Carly asked me if I’d help her set up for New Years Eve at the restaurant where she works. I hate New Years, but I love her, so I agreed to help. She needed me there around 4:30 on Saturday so that worked.
I had just come from brunch with hot senior citizen, Clarice at Jones. (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) I walked into the restaurant and took the elevator to the second floor. I told the bartenders that I was here to help Carly set up. They didn’t know if she was in the building or not. I texted her to let her know I was at the bar. Surprising, she got right back to me. “Stuck in traffic, should be there in twenty minutes.”
No skin off my nose. I had Cory make me a vodka martini straight up with a twist. What the hell, it was New Years Eve.
I had a great day, albeit expensive. I was still glowing a bit from my romantic time with Clarice. I took a photo of the cocktail in front of me and sent it to Carly just so she wouldn’t rush, and also know that I was in good hands. I ask Cory for a cocktail napkin, and wipe my mouth. I drop it onto the bar, as he hands me my drink.
Cory: “How’s bad is your life?”
Cory: (points to napkin marked with lipstick)
Me: “Ohhh…” I smile.
Cory: “Happy New Year.”
I was playing with my phone, and sipping my drink. Just enjoying the sights and sounds of the restaurant, still decorated beautifully for the holidays. Some time passed, but I figured we had plenty of time. New Years probably wouldn’t get going until after 9pm. It was only around 5pm at this point. She said the whole job would only take a couple of hours.
Carly texted me again, saying she was looking for parking and that traffic was nuts in the city. It’s New Years Eve in Philly. Of course it’s going to be crazy. I ordered another martini.
I was chatting with the bartenders while they prepared for the impending onslaught of revelers. Twenty minutes later, I get another text. “Come up to the penthouse. We’re on the 14th floor.” I drain the last of my martini and ask for the check. Cory waves me off. “Your good.” I thank him, wish him a HNY and throw down a ten. I head to the elevators in the back by the Club Quarters. There is a mob of people there that look like they’re dressed up for a wedding.
The attendant has to insert a special key card to allow access to the penthouse. I’m sausaged into the elevator with a gaggle of hot bridemaids. (I’ve been in worse situations)
We reach the penthouse and the place is a flurry of activity. “Who are all these people, and where is Carly?” One of the staff points to a door, leading upstairs. I head up and there is Carly and her husband.
“What are we doing and who are all of those people down there?”
Carly tosses me a 187 ml of champagne and says there’s been a change of plan. We’re now setting up for a New Years wedding and have two hours to do everything.
“They’re getting married here and the reception is here?”
“Sounds good to me. Let’s do this.” I chug the tiny teaser and start grabbing boxes.
Downstairs we tell everybody that if they aren’t immediate family they have to leave until the wedding starts at 7pm. Holy shit! We have one hour! I’m arranging chairs in the main room. Then placing these tall glass vases next to some of the chairs.
I dump big pearls into the vase. Then I pour water in it. Then I place a tall, thick candle down in it. I then scatter white rose petals around the base. I replicate this nine more times.
Everybody is doing something. We have an efficient team of people who work at the restaurant and have to do this stuff on a monthly and sometimes weekly basis. Even a couple of the bridesmaids were jumping in to help. There was the fun ethnic one who was really into helping and working with us and the photographer. Then there was the skinny hot one who did very little but complained a lot.
“Awww… Sheila. Always a bridesmaid. Never a bride.” I thought to myself.
We get everything set up, and then have to get out of there because they’re going to do the ceremony. Just think, it only takes twenty minutes to get legally bound to someone. If it doesn’t work out and you have kids you’re stuck for the next twenty years in an emotional and financial hell of your own doing. (meaning: If you’re the man)
At one point I was out on this deck that many people don’t know about near the roof. There’s a guy out there in a tux, probably well into his sixties. He’s heavyset, and coughing while he’s lighting a cigarette. Built to last.
I start chatting with him. He’s the father of the bride. Turns out he’s a lifelong cross-country truck driver that delivers for BJ’s Wholesale. We share a moment. I congratulate him on his daughter getting married. I even had a chance to speak with her later. She said she met her husband at a bar in Ocean City, MD called Secrets. Sounds like a good place to meet your soul mate.
So me, Carly, her husband, and a few other people go up to the roof with another 187 ml each to catch a smoke. The view is great. When would I ever get to see this view? I love new views of my city. I take a few pics for Instagram. Carly is passing around the Mary Jane vape pen (marijuana) and that just adds to the fun.
Later we head back down stairs to get ready to set up for the reception in an hour. There’s a bar set up in the back room. I see a box of soft pretzels somebody brought in. I grab one and stuff it in my mouth. (Or as I call it: Drinking armor) Carly hands me a box of stuff, and says, “Make this and then make me five more.”
“On it.” It’s a glass vase about fifteen inches tall. I have to place it on a round mirror. Then place two little candles around it near the base. Put a few strings of pearls hanging out of the vase. Stuff a sponge in the opening. Then stuff white and black feathers, some with gold trim into the sponge all around it. It’s actually a fun project. I then replicate it five more times.
I bring out a tray of cigars and cutters. They are in a small room off the balcony. This way people can go out there and smoke cigars. I thought that was a good idea. So these crazy kids get married, leave for an hour, then come back to rock out to their Great Gatsby themed reception until midnight when it turns into an epic New Years Eve Party. I think it’s pretty cool, but setting all of this stuff up and all of the money and work that goes into this massive party all seems like a waste to me, but what the hell, I’ve had my time. I’m rootin’ for these kids.
Carly lets us know it’s time to go. The bride is thanking us all profusely. I was happy to spend time with one of my favorite people and do something nice for someone’s special day. It was great. The bride tells us we can have whatever is left over upstairs, as she stuffs four cigars in my coat pocket. We go upstairs to get our stuff and I walk out with a half a dozen 187 ml bottles. I like that it has the name of the bride and groom on every bottle.
I say goodbye to Carly and her husband, and thank them for the fun evening. I’ll be home by 9pm and asleep by 11pm at the latest, before 2017 even happens. I haven’t missed a thing.
Update: Carly has left her job as Events Director at the restaurant where she works. She wants to focus on the legalization of marijuana in Philly. She lives in Manayunk which is only a 15 minute car ride from center city, but when you live in the bubble of Rittenhouse like I do, she may a well be on another planet.
I miss her terribly and our Monday night cocktails and conversations. I saw her recently, but it’s just not the same. Hopefully I can see one of my favorite people in the world again soon.
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