Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
Iâm not a runner, but I did experience a sense of euphoria as I crossed a finish line this weekend: I finally put away all of our wedding gifts. I morphed from a newlywed into Shoshana: Queen of the Household.
Yes, it took more than five months, but, at last, the behemoth that had taken over our dining room and part of one of our bedroom is gone. All that remains is one box of china which, due to a lack of cabinet space â and based on how often we will actually be using it â will likely remain covered up in that box.
I hit my stride earlier this week. We have our new hutch and buffet (which looked very empty), so I decided it was time to fill it with something. I looked at the stack of Crate and Barrel and Bed, Bath and Beyond boxes and thought: One box. If I can take care of one box, Iâll be happy.
One box turned into two, which turned into 10 and, suddenly, all of the beautiful pieces we had registered for were in our cabinet and not on the floor.
My father helped me break down boxes and take them to recycle, and he moved around some items in our kitchen that were beyond my height without the use of a stepladder.
This weekend, while my husband worked on a midterm for a certification class he is taking, I scrutinized the last of the boxes â the ones I knew would be the most time-consuming: The flatware, the spice rack and the five boxes of dishware.
I started with the dishes. I unpacked each box until the dining room table was covered with plates and bowls and mugs and shipping goods. I forgot how pretty that set was. I opened the door on the buffet and managed to â nicely â put every piece away.
Next stop: The flatware. Our buffet came with holders for all the pieces, which made things so much easier. But as I was in the middle of that, it occurred to me that we received nice serving, pieces, too. Which meant I had to straighten our silverware drawer, which was right next to the gadget drawer, which was right above the bigger gadget drawer. All of that, of course, meant that I had to take a 15-minute detour (but it was well worth it). I finished the flatware and counted: we have dishes for 12, but flatware for eight. Looks like a field trip to Crate and Barrel. Good thing we received a gift card.
A few hours later, we were back home and I had my set of 12.
The last box was the most interesting to assemble: jars, caps and spices needed to come together. Somehow we had two oreganos and were missing a basil â but otherwise it worked perfectly.
I then went back into my problem solving brain â which was so helpful while trying to seat all of our guests at the wedding:
- I had a large space to fill on the third shelf of the cabinet.
- I wanted the spice rack to be on the counter
- I had to move something that would fit
Solution: I put the canisters on the right; moved the cookbooks to the left and then had room for the spice rack in the corner.
My husband took a break from his midterm and I gave him a tour of our dining room and kitchen. He hi-fived me, hugged me, kissed me and said how proud he was.
Now it really felt like home, sweet home. Itâs good to be the queen.
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March 27, 2008 | 2:31 pm
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
Such is the dilemma of many brides-to-be.
As I peruse magazines and online articles (type in “wedding trends” on Google and you will find nearly 95,000 entries) on the latest and greatest in the world of weddings (a world I can now enjoy as spectator), I canât help but wonder who is pulling the strings here?
I came across this story that aired on WCIA in Champaign, Ill.:
Check out the irony in this quote from a wedding planner:
“The first question that most brides ask… What can I do to make my wedding different. What’s the newest trend and what will make people remember my wedding.”
If you are doing the same thing that everyone else is, how in the world is that going to make your wedding different?
“And even classic dresses have a new twist. Gone are the days of the puffy white gown. Now people are even adding color.
‘You may see a bride walk down the aisle in a champagne or a pale pink.. and color or a sash in a color.’”
I was married in a classic white gown—the kind that never goes out of style. Again, if all the other brides are wearing color â your idea of adding a pink sash is not as original.
Why not be really original â go back to tradition? Itâs a big stretch, I know, but sometimes a traditional wedding with a personal touch can be more unique than anything found on the pages of Brides.
Remember: One brideâs trend is anotherâs trash.
March 24, 2008 | 11:53 am
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
Of course, replacing it isnât as simple as screwing in a new lightbulb. There is a process:
1) Open garage door â carefully avoiding crickets, spiders and other creepy crawies â to obtain step ladder
2) Get a screwdriver to unscrew the cover â no, not that screwdriver, the one that looks like a plus sign.
3) Unscrew the cover â damn, too short â¦ tip-toe time
4) Unscrew lightbulb â dropped it, crap!
5) Clean up broken lightbulb
6) Replace lightbulb.
7) Replace cover
8) Turn on light. Um, turn on light. Damn! Bad lightbulb.
Being the craft, thrifty, creative newlywed I am, I figure I should buy some solar lights to stick in the ground and aim at the front door, so when the front light burns out, weâll have a back up. It made perfect sense.
Of course, no good deed goes unpunished and, it turns out, the area directly in front of our door gets no direct sun, thanks to a really terribly positioned bush.
So, I think about it: Iâll put it a little down the driveway so it lights up the driveway and the door. It was brilliant! Of course, as I was adjusting the head of the light the base broke. No problem! The light still worked â¦ so I just leaned it on its side. Perfect!
This morning as I was getting ready to head to work, I get a call from my husband â who was already on his way down the freeway.
âHoney. When you drove my car last night, did you turn the wheel?â
I had no idea what he was talking about, so I said, âWell, I had to, to get into the driveway. Why?â
âBecause as I pulled out this morning, I think I ran over the light.â
I covered my forehead with my hands and said: âHow did you manage that, youâd have to pull out at a 45 degree angle.â
âI didnât realize how far out I was. Iâll come back and clean it up. I donât want you to cut yourself.â
âHoney, thatâs crazy,â I told him. âIâm capable of cleaning up a light.â
âI want to buy some more lights,â he tells me.
âWe have two more in the closet,â I say.
âNo,â he says. âI want them to line the driveway. It’ll brighten everything.â
âOK dear,â I say, âweâll go to the store this week and get more.â
I hang up with him and go outside. I see the light. Not only is it in many plastic pieces â it is embedded into our lawn. The good news is I was able to pry it up, the bad news is, there is now a small hole in front of our house.
Of course, it is the perfect size for a light.
March 17, 2008 | 12:04 pm
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
“We need towels.”
I turn to my husband as we poke through the linen closet.
“How is it we don’t have towels? We have a cabinet full of sheets for a bed we no longer have and yet we have no towels?”
“We have the towels in the bathroom,” he tells me.
“Yes, but those are the ‘show’ towels,” I tell him as he pulls out a Mickey Mouse towel for my 25-year-old cousin who is staying with us for the night. “I know we registered for towels.”
“We have the ones from Bloomingdales,” he says. “I think we took off the ones from the other registry.”
Yes, the Bloomingdales ones are nice and soft, but we also didn’t get very many. The two of us are used to our other towels, so of course, we’re fine with saving the nice ones for our guests.
“How is it we didn’t get more towels?” he asks.
“Because Nambe is prettier. So we have beautiful platters and vases that our guests can dry off with,” I tell him.
I try looking on a higher shelf in case I missed one. No luck.
“Can a sheet be used as a towel?” I ask as I pull out white one covered in flowers that I’m sure hasn’t been on a bed since the Bush the First years.
“I don’t think so,” he tells me.
I toss it back in.
“Well, at least we have all those coupons for 20% off at Bed, Bath and Beyond,” I say as I give up and close the closet doors.
So the new towels are not the top-of-the-line, and might not be as nice as the ones from Bloomingdales. But they’ll get the job done—at least better than a cake platter and a sheet will.
March 13, 2008 | 1:24 pm
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
If anyone had told me 16 years ago that I would be sitting in my high school auditorium with my husband, my bubbe, my father and my fatherâs girlfriend—I would have said they were crazy.
But isnât it funny how life can change?
The first time I sat in that auditorium I was a lowly freshman; my sister, who last week was singing and dancing on stage, was just two months old; my father was still married to my stepmother; and my husband was a senior in high school nearly 2,000 miles away.
Last weekend, I went home to Chicago. My husband, who had spent the week in the Midwest on business trip flew to meet me and we spent the night at my bubbeâs house in the burbs. I was in charge of driving, since I was the most comfortable with getting behind the wheel in snow.
After dropping my husband and bubbe off in the front, I parked the car in the large lot â odd for me, because when I was a student, I would usually park in back (closer to the school).
As I, in my winter boots, made my way to the entrance, I couldnât help but notice my shadow â¦ taller than the last time I had entered the building.
I walked into the lobby area in front of the auditorium and spotted two of my teachers â a rarity considering most of my sisterâs teachers are younger than I.
âHi Mr. H!â I said, to the man who taught me theater for two of the four years I was at the school.
He turned and his mouth dropped open and he exclaimed âShoshana!â
The teacher he was with, who was the drama club supervisor, had a huge smile on her face.
I gave Mr. H a hug and turned to the handsome man next to me: âMr. H, I donât think youâve met my husband. Mr. H taught me all I know about improv.â
As my husband shook Mr. Hâs hand he said, âso YOU are the one who taught Shoshana all of her tricks?â
Mr. H said, âGuilty.â
I acknowledged the other teacher standing next to him and said: âThey both did. I had my first directing job in Mrs. Fâs drama program.â
Mr. H asked what I was doing there and I told him my sister was in the musical.
He shook his head and said: âI feel oldâ and then introduced me to his daughter, who was born when I was a sophomore.
The lights flickered and it was time to go in.
As we walked away, my husband asked if this whole thing was strange for me.
As I sat there with my family, I looked at the stage I had the pleasure of stepping onto many times in my four years at that high school.
I looked at him, squeezed his hand and smiled: âNo,â I told him. âItâs like being home â only I think the room shrunk.â
March 10, 2008 | 1:42 pm
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
It has been a long time since I could call my dad and say “I made a new friend today.” I consider it one of the perks of being married. Since October, my husband and I have met several new married friends whom we’ve had dinner with, encountered on a vacation or made plans to get together with after meeting at a party. Suddenly, it is like a hidden world has opened and we have entered the realm of “couple friends.”
Sites like Kupple.com can help find “geographically desirable” friends with common interests. The roll-call forum on Cruise Critic allowed us to meet a great couple our age on our trip last year from Barcelona to Venice.
My husband and I have gone on several “double dates” â and it is a very cool experience. Some have been single friends who got married; some were married friends that are looking for couples to hang out with; and some are married couples that have become friends merely because our husbands share a common love of video games.
Both of us were a little unsure at first of how this would work. It’s one thing to befriend a single person—but a couple? When I used to date, I would come home and wonder: will he call me again? I thought it went well â but maybe I was wrong. Nah â I’ll get a call.
It is a whole new ballgame now: you can enjoy post-date conversation with your hubby. And there is no worry about “the one” as having many couple friends is very cool. Then you always end up meeting friends of friends and finding out you have other friends in common.
Making a new friend is great; making two is better; and having a spouse to accompany you is the best part of all! Who knew I’d be back in the dating game so soon after saying “I Do”?
March 6, 2008 | 11:07 am
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
Why canât people seem to stay together? We invest time in their relationships. Applaud their triumphs as couples and mourn when things donât go well. So why is it that everyone is breaking up?
I blame the networks.
While my adorable hubby was out of town at a conference, I was able to enjoy watching the myriad reality shows that he watches with me. From the time he left, until the time he returned, two of the shows that we watch every week: “The Biggest Loser” and “Big Brother” went from couple-themed shows to solo shows. The two were even touted as being shows based on partnerships: NBCâs âBiggest Loser: Couplesâ and CBSâs âBig Brother: Tilâ Death Do You Part.â
On the NBC show, teams of friends (and one team of strangers) were working toward a common goal â good health. Their stories were inspiring; the way they worked together to accomplish something can teach any married or dating couple a lesson in loyalty.
The other show, what could be termed brain candy (something that feels good when you are in the moment, but makes you feel sick after), paired up strangers that CBS declared were âsoulmates.â Hardly—although it was fun to watch the drama and the make-out sessions.
But this week something happened.
The couples on both shows, who were voted off by their fellow cast members as couples, were split. âBig Brotherâ even dropped ââTil Death Do You Partâ and now just has a heart inside the showâs logo.
I understand the need to maintain ratings at any cost âbut would it have been so bad to allow the couple experiment to continue? Yes it would have meant a shorter season, but as Jack on one of my favorite shows, “Lost,” says so often: âIf we don’t live together, we die alone.â
In a previous blog post, I talked about a new ABC reality show called âHere Come the Newlyweds.â The concept was cute, but the kicker: the couples have to vote each other off. Last week they eliminated a pair who opted to take 10,000 over a guaranteed immunity. The other teams rationalized that they had the money already. At least ABC wonât be splitting up these pairs, I hope.
On Monday, the granddaddy of break-up shows, “The Bachelor” is having a âWhere Are They Nowâ special. We know where they are: Not together. Of the dozen bachelors and three bachelorettes there is only one â ONE â who is married to their âpick.â And even she was a reject from the showâs first season.
Hereâs a novel concept. Letâs have a show where couples start together and stay together and no one is kicked off. If you do well you get more points, but you donât have to leave.
The one show that comes close to this relationship nirvana is the CBS show âThe Amazing Race.â Couples have to work together, never are asked to sever their relationship and only are eliminated by their own doing.
Is the formula working? âThe Amazing Raceâ is the only Emmy-award winning show mentioned in todayâs post. You be the judge.
March 3, 2008 | 9:00 am
Posted by Mrs. Shoshana F
They say money doesn’t grow on trees. Technically it does, just not with the presidents on it. This week, I took a journey down the road of money management in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily have before.
I knew that this was a week for a “big shop”: what we term a visit to the grocery store that involves spending $100+. On the way home from work I had a choice to make. Do I go to Ralphs, which is in a slightly nicer part of town, has a great parking lot and a larger selection; or Vons, which is closer to my home, has a pain in the butt parking lot and less selection because it is is a smaller space.
The kicker: In my neighborhood, Ralphs costs more â and as a newlywed on a budget, who has to save where she can given the high cost of gas these days, Vons looked like the pick.
I have club cards for both locations, so I knew I’d be saving some money regardless, but I figured why save a little when you can save a lot?
So I exited the freeway in a slightly roundabout manner (the lack of left-turn lights near the shopping center drives me bonkers), maneuvered around the spaced-out pedestrians and “I really shouldn’t be behind the wheel” drivers and parked.
I had my shopping list (a MUST for couples on a budget), and something in my tummy (because you never want to go shopping on an empty stomach).
Yes the aisles were tight, but they had everything on my list—even some items the Ralphs near me didn’t carry like my low-sugar Smuckers apricot jelly. I knew produce would be costly, but almost everything was on sale. My yummy bottled Starbucks were $2 off I skipped getting more cereal in favor or 2-for-1 oatmeal; even the store brand of bread couldn’t beat the name brand “buy one get one free” sale.
Then it was the moment of truth: checkout time. I saw the numbers add up ... more and more, higher and higher. The checker hit the button for the total and I saw it: $120! I guess I hadn’t saved as much as I thought. Then he hit another button â all the “club” savings. My new total: $96!
I was so excited .... I couldn’t wait to tell my husband (something told me the people at Vons wouldn’t care very much that they would be getting less money from me).
In the end, it is amazing how the little things can make us so happy. Sure the parking wasn’t as great—and I kept having to skirt around families in the tight aisles â but saving that money, over time, will make life so much better.
I’d rather use the extra $30 toward our anniversary cruise in October â margaritas are so much more fun than fabric softener.