Tag: norm

Albany day 2/Stony Point day 1

I was up at about 7:15 AM this morning, in time to see strausmouse head off to work for a little while. I hung around the house with rmstraus and little Damian until Eric got back. We went for lunch along the Hudson River at a nice riverside cafe. There was a great breeze blowing and it was not too humid out either. After lunch, we headed back to Eric and Ryane’s house and I got my picture taken with Damian. Then it was time for Damian to head to the doctor’s office and time for me to make the drive down to Stony Point.

It took a little under 2 hours to make the drive and toward the end, I was going against traffic, which was kind of nice. vickyandnorm live on the edge of Harriman State Park, and the drive down Palisades Parkway was a nice one. I arrived at their house just before 5 PM to find their cars parked on the street–apparently, there was some work that still needed to be done to all of the curbs in the neighborhood, and their driveway still requires it’s final surfacing as well.

And their street doesn’t exist yet. At least, as they explained to me, they have to go to the post office to pick up their mail. Until their street shows up on some map, I guess it simply doesn’t exist. I wonder if they could get away with temporarily being their own country?

It was nice to see the house completely finished and furnished and it looked great. In fact, I was jealous and I decided at once that I’d never be able to buy a house because I’d take one look at the places that I would be willing to pay for and picture Norm and Vicky’s little kingdom and be disappointed with what I had. I got the full tour, of course, including the long awaited “Jamie Rubin Memorial Bedroom”, which was done up in a beach motif, like the other “beach room” in the house.

At 6 PM, we headed out to the Palisades Mall in order to go to Tu Tu Tango for dinner, which is a kind of tapas joint. Very, very good, especially thanks to the spring roll recommendation by strausmouse. Vicky had gotten us tickets for the 9:30 PM showing of The Simpson’s Movie. We finished our dinner with plenty of time to spare and so we wandered over to Coldstone for some ice cream. By the time we got in line for the movie, it was just being let into the theater.

The movie itself was hilarious and I really enjoyed it. I’ve only ever seen a handful of episodes of the cartoon, but I could imagine myself seeing more. It’s the kind of movie which, when released on DVD, could be watched over and over again, with something new being discovered each time.

Tomorrow, we pick up Norm and Vicky’s new kitten.

Arriving in London: Cheers!

Today I flew from Italy to Munich and then Munich to London. I flew Lufthansa on both flights, and both flights were very good. We were served small sandwiches and Twix bars, as well as beverages, even beer and wine at no cost, which is better than what most American airlines do. I had to pass through passport control coming through Munich, as well as through London. Why is it that most of the passport control people seem very mean and cold? It is the repetition of the job? Well, in London anyway, the woman at passport control was very pleasant and was very glad to hear I was spending the rest of my “holiday” in London.

London, here I come

Ah, the suite life!

As promised, here are some pictures of the suite we stayed in at the Westin Excelsior in Rome, courtesy of vickyandnorm.

In case you don’t know this, Norm is a High Panjandrum in the company that owns these hotels. When I booked my room, I booked a very nice room, but then Norm stepped in and worked his magic, transforming the room into this amazing suite for 24 hours. It was really incredible and it impressed my parents immensely. (I think they believe that Norm owns the company, despite my continued refrain that he is a mere High Panjandrum.)

Once again, thanks vickyandnorm! You made Rome so much more memorable.

P.S.: We ate dinner last night at Marcello’s, a restaurant recommended by Norm and Vicky, just around the corner from the hotel. It was brilliant!

Heading to New York!

I was up at 8 AM this morning, and headed to IHOP for breakfast. While there, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do this weekend. I had fun at happy hour last night, but had no plans this weekend. I wasn’t in the writing mood, and didn’t feel like going to see a movie. I put off any decisions until I got my haircut. When I got home, I called he110_sunshine and jkashlock and asked what they were doing. Not much today. So I decided to head up to the City.

I’m on the 2 PM Acela, so I have about an hour before I have to catch a taxi to Union Station. I’ve got a few things to take care of here and then I’m on my way. It’s warm here and in New York, and I’m packing light, since I won’t be gone for very long. But it should be fun. I called vickyandnorm to see what they were up to and to see if they might want to meander down into the City tomorrow and hang out for a while. They graciously agreed to talk about it and see if they could make it. Hopefully they can. I haven’t seen them since their second wedding back in April and likely won’t get to see them again until late July at the earliest.

Congratulations to Norm and Vicky!

Norm and Vicky moved into their new house this weekend (finally!) and from the tone of the email I got from Norm this morning, they are very excited about (as I would be, since it is a beautiful house, done exactly as they wanted it).

Congratulations, guys! I look forward to visiting, and staying in the Jamie Rubin Memorial Bedroom. 🙂


I was up pretty early this morning. It was Norm and Vicky who managed to sleep in late–until almost 10 AM! I treated them to breakfast at Friendly’s. We all had a craving for pancakes and I ordered their Lumberjack breakfast, worried that three pancakes would not be enough. It turned out that these pancakes were among the thickest, most dense pancakes I have ever seen. It was all I could do to eat half of what I was given.

Back at Norm and Vicky’s we vegged for the remainder of the afternoon. We watched an episode of The Office and I brooded over when the best time to head home would be. I didn’t want to be caught out in the worst of the weather, which was composed of heavy rain and winds. But neither did I want to get home too late. I compromised and decided to head home at 3 PM. Norm, meanwhile, was busy doing his taxes in an effort to make the Tuesday deadline.

I did leave at 3 PM, after a wonderful weekend with Norm and Vicky. It rained hard for the first 100 miles or so and the visibility was such that the few cars on the road were forced to drive at about 50 MPH. Never the less, the rain faded out the farther south I got and in fact, I got home at precisely 7:30 PM. If you count that fact that I didn’t really get on the road until close to 3:30 PM (after gassing up the car and preparing for the drive) it took me about 4 hour and 15 minutes to go the 240.5 miles. Considering the poor conditions, I made excellent time.

At home, Zeke was glad to see me. I had some time to relax, do some laundry, and watch some TV, including The Sopranos and Entourage before heading off to bed.

Norm and Vicky’s second wedding

I was up at about 7:30 Saturday morning and sat on the couch to read until Norm and Vicky got up. I heard their alarm go off at 8:30 and as soon as it went off, I could hear Vicky in a panic. She later explained that she forgot it was Saturday and thought she was going to be late for work. Norm seemed his usual morning self.

We waited for Norm’s family to come over and then we headed up to Stony Point to walk through the new house, which except for the landscaping and back deck, is essentially finished. Inside the house, I was sure to take plenty of pictures.

After the house visit, we needed to get ready for the wedding, but first, Norm and I had to run some errands. We had to stop at Target for some VHS tape for Vicky’s ancient video camera. We had to stop at Costco for some flowers, and to pick up the wedding cake. While, there, we also stopped to get something to eat: Costco hot dogs and a twisted churro. I was rather amusing to sit there eating our hot dogs, knowing that Norm and Vicky were only a few hours from getting married… again.

We cut it close; Norm and I had about 10 minutes or so to dress, but we made it with time to spare. Vicky was getting dressed at the church so she could dawdle. At the last minute, Norm decided to create some wedding programs and I got to help fold them. And then we were off to Norm and Vicky’s church. We were the first ones there and, after Vicky had gotten dressed, she worried if anyone would show up. I tried to reassure her that they would all show up at once and, in fact, they did. Before things got started, I, acting as Norm’s Best Man, and another one of their friends, acting as Vicky’s Maid of Honor, had to sign some paperwork.

The ceremony started promptly at 1:30 PM and lasted about an hour. There were, perhaps 20 people in attendance and we had the whole place to ourselves. Norm’s mom did all of the readings. Norm and Vicky picked out some wondering cantors for the service and I took some video of their singing at Norm and Vicky’s request. Eventually, I made my way up front to stand up for Norm, and to give him the rings at the appropriate time. They said their vows, which they had rather impressively memorized (I was in the car as they practiced) and then they kissed–rather awkwardly because Vicky didn’t think it was the kiss.

When it was all over, we caravaned over to the Allendale Bar & Grill where we had a whole room to ourselves, where we were served excellent food (the chicken parmasan was delicious) and where we had cake. I even managed to take a few pictures here too.

We relaxed in the evening; in fact, we sat around and were very lazy, but it was nice. Once again, I flooded Norm and Vicky with petty complaints about work and relationships and life in general, and as always, they bore up to it solidly and without complaint. Vicky tried to teach me the secret of life but I wouldn’t listen. Norm spent an hour searching for an SNL video clip of the secret. Eventually, we went to rent a movie and late in the evening we sat around watching The Illusionist pausing it every five minutes so we could try and guess what had happened.

I went to bed trying to ignore the sounds coming from Norm and Vicky’s room, which I later found out were the sounds of Norm being poked (or possibly poking) in an annoying fashion. They found this amusing for some reason. Certainly, it had to be a better wedding night than their last one, which was spent in the emergency room.

Friday the thirtheenth in Nanuet

Friday the Thirteenth turned out to be a very nice day. I picked up my rental car after work and headed up to Nanuet, New York. I was given a Honda Accord, which was nice, but it took a while to do the paperwork because Hertz’s computer systems were down. Regardless, I made very good time, driving the 240.5 miles in just over 4 hours.

In fact, I got to Norm and Vicky’s before Norm was home from work and so Vicky got to listen to me whine and complain about my work woes. She was a very good sport about it and I should have learned my lesson (I don’t often whine and complain about work) but I didn’t; I whined and complained more when Norm got home. I got to see Norm’s skydiving video which was incredible!

Yes, he went skydiving in New Zeland, a 12,000 foot jump. It decided me. The next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to do it. I mean, after all, if strausmouse can do it and Norm can do it, certainly I can do it!

We headed to the Cheesecake Factory at the Palisades Mall for dinner. Norm’s mom, aunt and uncle met us there for dessert. While there, I got to hear all about Norm and Vicky’s honeymoon in Bora Bora and New Zeland and I set there listening, green with envy. It was at dinner that Norm and I nearly came to blows over the check. I tried to outfox Norm for the check and managed to get my hands on it, after more than the usual effort. And then the villain outfoxed the fox and Norm paid for dinner despite the fact that I had the check. You can’t trust anyone these days.

We all headed back to Norm and Vicky’s place and watched more videos and saw more pictures from their honeymoon. Eventually, it was late enough where sleep was prudent, especially since we had to be up early the next morning.

To New York!

I’m heading up to New York this weekend to see Norm and Vicky of vickyandnorm fame, now that they are back from their honeymoon. In a crazy coincidence, they are having their church wedding (convalidation ceremony) on Saturday so I will be there to attend that. This means that in the space of three weeks, I will have attended two of Norm and Vicky’s weddings.

I’m driving up and although my car is running fine, it’s getting up there in years (much as I am) and I’m growing more hesitant to take it on long drives. So I rented a nice car for the drive up to New York this weekend. And by “nice”, I mean a car with a radio (which mine doesn’t have), power locks and windows (which mine doesn’t have), 6 cylinders (which mine doesn’t have), and cruise control (which mine doesn’t have).

It means that I will miss my first Oriole’s game of the season, but they are playing the Kansas City Royals and I wasn’t too enthusiastic about seeing Kansas City. Besides, the wife of a co-worker of mine is a Kansas City fan (go figure) and they may want the tickets. In any case, given the choice between the O’s/Royals and seeing Norm and Vicky get married for a second time, I think I’d have to choose the latter. After all, the Oriole’s and Royals play each other several times this season; Norm and Vicky have only gotten married twice so far.

Norm and Vicky’s wedding reception

We arrived at the reception, which started out as a kind of cocktail hour. We stood in a short line to sign the guest book and were amused by the text that was printed on the back of our little tickets (I can’t find mine or I would reproduce it here for you. Suffice it to say it was very funny.) Once inside the small room, we found a table and Lisa quickly began consuming crab cakes. I can’t remember what she was drinking, but I had a Corona. Andy and Mandy joined us shortly thereafter, and AJ showed up as well. It turned out that we would all be sitting at the same table, along with Ken and his wife and children.

After a time, bells were rung and we all proceeded into the banquet room and to our tables. It was a large banquet room with a good sized dance floor and about 8 or 9 tables. The DJ was stationed at one end of the room and Norm and Vicky’s table was on a raised platform at the opposite end. There was an enormous wedding cake not far from our table. Disney music was being piped in and drinks were flowing from the bar.

Not long after everyone was seated, the big entries were made. Andy and Norm’s sister, Julie entered, followed by Scott and Vicky’s Maid of Honor, JJ. Finally, the DJ announced the new bride and groom, “Mr. and Mrs. Norm and Vicky Perreault!” and they entered to much fanfare, with Norm smiling and waving at the crowd like a seasoned politician. Immediately after entering, they made their first dance and I cannot for the life of me remember the song to which they danced (Lisa, can you help out!) Then they were seated and the toasts were made.

Scott, Norm’s brother and best man made a funny toast, with several amusing stories about young Norm and a rousing encomium to Norm and Vicky and their happiness together. I honestly don’t remember too much of what he said because I was finally getting nervous, which is unusual for me. When Scott was finished, the DJ announced that I would be making the next toast, and I pulled my notes out of my pocket, grabbed my glass of water, and made my way up to Norm and Vicky’s table. I was told to take the microphone and stand behind the bride and groom on the dias and that I did.

I can’t tell you exactly what I said. While I made notes, I spoke mostly off the cuff. I was unusually nervous because I really wanted to do a good job for Norm and Vicky and to be honest, I don’t remember much of what I said. I do remember one thing said at the beginning however. Vicky had joking told Lisa and I at dinner on Wednesday that she wanted us to let people know that she and not the Disney people did most of the table decorations, the placecards, and favors. So when I got up to talk, I said, shortly after I started, “By the way, I just have to say, in case you don’t know this, that just about everything you see on the table in front of you was done by Vicky.” That got a round of applause and Vicky’s jaw dropped. But I didn’t stop there. I said, “She put a lot of hard work into this. Norm helped. I understand he built this entire place by hand just for this wedding.” I do recall people laughed several times, hopefully at something funny I said and not at me. Never fear, however, for Lisa got my entire toast (which seemed to extend beyond the 3 or 4 minutes I had planned) on video and as soon as she gets it posted online somewhere, I will provide a link to it. I finished up with an old Irish toast that went something like, “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door…happily ever after.” When I finished, Vicky turned to me to hug me and said, “You almost made me cry!” Almost! Darn it! I was aiming for tears!

The festivities proceeded. There was a five course meal. I can’t remember what all five courses were (by this time, I’d had myself a rum punch, but that’s not why I can’t remember), but I do recall there being an excellent salad, and the intermezzo consisted of raspberry sherbet in a glass slipper made of ice. (Apparently they are famous for this.) For the main course I had a bacon-wrapped fillet. And, of course, there was cake for dessert.

There was dancing! And I was lucky enough to have the privilege of dancing with not one, not two, but three good-looking girls.

There may be some people, who, upon reading my last statement, take offense at my referring to three women as “girls” but it is not meant in anyway to be offensive. I’ve always thought of “women” as meaning females who are older than me. I’ve always thought of “girls” as females who are younger than me, or equal in age. It’s just how I think of things inside my head and since I have been thinking this way for 35 years now, I’m not likely to change. But I mean no offense by it.

I got to dance with Lisa, who is a much better dancer than I am and who put up with my ambulatory awkwardness on the dance floor with grace. I got to dance next to Vicky who probably wasn’t even paying attention, and that’s a good thing, since dancing for me is an utterly humiliating process that I agree to do more for the enjoyment of others than myself. Finally, toward the end of the evening, I got to dance with Vicky’s maid of honor, JJ. We were standing awkwardly on the dance floor and the music started playing “Last Dance” and she said to me, “Maybe we should dance or something instead of just standing there.” I felt like a complete idiot for not asking her first, but I agreed at once and we danced to the last song of the evening. Once again, she was a far better dancer than I and I was simply outclassed the entire time I was on the dance floor. There are many things that I am good at and dancing is not among them. But I try.

And if you don’t believe me, Lisa can probably vouch for the fact that I am a pretty awful dancer. She also has video of me dancing in a corner in an insanely silly and embarrassing manner, which she has threatened to blackmail me with unless I meet certain demands…

By this time, hours had passed and the festivities were coming to a close. I made sure that I signed the big picture of Norm and Vicky–and as usual, I signed without evening looking at the picture so I have no idea what I was actually signing. We were told to head for the buses which would take us into Epcot for ring-side seats to the Illuminations fireworks display. Lisa felt the need to get some last-minute photos of these enormous paintings and then we headed off for the buses.

We came into Epcot through the back way and were escorted into the park by Disney personnel. They brought us to a roped off area at the water’s edge. There were tables and chair and desserts of all kind. Coffee and punch were also being served. Lisa spent most of the time acting as a surrogate mother to Ken’s children, and seemingly enjoying it. The fireworks display was spectacular, as one might imagine. It was towards the end of the evening that Vicky began to feel sick. We figured it was nerves and stress and everything finally catching up to her, but it turned out to be something else. She and Norm ended up spending most of the night in the emergency room, although she was better in the morning and they were able to head off on their honeymoon.

We made our way back to the hotel, spent some time up in the room with Andy, Mandy, and AJ. Lisa provided the entertainment for Andy, Mandy, and AJ while I was doing something in the closet. As soon as I heard the laughing, I looked to see what was going on, but I’d already missed it. I’ll tell you this, though: I’ve never seen Mandy laugh as hard as she was laughing. Andy said it was the best part of the evening.

We headed down to the hotel bar for a drink, and then Andy, Mandy and AJ headed back to their respective hotels and Lisa and I headed back upstairs. I was already beginning to feel sad that it was all over. We watched TV for a while, some Monty Python, and then turned out the lights and went to sleep.

It was an incredibly happy time, and one thing stuck with me through the entire evening. It was written on the inside of Norm and Vicky’s wedding program:

Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

For Norm and Vicky, I can’t think of a better way to describe it.

Norm and Vicky’s wedding ceremony

The bus dropped us off at the Disney Wedding Pavilion and we went in and took our seats in the third row on the right side of the pavilion sitting with Mandy Andy was in the wedding part, as was Scott. Walking in, there is a huge window at the far end of the building which perfectly frames the giant castle at the center of the Magic Kingdom. That was pretty cool. There was some light music playing as the guests arrived and the ceremony started right on time, at 2:30 on the dot.

What we found out afterward was that AJ’s fears of catching the bus to the ceremony were not unfounded. For reasons we never discovered, the bus skipped AJ’s resort and 16 or 17 people didn’t get to the ceremony until we were about 15 minutes into it. But they did make it in time to see the bride and groom say their vows, place their rings and, of course, kiss.

Vicky looked radiant in her wedding dress, and Norm even managed to look pretty good in his getup. Norm was really hamming it up as he walked into the building, looking around in all directions, nodding and smiling at various people. Up on the stage, both Norm and Vicky occasionally nodded or winked at someone in the audience.

Several people got up to do readings during the ceremony, and Lisa was one of those people. She gave a very nice reading.

Throughout the ceremony, I wondered if Norm and Vicky would really attempt to pull off the little stunt that they had planned. I hoped that they would do it because it was so them. The reverend pronounced them husband and wife and said that Norm could kiss his bride. Norm and Vicky kissed.

Then they took a step back from one another, smiled, gave each other an excited high five, then turned to face the audience and did a posed thumbs-up. It was absolutely brilliant and I’m glad they did it!

They went off to get pictures taken. Meanwhile, the rest of us filed out and lined up along the sidewalk that led toward Norm and Vicky’s escape limo. When they finally emerged from their photo shoot, they walked through the line as we all tossed flower petals at them. Then they were whisked away and the rest of us made for the buses which took us to where the celebration festivities would occur.