Ladies and gentleman, a massive tornado hit Austin, Texas, last Friday night. Twelve women from all over the United States of America blasted through the downtown/6th Street area, causing quite a stir. They then took out the La Quinta Inn on 11th Street. Hotel employees are still cleaning and clearing debris. The tornado has officially been named: Ashlee’s Bachelorette Party.
Oh yes, Austin never knew what hit it. At 8pm sharp, these twelve dolled up ladies gathered on the curb in front of the La Quinta amidst a confusing whirlwind of tangled arms and legs all trying to hug at once. Much shrieking and laughing could be heard from the middle of the storm as these friends reunited, some having been separated for years and years.
After loading the 12 women and 7 or 8 bottles of champagne into the waiting stretch Hummer limo, the party really took off. The alcohol was flowing, cameras were flashing, and massive amounts of laughter and reminiscing could be heard, growing in volume and intensity. Draining their glasses, they leaped from the limo and into the nearest bar to wreck more havoc.
A round of shots just added fuel to the fire.
….and this, sadly, is about the time my memory left for a party of its own. Saturday morning was like the female edition of The Hangover. I woke up naked, with a pounding in my head, in weird room, with a person in bed next to me. I really had to pee but I half expected a tiger to be hiding in the bathroom. Once I finally worked up the courage to sneak in and flip the light, I checked for all my teeth. Whew. Then I wiggled into a t-shirt and crawled back into bed, double-checking that it was indeed my best friend there and not some stranger I picked up on the street.
Once we finally managed to drag ourselves out of bed and find some of the other girls, we discovered most of them in a similar condition. We then tried to piece the night back together. From what I gathered, we bar-hopped around 6th Street, getting free shots as we went. Somehow we ended up separated (I do remember at one point panicking because I couldn’t find anyone) and I find it to be a miracle we all made it back to the hotel safe and sound. I honestly have no recollection of how I returned, but I know I was with two other girls, one of whom promptly threw up all over the hotel hallway while we waited for someone who had a room key. Several others took the pedi-cabs and all accidentally tipped way, way too much money. (I have a feeling they all paid him the whole amount, not realizing that others were also paying…)
I had my usual drunk melt-down, this time triggered by the fact that all my stuff was in one room, but I couldn’t find the girls staying in that room to get in and retrieve my stuff. I later found out that after I finally managed to get my luggage from their room to mine, one of the girls vomited all over the bathroom wall. In the third room of girls, one lovely lady occupied the toilet while another the bathtub, both hurling, so another peed on the bathroom floor – she saw no other option!
We slowly, painfully, got ourselves together Saturday and checked out by noon, leaving large tips for the maids. A sign that was stolen from the lobby the evening before was kindly returned. Several stops for greasy fast food on the way down to San Marcos, 20 miles to the south, helped the hangovers. Our next hotel also kindly let us check in early, and we all collapsed for some recovery naps.
With an easy day of napping, visiting, and recovering, we were starving and ready to party by 5:00. Dolled up once more, we took over a corner of a local Mexican restaurant for margaritas and food. Time for presents! The Maid of Honor, who did an amazing job with most of the weekend planning, brought a lovely cake. We then showered Ashlee with naughty lingerie, fit for a queen. We also presented her with her Bachelorette Book – a scrapbook we put together, each bringing a page to contribute, telling of how we met Ashlee, memories of the years, pictures, etc. Tears and laughter ensued as she read some of the pages and we ate the cake. Poor Barbie even had her frosting panties removed.
Finally, one of the girls stood, pointing at her watch. “Wrap it up, ladies! We’ve got to get a move on if we’re going to get a good parking spot!” We died laughing as we realized how old we are…
Next we met back at a bar on the Square. San Marcos is home to Texas State University, where almost all of us went to college (with the exception of the Oregon gals). The Square is literally the town square surrounding the courthouse…and home to most of the town’s bars. Over the next few hours, we proceeded to relive our glory days of being young and free, with not a care in the world but next week’s mid-term and that hottie in World History. We even ran into a few more pals from when we all used to work at Best Buy and Ashlee cried on the dance floor as we all let loose and shook our buns like there was no tomorrow. Truly a wonderful evening.
Since we knew Sunday was probably going to be quite a rough day, Ashlee’s mom was ever-so-kind to throw us a brunch party. Nothing like good food, sweet mimosas and family time. My momma, aunt and god-mother had driven down the evening before and joined in on the celebration. I can’t think of any better way to spend the day. I was literally basking in the glory of it.
‘Cause here’s the thing. I rarely seen anyone other than J, but I get by alright. But some of these girls I have not seen in 5 years or so. Life just took us all such different directions. But you would never know it. We all just come right back together, as though we never missed a day. Half of these fabulous women are married – one even has a baby! – but for this weekend, we are just college friends again. It was pretty surreal, almost like a super long, super vivid case of deja vu……did that amazing weekend really happen?! (Yes it did, my feet could tell you all about it.)
What’s even more amazing is this group. Twelve women – TWELVE – and there was not one moment of drama, and believe me, there’s plenty there we COULD be dramatic about. But no one cares. We were too happy to be together, out having fun, relishing in the therapy of our friendships.
As the last few of us remained at Ashlee’s momma’s house Sunday evening, soaking our battered bodies in the hot tub, I couldn’t help but realize how badly I had needed this weekend. They say we never know what we have until it’s gone, and sometimes I feel like I don’t have many girlfriends – and I mean the REAL kind – left, but what a crock. I have these girls. And no miles, marriages, mishaps or mistakes can ever come between us.
Sunday night, I had a slumber party with one of my dearest friends, Kristen. Exhausted from partying ourselves into the ground, we crawled into bed to turn in early. Except that we stayed up for another couple hours, lights out, snuggled under the covers, catching up and chattering away like we were teenagers! The next morning, after breakfast tacos and an airport drop off, I felt the waves of sadness and longing washing over me. Everyone was returning to their own neck of the woods, back to the reality of everyday life. But even through the heavy sadness, the delight and sheer joy of the weekend came shining through. Nothing could stifle the happiness of our reunion, even the end of it.
Besides, we get a second reunion for Ashlee’s wedding this summer!!
Editor’s note: I apologize to anyone who was unfortunate enough to receive the first draft/brainstorming edition of this post I accidentally published last night. Yikes! No one was supposed to see that! So if you received the email in your inbox, let’s just delete that one, k? Thanks.