Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What it Means to be Married

There’s some exciting news on the Porcupine front. For starters, Mr. P got a new job (wahoo!). It's a better position for his long-term goals, IN the city (he was working in a different borough), and much better hours/he'll actually get national holidays off.

One of the most interesting comments I think he got when he put in his resignation was, “are you sure you want to do this now? You’re about to get married.”

It got me thinking what some people think “married” means. Does it mean staying in a stable job and turning down other opportunities for the sake of a guaranteed paycheck? Is it really still the norm for a man to stay at a job for the sole purpose of “providing for his family?” When you take a step back from that whole “about to get married thing,” Mr. P and I are only 26 years old. We have no children. We have no mortgage. We have no real debt except for my college loans. Even though I sometimes have no idea how I got to my mid-20s, we’re for the most part still at the beginning of our careers. If you’ve already “made it” at 26 (Mark Zuckerberg, *grumble, grumble*), that’s pretty awesome, but like most we’re still climbing the ladder and figuring it out. So, if we don’t take chances now, when will we?

I would never tell Mr. P to stay at a job just for the paycheck. As I mentioned before, Mr. P was the bread winner for awhile (but not always), so yes, it’s a little bit scary- that vast unknown of a new job, but in the long run it’s for the better. I’ve definitely learned in life that there are no guarantees. No job, no paycheck, no sum of money in the bank is promised to you tomorrow. If money is what makes you, it will certainly break you. And, if you don't take chances, you'll always be in a state of "buhhhh."

Mr. P still has many goals he wants to accomplish. For one, he wanted to get into the industry his new job is in. So, yes he’ll be back at bottom of the totem pole, but how else would he break into a new industry? At some point he will be going back for his MBA, so that will change-up things yet again. There probably will not be a set constant for the next 5 or so years of our life except for the fact that we’ll be husband and wife.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole getting engaged and married period of life is that the illusion that married people are “settled” is completely old school. Maybe if we got married at 35 or 40, we would have it more figured out, but the cards didn’t pan out that way. It’ll be nice to know that as we both figure out this weird world, we’ll have each other. And, I think that’s the point.

Did you or your significant other go through a job change right before getting married?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mail Merge Mania

Mail merge was the bane of my existence this weekend. I know it might seem ridiculous that a computer-savvy(ish) person from the computer generation who has worked in an office-setting for 5+ years (ew, really?) didn’t know how to use mail merge already- but- er… I didn’t?

I knew immediately this would be an annoying freaking task, mostly because many things involving Excel/Word give me a migraine. I somehow ALWAYS miss one teeny little thing in a formula or miss a measly step in a step-by-step guide, therefore screwing myself over, shouting into the computer’s ear-less face, and having to start over.

Let me start by saying we decided not to pay for a calligrapher, and decided to go with making clear labels for the envelopes for a few lame reasons. One, I could not justify the cost of paying someone to write pretty on my envelopes when that envelope is going to end up right in the trash. I wish I could justify it because I love all things pretty paper/stationary/swirly handwriting, but I come from a world where I could never see the value in it. Two, I was going to attempt some form of calligraphy, but when I sent Mr. P a cell-phone photo of my grandest attempt, he responded (and I quote), “it looks like my 6 year old cousin wrote that.” Um, thanks. Negative five points for him! And, lastly, I am the Queen of Procrastination and we are short on time here people!

Anywho, Mr. P and I headed over to my parents after work on Friday night (since our printer has a horrendous tick- literally. It should seek medical attention or get tossed out the window.) I had e-mailed myself my Excel grid of addresses, sat down in front of Word, and brought up the step-by-step directions in the help guide. I can’t give you clearer instruction than what Mr. Microsoft himself provides. The instructions are pretty decent. But, here are a few of my fails to avoid.


  1. My Excel grid had RIDICULOUS spaces that I made for my own brain’s logic. IE: It made no sense to have those spaces there. So, I had to delete EVERY SINGLE space in my Excel grid from hell. So, do not have ANY spaces between any rows or columns.
  2. I was smart enough to make separate columns for every necessary field. For instance “Name,” “Address,” “City,” yada, yada. You get the deal. BUT, do NOT forget to make the ZIP CODE column formatted for ZIP CODES. I left this as “General” like a FOOL, and somehow in the first attempt at merging it turned half the zip codes into numbers like this: 1.34.35093.54093.03490. THAT IS NOT A ZIP CODE!! So, I had to start anew (from the whole deleting of spaces step).
  3. Buy the right labels. Yea, my labels were too god damn small. 20 to a sheet. The font was the size of a baby tadpole. So, back to Staples we went.
  4. When you think it’s too hard, you’re making it too hard. It’s actually quite easy. Don’t read too much into the instructions (like I did at first).
  5. Do it on a Mac if you can. I have a Mac. But somehow in my idiocy I thought it would make more sense to use a Microsoft product on a PC as the computer lords intended. I went home to fiddle with mail merge again (since we couldn’t print that night because of the label sizing issue) and, bam, it worked in 9 seconds thanks to Mail Merge Manager. Why do I ever try to defy Mac? Mac knows all and laughs in the face of PCs.
  6. Check your ink. Because, yes, that’s right folks, with three pages of labels to go we ran out of ink.
In all reality, mail merge is not difficult. For those who already know how to do it for years, you are probably chuckling at my spaztastic problems. The instructions make it pretty simplistic so it’s really nothing to sweat over. Just make sure your guest list is crisp and ready. That is the only place you will falter.

And, yes, the invitations are ALMOST out and ready for their reveal!

Are you a mail merge pro? Did anyone else learn mail merge for the sake of labeling their invitations?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's Ketubah Time!

One of the things I put on the backburner is our ketubah. For those unfamiliar, a ketubah, in essence, is a Jewish marriage contract. It’s the religious equivalent of that marriage license you wait on line for at city hall. Bonus points for there being no line to get this one!

With the invention of that thing called the interwebs there are now something along the lines of 209,323,095 resources available to find and purchase ketubahs. There are tons of variations done by many different types of artists.

There’s the traditional:
Image via Ketubah.com
The modern:
Image via Ketubah.com
 Image via Ketubah.com

The amount of options out there can be really overwhelming. You can commission an artist to make a ketubah or choose from readily available designs on a multitude of websites. Our Rabbi recommended a few websites he prefers working with. We decided to focus on one site, Ketubah.com, and narrow down our choices from there. There are just too many options otherwise, and it got a little bit overwhelming skimming all the different websites.

To start, I had NO clue how expensive ketubahs are! I don't think my brain processed that it's the equivalent to buying a piece of customized art. We are so grateful that one of Mr. Porcupine’s Uncles and Aunts generously offered to gift us our ketubah as our wedding present. Otherwise, I would be sitting down with crayons and construction paper!

We looked through pretty much every single design before coming down to two choices.

Image via Ketubah.com
We loved the trees and bright blues

Image via Ketubah.com
Mr. P liked how the two people turned into waves of color. I though they looked a little bit creepy.

It was far easier choosing the wording of our ketubah. A simple drop down menu next to the artwork shows a list of variations of how the text will read. We skimmed through the four different Reform options, and went with the least religious one.

You are my best friend, my hopes and future, my strength, my soulmate. Standing proudly beside you, in your eyes I see my love, and in your heart I see my dreams, and in our promise I see a union, true and steadfast, uniquely devoted to compassion, kindness and sincerity."
- A piece of our chosen Ketubah text via ketubah.com

We love how it speaks more about friendship than God. Even though we identify as being Jewish, I’ve mentioned that we do not see ourselves as religious people.

We spent a few days mulling it over. (Mostly I was having more wedding-avoidance and catching up on the Real Housewives). We eventually decided to go with the blue tree option.

Image via Ketubah.com

The process of purchasing the ketubah was extremely simple even though, at first, it seemed a little daunting with all the choices and drop down menus. After typing in our credit card information, we were asked to fill in the English portion of our ketubah (simply our names, wedding location, and wedding date). Our ketubah will be printed in both English and Hebrew. We then had the option to try our hand at filling in the Hebrew portion. We both declined to test that out (especially since I have no Hebrew knowledge whatsoever), and proceeded onto the next step, which forwards everything onto our Rabbi to fill-in/approve.

Easy peasy. One more task -that I never even thought would be a task- crossed off the list.

What style of ketubah appeals to you the most? Did you purchase a ketubah (or other religious paraphernalia) off the internet?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's not a wedding without some DRAMZ

People change and it sucks.

My philosophy on this has been to say, oh well, que sera. But, things get fishy when the person who is changing is someone you asked to be a bridesmaid.

She doesn’t know about this blog, but even if she did there’s absolutely nothing I could say here that she doesn’t already know or I haven’t already said to her. Hence my reasoning for writing about this out in the open instead of anonymously. I’m a pretty open person, and I’m sure there are a few of you battling a similar issue. So, no, I’m not trying to hang out my dirty laundry to dry, but I have no problem getting REAL.

When I asked this friend to be a bridesmaid, what feels like a century ago, I had no reason to think that things would change so drastically. I’ve known this particular bridesmaid- let’s call her “Mia” (for M.I.A. that is)- since high school. We stayed close through college and post-college, but somewhere between my engagement and hers things shifted.

Shortly before I got engaged Mia moved in with a new boyfriend and promptly disappeared off the planet. Yes, she was a busy person with work, a new relationship, and grad school, but I noticed a drastic change. There were no more dinner meet-ups or movie dates. Plans were broken more and more frequently, and phone calls dwindled. Yes, I’m guilty too. In her pull-back I’m sure I got annoyed and stopped extending invites. Then she got engaged, and although I was happy for her I soon learned that her wedding was going to happen the same day as my college suitemate’s (which I had already marked off on my calendar for quite some time). Even tougher she asked me to be a bridesmaid. Whose wedding was more important to me?

Without getting into too much personal detail, after not being included whatsoever in any wedding stuff (therefore I didn’t even feel like a bridesmaid), I will abbreviate what happened next by calling it “the shiz.” The shiz hit the fan, and I had a total change of heart. I no longer could completely justify missing my college suitemate’s wedding for Mia’s after the shiz went down. I was conflicted on where I wanted to be that day, and I still had a few months to go before the invites would go out. A combination of being pissed off, upset, confused, annoyed, etc. made me write a long email detailing how I felt after months of thought (literally, months). I express myself better in words than speech. I followed up with a phone call, and then more shiz hit the fan that delayed the conversation from happening. Mia then claimed she never received said-email, and I was forced to explain everything over the phone. I was nice, and my point was simply, “At this moment in time I can’t say whose wedding I need to attend, so I don’t think it’s right for me to commit to being a bridesmaid. I’m really sorry if you’re hurt, but obviously a lot has changed lately. If you don’t feel comfortable being a bridesmaid in my wedding, let me know, I understand.”

We have played text and phone-tag since. It’s been a month now without a word, and well, my wedding is something like 2 months away. I need an answer one way or the other. I really need her to pick up the phone when I call or respond to a text. Yes, she’s probably mad at this point. But, I’m mad too. So, who is rightfully mad? There’s no black or white answer.

I know it’s hard to gage a story when you leave out a huge block of information, but regardless “the shiz” that went down is irrelevant to the big picture. It involved years of build-up and back-story that are unrelated to the issue at hand, which is, where does one go from here when they have a bridesmaid in limbo? Do I chalk it up to her bowing out, and if she shows, she shows?

Has anyone else had a convoluted bridesmaid drama situation?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Minute Details- The Final Countdown

Yes, I am still planning a wedding.

The holiday season zipped on by, and now I am sitting here with UNDER 90 days to go until our wedding. I’m not sure how this happened, and sadly I am still in a stagnant with the detail planning. Everything is in limbo right now. Invitations are sitting in a pile on our desk, the guest list is touched up and ready to get printed onto labels, I have a list a mile long of little incidentals that need to be ordered/created, there is a plan of action for the chalkboard frames, and my first dress fitting is approaching in a few weeks. I am anxiously awaiting some of the fun parts of wedding planning to roll out. But, yet, here I sit in limbo. Limbo is my hell (haha, limbo...hell, get it?) I digress...

Other than that, there are only about 200 things going on at once in our lives. More on all that later. For now I give you the one single task I was able to accomplish in the past few weeks. (Slow, lame bride).

In between my three actual work days between Christmas and New Years, I made a vow to actually get wedding stuff done. I really thought I could kick start my DVR-induced brain into crafting. I quickly remembered why I prefer throwing my money at Etsy instead of doing any actual crafts. On the to-do list was purchasing chalkboard frame-making supplies and a cork board for our guest “book,” which I’ve decided will be a cloth-covered cork board that I’ll have our guests thumb tack messages onto.

While strolling through the aisles of Michael’s post-Christmas, I had instant flashbacks to my sorority crafting days, and how, well… no one ever wanted me to craft with them. I have craft-induced rage. Obviously Michael’s had absolutely nothing I was looking for, because I am convinced all chain-stores in NYC lack the ability to keep stock of anything, and have no desire to hire people who can keep their damn stores organized (no joke, the holy angels sing when I go to the Wal-Marts, Targets, and Home Depots of NJ or PA or ANY state really that is not in NYC). Regardless, I did leave with one item that I found about two seconds after stepping foot into the store.

Our card box.

Yup, that’s it, folks. A giant faux-book that is in actuality a box with peacocks on it. DONE and doner. I contemplated a few different ideas for the card box, but it dawned on me to just buy it and move along, because WHO the HELL is going to remember my card box in up-teen years? Yes, there are some really cute DIY card boxes out there, bird cages, vintage milk boxes, hat boxes made of tin foil, spice racks from 1947, ETCETERA. But, at the end of the day, I’m better off just accomplishing a task and being done with it instead of obsessing when there are bigger fish to fry.

Did you make any impulse “get this DONE” purchases at the end of your planning?