Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Numbers 1-14: Vegas for the Weekend (Very Long Post)

Somewhere in my comments on the last post, I wrote the following about my weekend:

Thanks, guys. I did have a good weekend.Actually, it was more like this:
1. Not so good/nervous;
2. Very good;
3. Very, very good;
4. Hmmm, annoyed;
5. Unbelievably, incredibly good;
6. OhmygodI'mtired and don't feel very good;
7. Eh. Ok, I guess;
8. Super pissed;
9. Getting better;
10. Very good;
11. Not so very good again;
12. Goodness in its sweetest form;
13. I think I'm gonna barf;
14. God it's good to be home.
I'll fill in the blanks tomorrow.

So here ya go, filling in the blanks:

1. Not so good/nervous:
Kimberly and I left about an hour earlier than we needed to for our flight out of Oakland. Thank god, too, because there was a major accident on the freeway we needed to take—three of the five lanes were closed from about 5:30 in the morning until well after we went through. It took us almost two hours to go 45 miles and we were afraid we were going to miss our flight. We had already decided that we’d have to pay for airport long-term parking, as there would certainly be no time to park at one of the “away” lots.

2. Very good:
We called a local radio station from the road though and they were kind enough to give us an alternate route. We were able to bypass all the traffic mess and flew the last 20 miles or so, which means we were, in fact, able to park at the less expensive long term lots and still make our flight. Yahoo!

3. Very, very good:
Although we arrived at our hotel more than an hour before check-in, the folks there were kind enough to let us check in early (thank you!), so we settled into our room and went in search of food. On the recommendation of one of my best friends (thanks Jena), we went to a Macaroni Grill across the street and had, bar none, the BEST waitress I’ve ever had in my entire life. And the food was good, too!

4. Hmmm, annoyed:
At 7:00 pm, we were to meet the bride & other members of the “bachelorette party” at a bar in the Rio Hotel. We waited, and waited, and waited. The Chippendale’s show was due to start at 8:00 and we were supposed to be in line by 7:30. We kept waiting. The bride’s sister called her a couple of times and we were told they were “on the way”. At 7:45, the three of us who were at the bar left to get in line, despite the fact that we didn’t have any tickets. I was annoyed. I can’t stand being late.

5. Unbelievably, incredibly good:
We ran into the bride & the other 2 members of the party just outside of the Chippendales venue; got inside, got our seats, and had a fantastic time. The last male bare chest I’ve seen was Jay’s, so during the revue, I thought of him a lot. I kept thinking “Man, I have to blog this!” Keep in mind, I’m not much of a drinker—I had a Guinness & Cider at the bar and 2 Cosmopolitans and a Kamikaze at the show. I may not have been in the most, uh, rational mind space…. When it ended, we went upstairs (to the 51st floor) to the Voodoo Lounge where we proceeded to drink copious numbers of Apple Martinis. OH MY GOD. We danced out on the deck, took a gazillion pictures, laughed at everything, and had a great time! I think Kimberly had to pour me into the cab to get home, but she also had the foresight to feed me some ibuprofen and a lot of water.

Very Drunk Bride and Aimee

6. OhmygodI'mtired and don't feel very good:
Friday morning we slept in. Neither of us had hangovers; I’m not sure how we escaped them, but I suspect it was Kimberly’s good planning with the water & such. But we were dog-tired all day long and sort of dragging around. We stayed close to our hotel room until around 3:00, then caught a free shuttle to the strip, wandered around one of the malls down there, got a delicious cup of tea each, then headed over to the shuttle from Harrah’s to the Rio.

7. Eh. Ok, I guess:
Once at the Rio, I sat back and watched the rehearsal. I met a number of nice people and took a bunch of pictures, but I never did feel 100%. The rehearsal dinner was at a Mexican restaurant in the Rio. I love Mexican food—I can eat it every meal every day if I have to. Mmmmm. AND—I sat near the bride’s dad & his wife as well as the groom’s mom. They were all so cool! I got the good table, for sure. But Kimberly wasn’t feeling 100% either, so we went back to our hotel by 8:30 and spent the evening going over the ballot initiatives (she brought her voting information with her—again, thank you Kimberly!). We were in bed and asleep before midnight.

Bride and her Dad at the Rehearsal

8. Super pissed:
On Saturday morning, we were to be at the bride’s hotel suite by 11:00, and we were told not to bother with breakfast, there would be plenty of food there. So we arrived at 10:45 and found a few muffins (only one of which either Kimberly or I like, so we split it), and two bowls of fruit, mostly cantaloupe (I don’t like cantaloupe).

Shortly after we arrived, the bride gave gifts to her bridesmaids. All through the weekend, at the parties on Thursday and Friday evenings, she kept referring to me as an “honorary bridesmaid” because I was being included in all the bridal party events. She gave them each a number of little gifts—a bottle of perfume, a charm, a candle, a pen, and other what-not—and then she gave them each a pearl necklace.

I was not given any sort of recognition. I don’t need a pearl necklace, I already have one, and I don’t need perfumes or candles or any of that other stuff. But it sure would have liked some sort of acknowledgement for all the work I’ve put into this wedding, the three personal vacation days I used and the two trips to Vegas.... I was really hurt.

The bride reads my blog. I have deliberated about putting the above paragraphs in here. I have re-written them a number of times and left out some other pertinent facts because I don’t want any of this to put our friendship in jeopardy after so many years, however I think it’s important to know how upset/angry/hurt/used I feel. So, Hon, if you’re reading this, please know that when you gave those gifts to your girls and excluded me completely my feelings were really hurt. I don’t expect you to do anything about it. In fact, I’d be just as comfortable if neither of us ever bring it up again, but I have to put it out there.

9. Getting better:
My camera battery died at the rehearsal dinner the night before, so while the girls got started with their hair and make up, I took a trek to the nearest Wallgreens Drug Store—about an hour round-trip walk, but the weather was lovely and it gave me time to cool off. While I was walking, I realized that I really do write everything I experience in my head. I wonder if other people do the same thing. If I had a tape recorder, it would always be on, recording my observations of the world. You guys would all come to hate me because you’d never be able to stay caught up with all the hundreds of posts per week.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Sloth--this one is for you:

Kim Chi For Sloth

As I was walking to the drugstore, a woman jogged past me. She was taut—every muscle in her body was toned. As I was walking back to the hotel, we passed each other again. This time, she was walking with her hands on her hips and breathing deeply. Cooling down from her run, I imagine. I saw her closer this time. Her muscles were toned and defined, but now that she had slowed down, I saw up close the stretch marks on her belly. That was the only sign on her body that identified her as part of the club: She is someone’s mom. It made me smile.

10. Very good:
Right after I passed the jogging mom, I ran into Tiffany with two of her bridesmaids. They were walking to Circus Circus to withdraw some cash so they could pay the hair & make up guy. Sometime on Thursday evening, Tiffany lost both her ATM card and her driver’s license. Oy! That is NOT what needs to happen in Vegas, not to mention not what any bride needs to be dealing with! Anyway, we passed each other, said some hellos, and I went back to the room where Kimberly was having her hair done by James. James was AWESOME! Not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, but he is straight and a rabid Democrat. Oh, and he does an incredible job with hair and make up! I was so enthused by the job he did on Tiffany & the other bridesmaids that I was inspired to spend too much money and have him do me, too. Oh my god, pardon my vanity, but we looked GOOD when he was done!

Bride Getting Ready (before hair & make up)

James, Bridesmaids (in back), Bride, and Maid of Honor

At about 3:15, we all piled into the limo and were driven to the Rio for THE EVENT. It went off without a hitch (though Kimberly and I nearly fainted from hunger—we still hadn’t had more than half a muffin each and were absolutely famished). The reception was also quite nice and I got a number of compliments on the wedding party’s outfits. Oh, and for those of you wondering, the groom nixed the kilts, so the guys were in typical wedding-style tuxedoes. They looked sharp.


After the reception, a bunch of folks wandered down the hall to the honeymoon suite. I thought we were going to sort of “drop off” the bride and groom, but it turned into a full-fledged after-the-reception-party, and it was a blast! There was a second honeymoon suite next door with a wedding/reception going on over there, and Kimberly and I met a couple of the guys from that party. We ended up hanging out with them for most of the evening, in fact. One of them, Chad, took a few digital pics of us. If he actually sends them, I’ll be surprised, but I will post them here. He was a nice guy—smart and into books and movies. I’d like to get to know him better.

Me and My Girls (Well Into the Reception, Feelin' a bit Tipsy)

Kimberly and I retired to our hotel room around midnight, packed, and went to sleep. We had very, very early flights to catch on Sunday. Thank goodness we were able to change our clocks before going to bed.

11. Not so very good again:
Kimberly and I made it to the airport in plenty of time, parted ways just past the security gates, and I headed over to my gate. Waited the hour or whatever, got on the plane, was blessed enough to have seat-mates who were small, clean women not interested in talking. That was nice. I napped through most of the flight.

My flight was due to land in LAX at 8:05. The Santa Barbara Airporter leaves LAX at 8:00 and again at 10:30. I was booked on the 10:30 bus, but thought I’d try to catch the early one anyway because my flight was early. Didn’t happen. Dang. So I sat for 2-1/2 hours and waited for my bus. While waiting, I called Kate from my cell phone. She told me that my mom and Emily were not going to pick me up in Santa Barbara, but that Jeff (her husband) would be there instead. I was sort of bummed out because I was really looking forward to having some quiet alone time with my mom & Em, but it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

But why, I asked? Well, because Jeff had taken all the kids out to play the day before and somewhere at a county park my car key was lost. Did you know that Volvos can’t be re-keyed? Yeah, well, they can’t. Keys have to be ordered and overnighted to local dealerships. Oh well. What’s done is done; what could I do about it?

When Jeff picked me up, it was clear that he felt really bad, and I just didn’t see any sense in making him feel worse. So this is how the scenario plays out in my head (if I play it this way, it makes me happy instead of upset): Jeff is in the county park with his son, daughter, and Emily. They’re playing hard together—running, swinging, rolling on the grass, whatever. Somewhere in the melee, the key slips out of his pocket. How can I be mad at him for a benign accident that happened while he was giving his children and mine the best day they’ve had in ages? So, there it is.

12. Goodness in its sweetest form:
I got to Kate’s house, dropped my stuff, and went into the bedroom where Em was taking a nap. She was actually already awake when I walked into the room. My sweetest EMILY!!! We hugged and hugged and hugged. Then I changed her poopy diaper (haha, welcome home, mom!) and we went into the living room to cuddle and hug some more.

In the afternoon, my mom & Kate spread the table with the most incredible tea party for Kate’s birthday, which is the day before Halloween. They made tart shells with chicken salad, tart shells with chocolate pudding & whipped cream, teeny little apple pie tarts, lemon bars, poppy seed orange cookies, heart-shaped cream cheese & cucumber sandwiches, and I don’t remember what all else. Then my mom brewed up a pot of good, strong, black tea and we all sat and gorged. Yummmm!

Later in the evening, we went over to my dad’s house where the 3 kids went trick-or-treating together while Kate, Jeff, my Dad, and I all hung around on the sidewalk between houses. What a great Halloween!

Emily In Costume (picture taken on 11/2)

An hour or so after we got home, my dad called & said he’d be able to take me home the next day. Wow—thanks, Dad. You’re so fantastic!

13. I think I'm gonna barf:
Dad came over to Kate’s for breakfast Monday morning (as he does almost every morning), confirmed our flight in the afternoon, and asked me to pack lunch for both of us.

Nothing eventful happened in the morning. I just hung out with my family, packed up & got ready to go home. It was hard to explain to Emily why I was leaving again after just having come back to her, but at noon we all headed out to the small municipal airport where we met my dad at his hangar. Emily climbed into the back of the plane, determined to come home with us (poor baby), so my dad taxied her over to the gas pump before we had to get her out of the plane.

The last site I had as we were taxing down the runway was her sad little face crying for me to bring her with us. Heart-wrenching. God I miss her.

The flight home in my dad’s leetle teensy plane is about 3 hours. In all my 37 years, I have never, ever gotten motion sickness of any sort, but yesterday in my dad’s plane, for the first time ever, I got airsick. I never threw up, but I came damn close. So close, in fact, that I held the barf bag in my lap for the last hour of the flight. Ugh.

Before the barf feeling set in, however, my dad made a point to fly over & show me the coolest things. We flew over Morro Bay, got super close to Hearst Castle, and scoped out all the California Missions that were visible from the air. I tried to take pics from the plane, but I’m not sure how they’ll turn out (it’ll be a while before they’re developed though, so I won’t know for a while yet). Anyway, all-in-all, it was a nice flight.

About an hour or so after I landed, Kimberly drove over to the airport to pick me up (she had to finish up something at work first). She took me straight home, where I promptly settled myself into a hot bath, calmed my stomach with flat Coke, and then fired up the computer. All that leads me to #14:

14. God it's good to be home.

(I'm sorry I don't have any pictures from Kate's birthday or Em's Halloween with her cousins. When I finish the roll of film and have them developed, I'll post them later.)