Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Freedom at a Price

Drinking in college was what I considered "fun" at the time. Sunday through Wednesday was spent in recovery from the debauchery of the previous weekend and in anticipation of the surprises that the upcoming weekend held. It was carefree and careless. I can remember feeling so free at the time - like I could do anything at a moments notice or be whoever I chose for a particular night. From spontaneous road trips to Austin to four inch hot pink stilettos with a denim mini skirt...I thought I was living the ultimate life.

But little did I know that the freedom I felt during college was due to being chained to one thing. Alcohol was everyone's best friend and the ultimate party planner. No Alcohol? No party. He was a man of many names (Jose, Jack and McCormick were my favorites) and never let you down on a Friday night. He talked you into trying new things and becoming a new person. Alcohol convinced you he needed him to have a good time. And for most of the time with Alcohol as a classmate in college, nights with no memories just felt like innocent fun.

I'm not sure where or why my old friend turned on me or when our friendship went wrong, but shortly after college I realized that he no longer gave me the same feelings of freedom that he did during my four years on campus. Instead of relishing in the endless possibilities that life after college offered, I began focusing on the life that I didn't have but desperately wanted. Alcohol began convincing me that I needed him in my life even more because I was so incredibly unlovable that he was the only one who would always be there. He made me lie to my friends and put on a happy face while crumbling on the inside at the sight of their contentment with their own lives. No one knew how dangerous our relationship had become because we were still in the age of innocent fun. Twenty-three was still young, fresh and free! What worries were there to have on a Friday night with new friends and the ever present college buddy?

About a year and a half ago, I woke up and found myself looking at a person I didn't recognize. What had my old buddy done to the girl I once was? That confident, determined and vivacious girl my parent's had so lovingly raised had been swallowed whole by the false promises and deceptive lies told by Alcohol. For the first time in my life, my old friend wasn't looking so cool, so fun or so enticing.

My life has changed because of ending that friendship or maybe because I ended that friendship my life has changed. Either way it's really not a part of my life anymore because I have found contentment in myself. I don't have to rely on Alcohol to make me feel better about myself or to fill the void that was at one time so painfully present.

The break in our friendship hasn't always been easy. Although it has allowed me to form new friendships I think it might be creating divisions in old. I understand that Alcohol might not have this same relationship with everyone, but unfortunately this is the relationship that I had and regardless of any situation...I'm going to protect what I've built. Because from what I personally know of Alcohol, he likes to destroy who I am and anything good I believe about myself. I'm not willing to allow him into my life in that capacity ever again.

Because for the first time in many years...

I am content. I am happy. I am finally and truly free.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Making Progress

Last Sunday I woke up with the stark realization that my summer vacation was quickly coming to a close. In addition to being sad that my days out by the pool with various friends were numbered, I was freaking out that my Summer Wedding To-Do list was wildly incomplete. So last week was devoted to getting things done so that I could fully enjoy this upcoming week doing everything I loved about summer which just means sleeping in, going to afternoon movies and lying by the pool with a good book (currently it is The Time Traveler's Wife).

I have...
- taken my dress to the tailor and it will be ready for pick up on August 22nd.
- picked up and stored my hair piece at my mother's house.
- found and bought turquoise Steve Madden flats to wear under my dress and stored them at my mother's house so that I will not be tempted to wear them!
- tentatively picked out bridesmaid dresses.
- scheduled bridal and engagement photos as well as the locations.
- dropped off our Save the Date cards to be printed.
- ALMOST finalized the guest list (c'mon Craig!!!)

Next up is...
- picking up the Save the Dates, addressing envelopes and putting them in the mail by the end of the month.
- finding hair and make-up for my bridal portraits.
- updating our vendor and cost list for Craig to review and then make money saving and payment plans.

I think that's all I can accomplish for this summer...if I do much more I'll be wiped out before volleyball season even starts. Having said that, I'm very excited to get the school year rolling, although I will miss my lazy summer days. I know that the sooner school starts, the closer we are to the wedding.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Crossing Things Off

This wedding and the acquisition of Angie into our house has really brought out a different side of Craig. He is more open with his affection and love and also more in tune to making sure that both the ladies in his home are well taken care of. Case in point - last night Angie and I were cuddling in bed while I caught up on DVR and played The Sims on my computer. I was a bit down and Craig could tell that immediately when he came into the bedroom. After unloading on him about my looming To-Do list his first response was "What can I do?" and not in a whiny manner but instead in a way that truly meant "what can I do to relieve this stress of your shoulders and help you get a few things accomplished on your list?" So I set him upon contacting his Uncle Tim and finalizing our Save-The-Date cards. A little while later I was called into his Man Cave and presented with this:

His Uncle Tim had taken photos at our engagement party at the beginning of the summer and done a few artsy pictures with the prints. We asked him to put the necessary Save-The-Date info on there and voila! This is what he came up with! It is definitely even more amazing than I expected and I can't wait to send them out at the end of August. We're going to get them printed at a professional print shop (hopefully on stronger paper than just picture paper) and then stick magnets on the back. I'm going to buy some envelopes and clear labels and we will just print addresses onto labels and then stick them on the envelopes. It sounds like a lot of work, but I do tend to watch lots of DVR television and this is probably more productive than surfing Facebook or playing Flowerz through MSN games.
But before we can send them out we have to have addresses for people so we are in the process of finalizing that as well. I've send out emails begging for any of the remaining addresses I need and Craig has stepped up and filled out a bit of his list as well. Next thing that is up is getting lists from our mothers and then counting and proofing the lists before we start sending things out.
I also called my mom last night and I'm meeting up with her tomorrow to take my dress to be altered, to pick up my hair band for the wedding as well as look at and possibly try on and choose bridesmaid dresses. If I'm able to get all that stuff done tomorrow that will be another big weight off my shoulders.
I spoke with Craig last night about my frustration and worry about scheduling and picking places for the engagement photos and after some discussion, we came up with some great ideas.
- 1st Location: The duck pond by our house. There are some great landscapes for pictures by the pond with the fountain and the grass and maybe even some on the playground! We're also going to take Angie with us for some pictures because she is such a vital member of our family.
- 2nd Location: The school gym. If it wasn't for coaching and our school, we wouldn't have ever met and fallen in love. Sigh. So it seems fitting to take some pictures in there. I know it sounds strange, but I figured we could pull out the bleachers and get out some basketball and volleyballs.
- 3rd Location: Downtown Main St. Grapevine. This will probably be the majority of our pictures because there are so many great spots to take some really creative photos.
Now all I have to do is contact our photographer and make sure we can make it happen!
As for the other items on my To-Do list, Craig and I are moving me out of my classroom sometime today after I take Ms. Angie to the vet. Speaking of Angie, she has been doing extremely well since we got back from vacation. Whatever my parent's did with her during her stay with Grandaddy, Nonna and the cousins...worked. She hasn't peed or pooped inside, she lets us know when she has to go potty, she will get in her kennel on her own (if you plop her down right in front of it) and she completely understands SIT, STAY and NO. I think Angie has taught Craig and I a lot about "parenting" because we had all these plans for rules with our new dog but when we got her home we realized that she has her own ideas and needs which didn't necessarily jibe with our original plans for raising this dog. So we had to adjust our thinking on some things (the dog sleeps on our bed) but be more strict/vigilant on other things we hadn't originally thought would be a problem (outdoor potty training and submissive wetter). All in all, we've been able to create a dog that is obedient to what we expect in our house but at the same time still has the freedom to be her own person...or dog I suppose.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The End is Near

Holy crap.
Summer vacation has only a mere two weeks left.
Please someone - tell me what I did with almost two months off because now that I'm seeing the end of the summer I feel completely behind in the wedding planning that I thought I would get done. I truly anticipated having so much more accomplished but lying in the sun for days on end has the magical ability to warp your brain of any inspiration to move and be ambitious in any sort of way.
So here I am on the heels of a magnificant vacation in the Bahamas...almost feeling like I should already be married, but yet with still so much to get done. So I'm closing down the pool (at least for a few hours) and putting my nose to the grindstone to cross off a few more things on my list.
Here we go:
- Find the engagement picture CD and create our Save the Dates as well as print them off and stick magnets to the back.
- Gather guest list from our mothers and compile them with mine in an Excel spreadsheet. Stick a fire hot rod on Craig's butt to get him moving and completing his section of the guest list.
- Call Elizabeth's Bridal and check on the status of my hair *bling.*
- Take dress to get altered in shoulders (too big) and bodice (can't lose weight in ribcage).
- Pick a date to definitively go look at bridesmaid dresses and email bridesmaids about this event. Print off pictures from Amy to take with me when shopping.
- Call wedding photographer and set up dates to take engagement and bridal pictures. Must consult volleyball and basketball tournament schedules as well as my mother's calendar.
- Talk with Craig's mom about the flowers and confirm with florist as well as make a payment.
- On a completely different note...I need a haircut desperately! The ends of my hair are totally fried between my severe addiction to my straightener, the continuous sunbathing and swimming in salt and chlorine.
- Sometime I need to officially move out of my classroom as well as return my keys and work shirt.
That's everything I'm going to try to get taken care of next week and then the week after that I'm going to focus on making sure that I have everything prepared for my new job as the head volleyball coach.
Ugh...I just realized that summer really is over if I'm making To-Do lists...bummer.