Friday, February 12, 2010

Works in Progress: Wedding edition

It was about the time that we were 90% moved in. I should have been thinking "wow, so close let me just go through these boxes and put some of these clothes away for winter storage and we'll be good to go! Instead I thought, "Gosh, I should really start working on some of the projects I want to do for the wedding!"

And so I did was was fun and not necessarily the most logical. Here are all the projects that are currently laying around the house. Most are in the "let's figure out how to do this" stage.

1) Crocheted shrug to wear with my wedding dress. If it's cold I'm not wearing a sleeveless dress or I won't remember a damn thing.
2) Painted clothespins. These are useful for everything and I intend to use them as favors. It just occurred to me a few days ago: stamps!
3) Flower girl purses. I spend all day yesterday (yes, played hooky from work) to figure out how to make one of these. I wasted lots of fabric, but I think I'm happy now. Just need to mass produce.
4) Ring bearer ties. Little boys in matching ties!! Still working on a simple process.
5) Cloth-covered tile coasters. Just finished my 2nd coat of polycrilic. Why did I used that instead of polyurethane? No idea. It's what we bought when Ellie and I started this same project two years ago.

I'd take pictures for you, but the camera is currently full from the engagement photo shoot the Manfriend and I had this morning.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Redhead v.s. TxTag

I am an angry, angry lady today. Probably not the best time to resolve my TxTag issue. Oops.

So I moved from Austin on Dec. 14. This is the same day I set to arranged to cancel my TxTag account. Why let those bastards hold onto my money any longer than necessary, right?

I received a refund of $18.40 that day. I thought that was the end of it.

I traveled back to Austin for work last week. I stopped by my old house just to check it out. Well, the mailbox was totally full. And moldy. Nasty, nasty stuff. I took it all with me and let it dry out in the trunk of the rental.

Well, wouldn't you know there was a bill in there from the TxTag billing peeps. Not TxTag. No, that would be too easy. Apparently US 183A has its own, special billing service. Ain't that nice?

Apparently I used the toll road on Dec. 8 and 9. A full 5 days before my contract was canceled. The bill was for $8.80. But the total tolls were $7.80. Well, that's totally BS that they charged me an extra $1 when there was a full $18 in my account that they could have used. Chump change, I know, but it's the principle.

So I called today and was very, very bitchy to the poor woman. She tried to tell me that they don't have any control with TxTag. Well, I told her that their poor relationship with TxTag isn't my problem. As far as I can tell, I did nothing wrong.

She mentioned that maybe my TxTag could not be read and that's why they send me the bill. Oh...but the super-loud recorded message I listened to while I was on hold told me that the only way I should get a bill is if they cannot find a TxTag account with that license plate. And there should have been.

So she says she can take the $15 late fee charge off. (My bill had been increased to $23.80 since I had moved and they, by law, can only send the bill to the address on record, nevermind they had already checked and had my new address...can't you send two???) But is that good enough for me? No. I'm not paying you an extra whole dollar because y'all are idiots and didn't warn me not to cancel my account until 3 months or something later.

But she can't do that. "Company policy" says she can only remove $15. Ok, so let me talk to someone who can remove that extra $1.

So she puts me on hold for 5 minutes. I listen to this horribly loud "calming" music. And then suddenly she was given permission for this "one-time courtesy" to deduct the $1 service charge. I got my credit card and she got her $7.40.

And so I got my way and now I feel terrible that I was so nasty. I just don't know another way to handle this bureaucratic bulldoohockey.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Starting off Year Three

Just three years ago yesterday I was walking into Austin Java, nervous and not anticipating anything good to come out of a date with a man I'd been emailing for two weeks.

And look at us now! Living in sin and about to get married. I do not think Jaelea is crazy about this arrangement as she now likes to sleep on a little side bed I set up next to me. Previously we were cuddlers.

It's funny to me that it only occurred to me to celebrate the date we met when I was looking through Manfriend's google calendar about six months into the relationship (I was not snooping! We were trying to plan a trip.) and I noticed that he has "First date with Jamie" entered on Jan. 28.

This year I asked if he would plan something for us to do Thursday night and he happily did. He even made it a total surprise and just told me what bus to catch and where to meet him downtown and what to wear. It was a tad annoying when we were walking down these dark blocks and he says, "Hmmm, I thought it was on that block" and of course I can't even help locate us because I don't even know where we're going! But then he found it and it was fantastic. One of those fancy Italian places with no meal less than $15. But the gnocci I had was totally worth it. And the wine was modest: Smoking Loon, which I've bought from stores for under $10. I like to make him pick the wine and I think he likes that, too.

And now that we're splitting everything 50/50 via PayPal at the end of the month (basically I wire him whatever he tells me I owe him), I never have to pay for a date again! How nice to feel taken care of.

After the meal he checks the time and seems frustrated that we have too much time to the next event. Next event!?? Whoo hoo! So we had the yummiest chocolate hazelnut mousse.

And then he led me to Temple Square. And holy crap, we were going to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse!!! It was so amazing that I had to hold back tears during Danny Boy. I guess I've done enough choral singing that I can truly appreciate how fantastic they are. And to be able to hear their awesome director teach them how to say the vowels slightly different...well, it was the best ever. And it was free, so bonus.

Finding a bus home proved to be a teeny tiny problem because somebody's computer didn't cooperate. But fortunately that same someone has a pretty good memory so there wasn't too much waiting outside for the next bus.

Oh and did I mention that he'd sent me flowers earlier in the day!? They are beautiful.

Anyway, come back for pictures once I finally get my act together.

It was a fantastic day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WTF peeps? The cake topper

We're ordering the awesomest cake topper and just need some cake examples for inspirations. And NO ONE seems to have an example on Google's image search. Argh.

WTF peeps?
It's like it was made for us.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dress Part Dos

I think I might just be able to start enjoying this wedding planning now. Hopefully all the stressful bits are out of the way:
1) The date and location
2) The silly, white, wear-once dress

Oh yea, and finding the whole groom part. That pretty much sucked.

So, to wrap up the whole dress dilemma. I went to David's on Friday determined to just scope it out and not want to buy any of them. Well I tried on something like 8 dresses with the help of a very nice "consultant." Well wouldn't you know I actually liked one. It is $500 and I would cut the train off and remove the tulle from underneath.

And then all I could think was that I really don't want to go through this again. Especially if all the rest of the local dress shops don't even carry my size and only have dresses at much crazier prices. And it would be too much effort to look at shops in Minneapolis or Denver.

Having a beautiful dress under consideration, I moved onto bridesmaids dresses. And somewhere on the David's site I found a well-hidden link for the "little white dress." And wouldn't you know there is a dress that is SO similar to the $500 dress I'd found but without the train and without the tulle poofiness. And only $200. I went back to David's today and tried on the bridesmaids version of it. I found it sufficient and it should arrive in a week!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wedding Dress Helldom

Remind me never to do this again. What a horrible business to deal with. Everybody's a queen, especially the shopkeepers. There have been two crying bouts about the hopelessness and depressingness of it and poor Manfriend is left trying to console me.

I swear if I look at another anorexic child in one of these dresses I'm supposed to imagine myself in, I'm going to wear sweatpants. I get the whole "image" you're trying to sell of the sexy, moody bride but do ALL your dresses need to be modeled this way? And what's with the sickly concave-shoulder look?

I tried to book an appointment to look at this one shop's dresses. They owner called me back about an hour later. We got the whole Temple question out of the way and then she asked, "Why are you looking so early?" Confused, I asked, "Early?" I mean, the wedding is 8 months away and these things can take 6 months to get your hands on and then there's alterations and throwing even more money at a dress you will only wear once. So apparently most LDS girls shop 3 or 4 months out. Lady, that is not normal. Everyone else I talk to has been stressing me that I need to get this taken care of. Immediately. As in, I can't wait until March when my sister is finally available to look with me.

And then she asks what size I am. Crap, are we talking normal-people size or dress size. "I'm a 14 in regular clothes," I tell her thinking she will tell me that I'm probably a 16 or 18 in wedding dresses. If only I were so lucky:

"Ooooooo, you're going to have a hard time finding anything in that size. Most people don't carry anything above an eight." "Oh, OK, sure sure," I said. At the time it seemed reasonable but later it was a ball fest in itself. Seriously? A size EIGHT??

"And what's your price range?" I tell her I am hoping for something under $500, though really anything over $300 will be hard to swallow. It's just a white dress!!! "Oh, well then you might want to check out my other store because I don't have anything in this store under $1,500." Oh dear, you've got to be kidding me.

Oh, and can I get some sleeves, please? Or some straps? I'm certainly not keen on the chance of me falling out of it when leaning down to hug someone. Or when breaking out the square dance.

It's just so hard to tell the scale and hoity-toity'ness of these stores from their Websites!

So far my only safe haven has been David's Bridal. The mega store that realizes that plus-sizers might want to see dresses worn by other plussers. Go figure. And they actually have dresses under $200! But I want something unique and different and who doesn't want to support the little guy?

Too bad those little guys are making it really hard. So I'm taking the afternoon off in an effort to not shop with 800 princess brides and am venturing to David's Bridal. It will be my own, private hell since I have no one to go with me. Do you think they would just die if I brought my groom in? Because I'm thinking about it. Haha, or would he look for that hole in the ground first?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our respective classes

Last night both Manfriend and I were out for classes. He learned about avalanche safety...oooooooo. I used a going-away gift certificate from Spak to learn about making soups.

So there's this company, Viking, who makes awesome kitchen appliances and other things, I guess. And they have these cooking classes in a few cities around the country. They are pretty expensive ($90 for 3 hours) and my feel is that they hope to teach you to appreciate nice things and then want to buy them from them. This is a concept that I think is foolish and I never fall victim to. Until I used the peeler last night! Peeling carrots and potatoes and a butternut squash. It was like butter!

What a great class. First of all, there was only two other people there! So we're taking very one-on-one. And the head chef lady found out right away that I know basically nothing about any of these cool tools or the veggies/herbs or even rues. And so she proceeded to very slowly walk me through and explain every little detail. It was amazing: "So you see, Jamie, when zesting a lime you want to make sure not to get any of the white stuff because it is bitter." "Ok so, Jamie why don't you come look at this, you see how the onions are fairly translucent but not yet brown? That's how we want them to be. Now we will add the flour. Do you know why we cook the flour for at least 2 minutes? It's to cook out the 'flour' flavor." And she told me about wet and dry measuring cups but I did already know that. Ha!

Also I had to peel the shells off these shrimps. YUCK! And then we cooked the shells to make a shrimp broth. Gross smells! And then we threw these disgusting, gray shrimps into this beautiful, creamy soup we'd made...nasty. And wouldn't you know that turned out to be my favorite soup of them all? It was fantastic. And I didn't even mind the shrimp texture and squishiness.

We also made a butternut squash bisque. Yum. And a vegetable soup which was good but had some tough competition.

I think the real lesson that the class taught me was that soups take a really long time to make and I know Whole Foods makes great ones, so I think my soup career is going to be short-lived. But it was fun while it lasted. I did learn some basic skillz, which I'm sure will be helpful down the road. And I really do want to take their $600, 5-days-over-5-weeks, learn-all-the-basics course. So I'm gonna register for that.

Did I mention that the class was within walking distance from my home? How cool! I think in the future I would bike, but I really needed the exercise. Plus, how refreshing are those mountains as a backdrop!? But once the class and instructors found out everyone was so concerned and kept offering me rides home. Apparently it was in a "bad neighborhood." But this is the SLC and there aren't even bars on the doors/windows of homes! Somehow I survived. Plus I was carrying a bag full of warm soup, so who's gonna mess with that?

Manfriend's class was also good, I hear. Now they have two full days in the mountains this weekend to really learn how not to kill themselves. Yay. His was also a low-impact endeavor since he took two buses and a train to get himself from the main U campus to the Murray campus. He's planning to carpool with three other guys this weekend who also live in Sugarhouse and when I asked why he didn't just snag a ride home from one of them he shrugged, "I guess I didn't think about that." Silly man. I think he took 3 buses and two trains yesterday. Lucky him it's all free as a student at the U! I want a bus/train pass. Not that I have any reason to use such things now and probably not in the future either. Booooooo.