Friday, December 31, 2010

Sleepovers for Grown Ups

It’s New Year’s Eve, and The Mister, Phartacus, Slappy and I are going over to the friends’ house soon. The Epiphany friends from earlier this month, who will be leaving at some point. They are kind, mellow, thoughtful, funny people, and they have a spacious house and suggested we might like to spend the night. This sounds like excellent idea, and we’re going to decline it. We’re going to decline it because, since moving to Splendaville, we’ve had two New Year’s Eve sleepovers with Grown Ups, and both have been disastrous.

The first Grown Up New Year’s sleepover invite was issued by a family we’d gotten to know through the Mother’s Milk club I’d joined. The Wookies liked to think of themselves as the center of the social circle, and invited a couple of families over to bask in their largesse. Unfortunately, tensions that day were running even higher than usual, as the day prior their youngest, delicate, allergy-riddled child had fallen off the bed and broken her arm. Innately sensing danger, The Mister and I tried to back out, but they weren’t having it. So we went over to their house and the ill-fated boozing commenced. Mr. Wookie had never seemed to approve of me for daring to suggest that weekend after weekend of boys’ days out hunting deserved some comparable girls’ time. He also made it clear he disapproved of how I parented my child and that I didn’t unquestioningly take his advice on which route I should use to drive home. So evidently he decided a fun revenge would be to have a few drinks, come up and tell drunken me some outrageous lie about his wife, and watch me stagger over and repeat it. I can’t even remember the rumor he started, I just remember him pouncing on me the minute I asked Mrs. Wookie what on earth Mr. Wookie was on about. A bit later in the evening, Mr. Wookie decided The Mister was flirting with Mrs. Wookie.

Now, I don’t want to be uncharitable… Oh, hell, too late, right? Why beat around the bush. OK, not to put too fine a point on it, but there were several hundred pounds, several chin hairs, and two tiny piggy eyes on Mrs. Wookie. No chance of flirting, I feel pretty confident about that. So that made for another couple of drama-filled hours –- interspersed with mandatory hourly shots –- after we put the kids to bed. Thankfully, midnight intervened and the husband of the other fortunate couple distracted us by stripping naked and leaping onto Mr. Wookie’s ATV for a joyride around the property. I got some neat photos, then The Mister and I slunk upstairs to our assigned bunkbeds and got the hell out of Dodge as soon as dawn broke.

Grown Up New Year’s Sleepover disaster #2 occurred at our house a few years later. The Belushis were a family in our circle who also had two little boys and were eager to do something for New Year’s, so we invited them over, and somehow, the missus of Neighbor In Swim Trunks From Two Sizes Ago, (see also this) since NISTFTSA is a chef and was working that night. (I think he now chefs for the Splendaville prison, having been unable to play nice in any of the restaurants.)  Anyway, NISTFTSA’s missus is a big pothead, which turns out to have been a dream come true for Mrs. Belushi. The Mister and I had gotten a new mattress for Christmas, and had lazily thoughtfully put the old one down in the Toys R Us crack den playroom for Phartacus and Slappy to jump on for a few days. A couple of drinks later for me, and God knows what else for Missus NISTFTSA and Mrs. Belushi, those two were lying on the mattress watching the room spin and groaning like sated zombies.

Eventually Missus NISTFTSA stumbled home through the backyard and Mrs. Belushi pulled herself off the mattress, just in time for Phartacus, by now on an evening playdate and sugar-induced high of his own, (Not a pot-induced one, I would like to clarify. That was snuck outside while I was busy watching children.) to leap off the sofa, miss the mattress, and crack a molar. After we got the kid front settled down and bedded, I cracked a molar of my own on a popcorn kernel. At which point, apparently, the Belushis thought it would be the right time to suggest a few lines of cocaine. The Mister and I politely declined and slunk off to our new mattress, eyeballs bulging like the squares we really are. The next morning, as I watched my bedroom ceiling spin, felt my tooth throb, and groaned in zombie-like fashion myself, Mrs. Belushi bounced into the bedroom and sprang onto my new mattress, laughing and apparently none the worse for wear, to wonder what on earth was the matter with me. I had been out-partied for sure.

So even though the Epiphany friends, who are falling asleep on the sofa by 9pm most evenings, are not a thing like the sleepover friends of yore, The Mister and I agree we’ve had abysmal luck on the Grown Up Sleepover front, and I like them too much to find out if this year the guest of shame will be me. So the plan is to be home well before midnight, watching the ball drop if we can manage it, trying not to crack any molars or do anything disastrous. Happy New Year, and please wish me luck.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Phartacus

I had small plans for this Christmas Eve. Just me, The Mister, Phartacus, and Slappy making cookies for Santa, reindeer food, decorating a gingerbread house, listening to Bing and Ella, etc. You know the drill. Honey-baked ham for dinner, check Santa’s progress on NORAD’s Santa tracker, tuck into bed and wait for Santa’s bounty. Well, Santa’s got a bit of a conundrum now, and you’ll realize I’ve named my offspring well.

 Merry Christmas, Phartacus. Love, Slappy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Free Souse With Purchase

For months I have tried to remember to take a camera with me to the Porkly Workly, but alas, I’m lucky to remember the grocery list and, on a very good day, the environmentally-responsible market bags. I have been determined to document on this blog a disturbing product called souse, which hangs innocuously amongst the Oscar Mayer bologna and mesquite-smoked turkey as though it were some sort of normal, reasonable food item you might slip into your kid’s sandwich. At first unpleasant glance, you see pinkish-white ridged chunks floating in a viscous base sprinkled with green and red flakes. Peruse the ingredient list and -- dear God -- you’ll discover that souse is a pork product you’d have thought vanished from human consumption a hundred years ago, if not right after the first time someone tried it. The main ingredients in souse are (cue theme from Psycho): pig snouts, pig hearts, pickles, and gelatin. Heave. Here kids, have some jellied pig snout with pickles!

Though the Splendaville Porkly Workly has evidently been doing a brisk enough trade in souse to have offered it for as long as I’ve lived here, apparently even regional delicacies have a limited appeal. The souse was on sale for 99 cents, and I decided this blog was worth the expense, so I put it in my cart, along with some pot pies and cheap wine, and went to check out with a basket full of good times.  The checkout girl scanned my Porkly Workly card, rang up my items, and informed me that my exclusive membership had saved me 99 cents. In other words, free souse with purchase.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Epiphany Comes Early

It’s been a long week. The Mister was out of town on a hunting trip for the first couple of days, and between part-time work, the early morning class I volunteer teach at school and all the rushing around that the holiday season brings, by Thursday I couldn’t believe the week wasn’t over. I staggered blearily through this morning, in a foul mood over a thousand trifles.  By mid-afternoon I’d regrouped and found some Christmas spirit and was decking the halls with boughs of holly, berry sprigs, red bows. As the sun set, our wee dwelling was festive with bright swags and warm candlelight, and the smell of Friday night homemade pizza filled the air with a savory garlic aroma. Our dear friends, fellow West Coast weirdos and school carpool lifesavers, had picked up Phartacus and taken him to the school basketball game with their kids. They dropped him off and stayed for an impromptu cocktail and nosh. The candles flickered and Ella crooned in the background as my friend suddenly said, in a low voice, that her husband had been promoted and they will be moving to Chicago.

It took a few moments for it to set in, and I tried to make sensible conversation while my throat closed and my eyes stung. They stayed for a couple of hours, during which time I made several trips to the bathroom to take deep breaths and drip Visine into my eyes, willing them to stay clear. It’s a secret, you see, that their kids don’t know yet because it won’t be made official until after the holidays. Which means I can’t let Phartacus and Slappy know that their best friends will be leaving soon. I dread their tears more than mine.

My heart is breaking.

Typing that secret, sitting next to Phartacus, I knew I couldn’t hold it in any longer, and went to the bathroom and lay down on the tiles, sobbing quietly so no one would hear. I tell Phartacus I’m catching his cold, because I can’t tell him yet, and I don’t want to ruin his Christmas. Because it will. I know Phartacus. Slappy too.  And that makes it just that much worse.

I’m three-fourths devastated to be losing the best friends we have here -- both for me and for the boys –- and one fourth jealous to be left behind in Splendaville while our deserving friends move onward and upward. They’ve earned it; they’ve been here five years and worked their asses off. It’s a dream job. It was only a matter of time.

We’ve been here 8 years. I thought it would be only two. No dream job beckons. I hate being left behind, happy as I will make myself be for them.

I feel lost. I can’t imagine school and weekends without these friends. I want to curl up in my bed and cry til spring.