I ended up in the pool, holding my drink above my head, shouting things like, "Quit splashing! You little snots! You'll dilute my friggin' drink!"
2. My son is the color of the ripest part of a peach after refusing to put his shirt on six hours into the pool excursion. I took great pleasure in finally getting to say, "I told you so", for once in my stupid life.
3. I harassed Chris into playing Trivial Pursuit with me on Sunday. He warned me that he would suck. I puffed up and felt superior and we began playing.
At one point, a question directed at me was, "What NFL franchise is called 'Americas Team'?"
I pondered for a moment and then answered, "Washington Redskins."
He looked at me all crazy. "No, babe. Dallas Cowboys."
"Oh. Well, I figured 'America's Team' would be a team from the nations capitol or something."
I was subsequently banished from Trivial Pursuit and relocated to playing a Barbie board game with my daughter. We wore plastic tiara's and I periodically stuck my tongue out at Chris while he pointed at me and laughed.
4. I twisted my ankle trying to dig a trench around Chris' tomato garden. I was up on the spade, throwing all my weight into it when my flip-flop slipped (I know, I know) and I landed hard on my ass and my wrist. As I sat there with tears in my eyes, his sister came outside.
"Crystal ... ummm... are you okay?"
"Want me to get Chris?"
"No. But can you bring me another Corona?"
I sat there and drank and swatted mosquitoes until my pride felt better. Fuck gardening.
5. Some twat-faced fuckshit bashed my windshield in last night. I called the police and waited thirty minutes for Officer Hardwick to show up. You know, cos' Olive Branch, Mississippi is overrun by criminals at 8 a.m.
His first question was, "So, that wasn't there last night?"
I just blinked at him. "Uhh...nooooo. If it was, I would have called you last night." Blink. "Officer." Blink, blink. "Hardwick."
If I am ever in a situation where there is some crazed psychopath with a knife to my throat, reaching for his zipper, the Olive Branch police department will stop for coffee and some laser tag before responding. I have to stop antagonizing them.
And how was YOUR Memorial Day?
The doctor is very cool. She's one of those grandmothers that looks cooler than I do. You know the type...thin with short, spiky blonde hair that's been frosted at the tips. I think she's great. As she was explaining to Devon that he's not to scratch and then touch any other part of his body, she's vigorously scratching her crotch to get the point across. I don't think I've ever seen my son turn purple until today.
Oh, and yes, a shot was involved.
2. How to tell if your boss is at a loss over what to do about your sudden mood swings and crying in the office without letting you go because he can't survive without you: you get an all expenses paid trip to a condo on the beach in Destin, Florida.
God, I love my boss.
2. My butt. I went fishing with Chris, his friend, friends daughter and my son on Sunday (that is a whole story in and of itself. Good Lord). I was the only one drinking. I was chugging my ice-cold Corona's because it was one thousand degrees outside so I had to pee pretty regularly. Each time I did, I got attacked by mosquitos. On my ass. It was the only part of my body that wasn't soaked in Deep Woods Off. Speaking from a mosquito's perspective, it must have made an enormous target, too. I tried to be good-natured about it.
By the fifth pee break, I was speaking as the mosquito. I adopted some hideous Australian accent and did my best Steve Mosquito, Great White Ass Hunter.
Picture me hunkered down, pants around my ankles, trying not to pee on my tennis shoes.
"Crikey! Look at the size of it! If I can take this sheila down, her ass will feed my whole colony for a year! I had better approach with some caution, though. She's not in her natural habitat and could be a wily one!"
I had a big, shit eating grin on my face as I stood up and buttoned. When I finally looked up, Chris was standing there, staring at me very intently.
"What? You've known me long enough to take full responsibility for your decision to date me. So, shut up." I made a bee-line for my remaining Coronas.
So, I'm walking around the office, scratching my butt like it's my job. Although no one here is the least bit put off (I don't generally have a lot of etiquette. If you have a wedgie, you should be encouraged to remove it. It's all about comfort), I can't sit down.
3. Hm. I guess I have to change the title to "2 Reasons To Be Mildly Perturbed and Mostly Amused". Doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?
Sorry to have interrupted you. Carry on.
I only cried because I finished both shows with absolutely no fucking clue what was happening.
I have been oblivious to TV for months. I don't know who's screwing whom or what bug you need to eat to win money. I have no idea.
It didn't keep me from feeling a connection, though. Thanks to hormones, I feel a connection with everything. I cry about EVERYTHING. It's liberating in some fucked up way.
I entertained the idea of going to my parents because my Dad called earlier and asked what kind of wine I buy that he likes. I described the bottle in stunning detail and tried to keep him on the phone.
My son is spending the night at my nephews, my daughter is with her father and I'm not sure if I really have anyone who can come over on a moments notice to play Trivial Pursuit with me.
I shoved the carton of ice cream in the fridge while muttering obscenities and I ventured to my parents. Sometimes, the neurosis of those who made you is the only thing that keeps you from jumping off a bridge with Post-It notes strapped to your body.
I crossed the parking lot and nodded some sort of greeting to the twenty-somethings sitting outside. I was not worthy of acknowledgment, so they continued their conversation. I did a slow 180 as I was walking so as to better give them the full brunt of my glare. I subsequently walked into a column and gave myself a mild concussion. I am so cool it shatters precedents.
My Dad was drinking and watching "Sanford and Son".
"Watching her soaps."
I made my way into the guest room. She was eating something out of a styrofoam box. My phone rang. I answered.
"Hello?" I gestured at the box while talking. I whispered, "Mom, what the hell are you eating?"
"Hi, Mom. Can I spend the night at Austin's?" My son had been absent all day.
"Sure. How was your day?" My mom finally answered back. She whispered, "...mumble..mumble....British..."
"You're eating the British? Holy shit. It looked like chicken. Who knew?" I giggled and tried to pay attention to my son. I had indulged in too much wine. "Sweety...sorry..what?"
While he was answering, my mom was defending her culinary choices. All I heard was, "British" and "chicken".
My son got fed up with my lame attempt to pay attention and we said our goodnights. I immediately jumped on the bastard conversation with my Mom.
“Why are you eating British chicken? What’s wrong with American chicken?” I tried to keep a straight face as I put on my best pompous accent. “Cluck. Cluck. Cheerio!”
My mother started giggling and we ventured into the living room and tried to include my Dad. He accused us of being drunk. I bellowed, “Cluck! Cluck! Cheerio!” and he started giggling right along with us.
I left and stiffly walked past the twenty-somethings. I have on tropical pajama pants and a Compaq t-shirt. Oh, and sandals. They snickered. I sneered.
I came home and put on some music. I was trying to find the merriment from the earlier encounter when the melancholy hit me.
I have mixed feelings about being alone for one reason. When I’m alone, I inevitably listen to music that evokes a sadness in me that is ancient. It grabs my soul and squeezes until I am made painfully aware of how lost I am.
When I hear a woodwind, I go home. The anguish lies in my confusion about where home is.
I am apparently going through some sort of hormonal, pre-menopause, 'tread softly around me lest I claw your nuts off' type physical & mental thing.
While on vacation, I took my daughter to the bathroom in a convenience store. As she's singing and pooping (which I think is adorable, so suck it) I studied my reflection in the mirror. I was squinting and trying to see if the mutant hair had re-appeared on my chin. It's been sprouting there for about a year now and it used to be funny when I would go cavorting through the house on all fours, doing my best billy-goat impression. Now, a year later, the shit's not funny anymore. It won't go away.
Satisfied that the hair was dormant for the time being, I began to move away from the mirror when I saw something even more horrifying. Some of the hair on my upper lip had gone from blonde to black. Only three or four, but, whatever. That constitutes a moustache to me.
I ran wildly from the store (yes, I left my daughter in the bathroom. A MOUSTACHE IS GROWING ON MY FACE, FOR FUCKS SAKE) and launched myself into the car before someone could see me. My mother and my aunt stopped talking and looked at me with mild interest. No one who knows me is surprised by much anymore. I'm sure they initially thought I robbed the joint.
"Mom. What the hell is this?" I leaned over and put my face within millimeters of hers. I jabbed a finger accusingly at the offending hair.
"What? Oh. Yeah, that happened to me when I was about your age, too." She turned back to my Aunt Peggy. "Didn't you have that problem? You know, with the hair?"
"Oh, yeah, but mine started when I was about twenty one or so." She's nodding her head and they're looking at each other like I'm talking about a pimple and not my impending metamorphosis into a man.
"I have a fucking moustache. A FUCKING MOUSTACHE. Why did you do this to me? It's hereditary, isn't it?" I wrenched the rear view mirror around and stared, bug eyed, at the hair again.
"Crystal, watch your mouth. It's just some hair. Do like I do. Wax it."
Aunt Peggy piped in. "Oh, that gets tiresome. Just shave it."
I looked at her like she had just suggested I slice off my nipples and throw them around like miniature frisbees.
"Shave it? Woman, get something straight. I shave my legs, I shave my pits, I have even been known to shave my no-no holes, but I DO NOT SHAVE MY SON-OF-A-BITCHING FACE. I am not a man and I will not just accept the fact that I'm turning into one."
My mom is still disinterested in my crisis. "Where is Virginia?"
"She's in the bathroom pooping."
"You left her in there?"
"Do you see my face? Do you? Can we get back to this, please?"
"Oh, good Lord. You think that's bad, wait till it starts sprouting out of your nipples."
After I cocked an eyebrow at her in horror and then realized she was serious, I immediately left the car, walked into the store and bought three bottles of wine.
Later that evening, the family just gave me a wide berth as I drank straight from the bottle, lamented about hairy nipples and hit everyone up for a donation for full body electrolysis.
I have $82 of the estimated $8,000 it will take. Feel free to donate.
If I could give anyone one piece of advice about taking a roadtrip across Texas, it would be this: fuck a bunch of that, just don't do it.
No, seriously, don't take your kids and make sure that your parents are very aware of your feelings when it comes to music like Barry Manilow and THE BEST OF TOM T. HALL ON 28 DISCS FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE. Holy fuck. Nazi's had nothing on my parents when it comes to torture.
Let me just recap some of the highlights for you as the trip itself was too ... exhausting for me to re-live:
Mississippi to Dallas:
1. Barry Manilow and Tom T. Hall. I don't know if I mentioned that.
2. One of the screens on the portable DVD player wouldn't work, so my kids constantly fought over what movie to watch and who got to hold the screen. When we reached Little Rock and stopped for a pee break, I left them in the store and ran out shrieking, "Go! Go! Throw that fucker into drive and make like the wind!", as I jumped into the car. My mother was not amused. My dad was giggling shrilly and rooting me on, though. It had been 2 hours.
3. I took maps. I did this for a very specific reason. Why? At 11:47 p.m., my dad and I were having a screaming match over what road to take to get to the lovely little motel my parents stayed in 37 years ago when they came through Terrell, Texas. The map always wins.
4. Does anyone of American descent own a fucking motel anymore? Between the aroma of curry and sweat and my dad sitting up all night chain smoking, I got 23 minutes of sleep.
5. My dad caught some sort of devil virus. He was up all night in the motel, hurling. While me, my Mom and my son wearily resigned ourselves to not sleeping, my daughter snored like a drunken truckdriver. Little shit.
Dallas to Midland:
6. Stopping every 10 minutes on the second leg of the trip because MY MOTHER IS A GAMBLING JUNKIE WHO BELIEVES THAT STOPPING AT DIFFERENT CONVENIENCE STORES FOR SCRATCH OFF TICKETS INCREASES HER ODDS OF WINNING "THE BIG ONE". They also got to sit around and drink beer while I drove. I don't even have the words.
7. Kelly Clarkson's new CD. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse.
8. If you've ever driven to Midland, Texas, you know there is no uglier or boring drive. None.
While in Midland:
9. Walking around in throngs of people asking, "Am I related to you? I am? Who the fuck are you?" In my defense, I haven't been back in over a decade.
10. Getting hit on by one of my uncles. He had no idea who I was and upon refreshing his memory, his only response was, "Well, you got your momma's titties."
11. Having Uncle Rodney refer to me as "Dolly" the entire time and periodically asking me things like, "Damn, haven't you fallen over, yet?"
12. The cousins updating me about who's in prison and who's had more babies. I told my son to get a notepad and start writing names down when I introduced him because there is no way in hell anyone can remember all those people. My family alone is responsible for a third of the population of Midland.
13. Speaking of population...my dad asking my Uncle Rodney what the population of Midland is now and Rodney replying, "Legally here? Or everybody? Cos' there's a big difference, number wise."
14. One of my cousins is married to a Hispanic man. My daughter was playing with her daughters and couldn't remember their names, so she kept loudly referring to them as "the brown girls".
15. Upon being introduced to one of my Aunt Janet's new in-laws, it was mentioned that she (the in-law) had recently moved from Memphis. This started a conversation between us. Eventually I asked, "Why did you move?", to which she quietly replied that she and her husband had separated. Uncle Rodney pipes up at this point and says, "Wrong answer. You're supposed to say you moved cos' of all the damned niggers." He chuckles and then makes a hasty exit when she replies, "I married a 'nigger'." God, I love Uncle Rodney.
16. My cousin, David, is a sweetheart. He married a woman, Cat, who is 10 years his senior and they have been together for seventeen years. She is a biker chick and I adore her. I remarked about David's youthful appearance and she told me that it is because he has no responsibilities at home. She handles the bills, the housework, yardwork and runs her own restaurant. When I went to visit them, she decided to show me exactly how clueless he is.
"David, order us a pizza, babe."
He cheerfully complied. When they asked him for his address, he said, "P.O. Box 12345, Midland, Texas, 97901."
Cat looked at me, looked at him and said, "Well, I guess we'll get that motherfucker in 3 to 5 business days."
17. I had several conversations that included the following sentence:
"She's had that many kids by that many men? Holy shit."
18. The only thing I looked forward to on Mothers Day was going skydiving. I called the drop zone and some woman answered, "Vertical Air Skydiving". I was confused. Had they changed owners? Yes, she said. Could I please speak to the owner? While I was on hold, I was thinking how crappy it would be if David Wells had bought the place. He almost killed me when I was jumping on a regular basis and was a very unsafe jumpmaster. I heard the line pick up.
"Vertical Air, David Wells speaking."
I stammered, "Oh, me so solly. Me call wong numbah. Bye bye!"
Then I cried for an hour.
Midland to Austin:
18. We stopped in Robert Lee to see my dad's siblings. He is the youngest of 10 children at the age of sixty-four and we haven't seen them in over 20 years so I just remember a bunch of aunts and uncles. There were no grandchildren or children present, so when they all came shuffling out, it looked like something out of Dawn of the Dead. I think there were two hips broken just in the time we were there. Getting older scares the piss out of me, now.
19. I saw a girlfriend, Donelle, that I used to be friends with in junior high. She came over with her fiance and her daughter. I was drunk. So were my parents. I kept telling her what an asshole she was in high school and that the reason I wasn't friends with her was because she got contacts and an Audi and hung out with the cheerleaders. My mother kept interjecting with things like, "You had the biggest glasses, Donelle. They took up your whole face." Meanwhile, my Dad kept telling her how fat she had gotten but that it was good that she finally had some ass.
I dont' think I'll be hearing from her ever again.
Austin to Mississippi:
20. I was pretty much oblivious to everything on the trip back. I was so cracked out on Red Bull, Stackers and cappucino that all I could do was twitch and grind my teeth.
I say this every time I make that trip back to Texas, but I'm saying it now and I mean it: I'm never driving again. And God knows I love my kids more than life, but the little complainers are staying here.
I'm going to have a t-shirt made. It will say, "I'm flying or I'm not fucking going".
Tomorrow, I embark upon a journey to Midland, Texas. My birthplace. Where I turned 21. Where I subsequently got banned from Bennigans for THE REST OF MY LIFE.
A couple of things:
1. I'm going back to the Bennigans just to see if the same manager is still there. It's Midland, fucking Texas. I would wager that he is. He used to stutter everytime I would walk in the door. I was a legend when it came to shot contests and missing the toilet when I puked. Now, I'm just older and fatter. He'll probably still kick me out.
2. My only supplies are: 4 cases of Bud Light, 3 bottles of Stoli and some clean panties.
3. I am staying with my grandparents. They go to bed at 6:30. I'll be the retarded looking 31- year-old sneaking out the window at 7 p.m.
4. I'm debating whether or not to go to the prison and see some of my relatives. Get this...they could just let me into the general population and I guarantee that half the inmates would be cousins, second cousins, etc. Then it's on to the womens prison.
Yes. You read that right.
5. When I come back, I will never want to see beans or cornbread EVER AGAIN.
6. I cannot wait to see my cousins, Laura & Deborah. They got me drunk for the first time. Apparently, they never stopped and have been drunk since 1985.
7. I will take pictures. Oh, yes. I will.
8. I'M GOING SKYDIVING, BITCHES! It will be the first time in...hell, I don't know how long. That, alone, makes the whole trip worthwhile.
Gramma is 70 years old and in better shape than I am. She lives in a charming little house in the middle of rice fields.
They are the kind of family that gets together every week for Sunday dinner after church.
I felt like I was on Mars.
My family gets together on Christmas only, and the highlight of the whole ordeal is when my Dad gets drunk and falls into the Christmas tree. It happens every fucking year, people, and it never gets old. I am usually face down in my eggnog by eight o' clock.
So, anyway, I was doing my best not to curse or give anyone a heart attack by inadvertently flashing boob or anything. We all sat down to dinner and Chris' dad insisted I sit by him. The first thing he did was grab my knee. I'm outrageously ticklish, so I shrieked, "Shit!", and knocked over a few things. After the really comfortable and deafening silence was broken by the dog farting, things became semi-normal.
Chris has an Aunt that is my age, but she's mostly deaf. His Dad, Kraig, is a prankster so he has all sorts of fun at her expense. I had been there approximately 30 minutes when this conversation took place at the dinner table. Keep in mind that the aunt, Vonnie (I don't know. She has a twin sister, Connie. You try rhyming something with Connie), is sitting across the table from me.
Kraig: "Crystal, Vonnie is completely deaf. Can't hear a thing. She lost her hearing aid last week. (Looking at Vonnie who is busy eating)Look! Look! I can talk right to her and she won't have a clue. We can sit here and talk about her all day long. (Looking at me) Go on, say something! Say, "Hi Vonnie!"
What he didn't realize is that Vonnie had found her hearing aid the day before. So, from across the table, she looks at him with murder in her eyes and says, "Hi Vonnie."
As I sit there and wait for the mashed potatoes to start flying, the rest of the family cracks up. This is, apparently, a normal occurrence.
I'm sitting on the couch later on when the same aunt walks in and plops a baby pygmy goat into my lap. After the initial shock wore off, I was enchanted. It was the size of a toy baby doll. When it tried to eat my hair, I decided to ask for one for my birthday. As I'm cooing and baby talking this cute little goat, one of the uncles says, "Yeah, I think that one will be the fattest. That'll probably be the one we cook for the fourth of July reunion."
I stared at him in abject horror while the conversation continued.
"Crystal, you are coming for the fourth of July, right?"
"Oh, sure. Yeah. You bet." In my head I'm thinking, "I won't be eating anything that I can't identify, though, you goat murdering bastards."
I tried to smuggle the goat out and save it from certain death, but not even I could calmly explain why my cleavage began bleating when we were leaving. Stupid goat.