You all know how getting ready for the first military ball of year stresses me out. It's always in November, and with holiday plans already abuzz, planning a formal as well seems at times to be overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I love going, it's fun and a night out in a fancy dress makes me feel young and like a princess -- what girl doesn't like that?
The stress comes in the form of finding a formal in a reasonable price range, updating Ben's Class A's, and finding a babysitter (or two) that will watch my 3 "energetic" but lovable boys -- at the same time.
There are some sisters that live in our old apartments that were more than willing to take on the job. Yay! Check that off my list!
Ben's Class A's
We have his new ASU's (dress blues) getting altered for him, and prepped for his commissioning this summer. Since he isn't technically an officer yet, we are sticking with the Class A's (greens) for the ball this year. Which is totally fine with me, because I LOVE the greens. But they once again have to be updated. His unit got a new award, and Ben got a new ribbon for Excellent Service in the Army Reserves. He also gets to add a stripe to his sleeve for years served. So, since Ben is too busy being Ben, I was instructed to do all the orders. I had to order his awards -- isn't it great. I just love it how the Army is all "Oh, you earned this award! Now, go buy it yourself." I ordered his stripe thing. THEN since he is starting a new row of ribbons I had to buy the new holder thing. So much fun. I just love trying to find things on military websites... it's so.... educational. I just hope it all comes in time!
I know I mention this adventure EVERY year. That's just because it is ALWAYS just that, an adventure. This year I put it off. I was really only moping about my misfortune about being poor. Last year, I got a fancy one because I made so many hats it was a treat to myself. But since we aren't getting that money anymore from Ben's drills (BOO!) all my hat money has gone to bills. So I have been a closet pouter all month about it. AND this year, I REALLY wanted a red dress. I rock red. And after doing black and gray, I was ready for something festive, happy and bright! But I didn't want to get my hopes up....
I thought about wearing my dress from last year, but it was just too big. Bitter sweet. And then I thought I could just wear some Sunday best dress. But then a friend reminded me of Ben's job at the ROTC and chances were, people might be watching me.... creepy, but it comes with the territory. I would hate for anyone to judge Ben because of what I was wearing. In a perfect world, I would never have to say it, but unfortunately, that's just the way it is.
So, Saturday, I ditched the kiddo's with Ben and took off on a quest to find the perfect or at least passable dress. My first thought was to go to the place I got my gray one last year:
But then I realized that they were pretty pricey and I would just end up finding one I loved and couldn't afford. So my first stop was the Dress Barn. If anyone would have a deal it would be a place called the Dress Barn right? Doesn't that name just reek with "bargain". Maybe not, I had never been in there before... mainly because the city-girl-snob that is still lurking within me somewhere screamed in horror of wearing anything that came from a "Barn." But I was poor and desperate.
Let me be the first to admit that I misjudged the Dress Barn. They had some really nice stuff, they were a classy place, AND the ladies that worked there were top notch. BUT I couldn't find anything that suited me. Next stop was the mall.
I went to JC Penney's: nada. Then went to Dillard's. They had a few pieces I liked, but the prices were high, and they were just "okay" and "passable" -- nothing that really screamed my name. I went to a few more stores, and nothing. Absolutely nothing! So hanging my head in total defeat I went to my last stop... the pricey store where I got my gray dress last year. I told the girl at the counter that I could NOT spend over $150 and even that was pushing it. She grinned and told me that they had a whole rack of dresses in that price range... the only problem was, that when I got there they were all... to be nice... SO NOT me.
Here I was, almost 32 years old looking through prom dresses... made for teenagers with no hips. I tried on one that went straight down and looked like a freaking sausage. Then to make things worse, in pops in a couple of 19 year old's with their moms looking for dresses for the same affair. Apparently, some Air Force guys asked them (we have a combined ball with the Air Force ROTC). I am already feeling like grandma when little miss Barbie Doll says, "Oh, I thought I was finished with formals when I left high school last spring... This just makes me feel SOOOOOOOOO old!" I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
"You feel old? I am almost 32 years old, married with 3 kids and I am going!" Yeah, that shut them right up. Then they tried to save face by telling me I didn't look that old.... haha nice try ladies.
Well, not only couldn't I find a dress, but now I was feeling totally ancient too, I hung my head in defeat and started heading out of the shop. My dream of finding a red dress totally dashed. Then my hopes of finding a dress that I felt good about vanished as well. There was that one at Dillard's that was passable... maybe, I thought, I could go back for it...
Then as I was heading out, I passed a clearance rack... was that a flash of red?! Even if it was, there was NO way it was going to be my size. IT WAS!!! And it was SO CUTE! I ran back to the dressing room just as the Barbie Doll came out of the stall wearing this huge flashy green thing with humongous roses all over the place. Wow. Anyway... I tried the little red number on, and it was a little big in the shoulders, not quite floor length, but long enough. And it was red! Better yet.... it was $99! I know that seems like a lot, but for a formal, that's nothing.
Now, I am happy. I found my dress, it's perfect, it screams my name. Ben's uniform updates are due any day, AND we have a babysitter(s) set for the big night. My last big stress, is how am I going to do my hair!?
Guess we'll just have to see!
PS -- Just in case you were curious, the Barbie Doll did indeed purchase the Green Monster... and it cost her mom $500... wow, I hope that cadet was worth it!