Then THAT happened.

Coco’s behavior had started to change.  Boy-dogs at the dog park started getting fresh with her.  In an effort to avoid a kotex-moment, we started researching the veterinarians to spay Coco.  You could buy a Japanese coupe for most of the quotes we got, but after finally finding a vet, we begrudgingly took the puppy to get her love-stuffs removed.  It was so good to have Coco-loco home.  She came back form the vet with a Direct TV collar which she hated but tolerated.

And then, one day, a week later, she destroyed a pair of shoes, several socks, a chew toy, a hard-cover book, and any kitchen rag within her reach a 200 pill count bottle of Aleve. Pills were all over the floor.  Some had the blue sugar coating licked off.  Fantastic.  Panic.  Focus. Speed dial to the animal hospital.  It’s possible that she didn’t eat any.   It’s possible she ate 75.

The vet over the phone said that more than 2 pills could kill a dog.  She seemed fine, waggy, happy, like her normal “drown-me-in-milkbones-mom” self.  Once at the animal hospital the vet said things like “poison control,” “have her eat charcoal,” “toxicology,” “I.V. fluids,” and then my favorite, “flush her kidneys for 72 hours, but she should be fine”  Whew. Unclench.  She’ll be fine… but a whole weekend without Coco?  Part of the reason you get a dog is so they can entertain you on the weekend! Like, wake you up earlier than you want, force you to stop watching TV to walk them, follow you around the kitchen hoping for an “oops” to fall on the floor, greet you when you come in from the other side of any door.  Coco got back from rehab and aside from a bad case of the “hershey squirts” (and a haircut to clean her up after those squirts) she’s doing well.  And all the medicines have been put in a dog-proof container.

Reception: What about Hot Wheels?

What happens when two kids from Miami get engaged and start planning a wedding?  The stream of consciousness goes something like this: “What is the last day of hurricane season?”  “November 30.”  “I don’t want to sweat my (body parts) off.”  “Is there a way of getting croquetas involved without being tacky?”  “No.”  “There will be a salsa band.”  “Done.”  One of the nice things about having the same home town, is that it makes most of the decisions pretty easy.  Such as venue…

Jokingly, albeit prophetically, before we were officially dating, we decided over a few beers while having mint tea with macaroons, that we would get married in Miami at two places we remembered fondly from our childhood: the ceremony would be at Don Carter’s bowling alley and the reception would be at Mark Twain’s Riverboat Playhouse (hereinafter “Riverboat”).  For those of you who did not have the fortune of having your 5th birthday at Riverboat, it was a  great place to have birthday parties in a dusty old warehouse that was converted into a Dixieland-themed indoor-playground which featured skeeball, a large ball-crawl (bazinga!), and an animatronic dog/bear band with a mechanical Mark Twain that put on a show, the same show, every 10 minutes.  Charlie, with his masters work in robotics, was deathly afraid of the robot dog band… weird, right?  Anywho…

Just like when we got engaged and I forgot who I was supposed to call, once I sat down to start searching for wedding venues, I forgot all of the ones I had saved in the mental “matrimony material” folder.  So, I began the search at the first place I could think of that would work for the both of us: Mark Twain’s Riverboat Playhouse.  I knew the place had shut down in the 80s, but… let’s just see, you know, because, maybe there’s a viable reception venue there now? Right?  Nope, it’s a humungous liquor store.  And Don Carter’s is an Office Depot.   Where do kids in Miami play now?  Maybe the Miccosukee Casino near Krome Avenue has a Chuck E. Cheese inside.  Afterall, Krome is the new Kendall.

I guess we’ll have to find a respectable place to have a wedding afterall!

Did I mention his brother was in the bushes?

I explained that the engagement began with a stroll through the High Line park in New York City.  The High Line is a new park that was created from an old 1930s elevated rail system intended to keep freight trains off the streets.  For those of you in Miami, this is like if they shut down the Metrorail, and made it all an above-ground park, except for a park that you don’t have to worry about people mugging you at gunpoint.

It turned out that Chris, Charlie’s brother, and his girlfriend, Tanya, had been hiding in the bushes taking pictures of us, paparazzi-style, with sunglasses and a zoom lens!  Ultimately, there were too many people there to propose, as you’ll see from the pictures.  It was awesome to have Chris and Tanya be a part if it, even if I didn’t know they were there!