If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?

Quick recap:  My sister is getting married next month.  In the year that she’s been engaged, she has become a self-consumed bridezilla.  My parents are also eating, sleeping and breathing the wedding.  I’ve been avoiding the fam because I’m over it.  I’m over it because she’s a self-consumed bridezilla, there are more important things in life and my feelings are hurt because she asked her best friend to be her maid of honor over me (I’m a bridesmaid).  Got it?  Good.  Moving on.

Yesterday, I got an email (an email?!) from my sister asking if I would be willing to/comfortable/okay with giving a toast at the blessed event. I sat on it for a while because, well, that’s a duty for the maid of honor.  She even mentioned in the email that the best man was giving the other toast. 

Finally, I responded that I had believed I was off the hook for the speech, but if the MOH had declined, I’d be fine to give one. 

She responded that the MOH would be okay to give one or not, but her preference was that I give the toast. Well…maybe she should have thought of that when she was selecting her attendants.

I said fine.  I’m not sure I meant it.  Obviously, she’s not my favorite person right now.  I’m concerned I won’t have anything heartfelt to say. 

I’m concerned the uncomfortable emotions I’ve been feeling toward her and my family and the event will be overwhelming on the big day.  I am already embarrassed that I’m standing up as a bridesmaid and I’m concerned I’m going to feel embarrassed getting up to speak for my sister who didn’t want me to be her MOH.

On the flip side, I’m concerned if I DON’T do it, I’ll regret missing the once-in-a-lifetime (?) opportunity to toast my sister on her wedding day.

She asked because the venue needed to know, so I feel like it’s a time-sensitive issue (because heaven forbid you ask the DJ to change the announcement with anything less than two weeks notice), but I can’t figure out the right answer.  If I change my mind, I imagine she’ll be more upset about the fact that I’m messing up the plans than concerned that I’m hurting.  Maybe that’s enough to decide right there.

What would you do?

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When Tact is Not an Option

I’m getting better at standing in my financial truth and saying no when I don’t have money to spend or that I want to spend.  But what do you do when it’s your family?  And what it, even though your future brother-in-law just ended a stint of unemployment, you’re still the poor one? 

Sometimes I just want a man, not to be an emotional support, an activity partner and to give it to me on the reg, but simply to share the damn bills. 

We’re celebrating Father’s Day early (today) so my sis can celebrate the actual day with hubby’s family and after I suggested something active, three somethings active to be exact, she decided we’re indoor kart racing.  Apparently there are “head socks” involved and I have to wear closed toed shoes?  WTF?  It’s 100 degrees outside woman!

I get that my dad’s a boy and for one or two days a year, we do boy things to make him feel better about having been trapped in an otherwise all-female house for 20 years of his life, but this is not my thing.  It’s especially not my thing for $56 for essentially 30 minutes of play. 

But, that’s the activity and I don’t feel comfortable telling them that I would rather choose not to afford it.  But I guess that’s what you do for family. 

I even sucked it up and threw my hat in the ring to help plan my sister’s pre-wedding events, which will likely not be cheap either.  When she initially spilled that I wasn’t the maid of honor, I kind of took a giant leap back and, like a kid picked last for kickball, pretended I didn’t really want to play anyway.  New plans included NOT planning showers and parties and YES getting drunk at the wedding because I didn’t have to worry about giving a speech.

Her reason for not asking me to be her MOH was that she didn’t think her BFF and actual MOH would do anything, which A. makes no sense and B. is totally what’s happening. 

After a dress shopping trip a few months ago, the MOH said she wanted to talk about details for the shower because she had been planning it.  We all leaned in, ready to get down to it.  “I think we should have it at a winery.”  That was it.  Way to plan, MOH, way to plan.

For a while I thought I could sit back and be okay with that.  It’s not my job after all.  My sister even kind of brushed off the idea of a bachelorette party based on the pregnancy of the other bridesmaid, but who doesn’t want at least some occasion to celebrate? 

Even though I’m realizing I’m more hurt by her behavior in the past few years than I previously thought, I couldn’t let the wedding come and go without giving her the proper pomp and circumstance around the whole thing.  She’s my sister. 

So I jumped in and asked about plans and based on the fact that three days have passed without a peep in this constantly connected world, I feel like I might be taking it over.  But, I guess that’s what you do for family. 

And now that I’m in charge, I’m going to call it a hen night or maybe a stagette, because both are waaaay cuter.

UPDATE:  My wonderful mother paid for kart racing and I crashed under a wall three laps in.  Then I helped pay for dinner.

Trying For Tact

Can we all agree that it’s tacky to talk about money?  Well, except on a blog where, thank the Lord, we can say anything we want!  But, you know, in like, real life, I try to avoid it.  I am actually getting better at saying no to things that are unnecessary drains on my bank account without actually giving that as the reason. 
 
I partially do that by keeping myself busy with free events.  I mean, I guess I could lie about having something else going on, but it’s just as good to actually have something else going on, then I’m not lying (I’m not that great of a liar), not bored and less likely to give in out of boredom.
 
Just this month, I’m taking free yoga classes, celebrating the birthday of a trendy ice cream shop with free ice cream, going to see a movie with free passes, going to a free bikes for dummies clinic, volunteering, donating blood and participating in a free running event at a local running store. I kinda have a knack for finding free shit and get a kick out of it.  I don’t want financial responsibility to keep me locked inside my apartment. 
 
However, when someone invites me to something a few months away and then makes the date flexible to my schedule, it’s a little harder to be tactful in my response. 
 
MOH to bridesmaids:  “Hey, can we move the bridal shower to this Sunday in September instead of the Saturday we had talked about before?” 
 
My first response:  “I most likely won’t make it unfortunately.” 
 
MOH: “Oh, no! If we kept it on Saturday would you be able to make it?”
 
My second response:  “What I meant is, I most likely can’t make it either way.  Don’t plan around me, just do what works for everyone else and I’ll make it if I can!” 
 
MOH:  “Is there a weekend you can make it?” 
 
My third response (I may or may not have actually said some – or all – of this):  “Listen lady, I’m not going to clean out my bank account for a shower.  It’s not a drive across town for me.  Maybe if I get a second job or a raise between now and then and can’t find anything better to spend my money on, like, food or bills or things that I want to do, I’ll fly out to have a tea party with old ladies.  Do you understand what I’m saying now?” 
 
And she did.
 
I was kind of proud of myself for not including “if I find a sugar daddy” in the list of ways I’d be able to go to the shower. 
 
My freebie-seeking college kid lifestyle may not be the most luxurious life, but it’s the life I can afford on my own right now. 

E-Fund S.O.S.

I have been doing pretty well on my emergency fund recently.  It’s not fully funded, but it’s comfortable.  March has certainly been a test of that. 

A check up at the dentist in February turned into a three-phase follow up and my insurance covers some, but definitely not all. 

A safety recall on my car turned into a complete overhaul.  Okay, not complete, but the list of things they found wrong was immense!  It was all stuff I knew needed to be fixed and had it on my list but never got around to (my future husband and my father both just rolled their eyes).  It was convenient to just take care of it all at once while I got to drive a fun, little Jetta around for the day, but taking on the cost all at once was not fun.  At all.

A few years ago, even though I had the money, I would have put it on credit cards so I didn’t have to think about it all coming out of my account at once.  But now, instead of freaking out about these expenses, I reminded myself that this is what the emergency fund is for, transferred the money into my checking account and paid it like a big girl.

Okay, maybe I freaked out a little.  I thought about how I could pull back on my spending to pump up what I’m contributing to get the e-fund back on track, thoughts of a second job flooded my brain.

But, I took a calming breath, reminded myself, again, that’s what it’s there for, so that I don’t have to disrupt my monthly budget.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I dipped into it, so even though I had two “emergencies” this month, it doesn’t mean I’ll keep having them.

I also had a bit of a freak out when my second bride and the few bridesmaids she had in tow picked a dress that costs more than any dress, let alone a bridesmaid’s dress you’ll wear once, should and more than I had budgeted for.  However, I smiled, said, “whatever the bride wants,” and forked over the first half for the down-payment while reminding myself that that’s what the wedding fund is for and the $30 that it went over what I budgeted just means I’ll sit out a round or two at the bachelorette party.

Without these focused funds, I’d probably still have the same amount in savings, but putting it aside and labeling its purpose really helps me a lot.  And that’s what they’re there for!

My family should think before they speak.

Quotes of the weekend:

My dad to me:
“Well, I don’t know how she can stand to be around YOU.”
In context, truthful.  Out of context, ROO!

My sister to her bridesmaids (well, the two who are NOT already knocked up):
“Keep your legs together until the wedding, ladies.”
If she were kidding, funny.  She’s not = bridezilla.

And in other wedding news, we ordered dresses yesterday and I’m an eight.  I know they’re sized “big,” but I definitely cringed at that one.  AND, I saw this ad yesterday…

I don’t even know what it is, but Kristen Wiig + Maya Rudolph + Melissa McCarthy + John Hamm = I’m in!

The What-What

Update: My non-boyfriend Facebook boyfriend let the request hang for about 24 hours before figuring it out and changing his status back.  I feel bad for him, but seriously, dude, tread lightly when it comes to Facebook relationships. 

I’ve got a lot of reading to do this weekend if I want to get off to a good start with my resolution of one fiction and one non-fiction book per month (it WAS the first one on the list after all).  I’m 3/4 of the way through Racing Weight and about 30 pages into Jodi Picoult’s Handle With Care. How about we just call it 12 of each for the year?

People with children have no boundaries.  My boss did not think twice about giving me the detailed play-by-play of how his two boys handled having the flu all week.  And someday I will likely do the same to my poor, unsuspecting coworkers.

I’m wanderlusting big time.  Belize is on the top of my list.  Well, was, and then this week, I saw this.  Maybe Europe.  And although I’m bummed that it probably won’t be 2011, that doesn’t mean it can’t be January 2012!

This weekend is the first bridesmaids dress shopping adventure with Bridezilla my sister.  Direct quote from an email I JUST got from her: “My dress is HERE! There will be many more times I will need to go in for fittings [ed. note: lies…she measured a perfect size 2 and I imagine it will fit like a dream] so this is to try it on just because I CAN!” I’m sorry, I get that she’s excited (and that I will likely be just as obnoxious when it’s MY turn), but is it October yet?  In other wedding news, my other October bride is a dream, but I think two of the bridesmaids are going to throw down before the big day.

My first half-marathon is tomorrow!  My long run a few weeks ago took me over the distance of the race, so I should be fine, but it also left me with a knee injury and I haven’t been training as much as I’d have liked in the past two weeks.  The doubting voices in my head have a few other things to say as well, but in 21 hours I’m going to shut them up and hit the pavement.

That will probably be the last mention of wellness and running here because I’m posting on that over at my new wellness blog!  The one I kinda skimmed over here.  It is my second attempt at a public blog (my last one bombed because it didn’t have a focus).  I’m struggling with keeping one anon and one public blog and building readership of both.  If anyone has tips, I’d love to hear them!  And if anyone would like to continue to read about my fitness adventures and kitchen mishaps, email me at emjaye [at] ymail [dot] com and I will be glad to send you the link!

I’m staying at my parents’ house over the weekend because they are closer to the race and to the dress shop and civilization in general.  And because they’re out of town.  And I’m totally having a party.  Well, not really.  I’m on the fence about asking my ArtWalk guy over to make dinner (date #2 was not as great as that first one) or inviting some friends over for a game night.  Yeah, I’m 26, but it still feels like I’m breaking the rules!

Oh yeah, and I need advice about ArtWalk guy.  When do you call an attempted relationship off?  There are no red flags, just a lackluster date, but the first was good!  Do we try again in a different environment?