Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer


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Colorado/New Mexico Trip, May 2015

Chapter 1

The Bridal Shower

Usually the trip is to attend the Santa Fe Century, held this year on May 17th. It involves a 6 hour car ride from Castle Rock to Santa Fe.   Coincidentally, May 17th was also the date of the bridal shower of Larry and Angie’s daughter Andrea. I don’t know about you, but when I think bridal shower I think BORING. This was not the case by far. The invitation was so graphically busy it almost gave me a headache. With it were instructions to buy panties to bring to the party. Huh? I wasn’t very clear on that part, but made a note to myself to remind me to get some and bring a silly hat.

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Angie, being Angie, made all the decorations, whipping them up seemingly out of thin air. Huge tissue paper flowers, tiny fabric hearts, balloons, a tasteful clothesline for the panties with clothespins sporting cute fabric bows. Angie is a whiz with a glue gun. She found a tiny hat made of silver glitter for me and set about decorating it with the plush headband I brought and playing cards to match the mad hatter theme.

I didn’t know what to do about the panties. The instructions merely said, “Please bring an unwrapped pair of panties that reflect YOUR personality.” Were they for her? For me? So off I went to our local Macy’s that has the best lingerie department in the universe, all items attractively priced. I looked at lace panties in all different colors. I looked at thongs as tiny as q-tips.   I looked at Spanx as comfortable as sausage casings. I finally chose panties representative of my personality and that of the ladies in the land of my dear State: leopard print size XXXL. The endearing label indicating symbols for “good muffin/bad muffin” caught my eye and further swayed my vote. On the way home I swung by the Party Store and snagged a cute headband sporting plush multi colored candles with a cardboard sign that read “Happy Birthday” that I figured Angie and I could doctor for the occasion.

Ok, hat done, panties done, next gift, then outfit. When it comes to bridal showers, in particular ones where I only know the bride to be and maybe her mother, I believe in 2 things: 1) make a grand entrance 2) bring a big gift. Another life tenet I hold dear is that every girl, at least once in her life, needs to receive a present in the form of an enormous box from Tiffany’s. I decided to do all 3.

My go to gift at Tiffany’s for really good friends and very close family is The Refresher Set. Years ago it was attractively priced (ho ho have they caught on!) and the customer service is impeccable. Having completely forgotten to purchase it to ensure delivery in time for the shower I called them up and spoke to a representative who treated me like a long lost friend. She waived the shipping as if it was a pesky nuisance and it arrived, with printed gift card and enormous blue bag to put it in at Angie’s house within 3 days! Considering how much the shipping would have cost for the huge box, no less within 3 days, it made the gift attractively priced (at least in my math, Bill is still having problems with my logic.)

What better way to show off that big robin’s egg blue box with the tasteful black text than a matching cocktail dress? My robin’s egg blue cocktail dress from Brooks Brothers doesn’t get out much, in fact it’s probably vintage by now. Mainly because it’s a size 8 and I tend to fit in it for about an hour every 10 years. Luckily this was my hour and year! To accent same I wore Via Spiga sandals (a favorite of character Lula in Janet Evanovich– another Jersey girl!! novels) in lime green sporting heels so high my little toes stuck out and clung to the sides for dear life as if to scream, “we’re going down!!!” Add to this a cute little rubber woven bag accented with fake crab apples, and blue crystal with silver bamboo earrings purchased in the early 1980’s at Love Saves The Day (it’s location recently blown to smithereens in a gas explosion.)

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Thus armed and garbed we set off for the shower. It was held in a lovely stately home in an established community with HORSES in the YARDS. My kind of place. The hostesses were Allie and Kate, a mother daughter duo, Kate being married to Angie’s son/Andrea’s brother Tyler. We helped arrange heart shaped sandwiches as Kate banged them out and arrange and decorate the table. I, the only one not used to altitude, was given the task of blowing up balloons, like a drunk trying to pass a breathalyzer test.

Suddenly the door burst open and in charged a herd of extremely tall, thin, gorgeous, loud, filly-legged girls in very short dresses, very high heels and big tall hats (as if they needed them, the rats.) I turned to Allie and said, “I am old, short, and fat.” She replied, “I feel like a midget.” Enter Andrea’s friends. They whirled around hugging, kissing, whipping up punches and piling food high before Andrea’s arrival.

It was a wild time of eating, laughing, drinking and clowning. It turns out the panties were supposed to be for Andrea (I think for her honeymoon) and she had to guess who gave them to her. Now I’m a Jersey Girl and I’m used to seeing certain types of undergarments, but some of those panties, I do not lie, made me blush. In some cases I wasn’t even sure how they were supposed to be worn except to be thrown on the floor at the foot of a bed. It did my heart good that my panties were the first ones she chose and she didn’t guess they were from me. 😀

She received mostly very racy lingerie as gifts and I felt like the dusty old aunt giving her the practical gift (but in the big blue box!)  She opened it last and was a bit at a loss for words. I cheered up mightily when she texted Angie a picture the next day of all the girls and hubby to be toasting the impending nuptials using the set!

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Going on “Vacation”

Am I the only one who feels like preparing to go on vacation is like deploying troops overseas to invade a foreign country?  There is just so much to do!  All the work on one’s desk must be done and in a good place so that someone can keep it going while away or to pick up seamlessly the moment one returns.   It also doesn’t hurt if the work supposed to be done while away got done in advance so that sweet vacation state of mind can last a few days after the plane lands.  And that’s just the work (take a look at my other blog to see what I mean on that front.)

Forget about “work” work, let’s talk about the house.  There are the pets.  Pet sitters need to be lined up.  Instructions drawn up, calendars scribbled on, emergency contact info printed out, food supplied, guest rooms cleaned.  If one uses a service as we do, several e mails fly around the ethernet.  There has to be enough cat and dog food and treats, and is the dog limping, and why is the cat sneezing?  Oh and the phone call about Buddy- his feet need trimming and they need a check by Thursday, and have you lined up people to ride and exercise him while you’re away?

There are the services that need to be suspended.  The mail, newspapers and cleaning service.  Mountains of laundry must be done to have the widest selection of clothing for packing.  There are instructions for the handyman who will work unsupervised, so that list better be hyper specific.  Bills must be paid and mailed and checks need to be left here and there.  Family must be contacted so they don’t call the cops to break down the door if we don’t return their call for a few days.  Oh and I forgot to write thank you cards for my birthday!   The a/c system must be tested and working.  Ditto for the watering system.    For some reason I just had to have the guest room rug cleaned and those damn curtains washed and ironed in that room lest the sitter have trouble breathing or something dreadful.  Certain things need to be put away, like filthy muck boots, helmets and other assorted dirty tack lying around in conspicuous places.

If you’re anything like me you need to drag out 3/4 of your closet, stuff it into a suitcase then change your mind, drag it all out, repack, then have doubts and do it again.  I always need to take something that just doesn’t fit anywhere or is totally unnecessary but oh wouldn’t it be so cool if I brought it with me!  OMG.  Plus the house needs to be SPOTLESS.  It needs to be ready for a photo shoot.  It needs to be spic and span and wonderful and sparkling in case God forbid something tragic happens and we don’t return.  I want to make a good impression on whoever has to come and sort out my personal effects.

Let’s not even talk about the trip.  When traveling with my husband the word “vacation” is a euphemism for “a life threatening event.”  My husband is not happy unless my life is passing before my eyes.  We can’t go to the beach.  We need to go sailing along reefs in high winds.  We can’t walk in the woods.  We need to ride single track on mountain bikes.  We can’t go to Europe unless it’s on a bike going straight up the Alps.  We once went to Tennessee where after the 9th mile of going uphill I turned around in misery only to discover that the only thing worse than going uphill for 9 miles is going downhill for 9 miles.  (someday I’ll tell you about that trip.)

This trip will be slightly different.  Yes biking is involved.  But this time no organized ride for the ladies.  Angie and Larry, who are hosting us in Colorado and going with us to Santa Fe have a daughter who has had the presence of mind to throw her bridal shower on race day.  Too bad, us girls will just have to get all dressed up and stand around with a piece of cake in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other instead of peeing in port a johns and eating power bars in the middle of the God forsaken desert, avoiding snakes and tumble weeds.  Jesus wept.

Gotta go pack and repack, more from the road.  Adios amigos!