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Throw-Back-Monday: The Bachelorette

Warning: the word penis is said probably 15 times in this post. If you care, then by all means don’t read. If you really care, then she’s all yours.

It was Thursday that the wedding party was to arrive at Tanasi Lodge. My bachelorette was scheduled for that night. I don’t know if the guys really did anything beyond shooting pool and drinking a little at the cabin; Clifford hadn’t wanted a bachelor party. Regardless of what they were going to do, the girls were making a night of it in Gatlinburg.

In preparation of our evening out, I had made shirts for my posse. Chalk it up to thinking I’m clever. The shirts made me laugh. I physically ironed on each and every letter myself and insisted the shirts were pink (even though I hate pink) just because. My bridal party probably hated the shirts, but who was going to deny the Bride a request two days before her wedding? Not my girls. I attached a different slogan to each shirt for each maiden depending on their lot in life and sense of humor. For instance, Younger Sister’s said “Desperately Seeking”, while Lawyer sister’s read “Everything’s Negotiable”, and Oldest Sister’s said “Regretfully Unavailable” – because, you know, she was hitched.

Love those shirts!

Love those shirts!

Funnily enough, they had a shirt for me, too. It simply said BRIDE. It came with a pink feather boa, because what screams bachelorette like a pink feather boa? Oh, and they had a headband for me, too. A headband with little plastic penises on them that swayed as I moved. Because everyone wears a headband with little plastic penises on them in public at their bachelorette – and hopefully only at their bachelorette.

Feather boa and plastic penises ... you can't go wrong.

Feather boa and plastic penises … you can’t go wrong.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. The party actually started at Chelle’s cabin. Behind the lodge was another cabin that the Blackburns rented for the wedding. Before heading into town, we had some games to do. There was a penis ring toss, pin the penis on the hot guy, AND we had a penis cake. I have no idea who made the penis cake, but it was awesome. The entire affair was as cheesy as could be, but it could not have been more fun and was totally me.

Chelle and I ogling the Hot Guy we got to stick penises to.

Chelle and I ogling the Hot Guy we got to stick penises to.

Even my Grandma joined in the fun. What an awesome Grandma.

Even my Grandma joined in the fun. What an awesome Grandma.

After some cake, we younger girls headed out. As the Bride, I had been tasked with a scavenger hunt. Essentially a list of items to find or activities to do that evening. We went straight to the one bar in Gatlinburg to celebrate that last bit of me being single.

It starts to get a little fuzzy here. Very The Hangover but circa 2005 and in The Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. And with girls. Obviously. Rather The Hangover than Very Bad Things is what I say. We went to the bar; I didn’t pay for a drink all night. Lots of shots if memory serves. I was also roped into a little karaoke. Got to sing a solo rendition of Like A Virgin. That was appalling (says everyone that was there). Also got serenaded by a Don Cheadle lookalike. I remember that pretty clearly. Oh, Don Cheadle Lookalike – how you made my night… So that was really cool.

We danced, we sang and at some point a newlywed bride and groom walked in, and we celebrated with them too. At least I think we did.  One by one things were checked off my list. Best. Bachelorette. Ever.

There were two final moments of the evening I vaguely recall before passing out on Chelle’s couch. The first was the dogs. My brother-in-law was our party’s DD. We were a solid 20 -30 minute drive back to the lodge from downtown Gatlinburg.

I know we were drunk and were piled into a 15 passenger van with limited visibility, but I’m pretty sure we all saw the dogs. It was the middle of the night at that point. The Smoky Mountains were true to their name as a soft but dense mist of clouds encased us. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dog standing alert in profile on a hill. Well, stray dogs are nothing new. And I wasn’t 100% sure I saw a dog in the first place. Could have been any animal in the inebriated condition I was in. The van continued on and there was another dog. And then another. Suddenly there were dogs everywhere. They weren’t in a group and they weren’t roaming around. It seemed like they were stacked on the mountain, all standing at attention just watching us. Staring. It was so creepy. I wish I was a better writer  so I could adequately convey just how freaky the whole thing was. It felt like a weird dream, with the fog and the dogs standing and watching us in the middle of the night. And this wasn’t just a couple of dogs. It was like 15-20 dogs all the way up the mountain to the lodge, just standing and watching, staring and unflinching. Creepy as hell.

The last moment I remember, after racing out of the van and into the house, was that Darewood had arrived. We grabbed a bottle of Peach Schnapps from the bar (like I really needed anymore alcohol at that point in time) and headed to the hot tub at Chelle’s cabin. We did change into our swimsuits, though I don’t remember it. I have flashes of laughing, splashing and sharing the bottle of schnapps in the hot tub … and that’s it. I woke up the next morning on Chelle’s couch. Darewood was poking at me with a stick or something. Apparently I’d chucked a few times in the night and he and Chelle had taken turns checking on me and turning me on my side so I wouldn’t drown in my own vomit. That was cool of them and what best friends are for.

I had slept in my swimsuit and had the remains of my stomach’s rejection stuck in my hair and on the side of my face. That was one of the more fun walks of shame, you know, because all of my family and Clifford’s got to see me slinking back to the lodge in my swimsuit with barf covering half of my body. Best. Bachelorette. Ever.



Throw-Back-Monday: The Proposal

With a milestone anniversary just around the bend, I thought I would dedicate these next few throw-backs to the year I was wed and all of the planning and prep (or lack thereof) that came along with it.

I’m starting with The Proposal.

Today is ten years to the day that Clifford proposed. We were married approximately 31 days later on October 1st in 2005. Sounds like a quick engagement, right? Let me backtrack just a bit. Ten years ago today was the day Clifford officially proposed (because he had to). The notion of marrying me and throwing it out there as the world’s most grand and romantic gesture a gal can receive actually happened in January of that year.

Clifford was visiting me in Savannah just after the New Year. He’d finished his Masters and had found a job up in the Atlanta area, near where his family lived. Clearly, I was still living and working four hours away. Being the sappy son of gun that he is *cough*, I remember the moment as plain as yesterday – although I shouldn’t use that phrase. I can hardly remember what I had for lunch let alone what happened yesterday. But I digress …

I was sitting in my apartment on 49th Street. I was working on something on the couch with the TV on in the background. Cliff was wandering around and casually passed behind me saying, “I guess you can go ahead and plan a wedding if you want.”

Totally taken aback and not really believing what I was hearing, because this was the guy that was NEVER getting married, I looked up at him and laughed.

He looked confused, “What?”

I said, “Very funny.”

He said, ”Just go ahead and plan it … or whatever.”

Me:  “Are you being serious right now?”

Him: ”Yes. Why not? Might as well.”

It took me a moment to process what was happening. We had discussed how we wouldn’t do an engagement ring if this ever happened with us so we could save money (though we did browse a store once a couple years before with me talking about my likes and dislikes while Clifford aimlessly stared at the ceiling with a pained and somewhat constipated look upon his face), so the fact he was quasi-proposing without a ring wasn’t what was confusing me. It was the fact he was quasi-proposing at all.

I looked up at him from the couch and said, “Ok.”

He said, “Ok. So when were you thinking?”

Me, “I don’t know. I love fall. How about October? Does that work?”

Cliff, “Sure. Whatever. Just make it happen and I’ll be there.”

So I was engaged! Kinda …

I ended up picking October 1st. So, less than 10 months to plan a wedding. It could be done. Especially after I realized that I wasn’t as into the party planning as I thought I would be. I’ll focus on all of that in other posts, but just know for today’s throw-back that the next several months were spent organizing the wedding here and there.

It was July and he had just told his parents. Why he waited almost six months to share the joyous news with them, I have no idea, regardless, things were coming together. We’d secured the venue, a preacher, yadda yadda yadda, and that’s when I realized I’d never been asked. Clifford never actually asked me to marry him. In the words of some SNL skit – What’s up with that?

I pointed this out to my supposed fiancé. He shrugged. Don’t shrug at me. I told him he needed to actually ask me to marry him. I told him that if he didn’t ask me by August 31st, I was going to call the whole thing off and I didn’t care. He and I would both cut off our noses to spite our faces. We are those people. We are argumentative. We are button pushers. We are the killer of dreams. And we do this to constantly one-up each other in an unspoken yet understood war of Winning At Everything that has been raging between us for years.  That’s how we roll. That’s also why we are stuck with each other – no one else would put up with that shit.

So, weeks went by. Never a word from this man. I had finally moved from Savannah to Atlanta. I was bunking with my sister-in-law before the wedding while Clifford was rooming with some old friends from high school. Before I knew it, August 31st had arrived. Clifford calls.

Clifford: So…want to maybe go get dinner tonight or something?

Me (knowing full well it was the 31st): Okaaaay. What did you have in mind?

Clifford: I was thinking maybe Aspens (a fancy shmancy restaurant patroned by people like us only for special occasions or, you know, never)

Me: That sounds good. I’ve never been.

Clifford: I know. We’ll go at 8.

So we went to Aspens. It was lovely. Of course I knew what he was up to the entire time. Leave it to Clifford  to leave things till the very last minute because I’m telling you, that deadline was firm. I was as serious as a heart attack when I tossed him that closing date.

We’d made it through almost the entire dinner and he still hadn’t asked me to marry him. You have got to be kidding me. Then he started looking around like people were watching us and without making any eye contact whatsoever, he grabbed my hands in his beneath the table. Finally he looked at me and said he had something to ask me. Here it was. I WAS ABOUT TO GET MY PROPOSAL!!!

His hands kept fidgeting and he had the biggest grin I think I’ve ever seen him wear as he slowly shoved something in my hand and said, “So …I was thinking … maybe … would you want to marry me?”

And though I totally saw this coming all day, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile and say yes. Typical Clifford. Then he shoved my hands away as he said, “Ok. So I did it. Happy now?” Also typical Clifford.

Then he asked, ”Aren’t you going to look at your hands?”

I had actually forgotten he’d put something in them because there was this totally sweet, completely sincere moment being had that like never happens between us. I looked down and it was a box. I opened it and inside was the most beautiful engagement ring I could have possibly asked for. He. Nailed. It. Everything I’d said and pointed to in that jewelry store like two years before, had been heard. It was exactly what I wanted. I knew he had to have sacrificed big time to get it. I teared up. This I did not see coming.  Love that man.

LibandCliff proposal1

Our engagement photos … I know what you’re thinking – they are so happy and beautiful. Oh, young love … blah blah blah

LibandCliff proposal 2

The truth is, we were totally pissed at each other that day. We’d been yelling at one another so loudly they had to have heard us in China, and we continued to do so right up until Jelena (my college buddy, dubs partner and photographer extraordinaire) showed up to take the shots. Fake it till you make it, right? I laugh so hard every time I look at these because clearly pictures can be deceiving. 

To be continued …


Throw-Back-Monday: Back To School

There is nothing like going back to school. It’s a mix of emotions, at least for me it was. There’s the completely disturbing and utterly depressing reality that the summer is officially over. Back to the grind. But then there’s that little bit of excitement about starting anew. Old habits could be left for new vices. Friends that weren’t quite working out can be left to last year. The slate is clean and to be done with as you will. Hope and promise…two of the best concepts in any culture anywhere in the world.

I found my old elementary annuals earlier this summer.

New Paris Elementary School. Now some Bible college, I believe.

New Paris Elementary School. Now some Bible college, I believe.

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Throw-Back-Monday: I Was Born

So it was. And it was good.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me! 35 years and counting. (hopefully for quite a while)