Erskine: Welcome to wedding season, when hearts and budgets break

The wedding invites are starting to pour in.
The wedding invites and save-the-dates are starting to pour in.
(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times )

My baby sister visited the other day and tossed all of our dead plants. The nerve, right? It wasn’t as though they’d been dead long, only a year. Most prominent was the hanging basket of micro-daisies on the porch. From the street, they looked like a giant wad of river muck.

The flowers died so slowly, so incrementally, that we hadn’t even known they’d turned mucky. Same thing is probably happening with my mustache. Guess that’s how life — and death — go sometimes.

We were grateful for my sister’s fresh pair of eyes. Who knows what else she tossed? But suddenly I can’t find my prized Lola Falana albums.

Stuff like this happens. When Posh and I were first married, she came home and found that my visiting mother had rearranged our tiny apartment.


“Looks great, Mom!” I said when I saw the couch over here and the table over there. Evidently that was not a unanimous opinion.

These days, my sis is my mom. Keeper of the family, rearranger of our lives.

My lovely and patient older daughter is marrying soon too, also gorgeous and charming. I keep writing checks to her. It’s sort of a ransom situation.

By the way, we added another kid to the household. My niece Amy, 29, busted a knee skiing and is recuperating with us, in the house of dead plants and missing Lola Falana albums.


It’s challenging, even temporarily. In the fridge, there’s a container of orange juice that might have turned to wine. And forget Marie Kondo’s theories on clutter. My son and I prefer that lived-in look.

My new book, soon out: “Clutter: How to Turn Your Nice House Into a Cozy Little Dump.”

“You should ditch the couch,” my sister scolds.

“What’s wrong with the couch?”


“It’s dead too,” she says.

While she was here helping her California-transplant daughter, my sister bonded with our pet wolf, going for long walks where she discovered that White Fang is something of a local celeb — strikingly beautiful, with eyes of Dodger blue.

Mostly, it’s the way the wolf walks down the boulevard, a red-carpet strut. Chest forward. Butt like windshield wipers. I swear, the stuff she learns from reality TV.

“She likes baby strollers,” my sister notes.


“She likes everything,” I say.

It’s a busy time for us. Our tenant looks and looks for new apartments, and you know how tricky that can be in Los Angeles — the cruddiest places for an arm and a broken leg.

I keep telling her, “Stay as long as you like,” but I see how that plays with her sense of self-worth. “I don’t even want to stay today!” I’m sure she’s thinking that, but she’s too sweet to voice it.

The boy and I are a sitcom: “One and a Half Men.” Our personal trainer is a wolf, and our orange juice is wine. On a good day, the bedrooms smell like Shaq’s socks.


The other day, the wolf got loose, and my niece was the only one home. She hobbled after the escapee as the wolf pranced down the street with a see-ya-later expression. My niece thought she had lost our precious pet.

Which is sort of laughable.

The neighborhood mobilized, as neighborhoods do, and soon White Fang was back in custody. She slept the rest of the day, having captured and swallowed more than 100 squirrels and at least one lawn mower.

Then the invites started pouring in. All our friends’ kids are marrying this year: Connor, Melanie, Brittany, Andrew, even an Emily or two. I might even marry, if I can find someone acerbic enough to replace the beautiful Posh.


So far, that’s proved elusive. My best prospect is the gorgeous and charming Angie Dickinson, who once dated Frank Sinatra in preparation for one day surviving me.

Evidently, my lovely and patient older daughter, also gorgeous and charming, is marrying soon too. I keep writing checks to her. It’s sort of a ransom situation. If I don’t write the checks, she won’t marry. If I do, she’s gone. It’s extortion — financial and spiritual.

Can’t help but notice the invite reads “the honour of your presence.” Evidently they’ve joined Britain’s royal family.

Then my daughter sent this form for Pastor Chuck to sign, giving her free agency from our beloved Presbyterian church so she could join the Roman Catholics, her fiancé’s preferred team.


“Wait, what?” I asked.

“Just have him sign it, Dad,” she says, as if tracking down a dapper, hobnobbing Presbyterian pastor is ever easy. (I finally found him in his office, playing pool on his phone.)

Easy come, easy go. All I did was raise her. Now I must pay to give her away. I watch all the bridal shows on Bravo, and they never mention how dads are constantly duped like this.

Guess nothing stays the same forever … plants, couches, daughters.


Look, can’t a few things stay the same? Can’t puppies stay puppies, and can’t I coach youth soccer forever?

Can’t Vin Scully never go away? In that commercial, can’t poor Cheryl still have her precious she-shed?

We should all get 10 people or situations that can never change.

I’ll start with my daughters: Thing 1 and Thing 2.


Please don’t go. I’ll pay you.