Monday, February 1, 2010

Getting Lucky in Kentucky

If you are my facebook friend, you know that my weekend started at a drag show and ended at a little country church.  But of course, that's not the whole story.

My best friend turned 30 on Friday and her husband started planning a birthday surprise for her back in September.  I committed to making the drive to Louisville way back then and had the difficult task of keeping my mouth shut about it for the next FOUR months.  But I managed.

Johnny had carefully orchestrated everything--arrival times at the lodge where we were staying: no later than 6:15.  Surprise at 6:30 with cake and champagne.  Dinner reservations at 7:30 at Jack Ruby's.  Drag show at 10:30.

So David and I lined up a reliable dog sitter (who left homemade chocolate chip cookies for us upon our return!) and he took half a day off work so we would arrive in time for dinner.  We planned to leave by noon for the four and a half hour drive, but my advisor wanted to meet with me at 11am that morning, so our departure time got pushed back a little.

No big deal--by the time we hit the road and plugged the lodge address into our Garmin, we were scheduled to arrive at the lodge at 5:32pm.  Just enough time to change clothes, do something with my hair, and head to Lindsey's room for the surprise (evidently Johnny had told Monica that they were celebrating her birthday with a "magical evening" at the lodge--fortunately Monica showed up wearing more than a coat and lingerie).  It was a flawless plan and I happily drove while David napped the first couple of hours, looking forward to the surprise and the fun weekend ahead of us.

About an hour outside Louisville, I realized that I had forgotten to print out the late arrival instructions that the lodge had e-mailed to me.  David tried to pull them up on his phone but it wasn't working so I told him just to call the lodge.  Then I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4:30 and realized that it was already too late.  For some reason the front desk is closed after 4pm.

David remarked that 4pm is a weird time for the front desk to close.  I agreed and wondered aloud why that might be.

At the same moment we had the sudden realization that 4pm in St. Louis is 5pm in Louisville.  Louisville runs on Eastern time.

Which meant we were not scheduled to arrive at the lodge at 5:30 with plenty of time to relax and change clothes and freshen up.  It meant we were going to show up at the exact time the surprise was supposed to happen.  Looking gross.

So I had a freak out because (1) I am supposed to get getting a PhD in four days and yet I am a total idiot (2) why didn't David say something about this? (3) Monica and I have had several conversations in which the time change has been mentioned and yet it never once occurred to me (4) I did not want to go into the surprise and meet all her new friends while I looked so gross (5) I didn't want to ruin the surprise!

So we made a flurry of phone calls to Monica's mom and to her friend Lindsey and tried to figure out what we were going to do.  In the end, we missed the big surprise, we did a quick change of clothes, and then we showed up at the party just before 7pm.  I was feeling kind of frazzled and ended up with my hair in a ponytail, but at least we made it.

Surprise!  Guess how old Monica is?

Dinner was wonderful.  Evidently it's a place a lot of people go before they go to the Derby.  Waiters in tuxedos, a woman singing jazz in the main bar, choice of steak or seafood and tons of delicious side dishes (we sampled them all and my favorites were the mac & cheese and the creamed spinach with goat cheese and black truffle and the wok charred French beans... ok everything was good).  The big thing on their menu is a bone-in steak which caused much snickering from all of us and then when Monica ordered it I swear she said boner and then even the waiter snickered.

Ha ha.  Boner.  We think it's funny but Monica's dad needs another beer.
After dinner we headed to the drag show (and by "we," I mean Monica's parents, her minister-husband, several of her friends from seminary, Lindsey, David and me).

I have to say I love having friends who are equally comfortable shoving dollar bills in a drag queen's panties and serving communion at church on Sunday.

The show was the best entertainment I have probably ever seen for $5.  I told David later that the show we saw there was way better than the last two shows we've seen at the Repertory Theatre.  And way cheaper.  The costumes, the lip syncing, the make up, the hair.  It was great.

 You should have seen him do a front handspring or a standing back flip.  Or the splits.  This guy can do it all.

We loved the cowgirl.

 We loved the emcee.  In this photo Monica is pointing to her parents.

 I wish I were wearing this dress to my defense party.

But we especially loved (and by "we," I mean me) the Lady Gaga act.  I screamed until I was hoarse. 

Ooh la la, Lady Gaga.

 Up close.  Love the earrings, the eye make up, the hair...

It was so awesome.  We liked the 10:30 show so much we stuck around for the 12:30 show.  Monica and I went to the dance floor and danced while everybody else sat and talked in between shows.  It was quality entertainment.  Unfortunately I do not have pictures of the nice boy in a cage who was wearing only a jock strap and danced with Monica and her mom (by "danced" I mean swung from the bars of the cage and shoved his crotch in their faces) but I assure you a good time was had by all.

The next morning we were meeting at 11 o'clock for brunch.  Let me tell you, 11 o'clock comes mighty early when you've been out until 2am the night before and 11 o'clock is really 10 o'clock central time.  But we managed to drag ourselves to Lynne's for a delightful breakfast of cinnamon swirl bourbon ball French toast topped with chocolate and strawberries.

Yum. And it's low calorie!

Brunch was followed by a tour of the Louisville Slugger Museum/Factory.  David was delighted.  It was pretty interesting although our tour guide was a bit of a freak.  We viewed the baseball memorabilia (some of it required the wearing of white gloves).

This is David holding Mickey Mantle's bat.  

And then we decided to hit the batting cages.  I'd never been in a batting cage before.  Monica suggested we use wooden bats seeing as we were at the Louisville Slugger factory.  I managed to bruise myself hitting my own forearm with the end of the bat while swinging for the ball (do not ask me how this is possible).  The bat was so heavy that by the time I swung it around it had dropped to low to even come near hitting the ball.  I switched to an aluminum bat and managed to make contact with one or two softballs after that.  Not my finest athletic moment.  My wiffle ball skills are much more impressive.

I tried the Albert Pujols leg hike.  Rather unsuccessfully.

Because a bat in the butt is always good for a laugh.
Saturday night was a quiet night at Monica and Johnny's apartment and Sunday we drove to Pleasureville, Kentucky to hear Johnny preach at a little white country church.  His sermon was awesome.  What I recall from it most is that just because something or someone is labeled "Christian," that doesn't mean it's true or it's good or that Jesus has endorsed it.  Particularly in regard to Pat Robertson and the Left Behind series.  Can I get an Amen?

Church was followed by lunch at the one restaurant in the nearby town and the kind of conversation that you can only have with really good friends--the kind that covers the future, the past, and the present.

Note the strategically placed mini-bats.  30 is the new 12.

It was Monica's birthday weekend but it left me counting my own blessings.  And (in case you're wondering) those include watching my friends lead a worship service at a little country church, splurging on a wonderful meal at a swanky restaurant, having a husband who's willing to drive on the way home, and Lady Gaga lip-syncing drag queens.  I can only hope my thirtieth birthday brings such fun.

1 comment:

  1. Love reliving it through your blog:) I miss you and am soooooo proud of you, Dr. Taylor! Thanks for being my forever friend.