Friday, September 11, 2009

You Get To Buy The Ticket, But You Don't Get To Go On The Ride

I don’t know about any of the rest of you who are lucky enough to be parents, but for me being a Dad has been the coolest thing in my whole life. I love my three kids (and their husbands / girlfriends / soon-to-be wives) and I really enjoy spending time with them. Part of the fun is the embarrassing stuff that happens along the way - and with me as your father, you know that’s gonna happen pretty regularly!

For example, just this last weekend I was with my daughter, Elizabeth. I had brought her a picture my Mom had given me of my grandmother with a young girl sitting in her lap.

I said, “My Mom gave me this picture of you and your great-grandmother that I thought you might like to have it.”

Elizabeth responded with the appropriate, “Ohhh, that’s so sweet!” but then said, “Uh, Dad, that’s not me!”

I took the picture back and said, “Yes, of course that’s you. It’s from when we went to Utah for my brother’s wedding, remember?”

Elizabeth took the picture back, looked at it again and then turned it over. On the back it read “Grandma and Amy – 1981.” Since Elizabeth was born in 1980 and her name isn’t Amy, I’m guessing it must be someone else in the picture.

OR there’s the time I was walking with Jake in Washington, D.C. when I was paying more attention to my iPhone than I was to where I was going. Out of nowhere, the sidewalk jumped up and grabbed the toe of my shoe, causing me to trip and fall to the pavement. The best part is that the cutest little puppy came up to see if I was okay. So there I am, an old man, laying on his back on the sidewalk, getting licked in the face by a puppy.

OR, even better, sometimes your kids think you are out of control, even when you’re not. Like the time Jake and Jeremy and I were walking back to Jake’s house in D.C. after a night of baseball and beer. I was walking between them and, on the spur of the moment, decided it might be fun to surprise them both by, uh, punching them in the, uh, well, you know. (Think squirrels!) To this day they both claim I was drunk - which I never am. I think the story is even better because I was sober.

But that’s not what I wanted to tell you about today. Something important is on the horizon and I’m certain it will provide us with even more stories to tell about each other.

Next Friday Jeremy is marrying his fiancé, Cassie (‘cuz marrying some random girl off the street is apparently frowned upon) in Bend. Because I will be taking time off to attend the wedding, I thought I’d give you a preview / prediction of the week’s events. This also will serve as a warning to my kids of what’s to come . . .

Tuesday, September 15th:
* After work Rudy and I will drive to Portland to pick up Jake and his girlfriend Rachel, who are flying in from Boston. (In case I forgot to mention it, Jake moved from D.C. to Boston over the summer because of his obsession with Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.) As always, Rudy will do the majority of the driving while I sit in the passenger seat playing with my iPhone.
* From the airport, the four of us will drive over the mountain to Bend. We should get there around 1:00 AM or so - barring any stops I have to make so I can take a nap. This also will provide me with the opportunity to tell Rachel all sorts of embarrassing stories about Jake. Such as the time the parking brake on his Mustang popped and it rolled down the street into the neighbor’s garage OR when he smacked an umpire in the head with a baseball bat.

Wednesday, September 16th:
* The All Day Bachelor / Bachelorette Party starts in the morning with golf! I am a horrible – and I mean World Class horrible – golfer. BUT I love to play golf with Jake and Jeremy because they are the two best trash talkers I know. This should be especially fun with some of Jerm’s friends along to contribute.
* At the same time, the girls are going for like a pedicure / manicure thing. I’m certainly no expert on women (as future ex-wife and TRO expert, Erin Matthews can attest) but spending the day with someone messing around with my fingernails and toenails does not sound like fun in any way shape or form.
* In the evening Cassie and Jeremy are hosting a BBQ for the members of the wedding party. I suspect beer will be involved with this activity. This should be fun because many more embarrassing stories are likely to be told. And, uh, it’s likely that some, uh, inappropriate, squirrel-related, punching may also ensue.

Thursday, September 17th:
* In the morning we head out to pick up our tuxes for the wedding. Jerm asked me to be a groomsman, so there would be no chance I’d show up in jeans and a t-shirt.
* In the afternoon we get to spend time decorating the church. I suspect that after 20 minutes or so, they will ask me to stop trying to “help” and send me home.
* Around 5:00 PM is the wedding rehearsal. This involves the entire wedding party, the pastor and a woman who will be forever known as “Sarge” because of her role as the wedding coordinator. For the rest of us, our role will be to make Sarge’s job a living nightmare.
* After that, we head to the Deschutes Brewery Mountain Room for the rehearsal dinner! The Mountain Room is one of the coolest places in Bend for an event like this. Not only is it at an actual, live brewery but it’s on the top floor and has a GREAT view of the mountains. And beer.
* The high point of the evening – for me at least – will be the opportunity for me to “toast” the bride and groom. I’m thinking of going with something classy like, “Live long and prosper” or “May the Force be with you” or “Try not to get pregnant on your honeymoon.”

Friday, September 18th:
* Wedding day! Early in the afternoon we gather together for wedding pictures. This probably means we will have to wear the tuxes and crap for pretty much the whole dang day. I’ll do it, ‘cuz I love Jerm and Cassie, but nothing makes me feel more claustrophobic than having to dress up! However, I will rebel, just a bit, by not wearing socks. I got away with it at Elizabeth’s wedding and now I think it’s a tradition that must be honored.
* The wedding is at 6:00 PM. Some poor bridesmaid will have drawn the short straw and have to walk in with the fat father of the groom. (That’d be me.)
* Around 6:15 PM I expect I will start to feel exhausted from the days events and collapse at the front of the church.
* Once they get to the “I now pronounce you man and wife” part, then Cassie and Jerm will exit the church to a song they have specially chosen for this moment. Elizabeth and Jeremiah used the theme music from Raiders of the Lost Ark. I suggested they use “Say Hey, I Love You” by Michael Franti & Spearhead. “White Trash Wedding” by the Dixie Chicks might also be fun.
* Then it’s on to the reception! An old friend of Jake and Jerm’s is a brewer (whose brewery will be opening next spring). He has put together some special wedding brews just for Jerm and Cassie that I can’t wait to try. For the wusses in the group, there will also be wine. And for the Mormons (i.e. my family) there will be water or maybe Kool Aid.
* Jerm asked me to “host” a cigar bar at the reception as well. What this really means is that I bought a bunch of cigars and will be doling them out to his friends. This also means my mother is likely to see me smoking a cigar and will die on the spot.
* There will also be dancing at this fine event. Jeremy has received waaaaay to many recommendations for his reception play list. I sent him 30 – 40 ideas, none of which do I expect him to use. On the other hand, maybe Moon River by Andy Williams just isn’t as popular with young kids today as it used to be. It is also likely I will try to work up my courage to dance. For anyone who happens to be at the wedding this is your one and only warning to be sure and wear some kind of eye protection.
* After Jerm and Cassie sneak off to wherever they are spending the night before flying off to Cancun for their honeymoon, the rest of us get to clean up the mess. This will involve me avoiding any heavy lifting and pretty much taking 20 – 30 minutes moving a folding chair from one place to another before finally putting it back on the rack.

That’s pretty much it but lastly, let me just point out that in spite of my frequent references to alcohol, loud music and cigars, this will be a lot classier than it sounds. Cassie, Jerm and Cassie’s parents will be sure to make this a fun but dignified event. In spite of my best efforts to thwart them . . .
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