On Friday, after being tricked into bringing Una a change of clothes for the "plane ride to Tijuana," I met Jon for lunch. And found five pairs of eyeballs staring at me behind John Hawks Pub menus (culprits: Joines, James, Em, Char and Eliza). After the initial shock (Why is Jon making us sit so close to this packed-in booth of weird people?), I cried literal tears of happiness. And so the birthday festivities began.
Friday dinner at The Pasta Tree with wine served in fish bowl-sized glasses; brother Jeb and cousin Bryce have also arrived:
Though difficult to tell, we are dressed in '80s gear for the '80s/'90s party at Kennedee's bar, our next stop. At Kennedee's, we find we are part of a select group of people who have purposefully dressed in costume. This includes the man with the Ghostbusters Proton pack. Dancing begins immediately . . . in the center of the room. By Joines and James. And no one else. Evening reaches a high point when a fellow bargoer tells Eliza, "You guys are entertaining." To which Eliza replies, "We're from out of town." And the chick says, "I know." We leave the joint at midnight to hit up Wolski's, a famous dive bar over 100 years old just blocks from our house. Their "I Closed Wolski's" bumper stickers are plastered on cars all over the city, and now our wall. As birthday woman (I am 30 now), I was able to leave with not only a collection of bumper stickers (I believe Joines procured close to 15), but a tee shirt and . . . a Wolski's thong.
Saturday: Lakefront Brewery tour at 12:30 PM. I select my favorite "Holiday Spice" beer and am back in the swing of things by the third sip. Kurtzy, aka Nitro, our fearless tour leader, begins by yelling at Emily for speaking while he is talking. Nitro's circus-style mustache, heavily-tattooed arms and hipster eyeglasses throw me for a loop, but his presentation is perfection. In the midst of our 30 minute tour I am pointed out as having the most alcoholic beer in their offerings, Bryce is called out for his East Coast attire of backwards hat and scarf tied European-style, and Eliza is tapped to play Laverne in our quick rendition of the Laverne & Shirley theme song (the show was based in Milwaukee). Tour highlight features Nitro's demonstration of how to seal the old bunghole-style of keg, complete with romantic details, such as "a drawn bath and scarf draped over a lampshade." Joines's electrified face draws his immediate attention and she is awarded the coveted bung, which he later signs "Love & Kisses on Your Bung."
Hard to top this party off, but we head to Real Chili and stuff our faces, only to return home for immediate naps and then present opening. Here Emily models the ribbons. That was most likely the beer talking.
Jon: Can we get a birthday dessert for my wife?
Waiter: Sure. Would you like me to sing?
Jon: Um, no, that's okay.
Waiter: I can sing Happy Birthday if you want.
Jon: No, that's okay.
Waiter: Seriously, I'm really good.
Jon: Okay, sure.
Ice cream arrives and I am serenaded with a Whitney Houston/gospel-version of "Happy Birthday." Ice cream, Real Chili and quesadilla begin salsa-ing in my stomach. Not good. Must unbutton pants immediately to allow for growing waistline. We head across the street to Milwaukee's answer to a Manhattan nightclub, Apartment 720. Jon has gotten us a table which, for our number of people (now down to seven, with Char and Bryce home for the evening), requires two bottles of vodka. Which I won't be consuming unless food starts flying out of my belly button and opens up some room. Jon asks, given there are now only 6 people drinking, if we can take "whatever's left of the bottle home at the end of the night." Yup.
We arrive to our table to discover three heavily-intoxicated bachelorette ladies dancing with boas on the dance floor next to us. Joines and Eliza are immediately jealous. Joines uses my brother's button down shirt (wrapped around her hands and wrists) as a makeshift boa until Emily suggests they make them from toilet paper. After mere minutes in the bathroom, they proudly return with these:
SB: Is that toilet paper?
SB rips it off of her and throws it on the ground.
SB: Yes it is.
Since we are in Milwaukee, this is followed by Joines being offered a pink and purple boa, which she happily wears for the rest of the evening. At one point, upon realizing Joines has gone missing, we find her at the center of a circle of all the bachelorettes (10?), dancing solo. When she returns, she advises James to "go over there cuz they'll give you a free drink."
High kicks, ninja moves (via James, who runs over to announce he has just karate chopped the woman next to him in the neck), the Dog Pee (leg balanced in the air, step down, rotate 15 degrees, repeat), the Poop and Lookout (one person squats while the person stands lookout behind, repeat in a circular motion) are showcased. I recline on one of our couches, pants still unbuttoned. A surprise lap dance from Joines prompts Emily to announce that "that was PG-31. Not even Abbey was old enough."
Jeb: I think this vodka is watered down. I can't even taste it.
Emily: It probably is! Cheapskates. Let's check.
Jeb: Good idea.
Followed by all attendees pouring remaining vodka straight down each other's throats. With no vodka to take home with us, a taxi drops Jon and I off while the rest of the crew continues on for more Wolski's and darts. Eliza, our resident college student, has the drinking athleticism of an Olympian, powering into the early hours like a champ, dragged down only by her older and less-fit sibings. Everyone is impressed. The night finally winds down once Jeb receives unwanted attention from a female Wolskian, which Emily quickly diffuses by spraying a mouthful of beer "into the space between them. Not on them." Chick promptly leaves.
Sunday found us at brunch at Cafe Hollander and in various states of hangover-ness. Hangout time lasts until late afternoon, when the bunch must get driven back to the airport, much to my and Houston's continuing dismay.
Best. Weekend. Ever.