The wedding was excellent. I had a fantastic time, and hope to see as many of the people involved as possible, again. I wish Dave and Stacia all the greatest that I can, and hope especially that their paths cross mine again soon. The weekend didn't start so well, though.
In planning for attending the wedding, I had arranged to rent a car for about $40, plus taxes and fees ad nauseam. I like giving business to Southwest, so my flight was going into Midway. The hotel and wedding were in Elgin, about fifty urban and suburban miles away from there. It's a long trip, regardless of the circumstances, and as you can see, entails a drive across the bulk of the Chicagoland area.
In the week prior to the wedding I asked a friend if he could pick me up at the airport, and save me some rental car money. I warned him about how long the trip was, and with good reason, he was hesitant, but in the end agreed to pick me up, to my tumultuous gratitude. The timing of the flight was terrible- a 1:45 PM arrival for a 4:30 PM wedding -a scheduling gaffe on my part. I assumed the wedding would be later. Anyway, while suppressing a small dance of joy, I cancelled my car rental reservation, to avoid last minute cancellation fees.
The day of the wedding came, and I zoomed myself up to KCI airport, with enough spare time for a sandwich, a glass of Bully Porter, and an on-time departure to Chicago. I never turn off my phone on planes, but I may as well, for all the use they are in mid-flight. As the plane came back down below cell tower coverage, to land in Chicago, my phone started vibrating. I looked at it, and saw that I had several new voicemails. As the plane taxied, I listened to my friend tell me that he had arrived late at the hotel in Elgin, and that he had been advised not to come all the way to Midway to pick me up, or neither of us would make the wedding on time. He gave me the number of an Elgin-based cab company, that would take me to Elgin from Midway for about fifty dollars, and he offered to split the price of the cab with me.
I called the number he gave, and after about twenty precious minutes on hold, I was informed that a cab could be sent to me within forty five minutes. With that option gone, I started to look for a rental car, but it being a big weekend for graduations and weddings, no cars were available from any agencies at Midway. With no choice, and forty minutes already wasted, I got in the cab line outside the terminal, and wasted fifteen more minutes waiting in line for a city cab, that would charge me the meter and a half for having it leave the city limits.
At 4:15 PM, we pulled into the Elgin Hampton Inn parking lot, and I forked over $175 to the surly cabbie. I raced upstairs, got sweatily dressed, and left for the wedding with my friend who waited for me at the hotel.
From this point on, the weekend was wonderful. The wedding ceremony was great, and I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face, watching Dave swagger around the altar, and watching Stacia look like she was going to die of happiness. It was an altogether beautiful experience, and pictures are on the way.
The reception was equally fitting of the event. Mary Kay, Dave's sister and the Best Woman, in the wedding, put an excellent stop to the unbelievably tacky(in my opinion) practice of banging on glasses with spoons to get the newlyweds to kiss. She informed everyone that if anyone wanted to see a newlywed kiss, they would have to seize the microphone and sing a romantic song to the assembled group. And seize it I did, with a stirring rendition, as always, of Moondance.
Scads of Loras people were there, and I was able to catch up with a lot of old friends. Following the reception, a group of us went to a bar in central Elgin called "Bandito's" or something, got chased out at closing time, and went to Denny's for very late night food.
The next morning, we got up and grabbed some complimentary breakfast in the hotel lobby, and I said goodbye to Dave and Stacia. There was an all-day cookout at Stacia's parents' house in South Elgin, and a party following that, at Christen's parents' house in Sycamore. I didn't attend either of these, though I would have loved to, because I spent the remainder of the weekend with Brian and Kathleen, neither of whom I had seen yet in 2005, and the latter of whom had only one week prior moved to the Chicago area.
We met up with Todd in the city, and feeling way to tired to battle the crowds at the new Millenium Park downtown, I hung out with Todd at his place, and watched the Cubs/Red Sox game. We all agreed to meet at the Hopleaf bar in Andersonville at 7PM. Todd, who lives on Roscoe, just south of Wrigley Field, and I, managed to get north of Addison just in time to beat the game-exiting crowds. We got to the bar about forty minutes ahead of time, and about three minutes before the weekend's only rain started. It cleared in about 25 minutes, just before Brian and Kathleen joined us.
I liked the Hopleaf, for the obvious reason that it has a great tap selection, but was disappointed at how upscale it is, menu-wise. I got a delicious dish that can be described as "buttersauce-doused chicken," that was delicious, but distracted me from drinking the excellent beer that was available.
We called it an evening after that, and made the lengthy trips around the suburbs to drop Kathleen off at her place in Lisle, and get back to Brian's place in Willowbrook. We finished off the day with two victorious games of Warcraft, and a couple more beers.
We got up at nine for mass at a new church for Brian and Kathleen. After that, we headed into the city again, to meet Ben and his dad for beer and wings at BW3's. We had two rounds of wings, and found ourselves with some extra time, so we went to the Map Room in Bucktown, which I liked much better than the Hopleaf. It was much more of a neighborhood bar, and the tap selection was decidedly more American, which I love to see. I'm a big believer in the regionality of beer. If I go to Chicago, I want to drink something I can't find in Kansas City, but is also a regional beer. I found this in surprising excellence in Three Floyds' wonderful Gumballhead Pale Wheat.
When I had about an inch of said beer left in my glass, I looked at my watch, and decided it was time to get going. I settled the tab, drained my glass, and said goodbye to Chicago until July 10th, when I'll be back for Clare's wedding.
## EDIT 6/16 ##
The pics are done.