Daily Archives: February 25, 2009

The Royal Wedding (Part Three – The Celebration)

 

Part One

Part Two

 

The King of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts briefly spent some much needed alone time together, had some formal portraits taken for the royal album and the stamps that will soon be issued to commemorate their union. The immediate family joined the couple for photographs, and then it was time for the bride and groom to greet their guests.

 

Sir Alastair, Master of the Queen’s Music, (who is only 17 and did an awesome job) started playing the introductory music, the couple was introduced as Mr and Mrs KoD to the crowd, and the festivities started!! The Queen was carried off to dance with the ladies, KoD carried off to dance with the gents. The Queen was in her element, in the centre of her circle, dancing in turn with the two Queen Mothers, one of whom showed the younger folk exactly how to cut a rug in style. Rock On Ma!!

 

The dancing was fast and furious, and the Queen who had been fasting all day, felt the lights spin around her a little too fast for her liking. She had been dancing energetically with the multicoloured Lady Dee when she felt her balance desert her. She crumpled to a semi-upright heap on the floor – and one of her lovely handmaidens brought her a glass of water. The Queen had neglected to remember that she had been fasting all day, and had had but one cup of coffee all that day. All that exertion overtaxed her royal highness.

 

Meanwhile, over on the side where the menfolk were partying, Prince Squiggy, with a broken leg and stuck in a wheelchair, was hoisted up into the air in order to feel a part of the celebrations. I am of the opinion, as were many in attendance, that it was just as well the QoH didn’t witness this, as she would have had another collapse. I was however assured, when I enquired about the safety of this stunt, that he was belted in, and there was no possibility of him falling out.

 

The princes (the littler ones) were hoisted on shoulders by their uncles, and totally enjoyed the music and the dancing. Prince ChatterBox totally enjoyed running around with his betrothed, Princess Blondie.

 

The music ended, and all made their way to the lavishly decorated tables in order to partake of the royal wedding feast. Sir Marmaduke of Flintshire, Master of the Ceremonies, was in charge of making sure the afternoon ran smoothly. He performed his duties well – even when holding his dear sweet baby. He started off with a toast to his sister and her new husband – it was heartfelt and sweet, and the Queen was observed to shed a tear or two.

 

The KoD’s oldest brother, the Duke of LaCrosse, then arose to speak to the assembled guests. An accomplished speaker, he held everyone’s attention until he sat down to a loud applause. His words were spoken from the heart, and so apropos to the royal couple – his affection for them was obvious to all to see.

 

As the meal progressed, the happiness level in the Great Hall rose, everyone there was just so thrilled to be part of this special occasion.

 

There were more speeches, but our dear Queen chose not to speak, even though some of her closest ladies-in-waiting did ask it of her. She felt too emotional – she had held back tears for most of the day, she didn’t want to lose it now.

 

The Revered Rabbi shared some religious thoughts with us – he always speaks so well, and we were all honoured by his presence, and that of his lovely wife Lady Celia, Keeper of the Royal Secrets. Prince Lenny then briefly took the floor, giving his mother and her new husband his best wishes for their marriage. Then, as a last minute request was granted by the Queen, Lord Antony of Hallamshire, Knight Marshal, the Queen’s older brother, rose to address the assembled nobilty. Now, being an older brother, he was a little cheeky, alluding to the Queen’s actual age – but his speech was so full of love that the Queen had to giggle at his antics. However, she will get him back at some point, but will bide her time until then.

 

KoD spoke also, welcoming guests from far and near, and he even told a joke. The Queen of Hearts looked adoringly upon her man as he spoke, and more teardrops were spied falling from her eyes.

 

As I sit here chronicling the lovely spectacle of this royal wedding I am transported back to that day – I wish there would be a way to bottle the feeling in that Great Hall and sell it. The joy was just so palpable. The smiles and hugs abounded.

 

Finally, as the sumptuous meal drew to a close, it was time for Grace after Meals. Seeing as this was a celebratory meal, the honour of leading the Benediction was handed out to an honoured guest – in this case the Honorable Viscount Eli, Keeper of the Royal Chronicles, of the court of the King of Diamonds. At the end of the benediction there were seven specific blessings directed towards the royal couple. Among those honoured were Sir Julius the famed “Flying Dutchman”, Sir Redbeard of Bedfordshire and the Queen’s honorary brother Sir Curlsalot.

 

After the Grace was completed it was time for the honoured guests to take their leave, and return to the far flung corners of their respective kingdoms. The Queen and her King thanked everyone personally for gracing them with their presence. Finally, it was just the King and Queen and C/V and Lady Diddliedee left in the Great Hall. These two ladies have been awesome ladies-in-waiting, and the Queen has asked me to inform you that she has promoted them both, and they can now call themselves Dames of the Diamond-Heart’s Empire.

 

The torches were blown out as the King and Queen departed from the Great Hall, to begin their lives together.

 

Hand in hand they walked off together into the sunset. (well, they would have done had there been no snow on the ground…)

 

….and they lived happily ever after……..

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Car Tales

Just so that you know I am sitting on the floor in front of the SAAQ – the equivalent of the DMV, (not to be confused with the SAQ – alcohol society of Quebec), typing this on my laptop. It opens at 9.30, I have been here since 8.30 and am about tenth in line. Have to keep my spot. Everyone else is standing – my high heels are killing my back, plus I have important stuff to write.

 

Have you ever bought or leased a new car? What were the specifications you needed for it to have? Did you even care about half the stuff that the car salesman told you about?

 

The lease on my cherry red 2005 Chevy Venture is up at the end of the month, and I needed a replacement vehicle, obviously, what with 4 kids to ferry around and a lot of highway driving coming up in the next little while.

 

So while on honeymoon, in between visiting the schools in Monsey and stuffing our faces and doing husband / wifey stuff like groceries and laundry…. we were researching minivans. My criteria – low price AND ability to get me from A to B and back again without too many white knuckle moments. Oh yeah, and heated seats so my poor back doesn’t have to suffer too much on long drives. I am a car salesman’s dream. Take me for a test drive, if I like it I would probably buy it without haggling. Thank G-d for my husband. KoD is the kind of guy that researches everything – extremely thoroughly. Consumer reports, online reviews, comparisons, etc. We went from dealership to dealership, spent so many hours on figuring out the best deal, the best price – the best bang for my buck. The fact that many of them were offering zero down zero percent financing didn’t hurt either. No wonder there are so many layoffs – they can’t be making much money on car sales at all. At least at the end of the payment period I will actually own the car and not have to give it back after paying years worth of lease payments.

 

I have to say that as much as it was mind numbing – all this persnickety detail – I actually learned a lot. I wanted a red van again – that’s an extra 200 bucks whereas silver doesn’t cost any extra whatsoever. (I went with the silver). I learned the difference between a 3.8 engine and a 4.0 (more valves, better compression ratio, more torque and, of course, more horsepower…ooh don’t I sound knowledgeable…). KoD showed me totally how to deal with these salesman who are just trying to make a living but want to squeeze every last red cent out of you that they possibly can. Watching him in action was awesome. I just sat back and watched him negotiate for me. He was polite but firm. What really helped was knowing what we wanted when we went in, and what price WE were not willing to go above.

 

The car dealers are suffering recession too – and in I walk, recently married, and totally jobless (yep, I am suffering the effects of the doggone recession too – was let go just before the wedding. It’s really for the best anyway, I have so much else that I need to focus on right now – the move, immigration, schools for the kids, etc….) so I want them to give me a car for free, or as close as possible. Truth is we were given thousands of dollars in rebates – I could not have got a better deal, and for all the stuff that we loaded into the car, I got a total steal.

 

We were very lucky. We went into Chrysler and had this great young salesman who impressed the heck out of us, eager, not jaded, not yet a greasy salesman! We spent time there, I test drove a Town and Country Touring – she handled amazingly well. So many gidgets and gadgets that my head was spinning. (when KoD and the car dude were talking accessories and stuff – that’s when my eyes totally glazed over. I remember the days when we took a car trip and we all had to suffer listening to the kid’s sesame street cds. Now we have a van that has not one but two DVD thingies and satellite radio – I like it, don’t get me wrong, but life used to be so much less complicated).

 

We didn’t sign there and then. Funnily enough the sales manager sent us an email afterwards asking what happened, how come we didn’t buy the car that day. They are desperate for business. That’s when we went to other dealerships, made phone calls and did all the research. When we went back we dealt with the same guy, and when they gave me the price that I was ok with, it made his day. But you so have to check the fine print! We bantered back and forth, and finally agreed on a price, but when the contract was written up there was a $100 discrepancy – in their favour. Personally I probably would never have noticed it – but KoD to the rescue once again. He wouldn’t let me sign anything without checking it through thoroughly. I have no patience for these things. Again, I am a salesman’s dream. Now the hundred bucks could have been an honest mistake. But one wonders. So they fixed that….then I signed.

 

Now, naively, I thought, you decided you want the car, you sign a form or two, tell them how you will pay the monthly installments, and bam, Bob’s your uncle. Noooooo. Not so fast, lady.

 

You have to have your credit checked. And until they approve your credit, you are in limbo. I gave them all the necessary info and then we left. It was a looooong couple of hours to wait for the phone to ring to say whether or not I was approved to get the vehicle. Of course your mind goes through a million and one scenarios until you get the phone call. “What will I do if I am not approved?” – “I have good credit…..how can they not approve me?”, and then you start to doubt the fact that you will get the car, and it starts to eat away at you. We sat down to eat lunch, but I had no appetite…..

 

Finally the phone call came telling me I was approved, and that the van would be ready for me to pick up later that day. Yes, I cried. It’s a huge investment, second only to buying a house really, and it was something that I absolutely need. But the relief that it would work out the way I wanted it to was awesome. A huge load came off my shoulders. This way also I wouldn’t have to prevail on KoD to drive me back to Montreal, I could drive myself back.

 

So we showed up at the dealership for the third time, our guy was out back prepping the vehicle. We sat down and he walked us through more forms (oh joy), I signed away everything, probably rights to my first movie too, and then we went out front to learn, hands-on, just what my new Silver Minivan could do. It’s awesome. BUT we were promised a full tank of gas – and it was only ¾ full. That was again caught by the eagle-eyed KoD. They would have let us drive off with ¼ of a tank missing. They filled it up for us. He showed us how to hide the seats in the floor – why I would want to do that is beyond me, but it was one of the important features. I am leaving it to KoD to work out how to use the two DVD players, which came with wireless headphones – kids have it so easy these days! I even have a back up camera thingie – don’t my mirrors work? Technology…..

 

So I drove it back to Montreal and it handled like a dream. I drove at 55 mph all the freaking way because apparently according to the manual there is a break-in period of 300 miles on the car, and you shouldn’t exceed speeds of 55 mph so that the engine doesn’t overtax itself or something. The guys in the dealership said this wasn’t the case, they had never heard of a break-in period. KoD called the service manager to make sure – and he said that indeed there was one. I had never heard of such a thing in my life. Let me tell you, I felt like a little old lady driving up the I-87 at such slow speeds.

 

I listened to the free for one year Sirius radio on the way up – comedy all the way. It was better to be laughing while driving, instead of crying at being parted from my husband for ten days.

 

The little princes are in HEAVEN – they love love love the new van and cannot wait to be driven in it. Right now I am still driving my old piece of crap van – until I give it back tonight I may as well use up all the gas in it….

 

Yay, they are opening the doors to the SAQ – catch ya’ll later.

Could you pretend you even care?

So the Shabbat before the wedding I ordered in food because it just made it easier for everyone and hopefully would not add to my stress 2 days before the wedding. Guy I have dealt with for years without a problem quoted me on the food. It was reasonable (kosher food is never cheap) and I agreed on menu.

 

Before they delivered I call up Mrs FoodGuy and ask her how much to prepare the cheque for – and the bill is one third more than it was supposed to be. I hit the cotton-picking roof. 2 days before the wedding my stress level was at an all time high I guess! So she says “well, the food was weighed and that’s what it cost”. I don’t have the food so I can’t verify that she is right or not. 3 hours before Shabbat the delivery guy shows up, with a bunch of stuff that I hadn’t ordered, which I sent him back with, told him to credit me with that, as well as what I had ordered.

 

I will not deny that the food over Shabbat was delicious and plentiful and everyone had enough to eat. His food is good, always.

 

I went today to get back what they owed me for the food they had delivered and I had sent back. I wasn’t going to quibble over the price – food had been eaten, was good etc, but I wanted to understand how there was such a difference in the quote and the reality. The “man” sits there, slouched against the counter, doesn’t even bother to greet me. We get the credit out of the way. I asked for an explanation. “well, I wanted to make the meal lavish for you” – um, hello, mr guy with the filthy tzitizis straining over your big fat belly, I didn’t ask for lavish, I asked for decent, and if I had wanted lavish I would have been prepared to pay for lavish and you know what, I would have ordered lavish from elsewhere because if you were gonna charge me such damn inflated prices I would have gone to a better caterer, got exactly what I ordered, and not been pissed off 2 days before my freaking wedding. And you have the temerity to just sit there looking bored as you don’t even bother to hide the fact that you screwed me out of a chunk of money and there aint nothing I could flipping do about it because getting my pound of flesh from you right after my wedding was not first on my list.

 

I tell you something, fat greasy tzitzis guy – I will definitely NOT be ordering anything from you ever again…but I know you won’t even miss my business.