Friday Night Throw Down – Scores and Highlights

A successful party – celebrants suitably honored, attendees suitably hammered.  House?  Mostly unscathed.  Dog?  Mostly recovered.  Laundry?  Not even close to being done.  Leftovers?  Delivered to feed the cast and crew at a rehearsal today… 

- Perhaps a total of 80-100 people dropped by between 5:30 PM and 3:00 AM.  Fortunately, they came in waves, with the early arrivals including familes – with ridiculously cute children – a few pregnant women*, and folks with early bedtimes.  Late arrivals?  Last person to show up arrived at midnight.  Fortunately, one early arrival managed to park in my crabby neighbors yard before he got out his “no parking” signs.  Twit.  i hope someone puked in his yard.  Again.

- As a result of this event, i’m even more comfortable with my decision to remain very, very single.  i didn’t have to ask permission from, nor consult with, anyone before deciding to do this.  My house, i can do what i want!  i used to have parties on a much smaller scale when i was first married, but my ex-husband was uncomfortable with it, so i stopped.  The kids loved it when they were little – nothing more fun than watching grown ups get silly!  Now?  They still love it… and can play along!

- Naturally, we took advantage of the opportunity to taunt one of the celebrants when he went down for the count.  Didn’t really pass out from alcohol consumption**, just tired.  In addition to the standard “write on his face with markers” trick, we photographed him with a stuffed sea monkey i happened to have on hand, reminding all party goers to keep an open mind – “It’s not beastiality, it’s interspecies erotica”.  Oh, and we put a temporary tattoo on him.  A “tramp stamp” above his ass crack.  Suspect he won’t realize he has it til he’s showering at the gym next week.  Hopefully, we used the “Exit Only” tattoo…

- The Boy made it home, and was awestruck to find not one, but three kegs awaiting him.  One still half full of Guiness.  His eyes shone the way they used to on Christmas morning!  The look on his face was precious as he toyed with the idea of moving the keg to his bedside.  Auto-beerotica?

- Mr. Pickles loves parties.  An endless stream of people on hand providing attention.  Sticky children, covered with tasty food bits to lick.  Wayward jello shots to eat from the ground.  If you look closely in the lower left corner of the crowd shot, you’ll see that there is a large brown animal cruising the food table…  He hasn’t moved much today.  We were both on the move for over 8 hours – me moving food, drink and trash, him playing with new friends!  It’ll wear a pup out!  On the bright side? No one threw up on him this time***.

It was a good time.  One of my young friends thanked me – saying that my willingness to do this, to bring people together for celebrations, helps make the workplace more tolerable.  And i truly enjoy it – when i’m not beating myself over the head, saying “i’m too fucking old to be doing this!” 

Perhaps the entire situation is best summarized by a conversation with The Girl tonight.  i was sympathizing with her regarding the state of her parents.  Her Dad is living with a “crazy selfish bitch” and her Mom is hosting frat parties and doing keg stands in the back yard.  Her response:  “Shit, it’s even worse than that.  You guys are both probably getting more than either of us… That’s just sad…”

____

* Also known as “designated drivers”.  One spouse has been pregnant at the last two parties, and begged me to have another one after this baby is born so she can eat the jello!

**  i’m not so sure… although he was up at 8:00 am this morning, cleaning my house!

*** Perhaps only because Mr. Pickles was outside when the young man who’d experienced far too much intimacy with a bottle of vodka decided to paint my living room floor.  A shade called “Grey Goose”.

Conversational Snippets

Called both of my children this week to warn them about the pending “Kegger*” on Friday.  They’ve both been through these before – and depending on their general mood, have enjoyed a few, and been annoyed at a few.

Conversation 1:  While talking with The Girl, she wasn’t sure she’d come home.  FInal exams loom, and she’d had a bad weekend over the holiday – so we also went over some frustrations she’s been experiencing adjusting to her Dad having a girlfriend.  His partner is 180 degrees out of phase with their Momma, and it’s an adjustment, to say the least.

daisyfae:  Remember, your Dad is one of the most patient human beings on the face of the earth!  He put up with all my shit, didn’t he?

The Girl:  [enthusiastically] Yeah, really…

daisyfae:  [scowling] You didn’t have to jump on that so damn quick, did you?

Conversation 2:  When talking with The Boy about the party, he asked if it was going to be a good one, or a lame one**  – we’ve had a few of each.   He wasn’t sure if he’d make the trek home for it or not…

daisyfae: Somewhere between 50-100 people at this one.  Mostly work folks, young-ish.  Some families early.

The Boy:  I don’t know.  Sounds like it might suck.  Will there be a keg?

daisyfae:  Of course…

The Boy:  I might come down after work…

Post Script:  In subsequent conversations with both The Boy and The Girl, i have finally come to the same conclusion they have reached regarding the new girlfriend.  She’s a bitch.  And if she makes their father happy, they’ll learn to deal with it – and are handling this situation very well – but they are both deeply disturbed by how they’ve seen her treating him.  It’s none of my business – beyond the fact that i want my children to maintain a healthy, close relationship with their Dad – but in fact, it also makes me very sad.  He doesn’t deserve to be barked at by an unappreciative, selfish woman.

________

* i still have no idea how many people will be descending upon my house tomorrow after work.  Seems the guys forgot that “RSVP” thing…

** If it’s a Cast Party?  He’ll be in another state.  At the last one, it was the magical combination of Karaoke, Jello Shots and Theater People that had him digging out his eardrums with a butter knife at 4 am…

Alien Abduction?

i need to report an abduction….  Got a call today while running errands on my lunch hour.  This conversation happened today with my ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S:

S: I need to talk to you.  This isn’t about Mom, she’s fine.  This is about me.  It’s all about me.

daisyfae (inside her head):  i’m stunned-shocked-amazed at this!  YOU?  Talking about yourself?

daisyfae (to S):  Ok.  What’s up?

S:  They found another lump in my breast.  I went in today for a Halo Breast test – have you heard of it?

daisyfae: No – what is it?

S: It’s a new way of looking for cancer – they said because of the type i had before, i’d be a good candidate, but they weren’t able to make it work.  Hurt like hell.  But that’s not why i’m calling.

daisyfae (inside her head):  Ah – here it comes!

daisyfae:  Shoot*…

S:  They also asked me about doing genetic testing for breast cancer.  Have you heard of that?

daisyfae:  Yes – i had it done last year.  Came back negative.  i thought i told everyone in the family about it.  Key thing with the breast cancer mutation – it’s not only about breast cancer, but ovarian cancer as well.  If it runs in a family, there is typically rampant cancer (30%-40% of the women) – and we don’t have that on Mom’s side.  i did the test to look on Dad’s side because his Mom died of breast cancer, he was an only child, and we just don’t know that much…

S:  That’s good news. 

daisyfae:  Do you know of history on your biological father’s side?

S:  His mother died of breast cancer, but he had a bunch of older aunts – i don’t think there were more cases.

daisyfae:  Statistically, it’s probably a low chance.  Now, will your insurance pay for the test?  It costs about $3000 and there’s only one lab in the U.S. with the license to do the testing.

S:  I’m not sure.  I’ll go back and ask before agreeing to this.

daisyfae (looking at phone number to verify this is, in fact, Sister, S): Ok.  Keep me posted – and let me know if there’s anything i can do.  Did a lot of research on this during the 3 weeks i had to wait for the results…  Genetic testing is an interesting business** and i can help you navigate some of it.

S:  OK.  Oh, and don’t tell Mom – I don’t want to worry her about this.  I don’t think it’s a big deal – I’m not afraid.  I just want to figure out how to handle all this crap without too much disruption.

daisyfae (staring at phone. considering drafting a press release):  No problem – and hey, you’re one tough little nugget!  Way to go!  Let me know what you need!

daisyfae (inside her head): […..]

* Not an optimal word choice for this sister.  She’s the one with the “concealed carry” permit.

** i stopped short of my rant regarding the intellectual property issues relating to “Genetic Testing Patents”.  A law (Bayh-Dole Act) that was intended to speed the transition of research has, in fact, hindered many such transitions – by allowing patents for on gene identification processes.  A quagmire has evolved, and the result is reduced access to relatively straightforward testing. This slowed down research into development of a SARS vaccine, as many lawyers first had to sort out who “owned” the patents…  Baby steps. She was doing good, but not ready for this particular rant…  Sorry.  [soap box returned to cupboard under sink]

Toga?

From the top of my “What the fuck was i thinking?” file*:  i have once again offered my home as a “Party Substrate” for two young engineers from the office celebrating promotions.  For this Friday.  And yes.  i said “once again”….

As an “old and crusty” yet “sorta cool”** mentor within the organization, i am known for my enthusiastic support of the younger technologists.  When they need celebrate a promotion, or say farewell as they change jobs, they often have no suitable location for a party.  daisyfae to the rescue!  The last farewell party ended up with somewhere between 80-100 people stopping by during the course of an “afternoon – evening – early morning – ‘get-yer-ass-outta-my-house-i’m-going-to-bed’ pre-dawn”. 

It was big fun.  The party gaggle was back the next day – not of bright eye nor bushy of tail – and cleaned my house as promised.  My responsibility is to make jello shots, keep an eye on the guests to assure all get home safely (or are tucked onto a horizontal surface until ready for transport), and generally flit about moving piles of kibbles to where the clumps of party goers are assembled at any given time***.

This gaggle includes one of my favorite “young ‘uns”, and i’m sure it’ll be big fun.  This will be the fifth in the series, and we’ve finely tuned the process – making it all pretty straightforward.  They bring food, drink, tables, chairs.  i open the door.  We play.  i go to bed.  They clean up.

i once heard a comedian reference his method to “drunk proof” his house before a party – which included duct taping his dog’s ass.  Not likely to be that kind of party****, but i should locate Mr. Pickles kevlar collar and barf-proof cape just for safety.

_____

* “File” is an understatement.  This collection is being converted to microfiche for efficient permanent storage…

** “Agedly hip”?  “Crustily cool”?  Have to work on this…  Perhaps The Great One can provide guidance….

*** Also, to assure that no one has sex in The Girl’s bed.  Her direct orders.  Not that it’s a problem with this crowd, i do have to lock things down before hosting cast parties for my theater crowd…

**** No one from my extended family will be in attendance.

Bears, Beers, BBQs and Boneheads

Just back from a visit to The Park.  The Rehab Center held a Memorial Day BBQ for residents and families today – Mom wasn’t sure she wanted to go, so my sister, S, and i offered to go with her.  It was a well organized event.  I was impressed by the staff working through some formidable logistics, moving 30-40 wheelchair-bound residents to the outdoor picnic facility, feeding and caring for them all with kindness and humor.

Mom, pictured here with her Loogie Bear – as well as a 16 oz bottle of Budweiser – seemed to enjoy the fresh air.  And two plates of picnic fare. 

Always the nurse, however, she only had a few sips of the beer as she was worried about drug interactions.  It didn’t go to waste…

It really was a very pleasant visit.  For the most part, anyway.  After lunch, the three of us were chatting about life, health and luck…  My ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S, managed to once again remind me that i’d done a terrible thing to her last year…

S:  You know, I’m still hurt that you wouldn’t let me come up to help you when you had cancer*.

daisyfae:  i understand that.  But we all deal with these things differently, and i needed to deal with it on my own – with my kids.  It wasn’t a big deal…

S:  But it would have meant a lot to me, and helped me deal with my own cancer, if you’d let me come visit.  I needed to help my sister…

daisyfae:  Sorry, but it was my cancer.  Maybe next time…

At this point, my tongue is developing welts.  In my head, i’m gleefully shouting “Oh, i’m going to post this on the blog, dear sister, and your insane, self-absorption shall be subject to the scrutiny and ridicule of a few bored internet junkies the world!” 

To keep my head from exploding avoid conflict, i got up to help the staff clean up items that had blown off tables after lunch…

______

* S insisted that i let her “help” me through breast cancer.  Rather than have a “Clampett’s At the Hospital” scene, i refused to let any of them come up for my  3 hour outpatient surgery.  My children and friends were on the job.  No drama, just lots of “Arm wrestle you for the vicodin” , and stupid potty humor kinda stuff…

Punk’d

Last week was busy, between a two-city roadtrip and trying to support the family crisis by remote.  When driving to The Park Friday, i realized that other than a brief conversation with The Girl to sort out the insurance claim for her car, i hadn’t talked to either kid.  Rang them both up – no answer, so i left messages. 

About 10 minutes later, The Boy called.  Almost immediately, the phone ‘binked’ letting me know i had another call coming in – from The Girl.  Knowing that conversations with The Boy tend to be brief, i figured i’d finish up with him, and call her back afterwards.  Besides, i’m not good mucking around with the phone while driving*.  The ‘binking’ continued – seemed The Girl was impatient to talk, so i wrapped things up with The Boy and hung up.

Working the “missed calls” register, i returned the call to The Girl.  Or at least i tried.  Was aggravated when The Boy picked up. 

daisyfae:  Shit.  Sorry.  i was trying to call The Girl.

The Boy:  You’ve been punk’d!  We decided to both call you back at the same time to see which one of us you love more.

Yep.  The little bastard was visiting his sister.  When i called them both in succession, they decided to synchronize the callbacks to see what happened if i got calls from them both at exactly the same moment.  Since that didn’t work, The Boy just kept hitting redial on his sisters phone the entire time we were chatting.

Talking with The Girl, she was jokingly resigned – “guess you love him more”. 

Not really the case, though.  i simply tend to worry about him more.  For those of you who’ve been following along, this will come as no surprise

_____

* i’m much better at sending e-mails from the blackberry while driving.

Goofin’ at The Raisin Ranch Hilton

Getting Mom settled into the cardiac rehab facility* tonight, it was wonderful to see her in great spirits. It was a difficult week for her – and my whiney, emo-bullshit is of no real consequence. She’s the one who had a lung loogie declare war on her…

We are not a family of ‘wasting away’ people**. We know how to eat. We eat when we’re happy.  We eat when we grieve.  We eat until the bitter end, then ask for refills, dessert and a doggie bag.  As she was packing away her dinner tonight, it was clear she’s enjoying the rehab center food more than the bland, virtually pre-chewed and dessicated items brought to her last week in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

When i asked about her breakfast this morning…

Mom: It wasn’t bad – I ate everything they brought. But when I asked for some cinnamon sugar for my oatmeal, the nurse said “Honey, this ain’t the Hilton”.

daisyfae: Oh no she didn’t!  Tell you what, Momma. You’ve earned the right to do this, and after all you’ve been through, you are allowed to do whatever you want when someone says snarky things to you… You don’t have to let people talk to you that way!

Mom: Oh, I don’t know…

daisyfae: The next time someone says anything like that to you, i want you to say “Suck My Dick”. Can you do that?

Mom: (giggling… a lot… almost enough to stop chewing her ham…)

daisyfae: OK, that may be a bit much to start. We need to work up to that.  How about “Suck My Junk”? Could you say that?

Mom: (giggling) oh, I don’t know…

DQ (catching the spirit of the game): What about “Bite Me”? Could you say that?

Mom: (snorting) I could say that!

These people are going to be counting the days till she’s outta there!  At least those with no sense of humor!

__________

* It’s a “Rehab Facility”. There are long term patients there, as well as short term rehabilitation patients. We are trying hard not to call it a “nursing home”…

** After surgery for colon cancer and 3 1/2 years of chemo, Dad still weighted 280 lbs when he died.  We don’t waste away…  Just not how we’re wired!

Dealing with failure*

My first year in college wasn’t pretty, academically or socially.  For two quarters, i coasted on what i’d learned in high school – mostly via osmosis, as i’d rarely cracked a book during my secondary education.  As is often the case, it caught up with me by the end of my first year – and i failed Calculus III** – a required course for my chosen degree program.

 

Tucking my tail between my legs, i went back to The Park to report out to my parents – who funded my first year***.  Mom was “disappointed”, and told me that i’d need to “buckle down” and get to work.  Dad took a different approach.

 

Rooting around through some old papers, he located his undergraduate transcripts.  Handing them to me, he asked me if there was anything that jumped out at me.  He had a terrible freshman year – even failing “Strength of Materials”.  This was, in fact, the course that he was currently teaching as an evening class at a local university.  He also only had one “A” during his undergraduate career – and it was in “Hygiene”.

 

Rather than lecture me, he went on to talk about “why” his first year was so bad.  It was early in World War II, and he was planning to enlist at the end of his freshman year.  Knowing that his eyesight was horrible, the only thing he studied that year was an eye chart – figuring if he memorized it, he could make the cut.

 

Invariably, they changed the chart before he went in for his physical, he failed and he was not allowed to enlist.  Tucking his tail between his legs, he had to go back to his second year at the university and recover.  He successfully completed the engineering degree program****, and went on to a productive career – and a life with meaning and substance – never looking back on that one academic failure. 

 

————— 

 

* “failure” is likely to be a recurring theme for me as i conjure snapshots of my life.  i suppose everyone has to be good at something, and i seem to be good at dealing with fuck ups…  Go with your strenghts, right?

 

** But hey, i got an “A” in Psychology 101, a “B” in English composition and a “B” in Analytical Chemistry!

 

*** i moved in with my future husband halfway through my second year (at 19 years old).  From that point on, i declared myself financially independent, and didn’t accept additional parental financial support – although they were quite willing to help.

 

**** A remarkable achievement, my father was one of the extremely rare first-generation immigrants to go to college in that era.  Typically, this didn’t happen for another generation.  He spoke no English until he was 8 years old.  How did this happen?  His mother understood the value of education, told him he was brilliant every single day – rather than focus on their miserable economic status – and that he was expected to continue and complete his education.  So very sorry i never knew her…

The Suit

Wearing a government issued Polyester Suit – complete with flag lapel pin – and using a booming baritone “press conference” voice – the Monday workshop opened with the requisite “Suit” – representing a high level government office. Speaking like Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpson’s, we got to listen to gems such as:

“In their present form-MA….”

“Trying-GA to develop novel approaches that increase synergy-YA…”

“Plans are like airports! Think about airports – you collect passengers in a location, move them to other locations, and launch them on their way to their destination. And all airports-za, do it BADLY! Plans-ZA are like that!”*

“No data-bay-us will be sufficient to answer all questions-ZA…”

“The Special Summaries are like airports-ZA, too – except they’re always fogged in! Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk…” 

Mercifully, The Suit only spoke for about 15 minutes. Had it gone any longer, i’d have considered taking up smoking again – but only for the opportunity it would provide to put cigarettes out in my eyes, distracting me from the audio-pain.

Are such windbags born or bred? Do they start out as normal humans and adopt the ways of the beast during an assimilation process or are only the windbaggedly inclined drawn to – and ascend to – such positions? Important questions to ponder as i consider retirement and the rest of my life – tending bar…

_________

* no idea what this fucking analogy was about, but since he was of sufficiently high level, it got a polite chuckle from the “brown snorkel” brigade in the audience

Rock? Meet the Hard Place.

It was a difficult decision, but since Mom was stable – and the rest of the family was on call, and prepared to handle the potential discharge to the cardiac rehab facility on Monday or Tuesday – i decided to press on with a planned business trip this week.  The first portion (Annapolis) of high relevance to my job, the second portion (Chicago) less important, but a meeting of an industrial advisory panel, for which i am chairman, and therefore, feel obliged to attend.  At least to kick it off…

So here i sit in a hotel at O’Hare Airport.  i just got the text message from DQ telling me that Mom’s lung is no longer collapsed.  Mom’s fine.  Last night i had a bad night.

Continue reading