Sunday, February 10, 2019

How to Be Fancy

“Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life”

Wow. It's been a looooonnnng time since I blogged.

I guess I should be embarrassed, but it's not like I was doing this to make a lot of money and quit my job. So, I think I'll stick to the "My Blog, My Schedule" party line. 


I'll give you a quick rundown of the last 18 months, then get to business about what I really want to share. Here it goes:

  • I changed jobs again. It was scary and not planned, and I sure learned a lot about shady people in the process. 
  • God had me in His hands the whole time I went through the shady-people part. 
  • My new job is awesome! And the shady people... well.... you reap what you sow. 
  • My crazy diseases and treatments are my new normal, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of them.  
  • Steroids made me quite the chunky monkey. My 2019 has to include weight loss!!
  • Billy and his wife had a baby girl, so now I'm a grandmother! (WHAT? I know!!!)
  • We are months away from being empty nesters, and I'm sad.

Now...... about fancy parties at *cough* almost 50 *cough*.

This is my blog to help all the girls who are still young enough to think that getting ready for a ball is glamorous and who feel like they are falling short every time it isn't. This is for those who are sad, because they thought you wake up, get your hair and nails done, then go home to sit at your vanity with your powder puff in a fancy robe. For those who envisioned your husband clasping your necklace as you gaze lovingly into each others' eyes before leaving for an amazing evening of perfect food and entertainment.

It's ok. We all lived under that delusion in our 20s and 30s too. And now, I'm here for you. 

I'm willing to expose the truth to help you feel better about scrambling to get out the door with your kids eating macaroni and cheese, your babysitter wrangling the crying ones, and your not-so-fancy jacket and jewelry in your hand. Don't fret over not having a picture perfect preparation time. It's ok. I promise. And I haven't hit the age when it changes.... so settle in for a story.

Yesterday was Symphony Ball. The yearly event where all mothers and fathers of the Symphony Belles and Beau dress up and take their precious darlings to presentation. Nothing is better than seeing your darling senior in high school dressed up and having fun at a fancy party. And, once you get there, it's a great night. Getting there.....for me... not so much. It's not glamorous. It's not even a LITTLE bit glamorous. It's downright comical in my house. There are two phases to it: style and preparation.

As I mentioned above, I've been getting diseases under control. Even if I hadn't been, I'd still be fighting gravity and age. So the mere thought of having to put my body in a formal dress is enough to make me want to puke. Thankfully, I have great friends, and one offered me shopping privileges in her closet. That kept me from having to go spend money on a dress I won't wear again. She had 3 beautiful dresses that I took home to compare. Whew. One issue handled...... 10 days prior to the ball. Yep. That's right. TEN DAYS, people. (See ladies? There was no shopping trip where we drank champagne and tried on 40 dresses. Reality.....we're all lucky if we find something to wear the week prior. And that is ok.)

I fully intended to get a manicure and pedicure at some point prior to the ball. I even left work early on Friday thinking I'd go do it. But it just didn't happen. I ran out of time and energy, so I was left with my boring nails and toes that haven't seen a bottle of polish or an exfoliation since before Christmas. Closed-toed shoes were my only option. Thankfully, I have some that would go with any of the dressed I would wear. So that part was settled too. (Again.. can't always get coifed the way you'd hope.)

So... for what it's worth.. my style was done. 

Yesterday I kept Zoey, my granddaughter. I also kept another baby whose parents are friends with Billy and Meg. Super fun day with a lot of diaper changing and bottle feeding. All of this in my loungy.. ok... PJ... clothes.

Everyone left my house at 4:50 pm. Kerry was at the shop working on the floor project he hadn't finished. I called him at 5:00 pm to ask where he was. Sadie hopped in the shower at 4:30 pm.

Plennnnttyyy of time to get ready for a ball.

No, really. Plenty.. I thought...

You're wondering what time the ball started, aren't you? It was 6:00 pm. Did I realize that when I set up my schedule? Nope... I thought we had till 7:00 pm. I didn't realize until mid-afternoon that we had to be there at 6:00 pm. 

Are you doing the math? Wondering if any of us were mostly ready beforehand? We weren't. (I definitely wasn't.) The kids walked out the door, and I walked to the bathroom. Oh - I heated up some leftover food and scarfed it down too. I knew they'd serve dinner, but I was starving. (And a friend of mine ate corn dogs beforehand. She said there was no way she could wait for dinner. That's reality, ladies. It's ok that you were eating your kids' mac n cheese. We've all been there.)

After drying my hair, carefully applying my makeup (that looked better than on an average day), I retired to the bedroom (that sounds better than ran) to get my accoutrement (aka undies and Spanx) on my fluffy body. As I'm struggling to put on the strapless bra I've only worn once, Sadie starts yelling out questions. By the time the bra is on, and I'm halfway wiggled into my Spanx, she joins me in the bedroom to discuss her hair. #facepalm 

I might have requested time to struggle all the way into the binding body wear ALONE and sent her out of the room. Because.... come on.... no one needs to watch that kind of struggle. At one point, I thought I might need some cooking spray or something to help make it easier.  I definitely needed to wipe my brow from all the perspiration. (See, ladies? Not glamorous. And I think it's worse the older you get because you have more to hide!)

I get the dress I'd planned to wear off the hanger, and enlisted the help of Kerry to zip it up. I didn't account for the bra that was a little beefier than my normal one, so the dress was a tad bit tighter around my boobs than I'd expected. And, while the theme was A Southern Affair, I didn't quite feel comfortable looking more like Anne Boleyn in the Hollywood version of her French-style Tudor dress. Not to mention, I still intended to eat later. So, off came that dress, and my number two dress became number one. (More on that later.) I was almost in tears and knew we had to get Sadie there ASAP to be ready for presentation. And I was still sweating...

Did I mention that I started all this at 4:50 pm? 

Sadie and I grabbed our jewelry and jacket/wrap, while Kerry grabbed the car keys and put the dogs in their kennels. We ran out the door to jump in the car as the glacially cold wind froze us to death, and I dug in my bag to find a lipstick that might make my chicken lips look not so skinny. We raced in the door while he parked the car.

This is the part where everyone pretends they've had a glorious, stress-free day of pampering, while the men make a bee line for the open bar to calm our nerves. Laughter, smiles and lots of uncomfortable shifting of Spanx. Oh... and judging. We can't forget the judging. We all size each other up and wish our dress was as pretty as so-and-so's dress. We all try to suck in just a little more, hide our wrinkles, and vow to not embarrass our kids like **fill in the blank**.

As you can see, younger versions of myself, it's not easy. It's not like the movies. And it's OKAY that it's real. That doesn't make it any less fun once you get there. It just makes the struggle part of the story. 

For just a few hours, we actually felt pretty glamorous. The presentation was beautiful. I got great pics of my handsome husband and beautiful daughter. Dinner, dancing, music and friends made it all worth the struggle leading up to it, and I almost forgot that one fatal poke of a sharp object could end in a canned-biscuit-type explosion around my midriff. 

We came home and changed into our WAY more comfortable pjs, and I woke this morning excited to see the fun pictures we'd taken with our friends. 

And then.... I realized it..... the dress I wore was NOT on my body as intended. I wore the dress wrong. ALL NIGHT LONG the dress I wore, the one with peekaboo shoulders......didn't have peekaboo shoulders. Because my arms were through the peekaboo part. Yep. I did it. 

Funny, right? Horrifying, yes? 


You're welcome. I just gave you the gift of "at least I didn't wear my dress wrong". 

Can you tell? Those arm holes? Yep... those are supposed to be shoulder holes.