As my sister sat poised with a hammer aimed at my wedding dress, you'd think I would've had a moment's pause.
You'd think for one second it might occur to me that this might not be a good idea. You would think that since the one and only experience I'd had with my sister and a hammer had resulted in a hole in the wall next to my head, I might have been more cautious. But no. I am not that bride.
You see, I'd put off buying the dress for weeks if not months. I knew I was either getting married over Thanksgiving break or Christmas break, and that's a lot of time to a pregnant woman. I couldn't buy the dress until the wedding date was near. I now realize that at Thanksgiving I could have worn a normal dress, but as Christmas arrived it became clear that the only place I could shop for a wedding dress would be a maternity shop.
While I've had great success ordering online from Gap Maternity, I'd put off buying the wedding dress to such a late date there was no time for shipping. Fortunately I'd found a Gap Maternity store about 30 to 45 minutes from my house, in the lovely town of BFE. Once I'd found the store in the "outdoor mall" (who the hell makes outdoor malls in Michigan?) I was in maternity heaven. I didn't care that the Gap Maternity "store" was actually the back room of a Baby Gap and there were no sales people there to help. I quickly took over the entire room and tried on every pair of jeans, every sweaters, dress and shirt that I could find and left with an armload of clothing that I hoped would last me four more months.
I picked out two dresses, unsure of which to wear. One was a bit more "evening," the other a bit more "day." I was disappointed they didn't have a red dress in my size, but settled on either wearing gray or black to my wedding. When you're six months pregnant, there really isn't a need for white.
Fast forward a few days and it's about an hour before we have to leave for the courthouse. I'd selected the gray dress because it seemed more appropriate for an afternoon wedding in a courthouse. I also look good in gray. I think it's my color.
I trotted down the stairs to show my sister and niece my cute gray Gap Maternity dress. They both ooohed and ahhed over it and told me how adorable it was. Then my niece gasped.
"What?" I said.
"Oh no!" She pointed at the back of my dress, where there was a giant white plastic security device attached to it.
"Dammit!" I said. "I'm getting a pair of scissors."
My sister was right behind me, muttering, "We can get this off." My niece who just quit her retail job in August so she could attend her freshman year of college tried to tell us that the security tabs were difficult if not impossible to remove. She said something about stopping at Target real quick and talking a sales associate into removing the tag for us.
"We haven't got time for that," I said and waved her off.
My sister and I stomped downstairs to the basement where I kept my tools. All three of them.
"Do you have any needle-nosed pliers?" My niece asked, feebly trying to talk reason to two crazy women on a mission.
"Just give me a hammer," my sister said. "I'll get it off."
"It's coming off," I told the niece. "One way or another."
My sister and I quickly entered The Zone. The zone for crazy. I made one futile attempt to "cut" through the metal pin of the security device with a pair of scissors to no avail.
"Just give me the hammer," my sister hissed. "I'll get it off."
So I handed her a hammer. It didn't occur to either one of us that it might be easier if I removed the dress before my sister took a hammer to it. No, we thought it best that I, a six-months pregnant lady, kneel on the cement floor of my basement with my dress stretched out over the floor so my sister could pound at it.
"I don't think you should hold the tab," my sister wisely noted as she held the hammer over my hand.
We both watched as she whacked at the plastic tab and it started to break. Elation! She tried to pry it off but it would not budge.
"Hit it harder!" I said.
She lifted the hammer over her shoulder and really waled at it. No luck.
"Try hitting the side!"
"What side? There is no side."
"On the side, on the side, like this," I snatched the hammer from her. But I couldn't kneel, hold the dress out and hammer all at once.
"Here, let me do it," she said. We both watched with the fiery glow of security-tag-removing zealots as she hammered the shit out of that dress on the cement floor. When she stopped, we sat there panting and surveyed the damage to the security tab—which was nil—and then the damage to the dress, which was considerable.
"You hammered a hole in my wedding dress," I finally said.
"OH MY GOD I'm so sorry!" My sister clamped her hand over her mouth and stared at me wide-eyed.
So we stared at each other in horror. I briefly wondered what Dr. Freud would think of this and admired the moment. If I were a poet, I could write a poem about it and call it "Sibling Rivalry." After a long pause, we both started to laugh. Maniacally.
"It's okay," I said. "I'll wear the black dress."
I stomped upstairs and put on the black wrap-around dress with the ruffled collar. I was pleased my tights still worked with the wardrobe change. I wore the black shoes with the off-white flower on the strap. I found a necklace to wear with it.
"Oh, this dress is much better!" my sister and niece both agreed, a little too eagerly.
On our way to the courthouse, we finally spoke of it again.
"I can't believe I let you take a hammer to my wedding dress," I said.
The niece, my sister and I all erupted into laughter.
"What were we thinking?" my sister gasped.
"I tried to talk some sense into you people!" my niece protested from the back seat. My sister and I cackled even harder.
"I could write a wedding advice book now," I said. "I already have the first three tips: 1) Never give your sister a hammer on your wedding day 2) If you do give your sister a hammer on your wedding day, don't let her anywhere near your wedding dress and 3) always buy two wedding dresses."
My sister laughed like a mad woman again and then covered her mouth with a look of horror in her eyes.
I should put "a look of horror" in quotes. To be honest, I think it was more of a "sparkle."