This next bit of fact should alert you, dear reader, to the level of magnificence of last weekend: I had a bagel every morning on my trip. Three of the five times with lox and cream cheese. I keep telling myself that I deserve it, but I think that I’m not very good at convincing myself. This past weekend was incredibly eventful and wonderful, so I’ll try to avoid writing an Odyssean-sized post. We’ll see how I do.
I woke up Friday morning at a somewhat reasonable hour, lounged about and read for as long as I could stand being unhelpful. First, I bought bagels and juice, not knowing that this would set the trend for the rest of the weekend. Then, leaving M Fox to do his work, I decided that I would Be A Good House Guest and tidy up the place. The Irish kids that were living with M Fox until recently had little to no respect for the common living space. Having been in similar situations, I understand how it’s just too frustrating and upsetting for the one person to run around cleaning up after everyone else only to find a day’s work destroyed in an instant. M Fox was driving me to and from the airport, driving to and from the wedding and possibly securing a hotel, so I thought it would be a nice gesture to help him out. Unfortunately cleaning supplies were in short supply (haha) and so I had to improvise, which included securing dry swifter pads to the bottom of my feet and skating over the bathroom tile to rub in the comet. It was kinda fun and the fact that no one was watching made it easier for me to look stupid and spin around like an Olympic figure skater.
There is a reason why I’m talking about this, and it’s not to demonstrate that M Fox has a disgusting bachelor’s pad that needs a “woman’s touch.” This, thankfully, isn’t the case. The case IS, however, that I am not only inept, but I am both Lucy and Ethel combined.
I decided to do his laundry next. As I schlepped his basket across the street to the laundry mat, I was so pleased with myself. So happy that I could somehow repay his driving and gas money and time spent shuttling me around. I proudly checked all his pockets before deftly tossing them into the large washing machine.
Almost all his pockets.
About twenty minutes into the wash, I noticed there was a strange clunking sound coming from the washing machine. Just pocket change, right? Maybe a particularly crumpled sock? He has some cargo pants, maybe they just get really really heavy when they’re wet.
Nono. It was his cellphone. In pieces. Being tossed around and around and around. The other laundry mat locals all watched me sympathetically as I called my mother and a friend seeking advice, my own phone tucked between my shoulder and my ear as I tried desperately to tug open the washer door. To no avail. Locked. I watched in despair as three more rinse cycles flooded the machine.
The bad news is that I think I have permanently ruined his phone. The good news is that M Fox is wonderful and treated the whole thing as though I had thrown away a useless receipt rather than trashed a fifty dollar piece of equipment that he’s only had for a month and a half. All I can say is THANK GOD he hadn’t bought an iPhone or an Android yet. Had that been the case, I think that my plane ride back to Ventura would have happened a lot sooner.
So my worries that my idiot mistake would set the tone for the trip were assuaged, and Saturday we had bagels for breakfast, packed and took off down the highway, gleeful that all the traffic was headed in the opposite direction. We attempted to create a new type of accent by changing all As to Ys and Os to As, but I think it only managed to make us sound like drunken Wisconsinites. It amused us for the length of car ride, though.
Nothing could have prepared me for the incredible hospitality and love that awaited us as the bride’s parents’ home. We had never met them before, we were associated with the groom (I more loosely than M Fox), but we were immediately treated as life-long family members. I was so moved. I had brought my book, expecting to just stay out of the way and let the family go about their first-daughter-getting-married business. I didn’t expect to be treated rudely, obviously, but I expected to be ignored. Not the case! We ended up going out to dinner with the combined families for the rehearsal dinner, hanging out at the meet’n’greet by their gorgeous pool (curse my body-image issues, I would have loved to swim), the bride’s father took great care to show me around the house, proudly exhibiting his train sets and, of second most importance, the hammock swing that he bought for his wife. I want one of those swings. Seriously. I must have one. It can take up to 350 pounds of weight and can swing 360 degrees and it feels like you’re sitting on a floating throne. It will be mine, oh yes. It will be mine.
L, the bride, and her two sisters were simply incredible human beings. Though they were clearly different, independent women, their common sister/family connection was so apparent and complimentary to each other. It made me wish that my sister had turned out normal. Such a closeness would have been nice, I think. B, the groom, was, as usual, magnanimous and smiling, pleased at the beginnings of his empire. His groomsmen were pretty typical groomsmen; silly, young bachelors who wanted to have a good time with their buddy before he tied the knot. Even though I was just M Fox’s date, some broad from far away who no one had even heard of, I was in the club. The bridesmaids were nice to me, the groomsmen were nice to me, both sides of the family were not only nice, but THRILLED to have me there. I really couldn’t believe it. I still feel like I got away with something that I shouldn’t have.
We were kindly offered an air mattress in the train room (complete with a train clock that hooted a different train sound every hour from 9am to 9pm). I hung out with The Women and played Rock Band, watched movies and giggled about pretty dresses and drunken bachelorette parties. M Fox went carousing with The Men for B’s bachelor party in San Francisco and sauntered in at 4am. Admittedly I worried, but it was the nice kind of worry where you worry because you love someone and just want to be near them in the wee hours of the night. Also, I felt REALLY guilty about ruining his cellphone, his only tool to use in case of an emergency. I had visions of him being stranded, naked, covered in bruises and lipstick, glasses broken, golden brown hair askew, wandering through The Haight-Ashbury tearfully begging with a tin cup for 25 cents to make a phone call. . .
Obviously, he was fine.
We slept late and took our time getting ready on Sunday. We had bagels for breakfast, of course. We piled into cars, excitement building, perfume and aftershave mingling, smiles contagious. The wedding site was indeed beautiful. Sweeping, shady lawns, various types of trees lending the landscape a full palette of greens to choose from and, of course, perfectly manicured gardens of flowers. The employees were helpful and happy (you’d think they’d get sick of weddings, but they seemed genuinely tickled). I was, once again, privileged to sit in with the bridal party and watch L don her beautiful wedding gown. I was privy to the tears of joy, the blessings and the shrieks of mirth from the bridesmaids. I zipped up a few dresses and approved a few make-up and hair jobs.
M Fox had bought a Costco camera (which he will return in 90 days, of course) which I used to film the ceremony. My camera skills improved as I went, but I’m sure there’s a lot of back-breakingly fast pans and gut-wrenching close-ups for the first 10 minutes of film. I did pretty good during the vows and the rings and the kissing, though. That’s the important bit, anyway. I tried to minimize the amount of “awws” and “ohs” and swallowing of tears that escaped from me. The ceremony was quite beautiful, though. It took place at this cool amphitheater surrounded by pillars and a tasteful string quartet. Everyone looked great.
After the procession, the party got started! The food was great, from the bruschetta and wine to the tri-tip and potatoes and pineapple punch. Here’s a list of highlights, in no particular order:
1) The best man’s speech was quite sweet, especially knowing how incredibly nervous he was about giving it.
2) The huge amount of salsa music played and how all the elderly latino guests kicked everyone else’s asses on the dance floor.
3) Teaching M Fox the basics of the waltz, salsa and swing and then hearing other men compliment him on his moves. (As they say, behind every great man. . .)
4) L had the DJ play the Sleeping Beauty Waltz. I have said for YEARS that I want this played at my wedding. . . and after fully experiencing how incredibly FAST and LONG it is. . . I’m considering reconsidering. It was fun stepping all over M Fox’s feet and laughing nervously together when yet another chorus started.
5) The Techno-version of the Hamster Dance was played. Which was absurd. But fun.
6) Crying when L and her father danced together. Oh man. I was filming it and I had to stop because I was sniffling like a moron. They played this song called “I Loved Her First,” which was probably really hokey to everyone else, but it seriously made my mascara run. I’m such a wuss.
7) B passing out glass mugs to his groomsmen with their names inscribed on them. I don’t know why, but I thought this was really touching. It was also funny since M Fox had just that morning said that he would like a beer mug with his initials on it.
After the bride and groom were safely tucked into their limo, headed for their hotel and then off to Roma, we all collapsed into various vehicles and reunited back at the bride’s parents’ house. M Fox and I had planned on driving home that night, but theywould hear none of it. We were upgraded to an actual bed, which was incredibly comfortable and we slept incredibly well.
The next morning we woke up and had bagels for breakfast. It was strange saying goodbye to everyone because I really wanted to add “See you at Thanksgiving!” or something. Even though I most likely won’t see these people again. I dunno. It’s a good, strange feeling.
The rest of the weekend was spent idly cleaning the house (those children from Ireland left quite a mess before leaving for good, the wankers), watching movies and interviewing new housemates for his house. And eating bagels for breakfast, of course. Oh, also playing a late night game of catch in a locked baseball diamond. Even though I flinched like I was getting beaten, I actually caught most of the balls. Impressive. You know. For a girl. My throw is despicable. Despite my horrid skills, M Fox asked me officially to be his girlfriend (the most common response to this statement has so far been “Men still do that?” to which my reply is, with a smile, “He does.”) I accepted his terms and we’ve settled on an appropriate settlement for PTO, vacation, medical and dental insurance. I think I also get a free turkey and a pumpkin pie in December, which I thought reasonable.
All in all, quite a marvelous time. It pretty much confirms my beliefs that the farther north (or east) you go, the better life you will have. So away I go.
Eat your heart out, Homer.