Wednesday, February 27, 2013

{engagements = introvert's worst nightmare}

So... we got engaged. That happened. :)
And then a week later we traveled to the east coast and visited family in what Tanner likes to call our "Engagement Tour 2013." It basically involved saying hello to five hundred people in ten days. Seriously.
Ok, not seriously, but it was pretty close. Between my family and friends in North Carolina and his family and friends in Georgia, we had a lot of people to see. And now we suddenly had a lot of people to break the big news to. I got very accustomed to holding out my left hand and saying, "ta-daaaaah!"I also got very accustomed to the question, "when is the wedding???"

A word of wisdom for those of you who have yet to get engaged: I recommend picking a date and a venue before announcing your engagement. It makes for much better conversation than just answering, "er.... uh.... we're not sure yet...." every time someone wants to know the exact details of the wedding that you just discovered was happening. I mean jeez, people. I'm pretty awesome, but even I can't throw a wedding together in five days! (That would be awesome, though, right? I could go into business! Wonder Woman Weddings! (c))

Yes, those are Christmas decorations. Yes, this picture was taken in February. No judging.

There were many "hello, how do you dos!" over the next few days, and many wedding stories swapped between friends. My favorite wedding story was from married couple that Tanner and I are good friends with. They had gotten married at the top of a mountain resort, and after the "I dos!" they snowboarded to the bottom of the run, wedding dress/ tux and all! They asked if we had planned anything yet for our wedding, to which we replied, "er.... uh.... we're not sure yet..." and then asked them how they managed it.
Maria said, "overall, it was pretty easy. I did most of it, but gave Nick one task."
"Which was?"
"Nick was in charge of the cake. So we had pie."

I told them that Tanner was very interested in helping with the planning, but his skills left much to be desired. So far he answered all of my questions with either "Harry Potter themed wedding" or "Georgia red."
"We can't have Georgia red as our wedding colors," I kept telling him.
"Why not?"
"Because what would it match?!"
"Everything else that's Georgia red!" Tanner said. "Obviously!"

(The colors will be green and brown, by the way. Let's not tell Tanner just yet.)

Then one day my mom and sister decided they wanted to take me wedding dress shopping. If there's one thing I'm sure of in this world, it's that wedding dress shopping is an introvert's own personal Hell. One attendant to wait on you in a small dressing room while you're wearing nothing but corset-like underwear and she helps you button up a 25 pound dress that you then must parade around on a spotlit stage? NO THANK YOU.
It didn't help that every time I came out on "stage" without a veil my mom would yell, "let's jack her up!!" which clearly means she's been watching too much Say Yes to the Dress.

But believe it or not, my inner diva did manage to make an appearance, and I started to enjoy myself. Every girl likes playing dress up, right? I just don't remember dress-up costing $1500... and who knew wedding dresses were so heavy? I mean, how are you supposed to dance in those things, really?

In between wedding dress shopping and eating out - no, really, we ate out at every meal... isn't that what you do when you visit home? Make plans for dinner? I was thinking of that Jim Gaffigan joke the entire time:
That's what vacation is - us eating someplace we haven't been. "Well, why don't we go eat something? Then we'll go get something to eat. Then we'll see that thing we were supposed to see... they probably have a snack bar, right? After that, we should probably get something to eat, though."
I never could eat my leftovers. It was kind of depressing if I had a good meal, because I knew I'd never get the chance to eat the rest of it. On the upside, my mom got a week's worth of great lunches out of it. On the downside, I think I gained five pounds in a week.

But anyway, in between wedding dress shopping and eating out, we visited favorite places in town and I found myself gravitating toward funky antique shops and thrift stores, subconsciously searching for vases and clever bits and pieces that I could turn into awesome DIY wedding decor. CRAFTIEST WEDDING EVER.

It's also slightly addicting to spend a million hours on Pinterest finding awesome wedding ideas. (Sigh) What's a girl to do?

After many delightful days surrounded by family and friends, we made the trek back to Oregon and started sharing the news in our small circle of friends out West, and to you, dear readers. And since I know you all have one burning question on your minds: "when is the wedding?!"

I can now say quite definitively: "er.... uh... we're not sure yet..."

Monday, February 25, 2013

{a surprise camping trip...}

Ok, remember when I said I love planning trips, and it makes me slightly crazy when Tanner tries to plan one without my help? Well, a few weeks ago he tried to surprise me again.

Both of us had two days off at the end of January, so despite my desperate pleading, Tanner put together an overnight trip and wouldn't tell me a thing about it. But lucky for me, he's sort of a bad liar, so most of our conversations went like this:

Me: So where are we going?
Tanner: I'm not telling.
Me: Is it close or far away?
Tanner: Let's just say it's within 300 miles.
Me: We're going to the coast, aren't we?
Tanner: Uh, nooo.
Me: Yeah, we totally are! Are we staying in a yurt??
Tanner: ....No.
Me: ...Really? Because I think we need to pack lots of stuff to stay in a yurt. Don't they just have cots but not much else?
Tanner: I guess. But you have to book yurts months in advance, so we're not doing that.
Me: Uh-huh.
Tanner: Don't worry, I've got it all figured out. You just need to bring what I tell you to.
Me: But you haven't told me anything.
Tanner: Just bring some clothes, I got everything else.
Me: What kind of clothes? What kind of shoes? What kind of jacket?
Tanner: Well, I'm bringing some shirts, shorts and my flip-flops.

For the record, folks, it has been 30 degrees here for several weeks. Asking Tanner what kind of clothes he's going to bring doesn't actually help, because Tanner wears shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops 365 days of the year. (He even wore them to our snowy winter cabin...) And even though I had a pretty good idea that we were going to the coast, I believed him about the yurt and thought we were staying in a hotel.

So I packed a couple t-shirts, one long sleeved shirt, and some sneakers.

Well, as it turned out, we did go to the coast, and lo and behold, we did stay in a yurt. (I'm so clever.)
It turned out to be pretty awesome, except for one thing. Ok, two things.
1. It was snowing.
2. Tanner forgot to bring blankets.

So it was 30 degrees and I had on a t-shirt and a jacket and nothing to sleep with except a sheet set. Fortunately, yurts have a heater, but we got started late in the day and then Tanner got sick halfway there, so we spent two hours in a Target parking lot while I tried to nurse him with Pepto Bismal and let him nap.

By the time we arrived at the coast, it was dark and cold and the heater at full blast wasn't warming up the room very quickly. Brrrrrrr.
Staying in a yurt is actually pretty cool. It's a small one-room circular hut with a skylight, a cot, a futon, and a table. We brought the iPad and went into town for pizza and enjoyed the evening watching a movie while layered in every single stitch of clothing I could find from our car emergency kit. (Yay foresight! I remembered to pack long underwear in there!) Then we fell asleep on the futon, beneath heaps of towels, jackets, and random pieces of clothing as a blanket.

In the morning the snow had turned to cold rain, so we drove out to the northern-most tip of Oregon and walked along the beach in the dark fog to admire the driftwood and the stormy ocean. It was a perfectly "Goonies" kind of day.

We found the most remote, Northern point of Oregon and sat watching the ocean for a while, and I turned to take photos of dark, gnarled driftwood in the black sand. When I turned around again, Tanner was kneeling in front of me with a ring.


So I did what any girl does in this situation.

I slugged him.

And I started yelling, "what are you doing?! Get up! Stop kidding around!"
And he said, "wait, what? No... I'm not... I'm not... will you marry me?"
Long pause. "Wait... you're serious?"
"Uh... yes... why? Is this not a good time?"
"I mean, I am sort of busy this month.... can I pencil you in next week?"
"You're joking."
"I'm just.... surprised...."
"Uh, proposals are supposed to be surprises! Besides, I followed all your rules, so you can't argue with me there."

For those of you who don't know, long ago I gave Tanner a list of rules regarding how/when/where he was allowed to propose to me. I like to call these the "Rules of Engagement."
They are as follows:
- Thou shalt not propose in a crowded restaurant.
- Thou shalt not propose on the JumboTron at a baseball game.
- Thou shalt wait at least two years of dating before thou can propose.
- Thou shalt not have family, friends, photographer, or a flash mob at said proposal.
- Thou shalt propose romantically in some outdoor setting (preferably).
- Thou shalt not buy a fancy ring, but ideally get something simple or a family heirloom.

So I guess I can't fault him for being thorough.

"Are you going to say yes?" he finally prompted me.
"Uh.... hang on, I'm thinking."
Tanner groaned. "I totally had this going differently in my head..."

But I kid, I kid. Of course I said yes. Although I'm pretty sure Tanner was already on the phone with his parents announcing our engagement before I officially agreed.

Then there was a lot of excitement (from both of us) and running around on the beach (from me) and lots of girlish weeping (from him).

On our drive back home we discussed keeping the engagement a secret for a bit, since we were going home in early February and wanted to break the news to everyone then. Being that I was still a little floored by the proposal, I spent the next few days trying to internally process the big news while simultaneously trying not to freak the crap out. I think it worried Tanner a little. But one day, perhaps a week later, I came home from work and sat down next to him.

"Ok, I've thought it over, and I've decided that I'm pretty excited to get married to you."
"Oh you have, have you?"
"And what made you come to that conclusion?"
"Oh, I've always wanted to marry you, I just needed time to think about it."
"Why's that?"
"Because I'm an introvert. That's how I process things. See, I even printed you a handy chart for your reference."

"Read number four and number six, particularly. But all of them are very true for me." 
I hung it on the fridge, crossing out "Introverts" and writing in "Brittany."

And true to form, Tanner came home the next day with this printout:

He crossed out "Extroverts" and wrote in "Tanner."
Touché, Tanner. Touché.

I said to him: "I'm sorry that proposal didn't go like the movies. I'm pretty sure there's never a scene where the girl hits her boyfriend and starts yelling at him to stop kidding around. My bad."
He said: "It's okay. You said yes; that's all that matters."

Friday, February 1, 2013

{inversion on the mountain}

A little while back Portland went through a weird weather system that the locals called an "inversion." Being from North Carolina, where it is 85 degrees and humid no matter where you are, I had never heard of an inversion. All I knew is that Portland got bitterly, bitterly cold for a while. Cold enough that I tucked my face into my winter jacket in the mornings and told myself it was much too cold to even go skiing on the mountain on my days off.

But there were promises of "warmer weather" on the mountain (which was almost laughable), so my friends Jason, Elizabeth and I packed up early one day to go skiing. We left around 7:00am; it was so cold in my house that as soon as I got out of bed I was dressed in every layer of ski clothing I owned: heavy long underwear, insulated pants, wool turtleneck, insulated jacket, and waterproof jacket on top. I wore gloves and boots in the house and stomped around to try and keep warm. There was frost on the cars outside and I could nearly see my breath in the air.

We threw everything quickly into the back of the jeep and turned on the heater as we drove up to the mountain. The temperature gauge in the car read 25 degrees at nearly sea level. As we climbed to Mt Hood, we watched in astonishment as the temperature climbed, too. The dark, overcast skies of Portland began to break away for a sunrise, and blue skies peered out behind. By the time we neared Mt Hood an hour later, the temperature was 32 degrees and still rising. At 5,000 feet at the base of Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort, the jeep told us it was 40 degrees outside, but we didn't believe it. After all, we were still bundled up inside with memories of a 25 degree morning.
But the view didn't lie: it was bright, sunny, and absolutely clear outside. The hard edges of the mountain were as crisp as I had ever seen them and as soon as we opened the jeep doors, a wave of warm air flowed over us. What?

Immediately we stripped off half our layers, but I was still dubious about leaving everything in the car. After all, it was always colder on the snow, and the cold, biting wind on the chair lifts was enough to want an extra turtleneck sometimes.
But lo and behold... we got our first taste of inversion on the slopes. The snow was hard pack, but warming up slowly beneath the sun. The air on the chair lifts was still warm, feeling much more like a summer day than a January one. We didn't feel the chill in our toes or fingers.

When we stopped for lunch, we broke out a set of chairs and sat behind the jeep cooking grilled cheeses and tomato soup on a two-burner stove. We had a summer picnic. There wasn't any snow left in the parking lot, and we had long since abandoned our extra layers. I got a sunburned face sitting so long beneath the rays.
As the day crept on, the temperature rose closer to 45 degrees and we shed everything but t-shirts and pants. We wished for shorts. I left my gloves in my pack and wished my helmet wasn't so warm.

It was spring skiing at its best. In winter.

We stayed until late in the afternoon, and then reluctantly left the sunshine behind us. As we drove back to Portland we watched again as the temperature slowly dropped back down to 30 degrees, and the dark, overcast skies clouded in again. By the time I returned home it was dark and cold in my house, even though my face still felt pink from a day of sunshine.

(P.S. -This is my last post for a little bit! The shop will be open until Feb 5. I'll see you all in a few weeks with some fun new stories!)
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