The giving and the receiving …

Talk about a class-A stuff up.

Kennith and I finally sat on Monday night and opened our lovely wedding gifts.  We had snacks and wine and it was all a very genteel affair.  We opened cards, read them, smiled, I cried a little and then we opened the presents and jotted down the person’s name and the gift so I could send a thank you card/note/email/sms.

We gasped and gushed and said things like “Isn’t that lovely” “How thoughtful of so and so” “Wow, what a great gift.”

At the end of it all, there was a lone card lying on the floor which I picked up and read.  It was from my friend Judith and her husband Al.

Okay, here is where my eyebrow raised – if I am reading the card that clearly appears to be connected to a present, but there is no present, then either a present has gone missing or …. shit something has been swapped.  But that is fine, just need to ask Judith.

Note to self, phone Judith and ask in my most polite voice what they gifted us.  Awkward but will need to ask and then the issue will be resolved.

Tuesday night, a thought comes to me – strange I do not recall seeing Dave and Alice’s present.

Alice is a serial gift-giver and a very good giver, so it is odd that she did not gift us.

I was having an Emily Post moment of whether I should leave it or ask Alice, because clearly I am missing her damn gift.

The problem was that when the reception was over, Kennith and I were going to a guest house and with all the stuff already in the car, could not take anything.  We grabbed 4 sets of friends, gave them our presents, which they took home.  They in turn got them all dropped off at our house while we were away on honeymoon.

Wednesday night, I am on my way to bookclub with Alice.  I think, let me just ask her – so I did in the most polite-does-not-really-matter-if-you-did-not-buy-us-a-gift-but-by-the-way-did-you-buy-us-a-gift manner.  Alice is horrified – because she did buy us/me a gift.  And then goes on to explain what it was.

I recall it fondly as it was the first gift we opened, but on it was a card from Bernard and Julie, and I said all sorts of great things about the gift – so then clearly I am thinking well where is Bernard and Julie’s gift – and besides where, what is Bernard and Julie’s gift.

Shit, now we have a problem, because nothing NOTHING that I have listed as being from anyone is probably from them, and I am not sure about anything.

I thought of doing this two ways.  Sending out thank you cards next week saying “Thanks for the stuff/thing you chose for us – we love it – it is just want we wanted – we will treasure it forever!”

Or using my blog as a vehicle (thanks for the idea Joan) to dig myself out of this rather awkward moment.

So here’s the thing, if you were kind/generous/present enough to kindly bring us a wonderful gift on the 17 July 2010, is there anyway you can drop me a note and tell me what it was?

I really am struggling here as this is all beyond awkward.  I really want to avoid the awkwardness of saying “thank you” when I truly have no idea what I am saying thank you for.

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Today I marry my best friend …

We had a great marriage officer in Barry Gray, but I felt I wanted to try to write our vows and ceremony.  I have never written anything like this, nor have I been to that many weddings, so it really was a case of being guided by what I felt “we” were about.

Initially I thought I would just do the vows, but then I realised I wanted it to flow from the ceremony so decided that I would write the ceremony as well.

We had a wonderfully understanding marriage officer, who was content enough to just let me do what I wanted, which was great.

We walked in and stood facing the congregation – we really wanted to face our friends and family and not have them staring at our backs.   It was great to be able to watch their faces and see them smile, laugh and cry.

Here is a copy of our ceremony if you are interested in reading it  ….

The Greeting of the Group

Friends and family welcome to this special occasion, the day when Celeste and Kennith take each other’s hand and begin their life together as husband and wife. They have asked me to especially thank you all for coming to share this day with them – the support, friendship and love offered by you all is truly appreciated.

The most wonderful of all things in life is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a growing depth, beauty and joy as the years increase.

This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvellous thing; it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident, and the most wonderful of all things in life.

We have been invited here today to stand witness to the entwined lives of Celeste and Kennith.  Braided together by a growing love, some hardships and enduring friendship that has lasted sixteen years.

They have decided to join together in marriage before their friends and family on this auspicious day – sixteen years to the day that they met in 1994.

They did not only want to get married with you acting as their witnesses, sitting shoulder to shoulder, they wanted to remind you that in addition to being connected to Kennith and Celeste and their children Connor, Georgia and Isabelle, you also exist as a group interconnected to each other in hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways.

This group is bound together by bonds of friendship and family.

Many of you have shared challenges together – leaning on each other for support, screaming with each other in happiness and crying with each other when the rugby score has not gone to plan.

When Celeste and Kennith thought of gathering people together, they wanted to see not only the faces of the individuals that have been so important to them over the course of their relationship but they wanted to put you together, shoulder to shoulder to form a whole – a single solid entity — a group that will witness the declaration of their union.

We have all been called to be witnesses to this wedding because of our friendship and our special relationship to the bride and groom.  If anyone here knows any lawful reason why Celeste and Kennith may not be married you must now say so.

I ask then if you affirm this marriage and give it your blessing,

The friends and family respond with:   We do (in this case they all screamed YES that was loud enough to lift the roof, it was really sweet.)

Kennith and Celeste, if either of you knows any reason why you may not be united in marriage lawfully and in good conscience, you must now declare it.

Reading

Celeste and Kennith have selected readings that they feel echo their thoughts and personalities.

First Reading – Excerpts from the Velveteen Rabbit ~ By Margery Williams ~

(read by Alice D’Aguiar)

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

(I cry when ever I read the Velveteen Rabbit – it is so beautifully true and genuine.)

Second Reading – Kahlil Gibran “The Prophet”

(read by Steven Brockensha)

You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death shall scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness.

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from the same cup.

Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

(What I love about this passage is that it is all about love, but about love that allows some space between the lovers.  They are encouraged to be themselves in their space and love each other, but leave a bit to allow them to grow individually.  It is the opposite of the smothering, wet, suffocating love that one hears.)

Barry:  Please can I ask everyone to have their candle with them and available.

Consent

Kennith, will you take Celeste to be your wife?  Will you love her, comfort her, honour and protect her and be faithful to her?

Kennith:  I will

Celeste, will you take Kennith to be your husband?  Will you love him, comfort him, honour and protect him, and be faithful to him?

Celeste:  I will

Ring Ceremony

Barry: Will you now give and receive a ring?

Bride and Groom: We will.

Connor brings rings to Kennith, who offers his in open hand to Celeste.

Barry:  Kennith, as you place the ring on his finger will you repeat after me: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give (I thought that was the key phrase right there).  I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give.  Completely and forever.  With this ring, I thee wed.

Barry:  Celeste, as you place the ring on her finger will you repeat after me: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.  I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give.  Completely and forever.  With this ring, I thee wed.

Kennith and Celeste light one single candle from the two they hold.  They blow out the two single candles.

They use this single candle to then light the candle that Connor and Georgia hold.  Connor and Georgia go and light the first guests candle in the front row and each guest then lights the candle of the person next to them until everyone has candles lit.

Barry places the single candle to the side.

Declaration

Now that Kennith and Celeste have given their consent and made their vows in the presence of this group of family and friends, with the joining of hands and the giving and receiving of rings, I declare that they are husband and wife.

Kennith and Celeste kiss each other, and the children – and the marriage blessing is read.

Marriage Blessing

May you need one another, but not out of weakness.

May you want one another, but not out of lack.

May you entice one another, but not compel one another.

May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.

May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.

May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.

May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

The Bride and Groom and the two witnesses sign the marriage certificate.

We then had a Family Blessing Ceremony.

After it all, we bounced outside to where our friends were waiting to throw rose petals at us … a great day.

The ceremony and the vows were about us and what we thought and felt, so it was great to have the opportunity to have Barry say what we were thinking and how we felt … it was such an incredible ceremony and so many truly cry-laugh out loud moments.

Photos by Megan Hughes.

A rose by any other name ….

The issue regarding retaining my surname on the 17 July 2010, or taking Kennith’s surname was a weighty decision for me.

I have been me for about thirty eight years and had grown rather fond of my surname and it was part of who I was – it was an element of my personality.

If I was going to change anything it would be my first name.

I always thought it was terribly cruel to give a little girl with a lisp a name with two “s” sounds in it.  So when ever I say my name, I usually get the response of “what?”  and then have to repeat it two or three times more.  Getting more nervous and thus lisping even more.

I realize it is just a surname, and many women are more than happy to toss it aside on their wedding day and leap into the arms of a “Koekemoer” or “Jansen van Rensburg” or even a “van der Kok.”

But I was not so sure.

Kennith’s surname is great, and rolls of the tongue, so it was not a surname that has spelling or pronunciation problems going forward.  It’s easy and tends to get you in the front of the queue if anything is in alphabetical order, which always has it’s perks, unless it is for an anal exam of sorts.

My surname would usually have a response of “Like the Highlander?” or “There can be only one..” to which we all smile and nod knowingly.

The children have Kennith’s surname and my surname as a third name.  All three kids have rather lengthy monikers, which makes filling in forms lots of fun, but each of their names was well thought through and well selected.

Part of my decision when it came to deciding to take on Kennith’s surname, was that I wanted to be like my children, I wanted my name to be the same as theirs.

<we can discuss naming kids by the father’s name when you are unmarried in a separate blog post, as that has all sorts of issues attached to it.>

The other day Georgia was asking about all our “big” names and I was running through what hers was, and Isabelle’s and Connor’s.  Then the question was posed as to what Kennith’s “big” name was.  And finally what mine was.

On hearing my name, she promptly said “You are not part of the family!”

I am convinced that Georgia has been sent to test my resolve.  Besides the many references to me as her “big fat mommy” and now her telling me I am “not in the family” I do still try to buy her presents at Xmas time, and not send her to school dressed funny.  But I must warn you she is really testing the boundaries with me.

Anyway, back to my surname decision.

I have been me for thirty eight years, I actually quite like me, some days more than others, but as time goes on, I am starting to like me a bit more.

Getting married was not about me becoming another person, it was about me getting married to Kennith, but part of the “getting married” thing for girls is there is an automatic assumption that we will take our groom’s name.

And the fact that is is always this automatic shift that we are happy to abandon our family names and take on theirs also did not sit well with me.

Kennith did keep asking if I was going to take on his surname.  He was also good enough to not make it an issue.  He seemed to respect the fact that my name is also important to me, and there was a good chance that I would hold on to it after the 17th.

I decided I would leave the final decision until the day – and even on the morning while getting ready I took some time to consider what would be best for me, and what I would feel most comfortable with going forward.

I chose to change my name.

I moved my surname to a third name, and took Kennith’s surname as my new surname.

Next time when Georgia asks our “big” name, and we all list our names, I wonder if Georgia will admonish Kennith for “not being in the family” unless he opts for a name change and take my surname as his third name.

Photo by Mandi Earl.

The day … photo version

It was such an incredible day .. I will post more information when my euphoria levels come down and I can string a sentence together that does not use the word “awesome” or “perfect” at least three times, in the same sentence.

It was such a great day.  It went so well.  It had so many laugh out loud and cry because it is so beautiful moments.  I honestly can say, that we could not have wished for a better day. 

We were surrounded by our friends and family who literally stood around as we said “I do..” – so many unbelievable moments, I will share when I get a chance to post properly.

In the interim, here are some quick preview images.

Moments before leaving the guest house … physically unable to smile at this point ….

My boots to wear as alternate when we go skipping through damp grass … how brilliant are these boots?  Thanks Pick ‘n Pay!!

This is us walking out of the chapel … Connor has moved out of frame in this photograph ..

Here is a family photograph of the Barlow family ….

Kennith and I – love this photograph – Megan Hughes has done a fabulous job as per usual. 

Mr and Mrs Barlow …..

Absolutely love this shot … can’t wait to see the rest of the photographs …

And there is the shot you know you are going to put on a canvas, this may be the one.

Random images

The day dawns …

17 July : The morning dawned, I was excited that I got to wake up to peace and quiet … I had booked myself into a guest house for the evening of the 16th. 

If we discount the fact that I had been freezing the night before, and had to contend with a leaking water bottle, it was all quite pleasant to have one night to myself.

I lay there for a few moments toying with whether I should chill and have a long lie in, but then my brain registered the day ahead.  I ran a bath and cautiously headed to open the curtain to check the weather.

July is legendary for very few dry sunny day, and generally weather reports that predict chilly weather with rain, which might explain why it is not widely regarded as a great wedding month.

Of all the things I can control, it would seem the weather was not one of them.  I had made peace with the fact that there was a good chance I was going to be facing torrential downpour and gale-forced winds. 

I flung back the curtain was greeted by shiny-and-oh-so-happy-I -had-a-song-in-my-heart blue skies and not a breath of wind – hells bells, how did we get so lucky!! I might have whooped a bit.  If I was on line I might even have used a smily faced emoticon at this point – I was truly thrilled.

Photographer arrived, flowers arrived, makeup artist arrived, everything was dead on track and going ridiculously well, in spite of my predicting doom and gloom. 

I was getting makeup and hair done.  Sipping a glass of champagne as I dissolved half a dozen Rescue tablets under my tongue.  I sat there slowly gaining confidence that this day might just work.

It was all a carefree morning, buoyed along by alcohol and medication. 

At some point I asked for a time check – 11h30 – I pooped a bit in my new white lace knickers.  We were meant to be at the chapel at 12h15!

Got dressed quickly – as quickly as one can when one is getting corsetted into a rather poofy off-white dress.

Around then I started to panic …. not polite panic, but totally stupid I-am-out-of-my-mind panic. 

Dress was on, shoes were on, makeup was on, hair was done.

I had a bos blomme, everything was perfect, but my mind decided that about now was time to leave the realm of calm and enter total PANIC station.

Shame poor photographer. 

She was trying so very hard to get “peaceful bride before wedding photographs” …. all she got was “totally stressed bride who physically was not able to smile” photographs.

We managed to get ourselves clean, had more Rescue tablets, and got my arse into a car to go to the wedding.

We’re in the car, Joyce up front with Leon driving, me in the back, with Georgia kitted out as flower girl. 

We are drive out of the guest house, and Georgia pipes up: “Let’s go find a wedding!!”

Yes, lets …..

It’s been a week ….

I really felt that it was the stress of whether the cake would be crap or whether the make-up artist would call and say that she had just woken from a drunken orgy and would not make it on Saturday the 17th.

I was also sure that it was all the details that was keeping me awake and making me anxious.

It really wasn’t the stuff on the day that I was worried about.

I had cross-references everything, checked them off my list, checked again, and then outsourced the third check to a second person.

I really was sure that there was nothing within reason that could go wrong – short of me not arriving, Kennith not arriving, or the marriage officer deciding today was a good day to go for a surf.  I had the details sorted (and rechecked).

But worried I was.

I had been struggling with insomnia in various forms for about a month, but two weeks ago, the insomnia got up to a new level.  I was probably sleeping two hours a night if I was lucky, and facing each day totally exhausted.

The week before on my hen night I ended up in the bathroom hugging the toilet bowl after less than 4 glasses of wine.  It was not pretty, it was not pleasant – and I felt like death.  Bear in mind I often have 4 glasses of wine with my muesli in the morning.

This Tuesday I woke up at about 1am, and spent several hours clinging to the toilet bowl.  This time none of the girls from the hen party were there.  It was just me and my rather grubby blue bathrobe, and the not so clean toilet bowl.

I hurled and hurled, and when I could not dry heave any more, headed to bed, and lay there to stare at the ceiling until the sun came up.

Why is it that after a sleepless night, you always fall dead asleep 5 minutes before your alarm clock goes off? 

Wednesday and Thursday night my body decided that it did not need sleep at all.  Excellent plan, which might have explained why Friday dawned with me acting like a cocaine addict without a fix.

Everyone kept stroking my shoulder and patting my head and saying “don’t worry…”

I really was not worried about the stuff.

I was worried that on the seventeenth of July two thousand and ten, I was going to don an off-white dress and trot down an aisle of sorts, and stand in front of all our friends and family and say “I do…”

When you have fought so long and hard against the concept of marriage, as I have, and for so long, it comes as a bit of a suprise that you are willing to throw all your pre-conceived notions of this rather dated institution, giggle like a school girl and skip down an aisle.

I was beyond scared shitless about the notion of getting married.  I stand before you on the eve of my wedding (post a bit late, but work with me here) and I am so scared I am shaking and feeling nauseous.

I know it will be okay, as I am too scared to run …. but here I am any the way … breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out …. find brown bag as I am hyper-ventilating ….

The card you do not want to get on your wedding day …

Nine day count down ….

I know sometimes I appear a bit blasé about this entire “getting married” thing, but it is really a bit of a big deal for me.

Kennith and I have been together for so long.  Both of us were very anti-marriage in the beginning.  We tended to stand on our soap-box and preach how unnecessary it was and that we would not succumb to the bourgeois ways of the masses.

If I heard someone was getting married, I would ask them “but how you do you know you have found the right one … how do you really know…”  it would often lead to a rather frightened bride-to-be who just wanted to get as far from me as possible, in as short a time as possible.

As time marched on our relationship evolved.

Our kids joined us, our world shook and cracked a little/a lot.  We realized that sometimes “loving someone” is not the same as “liking someone” – and sometimes it is okay to want to kill them and bury their body in the backyard.

We went through several difficult years, that included screaming, shouting, not talking, couple counseling, more anti-depressants, and fairly destructive behaviour.

I am sure if we had been offered an easy escape clause, we both might have opted out and left –  it really was hard, and there were few good days, and no guarantee that going through all of this was going to make it any better at the end of the day.

I think Kennith and I do tend to move cautiously on certain issues and do not give up easily.   We sort of plod on, and believe that things will get better if we just give it some time (it’s a character thing.)  This might have been what kept us plodding on – though we were really walking two totally separate and lonely paths.

We did however manage to eventually reach the same place at about the same time, and made a decision that we could see ourselves walking the same road.

I do not want to try to paint a romantic picture of long-lost lovers and rekindled flames, and skipping through daisy fields.

There was none of that, there was more listening, being more attentive and maybe trying not to be so angry all the time.

Here is the key – it was not that one of us tried hard and the other went about their normal day. I think we both realized that we both needed to change, and find ways of finding each other again.  We had both made mistakes, were both to blame – in different ways – but we equally shared the carrying of the proverbial bucket.

We both made a conscious effort to give it a go (when I think we both thought this is really the last chance of chances as things did seem almost unfixable.)

It took a lot of work to reach this point.   Kennith and I are not naïve enough to think that now it is all going to be white wine and green olive/biltong days.

We still get annoyed with each other and find it very easy to flick into the “well fek you then” frame of mind.

And here is where I must give Kennith his due – Kennith is able to say sorry, where I struggle.  Kennith is always willing to extend the olive branch, where I hold resentment close to my heart.  Kennith is always willing to forgive and move on, where I struggle to bury the hatchet.  Kennith is definitely the sunny disposition to my rather dark self.

Yesterday I was chatting to someone who really is going through the darkest point of relationship hell.

If you are looking for advise and are hoping for platitudes, I strongly suggest you go somewhere else and not come to me.  I do not set out to say mean things and hurt someone, but I do tend to state things truthfully as I see them.  I will not volunteer my opinion, but if you ask, then I take it that you want the truth and not the sugar-coated version, then I do say what I think.

With relationships, we are led to believe we should hook-up, and stay together come what may – “for the children”.

The reality is that the father or the mother of your children, might not be your partner for life, life is just not that way.  Staying with someone when it is actually driving you inch-by-inch into the mouth of madness “for the sake of the children” is just not a feasible way to live your life.

I appreciate that when you bring children into the picture the stakes do get higher.

Suddenly there is more to lose, the fall out is so much more, and there are going to be casualties – in the form of little people.   At the same time, if you cannot look after yourself because your relationship is killing your soul, you really cannot look out for the good of your child or children, no matter how good your intentions are.

The problem with relationships that are in distress, is that we get so caught up in the craziness of the situation and literally get sucked into it.  It consumes us.  We are unable (or unwilling in some cases) to step back and really take a look at what is going on.  This distress might last a day or two, but in some cases it can stretch to years, and then we totally lose ourselves in “it”.

We cannot rationalize, or take the time to look at it with a clear mind, because we are dealing with the day to day fall-out of what is hell-on-earth.

I think, if you have ever been in a relationship that is sliding into the abyss, you will know what I am talking about.

We are not talking about a mild disagreement here, we are talking about a relationship that is starting to bleed your soul, and all you can think is “I have to get out … I have to get away…”

At some point – some where – somehow – one finds the energy to take a moment, take a breath and step back.

Usually at this moment, we can look at what is going on, and try not be so reactive and emotional.  We can also take the time to think “why should I stay in this relationship?” I think if the only reason you can muster is “because I love him” then maybe it is time to find a bag and start packing.

If you ask me why I stayed with Kennith when times got so dark?  Well, the truth be told, I was on my way out the door.  Things had hit the (very) bottom of where ever they could have gone.

I had taken that moment, that breath to think – and for me the thinking involved facing my biggest fear.

My biggest fear was not losing Kennith, he was all but lost anyway, my biggest fear was that I would have to leave without the kids.  That was what I had to face as my reality and the outcome when all was said and done.

I had spent weeks trying to work out how I could leave, and take the kids with me.  No matter how much I tried to do the math and tried to work out the logistics, it just was not financially or logistically possible,without causing chaos in their lives.

The moment I had that realization – that “what is the worst outcome” and accepted it, suddenly it made me free to make my decision – it was like coming out from under a wet, heavy blanket where I had been suffocating.

I am not trying to say that it was not painful.  I sobbed and cried, but when I worked through all the options, the best solution to be able to leave, was to let the kids remain with Kennith.

Once all the hair pulling and chest beating is done, and you accept that the worst outcome, the one you have been hiding from,  the one you know in your heart of hearts is the right answer, and you accept it with your soul and a brave face – suddenly you do reach a place of calm, and then can decide “well what now…?” in a rational more adult way.

As things went, Kennith and I did not go our separate ways.  Things did change – the changes were gradual and slow, they were hard, but our relationship did manage to survive.

But here we are.  We are 9 days away from making a public commitment to each other – how do I feel now?

I feel proud that Kennith and I have gone through what we have.  We have endured, we have walked through when most people faced with what we were faced with, would have walked away.

Our children are happy, seem to be well-adjusted (waiting for test results) and know they are in a loving family.

We are walking in to this marriage with our eyes wide open.  We are not being swept along by hormonal euphoria of how magical it is all going to be.  We have years of experience under our belt, and gained many battle scars of wisdom.

We know that when it is all done and dusted, and we get in to bed at night, my foot will always find his and we will drift off to sleep, knowing that no matter what happens our feet will always touch when we go to sleep at night.

In nine days time, we are ready to stand in front our of our closest friends and family, and say the words that we have been avoiding for sixteen years … “today I will marry you…”

Sometimes a policy of no photographs is better …

I figured I would post there horrible pictures before my now “so called” friends did.

It all started off so innocently, look how happy I am – attempting to read the menu and order wine …. I am happy and unaware of the horror of what will come … and that is just the Brazillian wax story …

I have my ring that flashes … what more could a girl want ….

I was given a great bride and groom that will now make it to the top of a cake – even if it is a cupcake

And then it goes horribly … horribly wrong … but my friends do not let this deter them from having a good time, and just move the party to the bathroom.

Ragna is doing a display of how her jacket is water resistant and procedures to splash water all over herself …that girl will find any opportunity to punt her brand ….

Then there was the group shots … er this is one of me ….notice how happy everyone is, except me really .. that is me sort of behind the door frame on the floor … next to the toilet … but let me not stand in the way of thier having a good time …

These are more group shots in the toilet – it appears I am not in any of these … for which I am truly thankful …

This is me with Alice finally packed in to the car … same car that had to stop several times on the way back home so I could dump further contents of my stomach in various locations …. a bit like a treasure hunt …

I have no idea what was going on in this picture, so nothing to say in my defense …. can I just plead drunkeness and fall on the mercy of the court?

(I did notice that Alice eventually ended up in the front seat, clearly she was aware of puke splatter and preferred to stay close by, but not that close by ….)

I guess if I do not laugh at myself … what else is there to do …. hope you all enjoyed my pain and misery …. I will return next week to see if I can retrieve my name I threw away ….

Of wine and toilet bowls …

So last night I went out for dinner with my mate Judith and Sue B – we get together about once a month for a chat and a laugh.

It seemed Judith had other plans, and it turned into a surprise almost-bride party with friends and too much alcohol.

I was dressed in the traditional veil and horns, the garter belt, and the customary learner bride sign – it’s what all the nearly-brides are wearing this season.

I also had a wand and a large ring with a flashing light on it – which has definitely become my favourite piece of bling – I think I might have promised to wear it on the 17th!!  I had a large while butterfly (not real) stuck on my head that was reminiscent of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s birds, but might also be joining my favourite accessory pile soon.

Wine was ordered for me, we had shooters – which Alice struggled to get into her mouth.  Shooters can sometimes be difficult for pretty girls.  Instead she opted to pour it randomly on her face and neck and hope that some was absorbed through osmosis.

I had some wine, followed by some wine, and then some more wine, you know how this all goes, and I was feeling great.

The girls were funny, the conversation took a few twists and turns and it was all quite jolly.

Alice was trying to convince me that a brazillian wax is just the sort of surprise Kennith would enjoy – really!  I thought.  He would enjoy knowing I lay spread eagled on a bed while a woman named Vera poured wax on me and then pulled it off really quickly to take the hair outta my bum crack?

How about he have the brazillian first, and then once he stops crying he can let me know how it goes and whether he would recommend it to for me.

Sue S then explained that she has committed to a brazillian but only got half way, then had to tell the wax lady to stop as it was too sore, so went home and just shaved the other side – I thought that was brilliant.

Alice insists I should have my bush waxed in the shape of a pink heart!

I really do not know why Alice is so fixated on my hairy nether regions.  I wonder if when Kennith is out with his friends they talk about grooming their twig and berries?

It really was a fun evening …. until well, it wasn’t.

I can’t quite recall the chain of events, but it ends with me, in the bathroom, literally hugging the toilet and well camping out there for the rest of the night.  I had friends taking turns rubbing my back and holding my hair – what good mates I have.

But I just could not stop retching – I do not recall drinking that much – bear in mind my body is a fine tuned wine-drinking machine.  I can look at least two bottles of wine in the eye without seeing double, so I have no idea what happened.

So as not to miss out on the action everyone then moved to the bathroom and stood around making conversation while I retched and cried in between – such good times.  What I was crying about I do not recall, it might be because I was on my hands and knees retching in a public place .. that could have been it.   There is little to beat the likes of a stylish soon-to-be-bride!

Someone was taking group photos, which I thought would make great mementos of the evening. Eventually they managed to frog march me to the car and drive me home.

I will confess to having to puke some more on the drive home  – so if you pass something on the N1 that looks vaguely unsanitary and has now splashed up on the side of your car, let me take this as an opportunity to sincerely apologise .

Eventually I got home and Kennith was waiting – bless his cotton socks.  He helped me get my jammies on, poured me a large cold glass of Oros, and made me a hot water bottle.

He is such a good egg, and I have such good mates for taking care of me as they did!

Bits and pieces of the rather insane conversations keep coming back to me, I seem to recall arrangements being made about going to a sokkie-jol after the wedding?   I might even have suggested it, oh heavens!

Connor’s take on wedding days …

I just thought of something today that Connor said years ago.

We were walking through the mall and we were just chatting.  Connor must have been around 4 -5 years old.  I recall Georgia being there, but would have been a tiny little nu-nu at the time.

I think the subject of marriage had recently come up at school.  Connor had assumed Kennith and I were married.  He was at a very strong roman catholic school at the time who believed in family and community values.  Most if not all the parents at the school came from nice mommy-and-daddy-are-married families, so that was what the kids believed to be the “norm” – who was I to shake their little boat?

I was not sure then whether to break it to Connor that actually Kennith and I were not married, but we were living in sin.  So I opted instead to test the waters with him to see what his understanding was of marriage.

This particular day the subject of a wedding or a wedding day came up, and I recall asking Connor why does he think that people have a wedding day.

He said: “So people can dance with each other and kiss each other …”

I thought that would be as good a reason as any to have a wedding.

The Engagement Story …

People have been asking how we got engaged … I really wish it was an interesting story, so I might need to embellish the details a bit just to add intrigue and a bit of sex and scandal.

We go out for dinner about twice a week. Not because we live the high life, just because I am too lazy to cook, and Kennith is sometimes a bit bored with baked beans on toast.

On the night in question, we put kids in bed, arrange for our Pepe to babysit and skipped off to dinner – so this was a night like any other.

Now just to paint the picture of the week before – because this is one of those stories that rises of falls on the background, ambiance is quite important.  I will need to take you through the preceding two weekends.

The weekend before (13 – 14 March) Kennith had pretty much left me to sort myself out the entire weekend.

We had friends staying over for the weekend as the Argus Cycle Race was on and there were meetings and stuff that Kennith had to attend on the Saturday.   On the Saturday night we had friends over at our house for dinner, and it was all a bit chaotic.  Actually I lie, it was wildly chaotic.

Kennith was also out pretty much the entire weekend, so when we did not have friends over, he left me alone with the kids and the mess (ah good times!)

I get very very anxious when I am left with the kids alone on the weekend.   I literally go a little/very/a lot panicky, totally stressed state all day and every minute ticks by like an hour.  I love my kids, but they scare me – they outnumber me and can outflank me …. it is only a matter of time before they realise this and start ganging up on the injured bleeding mother-person.

To add to it, Isabelle who was dreadfully ill. So all in all, the weekend really was one step away from an enema with a bottle-cleaning brush.

My thinking was that if Kennith was going to have friends over and arrange “come all ye faithful, bring a keg, let’s have dinner” then he should arrange either he cleans up or he organizes a maid to clean up.

What he thought was a better idea, was to wake up, shower and then skip off on his day leaving me with the kids and the house that looked like a shit-fest.

I was slightly less than happy!  And who do you think gets the brunt of my rage …. no prizes for guessing ….

I survived, only barely and limped through the week that followed feeling mighty peeved.   But I tried to take deep breaths and thought, well I survived, onwards and upwards – next weekend I can get some time to relax and maybe catch a little nap.

But the next Friday (19th April) Kennith phones and tells me he has been invited to rugby with friends.

I really do not give a crap about rugby, but what this translates to me is that he will leave the house on Saturday at about 14h00 and return around 22h00 that night, which means I will be alone with the kids again!!

I think I might have pooped in my panties a bit – like actually pooped not metaphorically pooped.

I am not going to tell Kennith he can’t go to anything – I am not his jailor or his mother.

However I do expect that he uses his good sense every now and then, when making the choices of what invitations to accept and which not to. This was not one of those cases where maybe reflecting on the weekend before, accepting a rugby invite now, was going to go down, shall we say with less relish than hoped.

Kennith went to rugby.  I went just a little more off the edge of the postcard.

I was so angry I was spitting. Kennith arrives home that evening and brings our friends in for a drink. No problem, love our friends but am hating Kennith right about then.

Sidebar: Kennith buys bottles of wine from a friend of ours at a good price. These bottles of wine are white wine, which are meant for me to drink and for when we entertain. The bottles cost about R29.00 when we buy them, but cost considerably more in store. Kennith is always making “jests” about how I quaff wine, and that I should not drink the “good stuff.”

I have a sense of humour, and can laugh along to most things – sometimes I even laugh at Kennith, but this chirp, was getting old, and it was a bit past it’s sell-by date. I also figure that he is standing between me-and-my-wine and that is not a safe place for anyone to be standing.

Earlier on that Saturday afternoon, in my rage and fury I am standing there and thinking that I really need a few glasses of wine to help temper my mood, and help me get through the last few hours of this day (does this sound a bit like a desperate cry for help for the AA?).

I grab one of these bottles of wine – and while wrenching the cork out I hear Kennith’s little comment in my head – which just makes me even more angry. I start talking to him as if he is there, which he is not as he is at Newlands.  Listen, even in my insanity, I can differentiate between the real voices in my head, and my own voice in my head (thank goodness for small blessings.)

The entire time I am thinking that if Kennith makes one more stupid chirp about this fek’n wine I am going to take his head off with a cork-screw and the inner of a toilet roll.

I have passed the sanity part of my day long long ago at this point, and all I am trying to do is survive until night fall, and kids go to bed, and I can lie on my bed and congratulate myself on not killing anyone.

Fast forward – friends come inside. Kennith either sees my wine glass or the wine bottle and make the chirp!

I go off pop – but like totally.

Leon and Joyce are quietly sitting there attempting to have a civilized conversation and I have just gone totally trailer-park and I am ranting. The kind where spittle forms in the corner of your mouth and you start waving your hands around with fervor.

Leon and Joyce are sitting there in stunned silence and I am freaking out.

Obviously they do not know the weekend that has led up to this, and how angry I am.   I have been sitting there in anticipation, waiting for this chirp from Kennith since 2pm.

They quietly finish their drinks and leave.  Joyce is even trying to tidy up a bit, as she has no idea what the hell I am ranting about, but figgers a little tidying never hurt anyone.

Kennith and I have the almighty fight of all times and there is screaming and effing and blinding. I might have told him to go and fornicate himself – or a goat – I am not sure!  But it is one of those fights that is about a lot of thing, not just a tosser-idea-to-go-to-rugby, you know when it  a l l  c o m e s  o u t, one of those fights.

On the Sunday I decided to leave for the day and hang with my mate Judith. We spent the day drinking red wine while I told her what a total shit Kennith was and that I would not marry him if he threw himself on the floor and promised me the world.

I continue to rant about how angry I was that he had not asked me to marry him and how worthless and rejected that made me feel …. whine whine wine wine wine.

Eventually I went home, and chose not to talk to him for the balance of the day. I decided he was a goat turd and the sooner he ceased to exist the happier I was going to be.

Monday was Monday, Tuesday rolled around and then Wednesday we went out for dinner.

Sitting there, not a especially special restaurant, it had linen rather than plastic table clothes but after that not much – I was eating dry garlic pita bread which was especially crunchy.

Kennith was trying to hold my hands across the table and started telling me how much he loved me and how much I meant to him and and and …. again I thought this was by the way of apology for being a total goat turd the week before.

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith: You are really important to me, and I know getting married is important to you, and I want to make you happy, so let’s get married ……

Me: Chew, chew, crunch, crunch …

Kennith:  So let’s get married ….

Me:  Chew, chew, crunch, crunch … Are you asking me whether you should ask me to marry you, or are you asking me to marry you?

Kennith:  I am asking you to marry me ….

Me:  Crunch … trying to get the parsley out of my teeth … Really? …..

Kennith:  Yes, you know me, I am not going to do the whole thing, will you marry me baby?

Me:  (now I realise I have waited sixteen years for this, so this is no time to act all hard to get and all … however I had just told Judith that I would not marry him for all the sheep in New Zealand … saying yes now would seem a little hypocritical … but there is something to be said for striking while the iron is hot and all) Okay, yes ….

Kennith:  Oh …..

…… kisses me ……..

….. A few moments pass as we are gazing across the table into each other’s eyes …..

Kennith:  I am not going to drop 25K on a ring

… ….. a little awkward silence …..

Me: Are you going to eat this last slice of pita bread or can I?

Of days that are just too long …

So yesterday I go along to do the final fitting of the dress – it really is a “rok” so I do want to warn you.  Subtle and reserved is not a word one would use to describe this particular dress.

I am nervous now that I am drawing even more attention to myself … this entire wedding makes me feel very nervous, knowing people are going to be looking at me is a real issue … I appreciate the irony in it all, I really do.

I really do like the dress, but I did think yesterday that maybe I have gone a little overboard with this entire thing … it’s that post purchase dissidence thing that everyone talks about.

For a few moments I stood there and thought, can I just give all of this shite back, phone the marriage officer, tell him we were joking, cancel the flowers, phone the venue and say “listen about the seventeenth..” but could I keep the ring?  It suddenly feels all a bit exhausting and my excitement has waned.

I was standing there in big huge dress, silky shoes and some bling, and I am just thinking, maybe we should have kept this to a bring-and-braai wedding and scaled this all back a little bit.  Or maybe getting married is not that great an idea … run bride run ….

But here we are less than 17 days away, but I guess all grooms and brides get that moment where they think, you know, let’s just slow this bus down and think it over.  Like my friend Basil says, let’s all just calm the FEK down.

No doubt it will pass and I will be in the swing of it again, as I argue about the “right” cake and stress about the flower petals.

Earlier this week we went along to sign the pre-nup.  There really is something quite disturbing about the entire process.  It is all dealt with by lawyers and their minions and seems very pedestrian to them, while rather life changing to you.

They print out these pages that sort out issues about who will get granny’s silver service if you divorce, but it does not seem to discuss who will pay for the kid’s education and where they will live.

It also does not mention that I am in my full rights to stab Kennith in the groin with a blunt potato peeler if he has a mid-life crisis, buys a stupidly expensive bright small convertible car and suddenly had an enthusiastic interest in girls with names like Candy and Mindy, who have abnormally large breasts!

But possibly that was covered in the annexure, which I did not read as all the black print started to swim before my eyes.  I actually felt very overwhelmed by the entire experience, and did not enjoy it, no not one bit (thanks Cat in the Hat.)

We also made out our wills in the event that we get eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex while on honeymoon.

Equally disturbing, trying to decide who will get the toilet brush and have to endure Georgia’s Barbie stories, but there are decisions to be made, and sometimes, you need to sort of sit there act there like an adult (even if just remotely) and make decisions.

I really did not feel warm and fuzzy while signing and initialing all the forms.  To be honest I started to feel a little nauseous and well, less than excited by this entire thing.  Maybe I am just having a bad week and lawyers with abnormally large board room tables make me nervous.

My head really is not in a good place right now, and it has been a bit of an emotionally exhausting/draining week for several reasons – most of my own engineering.  The ante-nuptial paperwork crap did not help.

Standing there and seeing myself in the mirror in dress garb and thinking that maybe I do look a bit like a troll did not really help either.  Funny how one day you think you look like a fairy princess and the next you look like Billy Goat Gruff!!

On the up side, I thought yesterday was Monday – and while out with running guy realized it was Wednesday.  He reminded me that Steers has Wacky Wednesday, which would solve my “what to eat” problem.

He was right, I ran off there and ordered a Wacky Wednesday meal from Steers – fully kitted out in my sweaty running gear, and ate it totally guilt free.  I did order a Tab to balance it all out – the ying and yang and all that.

The cake, the cake, the damn cake ….

I am about at the end of my tether with this entire “find a wedding cake” business.  I could seriously walk in to a cake shop with a semi-automatic and just order a slice of cake and refuse to pay for it!!

Initially I thought cool, keep it simple get a wedding cake – a simple cake rather than a “koek”.  Then the more I thought about it, I really did not want to do the cake cutting thing, and putting cake in each other’s mouths and the ribbon tied around the knife.

If you did that at your wedding, I am glad that it rocked your world, but I really could not imagine trying to be happy cutting cake and shoving it in either my mouth or Kennith’s mouth.  I like to cut and eat my own food, and get quite aggressive when someone puts their hand near my plate, so I just felt this cake cutting and cake eating business probably would not work out well.

I thought great, try wedding cupcakes …those look nifty on their little stand … and then no one has to cut anything … that lasted for about 12 minutes … the idea, not the cupcakes.

I then thought, goody, I have it, we will do a “bridal couple treat/sweet jar.” Loads of jars filled with all the things we like.

Excellent idea, but will require me to shop around for jars and those metal scooper things.  Then I will need to fight with Kennith that we cannot have a jar with biltong and we definitely cannot have a jar with liquorice!  I projectile vomit at the mere whiff of liquorice.  Feel free to test the theory by bringing some near me some time.

I then started making contact with some places with week – one place wanted to charge me more than R3 000.00 for a cake – not a huge-I-am-the-biggest-whitest-cake-you-have-ever-seen cake, a normal cake-cake!!

Listen, I can talk Kennith in to many things by offering him sexual favours, but I think that getting him to agree to pay R3 000.00 for a cake might be pushing it past my available skill set.  (We would still need to pay extra for the brownies and the cup cakes …)

Here we are – less than three weeks, no cake, no cupcakes, and no frik’n (sorry Georgia) idea of what to do.

I got quite stressed (about cake, yes I do realise how totally ridiculous this sounds) and decided to discuss the difficulties I had with solving this problem and finding a cost-effective solution, and decided to approach my bridegroom-to-be as the person to discuss this and who may be able to find a viable solution to my dilemma which I have been grappling with for several weeks now.

Sidebar: My solution is actually to phone up Charlie’s Bakery and say “Let me have a huge chocolate cake, dripping with chocolate, big square, let me have say two dozen decadent brownies, and while you are there, throw in two dozen so-much-chocolate-I-am-going-to-puke cupcakes” … but Charlie’s aren’t known for their cheap prices and Kennith is not a big Charlie’s fan, so I am trying to make another plan taking him in to consideration.

I am standing in the kitchen explaining my problem to Kennith.  I am explaining the running around I have done, and that the first cup cake person is just not really making nice cupcakes. He disagrees and says they are “fine.”

I disagree and say I have now eaten three dozen of them, and they are nice, but not great and I do not want them at our wedding.

He goes on to remind me that people do not remember the details about a wedding, what is important is that he just have a good time.

He tried this test on me to prove his point “I bet you can’t describe the chairs we sat on at Steve and Kalinka’s wedding.” We were at their wedding about three years ago, it was a great wedding – huge amounts of fun, but Kalinka had the details down to a fine art – everything was just right – I noticed these things.  As a matter of fact I could describe the chairs – and then went and found a picture to prove that my description was pretty accurate.

Girls remember this shite, boys only remember if there were available single women and cold beer.  Our DNA’s are just designed differently when it comes to weddings.  I did not choose to be this way, it  just is!!

I mention Charlie’s – Kennith pipes up that they are too expensive and repeats he does not like them.  I acknowledge that I recognize this, hence the reason I am exploring dozens of other avenues.

He then pipes up: “Remember that chocolate cake we had with Anita that she used to buy – remember the one with the hole in the centre? That one was great, go and find who made that cake, that is the one we should get.”

Then he turns to continue making his sandwich/coffee/what ever as if he has solved my problem and all is well in suburbia.

Second sidebar:  Anita has not lived in Cape Town for more than 8 years, so though I know where she got the cake from, the place has long since closed.  The fact that Anita now lives in another country makes me deeply suspicious that, though she is fond of the cake with a hole in it, she is undoubtedly not going to have kept track of the maker of said cake.

At this point I lose the plot – like explode!  I start calling Kennith a variety of unsanitary names and I might have even made reference to his genitalia and what I think he should do with them.

I know I then said something along the lines of: “Do you think because I have a uterus and mammary glands that I know about F U K ‘ N (kids were sleeping, I can swear as much as I like) wedding cake than you do?  Do you actually think that?  How the F U K (I was feeling quite rev’d up at this point) am I meant to find a F U K ‘ N cake from 8 years ago with a hole in it?  I came to you so you can assist me, not offer a stupid F U K ‘ N  solution – what the hell is wrong with you, you idiot!!”

It was something along those lines, memory fails me right now.

Geez Louise I was annoyed – I mean really!  The boy has an MBA and this is how he helps me?  Honestly, how much stupid did he have for breakfast this morning?

I am not sure if I said anything more.  I might well have, the spittle was sort of pooling out of the corner of my mouth at this point, and there is a good chance I was gesturing wildly.

Aaaahhh wedding planning is such a happy time, and brings a couple so much closer together.

Kennith, realizing that things have gone too far, suggests we meet the next day to go to Charlie’s!  Shame, you know that boy really tries – even in the face of a totally psychotic lost-her-mind-long-ago-almost-bride, he tries to wave a white flag.

Bottom line, still no cake, still no idea, but I have some people to call tomorrow.  I am solving this by Friday – I am ticking this off my list.

If all else fails I am going to get my friends to bake me a stupid cake and cupcakes on the evening of the 16th!!  If you are a wedding guest and RSVP’d you are coming, do not make plans for the evening of the 16th, bring 6 eggs, a cup of sugar, 2 TBS of cocoa, I will sms you where we are going to meet, it’ll be fab.

Does my finger look big in this?

I waxed lyrically yesterday as to how how I am in love with my ring … and promised to post some images, so here they are …

The main stone belonged to my gran who died in 1994  – she was my last grandparent.

When I was very young, I recall being at her house and she put all her rings on the kitchen table and asked me if she died which one would I like to have.  I was really small, so I was more interested in drinking my sweet milky tea and  eating a slice of cake to be too worried about jewellery issues (few things have changed since then).

Fortunately I had the good sense to choose a simple ring, but with a healthy sized diamond (bless her).

So Kennith and I chose a ring design and then used the original stone from my gran’s ring.  So even though the design is “all about me” it has a bit of a heritage in it, which makes it even more special.

I really love this ring.

Have dress … have prince … need chariot …

For some reason I have kept my “wedding related” stuff off my blog.

I just figured people really were not interested in my arranging to get a “rok” to bounce down the aisle, but it seems there are people who are actually interested.

Not sure why I felt it was appropriate to talk about me wanting to smother my kids and show you pictures of my va-jay-jay, but somehow inappropriate to talk wedding stuff, but there we go.  However I have decided to update those who care with bits and bobs, and I promise not to go on at length regarding the colour of just the right napkin.

Today I went to do the first fitting for my wedding dress, with the dress maker to do the nip and tucking.

I honestly thought I would be the last person to use the term “wedding dress” and “my” in a sentence, but well wonders never cease. I must confess I thought I looked not half bad (yes, I realise I need to slow down on the self praise) and really started to get very excited.  The alteration girl did have her hand up my dress at the time, and no doubt that also added to the whole festival atmospher

The one issue I have about “the wedding day” is I hate to be the center of attention.

I really get embarrassed and start acting terribly stupid when attention is focussed on me.  I am seriously doubting that wearing a large whitish dress is going to assist me to fade into the background in July, and I have concerns about everyone looking at me, which is probably why I wanted to go with a dress that was pretty low-key to being with.

But I truly love my dress, and feel very Princess Bride right now.  I might start singing tra-la-la-la and have little blue birds come and sit on my hand as I bounce around the forest with a large blue bow in my hair …. it is all so intoxicating.

Our friend put us in contact with a jewellery designer who assisted us in designing a ring.  She gave us a few catalogues and of the 7 thousand post-it notes I stuck all over the catalogues, on one I wrote “the perfect ring.”

I got myself in a tizz trying to make any further decisions about the ring.  I just could not decide on what to do and how to make a final decision on something that is so permanent.  Eventually I walked away from the “project” and asked/told/screamed at Kennith to just do it.  I just could not make a decision and time was a-passing and I still u’ming and ah’ing and time he was rushing by.

Friday a week ago Kennith got the ring and did not tell me.  He presented the ring while we were at a pub, drinking beer, watching Bafana Bafana – that boy is so romantic.  I swooned. I nearly lost control of my beer.  The ring is so absolutely divine, I can honestly say “I love it -I love it!”

Yesterday I went to collect the wedding band, and my knees went a little weak.

I was so sure that Kennith would choose something flat and plain- like a wedding band, but he chose this beautifully simple, but totally unique band with such great detail, I just wanted to give him a noddy badge right there and then.  I love the fact that he still suprises me, and makes the effort to try.

So I am really pleased with my dress, I look like a totally fairy princess which is nothing like the normal me.

I am so in love with my engagement ring and wedding band (which we put away) that I could cry.

You know I was the first one to say that getting married would not make a difference and really would not be a big deal, but you know it has made a difference and it is actually a big deal.  I am so excited about the wedding day I could actually just platz, but I am trying to act nonchalant and that it is all so ho-hum.

But inside I am going weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ……. can you feel it??

Star Crossed Lovers ….

Last Friday I went to try on a wedding dress.

If you had followed any of this wedding stuff, you may be raising your little hand about now, and posed the question “er did you not already buy a dress?” to which I would have to answer “Right you are!”

I would have to add in an almost embarrassed tone: “But it seems it was not THE dress, THE dress was waiting for me somewhere else.”

It really has just been all so pedestrian and predictable it is tragic.  I can’t even glam it up and tell you how I bought a dress, but there was a fire, and when the fireman ran in to save the women and children, he used my dress to cover the mouths of the babes, so they would not die from affixation, and then my dress was destroyed and see I had to go and get another one.

Nothing like that I am afraid. I just kept waking up and two in the morning, staring at the ceiling and going: “I like my dress, but I want a dress that I love!”

I toddled off to a wedding dress place – yes another one, no doubt they are starting to release mug shots now and keep them under their counters.  I asked the assistant to  drag out all the “sale” garments which I dutifully tried on.  But none of them really excited me.

Right at the end while I was standing in my knickers and no bra – not a good look in a drafty salon, I asked Ester to go and have a scratch through her regular priced merchandise and let me try on something there.  I knew that this was probably not going to end well, but fools and angels and treading and all that.

Esther pulled out this monstrosity and suggested I try it on.  I thought she was having me on for a bit of a laugh, I was standing there scantly clad and all so clearly she was the dominatrix in this role play we were doing.

I looked at this frock and figured I might as well put it on, and then send her back to grab another.  Well as all boy-meets-girl, girl-takes-an-immediate-dislike-to-boy stories go, mine it seems was no different.  Which is all the more depressing, as I sincerely hoped I was cut from a more original cloth.

Esther laced up this dress.  I walked to the dressing room with it’s wall sized mirror and stood on the pedestal – they actually have a pedestal – I should get one of those for home!

I stood on the pedestal and gazed at my reflection and thought to myself “wow, that is quite a frock.. not sure I really like it.”

Then as with all slow romances go, I looked at it again and thought “I sort of quite like the cut of your cloth…”

I walked around the room a little. I jiggled my skirts a bit, and then I looked at my reflection again and realized … I am truly in love.  Not that forced kind where you are a little drunk, and he is the last one at the bar, and you really do not want to go home alone again, that real kind where your eyes meet and you see yourselves wrapped around each other for eternity … in my case for about 8 hours.

I was smitten.  I pranced – yes I pranced – around the room a bit. I even tried on shoes, then I pranced some more.  Oh it was heavenly to be in love.

Then it was the awkward moment.  You are so in love but the logical side of you needs to ask the rather embarrassing question “so how much will it be for the good time?”

The answer did make me choke a little, but we were in love, what does the trifles of money matter to us?

I skipped out of there with a song in my chest and a Heidi-skip in my heels.  I then had an immediate attack of IBS and had to stop at the chemist for some medical relief.  Love they say can hurt, mine was making me bloat, cramp and sweat – and I had wave after wave of nausea.

That is the thing about initial love, when you are in each other’s arms, nothing matters.  But when you part company and the ugliness of the morning creeps in, and the terrible aftermath of the hangovers weighs on you one starts to doubt one’s feelings.

How was I going to pay to be with my new lover?

And what the hell was I going to do with the first dress?

I felt like I had betrayed her and was cheating on her with this larger more voluptuous model.  I really was, and though I felt some guilt, I wanted to be with my new shinier love as the original one no longer mattered to me.

After the weekend, I could not bear to be further parted.  I went back on Tuesday for another fitting, and then I knew we were meant to be – logical thought had stepped out.

So I paid the money and now she is mine – actually she is not mine.  A dress maker in the States will be making a replica of her for me, in my size and flying it over to me, and then she will be mine.  The dress not the dressmaker incase this analogy has got a bit confusing.

When I did the EFT I really felt a little light in my soul – it will be a nervous wait, and well a tad “cutting it a little fine” but my dress will arrive on the 12 July – the fact that the wedding is the 17 July does not escape me, but for now my infatuation has released me of worry.

My kingdom for a venue ….

This weekend we had made a shortlists of venues and had siked ourselves to that ticked and sorted.  The lack of venue was becoming a bit of an issue for me – I had a list and the first thing was “venue” on my list and I could not tick it off, so I was becoming very agitated.

There were a few clues that the weekend excursion might not go to plan.

A few of the key issues were that both Kennith and I had flu-like symptoms and were struggling to remain civil.  Isabelle was teething, and when she was not throwing up, she was crying.

Connor and Georgia huddled in the backseat of the car, were fighting and we had not even reversed out of our driveway.  The cards were stacked against us as we set off on our little adventure, but like pioneers off we went.

The plan was we were going to see three on Saturday.  So off to Paarl we go.  The first was not great.  But in its defense was lovely as an outside venue with a lavender field – I love lavender, but that is pretty much where the love stopped.  It had that “conference” centre feel to it, that no amount of alcohol would have been able to mask.

The proprietor’s repeated statement of “… then this is probably not the venue for you” when I asked if they could alter some of the rather “set” policies they had, did not really warm me to the place either.

We left that location as quickly as was polite to do so, with an effort not to kick up too much dust as we wheel skidded the hell out of there.

Off we go to Riebeek Kasteel – me in high-spirits – I really was sure that this venue was the one, was I was feeling rather smug about the whole thing as I think I have found the dream venue.

But there we were on our way to Riebeek Kasteel.  We follow the map and it really is deliverance country.  We were just looking for the kid on the banjo.

With 20/20 hindsight the place did refer to itself as a farm, not an estate, or a venue.  It did call itself a farm.  But you know how one is blind to these details as you stumble forward in the hope of finding the perfect venue.

We drove about 5km along a dust-road.  Kennith and I kept thinking “where the hell are we….no really”

We saw a sign clearly marked Farm.  Again the word did not really have much weight for me at the time.  As I passed moo cows, sheep and emus I started to get a feeling that there was something just a little off about this.

We drove right to the back of the farm and there was the venue.  We were surrounded by farm animals, but there was the venue.

It really was a really good illustration of why one should never believe photos – immediately I could see where the photos were taken from.  The power of photo cropping and good camera positioning became apparent.  (Note to self: Never buy a home from a photograph. Never marry a man based solely on his photograph on the internet.)

I was gutted – I really could not face having a wedding on a working farm, while I swatted the odd horse-fly away.

By the time Kennith and I got all our mucus-smeared, very techy children back in to the car, we were all feeling defeated, I think I might even have let out a little sob.

Because we are suckers for punishment we drove through Riebeek West and stopped at two other venues – on the outside chance I may just stumble on something.

The one was typically a venue built mid-1980.  I really could not see myself getting married in a hall with half wine-barrels dotted along the walls.  The final decision breaker, was where you had to step through one of the wine barrels to get into the bar area …. seriously who designed this?  The same crew who did make-up  for Knots Landing I’m guessing.

The last venue I saw  in Riebeek West looked very promising – don’t they all. Glanced over the venue details – venue fee R5 000.00 – not the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen.  Draping and fairy lights – R2 500.00.  So I look at the venue which seems to have said drapery and fairy lights as a fixture –

So I say:  “But I want them, but I am not going to pay R2500.00 for them.”

He says: “Then we will take them down.”

Me says: “ But they are a fixture, the room is not worth the R5000.00 without them as the it is really big rectangular tiled room.”

He says: “Mmm, I see your point, but they do cost more.”

Me says: “You do understand how ridiculous this sounds.  If I do not pay R2 500.00 then you will get a crew in and send a man up a ladder to get something down that is already there…”

He says: “ Mmmm, we might be negotiable on that…”

I swear,  my humour had failed me – you know when you feel the overriding urge to say “Well, fek you and the horse you rode in on…” I also have no idea why that would feel appropriate at the time, it just did.

On Sunday we just stayed home – I was too angry to do anything other than wallow in misery.

On Sunday night, I googling a venue (for a change).

Monday morning after a hearty breakfast and several cups of tea set out to see said venue.  I  was pretty defeated, so I went along to this one sure that it would blow like the others – however on the upside it was not far from our home.

Initially our Gestapo-like co-ordinator put us off the venue – impressive to meet someone who struggles more with people skills than me, but there we were.  Just as we were on the verge of killing ourselves, things started to turn as she listened to what we wanted – stopped trying to sell us the earth, and considered that we wanted something that she wasn’t selling as standard in her gold foil and embossed folder.

45 minutes later we had a venue.  I wanted to hug Gestapo girl –  I did squeeze her arm affectionately but she recoiled from my touch – ah, she will grow to like me, you will see.

Kennith and I skipped around the estate.  We sat on a little wooden bench with lavender around us and held hands.

We however soon realized we were wasting valuable time and made our way to the wine tasting area.  There we were quaffing wines at the wine estate we were going to get married at.

My fiance bought me three bottles of wine – I could not have been happier!

I feel like the world has lifted off my shoulders and I can stop tormenting myself with venues.  I can tell all the venues sitting in my in-box to actually fek right off!  I really do want to say that to them, but I might taper it down to “thanks, but no thanks…”

The birds are singing, I am all giddy with excitement. Folks, we may just have a wedding!

Long Live Bridezilla …….

Yesterday was really not a good day in the world of wedding planning, or more importantly my wedding planning.  I had a real melt down and total humour failure. I think I actually screamed at my friend Joyce when she called me to offer me support and assistance, I was also having a little cry at my desk.  I know,  I should really stop crying at my desk at work and also not scream at Joyce.

I totally lost the plot yesterday, and was feeling a tad on the desperate side. I cannot believe that me – a nearly sane, very jaded, very rational individual seemed to have lost all sense related to confetti and wedding cake, but there we have it.

No doubt, this was the first of many subsequent break-downs, so do tune in for more.  I still have a script for Zoloft that I have not filled, so at least I can get some medication if things start really getting much worse.

I think the dress lady thinks I am going to pull a runaway bride move, so is trying to be supportive regarding my inability to commit to the dress – or any dress.  Bless her cotton socks.

So today, I am better than yesterday.  Still woke up at about 3am with a thousand things running through my mind, and lay there staring at the ceiling.

Kennith was very supportive, my friend Tanya wrote me a lovely email to offer her support and to try to give me some perspective on reality – which was great, I could just give her a big old kiss.

Loads of people have said some nice things, when they might have said “Come here so I can slap you, you stupid cow, now snap out of it!”  But they didn’t, which I am mighty grateful for.

I hope that Kennith and I go and see some venues this weekend and then commit to one and then I can tick that off and start worrying about the next thing on my list.

I still have not paid for the dress though …..

I don’t even think I am smiling inside …….

If you are hoping for an up-beat blog post, this is definitely not going to be the one for you.

I get to act like a spoilt eleven year old and have a bitch and a whine every now and then.  I don’t always have to wear my big girl panties.  This is one of those self-indulgent “poor me” moment  …

I am so over this entire wedding planning thing I really really could scream.

I am terribly frustrated and even more frustrated when I look at what I have done from the engagement date until now.  I have achieved absolute nothing.  However I feel like I have been running at 100km an hour for three weeks, only to find myself in the exact same location, but just more jaded and disillusioned.

On the upside I do have a dress … well sort of.

When I started the dress-hunt I was fine with anything – really that is what I thought.  I thought I would be fine with anything – who needs a wedding dress right?

I started on the lower end of plain.  Once I started trying on the dress, I realized that maybe there was a bit of princess inside me.  Maybe I did want the entire white huge dress, the tiara, the totally over the top dress – maybe I did, no matter what personality type I appear to be, and what people were used to be wearing.

I tried on one dress that was not too over the top, but was so purely princess fairytale, it did make my eyes water a little bit. I just wanted to leave it on and wear it forever – I think I might even have swooned a bit.

But with big dreams and big dresses, comes bigger price tags, so I scaled it down and did not make an emotional decision.  I stayed in my head-space and not in my heart-space, and decided on something that if I wore the right shoes I could wear it out for pizza afterwards.

The truth be told, I still do not actually have a dress – I have an option of a dress.  I do not have the dress, because something in my psyche is fighting against me actually paying for the dress.  Having the dress will mean that I am actually going to be part of this wedding, and there will be a wedding.  Right now I am not convinced, based on the lack of some basic fundamentals one needs to have a wedding.

I have the pay-for-your-dress-email sitting in my in-box flashing at me every time I look at it that I need to pay for my dress or else ….

The other reason the dress seems pretty unnecessary, is that we do not have a location.  So this might be one of those “all dressed up and no where to go” situations one reads about.  Venue is rather critical in a wedding.  You can’t do this like an underground rave party and just arrive and decide that this is where you are going to plug in the speakers, and there is where you will sell the ecstacy.  Weddings really do not work that way, pity, but they don’t.

I do not have a location as nothing that anyone appears to quote me on is within our budget.  I do not actually know what our budget is, other than less than I am able to get costings on.  I agree that a venue for 6 – 8 hours should not cost your than your monthly or yearly bond payment.  I really get that.  But there seems to be this impossible divide between what is available, and what we can afford.

And everywhere I look are these wonderful photos of these brides in beautiful dresses, cavorting around some divine venue, having wonderful photos taken – everyone is happy and shiny.

Then when I look at the costs of the venues I go back to re-look at the photos as I wonder how can that bride look so carefree and her bridegroom look so suave and happy when they are being charged R25 000.00 before they have even eaten food or drunk some wine?

As my pursuits of these things have discovered, R25 000.00 is not even the top end of the venue fees that are out there, but either way it is far out of our budget.

I cannot bear the thought of getting married somewhere sad and tragic just because it is affordable, rather than somewhere that is going to be romantic and heavenly.  I want it to be divine as I walk down the aisle even if it is unescorted.  I have fought against this for years, now that I have decided to give in, why can’t I be swept away instead of being dragged down by the costs of everything?

Why can’t I have parents who just say – this is your wedding, go and pick the dress you want, don’t worry, of course we will cover it.  Don’t worry about the venue cost, pick anything you like, we will cover it.

So I lament the lack of silver spoon I was born with, and feel angry that we have to pay for our own wedding when we are not exactly in the best financial position of our lives.

Being on maternity leave last year, which I like to affectionately call 4 months unemployment, can leave a less than desirable dent in your bank account and cash flow.

I want to look at the wedding photographs and sigh a little rather than cringe when I see the neon Spur sign in the background.

I am so over googling everything wedding related that I could scream – and scream and then scream some more.

I was so sure I would not buy into all this hype – I would be fine to whip on a pair of black pants a neat shirt and skip into the reception.

Well, Pandora has been released it would seem and there is a reluctant bride lurking in all of us.  I want the dress, the bos blomme, I want the professional makeup and hair person.

I want to prance around like a princess and feel absolute ridiculous for one day.  I want to relish this divine day that I have been waiting for … yes waiting for… for what feels like forever.

But the day approaches, and I am starting to feel as dark as foreboding as I can guarantee the weather will be on that day.

I am exhausted by it all, and I just want to climb off the bus, say thanks and go and enjoy a large glass of wine.

How can such a happy occasion be turning into something that just wants to make me cry and scream in frustration and anger?

As it stands, I have no dress, no ring, no venue, no patience, but I have a four meetings scheduled with a wedding officer I met in a parking lot, so right now it’s all pretty magic!