Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Me and Amanda

I thought/assumed that with my secret bridal assignment I would spend my days swanning around the city slipping into gorgeous Alex Perry bridal creations and then stopping for coffee and lunch with friends. It sounded fabulous, and I was excited. I quickly realised I might have to adjust my expectations when the plans changed and I was assigned the fabulous area of Wetherill Park instead. Where? I hear you ask. Well I wasn't real sure either but after a quick peek in the UBD I discovered it's near Fairfield and rather close to a suburn called "Prairiewood" - noice.

This is the mecca for the bargain basement bride, which scarily enough means we are still talking up to $2500 a dress. The shops out here in the "Park" are great barnlike things, stuffed with headless mannequins trussed up in hundreds upon hundreds of sparkly strapless dresses. To really top off the vibe, most of these bridal barns are located in the Wetherill Park Industrial Estate. Maybe it's just me, but it felt a little strange to spend one minute being stuffed into a gigantic princess dress covered in crystals wearing stilettos, a tiara on my head and a veil and then spending the next trudging past refrigeration plants, spare parts shops and small chemical plants to grab a sandwich from the only food outlet to be seen for miles.

A tiny greasy spoon, like something out of 70's Australia. It sold pies, sausage rolls, instant coffee (imperial roast to be sure) and one of the sandwich fillings offered on the board was baked beans. I felt like I had gone back in time as I settled on a plastic chair with my instant coffee, under the watchful gaze of a girlie calendar (provided by a local power tool company featuring half naked blonde chicks posing on all fours surrounded power drills and orbital sanders) To top it off a bloke with a curly mullet walked in, wearing stubbies and work boots and ordered a "Choccy milk and a chiko roll thanks". Had I really gone back to 1977??

Before I could find out, I check my watch and realise it's time to immerse myself back in the Bride to be scene. Some shops were fine, I was free to browse and have a poke around undisturbed. But in one, I feared I wasn't going to get out alive.

As soon as arrived I knew I was in for trouble when a heavily made up Greek woman pounced on me. When was I getting married? Where? What did I do? Then she swept around the shop plucking dresses off racks. The dresses all had girls names like "Monica" and "Amanda" and this lady had a disconcerting habit of calling the dresses "she" or "her" as in "Just pop her on and see how great she'll make you look".

I discover that there's no going into the changerooms alone with these "girls" - oh no. Maybe it's so you don't secretly photograph them, or rip them or smear make up on them, because the assistant comes right in with you. A pair of white gloves are produced for me to wear so I don't make the dress dirty and I am ordered to stip off down to my knickers and stand with my hands in the air wearing the gloves. Very weird. The dress is then wrenched on over my head and my body is stuffed into all the right places and laced up, all to the strains of "Ave Maria" playing in the background.

I am then lead out, lamb to the slaughter like, and ordered onto a little podium in front of a giant mirror. Behind me is a trellis covered in fake flowers, a veil is pinned on the back of my head and a sparkly tiara is placed on the front. The mirrors seem to make me look suspiciously slimmer and the lights have turned my pasty white winter skin into a golden tan. Rosa the sales assistant steps back and looks on approvingly before running off to "turn down the lights so you can see how much you sparkle". So there I am, standing in the semi darkness with the Wedding March booming on the stereo. I feel utterly ridiculous, and wonder if I'm meant to pretend to cry over how bridal I look or something. I can't even fake being excited and try to slink off the podium back to the change rooms muttering something about having to head off and needing to think about it for a bit longer. But there was no escaping that easily, as Rosa utters the frightening words "Kate, we won't be going anywhere until we find you your dream dress." ARGHHH!

I did live to tell the tale, but not until I had tried on SEVEN of Rosas "girls". It's a stressful job this bride business and I'm not even doing it for real. No wonder all the real bride girls looked thin, stressed and miserable as they march around the shops clutching notebooks and pens ticking off all the things that need to be done. There didn't seem to be much romance in the air as the trucks rumble past on the highway and the bridal salons hand out brochures for personal loans so you can "afford your dreams."

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Oim a broide!!!!!

Yes people - it looks like it's wedding bells for me at long last!

Well not quite. Y'see somedays my job can feel dull, sometimes it's quite cool and sometimes, like today, it is pure unadulterated gold. Next week as part of a research project we are doing I will be paid to spend 2 whole days trying on and shopping for wedding dresses. Next week I assume my 'broide to be' persona and trawl the shops looking at big white dresses and taking notes. I can't wait.

But I could be in for some trouble. Not really being the bridal type most wedding dresses look the same to me. Actually not the same but there seem to be just two styles.

Style number one: the strapless wedding dress. Invariably chosen by the girl that shouldn't - she will either have a: no boobs to hold it up b: ginormous boobs that will drag it down or c: is quite large and gives the impression that she is being squeezed to death by the dress with most of her boobs and random flab spilling out the top, just like a muffin. If she is a princess type she will choose the big puffy skirt to go with it, and if she thinks she is a bit classy she will choose something a little straighter in the skirt department - either way she is guaranteed to spend her big day grabbing at the top of the dress and hiking it up in the direction of her armpits.

Style number two: the slinky, satin, halterneck, floor length number. Often looks like a nightie and is usually chosen by slightly older, cooler girls who think that it is a bit different. They are of course deluding themselves, the only thing different about it is the fact that it is not strapless. The slinky halterneck will in fact look just like the other dresses of the other 40 percent of brides who choose not to go strapless. The slinky number is also guaranteed to show off even the slightest hint of a gut, even on a skinny girl.

Add a veil or some flowers in the hair, chuck in a ceremony held outdoors at some scenic spot where no one will be able to hear a thing due to the wind, or the other weddings happening nearby and then it's onto a reception place where each wedding tends to blend into the last with the more drinks you have and voila, you have a Sydney wedding.

Don't I sound cynical? Maybe I will be changed by my experiences next week and will be reduced to a quivering wreck at the sight of myself in a big white frock and want to rush out and do it for real. Doubt it, but I wish I could take some piccies - it will be hilarious, specially when I try and squeeze myself into that big, puffy, strapless number.

Warm Houses

Am in the new house after the traumas of moving in, I've got quite good at moving as I've had so much practice, by that I mean that it just seems to happen and afterwards I don't remember a thing about it - obviously some trick of the subconcious to protect me from the trauma. The only thing I do remember is that the people that moved out (the owners) left the house kind of dirty and unloved. Hey I'm not that anal retentive but leaving a griller covered in old foil encrusted with year old cheese on toast is a bit much; not to mention leaving half the light fittings with dead bulbs, a shed full of rubbish and hiding all the things they didn't want to take with them behind the shed or under the house, thanks guys. And I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that towels don't compost - obviously they think that they do or in a last minute effort to hide some more crap they hurled a dirty towel into the compost where it was discovered by me covered in sticky food and insects - yummy!

But I no complain, it has been very cool setting up house and having loads of people over to check it out. At Bondi having people over meant going out, often I couldn't even be arsed getting them to come upstairs to the flat and would meet them in the street but now I can be like all those lifestyle magazines that line the racks of the local newsagents and "entertain".

My interpretation of this means Ed and I have been making many a trip to the local deli to stock up on snacks, dips, beer and coffee to offer our guests and of course scoffing large quantities of them ourselves. It's been great. The other thing I didn't realise about moving into a new house is that people bring you things, I've been given two lovely plants, my Dad made me up a tool kit filled with handy things and my Auntie even brought us a cake which is so delicious I struggle not to eat it in one go. It's so nice, this homemaker business, will I ever leave the house again?

Blog Bores

So there I was sitting in the Library at work today, scoffing lunch and flicking through the SMH when I came across an article written by a friend of mine - delighted I started to read before almost choking on my Pad Thai. Could I be the "Garry" that she refers to here?...

Of course my lovely friend swears blind that it's not directly me, in fact she's scared that she's going to have quite a few of her blogging friends on her case. Hmmmm who is really "Garry" Erin? And who was it that taught me how to blog in first place hmmmm? You created this monster.

Now, I'll be checking up on you to see that you have read this thoroughly and we will discuss next week.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Pack those boxes

I'm moving again.....and as I zip up those boxes with packing tape and stuff the contents of my life into them it feels strangely familiar. Why? Because I just realised that in the last 3 years this will be MOVE NUMBER FIVE. That is just a few times too many I think.

This time I am hoping it will be the last for a long, long, time. (Short of going overseas again which always makes it more exciting.) Yes people, this Wednesday Ed and I make the move from the east to the west and into our lovely new house.

Not content with just coming back from overseas less than four months ago we thought we would up the ante and the stress levels and delve into home ownership together. It's very exciting, it's a gorgeous little house, 100 years old, in a pretty tree lined street, more space than we have ever been used to, a garden and even a white picket fence - in fact it looks like the kind of house where I should be wear a flowered apron, bake scones and greet Ed at the door every evening with his slippers and a martini.

Will I miss Bondi? Part of me will. I love the flat, being tucked up high in our little cosy sunlit nest. And of course it brings out the sentimental side of me because it was in this very apartment where I met Eduardo, I literally met him at the front door when I came over with a friend that happened to be staying with him once. So it will be sad to say goodbye. I will also miss watching the ocean every morning on my way to the bus stop and the sheer luxury in summer of coming home, peeling off my work clothes and heading down for a swim at sunset, or on my more motivated days before work on a sunny morning. On those days it feels like we live in paradise and I never imagined I would live here so it's been a totally different take on Sydney which has been an adventure.

What I won't miss - the traffic, lack of parking, the rubbish everywhere, ugly buildings, not having a backyard or a balcony of my own, having very few friends or family over this side of the city, the groups of pretentious and unfriendly people that tend to hang out down here, and in winter, the wind that howls down the streets day and night straight off the ocean.

So it's goodbye Bondi and hello Leichhardt - back to my end of town. It almost feels like a homecoming. Now - back to those boxes.