Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Drive me crazy

It's a new year, and a good year to be an ox apparently. I, unfortunately, am a dog. A friend asked me what that meant. I said it meant I was loyal... and perfect. I was curious later at home and looked it up. I am loyal. And a rule follower. And stubborn. And a good friend. Yet no where in the description of my dog sign did it say "has a good sense of direction."

Last weekend was my first adventure in wedding dress shopping. It was also my first lone roadtrip in over 3 years. I had armed myself in advance with directions to all of the shops, charged all phones, blackberrys, etc and headed down to Richmond. I had set up an ambitious agenda of 5 shops in 2 two days, determined to come home with a dress, since the timeline is tight. Jen and I arrived at the first shop, a cute little gown consignment shop in Newport News, VA, a good 20 minutes early. Considering both our penchants for arriving most places at least 10 minutes late, this was like being a full hour early. I tried on about 5 dresses, found one that was ok but needed a lot of work. We jumped back in the car to head towards Williamsburg to shop #2. I noticed we would be amazingly ahead of schedule for the next place, and decided since we had the time, we should go to old town Williamsburg and hit some shops. (I am on the hunt for the world's best pair of purple shoes afterall).

We followed signs into town, found a parking lot, wandered around, and found the car back. I couldn't believe my luck. I am amazing! I have this whole driving around a new place thing down again!

Then I pulled out of the parking lot and had absolutely no idea which way I had come from. So I did what any rational person who hates asking for directions would do - I just went for it. I drove straight ahead. Then, I .... turned right. Because ... why not. And then I went straight for a while. Jen, meanwhile, was making a few comments like "this doesn't look familiar" and "maybe we should turn around." I was sure I would eventually run into something with numbers on it, or at least something that said which way 64 was and then I could just start over. While Jen was busy trying to find a phone number for the store we were trying to find, I realized we were too the right. So I should turn left. It made sense in a way. So at the next light, I turned left. It felt like we were getting somewhere but still, nothing looked right. I crossed another main road towards an area that perfectly described my mood: a little down, a little depressing, and a little...institutional. I circled around and pulled up to the light to consider what to do now.

Truth be told, the first shop didn't exactly light my fire. It was small, it had a limited selection, but I didn't have that "moment" where I saw myself and thought "wow, this is it." I have 5 moments of "wow, this feels like bad prom dress shopping." My spirits were a bit low as I drove around, completely lost, in Williamsburg. Sitting at the light, I started feeling a bit down and yet a bit crazy that I wasn't completely elated. I'm planning a wedding to the man of my dreams and yet here I am freaking out about a dress. I thought I was going a little nuts. Sitting at the light, trying to get my barrings, I noticed a big entrance sign to the area we had just circled around: the Virginia State Mental Institution.

Dress shopping drove me to the looney bin, people.

We took off in a new direction, eventually found the shop, and 24 hours later, I had my moment. After trying on at least 50 dresses, I walked into the last shop, took one trip around to look at the options and saw it. The moment she pulled the dress off the rack, I knew this is what I wanted Westley to see me in. Trying it on, stepping up to look at myself in the mirror, the tears came up. This was it. Crazy time is over. Bring on the I do's.