Karen (estherchaya) wrote,

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AZO Convention: July 18-19 (okay, so I'm WAY behind in my journaling! what's your point?)

I’ve not given a real update in some time, which is a shame, because there’s plenty that I’ve been intending to update about. I’ve given up the concept of ever being able to write an entry about Shavuos. Suffice it to say that we had a great time; there was lots of food, davening, and good company. So that covers Shavuos.

And there’s my Florida trip. I don’t remember if I wrote about that; I think that I did. Florida was hot. There were lots of bugs. It was muggy. My dad’s house rocked. Evie is improving slowly but steadily, and I got to see my grandmother. That covers Florida. Actually the Florida trip immediately preceded Shavuos, so I’ve got this in the wrong order, but whatever.

We’ve also had several very nice Shabbosim (?) away. They were all good. That covers that. Maybe I’ll write more about one or two of them later.

But really, what I wanted to write about this time was Seth’s National AZO Convention. That was in July. It started the 16th, but I wasn’t involved at all until Friday, the 18th. Seth’s Pharmaceutical Fraternity holds a national convention every summer. Usually I’m able to skip out of it because it’s out of town. This year, however, was an exception because it was in Baltimore. Sigh. This meant that I had to go to the Banquet, which was Saturday night. And it was Black Tie Optional. Except for us: Seth was on the Dais, since he’s an officer, which meant that it was Black Tie (not optional) for us. Sigh. So I ran out and bought a dress, actually managed to get it altered, found a hat that wasn’t TOO horrible with it, and so on.

Since the banquet was Saturday night, we stayed over at the hotel Friday night, so that we wouldn’t be too late to the Banquet. This meant, once again, making Shabbos in a hotel. And, really, I must say that I rock. I bought an electric warming tray (I call it my electric blech) so that we could have a hot meal. I made some yummy chicken and yummy potatoes ahead of time, and I bought pasta salad and cous cous salad. Plus wine. Plus Challah. Plus Pita Bread, Hummus, Israeli Salad, Potato Chips, assorted deli meats, bagged lettuce for salad, cookies (from the Kosher Pastry Oven … yum!), and babka. Seth had ensured ahead of time that we would be on a low floor and that we would have a refrigerator in the room. I did remember to bring a Kiddush cup, challah cover, havdala supplies, Shabbos candles (but I forgot matches) and a variety of other things. I even remembered to bring clothes. I picked up a new tuxedo shirt for Seth on my way and brought that as well. Needless to say, considering we were only planning on two nights in the hotel, I brought a boatload of stuff.

I suggested to Seth ahead of time that since the fraternity is largely Jewish, he should invite people to come for Kiddush if they wanted to, and I promised assorted pastries and what not. We got a small crowd (6 including Seth and myself), and I had plenty of food, so we just turned it into a nice Shabbos dinner. One of the women who came was really worried that we weren’t going to have enough food for Saturday. Believe me, we had PLENTY of food. I got into a slightly animated discussion with the same woman about why I don’t think a mechitza is degrading, but that’s another story.

Anyway, a good time was had by all. Seth and I eventually slept. In the morning, Seth walked to shul. I decided not to go because I’m just not as good a person as he. I davened alone, making my best guess as to which direction was East. But that’s okay. When he got back, we made Kiddush and motzi, and then I laid out deli meat and bread and side dishes, and then discovered that I’d accidentally frozen the lettuce. Whoops. (It was one of those teeny fridges and I put it too close to the freezer part, plus the fridge was turned to the coldest setting unbeknownst to me) And still, we had plenty of food leftover. The day passed quickly and eventually it was time for the banquet.

We got dressed and all that good stuff. I had encouraged Seth to try on his tuxedo prior to the banquet and rent a tux if necessary. Well, time got away from us both and he never did try it on (though thankfully, I did have the foresight to pick up a nicer tuxedo shirt for him). So there we are in the hotel room, getting ready for the banquet and he puts on the tuxedo pants. And I burst out laughing. In all fairness, these are the same tuxedo pants (and jacket for that matter) that he wore to his high school prom, and really...how many 30 year old men can still fit into their high school prom tux? So it's impressive that he got into them at all, but they were pretty hysterical looking. Fortunately, after the cummerbund and jacket, he looked a little less uncomfortable. Tuxedos are nice because they hide most everything. Anyway, it was great because I laughed for about 15 minutes straight and it put me in a good enough mood to be able to go socialize. And we now have plans to buy Seth a tuxedo when the opportunity arises again.

Okay, so the banquet… First of all, there’s me. In a gorgeous dress. And a hat. Yes, a hat. And I was the only person there in a hat. Granted, Seth was the only person there in a Yarmulke. But he’s 6’2”. You can’t see the yarmulke from the front, and if you’re as short as I am, you may not be able to see it at all. And I felt stupid. I hate me in hats. I’d have been much happier in a snood. Except that it really was too formal to wear a snood. So a hat it was. And I’ve got the pictures to prove that I looked stupid (the upshot of the bad pictures is that it convinced me to get a sheitel, but that's another story).

Then there’s the fact that I really don’t like being the center of attention, particularly when I don’t deserve it. Which I didn’t. But I was. “Oh it’s so nice to know that you DO exist!”… “It’s so good to FINALLY meet the mystery woman!” … “Are you sure you don’t want to join the Auxiliary?” and so on.


In the end, I had a great time. Despite a waitress that was a little confused that we’d arranged to have a kosher meal and therefore did not want the crab soup appetizer, and a couple other minor issues, things were really nice. I wish my picture had been taken slightly fewer times, but I’ll live. Seth was the Associate Signare (which is, in English, the Assistant Secretary) for the Fraternity. He was de-installed from his post, and about 10 minutes later he was installed to… yeah, you got it, Associate Signare. :-D Silly Seth.

It honestly was nice to meet people I’d heard a lot about and to see that Seth really did have an extended family in the organization. There were more members of AZO at our wedding than I had family members there. That says something, I think (and it’s not for lack of inviting my family members, by the way). So many people came up to me and told me about how they’d unofficially “adopted” Seth and how they’d really enjoyed watching him grow (out) through the years. I had never heard so many good things said about my husband in such a short period of time. It was so nice to see that so many people see the same things in him that I do. Long-time members of the fraternity really are part of Seth’s “family” so-to-speak, and even some shorter-term members are too. When the new Supreme Directorum (that’s the President), Paul, was installed, he shook the other officers’ hands, but he gave Seth a big bear hug. Paul’s wife turned to me and said, “Paul really cares so much about Seth; he has a huge amount of respect for him.” I can’t tell you how much my heart swelled to hear that.

I eventually caved and joined the Auxiliary. I'm officially a wife; I've joined an auxiliary organization in support of my husband. Oy.

So it was worth it. All the hoopla of getting dressed up and making Shabbos in a hotel, and dealing with “so you really do exist!” comments was completely worth it. Because I got to see my husband through 100 other pairs of eyes. And gosh, he’s great.

And he’s MINE. *grin*

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