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Every year, Cure Finders, a charity organization benefiting Cystic Fibrosis research holds a Valentine’s dinner and dance. This year was my third year working the event – and Jay’s 2nd year. I started working for the City a little over three years ago, but didn’t get recruited to help till after my 1st anniversary with the City. The first year Kristi and worked the coat check station – freezing the entire night. We, of course, were positioned right beside the door and it was cold enough to snow that evening. I hadn’t thought to bring shoes to change into, so my opened toed sandals were cold as I walked through the snow to my car.

I’m not sure what she did right (or wrong) but the next year she got moved from the position and Jay and I worked as the coat checks for the evening. We were scheduled to do the same this year, but at the last minute we got promoted. We would be working registration and silent auction check out for the evening.

First thing I had to do was find a formal dress for the event. I started my search several months before hand at the store where I purchased last year’s dress – Ross Dress for Less. I tried on several dresses at the store in Bristol, as well as the

Knoxville store – neither with any success. At the mall, I found a strapless purple dress at B. Moss. It had two major things going for it – the price was right and it was from my favorite store. It didn’t hurt matters that it was a size 4! I took it home and tried it on for Jay one evening. “That’s nice. Isn’t that a lot like what Kelly wore last year?”

It was nothing like Kelly’s dress from 2007 – hers was a gray spaghetti strapped dress, my dress was strapless and purple. The one common factor between the two was that they were both knee length. But the damage had already been done. I didn’t want be guilty of the fashion faux paus of wearing a similar dress, even if it was for a different year. Not to mention the fact that the size 4 dress was too big for me. If the evening’s festivities called for me to raise my arms above my head, my dress was sure to head south. The dress was definitely headed back to the store – but not before I told absolutely everyone that I knew I would need a size 2 in the dress for it to work.

Unfortunately, since I got it off the sale rack, a smaller size wasn’t available. Kelly and I went shopping at West Town Mall and I took the dress back for a refund. She and I hit every store in the mall that could possibly sell a dress nice enough for this event. I had some pretty strict criteria, so finding “the dress” was difficult. I didn’t want to spend over $50 and I wanted my knees covered. Ideally, I wanted a sapphire dress, because I thought it would look good with my hair/skin coloring, but I was going to take what I could get for the price.

After trying on countless dresses all day, I tried on one that I doubted would work. It was the perfect color blue, so I doubted I could be so lucky for it to look right on me. I was right it didn’t look good – it looked perfect. This dress seemed to be made for my body. The low cut halter worked because of my lack of endowment up top, and the a-line cut of the dress floated away from my booty, so it wasn’t too tight on my lower half. I explained to Jay later that evening I was sure God was looking out for me and rewarding my thrifty shopping. Kelly later rejected that idea – “With a neckline like that, God didn’t have a thing to do with it!”

The day of the event I helped set up before hand, and brought all my stuff to get ready at the hotel. Since I wouldn’t get a chance to wash my hair before the event, I wore a banana clip circa 1990 so that I wouldn’t get a line in my hair from a ponytail holder. When set up was complete, Kelly and I headed to the hotel to get ready. I had just put the finishing touches on my hair and makeup when Jay called, saying he had arrived. Since we had a few moments before the real work began, we got in line to have our professional portrait taken by Gary Woods Photography.

We snagged a few pieces of cheese of the appetizer tray and headed to our first station. Our first duty of the evening was guest registration. Fairly simple job – ask the person their name, and find their name card, showing which table they are to be seated at. Jay was quite impressed when Congressman David Davis came through his line. Enough, that when Jay got home that evening he looked up Rep Davis’s policy when he got home that evening.

After most of the attendees had arrived, Jay and I had a break to look around. We checked out the silent auction then got in the buffet line. Dessert quickly followed. You know you are at a fancy event when the dessert has a name like it’s a work of art.

Jay had trouble getting Swan Lake to cooperate. He’d eaten the mousse out of the center, but didn’t know how to politely eat the white chocolate. Brett suggested that he turn the swan on its side and break it in half. When I saw the result I decided to pick mine up with my fingers and bite its head off. Jay had blue food coloring all over his white shirt and suit pants. And wanted to bite Brett’s head off for making the suggestion.

After dinner, we headed back to the tables in the front to start work on the silent auction. Once the auction was over, we were instructed to compile the winners and tallied what they owed. Since the event was a few minutes behind, we had a moment to relax. Kelly and Maria begged for a mention in the my blog – they are big fans of this site – and I couldn’t turn them down. So here you go ladies, your www.brookeandjay.com debut!

Lisa, a coworker and wife of Brett, is normally the one pushing for me to get a ring. She does a ring check after every major holiday, and was quite disappointed that he didn’t pop the question on Martin Luther King Jr. day. Since we had a moment before the counting began, I put Brett on the hot seat about when he was going to give his wife of over twenty years an engagement ring. I had about as much success as she has with me.

As the night wore on, Papa John’s pizza was provided for the workers. I swear I think Jay enjoyed the pizza more than the prime rib and salmon that was served. Once most of the silent auction bidders had picked up their loot, Jay and I decided to call it a night. Of course no blog is completely without our signature arm length photo. Not quite Gary Woods Photography – but I think I’ll keep him.