Edited to add: A’s SIL is actually L. Not “D”. Because I can type. And think. Sigh. Sorry L! I heart you!
This weekend, I went down to Austin to help celebrate my baby cousin H as she gets ready to get married next month to T. Who is really a sensational guy. Daddy LOVED him. H is the baby of the family, so you’ll forgive me if I’m a bit wistful, but you see, I knew her when she was still a lump inside her mama.
And this weekend, I watched her be entertained by Tatum:
The Full-Service Entertainment Piñata. (T–you are WAY cuter, you have nothing to worry about, I promise!)
I got up on Friday and drove down to Austin in time to pick H and some of her friends up from the airport around noon, and we went from there to the condo (which was on 4th St., which made the evening festivities SO MUCH NICER) and unpacked. And by “unpacked”, I mean “drank a lot and then played drinking games”.
It didn’t hurt things at all that after Tatum suffered catastrophic structural failure (as most pinatas, even Full Service Entertainment ones, are wont to do), he turned out to be stuffed with those little tiny shot-sized bottles of booze.
I had made a brisket for Friday’s dinner, since we were in various states of arrival (and sobriety) all through that afternoon and evening. It remains my most popular dish.
That evening, we went out to The Broken Spoke to go dancing. Where we discovered that my car’s headlights have some kind of demon possessor. (Thanks for not ticketing us, Austin PD!) And I got my first reminder of why going out in a college town is SO MUCH FUN. I got carded. I’m pretty sure the guy at the door had to go see his therapist after I kissed him when he asked to see my ID. Anyway, we went in, and I got my first reminder of why it is that I’m glad I no longer live in a college town. It was HOT. SO, SO, SO HOT. And there was a COVER CHARGE. (WHAT THE WHAT????) And they wanted to charge actual money for WATER.
I love you beyond words, H, so I drank a beer, sweated gallons, watched you turn around on the dance floor several times, and then took a cab back to the condo where I sat in air-conditioned silence. I’m so sorry I was a party pooper, but you looked like you were weathering the disappointment well, and one day you’ll be 36. Then you’ll understand.
The next morning, my cousin Maya arrived, making me no longer the oldest one in attendance. (Side note-I love you Maya, and thank you for getting there!!!!) So, we got up, had breakfast, and went to the lake.
Austin LOVES her some outdoor activity. And particularly some water-related outdoor activity. It has been a LONG TIME since my backside has been in a swimsuit, let alone in a swimsuit in front of a lot of people who spend a lot of time doing outdoor activity. But I love H, and so I went. I appointed myself to be the one who sat with the towels and flip-flops and waters and waved at everybody while they did the water activities. H’s sister, A, overruled me and (lovingly) strong-armed me into kayaking with her SIL, D. Which was actually quite fun, because while D is in FANTASTIC shape, she was taking things easy on Saturday and so we took a leisurely pace at the kayaking. Also, she had not kayaked before, so when we crashed into people we could legitimately say, “Sorry! We’re new!”. I loved getting to know D better, because we both do the same thing professionally (she’s better at it than me) and we think a lot alike. Also, her brother O is a big favorite of mine. So it’s not surprising that I think D is pretty fantastic. Also, that actually may not be the last time I ever kayak. It was kind of fun. And since water was nearby, I didn’t have to sit around in my own sweat, which is my chief objection to most exercise-type activities.
Random aside: My Gigantic Family is weird. I never knew just how weird until I started doing what I do. We all like each other. We all talk to each other. I’m the least open person in the group. (And I have a blog where I have discussed my teeth.) When people marry in to the group, they bring all of their people, too. I count cousins on the other side of my cousins’ families as members of my own family. So it never occurred to me that the fact that the wife of a cousin of H’s cousin was at her bachelorette weekend, or the SIL of her sister, was weird. But I suppose it kind of is. Whatever. I’ll take it.
Anyway, we kayaked, the others did some kind of activity that involved STANDING UP ON A LONG BOARD–ON THE WATER!!!!!–AND PADDLING AROUND WITH WHAT SEEMED TO BE A LONG SKI POLE. In two-piece swimsuits. One day, darlings, gravity will find you. Backaches will find you. You will no longer be able to sleep on the floor for two hours and spring awake into a new, un-hungover, day. And while I love you all right now, exactly as you are, at that point my love for you will deepen. And you will watch as your twenty something cousin takes off her life vest and hops from a board to a kayak and lays down and does a backflip and lands softly on this board, and you will know the wistfulness with which I watched you Saturday. And I will be there to hug you and remind you that life actually does begin at 30.
After we got done with our water-related activity, we found another park (Austin’s parks are amazing, BTW) and had a picnic. Here’s where I have to tell Mama, “You’re welcome.” There were chocolate Lab puppies. For sale. They were cute, had little fat tummies, waggly, uncoordinated tails, big feet, soft ears, puppy breath, pink tongues, and I did not scoop one up and bring him home with me. So, you owe me one.
Anyway, the picnic was lovely-all of H’s favorite foods, and we toasted her, and then we went back to the place to nap and to get ready to go out for the evening. There were 12 girls in a condo that had 2 bathrooms…HAHAHAAHAH! So anyway, we got ready and went to a wine bar for dinner, where we had old world wines (I know nothing about old world wines…) and I had some pretty delicious sliders, and what seemed to be an endless supply of frites and aioli. Health food.
After dinner, we went back to the condo to regroup and head out. H donned her tiara, we donned flashing gummy-rings that threatened to blind Maya and me, and out we went into the night. On 6th Street, we found a lovely assortment of live music, a rooftop bar that had music that seemed enormously popular sung by people I have never heard of, and a person heroically garbed in a plushy zebra costume. (Woof. Can you imagine the insane heat that must have generated??? I would have actually gone up and gotten a picture but was afraid of the heat and stink that must surely have been emanating from that…) After the rooftop bar experience, the bachelorette decided that it was time to ride the mechanical bull.
I love H fiercely, and thus did not commemorate the ensuing face plant in film. I will say that she did it with far more grace and elegance than the bachelorette prior to her did. For one thing, H was wearing all of her clothes. Including pants. I know more about the prior bachelorette than I should, including some things that really only one’s doctor should know. Rompers are NEVER A GOOD IDEA. EVER. ON ANYBODY OVER THE AGE OF THREE.
After watching the bull riding, I decided it was time for the old lady to bow out again so that the youngsters could go really crazy. So I walked home. And was joined half an hour later by Maya. (I give her credit. She has three kids, and didn’t want to pass up the evening out.) We talked and drank nonalcoholic drinks and then went to bed so as to be as sound asleep as possible before the girls came back. I didn’t hear anybody when they came home, so I guess our plan worked.
Anyway, Sunday morning dawned and we all had to say our goodbyes. That’s always the sad part, but I’ll see everybody in August, and we’ll get to add even more people to our excellent family, which is the fun part! I drove home, stopping at Whataburger (mmmm…extra pickles and extra mustard go a long way toward replenishing the body’s lost stores…), and then took a LONG nap. Emily-did you ever get your Whataburger???
And that was the weekend! This week, my cousin S comes to visit us for a whole week! I’m pretty excited!