Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Rule #1 for a wedding planner: ALWAYS have a rain plan. A TENT is a rain plan. An inside option is a rain plan. Umbrellas are NOT enough for a rain plan.

The ONLY time people are forced to stand en masse in a drenching downpour is a funeral. Not a wedding.

Since I am a wedding PLANNER, my excuse to watch the latest Bachelor TV wedding affair - Jason and Molly's downpour - is RESEARCH. Research in what NOT to do.

The last time I watched the Bachelor was when Trista and Ryan had their pink wedding extravaganza, which I think was about 10 years ago.

I mean, other than the Jake and Vienna train-wreck, which I pretended NOT to watch, but accidentally got sucked into that vortex of weekly jaw-dropping cliche.
I maintained blog- silence about Vienna and her antics and conniving, and her bad hair, and shameless manipulation, and overt pushiness... But this wedding-in-a-hurricane? It's caused me to break my Bachelor-Silence.

The LUCKY and HAPPY COUPLE "Jason and Molly, Everyone!" Is Jason saying "Awesome, we are married!" or more likely "Awesome, we can go inside now."? Molly appears to be apologizing to her guests who have bravely sat in a storm. Soaked - his sad little sideways boutenierre, her high dollar coiffure and make-up job, the upholstered benches, and every guest who did not get up and leave the storm site. Just guessing here, but most brides and grooms would have been happier getting married in a stairwell.

The glass vases, lining the aisle, contain a LOT of water from the downpour. (No flowers or candles in there,'s raining.) Quarts of water. Take that local weather reporters - instead of inches of rain, it rained in quarts and gallons. And a Monique Lhuillier couture wedding gown mopping it up.

Some of the lush upholstered benches had to be covered in the blue tarps you get from Home Depot or Wal-Mart. Thus, the guests who DID sit in the storm were sitting on plastic in puddles of water.

Chris Harrison said cheerfully (at first, cheerfully, later ruefully), "This wedding is going on rain or shine." There was never any shine. A Photoshopped rainbow did NOT create the illusion that the sun did shine. Cliche. Accented with the song. More cliche.

Also, no WIND plan. They poor officiant could barely control his script, much less make himself heard over the wind and the rain. Poor pitiful Molly trying to say her heartfelt 'self-composed' vows with her hairsprayed hair whipping around all over her face. Really? Was that necessary?

Long ago I had a bride who discovered about 10 minutes before her wedding was to start that she had forgotten to bring the veil to the church. The veil was still at her apartment, which was 45 minutes away in great traffic. One way. So, delay wedding start by roughly an hour +++. I gently suggested that she just get married without the veil, since the chapel was already full of her guests. Not to be, my friends. She said, "I paid $27 to rent that veil, and I'll be damned if I walk down the aisle without it." So, the organist took a break, her guests got up and went outside and chatted, she went outside on the balcony overlooking the courtyard where her guests were enjoying the warm spring day, and waved to them while she took a smoke break, and her cousin retrieved the rented veil. An hour later we convened the wedding, which took about 12 minutes, rented veil and all. And then everyone went back outside for more chatting and smoking.

This Molly-and-Jason- tropical-storm-theme wedding felt like that. "We (we being ABC) sold all this advertising and got all this product placement, and we'll be damned if we aren't going ahead with our outdoor garden-of-eden wedding, wind, rain, cold temperatures and all." There must have been some huge cancellation clause in those contracts. HUGE.

Certainly all those wedding vendors and planners and suppliers who had their wedding services featured in this $$$ wedding-dream-chance of a lifetime to wallow in excess, were especially thrilled to see their products highlighted. . . in a MONSOON.

I had to cheer for the wedding planner, who clearly demanded the right to say - thus salvage her career - "I would have had a rain plan, and we would be warm and dry inside right now." I guess she threatened to sue, since who in the world would hire a planner who did not have a RAIN PLAN?

For clarity - umbrellas are not a rain plan. Cheap, clear umbrellas are a last-minute faux rain plan. Who got the job of running out and purchasing a case of cheap and not sturdy, clear (not black) umbrellas? The wind had no problem destroying them. Cartoonishly upside down umbrellas, drenching pouring rain, epic wind, and clearly cold temps - as most of the guys were coatless, and most of the women were wearing men's suit jackets. The new pashmina - your husband's coat. Or maybe it's the old pashmina.

QUESTION - how long between Molly and Jason's monsoon-wedding and the reception? Since EVERYONE had to go home and get into dry clothes. Also dry hair and new make-up. Also new and dry everything. Did they have a back-up wedding dress? A dry one?

So - to assure anyone who wonders - I always have a rain plan.

Also a HOT plan . . .

A MUD plan, for sure! Also wind.

A COLD plan , ice, snow, no power, caterer gets sick, florist miscounts but finds missing bouquet plan . . .
Parking plans, for sure.

Band locks equipment in a garage and the power goes out but comes back on in time plan.

Don't mess up the make-up plan, for sure! (It's also called a STRAW.)

We have plan A, plan B, and plan C for every single item.

Also 'PLAN Z' which is obviously the one we use.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Does your baby sleep all night?

The BIG question for parents is "when is the baby going to sleep all night?" If you are a blog-reader, there are lots of headlines in the blogosphere: "Baby sleeps all night" - until you read on a little bit to find that sleeping all night meant that the baby slept from 1 a.m til 5 a.m. I have heard that there are babies who go drift into blissful sleep at 7pm, and greet mom cooing and grinning at 7am. The MYTHICAL babies.

In another life of mine, I was even the EXPERT on when babies slept all night. The title of one article was "Putting the baby on snooze control," which makes it sound like "sleeping all night" is something that the PARENTS have control over, some magic button to push, an intricate plan, magic diet, specific blanket, baby sleeps IN a crib in her own room, baby sleeps in the room with parents, in the bed with parents, at grandmother's house, in a hammock in the jungle, lulled to sleep by a song and dance routine or voodoo chant. I am personally acquainted with all of those. They are the basis of fallacy number two - that parents can somehow make a child sleep all night.

Fallacy number ONE is that the child is going to sleep all night. EVER.

The question of course is not so much about when the BABY is going to sleep all night as when are the PARENTS going to sleep . . . at all? I am still asking that question.

Like most parents of very young children, I got all into the "sleeping all night" question. All of our children had their own issues. The Sophisticate had recurrent ear infections, which pretty much meant we never slept all night. Our Young Son, being last in a line of demanding children went to bed with ease with the rest of the gang about 7-7:30. He took a nap until 10, then got up to play with his devoted parents for an hour. He figured out that if he wanted ANY one-on-one time he'd have to snatch it - so he woke up from a night nap at 10 pm, had a solid hour of riotous fun from 10 until 11, while the rest of them were asleep. It worked well for us - he got his need for attention met, and I didn't have to try to go back to sleep. Don't even ASK if I adhered to a formula laid out by some published expert. They all slept in the bed with us, nursing at will, until they were too old to do that. Then they began just roaming in and out through the night. It was a rare morning that I didn't wake up to find a child in the bed, and sometimes another child on the floor beside us. That kept on until maybe last year.

When I was an authoritative mother of very young children , it never occurred to me that when my youngest child was 17 I would still be asking the question "When will the baby sleep all night?" aka "When will I ever sleep all night again?"

Notice there are no babies there. For reference: adjoining our room is another room with a bed. We use it for overflow, for sick people who need to be closeby, and for pets. The following exemplary incidents all happened in 2010 - thus the past 6 weeks - the nights all run together so these are in no particular order, but they all happened in 2010.

Sleeping all night - woodland creatures in the house edition:
Pretty Pretty Princess dashes into our room well after midnight, clutching her pillow "There is a chipmunk in my room and I am sleeping up here." We put the cat into her room, closed the door, and hoped for the best. No one else ever saw the chipmunk and the cat did not enjoy her night alone in PPP's room. She left us a 'note' to let us know.

A few weeks later, at about 5 am, BigB blasted in to our room "There's a full on rat's nest in my closet. I can hear them in there." Me: When was the last time you looked in your closet? Rats don't build huge closet nests in an hour or two." BigB: "I don't know, but what should I do?" Me: "Close the doors, put rubber band on the doorknobs, and we will deal with it in the morning." Someone mumbled "I think it IS morning." BigB: I can't sleep with rats in my closet. We have to deal with this NOW." Me: "Sleep in that bed right there - the sick bed. Put a towel under your door." He actually brought the cat in his room, put his earbuds in to mask the terrible noise of rat-scratching, and drifted off to sleep. He woke up to find the cat tossing a tiny mouse around. So much for the full on rats' nest. I did however spend at least an hour worrying about how bad our house was that there were rats nests in the closet. It's bad.

Something small and scratchy lives in the wall behind my head. Don't ask, I'm not asking and I try not to think about it. Let's just say that there was at least one night this week that a mother of teeny tiny woodland animals was having a bad night herself, because they were squeaking and scratching in my walls ALL NIGHT LONG.

Sick edition:
Our Young Son had a gastro-intestinal viral infection. He threw up, wretchedly for about 6 hours straight, quickly becoming faint and dehydrated. He slept in the sick room, and thrashed around all night in delirium and bad dreams, and made a lot of trips to the bathroom. We all slept well that night. Not.

Next night, when the sick bedroom door opened at 2:45 a.m., my question was "Who's throwing up?" It was PPP. An hour later, after I had drifted back to sleep, she crept in to ask for Zofran or something to make her STOP, because she had to go to class in 5 hours. Right. So, I got up and got the medicine. She did NOT sleep in the sick bedroom, but she did open the door every single time she threw up - which was a lot. So much for sleep.

Next night, Our Young Son - again. For him a 24 hour virus lasts for a lot of days.

We have been playing a lot of Scrabble, also Words with Friends.

Semi-grown children go 'out' at night.
I sleep easier when I know that all who are supposed to be here are under my roof. Call me crazy, but it's just the way it is. When people arrive home, they check in with me. Even if I am sound asleep in my bed. In the way middle of the night. Pretty much that takes care of Thursday, Friday and Saturday night every week. From 11:30 until the last stray reveler rolls in...."Mom, I'm home." Sweetest words to this mom's ears.

BigB is a night owl. The Sophisticate has recently landed here for a brief stay in between apartments. When she was getting up and getting ready for work one morning this week, BigB was rolling in from his big night out. Who slept THAT night?

PPP and the hiccups. That was funny. It was also at 2am. PPP standing and chatting, sort of giggly, then hiccups. More giggling, more hiccups. And she thought I was surprised.

Study-related issues:
For the last few years, PPP had a habit of studying until she simply could not study any more. Then she just gets up - leaving the books, notes, notebooks, computers in place on the bed, and coming to climb in bed with me when her daddy was traveling. So, study til 2 am, and then come climb in bed with mom. This year, BigD isn't traveling, so she just flies through to brush her teeth and tell me she's going to bed.

We do love to watch Sex and the City - preferably in my bed. It's a good thing that BigD likes to watch basketball. We study SATC, I guess. Oh - SJP - I couldn't help but wonder if your baby daughters are sleeping through the night yet.

It's not unusual for me to be reading/snoozing when someone comes in to ask a question like "How do you say 'Feel asleep in class... in Spanish'" or "how do you translate the subjunctive.....?" or "How do I say "stayed up all night translating the Aeneid in Latin?"


SOMEBODY has a habit of nudging the thermostat. Downstairs is a solid 15 degrees cooler than upstairs. Translation, if they are cool, I am sweating. I wake up sweating a LOT. Also with leg cramps. And I am not even pregnant. When are those going away?

Me and my cat - she likes to join me for a snuggle. BigD doesn't like it so much, so she hides until there is a moment of quiet, then creeps in. If she get's thirsty, she likes to help herself to a drink from my water glass. Sometimes - as in EVERY NIGHT - she knocks the whole glass of water over - on me. Whatever. I feel her pain. There's nothing like being thirsty in the middle of the night.

BigB came creeping quietly in about 4:30am to tell us "someone just opened our back gate?" When there was no response, he asked again - louder. Me: " Did you look out the window? That's a starting place. " We heard nothing more about that -but I stayed awake for a while to make sure that no one was going to break in the back door, since someone had opened the gate into the backyard. Wonder what that was about. Other than waking me up.

Bonus Boy - we never know when he's coming and we never know when he's leaving. He knows where the sheets are though - my closet - and if he gets here and needs some he just rolls right in and gets some sheets, pillows, blankets - whatever. He's not silent.

One night our Young Son brought me a milkshake -late - I spilled it all over the bed. BigD was already asleep. I did not wake him up to change the sheets. I slept with the cloying smell of chocolate. Sort of slept. I kept waking up all night wondering what was sticky and sweet- smelling.

BigD snores. LOUD. That is the end of the discussion about sleeping all night.