The Trouble With Weddings

It wasn’t lost on Mr. Sports and I that the wedding is just a day and a marriage is for life.  Weddings are nice and all, but they’re really just a big party.  Would you throw a party, inviting all your friends and family, and spend $30,000?  Your Birthday, Graduation, Bat Mitzvah, Halloween?

Ok, I knew a guy that owned a $40,000 chandelier in his (very large) house in my home city, and a mansion on a private island in Florida, and always flew business class, and his family owned condominiums (not one unit but the whole building) overseas.  He did actually have $30,000 parties sometimes.

But most of us don’t.

Mr. Sports and I searched, asked friends for referrals, scoured local online classifieds, got creative, and hand-made our way to a $10,000 wedding.  I know, magic, right?  Truthfully, I was doing most of the getting creative, hand-making, and searching and Mr. Sports was doing most of the deal fetching, because he had the car – but we did it.  Mr. Sports is not exactly careful enough to cut and assemble all the invitations without chopping some in half or chopping off some fingers.  I know, should have trusted him, but didn’t.  He may have surprised me….ooor I may have had to call the ambulance more than once.

Surprisingly, cost and planning aren’t the hardest part of a wedding.  Sure, more people will be allergic to more things than you thought possible if you sampled 80 people (the people invited), but something else will take you by surprise.  The behaviour and attitudes of friends and family.

We found out the hard way that those we expected to be most encouraging often weren’t.  This is where you find out your partner’s family has one or more estranged siblings and feuds.  Then you find out some of your own cousins aren’t on speaking terms.  Then your Aunt, who is unhappy in her marriage and wants to divorce your uncle, incessantly harasses you about marriage being a waste of time and money.  Then this same Aunt gets her mother all wound up and now your Grandmother is also telling you not to bother getting married.  Then one of your brothers, who has been with his girlfriend for about 7 years but neither proposes to her nor cuts her loose, is vague about attending your wedding because he’s obviously dealing with his own issues.  You know his girlfriend wants to get married too because she leaves Wedding Bells and Today’s Bride magazines in his car….accidentally I’m sure.  Family members will also take it upon themselves to populate your guest list with people they have invited, telling you after then have extended the invitation on your behalf.  You will scramble to re-count who’s coming, reconsider who you’re inviting, and hope for declined RSVP’s to fit these unexpected guests in.  You’ll grudgingly send this guest an official invite – reminding yourself its not their fault and they’re innocent in all of this.  Then there’s the guest who will invite her little sister, a minor, to your wedding (with adult only reception) with an open bar.  Her boyfriend was named on the invite but she can substitute whoever she wants, right?

Weddings bring family feuds and bad behaviour to the forefront.

How the hell are 2 people supposed to get married in all of this?

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Life With Men Series – He Can’t See Dirt

Why won’t the man in your life pick up the vacuum?  I have a beautiful Dyson, the Cadillac of vacuums, with superior maneuverability and suck power – and Fiancé has only ever used it about 3 times, and twice only to spot-clean a small area.

OK, from now on we’ll call my soon-to-be-hubby Mr. Sports.  Seems a bit nicer.

One day Mr. Sports announced he was going to clean the bathroom.  I was ecstatic as I’d been busy and hadn’t had the chance.  After he was done I swear I couldn’t see the difference.  Ok, the toilet was a little cleaner but the floor still had hair on it, the tub still had scum, and the counter still had bits of beard stuck on it.  It looked to me like he’d just used something to wipe the surfaces without doing any cleaning – you know, getting gunk and hair off of stuff.  I was puzzled, though I thanked him excitedly for his cleaning….then quietly cleaned the bathroom myself the next evening while he went out after work with a friend.

I’ve also noticed that stuff can sit in the kitchen almost indefinitely.  Container from lunch, glass from drink, wrapper from candy, package from frozen pizza, half-peeled carrot that was supposed to in dinner but was abandoned and forgotten, unless I help it get to the proper receptacle.

How does Mr. Sports do this?

Now I know there are neurological conditions in which people have mistaken one think for another, or family for strangers, or their wife for a hat, but I don’t feel that’s the case here.  Yes, really, a hat.  Well, really he just thought her head was a hat.  Read:

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, 1985 by neurologist Oliver Sacks.

What I do think applies to this case is the excerpt below:

“A friend of mine once…wouldn’t empty the kitchen bin for a while, to see how long it would take for her other half to do it.
Not surprisingly, the kitchen bin was brimming full by the end of the week.
Still, her husband didn’t notice the overloaded bin. He happily stuffed tea bags and empty cartons in there, until one day, he realised it was full, emptied it and carried on as normal.
…It’s not at all the case that this man was sexist or expecting his wife to do the chore; simply that he didn’t think it needed to be done until it really needed to be done.”
In a study about Female Breadwinners still doing the housework “one man in the study…just didn’t see the dirt – “I just don’t see that it needs to be done,” he said.

Read more here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/9789921/Sexism-or-ignorance-Men-who-fail-to-do-housework-often-dont-see-the-need.html
https://www.buzzfeed.com/annanorth/study-female-breadwinners-still-do-most-of-the-ho?utm_term=.gakOJk7rYY#.diP5Aq9Gmm

Hmm…..interesting.

So, Mr. Sports just doesn’t feel that some of what he sees around home needs to be taken care of?  Ok, but what about the shoddy bathroom cleaning job?  I think that’s a topic for a whole other post.  Mr. Sports seems as confused about cleaning as I am about the people who live upstairs.

Seriously, I occasionally hear a dog, and occasionally a child, running around up there, but never at the same time.  Odd, as dogs and kids love to chase each other around, so why not at the same time?  They either have a sporadically visiting dog, sporadically visiting child, child that occasionally runs on all fours, or a dog that sometimes runs on 2 legs.  I like the last one.

I digress.

How can you get a guy to notice what needs to be mopped, dusted, emptied, and vacuumed?

I’m not particularly bothered about it now, though it can be annoying, but Mr. Sports has always dreamed of having kids (I’m on the fence but openminded).  This wouldn’t fly if we had kids.  You want them crawling around dirt and hair, finding old lunch containers filled with green fuzzy stuff, in one of dad’s work bags?  What if they find and eat the half-peeled, dry, forgotten and forlorn little carrot?  What if Mini Me discovered dad’s dirty, sweaty, dusty gym socks left under the couch – while your back was turned for a second – and stuffed them in their mouth?  Little kids stuff everything in their mouths.

Women don’t just stay home anymore.  We work, we commute, we’re tired and we’d just like to come home and sit on our ass too.  But somehow that never works out for us, or if it does it means some stuff didn’t get done today.  It means we’ll have even more stuff to do tomorrow, or on the weekend, while you’re out with your buddies having fun.

Help me out people, how do you get a guy to notice what needs to get done and pitch in to take care of housework?

Life With Men Series – Attention to Details

 

So, I started this blog because I was inspired by Must be This Tall to Ride.  Here’s a man that’s trying to understand where he went wrong in his marriage and how he can help other men – and even himself.

I got to thinking, “Can I help others understand relationships from a woman’s side?” and “why can’t men and women just understand each other?”.  What is it that makes men and women tick and how does this impact their marriage?  Can I share my experience with failed relationships and my soon-to-be-marriage and get people working on and thinking about what it is that’s causing so many divorces?

Well….here’s my first topic (read: struggle)

Men Just Don’t Mind the Details

This is a big one future-hubs and I have been working on lately.  He needs to feel that I trust him to make decisions on his own and support him in those decisions.  I’m honestly trying.  You must also note that we have discussions about this, sometimes heated, but not screaming matches – we’re just not that kind of couple.

So, here’s my issue: he’s got a track record of making some awful decisions, and if I hadn’t caught them, who knows what would have happened.

Example 1:  We discussed how much we would spend on gifts for our wedding party.  He later told me he was buying tickets to a sporting event for his groomsmen, and I thought it was a great idea.  I know as must about sports as he knows about quantum physics, and he’s aware of this.  I assumed he remembered and would stick to the budget.  I find out after the tickets have been purchased A) they’re about 4-5 times the cost we had agreed on per person, B) only 2 of 4 groomsmen are going as the 2 that aren’t don’t like this team, and C) 1 of the guys invited isn’t even a groomsman but rather a friend of my Fiancé that happened to like this local team.  Now, either we must be cheap with gifts for the rest of the wedding party and risk hurt feelings over what each received, or throw a bunch of money at the problem to correct it, paying an approximately equal amount for each person’s gift.

Example 2:  As we are DIY-ing so much of our wedding to keep on budget, planning has been a lot of work.  Fiancé kindly offered to take charge of the items we were ordering online.  Great!  He suggests we have items delivered to his parents’ home; they have much more space than we do and are generously offering to store wedding stuff for us.  Also Great!  As items start to arrive, he goes over to his parents’ home to check them out.  Fantastic!  However, when I finally ask specifically about items that must be checked over and reported back to the seller as received and satisfactory, I find out these items probably had arrived at his parents’ weeks ago.  What?  He knew the policy.  What’s he thinking?  What does he mean by Probably?  No matter, better late than never, right?  I ask he bring them home when he can for us to check over.  (See, I’m already not trusting him to check and count all the stuff himself.)  Poor guy gets flustered and leaves for his parents’ right away.  10 minutes later I get a call (they live close to us) – he’s opened all the boxes that came to find 1 of them didn’t contain the quantity we ordered.  Yes, he had been looking at the boxes as each arrived, never having opened one.  He really had no idea of much of what was in each box.

There are far more examples like these, but I’ll save you having to read them all.

I’m not saying I don’t mess up, I do all the time.  I just catch myself or manage to reduce the damage.  I also mess up stuff like forgetting to get cucumber at the grocery store – not blowing the budget or giving the OK to parcels I’ve never opened.  So what do I do about this?  Is it really a big deal?  Nobody died because we were missing some stuff from an order.  Why do I care?

Because it means more work for me.

Now I am late confirming I’ve received stuff.  Now I have to fix the quantity issue (Fiancé actually fixed this and I was extremely grateful!).  If I hadn’t found these problems now, it would have been more difficult to fix everything later.

Fiancé suggested I should have been more specific regarding my expectations for the parcels.  Ok, maybe he’s right, but I could swear most people would open boxes and note what was in them.  Am I unrealistic for assuming that?  And if I have to give a full break down of how I want parcels managed, and keep an eye on the process, wouldn’t it be more efficient just to do it all myself?

If I was watching everything he was doing with the sports tickets, what’s the point of him taking the task on?  Isn’t a budget a budget?  If you’re going to spend 4-5 times what you agreed on, wouldn’t you tell your partner?  Wouldn’t you hesitate to buy those tickets?

So, I think we’ve boiled this down to the key problem.  Wives like their husbands to say “I’ve got this” and really handle it – and not have unexpected surprises later.  Little oopsies are ok.  Regularly occurring, medium to large oopsies are not good.  I suppose frequent little oopsies are bad too.  Husband, you’re a smart guy, you have a job, you do it well, you have friends, you arrange meet-ups with them.  You like sports, you follow your teams, you follow trades, you follow play-off spots.  You follow video game development and gaming platform innovations.  Your wife just wants you to keep on top of what’s happening at home too.

You take your day job seriously, so what about your home job?

Throw some ideas at me people, I’d love to hear ‘em!

She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

I’m going to re-blog this article because it sums up a lot of what I went through for the last decade +.  Some of my experiences are even more extreme and absurd asshole-ness, but this gent does a great job of writing a man’s perspective of events leading up to relationship breakdown.  I think the 2 men in my life prior to my current relationship would never be able to grasp the concepts presented, but for men reading his blog and open letters to shitty husbands with a open mind there may be hope.  Great read.

Source: She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

Getting going

I’ve never had a blog before (well, livejournal and deadjournal don’t count do they?), so this is rather new to me and I’ll see if anyone reads this.  I tend to ramble a lot too, so be patient, I’ll get to the point eventually.

What’s got me going, actually, is wedding preparation.  You see I never imagined myself married – at least not happily.  I’d always pictured myself the old spinster or the miserable wife, in charge of kids, house, dishes, laundry, bills, holding down a job, and wondering where the hell my husband is – only for him to come home and plop down in front of the TV complaining how tiring it was to attend meetings and wine and dine at the company’s expense.  Yup, black or white with no middle ground.  Marriage = misery.  Happy is a lie!  You’re far better off being on your own.

I almost had that misery too – twice!  Twice I was asked to be married, and twice it didn’t work out, and twice over I’m glad about it not working!  Sure I succumbed to long term relationships, and I did receive some emotional and financial dents, but it could have been a lot worse.  No kids, no mortgage, when it was over I just walked away – well aside from withholding possessions, harassing phone calls, and some stalking – but mostly I was off scot-free.

Don’t get me wrong, I tried my best to give each relationship the best I could.  Actually, I was really the only one trying.  Reading advice in books and articles, trying to express my needs gently, fighting fairly, having patience, considering their point of view, and all the rest.  It didn’t work, I was cut down, torn apart, interrupted, blamed, and accused at every chance the other party got.  Each time I tried for years.  Funny enough, when I finally left, my partner would be completely and totally shocked.  “What happened?  I don’t deserve this.  Give me another chance, I can be better.”  But there were never more chances.  At that point I had already made up my mind, and I left consoled by the fact I knew there would never be a change and there was hope for the relationship.  No second guessing myself – it was done.

So why the wedding preparation then?  Things have sounded pretty grim to this point haven’t they?  Well, not to be cliche, I met someone and everything changed.  Yup, there is a reward for holding out for happiness and not letting yourself get mired in a game of  control, deceit, and coercion.  Risking a lifetime of loneliness is actually preferable to a lifetime of partnered torture, and gives the benefit of a chance at a genuine good relationship.  Dreams do come true, lights at the ends of tunnels, fairy dust, and all that jazz.

So what will the blog be about?  Well I guess the space between where I am now and where I’ve been, with doses of where I’m planning on going.  Sometimes the psychology of staying in bad relationships, sometimes the airy pleasure of finding a good life partner, sometimes griping about the expense of wedding costs and of costs of life in general, and sometimes the nitty-gritty of building jellyfish (I’ll explain the significance in the future) decorations out of party supplies and household items.  I’m also going to try to go along posting links and helpful tips as I find them, for those in Ontario (though some may apply to anywhere) seeking to have a wedding on a budget (and not a $20,000 one!).

I hope you stick with me – maybe I’ll spark you to leave a bad situation.  Maybe right now you are where I was and feel pretty awful.

At the very least it should be entertaining!

I’ll leave you with a good jellyfish link for now….

http://germanidecortipstricks.blogspot.ca/2013/03/light-up-your-summer-night-party.html
The best jellyfish building project I’ve found so far….save the puzzling search for a suitable plastic bowl