Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

When I stepped off the plane into bright and shiny Orlando International Airport, I took a deep breath…what was that fabulous smell? Ah yes, FLORIDA! Erin and I rode to the hotel with the car windows down, positively soaking in the warmth. My cold NYC heart was beginning to defrost…

We arrived at Hotel #1 around 4 p.m. on Friday. As always, it was highly entertaining to hang with the Deltas. I haven’t seen most of them since graduation, so naturally I thought it might be weird to see everyone again. But we picked up right where we left off – they still call me by my favorite nickname, Phalange Orthopedic. Just like back in the day, we shared clothes and beds, sang dumb songs while getting ready to go out, put mannequin heads in each other’s beds, watched a Gator game, fell asleep to the blasting rhythms of BET and enjoyed all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets. The only tangible difference was that we were in a hotel in Orlando and not at the good old Delta.

We went out on the town that evening and ended up running into all sorts of characters from the past… including my secret crush from UF. That was unexpected. After a bit of dancing and a bit of crazy, we all made it back to the hotel and crashed… the big day was already upon us.

The wedding was lovely and the reception was unforgettable. I cried like a baby… first when Sharon walked down the aisle, then when they said their vows, then when they walked back down the aisle together, then when they were introduced at the reception, then when she danced with her daddy… Amanda and I were blubbering in between laughing for the majority of the night. After a precious, tear-jerking slideshow of Sharon’s and Mike’s childhoods, the dance party finally began! Sharon looked gorgeous and seemed completely unaffected by normal bridal stressors. At one point as we were rocking out on the dance floor, someone knocked the bottom of my drink with a flying elbow and I ended up wearing it all over the front of my dress. Without missing a beat, Shar dumped her drink into my empty glass and we kept on dancing. Love it!

Speaking of rocking out on the dance floor… I finally discovered my true calling. Apparently, I was meant to be a Jazzercize instructor. When the gals went outside to get some air after a particularly enjoyable line dance, I stayed on the dance floor with Shar’s mom, the groom’s mom and other assorted family members. By the time the Deltas came back inside, I was leading the whole gang – maybe eight or nine people – in some out-of-this-world dance moves. The gals stood gaping in shock with cameras flashing and mouthed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I’m not really sure what possessed me to lead my friend’s family members in a sexy dance off. Maybe it was Richard Simmons. We were definitely sweating to the oldies – for about an hour. It went a little something like this, “Shake your hair, ladies,” “5, 6, 7, 8, now step, kick, step, kick!” and “Everybody to the side, to the side, to the front, to the front, now shake your butt!” I worry about how unbelievably foolish I’m going to look on the wedding video, and I pray it doesn’t find its way to YouTube. The members of my unofficial wedding dance troupe hugged me the next morning at brunch and told me how sore they were and how I really needed to teach “dance” professionally. “Never stop dancing, kid!” was one of my favorite sentiments.

After the reception, we headed back to the hotel for an informal and supposedly prepaid gathering at the lobby’s bar. Once we arrived, the hotel’s management feigned unawareness to the fact that there was supposed to be a party there that evening. The hotel’s manager actually started pointing at Sharon and blaming her for the miscommunication. I was like, “Hey buddy, you do not talk to a bride like that! It’s her wedding day. She’s wearing a wedding dress!” Chaos ensued as several of the groomsmen got up in the guy’s face. We were on the verge of a violent Italian wedding brawl when suddenly Sharon said, “That’s it, we’re going to Applebee’s!” And we did. I highly recommend it for your bridal after party needs.

Sunday morning, we rolled out of bed and ate the 2nd best brunch buffet I’ve ever had in my life. I had a plate full of pie, sushi, eggs Benedict, choco-strawbs, bacon, shrimp, stone crab, biscuits & gravy and so much more. It was delightful. After stuffing ourselves beyond recognition, Erin and I were kindly dropped off at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, where we lounged on the sand like beached Arctic whales. Two-and-a-half short hours after we left Buffet #1, we ate at my very favorite restaurant Ohana’s, which also happens to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. To say I was in high spirits would be a vast understatement. Two buffets, one beach and copious sunshine all in one day… maybe it was not so good for the people who had to watch me lard around in a bathing suit, but it was so so so satisfying on a personal level!

I wish I could detail the whole weekend, because there were 1,000 memorable moments and hysterical one-liners… I only had time for a couple of highlights here. I’m so happy for Shar and Mike – he’s so wonderful. I can’t say enough nice things about him. Shout out to the Deltas – Sharon, Alexis, Lindsay, Ginny, Amanda, Jodi, Lauren, Cathy and Megs – I had so much fun and can’t wait until I see you at the next wedding. (p.s. we’re doing a bracket a la March Madness to see who will be the last single Delta standing… I’m thinking I’m a No. 1 seed, right?!)

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