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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Menagerie Does C-Town

Top Row L-to-R: Tina, Grace, Rachel, MA, Courtney, Ashley.
Bottom Row L-to-R: Katie, Ginny, Amy, Christa.

Although this post is way overdue, it definitely has not been forgotten about. Two weekends ago, the Menagerie embarked on a much-needed weekend away in Chattanooga for some spa pampering, food indulging and a lot of laughter. One Christmas, we decided that it would be more beneficial for us to get together for a weekend away rather than to spend money on Christmas and Birthday presents for nine other people. I'm so glad we made that decision because this weekend was so much fun!

It sure didn't start out without drama though. Because we are all in different locations (Franklin, Tn; Murfreesboro, Tn; Lawrenceburg, Tn; Dalton, Ga; Atlanta, Ga; Arlington, Tx; Tampa, Fl), we carefully coordinated flight and driving arrangements to maximize our time together. With the inclement weather a concern and standby-status on flights, I thought we'd never actually get down to Chattanooga. In the end, it all worked out fine, but involved me picking up Christa's suitcase at BNA while she arrived in Atlanta.

Tina, Court and I were the first to arrive and had to wait in the parking lot on Amy and Rachel, because Ames had the hotel reservations. While we're waiting, Court finally is able to get in touch with Amy by phone and reports back to Tina and I, "they'll be here in about 6 to 10 minutes!" Of course, Tina and I are rolling by this point. Only Court would generalize and throw in a random number. Trust me, this was the first of many "Court-isms" of the weekend. (And Lana, if you're reading, Court is your incarnate!)

Amy and Rach pull in (within 6 to 10 minutes) and we all pile out of the car and the reunion begins. At the mention of having to be sneaky about how many people were going to occupy the hotel room, Court says, "we'll just tell them we go to UTC!" meaning, we'll pretend that our friends have come down to C-town for the weekend to visit us college kids. Laughter quickly ensued, and already I'm making not-so-mental notes about blog fodder.

We get checked into the hotel suite and realize that it's going to suit our needs nicely. Friday evening we ate at Big River Grill in downtown Chattanooga and had a nice stroll around downtown, opting against the ghetto booty clubs and biker bars before heading back to the hotel. On the way back, a quick stop at the liquor store for a bottle of wine yields a funny sight, with our checker wearing a cheesy, gold-plated chain with a gold-plated handgun charm hanging down his chest. After Court acquires a corker from behind the counter at a sketchy gas station, Tina tries to cork the bottle of red wine and ends up pushing the cork down through the neck, spraying red wine all over the sheets and the 12-foot ceiling. She then informs us that when she and Patrick lived in Birmingham, she also sprayed red wine on the ceiling this way. Tina's two-for-two! We crashed soon after, in anticipation for a big Saturday at the spa.

I lucked out and was in the spa late-shift, getting to stay in bed until after nine, while half of the group headed out to the spa. We all met up for lunch at Panera downtown and the second-shift spa treatments began at two.

I have to give kudos to the Natural Body spa in downtown Chattanooga for being so kind as to accommodate ten giggling girls. We were allowed to move from room-to-room and keep each other company while we were indulging in manicures and pedicures.

While Christa was getting a pedicure, we were talking about some of the gals weddings and the funny things that happened at each. Rachel brings up one of our favorite classic moments, "Sharon & Lola," two of Christa's flamboyant family members that showed up at her wedding. Sharon and Lola burst in wearing matching bright purple sequin dresses from the 80s, gold shoes and bright purses, in addition to quite a bit of makeup and big, teased hair. While Sharon and Lola were nice ladies I'm sure, they became a running joke between the ten of us.

Anyway, Rachel makes a comment about how she thought I gave Lola the nickname, because she'd thought it was so wacky. Christa informed us that Lola was, in fact, her name and we had another good laugh at the situation. In the meantime, Christa leaves the room to go have her massage. It's Rachel's turn next for a pedicure and I'm sitting in the room with her, when the nail technician looks at Rachel, while tearing up, and says, "you know, I heard yall talking about the name Lola---that's my mother's name and she passed about a year ago." Well of course, Rachel and I are mortified at that point...Rach moreso because she was the one who made fun of the Lola name. I stifled laughter while Rachel tries to explain to the nail technician that she thought Lola was a pretty name...

After refreshing ourselves at the spa, we traveled to The Chop House for dinner. On the way there, I treated Ash and Rach to an over-the-top dance I made up to Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten. Ask me and I'll show it to you too! Amy, are you having flashbacks to R.Kelly's Drive Remix at Daytona 03?

Later in the evening, we all sat around and discussed our struggles and our expectations for each other. It was a very productive time and I can see the Lord is blessing our friendship. One of the things I love so much about these girls is that I can laugh with them one minute, engage in intelligent political discussion with them the next, and then have a listening ear while I shed tears the next. I seriously love these girls.

Over dinner at Big River on Friday night, we reminicsed about our group and its not-so-humble beginnings, when someone brought up our legacy. Evidently, the Alpha (pledge) class before us and after us, as well as the current ADPi chapter, knows about the Menagerie and that we take trips and keep in touch regularly. I don't know that any of us realized what freaks we are for still keeping in touch the way we do. We are very close and email and call on a regular basis, despite living far from each other. It requires effort to maintain the friendship, but somehow, we make it work. Court, with another one of her -ism's, said, "They're all sitting at home wishing they were us!" While it's totally arrogant, it makes me proud and thankful for my gals.


Blogger Kristen said...

Wow, that is an awesome idea...no presents, just time and fun together. BTW, you can add me to your blogroll; I'll add you to mine.

11:48 AM


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