Monday, July 18, 2011

The Mother of all Bridal Showers...and Then Some

I don't even know where to begin. Let me start by saying that yesterday was probably the best day I've ever had. I know, I know. I'm supposed to say the days my kids were born were the best, but in all honesty, the minute they were born and every minute after were amazing! But I could've done without labor and epidurals and episiotomies and stitches and 17 different people looking up my cooch every five minutes to check how dilated I was. So, that being said, yesterday was the best day I've ever had that I would choose to repeat, in full, over and over again.

Yes, I am aware that I should've posted about this last night, but it was so late when we got home, I just couldn't. And since I absolutely do NOT want to spoil this amazingly happy story about yesterday with the realities of today, I have decided to write two separate posts tonight. One will be about yesterday and one will be about today.

Ok, enough babbling! Get to the good stuff already!! bridal shower was yesterday. But it wasn't a typical shower. Bridal Bingo anyone? Nope, not for me! After all the crap that's been thrown at me recently, my mom and my matron of honor, Jen, wanted to throw me a party no one would ever forget. A party that would put the smile back on my face; at least for a little while.

But what could they do??

After a lot of talking and throwing out ideas, I came up with something completely out of the ordinary for a bridal shower. Something that was totally in line with my personality and interests. Something no one would expect. But could it be done?

With less than two week to go before the date of the shower, the wheels were set in motion, and Jen was in the driver's seat. I can't even tell you how hard she worked to get the job done. She was relentless with phone calls and e-mails and follow-ups and more e-mails and more phone calls. She and my mom went back and forth every day discussing every minor detail that needed attention. Every day, we'd wait for more information. Every day we'd get more and more nervous that something was being overlooked. But once the contract was signed, just three days before the party, all we could do was wait for the day to come and hope everything turned out perfectly.

Finally, the day was here! I was so nervously excited, I didn't know what to do first. I checked my video camera to make sure it was charged. Then I changed the SD card on my regular camera and checked the charge on that one too. I took a shower, dried my hair, did my makeup. I threw on a super-cute, mint green minidress with white, platform stilettos. Then I packed a bag with snakeskin print leggings and a purposely ripped up and studded tank top, another pair of shoes, my makeup bag and a small, black wristlet. Why did I need the bag? Oh, right. Did I mention that after my shower, Jimmi and I had tickets for the Motley Crue/Posion show? I certainly couldn't go to a concert dressed in bridal shower garb!

Jimmi left the house about 45 minutes before Jen and I did. He needed to get to my parents' house, where the shower was being held, to help set up for the main event. Jen and I waited for my friend, Beth, to get here, then we headed off to the party. I'll admit it. It was really hard to keep my mouth shut about the surprise, so I blabbed to a few people. Beth was one of them. But I think I only told five out of 45 people. Not too bad for me!

We arrived at my parents' house at 11:40, 20 minutes before the party started. That gave us enough time to head to the stable on the property that isn't used for horses, but for outdoor parties instead. When we pulled up, Jimmi was outside. "Is Justin here?" I asked about our friend who was coming from Brooklyn to run sound for the day. "Not yet, but he's close," Jimmi assured me. "Is anyone else here?" Jimmi knew what I meant. "No, not yet," he said. Discouraged, Jen and I drove up to the actual house so I'd be there when the guests arrived.

At 12:00 sharp, the ladies started to arrive. I was so nervous, I could barely eat. I just wanted everything to go smoothly, and until certain people arrived, I wouldn't be able to relax. Jimmi had texted a few minutes earlier that Justin, our sound man, was there, but the main attraction was still MIA. I let Jen know that we still waiting, she checked her watch and said, "I'll give him 10 minutes. He was supposed to be here at noon for sound check. At 12:30 I'll call his manager."

I continued to pace around the room, while trying very hard to smile and chat with my guests. But my mind was so preoccupied, I was having trouble thinking. To make things worse, my parents' house has almost no cell phone reception at all. If Jimmi tried to call or text to let me know what was going on, it probably wouldn't have gone through anyway. Finally, at 12:30, Jen went upstairs to call the manager. She came back a few minutes later and whispered to me, "Between 1 and 1:30 now." I gave her a puzzled look. "It's ok," she said. "He'll still have plenty of time since the show isn't supposed to start until 2:30." She was right. I just wanted him to show up so I could relax! But what if he doesn't? Oh my GOD! We'll be stuck playing bridal shower games!! NOOOOOOO!!!!

Just then, an e-mail managed to make its way to my phone. It was from Jimmi. My stomach dropped as I quickly opened the message. It said, "Tommy Lee is getting us backstage passes for the show tonight!" My brain had to shift out of shower mode and into concert mode. "Oh my god!" I exclaimed out loud. Everyone looked up. "Jimmi and I are going backstage at the Motley Crue show tonight! Jimmi e-mailed Tommy Lee and he wrote back and offered us passes!" Ok, that was enough to make me happy for a few minutes. But then I looked at the clock. It was 1:15 and he still wasn't here.

I was really starting to freak out. "The manager said between 1 and 1:30," Jen said. "He still has a few minutes." At 1:45 I was able to get through to Jimmi. The entertainment still wasn't here. Jen made another phone call. The manager promised to find out what was going on and call her back. But before he could, Jen's cell rang and went right to voicemail. Stupid cell phones!! She checked her voicemail and it wasn't the manager, it was the talent! He apologized for being late and said he'd be at the house before 2:30. Before 2:30? What?! He's supposed to perform at 2:30! He won't have time for sound check! We won't...My thoughts were cut off by the house phone ringing. It was the manager. He explained that there was a problem with flight delays and that's why everyone was running so late. Ok, I guess there's nothing we can do about that. At least we heard his voice on the message confirming that he was on his way.

I looked at Jen and my mom, "I guess I should go open presents to waste some time, huh?" They agreed. I know the present opening is a big part of bridal showers, but I wasn't planning on doing it. At least not in front of everyone! At this point, I had no choice. Back down the stairs we went to begin the madness of unwrapping and holding up pots and pans so everyone could "oooh" and "ahhh"! Don't get me wrong. I appreciate everything I was given. I love that my friends and family were there to share this moment with me. I just didn't want this to be a typical shower. I wanted to shake it up a bit.

It was 2:25 and I was just finishing up my last gift when the house phone rang. I snuck away to answer it and all I needed to hear was, "He's here. He just needs 10 minutes and you can come down." The nerves turned to excitement and my heart started racing. I went back to my seat and opened the last present. Before anyone could move, I announced, "Everyone, please just sit tight. We have a surprise for you, so don't leave."

It was the longest 10 minutes of my life! At last, the call came that everything was ready. I let everyone know that we'd be walking to the back of the property, then I hitched a ride on my dad's golf cart and waved goodbye. Yeah, I know. Not fair, right? But I was wearing really high heels! And, if I'm be honest here, I wanted to meet him before the show!

I walked into the stable, which was set up like a small auditorium. There was a stage in the corner with two microphones, two bar stools, a guitar stand and a drum set. We didn't think we were going to need them for the performance, but the drums are a permanent fixture in the room so they just left them there. In front of the stage, I saw about 50 folding chairs set up in rows. There was a sound board off to the side, and high and low monitors all around. Jimmi walked over and gave me a kiss, then I hugged Justin, who I hadn't seen in over a year. "Thank you so much for doing this," I said to him. Then, before the crowd got there, Jimmi asked, "Do you want to meet him?" My eyes lit up, "Can I? Will he mind?" Jimmi started walking to me to a door leading to a room upstairs. "No, he's cool. Come on!"

I followed Jimmi up the stairs. Not an easy task when you're wearing platform stilettos! When we got to the top, I saw a super-cute, young guy with long, blonde hair and a killer smile. I knew he was the guitarist because I had seen him a year earlier when he played The Starland Ballroom in NJ. I scanned the room to find what I was looking for. There was another man with salt and pepper hair and glasses and a blue t-shirt. Nope. That's when the bathroom door opened, and my teenage fantasy walked out. Sebastian Bach, the original lead singer of Skid Row, was standing in front of me, at my parents' house! What a surreal moment that was! It was as if he had jumped out of a poster on my wall in 1989 and landed at my bridal shower 22 years later. I had to look up at him, even though my shoes gave me at least an extra five inches. His long, blonde hair hadn't thinned at all over the years. He was wearing brown cowboy boots, covered by black, tight pants with leather stars up the sides and a striped, button-down shirt that was peeking out from underneath a black blazer.

Wow. I can't believe this is happening.

It was a strange moment for me. I don't get start struck anymore. I worked in the music industry for years and I've met just about everyone I've ever wanted to meet; even Sebastian! But I've never had a rock star booked to play a private party at my house, all for me.

This is nuts!

Sebastian walked over to me with a smile. "This is Suzanne, the bride," Jimmi said as he introduced us. Sebastian gave me a hug and immediately started complimenting the house and the party room and told me how cool he thought the whole thing was. Then he said, "You wanted me to do the tune from Jekyll & Hyde, right? We're doing it! Nick (his guitarist) is learning it right now." He giggled and it reminded me of Ernie from Sesame Street. When Jen was filling out the information for the contract, she had asked if there was anything I wanted Sebastian to sing. I thought for a while and remembered when I saw him play the lead, or leads, in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. He was unbelievable in both roles, but when he sang, "This is The Moment", I was blown away. His manger said he'd ask, but told us not to get our hopes up. But here we are, five minutes before his performance, and Sebastian is telling me that he's going to sing that song. He's going to do it because that's what I want.

"Ok, I'm gonna go back downstairs now," I said, as I tried to hold back my excitement. I walked back to the party room, and as I opened the door, I saw all of my friends and family sitting there waiting to see what would happen next. The smile was plastered on my face as they watched me walk across the floor to my chair in the middle of the front row.

Justin positioned himself at the sound board, and Jen got up to announce our special guest. "You might know him from reality TV, or his starring role in Jekyll & Hyde on Broadway. You might know him from his guest appearances on Gilmore Girls. Or maybe you've heard that he just wrapped up filming the movie version of Rock of Ages. But you'll definitely know him as the original voice of Skid Row! Please welcome Sebastian Bach!" There were gasps of surprise, then the door opened, and out he came. I don't think I've ever hear 40 women make that much noise!

Sebastian and Nick made their way to the stage as my guests watched in shock. "Wow! This is cool! I've never done anything like this before," Sebastian laughed. Then he announced that he was going to sing "Your Song" by Elton John. But it wasn't just that song. It was actually MY song! He added my name into the lyrics and sang it directly to me. The second he opened his mouth, I started to cry. I don't know if they were tears of excitement or disbelief or happiness, but they kept flowing until the song was done. And when it was, Sebastian said something about all chicks liking Journey, and broke into "Don't Stop Believing." Everyone was singing along, so I guess he was right! Then it was time for my request. "I haven't sung this song since...well, since the car ride over here, actually!" Sebastian joked and everyone chuckled. And then he started to sing "This is The Moment". It was so beautiful, it brought tears to my mom's eyes. I don't think enough people realize how talented Sebastian really is. Yes, he can scream out those killer notes in any rock song ever written, but as he said yesterday, "Every bad boy has a soft side." And his soft side will make any woman's heart melt. His voice is like liquid gold.

When he was finished, I waited for the screaming to stop and yelled, "What are you doing on September 3rd? Wanna trade places with him?" And I pointed to Jimmi. Everyone laughed, yes, even Jimmi. The next song was the Skid Row favorite, "I Remember You." I don't think you could have beat the smile off my face at that moment. But it was really getting hot in the room, and the fans weren't doing anything to cool it down. Sebastian took off his blazer, "I guess I picked the wrong day to wear a jacket!" he said. I couldn't help myself, and I screamed, "Take it all off!" He turned and looked at me in surprise. "All of it? But this is a wedding! I can't do that!" I tried again, "It's not a wedding, it's a shower! You can take your shirt off." He came back at me, "Aren't you getting married?" I shot back, "I'm not married yet!" Sebastian turned to look at Jimmi and said, "Your husband's right here!" Jimmi joined in the fun and shouted, "It's ok! I'll just have a free pass!" I'm not sure what anyone was thinking at that moment, but I was having more fun than I'd had in months.

After we compromised on keeping the shirt on, but leaving it unbuttoned, Sebastian said, "Is there any way I can get a little wine?" Little did he know, he had come to the right place! "My dad makes wine!" I yelled. With that, a glass with a taste of home made goodness was brought to the stage. After one sip, Sebastian's eyes got wide and he announced, "Delicioso! That's good! So smooth!" Well, that's all my dad needed to hear. He filled a glass and brought it to the stage himself. Then he and the rock star had a mini conversation about wine-making right in the middle of the performance. What the HELL is going on?? I think I'm in a alternate universe. Wow. My dad really has grown up in the last few months!

With the wine situation under control, Sebastian turned to Nick and said, "What should we play now? We don't really have a lot of slow, acoustic type stuff." Then he looked at me, "Can we rock it out?" "Yes!" I screamed. "Do it!" They broke into a more upbeat tune, but it just wasn't working with only an acoustic guitar. They decided to try "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zepplin, but Sebastian said, "If we're gonna do Zepplin, we need a drummer!" I'm pretty sure every head in the room turned in Jimmi's direction. "Get up here, dude!" Sebastian beckoned. Jimmi tried to resist because he doesn't like overstepping boundaries, but Sebastian needed a drummer, there was a drum kit set up, and he is a drummer. No brainer.

Jimmi walked up to the stage as the screaming and cheering filled the room. The three blonde musicians broke into the song they had never rehearsed like it was nothing. Jimmi's face lit up the way it does every time he's on stage, and my heart was happy. When they finished, I stood up and said, "Is it hot in here?" Yes, it was about a million degrees in the room, but that's not what I meant! My fiance was on stage playing drums with the man who was plastered all over my walls, and my school locker and my notebooks when I was 14... and probably 15 and 16, too! It was amazing. Beyond amazing!

Jimmi got up and thanked Sebastian, but Sebastian just looked at him and said, "Where do you think you're going? Sit back down and play!" So he did! Song after song, request after request, they kept playing. At one point Sebastian joked, "All we need is a bass player and we're set!" Well, ask and you shall receive! I pointed to the sound board where Justin was sitting. "He plays bass!" A few minutes later, a bass was in Justin's hands, and he sat at the board plucking away.

The makeshift band played anything that came to mind. A little Aerosmith, some Guns n' Roses, name it, they played it! All of a sudden, I looked at Jen and asked, "What time is it?" She answered, "It's 5:00! He's been playing for almost two hours. I hope he doesn't feel obligated to keep going. The contract says 40 minutes!" With that, she got up to let Sebastian's driver/bodyguard, Bobby, know that he could stop at any time. Bobby said, "If he wants to play, let him play." Good enough for us!

Over and over again, Sebastian kept saying, "This is really fun!" or "This is cool!" He made jokes like, "We were supposed to play for 20 minutes. That was 47 hours ago!" Or, "I think we started playing yesterday!" We were all laughing so hard and having so much fun, and they just kept playing. But all good things must come to an end, as the saying goes. Bobby reminded Sebastian that they needed to get Nick to the airport because he had a flight to catch. Sebastian thanked us all for having him, and the show was over.

But that wasn't the end of the party! Even though they were in a hurry, Sebastian stayed until every autograph was signed, and every photo was taken. He talked to each guest and made everyone feel at ease.

Just before he left, Sebastian was making himself a sandwich from the deli tray and I interrupted him. I just had to thank him. "Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it." He was so sweet, "It was so much fun! We've never done anything like this before." Since Jen had explained my health situation to his manager, I assumed Sebastian knew all about it, and I blurted out, "I really needed this today. I'm starting chemo on Tuesday and..." The poor guy's face fell like a brick. "What?" He asked. "You didn't know? That's why you're here. I thought your manager told you." I felt terrible! He looked so sad! "Oh my God!" he said and grabbed me into a tight hug. "If you need anything, I'm here for you." He assured me. "I mean it, anything you need. Just call me. I'm so sorry. I had no idea. Actually, I'm glad I didn't know or I would've been bawling through that entire performance." He kept hugging me and telling me everything was going to be ok.

It was really time for him to go now. My dad gave him a few bottles of wine to take with him, then invited him to come back and play again. I couldn't help myself from saying, "Cool, well I grew up here, so if you come back, I'll make sure to take you around the property and show you all of my secret make out spots." Sebastian's facial expression was classic and I covered my dad's ears after the fact, but he just shook his head and laughed. I swear, this cancer thing has really chilled my dad out!

Sebastian got into the car and rolled the window down. "Anything you need, I'm here. Just text me." I thanked him and waved as they pulled away.

Holy CRAP that was amazing!

I looked at the time.

Holy CRAP! We have to go!

I said goodbye to the remaining guests and went back up the the house to change my clothes. If Jimmi and I didn't get on the road soon, we'd miss Poison! I exchanged my good girl look for my edgier rocker chick attire, refreshed my makeup, kissed my parents and Jen and bolted out the door.

Luckily, there wasn't any traffic and we made it to the concert with plenty of time to spare. Jimmi headed up to the box office window to pick up our backstage passes as I chatted with a friend I had run into along the way. He came back beaming and holding up the passes, "I got them! Tommy also left tickets. I told him we already had them, but I guess he wasn't sure." I took the tickets from him to check the section. "Ummm, Jimmi. These are front row, dead center." He grabbed them back, "What?! No way!" He immediately e-mailed Tommy. "Front row, dude?" Tommy wrote back, "Hell yea!"

I swear, this day was turning into all of my 9th grade fantasies wrapped into one.

We sold our other set of tickets and headed for the front. Poison hit the stage and Bret Micheals was standing over me. He looked down, caught my eye and said, "I remember you!" Wow. Pretty cool. I haven't seen him since last year, but I guess the whole "My friends bet me $1000 I can't get a kiss" thing left an impression.

Poison rocked it, and we still had one more band to go. Motley Crue hit the stage with screaming guitars and fireworks! Halfway through, Tommy Lee left his seat behind the drums and headed to the piano up front. He saw Jimmi and gave a wave and a smile. At the end of the show, Nikki Sixx spit red "blood" all over our faces and we both laughed and cheered. Of course, I wasn't expecting a crew member to come at us and dump an entire bucket of the same sticky substance over our heads! Jimmi's white shirt turned pink, but he loved every minute of it! Luckily, I was wearing dark colors, so I think I can salvage my outfit. I hope!

When it was all over, Jimmi texted Tommy's security guard, Kevin, who called back and told us where to meet him. "We're waiting for a police escort, so Tommy only has a few minutes,"Kevin explained to us and the four others who were following him. We walked around the back of the venue and down the stairs. The hallway had doors on each side, and over the doors were signs that read, "Tommy, Nikki, Vince, Mick". Kevin knocked on Tommy's door, and in we went.

Tommy was standing there with a white t-shirt on that read "Who are all these people and where's my underwear?" He had on baggy pants and lots of eyeliner. There was a young, adorable girl in the room with him, who immediately introduced herself as Sophie, Tommy's girlfriend. Tommy said hello to everyone and the four other people who had walked down with us took over the conversation and wouldn't let up. Jimmi and I just stood there waiting for our turn. Kevin popped his head in to let Tommy know the escort was there so he could leave whenever he was ready. Still stuck in a conversation with some idiot in a tank top who finally revealed that he was Mike "The Situation's" brother, Tommy found his chance and turned to Sophie, pointed to Jimmi and said, "This is the guy I was telling you about with the tattoo of my face on his leg! Do you mind, dude?" Jimmi knew Tommy was asking him to drop his pants so his girlfriend could see his tattoo. "Not at all, man," Jimmi obliged. For the third time this year, Jimmi stood in front of a roomful of people in his underwear while they admired and took pictures of his leg. And he loved it!

After Jimmi got dressed, we were able to take a quick picture with Tommy, then he had to leave. We thanked him again, and headed out.

And that's the story of my amazing, perfect day. Yes, I know I said I'd be writing two posts tonight, but that's not happening. It's way too late, and I have my first radiation and chemo treatments starting at 9:00 am. It's going to suck and I'm scared out of my mind, but I will get through it.

And if I need a little lift, all I'll have to do is replay the events of July 17, 2011 in my head.

It was an absolutely perfect day.


  1. Al I can say is Wow! What an amazing day that must have been. He truly is a great guy.
    Stay strong and fight the fight. I hope all goes well with you treatments and you get better soon.

  2. Such a beautiful beautiful story, love all that you write.I have a blog item called SOULSPEAK

    Mail me at junocristi AT gmail DOT com if you would like to be my guest. I believe many will be inspired by you.

    Love Juno