A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to Andy today! Hope you have a great day, buddy!
Today is Andy’s birthday, according to my calendar. For some reason, I had it in my head that it was tomorrow, but my calendar says today. In either case,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANDY!
For your present I will ask the Yankees to sweep Cleveland in the divisionals.
Hannah Riley Owens arrived this morning via c-section, weighing in around 6 pounds, which is only slightly smaller than her mother. Congratulations Andy and Mandy! That’s awesome news. I love days like this. We haven’t seen pictures yet, but Andy described his daughter as having a birthmark that looked strikingly similar to the NY of the New York Yankees. He also said that her gentle cry sounds similar to a crowd shouting, “Jeter! Jeter!”
It’s fitting for Andy and Mandy that Hannah was born on the Jewish New Year. As strausmouse has said, Happy Rosh Hash-Hannah! Even though there is supposed to be no labor on the Jewish New Year, my guess is that not only would rabbis make an exception in this case, they’d probably say it was a sign of good fortune.
So congratulations once again, kids. You have all sorts of amazing things to look forward to. Just read strausmouse‘s blog to see what I mean.
I can’t wait to see her!
[Written on May 27 and backdated to May 24]
I had dinner for the second night in a row at Ocean Avenue Seafood, and this time, they had copper river salmon on the menu. After work, I went out for drinks with Eric, Danny, and Enrique. Afterward, Danny drove me over to Ocean Avenue Seafood, where I met Lisa, Andy and a pregnant-looking Mandy for dinner. We had a very nice dinner and I even managed to convince Andy to try the copper river salmon, which he did and which he enjoyed. It was outstanding, certainly well worth the wait.
After dinner I said goodbye to everyone and then walked back to the hotel. It was a very nice evening.
We arrived at the reception, which started out as a kind of cocktail hour. We stood in a short line to sign the guest book and were amused by the text that was printed on the back of our little tickets (I can’t find mine or I would reproduce it here for you. Suffice it to say it was very funny.) Once inside the small room, we found a table and Lisa quickly began consuming crab cakes. I can’t remember what she was drinking, but I had a Corona. Andy and Mandy joined us shortly thereafter, and AJ showed up as well. It turned out that we would all be sitting at the same table, along with Ken and his wife and children.
After a time, bells were rung and we all proceeded into the banquet room and to our tables. It was a large banquet room with a good sized dance floor and about 8 or 9 tables. The DJ was stationed at one end of the room and Norm and Vicky’s table was on a raised platform at the opposite end. There was an enormous wedding cake not far from our table. Disney music was being piped in and drinks were flowing from the bar.
Not long after everyone was seated, the big entries were made. Andy and Norm’s sister, Julie entered, followed by Scott and Vicky’s Maid of Honor, JJ. Finally, the DJ announced the new bride and groom, “Mr. and Mrs. Norm and Vicky Perreault!” and they entered to much fanfare, with Norm smiling and waving at the crowd like a seasoned politician. Immediately after entering, they made their first dance and I cannot for the life of me remember the song to which they danced (Lisa, can you help out!) Then they were seated and the toasts were made.
Scott, Norm’s brother and best man made a funny toast, with several amusing stories about young Norm and a rousing encomium to Norm and Vicky and their happiness together. I honestly don’t remember too much of what he said because I was finally getting nervous, which is unusual for me. When Scott was finished, the DJ announced that I would be making the next toast, and I pulled my notes out of my pocket, grabbed my glass of water, and made my way up to Norm and Vicky’s table. I was told to take the microphone and stand behind the bride and groom on the dias and that I did.
I can’t tell you exactly what I said. While I made notes, I spoke mostly off the cuff. I was unusually nervous because I really wanted to do a good job for Norm and Vicky and to be honest, I don’t remember much of what I said. I do remember one thing said at the beginning however. Vicky had joking told Lisa and I at dinner on Wednesday that she wanted us to let people know that she and not the Disney people did most of the table decorations, the placecards, and favors. So when I got up to talk, I said, shortly after I started, “By the way, I just have to say, in case you don’t know this, that just about everything you see on the table in front of you was done by Vicky.” That got a round of applause and Vicky’s jaw dropped. But I didn’t stop there. I said, “She put a lot of hard work into this. Norm helped. I understand he built this entire place by hand just for this wedding.” I do recall people laughed several times, hopefully at something funny I said and not at me. Never fear, however, for Lisa got my entire toast (which seemed to extend beyond the 3 or 4 minutes I had planned) on video and as soon as she gets it posted online somewhere, I will provide a link to it. I finished up with an old Irish toast that went something like, “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door…happily ever after.” When I finished, Vicky turned to me to hug me and said, “You almost made me cry!” Almost! Darn it! I was aiming for tears!
The festivities proceeded. There was a five course meal. I can’t remember what all five courses were (by this time, I’d had myself a rum punch, but that’s not why I can’t remember), but I do recall there being an excellent salad, and the intermezzo consisted of raspberry sherbet in a glass slipper made of ice. (Apparently they are famous for this.) For the main course I had a bacon-wrapped fillet. And, of course, there was cake for dessert.
There was dancing! And I was lucky enough to have the privilege of dancing with not one, not two, but three good-looking girls.
There may be some people, who, upon reading my last statement, take offense at my referring to three women as “girls” but it is not meant in anyway to be offensive. I’ve always thought of “women” as meaning females who are older than me. I’ve always thought of “girls” as females who are younger than me, or equal in age. It’s just how I think of things inside my head and since I have been thinking this way for 35 years now, I’m not likely to change. But I mean no offense by it.
I got to dance with Lisa, who is a much better dancer than I am and who put up with my ambulatory awkwardness on the dance floor with grace. I got to dance next to Vicky who probably wasn’t even paying attention, and that’s a good thing, since dancing for me is an utterly humiliating process that I agree to do more for the enjoyment of others than myself. Finally, toward the end of the evening, I got to dance with Vicky’s maid of honor, JJ. We were standing awkwardly on the dance floor and the music started playing “Last Dance” and she said to me, “Maybe we should dance or something instead of just standing there.” I felt like a complete idiot for not asking her first, but I agreed at once and we danced to the last song of the evening. Once again, she was a far better dancer than I and I was simply outclassed the entire time I was on the dance floor. There are many things that I am good at and dancing is not among them. But I try.
And if you don’t believe me, Lisa can probably vouch for the fact that I am a pretty awful dancer. She also has video of me dancing in a corner in an insanely silly and embarrassing manner, which she has threatened to blackmail me with unless I meet certain demands…
By this time, hours had passed and the festivities were coming to a close. I made sure that I signed the big picture of Norm and Vicky–and as usual, I signed without evening looking at the picture so I have no idea what I was actually signing. We were told to head for the buses which would take us into Epcot for ring-side seats to the Illuminations fireworks display. Lisa felt the need to get some last-minute photos of these enormous paintings and then we headed off for the buses.
We came into Epcot through the back way and were escorted into the park by Disney personnel. They brought us to a roped off area at the water’s edge. There were tables and chair and desserts of all kind. Coffee and punch were also being served. Lisa spent most of the time acting as a surrogate mother to Ken’s children, and seemingly enjoying it. The fireworks display was spectacular, as one might imagine. It was towards the end of the evening that Vicky began to feel sick. We figured it was nerves and stress and everything finally catching up to her, but it turned out to be something else. She and Norm ended up spending most of the night in the emergency room, although she was better in the morning and they were able to head off on their honeymoon.
We made our way back to the hotel, spent some time up in the room with Andy, Mandy, and AJ. Lisa provided the entertainment for Andy, Mandy, and AJ while I was doing something in the closet. As soon as I heard the laughing, I looked to see what was going on, but I’d already missed it. I’ll tell you this, though: I’ve never seen Mandy laugh as hard as she was laughing. Andy said it was the best part of the evening.
We headed down to the hotel bar for a drink, and then Andy, Mandy and AJ headed back to their respective hotels and Lisa and I headed back upstairs. I was already beginning to feel sad that it was all over. We watched TV for a while, some Monty Python, and then turned out the lights and went to sleep.
It was an incredibly happy time, and one thing stuck with me through the entire evening. It was written on the inside of Norm and Vicky’s wedding program:
Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.
For Norm and Vicky, I can’t think of a better way to describe it.
The bus dropped us off at the Disney Wedding Pavilion and we went in and took our seats in the third row on the right side of the pavilion sitting with Mandy Andy was in the wedding part, as was Scott. Walking in, there is a huge window at the far end of the building which perfectly frames the giant castle at the center of the Magic Kingdom. That was pretty cool. There was some light music playing as the guests arrived and the ceremony started right on time, at 2:30 on the dot.
What we found out afterward was that AJ’s fears of catching the bus to the ceremony were not unfounded. For reasons we never discovered, the bus skipped AJ’s resort and 16 or 17 people didn’t get to the ceremony until we were about 15 minutes into it. But they did make it in time to see the bride and groom say their vows, place their rings and, of course, kiss.
Vicky looked radiant in her wedding dress, and Norm even managed to look pretty good in his getup. Norm was really hamming it up as he walked into the building, looking around in all directions, nodding and smiling at various people. Up on the stage, both Norm and Vicky occasionally nodded or winked at someone in the audience.
Several people got up to do readings during the ceremony, and Lisa was one of those people. She gave a very nice reading.
Throughout the ceremony, I wondered if Norm and Vicky would really attempt to pull off the little stunt that they had planned. I hoped that they would do it because it was so them. The reverend pronounced them husband and wife and said that Norm could kiss his bride. Norm and Vicky kissed.
Then they took a step back from one another, smiled, gave each other an excited high five, then turned to face the audience and did a posed thumbs-up. It was absolutely brilliant and I’m glad they did it!
They went off to get pictures taken. Meanwhile, the rest of us filed out and lined up along the sidewalk that led toward Norm and Vicky’s escape limo. When they finally emerged from their photo shoot, they walked through the line as we all tossed flower petals at them. Then they were whisked away and the rest of us made for the buses which took us to where the celebration festivities would occur.
Norm, Andy, and Scott were going to use our hotel room to get ready for the wedding. A photographer and videographer would be on-hand to capture the fiasco. Norm was the first to arrive, and seemed in high spirits. He was followed closely by the videographer. Norm was on and off the phone working out logistics and since Andy and Scott hadn’t arrived yet, the videographer headed downstairs to take exterior shots of the hotel.
Andy arrived shortly thereafter with Scott quick on his heels. I was hungry and so was everyone else, so we ordered up room service to the tune of 2 burgers, and 2 chicken sandwiches, plus sodas. The 30-minute order took only 45 minutes to be delivered. We didn’t want to start getting dressed until we had eaten. Andy, who had planted himself on Lisa’s bed, had the TV volume blasting and was watching Heat.
I should mention here that I practical joke that Lisa and I tried to pull seemed to go unnoticed by everyone. Lisa spent the entire morning at the pool and was absent from our dressing-room antics. However, prior to going down to the pool, we agreed on a plot, whereby Lisa made up her bed to look as though it hadn’t been slept in. I left my bed a mess. No one noticed. At one point, Andy even made a joke that went something like, “Yeah, only if we came in here and found that Jamie’s bed was made up and Lisa’s wasn’t” or something like that, and he still didn’t notice what we had done. I thought at one point, Norm might have noticed, but he didn’t say anything so our fun was spoiled!
One of the amusing things that took place at this time was when AJ called. AJ called me to see what we were up to and were he was supposed to catch his bus. He was concerned that the 2:05 pickup time was cutting it close to a wedding ceremony that started at 2:30. AJ can talk on the phone, so as a joke, I told him I wasn’t sure of the answers to his questions and I gave the phone to Norm. Norm had a difficult time getting AJ off the phone and handed the phone back to me. At this point, Andy, who was still laying on Lisa’s bed, looked at me shaking his head and waving his finger by his neck. I said to AJ, “I think Andy knows where you need to go,” and handed the phone to Andy. Andy eventually handed the phone to Scott and Scott actually spent a good deal of time on the phone with AJ before he hung up. And that is the story of how AJ was passed around between three guys the early afternoon before Norm’s wedding.
Finally we started to get dressed. This seemingly simple procedure gets more complicated when (a) no girls are around, (b) four guys are trying to dress in a tiny hotel room, (c) two additional camera people (for now the photographer had arrived) were moving about the room trying to capture the event for posterity. Also, we had to rush because we were behind schedule and Norm, Andy and Scott needed to be in the limo at 1 PM.
I helped Andy with his vest and Norm with his tie and I think several pictures were taken. Andy, for reasons known only to Satan, decided to change his clothes halfway in the closet. Good friend that I am, I called this to the attention of the photographer, who made sure to get pictures of a half-naked Andy standing in the closet trying to get dressed.
Norm handed out the various envelopes containing tips to Andy. He gave the rings to Scott. Andy, who had left the card that he and Mandy got for Norm and Vicky at home, decided to just hand Norm a check. When Norm would not accept just a bare check, I came to the rescue once more, suggesting that Andy put the check inside a hotel stationary envelop and drop it in the gift box that would be at the reception. Problem solved.
Eventually, we all finished dressing (even me). Andy did his hair, and then we were on our way. We got some good pictures standing by the elevators. I walked the boys to the limo, and then, in my full wedding costume, walked to the pool to collect Lisa, who had decided she’d rather stay at the pool than get dressed for the wedding.
But get dressed she did, and contrary to the popular belief that it takes a long time for women to get ready for anything, Lisa was ready to go on time and we were downstairs to meet the bus with time to spare. Once everyone was loaded on board, the bus made off for the Disney World wedding pavilion where Norm and Vicky were having their ceremony…
Some rest. We watched a couple of episodes of Friends, including, ironically, the Chandler/Monica wedding episode. It was nice to be able to relax for a while and stay off your feet. Eventually we had to get up and ready for the evening.
Lisa made dinner reservations at Spoodles, which servces a Mediterranean cuisine. It’s an open kitchen which is kind of cool. Lisa and I shared a lamb kabob for an appetizer. I had a beef kabob for dinner and Lisa had a pasta dish which looked much better than what I got. We also shared creme brule for dessert.
After dinner we headed back down the boardwalk to Jellyrolls where we were meeting up with everyone else. Jellyrolls is a dueling piano bar where the crowd send requests to the piano players and then sings along. It was a smokey, but a lot of fun. We got there at about 10 PM. I got a text from Norm saying they’d be there at 10:30. Then another saying they’d be late. Norm and Vicky showed up sometime well after 11 PM. But AJ, Andy and a bunch of other people got there right around 11 PM. It was the first time I saw AJ since arriving, because he arrived earlier in the afternoon.
I sang quite a bit, and was worried that my voice would be gone the next day. But it really was fun. Lisa made a request for Norm and Vicky and announced they were getting married. The piano guys brought them up on stage and had them do some dancing and other stuff. It was funny.
I think we finally got out of there sometime after 1 AM, but I’m not sure exactly the time. Lisa and I walked back to the hotel (which was not far). I went to bed with the good feeling of knowing that I could actually sleep in the following morning because we didn’t have to be up early to do anything.
Andy, Mandy, Lisa and I caught a shuttle bus from Animal Kingdom to Epcot and if the day hadn’t already been fun, and funny, it was about to get funner and funnier. It all started with Andy’s comment, “Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.” Wait, let me back up, I’m telling this slightly out of order.
There we sat on the bus and sitting in front of us was a woman holding a sleepy little boy. So sleepy was he, in fact, that just before the bus left, the boy peed his pants, much to the surprise of his mother. Andy, in an effort to make light of anything at all, pointed this out to Mandy, at which point the mother looked up at Andy in sad, soaking desperation. And that’s when Andy said, “Don’t worry it happens to the best of us.”
It was Mandy who jumped in and said that it had happened to “Ands” last night.
The four of us arrived at Epcot (dry, thankfully) and proceeded directly onto the Spaceship Earth attraction, which allowed us to sit down and relax for a little while. From there we headed to “Soaring” but discovered that all of the fast-passes for that ride had been given out for the day, which meant we’d have to stand in line for it. So we went ahead and grabbed some food and then got into what ended up being a 55 minute line.
Two things happened in the line that had us in stitches.
Halfway through the line, Mandy was getting tired. It was a wide line with lots of people packed in pretty tightly. Mandy had been leaning her head against Andy’s back, half asleep, when all of a sudden, she said, “Oh, Ands, that’s terrible!” and walks away from him. Apparently, Andy had let one go much to the dismay of everyone around him, but to Andy’s great delight. He was laughing so hard he was shaking, which made me laugh so hard that I was shaking. We probably laughed for five minutes barely breathing. It was hysterical.
Flash-forward about ten minutes later, surrounded by kids (and their parents) who have been standing in line for 45 minutes. Andy was leaning up against the wall, asleep. Lisa, with a devilish look in her eye, licks her finger and promptly sticks it in Andy’s ear. Andy instantly wakes up, and shouts, “That’s fuh–” and then freezes because he realizes we are surrounded by kids. I went to pieces, though, and so did Lisa, and so did the two girls who’d been in line in front of us all this time. I was laughing so hard there were tears in my eyes.
Oh, we finally did get on the ride and it was awesome. You really felt as though you were hang-gliding over all of these places. The funniest thing about the ride, however, were the sounds Lisa made everytime we swooped over a ridge and suddenly appeared to be very high up in the air. I can’t quite describe the sound. It’s a sound that I wouldn’t think a human voice could produce, but clearly she made it.
After Soaring, we decided to stay grounded for a while and take a walk all the way around the International Plaza and lake. The weather was perfect. We walked around and I managed to have myself not one but two ice cream sandwiches. People thought this was funny for some reason. We got some good pictures here too, including one of Andy performing a rather un-Disney like act on a ice-pop. (For that matter, we got one of Mandy doing the same.)
We took a boat back to the hotel. Andy and Mandy had to get ready for the rehearsal dinner and Lisa and I headed up to the room to relax for a few hours. We planned to have a late dinner on the boardwalk and then head over to Jellyrolls that evening to meet up with everyone.
Friday morning I woke up early feeling a bit dizzy and that’s because I drank quite a bit Thursday night. I lay in bed for about an hour and finally got up, showered and started to get ready for the day. I decided to skip the gym. Lisa and I met Andy and Mandy for breakfast and then caught the bus to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
We had perfect weather all day long: clear skies with temperatures reaching up into the 80s. It felt great. Lisa had a plan for what she wanted to see at the Animal Kingdom, and we more or less followed her plan. There were all sorts of cool things to take pictures of, and I couldn’t take pictures of any of them because my battery had died and all attempts at finding a charger or replacement battery had failed.
We took a train to the vet hospital to see how they take care of the animals. We visited the petting zoo in order to pet the sheep and goats, all of whom seemed strangely attracted to Andy. We got a Fast-Pass for the Safari, which was what all of us were really looking forward to. Andy and Lisa got some amazing pictures of the tigers, but you’ll have to wait for them to post their pictures.
Mandy couldn’t ride the safari because it wasn’t recommended for pregnant women. So it was just Lisa, Andy and I. We were in luck because all of the animals were out in force, even the cheetah and then lions. There were elephants. A giraffe walked right along side us, until it saw Lisa and then it took off the other way for some reason. We even managed to catch some poachers.
Given that we spent only about half a day at Animal Kingdom, I think we did pretty well, and Lisa and Andy have the pictures to prove it.
The b/b’ette parties turned out to be really fun, because most of the time we were all together. Things got started in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel, where everyone was meeting. There were 8 guys: me, Norm, Andy, Scott, Bob and Matt, Norm’s boss. There were also several girls: Lisa, Vicky and Mandy. After a drink, we all got into a stretch Hummer limo with a mission of picking up several other people. The Limo was stocked with all kinds of drinks and over the next hour and half or so, we picked up several other people: Steve, Ken, JJ (Vicky’s Maid of Honor), Julie and at least one other person, if I remember correctly. When all was said and done, there were 14 of us in the limo.
We then headed for a place called the Blue Martini, or something like that, a typical Floria-style club/martini bar. Inside, we watched the ladies dance for a while. Even Andy got out onto the dance floor (he might have been the only guy aside from Norm to do so) which was a sight to see. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this because by this time, the battery in my new camera had died and I left my charger and spare battery at home. So from this point forward, I have to depend on everyone else’s pictures.
Norm’s boss, Matt, bought everyone a Kamikaze shot. We watched the dancing for a little while longer and then the gentlemen left the ladies at the club while we headed back to the limo for a 20 minute drive to a place, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment, but which I’m sure someone who reads this and was there will remember.
Andy and Scott had arranged for us to get a stage-side table, and indeed we did. We had a few rounds of drinks, watched the show, and in general, tried to make sure that Norm had a good time. It was fun (albeit, smokey), but it was not quite the same as Olympic Gardens in Las Vegas. Still, we had a good time, but after about an hour and a half, we had to leave in order to pick up the girls and start dropping people off at their respective hotels. (We only had the limo until 2 AM). We headed back to the martini bar and loaded the girls, all of whom were giddy and giggling, back into the limo, and then started making stops. Ours was the last stop and we were dropped off just before the clock struck 2 AM.
The plan for tomorrow is to spend half the day at Animal Kingdom and the other half at Epcot. Once again, we’re planning on an early start. We’ll see how that goes.
Andy and a pregnant Mandy came up to our hotel room and we hung out there for a little while before heading off to dinner. Lisa felt the need to show Andy (and everyone else) her favorite Justin Timberlake video, which I then had in my head for the rest of the evening.
We decided on Pizzeria Uno for dinner and Andy drove us out there, with me acting as navigator, and a good thing that! We did have a nice dinner, although my idea of ordering a steak in a pizza joint probably wasn’t one of my better ideas.
We had to be back before 8 PM because that’s when the festivities began for the bachelor/bachelorette parties, so we headed back after we finished our dinners and got ready for the parties.