Planning Poor Does Hiawassee

In October, Kevin and I drove to the picturesque mountain town of Hiawassee, Georgia for a mini vacation. Between fighting over music choices, discovering we had no beverages in the car except for alcohol, and pulling over every 50 miles for Kevin to mark his territory and/or eat, the 12+ hours we spent driving felt more like a mini prison sentence. But there is no one I’d rather be imprisoned with than my handsome, charming fiance (awwwwww). (Ask me for an updated answer in 25 years.)

Our other purpose for the trip was to witness our friends Rob and Amanda tie the knot. They had a lovely ceremony followed by a raucous reception. To redeem the self-deprecating photos of posts past, here is the only decent picture of us ever taken. Since we are both rather un-photogenic, consider this equivalent of seeing a leprechaun.

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Our betrothed friends had made lodging arrangements for out-of-town guests at their beautiful resort venue, but in true Planning Poor style, we stayed where we could get the best rate. My family used to vacation in the mountains, and I knew I could find a backwoods cabin (a la Cabin in the Woods) for a steal if I Googled hard enough. (You can find anything if you Google hard enough.)

Eventually, I found Boundary Waters Resort and Marina, a small inn on beautiful Lake Chatuge. The rates were low compared to other hotels in the area, the owners were offering a buy-two-nights-get-one-free deal, and guests received free kayak and canoe rentals! That was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Entrance to our room.

Entrance to our room.

View from our porch.

View from our porch.

Unfortunately for Kevin, eating 20 bacon-wrapped scallops, indulging in rich, Southern cuisine, and/or imbibing an unlimited amount of alcohol (all of this at the reception) was an offer his stomach had to refuse.

The morning after the wedding, I was roused from sleep by Kevin leaping from the bed and charging toward the bathroom like a female rhino in heat. (Strangely, this is the exact opposite of his trajectory the night of his proposal.) What I heard next I will refer to simply as sounds-that-shall-not-be-named, followed by a shower. An hour later, I dared to enter the bathroom; I found Kevin lying on the floor, wet and naked, and sandwiched between two towels, using a smaller towel to cover his eyes. The poor boy was paralyzed with nausea and pain. Since I am a wonderful fiancee, I immediately laughed……and then drove to the local grocery store (Ingles, which is better than Publix, if you can believe it), where I purchased generic Pepto and Advil for Kevin and a box of fresh pumpkin and blueberry muffins and a Starbucks coffee with soy milk for moi. (Yes, Ingles has a Starbucks in the store.) (Yes, mountain people drink nice coffee too.) I wonder what the cashier thought of that purchase…

I was hoping Kevin would feel better by the extended check-out time I thoughtfully negotiated, but he didn’t, and I knew he was not going to make it down those 180-degree, winding mountain roads on the return drive, where there are no shoulders to pull over if his stomach decided to expunge more of its contents. Thankfully, we were able to get our room for another night, which left me with Barfo Hublou, an entire day to do nothing, and…CABLE TV!

We don’t have cable at home because we don’t need cable to survive. We get plenty of entertainment from our Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime subscriptions, all of which cost less than cable. Thankfully, Kevin isn’t a sports fanatic and thus doesn’t require ESPN, which is the only justifiable reason to have cable TV these days.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t miss cable, especially HGTV (specifically House Huntersalthough I recently discovered that Amazon Prime has several seasons available for streaming). Kevin despises HGTV. But how much can he protest when he’s sprawled on the bathroom floor unable to pry the remote from my cold, house-hunting hands? The answer is not at all. And so it was with maniacal glee that I watched endless HGTV…all…day…long.

Now, any half-brained chimp could watch two or three episodes of House Hunters and figure out the formula: A person or couple needs a house, the Realtor shows them three, they pretend to think about it really, really hard, and then they purchase one and you get to see how they like it 3 months later. However, it takes several marathons of House Hunters to realize all the things you hate about these house-hunting people and/or couples (and you know you hate most of them). Here are my top pet peeves, discovered during what I have termed the Hiawassee HGTV House Hunters Barfo Hublou marathon.

The Man Cave

I like to think that most men on House Hunters are the kinds of men fathers want their children to marry. For the men/couples 40 years and older that appear on the show, this is usually true. For those under 40, I am almost always duped into liking them until they walk into a basement or bonus room and utter: “YES! ROOM FOR MY MAN CAVE!”

For those who don’t know, the “man cave” is a room where men go to watch TV or play games or do man things, and generally the intent is that women aren’t allowed in. I can’t even begin to tell you how much this term annoys me. All men who say this sound not only misogynistic but also like prehistoric cavemen (which is why they probably belong in a man cave anyway). Why can’t the woman be part of the room? Why are only men allowed to congregate in front of and scream at televisions? Why is the woman relegated to the kitchen to cook for the men in the cave? If you are buying a house with someone, you should be able to tolerate them enough to share all rooms with each other. If Kevin ever utters the word “man cave” on our house hunt, it is over. Don’t think I won’t leave him for a non-man-cave specimen on the spot.

The worst part is how these caveman episodes end. When the male is especially excited about the man cave, House Hunters (without fail) ends the show with the man reclining in some fancy couch he bought himself for his man cave while his wife/girlfriend/future divorcee makes and delivers a meal to his lap. I don’t know how they get the women to agree to do this. While we’re reversing the progress of the female gender, why not slap on some 1950s-inspired high heels, polka dots, and aprons too?

The Double Vanity / Gigantic Bathroom

One of the interesting parts of HH is learning what people find important in a home. For some, updated kitchens with granite counter tops and stainless-steel appliances are the priority; for others, it’s all about the double vanity and/or the gigantic master bathroom. I have learned that, for many people, sharing a sink with their significant other is unthinkable. But as I watch these episodes, I have to ask myself, “Do these people understand the literal meaning of what they are saying?”

I love when couples start out the show by saying, “I NEED that double vanity! We are so tired of bumping into each other!” and then HH has them childishly recreate their morning bathroom routine. (I even saw a guy step out of the shower in a towel once…very weird, HH). I guess I can’t understand why this is so important because Kevin and I get ready at different times of the morning, and we have more than one bathroom, so if he is using one sink, I’ll go to another. No big deal. But for some people, this is a huge deal. I just can’t help but giggle when a couple walks into a bathroom and squeals with delight, “YES! The double vanity I’ve been looking for!” Uh…hello? DOUBLE vanity. That means by wanting those sinks, you are twice as vain as you are with your one sink. But because we are so used to “vanity” not meaning the same thing when it is used to describe bathroom sinks, no one ever realizes what this sounds like to that rare, intellectual viewer.

As for the giant bathroom, I don’t understand why people want a larger place to do their dirty work. Not only is it more to clean and sterilize, but some house hunters act like their bathroom will be their main living area—a place to relax and unwind. Maybe it’s because I’m not a bath person, but I don’t want to be in my bathroom any longer than I have to be, especially if I have to be in there after Kevin on taco night. I get in, get clean, and get the hell out. I don’t understand the need to relax where you defecate.

After spending nine hours lying on the hotel bathroom floor, though, maybe Kevin does

The Proposal

Editorial: After reading (and re-reading and re-reading…) what I have drafted for this post, and considering the number of times I have told this story live, I feel like something is lost in translating it from spoken word to written. So, when you’re reading this, imagine me with eyes wide, eyebrows plunging dangerously close to my hairline, and hands gesturing wildly. Something like this: 

Kevin calls these my crazy eyes.

Kevin calls these my crazy eyes.

If you know (or dated) Kevin, you may be thinking, “Carly, how did you do it? How did you get Kevin to want to marry you??” The answer to this–and many more questions in life–is alcohol.

Let me back up. I have been told by Kevin and his parents that Kevin has always been adamant about not wanting to get married. Even as a child, he expressed disinterest in the traditional relationship trajectory. Before getting engaged, we had many arguments RE: our future. He made it clear that he wanted to commit but that he was against marriage for a number of lawyer-y reasons. Luckily for him, I am a rational girl (the few, the proud), and I understand that all that really matters in any relationship is dedication, honesty, and love. If someone wants to be with you, do you really need a contract binding them to it?

I decided I didn’t need marriage to earn Kevin’s loyalty for life. Besides, we all know that a legal document has never stopped anyone from cheating, leaving, or being a bad mate in general.

Anyway, it was a cold Friday night in January, sometime after midnight. We had imbibed some drinks at a local bar and we were winding down. I was half asleep in our bed, cuddled up with Peanut, and Kevin was in the shower. Everything was quiet and peaceful, and I was slowly dozing off.

A few minutes later, I was awoken from my pre-dream state by Kevin’s heavy footsteps marching down the hall toward our room…but the shower was still running. Kevin is very forgetful, so leaving the bathroom with the shower running was not out of the realm of possibility, but this was certainly a new low. He entered the room, fumbled through the junk drawer of his dresser (because everyone keeps their diamonds there, right?), slumped down the side of the bed, shoved a ring into my hand, and said with such intensity: “I’m serious.”

At this point, he had gotten my attention. This was something new, so, like a dog, I was interested. “Serious about what?” I asked. I hadn’t opened my hand to look, but I could tell there was a ring in there, and since we hadn’t discussed getting engaged or rings or any of that, I assumed it was some weird version of a promise ring, where he wanted to show his intention but hadn’t gotten everything together yet.

It was then that I noticed he was naked and dripping from head to toe; water was forming a puddle beneath him, and half of the comforter on the bed was soaked. I imagine this is also how Homo sapiens chose their mates, back in the days before our species earned that second “sapiens.”

“Kevin, go get a robe!” I screeched.

While he left to robe up, I turned on the light and studied my new jewelry. I could tell right away that it wasn’t from this century (which thrilled me…I love vintage anything). When he returned, I made Kevin ask properly (down on one knee, standard script of “Will you marry me?”). I asked him why he decided to propose the way he did, considering we had just recently returned from a fun (though illness-inducing), week-long trip to DC and NYC (perhaps some of the more romantic places in the world), and he answered, “I was in the shower, I made up my mind, and I had to do it right then or I might have never done it.”

Truth be told, I can’t imagine a better proposal. It was very “Kevin” and not too romantic or mushy, which I would not have liked. I think his spontaneous marriage proposal at least wins points for originality. And, more importantly, I was truly surprised.

For weeks, Kevin complained about not having his own ring and demanded that I present him with one. This, of course, is ridiculous, as demonstrated by Andre in Season 4 of The League. To quell his jealous ring finger, however, I did manage to purchase a delicious Ring Pop (most of which I ate, but it’s the thought that counts). (Actually, I bought him a pair of Ring Pops, because one thing I have learned about Kevin is that if he is jealous of what you have and you can’t afford to get him the exact same thing, just get him two of a knockoff.)

Like any newly engaged couple, we told no one for 3 weeks. (Wait…that’s not normal??) We wanted to share with our parents before announcing publicly, so it wasn’t until mid-February that anyone else knew. It was a hard but fun secret to keep. And in case we’re ever involved in a highly classified operation, at least someone can vouch for my stellar track record as a confidante.