11 October 2010

Wedding Dress Shopping For Dummies

In preparation for my mom's visit early next month, I've been running around trying to find wedding dresses that I like. The first thing I learned is that the bride wears a gown, not a dress. What's the difference? A couple thousand dollars.

After much ado, I found five dresses that I liked. Some personal reflection combined with the vocal opinions of others lead me to admit that my favorite dress doesn't look as good on me as the others, knocking the list down to four. Then I decided that there is no way in hell I am spending $5000 on a dress to wear exactly once. Maybe if I was going to wear it every day for a year, but the odds of that occurring are fairly low. Ergo, down to three! A nice, prime number. Unless I can have a custom dress made that is similar to the first eliminated. Make that three and a half dresses.

I was not so subtly told that if I posted pictures of the dresses, especially ones containing me, the world would be ripped apart and I'd fall into an abyss containing burning dresses. I mean gowns. So no pictures for you. Just use your imagination and then assume that whatever you are picturing is completely wrong.

Now that you know exactly what gowns I am considering, I can move on to the exciting part of the story.

I visited two of the shops on my own. Everyone else had to work on a Friday morning! The nerve! Oh, and they were NOT shops, they were salons. Wedding gowns are sold in salons. Anyway, the second shop has parking in the alley behind the store. At the time of my arrival, it was completely blocked by a large moving truck with its hazard lights on. The car in front of me pulled all the way up to the truck and honked. Nothing happened. I left about 20 feet between myself and the car. If the truck continued to show no signs of intelligent life, it would be nice to have some room to turn around. Another car pulled into the alley behind me and immediately started honking. I had this crazy idea that he was honking at the truck-shaped impediment, for which I didn't really blame him. Now I was extra glad for the breathing room, since now I was about to take advantage of it to get the hell out of there.

Someone knocked on my passenger window just as I was about to plot my escape. I rolled down the window and my car was immediately filled with what I can only assume was Russian profanity. Huh? It dawned on the lunatic that I don't know Russian and he switched to English. The gist of his tirade turned out to be that I'm a stupid moron and why hadn't I pulled up all the way yet? I had enough room to pull up, so he wasn't blocking the sidewalk. I tried to explain that I left the extra room on purpose so that escape would be possible should the truck fail to move. I doubt he heard a word I said since he was too busy ranting about how this country was so stupid for giving driver's licenses to little girls.

I raised the window and reassured myself that the doors were locked. I faced forward, ignoring Mr. Nutjob, who continued to stand there screaming. I didn't feel like pointing out to him that if I did decide to pull forward, as he demanded, his feet would be quite squished afterward.

Thankfully, the truck driver finally appeared, sending the mad Russian back to his commmie mobile. The truck moved, the car in front moved, and I was more than happy to put distance between myself the last car.

I was a bit shaken inside the store, but I was fine by the time I left. After leaving the parking "lot," I realized I had no idea what my next destination was to be. I parked in front of a house on a side street and consulted my phone. Suddenly, there was a knock on my passenger window! After narrowly dodging cardiac arrest, I glanced over. It turned out to be a lady who was waiting for a delivery truck, and would I mind pulling back about 10 feet so the truck would have enough room to park? I told her that I was just trying to figure out where I was heading and would be gone momentarily. She smiled and offered directions! Maybe it wasn't the Russian disguised as a housewife after all. Either way, I decided that maybe it would be best if I ate somewhere closer to home, such as my kitchen.

The moral of this story is that you should never, ever go gown shopping by yourself in Studio City.

Adventures on the Spanish Main

The following account of our June camping trip in Point Reyes is set to be published by the Inverness Yatch Club [sic] in next month's newsletter, possibly after some editing for brevity's sake.

Since we live in a marina, our adventure began with a hurried trip to the airport, as do all good sea voyages. Upon arrival at the correct boat-launching port, Captain Sondy led the effort in making our boat sea-worthy via the applique of shiny new numbers. I, the First Officer, led the effort in talking like a pirate. Ensign Matthew received a field promotion to Second Officer, entitling him to carry the heavy stuff. Our fourth, Chief Petty Mutt Zero, toured the boat yard, alternating between claiming his domain and working on his tan. As he is somewhat of a ladies' man, he couldn't help but chase some female tail. Luckily, she remained loyal to her chauffeur and left with him before she could make any regrettable mistakes. But I digress.

Our fearless leader and soon to be muddy second officer managed to launch our very recently renumbered boat in six inches of what could be generously described as water. Since the Captain had no idea what the actual name of the boat might be, and CF3888CE is rather klunky, I named her Bob. Why, you ask? Because no one stopped me.

After the sails and approximately seven miles of rope were properly attached, it was finally time to set sail. Despite looking ridiculously cute in his life jacket, Zero quickly decided that he should have joined the Air Force instead and hid under a bench. To be perfectly honest, there were more than a few moments when I entertained thoughts of joining him.

Our intrepid Captain turned out to be correct in that the boat did not capsize after every tack. Just as I was getting over my fear of having to rescue Zero from inside a flipped boat, a new terror appeared from under the waves. The bottom of the boat kept rippling. "It's just the waves," Sondy claimed, but I already knew the truth: THE DREAD PIRATE ROBERTS! No, wait! It was Inverness's Introvert of the Sea! A giant octopus with a famous taste for human flesh!
giant octopus
Inverness's Introvert of the Sea.

Tentacles and boat hooks flailed everywhere! At one point Second Officer Matt found himself ensnared in octopus suckers, but Captain Sondy tickled the octopus until it released him. Unfortunately, she forgot about the four other tentacles with which she had been battling. Almost immediately I found myself being flung through the air! Egads! I expected to make a rather large splash with my grand entrance into the waves, but that failed to occur. In lieu of even the tiniest splash, the tentacle monster caught me by the ankle! Apparently I was to be the ball in a solo game of catch! Boo.

Just then Zero barked, "Anchors away!" as he heaved the anchor at the terror's head. Apparently Mr. Octopus wasn't in the mood for a new eyebrow ring as he immediately swam off in the direction of his plastic sturgeon.

Other than needing to rebraid twelve feet of rope and swab a distrubingly large puddle of octopus blood off of the bottom of Bob, we survived with nary a scratch! Once again Zero saved the day, this time with his 1337 braiding skills.

Miraculously, we soon arrived at the beach without any further death-defying incidents. Sondy dropped the slightly dented anchor while the rest of us set up camp. Zero found, and claimed, the perfect spot. We opted not to put our tent there.
the crew
The crew, shortly after setting up camp.

Our evening repast was interrupted by passing sailors, one of whom turned out to be the infamous Gentleman Caller. As they brought oysters for all to share, we let them join us around the grill/bonfire. I must admit, our Captain seemed to be falling for the Caller's wily ways, but as she never jeopardized the crew or Bob, I chalked it up to some harmless fraternization with the enemy.

After a rather lumpy nap, we woke bright and early to face our perilous voyage back to the mainland. At my suggestion, we spent hours arming ourselves with makeshift spears and heavy rocks. At the Captain's suggestion, we abandoned the rocks so as not to sink Bob. But after all that preparation, we had a disturbingly uneventful trip back. The wind was even blowing in the correct direction! Zero took this as a sign to remain above-deck and inspect the air.
sniff sniff
Zero sniffing for octopi.

Not only was the return trip painfully boring, but it was lightening quick. This meant plenty of time to go into town and observe stereotypical Italians failing to march in proper order. Oh the shame!

After a recent discussion, the Captain and First Officer decided that Hyperbole is a much better name than Bob. The Second Officer quickly agreed, and she was immediately rechristened from 400 miles away.