Friday, July 30, 2010

A week of busy days...

A few weeks ago I had a simple, but brilliant idea. I printed up calendars of July and August to paste on my kitchen cabinets. I have a calendar that I use regularly, but it is inside a cabinet. And, since my life lately has become " all wedding, all the time," I needed something a lot more visually accessible.

The secret has been my desire to pace myself. Naturally, there are appointments that I have no control over, but I also have had this enormous To Do list, whose time line I do have control over. This has included everything from getting my car serviced, to writing thank you notes for the showers, to creating the seating chart display. Things are spread out and color coded. Eric's work schedule is included, too.

Little did I know how this idea would save my sanity. By pacing myself and telling myself that I only have 2-3 things to get done each day, it has helped me to sleep better and not feel overwhelmed.

The toughest day recently was actually yesterday, when Eric called all upset with a recent setback on the houses. His house's buyer came up with a "honey-do" list of 10 things that need to be completed in order for the sale to go through. The letter was vague and overwhelming. For a few hours it seemed like a domino effect was about to happen and our dreams of the house we want would be crushed. (Happily things are better today. The letter was clarified, and, although the 10 things still exist, getting them done will not be as lengthy or expensive as originally thought.)

By last night, I was very tired and could not fall asleep. It is the only night this entire summer that this has happened. I ended up staying awake until 1am, watching DVDs of Johnny Carson's greatest Tonight Show moments. I was laughing and laughing, all alone and tired, but feeling a lot better.

Here are a few of my favorite clips:

There are so many good ones! Anyway, it was a nice, much needed escape.

Today brought more errands and decisions. We met with the florist for the final time before the big day. I made copies and delivered a flier to 35 of our neighbors informing them that there will be a lot of cars on the street on August 7th, my dog went to the groomer, I spent an hour at the art store picking out colored mat boards to display the reception seating lists, and ....... I picked up my wedding ring--all done--from the jeweler.

I quick word about my ring. Stunning. And I love the idea that it is one-of-a-kind. There are some hidden links to pictures of it, lurking in this post.

Anyway, I was humbled when I opened the box and saw my beautiful solitaire combined with an already gorgeous setting.

And, it must be said, in addition to the calendars on the cabinets and the pretty ring, I also keep my sanity by keeping my eye on the prize. I get to be married to my best friend, the person who knows me better than anyone else. No matter where we live, what I've got on my finger, etc., nothing is more important to me than that.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thoughts on Bridal Shower #1

Yesterday I had the privilege of being the Guest of Honor at my first bridal shower! I say "first" because I am having another bridal shower this Wednesday evening.

The shower was small-- a few co-workers and a couple of friends and family, but we had a great time. My cousin, Laura, is an awesome Maid of Honor! We played 3 games and the house was decorated in purple and pink--our wedding colors.

My grandma, Elinor who is 92, got to meet her 3-month old great-granddaughter, Angelique, for the first time. Seeing her with the little ones are always treasured moments.

Alexander, my 2-year old nephew, who is being very TWO these days, had a fun time with Cassidy, Laura's daughter. After the shower they watched Curious George on the computer, played with the hose outside, dropped a bouncy ball from the top of the staircase a bunch of times, and then sat on the sofa in the living room looking at books. It was wonderful to see them bond like that. Cassidy has waited a long time for a little cousin to come along that she can play with!
All in all, it was a very fun time. Great friends, food, and time with family. Even though the shower ended at 3:30pm, my mom, Xander, and I ended up staying until 8pm. Laura and I always have catching up to do, my mom chatted with her sister, and the kids played and played. I'm glad the little ones had a lot of time together, because I need Xander to trust Cassidy when she holds his hand to walk down the aisle at my wedding in 2 weeks! They are my flower girl and ring bearer!

It was a little weird for me being the center of all that attention. I'm not used to being the guest of honor at parties. I'm usually the hostess of one of the guests. But I liked it!

After all of my friends left and it was just us family remaining, we did comment on how much we felt my other grandma's absence. At the reception we are going to have a small "memorial" table with my grandparents' pictures. They were always at every special event and it had always been my wish for my grandpa to walk me down the aisle. This is the least we can do to honor them at such an important occasion.

And...we have had some updates on the house Eric and I are trying to buy in WA:

1. Eric's house was inspected last Wednesday. We are waiting for the results.
2. The house we want will be inspected tomorrow.
3. Eric will meet with a mortgage lender tomorrow to discuss the upcoming loan.
4. The owners of the house we want will be having a big yard sale in 2 weeks. We're going to try and buy a few things, especially to furnish (or to keep furnished) that massive subterranean family room.

We love this room! It is enormous! Even that crazy carpeting is starting to grow on me.

Fortunately, as far as gifts, most people have given us very practical things, like gift cards. In our situation--trying to merge 2 houses together, move one house's belongings 1000 miles--they really come in handy.

We are feeling like things are coming together in their own way. The progress with both houses is running parallel right now. Mine is still in the paperwork stages of renting. But, overall, things are moving forward and we are feeling very blessed.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Update on the Houses...

OK, so here is what's happening with the houses...all 3 of them!

My house: real estate lady will be here this weekend to take pictures so that she can make up a flyer. My mom (who is on the title) and I will be signing the papers next week to get this baby up for lease.

Eric's house: As I mentioned, there was a single man who wanted to see it on Sunday morning. By Sunday afternoon we had an offer. Eric signed and faxed his acceptance of the offer on Monday. Today an inspector came and we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything went well. We cannot afford any major delays.

The house we want: Eric and I looked at 3 houses while I was in WA in June. The 2nd house just called out to us. I know it seems fast, but sometimes you just know. It is in a great neighborhood called the Old West Side in Longview (2305 Hudson, to be exact.) After much thought, I just couldn't bring myself to impose a 35 mile commute on Eric if we were to live in Vancouver. Not when there was another option. Our offer on this house was accepted, but now everything hinges on the sale of Eric's house going smoothly. That will start the domino effect of events. We're trying to stay rational and realistic, but we really, really want this house. Check out that crazy roof! It creates a row of skylight all along the back of the house and a high ceiling in the kitchen, dining and living rooms. Just one of many cool touches inside.
For our part, we've done all that we can do. And that's the update!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wedding Progress...

19 days, my friends! 19 more days and I become Mrs. William Eric Cooley. We are really in the home stretch now!

I honestly have new respect for all of my married friends simply for having to go through planning a wedding. In its own en capsulized way, planning a wedding has a lot of similarities to marriage: sticking with a budget, making decisions, compromises, realizing you cannot control everything, and a wonderful payoff at the end for all of your hard work.

Our wedding is nearly completely planned. I still need to pick up my dress, get my solitaire fitted into the wedding band, have a final meeting with the florist and the DJ and the couple who will be playing live at the ceremony (violin and piano,) and the ever-important seating chart for the reception. I'm expecting a few straggler RSVPs, so I'm going to wait a few more days.

Meanwhile, I've been wrestling with the unemployment office (I still haven't seen a dime,) cleaning out closets and drawers and garage, and working to get my house rented. Sleep is elusive and fitful some nights and deep and dream-filled on others. I still find it amazing that my head hasn't exploded yet.

Today ended a 6-day visit of Eric's to CA. And the next time we see each other in person will be the week before the wedding. Tonight I've been texting my manicurist back and forth trying to get an appointment the afternoon of the rehearsal.

Menus are done, bridesmaids' dresses are picked up, groomsmen are fitted, kids' clothes are bought and ready, hair and makeup lady is booked, photographer is booked, shoes and jewelry are all bought (although I should probably spend more time breaking in my shoes.)

It's a lot!

And, hopefully, we are making progress with housing. Don't want to jinx it, but things are happening. More details as they develop and solidify.

And now I'll leave you with a video of Eric singing. After all, this is how we met...on the MySpace karaoke. I feel so fortunate that on top of being a kind, wonderful, smart, loving man, he also has a beautiful voice that I love to listen to. This afternoon, about half an hour before leaving for the airport, we had some fun with my karaoke machine. He is so good! (Do the full-screen mode. It is so much better.)