Saturday, May 14, 2016


A dog bed on the floor? Seriously? Because we all know where Wilbur sleeps.

I alluded in my last blog post that we would tell you about our new home (temporary home that is. We intend to head back to the Knotty Cat in January). I was referring to Lisa and Oliver Douglas of the long ago sit-com, Green Acres. Some of you may remember it and most likely even more won't.

It's the tale of a city couple who find themselves transplanted to 'Hooterville', a small farming town in the country and the similarities between them and us are uncanny. Hans is definitely 'city' and still marvels that we can burn our garbage outside and harbors the notion that if we don't mow the grass it will quit growing and all will be fine. Right now it's nearly knee high as we can't get the damn mower to start and he won't let me buy a goat. And while I slump around in a pink fluffy robe instead of a negligee, Lisa and I are both blonde and not very bright.

My pink robe and a very chilly pooch.

As a matter of fact if you drove past our house this morning that was indeed me in the yard and in my robe cutting Hans' hair with the clippers (I already sweep dirt, dust, pine needles etc... out of the house with a broom on a daily basis. I'm not adding hair to the mix).

When we arrived here we discovered we had no cell coverage unless we went outside and waved our phones over our heads. Calling Sprint and airing our problems solved nothing and was extremely aggravating. Not unlike poor Oliver who had to make his calls by climbing to the top of a telephone pole where their phone was mounted and then had to argue with the operator. Hans spent an entire day (not minutes like we thought and I was stuck in the vehicle with Wilbur the whole time) getting out of a contract with one company and into a contract with a new company and now sometimes we have a signal and sometimes we don't.

Out little house is furnished with Salvation Army purchases and all kinds of stuff we've salvaged from the shed out back (I even found a foot bath back there that really comes in handy after a full day of waitressing). Our bed sits on the floor of the living room (I'm not paying over $60 for a frame), our kitchen table was an umbrella table in a past life, we have a rocking chair (shed), dorm fridge (friend), toaster oven (another friend), and thank god, two space heaters as the temps actually fell to 17 degrees (F) a couple of days after moving in. In April! It's now May and tonight it's going to be in the thirties. This however, does not stop the grass from growing.

Alas, it's not to be. Hans said I couldn't bring Charlotte home.

Where the mice come to play.


Since phone coverage was such a joke we didn't even think about TV and we were thrilled the radio my mom gave us (the same radio that sat on the kitchen counter when I was in high school) actually worked. But there was a TV down in our basement and it was preying on Hans' mind. My mother gave us an old digital converter and we dragged the TV up the rickety stairs and into the living room. If nothing else I figured we could us it as a night stand.

But, by golly it worked! Every day is a grab bag of programs (religious stations may be the norm in Florida but around here it's court TV) with the big prize of Hockey play-offs for Hans. At least when the local stations deign to air them.


We fall asleep each night listening to the squeaky fights of whatever creatures live in our exhaust vent in the bathroom. I assured Hans that bats do not make that kind of noise and it's most likely squirrels. When they get especially rowdy and physical and it sounds like they're going to fall on our heads, I smack my hand, super hard, on the tub surround and they stop. For awhile.

However, being awakened by the sound of one of my mousetraps going off in the kitchen means I will not get a good nights sleep. Especially when the 'victim' doesn't go quietly and instead flails about my cupboard in the throes of death. That's when I'm positive I'm going straight to hell but at least in the morning I won't find mouse poop in my silverware tray. For a few days anyway. Adding to my sleepless nights is my concern over the crafty mouse that's able to steal a sticky blob of peanut butter from a trap and not set it off.

Wilbur's kin? Both Hans and Wilbur said no to bringing these guys home. One pig is enough.

And then there's Wilbur. When we first met him six years ago, I commented that he looked and sounded just like a pig and therefor if he were my dog I'd name him after Arnold Ziffel of Green Acres. But I was informed that he already had a name and it was Wilbur, in honor of Wilbur the pig from Charlotte's Web. I should have followed my instincts. Wilbur is just as brilliant and spoiled as Arnold was but we do limit his TV time.

TV may be limited but lucklily he has a library card.

Our landlord is a co-waitress and dear friend who has the farm across the road. In between shifts at the inn, Dear Friend is kept busy with her menagerie of stock and passel of dogs.

And you know you really live in Hooterville when the following conversation is overheard and no one rushes to call the police:

Dear Friend: You know I'm gonna be a grandma again! I hope I'm not on the schedule next week, the baby's due any day now.

Me: Um, don't you know for sure when she's due? Doesn't anyone know when she got pregnant?

Dear Friend: No, dammit! Her own son knocked her up, you know.

Me (horrified): Oh my God! What did you do to him? Where is he?

Dear Friend (making a slashing motion across her throat): He's in the freezer. We're having some of him for dinner tonight.

Of course she was talking about her cow.

I hope.

Brand new baby. I think he's his own brother. I don't know, it's confusing.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Topsy Turvy.

I can't believe it's May. This has seriously been a few crazy months for us.

On the blog I left off in January when we were getting back on board the Knotty Cat after having left her on the hard for several months.

So here's our life on the boat from January through March:

On the boat Duct tape once again came to our rescue when we had to repair the connections to our solar panels AGAIN!

This is what we found the day after we put out the solar panels. Thanks to severe winds, one of them was ripped clean off its connectors. And this happened 'inland' in a very protected area.

We motored a whole 4 hours to Stuart, Florida where we stayed on a mooring ball for a little over 2 months.

Whoever heard of tornadoes in Florida in January? When we weren't worried about what the hell we were supposed to do if one were to hit, we were pinned down to the mooring field while we rode out 35 knot winds. And cold? Thank god we have a lot of blankets and a very warm pit bull on board as there were many days we couldn't get ashore

Now this was scary.

Our little barometer. One look at him and you know what the weather is like.

We had every intention of selling the car that we'd bought from our time up north and actually received an offer on it very quickly. But, for some reason I told Hans I thought we better hang on to it for awhile. I'm glad we did.

Our charger/inverter continued to be a stinker and refused to invert but at least it did charge. The electrician we hired (at 2 hrs minimum pay) unplugged it, peered at it, gave a wiggling Wilbur all kinds of scratches, plugged the inverter back in and said, " Well, it's working now and I didn't even do anything to it." Wilbur said it was worth it.


Trying to heat water would have been ridiculous so we took showers at the marina bath house (when we could get off the boat), and I washed my face every morning and night with ice water. So refreshing!

In an attempt to feel like 'normal' people, we ran the generator each night for a couple of hours in order to juice up the batteries and watch some TV (Oh my yes, don't I just love to depress myself with the nightly news). We have a small antenna that was quick to pick up Spanish programs, religious programs, religious Spanish programs, and one regular station. In addition to witnessing some of the most appalling behavior from all the presidential candidates, I got caught up with every Mike and Molly episode ever aired.

We learned early on that if we wanted to take an excursion on land sans Wilbur, we needed to take him ashore to empty him first or risk coming back to a smelly surprise. Wilbur does indeed have a potty patch and is an expert at using it while at sea, but that dog has gotten even smarter over the years and has us well trained (as long as we're on board with him there's never a problem).

We attempted to go sailing just one time (we do live on a sailboat!) and once we got both the main and the jib up, the wind died. Back to our mooring ball we went and that was it for the two months we were there.

In late February I received news that my dad was in the hospital and things weren't looking good. No sooner had we received that information than Hans and I took a trip into town as a couple and due to a sudden emergency I came back alone. I managed to flood the dinghy motor and had to be towed to the boat whereupon I flooded the generator. Wilbur and I were in bed by 7 PM.

For two days I relied upon the kindness of fellow cruisers who got me and Wilbur back and forth until Hans came home. Let me tell you the first thing we did was get the dinghy motor fixed and the generator got a new spark plug. I can now start both lickety split!

Waiting for Daddy. "If I sit and stare long enough, he'll come home.

There are no more splinters on the marina dinghy dock as they all eventually ended up on my person with an especially painful one embedded deep under a finger nail. It took days to remove it and I was terrified I'd end up with a disease as the Okeechobee water was full of bacteria.


Hans came home on my birthday (a good reason to celebrate), and a couple of weeks later as we were on the road headed north I looked over at him and announced, "Happy Anniversary (our fourth as a married couple)!" Both of us nearly forgot.

My dad passed away three days after my birthday so Hans stayed on the boat with Wilbur while I flew north for the funeral. I've flown a lot over the years and this just had to be the time nothing went right (maintenance issues on nearly every flight... and actually having to depart one plane after sitting in it for an hour). The real kicker was when I was nearly tackled by two attendants at a boarding gate. One of the ladies jabbed a finger at me, told me my bag was too big and it needed to be checked. I pointed out that I'd just come off of a flight without checking it and that I'd flown with it for years with no problems. Her cohort then got in the act and also exclaimed very loudly that it had to be checked. Not desiring to be added to a no flight list, I stopped arguing and checked the damn thing.

Great. This just meant I had to wait forever at baggage claim in Florida which then put us into nightfall and we had a very dark ride back to the boat in our dinghy.

When I got back to the boat we decided we should head up north for one more summer to lend a hand with family matters and just like that the Knotty Cat was put back on the hard. We stuffed Wilbur and everything else we might need into our car and off we went.

By car or by boat, he's a well travelled pitty.

A lot of people have asked us if we enjoyed our winter in Florida. Well, what with everything I mentioned above and the fact that the weather was actually nicer here in Pennsylvania this year, my answer is, "Not so much." But we're here in good old PA now, back to our jobs from last year, and enjoying our 'new to us' home.

And speaking of our new home, Lisa and Oliver and Wilbur We'll fill you in on the next blog post.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Failure to Launch

It sounds cute when it's a fun filled movie complete with quirky characters and popular actors, but for cruisers the term Failure to Launch isn't fun at all.

Today was the day we were supposed to put the Knotty Cat in the water and make our great escape.

It didn't happen.

I'm probably partially to blame for this as last night I bemoaned the fact that unlimited hot baths, comfortable king size beds, and being able to jump into a car at a moments notice was soon to be history. Be careful what you wish for.

Yesterday when we initially visited the Knotty Cat I was relieved to have overcast skies and cool temperatures since we would be working outside for most of the time. I have to admit though that even with these conditions we were still sweating at the end of the day (that damn Florida humidity just never goes away) and I hoped today would be just as cool.

At 9 AM this morning, just as I was drying my hair (when will I learn that any attempt at taming my hair in Florida is a direct invitation to trouble?), the marina called to inform us that all launches for the day were being cancelled due to the weather. We looked out the window and, Holy Crap! We could barely see the whipping palm trees through the slashing rain. And just to make things more interesting there was a tornado warning until 5 PM. You can imagine what Wilbur thought when Hans took him out for his morning constitutional. So then another decision had to be made. We'd used up the last of our credit card points for this hotel room which meant we'd have to come up with cash for tonight. Or we could try for a room at a hotel where we still had some credit. The hotel with the credit had just one room remaining and would only accept pets under 25 pounds. And while Wilbur has been on an odd kind of hunger strike lately, no way could we diet him down to that weight in one day.

This doesn't even do justice. Outside our hotel window. It just dumped rain.

My jeans were soaked nearly to my knees after trekking through Walmart's parking lot. It rained so hard a frog leaped into our car when Hans opened the door. We don't pick up hitchhikers so out he went!

So we ponied up the money for one more night here and then went on a provisioning run.

Provisioning. It kills me. I don't like shopping to begin with but starting from scratch yet once drives me nuts! Salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder, coffee, do I need sugar? flour? Not really so I'll skip those for now. Lunch meat, bread (Hans and I never agree about bread, but since I was the one shopping... he had to sit in the car with Wilbur), condiments? I bought mustard, laundry detergent (there went a chunk of change), back to the spice section for cumin and chili powder (no way can I make chile without those), TV dinners for tonight (yay for hotel room microwaves), and on and on. A couple of hundred dollars later I was done and I've barely scratched the surface, but it's a start.

We've been told to arrive at the boat yard as early as possible tomorrow as they will now have two days worth of boats going in the water. It's a long drive and arising before the crack of noon isn't my thing.

Why do I have a feeling there will be a long line ahead of us and it won't make a bit of difference when we get there.

Oh, one more thing. I've lost count of how many posts I've written about our (completely outdated yet thank god we have them or we'd be totally screwed) solar panels. If I've said it once, I've said it a bazillion times; we've nearly lost them too many times and we need to be more careful with them yada, yada, yada.

Did we learn any lessons? Apparently not, because after putting up all our canvas (dodger and bimini, and aren't they just wonderful 'wind catchers'? I'm glad we didn't remove our hurricane straps) before we departed the boat yard yesterday, we also decided to leave the solar panels out in order to 'juice up' the batteries. Sure!! Because one day of solar power is really gonna make a big difference after not being used for nearly seven months! Duh!

So once again I'm not looking forward to what we may find tomorrow.


Wilbur loves his new nest and would prefer to stay

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Whole Dirty Story


After sitting for nearly seven months on the hard, our Knotty Cat welcomed us back today with filthy open arms.

Oh, my, where to start.

Well, she's just plain filthy.

Mildew. This seat was spotless when we left last summer.

I moved a line and this stain remained. Only one spot among many.

I feel like we left our teenager alone for the summer with hopes of her showing some personal responsibility and making us proud. Instead, it would appear our girl partied the summer away knowing full well we'd clean up her mess upon our return. We found dried up frog/toad carcasses scattered on the deck, wasp nests, too many cocoons containing God knows what, a half finished bird nest, tarnished stainless rails and lifelines, grimy dirt, and it was obvious that hygiene went straight out the window as everything that wasn't covered in bird poop was covered with a green haze.

Our dinghy outboard is mounted on a rail. You can just make out some branches from a bird nest in the middle.

You can see it a little bit closer.

Tarnished stainless rails.

But first, we needed to hoist Wilbur aboard. Remember, our boat is on the hard which means the deck is way up in the air and we can't just step aboard. We need to climb the skimpy swim ladder that drops down from the stern. This means that at 5 feet 0 inches I have to lift my leg up somewhere in the vicinity of my armpits in order to get a good foot hold (and yoga is not one of my strengths). And since Wilbur is shorter than me, we had to strap him into his life jacket and when he saw us drop the main sheet over the side in order to tie it around his middle he went ape-shit. Wilbur has the memory of an elephant and I'm pretty sure he recalled us doing this exact same thing to him years ago when the line got tangled and he ended up doing an unplanned mid-air somersault.

"As God is my witness, I will never be hoisted again!"

We finally got the little man aboard and then proceeded to assess the situation. I made Hans go below first as I felt if there was a nightmare to be discovered, he could handle it far better than me and I was thrilled beyond belief that nothing major seemed to be amiss.

We put our solar panels out and they immediately began charging our batteries.

After yanking the hell out of the generator cord it finally caught and also started charging the batteries.

Our inverter decided to work even though it was a big stinker at the end of our trip last year and only performed when it felt like it.

I was able to prime the water pump (we'll find out about the hot water tank tomorrow), our cabin lights work, the refrigerator hummed for the couple of minutes we turned it on, and we didn't find any major water damage from leaks.

I will admit that I was disappointed to find that the phifertex shield that wraps around what I call our 'windows' (official term is dead lights) failed. We had this wrap made for us a few years ago and it keeps the tropical sun out of the inside of the boat. The problem is that it's held in place with glued on snaps and not snaps that are drilled into the boat. I found some gorilla type Velcro on the boat and I'm going to see if I can fix it on the cheap. We really don't want to drill holes if not necessary.

Failed phifertex. I hope to fix this tomorrow.

But, I have to say, I believe my happiest moment occurred when I realized that even though our girl partied the summer away like it was 1999, we came home to a boat absent of crabs cockroaches.

I can live with that.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Back to the Boat and Reality


Poor Wilbur. He has one tiny space in the back seat. He's a good traveler.


So six months after putting The Knotty Cat on the hard in Florida for what we thought was going to be a couple of months, we are now ready to get back on board.

Everyone keeps asking us if we're excited. Hans will tell you yes. Me, not so much.

I think this is probably because Hans handles problems in a much calmer manner than me. I already dread finding out what's gone bad or failed since we left her in June. For example: did any hatches leak during the insane rains of this summer (and if so, is there mold?), are the batteries okay, do all the systems still work, how about the water pump; the hot water tank? And my one big fear; cockroaches! We've never had them but you never know what might happen while you're gone. And if we do have a lot of issues, we really don't have the financial reserves that we had in the past. Hans quit his real job over a year ago and we managed to rip through most of our savings in about six months.

While we were in Pennsylvania this summer I worked as a waitress while Hans continued his insurance sales as a PA and Florida agent. And then in November when business got busy at the inn, he joined me and played the piano in the dining room on the weekends.

This year's Christmas tree.


Lunch with Santa this year. Five years ago I burned my elf outfit swearing I'd never do this again. Never say never!

I know a lot of cruisers take time out to earn money so they can continue to live this lifestyle but for us, these jobs just supported us while we were on land. Let me tell you, the Dollar Tree and Dollar General got quite a bit business from us this summer. Of the two of us, I'm the tightwad, and one day at the grocery store I told Hans we had exactly twenty dollars to spend on groceries for the week. We got lucky and chicken was on sale. That week we had: white chicken chile (McCormick's best seasoning packet ever), grilled chicken salad, grilled chicken with fresh green beans, and two days worth of crock-pot chicken noodle soup (I used a pack of frozen vegetables but forgot potatoes. It was still good).

The inn closed with a success on New Year's Eve and it was time to head south. We stopped in Pittsburgh for a couple of days to visit friends, spent two days with my son and his wife, and then three days with my daughter. Our last two days here in Florida at a pet friendly LaQuinta Hotel used up the remaining points on our credit card.

Don't get me wrong. We may not be rich but we're not destitute either. We'll just continue to find work where we can and in the meantime we'll still have a roof over our heads.

Where we go from here, I'm not sure. I have an idea where I'd like to go but until we get re-situated it's all up in the air.

Our hotel mattress tester. This one got 5 stars.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Life Continues to be Interesting

A beautiful fall day in Pennsylvania

When we put the Knotty Cat on the hard in June and came back to Pennsylvania, it was with the intention of staying a few months and then heading back to Florida (actually today marks the day we planned on being on our way). But if there's anything I've learned in my lifetime, it's that most plans are written in sand and subject to change.

Yes, our plans have changed and in a weird twist we've somehow experienced a bit of role reversal too.

For the four years we lived in a marina in Florida, Hans had a full time job while I held down the fort on our boat taking care of the dog, the laundry, the cooking, the beer management... I guess you could say we had a typical 1950's kind of lifestyle.

But even though Hans was gainfully employed, we both agreed that neither of us was getting any younger and so Hans quit his job, we went cruising, and blew through about a years worth of savings in six months. At the beginning of this year we left the St. Petersburg area and headed south. We were lucky to get to the Dry Tortuga's and Key West before jumping over to the Bahamas. We pounded across the banks to the Exumas but of course this had to be the worst weather the Bahamas had experienced in the last thirty years and because of this we failed to reach Georgetown. At the end of the day I really don't care because we ended up sitting in Blackpoint Settlement for nearly two weeks, and as far as I'm concerned, it just didn't get much better than that. Our cruising friends even named our happy hour sight, 'Wilbur Beach', after our lovable pit bull.

Unfortunately, at one point during our time in the Exumas, we were out of GPS range (no internet or phone) for nearly two weeks and upon calling home I learned that my dad had been in the hospital. When we returned to the states Hans and I decided to put our girl on the hard and 'head home' for a couple of months. And this is where it got interesting.

How to get around (we had no car), where to live (we had no house), what to live on (we had no jobs). But we forged ahead anyway. It was during a conversation with a friend from whom I'd previously purchased three Corollas (and soon ended up with my fourth) that we miraculously found a place to stay. A couple of days after arriving here I was sadly informed of the death of a former coworker. Upon attending her memorial service I met up with many of my former coworkers and they asked me if I was coming back to work with them. "Oh, no, it's thirty miles away from where we're living," I said. The following week I hit the floor, stumbling running. So just like that, we had a car (thanks to a 3% transfer fee, interest free, credit card loan), a wonderful basement apartment (you have a pit bull? No problem!), and my old waitressing job at an historic inn.

But, time was flying by quickly and then we realized that since open enrollment takes place during the month of November, Hans, being an insurance agent, couldn't possibly do his job and navigate our boat down the Intracoastal Waterway at the same time. So we said, "What the heck, let's stay through the end of the month." But then what about Christmas? This year we can't afford to turn around and fly back for just a few days and anyway that's also when things get super busy at the inn. But wait! It will also be time for us to move out of the place we're currently living. And then another miracle occurred; we were offered a place to stay in the town where I have my job and as an added bonus, Hans is the now the dining room pianist on Friday and Saturday nights! The family that works together.... (I just hope we don't have a knock-down-drag-out-fight in the middle of the dining room some evening).

The other night Hans remarked, "You got us a car, a place to live, and you've found work for both of us."

"That's okay sweetie," I said. "And after you walk the dog, be a dear and fix me a drink."

Is there nothing we won't do for a buck?

Never underestimate a Northwestern, Pennsylvania woman.

Wilbur's happy as long as he's with his fambly!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A great reason to come home

On 7/11, Hans and I attended my son's wedding.

It started on a Thursday when the parents of the groom met the parents of the bride for the very first time, and I realize in this day and age of helicopter parents this is a bit unusual. But, we live many states away, my son is 32 years old, and we'd already met his future bride (a fabulous girl) and loved her, but I do realize her parents might have been wondering about us.

I have to admit we had to do a bit of scrambling to prepare for the big event. After putting the boat on the hard, we drove a rental car to Pennsylvania where we then found a place to stay for the summer, ditched the rental and bought a car (that we'll sell after we go back to Florida this fall), and I fell into a job. We then had two weeks to get ready. I'd already buzzed Hans' head with clippers I purchased at Walmart (no more Christopher Lloyd look for him), and I, who had been cutting my own hair with rusty scissors for three months, was now sporting a style I can only refer to as a Bahamian mullet with gray roots. However, I was very careful and didn't cut it so short that it couldn't be fixed before the big day.

So, in addition to a good cut and color, I needed some clothes that weren't sweat stained and full of holes. After visiting a local upscale department store, along with the Salvation Army and having no luck (I've found some of my greatest buys at 'Sally's'), I resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to drive over an hour away to a mall, and I hate malls. As it happened, I found myself in the vicinity of a consignment store that I'd shopped at many times in the past and not only did I find a dress for the rehearsal dinner, I found one for the wedding. Add a pair of Payless shoes ordered blindly online, I was good to go.

I love this dress!

Hans and the groom

Friday, the rehearsal dinner was very wisely held at the hotel so no driving was involved, and I was looking forward to a hot bath as I had to be up bright and early in the morning for make-up and hair with the girls. However, Hans' brother and his partner arrived very late from Toronto and of course we invited them to our suite for a get together and didn't end up getting to bed until around 1AM. We had a great time but needless to say, late night hours don't sit quite as well on my mid-fifty self the way they did years ago and I'm afraid I created quite a challenge to the make-over team the next morning. And after years of living on the boat I'm not used to wearing a lot of makeup and when I looked in the mirror I couldn't help but think of Baby Jane, so when I got back to my room I rubbed a good bit of it off.
Hans and his baby brother

Selfie Stick fun during the hair and makeup session. A super nice group of girls

The ceremony was performed by the same priest who married the bride's parents thirty-two years ago (actually, their wedding was his first). He's well into his 80's now and we all held our breath when his feet got tangled in the aisle runner and it looked like he was gonna take a header right into the bride and groom but, thankfully, he stayed on his feet. This very same priest (who was so sweet and had a wonderful sense of humor) also performed the bride's brother's wedding last year and I was told he inadvertently had them repeat their vows twice. Now that's a marriage that should surely stick.

The reception venue was incredible (and as a veteran waitress I should know). The weather cooperated beyond belief which meant guests could mingle and enjoy drinks and appetizers both inside and outside before the actual reception began. Thanks to the DJ (and believe me a DJ can make or break a reception), the dance floor was never empty and if the guests weren't dancing, they were in the photo booth. Now, the last time I saw a photo booth was way back when I was a teenager and 50 cents would buy you 4 black and white pictures (of such poor quality they would fade within weeks of their development) of you and your weird friends. Well, times have changed and in this new digital age we were offered all kinds of props and masks like Super Heroes etc... so Hans and I opted for the police line up theme. All I can say is, I really hope to never be arrested as I'd hate for that picture to be blasted over the Internet, it was that bad.

As a waitress, I know hours went into setting this up. Inside those envelopes were scratch off lottery tickets. We didn't win anything but someone at the next table won $50.00

And I guess no wedding is complete without the horribly uncomfortable guest known as the Drunk Uncle. However, in our case it was the Drunk Usher.

Drunk Usher gave the toast at the rehearsal dinner. Actually, it was an oddly satyrical, yet nice toast, in that he pointed out the typical teenage and college obstacles our son faced and over came through the years, culminating in a successful career and marriage to such a wonderful girl. And like a ticking time bomb Drunk Usher then proceeded to socialize with many friends and family members from both sides. While some of his questions and comments could have been taken the wrong way by a few (he was later escorted to his room after falling asleep face down at the hotel bar) they really weren't, and luckily no explosions occurred. I didn't realize the extent of all this until early the next morning when the bridal party and I, while waiting in the lobby before departing for our makeup, were laughing ourselves silly over Drunk Usher's antics.

My son called me in a panic and my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law was mortified.

The bridesmaids and I assured one and all that Drunk Usher said absolutely nothing to offend any of us. However, don't think my son wasn't sweating bullets when it came time for the wedding toast, but by that time Drunk Usher was on his best behavior, and most likely fearing for his life, didn't speak. The rest of the evening flew by and I felt sorry for my son who seemed to constantly be on the run chasing down people at the behest of their three photographers. He later compared it to herding cats and also said he intended to sleep for the solid week of his honeymoon.

Another wise move on the bridal couples' part was to provide a shuttle service from the reception to the hotel, so when the evening ended somewhere around 2 AM, everyone was safely delivered back to their room.

Like I said before; for me, this was the wedding of the century. And while I've never desired to step back in time for even a second, I would re-live that weekend over in a heartbeat. It was just that great.

However, one thing I would change; I would not attempt to read a brand new library book in the bathtub after such an exhausting day. I may not have drowned but that stupid book ended up setting me back $28.95.