Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dream (Gown) Come True

The saga of the dress continues. . .

The dress of Em’s dreams was larger than Em – much larger. Say, five sizes.
Seamstress #1 said the alteration could be done – but not by her – she was a costumer (from Em’s theatre group at college, about 100 miles away). But maybe  seamstress #2 – about 50 more miles away - could do it.
I was beginning to get worried. If seamstress #2 reneged, this must-have gown could have been headed for an eBay auction -not that I have anything against eBay! But that wasn’t the marry-tale ending I wanted for the dress of Em’s dreams. It had too much of a settling-for-second-best feel to it. Fine for, let’s say, a rent-a-car, but not the raiment of the bride.
Seamstress number # 2 recognized what was at stake.  Jenn couldn't wait to get her hands on the gown.

“Sometimes I get an idea and am up at three in the morning, pinning and sewing,” she said as cousin Rachel and I oohed and aahed  at her progress at yesterday’s fitting.  The gown will travel back from Lowell with us in a few weeks. From the looks of its perfect fit on Em, there’s just the hem to do.
Jenn's  middle-of-the-night comment led me to imagine her, in the wee hours of the night, restless, until she gets the picture in her head to appear on the headless mannequin form before her. The vision brought me back to a scene in Disney’s Cinderella, mice and birdies singing in a turret as they assemble Cinderella’s dress for the ball the way Jenn has reassembled Em’s dress for the wedding. Since, for the time being, I’m bound to secrecy on the picture-perfect image of Em’s gown, Cinderella's remake will have to do.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Heat Wave

Record-breaking heat in these parts lately.
103 degrees in the shade yesterday.
No stagnant air factor at work here. One that would make it feel hotter than it is - just like when a wind chill factor can make 19 degrees feel like 2 below. (I only added that part about the wind chill to try to make me feel cooler. Didn’t work.)
No, the 103 is a true blue – or should I say red hot - never-been-reached-in Connecticut -on- July 22 temperature. More of the same is expected today, July 23.
JULY 23!
 How can that be? Where is this summer (that didn’t feel like a summer till a couple of weeks ago – and now feels like a pizza oven) where is it going?
For me, there’s only one answer to that question. Day by day, it’s getting closer and closer to Em and Ry’s wedding, now only  77 days away.
I remember at just about 777 days, when they got engaged two years ago. That was the easy theoretical talking-wedding  stage.

                     It’ll be a country setting . There’s a horse farm they’re looking at.

At about 700 days a barn was reserved (sans horses). If you don’t book the barn of choice a couple of years in advance, you don’t get the barn of choice.  
Then the next couple of hundred days got us through no-pressure brainstorming and lots of conversations that ended with Oh but we don’t have to decide that now.

The next couple of hundred days we had to start deciding - wedding dress, seamstress, guest list …
The next couple - fare, guest accommodations, décor, photographer…
Now there is no next couple of hundred days. Not even 100.
And I find myself thinking – the heat is on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mail Order (Mother of the) Bride

When the package appeared on my porch, I still pretty much doubted my fashion mission - accomplished - with an eBay order. A 12” X 14” priority-mail box doesn’t exactly emit MOTB gown-worthiness through its cardboard. The 10” X 12” plastic bag of merchandise inside the official USPS parcel evoked even greater hesitancy. This is probably going back I thought as I scissored a careful slit through the see-through wrapping, careful not to damage the goods (or not-so-goods) inside.
I unfolded a brown mass of chiffon out of the bag. Deep brown and deeply wrinkled - from packaging. Yet, on a hanger the dress fell into a long line that had – let me say – possibilities. This mail order wasn’t a wash – yet.
I hooked the rather crumpled garment onto a hanger and set it  behind the bathroom door. Took a shower. Emerged, myself, slightly wrinkled. The dress, however, seemed to have ironed itself out in the steamy after-bath. The thin pleats above the slightly raised waist of the dress, straightened. The flow of the A-line skirt below the pleats, softened. Nice hanger presentation, I had to admit.
But a perfectly-engineered standard hanger and the imperfect construction of my torso are vastly different display apparatus. Still dubious, I donned appropriate undergarments.
Appropriate undergarments, in my mind, were my best undies. Not any kind of upper corset or lower girdle that would allow the dress to fit like casing over a sausage. I wanted a gown that would comfortably fit over everyday (er) foundations and allow for easy  (er) execution of everyday (ahem) functions.I 'd heard too many horror stories about breath-constricting zip ups and impossible zip-downs from MOTB’s I have known.
I gathered  the skirt  and put my head into the circle of its hem, up through to the deep V-neck of the garment. The bodice set firmly against my upper body. The bottom seemed to float over me from the waist down. Hmmmmmm. 
But the gown hadn’t passed the zipper test yet. Until it did, I thought it best to err on the side of doubt  as I reached back to the pull tab and raised it from hip . .  to waist . . . to mid back . . . to . . . BINGO . . .   the top stop. 

 Then I turned my back toward  the mirror.Metal teeth meshed smoothly.  I turned again . Viewed classic lines.  Tasteful décolletage.
This garment – with tags that affirmed its Tadashi Shoji design, not to mention its full price, slashed to half price, slashed to eBay price – this gown was a keeper.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let the Buyer Research

I had my doubts about the eBay  Mother-of-the-Bride dress I happened upon, but the ad guaranteed quick delivery and no greater risk than the cost of return postage. This was nowhere near the gamble taken on by the way too patient bride-to-be I had read about. She spent two months waiting for a wedding dress from ‘China Nation’ on eBay (cost: 170 pounds --  $275 U.S currency) I would have cancelled the order after a week or so and hustled to the local bridal shop. Her eBay buy  finally arrived two weeks before her wedding – wrong size, cut, material, the beading patchy and peeling.  

He designed this MOTB's dress

Too bad the hapless bride of the misbegotten gown didn’t do the kind of online research that led me to her predicament. A search term as generic as “eBay gown complaints”  directed me to a general eBay warning to stay away from copies of British gowns made in China . My gown of interest, a never worn Tadashi Shoji  design -- tags included --  would be shipped out of Kansas. The  seller had good ratings. The eBay warning  site also offered a link to an Internet guide on how to spot a fake designer label.
After I found the designer carried in Nordstroms and Bloomingdale's and checked out celebrities in his gowns, I felt ready  to take the plunge as  deep as the (almost) off-the-shoulder neckline of his 2010 gown that caught my eye. When the package arrived, three days later, I wondered if my next blog would be a yay or nay.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Was I Under AdSense Arrest?

I went to post the eBay? No Way blog a couple of days ago and ran into a problem. With text completed in compose mode, ready to publish, I clicked preview.  The window popped up, but just white space filled the preview box. No print, no picture, no URL links – all of which I’d spent the early morning formatting on the compose screen. I tried preview again and again. After the third try I was certain I knew why the blog wasn’t appearing.

The AdSense police had  Mommy of the Bride under surveillance.
Which could  lead to Internet incarceration -  solitary confinement of to the place where all bad bad bloggers go – the no publishing zone.
I immediately began a defense in my head.
“I swear I didn’t click one ad. Honest Officer AdSense.
“Save your excuses for Judge Google,”  he’d reply. But that alone would not spare him my plea.
 “Sure I thought about it, But the nuns always said the thought wasn’t a sin. Just doing it was.”
“Doing what?” he’d ask. I’d caught his attention.
“Clicking.” Not the answer he’d hoped for.
“Tell it to the Judge.”
I pictured the judge would look like Columbo, in a crumpled gown.
So I’d go on to tell the judge how I only speculated about clicking my own blog ads. I’d own up to a sudden jump in ad activity after the AdSense Nonsense blog. A show of family support I suspect. And yes, I’d apologize, if he thought the title of my post – a bit rude. I meant no disrespect. The Nonsense could just as well refer to my rambling – as to Adsense absurdities.
 If Judge Google bought that, I’d go on to mention how any sweet and understanding top-of-the-heap Google law enforcer like himself (who I pictured dressed Columbo – like in a crumpled black  robe, squinting his eyes as I spoke),  how that wise-as-Solomon kind of  judge could certainly understand why I had used the official Google AdSense logo as the banner for that entry. It looked so pretty and went along with the blogspot  suggestion to  add an eye-catching visual to every entry . Then, in one long breath I’d begin to say , “What’s  a blogging MOTB to do? Especially one who’s  trying to break the mold of  MOTB  blogs that just copy and paste stuff out of, or”  I’d get a quick sniffle in before I’d continue, through the same breath, to explain, “I'm only trying to tell the story of my only daughter’s wedding." Or maybe  my daughter’s only wedding would sound more convincing. Or only daughter’s only wedding.
And then, after patiently listeningl to whatever I had decided to say,  Judge Google would rub his forehead in true Columbo fashion – and say. . . 
What would he say?  I continued to wonder as I scanned my Google Account details for some sort of warrant of Internet Arrest until I finally found an alert from Blogger headquarters. Something that would probably kick me off the Internet for life.
I half-closed my eyes, clicked the alert, and forced myself to read:
English to Hindi transliteration is not working since 07-July-2011. The font symbol " " which earlier used to appear is missing now. It’s a global  problem ALL users are facing same. We are working on solving the problem. Thank you for your patience.
Until the Hindi symbol    could appear again, I would not be able to post a new entry.
The Hindi font symbol soon became visible , along with those  that allow me to write:

वर-वधू के माँ के एकांत में नही  

In other words, the Mommy of the Bride is not in solitary confinement.


Friday, July 8, 2011

eBay? No way!

I tore a do-not-detach-under-penalty-of-law tag off a recently purchased throw pillow.
Nothing happened.
Then I went back to my Saying Yes to the Dresses blog from weeks ago, expecting to find Mother- of-the-Bride dress ads alongside it. The ads I wasn't supposed to click.
This  wedding gown ad was all that appeared.
This had replaced the MOTB gown ads
Apparently blog ads are moveable feasts of consumerism. Here one day. Replaced by a new round of come-ons the next. Serendipity perhaps. At least I’d remain Adsense worthy.

But I was in the mood. The online shopping mood. No worries about running into friends in my workout clothes and  messy hair. No dressing rooms. No one’s opinion but my own at this early stage of the mother-gown quest.
I am not a shop-till-I-drop consumer. I like to save time - and money . With this in mind my Google search for Petite Mother of the Bride gowns began.

I started with the predictable links that appeared:
·         Petite Gowns: Shop Petite Dresses By Size & Style Free Shipping on Orders Over $200!   

There were a few possibilities here. Too few. All of them black. Too black. I clicked the next website.
·     Karen Miller mother of the bride dresses. Ursula petite, plus size mother of the bride, groom, formal special occasion dresses, Nataya bridesmaid, wedding dress
This batch featured slim, horizontally pleated silouettes - too unforgiving for my pear-shaped dimensions. I tried another online store..
·         Mother of the Bride & Groom Dresses, Custom Mother Dresses . . . Custom-made fashionable and high quality Mother of The Bride Dresses with the lowest prices.
Too build-a-bear-ish for me.
This went on, site after site, until

·    Mother of the Bride Dresses eBay:Petite Mother of the Bride Dresses: Tadashi Shoji Flowing Chocolate Silk Gown Dress 8P New with tags.


eBay? No way! I thought. But the more I repeated no way in my head, as I perused the site, the more it began to sound like no, wait, and then no wait just one gosh darn minute as a checklist popped into my head.

      Flattering lines

Could this bear of a bargain be just right?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

AdSense Nonsense

Blogging  about the year that leads up to Em and Ry's wedding has been a joy - with one exception. I have had to refrain from clicking the ads that appear on the sidebar of the blog. That’s because each click would send a few cents (and I do mean a few) my way. Blog advertising is meant to attract the readers (not the bloggers)  to products and services. The small print in the Google AdSense agreement says that if I click click here and  click click there -- on my blog --  I could get in quick quick blogosphere trouble.
No big deal I thought four months ago when the ads started to appear. I’m basically a rule follower. For every deduction on my income tax I’ve got a receipt filed  - somewhere.  I will drive up to a red light at midnight, not a soul or sedan in sight, and  still stop. (Notice I didn’t say anything about speed limits.) And I never tear the Do not remove under penalty of law tag off a pillow I've bought. My bemused visitors eventually take the  tag matter into their own hands.
At first, Thou shalt not click the wedding blog ads wasn’t a difficult commandment to keep. After I’d write an entry about the pretty country setting Em and Ry have chosen for their big day, the side bar would fill with advertisements. One for The Lord Thompson Manor in central Connecticut promised “ Romantic Wedding Receptions.” The rustic Connecticut National Country Club  in Putnam, CT professed  to be “the ultimate setting for a perfect reception”. More information on these and  the rest of the promos in the ad column was just a click away. But I wasn’t even tempted by these ads because Em and Ry had already found the penultimate setting for their wedding at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills in Middletown. Same was true for photographer and videographer ads, florists, and deejays. Em and Ry's bridal production kept one step ahead of those advertising parades. Choices already made. Contracts already signed.
But then came the supreme test of my moral ad-clicking fiber. The day I posted the Saying Yes to the Dresses entry the sidebar filled with Mother of the Bride dress sites.  I hadn’t shopped for my frock yet. I immediately felt like a sugar-craving diabetic locked in a candy shop.   What was a rule-following MOTB to do?
For the time being, I found a pillow I had just bought and ripped off the do-not-detach-by-penalty-of-law tag. Just to see how it felt.