Note: Sorry this took so damn long to write. But at least I managed to get it out before Andrew and Rozi returned from their honeymoon! Also, pics (such as they are) are on-line at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasmine/sets/15398/.
9/2: We spent about two hours on the Kennedy along with motorists desperate to escape the city for one last hurrah in the country. Whether headed to the Dells or to the airport to catch a flight to a sufficiently exotic locale, the people of the outbound Kennedy had one thing in common: they were in our fucking way. Kevin drove while I scanned around for an available frequency upon which my iPod could broadcast. Jacinda and Joe were tucked in the back, surrounded by pillows and diet Coke and pretzels. We made fun of each other and ugly drivers (“Yo, Jasmine, what’s your man doing in that hoopty!”) until we got clear of the traffic clusterfuck, turned on the cruise control, and headed through the Dells, stopping at Culver’s for custard, ButterBurgers, fries and the leftover Indian food which Kevin had been saving from the night before. Once we were back on the road, we were quieter, smoking cigarettes or humming along with the radio as we got closer to Minneapolis-St. Paul, to Joe and Jacinda’s hotel, to Doug and Dave’s (where Kevin and I stayed), to the state fair, and to Andrew and Rozi’s wedding.
9/3: I woke up in Doug and Dave’s guest room, in a fluffy brass bed. The first thing I saw after putting in my contacts were black and white art photographs of nude women, circa 1910. Very hot, though not as hot as the British royalty memorabilia scattered throughout the guest bathroom adjoining my room. I said goodbye to Doug and Dave as they drive off to Milwaukee for a softball tournament, then started a load of laundry while Kevin had his morning coffee and surfed the web from an Art Deco armchair.
After a few hours of slouching around the house, we picked up Joe and Jacinda and went off to the Minnesota State Fair (http://www.mnstatefair.org). We had a few hours before we had to meet up with our respective bachelor or bachelorette parties, so we spent that time eating as many food items on sticks as we could find. Corn dogs, porkchops, walleye, hush puppies, birch beer (okay, not on a stick, but maybe the vendor will come up with something for next year). We visited the DFL (http://www.dfl.org) tent, where I bought buttons and we all contributed to a wall of Post-It notes that listed reasons why their authors were voting for the Democrats in November: ‘Education!!!’, ‘Peace’, ‘To wipe that smirk off his face’. I put up a note, even though I can’t vote, which read ‘Because it’s nuclear, not nucular’, which the DFL volunteers seemed to like very much.
Then more food. We visited the 4-H building, where we critiqued (read: made fun of) the various dioramas (who knew a 14 year old boy would have so much to say about post-partum depression, and could express it so succinctly on posterboard?) and exclaimed over another youngster’s analysis of the fiber content in an Old Navy fleece jumper. We got fans decorated with celebrity seed art portraits (http://www.artsmia.org/exhibitions/details.cfm?EV_ID=1544). Kevin got some custard, and we met up with Rozi, Andrew, and their folks.
After the boys went off in one direction, we girls proceeded to eat mini-doughnuts, deep-fried Oreo cookies, deep-fried cheese curds, deep-fried pickles, fried green tomatoes, and corn fritters. Jacinda and I went back to the walleye stand to get more birch beer (seriously, does anyone know where I can find this stuff in Chicago?) when this man got up in her face and rasped “Hey! Nice freckles” right before his girlfriend turned up, gave Jacinda a dirty look, then dragged her perv away. Next stop: pork chops on sticks for Rozi, Lynne, Cathern, Miriam, Dawn, and Rona while Jacinda and I rode the River Raft Ride, which was totally fun but our asses got soaked. Off to the swine barn, wet skirts and all, to look at the pigs, with a quick detour so Rozi could buy a Scotch egg (which reminded me of meatloaf, actually) and so I could have some frozen chocolate custard. The swine barn smelled of swine of course, and was the temporary home of Terry, the largest boar in Minnesota. A sow was nursing piglets, which was adorable until the smell of pigs just overtook me and I had to go outside. Which was too bad, Jacinda said as we waddled over to the Giant Slide, as I missed all the gay sheep sex. Rozi proposed we race down the Giant Slide, so Jacinda and I took her up on it, bought our burlap sacks and assumed our positions at the top. Signage advised sitting back on the sack while leaning forward, but my huge gut didn’t heave forward enough for me to beat Jacinda, whose large breasts assured her victory.
After the fair, we went out for drinks, the boys to some tapas bar while the girls walked through the fine Minnesota night to The Local (http://www.the-local.com), where Dawn gave me advice on how to disguise your double chin in photographs, and Rozi’s friend Elaine a Blow Job (http://www.webtender.com/db/drink/2858) for Rozi, who refused to chug it as required by bachelorette tradition. I got to chat some more with Rozi and Andrew’s friend Lynne, who made me promise to dial her up the next time I was in New York so we could sit in bars, ogle cute boys, and act too damn shy to meet them. After the Local, Kevin brought me to a gay bar in St. Paul that he liked to visit when he lived in Minneapolis. It was like Big Chicks (http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/barsandclubs/mmx-4175_lgcy.story) only with more lesbians and kinda crappy music.
9/4: I was late to the salon, so my manicure got bumped. The other bridesmaids shook their heads at me as I slunk into my seat at lunch (http://twincities.citysearch.com/profile/5583973) with Rozi and Andrew’s mothers. Our waiter was attentive, but his eyes looked like they were going to bust out of his head, so it took me a few seconds to compose myself and croak out ‘croque monsieur’. Rozi cried a little bit, because we were all there for her and for Andrew, and I have to admit I was a little verklempt myself. After lunch, I had my manicure while Elaine and Dawn shopped for toe-less pantyhose, then we drove back to the hotel for the rehearsal.
I was paired up with Ben as my groomsman, first down the aisle after the officiant, Andrew’s grandmother Charlotte, Aunt Rita and Uncle whose name I can’t remember, Andrew and his parents. Andrew’s friend Matt D. was the best man, and while we were never especially close I was genuinely glad to see him — not only because it wasn’t clear if he would make the rehearsal in time, but because I know that Andrew really loved him and wanted him to stand up. We rehearsed, then I went up to Dawn’s room to smoke, flip through cable (one of the channels was of the hotel’s indoor water park), and smoke some more. Then it was 4pm, and time to get on a bus to Lake Minnetonka for the rehearsal dinner.
*jasmine’s tips for cruising the waters of Lake Minnetonka*
1. On the bus ride over, try to get on the bus with the fun rowdy young folks.
2. If you see your date driving to the rehearsal dinner in a silver VW Cabrio convertible, do not be bitter, as you will catch a ride back, at which point you may then pretend to be a flashy movie star speeding away from the paparazzi.
3. Bring Dramamine, even if you yourself do not get motion sickness. Somebody else might need it.
4. It can get pretty windy, so wear trousers or be prepared to flash cousin Eliot as you make your way down to the buffet.
5. Wave back when folks on other boats wave to you.
6. Resist the temptation to hum the theme to “Gilligan’s Island” even though the rehearsal cruise is exactly three hours long and you think it is hilarious.
7. When smoking outdoors, do not use other guests’ dinner plates as ashtrays.
8. Do not get caught groping your date’s crotch. You know who you are.
Kevin and I drove back into the city from the lake, top down and everything, so I played loud thumping music, smoked, and let my hair whip around. We were the first people back to Nye’s Polonaise (http://www.nyespolonaise.com), so we scored a booth and ordered some drinks. People from the wedding, guests and party members alike, wandered in and got caught up in the polka band. Nate and Celi turned up, as did Seema and Joe, so we caught up, drank some more, and collectively sighed as we watched Andrew escort Rozi, hand on her waist, outside so she could get home and rest. Kevin dropped me off at home so I could get some sleep before I had to get up, get my hair and makeup done, and pray that I didn’t start bawling during the ceremony.
“Nice girls don’t let men kiss them until after they’re engaged. Men don’t want the bloom rubbed off.” “Personally, I think I have too much bloom. Maybe that’s the trouble with me.”
Big Star – O My Soul; Suede – To The Birds; The Roots – The Seed (2.0)