Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's DONE!!!!!

It's finally DONE!!!!! And with no major hitches, Lauren and I are now MARRIED!!!

Can you tell that we're excited??? We're also very tired ... we stayed overnight at the hotel after opening gifts, attended a late dinner at Las Palmas (the Mexican restaurant next to the hotel), and then bade goodbye to the last of our family and friends this morning after breakfast. Then we managed to load our gifts into the car, get home, unload them, and then crash for a few hours of sleep. We both needed it.

We had roughly 76 people at the wedding (we'll wait for the final catering count to be certain), and we had a great weekend making lots of memories with family and friends. The weekend started out great: our bachelor's and bachelorette's parties were combined for a co-ed party over in St. Joe, where we dined at Fuji, the new Japanese steakhouse and teppanyaki place. Afterwards, we went over to Terrible's Casino to see how slowly we could lose the $30.00 limits we'd placed on ourselves. The rest of the weekend ranged from the absurd (our maid of honor gave us a Hallmark soundbite card featuring the "Chicken Dance", so now THAT's stuck in our heads), to the worrisome (at the Student Union, Lauren and I were stuck in the elevator for 5 minutes on our way to the reception ... and no, we DIDN'T push the stop button intentionally ... the poor elevator's brain just hiccuped, that's all), to the thankful: the weather forecast had been for light snow that morning, but it missed us, leaving us with sunny weather for the wedding and partly cloudy for the reception.

The wedding itself went off very smoothly, as well as the reception dinner (kudos to the ARAMARK staff at Northwest for their hospitality), and we thank everyone who participated in the ceremony: Mike Kyle, our minister; Dr. Jeff Loomis, who assisted; our parents and families, who travelled many, many miles to get here; our Best Man, Micah Joy, and our Maid of Honor, Jenny Heitoff; and our readers, Les Savage and Ken Sarno, who drove straight through from Urbana on Friday for the rehearsal.

Thanks also to our musicians: Tony Brown (who can play the piano very well, despite his claims to the contrary), Brent Chappelow (who got the pacing on the Bach pieces just right), Megan Wyant (who graced us with her flute playing), and especially our vocalist, Rachel Ost, who stepped in as a substitute and did an excellent job.

Also due thanks are our friends the McGary's (Frank and Dixie) who helped with the flower arrangements, and also helped us haul gifts from the church to the reception (and then from there, back to the hotel), as well as their sons, Craig and Philip, who served as our ushers. Also, Lauren profusely thanks the "Flower Assembly Group" from Friday morning, which includes the aforementioned Dixie McGary, plus Jenny, Celia Hayhoe, Lauren's Aunt Peggy and Uncle Dean, and Lauren's mom and dad.

And finally, a warm thank you to our friends, who came from places as far away as Blacksburg, VA, and as near as Des Moines, IA, to share the weekend with us.

We don't have many pictures back yet from the weekend. We're sorting through the rehearsal pictures we've gotten back, and we'll have a few more of those up in a couple of days. For now, here's a few we took on Thursday:

The sign at the Comfort Inn welcoming our family and friends:

And here's a quick cameraphone shot of my Best Man, Micah, who kept me sane throughout this weekend (hard to believe it's been 26 years ... count 'em, and we're still friends):

We'll have more pictures two weeks from now; it will take that long for our photographer to sort through everything and burn all of it to CDs. After that, we'll be posting pics up on the wedding weblog.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rib Crib, or The Worst BBQ We've Ever Eaten

When we're on the road, Lauren and I have usually made good choices about roadfood (either that, or else we're very lucky in that regard). I think yesterday our luck on that ran out (or at least, ran away from us).

On the way home from her friend Jenny's open house, we had hoped to stop off at Swagat, the Indian restaurant at the Zona Rosa mall complex on Barry Road. We both love that restaurant. Unfortunately, they were closed Sunday, as they were between their lunch buffet and dinner hours.

After grabbing a map of the mall to discover what restaurant choices we had available, we settled on a local Rib Crib, which appears to be an Oklahoma-based chain which is expanding in the Midwest. They had a special for all you can eat Burnt Ends, which we love but we're rarely able to get locally at Bubba's, so we ordered, expecting succulent, slightly crispy, BBQ.

What we got, we were a little embarassed by what we were served. After we walked out the door, I coined the phrase: "Dinty Moore beef BBQ", because that's what we had gotten: it looked like they had used the pre-cut, perfectly square roast beef chunks you normally see on salad bars, barely burned them, and then served them liberally doused with leftover BBQ sauce. The sides were good, especially the coleslaw. But we couldn't finish the meal, because the BBQ itself was the worst we had ever eaten.

We understand that they've won a lot of awards for BBQ in Oklahoma, so we'll reserve judgement on the whole chain, but last night's meal left us very glad that we have our local Bubba's.

Wedding Parking

Hi all,

In a previous post, I mentioned that the church we are having the wedding at does not have very much parking. Since then, we've talked to the manager of the Dollar General store next to the church, and she will let us use the row of parking spots next to the street. This is only 12 more spaces, but it's a little bit more parking. She cautions us to not use the spaces close to the store or close to the rail tressle between the parking lot and the church parking lot, because there will be some truck traffic (trash truck and a shipment truck) loading and unloading that day.

There is also a park nearby that you may be able to park next to; the north side of the park is open to parking; however, parking is prohibited on the remaining 3 sides.

Otherwise, we would suggest trying to car pool from the hotel as much as possible or parking at the campus near the student union and car pooling to the church from there.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

And Speaking of Snow ...

The blizzard that was supposed to hit us lightly before moving on to Iowa started this morning at around 8. It's still snowing as of 10:00, but not as hard as it was earlier.

Driving was proving interesting at some intersections. I snapped these after taking Woodgie to work, when visibility had dropped down to a quarter-mile or less. You may not be able to tell from these pics, but by that time, the snow was falling near-horizontally, due to the wind.

Looking East Down Edwards Street

Looking South Down Our Street

Looking South Down Market Street

EDIT: It's now about 12:30, and it's back to snowing and blowing as hard as it was doing before 10:00.