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8:20 a.m. - 2009-10-24
The Grand Plan

I can tell already the most difficult things about having the wedding here at the house will be resisting the temptation to re-do every single wall and floor in the joint with fresh paint and varnish, and finding places to put all the stuff that will have to be moved out of the living and dining rooms. Considering the space crunch the latter will be as tricky as solving a Rubik's cube and far more frustrating.

The only capital improvement that is absolutely necessary is replacing the cracked board on the second topmost riser and then scraping and painting the front stoop. Those two things were on the Spring To-Do List anyhow, so this is not out of line. Dopey stuff like repainting the kitchen and laying a new floor in the foyer…no.

One thing I am treating myself to is hiring professional help with certain things. This is an absolute Must.

A landscaping service will be coming in to do a radical clean-up of the yard. Trees trimmed. That poison-ivy farm under the pine trees has to go. The scraggly saplings and wayward ground cover plantings will be removed. Stuff like that is better left to professionals anyhow. Neither Mick nor I need to be covered in poison ivy blisters or have busted up hands on the big day. A landscape service can do in a couple days what it would take Mick and me over a month and it still wouldn't be as tidy and well done as the pros will do it.

Ditto the cleaning. Of course I'll do a lot of it, especially getting rid of bumpf and clutter, but hiring a couple cleaners to help me will save no end of grief. This was also something I'd been considering even before deciding to have the wedding here. A phenomenal 'take no prisoners' spring cleaning with hired help was going to be my Mother's Day gift to myself if I could swing it. After seven years this place needs a good turning out. The wedding is an excellent reason to make sure I don't cheap out and not do it. I am so bad about promising myself treats and then backing out when it's crunch time. Makes Mick insane. "Baby! What do you mean you didn't get that massage/ buy those chef's knives/ order the tickets to the show?"

The last hired help will be kitchen help/party servers. No way could we host a sit-down dinner here. We have trouble seating everyone on holidays and at max there's 10 of us. A tent in the yard is out, there is literally NO place to set up that isn't on an angle. The whole property is one long slope from back to front. So my thinking is a substantial hors d'oeuvre buffet. Once the ceremony is over we'll take a few of the folding chairs out of the living room, shift the rest around into friendlier groupings and put out some small tables so folks have someplace to set down a glass or their plate. There'll be room to mingle on the front porch too, and the smokers will all huddle up in my office anyhow. All the food will be laid out in the dining room, as will the bar, and everybody can help themselves. My plan is to have one helper heating and replenishing the food and the other circulating with champagne and whisking away the empty plates and glasses as necessary. As proud as I am about my cooking I really don't think I should be futzing with Swedish meatballs and hotting up the pigs in a blanket myself on my wedding day. An apron would look really stupid over my wedding dress and spending the entire reception in the kitchen slaving over the stove isn't my idea of a fun time anyhow. I'll get my ya-yas out making most of the food beforehand and let the nice server ladies take it from there.

In a surprise move Ms Micro-Manager has turned over all arrangements for the wedding night and our brief honeymoon to Mick. This is a HUGE deal to me. In my former life I couldn't trust Mike to go to Shoprite not screw it up, even if provided with an explicit 2-item list, a floor plan of the store and his own personal shopper the man couldn't manage to come home with the milk. For 24 years if it needed doing I did it myself. To allow Mick to do the choosing and make all the arrangements is tough for me, but Mick is NOT the ex, thank God, (in fact I don't think they're even the same species) and trusting him to take care of things is one of the best parts of our relationship. I don't have to tell him how to zip his pants or when his mother's birthday is or what the kids' middle names are. Mick never loses his keys or leaves the stove on. He doesn't use my best damask tablecloth as a ground cover to change the oil in the car. It's not a big mystery to him that you don't have to go through Idaho to get to Philadelphia from here. Mick was delighted when I asked if he'd like to take care of the wedding night-honeymoon stuff. His eyes gleamed and I could see the wheels already in motion as he began plotting surprises and treats to come.

If any of these arrangements seem hastily decided, I can assure you they're not. This was the plan all along. Most of the thinking was done years ago, before I knew about The World's Longest Divorce Process. This is also why it had been so hard for me to let go and be satisfied with alternate plans. My pretty little dream wedding refused to budge. For sure the bride of three years ago was 40lbs slimmer and didn't have jowls. That bride had planned for her elder son to give her away and not his being a no-show and his younger brother doing to the job instead. That yesteryear groom had hair and Gram would have had a seat of honor in the front row. But hey, shit happens, right?

However good stuff has happened in the interim. Mick and I have had three years to battle, dicker, bicker and get a lot of our issues worked through. Wolf has grown up so much and loves Mick a lot. My boy is assured his mom isn't hooking up with a stranger. Together we've weathered a lot of the storms and shoals that many new relationships founder on and are still here and still sure we're doing the right thing. All in all not a bad trade-off.

I could do without the jowls though.

Thinking happy thoughts on a rainy Saturday morning, ~LA

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