After sporting a red-hot flushed look and days of peeling, my face looks great. It’s not perfect, but I’ve suffered from acne scarring and hyperpigmentation for as long as I can remember that even minor changes make me thrilled. After that first painful chemical peel which I vowed never to do again, I’m definitely going to eat my words. I’m pretty religious about using hydroquinone, sunscreen, and the Skinceuticals skincare line so I know they help, but the chemical peel worked aggressively and quickly. The esthetician told me to return in two weeks, but that timeframe is too soon for me. I think one more chemical peel before the wedding and I’ll be picture perfect.
Yesterday, Dean said that a friend of his was coming and to not bother with whether or not the RSVP card comes in. Today, my mom said to make a note in my spreadsheet that both my parents and two sets of aunts and uncles would also be coming. ”You don’t need the RSVP card. This email is fine.”
No, it’s not fine. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was so hard. You don’t have to put a postage stamp on the damned thing. You don’t have to pickup the phone and tell me. You don’t even have to go to an Evite website and mark your attendance. Letting me know whether or not you are coming means dropping off a postcard at your nearest mailbox. Not even your nearest post office, but the nearest blue box. They’re practically on every single corner here in the Financial District.
I made it very clear. No postcard means you’re not coming. If you can’t be bothered to drop it off, I can’t be bothered to spend $150 on you. Simple enough.
I thought it was going to be so easy. I made an appointment online and paid the $93 fee so we could pickup our marriage license from City Hall at 3:30pm yesterday. Dean said hello to former supervisor Aaron Peskin as he walked by. We got in line at the County Clerk office and filled out the form. Perfectly routine. Until the clerk asked, “Not filling out this section means you’re keeping your name. Is that right?”
I nodded, praying that Dean wouldn’t hear or understand her Chinese accent. We had never resolved this issue and I hadn’t considered it would come up. Right then and there. Duh, this is our marriage license. Of course it’s going to come up. But it had completely slipped my mind. Simple routine paperwork, right?
I could see the hurt in Dean’s eyes. ”At least hyphenate it.”
I started hyperventilating. I pleaded with the clerk. ”Can I keep my name the way it is and change it later?”
She didn’t help. ”It costs at least $350-400 to change it later. You might as well do it now if you’re going to change it. It’s free.”
I hyphenated my last name very reluctantly. I felt like I’d carved off a piece of myself and gave it away there at the Office of the County Clerk. I didn’t speak on the way home. My eyes watered. My name is everything to me. I got two degrees with this name. I’m published under this name. I needed some time alone.
When I got home, the fighting began. A soon-to-be-married couple hurling point after counterpoint.
“You are a woman. You take the man’s name. I’m sorry you’re not a man so you can keep your name, but that’s just the way it is.”
“Oh yeah. Explain that to the legions of women I know who’ve kept their name. That’s just the way it is. Sure, right.”
“You have no idea. How am I going to explain to my family and friends that you didn’t even fully take my name. Hyphenating it. How do I sell that to them?”
“Sell? What do you mean by ‘sell that to them?’ How hard is it to sell the fact that I’m accomplished, respectable, that I’m here to support you. Wow, I didn’t realize it was so hard to do!”
“Do you care about us as a family? As a unit? Then deal with it.”
“Well I did hyphenate it so you’re welcome!”
Tell me, people. Is married life easier or harder than this shit. For anyone who thinks planning a committed life together is all ribbons and cupcakes, I’m here to write the honest truth amidst the wedding planning. Truths that most people will never talk about. But we are a real couple with real issues. And that is…true love.
A friend of mine who I’d trust with my life has been away on sabbatical to Europe and Asia. She’s the kind of person who would figure out how to perform open-heart surgery, make you home-cooked meals, and have them shipped directly to you in the Maldives where she planned your recovery getaway. She finally returned from vacation and sent this email. It made my heart sing. All my wedding stress is now gone.
“YEEEEEEHAW!!! So psyched! I am going to finalize my London trip today and then booking tix to PSP ASAP, book hotels, etc. CANNOT WAIT!!! I was going to offer to you, if you need any help at all – ANY HELP – lemme know. You know I am a planner extraganzer, plus I am an unemployed bum right now with plenty of time on my hands! I’ve never been to PSP before, so I will likely head down a few days early to explore and get my gay fix, so I can also help with last minute errands, whatever! You know I am a jack of all trades and can knit, sew, hot glue gun, you name it! I can seriously help wherever and whenever you need help, even if I’m doing it from London. SERIOSO!”
What a happy Monday of holy week. I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by amazing friends.
I have decided that there is nothing funner in this world than playing games. During my bridal party weekend, we stayed up until the wee hours playing Taboo, Apples to Apples, and Celebrity. I think the majority of us said that it was our favorite part of the weekend. If someone asked me what my favorite memory was from Burning Man 2009, I’d say it was playing Apples to Apples circled around a campfire. Keep in mind that I spend almost two weeks in the desert. So to say that I most treasured the night that my campmates threw down a bunch of cards and knocked back a few drinks is pretty friggin amazing. This past Friday night, a couple came over and we started playing charades. It was completely out of the blue and a total blast, jumping up and down, pointing, and murmuring non-words to our partners. Everyone should institute regular game nights with their family and friends. I can’t think of anything better in life.
I’m very proud of the fact that I was raised Catholic, I’m still a practicing Catholic, and I support the Catholic church. I liken it to my pride in being an American-born citizen. While I’m proud of these things, that does not make me blind to wrongdoing. I am extremely disgusted by the ongoing scandal of sexual abuse across Catholic churches worldwide. When I hear reports of clergy taking advantage of young boys, getting “treated,” then getting placed in another parish where the pedophilia continues, each time I scream, “Damn those mother fucking priests. Damn you Pope Benedict. Damn you to fucking hell.”
I truly believe that this continues to be a problem because the Catholic church is reluctant to change. Can the church get a clue? Really? I mean, get a fucking clue. Priests should be allowed to marry. Priests should be women. Priests can be gay. Priests should be whoever God created them to be and God surely did not create them to be pedophiles! It is not natural to abstain from sex. Priests can love and fully serve their parish community and still be married. Yes! What a concept. Pope Benedict, before you get assassinated, can you please do us a favor. Gather your ‘yes-men’ together for a very important Vatican conference and make some fucking changes! The sexual abuse has got to stop.
I am in more pain now than I was when the esthetician applied the chemicals in the medical office. As expected, 48 hours later, I started peeling. Another 8 hours later, I was in full-peel mode. My face was one big mask of dark brown skin ready to flake off. When I took a shower, layers of dermis shed as I wiped my hands across my face. I’m still flaking, but my face has a fever. It’s very tender and pink. I don’t want to be in the sun. Even putting soothing lotion and sunscreen on my face makes me wince. While I think I’ll be pleased with the results (hyperpigmentation be gone!), I’m pretty sure I won’t be a repeat chemical peel customer. For those of you who have had plastic surgery, not sure how you can stand it. I can’t even deal with a little bit of tenderness.
We have officially moved into our new home. The great thing about moving up two flights of stairs in the same apartment complex is that you don’t have to call all your friends, entice them with beer and pizza, walk to and from your car with boxes, load up the car, unload the car, and then go up and down stairs to drop your box into the appropriate room. We moved all of our stuff over the course of two nights. No boxes to unpack. Almost completely moved in.
Going from a studio to a one-bedroom is really weird. I kinda get lost with all the rooms and storage space. We have two walk-in closets and several more storage areas. We don’t have crap to put in those crannies. I told Dean we can finally get a vacuum, but he hates vacuums so I guess we’ll keep swiffering.
I’m so used to knowing exactly where Dean is at all times. I know when he’s in the kitchen or the bathroom. Now, I’m like, “Where’d you go? I don’t hear you or see you.” It’s very odd.
With the wedding a little over two months away, I figured it’s time to really get aggressive on my ugly face. Sadly, almost all of the top-rated estheticians never called me back. If they did call me back, they’d leave a message saying, “Tell me the best time to reach you.” Gawd, don’t these people have receptionists? I don’t know how these people run their businesses playing phone tag. One of the medical spas that actually answered the phone is conveniently located a few blocks away from work. Bingo!
When I went in for my consultation, the esthetician advised against the IPL (intense pulsed light) service that they’re known for. She said we could get the same result with a few (probably two) chemical peels. Did I want to do one right then and there? Ugh, I guess, ok. Ahhh, I need my mommy.
The esthetician cleaned my face, applied the chemical peel, put a fan up to my face for five minutes, applied more chemicals, then fanned me again. Two minutes into the chemical process, my face started burning. She asked if I was doing ok. ”On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being intense pain, how do you feel?” I told her it felt like a 6 or 7. She said the pain would subside in a minute.
I had to ask. ”Have you ever had anyone tell you they couldn’t stand the pain and to take it off?”
“Nope. Chalk it up to what women do for beauty, huh?”
My face is supposed to peel 48 hours after the treatment and will continue to peel for 2-4 days. Then one more chemical peel in two weeks. This is the most aggressive I’ve gotten with my face. I don’t really do facials. I don’t think they really help. I don’t need to pay someone $75-125 to wash and massage my friggin face. If I do, I’ll do one every 18 months just for the extractions. We’ll see if this works. I’m curious to see how unpleasant my face will look with all the peeling.
There’s only so much a skinny girl can take.
When my friend’s wife asked, “Are you going to lose weight for the wedding?” I took three deep breaths, then smiled and pretended I didn’t hear her. I chalked up her extreme faux pas to sleep deprivation. She just had a baby. First time mommies need a break. I get it. She’s a sleep-deprived, retarded mother. I let that one slide.
But today, a coworker gawked when I retrieved my Lean Cuisine from the microwave. ”I see you eating those every day. Seems so unhealthy.” We went on to debate the merits of my daily Lean Cuisines versus her daily homemade salads. Now these were similar sentiments expressed recently by my friends so I’m quite used to the conversation.
Me: This takes me four minutes to radiate.
Her: My salad takes about the same amount of time.
Me: Mine costs $2.50.
Her: Mine is probably the same amount since we do grocery shopping at Costco.
Me: Mine doesn’t spoil.
Her: We use up all our groceries. Nothing goes to waste. Oh Catherine, you should try cooking. It’s not that hard and it’s so much better for you.
Now listen up. I don’t go telling people how they should live their lives. So why is this such a debate? Just because I’m unconventional, everyone’s gotta get in my business. I don’t cook, capice? If salads and home-cooked meals are so HEALTHY, why are all those people FATTER than me? The coworker in the kitchen? She’s got a whole lot of cushion for her hubby’s pushin. Yeah, lady, keep up those daily zero calorie salads. That oughta help you out.
I weigh the same weight that I did when I donned my graduation cap and gown…in high school! That’s 17 years ago. What 34-year-old can say that they weigh the same as they did when they posed for their first driver’s license?
If you’re thinking the reason I’m skinny is because I only eat Lean Cuisines, that is untrue. I am the vending machine’s best customer. Fritos, Dorritos, Cheetos…bring it. In restaurants, I always ask for the most caloric thing on the menu. Don’t forget the french fries. I gorge on weekends. I eat whenever I’m hungry. I do not starve myself. I do not diet. Mark my words, I also do not exercise. The more I eat, the more weight I lose. Trip to NYC? Came home a few pounds lighter. Weekend in wine country? Lost two pounds.
This paragraph from People.com about Dancing with the Stars sums it up. ”Leading up to Monday’s season premiere, Cheryl Burke and Chad Ochocinco rehearsed in Miami, where he lives. ‘It was like being with the President,’ Burke joked of the time she spent on the Cincinnati Bengal’s home turf. ‘He’s the king of Miami. People stopped their cars to say hello. He drives around in these very bright, extravagant cars and he has a great life there.’ But his McDonald’s-heavy diet, Burke says, defies the odds. ‘I don’t know how he has a 12-pack,’ she says. ‘Seriously, he eats there every single day. Meanwhile I’m at the salad shop next door.’
I like frozen food for the logistical simplicity and the unbeatable price. I am not unhealthy. My future children will not starve. I’ll never cook, but this skinny girl is happy to take your leftovers. In the mean time, pass the Lean Cuisine.