1. My love of Bed and Breakfasts was confirmed once again. If anyone ever has to go to Springfield - especially those of you who keep kosher/are shomer shabbat - I highly recommend Lathrop House and its very charming innkeeper. Breakfast is continental, so you can wake up when you want. The house was beautiful and our room was charming and comfortable. It's also filled with Diana's professional photographs, which is what she really does. And she got me soy milk when I asked for it.
2. All that notwithstanding, there are also cats. And I am allergic to cats. This is a problem, but less than you'd think. I tripled my Zyrtec dosage and we kept the cats out of the room and the windows to the room wide open. On a cool, stormy weekend, that last was glorious. I don't know if I've slept better. I guess I just like windy rooms. By Sunday morning, I don't think there was significant cat dander left in the room, and I was acclimated enough that I was comfortable eating breakfast.
3. jonbaker called the local synagogue about hospitality. Turns out that there would be an invitation only lunch for the community that week, but the secretary herself offered dinner. Which we took, and it was lovely. And we found we knew people in common. We simply brought our own food for lunch, and Diana put out paper and plastic for us so we could eat in the dining room. We also found out the synagogue was in the middle of a somewhat political storm because the community is shrinking.
4. The lunch was to celebrate the aufruf of the son of prominent members. (Bridegrooms get called to the Torah before their wedding as a way to share this with the community.) They also sponsored the Third Meal, which we got to share. And met other people. The bride and her parents stayed in the third floor of the B&B, but we didn't meet them until they were packing up to leave - to go to a wedding in Long Island. Because Labor Day Weekend=wedding season. Right, blueraccoon?
5. At the point we met that family on Saturday night, we were also leaving to go to Northampton. Mitchell was having a dinner for the out-of-town people, but as it was scheduled to begin before the end of Shabbat and it was not kosher, we weren't expecting to go. Except that when we called after Shabbat, it turned out that the service was very slow and we'd probably get there in time for dessert. And they reiterated the invitation for me to join Jocelyn and her friends from Florida on a bachlorette bar crawl.
6. We decided to go for it, and got there in time to refuse various cheesecakes but accept some coffee, and to greet the relatives and friends we knew and those we didn't. Eventually, Mitchell left in the company of the younger men (his high school friends and the men attached to Jocelyn's crowd), Jonathan left with our cousin Jeremy and his wife Rabbi Paulette and I went with Jocelyn and her friends. This turned out to be a mistake.
Okay, I'm going to try to not seem judgemental, but I might not succeed, and I apologize in advance. And I am going to say right now that these are very, very sweet, lovely women who were nothing but nice to me, even going to great lengths to make sure I had a seat. But this was not the scene for a staid middle aged woman who has never, EVER been drunk and was not going to be drinking anyway, what with driving and all.
We went to a martini bar across the street from the restaurant. It's called the Tunnel Bar because it's built into an old railway tunnel, and thus is long and narrow. It's also furnished with overstuffed arm chairs. I picked up the first round of drinks, figuring that it was my job as sister-in-law - and no, I didn't mind my thus very expensive Diet Coke. And it was less than I'd thought, so fine. Some got martinis, some got Jack and Cola (desecration of good Jack Daniels, but hey) and the pregnant friends got water. And we found a nest of chairs and they got another for me, and then it began with gag gifts.
And yeah, I know what I write, and Jocelyn enjoyed it, so...but the large phallic drink container was bad. And then there was the chocolate body paint and glitter. And then they gave instructions on how to use it.
Mitchell has been my brother-in-law for fifteen years. I've known him since he was in college. He's all but my little brother. So - major discomfort level there.
And then came truth or dare. And the dare was for Jocelyn to paint and glitter herself and get a random guy to lick it off. And she sounded uncomfortable and I was very uncomfortable, which one girl noticed. I said I was on Jocelyn's side and I was reassured that they would stop if she protested, and that they'd all been through this and it was all cool.
And after a couple of shots, she stopped protesting. And while they started with painting her hands, they also did her chest. And the guys were really enjoying it. And, yes, that bothered more than a little. In fact, a great deal.
And then they decided to go to a different bar, and I took that as a reasonable time to leave. I got directions to the motel, where Jonathan was sitting in the lobby with Jeremy and Paulette (and their baby Harry) sipping Laphroig. Which I happily took a tiny sip of - a tad peaty, but so smoooooth. And we chatted for a bit and then we went home.
Later on, we found out that Mitchell was in the next bar, where he was waiting for his second beer to wear off so he could drive back. He hadn't wanted the second beer, but the other guys (not his own friends) had forced it on him. I'm not sure how. And the girls showed up, and they kept up with the painting thing. Yeah - right in front of her husband-to-be. Great judgement. He wasn't happy at the girls.
And his friend Josh? Wanted to beat up the guys taking advantage of it.
And I really, really, REALLY do not understand this whole thing. It's not like she was some kid - she's 33, a world traveler and given her four year old, I'd say the wild oats have been reaped. I'm also not clear on why they forced another drink on Mitchell. So I know I made the right decision to leave when I did, and Jonathan is equally glad he never caught up with the other guys. I'm just not cut out for bachlorette parties. (I am also glad I decided to get the first round since it turned out I'd never get another chance.)
As I said. Staid middle-aged lady. I can live with that.