Here's last week in a relatively large nutshell. Its amazing I actually remember all of it. I also appologize for how long this entry's grown to be. I truly thought I'd not be able to remember everything, and now that I've wrote enough to cause me carpal tunnel syndrome times six point seven, I give you my week :).
I survived the wedding, virtually unscathed. Got there on Friday only to hae an hour of relative silence until the rest of the family arrived. There was more family packed into our small house in Arkansas at one time, I didn't now what to do with myself. There was both grandmas, my Aunt Carol and Uncle Julian, my Cousin Faye, my one of my Grandma's neighbors we'd known for ages, and even a very distant cousin who we've kept up over the years. My brother came from Alaska, bringing al three nieces which I loved meeting. I'm not sure if they liked meeting me though Bailey, my oldest niece, seemed to be more vocal about meeting me. I think the youngest ones were more interested in Fiona my dog then they were interested in their coolest uncle but anyway. Suffice it to say, there were lots and lots of family to catch up on. Its interesting that the most stressful things for families to deal with, weddings, funerals, and house moves, draw the most amounts of family.
Speaking of stress, there seemed to be stress at every point in the process. Where were the tuxes? Where was I supposed to be at what time? How was I supposed to manage my walker, and attempt to get dressed all without putting weight on my leg, and all while everyone else was getting ready. There were times in which I wondered if we'd make it through, but we did and I'm here to write about it to you. My Grandma's head even survived being partially slammed into by a trunk lid just seconds before we all left for the rehearsal dinner. It was not funny at the time because we were at mission critical stress levels at the time and that sent everyone into tears. Years down the road, I hope we can laugh about it, because that event was fully overshadowed by the grandness of the whole shooting match, and to cap it all off, we even made it to the rehearsal on time (four minutes early by my watch), something that we swore would and could not happen.
I had way too much to eat during that weekend. First was the rehearsal dinner, as payment I'm sure for going through the motions of unconfusing ourselves on where we had to be at what particular time. It was as magnificent as the menu I posted earlier. I didn't get to try any of the tasty ordeurves (spellihng?) that were listed but that was because I was too busy chatting with people and drinking white whine which mysteriously appeared in my glass as fast as I could drink it. I finally had to tell the over-zealous servers to stop serving me whine as I was afraid I'd become too tipsy to drive the walker. I sat at a table of family members, one of which was a family member I'd not seen in many years. There was a lot of that, "Do you know who this is?" "No, who are you?" "This is so and so, you know your ... You still in school?" By the end of it, I had consumed enough whine to loosen myself enough to be convinced to play on the Capital Hotel's baby grand piano in the room we were in. It played nice, and so did I, amazing I thought, since usually when I have even a bit to drink, my fingers tend to not do what they're told. I ended up staying at home rather than staying at the huge two story suite with the rest of the groomsmen, after the rehearsal dinner, but that was ok in hindsight because I got to hang with Fiona who I hadn't seen for a month. I think Philip really wanted me to come be with the other guys, so we decidedI'd show up the next morning to eat brunch and then play games until just before the ceremony.
So for like the what seemed six or seven times since the day before, we made the thirty minute trip down to Little Rock the next day, me to meet up with the guys, and my mom to do girly things with the girls. The seven groomsmen, myself included, and several of the Blue Ten (acapella group from Philip's school who were going to sing at the wedding) went to the San Fransisco Bread Company and had really tasty sandwiches, and then went down to the banks of te Arkansas to play games. We played a horseshoe-like game where you threw bean bags at inclined boards that were spread about twenty feet apart. THe object of the game was to land your bean bag on the board for points. Get the bag to stick on the incline, or better yet, aim for the whole in the board (each board has a whole in it that's just big enough for a bean bag to go through) scored you even more points. The fate of your bean bag all depends on how you throw it, and I can tell you one thing, either being blind was a disadvantage, or I just plain sucked, because I only scored one point for my team. You'd never guess what the game is called, and I'd never have guessed had I not gotten an email from Philip previously explaining that we'd be playing this game. The game's called cornhole. They tell me that its called that because the bean bag is really a corn bag, and the whole you aim for which scores you three points rather than one is well ... a cornhole. Lets suffice it to say, I suck as a cornholer. We all had a great time playing, and by the time two o'clock rolled around, we'd all forgotten that we were stressed previously. We really were a rag tag group though, and I shudder to think what people would think had they seen (a) Philip carrying me down seven or eight flights of stairs to the river due to the fact that there wasn't an elevator that went down far enough, or (B) two guys with guitars singing in harmony made up songs and cheers, one of which they dubbed the Cornhole Blues. I didn't end up making Philip carry me back up the stairs on the way back up, but was manly and climbed four flights of stairs mself, rail scaling the whole way hand over hand, until we realized that we actually ended up on the lobby level and really didn't have to go up or down as many sairs as we'd gone. Oh well, so is life.
We all got ready at the huge suite, and as guys do, watched football. Wh aren't real men who don't watch football?
The ceremony went very well. Well, mostly well I suppose. I kind of got left in the sanctuary when I was supposed to be in the grooms room with the rest of the guys, but I think the reason for that was that I didn't want to rail scale it up mfour steps to the room. I figured that others would join me before the groomsmen filed in, but I was wrong, and sat there for about forty minutes on the very front pew by myself. The sanctuary was packed with lots of flowers around. The ceremony went as planned, and I even had enough energy to stand there statue thin in font of everyone (look mom, no hands!) for the whole forty minute ceremony. And in that forty minutes, my sister became Kelsea Walkley, and Philip, the guy I knew from Governor's school, the guy who I played Spades with endlessly for six weeks, became my brother-in-law. Its really a weird feeling watching your sister get married. So weird, mostly because its like the last stage of someone grwing up. You think to yourself, I remember holding her as a baby, and now not only is she married and but she's out of school, and I'm nto married and still in school. It was a bit overwhelming at the time, as I stood up there in front of 400 people and listened to the enormous pipe organ play at the end of the recessional, but by that time it was official. Hey, at least I like the guy, even if he is a dork.
The hustle continued as we ran over to the reception. I was thankful that I saw sunnyblue and my old teacher from high school, because without them talking to me, I think for sure I'd have gone completely crazy :). No actualy, throughout the whole three days, I had a great time meeting people, so I'm sure if I hadn't seen them, I'd have managed, but it was great to eat with Jo and her husband Bob, and Megan and her boyfriend Mickey (spelling?) THe food was great, and we didn't even come close to running out. The cake was really tasty too, a white wedding cake with strawberryish filling and the chocolate grooms cake with Crispy Cream doughnuts on top. It was all over in two hours as we saw the couple off with everyone in attendance getting two sparklers and lighting them en masse. It was really really cool and beats the heck out of throwing rice. My sister rented a really old 1956 (I think) Ford Fairlanes car that they drove away in, my Dad as the driver, as the sparks went up. I don't think we had any casualties or serious burns but when you get nearly 200 people together with fire, you tend to wonder. They left to go to their bed and breakfast, and left for good on Sunday on their honey moon to Hawaii. We were left with two car loads of stuff (flowers, gifts, etc.) that we had to try to fit in while providing enough room for us to get home.
I was kind of glad to get back to school on Sunday afternoon. We had this final breakfast thing where the fam had a chance to say bye to each other, and I had a final chance to feel stressed :). I don't think its that abnormal for humans to only be able to take so much family contact :D. Before I close this massive account and move on to bigger, better, and more boring things, I must say that my nieces are almost as crazy as me. Before the wedding, I went to get my hair cut. They thought that my doo would look better spiked, so not thinking they would take me up on the offer/order, they found some hair gel and both of them got busily to work an hour before I left making my hair as spiked as they could. The fam got plenty of pictures to blackmail me with. Thankfully, they weren't allowed to do what they wanted to and die my tips orange. It wouldn't have been as easy to wash out as it was. THey and my room mates thought it looked cool but I wasn't willing to go that out on the edge and make it a permanent change to my appearance. Too much maintenance, I say.
On the academic front things seem to be going pretty well. I finally got my grade back in statics and I ended up with a C. I wasn't absolutely pleased with it, I wanted something like a B, but I do know many engineers who struggle to even get a C. A C also means that I'm done with that stupid class, and that's a darn good thing. I almost want to email Dr. Jong and tell him I've finished but I think it might be better just to show him I've graduated, smile at him, and move on with life never to talk to him again.
I had an Advanced Applied math test this week as well. I was so stressed about it, and that's mostly why I haven't written in so long. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to complete it in the alottment of my extended time, and that's saying something since I usually get double time on these things. My professor was cool about it though and not only let me take it a day after the others, but also let me transcribe it the next day so I wouldn't have to be at the center until six or seven PM transcribing after I'd taxed my mind into oblivion after the billionth integral/derivative. It took me the whole two days to complete, but I think I'm a better person because of it. All that studying I did earlier when I bet you all were wishing you had something new to read from me paid off because I think I did ok on it.
My meetings continue with Dr. Cheminator. I think he wants me to do better than I want to do in physical chemistry. He wants me to succeed. Its the same problem as I had with Dr. Jong, except for this guy actually cares about my success :), that and he reads what he's writing in class so I can understand it. He wants me to study more, to know everything perfectly, and to understand everything like I was a chemist. I'm just a chemical engineering student. Sure, I'm a weird one, hardly anyone takes PChem anymore since they made it optional, so I'm in a class with chemists. I'm a black sheep in a myriad of "normal" dorks.
Moving on, and finally ... I wrote about Bikes Blues and Barbecue last year. I think at the time, since it caused so many crazy traffic issues since I lived down there closer to the action and since I also had to deal with the crazy dudes on bikes near the center of campus, I was very annoyed about it. THis year, after my test, Larry, Neil, and I decided to brave it as a celebratory measure after dinner. We went to this place called Alligator Ray's, a Cajun food place, where I ate red beans and rice, and got to taste real fried alligator meat. And yes, it really does taste like chicken, chewy chicken mind you but chicken nonetheless. I had a beer and a half there, and being that I was in the wheelchair I wasn't too concerned how tipsy I got since I couldn't tip too far, and wasn't driving anywhere. We hit Dixen then, the nerve center of Bikes Blues and Barbecue. THis festival for those of you who haven't knwn me long enough, is the annual biker fest that we have here in Fayetteville. Biker guys go to get bikerish things, listen to music, eat barbecue, drink beer, and look at women. We did all of that :). You can't leave these kind of places without buying something, and prodded by Larry, I bought a cool leather jacket that I can wear in lieu of my huge very heavy yet warm jacket. Larry also bought me a leather vest which I'll wear only in my weak moments or moments when I want to look extra cool. Both things were like over 50% off, so that made the purchases that much neater.
I'm not much of a drinker, mostly because I don't want to risk falling down. Thursday night however, all bets were off. I was just happy to get done with my test. So I had
- 1.5 beers
- 1 Leaping Lizzard (a drink with tasty melon, orange, and pineapple stuff).
- 1 shot of goldschlagger ( I don't know how to spell that one). When we got to The Gypsy, Larry wanted to know if I'd had it before. I thought it was some type of beer, so when he handed me this plastic cup like you might get in a doctor's office or a hospital. "You have to shoot it." It had been since my 21st birthday party since I'd shot anything, but I remembered how, and enjoyed the almost uncomfortably warm feeling that seemed to spread instantly through my whole body. I had no idea that there were and are 24 carat gold flecks in the drink, and even if I drank heavy metal, it was worth it, it was definitely golden.
- and 1 Margarita ice + a sample. Its basically a bottled Margarita. Pretty tasty drinks + we got to meet the Margarita Ice girls and got their autographs. I think Neil and Larry enjoyed that a bit too much :).
Its funny what kind of people you meet and talk to during an evening like this, especially with that amount of concentrated testosterone + alcohol present. There was this very drunk guy who kept telling me that whenever I went into the bathroom that it was right that handicap people go ahead of everyone else. It was also not right, and he made sure I heard him on this one, that people who parked in handicap parking places without stickers really (bleeped).
"You're number one man, you're so number one man, you're number one." I kept saying "Thanks," after every time that he said this. We went back and forth a for a few minutes until he got tired of saying it and I quit responding.
I was proud of myself that I had no hangover when I woke up and felt great the next morning. It wouldn't be something I'd do very often because I don't necessarily enjoy the spinning feeling that you tend to get when your body is teling you you've had enough, but I left Bikes Blues and Barbecue with more of a positive opinion of it then I had last year.
Today's been pretty lazy. All I productively did really was watch the game, and type this entry. The game was depressing, but Arkansas's fifteen point loss could have been both much worse (they could have given up and lost by 50 points rather than 15) or much better (without the three interceptions by Matt Jones they could have won). Oh well, such is life.
Earlier today, you could hear hundreds of bikes coming by from Bikes Blues and Barbecue. I think we picked the right day to go as I'm sure today the festival was packed. If the back up of bikes went as far back as where I live, it must have been wall to wall biker dudes. Even now you can hear them buzzing by all the way up here on the third floor. I shudder to think how it might be at Gregson.
And that's about it. If I write anymore swear I'll go mad, either that or my hands will fall off/be irreparably damaged. Irreparably damaged hands would be bad so I'll probably close until tomorrow. Hope you've enjoyed this entry; I don't blame you if you don't make it through the whole thing. If I were you, I doubt I'd read this long of an entry unless I had lots of time on my hands :). Seriously guys, you the readers are the reason why I do this, so be assured there will be more coming from me soon, I hope.