Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Daddy-O and A, sittin' in a tree

So my trip to New Jersey for Daddy-O's wedding didn't get off to the greatest start when the woman sitting next to G pulled out an enormous, ultra-stinky burrito and began nomming on it enthusiastically despite the side eye I threw her way. I mean, I don't care if you bring food on the plane, especially since the airlines don't feed us anymore, but could you at least make sure it doesn't fucking REEK?

And then the plane had to return to the gate because a "maintenance light" had come on. Okay, kind of important, and at least we hadn't actually taken off yet. That took about an hour to fix, and I had to chuckle when the pilot announced that the problem had been fixed by rebooting the plane's computer. Planes...they're just like my 2004 Compaq Presario!

But once we got into the air and the stanktacular burrito had been polished off, the flight was uneventful. G and I alternated between dozing and playing Professor Layton and the Last Specter.

As we were landing in Philadelphia, a flight attendant announced that there was a passenger experiencing a medical emergency and that we needed to stay in our seats until he'd been helped off the plane into the ambulance waiting on the tarmac. So of course what happened once the seat belt sign turned off? Practically every motherfucker leaped into the aisles and began pawing through the overhead bins to get their luggage. Lovely. I hope they all missed their connecting flights or, if they were staying in the Philly area, experienced massive stomach cramps followed by explosive diarrhea.

Anyway, it had already been a long day by the time we got off the plane, what with the drive to the Van Nuys flyaway and then the bus ride and then waiting in the terminal and then flying to Philadelphia, and it wasn't over yet. After meeting up with my brother R at the baggage claim, we hopped in his car for the 2 hour drive to Long Beach Island, New Jersey, where my dad was getting married in less than 24 hours.

Now you may be wondering, and you are right to do so, why Daddy-O and A would get married in New Jersey when they live in Minnesota. Well, her parents live in New Jersey, and they're in their mid-90's and not in the best of health. They didn't go to her first wedding---not sure of the story there---and it was really important to them to attend this one, so Dad and A decided to bring the wedding to them.

When we pulled into town, I experienced a frisson of delight. It was shrouded in fog, many of the stores were closed for the season, the streets were deserted, and the stoplights, swaying in the breeze, slowly blinked their yellow eyes. (I later found out that they're only turned on during the high season; the town is too sleepy in the off season to bother.) I excitedly twisted around in my seat and said to G, "We're in Silent Hill! What have we done and how do we atone?"

Once we arrived at Magnolia House, the bed and breakfast where we were staying, we checked in and Tony and Cheryl, the proprietors, served us snacks. One of the other guests strolled in wearing his bathrobe and said, "You can pretty much get away with murder here."

...huh. Fawlty Towers much?

G's and my room was a bit old-fashioned and the bathroom was small, but it was nice enough. Personally I would have been much happier staying in a hotel, especially since you don't generally have to make small talk with hotel employees over the breakfast buffet! I mean, don't get me wrong, Tony and Cheryl were extremely nice, and Bathrobe Guy was a bit of an odd duck but friendly and polite enough, but I didn't really feel like talking to strangers. And I think it was way overpriced for what you actually got, but Dad insisted on picking up the tab so beggars can't be choosers etc.

On Saturday, we had a delicious breakfast of scones and suffered through more small talk with Tony and Cheryl. Well, actually, R was super chatty and quite happy to talk to them. If a stranger had come into the room and was told one of us had Asperger's, I guarantee my brother wouldn't be the one they'd suspect! He's really come a long way since his initial diagnosis, and although he can irritate me like nobody else can (which is MY failing, not his, since I'm one of the most impatient people you'll ever meet), I'm so fucking proud of him.

Shortly after breakfast, Dad and A came over and we all headed out so A could give us a tour of the island. Her family has a beach house there, so she's very familiar with the area. (And in case you're wondering why we didn't stay at the beach house, it's because her extremely large extended family got dibs, which is only fair since, um, it's theirs.) We stopped in a coffee shop so A could get a latte, and an air raid siren went off. (Well, it wasn't an air raid siren, but it sure sounded like one.) Delighted almost beyond measure because I'm such a hardcore fangirl, I whispered to G, "See? It really IS Silent Hill! We must [spoiler for Silent Hill Downpour redacted] at once!"

Dad and A dropped us off at the Magnolia House just as G's parents, better known here as Madre and Padre, arrived. Now, I'm sure you're wondering why my boyfriend's parents came to my father's wedding, right? Well, I'm not telling you.

...okay, fine. Madre and Padre live in New Mexico, which my dad visits semi-frequently for wine festivals and/or the opera. A couple of years ago, when he was in the area, he took Madre and Padre out for dinner to thank them for their many kindnesses towards me and they became good friends, so he invited them to the wedding.

Anyway, I introduced them to R and then we all went to lunch together. Back at the B&B, G and I took a short nap and then started getting ready for the wedding. Now, as you all know, I haaaaaaaate to shop, but I managed to score the perfect dress, silver heels, and a matching silver clutch. Even though I have pretty low self-esteem, when I was finished getting ready I was damned happy with what I saw in the mirror! And G looked so dapper in his suit that he put Don Draper to shame.

R and I had to leave early because we were part of the procession, so G said he'd get a ride with his parents and R and I took off. Dad was pretty busy when we got there, but he took a few minutes to give us a hug, introduce us to A's children (I now have three stepsisters and a stepbrother), and show us their suite, which was fucking gorgeous. Seriously, if I could design my dream bathroom, it would look a lot like that one!

After posing for a few pictures, R and I stood around waiting for things to get started. A's son-in-law gave me a really cool corsage of roses, orchids, and a peacock feather strung together on a beaded bracelet, and R got a matching boutonniere that I had a bitch of a time pinning on for him.

When it was time for the wedding to start, R, A's children, and I got in line, and as soon as the musical cue started (not the traditional wedding march but an operatic selection), we walked down the aisle. As A came down the aisle, I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. Not because she looked bad or anything---she looked radiant---but you know how they say women shouldn't wear white to weddings so as not to "compete" with the bride? She was also wearing a purple dress and silver shoes! Granted, my dress was much darker, but it was still funny.

Here's a picture of my brother and me kicking things off. This photo was NOT taken by the official wedding photographer, but by one of my dad's friends. Once I get copies of the official pictures, I'll post them, but this one (and another forthcoming) will have to suffice for now.

(Don't ask me why my brother is doing a Napoleon imitation; I don't know either.)

They kept the ceremony fairly short because it was gray and freezing and threatening to rain, but it was really a beautiful ceremony. I managed to keep my emotions in check until Dad reached over to thumb a tear off A's cheek, and then I absolutely lost it. I cried mostly because I was happy, of course, but also because if my mom was still alive, the wedding would never have happened. And as much as I like A and think she's a great match for my dad, I would much prefer to have my mother alive.

Anyway, they wrote their own vows and they were really touching. A had a few funny lines in hers that had the crowd roaring, like when she said she had been afraid to date after her divorce because most men her age are looking for "a nurse or a purse"! Rings were exchanged, the officiant told my dad he could kiss the bride, and everybody erupted in cheers and applause.

The happy couple:

When we all went inside for dinner, I was seated with G, his parents, R, and my Uncle B, who I hadn't seen since my mom's memorial service. Uncle B is generally a good guy, very jovial, but he was really starting to work my nerves, especially when he turned to me and said, "So I guess it'll be your turn soon enough, huh?"





Champagne flutes were passed out for a toast, and then several other people gave toasts, including A's mother, A's best friend since the age of 3 (!!!), and a couple of Dad's friends. Dinner was excellent; I opted for the filet mignon with truffled mashed potatoes and wiggled around in my seat with delight. They didn't have a wedding cake, but a table loaded with individual desserts. I couldn't decide which one I wanted more, so I opted for all three: creme brulee (awesome), chocolate souffle (yum), and tiramisu (good but I could only eat half because by that time I was about ready to pop the seams on my dress).

The B&B had covered the wraparound porch with a clear plastic tarp to keep the wind out while we danced. Dad and A got the first dance, of course, and they were really good! They've been taking lessons for years, and it obviously paid off. G and I slow danced to Elvis, followed by rocking out to Black Eyed Peas and LMFAO (and I doubt I'll ever recover from hearing my dad shout "Everyday I'm shufflin'!") and some more slow jams. I asked the DJ to dedicate "Someone to Watch Over Me" to Madre and Padre, since that's their song, and they were very touched that I'd remembered. At one point during a fast song, a group of teenage boys on bikes rode by, staring at us, and G whispered, "They're totally thinking they've never seen whiter people in their lives!"

Eventually my feet started to hurt, so G and I went back to our table to sit and enjoy another round of drinks. "Single Ladies" began playing, and Uncle B boomed out, "Yeah, if he likes it he should put a ring on it, don't you think?" I gave him a look that could kill kudzu and I think he finally took the hint, because he didn't talk to me for the rest of the night.

As the night began to draw to a close, I glimpsed Daddy-O and A out the window, slowly swaying back and forth in each other's arms, and I honestly don't remember the last time I'd seen him look so blissfully happy.

Gloomy weather and meddling uncles aside, it was a damn good day.