jjmarika: (original)
[personal profile] jjmarika
Time for a rare real-life post! Warning: definitely going to be long.

So last Tuesday afternoon I drove down to NJ for my brother's wedding, which, for Reasons (totally reasonable reasons, but it involved a lot of discussion), involved having the ceremony on Thursday and the party on Saturday.

My adventures started Tuesday morning, however, when my left shoulder randomly decided to try to murder me with pain. I'd planned to leave for NJ right from work, but by 10am the pain was bad enough that I was vaguely nauseous, so I called up my chiropractor and managed to get an emergency appointment for 3:30 pm (in Watertown). Also, [livejournal.com profile] kumir_k9 is a genius and pointed out that pain killers exist for a reason, after which my day was much less sucky.

Chiropractor said that I'd managed to rub some tendon the wrong way, likely while I was sleeping, and that I should take it easy, but there wasn't permanent damage and it should get better on it's own. Yay! And off to NJ, leaving Watertown only a half hour late (4pm)!

You may remember that Tuesday, was, in fact, the day that we had all of that crazy weather (tornado warnings! hail!) in Mass. Which I found while driving on the Mass Pike, unfortunately. Driving (extremely slowly) through 3/4" hail bouncing off your windshield probably hits my top ten scary moments, actually. Anyway, made it through the hail and the torrential downpour that followed, only to hit... Traffic! At 4:30 PM on a Tuesday! So was stuck in that for a good long while, which was only aggravated when I finally hit a rest stop (an hour and a half later), decided to take a break for dinner, only to find that the rest stop was without power (or restrooms). All told, it took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to make it to Connecticut. Stupid traffic. Stupid traffic curse that's hit me *every* time I've driven to NJ in the last year...

I spent most of the trip chatting with my parents on the phone (bought myself a new bluetooth phone connector after getting a ticket in CT the *last* time I drove down), which made it better, at least. Once I got off the Mass Pike it was clear until I hit NJ, at which point the traffic caught me again (there'd been a major accident at 10 in the morning that shut down one of the two main roads in NJ for 12 hours). I got to my destination a mere 7 hours after I left (a 4.5 hour drive with normal traffic).

Wednesday was mostly dedicated to The Paint Balloon Project. My brother's fiance (now wife!) saw a thing on pinterest where you fill water balloons with paint and throw darts at them and thus end up with a cool piece of collaborative art, and asked us to make it go. After discovering *several* different ways to not fill balloons with paint, we used the powers of the interwebs to find some youtube tutorials, made about thirty million trips to various stores as we slowly acquired the necessary tools we'd need and enough paint to make it go (hint: it needs a lot more paint than you'd think), plus squirted ourselves with tons of paint, while my mother tried to get a chiropractor appointment for my grandmother, whose leg was bothering her (chiropractor appointments were the theme of the week, sadly, as we all took turns breaking various parts of ourselves). Also, my mom and I can apparently yell things completely in unison without meaning to when my grandmother tries to pick something heavy up *immediately* after the chiropractor told her not to. It took something like 8 hours, but we finally got the balloons filled with paint, at which point returned to our base of operations and basically crashed. Oh, except for the part where the photographer for Saturday cancelled Wednesday night, and there was a miscommunication with the florist about when exactly they needed the boutonniere and bouquet, leaving us scrambling to deal with those things.

Thursday was the actual wedding. We were supposed to be at the court-house by 8:30, but it was 40-something minutes away during rush hour, and we had to pick up my grandmother and great aunt first, so we got up super early to make sure we didn't hit traffic and, you know, miss the ceremony. Then we hit no traffic whatsoever and were there an hour early. We were super happy about that, actually. Just hung out with my family chatting in the courthouse while waiting for other people to get there. Sadly, my brother was downstairs waiting for us outside with his best man getting more and more nervous, but he didn't want to bug us while we were traveling and we didn't want to bug him while he was traveling, so we all sat around at various parts of the courthouse getting nervous that the other person was going to be late... Oops. Anyway, eventually we figured it out. His bride *was* a few minutes late (not many), but it didn't matter, because the judge was SUPER late (his clerk was making back up plans to have the mayor come downstairs to marry them if the judge didn't make it at all). So they got to get married with a bunch of random people in attendence who were waiting to talk to the judge about criminal matters. Was interesting. The ceremony itself was brief, but really nice, actually, and everyone looked awesome (despite not doing a traditional wedding they managed to coordinate the four members of the wedding party a bit, which was cool). Afterwards we drove down to the pier a few minutes away and they took all the pictures on the pier with NYC in the background, which was sorta awesome. Then we went to this fantastic little brunch place (also on the water) and had awesome brunch. Was pretty much exactly what my brother wanted, so that was fantastic.

Thursday afternoon we spent doing shopping for the actual party. Most of the actual food/drink was taken care of, but we had a list of soda-like drinks and disposable plates/cutlery/etc to find, plus a few random assorted things. We found most of it Thursday afternoon, but it sorta took the entire afternoon. Also, prepping for a wedding is *not* the best way to take it easy on your shoulder, especially when you're the tall one in the shopping crew. About that time my mom started looking really concerned about me and started forcing me to ice it properly and to rest and not lug 40-packs of water by myself.

Friday morning we went out to go find the last few things we needed, which took only 4 stores to find 3 items. Then we swung by my grandmother's place to see how she was doing (not fantastic, but still asking how she could help for the party, to which we told her how tremendously ok we were and how we just needed her to be ready when we'd come to pick her up at 4 tomorrow), fixed her phone (long story), and then drove back home to see my brother and his wife for figuring out the last of the planning. That mostly involved looking at the pile of decorating stuff she'd bought and figuring out how it would go together on the tables/around the party area (outdoor party under a tent in a friend's backyard), but it took a while. Also, sometime around then I realized that there were only three people who knew what was going on, and two of them were the bride and her bridesmaid, who wouldn't be there tomorrow for set up. Oops.

Saturday morning we got up to do the last last-minute shopping (shush, we're good at this), which went great until 10:30 AM, when my brother called, apologized, and said they'd decided that there should probably be coffee at the party (which was totally true, and I'm glad we did it), which necessitated another shopping trip. This one involved K-Mart, and I'm pretty sure the employees were actively trying to not help us. Sadly not kidding. Twice in a row I was like, "Oh look, there's an employee," only to have them turn away from me and walk as fast as they could until they got to an employee only area and fled inside. It's funny in retrospect. Anyway, we got everything together, then headed back to start doing set up. Tables looked awesome, if I do say so myself, and when the flowers arrived everything looked amazing. (really, the florist totally outdid himself) Then I managed to get the paint-filled balloons attached to the canvas (backing it with cardboard was key) without covering myself with paint (win!), and we set up the drinks when my brother arrived with the alcohol. Then he and I drove to go pick up my grandmother and great aunt while my parents rested for a bit.

By the time it was actually time to get dressed for the party, I found myself in that state I usually hit late Saturday/early Sunday when running a larp, forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other because if I don't keep moving I will stop and not start again, which was a weird place to be while not larping. Shower, clothes, and I even managed some make up, then walked back to the party location. Got some very nice compliments (having people not used to seeing me in makeup helps a lot with the shock value), and then people started arriving. (Was totally weird to see some of my brother's friends from HS, most of whom I haven't seen in literally 15 years and who look a *little* different now. Like his best man, who I remember mostly as a skinny kid with oversized hands and elbows, who is now 6 feet tall and has filled out somewhat. Still super nice, though.)

The party itself was pretty amazing. My brother really wanted barbecue, like real barbecue, so he found some company down on the shore that had won multiple grilling contests, and hired them as caterers, and omg the food was amazing. The paint balloons thing actually worked, and people had fun with it. Someone brought a giant jenga set, and beanbag toss, and people were playing them well into the night. For dessert they ignored the cake thing entirely and hired Ben and Jerry's to come with an ice cream cart and a pile of toppings. I think most big parties should have Ben and Jerry's. There was a small dance floor and two live musicians who were fantastic. I thought I must have been hearing wrong, because I kept hearing harmonies from the one guy who was singing, but apparently he has a gizmo that lets him not only sing harmonies to himself, but change what key they're in. Was awesome. And dancing! Lots of it. :)

That night I took my grandmother/great aunt home, and happily by the time I got back most of the cleaning was done. Collapsed shortly afterwards.

Minimal cleaning on Sunday, and then we crammed my stuff along with my parents stuff (including two water skis and carrying case) into my car and drove back up to Mass (4.5 hours including stopping for lunch). Showed my mother around my apartment (she'd never actually seen it, and likes being able to picture things in her head), then continued on to the airport, where it took forever to pick up their rental. Then they kept going to Maine (they texted me to say they'd gotten there safely and had already gotten to water ski), and I went home and fell over again.

All in all, a very successful but totally exhausting trip.

Date: 2015-08-11 03:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tashewolf.livejournal.com
hee, I had misunderstood and thought the guests were to be throwing the actual PAINT BALLOONS, which is why I could not imagine how that wouldn't be a mess!!

Date: 2015-08-11 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jjmarika.livejournal.com
That was our backup plan if the hanging-the-balloons-from-the-canvas plan didn't work. We were going to stick a bunch of pins through the canvas pointing out and then throwing the balloons at them. Luckily the canvas thing did work.

Date: 2015-08-11 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kumir-k9.livejournal.com
Yes, this. This is what I first pictured when I heard about this activity last week.

Date: 2015-08-11 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jjmarika.livejournal.com
That was our backup plan if the hanging-the-balloons-from-the-canvas plan didn't work. We were going to stick a bunch of pins through the canvas pointing out and then throwing the balloons at them. Luckily the canvas thing did work.

Date: 2015-08-12 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lawbard.livejournal.com
Wow. That's a whole lot of running around!
Also - paint balloon fight would've been awesome...

Date: 2015-08-12 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jjmarika.livejournal.com
It would have been awesome, but only if people were ok with being different colors for several days. I *still* have a few flecks of paint on my nails...

Oh yeah, my mom and I spent the entire week painting our nails with more and more layers of the nailpolish we bought Wednesday evening because we couldn't get the paint off and didn't want to have speckled-blue nails for the wedding.


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