Monday, April 18, 2011

When the Plan Goes Out the Window

During my first year of wedded bliss, approximately nine months were spent alone as my husband was working abroad.  I, on the other hand, was living in Virginia Beach working as the on site manager for a large apartment complex.  Everyone knew Moondoggy was not around, thus, I slept with an axe.  Yes, an axe and no, not to do serious physical harm to the murderer I was sure would be breaking in.  The axe was for breaking the window so I could make my escape.  I hated being alone at night. . .still do, although it got immensely easier when we moved from the big house in the woods to the small house in town.  Within screaming distance I always say.

For thirty years the thought of being alone all night has conjured elaborate scenarios involving me slithering out of bed and slipping under it - which no longer is possible, me using my mad kick boxing skills. me breaking the window for attention and then running like hell..  I have lain awake at night plotting every escape route, strategy and hiding place possible should I be stuck alone and the murderer come a callin'.  So, last night, due to work schedules, Moondoggy had to work an odd midnight shift and there I was, alone.  I wasn't even nervous about it, after all, I do have Moose the Wonder dog.

There I was, minding my own business, sleeping in the middle of the bed with ALL the pillows and my dog, when my ADT alarm beeps the little staccato beat indicating that a door has been opened.  The dog goes nuts barking and leaping off the bed, scrambling headlong into the living room.  I have prepared for this moment for years, I know exactly what to do, self preservation is my middle name.  And what do I do?

I climb out of bed, head down the hall toward the living room where I see the light of a flashlight shining along the floor.  You would think at some point I would have stopped right?  NO!  I keep going, where I come face to face with a man in a dark clothings who, I realized later, was more shocked than I.  
"Oh NO!  Wrong house," he calmly and quickly raises his hands in the air and clearly announces, "We're firemen!  Wrong house!" Like a scene from some slapstick comedy movie, he starts backing up repeating, "We're firemen.  Wrong house.  We're leaving."  Moose is doing his best warning growl (although secretly thinking if one of those guys produced a ball, all bets were off) and just before he closes the door and leaves, I say, "Wait, what's your name?"  He gives it to me (and I am now awake enough that I know who he is).  Then, there was that ghastly smell.  I think Moose might have had a little "nerve" gas.

I flip on the light and there, in the mirror, get a gander at what the intruder was looking at.  I am wearing my best thread bare pair of red Mickey Mouse jammy pants that long ago lost the drawstring.  I am also wearing an old gray tank top.  Gravity hit the girls long about pregnancy time and never left, so, without a bra, a tank top is about the worst look I can have.  My kids have said they need therapy after seeing me in that tank top.  And amazingly, I'm still not scared.

I called Moondoggy at work to relay the humorous tale, calm down, and allow my dog to relax because something smelled awful and I'm pretty sure it is my perfect little dog. Moondoggy was not happy at all and asked me to call the police.  I waffled.  I WAFFLED but acquiesced, dialing 911 assuring the operator It was NOT an emergency but felt it needed reporting.  She did not think it was funny. "Ma'am there have been NO fire calls tonight.  I am going to have an officer stop by."

Well crap!  I've already seen myself in the mirror and, looking around, I realized that I was not prepared for guests.   I quickly threw on a hoodie sweatshirt, fluffed the couch pillows, took my old coffee cup to the kitchen, decided I didn't have time to do dishes so opted to shut that light off and sat down with the shade up to wait for the officer, like it was the most normal thing in the world.  And a minute later he was there.

The young, good looking, former marine was on duty.  I wished I had brushed my hair!  He took some info but offered what he thought had happened:

The next street over in the same location lives a woman who is infirm.  She often makes errant calls to the fire and police stations and sometimes they do midnight service calls to her house.  There is a new driver on duty and he got confused with the streets. . .

As he was telling me this, there was another knock at the door and the two firemen returned after making their call, to apologize again.  All I can think about at that moment was about is my hair, which looks like a tornado!  They had in fact, been doing exactly what the police officer said.  I looked at these three men standing in my living room, one apologizing profusely, one turning redder by the minute (he must be the new driver) and one who now has to make a report about the whole thing and I said, "Next time I'll make coffee and have donuts," to which the police officer, a funny guy, says "Donuts?""   

As they left , I scooped Moose into my arms and took one last look in the mirror, "and I'll even brush my hair,"  I commented to my reflection.  Moose sniffed close to my mouth and jumped away running down the hall.  I smelled that putrid, rotting sour odor again.  It wasn't the dog, it was my breath.  Forget brushing my hair, I should have brushed my teeth.

As for the practiced escape plan?  It went out the window without me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Where oh Where Shall the Wedding Be?

In case I haven't mentioned it in any conversation where I can fit it in, I am the Mother of the Groom.  And, with all that role entails (and does not entail) I am extremely grateful that I had boys.  There is so much I don't know about wedding planning and most of it would never occur to me - at least at this point in my life.  I fear that I have spent so much time floating in a testosterone laden environment, I've lost my XX edge and even believe that my uterus may slowly be shrinking.  However clueless I may be about my new role, I have been graciously included on the hunt for the perfect venue and studied up on choice options on the internet so I can, at least, speak the language.

Although I am directionally challenged, I can drive to Chicago blindfolded.  I can easily navigate my way to both my kids apartments, but anything beyond Taylor St., Racine and Michigan Ave and I'm lost.  So picturing the venues as presented by their websites has allowed me to remain geographically neutral. We have looked at four different venues.  The first was a lovely place with an lovely indoor space and a large, very nice, very lovely spacious tent attached.  They have their act together there. and we were impressed.  But. . . it's not the place. That's ok because I have no idea where it is still and fear I would probably get lost on the way to the wedding.

We looked at the Pritzker stage in Millenium Park.  It has HUGE glass doors that enclose the stage and look out onto the skyline.  Beautiful.  The whole shebang would take place on the stage including the reception and if you can get over the fishbowl feeling of it all, it's a pretty good deal.  EXCEPT, your guests enter through the back stage area strewn with backstage bric-a-brac stacked up against cold, gray cinderblock walls, up cinderblock steps and. . . it's not the place.

And then there was the Most Promising venue.  This place is a mansion downtown that was built in the twenties by Frank Lloyd Wright.  The structure is four floors in height and spans the size of half a city block.  It is enormous.  I had looked at the website before driving in and I have to say, it was WOW.  I was fairly certain this was going to be the place. We entered through the front door and were guided through the massive first floor.  It took my breath away.  The actual venue is at the back of the mansion in their Gatehouse.   And as we sashayed though the house, a museum dedicated to the family that owned it, the MOB and I were exchanging knowing smiles.  And then we entered the Gatehouse.

Down a narrow set of wooden steps, a landing where the restroom was located, and then a short set of more creaky wooden steps, we entered the venue.  The coordinator proudly pointed out the quaint period lighting, we saw bare lightbulbs dangling from metal rods.   The coordinator talked about the carefully refurbished wooden walls, I got a splinter.  The coordinator showed us the couryard where, if the weather is nice, we could hold the ceremony outside because the driveway makes a nice aisle for the bride, a crumbling cement driveway that led to the back garage. . .also known as the Gatehouse.  The coordinator kept talking and I watched as, one by one, the Bride checked out, the Groom pulled out his phone and checked his Facebook, the MOB studied the concrete floor . . .and the coordinator kept on talking ending with the following:

"And we will happily allow your guests into the mansion for tours at the cost of $5 a person.  Many wedding guests enjoy the tour.  There is also a security guard on duty during your event but that is really for the protection of the museum.  Any Questions?"


We were no more than fifteen seconds out the door when the Bride announced, "I am NOT getting married in the horse poop room of this mansion!"

That was not the place.

All I can say is, they need to give their web designer a big fat raise and sorry you'll be missing the $5 tour because we have found our venue and you'll never guess where.