I am manic on Saturday morning. To see the amount of food and water I’ve left out, you’d assume we owned a couple of Saint Bernards, instead of a couple of timid housecats.
Larry tells us that he’ll go bring the car around. We gather our bags and make our way down to street level. Outside, there is an enormous crane holding up traffic while it hoists a pallet to the top of a nearby building.
If it were any other weekend, there would be no crane. I curse this stupid, unnecessary, traffic-blocking weekend crane straight to hell.
Click Read more to continue
With the car loaded up, we head downtown towards the Holland Tunnel. Traffic is light on the roads, so Larry is able to keep an average speed of about 90 mph, scaring the crap out of Greg and Alan.
About an hour and a half later, we arrive in Frenchtown to have lunch at the Frenchtown Café. At the table behind us, a young couple is seated. They give the waitress their order, and then go outside for a smoke. While they are outside, a woman with three children comes in and is seated at the same table by a separate waitress.
We rub our hands together and wait for the couple to come back. Will there be a fight? How fast will the table get overturned? We can’t wait.
The two waitresses realize the mistake and have what Larry refers to has an "emergency conference session" behind the counter while they try to figure out a solution. Which one will throw the first slap? The blonde looks bigger, but the brunette seems faster.
Unfortunately, we forget that we’re in sleepy little Frenchtown, so the first couple is merely relocated to a cozy table for two in the window, disappointing a table of five who were expecting an order of drama to go with their club sandwiches and burgers.
As we drive towards the hotel, I see that we are approaching the Raven, which was closed last year.
"Wait a minute..." I say as we get closer.
Larry pulls into their full parking lot and we get out. It’s like seeing a ghost. The place hasn’t changed at all, except for some new red umbrellas by the pool. The music is playing and the liquor is flowing. It’s as if someone tripped over the cord and they just plugged it back in.
Word travels fast around here. The Raven has only been open since Wednesday, yet their hotel rooms are already booked solid for the weekend.
By contrast, the Motel in the Woods, directly across the street, looks abandoned. Larry and David disagree over whether or not the place is open or not. None of us care to find out.
At the Nevermore, we are reminded of the "No Early Check-ins EVEEEERRRR" policy by the frigid bitches at the front desk. I wonder if they keep wire hangers behind the counter.
We leave our luggage in the car and sit on the patio overlooking the pool. A woman who works at the hotel makes the mistake of talking to us. We grill her over the stupid policy.
After about six apologies, she surmises that they may be waiting for the “housekeeping report.” I roll my eyes behind my sunglasses. She makes it sound as if all of the rooms are cleaned at the same time, a sort of synchronized housekeeping act to keep us all in suspense.
I glance up at one of the balconies just as two men walk to their room.
“What the hell? Wait, wait, wait! Guys, those two are checking in. Let’s go!”
The stupid NO EARLY CHECK-INS policy only results in a traffic jam at the front desk, with the snotty staff trying to check in about ten separate rooms all at once.
We bump into Larry’s friend John, who's just finished checking in.
“Did you guys check in yet?”
“They won’t let us. Apparently they’re waiting for the housekeeping report.” Of course, Larry says this loud enough for the staff to hear.
We bring our bags up to our rooms, freshen up and then go out to the Raven for a few drinks.
Over by the pool table, someone has written “We Love U Raven” on the dry erase board. To this, Larry adds the word “Nevermore” with a circle and slash through it, not realizing that someone has replaced the dry erase marker with a permanent Sharpie. I point this out to Larry and we both slink away, laughing.
We have dinner at Wildflower, a place that serves Mexican, Italian, and Thai dishes. Larry and I order from the Thai menu and are both unimpressed this time. I wonder if Greg is going to finish his pasta dish.
Dinner comes to an end and I find myself drooling over the dessert menu. I so desperately want dessert, as if two weeks of crash dieting and rigorous exercise never happened.
Back at the Nevermore, there’s a sizable crowd on the dance floor with the DJ playing some 70s disco behind the small booth. Too bad about the bad indirect LED lighting going on in the bar area.
It takes a while, but eventually, I go out and dance with Gerard and leave Larry at the bar with the guys.
I find out that the man who has been standing motionless near the bar the entire time is actually a family court judge. He has the personality of a penny.
Larry finally comes out to the dance floor. Just as he’s getting into it, the Dumplings attack, surrounding him the way two little girls would do while playing Ring Around the Rosie. Larry elbows them away in disgust.
The Dumplings are two older, unattractive men whom I’ve never met before. From what I’ve heard, one of them has just lost about 300 lbs as the result of gastric bypass surgery.
To describe him, take Warren Beatty, cut 12 inches off his height, remove some teeth, and take away his ability to stand straight. Add some waddle, bad hair and lots of wrinkles, and there you go.
When the DJ plays Vogue, I wonder how many drinks it would take to get me to start vogueing the way Madonna does in the video. I still remember all the moves, so I do them in my head.