In November of 2008, my cousin Mario, and his fiance Pam, had their wedding. So my parents, sister Trista, wife, and I all headed out the the beautiful Phoenix, Arizona for some fun in the sun we never get here in San Diego.
Early Friday morning, 4 of us (parents, Wife, and me) hopped into the PT Cruiser and began the long six hour journey to Phoenix. The night before, Wife and I stayed up late to do laundry and pack which meant that for the first three hours we slept in the back of the car while my father drove. Of course at the 3 hour mark we had arrived in Yuma, AZ. Just in time for some breakfast. We stopped at the Cracker Barrel, as is now customary when driving to Phoenix with my mother, for a hearty breakfast meal. After the heart clogging meal, we crammed ourselves back into the car as I drove the remaining three hours to my Uncle’s house.
Now the plan for the day was to arrive at my Uncle’s place, drop our stuff off at my cousin Mini’s brand new palace, and then head to the Arizona Science center for some free fun (I had someone who worked there leave me some tickets). Of course what happened was only the first two items on the list. We arrived at my Uncle’s house only to leave soon after to help load tables and chairs from the Guadalupe church into a truck to be transported to Mini’s palace. After loading everything, we headed over to Mini’s palace. Mini and her family had just moved in to their brand new 200 bedroom and 205 bath house which was actually affordable in Arizona dollars. This place was huge and we found out it would also be the place for Mario and Pam’s rehearsal dinner. So soon after we arrived and had received our tour, we helped unload the tables and chairs and began the preparations for the dinner.
After we finished getting the palace prepared we napped, showered, and dressed for the evening. Santino, my cousin, arrived with the food, from the Macaroni Grill, that he received at a heavy discount thanks to him being a general manager and the attendees began to eat. We all sat outside on what turned out to be a gorgeous evening (mostly because Wife and I made the outside beautiful with our string lights and candle work). Once I finished with dinner and talked to the adults, I played with my little cousins, of which there are many. They had glow sticks that are more fun than anything in the world. Wife had so much fun with Mini’s boys and the other little cousins she changed her mind and now has her fingers crossed for a boy (hold the phone-this is NOT an announcement-this initiative planned for sometime after 2011). However, they had to go to bed, so all the young people went over to Ramon’s house to play with his Kalashnikov (unloaded of course).
The next morning, Saturday, the plan was now to go out to breakfast with Wife’s cousin, go to the AZ Science Center, and then head off to Mario’s wedding. Of course one of those plans did not happen. Wife’s cousin Grace and her husband Billy picked us up and drove us over to Denny’s for some breakfast. After the obligatory French Toast with eggs and bacon, we headed off to the AZ Mills Mall to do some of that famous mall walking. Of course that required a stop into the mall’s pet shop where you feel horrible until you see how much the dog will cost you. We left the mall after walking the huge circle (the mall is indoors and a big loop which is used in the morning by the elderly to walk around and get exercise, I know this because my Uncle used to do it) and Grace and Billy dropped us back off at the palace. Unfortunately it was too late to head over to the AZ Science Center.
So instead of having lots of fun, we napped for about 10 minutes, showered, dressed, and picked up my sister from Ramon’s place. Then we headed off to the church for some wedding fun. We laughed pretty hard because this was the first time we had seen, and I think the Guadalupe church had seen, so many white people in the church. Normally, the congregation consists of the Guadalupe Hispanic population. We sat in the corner with all of the Bernasconi’s, while Pam’s family took up most of the church. The Mariachi band attempted to sing and play music and for that I say good job. I know that the highlight of the wedding should be the actual marriage, but in all reality most of us were impressed when my uncle, a deacon, kept the wedding portion short, not his normal 45 minutes, and not too much about farm workers. After the beautiful wedding we waited in the receiving line to congratulate the newly married couple. Then we waited around trying to get directions from someone on how to get to the reception.
Upon arrival at the reception site my father decided it was time to hit up the bar before everyone else did. He picked up a few red and white wines along with some beer. Most of it was to share with our family friends, Sister Alyce and Debbie, whose car unfortunately broke down in El Centro where they had the honor of spending the night and ripping a phone out of the wall! People began showing up and being disturbed out by the creepy security guard who asked to see everyone’s ID. I am guessing they have had problems in the past but come on, it was a wedding reception. Sister Alyce and Debbie finally arrived in their rental car and my dad, the gentleman that he is, attempted to park their car while running over my cousin, Santino. Unfortunately, Santino quickly jumped out of the way. The bride and groom finally showed up and the festivities began. Food, drinks, laughing, and dancing. Mostly the laughing at me dancing. However, as the night wore on, people left and so did the bride and groom and all the young people once again headed to my cousin Ramon’s house for the after party.
On Sunday morning, everyone staying at Mini’s palace left without telling us, so we awoke to an empty house. Luckily my parents came to pick us up and take us to the morning after party for some menudo. Actually, we did not eat any of the menudo but my cousins certainly did. We hung out for a while and then headed back to the highway for the drive home. Halfway home we stopped in Yuma for some food at the Cracker Barrel where my mother, Sister Alyce, and Debbie spent their time shopping in the gift store and Wife got to pick out a Christmas ornament to commemorate the occasion. After the early dinner, Wife took over the drive and thank god she did and I did not have too. On the way home we encountered high winds, sand storms, and rain. I am glad I took the second part of the drive out. Once home after the drive, we thanked our house sitter for her work and headed off to bed.
It only took me 2 months to edit this video so I hope you enjoy it: