While I didn't get to eat any of the famous Ripon Good Cookies, I did have an AWESOME time this weekend in Ripon, birthplace of the Republican Party and home to wonderful people all around.
Here's what my weekend involved (you can find pictures on Kelly's blog):
Leaving work early for a fun car ride with Carol and Jaime in a totally pimpin' Lexus not-an-SUV-thing.
Getting to Ripon and stopping at houses where my fabled friends have grown up.
We get to Kate's (the bride) parents house (which is a country-style Wisco drive - down a bunch of weird county roads that go on forever), and drink Coors Light and eat TONS of really good food. I mean, the food was outstanding and I wondered how they could top it the next night. They couldn't, though the wedding food was good too.
I get to see a billion people that I hadn't seen in a long time, like Kelly, Alex, and Halley.
Kate's friends mostly stick to the barn, which her dad has totally tricked out with a bar, pool table, and whatnot.
People light off a bunch of fireworks in the backyard. Not like bottle-rocket fireworks, like real, badass fireworks. I've never been so close - they're more loud and amazing.
We return to Kelly's, and plan our hike to the bar.
Drinking my first Fuzzy Navel (I think) ever, while walking through the mean streets of Ripon. Someone said it was completely legal, which sorta took the thrill out of it.
Buying 2 plastic pitchers of beer for a total of 11 dollars at some bar where you could smoke inside.
Smoking inside is not so cool in the morning because your clothes smell and your throat hurts.
Watching Kelly sing karaoke.
Walking over to Red's, which is pretty sweet as far as dive bars go.
Playing pool with Paul against two other people, sucking horribly, but watching as Paul bails us out by running the table.
There is no good music on the Jukebox at Red's. Like 2 songs, that's it. Ouch.
Ryan leaves with a full pitcher of beer, the bartender says "thanks, Ryan", he turns around
in the doorway, waves, and keeps on going.
Slugs of Tequila at PJ's parents' place.
Ryan jumps in the hot tub wearing his pants, an MTV t-shirt, and a necktie, and proceeds to tell the saddest story involving 4 lapdances in Montana that I have ever heard. It also involves a sweet car being traded for a U-Haul, which is the sad part.
Wake up way too early in the morning and enjoy an awesome breakfast prepared by Kelly's mom.
Drive to hotel in Wautoma. Make numerous "it's-not-a-Tomah" jokes the rest of the trip.
We try swimming at the hotel, but Kelly hates kids and refuses.
Unfortunately, we have already ordered a pizza to be delivered to the pool. We go pick it up and search for a beach.
We can't find public access to the lake. We drive around aimlessly, our path changing every time Kelly gets a phone call. Go back to hotel, eat pizza, wait for others.
Others arrive. I want to do Kelly's hair, but apparently Jaime has more experience. Maybe next wedding.
Watch all the ladies in my room get pretty with dresses and such.
Put on wrinkled dockers and polo shirt.
Watch part of Beverly Hills Cop I and I Love the 80's.
Drink some champagne from Super 8 cups. Classy.
Pile 47 people into unmarked van. Leg temporarily loses circulation. Drat.
Get to wedding location. It's HUGE and awesome-looking.
Wait at bar for 15 minutes trying to get drink. Denied. Steal beer from Glen instead.
Listen to violinist who is a deadringer for Drago (of Rocky fame). Wow.
Short ceremony. Beautiful location though, and Kate and Adam look great.
Wait in line for hugs. The line is long. Very long. I am emboldened by Glen's wanton disregard for the rules of etiquette and begin making jokes about people's children (in good humor, of course). Finally I arrive at the front of the line and hug Kate. Let's start drinking!
Spotted Cow and Miller Lite are on the house, guess which one runs out first? Hint: the good beer.
Everyone proceeds to drink beer before the meal.
The food is good, but I question the nutritional value of cauliflower ("the albino vegetable") and am called out on it. Cauliflower is actually good for you. I was wrong.
I question Alex on the difference between "perennial" and "annual", but not before sending a text message to Google for clarification. Perennial lasts 3 seasons or more, annual means a year-long life cycle.
Alex also recommends that I read The Botany of Desire, and I trust his judgment and will read it shortly. I meet his mom, who seems cool.
Ryan buys shots of Rumplemintz for himself and Carol and I and someone else. It's like drinking a Newport!
I get "chainsawwed". Repeatedly. I cannot describe this process with any accuracy, sorry.
The bluegrass band comes on. The 20-somethings hit the dance floor. Bluegrass is really awesome, and we all dance. For like, hours and hours. We even get the band to play another song, after it was clear that they were pretty tuckered out. They were good, and I got tired.
Ryan buys more shots for everyone. This one is called a Dead Nazi. Fortunately, it was a small shot, and I had already taken the liberty of eating way too much so that I could handle being force-fed alcohol tonight, and my plan is working! I'm not completely trashed, woohoo!
We go upstairs to a different bar. Another you can smoke inside. Blessing plus curse.
I try to play pool again, but I am just as bad as the last night. Something about Ripon. I meet someone of Mustache Classic fame. I think his name was Joe, and he vicariously apologizes to me for my last roommate, Luke, for scaring at him once while he was eating soup. If that sounds confusing, it is, and I don't feel like grammar-checking this blog post because it's going on forever.
I go upstairs (yet another floor! woohoo!) and hustle a couple of people at Big Buck Hunter. I had to win, because loser had to pay for shots of Jameson, and I was out of money (but was drinking water at that point anyway, and I just wanted to play, I didn't really want more booze. Yuck.) I do some more dancing and chat with people. We have fun until it's time to close the bar.
We get home. Other people still want to party. Megan and I made it back to the room first (where people had assumed everyone would be partying), but I know there's a family with small children in the room next to us. People start knocking on the door and we try to shoo them away. In a moment of brilliance, we grab the cooler full of beer and jettison it into the hallway, forcing people to find other rooms to party in. Success! I pass out.
Everyone who slept in our room wakes up to a breakfast of Gatorade and Combos. Lemon-Lime Gatorade might be the best drink on the planet.
Kelly makes it to Kate's brunch the next morning. No one else does.
Carol and I say bye to a boatload of people, then follow to where Kelly is so we can say bye to her. Kelly rewards our thoughtful actions with bad driving directions, and we end up taking 73 North for like a half-hour before I realize we're supposed to be on 21 West.
I am not hungover, but I want to get on the road so I call Kelly for REAL directions. No cell phone reception. Boo.
Finally I get through and Kelly makes us turn around and take I-39 BACK SOUTH so we can get on 21 West, which seems completely backwards to me and I try to protest, but she's having none of it, and we are lost without a map. I'm starting to get cranky because we're not even going anywhere yet. We finally get to 21 West.
I have nonsensical conversations with myself that amuse Carol. I dub the caravan of cars we are behind "The Retard Patrol". Yes, I know, it's very non-PC, and Dani, you have permission to hit me. But they are all driving down a highway, doing just BARELY under the speed limit, and the lead car appears to be tapping his brakes every once in awhile for NO GOOD REASON.
AND NO ONE CAN PASS THEM.
I find some apples that Kelly's mom gave us and Carol and I eat them. They are good.
Carol circles a series of gas pumps 3 times, then gives up as she can't find a spot.
I get to drive the Lexus after we get gas. YESSSSS
Carol and I have an absolute blast on the drive home. I can't remember a single thing we talked about, but it was fun. I think it was mostly me having a conversation with myself.
We stopped at an imaginary Culvers and Carol had an imaginary grilled cheese and I had an imaginary Butter Burger. I'm glad we didn't actually stop.
Well, that was my weekend, in a very condensed form. Apologies to those I left out or stories I missed or anything like that. WHEW.