Thursday, June 21, 2007

How a seamonkey gets its name...

Wendy's post reminded me of a story. For some reason I haven't wanted to share it before now. And some of you will read it and roll your eyes - and that's fine, roll on and then go clickety clicking on to the next blog on your know me...

When we first got the call for seamonkey we were really thrown by his name. We already had names all picked out and ready to go, but there was something about his name that made us stop in our tracks. We kinda liked it, but it wasn't all that common here. Looking back now, I think that BT and I knew from the start that we really wanted to keep it. Our friends and family tried to appear supportive, but we could tell they thought it was a little too out there (Remember, we're Italian, so all the names in our family are your basic saint names - Anthony, Christopher, Joseph..). But I really felt that somehow I was supposed to keep it, even if we didn't love it all that much. We didn't want to make it his middle name, because we really wanted BT's brother's name in there somewhere, and while I respect the memory of his brother, ain't no way I was calling my new son George (sorry all you Georges out there). The whole dilemma was really upsetting to me. I was stressed out and overwhelmed already, and this was putting me over the edge. I agonized over it for days. I couldn't sleep. I kept trying on the different names, saying them out loud to his picture to see how I felt about it. I was going nuts.

A few days before we were to leave for Colombia, I had to travel to another part of the city to get our visas. I was sitting on the subway, once again thinking about what we should do. Now you know I'm a little touchy about the prayer stuff - but I was really at a loss. "Please God," I thought, "just give me a sign, any little sign to help me decide if we should keep his name". And then I immediately thought how ridiculous I was, but started scanning all the printed material around me anyway to see if somehow his name would appear before me. I didn't see anything.

I went into the consulate, which was ridiculously crowded, and made my way up to the visa floor. There was somone already being helped in the office I needed to go into, so I waited outside. There were lots of people milling around and I was looking at all the children and playing a mental game of "if that kid was my referral would I think they were cute?" (In most cases the answer was yes - hard to find an ugly Colombian kid). Just then this little boy shoots across the floor in a dead run, making a bee line for the office I was waiting to go into. So I jump in front of him to slow him down, and his mom comes running after him screaming (you guessed it) "Seamonkey!"

People, I really and truly lost my shit. I started sobbing right there in the office and everyone was staring at me. Of course right then I get called into see the Visa guy and tried to explain myself but he could care less. I went to see my brother who works right near the consulate. We went to lunch and I cried. He mostly stared back at me wide eyed, because I never cry. I cried the entire way back on the subway and fit in with all the other crazies. I only calmed down when I got back to my office.

So that's how seamonkey got his name for good. We didn't officially stick with it until we actually laid eyes on him, just to be sure. And truthfully for the first few months I never used his name because I felt weird about it (he was mostly "the baby" or "monkey"). I didn't totally love it even though I felt I did the right thing. When asked his name, I would quickly explain that he was adopted and he was born with that name, in case people thought I was crazy.

But I like it now. He is a unique little boy and he has a name to match. We don't have a nickname for him and I prefer that people use his full name. I'm sure his football buddies will come up with something when the time comes.

Monday, June 18, 2007

And a good time was had by all....

It all went well, it really did. Just like you all said it would. You guys are always right, I should listen to you more often.

Friday night BT and I were up late putting together the centerpieces. It was the last thing we had to do, and we both agreed that no matter what else happened, we wouldn’t stress out and let it ruin the day. I think we did a pretty good job of sticking to that promise.

The dress didn’t end up looking totally fabulous in the next size. It was just okay. But I was comfortable and the shoes were very cute. Seamonkey looked totally adorable in his linen sailor suit. The in-laws came right on time and I didn’t even want to smack any of them, not even my SIL…not even once! Can you believe it?? Not once the entire day! Do I get a gold star or something? Surely this must count for something somewhere, no?

The church was kind of anti-climactic. A deacon I never saw before performed the “ceremony”. He babbled on for quite a bit, saying a lot of nothing other than “please pray for these children” over and over, which I didn’t totally get. Admittedly though, it was hard to follow because Seamonkey was babbling pretty loudly the entire time and I was trying my darndest to keep him quiet with limited success. Note to self, next time have Grandpa sit on the other side of the church so he is not a distraction to your child. But what I did hear was kind of flat and unemotional and not very…churchy. At one point he told us how one mother thought he was serious when he teased that the fathers are supposed to keep standing until the baptism candle went out – “I told her ‘get a life lady!’” Yeah, real nice!. We were the first ones up to the font, and it was essentially pour, pour, pour, okay thanks, NEXT! Hmmm…not exactly the solemn sacred ceremony I was hoping for. Oh well. But there were more people at the church than we expected, and it was nice to have the support of those we loved there.

The whole thing, despite having 10 children there to be baptized, took less than 45 minutes. That left 2 hours and 15 minutes before our party started. So we had everyone back at our house. We didn’t expect to have so many people, so BT had to do a mad dash to the grocery store for provisions. As soon as he got back, hot and sweaty, he went to go into our bedroom and found the door locked with no one inside but the cats. We lost the key, so we usually just don’t ever shut the door if we are outside of the room. His sister was trying to be nice and keep the guests out. BT was freaking out pretty good, and I had to really calm him down. Finally, he just made like a bad episode of Starsky and Hutch and rammed the door with his body. The whole door is now a splintered mess, but it’s open and I think it made him feel better. I agreed to let him go to the hall early and have a drink.

The place really looked nice considering it was onlu a Knights of Columbus hall. The centerpieces, placecards, and votives all turned out great, and the room was a vision of blue and white. Our neighbor is a DJ, and she provided the music free of charge. We had old and young alike doing the Electric Slide, Chicken Dance, and my favorite - Cotton Eye Joe. She played our wedding song for us, and played “Mamma” for me to dance my first official dance with seamonkey. The food was delicious and we had a lot of laughs. I really can’t complain about anything.

Except maybe one thing ('cause I'm catty like that): When children are old enough to receive their own invitation, and are even invited with a guest, they should give their own gift. Tagging onto mommy and daddy's card is tacky tacky tacky. It's not about the gift, believe me, it is all going to Seamonkey's college fund anyway. But it should be your own card signed by you (and maybe your tacky girlfriend). We had one family member come with her husband, two 17/19 year old daughters, one with boyfriend in tow (who came late and asked the kitchen to bring out food for them) and from those five people we got one card that contained less than the amount per head for ONE PERSON. Again, it's not the's the disrespect and cheapness that is insulting. But most people were very generous, especially those that have absolutely nothing, and took the time to give inexpensive but meaningful and thoughtful gifts. A small children's bible, a personalized cross nightlight, a silver tone St. Seamonkey medal. These will be treasured mementos of the day.

But that was it. Oh and maybe the fact that BT's nephew brought a girlfriend who wore a white cotton miniskirt and a pink cotton tank top that said "Calvin Klein" across it. Honestly.

Here are the pics you've all been waiting for. Look quick, not sure how long I'm keeping those pics of me up there.

Centerpieces done and ready to go. Handy tip - order the flowers from your local supermarket - we got them for less than $10 a dozen.

Votive favors - Very inexpensive - vellum was like $4, votives were $4 for 6. If anyone wants the template let me know. (Name smudged except for his middle name)

Getting dressed:

Handsome sailor boy:

Friday, June 15, 2007

Okay so.....

I got the dress. But only after I freaked out because it wasn’t waiting for me when I got home. It was a day late. And when DHL came to the house, they gave us the wrong box. After several panicked phone calls, we got the right box. The right very small box. Containing a linen suit. Can you say “wrinkled mess”? I asked BT to take it to the dry cleaners for pressing. Which he did. Before I tried it on. I hope it still looks fabulous in the bigger size.

I got the shoes. But only after I found the perfect pair in the window of a shoe store I passed walking between office buildings, only to be told by the cranky store clerk that they didn’t have my size. I bought them a half a size too small in case I couldn’t find anything else. I called around and found the shoes at another store elsewhere in this city. I left work early during the height of rush hour made my way to the store. I waited for 30 minutes on line to exchange sizes so I missed my train and was late getting home. But I have them and they are cute.

I finished the favors. But only after I had my husband go and buy more vellum. And after I reprinted them all. With the wrong date. Again. So he had to go back and buy more. And we reprinted them, and cut them all out and wrapped all the votives. And then I realized that while I fixed the date on the template, I only fixed the date on the first 5 of the 6 that were on each page. So we had to reprint, cut and wrap every sixth votive. But they are finally done dammit.

I finished the placecards. But only after we put the glue on the vellum and they curled up so badly I had to reprint and recut half of them out again and try a different approach. We were up until midnight, but they're finished.

We pick up the flowers later today and I hope to channel Martha Stewart and make some decent looking arrangements. I am a little worried, as I am not good with flowers. We realized this morning that we have no gifts for the godparents. I sent BT to Tiffany’s to buy some silver shiny things in little blue boxes. I am leaving work in about a half an hour. I hope to finish crocheting his white blanket on the train ride home. I need to get a mani pedi and clean my house. Nothing like cutting it down to the wire.

I know that tomorrow is not really about parties and flowers and placecards. But a mother wants everything perfect for her son’s big day. It’s the day we get all dressed up and present him to God. The God who gave us this beautiful child and made this day possible in the first place. We really are very thankful.

But I still want a very large, cold Vodka Martini waiting for me when I get to the hall.

If I get a decent picture of us, I'll post it for a limited time. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not really

Okay we are just not even going to go near the weight loss thing today. I might jinx what may or may not be occurring, so let’s just not even talk about it kay? Besides, I am too stressed out to think about dieting right now – the boy’s Christening is in T-4 days and there is so much to do I can’t even think about it all or my head might explode.

It seems that no matter what BT and I do, the universe is working against us. I swore I was going to spend the entire last weekend shopping for an outfit and buying and assembling centerpieces, favors and placecards. (No, it’s not a big fancy affair, I am just trying to add my special crafty touch to things and as usual I’ve bitten off more than I can chew). I got absolutely nothing done. It seems as though before I knew it I was standing in my pajamas in my bedroom at 11pm on Sunday night thinking “What the hell just happened?”.

I went shopping for an outfit. I went to the big fancy mall around here and tried on every outfit that could even pass for presentable for the most important day in my son’s life. I hated everything (see scale smashing post for a clue as to why). Finally I ended up in Nordstrom’s, a store I usually don’t do well in because of the limited inventory in my *ahem* size. Thereupon I met Gila, the Russian Dress Nazi who said, when I told her of my quest, “Do you have faith? Yes? I get you perfect dress. Come”. I tried on everything she gave me, and together we looked and scratched our chins and decided. Too short. Too busy. Too fancy. Too casual. We were approaching desperation mode when I came to a linen suit thing that I picked up only because I saw a young trendy thing exclaiming how *cute* it was. Yes, but probably not on me. I left it for last. It had white buttons down the front. I hate buttons. I put on the white linen skirt. Hmmm…not bad. Flares out nicely and that embroidery is pretty cool. Let’s try this ugly jacket. Oh hey, it’s fitted. And sucks me in, in all the right places. I open the door for Gila. “Not bad, right?” She raises her eyebrows. “This is the dress”. Yay me!

Only problem is, it was a taaaaaad tight. I needed the next size. Guess what, they didn’t have the next size up. They needed to order it and have it shipped to me. It should be waiting for me at home, so keep your fingers crossed that it still looks fabulous in the next size. So I sort of have a dress but not really.

For the favors, I bought some very inexpensive votive candles and I am wrapping them with some Vellum that has a very cool poem that I stole from somewhere…”God leads the way, day or night, with this candle for you to light. On the flicker of the flame, please say a prayer in Seamonkey’s name” It then has his name and the date of his baptism. Cool, right? Well I needed to make a template for them because the votive is curved and a rectangle doesn’t sit right on it. So I stayed up late designing this template and the font matches the font on our invitations (oh REMIND me to show you the fabulous invitations that Julie made! FABULOUS). I went to the craft store and bought the vellum. I printed them all out. I sit down and start cutting them all out and about halfway through my husband comes in and says “Um…do you know you have the wrong date on these?” I had the wrong date. On all of them. I am an idiot. I had to throw out all the paper. I realized this at 6:30 on Sunday evening. I race to the local craft store before they close at 7. They are out of the Vellum. I want to cry. So I sort have favors but not really.

For the placecards I am just going to print the names and table out on white Vellum and glue it to blue cardstock. I design the template for these and figure out the seating arrangements. We are having about 75 people and that is all immediate family – damn Italians. I ask BT for the seating chart for the hall, a Knight’s of Colombus of which my husband is a member. “What do you mean?” he says. You know, the chart that says where table one is so I can make sure we put the right people near each other and the kids close to the DJ. “Oh. I didn’t get that”. So I sort of have placecards but not really.

The centerpieces are flowers that we ordered really cheap in buckets we got from IKEA. We have to pick them up on Friday and assemble ourselves. So I sort of have centerpieces but not really.

Did I mention I only have four days left? Did I mention that a few obnoxious people still didn’t RSVP and that I don’t have shoes yet?

I sort of think things will be fine, but not really.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Dear New Administrative Assisstant:

In two words: You crazy.

I realize that I inherited you from the person who used to run this department, so it’s not like we exactly picked each other. I also realize that I am not used to having my own admin so all this attention is not something I am altogether comfortable with. I know you are trying to be helpful, but you are making. me. nuts.

I am not a doctor. Therefore, people do not need to make appointments to see me. Nor do they need to go through you to get to me. In fact, most of the time, I can hear them at your desk talking. Then I watch you get up, take 3 steps into my office and announce their presence, and they can clearly hear you. The whole thing is ridiculous. Just let them walk by and stick their head in for goodness sakes!

Your schizo way of addressing me is baffling. One minute you are saying “You so funny girlfriend” and holding out your fist for a pound. The next minute you are speaking like Martha Stewart and calling me Ms. Starfish. Who are you really? Oh, and I think you understood when I corrected you the other day…but under no circumstances are you to ever call me Starry. You should never shorten anyone’s name and put a y on the end unless you are given express written permission to do so.

Charades is not effective. If I am on the phone, please write me a short note and put it in front of me. Dancing and moving your lips is distracting. It took me forever to figure out that you pointing to your ring finger meant that my husband had called.

If you have something to say, spit it out. Using big words are ineffectual if you don’t use them correctly in context. If after you speak, there is prounounced silence and I am blinking at you with my eyebrows scrunched together, it means I don’t have a flipping clue what you are talking about. Have I ever once said “yes” when you say “You see what I’m saying?”.

There is no conspiracy brewing to get my job. Trust me when I tell you that my direct reports have zero chance of getting me fired and taking over. If that were the case, one of them would have been promoted into my position in the first place. So, while I appreciate you tiptoeing into my office and whispering your little tidbits of information about who was seen having a closed door meeting with who, more often than not, I already knew, and it wasn’t for the reasons you think. And if I didn’t, chances are I don’t give a crap. Save the drama for your momma. I’m too busy.

The hugging. Just…..don’t.

If this doesn't work out between us, I can have you go work for my brother. He can't understand why I don't enjoy having someone at my beck and call all day. I warn you though, he told me that he would have you do things like buying a bag of pretzels and then remove the salt on exactly two thirds of them. And then organize his paper clips so they all face the same way. Might still be better than working for me.