Banks County Opinions...

APRIL 23, 2003


By: Rochelle Beckstine
The Banks County News
April 23, 2003

Lessons learned on the field of bridal showers
Don’t co-host a bridal shower with someone you’ve had two conversations with. Save yourself the anger, frustration and helplessness. It’s liable to keep you up nights, to fill your days with wonderings if purgatory would indeed be worse and to completely alienate someone you may very well have liked in different circumstances.
It started simply enough. My best friend Rachel, who will be a bride on May 24, has two best friends-one from her childhood and one from her adulthood. We are her bridesmaids and we both asked if we could throw her a shower nearly 10 months ago.
She asked if we would do it together and having met her friend on several occasions when we carried on normal conversations, I didn’t see the harm. I had co-hosted showers before, once with my best friend and twice with my sister-in-law. It should be about the same, I thought. Ten months older and much wiser, I recognize the difference, as I should have then — it isn’t as though it’s subtle.
We ironed everything out via email last October as she now lives in Boston, MA. We’re both planners so neither of us thought it was anal to plan a shower six months in advance. It seemed perfect. [And the Jaws theme song begins to play in my head.]
In January, we found out that the location we were going to rent for $50 was going to be closed for Easter holidays on the only day the other bridesmaid was willing to fly into town. That’s when she decided we were going to rent out a historic house and have tea and cookies in a stiff parlor. You know rather than choosing to fly into town on a different day, which I suggested; it isn’t as though the flight tickets had been bought.
So the stiff parlor shower was what we were going to host because that was the kind of shower she had when she got married and why would anyone want anything homier with games and laughs and loud voices? With a guest list of 30 people, each of us would pay $250.
I nearly choked right before I balked. She went on and on about how much Rachel meant to her and how important it was for her to throw a really nice (i.e. expensive) shower for Rachel because Rachel deserved the best. And didn’t I care about Rachel, too? Didn’t I want her to have the best?
That’s when the steamrolling started. She called several other places and got two more people to chip in on the cost so it was down to $120 per person. To stop the emails and the phone calls and because I felt no one was really hearing me say that a more personal shower was what I had in mind, I agreed to the $120. That was on a Friday. Monday I had an email about a florist and how mush floral decorations were going to cost and I’d need to send a check.
And party favors for each of the thirty guests should cost only $140. And we needed to start thinking about invitations. That is to say, she would pick out the invitations and order them and then tell me how much money I owed her for that. I started to feel like someone who foots a quarter of the bill while she planned the shower.
I called Rachel and asked her to split the guest list. She stepped in and said we would hold it at her new house because that was what she wanted. After much protesting, the other bridesmaid agreed.
Then she wanted everything to go through committees and be presented to the board. And the floral arrangements would be this.
And the decorations that. There was about to be some hair pulling and eye scratching. I suggested we divvy up each part of the shower and each person cover and pay for what they said they would do. It worked. I covered food and my husband’s catering company did a brilliant job making everything so much fancier with lobster canapé and roma tomatoes stuffed with potato salad and so much more. There was enough food to feed 45 men and I’ll be eating potato salad for a week. It was much better than the cold salad the $16 a plate provided at the historic house.
It all came together despite what others said to the contrary and it was the most elegant shower I’ve ever attended with watermelon sculptures of a bride and groom and an apple carved into a bird. Yet all of her close friends were comfortable. Despite the success of the shower, after all of the comments and the emails and the pushiness, I don’t think I’ll ever be cordial friends with the other bridesmaid. And that’s the price of it all.
Rochelle Beckstine is a columnist for MainStreet Newspapers.

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By: Phillip Sartain
The Banks County News
April 23, 2003

Spring Break journal
PRELUDE: Spring Break is finally over and truth be known, it never really got started. In other words, it was doomed from day one. But the worst part is now you have to read about it — it’s uglier than you might think.
DAY ONE: As usual, we left town three hours late. But we took it as a good sign because we usually leave for all our trips four hours late. It was warm and the sun was shining so we ignored the weather report — something ridiculous about a storm front on the way.
DAY ONE AND A HALF: We made good progress toward the Gulf, due in part to fixing seventeen baloney sandwiches for the trip down. That way, we didn’t have to stop at a fast food Mecca and spend forty-five dollars on French fries. On the other hand, the two liter bottle of SuperFizz Grape Drink was probably a mistake. That much sugar probably explains why the kids lost complete control of themselves somewhere around the Georgia-Alabama state line. I had to use “The Warning” six times. When that didn’t work, I used “The Threat” — that’s where I threaten to sell them to the Goatman if they don’t behave. It worked for about an hour.
DAY TWO: We arrived late last night and quickly fell into a post work-related coma. Fortunately, the kids got up screaming at the crack of dawn so that we didn’t have to waste any time trying to get a full eight hours of sleep. It was cloudy early on, but the skies cleared just long enough for everyone to achieve the obligatory “red as a beet sunburn” in a little under an hour and a half — a new record for us. Then the clouds came back.
DAY THREE: This morning was a little disorienting. Part of it had to do with my eyelids being blistered from the previous day, but most of it was because of the fog. Actually, that’s a kind description. It was more like a heavy cloak of humid agony than fog. Visibility was so bad that even the seagulls were grounded.
DAY FOUR: Fortunately, the fog lifted. It was replaced by the monsoon. That’s a kind description. It was more like a heavy blanket of solid wet misery than a monsoon. After the first sixteen hours of nonstop rain, the kids started showing signs of the Cyclonic Meltdown of all time. So we decided to go the movies, along with a thousand other desperate looking parents. The greedheads at the theatre decided to hold an auction for the tickets. It was worse than eBay. We lost and went home. While the kids completed the meltdown cycle, we tried to fall into another coma.
DAY FIVE: Fortunately, the rain stopped. That allowed the cold front to finally move in — with thirty mile an hour winds and temperatures in the high forties all day. In an act of defiance, we roped ourselves together and determined to visit the beach. It looked like Antarctica — without the polar bears. The Department of Children Services stopped by in response to our complaint, but told us that they couldn’t take our children from us - not even for a couple of hours.
DAY SIX: Our rooms somehow got smaller over the last few days so that we were practically sitting on top of each other. No one could so much as breathe without a fight breaking out. In some ways, it made up for not having any blankets to keep us warm. Still, I called the management to complain, but all I got was a recording about how they were on vacation in the Bahamas and the weather was great. I ripped the phone out of the wall as my way of saying, “Wish you were here.”
DAY SEVEN: The sun came up early today, and it was 78 degrees by noon. Not a cloud in the entire western hemisphere. Everyone complained liked professionals about the trip and the ride home. It all cost a fortune and it was all wasted.
Fortunately, the Goatman cut me a deal on the kids.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.
The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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