This weekend was so epic it resulted in me going to bed Sunday night at 8pm. Whew! This weekend we ventured around Vernon, Newton, Sussex, Hardyston, Franklin, NJ and Newburgh, NY. The biggest topic going into our weekend was a Saturday surprise for me that Awesome Girlfriend Megan has been working on for a couple of months. She's so sweet. She knew that the Weekend Of November 16th we're Stuffing The Bus so I'm in radiothon mode all weekend long, and the following weekend I'll be back home visiting my family. She asked me for a couple of months to just keep Saturday afternoon November 10th open for her, and that I wasn't allowed to ask any questions. Being the complete control freak that I am, it's probably not surprising that I don't like surprises! Her surprise ended up being extremely Awesome, fitting coming from Awesome Girlfriend Megan.
Friday night, we started off by doing a nice, low key belated birthday celebration at Kite's with our buddy, Edward. Last year I threw him a major epic surprise milestone birthday, so this year we wanted to switch it up and just do a low key chill night with him. Poor Awesome Girlfriend Megan drove for over two hours in the rain to get to Vernon from Rutgers University. She even baked a cupcake for Edward, and the other cupcakes would be happily enjoyed later Saturday night. We had a good, chill night with Edward while he enjoyed his Manhattans (even the cherries in these can get you buzzed, good, classic old drink.)
Saturday morning I grilled some hot dogs for us, then Awesome Girlfriend Megan was lucky enough to go on an errand run with me for dry cleaning and laundry. I know what you're thinking once again, How Lucky Is Meg, right? We then got back to my place, and Meg was amazing and helping me put the finishing touches on rebuilding my place. It's taken us a few weekends to clean up everything and put back all of my things into place, poster frames on walls and other sentimental possessions. After a couple more hours of elbow grease, we pretty much have my place back to normal. When they did my floors all over resulting in the temporary Steve World Tour Homeless Edition, we knew this rebuilding project was going to take a couple of weeks. It's so worth it to see my place almost back to normal.
Saturday afternoon, we kept getting closer and closer to my surprise where I wasn't allowed to ask questions. This past week, I was so slammed nonstop preparing for our move to all Christmas Music Thursday at 5pm, that I didn't have too much spare time to think about my surprise. Friday night after work and Saturday morning though, I then started to go insane. After our errands, Meg ordered me to relax and enjoy a high testing IPA to take my edge off. I then enjoyed a Bog Iron Middle Child from Norton, Ma (the nice, small brewery that we go to all the time with my family when home.) These are around a 8-9%, so one is great but any more from that and you might be hurting the next day. LOVE them!
We were able to pick up our besties Jasen and Brendan, then started up our adventure. Within 15 minutes of being on 84, I noted out loud "gee, this seems to be in the same direction as Poughkeepsie, Newburgh --- and Newburgh is home to the Newburgh Brewery!" After that, I didn't make any more guesses, because it's not as much fun when surprises are spoiled. I think that's another reason why I tried to not speculate before the big adventure. Surely enough, we ended up by the Hudson River, and I noticed The Newburgh Brewery. I haven't been there in 3 years, and it hasn't changed a bit. On the outside, it looks like an abandoned mill or warehouse. Upon entry, you immediately feel the energy. Hardwood floors all over with gorgeous brick walls, and windows that give you a breathtaking view of The Hudson. It was extremely packed, with extremely long lines at the bar. I hopped in line with Meg, while Jasen and Brendan were waiting in line for us to get seats. Within 20 minutes we were able to score seats, which was clutch since Meg had other surprises for me. As we're in line, she tells me we have two more coming, Sally and Douglioso. Two of our very first friends I ever made after moving here to Jersey, and two of my very best friends. Just over two years ago, they took me on an adventure to Pittsburgh where we went to the Patriots game. That's just one of our millions of fun memories from these past nearly 5 years. It meant the world for me that Jasen and Brendan were so excited to join me for my surprise, especially since they don't normally drink beer. For them enjoying a Saturday at a brewery with and for me was so touching.
In the back of my mind while we were at Newburgh Brewery, I kept thinking about our besties Nate and Lauren. You may remember them from their magical wedding almost a year ago, where so many little things went wrong, and Lauren was still a Bride Champ. Nate and I have been besties who met through our radio station over 13 years ago, and we've never been tighter. I didn't want to ask because I didn't want to spoil any surprises. Within minutes Meg hugs me and says "sooo...guess who else is coming?" I turn around and get major hugs from Nate and Lauren! They immediately get me a shirt to celebrate my birthday and a recent professional victory that we'll be sharing details about very soon. This shirt is such a classic Steve shirt. Not only do I Heart my baseball pattern tees, where the shirt is one color and the sleeves a contrasting color, but after doing my Adopt A Pet Of The Week for 4.5 years, my infamous Cat Hat and Cat shirt are also part of my Jersey legacy. LOL. We had a wonderful time with so many close friends. Our buddy Marky also showed up to the Newburgh Brewery to surprise me. Awesome Girlfriend Megan outdid herself with this adventure. I'm extremely blessed to have her and so many friends from Boston to Jersey and beyond.
Saturday night we ended up back in Vernon on Campus at Kite's. My wonderful surprises continued with our besties JG and Tyann coming out to see me. Meg brought the rest of her baked cupcakes, and the crowd went wild. We enjoyed many yummy craft beers and laughs. Major success.
Sunday, we did our Sunday Funday Football day at the Cottage. Since the Patriots have been on primetime 5 times already this season, this was my first time watching Pats in Franklin. Comedy gold. While my Patriots disappointed me yesterday, the season is still young enough where we can hopefully use this bye week to rest up, get healthier and stronger. Seasons are marathons, not sprints. We enjoyed watching the game with our buddies, Patriot buddies Lou and Jess with adorable girls, and our non Patriot fan buddies. Packer Fan Patrick suddenly became a diehard Tennessee Titan fan, coincidentally after my Pats beat his Packers last week. LOL.
I always cringe whenever I see dollar bills tapped onto ceilings at bars and restaurants. They just started a campaign to do this, which I usually avoid due to my public humiliation. Since it was for my friends at Father John's Animal House who do my Adopt A Pet Of The Week with me every Thursday at 3:45, I had to cave and do it. Awesome Girlfriend Megan and I both failed at getting our dollar bills to stick to the ceiling for 5 minutes. They kept bouncing back down at us nonstop. As expected, Lou and Jess's youngest cute daughter then stepped up, and got her dollar bill to stick to the ceiling within 3 tries. Once again with this, a kid embarrasses us. We then enjoyed the rest of football fun with Jet Fan Tom, Packer Fan Patriot, Dolphin Fan Marky, Cowboy Bartender Buddy Rachel and more. At one point, all of our Teams were looking bad and everyone was miserable. I couldn't help but wonder why do we continue to do this to ourselves. Ah, the love of football!
I wanted to stay up and support Meg's Cowboys last night, but just didn't have it in me. We have a lot happening this week between our Stuff The Bus radiothon and flipping to Christmas, so it was better for me to rest up. Overall we had a tremendous weekend with fun surprises and fantastic friends. I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Time to start getting ready for next weekend where you help us Stuff The Bus!