Seeing everybody in attendance, as well as Greg's parents, was both a blessing and genuine pleasure. Those in attendance included Greg, Ray, Melissa, Melissa's brother Chris, Colleen, Raphael, Crazy Mike, Angela, and yours truly. Greg's little dog Alfie was there as well, an in good health. Last year, I recall him wearing socks around the house due an infection in his feet. This year, however, he's better and walking around the house in good health.
On Friday night, I left Citistreet around 5pm and drove to the Stop and Shop on Stelton in Piscataway to pick up some gift cards for my friends who were participating in the gift exchange. After Stop and Shop, I went to the liquor store across the street and bought two bottles of wine and a six pack of Yuengling. My two wine selections were Cavit Merlot (obviously a red) and Beringer White Zinfandel (clearly a pink). Finally, I was on my way down to Cinnaminson as I took Interstate 287 South to US 1 South to US 130 South ALL the way down to Greg's house. Taking the Turnpike probably would've gotten me to Greg's considerably quicker, but I went with the directions that Mike gave me as well as mapquest.
Once I arrived at Gregs, Mike greeted me at the door. Angela, Mike, and Greg were the only ones there at that point. Later in the evening, Colleen arrived with Raph; she hitched a ride with Raph on the way down. Last to arrive was Ray, Mel, and Chris. Ray got me a beer-themed 2008 calendar. Angela's gift to Ray was, how shall I say it, interesting? She got him a Hanukkah stuffed bear as a present. Angela is a sweetheart, and that was a very thoughtful gesture on her behalf, but there was one problem with that. Ray isn't Jewish. LMAO!!!! Everybody burst out laughing at the sight of the gift. It's the thought that counts, ladies and gentlemen. It is the thought that counts. Remember that.
We all spent the night talking, exchanging gifts, drinking, eating, and having an awesome time together. Mike, who attacked me with red oven mits at one point in the evening, also invited Angie to, "come up and sit on Santi's lap." LOL. Greg's Christmas tree was lit up in the family room. As was the case last year, we set up all the snacks in the family room. Colleen brought chocolate brownies with vanilla icing and sprinkles that her grandmother had baked. They were absolutely delicious; practically sinful! LOL. Mel baked some star-shaped cupcakes and brought them as well. All very very good!
Eventually I passed out on the floor.
Saturday morning began with breakfast at Nick's diner. Actually, I ordered my meal from the lunch menu. I had Buffalo Chicken tenders with Bleu Cheese and a Creamy Potato soup. The meal was pretty good. Whenever I'm in Cinnaminson with friends visiting Greg, we always like to make it a point to hit up Nick's Diner. The circumstances are parallel with our desire to go to Galloway Diner whenever we're down by Stockton. After breakfast, we all went Target to do a little shopping (or window shopping) and walk off the meal we just had. Greg and I were checking out the decorative Christmas villages, noticing that many of them were running on LCD this year rather than the usual fiber optic. We also rummaged through the electronics and DVD section of Target.
We went back to Gregs and got there around 1pm. Upon our return to Greg's, I wasted no time in go for the bottles of the wine that I had brought to the party. I quickly grabbed a red cup, poured myself some Cavit Merlot, and found a seat in the living room. For a portion of the afternoon, Mama Root was sitting in her chair talking to us about life, work, the world, and some other stuff relevant to us as a group. Mama Root is a very sharp woman who is filled with knowledge and wisdom. She's awesome. Papa Root is also quite intelligent; he went to Harvard, an Ivy League institution, so that speaks volumes right there. Once I polished off the Merlot, I poured myself a cup of the Beringer White Zinfandel as well. This lead to bottles of beer, which consisted of Killians, Yuengling, and some other different types of beers that were in sampler Mike had brought.
Later in the evening, following a game of Cranium that was played by Ray, Mike, Angela, Colleen, and Raph, we decided to stay at Greg's and make some burgers. Originally, we were going to go out and have some Chinese food/sushi, but some people opted to save money, so the burgers were the more viable option for dinner. In between dinner and going out for the evening, we managed to watch the movie Fido. Mike ordered Fido on Netflix, and was quite fond of it, so we all watched it while eating dinner. Fido is a movie, more like a satire, based in the 50s about these families who are using zombies as their servants. The zombies are wearing electronic collars to prevent them from getting out of control or eating the brains of their masters. It was pretty stupid, but in a silly and comical way. Basically it was a satire of what the aftermath of Night of the Living Dead would look like.
Chris told all of us about this country club called Prospectors. He suggested this place rather than Shampoo because he wanted his younger 2o year old sister, Mel, to be able to get in somewhere because she felt left out of the good times that we were having. The group, as a whole, bended on the plans and made a decision to go to Prospectors instead. Unfortunately, Colleen and Raph had to leave to head back up to North Jersey. Colleen was supposed to babysit her nephew, and Raph was her ride to Gregs, so they both had to split. Following their departure, we pre-gamed a bit as we prepared for our evening out on the town. I took a shot of Gordon's Vodka with Chris and then we headed out. Ray drove Mel, while Greg took Chris, Mike, Angela, and myself. Once we got to Prospectors, Ray was wise enough to actually drive into the entrance. Greg, however, took a different alternative for his entrance. Instead, he drove in through the exit when a big black pick up truck was just coming out. Luckily, we were not killed. Or else I wouldn't be here to type this. No, we were safe, thanks to the black pick up not crashing into us. HAHAHAHA. A little extreme and exaggerated, perhaps??? Maybe.
Let me put it this way .... Prospectors was not for me. The place was more of a restaurant than a club. There was also an older crowd present. Maybe it's a nice place to get dinner, but to go out and party? I don't think so. Besides, they were carding folks at Prospectors as well. Mel, being 20 years old, wasn't being granted entry into that place either. Angie accidentally left her ID at Greg's as well, so we walked out of Prospectors. What was the new plan? The original plan was the new plan. Shampoo in Philadelphia! Ray and Mel went back to Greg's and stayed in for the night, while Greg drove us back to his house so Angie could get her ID. Once she grabbed it from inside, we headed off to Philadelphia. I had not been to Shampoo since Fall of 2002, when I went with some Stockton heads from the old school L-dorm days. That seems like yesterday, but shockingly it was over five years ago. I still don't understand how time flies by so quickly, but it does.
It was great to be back in Philly again. Shampoo, on that evening however, turned out to be a disappointment. Why is that so? Because it was Latin night!!!!! Lord knows I am NOT a racist person; I get along with all cultures and races, as those closest to me would honestly tell you. However, I do not know how to dance to Latin music. Plus all the people who were there appeared to be together in couples, so I really didn't blend in as a single white man and neither did my friends who were with me. Angie and Mike could care less about the club, or who was it, because they are happily together which is a beautiful thing. Whether we were at Prospectors, Shampoo, or even Greg's house, it didn't matter. They have each other. We didn't stay at Shampoo for very long at all. I drank a Corona, watched some of the Latinos dance it up on the dance floor, walked around a bit, and then we left.
The most interesting part of the evening was Greg driving us back home. Nothing beats taking a wrong turn in Philly and driving through Camden to get back home. As Angie posted as a comment on my myspace, "Drinking before the club - $20.00. Gas Money - $40.00. Club - $10.00. Surviving both Philly and Camden in one night - PRICELESS." It was priceless. Eventually, after some close calls on the roads and some cursing from Greg, we made it back to his house safe and sound. After watching a porno, we all passed out and went to bed.
On Sunday morning, everybody packed their stuff and said their goodbyes. Ray and Mel left a little earlier, while Mike, Angela, and I stuck around a bit longer to chat with Greg's parents. What a weekend. I had a terrific time at Greg's house. This was my second year in a row attending a Rootman holiday party weekend. This year's was definitely better than the previous year's party.