Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Birth Announcement Waltz

For me, the formalities of domestic life are like an unfamiliar waltz, complete with music I don’t like, moves I don’t understand, and a lot of stepping on toes.

And my wife loves to dance.

Example: When sending out wedding invitations, I included information on where we’d registered for gifts, thinking this would be convenient for those who wished to buy them. Emily, upon seeing the invitations (and recovering from a minor aneurysm) told me UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES can one mention their gift registry in a wedding invitation.

This is considered unforgivably tacky.

I raised the point that I hadn’t wanted to register in the first place, because I found it unforgivably tacky to 1) set the conditions under which we would accept gifts and 2) wander the aisles of Bed, Bath, and Beyond scanning things we weren’t buying like a pair of consumer fetishists in a bizarre role-playing exercise.

But I'd failed and we hadn’t even started yet. Because the second step in the Registry Waltz is even trickier.

I learned that once you register, you must publicly disavow all knowledge of having done so. It’s a polite secret. Like offing a disagreeable individual in a Nevada cornfield. Yeah, it’s gotta be gone -- but we sure as hell ain’t gonna talk about it.

Which brings us to the third and final step, in which this waltz becomes a group dance.

These tricky, final maneuvers are left to the experts. Namely, mothers and mother-in-laws who must – for etiquette’s sake – pass off wedding registry information like Cold War spies trading uranium. Only once a guest calls with the properly coded introduction, such as: “What a lovely invitation I just received,” or “The sun is shining, but the ice is slippery,” can the family divulge this information to anyone who doesn’t happen to work at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Or have access to the internet.

But I digress.

Because over the past few weeks, it’s the Birth Announcement Waltz that’s been warming up in the living room of the Geiger/Kemp household. It went something like this:

EMILY: We need to start thinking about birth announcements.

JEFF: Whhaa?

EMILY: You know. Cards. Like the ones all over the fridge.

JEFF (looks at fridge): Whoa! Where did all those pictures come from?

EMILY: Mm-hmm.

JEFF: Okay, fine. How many?

EMILY: Probably about 200. They’ll cost about a dollar a person.

JEFF: To what? Announce a birth everyone knows happened? Facebook, dude. Twitter. Everyone knows! We’ve uploaded like a zillion pictures! It’s a paper redundancy. A subsidy for the logging industry and the US Post Office. Maybe we should buy Sweetest Day cards while we’re at it. Maybe we can get a discount –

(A week passes.)

EMILY: I’d really like to get those birth announcements out.

JEFF: Whaaaa?

EMILY: Jeff.

JEFF: How much are those again?

(Another week passes.)

EMILY: I did a little research on birth announcements, but now it’s a week before Thanksgiving. I’m thinking we should just send out Christmas cards instead.

JEFF: Fine. That’s great. Good idea.

EMILY: Okay, so we need to hire a photographer, and then look at templates, then –

JEFF: What about those birth announcements? What happened to those?

EMILY: You didn’t want to do those! You thought they were dumb!

JEFF: No I didn’t! I’ve been totally supportive and --

(Everyone cries.)

JEFF: Okay. I think we can do these birth announcement thingies ourselves.

EMILY: I don’t want you spending 3 hours obsessing over these things. You have enough going on.

JEFF: Three hours. Psssh. I’m a graphic design wizard.

(Three hours later.)

EMILY: Are you kidding me?

JEFF: What?


JEFF: C’mon -- it’s fresh! No one on EARTH is doing shit like this. I promise you.

EMILY: There’s a reason for that.

JEFF: Hey! I’m trying here, I --

(Everyone cries.)

But at long last, and thanks to the photographic genius of our good friend, Cameron Yee, we came out with an actual birth announcement. And it looks decent. And there’s no swearing involved. I would post a picture of it, but I’m pretty sure that violates an etiquette rule that hasn’t even been written yet.

And I am trying. As a family man, I’m wearing softer shoes, doing my best to keep the beat. I should probably stop writing this post. I can’t keep rhythm and type at the same time. And I think I’m supposed to be buying a stationary box. Or dancing one. Or do they call that a rotating box? And here we go 1, 2, step, 1, 2, slide, 2, 2, 2 . . . . .


YGX said...

Continued hilarity. And so honored to be included in it.

chap said...

jeff you rock man! we had some waltzing to do with our announcements as well. unfortunately i'm more familiar with mosh pits and slam dancing and so you can guess how well that went. especially when you wife, a scrap booker, LOVES all things paper and graphic. yikes! i wonder what will happen when baby hogue #2 comes in july.

do they make a less flashy, "we having a 2nd baby" announcement?


tamathy said...

So funny. I want a copy of the announcement you designed to put on my fridge. Also I think the dance steps are "YMCA dow-own! Step left, step left, big step right!"

Kurt said...

I'm pretty sure this is the greatest thing I've ever read.

Valerie Willman said...

I like the first one you designed. :) I want a copy of THAT one. lol.

You are amazing. You and Emily are right where you are supposed to be.

Enjoy The Ride.