One thing still on my list is to learn to take into consideration (every time) that just driving an hour or so up I-85 causes me to lose an hour. I overlooked that fact again. Emily wanted to meet at 11:00 but I wanted to meet earlier because I know how much difference an hour can make when you're desperate to get things done. I left in time to get gas and get my car washed and was sitting there muttering about the car wash thing not taking a debit/credit card when Emily called and reminded me I was already an hour late. She liked it but me, not so happy about it. I spurned the car wash and headed up the interstate with a dirty car.
It was a good trip, and I found my exit with just minor teeth clenching. It should be against the rules for hundreds of cars to pour out of the exit ramp of another interstate and into the lane I need to get into. I don't trust myself to change lanes without looking over my shoulder 3 or 4 times, and by that time a car has usually come out of nowhere. The only way I would be completely happy with interstate driving would be for me to be the only car going in one direction. The other direction can have as many as it wants.
I beat Emily to the house (where the wedding is to be) and got to spend some time talking with Meghan's mother, Marilyn. We haven't seen each other since the girls were in school - what, 12 years ago? - but we have MUCH in common, having lived with these 2 daughters.
We each remember different things about the beginning of their freshman year. Emily had chosen a small liberal arts college in NC, St. Andrews, and we went up for the freshman orientation. She met in little groups, mingled, and did all the little fun things on the schedule and then came up to Mike and me at lunch and said, "I hate it here." That's a bad feeling, to think about leaving your child at a place where she didn't meet one person she felt anything in common with, so we went to lunch in a despondent mood. At some point during lunch, this beautiful tall girl said something to Emily, and they sat down with their trays, and I've never seen a bond form before my very eyes like it did that day. They talked, smiled, laughed, subtly pointed out their parents (small waves) and laughed some more. I'm not sure where Meghan had been during the morning, but knowing Meghan, she had created her own orientation that was far more interesting that what was going on elsewhere. We met her dad sitting on the steps outside looking about as down as we had been, but we enjoyed meeting him and noting what looked like a friendship starting between our girls - one that definitely formed and grew and is still going strong today.
I found this picture from 1997 or so at St. Andrews. They look SO young. And so beautifully attired.
Marilyn's memory puts me in an awful light, but I let it go on because she tells a funny story. I've heard this through the years, and I always protest but to no avail. It involves the first day of school when they moved into their dorm rooms. Everyone who has sent a child to college knows that you have to be creative to find space in those little rooms, so we spent an afternoon at the Container Store (in Atlanta, of course, but we lived near there then, and it wasn't intimidating). Among the things we purchased, Emily of her own free will bought some drawer dividers for socks and underwear. I don't know why. Maybe we thought going away to school would make her use drawers instead of the floor for her clothes. That had to be it. As Marilyn tells it, she and Meghan burst into the room with bulging luggage and clothes and shoes spilling out everywhere and dumped it all into a messy pile in the middle of the room. She said, "Then I looked over, and there was Emily's mother standing at the chest neatly folding underwear into little bins, and I knew I was the worst mother in the world. This was what a REAL mother was supposed to do." That may be the first time in the world I've ever made anyone feel inferior. I hate to think she thought those things about me all these years. I think any doubt about Emily's neatness was laid to rest when we moved them out in May. Think clothes, shoes, books, papers, food, more clothes, more shoes at least a foot deep covering the whole floor. That has to be the biggest mess I've seen, and it seemed to take days to get it all loaded up and into the car. I don't believe we went up there the 2nd year!
Anyway, back to today, there was definitely a lot of pacing and measuring and what iffing for an hour or so. It looks like we're going to try to fit everyone into 2 terraces instead of going across the street to the park. The park is beautiful, but it has several drawbacks. In one direction, there is a children's playground and another direction a group of apartments. It's a public park so it would be hard to control who might show up and be in your pictures or what kids might be screaming on the playground during the ceremony. Besides, after all this rain, it was downright boggy and squishy to walk across. Mama will use her wheelchair probably, and she would never be able to get there. One of my main problems with it would be someone having to carry 75 chairs a couple of blocks and set them up and then having to carry them back after the (very brief) ceremony.
SOOO - there are still a few glitches, but it's doable to set up chairs on the 2 terraces and have people sitting on the rock wall or even standing. With no attendants and no special music, it should be short and very sweet. There's a perfect place for the band and the food table, and the front porch has a pretty little niche that's just perfect for the cake cutting and for more people to sit and eat. The yard is beyond beautiful, and with a little work, I think this will work out better.
We love last minute changes! Good ones. The rental service was a good experience. At first, the lady misunderstood and thought the wedding was THIS Saturday and said there were no white chairs left and that they would have to deliver Wednesday and pick up the next Wednesday - 7 days for these people to have a yard full of extra table and chairs. Quite deflating until we realized we were on different wavelengths, and with May 30th in the computer, it came together very nicely. Everything gets delivered on Friday (so we'll have plenty of time to play with arrangements) and will be picked up Monday.
For some reason, I didn't take many pictures today (a lot of the time was spent in the passenger seat of my car, wheeling around corners and praying). I wish I had taken some in the neatest place we went today - the others being the rental company and Publix. It's called Twelve Boutique and is on Piedmont. I couldn't find a web site, but these reviews sum up exactly how we felt about it. http://atlanta.citysearch.com/profile/41798548#profileTab-reviews We had no idea what to expect, but Marilyn had recommended it, so Em went in with her wedding gown and not much of an idea of what she wanted. John took a look at the dress, asked her some questions and starting laying various flowers against the dress, and we all got a little excited. Emily said she never thought she would find someone whom she was willing to trust to "surprise" her and just know it would be perfect. I noticed in one of the reviews that there was "no baby's breath in sight," as that is one of the few flowers Emily despises - the other being geraniums. Another requirement was no pink. It's easy to keep the final bouquet a secret, because except for the main colors, no one knows what it's going to be like.
I know no one will read this far, but we won't remember all this if I don't record it. And going in Publix at 6:00 on a Monday afternoon is worth remembering. Em needed to pick up some food items, and we decided to do the sushi-for-her and sub-for-me menu again. We took it back to the G's yard and ate it on one of the terraces and made more plans. Oh, I forgot, we did go in Ikea for fabric, napkins, and votives. You could tell it had been a long day by our fighting over napkins. Me - "I don't think the blue goes with anything." Em - "We LIKE the blue." But how about just the orange and yellow without the blue." "FINE (throwing the blue ones back) but we already have the blue ones at home, and we're using them." "Well, use the blue ones if you like them so much
The girls sent me on my way home, once more cruelly pointing me to the interstate and saying, "Just go down there and turn left and then right and go over the railroad tracks and be in the left lane and getting on the interstate is no problem." Emily had to hurry away, but Meghan patiently stood there at the car and drew me a detailed map (with pictures) of my route - which I found very easily - but I was not happy about entering I-75/85 and being in the exit lane for I-20. Yuck. It worked out fine though, and no one got mad with me, and I didn't get mad with more than 3 people, and now I'm safe at home.
I see I've received (finally) some graduation pictures from Mike. I may backtrack to last weekend when I see them, but that will be tomorrow - and shorter!