Thursday dawned and brought with it the prospect of traveling around the immediate area looking at places to hold The Stevieling's upcoming wedding reception.
The Stevielingbeau called us on Christmas Eve to ask our blessing for his planned proposal on Boxing Day. I yelled "Never! You stole my daughter you swine!" then Mrs Stevie suggested I rephrase that (by kicking me hard in the hurtybits) and I allowed that we were overjoyed at the prospect and hobbled to the fridge to get some ice for my hurtybits.
In the interim Mrs Stevie had been driven almost completely round the bend by the Stevieling's insane ideas on how to plan and execute a wedding.
Example: The Stevieling decided that the invites should go out a year ahead of time so that she could get an idea of the numbers she might expect. She was immune to arguments that we didn't have a date or a location for the event to which these invites were to refer. She was immune to the suggestion that she decide on the date and time, and even then not send invites but a "save the date" card to each invitee. She was immune to the point that of all the people in the room, there were only two who had actual experience of how to throw a wedding and neither of them was The Stevieling or The Stevielingbeau.
I can't remember how we eventually turned her around, but it might have been when I realized she thought that they were footing the bill. With tears in my eyes1 I disabused her of that notion and confessed that the reception was my responsibility. For the next few weeks The Stevieling would slip back into the Dateless, Placeless Invite madness and have to be talked out of it. Eventually I lost it and screamed "Assume that EVERYONE you invite will come, along with their 'plus-one'!" and it seemed to lodge.
The upshot of this was that we had a venue picked out but I was concerned that there were upwards of 120 people on the invite list and there was room only for a 12x12 dance floor. About a month before we went to Florida I announced that of all the things about the wedding, the most upsetting to me was the thought that my daughter would not be able to dance at her own wedding. Mrs Stevie agree with me for once, and we had put it to the Stevieling that she, we and her beau should go look at a few other venues in the area. The Stevieling in her inimitable way concurred with ill grace and an exasperated sigh.
So today was going to be Look At Wedding Halls Day.
I thought the first we looked at had much promise, with acres of space. If anything the room would perhaps seem a trifle sparse even if everyone came. The kids were not enthusiastic because it had pillars. I suggested we might use them for adding the themed decorations they had wanted. I also thought the menu offered was better than at our original location.
At our second appointment we waited and waited but no-one came to collect us from reception and no-one came to tell us they were running late. After 20 minutes we decided that any organization so disorganized would not fit our requirements and moved on.
The third place seemed only marginally larger than our original place, but hjad an attached beach area. The kids were entranced. Personally, I was of the opinion that the algae-choked water would be a haven for mosquitoes and possibly the odd alligator (not that I'd have any exception to some of the invitees being draged to a watery death by alligators). Then the dragonflies came out. These are harmless but are the size of WWI aeroplanes. The kids announced that bugs were a no-no.
Our final stop was back at our original venue, where it turned out that we could expand the room into what is currently a restaurant bar but will be just a bar this time next year. All it took was a dip into Daddy's Bottomless Money Bucket. With the extra room there would be space for a 15x15 dance floor and that should do nicely.
Then came the matter of the Menu. This place only offered two plated entree choices, which astounded me. I've never been to a function where there wasn't at least three. Mrs Stevie and the kids opted for a buffet rather than plated meals. This was good for some spirited back-and-forth between Mrs Stevie and The Stevieling on the subject of which of the available choices. The Stevieling likes nothing but steak and chicken, so she opted for the option with steak and chicken on it. The facilities director did a fast tippety-tap on her smartphone, scribbled on a form and passed me the quote.
"Stop that pitiful whining!" snarled Mrs Stevie.
"You do me wrong, wife", I replied. "These are expressions of joy. Sometimes expressions of joy sound like pitiful whining when the bill comes in at the cost of a Mini Cooper."
We had dinner somewhere unremarkable, the kids left for home and we returned to the villa with a sense of deep satisfaction and horror at the financial wreckage the day had left of our savings. Mrs Stevie took another look at the options and opined that we could lop a considerable amount by going with a chicken/fish/pasta buffet and having the Happy Couple served plated meals. Of steak. Pauvre bloody papa would be chowing on chicken from the buffet and a side order of antacid tablets. I decided I wouldn't get involved until closer to the day.
Then The Stevieling called Mrs Stevie to say that they had decided they liked the last place we saw (the one that I could trade for a car) and they didn't need to look at any more tomorrow. We could just have a fun day.
And so to bed.
- And a squeak in my wallet↑