Category Archives: boys

The Wedding

So I may have mentioned I was getting married a while back… a looooong while back, since the wedding itself was 2 months ago.

Here’s the story of that week.

Wednesday.  T-3 days
My fiancé C has been off since Friday and this is my first day off.  I have to run downtown to pick up my glasses… there was an issue with my bank card the night before, so the woman who helped me set it all up with her manager than I could come in today and pay for them and then they’d be ready in an hour.  I really want new glasses before the wedding because one lens still has a huge scratch in it (I almost took my eye out with a paint scraper helping my alderman’s office remove signs from light poles the year before) and I want new prescription sunglasses before my awesome honeymoon in California.  I get to the eyeglass store and the glasses ring up as almost $100 more expensive than last night.  There’s no way I can afford that.  I freak out.  I cry a little.  I leave angrily, determined to come back tomorrow.   I start getting a headache at this time, obviously due to stress.  I’m sure the sore throat is due to stress too.  They’ll both go away with some rest.  I meet C for breakfast and we head out to look at some flowers we want for decorations…. We get tired of looking and I need to get down to my mom’s house to check a sweater I bought against the flower girl dresses.  I drive 45 miles to their house.  The sweaters that looked off-white in the store are obviously yellow against the off-white dresses.  Great.  Luckily, while I’m down here, I find the perfect green dancin’ shoes for the reception at a store down here and for cheap!  While I’m at the store, I also pick up some cough drops and aspirin to fend off this pesky stress headache and stress sore throat.  Especially since I’m also starting to get some stress joint stiffness and stress back pain.   I get home and realize that I’m actually feeling pretty crappy.  C goes to have dinner with his dad who’s flown in for the wedding, while I curl up on the couch.  I’m starting to have some stress chills, so we pile on the blankets (bad idea!) and I fall asleep.  When I wake up a couple hours later, I am BURNING.  My temperature, which is usually a bit below normal, is up over 100.  I text C and tell him I’m headed to bed because I have a stress-fever (Yeah, I was still in denial… it didn’t last much longer).  After lying in bed for a while, I take my temperature again and it’s over 103.  I start googling “dangerous temperature for adults”.  It doesn’t make me feel better.

Thursday.  T-2 days
I wake up today and feel like hell. The fever seems to have broken overnight, so at least I’m in less danger of cooking my brain.  I text my sister, who is in town and coming in for an awesome sister fun day we’ve planned, where we were going to get her hair cut, and then mani/pedis, and then a bachelorette party with my closest lady friends: dinner at a vegetarian diner and bowling afterwards.  I tell my sister I will promise not to touch her, but that we might have to cancel the festivities tonight.  I still plan on hanging out with her today because I am Not That Sick.  I then get texts from both my sister and my mom telling me to go to the doctor and cancel all other things I had to do before Saturday.  Sadly, I realize they are right and email my friends to say the party’s canceled.  Then I call my doctor and the earliest I can get in is tomorrow.  I lay on the couch all day, feeling like death and getting a fever again that night (not as bad though, whew!)  Poor C is running around all day trying to finish up all the things I’d been working on for the wedding.  I try and work on the tables some more and make place tags, but I keep falling asleep.   C takes my glasses in to get replaced and then comes back to get me an hour later to pick them up.  Then I go back to sleep.

Friday.  T-1 day
I wake up feeling like the side of my head is going to EXPLODE.  The pain and the constant ringing in my right ear are pretty good indicators that this is the worst ear infection I’ve had in 20 years.   I can barely move it hurts so bad.  I just want to claw the side of my head off and keep pathetically swiping at my ear.  C drives me to the doctor and drops me off because he still needs to get a haircut and was busy taking care of me and my stuff yesterday.  The doctor looks in my ear and sucks in her breath.  Not really a thing you want to hear.  She tells me I have a horrible ear infection and she’s putting me on antibiotics.
Me:  So, here’s the thing.  I’m getting married tomorrow.
Her: Congratulations!
Me:  Yeah.  So, I’m getting on a plane to California for my honeymoon on Monday… is that going to be a problem?
Her:  Is there anyway you can postpone it?
Me:  By a day?
Her:  More like a couple weeks.

Wah wahhhhh.  Yeah.  That’s not possible.  She gives me a prescription and a promise to write a letter if the airlines need it.  C picks me up and I break the news: the wonderful honeymoon he has carefully planned has to be completely scrapped.  I would cry if it wouldn’t just make me hurt even more.   We get home and I lay down on the couch while C starts calling the airlines and hotels.   I feel like I’m dying.  A few hours later, he has to drive to pick up my college friend at the train – she’s the pastor officiating our wedding and is driving the 45 miles down with us tonight for the rehearsal.   I try and pack, but I’m in so much pain and have taken Sudafed so I can’t even function.  I end up forgetting at least 6 things.  Including the flower crowns for the flower girls that my awesome cousin went back to get for us.

Rehearsal time: We are more than 30 minutes late, due to massive traffic back-ups.  We hold the rehearsal in record time, since it’s outside and about 45 degrees out.  We keep assuring our family that the weather reports I was reading said it would be in the 60s the next day.  After the rehearsal dinner, which I barely remember, we make a necessary trip to Target for forgotten toiletries as well as both pajamas and clean underwear, both of which I’ve forgotten.   Then we fold programs and start on the place tags.  I fall asleep while C is writing out names.

Saturday.  Wedding Day

I wake up around 9 am, about 2 hours before we need to leave to be at the site to help get it ready.  Aaaaand….. I have no voice.  I literally cannot speak at all.  I try taking a hot shower and it barely works, but at least I can squeak out a few syllables.  The weather report says it’s in the upper 30s and I see snowflakes in the air when I look out the window.   We reluctantly make the decision to move the ceremony inside and try and contact let everyone possible know, so they know they don’t have to wear long underwear under their dress clothes.  C also calls his mom to ask her to pick up a guestbook, and a friend of his to ask him to pick up some numbers for the tables… all of which we’ve forgotten to do.

I sit down to finalize the playlists for the reception, one of several tasks that was supposed to get down while I was off work, before I got too sick to move.  And they’re gone.  Everything is gone.  Apparently I’d built them while my phone was plugged into the laptop to charge, and some of the music was on my phone and some was on the computer.  Everything is completely messed up.  At this point I just start crying, except it sounds sorta like a squirrel crying because I can barely make any noise.  I can’t talk.  The extra decorations we had wanted to get we didn’t have time to get with me being sick.  The Sudafed is making me delirious and I can’t function.  We had to move the ceremony indoors.  I didn’t get to have my sister day or my bachelorette party.  We’re running late.  The music is all gone.  I have a huge pimple on my chin.  I’m just completely overwhelmed and stressed out and it feels like EVERYTHING is going wrong.

All along, I’d been saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens the day of the wedding, as long as we end up married at the end”.  I guess it’s time to put my money where my mouth is.  C hugs me, tells me he loves me and that it’s all going to be alright.  And then my crying turns into a coughing fit and we have to keep getting ready because we really are running late.  C runs the stuff we had over to the site while I build up 90 minutes of music from scratch.  The woman who works at the Forest Preserve where we were holding the wedding actually ended up assigning table numbers to our guests, since we’d divided them up but forgotten to number them.  We would end up plugging C’s phone into our speakers and giving our friend who was MC-ing free rein to download music and build a reception playlist.

And then it was a whirlwind of getting ready and adorable little girls and tears with my mom and laughter with my sister and my future sister-in-law helping me put on makeup so I look a little less dead.


My mom helps me put on my great-great-grandmother’s necklace, which my mom also wore when she got married

My veil is made out of my mom's veil from the 70's

My veil is made out of my mom’s veil from the 70’s

Pinning the veil in place

Pinning the veil in place

My amaaaazing peacock shoes!

My amaaaazing peacock shoes!

C preparing

C preparing

C's boutonniere

C’s boutonniere

We line up to walk in, with me in the back so C can’t see me.   My sister, the best woman, has a stash of Kleenexes not only for my tears but also because the Sudafed is really cleaning me out.

And then I step into the makeshift aisle, in the hall where the reception tables are already set up, flanked by my parents, Yo-Yo Ma and James Taylor playing “Here Comes the Sun” playing on the speakers.  And when I lock eyes with my husband-to-be, everything else disappears.  Not just from my thoughts, but literally, from sight.  The rest of the room is out of focus compared to him and I know that this is the most right I have ever been.

We may have had to move it inside, but what an inside it was.

We may have had to move it inside, but what an inside it was.

The wedding went off without a hitch.  I managed to squeak out my vows… most people thought I was overcome with emotion, so even that worked out okay.

Fancy shoes for the both of us

Fancy shoes for the both of us



The reception was also pretty fantastic, with great food, great company, great dancing.   We did actually run out of food, but the servers felt bad and ordered a few pizzas for us.  And now we have great stories to tell and amazing memories and amazing pictures of all the love that surrounded us that day

Last dance of the night

Last dance of the night

It was a day where everything went wrong…. And everything turned out completely right.


A Lesson that Pierogi Always Lead to Good Things

Back in November, I signed up for online dating.  I wasn’t super excited about the prospect, but figured I’d get at least a few blog posts out of it.

A couple weeks later, I went to my cousin’s place for a pierogi-making party.  My cousins and siblings and I make pierogi every year for Christmas Eve.  They’re delicious and a vital part of the holiday meal, but they do take a LOT of work.  So assembly line parties are held.

My cousin had offered to set me up with a friend a couple times, which I always declined.  Set-ups are so awkward.  Not only do you have first-date awkwardness, but also the pressure of someone else’s expectations that you should like this person.  Not that I doubted my cousin’s taste.  He is a pretty terrific person, and I had no doubt that he would set me up with someone who was not a murderer, stalker, or rapist.  But still… awkwardness.

So there I was, teaching a few n00bs how to make pierogi, wearing an apron, a pair of old jeans and an aldermanic campaign t-shirt, hair up in a messy bun, and Chuck walked in.  My first thought?  I really hope he’s one of the single friends.  He made an effort to talk to me several times, and I naturally assumed that he felt sorry for me for barely knowing anyone there.  Every time he stood next to me, I got butterflies in my stomach.  After that party, I told some of my friends that there was this cute, nerdy dude there who seemed to be into me, but I didn’t know for sure.

The next week, my cousin had a fruitcake-making party (my cousin likes cooking with his friends).  I went pretty much because I knew Chuck was going to be there.  I may have worn cuter clothes this time.  He took forever to show up and I was worried he wouldn’t.  When he finally did, did I reciprocate his interest?  Of course not… because I am totes awkward and also weirdly analytical.  I performed a little “experiment” where I’d move around the condo to talk to other people to see if he followed me (in hindsight, not my best decision).  Naturally, he thought I wasn’t interested.   I am so awkward.

A week or so later, I emailed my cousin and asked if it would be weird if I asked his friend out.  I continued to tell myself I wasn’t looking for a relationship, but he was smart and funny and cute and he seemed to like me.  Cousin said it wouldn’t be weird.  So I sent him a Facebook message (oh social media… giving me multiple ways to be socially awkward).  The actual message is just for us, but essentially I invited him out for cheap beer and $5 pizza (hey, I was unemployed at the time).  He said yes, but offered to upgrade to someplace a little less dive-y.  By the end of the first date, I was done for.  We went out again.  And again.  And some more.  I met his family.  He met mine.  The cat let him pet her.  We went on an out-of-state trip to a friend’s wedding.

And on June 2, 2012, while sitting on my couch, just hanging out like we do, he asked me to marry him.  And I said yes.  And then we cried.  And laughed.  And talked about our future.  And walked  to dinner, where I told the waiter.   I probably skipped down the sidewalk.  We came home and called our families and close friends.  And never stopped smiling.

I just showed up to make pierogi.  And I met my future husband.   I still can’t stop smiling.

Online Dating Revisited

So I joined an online dating website (no, I’m not telling you which one).  I forgot to cancel my subscription within the first 3 days (as was my plan), so my new plan is to make the most of the next 3 months.  Which means either a) great dates for me or b) terrible dates for me that make great blog stories.  I will not be retelling details of any dates who seem like genuinely nice, honest people… I’m not a jerk.  But if they are anything like good ol’ Derek from my last foray into online dating, I will let you know. 🙂

So far, just in scanning profiles, I wish I could give guys some tips on how to not sound creepy or douche-y:

1) There are several questions for which “I’ll tell you later” is an acceptable answer: Income, Faith, what college you went toNOTDo you have kids?”  Really?  Really dude, you’ll tell me later?  That means that you almost certainly have children and I’m going to assume the worst about them/you:  “Yes, I have 16 children”, or “Yes, I have 2 children and they like poking people with pins”, or “Yes, I have children.  And a wife”, or “Yes, I have kids.  Every Thursday night with a little mint jelly”, or “Yes I have children, but I sell them off when they reach 6 weeks”.  I think I’ll just pass.

2)  I’m going to be honest… I know that you can’t help who you’re attracted to.  However, when you’re a white dude who has no preference for ANY of your ideal woman’s characteristics (height, body type, hair color, eye color, politics, faith, education, etc), except that she be white… I’m gonna go ahead and assume that you are a big ol’ racist.  It might not be fair of me, but there you go.  I guess if you are looking for other racists, that’s a good way to let ‘em know.

3)  Seriously, that one dude, did you really say that redheads are okay as long as we’re “not too feisty”?!!?  Ugh.

4)  Dudes.  Dudes.  For the love of Pete, don’t put anything about being my future husband, Mr. Right, or any other such thing in your user name.  Be normal and use some variation on your name or nickname like everyone else.

I got an email this past weekend from a dude who used the awesomely non-specific line, “something in your profile caught my eye”.  Really?  Really 44-year-old dude, did it?  It obviously wasn’t the FIRST LINE that states 38 is pretty much the highest age I’m looking for.

The next 3 months could be interesting… or horrifying enough for me to swear off dating again.  I guess we’ll see.

Worst First Date

So I did some online dating a few years ago.  Right before I swore off it (and actually, the reason I was swearing off of it), I went out with a guy let’s call….. Derek.  That’s not his real name.  

So I had this free profile posted in our local, hipster-friendly newspaper.  Derek (a pretty hot masseuse) sent me a message.  Now, I’m not really big on emailing for weeks and then meeting each other.  It’s way easier to lie about yourself in an email than in person.  So I arranged to meet him for an afternoon coffee at a local (but not so local as to be too near my apartment) coffee shop.  I set up my safe call with a friend, let a couple people know where I was going to be (if you’re reading this, Mom, you can see I was totally responsible and smart!).  

I got there early, so I could pick a table that was within sight of the counter and other patrons, got my own coffee, and settled in with my book about Chaos Theory (that’s how I told him, and the couple others I saw, to find me.  Again, it’s shocking I’m still single, right?).

Derek showed up pretty much right on time and we started in with the typical blind/online date questions.

I’m getting ahead of myself.  Let me give you the info in Derek’s profile:
Age: 38 (I was 26.  It was kind of a big age difference at the time, but I didn’t see this being a long-term thing… I just figured a couple dates couldn’t be too bad)
Neighborhood: Bucktown
Profession: Masseuse (I’ll admit that this factored into me agreeing to meet him)
Status: Single

The easiest way to do this is to just put the pertinent parts of the conversation in here.  Let me emphasise that I am not exaggerating here.  These are actual things he said.  Italics are what I was thinking at the time, not current interjections.

Derek:  I should probably tell you that I fudged on my age
Mairin:  Really? [shit]  How old are you?
Derek:  I’m 39.  But I just turned 39 and I just don’t feel that old.  So I changed my birthday in the profile so it would still say 38.
Mairin:  Huh. [what a stupid thing to lie about. not a good sign. i wonder what else he’s lied about?]
Derek:  Oh, and I should probably mention that I’m divorced.
Mairin:  Wait, but your profile said you were single. [being divorced isn’t an issue.  it happens.  not too keen on all the lying though]
Derek:  Yeah, well, technically I’m single though, right?  It was a long time ago.
Mairin:  There’s a reason that “single” is an option and “divorced” is an option.
Derek:  Does that bother you?
Mairin:  Lying bothers me.
Derek:  Well, then I should probably tell you that I don’t really live in Bucktown.
Mairin:  Wait, but that’s what you listed as your neighborhood!
Derek:  Well, yeah, I don’t actually live in Chicago.  I live in [name of town about 2 hours from Chicago, let’s call it Loserville in Derek’s honor].  But when I did live in Chicago, 10+ years ago, I lived in Bucktown.  And that’s where I’d like to live if I moved back.  But yeah, I live in Loserville with my mom and older brother.
Mairin:  (rapidly drinking coffee so as to end date) So they live in that town too?
Derek:  We all live in the same house.  I had to borrow my brother’s car to get here today.


Mairin:  [let’s change the subject to something less loser-y.  this guy has to have at least one redeeming quality] So how long have you been a masseuse?
Derek:  Oh, only about 6 months
Mairin:  Really?  What did you do before that?
Derek:  Well, before that is when I was living in Detroit.  Mostly I grew and sold massive quantities of high-quality marijuana.
Mairin: … [shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit]
Derek:  It’s the perfect place to do something like that, because police there really have bigger issues to worry about than busting people like me.
Mairin:  … [is he really trying to use, “i was never busted for my illegal activity” as a positive quality?!?]
Derek:  And it’s not like I was selling to kids or anything.  I only sold to dealers.
Mairin:  [oh, well in that case…. ]  Well, I had really better be going.  I’ve got this protest that I’m going to with my friend.  The one who called.  The one who knows where I am and who I’m with.
Derek:  Oh, some friends of mine wanted me to meet them at the protest, what a coincidence.
Mairin:  Haha, how strange.  Well, have a good time, I’ve really got to get going.

Never saw him again.  He actually emailed about 8 months later.  I was happy to tell him I was otherwise occupied.  Besides, it’s hard to go out with someone when you don’t know when he’s going to be able to borrow his big brother’s car.

Got a bad first date story?  Please, help me feel better about myself and share it in the comments 🙂

Online Dating

I’ve been browsing the “matches” section of one of the local, hipster-friendly papers.  And have decided I’m entirely too old for this bullshit:

I lived in England for 6 months after I graduated from college 12 years ago, and still have a bit of an accent, so I hope you’re okay with that.  Who doesn’t like an accent, am I right?  Anyway, enough about my cosmopolitan yet unpretentious past – let’s talk about the future.  Our future.  

I always said I’d never do online dating so this is all a bit strange and new, and endearingly awkward, to me.  It might be a little hard to tell from the fact that I’ve been doing this for 4 years and haven’t even bothered to update my ad or my pictures, but it’s just because my sensitive soul has a hard time with this cold and imperfect way of meeting people.

Language is like the air that I breathe, or like food.  I chew on words; I digest them.  Some days I just go ahead and spread them on bread and have a peanut butter and adjective sandwich.

I guess you could call me a hopeless romantic, just puttin’ it out there, looking for the love of my life. Nowadays, everyone’s so focused on themselves – I want to be focused on YOU.  But not in a creepy way, even though I come across like that at first.  And while I may be  in my mid-30s, I’m really just a big kid at heart.  I’m looking for someone who wants to be a kid with me, a woman with a child-like sense of wonder at the world around her, with whimsy and spontaneity to match my own.  I’m really looking for someone who won’t notice that I haven’t matured in the past 15 years.  

Also, you have to be hot.

Edit:  I’m paraphrasing… for the most part.   The originals are actually harder to understand, so I’m just making an attempt to clarify what they’re really trying to say…

Sigh :-)

Have you seen this?

It’s all kinds of fantastic.  In fact, as much as I love Newsies, I love this version of Seize the Day (Chorale) even better than the original.  And I love Newsies.

This movie came out when I was about 12, which means I probably saw it for the first time when I was about 13.  I imagine it was probably rented as a video for the family to watch, but I was completely mesmerized by all these adorable boys and their dancing, what with their suggestive pelvic thrusts and all….

What?  Wait, where was I?  Right, 13-year-old Mairin.  13-year-old Mairin who was having her first celebrity crushes ever.  And guess what kids?  As there was no internet in my house in 1993, being in love with celebrity was considerably harder back then.  I think I had to wait until it came on TV and taped it myself onto a VHS tape.  And even then, we only had the one TV and pretty strict rules about when we were allowed to use it.  Life was rough for a 13-year-old in love with fictitious 19th Century newspaper boys.

And now I have this video.  Sigh.  I love it.   🙂

One last thing:  If you have never heard of the Newsies, you should rent this movie immediately.  It helps to pretend you are 13 when watching it.

I will behave in a responsible and professional manner

Last night was a fancy fundraiser for my work.  I had volunteered to sell drink tickets for the bar (hey, I was promised free food, free wine, and a ride home.  As you will learn in the weeks to come… I’ll do a lot for a free meal), so I got all gussied up (which, for me, means I put on a dress and heels), slapped a smile on my face, and prepared to schmooze with the mucky mucks.

It wasn’t too bad.  I can schmooze as long as I’m selling something.  Because then it doesn’t feel so fake to me… we both know I’m trying to get you to spend money and get drunk (and thus spend even more money), so there’s no pretense on either side.  I like the honesty.

The meal was tasty, and I’m always extremely friendly to the wait staff (my low-ish cut dress probably didn’t hurt, either), so I get hors d’oeuvres when they make the first round of the room.  The wine was flowing (and I even knew when to cut myself off, which I believe is the sign of maturity I’ve been waiting for).  The music was great, and because I was working a table, I wasn’t forced to mingle with anyone.  And, I successfully restrained myself from overtly flirting with the only men in the room who weren’t with a date, and weren’t 20 years older than me (that would be the men working at the event – wait staff and the photographer). 

See, one time, a looooong time ago, several jobs ago, I may or may not have picked up someone working at our staff appreciation day.  He was kind of cute, he was a masseuse, and (most importantly) he seemed to be kind of into me.  At the end of the day, I asked him for his number and he gave it to me.  Then he started talking about my aura.  And he told me his very unusual name was “self-taken”.  Around then’s when I realized I had picked up some new-age weirdo… and ended the brief (30 minutes or so?) encounter with an awkward hug, a sort-of promise to call… and tried to put the incident out of my head.  Unfortunately, my coworker, supervisor, program director, and various other people knew about this… and still won’t let me forget about it. 

So now I behave at work events.  Even when some of them have really cute boys working there.  It has nothing to do with my tongue-tied-ness, or the tendency to blush in a horrific manner when I get nervous.  Nope.  Just me, bein’ professional.

I am dork-tastic and socially awkward

It’s true.  I try to pretend that I’m pretty cool, but it’s more like I just try to exude cool, rather than doing or saying cool things.

Today, for instance.  I take the L and a bus home every day.  The trip lasts more than an hour, and I finished my book in the first 20 minutes.  So when I got on the bus, I searched through my bag for a copy of Rolling Stone from about 3 weeks ago.  That makes me look cool, right?  Reading RS on the bus?  Yeah. 

A handsome looking guy sat down next to me at the stop after I got on…. and I spent the next 20 minutes simply trying to exude coolness, because I get all tongue tied when talking to handsome strangers, so actually initiating conversation is usually out of the question.  Shockingly, this plan failed miserably.  It’s his loss… what kind of guy doesn’t want to talk to the girl reading about coal ash waste in Rolling Stone on the bus?

There might be a lot of posts on how I’m socially awkward in this little blog.  It’s sort of a theme of my life…