Anyway. Moving on. So, this is day 17 of my children being out of school and I have a gazillion things to do, namely take down all of my Christmas decorations, which I curse myself each year because I insist on using real garland throughout my entire first floor. It looks and smells great, but the take down is a total nightmare. It breaks my vacuum every single year and I step on random needles on my floor for several months. I tell myself it is for the children. It is important to them to have authentic garland, and it enhances their quality of life. Gawd, I am good person. I am just so selfless I could take a nap.
|Around doors to "TVroom" as Eva calls it.|
|All around Tvroom. Total mess. At least, I had the presence of mind not to put it on Scarlett's crate.|
|How much is too much?|
So, because my kids were off of school for so long, I used the opportunity to travel a lot. I wish that I had one of those blogs where I jetted off to Park City, but I don't because I don't have one of those LIVES where I jet off to Park City. Instead, my family went to visit my family in Louisville, Kentucky, and then the day after Christmas, my two older girls and I went to visit my best friend, Alissa, and her three girls for a week. (Eves stayed back with my Mom and Dad to make their lives miserable for a little while.)
|Looks can be deceiving.|
Alissa is my absolute bestie in the whole world and I read my blog aloud to her on several occasions because (wait for it) she does not read it on a regular basis. Gasp. I know. In her defense, I do not POST on a regular basis, so we are even, I guess. Still, that bitch is on Facebook more than Mark Zuckerburg, so how she could NOT read my blog should be extremely offensive, but I don't care. Really, I don't, and that is NOT the impetus for this post, where I intend to make HER and her family the subject. I guess another very real possibility for her absence in my "Follower group," is that she gets to hear live audio of my bullshit on a daily basis.
I digress. Hallie, Mills and I drive 5 1/2 hours to Indiana and the night we get there, Alissa's Mom and Step dad, Jerry, (They are from "Wiscaanson", so it is pronounced "Jeeeaaiiirryyy" or "Jeeair") were there. Jerry is 70 years old and HILARIOUS. But, not nearly as funny as Alissa. So, Alissa and I go with Jerry to this pizza place to pick up a pizza, and we stayed and he came back to pick us up. I know, we are over forty and Alissa's "Dad" is dropping us off and picking us up, and we are experiencing NO SHAME.
So, "Jeeair" stays for a while to have and pay for our drinks and the pizza he is feeding our kids while we are out, and Alissa keeps introducing me as her Stepmother because I am sitting next to Jer and hugging on him and stuff. The look on people's faces are priceless. You see why we are friends now, right?
|Jeeair and Alissa. We made him stop on the way home from the bar so we could take pictures. He wanted to show us the Christmas lights. Love it.|
The next day, we motor to Naperville, Illinois, where Alissa's cousin, Jen, is hosting a 90th birthday party for their grandfather. We had an absolute BLAST. The kids all got along great, and Jen, Alissa, and I did tequila shots at regular intervals. It was not supposed to be was THAT kind of party, but we made it one - Happy Birthday, Grandpa, pass me the salt, muthafucka!
|Anna. This is at her house, not during the song. I wouldn't put it past her, though.|
So, at one point, Anna, Alissa's youngest, who is 7, announced that she wanted to sing a song for Grandpa's birthday, as she felt the need to "one up" her oldest sister, Kenna, who played "Happy Birthday" on her clarinet.
Let me set the stage. We are all gathered around Grandpa in his easy chair. The house is decorated like something out of Southern Living. The fire is going, the game is put on mute. Anna straightens up and starts to rock slowly with her big brown eyes looking a little bit up, as if to the heavens and in her sweet little airy voice begins to sing THIS song. (I am so pissed I don't have video, but I think I was doing a tequila shot and my hands were full.)
Anna's song for Grandpa:
"Love. Love. Love. You can find love anywhere. Love is all around us. You can find love in your house. You can find love under a bush outside. Love. Love. Love. You can find love in the night...club...when you are out with your friends. All you have to do is look for it."
I have laughed until I cried about that moment.
During the six days I was there, we saw one movie and went out ONCE. In between, we laid in Alissa's bed we dubbed the "crack den" and watched every single episode of Homeland in the series (http://gratuitousguidance.blogspot.com/2011/11/unhealthy-obsession-2.html). That's right BEEEAACCHHES, it garnered THREE Golden Globe nominations for best series, best actor and best actress. I TOL' you!!!
The only other thing we did was get this reflexology massage that was totally awesome and completely bizarre. A friend of Alissa's at the Pizza Place told us about this "introductory offer" this new place called the Five Dragons was having and that it was the best massage she had EVER gotten. We were intrigued. But we were even more impressed by the $29.00 price tag for an HOUR massage.
Okay. We go there and it is in a strip mall in between Marshall's and this vitamin place. It looks exactly like a Chinese Restaurant from the outside. There is a man at the desk with one sole wooden tooth, protruding out the bottom of his mouth.
He signs us in and we proceed into this communal area where people are laid out on what looks like wicker gurneys. The place has low lighting and is immaculate. My first impression is that I have entered a morgue. Each body is covered in sparkling white towels (all their faces are covered) and various Asians, all men, are working on them. Some of the massages are at different points in the process, but for the most part, this army of masseuses, are working in tandem.
I lay down and have to suppress laughter when my guy starts sticking his fingers in my ears and rotating them in a circular motion. Alissa is right next to me, but we do not say a word to each other, because if I do, I will not be able to stop laughing and then we will be asked to leave (which is not a concept that is new to the two of us) and I really needed a massage because my back has been KILLING me.
So, anyway, there is this really overweight hairy man next to me ("What?" you say. "An overweight hairy man in Indiana? Noooooo.") and he keeps grunting as the tiny Asian man pounds on his back. I am at the beginning of my massage, so I become terrified that my Asian is going to beat on me, as well. Well, "terrified" is probably not the right word, "excited" is.
Okay, the great part about the communal reflexology massage, is that you do not remove your clothes. They just push up your pants legs and massage over your shirt, and folks it is AMAZING. There IS one part where you are on your back and they spread your legs and sort of get inside the "V" that they have made with your legs and beat on your butt and lower back. Alissa and I later joked that we may or may not have had intercourse with our Asian. We weren't sure. It was too hard to tell.
I guess my advice to you today, other than to do tequila shots at birthday parties for your elders, is to live in the moment. I have been working really hard on that. I think we spend a lot of time "creating memories" and setting the stage for shit, instead of just enjoying what IS.
My second, obvious piece of advice, is to find love in the nightclub this 2012. You know, when you are out with your friends, squeezed into your new cougarwear.