Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Florida weekend - Saturday

We got up late on Saturday morning and went to look for breakfast/brunch food. Our hotel was in Cape Coral, across the river from Fort Myers, and there was a Perkins restaurant in the parking lot next to the hotel. But I was supposed to eat breakfast at that Perkins on Sunday morning with the other groomsmen, so we tried to find someplace else. The hotel guidebook listed a decent-sounding restaurant just down the street from the hotel, but when we drove around we couldn't find it. Apparently the guidebook was out of date, as the restaurant appeared to be under new management, a new name, and not open for breakfast. So we ended up back at Perkins after all. I had buttermilk pancakes and sausage, and Liz had biscuits & gravy, hash browns, bacon and eggs (and she gave me her eggs). The best thing was that they brought an entire pot of coffee for me, so I did my best to drink most of it.

We had a few more hours to kill before the non-rehearsal dinner at 4:30 (we got the early bird special!) so we explored Cape Coral by car. That took about half an hour and proved to be exceedingly dull. We saw many model homes, houses under construction, and strip malls, but nothing worth stopping the car for. Our backup boredom-relief plan was to go shopping at the Bell Tower complex across the highway from the restaurant in Fort Myers, so we went over there much earlier than we'd planned. As usually happens, Liz found many things she could buy, but there wasn't much for guys to look at. She did find a few bargains, and we tried out the world's best massage chair at Brookstone (only $3500, but it talks to you! And modifies its massage for your body!).

The non-rehearsal dinner was at Carrabbas, an Italian restaurant. The food was far superior to what the Olive Garden had to offer. We had fried mozzarella, chicken & cheese cannelloni, and creme brulee, and of course the scintillating conversation and general mayhem that characterizes any gathering of the "five guys from a house" group and their families. Maybe it was his past life as a waiter and bartender, or that it was his party, but James was working the room, making sure everyone enjoyed the food and the hospitality.

After dinner we went back to the hotel and changed clothes for the next activity: roller skating. OK, I didn't change clothes, since I wasn't going to skate, but Liz did. The roller rink was, like Liz expected, a giant warehouse-like building behind the strip malls and plazas of US 41 (the Tamiami highway, as it's the old route between Tampa and Miami). The place looked and sounded like it hadn't changed in twenty years. All of the music was pre-1992, and there were a few people out on the floor who looked and skated like they lived at the roller rink. There were also many more kids skating than I expected, including a number of teenagers that I would have thought had better things to do on a Saturday night. While Liz, James, Jess, and most other members of the wedding party skated and sweated the night away, I hung out in the back with the other wheeled footwear-disinclined. I hadn't seen some of these friends in several years, so I was glad to have time to catch up with them and make fun of the skating crowd with them. We spent about two hours skating and visiting before the rink started to close up. Most people went home at that point, reminding me once again that we're old folks now. But there were a few hardy souls, Liz and I among them, not willing to pack it in at 10:30 PM. So we went to a different Perkins for dessert (or in this case, more dessert and much coffee). The ice cream sundae Liz and I shared was delicious, but by 11:30 we were ready to collapse ourselves. (Where did my energy go? I slept late, didn't exert myself on skates, I just did some light shopping. I really am an old fogey.)

No comments: