The wedding turned out just about perfectly well. The rain stopped Friday morning just as we got downtown to the courthouse, and we all pinned on our flowers and waited for the Deputy Clerk to call us for the ceremony. A short but excellent ceremony later, the rings were on, and the applause went up. I'm certain the deputies running the metal detector at the door thought we were nuts and glad to have us finally move down the Carroll Creek Park a block away to take some images.
Ah, yes, images.
First, here's my Flickr set devoted to the wedding and our trip down to Ocean City, Maryland for a long weekend:
Then, in today's mail, came a link to pictures on the Facebook page of Laura, Nora's oldest sister:
As we find more, or get more links, we'll add them, so check back if you're curious.
So, after images, we went over to lunch at a very nice place on the edge of Frederick, Dutch's Daughter. A very elegant lunch, some very nice gifts and cards, and a lot of talk later, we split up and reconvened at our house later for a celebration that last way past midnight. Some neighbors came over, and from out of the blue, The Bob (Johnson) arrived and immediately attempted to get our wabbit drunk. Sam was a lot more interested in the plastic cup than any beer residue that might have been in it, of course, but it made for a pretty good picture. We cooked and ate and listened to music and had cigars and talked till very late, and all was well.
Saturday morning, we got up surprisingly early, tucked the house away and made it safe for wabbits and cats again, fed everybody, and then loaded up the Volkswagen and set off for the ocean. A short stop to drop off the tuxedo, and we headed east. We actually arrived at Ocean City about 4, but thanks to the presence of thousands of muscle cars for an annual cruise weekend, it then took us about another hour to get from the bridge across the bay into Ocean City and then up to 33rd Street to our hotel. We ended up with a nice sixth-floor room with a view of both the bay and the ocean, facing away from the main streets were the cruisers were doing endless tire-burnouts, and after watching Big Brown win the Preakness, we set off in search of crabs.
Let me explain how Ocean City is laid out. "The Inlet" is the bottom end of modern Ocean City, though the actual inlet between the ocean and Isle of Wight Bay didn't exist until 1933, when a hurricane cut through the island and essentially trashed the local fishing industry. Now, the inlet is the bottom end of the boardwalk, which runs up to 27th Street and is lined at its lower end with arcades, amusements, food stands, rides, and the inevitable place you can get your name written on a grain of rice. Further up, it's hotels and condos, until 27th Street where the formal boardwalk ends and instead you have dunes and beach like the old days. The numbered streets run east-west across the island, and so they're short blocks. It's thus a little over two miles to walk from 33rd, where we stayed, to 2nd, where we expected to find crabs. Sure enough, we get down to the Mug & Mallet, and no sooner do we sit down when the waitress said they'd just run out of crabs.
Rather than have something else, we ended up walking all the way back almost to the hotel, trying at least one other crab place along the way. In spite of two-foot-high letters saying "ALL U CAN EAT CRABS" on the roof, the waitress there said, "we don't have all-you-can-eat crabs." We left, and a block away, found Higgins' Crab House, which said, of course we have crabs. We stayed. Everything was good, from the crab soup to the chicken to the crabs. We consumed the better part of two dozen between us and went back to the hotel smelling a little like an old boat.
On the way back, we noticed a karaoke bar near the hotel, and figured that would be worth doing. We went back and changed, and went on over. The place was really boisterous (thanks in part to some sort of bridal-shower party) and we ended up staying till they closed. And yes, Nora has finally heard me do Muddy Waters live! I'm not sure what the crowd expected, but I of course did the full-dress version of "Got My Mojo Workin'" complete with Ocean-City-specific rap... I think Nora got some of it on the little digital camera, once she figured out how to run it, but y'all have seen it before.
We ended up staying up until well after four out on our rather large balcony, talking about stuff and listening to old country music on the MacBook Pro in the other room.
We got up surprisingly early on Sunday and went hunting for breakfast, finding it in abundance at Happy Jack's a few blocks from the hotel. Apparently they were originally called Hungry Jack, until Pillsbury found out and got mad, so as long as Pete Townshend of The Who doesn't stop into Ocean City for pancakes, they should be fine now.
The afternoon involved another long wait in traffic to get off the island, and then we went down to Assateague Island State Park and almost immediately met a couple of rather blase wild ponies. We took some pictures and they largely ignored us and the other tourists. We also didn't get bitten or kicked... there used to be a sign along the road warning people, Wild Ponie Bite And Kick! Keep Your Distance! but the sign has vanished since the last time I was there, probably 2003 or 2004. The guy at the parking lot didn't remember it.
We wandered on the beach for a while... it was a light mist and some stiff winds, so when we got cold we went back to the Volkswagen and wandered back into town to go swimming. The indoor pool was a bit cold, but the whirlpool/waterfall pool was just fine and we floated around in front of the jets and loosened up all the sore legs from the miles of walking we'd done. It was time to get ready for dinner.
We found dinner at The Embers, which has been around a while and which provided Nora with some very good prime rib and an absurdly blue cocktail that matched her tropical dress. After a long dinner, we went back to the boardwalk and socialized a bit. It being Sunday night, Nora called her parents from the beach and filled them in on all the stuff we'd been doing (well, most of the stuff), then we went back to the hotel and lounged around a long while. Many of the cruisers had gone home, so the roads were empty and there were no late-night burnouts on Philadelphia Avenue to enjoy.
Monday, we did all the tourist stuff. More pancakes at Happy Jack's, time to check out of the room, and we spent the rest of the morning and into the late afternoon in the lower part of Ocean City, buying fudge and caramel corn to share with relatives and cow-orkers, and some absurdly sweet cotton candy (see the pictures). We also visited the inlet and walked way out on the jetty, and afterward went through the Lifesaving Museum.
There's an interesting story here... on the second floor of the museum, there's a display of various items that divers have recovered from various shipwrecks along the Atlantic coast over the years. Right at the top of the stairs, there was a display of items recovered from the 1956 wreck of the Andrea Doria off Massachusetts. Dinnerware, Italian and US money, silver items, and other things. The diver who recovered these items from that ship was one Edward Suarez, Jr.
I had to stop a second. Ed Suarez is part of the reason I have my job now. Ed was a longtime employee at the Social Security Administration, and in early 1994, he had gotten a new job assignment to try and implement this new "Lotus Notes" stuff. Unfortunately, Ed was killed in a diving accident in Virginia that summer, and never really started doing anything with Notes. A long experienced diver, he'd gotten into a bad spot on a dive and didn't make it out of there. After he was killed, his job came open, and they hired me for it. I've been here ever since.
Coming face to face with his picture and objects he'd recovered from the Doria on some of his dives really made me stop and think about how strange the events of our lives are. Without Ed losing his life, I'd probably not be writing this now, I'd never have been to Lotusphere, I might never have stayed in Maryland, and maybe never have met and married Nora, who was standing next to me at the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum, looking at Ed's picture. And we only went to Ocean City because it was a good local trip we could make with the limited time we had, a choice we made after Nora's mother's illness recurred and we changed our wedding plans.
Never completely believe you're in control of anything.
Interestingly, Dot, the lady at the gift shop in the museum, was also a former SSA employee and knew people I know, even though she left in 1984.
After the museum, it was time to have something to eat and head home. We drove into the sun all afternoon and got home about 8. The house was fine, the wabbits were fine, most of the cats were fine. We realized that a minor eye infection Max picked up a week or so ago (from which he'd been squinting) had gotten much worse, indicating maybe it was the result of an injury rather than a simple infection, and this morning Nora took him to the doctor. He has a very serious ulceration and may not be able to see out of that eye again... we won't know until later, when Nora will probably take him down to the feline ophthalmic specialist in Laurel, the same one we took Tucker to when he was going blind. That big kitten... somebody probably whopped him and tagged him with a claw or something. He's not even a year old yet.
So, here we are. Married. On the drive in, I was listening to my newly-received cast album from the 2007 revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1971 show, Company, a show that at its heart is both very hopeful and very cynical about marriage. So, that's what's going through my head now.
1. Daniel Lieber05/21/2008 07:17:09 PM
2. Alan Lepofsky05/21/2008 04:07:33 PM
Mazel Tov. My best wishes for a long and happy life together.
3. Scott Gentzen05/20/2008 09:27:36 PM
I was out that way over the weekend actually...we stay a mile north of OC. Really good luck with the weather. It's been nasty on and off on either side of the weekend.
4. Bill Brown05/20/2008 02:59:30 PM
How would you tell if Sam had gotten drunk?
P.S. The Bob, No serious bruising occurred from the incident. If you ever go into stand up, let me know.
5. Eric March05/20/2008 01:50:53 PM
Congratulations! I'm very happy for both of you.
(I'm next...in 18 days!)
6. Turtle05/20/2008 01:45:07 PM
No, of course not... he always acts like a moron. Actually, he was much more interested in nibbling on the plastic cup and seeing how far into it he could jam his head.
7. Mary Beth Raven05/20/2008 12:21:31 PM
Congratulations! ... and DID the wabbit get drunk???