Friday, September 24, 2010

Housewarming Party Prep — An Exercise in Making Myself Crazy

So first things first, for those of you who know me, I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. So as one might imagine, the thought of having a few dozen folks over on a Saturday afternoon for a housewarming is enough to send me into a cleaning and staging frenzy. Yes, I said staging. Like when you're selling a house. Because I am a crazy person. Just a word of warning to those of you showing up tomorrow...yes, the whole place looks awesome if I do say so myself, but open an overstuffed closet or basement door at your own peril. The rest of the stuff had to go somewhere.

Speaking of stuff that I hid away — a little because we had people over last night and a little because I couldn't deal with it for another minute — the first thing to get shoved behind a door was the grill. As you may know from my previous post, the grandiose plan to move my Dad's old grill down here ended in heartache and a few spider bites. After living outside covered in a plastic tarp and grass clippings for a few seasons, the gas line of said grill had rotted away to naught. In knowing nothing about grills, we just opted to not blow ourselves up and bought an after-season, super-on-sale Lowes number on Tuesday night with big plans to put it together, along with a bench that I got for a ridiculously good price on

Nicole and I had a few of those screwdrivers I mentioned (both beverages and tools), so the bench got finished, but the grill did not. By any stretch of the imagination. As soon as the directions started having 10 mini-steps per step and mentioning venturi clips and other gobbledygook, we got all flipped out and gave up for the evening. Probably a decent call since it was already almost 1145 on a weeknight and putting together items that can cause injury if not constructed correctly whilst filled with a decent amount of Grey Goose is probably a job left to the professionals.

So Wednesday I returned to said grill. I approached it with caution. I spoke in a soothing voice in the hopes of alleviating it's anger. I tackled it onto it's back with it's hind legs flailing and slapped together the firebox. All was well until I tried to hook in the ignitor wire, only to find that it didn't fit correctly. After about 20 minutes of staring at the pictures, cursing, and speaking with Charbroil representative Chenelle, we deduced that the piece was broken. Missing a plastic tip. So 7-10 days for delivery? Sure. Except for that whole party on Saturday bidness. So manual lighting (slash eyebrow singeing) it is.

After about ten more minutes of grill wrassling, I gave up, shoved it behind the door to the basement and turned on reruns of Ghost Whisperer. Alex discovered my defeat when he tried to carry extra boxes to the basement and almost died tripping over the pieces shoved haphazardly around. "Be careful going down the....nevermindddddd."

To add a little more flavor to my getting ready for the party fun, my cousin Kelly was in town last night. Putting grill woes aside for a moment, I rocked a little vaccuuming, grocery shopping, and throwing together a homecooked meal for 7 and a half on a Thursday night. Shrimp Vermicelli, beans and greens, crackers, spreads, wine, spaghetti escaping the collander into the sink, house tours, baby creeping, mention of debauchery in California, good conversation, and a whole lotta leftovers. Not bad for a Thursday night.

So after a weeks worth of cleaning, buying, building, dozens of lists, RSVP counting etc, plus our impromptu dinner party and an ongoing allergy cold thing, I am pretty much destroyed.

Luckily for me, I have a handsome husband with a plan and a few vacation days to spare. Today while I was working away down in Smyrna, my other half will be doing all the errands I had planned to tackle tonight after work — a list that fills me with dread and anguish. So this morning, when he sent me this:

With the message, "Grill...done," I literally was holding back tears because the thought of having to try to determine which freaking part goes where was enough to make me cringe. I'm thrilled because I now have the overly clean, overly prepped house all to myself while Alex is off gaming, can watch bad tv, take a bath, and be well rested for the fun tomorrow.

House photos, party photos, and more to follow shortly!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ode to a Nicole Brown

Flanges? WTF are flanges? And where the hell is the hitchpin?

I don't see anything that looks like that. I'll just go outside and
dig through the trash to see if it's still in the box...
You mix up another round of drinks.

True Friend
- (n) Someone who doesn't ask questions when you ask to borrow her propane tank and simply hauls it across the street and stands by as you try to figure out why your dad's ancient grill that's been uncovered outside through four winters won't work. She then proceeds to look only mildly terrified as you try to light what can be described as a questionable gas line, at best.

This true friend then doesn't complain as she hauls the propane tank back to her house, gets changed, helps you load a ton of stuff in your car, and goes off to Lowes at 730pm on a Tuesday to buy a grill. Then when you realize you also need to hit the grocery store, she just comes along for the ride and thinks its no big deal. And then when you arrive at your house, this friend not only helps you clean the dishes after dinner but also shows her handy side — helping you put together a bench and a grill while drinking screwdrivers and weathering the taunts of "That's what she said" from the peanut gallery of significant others across the room.

I love this girl. You really couldn't ask for a better friend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Puppy Creeping

You know how most couples go to dinner and a movie for date night? Well, we're not like most couples. We like to go to dinner, have some nice conversation, head over to the local PetKare, and creep on the puppies.

This all started in the apartment because it would have been an awful idea to try to own a dog while living there. So we would go over to PetKare where they now know us by sight, and hang out with the puppies to get our fix for a little while.
(We have to switch to the Newark location every so often to make sure they don't ban us).

Since we moved it's been really busy, so we haven't been "creeping" recently. Then Logan came and spent the night with us. Having a dog in the house reminded me of how much I want one. So this weekend after dinner, back to PetKare we went to see the extremely cute bulldog above.

Here's some photos of Logan's overnight at our place. Nicole and Matt were having an overnight too, so it was a rabble rousing good time.

It's occurred to me that I've sort of made puppy creeping a sport among my friends. In the world of Delaware celebrity puppy creeping, here's a few of my favorite guest appearances.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Annie And Alex Dot Com

So, our wedding website is up. Being a perfectionist, I hate it because it's not our colors, it's crowded, and I can't add more than 20 pictures. I'm actually doing a different version of it that should be available to view tomorrow or Friday at the latest. The updated site will include additions like a page about the bridal party, registries, and tons more photo albums with all the important family and friends.

Here's a few screen shots of the current site, as it will disappear once the new one loads.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Two Generations of Beatles Fan Girls

So for those of you who heard me yap about it all summer, or alternately read
my dramatic interpretation of how I came to have tickets, l did finally get to the Paul McCartney concert. Of course it was right before vacation, so I haven't had time to write about it until now.

First off, let me start by saying it was
A-MAZ-ING. There really is no way to describe what an experience it was to see Sir Paul rocking out on stage. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see him as a Beatle back in the day because I acted like a total fangirl for the 68-year-old version. Speaking of which, Sir Paul is still quite dashing.

Alright, we couldn't see him quite that clearly except on the giant monitors, but here we are at our seats in section 106, directly across the Wachovia Center or Wells-Fargo or Core or whatever the hell they're calling it these days.

So as far as the show goes, I cannot believe how hard Sir Paul still rocks it. The man is the definition of a rock star. To start, he never took a break. He played a 30 song set with NO BREAK. He chatted up the audience. He did a few slow numbers to pace himself. But he never once stopped. And on top of the 30 song set, he did two encores. Three songs in the first one and four in the second.

Here's the rundown of what they played:

1. Venus And Mars/Rock Show
2. Jet
3. All My Loving
4. Letting Go
5. Drive My Car
6. Highway (The Fireman cover)
7. Let Me Roll It / Foxy Lady (Jimi Hendrix cover)
8. The Long and Winding Road
9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
10. Let 'Em In
11. My Love
12. I've Just Seen a Face
13. And I Love Her
14. Blackbird
15. Here Today
16. Dance Tonight
17. Mrs Vandebilt
18. Eleanor Rigby
19. Ram On
20. Something
21. Sing the Changes (The Fireman cover)
22. Band on the Run
23. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
24. Back in the U.S.S.R.
25. I've Got a Feeling
26. Paperback Writer
27. A Day in the Life / Give Peace A Chance
28. Let It Be
29. Live and Let Die
30. Hey Jude


31. Day Tripper
32. Lady Madonna
33. Get Back

Encore 2:

34. Yesterday
35. Helter Skelter
36. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
37. The End Play Video

All of it was fantastic, but as a rule I like the Beatles tunes more than the Wings and solo stuff. It's impossible to say which was my favorite, but there were a variety of emotional moments. "All My Loving" threw me back to my 13th birthday with Katie Kerr and my family dancing on stage at Three Little Bakers to 1964 The Tribute. "I've Just Seen a Face" makes me think of my first anniversary with Alex because we watched Across the Universe for the first time, and he sang it for weeks on end after that. The ridiculously cool ukulele version of "Something" was really beautiful and moving. We got to hear Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da in concert, which Paul mentioned they haven't played in years. My Mom and I danced to that one. And of course "Hey Jude" will forever be a tearjerker because one of my last memories of my Dad is sitting with him, my mom, and Alex at the Rain show at the DuPont Theatre singing along.

Besides Sir Paul himself, the band was fantastic. The drummer was especially charismatic, and showed off his dance moves (including the sprinkler) during the show. It was really fun to watch everyone interact on stage. You could really tell that they were into it. In addition to chemistry onstage, it seemed like they were really into the crowd as well. Paul even read some of the signs in the crowd. We watched this girl get to go up on stage and get her back signed — after which she promptly when and got it permanently tattooed on. The best part is, this story made the papers around the world. This particular website is for a British paper that I read pretty frequently when I was over there.

In addition to signing random fans and bantering with the audience, Paul also let us know that it had been exactly 45 years to the day since The Beatles had played at Shea Stadium for the very first time. And interestingly enough both our concert and the Shea Stadium appearance fell on a Sunday.

The next day at work was a little rough, but I wore my brand new fan gear and somehow managed to make it through. Being a little tired was more than worth it to get to take my Mom to see one of our mutual musical idols and get to be complete Beatles nerds together. How many people can say that they have the same favorite band as their Mom? I think we both just have good taste.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bridesmaids Dresses

I've finally settled on bridesmaids dresses now that Robin and I have seen them in person. Jenna picked the designer, Bill Levkoff. I picked the fabric and color. Chiffon (but not the cheap looking kind) and a slightly brighter than navy blue. I like these better than a lot of the other bridesmaid dresses out there because they don't look cheap, I tried one on and they actually fit, and there's a variety of styles, so my girls can choose one that is flattering and comfortable for them.

Here's some of my favorites from the line, all of which are strapless with straps that can be added. Visit to see all of the different choices in navy blue, if you don't happen to be a strapless fan or can't see the details in these small images.