2 minutes….

That’s how long it took for the fire department to get to my house. I got out of work early and came home to find my entire place fumed up with gas, so it was a quick 911 call and a dash for fresh air. Had I not gotten out of a meeting an hour early, my place might be embers right now. Turns out, the dial on my stove was slightly turned, knocked out of the lock possibly by my putting my coat on this morning, and it did a slow leak for 2 1/2 hours. So now I will be faithfully checking that all of my burners are off and in the locked position. The silver lining — knowing that the emergency squads and fire department in my town are ON IT. And that they only mocked me a little bit. 😉 Bring it on…I can take it.

We’re getting a ton of great engagement stories through our contest at www.njwedding.com, and the entrants’ excitement reminds me to give you this message: Spend a lot of time planning for the future, not just the wedding. How are you going to handle holidays? How will you handle your own bank accounts and the joint bank account for household expenses? What’s your need for private time, couple time, time with friends? THAT’S a big one, since most people crave one or more of these categories. Pre-cana classes and other premarital classes are a benefit, in my opinion, and there are lots of books out there on questions both partners should discuss before they tie the knot. So if you’re in the huge wave of newly-engaged couples just exploring the world of wedding planning, take my word for it…plan for the daily details of your future together, be honest about your personal needs, and watch your relationship grow even closer during the planning process — rather than farther apart, like all the Bridezilla and Groomzilla couples who focused only on the wedding.

Tonight I’m putting some deep conditioner in my hair and sitting down to start on Couples’ Bets, my newest book project of tame, romantic and racy wagers that couples can make with one another. And since I’ve reached a 10 pound weight loss, I get a treat — I’m allowed to open the box with my new aqua blue Diesel sneakers. I may have found a diet motivation plan that’s newsworthy — buy a bunch of shoes and don’t let yourself wear them until you reach your goal. That’s way better than chocolate. 😉

Oh, and for my friends who are sure to remember way back into my fireman-admiration days (we all had a thing for firemen), let me tell you…Nada. Zip. Nothing. Couldn’t even tell you what anyone looked like, because all I was thinking was: 1. Is my house going to blow up?; 2. Please tell me I put away the new batch of Victoria’s Secret panties I had on my kitchen table last night; 3. I don’t even remotely notice other men anymore. I can hear my friend Jen right now — “If Shar’s not noticing firemen, she must be REALLY in love.” 10-month anniversary last night, salmon and steak dinner, the comfortable quiet of not feeling like you have to fill up every second with conversation, sharing bites off each other’s dishes, holding hands across the table, and the best table in the house (it’s not location, it’s the company). And Joe brought home a bridal magazine he thought might be useful to me….(blush). Ladies, if we clone him now……

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