Sunday, September 14, 2008

In Which B And I Become Philanthropists (Sort Of)

Friday night, B and I got all dolled up and attended the annual charity event for WonderLab, known as "Science Night Out 2008". His practice had donated a lot of money to the children's science museum long before B had joined them. However, they felt it was a good way to advertise his and another physician's new employment in town, and because of their generous donation, the practice was given a table at the event. B and I went along with two of his colleagues and their husbands. The theme this year was "Venetian Carnevale", probably because one of the big ticket live auction items was a trip for two to Las Vegas with a stay at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. The evening started with a cocktail hour and silent auction. While mingling with other professionals from the area, we enjoyed scrumptious hors d'oeuvres, I bid on a few of the many wonderful silent auction items (and subsequently was overbid, which was fine), and we watched a local artisan glass blower make beautifully ornate objects right before our very eyes. After the silent auction was over, we were all ushered into a huge area of the large ballroom where tables were exquisitely laid with table service, salads, dessert, and decorations befitting any carnivale complete with masquarade masks tucked into the centerpieces. Dinner was okay, but the wine and dessert (Sauvignon blanc from Oliver Winery and tirimisu from I don't remember where) were just excellent! After some obligatory speeches made by the co-chairs of the event, there was a rousing live auction for some huge prizes, including the already mentioned trip to Vegas, a vacation in Costa Rica, and a stay in a beach house in Martha's Vinyard. The Vegas trip went for around $4,000 and the Martha's Vineyard beach house trip went for around $6,000! People could also bid on a balloon ride, 3-on-3 basketball games against the assistant coaches of the local university with the university's coach as the winner's own coach, tickets for local basketball and football games, tickets to various local theater shows, a night learning how to prepare a four-course dinner with master chefs at a local restaurant, and other really cool items. In the middle of the live auction, there was a break for a "Heads or Tails" raffle game for a Wii game system. B and I bought some Mardi Gras beads to get into the raffle, and the "Heads or Tails" game was fun, though we didn't even get close to winning the game system. After that, the audience was asked to show our generosity by putting in our bids to pay for scholarships to the WonderLab's summer camp for local needy children. A very few people were able to pay for 10 children to go, some paid for 8, 5, 4, or 2 children to go, and many of us put in our bids for a single child to go to camp (B and I included in that latter group). In all, 106 children will be able to attend WonderLab's next summer camp because of this charity event. Then, there was a huge bidding frenzy on things like gift certificates to local fast food restaurants, dry cleaning services, local stores, and more. I tried to win V coupons for Auntie Anne's pretzels, but I didn't get my number card in the air in time. You had to be fast to get any of the bidding frenzy items! Finally, the auctioneer finished with the rest of the big items up for bid. The last auction prize was a chance for the winner and three other people to spend time at a local Japanese restaurant learning how to make sushi and sashimi with master sushi chefs, and then enjoying the fruits of their labor. B seemed really interested in that item, and somehow through a short bidding war between one other person, he managed to win it! Yay for us! We get to make sushi some day soon! I'm actually really excited about it because it's something I've wanted to try for a very long time. Along with the gift certificate for the sushi making event, we also won a sushi making kit, complete with guide book, a bamboo spoon for the rice, and a bamboo mat to roll up the sushi. All in all, B and I had a great evening. Not only did we get to dress up and be adults for a few hours, we also gave quite a bit of money to an excellent organization. As we were paying for our auction items, B suggested that I might want to try volunteering at the WonderLab at some point. I've actually thought about it myself. After college, I spent some time working at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis and absolutely loved it. V and I have already been to the WonderLab twice, and it's really a great museum for kids of all ages. I think I might enjoy being on the other side of the action. And, if you're wondering what V was up to while we were out on the town, one of B's colleagues volunteered her own babysitter for the evening. We dropped V off at her house, and he and her son played in their enormous basement play room. By the time we were done and ready to pick him up, he had pretty much decided he didn't want to come back home! It's always great to know that our child had a good time without us and wasn't pining for us the whole time we were away from him. Of course, lots of great toys and another child to play with always helps. Our busy weekend is almost over. Yesterday, we spent six hours total driving to and from the wedding of one of B's cousins. We broke up the drive to the wedding by meeting B's parents at a Red Lobster on the way, which made it seem like a much shorter drive and helped V and his cousins with their pent-up energy by getting them out of the vehicles for a while. The wedding itself was a beautiful ceremony in an equally beautiful church, the bride's gown was one of the most exquisite wedding dresses I've seen in a very long time, and the reception afterward was a lavish affair. For favors, there were large cookies at each place setting with a photo of the bride and groom printed on the cookies' icing. V and I immediately grabbed appetizers of crackers, cheese, party meatballs, and fruit. I guess I didn't realize how hungry I was until then. The dinner itself was a buffet, and there was quite a variety of wedding cake to choose from afterward, too. I had a slice of spice cake myself, which was delicious. We stayed until after the obligatory first dances and headed home around 9:00 pm. We actually drove straight home, which made it almost midnight by the time we got here. Thankfully, V spent most of it sleeping in the car and didn't fall apart (like he usually does on long car rides) until we were almost home. Our lovely day out was almost ruined by the fact that we discovered our cat had snuck into our closet that morning and had been stuck in there ALL DAY. Because she couldn't get to her litter boxes, she decided to use one of B's brand new shirts (still with tags on it) that's been lying on our closet floor for weeks. I'm not sure where he put the urine covered shirt, but I'm assuming it's soaking in our laundry room sink. Speaking of which, I need to stop playing around on the Internet and work on some neglected household chores, like laundry and bathroom cleanup. I guess it's back to the real world for me! Well, one fun thing planned for the day is the possible purchase of a new grill. I'm looking forward to it after the more mundane things get done.
Hope everyone else has had an equally enjoyable weekend. Best to you all.

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