Thursday, January 18, 2007

When Texas Freezes Over, Head to the Inaugural Ball

Last Thursday, Jon and I found out that his office was giving us tickets to the 2007 Texas Governor's Inaugural Ball on my birthday - January 16th (my 30th by the way). We thought, sweet! Free food, free drinks, meet some of Jon's fellow Republicans. It was also a good business opportunity for Jon. We immediately realized we had some important tasks to get done before Tuesday. I needed a floor-length ballgown, Jon needed to rent a tuxedo, we had to get the tickets from a girl who got the tickets from a guy who got the tickets from another get the idea, we had a lot to do. As the weekend progressed, I realized that all ball gowns are designed for 6-foot-tall women. Ok, no biggie, I'll just buy one and run it out to my mother-in-law to hem it for me. So what if she lives 45 minutes away, it's free. Jon's tux was a little easier to come by once we found a shop that could measure him on Sunday and get us the tux on Tuesday. Everything was falling into place.

That was, until the "Great Ice Storm of 2007" wreaked havoc on the City of Austin. It started Sunday, on my way back from dropping off the gown, and continued to keep us essentially trapped in our house for the next three days. See, what happens around here, is you get a full day of pounding rain followed by three days of below freezing temperatures. The kicker is, even though it's below freezing - it keeps raining. So now it's raining ice. Then it started snowing. All of these people were freaking out in the streets, rushing out to show their children what snow looks like. All of the Colorado people are laughing their asses off right now because they are still buried under about 7 feet of real snow. Honestly, I would take 7 feet of snow over 1/2" of solid ice any day. Here are a couple more photos of the frozen plants around our house as well as a photo of the ice chunk Jon pryed off my car:

If you've done the math, you've realized that the ice storm coincided with our plans to attend the inaugural ball. You may also recall that I dropped my gown off 45 minutes away and Jon has yet to pick up his tuxedo. When Tuesday arrived, we were certain the event would be cancelled. We were disappointed since we'd both spent money on attire and had been looking forward to the event for days. As the day went on, there was no word of a cancellation. See, this made it even worse, since we would feel extra disappointed if it wasn't cancelled but we still missed it. It didn't help that I had been calling the tux shop all day and they still hadn't opened. Jon started making his way out to his parent's house to get my gown (a 45 minute drive that was looking like it would take 2 hours with the weather) and had just decided to turn around, come home, and we would skip the whole thing. No gown to wear, no tux to wear, roads were barely drivable - it didn't look good. Moments later, all of the threatening phone messages that I left at the tux shop payed off when I got a call that they were opening for one hour so all of the partygoers could get their tuxes. Jon turned around, I rushed out the door to get the tux, and we scrambled like mad to get ourselves ready.

This story is getting a little long, so I'll cut to the highlights and the lowlights (not many of those!) of the evening:


An enormous map of the State of Texas. Who doesn't want their picture taken in front of one of these babies?

This guy won the Congressional Medal of Honor. We can't remember his name, but he was a cool guy. He looks unhappy, but I think he was just really uncomfortable due to the massive amount of metal hanging off his jacket. We're pretty sure he was having a good time.

At the afterparty, we met a 3-Star Marine General. He was very nice and equally hilarious (ask Jon about the General's now-famous men's room quote).

Finally got a copy of our picture with Governor Perry (courtesy of David Hill Photography). He's a nice guy and was gracious enough to let everyone in the room grab him for a photo.

Last, but certainly not least, our new friend, Buttons McGee. It would be rude of us to use his real name, but that just gives you all a reason to call us up down here for once in your life. We met Buttons on our way out of the ballroom as we were heading to the afterparty. He was selling political buttons (hence the nickname) and Jon of course needed to buy one as a souvenir. We caught up with him there, and he became our favorite person in the room. We even found out that he used to live in the Highlands (all of you Denver people know where that is). Crazy.


Unfortunately, the night did have a couple of lowlights. The biggest for me would have to be the performance by the evenings headliner. And who else to headline a massive Republican gathering in Texas but Ted Nugent. I apologize to all of our hardcore Ted Nugent fan readers, but anyone who comes out on stage at an otherwise elegant function wearing a Stars 'n Bars sleeveless t-shirt, playing an American flag guitar, screaming at the top of his lungs about how much he loves 'W' and the Republic of Texas while simultaneously showing images of him and his buddies shooting deer on his latest bowhunting trip is an f-ing idiot. I giggled the whole time I took these photos. Until I saw the dead deer - then I cursed and left.

I couldn't publish this post without including this priceless piece of journalism sent to me by my good friends Dawn and Kent. They read about Ted's (unfortunately) unforgettable performance all the way in Wyoming (click on it for a larger version):

After some slurred goodbye's and a short cab ride, we were back at our house. By this time we'd indulged in plenty of the governor's libations, so we left Jon's car at the hotel. Unfortunately, our house key was in Jon's car - at the hotel. We had a couple of choices here: I could either hang out with our neighbors next door (who were up watching a movie) in an uncomfortable and embarrassing buzzed silence while Jon broke into our house, or I could count on the last couple of vodka tonics I drank to keep me warm while I sat on the front stoop while Jon broke into our house. I chose to avoid the embarrassing silence. Jon was surprisingly adept at ripping the screen off and getting us in there. For your enjoyment, he documented his escapade:

I think maybe we're going to lose some of our security deposit.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Year's 2006

I managed to take zero pictures while we were with my family for Christmas. Here are a few from our New Year's celebration. Kona was the unofficial mascot of the New Year.

Kona with Mom.

Kona with Dad.

Mike doesn't look as happy to see Kona.

The infamous coaster-dodging incident.

This hideous creature is the Northwoods Pirate Monkey Staff:

I do not know if that is real fur, I do not know what kind of animal skull it is made of, and I do not know how said animal met its demise. All I know is that Jon would not leave a truckstop in Southern Minnesota without buying the damn thing. Ask him how much it cost. Go ahead. Ask him.