Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Cold War: Cliff’s Notes for millennials

As always, Mr. Kelley is very insightful and spot on accurate. I’m betting you can put names to each persona type from each era.

The 'Lancer

If you came of age after 1990, I’m not sure what the Cold War (traditionally 1946-1990) means to you. I can speculate:

  • A past period in which people somehow got by and had fun (if one can call it that without computers and cell phones) in spite of knowing that, at any minute, everyone might learn that their world could have twenty minutes to live.
  • A weird time full of fallout shelters, black-and-white duck-and-cover films in school, conscription (which means when you turn 18, it’s either go to college and be in the military later, or just get it over with now), and anti-Communist hysteria.
  • Nothing at all, since it’s before your time, and history is boring.

In fact, it is your time. Control of nuclear weapons technology is looser than it was during the Cold War. The threat of nuclear mines is greater than ever. The bomb doesn’t have to…

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From the guest’s point of view

I have been to more weddings in the last calendar year than in the previous five years combined.  They have either been young folks; children of friends, getting on the carousel for the first time, or dear friends getting back up on the horse for another try.

I, of course, was one of them and being that I’m an old, experience, been-around-the-block-already bride, not some nuptial n00b who’s “Been dreaming about this day since I was little.”, and when I hear that, all I have to say is “Wow”.  I had no idea that you two had known each other that long.  Oh.  You haven’t?  I get it, we already know it’s all about you, not the two of you or your impending commitment.  What is wrong with these young women?

Oh, I know, nowadays it’s about the excessive pageantry and how much money you can either guilt your parents to blow out of their 401k or how much debt you intend to rack up because that’s the perfect platform on which to launch a lifetime of love and happiness.  No thanks.  The older I get the more I’d rather see digits on the bank statement then stuff I have to take care of.  So now I get to make some comments with my cranky pants on because this is my blog and I’ll do as I darn well please.  Yes Ma’am.

Tip #1:  If you must speak of it, speak well.

It’s your wedding.  Do what you want.  Don’t do what you don’t want to do.  Especially don’t whine or complain on Twitter or Facebook.  In the event that your guests are also your social media pals, it’s really nerve wracking for us, who then anticipate the horror that you are making this event out to be.  If your wedding planning is turning into a nightmare, then cancel it and go to City Hall.  You won’t get quite the haul of loot, but I for one would then send a gift anyway in gratitude just to not have to see your willyjabbering updates.

Tip #2:  Have a reasonable number of attendants.

Here in the great state of the mighty MO, each Marriage License must be witnessed by two people.  That is an indication of how many attendants you really need.  Blame for over staffing the Altar goes both ways.  Either a sweet Bride that doesn’t want anyone upset and says yes to everyone who says “Oh!  I want to be in the wedding!”  Well, that’s nice.  You will be in the wedding.  As a guest.  How about that?

The flip side is the ridiculousness of this Bridemaids Fail.  Eighty maids of Honor?  Are you shitting me?  If you know 80 females that will be butt hurt if you don’t ask them to be part of the wedding party, then you need about 78 new friends.  Talk about peer pressure.  Which one of these girls and/or their parents could say ‘no’ and be the only one left out?  Is the Bride so vain that she needs the equivalent of the cast of a Broadway show to feel special?  I’m guessing yes.

The old rule of thumb still applies;  After the Best Man and the Maid of Honor, one additional attendant on each side per fifty guests.  Besides, if you really knew the origins for attendants at weddings, you wouldn’t have any.

Tip #3:  Behave during the ceremony.

You are on the altar of a church.  Act like it.  You and your beloved are standing up before God and all declaring your intention of maintaining a lifelong commitment to each other.  Pay attention to the Officiant FFS.  It’s aggravating to your guests when they are trying to pay attention and you are being disrespectful to the Preacher who spent his time preparing for your ceremony when you lean in, giggling and talking to each other instead of focusing on what you are doing!

As far as that goes, don’t get too cute departing either.  It will most likely not appear to your guests as cute as you thought it would in your head. Remember, you are still in a Church, people.  You trying to twerk or your newly minted husband donning sunglasses and throwing gang signs as you exit the altar just makes people think, “OMG, these two are way too immature to be getting married.”

Tip #4:  Skip the “Wedding favor”

Seriously, we don’t need a wedding favor.  I won’t plant the seed packet you give me, or use the single initialed and dated plastic flute you filled with colorful confetti and that monogrammed package of tissues that you found at Hobby Lobby and used your weekly 40% off coupon; it will go in the back of a drawer to be tossed sometime in the next ten years.  You send thank you notes afterwards for a reason.  We don’t need a prize for showing up to eat your food and drink your booze.  Give me a decent meal and some cake.  That’s all I ask.

Tip #5:  And speaking of the food.

That’s what I’ll remember.  I won’t remember your handwritten vows that you agonized over because even with the Pastor ‘miced up’, I can barely hear what you said anyway.  I won’t remember your bouquet or shoes, what the Maids wore (unless it was especially horrific), whether you had an aisle runner, what the DJ played or your centerpieces.

I will remember what you did or did not serve at the reception.  Doesn’t need to be fancy.  Actually, please keep it simple, fancy almost always turns out poorly.  I don’t care who you are, when you are cooking for 100+, at least one batch is not going to turn out right.  If the scallops on my plate are tough, the lobster rubbery or the beef is underdone, the caterer was in over their head and you’ve paid for bad food.  No refunds.  Boo!

One of the best receptions I attended this year was catered by a local grocery store and knowing the Bride’s father like I do, I know he didn’t go over $10 a head.  I will remember that pork loin for a long time, it was delicious.  Keep it simple and pick something that’s hard to mess up.

The last word on food is have a cake.  I’m not joking.  I go to a wedding and I expect a good white cake.  I don’t want a cupcake that I have to scrape most of the frosting off in order to eat it.  I’m all about getting a very nice two-tier cake for show; cut the bottom layer for the bride and groom and family, save the top to eat all freezer burnt next year.  I’m 100% okay with having a good sheet cake cut and served next to the fancy one.  Don’t serve a cookie buffet instead either.  That’s just tacky and everyone knows you did it to because you didn’t budget well and spent too much elsewhere.  Let us eat cake!

TIp #6: Greet your guests.

Yes, each and every one.  I don’t know how this bit of etiquette got lost, but it’s just rude if you don’t and no, the receiving line does NOT count.  I agree that this is a party and everyone, including the Bride and Groom should have a good time, but when I see you both getting a head start on getting hammered in a little clique with your friends instead of circulating among your guests between the toasts and the first dance, it really gets my panties in a knot.

Respect the fact that people who had better things to do have given up a substantial part of their day to celebrate with you.  Show them that you give a rats behind by saying hello and thanking them personally.  Go table to table early, as soon as you finish your meal and spending just a minute or two on the 8-10 people seated at each table and you will cover your butt.   Ten tables at two minutes each is twenty minutes, you can do this!  Your Great Aunt Mable, Cousin Alfred and his family will appreciate it.

Tip #7: Don’t disappear.

Grandpa’s second cousin may need to leave early because his oxygen tank is running out, so be visible and available until most of the older, and by older I mean anyone over 40 or with small children, have left.

I understand a bathroom break will take a few extra minutes for you, new Mrs., what with having to find someone to hold your dress and then wrestling your Spanx back up and making sure no part of your bustle or train hit the bowl or got tucked in anywhere inappropriate.  If your guests need to leave, they shouldn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes for you to reappear.  When you disappear and Junior is getting cranky because it’s past his bedtime and your guests can’t find you, we end up leaving anyway after thirty minutes of looking and then WE feel rude because we ghosted on you.  Not nice.

Finally, your wedding day is not a ‘me’ day, it’s an ‘us’ day.  ‘Us’ is you and your man.  ‘Us’ is you and your family.  ‘Us’ is you and your guests.  Only you can take the joy out of the day.  Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Remember, it’s a few hours out of one day of your entire life and things may or may not be perfect, but you’ll be the only one who knows whether it was or not.

A House at the Lake

It’s been a long time and I barely got started before I let too many things get in the way and found excuses not to post when I should have been.  I apologize.

Of the many things that got in the way was when Mr. Man and I finally decided last March to take the big step of finally buying a lake home.   We are ‘lake people’.  It’s one of those things that either you are or you’re not.  If you’re not, there is nothing inside of you that can justify why it’s so important.  This Safeco Commercial sums it up beautifully.

Mr. Man and I have been a pair for three years now.  I remember going to ‘the lake’ as a child although my parents did not do so with as much frequency and constancy as his parents did.  Our stomping grounds are the Missouri Ozarks and there are several lakes to choose from; all man made and all created with varying purposes that may or may not have evolved from what was intended to what it has become.

Our lake of choice is tiny Pomme De Terre Lake and before all of you high school french takers say “Potato Lake!  Really?”  No.  There was already a Pomme de Terre river before the lake was ever even dreamed of.  Folks often forget that it was french explorers and traders that settled much of Missouri and therefore named much of what is here in the state.  Local lore insists that the intended meaning of the rivers’ name was ‘Fruit of the Earth’ and that’s their story and they’re sticking to it.  Of course, this meaning as well as the french pronunciations are mostly lost and “Aux Arcs” is now Ozarks just as the town of “Weaubleu” is pronounced wobble-oh.

The first time Mr. Man took me to Pomme for the weekend, I fell in love with three things; the lake, his boat and him, and those are not listed in any particular order, well, maybe a little.  After a year of staying every three or four weeks with friends that had a cabin , we moved up and started renting a motorhome for what became every other weekends at the lake.  In true Ozarks style, that motorhome was sitting in the yard at the house of the Uncle of a friend.  Fifty bucks a weekend and everything worked; a/c, stove, fridge, etc.  Everything but the engine of that motorhome.  It served a purpose while we began the search for our own lake place.

We started looking.  And looking.  And looking.  All through the fall and winter of the first year.  Another season in the motorhome and we kept looking and looking.  We’ve seen everything on that side of the lake that’s for sale.  There is no rhyme or reason for the pricing because there are no comps.  None.  No two homes are the same.  It is a microcosm of the entire housing market.  Much like California, you can have a huge well-kept stick built house priced at $300K next to a single-wide shack from the 1940’s that really needs to be bulldozed but it sits on six nice lots for $40K (which is too much).  Unlike California, no one is going to overpay for a lot that only has two 55 gallon drums for a septic system just because it sits next to a McMansion.  It’s not going to happen.  There’s too much still on the market, especially the secondary home market.

We could find nothing that satisfied.  Granted, our scope of search was pretty narrow and we both had some ‘must haves’ on our lists.  Finally, last November, we came upon a place and it spoke to us.  It was in the right place on the lake, the neighborhood we wanted.  Other than that, it met absolutely none of our criteria.  It didn’t matter if we wanted the house.  The house wanted us.  We would put up a good fight, but in the end, it was the house that won.  As houses often do.

The buying process consumed me, consumed us, the seller made the process a hot mess trying to hide the financial nightmare that he was in from the Realtor and the Title Company.  In fact, I had made up my mind to walk away one night and when I called the Title Company the next day to tell her we were out, she greeted me with the good news that she had straightened out all the paperwork with the court (the Sellers had not disclosed, among other things, that they were in Chapter 7) and we would be able to close the next week.

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And we did close.  Finally.  A little more than a month later than what was on the original contract.  Each weekend when I get to the front door of that place, my whole being sighs, “home”.  Each day that I spend in the little house I didn’t want, I love it more.  The house wanted us, and it got us.  It had been empty for three years and although it stands alone four days of seven, the other three are full of love and energy and laughter and relaxation and peace and calm and just plain fun and for now, that’s enough.