Saturday, April 19, 2014

Alpacas, Fake Boobs, & Sasquatch: A Wedding Story

I am writing this post as I sit next to our private outdoor kitchen and bar, next to our private saltwater pool, in sight of the private beach. I am drinking a pisco sour, prepared lovingly (meaning much more generously made with the alcohol than a bartender might be) by my new husband.  It also happens to be about 80 degrees, sunny, and there is moisture in the air. But the honeymoon post is supposed to be later. This story is about how my father missed his first flight to the wedding and ended up in Baltimore with a pair of prosthetic breasts, how Roxi got her ass beat by a herd of alpacas, and why Bigfoot showed up to my bridal shower.

The week of wedding preparation was set to begin after I flew home from the slope the Friday before the wedding.  However, I knew the wedding chaos was beginning when I talked to Travis the Monday before I was supposed to fly out. As soon as he answered the phone I suspected something was amiss. He sounded weird and snuffly. When Travis sounds weird and snuffly, he is either sick, or angry. After an intense interrogation by yours truly, Travis confessed he had been sick all weekend but hadn't wanted to worry me or stress me out with the wedding so close but eventually decided it was better to tell me than allow me to think he was mad.  I at least felt appeased that I would be healthy for the wedding since we were an entire country apart (Thanks, Canada) and that Travis would be healthy by the time we got to the wedding.  Naturally, this was not the case. I managed to come down with the slope cold right before I left. This left me a sore throat, coughing, and snotty, just in time for travel and wedding festivities. Perfect. My flights from the slope to Anchorage, Anchorage to Portland, and Portland to Spokane went without  a single thing going wrong for once. My company man even bought my dinner because it was my "bachelor party." So I arrived in Washington and Travis picked me up for our overnight stay in a Spokane hotel before flying to Michigan for the wedding. We had to pack my insanely ruffly and poofy wedding gown in a space bag, which was horrifying. Travis had  brought along the dust buster for this purpose and I had just mentioned we shouldn't use it on the bed when it split open and spilled the contents of the back of the car and also our first Christmas tree all over my side of the bed. Travis' comment was,"Well hey, at least it isn't on my side of the bed and we have a dust buster to clean this up." Always look on the bright side.

This night was where I had my first bridzilla esque moment. In my defense, Travis and I were both sick at this point and we had Roxi who is a mess while travelling because she knows suitcases and boxes mean she is getting left behind, put on a plane, or some combination of both. Anyway, I've discovered that I can usually manage the switch from night shift if I stay up all day and go to sleep early. But if I am awoken at any point in the night, I am instantly completely and irreversibly awake. And generally rather annoyed and grouchy, to put it delicately.  We happened to have a room down the hall from the pool and it was rather loud. I was exhausted enough to sleep through all the noise for a couple hours and Travis didn't want to move and wake me up to go yell at anyone. Just before eleven at night I awoke to the sounds of children running up and down the halls and I was livid. I went from blissfully asleep to a raging, sick, about to get married mess in two seconds flat. I swear I think I breathed fire and my voice turned into one of those double tone demonically possessed voices. So I shoved my snow boots on over my pajama pants, threw on Travis's jacket and went stomping up to the front desk muttering obscenities under my breath in between coughing fits. Not an exaggeration. I didn't even bother to put my crazy hair into a ponytail or grab my glasses, it was really bad. When I started yelling at the front desk staff, I didn't even get out my entire rant about how I was about to get married, sick, and coming off the night shift, before someone was quite literally sprinting off down the hall to tell everyone to be quite. Normally Travis doesn't really seem frightened of me but as I climbed back in bed Travis said meekly, "I promise, I would have told them to be quiet but I was afraid I'd wake you up." Needless to say, we were able to get a couple hours sleep after that.

Even the flights to Michigan were relatively calm and went well the next day. We got moved up in the boarding line because I  calmly explained to everyone that, "My wedding dress is in this bag, I'm getting married in a week and I NEED to have it with me." The only minor hiccup was the last plane from Detroit that got delayed by gate changes since the plane needed repairs. Or as the woman doing the boarding and announcing explained, "This plane is BROKE! So we got a new one."

Other than those minor annoyances, the real excitement didn't start until Tuesday when my family was due to arrive. I spoke with my brother in the morning and he said their plane had been delayed for two hours so they weren't leaving for the airport yet. My parent's were travelling with my younger brother, Martin, and my uncle Chris. Uncle Chris has Down's syndrome and had never traveled on a plane. Not knowing how he was going to react, they decided it might be best not to stress him out with extra hours waiting at the airport.

Travis and I decided to spend the time waiting for them by introducing Roxi to the alpacas. Travis's parents have a lot of alpacas and llamas. A few fun facts; alpacas and even llamas, are a lot smaller than you might think, maybe five feet tall. They also have soft hooves, not like deer or horses have. However, they are still much much larger than a 25 pound dog. Roxi lost her cool a bit when confronted with these unnatural creatures. She settled a bit after a few minutes but she kept letting out involuntary barks and chasing any alpacas who ran. Even when we fed these strange beings treats and were never in any danger, Roxi was convinced there was something dangerous about them.  She made the mistake of chasing the herd one too many times.  I will never forget watching Roxi smack into a pile of hay as she tore off after a herd of alpacas without watching where she was going. And the image of poor little Roxi being kicked and pummeled into the ground  by six or seven alpacas before Travis was able to run over and shoo them off and pick her up. After that she seemed to realize that it might be unwise to pick on herds of creatures five times her size and didn't want to stand anywhere but directly under us. A valuable lesson now that we are getting a mastiff.

So we took her inside for some cuddling on the couch recovery time. Not sixty seconds later, she starts to make noises that indicate vomit is about to happen. Wasting no time, I picked her up and went running for the front door. As I manage to swing it open while simultaneously lodging a massive splinter under one of my nails, Roxi lets out a graceful arc of vomit all over the floor and all over my feet. I toss her outside where she continues to vomit and tell Travis I need tweezers immediately. He runs off for tweezers and paper towels and I notice Roxi has already started feeling better and is now intent on chasing the barn cat that is trying to feast on Roxi vomit. Needless to say, tweezers are no where to be found so we go racing across the street to Travis's grandparents house where a new search for tweezers begins. Rejecting the kind offer by Travis's grandpa of a pair of pliers, I hold out until a tweezers is finally located and the giant log is extracted  from under my fingernail. And that's the story of how Roxi was gang banged by the alpacas.

At this point I decided to distract myself from the throbbing pains in my finger by calling my family for an update as my brother hadn't gotten back to me yet as he said he would. I am expecting they are probably just arriving at the airport, its around the time their plane was originally leaving but still two hours before the delayed departure time. My brother answers the phone, sounding out of breath and panicked he says, "I'm just walking onto the plane, Mom and Chris are on already, I need to call Dad and find out where he is, I don't think he's going to make it, it's a long story, I'll try and let you know if he gets on the plane or not." We hang up and less than two minutes later, I get a text, "The plane is leaving, Dad's not on here." Excellent. Travis kindly reassures me that if he somehow doesn't manage to make it even though we still have 4 days until the wedding, he's insured as he's immediate family member and wedding officiant.Travis is nothing if not practical.

This is how I felt at this point, "I don't have an officiant, I'm sick, my dog probably has internal alpaca induced injuries, and I still have to make place cards?"
Since I can do nothing but wait anxiously, Travis takes me to the salon for my scheduled pedicure appointment. As I take off my boots, I apologize for my lack of socks, "My dog got beat up by a bunch of alpacas and she puked on my feet. I forgot to put socks back on because I got a giant sliver under my nail and my dad just missed his plane from Colorado, he's officiating the wedding. I washed my feet though...." The salon girl looked horrified for me, "Oh no! Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea....wine??" Wine please, definitely wine. She was very understanding about Roxi, turns out she has a dog. The day we went back for manicures she had to take a call from the vet because her dog had eaten several feet of duct tape.

My aunt Kay is supposed to be meeting my family at the airport in Michigan to drive to the hotel with them and as soon as she lands, she must have gotten my messages and she immediately calls me. Now my aunt Kay and I are very alike apparently. You could tell we were both a little worked up over this whole mess because we both started talking a million miles an hour. We jammed about a half hour of conversation into five minutes. It is an art, we both talked over each other and to each other simultaneously. The conversation ended abruptly with an "Oksoundsgoodcallyouback,bye." Click. My poor mother must have been shocked when she gave birth to a semi clone of her sister.

After an entire afternoon of frantic phone calls and stress, Martin, Mom, Kay, and Chris show up at the Perry hotel. Chris made it through his flight like a champ. He was even entertained by the whole thing. However, he is none too happy about the three hour car ride from the airport with his two sisters that he had to endure. He gives me a long long hug, appearing very near tears, the poor guy. My father is in Baltimore by this point. Instead of a straight through flight, he's had to go through Atlanta and then missed another flight in Baltimore. We had already sent Travis's sister and mother down to pick my dad up so they are spending the night in a hotel since he's been delayed until morning. So my aunt, my mom, Travis,  Martin, and I head down to the hotel bar for a drink to discuss the day and give Chris a chance to recover alone from his ordeal. While we feel awful for my father, we do have a good laugh once my mom mentions that he has her carry on which is not only obviously filled with women's clothing, but also contains her prosthetic breasts. And that's how my dad ended up lost in Baltimore with a suitcase of fake boobs.

Chis recovered from the ride with his sisters, he thought it was hysterical when we made him pose for this picture in the bar. He usually gets angry anytime anyone tells him he could have a beer if he wanted.  
The next day my father managed to finally make it to the hotel in the middle of the afternoon. Now Southwest airlines has been added to the travel blacklist. This list includes United (who I hate with a fiery passion for so many reasons, don't even get me started.) and Priceline. They once tried to charge Travis 20,000 dollars for flights for the both of us to Alaska. This was back when we were in college and that was more than enough to feed us for at least 40 semesters. But I digress.

While we waited from my dad, my mother, Kay, Chris, Martin, and I made ourselves a nuisance in the local craft store. As soon as we entered we immediately dispersed across the store and harassed the staff. My brother stood frozen for a few seconds upon entering and whispered to me, "Miriam! What should I do? Who should I go with?" I commanded, "Follow me!" and he became my shadow for the rest of the trip. I walked up to one of the sales women and asked where I could find some fake wedding rings for the ring bearer. She said, "Someone's mother already asked me that," and pointed vaguely in Mom and Kay's direction. They were both in deep conversation with a second saleswoman over a pile of paper. "Oh yes, those two are my mothers." I blurted out without thinking. (I've noticed this habit lately, I say things that come out very snarky or just don't make any sense at all and then I dig myself into a deeper hole by just pretending that that's totally what I meant.) The saleswoman takes this in stride and explains they have two fake rings so Martin and I wander off. "Martin...I think I just told that lady that Mom and Kay are both my moms..." We have a fit of hysterical laughter in one of the aisles. Meanwhile Mom and Kay unwittingly argue and banter back and forth while Martin and I desperately try to act natural so we can leave the store without looking totally nuts. Finally, we make it out the door and start our walk back. I can no longer contain myself, "I think I accidentally told that woman you were both my mothers! It just slipped out and then I didn't know what to do, I bet she thinks you are lesbians." There's a beat of silence and then my aunt Kay says, "Oh no....we were just telling her how we married the same man...I meant that our husbands are very alike...." My mom chimes in with, "She probably just thinks we are sister wives." We have to stop walking at one point because my mother is laughing so hard. She has a very distinct hysterical laugh that usually only Martin and I can work her up to, she turns bright purple and makes weird wheezing noises instead of laughter because shes laughing so hard she can't get any air.

Just an evil picture of me and my brother.
The remainder of the wedding week went quite well, everyone managed to make their flights without any more stressful delays. My wedding shower was so awesome that even Bigfoot showed up. It was held at one of the fire halls (Travis's family does a lot of firefighting, hence why my family is so glad we ended up together....I tend to start fires often). We got to go play in the firetrucks (I never had gotten to see firetrucks other than when the come to my house but I think they are awesome) and Travis and I wore matching hardhats, mine even had a veil. Now at this point, anyone reading this should know I LOVE monsters. Bigfoot especially. But I was completely shocked during my bridal shower when I hear laughter and clapping and I turned around and Bigfoot was standing behind me. For a second there was a bit of quiet while everyone waited to see how I would react. Then there came an ear piercing shriek from the youngest flower girl, "I WANT TO GO HOME!!!!!" While someone had thought to warn my uncle Chris not to be afraid that Bigfoot would be making a guest appearance, the flower girls had been overlooked and the poor littlest one was a bit terrified. I later heard the back story behind Bigfoot's appearance. A few weeks back, my new father in law (Pat) had received a mysterious call from his own father; "Hey, you haven't bought anything odd off Ebay lately, have you?" Pat told his father no, he had bought nothing odd off of Ebay lately. These kinds of phone conversations are what prove to me that Howards are not all that different from Gonzalezs. Apparently when Travis's grandfather decided to buy a Bigfoot costume from Ebay, he noticed someone nearby had bought the same thing and he just wanted to check that his son hadn't had a similar idea. And that's why Bigfoot was at my bridal shower, because this family is just as crazy as me.

The veiled hard hat and fireman Bigfoot speak volumes about my life. 

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