Our weekend started Friday night (which is, you know, a right-fine time to actually start a weekend, unless it’s a long weekend, and then you could probably get things started on Thursday evening, but our weekend wasn’t your typical long weekend — as in more than two days — but it was long in the sense that we crammed it completely full, which we’re prone to do).
I am also prone to liberally sprinkle run-on sentences into my writing.
And also? I like to begin sentences with the word and, which brings English professors across the globe into ERs everywhere with chest pains.
I think they’re chest pains which are usually more related to panic attacks and severe anxiety, and not the decline of the professors’ hearts.
But I digress.
On Friday night, my friend, Nicky, was celebrating her birthday, only she didn’t know it. It’s probably because we are still two weeks out from Nicky’s birthday, so she really had no inkling that some of her friends were plotting and planning and scheming and buying fun groceries very early.
Nicky is a teacher at the boy’s school. She was, in fact, his first grade teacher. I met Nick when we were both gangly 7th graders with well-permed hair and an ability to empty a can of Aqua Net faster than jet fuel can be ignited and burned.
It was the ’80s when we were 7th graders, and Aqua Net was as essential as doubling up our Izod polos and flipping the collars up.
Some of the teachers at the boy’s school, who all happen to love and adore Nicky as much as I do, decided that something should be done in the form of merriment, since she was celebrating a milestone birthday, so a menu was planned out, beverages were purchased, a cake came out of the oven and received a coat of lemon frosting, and gifts were purchased.
Louann hosted the party at her house, because it’s the cleanest house.
And when I say that Louann’s house is the cleanest, I honestly mean that open-heart surgery could actually be performed on English professors with chest pains right there on the floor in the grand entrance of her home. Nick and I secretly walked around her house on Friday night, wiping our fingers on her baseboards (We did, people!), and we were horribly disappointed to discover that dust simply doesn’t exist in Louann’s house. It’s a foreign substance there.
But I digress.
Even more than usual.
On Friday night, we all yelled, “Surprise,” and the party started. Louann had purchased something called Ouzo. I know! I had never heard of it before either. It’s an adult beverage known as fire water. Louann poured her Ouzo into little antique shot glasses, the likes of which we all began to covet, because those, people, were the neatest little shot glasses this side of the Himalayas. The smell of licorice filled the room, and comments were made. “Wow! This stuff smells like candy!” And Louann, bless her, replied, “Well, it won’t taste like candy!”
I should have read more into her meaning. It’s my own fault, really, for not having heeded that one, solitary comment.
The cute, antique shot glasses were raised, someone made an eloquent speech about getting older (It wasn’t me who made the speech, because no one wanted to listen to a bunch of run-on sentences and push dinner back by five hours.), we all clinked our glasses together, and then…
And I felt like I had swallowed an entire campfire, logs and burning coals and gasoline-exploding flames and all! The Ouzo took the taste buds off of my tongue, the enamel off of my teeth, and it burned the tonsils right out of the back of my throat.
People, it took an act of willpower and a June miracle that I didn’t spray Ouzo into the faces of everyone gathered around me. I felt like the sun had lodged itself and all its heat spots and boiling fire right in my throat.
And then it crept downward and molten lava settled in my stomach.
Thankfully, a few other teachers from the boy’s school who were at the party felt exactly the same way, and then we all busted out into hysterical giggles, and my cheeks turned enormously red with Ouzo-induced heat.
Eventually, Nicky and I made our way outside into the 48-degree misty evening, where we sat at Louann’s iron patio table, in Louann’s perfectly beautiful backyard, because it was too hot in the house for both of us, post-Ouzo. At one point, I said to Nick, “Do you think we could just peel some clothing off out here? I’m roasting!” And Nicky replied, “I don’t see why not! There’s a fence surrounding this entire yard!”
Ouzo. People, you can use it during the winter and never turn your furnaces on. Remember that, for lower utility bills. I love to offer money-saving tips to everyone! Also, if you ever need to do a little repainting of your car, you could pour Ouzo on it, and I can honestly guess that all the old paint will simply be burned plum off, saving you some time in the area of paint-stripping. Of course, the car may be completely reduced to a pile of ash, but that’s a risk you may have to take.
Since Nick is going to be visiting some good friends of hers in Greece this summer, the party theme was a Greek one. We all brought bottles of Windex for Nicky, because Windex is Greek. My Big Fat Greek Wedding made it so. And Louann and Cyndi worked as great chefs in the kitchen all day long, making the fanciest Greek meal ever served in Small Town, USA.
People, dinner was divine. As in, we wept with its goodness. And Louann served it all on her fanciest china in her formal dining room, because Nicky and I were the only ones feeling Ouzo-heat-exhaustion, and everyone else thought that an outdoor temperature of 48 degrees with some mist was really more of a temperature for indoor dining experiences, so Nick and I reluctantly followed the crowd to the table.
And, people, we laughed. We laughed until our sides hurt. We told stories about aging, stories about beauty products meant to delay aging, and what we intended to do when we were finally old enough to cease being employed for monthly wages. And through it all, Louann kept trying to refill all the antique shot glasses with Ouzo, as any gracious hostess would do, but Nicky and I managed to successfully hide ours several times, because we saw the future and knew that Ouzo was really quite dangerous.
Eventually the cake came out, and Cyndi chunked it into enormous slabs, although we all agreed that it was entirely too beautiful to cut. And land sakes, but was it ever rich! Rich enough that someone remarked, “We need Ouzo to go with this cake!” Only we didn’t. We needed milk.
And really? The very first time that I looked at my watch on Friday night, it was 10:20, and I realized that I’d told Hubs that I wouldn’t be long just before I smooched him good-bye.
By the time we all pitched in to clean up the kitchen and lick all the remaining frosting off plates stacked in the sink, it was well after 11:00, which meant that, Wow! Mama was out late!
Eventually I came home, and fell into an Ouzo-induced coma and dreamed of fire-breathing dragons.
On Saturday morning, Hubs and the boy and I had breakfast at a cute cafe and coffee house, which wasn’t Starbucks. I know. We were really living on the edge there, breaking out of our comfort zones.
And then we spent the day buying flowers and pots and potting soil that smelled like used Pampers from Home Depot, and then the boy and I met Cody and nine-year-old G at the theater, because…
The Karate Kid was here, and I was dying to see it and write my own mental review on how it compared to Ralph Macchio’s version.
Oh, Ralph. Daniel LaRusso was my karate-chopping hero in 1984.
Saturday matinees in Small Town, USA are at 2:00 and 4:30. Those times have been engraved in stone since Small Town, USA’s theater opened up. Cody and I were set to take the kids to the 4:30 showing, but listen, people. Apparently this new Kung Fu movie is a bit longer than a normal two-hour flick, so our theater started it at 2:30. This is never done in Small Town. Thankfully, Cody did a little prep work before the matinee started, so she alerted me to the fact that, Hey! It was 2:30 or bust.
Since it was almost 2:00, we decided that we could make it. We did some scrambling. Hubs and I raced home and unloaded 800 pounds of the potting soil that made me gag and remember all the mucked-up Pampers I used to throw away, and the boy and I screamed into the theater at 2:25.
Four seconds ahead of Cody and G.
And there was no line at the concession stand, because…hello! All the other movies started at 2:00. Like they were supposed to. We whipped through the line in record time, and we loaded ourselves down with bags of butter adorned with popcorn, and then we went into the theater, and wow!
As in, the only stinking seats left were the ones front and center.
Front Row Land.
Naturally, the kids were thrilled about this, because Mama never, ever lets them sit there, but Cody and I debated the benefits of splitting all four of us apart. We found a single seat eight rows back in the upper section, two seats together on the edge of the fifth row down from the top, and another glorious solo seat, far, far away from the screen. All of these were better options than craning our necks in the front row to see little Jaden Smith kick some Kung Fu bullies apart.
The kids would hear nothing of it, however. They were pleased to have the front seats.
Front seats it was.
And Cody and I suddenly realized that when you sit in the very! front! row! of the theater, you really cannot see the entire screen at once.
And also, it’s enough to send anyone with severe motion sickness (Let me raise my hand here and just own it!) into a bit of a concerned tailspin. I leaned over and told Cody, “You watch the left half of the screen, and I’ll watch the right half, and when the movie is done, we’ll fill each other in on what we missed.”
And you know what? One hour and forty-five minutes into that movie, I totally relaxed and could finally see everything on the screen in front of me at once, but I was about to spin around in my seat and throw popcorn at the small boy who kept grabbing the back of my chair and yanking it.
But really? Throwing popcorn at a four-year-old boy probably isn’t a polite thing to do, so I refrained.
And the movie?
That’s after you get over the fact that you are now actually quite old enough to have a movie from your youth remade.
I cried in this version of The Karate Kid. I cheered for little Jaden Smith’s character. I wanted to take the bully behind a shed somewhere for five minutes and poke his eyeballs out. And it was so refreshing to have my own son lean over and say, “Mom, I want to learn to fight like that! I totally want to punch like that kid can!” Well.
And then, on the car ride home, it was a shock to hear my nine-year-old son announce, “Mom, you know what? Do you know the girl in that movie? Well…I think she was the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen in a show.”
Oh, sweet mercy. Please don’t let this be starting yet!!
And then, after leaving the adrenaline high of the Kung Fu tournament behind us, the boy and I retrieved Hubs from home, and we had dinner with my parents on Saturday night.
And today, I must inform you all that the boy slept in until 9:00 AM. This has happened no more than five times in our entire nine-and-a-half years, because the boy and the rooster are tight. It was such a surprise, Hubs and I even ventured to the boy’s bedroom door to see if he was still in his bed and breathing.
We also went to church, where we heard a great sermon on being effective for God.
And then we came home, and we started power-cleaning our house, because, honestly, it looked like the Seven Dwarfs lived here. I kept waiting for Snow White to show up and tidy things up, but apparently she was dodging me, and she was a flat-out no-show. That princess just cannot be counted on when the chips are down and the dirty dishes have piled up in the sink.
We scrubbed and scoured and disinfected and picked things up, and Hubs worked very, very hard for twenty entire minutes, until he shouted out, “Migraine!” And that was the end of Hubs and the housework, as we know it. He swallowed a migraine antidote, and he and Cat 1 took a nap, while the boy and I laboriously plodded along, continuing with the necessary cleaning routine.
I had my suspicions that the migraine was a bit of a fake, because Hubs and the toilet scrubbing do not mix very well, but then the poor fellow was still sound asleep with Cat 1 when the boy and I were ready to leave for our small group Bible study tonight, so we left him at home with a note telling him that we’d taken his credit cards and fled to Disneyland. We also wrote, “Don’t try to find us. Mama has the Dramamine, so Disneyland will work out just fine.”
And then, when we got home from small group, the boy and I found Hubs sound asleep in bed. With Cat 1 at his feet. And the whole house was plum dark. And I was pretty much convinced that anyone who goes to bed at 2:00 PM for the rest of the entire day must really be a short-bit under the weather.
So I’m saying a small prayer tonight that Hubs feels better soon, and the boy and I are headed to bed ourselves.
Happy end-of-the-weekend, people.