Tapdancing On Eggshells

If one is officiating at a wedding, how does one say anything at all about marriage without sounding like one is calling out the four parents in the front row with six divorces between them?

“Marriage is a deep and important committment. You probably heard about that from your Dad’s new wife.”

“The union of two people is a remarkable and special thing. However temporary it may be. Right, Mrs. Bridesmom?”

“As you walk down the aisle to begin your new life together, as two people who have agreed to make a life, raise a family, and grow old togeCOULD YOU PLEASE STOP LAUGHING, FRONT ROW?”

“The kind of love that makes a marriage successful is is a rare gift. How rare? Christ, look behind you.”

“You may now kiss the bride. Try not to make eye contact with the front row when you do, lest you get the giggles.”

“Spending your life with another person takes a tremendous amount of effort and dedication. Mom, Dad, lookin’ at you here.”

The Natural

As of sometime this summer, I will officially have hit for the Wedding Cycle:

Usher (1)

Groomsman (3)

Emcee/Presenter (2)

Best Man (1)

and now, the final piece; the stand-up triple of the group:

On a summer date that is yet to be set in stone, I am going to officiate at the wedding of the bambina bellissima‘s excellent parents.

Yes, Again

Keyscast #5 is up, though only in full-episode form, which is going to annoy some of you. Though I wholeheartedly suggest listening to the whole thing, if you have your heart set on an Al-only edition, my part starts at about 27:30.

What It Takes To Get Along

As we have furnished the Dorm Room, I have been buying a lot of things that I haven’t bought in ten or fifteen years. I picture my informational memory as a sort of gigantic intracranial file of notecards, and it turns out a large number of them are wildly out of date. It started with home furnishings, and spiraled out of control. This has resulted in a redlined temper and a lot of crankiness. I have provided a sample below, not as an instruction list for a global price decrease — though I wouldn’t object — but that you might see my pain and sympathize with it.

What Things Cost According To My Mental Notecards

One gallon of 2% milk: $1.99

Ecomomy-model queen-size bed: $200

Cheap queen-size bed comforter: $19.99

Non-name-brand gymshoes: $20

6′ x 9′ area rug: $20. ($30 with desirable pattern or design.)

Music on physical storage media, purchased: $9.99

Movie on physical storage media, rented, one night: $2

Backpack, non-camping: $10 for a really nice one

Airfare, Chicago-Las Vegas, round trip, nonstop: $150-$175

Hotel room, cheap: $40/night

Hotel room, average: $60/night

Hotel room, swank: $90/night

Hotel room occupied by a wealthy person, say, Oprah Winfrey: $125/night

Use of hotel fitness club: Free

Fitness club membership, one month: $25-$40

Fitness club one-day pass: $5

Cable television, one month, basic: $25

Cable television, one month, with premium channels: $40

Pair of jeans: $12

Pair of dress pants: $15

Suit: $100

Haircut: $8 (plus tip)

Bottle cheap bourbon: $7

Bottle decent bourbon: $12

Credit card debt, low: $0

Credit card debt, reasonable: $1500

Credit card debt, average: $2000

Credit card debt, high: $4000

Credit card debt, crushing: $7500

Electric bill: $45/month

Telephone bill: $25/month

One-bedroom apartment, lousy: $500/month

One-bedroom apartment, average: $800/month

One-bedroom apartment, luxo: $1100/month

One-bedroom apartment rented by wealthy person, say, Michael Jordan: $1750/month

House payment, low: $1000/month

House payment, realistic: $1200/month

House payment, high: $1600/month

House payment of wealthy person, say, Bruce Springsteen: $2200/month

I realize that the preceding list is my first step on what promises to be a very brief journey into becoming an Old Person.

But it still had to be said.

Consarn it.

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

The March Madness Pool is open for registration. $20 buys you a solid three weeks of quality distraction from the world. Drop me a line if you’re interested.

Tomorrow: What Things Should Cost


March 1, 2006

0800: Arise. Peruse classifieds. Have sixteen hours to vacate present quarters. Motivated.

0859: Under the Defensible Margin-Of-Error clause in the Phone Decency Rule, begin dialing one minute prior to 9am. Arrange to see tiny apartment in Marathon. $800/month. Utilities included. Water view. Technically visible by clicking here.

0902: Depart Summerland Key abruptly, in the manner of the Batmobile.

0927: Look at apartment. It’s the size of a smallish hotel room, and features a freestanding refrigerator, new stove and cement floor. It’s very small.

0928: We offer to sign a lease. It is ours. Later discussions result in “The Dorm Room” narrowly edging “Former Congressman’s Private Cell at Federal Golf Prison” as a handle for the place.

1000: Fortified with celebratory con leches, we return to Summerland to begin packing.


1221: Lunch.

1222: Resume packing. Remember that laundry, after today, will not be free. Curse the inventor of coin-operated laundry facilities, and begin angrily separating white from colored.

1328: Load truck. Final tally: Two sets golf clubs, two bikes, three boxes, one cooler, four suitcases, two laptop bags, one briefcase, one steamer trunk, and two bags of warm-from-the-dryer clothes.

1358: Arrive back at the Dorm Room. Unload truck into empty room.

1446: Room now at 67% capacity. We sit down on chaise lounge outside and make list of “Needs”.

1500: “Needs” list, verbatim: (Comedy-related items in bold) Toilet paper, plates, mugs, garbage can, bed, towels, lamp, food, fridge thermometer, saran wrap, vodka.

1517: Offhand remark made while walking to car: “Jeez. This neighborhood is crawling with cats.” In the movie of my life, this remark will be accompanied by a chord indicating “ironic foreshadowing”.

1520: Groceries obtained and returned to Dorm Room. Slowness with which refrigerator is cooling down to food-storage safety zone noted, and incorrectly identified as “quirky” rather than the more accurate “ominous”. Relax, and begin unpacking.

1600: Realize with a start that there may be no bed stores open later than five. Begin frenzied effort to find futon in Marathon.

1607: Fred’s Beds — motto: “Selling faux-tropical furniture to rich visitors since 1987!” — recommended repeatedly by new landlord and neighbors. Fred’s cheapest futon: $399.

1610: “Furniture Now!” No futons.

1614: Island Furniture. No futons.

1618: Salvation Army. No futons.

1620: Marathon Beds & Furniture. Sign in window, 100-point type: “WE HAVE FUTONS!”. Despite posted business hours of 9am-7pm, store is closed.

1627: D’Asigns Home Decor. Futons aplenty. Frames carved from unicorn bone by unionized artisans, mattresses woven by hand from the hair of blonde angels. Prices available by appointment. At Sotheby’s.

1635: Salvation Army dumpster. No futons.

1640: Emergency team meeting. Subject: “Is It Worth Driving Seventy Miles To Super Wal-Mart To Save $300?” The board votes unanimously. The Tundra is pointed north, toward Florida City.

1800: Arrive Florida City. Hunger pangs soothed, pre-shopping, with Sonny’s Barbecue.

1850: Enter Florida City Super Wal-Mart, which is considerably bigger than the terminal at Key West International Airport. Seek futons.

1903: Manager of Furniture Section, who has names and dates tattooed on his neck, tells us that the reason we cannot find any futons is that “they must all be gone.” He recommends we wait around until 10pm, when they will unload the day’s two trucks. He does not promise that there will be a futon on them. If this man were an officious little floor twit at, say, Marshall Field’s, there would be an argument. However, because I cannot determine whether or not his neck memorializes beloved family members or successful drive-bys, I choose not to debate the issue of whether or not it is possible to determine what’s on the truck before the appointed offloading hour.

1910: On our way to the door, while discussing our hotel options and debating bagging the whole thing and moving back to Chicago, Honey bumps — literally — into a mid-aisle sale display: $99 futons.

1912: We get two carts: One for the futon, and one for: Two plates, two cups, two thermal coffee mugs, two forks, two knives, two spoons, One towel, one bathmat, one comforter, one fitted sheet, one Batman pillowcase, one Pyrex mixing bowl/casserole dish, one bamboo cutting board, two translucent plastic chests of drawers, one kitchen garbage can, one package scrubbing sponges, one bottle dish detergent, and one laundry hamper. We decide that we can each blow $25 on something nice for the Dorm Room, and split up.

1930: We meet at the registers. Added to the carts from the Honey side: One folding makeup table, one furry pillow to sit on at the makeup table, and one Gwen Stefani poster. I went off looking for inspiration, and I found this. On sale for $28. God, once again, has my back.

De-luxe Apartment Underground

In the span of yesterday, I found an apartment, signed a lease, packed everything I own south of Nashville, moved it all to the new place, unloaded the truck, and drove a hundred and fifty miles to buy a futon.

Today I rest.

Tomorrow I recap.