Dog Days of Summer 2015

24 Sep


It’s been a busy summer here at RLA headquarters, but for whatever reason* we haven’t been posting lately. We’ve been doing the same kinds of things we usually post about, traveling for a wedding, going to Schlitterbahn, drafting fantasy football teams together, getting surgery and flying to Kansas to visit Caitlin’s side of the family. But because of a mix of a lack of pictures, no “we gotta write about this” stories from our travels** and generally being busy, the only blue and pink we’ve been writing in have been a last round of wedding thank you cards. But after two of my oldest friends and RLA’s most dedicated readers, Jonathan and Danny, both asked when they’d get a new post on Tuesday morning***, I decided to wrap up the last couple posts in a quick hit mega post.

*Because it’s been TOO busy! I’ve been working 12 hour days and we’ve been on what feels like a billion flights. No downtime. But, we’re glad to have been out, livin’ life.

**I personally disagree. I mean, nobody got a tattoo or met a billionaire or anything, but we have some pretty great stories. See for yourself!

***Thanks for caring, guys:)

genesLet’s go back to the last day of July, when my favorite comedy movie (Wet Hot American Summer) came back to life as a TV show and our friends held a screening in their backyard to celebrate. Both Rob and Jim dressed as Gene, Lisa dressed like Beth and I grabbed enough free WHAS hats and shirts to give to anyone who wanted them. A talent show was planned, but watching all 8 episodes in one night took precedent. We started with about 25 of us, but by 2 am only Rob and I were still awake and watching the final scene. It was as glorious of a series as I could have hoped. I don’t know if we’re allowed to post this on the interwebs, so I’ll try to be discrete by not naming the party of interest, but far more important to me on this date was that we learned that two of our besties were HAVING A BABY!!!!!!! And I 100% called it was a girl so there. This day will live in my mind and heart forever because of this news. Everyone has babies. It’s not every day Wet Hot comes back. I kid, I kid. Very excited for the future Pistol Shrimp

zack surgery

The next weekend I had surgery to take the screws out of my foot. Despite a painful failed attempt to get in my IV, I was in high spirits beforehand* and a riot afterwards. Caitlin started recording me soon after I came to. The video speaks for itself.

*And looking very stereotypically Granny, I might add.

Top 5 moments of the video in no order:

  1. My screeewwwwwws!
  2. Faja in law.
  3. Looks like we maaaaaade it! How do I go back? We gotta go back, Jack!
  4. You have all the pain in your foot? Yeahhhhhhhh. Pain meds kickin’ in, pain meds kickin’ in.
  5. Wind chiiiiiiiiimes. I agree with this list except that I’d replace #5 with the lie – Zack: “Your dads promised me he’d make…[mumbles incoherently].” Caitlin: “Really?!?” Zack: “NoIjustmadethatup. But he will. He loves me!”


We had to delay our annual trip to Schlitterbahn a couple weeks to let my foot heal, and I was still in a foot brace inside my water shoes, but we went even harder this year than last year. We got ourselves a hotel on site and got two days in the park*. The first day we took it super easy, just going around and around in the lazy river for a couple hours** before retreating to our room for a night of pizza in the eating bed*** and hotel TV and Buccees snacks. Day two we got there before the park even opened thanks to our special wristbands and conquered the “Wolf Pack” once again. Caitlin didn’t quite have “Black Knight” or “Master Blaster” in her****, so I rode those real quick before the lines got insane. Then we spent the day going around and around on “The Falls” and being in paradise. It was totally worth the deep sunburn and bad pizza*****.

*Truly living the dream.

**If that. We found out (too late) that on Friday, the parks close pretty early and not all sections are even open.

***Since we were originally anticipating another couple joining us, we had two beds, so one was for eating and the other for sleeping, as God intended.

****As much as I tried to muster some Master Blaster, I think it would have been too much for my weak scaredy-cat heart.

*****Seriously. Schlitterbahn forever every year!!!!


A couple weeks later we were off to Chicago for a variety of reasons. We came for Jess’ wedding, but of course we were going to see some friends and family while there. We got in Thursday night and headed to the incredible condo one of my oldest and best friends Jonathan bought last year*. We had a beer on his gorgeous roof and hung with his dog Jackson and wife Pam before making an obligatory outing for Lou Malnati’s pizza. They made the pro move suggestion of getting butter crust and crumble-y sausage** and it was the best. Full of pizza, we headed back to their place to unwind before resting up for a big next day.

*Seriously, their place was GORGEOUS. The rooftop views! The beautiful out-of-a-magazine-but-still-cozy furnishings! I was v. jealous, but hopeful that a few years into married life, Zack and I could also achieve this level of swag.

**Not on mine, duh.

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After some amazing coffee Jon brewed up that was so good I didn’t need my usual cream or sugar, we headed to The Bongo Room for pancakes that Caitlin called the best she’s ever had*. Mine were just as great.

*Yep. Just like Drake.

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We did a little window shopping, Caitlin grabbed an A Tribe Called Quest vinyl* and a random, heavily recommended compilation album at Reckless Records and we grabbed a rental car and headed to Bloomingdale, IL for Jess’ wedding.

*We can just include this vinyl into my Drake love song to my pancakes. It was a winning morning, is what I’m saying.

weddingjessAfter a fake eyelash fiasco*, we were ready just in time to get a seat before the wedding began. It was a lovely ceremony that incorporated a lot of sweet readings from the wedding party, most of whom I knew from going to high school and college with Jess. After the ceremony we ducked inside to the bar for a cocktail hour and to catch up with old friends for me and new friends for Caitlin.

*Self-adhesive, why you gotta suck?

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 3.09.53 PMWe met Jess’ work friends and got to spend a lot of time with my old friend Linda, who Caitlin really hit it off with*. We danced a lot and enjoyed celebrating with everyone and for once Caitlin was the drunker** one at a wedding and wanted to stay later than I did, as my foot was flaring up.

*For Linda. 

**I also really, really wanted ice cream, apparently. At midnight.


The next day we headed into the city to have a fantasy draft with my dad, cousins and Jordy, with more cousins and friends online. It was a good mid-day activity and good to see the league in person for the first time since 8/10 of us got together at the wedding. There was a lot of silliness, good natured ribbing and sandwiches and another Lou Malnati’s consumption at the draft. Gotta love having a fantasy league with your wife, dad, best man, groomsman, maid of honor, three cousins and Matt. Thanks for hosting, Matt!! I was trying to make a joke about Matt Silver being the random guy in the league, but yes, thank you Matt Mishkin for hosting. Your place is the exact opposite of Walton’s, but you’re fresh out of college, so that’s how it’s supposed to be. Great location, though.

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Next up, we headed to Kansas to see my relatives who were not able to make it to the wedding (and one who did!) On Friday night when we got into Leavenworth (a little town known for it’s humongous military prison — and that has also been run in one way or another by both my Grandpa and Aunt Laura at various times), we hit our hotel first and were thrilled that we’d been treated to surprise champagne and chocolates! My Aunt Laura is one of the most thoughtful people on this planet*, so I called her immediately to thank her.

*Or any planet. She’s the woman who will bustle your dress at your wedding, go out of her way to be kind to everyone and extend herself fully for all family and friends. No wonder she was the mayor of Leavenworth. 


Then it was off to see if we’d get lucky enough for rush tickets to a Dinner Theatre performance of The Addams Family, which my cousin Anthony was performing in! We did get lucky* — so lucky, in fact, that our waiter was kind enough to look the other way while we helped ourselves to the buffet, which isn’t normally included in rush tickets. I was SO thankful because we’d only had bagels that morning and were famished.

*Thanks to our rental car being given to us with 1/5 of a tank of gas and one wrong turn, we arrived at the theater 20 minutes later than the time we were told we needed to be there for rush tickets. We scurried up to the box office only to find out there were no tickets. “What about a ticket with no dinner?” “Oh, yeah. I think we have two rush tickets left.” Yes. Those. Please. Thank you. It was so us to get the last two seats in the theater.


After my cousin’s awesome performance in the really cute* play, we met up with him and his sister/my other cousin Aubrey for our first drinks-as-adults together. It was so much fun to catch up with these two, because they are so talented, driven and bright! We talked about movies and music and the family and pretty much whatever we felt like until wayyyy too early in the morning. When we were being serenaded by a long-haired patron** who was sort of accidentally leaning into Aubrey, it was time to go.

*It’s not your grandma’s Adams Family. This one had references to “What The Fox Say” and your 2014 AL champion Kansas City Royals. And Fester falls in love with the moon. It was quite charming and, even though Caitlin makes fun of me for saying it, I enjoyed it more than seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. I may be the only person who feels that way.

**It was a pretty cool bar with a rooftop that had fire pits. Once we got too chilly (It was about 40 degrees colder than we’re used to in Austin) we went to the first floor where a couple dudes were playing acoustic guitars and singing. A couple other dudes by the bar also sing at that bar and decided to sing their own song in between the bands songs. And they sang them at Caitlin and Aubrey. It was pretty funny, but it was also 1:30 am and we’d been at work at 6 a.m. that morning, so it was time to go. I loved hanging with Anthony and Aubrey though, they’re such smart, interesting siblings and it was a treat to finally meet more of Caitlin’s extended family.


The next morning, we headed to brunch at the house of Aunt Laura/Uncle Tony/Aubrey/Anthony, and my Grandma and cousin Briana. The spread was epic – muffins and quiche and yogurt and fruit and mimosas* and pastries and just about everything you might be hungry for. We ate and reminisced about high school and family, and then Zack and I went with Grandma** to see her adorable new house and spend some quality time altogether for a few hours. Then we hit up some BBQ place in Kansas City for dinner because Zack really wanted to try Kansas BBQ (they had veggies for me, never fear) and then we went back*** to my Aunt Laura’s for a nightcap. It was just the perfect visit, except too short — I have promised myself to be better about keeping in touch with my family. Especially when I see how close-knit Zack’s family is, I know that is what I want, too.

*Caitlin and her cousins needed some water and a hair of the dog morning cocktail, but I was the DD the night before so I was feeling great.

**Truly wonderful to spend some great time with Caitlin’s grandma, whom I’d never met. She’s such a lively, wise woman and we had some great conversations.

***One thorn in the side of an otherwise great day was I got a speeding ticket for going 43 in a 30 a few blocks from Aunt Laura’s house and spent $305 to get it moved from a moving to non-moving violation. 


Last week was a not-so-fun week for me. It was a week I’d been dreading since 2012 when the dentist told me I needed my wisdom teeth removed ASAP (sorry, dentist) — I finally had the surgery. I was incredibly anxious leading up to the thing, so much so that I started crying in the surgeon’s office, shortly before he came into the room and met me for the first time. He seemed taken aback at first, but then he calmed me down and we had some nice banter* and he made me laugh. I learned a few things from my surgery: 1, getting an IV is uncomfortable! I’m so used to getting shots that I guess I figured it’d be a similar experience — a poke and then you stop feeling it (Zack don’t make a joke**) — but you really just feel this funky needle poking into you until you fall asleep. This made me quite worried, but the drugs were too fast-acting for me to say anything*** and I was out.

*He asked her about accidentally clicking a pop-up ad on his phone and wondered if he was vulnerable to identity theft and the change of topic calmed her down well. 

**Fine, I’ll save the joke until the next footnote.

***Thanks, Bill Cosby. She actually did say one thing. They asked if she could feel the drugs kicking in and she said “Definitttteeelllllyy” before promptly passing out as I tip toed out of the room.

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The next thing I remembered was that all of the various heart and body monitors they’d hooked up to me were already gone and I was being slowly stood up to hobble to a recovery room and meet up with Zack. I was put in a dark corner of this dark room, and as I came to all I could think was, “Whyyyyy did they put me next to the guy puking his guts out*?!” Not pleasant, but luckily (though I felt nauseous for like 24 hours after) I did not follow suit. Honestly, I acted pretty boring during my drugged-up ness. Just quiet. Although I did try to insist that we go to Toy Joy on the way home from surgery**. Instead, Zack dropped me at home with a Frosty, I think, and then went to go get my meds. 6 days later, and I still have quite a bit of pain but I’ve graduated from eating only ice cream/pudding/applesauce/jello to eating mashed potatoes and mac n cheese and even tortellini. I’m getting there**.

*I tried to cover the sound of puke boy by singing Caitlin the “Price is Right” theme song, but it’s hard to cover up puke boy.

**She wanted to get a stuffed animal. She also spelled out Wendy’s in a poor man’s sign language to indicate she wanted a frosty and made a C so I knew to get chocolate. 

***Meanwhile, 6.5 months after breaking my foot for the second time, I’m still struggling with walking more than two blocks as I deal with nerve damage. But we’re getting there. Together. 


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