Monday, July 10, 2006

"The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize!"

This weekend was packed with activity, whirling and somersaulting past me until Sunday afternoon, when we got home from a visit with our niece and nephews. I thought I would get a few hours of quiet time until I remembered that I needed to make two cakes from scratch, one red velvet with cream cheese frosting and one coconut with coconut crème frosting. But that’s another story. And another weekend when we didn’t get any laundry done.

(But we got new countertops a couple of weeks ago, did I tell you that? And staring at their shiny loveliness makes you forget your dirty laundry. And also the baking cake that is filling the kitchen with smoke...)

On Saturday morning my mother-in-law and I headed over two hours south to a very rural part of Virginia where my sister-in-law’s surprise bridal shower was to take place in a very small church.

The entire shindig was being organized by Laura’s future in-laws, which included one tall, strong-willed, and very proper Aunt Betty, and her equally tall, strong-willed, and proper daughter.

I’m guessing that the “strong-willed” part is what resulted in the shower being wrested away from my mother-in-law, despite the fact that she is both the mother of the bride AND the matron of honor. So! There may have been some hard feelings surrounding the fact of our mere presence at this party, along with the presence of about 20 New Jersey and New York relatives, who were not going to allow my mother-in-law to be forced to sit across the street with the cows. Fuggedaboutit, y’all.

The instant I walked in I felt like the Wicked Whore of the North, as I was wearing a sleeveless, low-cut (yet tasteful) black top with a knee-length skirt and black high-heeled sandals, while Betty and her daughter were looking churchly in their long skirts, twinsets, and pearls.

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn’t belong!
Can you tell which one is a skanky slut
By the time I finish my song?

Since they were ignoring me, I walked up and stuck out my hand.

“Hi, I don’t believe we’ve met!” I chirped. “I’m Liz, Laura’s sister-in-law.”

“Ooooh!” they cooed, all smiles. “Are you the one who came from Georgia?”

“No, that’s Laura’s other sister-in-law. Actually, I’m from the DC area.”

They looked away as though I'd said something embarrassing.

“Uh…is there anything I can do to help?”

“Well sure, honey!” Betty said. She looked around the room, at a loss. Everything was clearly under control, the entire affair being expertly executed by her and her daughter. Suddenly she clapped her hands together and pointed to a stack of plastic cutlery. “I know! Why don’t you set out the forks?”

I guess fork arranging seemed like a safe enough task to relinquish. Out at the buffet, I struggled. Should I put them in the shape of a cross? Or a 666, just for giggles? In the end I decided on an artsy spiral design.

Back in the kitchen, Betty and her daughter were struggling with an immense punch bowl. I rushed over. “Can I help you with that?”

“NO!” they almost shouted.

“We’ve got it!” said Betty’s daughter amended. “But thanks!”

Then I made the mistake of asking if there was going to be wine.

Betty and her daughter looked at me.

I smiled.

They looked at me some more.

I mulled over the fact that I was standing in a church fellowship hall with two ladies who read the Bible for fun.

“Oh!” I exclaimed. “You thought I was expecting wine at the SHOWER! But…no! What I mean, of course, is… will there be wine at church this Sunday? Or do you all use grape juice instead?”

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn’t belong!
Can you tell which one is an alcoholic Satan worshipper
By the time I finish my song?

But you know what? I think they warmed up to me. I was in charge of making the Very Important ribbon bouquet, which Laura will use during the wedding rehearsal. My adorable six year old niece, who will be the flower girl, was Laura’s special gift-opening assistant and brought all the bows and ribbons to me so I could weave them onto my paper plate.

My niece adores me, and every time she brought me a bow that was especially pretty she hugged me in excitement. I guess the evidence that this angelic child loves me, coupled with the fact that I did not turn said child into a goat, meant that I was worthy of some respect.

Also, my ribbon bouquet kicked ass and was bigger than Laura’s entire head. The Steel Magnolias were impressed.

I heard a chorus of “Nice to meet you!” as I was leaving, and it seemed like they meant it. Still, I’ll have to watch my step at the wedding. Me getting down to some Snoop Dogg in my periwinkle bridesmaid dress might be too much shiznit for them to handle.



Blogger His suzy said...

I love Steel Magnolias!! The movie, that is. It'll be interesting to see what kind of reception Miss Betty and her daughter give you next time around!

3:22 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Suzy- I love this movie almost as much as When Harry Met Sally.

All-time favorite scene: at Shelby's funeral, when M'Lynn sobs, "I just want to hit something!", and Clairee pushes Ouiser in front of M'Lynn.

Clairee: Here! Hit this! Go ahead, M'Lynn, slap her!

Ouiser: Are you high, Clairee?!

Clairee: Ouiser, this is your chance to do something for your fellow man! Knock her lights out, M'Lynn!

4:51 PM  
Blogger kj said...

liz, another really interesting read. should i continue to feel sorry for your mother-in-law?

did you ever see the movie "sordid lives"? i think you would find it to be a hoot.


5:22 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Ha! You totally cracked me up. Also, if you can turn plastic forks into 6's then you really might be a satanic skank...and that's why I'm totally putting you in my favorites.

6:54 PM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

One of these things is not like the others
One of these things just doesn’t belong!
Can you tell which ones are repressed, judgemental, priggish, skanky-slut wannabes
By the time I finish my song?

Steel Magnolias is a brilliant movie :D

9:43 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

kj- thanks. Actually, my MIL is a pretty strong (as well as brilliant) woman, so I'm sure she can hold her own.

Jenny- the sixes would have to be large and rather jagged, but I could probably do it... ;)

VK- Nice! I knew they had to be wannabes.

All joking aside, though, I really think we'll all come to know and love each other. And drink margaritas together!

Wait, maybe not that last part...

3:57 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Yup - they sounds like real winners. People I would like to hang out with...for fun. NOT!

I think you should bring your own bottle of wine to the wedding - it might be the only wine you get.

Also, just for fun, I think at the reception, you should dance like The Pussycat Dolls. I'm sure Aunt Betty would really enjoy that ;)

7:21 AM  
Blogger Liz said...

Laura and her fiance overruled Aunt Betty and chose to have an open bar at the reception. ;)

I'll have to study up on the PCD- I don't think I've seen them before.

11:46 AM  

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