and then coping with the ceremony, dinner, reception etc. after that. She's dropped a couple of hints about how she'll maybe not be at much of the dinner or reception - it's going to be too noisy and she'll be worn out from the ceremony. I've told her that's OK, and I guess it is, although obviously in an ideal world where she weren't ill she'd be there with me for all of it. I'll be happy if she actually comes at all though, so I'm not setting my sights any higher than that. I just hope that, if she does slip off after the ceremony, she's not also going to be distraught that she's missed it all. If she's upset, I'll get upset, and I just can't deal with that.

That's life I suppose... things are never simple or perfect, you just have to make the most of it.
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14 July 2008

Trying not to count the days

I am trying to avoid reminding myself how many days are now left until the wedding, as I'm not sure it is entirely helpful. But it's eleven anyway, ELEVEN days, gaaaar!!! That's nearly into the single digits!

I would say most stuff is now done, which is good. We bought the gifts for our families at the weekend, and I'm really pleased with what we found for them. I'm not quite sure why they get gifts actually, but apparently they do so they are. They've all given us money towards the wedding anyway, so they deserve them just for that.

I don't think we're getting presents for the bridesmaids any more, we didn't know what to get them anyway. But our best woman deserves something, so we're hoping to buy something in America as a special thank you. I hope no-one notices we're not giving them anything on the day though... I'm sure they won't stand up and demand to know where their presents are.

Other than buying gifts, we had a nice weekend generally. On Friday we went for leaving drinks with Zac, who is moving to Cambodia in a couple of weeks. It's sad he's going actually, particularly as Rob moved away to Sweden last year, it starts to break up some of your circles of friends a bit. I suppose we'll just have to make an effort to continue to see the friends that we would often only see when we're out with Rob or Zac or both, you can't let laziness be the reason that you fall out of touch with people. There was also vague talk in the pub of maybe trying to go to Cambodia next year to visit Zac - I'm not sure if that was just pub talk or if it might actually happen. It would be really exciting to visit somewhere like that, and I suppose having someone to visit makes it more likely than us just randomly going there. We'll have to see though. What jabs do you need to go to Cambodia anyway??

And then we also had a nice lunch out on Sunday at the Brunswick, to celebrate the engagement of two more of our friends. Honestly, EVERYONE is getting married. We've got three weddings this year (including ours), plus these other friends who are now engaged too. It makes me feel quite old - we are now 'at that age' where people settle down and start having babies and things. Still, it's quite nice really, and I like other people's babies. Chris' brother might want children soon after they get married in August, and then I'll be an uncle, that'd be quite nice.

So, things remaining to do for the wedding are:
  • sort out the music playlist
  • get some suitable music to play during dinner (classical violin type stuff maybe?)
  • decide who is doing what in terms of setting up the room, collecting hire suits, and all that sort of stuff
  • turn up
  • get married
So not bad really, that sounds very do-able. Unless I've forgotten something huge...
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09 July 2008

Wedding stress, 2 weeks 2 days tic toc tic toc

I am starting to get well stressy about the wedding now. It's only two weeks away and suddenly it seems very very real and very very close. I don't think I'm stressed about any one thing in particular, it's more a general worry about the overall event and everything going right and everyone finding their way there and enjoying themselves.

And my Mum of course, she's a big source of stress for me at the moment. I'm still slightly concerned that she won't actually make it, because that's always a possibility with her with any event. She hasn't said anything of course, we're both just assuming she'll get down here and it'll be OK, but I think we both know it's a possibility. And even once she is here, she'll be knackered from the journey, and then the next day she's got to manage the whole wedding. So I'm worried that the walk to the Town Hall will be too far, that she'll feel ill in the ceremony, that if the one baby that's coming cries through the whole thing it'll throw her into a tizzy, and even after all that she's got to pose for photos and walk back to the hotel. And I'm not even meant to be worrying about her, I'm meant to be enjoying the day! I can't really talk to Chris about it any more, because he usually says something like "you can't be fussing over her all day, we've got a whole wedding you need to pay attention to". Which is true, and Mum has said that as well, but it doesn't stop me worrying. I've asked my brother to try to look after her on the day so I don't have to, I suppose I'll just have to hope that works out OK.

But what if she doesn't end up coming? How crappy would that be? I've got very little family coming as it is... I assume Dad would probably come still if she didn't, unless he didn't want to abandon her at home on her own. So I'll end up with my only family being my Dad, brother and sister-in-law, or maybe even just the latter two. And everyone will be going "where's Simon's Mum?" all day. God... well, she'll probably just force herself to come, I can't see her wanting to miss it any more than I would want her to.

I also tried, initially unsuccessfully, to look up some tips on the internet on coping with wedding stress. And they were all about bloody women! Things like "play soothing music in the car on the way to the ceremony, keep the air conditioning on so you don't feel hot, but don't open the window because it'll mess your hair up". Well, we aren't having cars, our car doesn't have air conditioning anyway, and my hair is generally gelled and impervious to all forms of attack. So that was useless! But I have just now found a few better tips about not getting yourself worked up with negative self-talk, e.g. this blog post, and JUST SAYING NO. When people say "are you doing this? are we having that?", instead of thinking "shit we need to do that now", the answer should be "NO WE ARE NOT". Perhaps followed by a glare, and/or a punch in the kidneys. I feel better already.
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07 July 2008

Fork it over and hope for the best

I had the washing machine repair man in this morning, in order to fix our machine's sudden penchant for washing things for so long that they dissolve. He seemed nice enough, and had a poke round inside it, and then decided that it wasn't the control board which had gone (which is expensive) but was instead the heating element. It was quite a quick thing to replace, and would cost £98 for the part and the labour, so I let him do it (only took about half an hour), and then he was off.

Now, was £98 a good price? I just don't know. And that's what I hate about anything to do with tradesmen or car mechanics or anything like that. You just have to take their word for it, hopefully ask a few pertinent questions so it sounds like you're not an idiot, and then you just pay them whatever they ask.

I tried to watch him fairly carefully, and at one point I thought he might be ripping me off. He showed me the heating element after he'd taken it out, and it was all caked in limescale, and he said that because of that the heating element would have been working extra hard to heat the water until finally it burnt out. OK, sounds alright so far. And then when he went outside to get a new one from his van, I looked out the window and saw him banging the old one on the kerb, bashing the limescale off. And I thought fuck, what if he's going to bash some of the limescale off, it'll start working again, and then he'll just put the old one back in? And after that I watched him like a hawk, making him coffee so I could stay in the kitchen, and flitting around doing things so I could keep an eye on what happened. He definitely brought a new element in with the old one, it was silver and shiney and in a packet, and at the end he left me the old one - with some limescale removed from the bashing, but clearly old. So unless he fetched a different old one to give me and put the real old one back in, and brought a new one in as a prop, then I'm probably alright.

The machine works now anyway, so I'm just hoping for the best. He might have overcharged me, as I had a look on the internet and don't think heating elements are massively expensive, but I don't think it was a complete rip off... I'm going to stop thinking about it now, it works and he's gone away, I may as well just live with it.

It does make me want to learn some basis skills though, a bit of plumbing and car mechanics and electricianing, just so you can do some things yourself and not be prey to whatever workman you call from the phonebook and might actually understand what they're talking about. Maybe I will... or maybe I'll just carry on paying and hoping.

Facepacks and foot spas

Saturday was my evening of facepacks and silliness with the girls, which was really fun. I bought an array of different facepacks, mud ones and gel ones and all sorts really, and Bar and Cath supplied various other bits and bobs. There were about eight of us in the end, and we sat around looking silly in facepacks and sipping bucks fizz while they worked their magic on our complexions. I really enjoyed myself, even if it was a terribly girly thing to do. I may even do it more often just as a special treat for myself...

Then we had some foul, foul shots from Somerfield (£2 for 10, so clearly they were high quality), which tasted like squash and petrol, before heading out for cocktails. We tried to go to Valentino's, which ended up being a waste of time as the bouncer helpfully decided he could let four us in but no more. In what world was that a helpful suggestion?? Oh yeah that's fine, four of us will just go home, cheers for that... So anyway, we went to Las Iguanas instead, where they were much less picky, and had a few cocktails and photographed our feet. And then later on we went to Funky Fish for a bit of a boogie.

The last couple of hours seemed to whizz past in a whirl of bad dancing, so I think I must have had more to drink than I thought, and suddenly I was waking up with a petrol-induced headache. All in all it was a very fun evening, I hope the girls all enjoyed themselves. And I wasn't sick, and didn't have to go home early to pass out, which was quite an achievement for me!

02 July 2008

An angry lunchtime

Someone decided to say something quite stupid in my company the other day, and I felt compelled to squash them, even though in the past I would have bitten my tongue in order not to seem argumentative.

They proclaimed, rather foolishly, that their ideal form of society would be "some form of anarchosocialism, where you don't have an overall government, and local communities are all run independently". Considering I had only been half-listening, I was surprised how enraged I felt at the sappy left-winginess of this comment, and at how politically unaware someone who throws around words like anarchosocialism can be. Before I could stop myself, I had snapped "so what would you do about national defence? Wait for someone to try to invade and then have the nearest village run down to the cliffs waving their pitchforks?". To which their reply was that they rather liked that idea.

Really?? Is that how people think you can run a country? So, each community would need a power station presumably - you'd have to build several thousand of those, if you're running things independently with no large corporations or government. And you'd need a hospital, with trained surgeons, doctors and nurses, all from within the local community. And a medical school to train them. And everyone would play nicely and pay some form of local tax to pay for all this. You couldn't share facilities between communities, because who would pay for them? And of course, no-one would dream of sneaking over to the next village and robbing all their best stuff, which would actually be incredibly easy with no national police force or criminal justice system.

Honestly, I don't know where people get these things from. It was lucky they didn't say they'd support total anarchy, because that gets me going even more as a concept.

I think I got so riled up because earlier they had trotted out the often-used complaint against Margaret Thatcher that she "started a war to win an election", to which I HAD bitten my tongue. I wish I had said something now. Did she start the war? Er, no. Argentina was being ruled by a fragile and unpopular military government, who had the brilliant idea of invading the Falklands as a means of generating patriotic support. Britain, quite rightly, responded by retaking its territory. Yes the islands are fairly boring little specks of land with some sheep and houses on them, but that's beside the point. So in what way did Margaret Thatcher start that?

History and political leanings have a very interesting way of affecting people's memories.

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Wine and miniature clothes

It turns out that yes I am as cool as I thought I was, as I spent my Friday night drinking a bottle of wine I'd bought myself as a treat, and singing along loudly to the DVD of Moulin Rouge. And actually, as lame as that sounds, I had a really nice evening. I'm not really at home on my own that often, never for whole days at a time, so a bit of quiet time made a nice change. However, Chris is away again this weekend, at yet another stag do, this time for his brother. So I may find it a little harder amusing myself two weekends in a row.

I've actually got a three-day weekend this weekend, as I booked Monday off to use up some leave. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to be spending my day off waiting in for a stupid repair man to come round and fix our washing machine. It has developed a weird fault where it will quite happily wash clothes for all eternity without ever stopping, which is nice if you want very very clean clothes and don't mind if they have all the colour leached out of them and get shrunk down to Sylvanian Family size. Maybe it'll be a really hot repair man that comes round, topless with blue overalls tied off around his waist and blond hair. Or, more likely, it'll be a fat fifty-year old man in a paint-spattered brown cardigan and with a Just For Men comb-over.

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