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Finally - Floridian Fun: Part 2

2004-05-06 - 10:08 a.m.

Sopranos Episode That Made My Jaw Drop The Most: the last one - Season 5, Episode 9

Listening To: Jem, Nirvana, David Byrne, Ben Harper

Quote:"Every train's gotta have a good caboose if it wants to get where it's goin'!" - Zach

So let’s see. Where were we? Peter & Tim picked Jimbo, Ben and myself up at Palm Beach International airport around 10 in the morning on Wednesday the 14th. I think it would be accurate to say we were drunk by noon. Ok. Ok. That’s an exaggeration. It was like 12:15.

Seriously. Seriously seriously. Hello, was that Will Tippin entrenched entry not enough evidence that we were sauced up but good quite early? And no, I’m not linking to it. I’ve suffered enough from it. We all of us suffered. Anyway - we pull up to the gated community in Palm Beach Gardens and are welcomed by two things. #1: The beauty that is the Farmer’s hacienda. #2: The blinding whiteness that is Jon Farmer playing basketball with no shirt on. Seriously, if it wasn’t for Tim “Nuclear Blast” Curtis and his ivory skin, Jon would have to win some sort of award for his negative tannage. Eww. I just sounded like Pauly Shore. I say that like it’s a bad thing. Anyway, the Farmer's house was "radical" as the kids on the street say. It was weird to see all these things (books, the Yorktown print, etc.) placed around the house, having last seen them all on Pleasant St. It was like someone did spin art on all the Farmer's valuables and threw them into a Palm Beach stew. Yeah - that makes sense.

Yeah. So we got down to doing 3 things as soon as we put our luggage away. Drinking, eating, and more drinking. Luckily, I’ve medaled in all of those events. We said our hellos to Mr. & Mrs. Farmer, who we hadn’t seen in many a year, and then it was on to sitting by the pool and getting totally tanked. Oh don’t judge - you‘re all more jealous than a lemur in a jewelry store! I’m afraid that as Wednesday progressed, my memory of it becomes more and more cloudy. Which pretty much means from 1:30 on. I know we played a lot of drinking games. Asshole became too unweildy due to the numbers. It was Peter, Matt, Jon, Pete’s friend Colin and his brother Cree, Titie’s sister Daisy’s fiance Saunder (or Sunder - I never did get the exact pronunciation down), Tim, Ben, Jimbo, and myself. Of course, Andrew was around, but he didn’t drink. Because he’s far smarter than any of us and has seen what teenage high school drinking turned us into: a bunch of twenty-something drunks. Jeff at that point had called to say he couldn’t make it. I’m sure he and Amy had fun in Coco Beach . . . but oh man did he miss out on some fun. After we gave up Asshole we jumped headfirst into 3-Man. Yeah, that collective *gulp* you just heard across the internet is all those who have played 3-Man knowing that it’s the quickest route to drunkeness save perhaps The Police’s “Roxanne” drinking game.

And it’s true. 3-Man is a cruel mistress. One minute you’re laughing at your neighbor who has to drink 17 times in less than 2 minutes, with a drink to the left and a double up thrown in for good measure and then whammo, who’s laughing now? That’s right Laughy McShowNoPityerson, YOU ARE. And you’re probably even wearing a goofy hat to denote your 3-Man status. You know, in case the slow trail of drool on your t-shirt and the unfocused eyes weren’t enough of a giveaway. So yeah, bacon is constantly being cooked up, stromboli is in the oven, and there’s a neverending game of 3-Man being played. Welcome to funtime with the Farmer Brothers.

The Cruel Mistress herself

I also feel the need to devote a paragraph to the beauty that is Cheddarwurst. Anyone who has had the ambrosia that is cheddarwurst knows what I speak is the truth. Especially anyone who has had cheddarwurst cooked up by Chef John Farmer. I can’t speak for the other guys there but . . . no wait, yes I can: We turned on each other like a pack of feral dogs when it came to who would get the next cheddarwurst off the grill. I know what you’re thinking: How is this different than any other hot sausagey product that explodes cheese in my mouth? Ewwwwww. I don’t think I could have made that sound gayer. Anyway - the moral of the story is: Make sure to wear more than one layer of clothing when a party calls for cheddarwurst, because chances are you and your friends will turn into feral dogs and throw down in order to get yourself some of those sweet, sweet cheddarwursts. And you know . . . your shirt can get ripped. So an extra layer wouldn’t hurt.

So a bunch of hours pass of the above activities happening over and over. At one point, someone thought it was wise to go purchase some (F)I(ght)cehouse. Yeah, well, someone thought it was wise to give the Indians a bunch of malaria infested blankets too, and that didn’t turn out to well either. Well, at least not for the Indians. It worked perfect for the blanket givers. So then, all of a sudden, it’s almost 10 (give or take a few hours - might I state again, I’m not too good with the details here) and Matt’s beckoning all of us to finish the drink we’re on (“the drink we’re on”, as if it’s a contest) and get out front for our cabs. I remember this whole part being that we were all confused and no one knew where we were going, but my guess is everyone knew we were going to Rachel’s - a “gentleman’s club”, you know, for gentleman - and I was just too drunk to recognize my feet and assumed everyone else was too. I do recall sharing a cab with Matt and John on the way there and trying to put the cab window all the way down the entire ride there until finally, arriving at Rachel’s, I realized it was electric and didn’t go down past halfway. Yeah - so the stri . . . I mean “gentleman’s club”? It was fun. And I was the drunkest. And I was a fool. And what happens in gentleman’s clubs stays in gentleman’s clubs. (It’s like Kansas City that way.) So ends this paragraph.

Thursday morning opened with all of us magically back at the Farmer’s house and creeping about the house relearning simple actions like how to walk, how to speak, and how to convince yourself that God isn’t judging you for whatever you did the night before. Though I’m certainly the last person that knew what went on the night before. My last memory before waking up at the Farmer’s Thursday morning was puking on some Palm Trees outside of some restaurant. The rest of my comrades could have been involved in some sort of grand theft auto scheme or a cock-fighting/pcp ring. And in Jimbo and Matt’s case, considering they both woke up sometime late Thursday afternoon, I don’t think I’m too far off. Peter and Titie had to meet with the priest one last time that afternoon, so we made ourselves scarce. John drove Jimbo, Ben, Tim and me to Juno Beach and it was the last we’d see of Palm Beach Gardens until Saturday. Now we were enting Misty country. Misty HATCH country.

Yeah, if you were in the Juno Beach area of Florida between April 15th to April 18th of this year, chances are you came across one of those business cards a time or three. It seems some fool, we’ll call him “Quinn”, thought it would be a gas to grab a few handfuls of them and pass them out at the airport to people followed by a, “Welcome to West Palm Beach!” Yeah - hilarious that . . . “Quinn”. In truth, as the card says, or suggests, Misty Hatch is the major domo of the Juno Beach Holiday Inn Express. Deals aren’t made in Juno Beach without Misty’s say so. Old men don’t have miocardial infarctions without Misty Hatch signing off on it first. Flies don’t vomit all over their meals without . . . well, you get it. (And I’m gonna be the one that gets it - when ol’ Misty decides to Google herself sometime soon.) Whatever - google lets even the nuttiest nutbars find themselves on ol’ Stuff & Things - (hiya Trace! I miss your big fat ass! And by “miss” I mean, “I hope you get hit by a car!”) Anyway, this entry is gonna be long enough without me going off on tsunami tangents. Or somesuch. To recap: Misty Hatch wears the pants in Juno Beach. And PoolBoy wears the slutty mini-skirts. PoolBoy is Misty’s 2nd-in-Command. He runs a tight ship, er - pool. And he’s ambi(pan?)sexual to boot. Yeah, they don’t skimp in southern Florida - they go all out.

We settled in to our suite (oh la la!) with the double patio (oh la la-ier!) and got acquainted with what would be our defacto headquarters for the next several days. (Mostly because, with the exception of a quick visit to Chad & Mackenzie’s room, it was too far and too hard to find which rooms Jeff & Amy and Brooke & Kyle were in. And by that I mean to suggest that Florida makes you that much lazier than you might already be in New Hampshire. Yeah. That’s pretty fucking lazy.) We checked out the beach which, at about 500 yards away, was pretty damned convenient. The water was an insane green-blue and it was borderline piss-warm. Which, as gross as that sounds, is a compliment. Especially from someone used to swimming in the Northern Atlantic - an area of water so cold that you can’t medically have children for 3 weeks following exposure. After our initial trip to the beach, we checked out an establishment suggested by Mrs. Farmer. The “Thirsty Turtle”. Doesn’t that sound cute? Yeah. The food/beer was good, but a more appropriate name for the joint might have been, “Ass Munching Yankee Loving Death Star”, or something else with local color like, “Cap’n Manatee’s Jeter Worshipers”. Yeah. But Jimbo almost ordered dolphin! Boooo! But he didn’t. Not so booooo! He ended up getting grouper. They fucking go ga-ga for grouper in Florida. Doesn't the name "grouper" just sound SO delicious?!? Mmmmm . . . pan fried grouper! The restaurant was situated next to the smallest, or should I say thinnest, liquor store I’ve ever seen - and I’ve seen some thin liquor stores in my day! It consisted of three aisles. With liquor bottles stacked from the floor to far above Tim and my respective heads. The clerk, Indian in nature (not the malaria blanket kind, but the curry flavored kind), was, um, how shall I say - suspicous of us. It was annoying. Now we knew how Samoans felt whenever they went shopping in the Northeast. Although, I’m pretty sure Ben, Tim and I went through a similar episode when we were cooling out in Corona, Ca. We finally bought some beverages of the alcoholic variety. First Jimbo paid and left the store. Then Ben followed suit. Which left Tim and me. Tim was next in line, with me last. I need to stress that this clerk was a total dick, stared at us the whole time, and asked us four times if he, "could help us find anything". Dude, I can see the WHOLE store by just standing at the door, I think I'll be able to find anything pretty damn quick. Anyway, so leave it to TC, like when we were in Corona, to be on the verge of starting a race war. Tim pays for his shit, turns to me and says, "This is the WORST FUCKING LIQUOR STORE I've ever been to." Pause. Beat. Pause. Beat. "Ok, I'll meet you outside." And he leaves. Ha. Ha ha ha. Oh that TC. Have you ever had to make small talk with a hooker while you're looking for your wallet in the dark? Yeah - this was like that x 10. So I look at the guy and show him the beer I'm hoping to purchase, the whole time re-playing the liquor store scene from the beginning of Menace 2 Society in my head. He's inspecting my ID like it was a pre-nup and I'm J-Lo. "Small store, huh?" I comment. " . . ." he zings me with. He gives me back my ID. I give the guy my money, grab my beer, and get the fuck out. And That's One To Grow On! courtesy of our ol' pal TC.

Yup. That grouper - pretty appetizing!

We met up with Chad and Mack and proceeded to blow the rest of our Thursday night by watching reality television, once the bane of Jimbo's life - now the teat from which he suckles - making "Kwame" our word of the weekend, and TC christening Juno Beach with his new, self-appointed catch-phrase: "Laaaaaaaaaame." And then, at some point, we all fell asleep, knowing that we'd have to be picking Monique up at the airport around 10. Well - someone would have to. We just hadn't figured out the particulars.

Friday. Friday Friday Friday. Folks, take a tip from your ol' pal Zach - if you're planning on taking a trip with 10 - 15 of your close pals far from home rent AT LEAST 20 cars. I don't care how illogical it sounds now. Trust me. You'll thank me later. Chad and Mackenzie brought Jimbo and I to go meet Monique at the airport. Monique flew in on "Delta as Song" and felt the need to share this information with every passerby, hobo, and bird she came across in Florida, so I feel that she'd like you all to know this too.

Jimbo came too because we decided that I'd have a panic attack if I had to be the one that rented the car. And Jimbo, responsible adult that he is, ponied up for the task. So the three of us grabbed a shuttle from the airport to the area that had rental car dealies. The driver, probably a frequenter of the Thirsty Turtle, was a total fuckwad. He barked at us when we got on the shuttle and growled at everyone else on the bus like we just stole the last cheddarwurst. Finally, when we thought we were at the stop for the rental car place we got off the shuttle. The driver hops out and yells, "Hey! I said not to get off at Emerald Isle (the rental car dealer, not Ireland) and to wait to get off at National!" We never heard this, but ok, whatever, I guess. Monique, channeling her inner New Yorker yells, "Hey! You don't have to be so crabby!" All of the people on the shuttle jumped up and cheered. In their minds. Because had we really done it the driver would have driven us all to his secret shack in the everglades and fed us to crocodiles the size of buicks.

We finally got a rental car and drove back to the hotel. We met Chad, Mackenzie, Ben and Tim down at the beach. I think I got about 20 minutes of sun. And by then it was time for someone to go pick up Brooke and Kyle at the airport. This time Ben and I picked the short straws. Same deal again. They were welcomed by Misty Hatch (by proxy of course) and we whisked back to the hotel. Oh wait. I must be getting the timeline all wrong because I know we (Monique, Ben, Tim, Jimbo, Me) went to the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum in Jupiter, the next town over and that was before Brooke and Kyle. Anyway. You know how you think you've lived? You know - LIVED?! Well . . . you haven't. At least you haven't until you plan yourself a trip to the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum! Seriously. I didn't realize it was possible for one man to be in so many shitty movies in one career until I went to the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum. For every Boogie Nights, there's a White Lightning (where the esteemed Mr. Reynold's played the role of "Gator McKlusky") and for every Smokey & The Bandit, there's a W. W. and the Dixie Dancekings. I can't make this shit up. Anyway, we gawked at all of the man's photos, letters, reconstituted and displayed canoe from Deliverance ('cause you know, if there's ONE thing everyone remembers from Deliverance, it's the canoe), and then bought an obscene amount of BR & Friends Museum coozies. Yeah - you can take the kids out of Laconia . . .

So yeah. I guess we picked Brooke and Kyle up after that. And then we went back to the beach for a while. And then there was much hand-wringing and drama for about 20 minutes. If you were on that beach that day you know why, otherwise, you don't need to know. Afterward, Ben went to the airport to go pick up Jeff & Amy, who had just driven in from Coco Beach. So I guess technically he picked them up at the car rental place, not the airport. Whatever. I'm on like paragraph 27 and we haven't even gotten to the wedding yet. We went back to the beach I think and at one of these points Monique got washed up by the strong waves. She banged up her arm but good. Like her choice to fly "Delta as Song" this was a fact that didn't manage to escape anyone in Juno Beach as she shared the "tragic episode" with anything that had a pulse.

Did you hear? Monique got washed up.

Chad and Mackenzie went out for her birthday at a nice Italian restaurant while the remainder of us (a robust party of 8) went to a big ol' family sports/arcade kind of place where we promptly alienated all those sitting near us by asking the hostess to change the Marlins game to the Red Sox game. We're couth like that. Afterwards, we all went back to the suite, which had lost a bit of its oh-la-la-luster by this point, and all proceeded to drink. Sounds like us. The rest of the night definitely didn't involve any drama. At least, in the interest of keeping this entry smaller than your average suit againt a tobacco giant, that's the story I'm sticking to. Yeah . . .

Time to wake up for wedding fun! We all got ready and prettied up and met in the parking lot by 9:30. Except for Tim and Ben, who have it in their Life Contract to always be dangerously close to being late for weddings. After much more drama involving how we were going to stick 11 clowns in 2 clown cars, we somehow - by magic I think - got to the church.

You know that scene in The Wizard of Oz where they all get to the Emerald City, and it takes all those city beauticians on the Ozmatic assembly line to gussy up the lion into looking presentable for his audience with the Wizard? Yeah - I think that's what must have happend with Jon Farmer. I don't know how they did it. But he didn't resemble in the least the shaggy, jersey-wearing party monster I had been acquainted with a mere 48 hours previous.

The wedding was very nice. If not slightly confusing. I was expecting all the strictness that goes with all the other Catholic weddings I'd been to and when we didn't get all that sturm and drang it was refreshing but unexpected. And no, I don't mean when Jeff whispered to me to look and see my "favorite centerfielder" being crucified on the stained glass windows of the church. The priest was . . . different. We thought he was laughing when Titie's dad was escorting her down the aisle, but it turned out he was crying. Yeah. He was an odd bird. Not exactly orthodox. And I ain't talkin' Greek or Jewish. Either way, it was a beautiful wedding.

See? I told you it was a beautiful wedding. Excluding Peter of course.

We met up again at the PGA National Golf Course Reception Hall. We ate food and drank drink. Though there was some tension when there was a brief wine embargo and, similar to our adventures in a Mexican grocery store and a thin Indian liquor store, it almost became a bad scene with Tim Curtis. Once more wine came though, they soothed the savage Curtis. We definitely had the "cool" table. It was Brooke, Kyle, Colin, Cree, Andrew, Ben, Monique, Tim, and me. Jeff, Amy, Chad, Mack, Jimbo, et al got ushered off to the "uncool" table. Also at the "uncool" table was Rod, one of Peter's friends from Florida from before he moved to LA. Rod was pretty cool. I didn't really get a chance to talk to him until the party at the Farmer's after. But the most significant thing about Rod was that he looked like Ricky. Not just "kinda" or a "passing resemblence". he looked just like Ricky. So much so that at one point during the reception, Monique charged over to him and demanded they get their picture taken together so she could show Rick. Amy was about to take the picture when Monique demaned of Rod, "Take your glasses off for the picture! Ricky doesn't wear glasses!" Sigh. There was also an unfortunate (for Kyle) and hilarious (for everyone else) conversation that took place at the table involving Kyle's misunderstanding Tim's catchphrase. It's too long and embarassing for me to chronicle here, but I'm sure it marks one of the last times Kyle tries to share one of his catchphrases in public. Monique and Brooke ate an illegal amount of food and there is pictures to prove it. Unfortunately I don't have these photographs but I solemnly promise that when they do get developed and sent to me, they will be posted here pronto.

Don't we dress up good? (What's that?! Ben's making some sort of fucked up ape-like face in a picture? Well color me six shades of shocked. Next thing you know - he won't answer his cell phone!)

After the reception, with some time to kill before the Uber-Exclusive VIP party back at the Farmer's, we took a shuttle to the closest bar - El Toro - and watched the Celtics get their asses handed to them by the Pacers. The original plan was to watch the Red Sox game, but they didn't have NESN. Which, when you think about it, really isn't THAT WEIRD.

But TC needed NESN like I need cheddarwurst and managed to call a cab and be brought to a NESN providing bar. We spent a few hours drinking ridiculously cheep beer, playing Steve Miller on the jukebox, and playing Erotic Photo Hunt. I know, we flew all the way to Florida to do what we could have done at the Funky Monkey for far less money. But hey, does the Funky Monkey had Misty Hatch?

See? I not lie. We took a shuttle.

See? I not lie. We took up a lot of room. And that's WITHOUT me or TC in the picture.

We took cabs back to the Farmers and boy howdy was there lots of food and liquor. My two favorites! We finally got to talk to Saunder again and it was nice to know that he had survived Wednesday's festivities as well. Much wiffleball took place in the Farmer's front yard. Witness:

Ben, of the "I refuse to change into my casual clothes" Ben Walden group, pitches to Monique. Boy hard to tell Monique "I borrowed my color scheme from Death" Peaslee lives in New York City, huh?

Chad pitches in the foreground, while Mackenzie stands akimbo in the background, accompanied by TC & Jimbo. Jon, out of his finery and back into his jersy regales Monique and Rod (Rick's evil twin) with some sort of tall tale.

The party was fun and you could tell how much more relaxed Peter and Titie were compared to Thursday. We even got to hang out with Peter’s cousin Evan, who we hadn’t seen in many, many a year. Although Evan loves the Yankees. So I wish we had left him in the past. Or at the very least, the Thirsty Turtle. The most attention-getting event of the night had to go to Ben and Mindy (Titie’s maid-of-honor) for when they jumped into the pool together, with all their dressy dress clothes still on. There’s lots of pictures of them jumping in - of which I have none. But I do have a post-jump shot. I will include some of the jump, you guessed it, when I get some.

Oh kids and alcohol, what trouble won't they get into?!

It wasn't too much after the pool debacle that we all started to head back to the House that Misty built. Monique had to be carried out by a wheelbarrow, because after all the meatballs and creampuffs she ate she couldn't walk under her own power anymore. I don't remember much of Saturday night - not because I was drunk - which I surely was, but because it felt like we'd been in Florida for weeks, not days and I was exhausted. I know Ben, far drunker than any drunk skunk I've come across proceeded to stay up in our hotel room for HOURS going over the plan in the morning to bring people to the hotel. Jimbo had to get up at the ungodly hour of 4 to get ready in time for his flight. And there was the puzzle of how to get Jeff, Amy, Brooke, Kyle, Ben, Monique and Zach to the airport, Tim to the train station (he was going on to visit his grandparents an hour north), and yet make it so the fox wasn't left alone with the chicken and the chicken wasn't left alone with the grain. It was a headache, but it all finally worked out.

Sunday morning came, and with one last continental breakfast in my stomach, we bid adieu to the Mistiest of all the Hatches and drove to the airport. And then we flew home. And then Ben paid about 2 grand so we could get my Jeep out of Logan Parking Garage. You know - which is about 2 grand more than what we would have paid at Chad & Mack's or Kelly & Roy's. Which, you know - were free.

Anyway - it was fun fun fun. And it makes me loathe having to be back in New Hampshire that much more. Hooray for loathing New Hampshire!! (I don't really loathe NH - I just want to seem hip.)

Expect more pictures from Florida soon - they'll be posted on this entry and I'll link to it when they go up. Speaking of which, I added a bunch of pictures to the entry about Monique's party: Chicks Dig Scars . . . Right? Check 'em out. You'll be glad you did.

Coming up next: Cousin concert happenings in Newburyport, Peter & Titie swinging by on their honeymoon, and more facial hair than you can swing a dead vole at - which you know, isn't that much, but it's significant. And I promise - a new poll.

It's been real,


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