Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You know it's bad when you envy orphans...

Quick Updates: 
  • John found a DJ. DJ Almond, I think his name is. His last four gigs have all been 18 and up parties, he's more expensive than I'd like, and I may have to pay him extra not to let that name of his known, but who cares??! By the time he starts spinning, I'll be happily married. 
  • Kim's parents (she's from a small town in South Carolina...Charlottesville, it's called) got in last night, along with Freddy, and jumped right into the wedding planning. Thankfully, the Machen's are less die-hard judgmentals than my parents (read: my mom). They converted to the faith after the father came back from Vietnam and since follow the basic principles, but are open to letting Kim choose her own path. 
  • Sunday's forecast is looking better and better. 
  • The honeymoon plans are all set. Even though I'm fairly sure Kim doesn't read this blog, I want it to be a surprise, so not risking telling it here.
  • My parents got in on time, just three hours ago. Up until then everything was going well. Up until then...

Let's backtrack a little. You know how I said Kim's parents are cool about stuff? Well, the plan was for them to stay with us in our apartment with everyone participating in Operation Keep Shit From the Friedman's. Once my family came to until after the wedding, we would have to all pretend that Kim and I don't live together...while having Kim's family stay in our apartment. Why can't they stay at Kim's? The place has been emptied out for weeks so we wouldn't have to worry about too much moving after the honeymoon. And what do we tell my people once they see 11 Machen's staying with me? Part lie, part truth: Kim's apartment is hollowed out and there's only enough there for Kim to stay comforably.

You can imagine my nerves.

Right after they got in, Kim and her mom went to look at the garden and the church to go over where everything would be (why they couldn't wait until daylight is beyond me), with Kim's dad trailing along to sign his checkbook if needed. Kim's parents have been taking care of Freddy ever since his mom's been in rehab, hence him coming early with them while everyone else arrives tonight/early tomorrow. Ten minutes after everyone else left, I went into the guestroom to ask Freddy if he wanted to watch a movie--you know, try to connect with the kid--and he was already stealing! A painting of one of those amazonian tree frogs on a leaf that had been hanging over the bed...he was stuff it into his suitcase! He froze when he saw me and uttered, "I didn't do it."

I had a heart-to-heart talk with him after that. The basics about decisions in life, the choices we make, respnsibility, and of course a promise that I'd kick his ass if I found him stealing again. I said it in a joking way and it got a laugh, but I felt a small part of him thought I was serious. Which I can live with. I can live with just fine.

Besides that, everything's been fine. But it was like a ticking time bomb that started when my parents' flight took off from LAX at 12:36 pm. I went to pick them up with Kim and her parents (her idea). I insisted that Freddy come to 'take part in the family festivities' but he said he wanted to get some rest. I just wish I would have put up cameras before we left. Or at least taken inventory. Kim can be naive sometimes, bless her soul, and one of the topics she's good at being naive at is my parents. My mother gave me a hug and started talking about all that we had to do for the wedding without even looking at Kim. My father is not much of a villain, but he doesn't do anything to help either. He just stands there and let's mom do her thing. It took me three tries at interrupting before I got mom to acknowledge Kim and introduce her to her parents. Think of one of those awkward moments in a movie...yea, like that.

Kim also thought it would be a good idea to invite mom and dad to wedding planning stuff with them. The Machen's had already gone back to the church and garden (going at night wasn't exactly the most productive, after all), stopped by the florists to look over the flowers, and taken Kim's dress for what her mother called some 'last-minute trimmings. But Joe's Fish N' Chips Catering (trust me, they're better than they sound) still needed a round and also the logistics for Saturday night's rehearsal needed to be fleshed out, so, after clearing it with her parents, Kim thought mom and dad would like to be a part of these errands.

It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. Mom took this gesture as one of belittlement and looked at Kim as if she were goose shit. Then she reclaimed her overbearing self and announced that she had already taken care of all the arrangements, from flowers, to DJ, to catering. 'For a nice Christian wedding' she said.


Long story short, mom sweared down that she wasn't aware other arrangements had been made and, of course, my father just picked at his fingernails on the side. Livid, I demanded that mom cancel everything she had done, but the Machen's, in the spirit of that oh-so-foreign trait called kindness, insisted that they could work out some balance. Mom agreed. Everyone thought the storm had been averted.

Naive, naive, naive.

But I was my hands of it. I pulled Kim to the side and tried to explain how this could not end up good, but she wanted to 'keep positive.' Yep, I wash my hands of it. I just got home. The Machen's and the Friedman's are off working it out. I'll send up a prayer for them, but mostly I'm about to take a much-needed nap.

...Right after I go hide all our valuables.

-Tom Friedman

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