Sorry for the delay between updates, but if I had a second to post I would have. My entire week as been jam packed. In fact, I think I need a weekend to re-cooperate from my weekend.
I worked late nearly every day this week in preparation for Friday, because that was the day when Addam’s family came into town. I can’t believe it, but it’s been nearly a year since Addam and I have seen everyone. I know that Steve and Judy follow this blog, and so I need to take a moment to really express how much it meant to both of us that not only his parents, but his Uncle Dave, made the trip all the way from Ohio to Miami to spend the weekend with us. It’s hard packing up everything and moving to a new city, but having them around definitely made it feel like home.
Steve, Judy and Dave got in around 5:45 or 6 Friday night and picked me up from my office around 7. They got a rental car, which was amazing, because there would have been no way we could have done all we had planned without it. I showed them around my office and introduced them to Yudi, who was the only one there besides me, and then we hit the road to fight the Miami traffic.
Everyone was starving, so we passed up my apartment for the Red Light, which was surprisingly…not great. Addam had suggested that I take the fam there, and it seemed like an awesome choice because we’ve both wanted to check it out for so long.
It’s this cute little restaurant overlooking a river, right by Biscayne Boulevard, but it was kind of chilly and all they had available was outside dining. There were heat lamps, but apparently if you touch them they reset themselves and turn off for about 45 minutes. After a couple of drinks it didn’t seem so cold, but it took awhile to get them! Dave practically had his meal by the time he got a beer.
But, the food was amazing. I had the coconut rice and pink lentils and could probably eat it every day of my life. Steve’s burger was about three inches thick, and Dave shared his home fries, which were a bit greasy but still pretty tasty. When discussing my weekend with Zach in the office today, I found out that I should have ordered the grilled cheese, which, along with shrimp, is kind of their specialty. Next time. And without Dave. (He was such a good time, but he definitely did not have one at the Red Light).
From the Red Light we all went on to Smuckers. (Ok, I thought it was called Smuckers, but I can’t Google it. It was a bar halfway between Miami and Miami Beach, right on the water). It was Dave’s idea, and I’m still not entirely sure how he found the place given that he’s never been to the city. Either way, he took us straight there, and it was fabulous.
We had a few after dinner drinks and caught up. I wish Addam could have been there, because I know he would have loved it, but he’s a cook. If he wanted the weekend off, he had to work Friday night. We all missed him, but I think everyone had a good time.
From there we all headed back to the apartment. I showed them the place, which Steve likes more than our Chicago apartment, and they headed to their hotel, which was about two blocks away. It was a late night, but we had an early morning. I think I was asleep before Addam even walked in the door.
We got up early on Saturday. I had a momentary lapse of judgment and assumed that Addam would want to get up at the crack of dawn to see everyone even though he didn’t get off until about 1 a.m. Whoopsie. I told everyone to be there by 9 a.m. and was the last one out of bed.
Shortly after everyone got there, Addam and his parents headed to PetSmart to pick up flea medication and by the grocery store to get some more food for the weekend. (And yes, ok, yes. The fleas came back. You get what you pay for, and Sentry just did not cut it. As a former PetSmarter and dog trainer myself, I knew that the stuff wouldn’t work, but it was our only option, and I had to try. I can now, however, happily report that the K-9 Advantix worked like a charm. My girl is FINALLY bug free and should be for at least four months, when we’ll have to buy more medication. Addam applied the drops this morning and said the fleas were literally jumping off her.)
While everyone was gone, Dave and I planned the day and watched some Soul Train. Yes, I said Soul Train, and no, it was not a typo. BUT, if I told you how many times doing the “lasso” came in handy over the weekend, you’d totally understand why it was a good choice.
Dave and I decided on a day at the Miccosukee Casino and South Beach. Steve and Judy had to meet one of Steve’s former co-workers for lunch, so it was just Addam, Dave and me at Miccosukee.
It was also really fun. The casino was on an Indian reservation, and to get there we passed a string of iguanas, turtles and alligators, sunning themselves by a small river that ran by the road. Judy was consumed with the critters, and I have to admit that I squealed a bit upon seeing my first live gator.
Addam’s parents left as soon as we got there, but Dave, Addam and I got to enjoy a few hours of gambling. Ok, ok, Addam and I spent a total of $15 and didn’t play anything but slots and video poker, but it was so much fun just being there! I’ve always wanted to go to a casino, but the people watching was more entertaining than the games. I couldn’t believe the number of people throwing $20, $50, even $100 bills into the machines, only to go through it all in about 2 minutes. A lot of people seemed to be having a great time, but the majority seemed kind of lonely. It made me feel very fortunate that I was there with Addam.
We all ate lunch at the casino, and as I slept through breakfast, I was starving! They had about 17 restaurants in the building, but we opted for the buffet. I maxed out on salad and cream of broccoli soup while the boys fueled up on prime rib and lasagna. Dave MADE me try this vegetarian tamale, which was probably one of the sickest things I’ve ever had. Consistency is a big factor in how much I enjoy what I eat, and slimy/mushy does not work for me. Dave got a good laugh out of it though, so I guess it was worth it.
After a few more hours of gambling, Steve and Judy were back from lunch and ready to head on out to South Beach. I got Judy and I a couple of cortaditos, and we were on our way.
Addam and I have been to South Beach a few times now, but it was so much fun to be able to show it to his family. The beach was cool, so no one wanted to go swimming, but we spent some time taking photos and walking up and down the shore. It was near high tide and the water was beautiful.
After it got dark we all walked around South Beach, soaking in the sites. With Art Basel going on, everything was pretty packed, which was kind of a good thing. It made it a bit harder to get around, but the crowds really made it feel like Miami.
After awhile of walking, we settled into The Clevelander. (It figures, right? Addam’s entire family is from Ohio, here for a Browns game, and we go to The Clevelander). We got a table and settled into what was probably the best night I’ve had in Miami yet.
At the bar we all ordered a couple of drinks and a brick pizza, topped with all sorts of veggies. It may not have been the guys top choice (they’re all meat-eaters), but I don’t think anyone turned down a slice. There was a live band playing, so Addam and I spent a little bit of time dancing and introducing ourselves to the craziest people we could possibly find. I don’t know what it was that made this night stand out, but I think I was just happy to have family around me.
We headed home after The Clevelander, and I think I poured myself into bed. I was completely exhausted.
But the next morning the entire family was at our apartment, bright and early, and ready for a full day of tailgating. We loaded up the rental, ran by the grocery store and headed to the Dolphins v. Browns game.
I’ll admit, I’ve always kind of dogged Addam for liking the Browns, just like he’s always got at me for liking the Bucs. I’ve always rooted for the team, because that’s who he was for, but I was never very invested. Well, the Dave experience is enough to make anyone a die-hard. My voice has been raspy all afternoon from shouting so much.
First off, not being a big sports fan, I’ve never tailgated. Little did I know, I had NO IDEA what I was missing. Between the veggie turkey burger, the fresh chips and salsa and the Pineapple Smirnoff Ice, I could have spent the entire day in the parking lot.
There were actually a lot more Browns fans in attendance than I expected. I thought we were going to be kicked at and spit on, but I’d say that at least 15 or 20 percent of the crowd were Brownies, and we were parked right next to a big group of them. Dave spent the morning teaching me all the chants I needed to know to prepare me for battle and covering me in my warpaint, aka a hat and jersey.
The game started at 1 p.m., so after a few hours of chilling and grilling we headed into the stadium, and wowza, was it close. Honestly, the game really came down to a few field goals.
In the second quarter the score was 3 to 0, but a 60-yard field goal by the Dolphins tied up the game. (Nope, not a typo. The dude actually kicked the ball that far. I wasn’t for him, but I gotta give credit where it’s due). Both teams scored touchdowns, but in the end one kick separated the winners from the losers. The Browns brought it home, and we all celebrated like it was the Superbowl. Ok…not quite, but close…Dave was particularly excited as we made our way out through a string of high fives and “woof woof”s.
After a few pretzels in the parking lot, we headed to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. We ended up switching tables a couple of times, but that just seemed to make things more fun. (We were all seated inside, but Judy wanted to sit outside to look at the bay and listen to the live music playing in the bar across the street. Once we got out there it was way to cold, and everyone was uncomfortable, so we moved back to our original seat).
The food was amazing, though! I planned on going with a healthy option, but I can’t resist Hard Rock mashed potatoes and twisted mac. Carb-central but so, so, so good! I didn’t make it too far on the mac, but Addam didn’t have a hard time helping himself to my left overs.
After dinner we took Judy back to her hotel, headed to the apartment and settled into the Steelers v. Jets game. Steve and Dave needed to watch for a fantasy football competition, even though none of us really like either of the teams. As a newly-converted Browns fan, I’m obligated to be against the Steelers. (Sorry Heather…I know it’s you’re team. Something tells me we’ll make it work though .)
The family had an early flight, so when Steve and Dave left we had to say our final goodbyes. The guys joked that they’d see each other in a year, but I really hope not. Seeing everyone again made me realize how much I’ve missed them all. To quote Jim Brown, “The parents are the key.”
The good thing is, unless the family plans on missing the wedding (and I hope they don’t), we should see everyone again in August. As an early Christmas present Addam’s parents are helping us with the down payment we need to reserve our location on Key Biscayne. Emily and Ryan will be here on Friday (YAY!), and we’re all checking out the spots they have open on Saturday. I called today and our date, knock on wood, is still available, so I really hope we can get things set in stone. I can’t wait to send out our save the dates!
But it’s getting late, and tomorrow is an early production day, so I’m calling it a night. I have to make sure to get plenty of sleep so I’m nice and rested for my Emily Ann <3.
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” — Jane Howard, writer, actress, model.