Since I worked maintenance on the previous weekend, I got Friday off work. I used the time to let loose, and fully take in the new-fangled game we were in for, for the winter indoor kickball league.
It's played in a small community center gymnasium, with about enough room around the sidelines for a person to walk. Without going too heavily into the vastly different rules the game has, compared to normal kickball, I'll just say that foul balls are rare, and as many as eight people can be on base at a time.
After the game the team, for the first time in a long time, retired to Grinders for pizza and beer. I sat in the middle of the table, dividing my attention between catching up with Brad along with Geoff and Chris on my right, and having an involved conversation with Anna, Nick, Amber, and Erp on my left. After the responsible people called it a night, Geoff and I went downtown, and tried out the 13th Street Bar and Grill, a normally smoke-free bar that for the night had thrown caution to the wind, and allowed the Garth Brooks concert-goers to smoke away.
Geoff busied himself trying to hook me up with an older, nicotine-addicted, Garth-singing, but admittedly attractive woman, and I busied myself paying lip service to his urgings. Katie joined us after a measure, and we went over to the pre-opening party at McFadden's, over in the Power and Light District. We approached the door, and the staff inside made to wave us away until they saw Katie. Seeing as she's some sort of public relations thug for the project, she's apparently entitled to some special treatment. I had a mind to sponsor the first(and probably last) round for the three of us, as the effects of alcohol were deeply set in all of us. But when they very quickly brought out the three Nutcrackers I ordered, they completely ignored my attempts to hand them a twenty. It would seem that Katie's arm is long indeed.
We called it a night by about 2am, and I slept heavily until just after noon. At one point earlier in the night, Geoff purchased a round of shots of Southern Comfort, which I haven't touched since the summer of 1995 and "the incident." I made a promise to my 17-year-old self on that horrible morning that I would never drink Southern Comfort again. Therefore, when I was handed the shot, and the moment came for everyone to take theirs down in cadence, I threw mine over my shoulder, with it audibly splashing on the tiled floor behind. Despite Geoff's consternation, I would have had a much worse Friday that I had, if I had consumed that shot. I am confident that my roommate would have awoken to the horrible sound of retching again, in the wee hours.
But, since I didn't imbibe any liquor at all, I felt fine the next day, and got on the road by about 2:30pm, arriving in Des Moines by 5pm. I planned on stopping in Des Moines to break up the long trip to Minnetonka, MN for Amanda's wedding. I met Alex for beers and dinner at El Bait Shop, just outside downtown Des Moines, and we were briefly joined by Sarah while her husband awaited a table at the nearby Court Avenue Brewing Company. Alex and I finished paying for beer at the Royal Mile, also nearby. We went back to his house and for the first time, I played Guitar Hero. The game is far beyond me. I got a couple "YOU ROCK" assessments, but mostly I was just booed off the stage when it was my turn. Alex served an ESB he'd brewed, with bits of his own home-grown fuggle hops floating in it. Delicious!
Alex's girlfriend Shae joined us the next morning, and as expected, we got off to a late start. On the way up, the joy of the occasion was significantly diminished when I received word that my stepmother's nine-year-old niece succumbed to a sudden blood clot in her brain, and was taken off life support earlier that day. The remainder of the weekend was overshadowed by this terrible news, and thoughts of logistics on my part, as my car was back in Des Moines at Alex's house. In the end, I found that the funeral(in the Chicago suburbs) wouldn't be held until Thursday of the following week, which means there was really nothing I could accomplish driving to Chicago from Des Moines. I will spend this week trying to determine if I can make a fly up/fly back in one day trip to make the funeral. At the moment, it looks doubtful.
We made it to the wedding with a bare three minutes to stare at our hands before Amanda's wedding party began processing. After the ceremony, presided by a very verbose priest, everyone went back to the hotel to pass the afternoon before the reception began. We derived great enjoyment from watching the Illini defeat #1-ranked Ohio State in Columbus, and set about catching up. I was among people that were my best friends in college, and for the first two years or so that I lived in Kansas City, but whom now I hadn't seen in years.
The reception began in earnest at 6pm with a cocktail hour, and melded into the dinner as I discovered to my delight that I was seated at the cool table. That is- the next-coolest table to the head table, of course. After an assortment of teary toasts and heartfelt announcements of thanks, the music started, and the Purple Monkeys began to alternate between the dance floor, the bar, and the areas in between. By about 11:30pm, the bartender had briefly switched to charging for drinks before finally just giving up and going home.
It was at this point that the problem drinkers pooled their feeble minds(mine among them), and called a cab to go to a nearby bar. Luckily for us on Sunday, the bars in Hopkins, MN close relatively early, and we were back at the hotel terrorizing the once-sleeping Meghan by 1:30am. I slept comfortably until about 9:30am, when the curtains in my room couldn't turn the sunrise any longer. I got up, checked out, and got some breakfast while I waited for Alex and Shae to get ready.
We caught Amanda, Jim, Tim, and Carl as we were heading for the car, and had a nice farewell with them. We drove the three and a half hours to Des Moines with the sun in our eyes, listening to financial planning call-in shows on AM radio, and arrived in Des Moines by about 2:30pm. I got right into my car and drove the remaining two and a half hours back to Kansas City, grabbed some Chipotle, and called it a night. It was a great weekend, and the pictures will be around soon.
any pics yet?
10:10 PM, Nov 25, 2007