Sunday, November 17, 2013

No excuses

Recap time!!! Going to try and cram 6 weeks worth of activity into 1 blog post. Wooty woot woot! In order of what has happened - Las Vegas, Atlantic City, my mom and sis visiting, my bday / BFF visiting, Raleigh, Raleigh. UGH.

Blondie and I decided to renew our vows for our 10 year wedding anniversary in Vegas - we got married in Vegas so it seemed appropriate to renew vows there. Our flight out was surprisingly dead - we actually got to spread out a bit which for a 6 hour flight was awesome! We stayed at Cosmopolitan - and when we walked into our room, we were blown away. Blondie had forked over the cash for a pretty sick suite - the place was far bigger than our apartment in the city. We had a wrap around terrace overlooking the fountains at Bellagio (3 doors led out of our suite onto the terrace, that's how "wrap aroundy" the terrace was), 2 bathrooms, a laundry room, a full kitchen, a living room and dining area, and the most massive master bedroom I've seen.

While we were tearing through our suite on the first night, we heard a knock at the door - we both kind of looked at each other and then we saw the doorknob start to turn so Blondie went and answered it - and it turns out that our 3 bar friends from NYC had gotten together and had a bottle of champagne sent to our room so we could celebrate! It was such a nice gesture - and the champagne was freaking awesome. We ended our first night by hitting up the "secret" pizza place in Cosmopolitan (no signs, not on any maps, just have to know about it) and then crashing out.

On Wednesday, our 2nd day in Vegas, we spent the whole day gambling - we played some Pai Gow (and bonded with the pit boss there because she had also gotten married at a drive-thru wedding chapel) before losing some money at BlackJack and Craps. We made our way to Planet Hollywood casino and got some fruity beverages, and gambled some there, and crashed out early.

Thursday was our 10 year anniversary - we started with coffee and were playing craps up until the limo picked us up. We went back to the same place we got married at, had an "only in Vegas" moment with our officiant for vow renewal, and I bawled my head off during the ceremony. Afterwards, we headed back to our casino and started gambling again - we got on a really fun BlackJack table and they were sad when we left to go to our lunch reservations - where Blondie discovered the best Bloody Mary he's ever had in his life. After lunch, we just kind of messed around the area before hitting up the chandelier bar in the casino for fancy cocktails (it's this GIANT chandelier - so giant they built a 3 story bar in the middle of it). We decided on mexican for dinner so we took off after fancy cocktails - and I managed to run straight into a glass wall. I totally DID NOT see it there and I made such a racket that half the casino turned and looked. It was like a cartoon - when they get hit on the head and huge lump appears, literally 15 seconds after running into the glass wall, I had a massive goose egg above my eye. I turned to Blondie and said "where did that come from?!?!?" and he started laughing and said "it was always there!"

On Friday, we decided to head down to Fremont Street for the day. We got a patio seat overlooking the downtown area and spent the afternoon people watching and drinking cheap beers. For the evening, we got on a BlackJack table ($5 hands FTW!) at Golden Nugget and had a blast for a few hours. We ended our night by watching the Fremont Street Experience - the last part of that show played Time Warp so I did the Time Warp dance, by myself, in the middle of the street. Blondie was a trooper though and stood by me while I did the entire dance.

And then it was Saturday and back to NYC - our flight back was slightly delayed, and way more crowded, but we paid extra money for bulkhead seats so we had a ton of space at least to stretch out in. The good news is that when we landed, I had officially made status this year on Delta. Give it up for work travel. Sunday we caught a car out to Meadowlands with all our bar friends - we ended up tail gating the day away with our bartender and the bar crowd - it was so much fun, especially when one of my bar friends inadvertently tossed a football over the fence into the practice field - uh, oops! And then we had Mon-Tues off still, so we ended up just relaxing the rest of our vacation away. It was great having a week off and renewing our vows!

I was only back at work 3 days (Wed-Fri) before I had to take another work trip - this time down to Atlantic City. I met a coworker the Monday morning after I was back and we caught an early Greyhound down to AC and met another coworker. We were down there to assist with my 3rd party project team - they had gone to do some demos for a few days, and we had gone down to ensure everything went well. The first day was pretty easy - we did a lot of testing, etc, in preparation for demos the following 2 days. After work, we headed to a really nice dinner before one of my coworkers and I hit up the casinos for several hours. It was the start of a really good run for me, earning me back half of what I lost in Vegas. I'm not joking, I literally walked up to a Roulette table and put $5 on Blondie's birth month and $5 on Blondie's birth day - and his birth day hit. It was one of those kinds of weeks at the casinos.

The 2nd day was a lot more stressful than the first - that was the "big" demo day so we were all on pins and needles hoping everything we had prepped the day before would actually be okay - and it was! We went to celebrate after the demo, and ended up celebrating until about 3 am. I had gone with some of the 3rd party project team towards the end of the night, and I'm glad I did - they really like us and the team, and just hanging out with them was a really good experience. This was the 2nd half of the really good run - for some reason, the casinos in AC liked me this time.

The last day was hard - it had been a really late night the night before, but we struggled through and ended our trip on a high note. My coworker and I caught an earlier bus back than planned, we had no traffic, and were back in NYC quickly. Yay for successful business trips!

Back 12 hours from AC when my mom and sis showed up. Neither of them had been to NYC before so we had quite an agenda planned. The first day, Thursday, we walked down to look at the Intrepid before heading to lunch at poison bar. Afterwards, we did a quick walk through Times Sq before heading down to ride the Staten Island ferry so they could see the Statue of Liberty. After the ride, it was wandering around Battery City Park and Wall Street (the bull and his ginormous balls) before we went into the 9/11 Memorial. That's always a very moving place - this time I happened to stop right by a panel that had the name of a firefighter from the fire station on my street. After 9/11 memorial, we wandered over to a little church that had survived 9/11 and looked at their memorials. Then it was trucking to Blondie's work and picking him up before walking to Nolita for pizza at Lombardi's. Everyone was *exhausted* at this point so we headed home after and crashed out.

Friday was another "go" day - we headed up early to Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs and whale. We spent several hours wandering around in there before heading for lunch at a mexican restaurant. After lunch, and several margaritas, it was into Central Park to poke around (bow bridge, etc). We probably spent an hour in Central Park before catching the subway down to Macy's - we did a bit of shopping and then stopped at a Pandora store for my sister to get a charm for her bracelet. And then it was a 10 block walk to see Kleinfeld's bridal store - my sis wanted a picture in front of it, so we stopped there. And finally a subway back, stopping at Little Pie Company and CVS for treats.

Dinner that night was at our local pub - my mom and sis got to meet all of our friends, and my sis even had a few cocktails and some shots! Everyone loved my mom and sis - and they even said my sis was "Mr Pooh with a wig on". Which made me laugh hysterically. We ended the night eating some snacks and watching When Harry Met Sally.

Saturday we started out around 11 am - we went over and I showed the fam my office building, and then we headed down the street to see Radio City. Some pictures in front of that, and we rounded the corner and decided to do Top of the Rock - the views were spectactular and the weather was beautiful, so we stayed up top for a long time. When we went down, we then went through Rockefeller Plaza, watched the ice skaters for a few minutes, and then made our way back to Broadway. We ran into a street fair on the way so we took our time, doing a bit of shopping. And then it was time to see Cinderella on Broadway!

Cinderella was pretty amazing - one of my bar friends on Friday night warned us that we would be blown away by the costume changes. And we totally were - Cinderella was standing there dressed in rags, with her hair a mess. And then she would flip her skirt and be completely in a party dress with her hair in a fancy updo. This was in the space of 2 seconds - we were all like "how the fuck did that happen?!?!?" My mom and sis loved the play and I'm glad we got to go see it with them.

After the play we did some more shopping for the nieces, and wandered through a pop-up market place. Then it was time for dinner at 5 Napkin Burger - everyone agreed the burgers were amazing, and the conversation was a lot of fun. Just talking about everything we had seen and done so far. Blondie left us after dinner - he wasn't feeling well, but I took mom and sis back up to Times Square - my sis wanted to see it at night. It was all lit up and really beautiful, and we got a good standing spot and just hung out for a bit taking everything in. Then it was back to our local pub, everyone wanted to see my mom and sis again, so we popped in there. My bar friend bought everyone a shot, including my mom - I told her "my mom won't drink because of her heart" and my bar friend said "that's okay, your sis will have to do 2 then". But both my mom and sis did the shots! The night ended after that - everyone was so tired all we could do was drag ourselves home and to bed.

And then it was Sunday - we said goodbye to Blondie early (he was off to SF for work for a few days), and then mom and sis and I headed down to Washington Sq Park. We wandered around in there for a bit, stopping to take pictures of the arch, before heading over to walk the High Line back to my hood. The High Line is my fav park and Washington Sq is Blondie's fav park - so I'm glad they got to see both. We stopped for lunch at Pony Bar and then did some shopping in my hood, and then the trip was over. Both my mom and I bawled like little bitches while my sis rolled her eyes at us, but I got them both in a cab and on their way to the airport. I'm so glad they came to visit, and I hope they had a blast.

The week after mom and sis left was super hard - it was my first full week in the office in about 2.5 months (boo hoo), I said goodbye to my fam which I hate doing, and my birthday was coming at me super fast. We ended up cancelling our SF tickets for my birthday - between Blondie's last minute work trip and all the travel I've been doing lately, I was fried. I needed a weekend to not go anywhere (spoiler alert - it didn't happen). Anyway, the week dragged on - every day felt like 30 fucking years. The only bright spot was Halloween - 2 of my besties from the office headed out with me and we met up with Blondie. Many drinks ensued, some cigarette smoking happened, and it was a nice break from the monotony of the week in general.

My bday was Saturday. I HATE MY BDAY - I want to stress that, but this one ended up being the best I've had in awhile, b/c my BFF TT came to visit. She was actually up in Boston visiting her brother, but they took a train down and met up with me and Blondie for the day. We picked them up at Penn Station around noon-ish and were comfortably ensconced at Trailer Park, drinking margaritas, eating awesome food and making friends with the bartender by 1 pm. We hung out there for a bit before heading to Pony Bar in my hood, and finally to our local for the rest of the evening. We played Cards Against Humanity, met up with my bar friends, and just generally had a great day. I even forgot it was my bday for awhile! Winning! Thanks to TT for making my bday such a great one!

And then... it was Sunday and I was getting ready to hop a plane again. My work had asked me to go down to our Raleigh site for a few days and assist down there, so I drug my hungover butt to JFK (on public transportation b/c the marathon was running and traffic was a bitch) and caught an afternoon flight down with another coworker. I was sooooo tired, running on fumes, but the week ended up being a good one. I worked from Mon-Wed, met a ton of cool people down there, had some great BBQ, had an excellent team and time, and generally my expectations were blown away on every turn. I came back on Wed night, upgraded to 1st class (status), and felt really good about everything.

And then on Thursday they asked me to go back to Raleigh the following week. I agreed to go - but had to go a day later than everyone else as I had a new project kicking off on Wednesday this past week. I spent the 4 days I was in the office (Thurs, Fri, Mon, Tues) getting ready for kick off, reviewing my presentation, making sure I was up to speed on everything - and then it was Go Go Go time.

I headed out Wed morning to Newark airport to meet a coworker who was flying in, and one who was driving in - I got there around 9:15 am and the driving coworker was already there so I hopped in her car. We got our flying coworker about 30 mins later, and then it was over to our project site (in NJ again) for our meeting. The planned 1.5 hour kick off turned into 2.75 hour kick off (it was awesome because everyone was so engaged and excited) and then I had to high tail it back to catch my flight. I had yet another coworker drop me off at PATH station in NJ, where I had just missed the train to the city, so I had another 15 min wait. Then I got to the city and hopped the subway, which got stopped twice on the way out to JFK - I went running into the terminal about 17 mins before my flight was supposed to board, already sick to my stomach that I was going to have to have TSA bump me up the line to go through security (I hate when people do that). But to my surprise, the line was extremely short - I got through it, peed, bought a water, and walked up to my gate just as they started to board.

The flight down was good - we had backed out of our spot at JFK and then pulled right back in; apparently "they" decided to change our flight plan and we needed to add more fuel, but about a minute after we pulled in, we backed out again - "they" changed our flight plan back. Even with all that, we still landed early. I caught a shuttle out to the project site, and met up with all my coworkers on Wed night. We went for half price beers and burgers - uh, yes, it was awesome and cheap.

Thurs was a mad house - we just went all day long, worked our asses off, but then all met for a Happy Hour to celebrate being almost done with everything. Dinner was at a fancy restaurant, I had a filet and spinach, and a Manhattan - and then headed back to the hotel to hang out in the lobby with everyone for a bit (lobby = bar). And Friday was amazing - we ended super early with work, so then a few of us went for chicken and waffles for lunch, before driving back to Raleigh from the project site. I had gotten upgraded to 1st class again, so when my flight finally left (delayed) I got to enjoy the ride back.


And there you go - I've been told to be prepared to be travelling starting Thanksgiving week for 2-3 weeks. I think I'm back to TX but will find out tomorrow. This week though, so far, is a dead one. I hope it stays that way, but I'm not sure it will. A good friend from SF is in town today so I'm meeting her later on for drinks and SNF. And we made plans for Thanksgiving with our bar friends - they will be cooking, we will be sous-chef'ing and bringing the wine people.

Yum. Wine.


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