It’s a long story

Yesterday I spent most of the day trying to adapt to being back in the real world. A world full of dirty laundry, floors that needed to be swept, bathrooms that needed to be cleaned and groceries that didn’t magically appear in my kitchen cabinets. To make matters worse, when I finally emerged from a huge pile of laundry and made it to the grocery store, I went to pay for my groceries only to discover that I’d left my wallet at home. Long story short, reality made me her circus monkey.

But enough about my grocery store woes. At least until tomorrow when I may feel the need to talk about them ad nauseam.

On Friday morning I woke up in New York. Sophie and I had a few hours to walk around the city before we had to head to the airport. So, naturally, we ate some breakfast and then treated ourselves to cupcakes to sustain us as we walked the streets of Manhattan. I took a couple of pictures that seemed to exemplify all that is good and right about the city.

Dear H&M, I think I’ll miss you most of all. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time together. You have my heart.

But I had a plane to catch.

Sophie gently pulled me out of H&M and we grabbed a cab to take us to La Guardia. I felt fairly certain there was a 42% chance that I was going to die in that cab and deeply regretted that my last moments would be filled with the smell of old garlic and body odor.

Thankfully, we arrived safely at the airport and I boarded a flight to Dallas because one of my dearest friends and college roommate was getting married. Gulley and I had originally planned to drive to Dallas together, but when the trip to New York came up we decided that I’d just fly in to Dallas and then we could ride back to San Antonio together at the end of the weekend. I don’t know why I feel the need to include all these travel details because they really have nothing to do with anything but I can’t stop myself from typing all the words and already erased an entire paragraph where I detailed what I bought at the gift shop at La Guardia. (Gardetto Honey Mustard Snack Mix, US Weekly, and People StyleWatch!) I have a compulsive need to overshare meaningless details.

But I will tell you about the bride because it’s a lovely story.

Jen, Gulley and I lived together for two years in college. Gulley didn’t actually pay rent one of those years because her true place of residence was the dorm, but we felt it was our duty to spare her from having to go home to the dorm every night so she just became our unofficial roommate. Jen was everything Gulley and I weren’t. She was known to actually study for exams and even miss football games to work on projects. She managed to make it through college without knowing all the characters on Saved By The Bell or having a VIP card to any of the bars in College Station.

After graduation, we all remained close friends. Jen spent the next several years pursuing her career ambitions and I spent that time doling out questionable financial advice to unsuspecting clients until P and I got married in August 1997. Then I switched careers and doled out questionable pharmaceutical advice to unsuspecting doctors.

Eventually all of our college friends settled down, got married and started having babies. Jen remained single. She’d call and tell us about an occasional date, but the right one never seemed to come along. But instead of pouting over her singleness and distancing herself from her married friends, Jen always showed up. She came and rocked our babies and invested in our lives. She took mission trips to Africa, taught Bible study at her church, and began doing inner city ministry work.

About two years ago, she brought a guy named Scott to spend the weekend at AJ’s ranch. They’d been dating for a few months and things seemed pretty serious. There was talk of marriage.

But they broke up. He didn’t know if he was ready to make a commitment and things just fell apart. She was heartbroken, but trusted that God must have something else for her life.

Eighteen months later, on January 10, I received a text message from Jen that read “Scott and I just got engaged!” And I texted back, “Did I miss something? I didn’t even know y’all were dating again.” (Because, listen, if anyone is going to miss some kind of major detail, it’s me.)

I hadn’t missed anything.

Scott and Jen had spent the last eighteen months apart, but he never quit thinking about her. Ultimately, he decided he didn’t want to spend his life without Jen. So he went to her mama and asked for permission to marry Jen. He bought an engagement ring. And then a few days later, he showed up and told Jen he needed to talk to her. He said that he knew she was the girl for him, placed the ring on the dashboard of the car and said he was ready to put it on her finger the moment she was ready.

And in typical Jen fashion, she began screaming, “I’M READY!! I’M READY!!”

IT’S LIKE A SCENE RIGHT OUT OF A MOVIE.

So he got down on one knee, placed the ring on her finger and they got married this past Sunday at 2:00. It was a day filled with love and close friends and family. It was a day that we’d all been waiting and hoping for.

Since Jen’s dad passed away when we were in college, she walked down the aisle alone. As she got to the halfway point, Scott left the front of the church, went to meet her and walked her the rest of the way. And everyone broke into applause. It was one of my favorite wedding moments ever.

This is Gulley, Jen, Jamie and me after the rehearsal.

And here’s the bride on her big day.

It’s hard to tell from the huge smile, but I think she’s pretty happy.

It’s Monday and I’m exhausted

Listen. I just drove in from Dallas about thirty minutes ago.

I haven’t been home since 7:00 a.m. last Wednesday.

And now I’m going to go unpack and try not to think about all the laundry that awaits.

On the upside, I’ve never been more glad to see my people

And look! A giveaway. Go enter!

To find out how you could win fame and fortune or at least a prize pack valued at over $175 courtesy of the nice people at GoodNites, click here for the details.

I’ll be back with a full report of my travels throughout the continental United States tomorrow.

Fashion Friday: Edition I’m in New York

Behold the rat.

And his friend, the roach.

I’m not sure if the roach is a new addition or if the guy who was supposed to bring the roach didn’t make it on Wednesday. Maybe he was tired of lugging that giant roach around so he called in sick and said, “Dude, if you want this roach then you can come get it yourself.” Or maybe too many people thought they were protesting The Tale of Despereaux and they decided it might clarify things to add a roach.

Anyway, I felt that y’all needed to see a photo of the rat to fully appreciate it so I took that picture as I walked out of the hotel this morning. And then I spent the next several minutes not looking at all like a tourist as Sophie and I wandered the streets of New York while I held my phone up and took eight hundred pictures that look like some version of this:

I feel that they really capture the essence of the city and my sub-par photography skills. Also, if you happen to know the man in the pink shirt crossing the street, please let him know that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sophie and I walked until we found the nearest Starbucks and then headed to go get pedicures. As we walked down Madison Avenue I was kind of feeling a little bit of pride at how fearlessly I was crossing all the side streets. I was just boldly stepping off the curb like a real New Yorker. And then, in what is a recurring theme in my life, I began to overthink the whole process and at the next intersection I walked halfway out into the street, chickened out when I saw a cab coming and totally headed back to the corner from whence I came. I’m sure no one who witnessed that scene suspected that I was just in town for a few days.

Anyway, Sophie and I are here because Ree had to be in the city for a few days and invited us to tag along so we could all pretend we were like the Real Housewives of New York. But without all the catfights and excessive amounts of wine. Although we do throw around quotes from the show like “I miss the sophistication of the city” and “I’m coming from a place of yes” because they never cease to amuse us.

Oh, and Ree also was scheduled to tape a segment for a television show.

Maybe you’ve heard of it.

And can we talk about how much I love that chart right under The View sign that demonstrates what to do when you cough? Television is very glamorous.

So we arrived at the ABC studio where they film the show and they took us back to a long hallway lined with various dressing rooms. I was sitting on the couch next to Sophie while Ree was off somewhere getting her hair and makeup touched up when I heard someone yell down the hall, “I want you to come meet Benjamin Bratt”.

Well, you better believe I shot off that sofa like someone had just fired me out of a cannon and tried to nonchalantly stand in the doorway holding my phone like I was texting when I was really trying to take a picture. My plan was working beautifully until the producer informed me that they don’t allow pictures backstage. They were coming from a place of no with the pictures.

However, I did take this picture of a picture hanging on the wall.

I’m just so glad I’ll have that photo to remember the whole experience.

And I have to report that Benjamin Bratt is very handsome and very tall. I have this thing about knowing how tall actors are because Gulley and I went to the Regis and Kelly Show about eight years ago and I was astounded at how miniature everyone was in real life. I could fit Kelly Ripa in my pocket and still have room for a tube of lipgloss and maybe a pack of gum. Except I don’t put things in my pockets because it ruins the line of your clothes. Consider that your Fashion Friday tip of the week.

(On a totally different fashion related note, everyone in this city is wearing leggings and flats. It’s a flat epidemic. Flats everywhere. And the occasional gladiator-type sandal.)

The other guest was Andre Leon Talley from Vogue magazine. And I don’t want to say that The View is copying me, but they totally did an entire segment called Fashion Friday. Coincidence? Doubtful.

After a few more minutes in the dressing room the producers came and led us all downstairs. Ree walked out on stage to film her segment while we watched in the green room. And then it was all over. It will air today at whatever time your ABC channel shows The View. If you’re in San Antonio and have Dish Network, I can tell you it will be on channel 12 at 10:00 a.m. If you live anywhere else or have another cable provider, I cannot help you at all.

Then last night we went to Nobu and ate sushi and some black cod with miso that may have altered my life permanently. And I ate a dessert called Milk Chocolate Yuzu Cake that looked more like a piece of art than something edible but that didn’t stop me from eating the entire thing and contemplate licking my plate to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The whole meal will go down as one of the best meals I’ve ever had. EVER.

But more than anything it’s just been a sweet time with sweet friends who really aren’t anything like the Real Housewives of New York. Except that we all believe in coming from a place of yes.

And we will miss the sophistication of the city.

Y’all have a great Friday.