A Visitor and Buckets of Rain

Things have kind of heated up recently. The wedding plans are shifting into overdrive. It is a constant struggle to keep things manageable. Plus, it seems like every weekend has seen us entertaining traveling guests or being the traveling guests ourselves. One of the exciting guests of note was my friend of some twenty-eight years, Dave.

Photo: Me and Dave in the rain

Since the age of seven, Dave and I have been thick as thieves. Well a couple of weeks ago he made his first trip out East to Boston. It began in fantastic style as I dragged him around the city, showing various sites. I really wore him out walking all over the place. On a Friday, we covered the North End to the Common and nearly everything in between. It was foggy and grey, but we stayed dry. Then came the rains.

Photo: Rain on the Highway

Photo: USS Constitution in the Fog

Saturday we braved a sightseeing trip north to Salem, driving back and forth through downtown Peabody on the way. But the rains wouldn’t stop. So that trip ended quickly. It was a bit of a wash, actually. All seriousness aside, who could have predicted that the weekend would be the worst rainfall in New England in seventy years? Within twenty-four hours of our jaunt through Peabody, the whole downtown was submerged under feet of water. Dave was quite stunned when he recognized the town’s name on the news, drawing our attention to the amount of flooding. As a result of the sky’s opening, we got a bit confined to the one-bedroom apartment that Ali and I call home. Still it was fantastic to see him and spend some time with him as the pictures witness.

Photo: Granary Burying Ground

You see Dave is a very talented graphic designer that has recently decided to go it alone and become a mercenary. He started his company Malcolm Studios about a year ago and is no completely solo. As a result he has been accumulating a lot more electronic toys of late, including the snappy digital camera that he used to capture many of these images.

Photo: Tits on a Violin Photo: The Patriot

Dave is an avid board game player. So, we were able to bust out Songburst over margaritas. I am happy to report that I destroyed all competition, winning multiple platinum records (see below). Although I have to admit that we were all a bit dreadful and the game grew more tedious as our eyes became heavier and our mind’s margarita murky.

Photo: Me with Platinum Eyes

Photo: Dave with Record

All in all it was a pretty good time had by all. I only wish the weather was nicer. Well, at least he got some local flavor, including some chowdah from Ye Old Oyster House, and better still a lobster trophy!

Photo: Lobsterman

A Few Days in the Midwest and Planning for a Wedding

I am having a hard time sitting down and writing, of late. Far too many distractions for me have been allowed to interfere with upkeep of ye old fritzwinkle. Nevertheless, here’s a quick update. Ali and I spent a few days in Chicago over the Spring Break. It was fast and furious wedding planning activities or bust. Although, we did have time to spend a wonderful evening at the Monkey House, visiting with Ali’s brother, his wife and beautiful children (of course, the monkeys below will be assisting the nuptial festivities). It was great fun! Fortunately, we were extraordinarily successful with the main mission. As I watch Ali do most of the work in preparations, I have to say it is a rather difficult to plan a small, simple event, even. You would think that it would be much simpler than all that. The cake topper below is a testament to our journey.

Photo: Our Cake Topper Photo: Monkey House Kids

Still, all the food is settled, finally. Visiting the vendors made me think, “We should do this all the time.” You get to eat for free and the preparers are practically falling over in their rush to secure your business. I had to wonder how long you get away with faux planning for a wedding as a method of survival, perhaps for the struggling coed or practically anyone. I mean really all you would have to say to the follow-up reps is “We went with a different option.” Granted it is horribly dishonest, but it seems to me that you could live for a while in any major metropolitan area. Of course we did not do this and I actually felt almost guilty for not paying for the food that seemingly just kept coming to the table.

Our main course is completely settled and it is all barbeque, including a pig roast and chicken with coleslaw, potato salad, grilled vegetables, and cornbread. It is a regular country style extravaganza, courtesy of Uncle Bub’s in Westmont. There is a mildly amusing irony to such a messy feast at a what is generally considered a formal occasion. I am thinking we may need to make sure bibs are available.

For dessert, we have secured perhaps the greatest cupcakes I have ever planted securely in my maw. Rather than an actual cake, cupcakes fit with the kind of “roll you sleeves up and dig in” mentality that we are using. Plus, they happen to be quite the trend of late. So, surprisingly, our event will be rather fashionable, as well. Quite a combination. Anyone interested in cupcakes in the Chicagoland area, see the girls at Cupcakes in the Lakeview neighborhood. There handiwork of amazing flavors and creative ingenuity is astounding.

Photo: Cupcakes

Now, the only thing left is to hammer out a finely tuned guest list that retains the intimacy of a small gathering, staying within the limitations of a backyard wedding, and still gets as many people we would like to be there without upsetting anyone. I am pretty sure that accomplishing that is a small impossibility, but we have made it quite clear that we wanted to keep things a small, intimate, gathering, more about our sharing the celebration and less about lining up people in hopes of receiving a lot of gifts. However, anyone that has ever done this has to recognize that once you give an ounce of life to something like this it can quickly become the beast that ate the city. Everybody can be in quite a rush to want to help, which is great, but before you know it it is not the event which you had in mind.

Stay tuned.