J's bachelor party in VT (or: How I Cut Three Years Off My Life By Swimming in a Lake Full of Goose Poo)
Lazy Sunday = good for catching up on the teendrama! Rewind a few weeks back to Aug 4 when me + ten other dudes make the trek to Vermont for J's bachelor party (btw, wedding is in less than two weeks!). And Vermont - I know, I know - low hanging fruit since we're there *every weekend* in the winter, no? But it kind of worked out perfectly since we had special guests coming in from Mass (Hannan!), upstate NY (Johnny!), DC (Arish!) and upstate VT (Brent!).
Anyway, we left on Friday nite, hit up some Exit 40 on the way (99 cent nugz!) and made a quick stop at Toys 'R Us to pick up such bachelor party essentials as Wiffleball bats, laser tag kits, Pirates of the Caribbean flashlights (don't ask).
After consulting Uff's iPhone, we found a secret 24 hour grocery store just off the highway and about 30 mins from the house! (Shoops, you paying attention? Exit 1 in VT then take a right) This is a *huge* find considering we're usually stuck eating Fat Tony's Pizza & Subs all winter long because we never make it to VT before the local supermarket closes down. Anyway, with four of us buying for 10 people it was like an all-star version of Supermarket Sweep up in there.
We could barely fit all are loot in the car. What did we ever do with that watermellon, btw?
$350! The receipt was about 4 pages long. Even though Johnny Price Chopped Employee swiped his Extra Saver Value card or whatever through for us (thanks!), we only saved $7 bucks! WTF!
So we're about 10 minutes from the house when we get a call from one of the other cars driving up from NY (Mark Fox + Ryan) that their jeep sprung a gas leak (what!). It seems they were about 3 mins in front of us (weird, eh?) so we roll the windows down and, sure enough, you can smell the gas in the air - apparently they were leaving a trail of it for miles. Once they noticed it (how?), they threw it in neutral and rolled into the nearest parking lot... which just happened to be a garage. Anyway, here's the leak. Looks dangerous. (they got it fixed Saturday - just needed a new hose or something.)
Midnight arrival = reunion with a bunch of J's friends. Arish + Brent were waiting for us. Hannan rolled up late nite. (oh, J + McD + Uff rode with me). Took about 15 trips to unload all the food out of the car.
Took about three hours five beers for us to re-discover the lightsabers Mom + Dad got us for our birthday's last year. Between beers and horseshoes we were up until the sun started coming up.... kind of a dumb call, since we scheduled Activity #1 for Saturday at noon...
... PAINTBALL! Ha! You may remember our paintball adventure from last year (Alex's bachelor party!). The quick version of the story: six 30-year old dudes got our asses whooped by a bunch of 15 year olds (and their 12 year old sisters). This time there were ten of us and I felt pretty good that we'd be a decent match for whomever we got slotted against (More 16 year olds? Off-season hunters? The Navy Seals that whooped us in high school?)
Anyway, we were the only group there so we had the whole course to ourselves. We played a bunch of five-on-five games - some capture the flag, some elimination, some "Storm the Castle" type game. Same course we played last year (woods, X-Course was closed).
Good times and no major drama - no shot out eyes or anything. A few folks got hit in the nutz (Oof. No socks-in-the-pants-this year). McD lost his mask, a bunch of scrapes from woods-diving action. Mark Fox and Brent were clearly the MVPs of the crew(, stoopid outdoorsmen). Me and J got into two solid shootouts (ouch - paintballs hurt lots @ close range). I was definitely better more effective than when I played last year. The big secret? Shoot lots.
ps: Here's pretty much the whole crew, left to right: Arish (in his best club-casual attire), Uff, Mark (black20), McD, Johnny (Jackie's brother), me (mini), Hannan, Ryan (NBC), Brent, J.
Arish lit me up pretty good in one of the early games. Note the welt.
Me and McD. Looks like I got it in the head too.
Last game with about 20 second left (the 13-year-old ref is counting down)... me + McD are tearing through the woods Solid Snake style, dropping Mark Fox and trying to smoke Arish out. Someone starts shooting in my direction - I start running, try to jump over the mud pit, er, didn't make it and, um, lost my shoe. As in gone forever.
When the whistle was blown I poked around for a stick for a little bit but no luck (the mud was like 2 feet deep). The ref said many a shoe / phone / wallet has been lost in the muck.
I ended up walking out of the woods like this.
And back at the house - my one other lonely other shoe. Sniffle. (this guy ended up in the dumpster)
Paintball was at, what?, 1pm? Got back to the house around 5p? If we weren't eating or running around doing something, the rest of the time was filled playing horseshoes. Someone branded one of the boxes with the "DIG" meat-brander we got my Dad for his bday a few years back. Nice.
BTW, I suck. I think I had a streak last summer where I was actually pretty good, but I was just rubbish for J's weekend - maybe scored two points total. The Horseshoe Cam(tm) is always a crowd please - here I got J on the ringer.
Takes a few beers to muster up the *courage* to put one's nuts in the path of the shoes - esp, with J (who's also a few beers deep) throwing.
Arish + McD + J. Let's keep our shirts on next time, okay?
When it started getting dark, me + McD + Matt went to go scope out the abandoned ski lodge right off Mount Snow. We've been up here a few times, but never inside. Our original master plan was to wait 'till it was pitch black and then play laser tag inside (Come'on! Laser tag in the Haunted Lodge? Best idea ever!) but turns out that the place is covered in broken glass + rusty nails.
Not to mention other nighttime hazards like drained swimming pools and broken staircases. Note Brent's cave-spelunking headgear - saved us 1000x when we were explorin'.
Turns out the place used to be a high-end hotel back in the 70's called the North Branch Club (all this time we thought it was a dorm for ski instructors). We found this brochure in the basement which shows the place in all its 70's glory - indoor pool, fireplaces, bumper pool! Check it out here (make sure to read the copy).
You know, not to nerd out in the middle of this recap, but I'm really into the history of old New England ski resports. Mount Snow used to be this *luxury* ski resport back in the day - gondolas leaving from the hotel, giant ice fountain, North Branch Club! I actually just found a nice little writeup on the history of things here and through the magic of Google, got in touch with this guy that made a documentary on the history of Mount Snow ("Tales from the Mountain"). Lemme see if I can track down a copy.
Saturday nite = grilling it up. Will McD's is famous for cooking up some of the best burgers around. Those grilled tomatoes worked out pretty good too (where's the skrimps?) Big goal for the weekend was to completely work our way through the $350 worth of food that we bought. I think we *just about* pulled it off (besides for two pork chops that got frozen).
Not much here from Saturday... which isn't too surprising considering the Friday Night Bender and the fact that we were running around like animals all afternoon playing paintball. A bunch of us were passed out on the floor by 10pm (sounds a lot like Alex's weekend - ha!). Here, stovetop smores.
Sunday though... Sunday's are for home run derbys down in the little league park. We drive by this field every time we drive up, but never actually stopped. I think ideally you'd want some type of fence to aim for (and rob dingers against), but no such luck - instead the field just keeps going till it hits a jungle gym. We did find some cones in the woods and strategically set those up to assemble a make-believe wall. Anything over the cones = 1 point. Anything under = an out. Any Fantastic Catches(tm) (dives! pseudo robbed home runs!) counts as a homerun for you (and an out for the batter).
I wish I could tell you that there were Fantastic Catches all over the place (I had the song from the commercial from those Startling Lineup toys in my head every time someone hit one back) but I think Brent scored the only Fantastic for his catch-in-a-hat trick (ps: ten guys, three gloves).
I think we crowned Hannan the winner. We luckily hooked up Pitcher McD with this fence a mere two pitches before Matt would have drilled him between in the eyes.
By the way, Toys R Us doens't really sell Big Kids gear, so we got stuck playing with shrunken Little League bats. Not sure if you can see in this pic, but Big Kid swings + Little Kid bat = lots of dings.
We lounged at the pool Sunday afternoon, catching up with our summertime pal, Bartender Steve. I think we had Steve mix up some $140 worth of embarrassingly-fruity mixed drinks,
Sun at the field, sun at te pool... not sure why J though tank top was the way to go.
... but he got it pretty bad.
By now it's late Sunday afternoon. Some folks took off for NYC early, we were going to hang out till late in the afternoon, but thanks to Bartender Steve and the 800 pounds of meat we still hadn't had a chance to eat we made the call to stay the extra night and drive home early Sunday morning.
So as it started to get dark, we went down to the parking lot near the SnowBarn of play some Wiffleball. We got about three pitches in before the outfield got restless...
"Hey, look what I found!"
You prob know where this is going. This, by the way, is a drainage pipe that connects the parking lot to the lake just in front of the Snow Lake Lodge. The lake is pretty nasty. Goose everywhere. Goose poop everywhere. Little Sister Katie's claim to fame is that she swam across it last winter (and survived!).
... which may have been the motivation to climb through the pipe? ("First Crowley ever through the pipe!" = makes perfect sense!). That water sure is brown. And rusty. I think it's rust. I *hope* it's rust. Nasty (though I got to be honest and tell you that I thought *a little* about following them through. Bragging rights for the whole 07/08 ski season! You wouldn't understand). Anyway, Matt took the bait and followed them through.
I watched from the other side.
And watched as they cannonballed themselves out of the pipe. Right into the Goose Poo Lake. (For all the Shawshank fans: "Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side.")
Anyway, you can probably guess what's next...
... swim acros the lake! J + McD + Uff took off as soon as they hit the water after falling out of the Ninja Turtle pipe. I though about it for a minute and then like an idiot decided to join them. About 1/3 of the way across I had this revelation that (a) the water taste gross and (b) I can't touch the ground anymore (which was all soft from goose poo anyway) and (c) and I'm not so good of a swimmer and (d) it would be really shitty to drown in the Goose Poo Lake right before the wedding, sooooo I turned on back. No regrets.
Post swim. Everyone's a little bit itchy. Blame it on the bug bites. Or it may have been the goose poo. I felt pretty nasty for a good 2-3 days afterwards.
And here's my happiest "So glad I didn't die in that poo filled lake" face.
Late night (and after long showers) the house pretty was much empty so we broke open the laser tag. Took us like 30 mins to figure out how to assemble the stoopid things. Laser Tag(tm) Laser Challenge = boring with the lights on...
... so we taped our Pirates of the Caribbean flashlights to the top! (Solid Snake! Two references in one post!)
Lights on = nerd city!
Lights off = we're awesome!
And then we ran around like ten year olds for a bit (Laser Tag 4eva!). I had the hiccups. Makes it real hard to hide.
And that's about it. We left around 7am on Monday morning, got back a little before 11am. J was nice enough to drive while we all took 800 naps in the backseat. I'm still proud that I didn't succumb to an Egg McMuffin near Exit 40 (though, man, would I love one right now).