Friday, October 17, 2014

The night

      I don’t recall if we went back in the church, but at some point, I reclaimed my cane. Then the groomsmen, bridesmaids, bride, and mother of the bride got on the trolley, even though it looked more like a bus to me. At some point, the other groomsmen left the trolley to clear our stuff out of the room at the Monaco. I would’ve gotten off to get my stuff, but my wingman, otherwise known as the best man, told me he would do it. So I stayed on, while the others made the trip from Monaco to the Omni, Wyndham and back.
       After everyone got back on the trolley, it drove to a park, whose name I forget, and we got off for some pictures. Surprisingly none of the other groomsmen, not even the groom, broke the camera with their ugly mug. I’m so photogenic, I would never break the camera, pats self on back.
At one point, all the bridesmaids gave their flowers to Adam, who’s 6’6” and has a long reach, to hold, and at one point he was giving floral bunny ears to Mark. For the picture though, Adam was relieved of all his floral decorations, and then the photography began. They took plenty of pictures of everyone standing with the bride or groom and they even took some of the groomsmen exposing their polkadot socks. I hope they got some good pictures because without holding onto something, I can’t stand on one leg for very long.
       After the pictures, we got back on the trolley, and headed to Front and Palmer for more food, which of course is the real reason I came to the wedding. After ascending to the second floor, we waited in a curtained off area before the main room until we got ourselves into formation. We walked through the curtain into the room in the same formation as leaving the wedding. All the walking relatively straight I’ve done, I used up that ability for 20 years. I sat at a table with my parents, three of my cousins, my aunt from California, and my cousin Bryan’s girlfriend Jen.

        Throughout the meal, also served tapas style, Mark and Jess were toasted. After the fourth or fifth item, the DJ started playing, and people went onto the dance floor. Matt came over to ask if I wanted on the floor because the entire bridal party was out there. I said no, and after politely asking if I was sure, he went back out. I don’t like walking around in a strange environment with loud music playing, and I’m sure it’s because I rely on my hearing so much. I know I would’ve been all right with my wingman there and everyone else, but I can’t dance either.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Ceremony

At various points throughout the day I think five different people tried to fold the pocket square so it would fit properly in my too small pocket. We judged ourselves ready, and then took everything, including the weaponized champagne, downstairs to the limo. We may have used the stairs, since I don’t think anyone had a card to access the elevator. However, I did fine with them if we used them, and everyone waited to be of assistance if necessary.
      I believe my parents were there and I’m not sure who else. Other than rock ‘n roller coaster, this was my first limo ride, but unfortunately this one didn’t go to Disney Hollywood Studios. We headed to the church, and our rendezvous with history, well Mark’s wedding.
After performing our duties at the entrance, we took our seats, and I decided to keep my cane for the moment. After a little while, the groomsmen and bridesmaids got up from their seats, and went to stand on the dais. Even though Matt went first, the other groomsmen made sure I knew when to walk, since I couldn’t exactly see across the aisle. At this point, Abby, Meredith, and myself didn’t link arms yet, but that would come. Well, most of them witnessed Jess and Mark’s marriage vows, and I heard them. With that done, we accomplished one of our goals, and went back to our seats after some pictures.
      When we neared the end of the ceremony, I handed my cane to my father, and then after Matt left escorting the maid of honor, it was my turn. Theoretically, I was escorting them, but like my mother said, the main duty fell to them. First, they can actually see where they were going, second, I think my grandfather took the day off from his stroll around the cosmos to lend a hand, while my only job centered on not tripping. We didn’t rehearse this either, but we went outside, and descended the stairs. Even though I had neither my cane nor my visor it still worked out.
     I give all the credit in the world to them for matching their pace to mine, since I could neither see much of where I was going, nor walk straight regardless. I think grandpa might’ve had something to contribute because sometimes I lose my balance for absolutely no reason. It might on occasion be because I got up too fast, too slow, walking too fast or too slow, etc. Finally, perhaps it might have had a minuscule amount to do with me.

     Even if I could manage my cane with both arms held, I think it far better I didn’t have it, especially since we went outside. It would’ve glided just fine down the smooth church floor, but it would’ve caught somewhere, on the lip going from the building to the outside, or walking down the stairs.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Big Day

       While waiting for the PSU fans, I listened to some of Crown of Vengeance by Mercedes Lackey on my ipod shuffle. Now why the Ipod shuffle is smaller than the ipod nano, I have absolutely no idea. When my father came back, he brought me a chocolate muffin, and I always bring a 40 more or less of water on long trips. I ate that, and then we walked the short distance to the Monaco, my father carrying my tuxedo. Mark gave all the groomsmen a giftbag at the rehearsal dinner containing a gray pocket square, cufflinks, and polkadot socks.
      Since you needed a card to use the elevator at the Monaco, Mark met us when we arrived, and he took us up to the room. I believe I forgot my shoes, so my father went back for them. When we got to the room, the TV wasn’t on, which surprised me. No one else had arrived yet, so I had the room to myself, well except for Mark. He was walking from room to room, doing a lot of unseen things, which I wouldn’t have been able to see regardless.
      Then the photographer arrived and discussed with Mark various ways he should be photographed. For some reason, my baby brother wouldn’t accept my offer to be the photographer. I must say, the bathroom was a little challenging because one of the walls was a full-length mirror. I don’t think I folded up my cane yet, so it told me that yes there was a wall in front of me, not another side to the bathroom. Even when I knew the other side of the bathroom was only an illusion, it still looked real to me.
       Soon the others arrived, and the TV went on to the Penn State game. At some point Abby, Jess’s sister, and I couldn’t see who else arrived with some food, and of course various versions of alcohol, none of which was a chocolate martini sadly. Mark gave me a little bottle of water, and an Italian sandwich, essentially an Italian hoagie on a sandwich bun. Luckily for me, I don’t drink champagne because Mark almost took himself out opening that bottle. I guess he cut the wire holding a whole bottle closed, and then loosened the cork, which proceeded to rocket to the ceiling. Mark said he felt the wind of its passage, so he avoided a broken nose by inches.

       After the excitement, everyone started getting dressed, and I got everything on properly, even buttoning the shirt buttons correctly on the first try. By this point, I think Mark had disappeared to have more mugshots taken, so Matt put the bowtie on. He didn’t even try to strangle me with it, now Mark definitely would’ve tried if he were the one doing it. Even though Matt was Mark’s best man, he also performed as basically my wingman. Even if I knew what to do, I would’ve probably stuck myself, so Matt also put the cufflinks on.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Blue, White and Green

Anyway, since she’s practically my sister now, she will get some of Mark’s grief henceforth. She won’t get nearly as much as Mark, but I’m honor bound to give her some. Anyway, I stood up and told her that I really came for the food, not to see(so to speak) her and Mark. I think she just laughed and said she understood, but I can’t exactly remember now. It must have something to do with the chocolate martini.
      I made Matt’s(the best man) night when I drank a whole chocolate martini. By this point, I think it became a mission to find some alcoholic beverage I would drink, since nothing at the bachelor party served. I don’t remember if we were leaving or I went out to the bar with Matt, but he tried one last drink, the chocolate martini. I didn’t like the chocolate whiskey on the vino tour, but I figure I’d humor everyone. The martini was pretty good, though Mark said later that you’re supposed to sip it, not drink it like soda. See, that’s how little I know about drinking, and sometimes I called it a chocolate margarita.
      My mother says that would be disgusting, but I don’t know why. By the end of the weekend everybody probably knew Mark’s brother Joe who never took more than one sip of any alcoholic drink, finished a chocolate martini. We joked that maybe I should down a couple stiff ones before the wedding, since it might help me walk straight. After all, everyone else walks crooked after downing one too many, and since I walk crooked anyway, I might walk straight after downing one too many. Anyway, after the excitement, those of us staying there staggered back to the Omni, and congregated in the bar area for a little while.
       When we eventually went back to our room, the sofa bed was made up for me, and we got ready for the following day, which proved very eventful. There was a view of the Battleship New Jersey out our window, but unfortunately I couldn’t see it. Maybe I should have imbibed a few more chocolate martinis. Eventually, I fell asleep, and woke up ready for the wedding.
     Jess had the gall to schedule the wedding on opening weekend of the Penn State football season, so needless to say most of the Penn State alumni gathered at an undisclosed location to watch as much of the game as they could. I was awake by the time my parents left so I get dressed in street clothes for one block walk to the Monaco later in the morning.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Leprechauns

This wedding blog will cover 6 entries I think but I'll tell you when it's over

I believe my aunt and cousin came in from California on Thursday, August 28, and the next day we drove to Philadelphia in the morning. The drive down was uneventful, other than no one telling me when we were approaching the tunnel, so I could hold my breath. I’m sure Mark would've told me, and then held a hand over my mouth.
Anyway, we got there, checked into the Omni Hotel, and then unpacked our suitcases, including the tuxedos Mark made us rent for the wedding, something about looking nice. We rented from Savvi by Sarno, and the monkey suits felt fine. Thor looked positively awesome in his, but that will come later. I offered to park the car instead of using valet parking, but for some reason no one took me up on it.
Wanting to be unusual, I brought green pants and a golf shirt for the rehearsal. After sitting in traffic for a while, we eventually made it to the church, St. Gabriel’s, and I got my first unsight of everyone in formal attire. I got to sit in the front, since someone said something about me being a groomsman. There were five groomsmen altogether:  Matt, Rodney, Adam (all college friends of Mark’s), Dave (one of his co-clerks), and me. I put my cane and visor next to me to stand in the for two of the groomsmen (Adam and Rodney) who weren’t there yet.
Then, Father Dominic entered, and the rehearsal began, but this time there was no music, not even Born in the USA. We didn’t rehearse this, but father Dominic said where the groomsmen and bridesmaids would stand in an arc on the dais. We rehearsed the rest of the ceremony, and then the groomsmen and bridesmaids processed to the back of the church. One groomsman escorted one bridesmaid except for me because I’m just that special.
Since Mark has one brother, and Jess has two sisters (and one more bridesmaid than Mark had groomsmen), it was decided to have all three of us process together—more later. I gave my cane to my father who was sitting behind us because I judged it easier to walk with both my arms held without it. As it turned out, I was right, but I think between the rehearsal and the wedding I used up my ability to walk relatively straight for 20 years.
After we got to the back, they released me on my own recognizance, and eventually I recovered my cane. Then we left the church, and headed to The Continental for the reception. The drive took longer than it should because of traffic, but we got there.

They served the dinner family style, and everything was excellent. I don’t normally like cheesesteak, but even I ate several of the small cheesesteak eggrolls. Throughout the night, people were circulating between the tables, and at one point Jess was standing at the table across from us. I asked my father, I think, if that was Jess standing behind, and he said yes. By now, I know Jess quite well, but I will probably never be able to tell who anyone is from the back.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Until next time



Afterwards, we went to City field to watch the Cubs play the Mets later, but before that we went to McFaddens for something to eat. I ordered mozzarella sticks and a chicken Caesar salad, and for a restaurant under a baseball stadium, it wasn’t bad.
Then we headed to our seats to watch, or in my case not watch, the baseball game. At one point in the game, I went with Mark to get a Sierra mist and a soft pretzel, but the soda was flat.
On our way up the stairs to get out of the stadium seats we saw a blind kid with his father on the other side of the stairs, and I actually saw his cane. Once we reached the top, we walked to an elevator, and it descended a grand total of two floors. For some strange reason, it stopped there, and we had to take the stairs the rest of the way. I have no idea what possible good an elevator is if it doesn’t descend all the way to the bottom.
Mark decided to take us to downtown Manhattan to see Times Square. We first walked through Grand Central Terminal. None of us (except Mark) had ever been there before. So now when someone says what is this Grand Central station, I have a physical comparison. It’s large, but most of its grandeur is probably lost on me. Mark said there were constellations on the ceiling, which I could only see tiny bits of.
Then we walked past office buildings, apartment towers, and more, heading to Times Square. As we walked, I got a view of the Chrysler building and the Empire State Building. Then the square itself blotted everything out. Here everything glowed fully not just outlined in lights, and I saw two Elmos and a Minnie. Evidently a few people always come to the square dressed up as characters from various shows and movies, and I had my fill of Times Square. With all the people wandering around, I shudder to think how many pack it on New Year’s Eve, but I will never be one of them, even if I could see. After that, we went home and crashed for the night.
Next morning, when everyone got themselves ready, we went to La Bagel Delight, and I ordered a breakfast sandwich on a bagel. We took everything back to Mark’s apartment building, and then sat on the roof to eat. I give it two thumbs up, and while I was on the roof, I heard plenty of trains.
Matt left first, so we all walked him to his car which, based on the distance we traveled, I think he parked just outside of Washington DC. Rodney left next, to meet a friend who lived in New York, so we walked him to the subway station, and that left me. I got myself one last chocolate chip ice cream sandwich at Jacque Torres Chocolate for the road. At about 2:30 we left for the subway station, and then rode the subway to the bus station. I said TTFN to both Mark and New York, but I’ll be coming back because for New York, Brooklyn wasn’t so bad.
Disclaimer: the record of this bachelor party has been edited to protect the guilty.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Nothing To See Here, Really

After leaving, we walked down to the waterfront facing Manhattan, and I saw the Freedom Tower all lit up, which was pretty cool. After a while, we went to a bar called The Bridges near Mark’s apartment, where I tried a hard apple cider. I prefer apple juice.  When Rodney started getting close, we went back to the apartment to meet him. Then the ninja turtles were complete. Mark and I independently came to the conclusion I was Michelangelo but I forget who we decided the others could be. Matt poured out some moonshine, which I didn’t like after a sip. Then, we went up on the roof deck, and I was able to see the Manhattan Bridge all lit up. I also heard the trains passing by, which I really liked.
After some time, and discussion of plans, we all got our sleep in preparation for the day to come.
After everyone got up on Saturday, we went to Clark’s Restaurant for breakfast, but I think everyone except Rodney actually ordered lunch. I had a Gyro, which I very much enjoyed. I wish it had more sauce on it, but may be because it was so large; they couldn’t without making a huge mess.
After finishing, we used the Uber app to get a car to go to the Brooklyn Brewery for a tour which resides in an old warehouse I think. I believe we got in line around noon, but while we waited, all the 2 PM tickets had already gone. As 1 PM approached though, I was able to do my civic duty. We went to where they were letting people in for the tour, asked where to get tickets, and then they told us we could join the one that was starting right then. They showed us the process by which they took grains and other components, making them into liquid courage.
Then, we walked back into the beer hall, and sampled various kinds of product. They drank the full cups of everything they ordered, while I only had one sip from each, disliking all.
After leaving to recover our hearing—many dozens of people, many beers, and concrete floors and walls are not a quiet combination—we took another Uber to the King’s County Distillery, where among other things they made chocolate whiskey. After walking the winding path to the main building, the person showed us how they turn corn into whiskey, and how they make their other products. Our guide showed us the barrels where they kept the aged whiskey in 5, 10, 15 and 53 gallon barrels.
Mark said it looked like they could fit me in one the of the 53 gallon barrels, and those barrels looked large enough to fit a dwarf in each, for anyone who hasn’t read or watched The Hobbit this will mean absolutely nothing.
          Then we drank samples of their three products, including the chocolate whiskey, none of which I liked.