Living next to Philly.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mondo's Wedding

"You know, sometimes in life, you gotta marry people, bury 'em and have babies too."
-Chuck Hemcher

This weekend allowed me a rare day off from the restaurant, one on which I'd have no time whatsoever to relax.
This was the day of my co-worker, Monica (Mondo)'s wedding to her fiancee John, with myself and three co-workers - Bernadette, Erin and Shar Lee (pictured here) - on the guest list. The clouds were thick, and the ceremony was supposed to be outdoors, somewhere in Bucks County. So the four of us conglomerated together at work for a beer, and eventually got on the road.
The scenic side of Bucks County is a marvelous thing to behold. Thriving in foliage and rich in color, the drive up the turnpike and north on 611 made this 45-minute jaunt into the countryside seem a little more like a vacation. We checked in at the Plumsteadville Inn, which bore a charming exterior and a huge, completely vacant parking lot. We found our way inside, greeted by a vacant receptionist's desk, and wondered aloud (louder as the moments passed) if there was anyone home.
I tried calling the number on their business card, which made the phone sitting directly in front of me on the desk start ringing. After about 10 minutes of waiting, we found someone cleaning a room who came downstairs and took care of us. We walked up a staircase toward our room, and met with this eerily familiar (red rum...) hallway. All four of us caught the reference immediately - I wondered if they didn't leave it looking like that just as some kind of sick joke.
More on that crazy fucking place later. For now, we were running late, and these three girls got ready for this wedding at (relative) lightning speed. Once we were on the road, we were in line to arrive right on time for the 3:00 ceremony, which was apparently going to last only about ten minutes or so. But of course, our directions failed us, as did the signage, and we ended up driving in circles and calling people for directions. Eventually, finally, we found a sign for our destination - the Van Sant Airport in Erwinna, Pa. - and followed it through winding roads and into the depths of Bucks County. When we finally arrived, it was almost 3:30 but the ceremony hadn't quite started yet, according to the dude in the parking lot who directed us toward where we needed to go. We made it by about five minutes, and enjoyed a very brief ceremony (closer to five minutes) with no prolonging God talk. Better yet, my seat for the wedding itself and for the reception were one and the same. We had beers in front of us the whole ceremony. It was glorious.
So we spent the next five hours or so eating (briefly) and drinking (more than we ate) and even dancing. Bern (pictured center) got me on my feet for a couple of slow songs, and I got my extra kick of motivation when Otis Day's "Shout" came on.
Afterwards, we traveled deeper into the wild toward a place called the Indian Rock Inn, apparently another B&B, like the Shining place where we'd dropped our stuff earlier but decidedly less creepy. The bar was small, and there was one middle-aged woman behind the bar with no help, twisting off bottlecaps with her bare fucking hands and getting visibly more irritated with each person in wedding clothes who walked through the door. Once things settled down a little and everyone had their first round, I asked about food, which she said wasn't available at that hour (9:00 on a Saturday). But then food started coming out for people at cocktail tables, and Bern, sensing my growing rage within, asked the woman who brought their food out, who was happy to give us a menu, saying they'd kept the kitchen open late because they knew we were coming. Let this be a note to any large group of people going to a restaurant: call ahead. And do it because cool things like kitchens staying open late can happen with enough notice, and the staff isn't pissed off at being jumped by a huge group of people all wanting drinks at the same time.
I got wings (phenomenal) and quail, which I hadn't eaten in something like ten years. It wasn't what I remembered it to be, thanks mostly to an overpowering honey glaze and slightly tougher meat. Still, it goes down as one of the greatest late night (as in the last thing the kitchen will be doing all night) meals I've ever enjoyed.

Back to the Plumsteadville Inn. This place was really fucking weird, as I've already showed above with the photo of the hallway. Let's call that Exhibit A. Moving on from there...

Exhibit B: The television. As you can see in this picture, the grainy, jumpy picture on the screen of this awfully small (no more than 13") television is provided by none other than an old-fashioned, god-fearing antenna. If I'm not mistaken, these things won't even work about six months from now. We dug deeper into this mystery while we were drinking at the Indian Rock Inn, where the bartender (who, I should mention, did improve her demeanor considerably once everyone had a drink and she realized how much money she was making) informed us that Comcast cable is not available in these here parts. Verizon FIOS is available about three miles away, but that's three miles away. So satellite is the only way to go, and apparently the Plumsteadville Inn had not utilized this option.
I just had to mention this because I haven't used an antenna to get TV reception in probably ten years. And the only thing it picked up was Chris Wallace interviewing the "master" political strategist Karl Rove on FOX, which made me want to drink gasoline.

Exhibit C: The beds. We had originally planned to have three occupants - Bern, Shar and myself. So twin beds, rather than a larger bed and a cot, made more sense for fairness's sake. Then we talked Erin into staying, so we figured we could stash two of us on each of the "twin beds" we'd been promised.
This turned out to be just barely possible. These were comfortable beds but were hardly more than two feet wide. Granted, we probably shouldn't have expected for four people to be comfortable in one room, but jeez, those beds were small.

Exhibit D: The closet. This is easily the most convenient place to get murdered that I've ever seen. This closet, mere feet from Exhibit C, reached back a good five feet and enjoyed enough room to store an entire wardrobe. It stayed dark no matter how light the room was, because the light switch for this particular closet was, well, a dead end. And beyond this big, creepy closet, there was a second closet about half its size (much less creepy, though) in the bathroom, as well as a giant bureau with about ten drawers. Whoever thought all this was necessary is a complete lunatic.

Exhibit E: The sink. What the fuck. Look at this goddamn thing. I can understand that this place might be going for the "charming" or "antiquated" effect. Fine. But there was a point in time when people realized that they can make their water pour not just hot or cold, independent of each other (as was the case with this ridiculous device). The sinks we have today can make all kinds of water - warm, tepid, cool, you name it.
These devices make our lives much easier, and allow us to wash our hands comfortably, rather than alternating from uncomfortably cold to blisteringly hot.
There's a point at which we need to embrace change for its most basic reason - intelligence. But whoever had the great idea of leaving this stupid sink installed is probably not too big on the whole "intelligence" thing.
If the bar had been open at any point during our visit, I might have had better things to say, because the bar looked like a very cool place to throw some back. Alas...

All in all, a fun way to spend the bulk of the weekend. Congratulations to Mon & John, and thanks to them for giving me something to write about.


Mondo's husband said...

i want a divorce

Anonymous said...

I read this blog for the comments. And the gratuitous swearing.