Well this was definitely a weekend we'll never forget. My parents, Madre and Padre, and sister Zannie visited me this weekend! Their ultimate destination was a baby shower for future stepdaughter Cait that Madre and Zannie went to. Padre promised he would visit if I would "bring him somewhere fun." LOL. I know he was going to visit me regardless, but it didn't take me very long at all to come up with my game plan of where to take him.
Friday night my parents and sister drove from New England to Jersey. Due to traffic, it took them 5 hours instead of the best case scenario 4 hours. I always feel awful when they have to battle traffic on top of the tough drive that wears everyone down. I'm so grateful when they make the Epic drive down to visit me. This one was a different family visit. They visited me Memorial Day Weekend, and already came back this past weekend.
During a normal visit, I reach out to many of my wonderful friends so they can see my amazing family. It's never lost on me how I'm the luckiest guy ever to have my parents and sister who are all so amazing. Quite often when things are normal we'll have 30-50 of us at Kite's / Tiki Bar. This time I honestly didn't reach out to many friends because there was too much unknown. You never know how long a baby shower might run, and I didn't want to commit to time frames. On top of that, my family had to work today (Monday,) so they had to leave Sunday. After getting here in Jersey Friday night, and having to leave Sunday morning, add in a baby shower during Saturday day, this didn't give me much of a window to give friends. All good though, I'll definitely try to have my family visit me either early August or Labor Day Weekend. During normal years, I usually get my family to visit Memorial Day, Labor Day, and President's Day Weekend. They joked a few years ago that I created the President's Day Holiday to scam them into visiting me in Jersey, but then when they saw how cool it was to watch skiers from my deck on one of the biggest ski weekends all year, they got it for sure.
Due to the rainy forecast, I knew grilling with my electric grill on the deck wasn't going to be an option. I ordered Pizza Pro's for my family. We were having fun relaxing on my deck. It was entertaining where I was sitting down, and my family was all standing because they had been sitting down in the car for 5 straight hours. God bless them. They eventually did sit down and relax lol.
As we relaxed more enjoying some ice cold beverages, (Zannie - White Claw Ruby Grapefruit, Madre - Pinot Grigio white wine, Padre + Me IPA's,) all of the sudden we heard rain start. Originally Elsa was supposed to hit us Friday night, it got moved up where it poured on us Friday morning instead. Still too wet to grill. Now this was a new random thunderstorm that was hitting us.
Is it me, or have we had chances of thunderstorms, that often have hit us, like every single day this summer? It's like the year of the freakin thunderstorm.
My deck has a deck above it with my upstairs neighbors. If I owned as opposed to renting, I would get a nice cover for the roof of my deck. In the meantime, my deck gets drenched from rain. There's coverage, but tons of leakage. The fun part is, you can't tell ahead of time which parts will drip the most water. I always joked with my family that it's almost like being water boarded. Friday night they then started to agree! We enjoyed the beautiful view on my deck and then I brought out an umbrella for Madre. It was comedy gold. We kept moving our chairs on my deck to potentially dryer spots. At first I changed from shorts to jammy pants because water kept dropping on my legs. Then water kept dropping on my shirt. I switched to a long sleeve shirt. I then put on a baseball cap as well to help keep dry. All while we helped Madre hold up her umbrella, I coached Madre telling her to keep the umbrella resting on the armchair of the seat so she didn't have to hold it. We laughed a ton Friday night while we were battling the rain elements.
Saturday morning, let's get ready to rumble. I had Madre and Zannie follow us to The Irish Cottage Inn. This is where we picked up a tray of chicken for the baby shower. Zannie drove and Madre copiloted. They went left on 23 to go to the baby shower and hour away, and I took Padre right. I knew where I wanted to take him.
Saturday we had a great time going to Brown Barn Farm's Orange County Distillery. Even though they have an amazing distillery with tons of yummy mixed drinks, Padre and I knew we had a long day ahead. Lots of fun places to go to for sure! We did a beer, where I did a Sloops Brewery Juicy beer, Padre had a different kind of beer. We loved having our beer outside.
Padre got bottles of Whiskey to go for him and some of our friends back home. Padre has been putting up with my Epic Weekend In Pictures, he actually came up with the idea of putting all the bottles together in a horse shoe shape for a better picture. I couldn't believe even Padre who's not on social media, doesn't have a smartphone, came up with ideas on how to make my Weekend In Pictures better.
We then did lunch at The Irish Cottage in Franklin. We had chicken tenders mixed in both buffalo and siracha sauce, and they brought a really good heat! Friends around us thanked us for clearing their sinuses. They joked "eh, like father like son." We had a great time. Then, our friends were leaving to go to our friend Ed Zinck's 70th birthday extravaganza party. Theresa and Ed threw a really awesome freakin party at the Franklin Firefighter's Pavilion. I didn't even know this place existed! My first time there was a great time. Padre and I did a beer there and had so much fun seeing our friends. Padre joked "okay, so we are all leaving with our friends at The Cottage, to go have a beer with our friends at The Cottage at another place?" Well basically, more or less. The Franklin Pavilion was absolutely beautiful, wow. I highly recommend that spot for a party.
Saturday night we got Madre and Zannie back after the baby shower. They had a great time (well to be fair I think as great a time anyone can have at a baby shower.) We enjoyed an absolutely gorgeous sunset night at Moonshine Tiki Bar. We saw some of our besties and had a great time. After an hour or so, we realized we could have an equally fun time just relaxing on my deck. We definitely made the most of the gorgeous weather.
Sunday morning Awesome Girlfriend Megan came over to spend some time with my family which was nice. We then went to our goodbye lunch at The Cottage in Franklin. My Dad and I honestly did the same exact chicken tenders in hot sauce again. Owner friend Damian, joked that I should have a toy with my chicken nuggets as if I was eating a Happy Meal. He said "what are you 6 years old, Steve Allan?" LOL. In New England boneless buffalo wings are everywhere nonstop. Here I get made fun of and called 6, all good lol.
Sunday after lunch, my family had to leave to return to New England. Almost 8 years in, I cry every single time either I leave Mansfield, Ma or they leave here in Vernon, New Jersey. It's not lost on me how lucky I am to have my amazing family, friends and more.
Padre helped me come up with the plan. Smoke a nice cigar on my deck while they're driving back to New England. I'm always on edge until I know they're home safe. I smoked a cigar, relaxed, and then watched my The Departed movie. That movie always makes me feel at home, love the local Boston landmarks and story line.
Then Meg gave me the idea to watch Batman Begins, so I basically went to sleep to that. Great times.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Epic Weekend In Pictures. I hope you had a wonderful weekend too. Time to start planning next weekend!