Wow. What a weekend.
I took Friday off and Natalie and I traveled to Bluffton, Ohio to attend my buddy, Nathan’s, wedding.
We left Thursday night and stayed at Ruth’s place for the night. It was hot-hot-hot.
When we got there, it didn’t seem so bad, but when we tried to go to sleep, it was really hot. We had a couple of fans blowing down on us, but it was still really hot.
To get to sleep, I got a wash-rag wet and did a rub-down so I would be wet enough to let the fans cool me down.
Natalie, who had been eyeing a gilded book in Ruth’s collection, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, opened it and began reading aloud.
Artemis Fowl is a fantasy story about a wealthy 12-year old boy with a special-ops-type body guard/butler who figures out a way to separate Fairies from their gold.
It’s a great story that mixes Fantasy with Military-type Action. The main struggle is between Artemis and the Leprechauns, which turn out to actually turn out to be the Lower Element Police (LEP) Recon unit.
It’s hysterical. Imagine a SWAT team, using advanced weaponry that mixes high-end technology with magic and you’ve got the LEP Recons.
Immediately, we were both sucked into the story. When she was done with the first chapter or so, we turned out the lights and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
Natalie, was still uncomfortably hot and didn’t sleep well all night.
Friday morning, when we woke, Natalie had moved to the living room to try to cool down and I was still in the TV room with the covers on. Apparently, somehow I’d gotten cold in the middle of the night.
We let Ruth go to work and we decided it would be fun to take a few more moments with Matthew and take him to daycare.
From there, we began our long 5-hour drive to Bluffton, Ohio.
We borrowed Ruth’s Artemis Fowl book and Natalie began reading aloud again as we rode.
Three hours into the story, around lunchtime, we hit Toledo and met up with my mom at Panerra Bread. We stayed a little longer than we’d expected, but it was nice to see Mom and enjoy some uninterrupted time with her.
After lunch, we hit the road again and Natalie continued to read. My mind was completely enveloped within the story… enough so, that I missed my exit for Bluffton, an hour or so later.
When we got to the hotel, my friend, Nathan, was waiting there to meet us and spend his afternoon with us.
We checked-in, settled our things and headed off to the mall to get my tux and shop around for a while before the rehearsal.
We did the rehearsal, where it was good to see the guys from the bachelor party again and went to the rehearsal dinner afterwards. The dinner was at a nice little resturant in the middle of downtown Findlay… apparently without air conditioning. Again, it was hot-hot-hot.
After the dinner, Nathan dropped us off at the hotel and Natalie and I immediately jumped into our suits and headed for the pool and hot-tub to finish the evening.
The next morning, we woke up around 9-ish and went down to have our breakfast. It was a standard complementary breakfast: toast, cold-cereal, muffins, bagels, fruit, etc.
I brought my laptop down to type out my best-man speech. Originally, I knew what I was going to say and was just going to wing it, but decided it would be better if I had something to look at, just in case I lost my nerve in front of 300 people.
We finished things up and left the hotel around 11, got to the church and waited around for people to show up so we could take pictures at noon-ish. Around 12:30, we finally started taking pictures and finished up around 3.
At 3:30, the guests started rolling in and we groomsmen took our positions by the door to escort them in.
The wedding and processional took about a half-hour or so and then there was the receiving line afterwards, while the bride and groom dismissed everyone, row by row.
So by now, it was about 4:30 or so, and I’d been on my flat feet for about 5 hours or more. My lower back was aching and my hands felt disgusting from shaking 300 guests’ sweaty hands.
I was exhausted, hot and my whole body ached… and I hadn’t even gotten to the speech part yet… I had a page and a half-worth of stuff typed up.
We watched the bride and groom drive off in the short bus (imagine a limo’s interior in a vehicle that looks like a physical/mental-handicap school bus… the irony wasn’t lost on any of us).
A few minutes later, they came back and we took MORE pictures, got hotter, and eventually piled into the short bus to go to the reception and meet the guests there.
The bus was air-conditioned and cool, but the sudden relief was almost more than anyone could take and we all got suddenly very sleepy.
This is supposed to be an exciting ride. There was Kareoke, lights, mood lighting, the works… it even had mirrors on the ceiling and walls. Cool bus… filled with a bunch of people all dressed up and about to fall asleep.
Eventually, we ended up at the reception, piled out, waited even longer for the DJ there to announce us so we could come in. We sat at the head table, dinged the glasses to make the new couple kiss, yadda yadda yadda.
Finally, it was time for the speech.
I’m tired, mildly warm and my head is spinning from lack of nourishment… you’ll notice I didn’t mention anything about food since breakfast… ah.
They hand the wireless mic to me, and the DJ announces, “and now, the best man, Paul Yuen, will give the toast.”
Toast? What toast? I was supposed to give a speech. Hm. No one said anything to me about a toast. Oh, well, maybe he meant “speech.”
So I begin my page and a half speech… as all the guests have their glasses held up.
I imagine they must all have a notion of what Moses (Noah?) felt like when he had to hold his staff up to keep the Red Sea waters parted… probably something like:
“Could this take any longer? How long am I supposed to be doing this? I wonder if anyone will notice if I start to lower my arm?”
…and loewr their arms they did. As I droned on about how I knew Nathan, what a super guy he is and how happy a marriage the two of them will enjoy as a result of building their lives on Christ, the glasses got lower and lower, until finally, I tihnk they were all back on the tables.
At the end of my “toast,” I was supposed to hand my mic to another groomsman so he could pray and we could all eat. I handed the mic over, and the other groomsmen are whispering to me, “toast… toast… toast!”
…to which I said quickly into the mic, “drink to that.”
There was dancing at the reception. I’ve never been to a wedding with dancing. Most of the weddings I’ve been to were Baptist, so there was little more than an evangelical puppet show for entertainment… but here, there was dancing.
At one point, later in the evening, they did some big band music, and Natalie and I, eager to finally have a real occasion to swing dance, rushed to the dance floor.
Turns out, no one else knew how to swing dance… and since we hadn’t done it in over a year, neither did we.
Did you know that swing music is about 8 minutes long? It’s longer if the DJ tacks two songs together. So, for about 15 minutes, we were the only two on the dance floor, bumping into each other, spinning the wrong way, and getting tangled up in our miscommunicated/misunderstood dance gestures.
Finally, I gestured to do a two-armed outside spin, did the gesture wrong, Natalie read it as a one-handed inside spin and we collided again… we were both laughing, and decided to quit while we were still standing.
The awkwardness would have been worse, if it hadn’t been 9:00, with most of the guests being gone… but by that time, only the people who didn’t care about image were left.
We had originally planned to stay in a hotel in Findlay, but decided to save the expense and try to make it home.
So, at 9:30, we began our 5-hour trip back to Muskegon, and we got in Sunday night at 2am. Natalie finished the Artemis Fowl book on our re-entry.
Good thing we did, too. Our little cat, Lenny, was crying because his bowl was empty. Apparently, I’d not left enough food out for him before we left.
He was bounding with joy when he saw us, after he’d had something to eat.
We fell into bed and enjoyed the next day resting, taking it easy and going to the bookstore to pick up a copy of the second Artemis Fowl book.