Drinking and Dreams

I woke up this morning from a series of bizarre dreams I’ll attribute to the chemical interaction between my medication and Goose Island IPA. About a month ago, I stopped drinking (mostly) and returned to healthier lifestyle habits. Spoiler: alcohol makes you gain weight and look puffy and inflames the joints. When I stop drinking, my weight drops off. It’s a slow, steady process, but I notice it most in my face. (And now everyone knows how to tell I’m drinking again.)

Anyway. Last night I went along to bowling with Todd for the first time in weeks. There are times I just don’t want to stand around in unforgiving lights surrounded by MAGAs drinking Coors Light and the sound of a thousand pins roaring like a 747 between my ears. The problem with going to bowling is the subsequent boredom, which leads to meme-sharing (highly entertaining but always short-lived), and boredom as they say sometimes leads to bad decisions. Like drinking.

The old crowd at the former, now-a-Sheetz bowling alley was a fun crowd. One friend would lead the rounds of shots (again, bad decisions) and there was generally an air of middle-aged shenanigans juxtaposed with the retirees’ been-there-done-that sober laughter and the younger crowd’s drama (always fun to watch, from a distance). It was fun (I miss you girls).

This new crowd is very different, a lot more mellow. No more loud, outspoken girlfriend with the potty mouth and my dirty sense of humor.  No more girlfriend ordering shots like we’re reliving school days. The bartender here is great – she knows us by name, which I realize sounds bad but it’s a much smaller place and we often go into the bar after bowling for snacks and such.

Ed and I accidentally invented what we thought was a new shot (we googled the ingredients once, it actually does exist), because she didn’t have all the liquors to make a true B52 so we improvised. The result was supposed to be a combination of Kahlua, Bailey’s, and Amaretto but as Tonya was mixing she was talking to us and I watched with horror as she poured Southern Comfort into it and I didn’t have the heart to what the fuck are you DOING Tonya! stop her mid-pour. But it was actually good. I forget what we named it but she still calls it “the Tonya” and, since it was her mix-up, we’ll let her have it.

Anyway. After driving Veruca to her dad’s and listening to her bitch about the ride up on the back roads and wanting to puke and “never doing it again”… all I could think about was the beer I was going to have once I got back to the bowling alley. That meme about being the reason your mom drinks is no joke. And then one turned into two. And then number three seemed necessary for accompanying the cheese fries the guys ordered. (See? BAD decisions.)

The point is, I haven’t been drinking. Last Saturday we had friends over for dinner. I knew I was going to enjoy a little wine since we were entertaining. They brought wine and beer… the boys drank beer and she and I had wine. I tasted the Russian red that her son had brought home from Estonia. Semi-sweet and, while I’m not a fan of varietals that are anything less than cork-dry, this was really, really different. Cherries! It actually went well with the NY strip and crab cakes we made. However, one glass was all I could do. So we opened another red, and Todd switched to wine too so I wasn’t the only one drinking it. And then Todd poured shots of bourbon crème liquor all around to toast our friend’s 101-year-old grandmother who had literally just passed while we were having dinner.

And then we opened another bottle of wine. Oh God – I’d been down that road before and it did NOT end well. But oh no, another friend came over and suddenly I was like, hey guys! I have something you all NEED to try. I was gifted with a bottle of Grand Marnier Quintessence for Christmas and it is not for sharing. I poured two ounces in a snifter and Todd, for comparison, poured a second glass of the much cheaper Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis-Alexandre he got me for Christmas.

Everything was going well. Our friends left for a long drive home and the latecomer friend stayed to discuss work drama with Todd and I was feeling like unconscious was coming soon. At this point Opac was back from his night out and wanted to talk about serious matters which at this point was probably not the best idea but I persevered and poured him a Jack and Coke (see Bad Mom), and myself a big glass of water, and sat down at the dining room table with him. We had a great talk, much of which I don’t remember, but I know the gist and ultimately what the problems are and a week later I’m still concerned about him.

Sunday morning was so NOT a good morning for me. As a matter of fact, neither was Sunday afternoon. When I wake up like that, I always yell at myself for being so stupid and knowing better and don’t-ever-do-that-again, and then I tell myself that it feels bad now but I’ll be feeling 80% better by 4:00. It’s a promise to myself that I’m really praying isn’t a lie.

I made myself 8 potatoes-worth of home fries and a big-ass glass of Dr. Pepper and eventually found my way back to sleep for a few hours; which is absolutely necessary with hangovers that feature an apocalyptic headache since the last thing I can do when I first wake up is sleep and I cannot close my eyes because it feels like I’m back on the New York subway. A dear friend always used the phrase, “God punishes,” and now I know the full and true meaning of that statement.

So back to this weekend. It wasn’t terrible. After all, three beers with food is not going to be terrible. But Holy Fuck. The dreams. I dreamed I was back in school and late for class, which Opac was also in, and I lived in a dorm room with 3 other girls who turned out to be very subtly snarky. That one didn’t last long.

The next one was a casual tribute to this recurrent dream about cats. I dream about our home being infested – yes, I said infested – with dozens and dozens of cats. More on that, maybe another time. Or not. But anyway, in this dream there were dozens of cats, just lying around on our back porch and lawn. And some of them had collars on, so clearly they weren’t feral cats like the ones featured in previous dreams. And then there were these two dogs that weren’t ours, snuggled up with the cats, also with collars and tags. One had a tag that said he belonged to a very old friend of mine and I was trying to figure out what the hell the dog is doing here since my friend lives in another state. (And I woke up wondering why HE was in my dream until I remembered that sometimes life crosses over into dreams and earlier that day I’d been discussing the Grateful Dead with a coworker and how I’d never gotten to see them, but could have, with him, except that I didn’t do drugs and was intimidated by what I perceived was some drugged-out mob.)

Meanwhile, Todd was in this dream and again he’s insisting these cats need to go and I’m all like – I just want the mother and baby over there because they’re so small and sweet. And we still don’t have a solution for all these cats.

I googled cats in dreams and here’s what I found: “Dreaming of thousands of cats running around in a house indicates a lack of direction in your life. There is too much going on in your life that you are losing sight of what’s important.” **

Well if that doesn’t say it all…

 

** http://www.dreammoods.com

Bad Mom

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Halloween night. Veruca didn’t want to go out, so she stayed home with me to hand out candy. And then she just watched from the window.

V warned me that her friends that live across the way had joked about ringing the door and dashing (these are the same 3 boys that raided my basket and replaced it with things they didn’t want a few years back) and she told me to NOT answer the door.

Now – let’s just take a minute to point out the obvious. If they dash, they don’t get candy. How dumb is that?

Anyway, I had the exterior camera (on my phone) with the intercom on when they showed up. For fun. They did not dash. They were polite and friendly. There were four of them, and only one lives here. I know him. I also know one of the other boys who used to be V’s crush.

So she’s hiding in hallway around the corner from the door, AS IF they don’t know this is her house. I asked them how they liked high school so far (they said it’s good) and told them to stay out of trouble tonight (with a smile). I closed the door behind me and they were halfway down the driveway when I said – out loud – ooh, Ava’s old crush was here! And no sooner had the words left my mouth that I realized I still had the phone in my hand and the intercom ON.

The aftermath wasn’t as violent as expected. She was instantly mortified, and ran over to the Mac on the kitchen counter and pulled up the Ring history. And saw the whole footage and my big mouth on the intercom. BUT. Those boys were halfway gone and talking to each other and not one of them turned around.

Still. She was furious. I know they didn’t hear me, but she was having none of my adult wisdom. She didn’t speak to me the rest of the night, the morning after in the car at the bus stop, or all weekend at her dad’s. (For the record, I did say goodnight to her and apologized for what happened.) Four days later, on the way home from her dad’s she said she knew I didn’t do it on purpose and she knew they didn’t hear me.

Midweek she mentioned that she wanted to make her dad an apple pie for his birthday and could I help her? Those of you who have been on the ride with me since 2011 might know what I wanted to say but didn’t actually say. Nevertheless, we didn’t really have time to go to the store and the next day I worked a 12-hour shift.

And then, around the 8th hour of my 12-hour shift, she called and asked me if I could pick up poster board (so she could make him something) and apples ON MY WAY HOME. I told her to ask Todd if he had posters – he’s an artist for God’s sake and has supplies for just about anything. And I also told her I’m not stopping after a 12-hour workday, at 8:30 or 9:00 at night. Not to mention that she wanted me to help her with the pie at that hour, too. A great big, Hell No.

Well, she didn’t ask Todd. And then Friday morning she asked me if he had any. Nevertheless, she came home from school and made that pie with the apples we already had. With the recipe I gave her. And, after a minor glitch with the crust process, it turned out fucking beautiful.

Now it’s Friday night, and I’m driving her and the pie to her dad’s house. She referenced a You Tube video she’d shown me and mentioned how she sent it to Opac. And then she said, I miss [him]. I knew she did, but hearing her say it really impacted me. I sometimes forget that she must miss his presence in the house, felt more acutely at home than at her dad’s (as he often didn’t go with her).

And I don’t know how this segued into the next slapdown but she started talking about him drinking and how she doesn’t like it and he shouldn’t be doing it and blah blah blah… and then she asked me if I would let him have alcohol at home if he asked for it. And I’m an idiot for even engaging in the conversation at all. I told her how I’d grown up – how at family holiday gatherings I was allowed to have wine with everyone else and it was no big deal. Controversial or not – I believe that it kept me from going apeshit over alcohol when I encountered it as a young adult. It was, to me, no big deal. (Never mind college – that’s a whole other conversation.)

Well, that’s illegal, she said. He’s not 21, she said. You shouldn’t be letting him have alcohol, she said. Would you let me have alcohol?

To be the devil’s advocate, I engaged. I never said I would pour him a glass of wine, but I said if he wanted one it would be no big deal. It would be because he was home, and staying home, and none of his friends were there. I said there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of wine. Well that’s wrong and you shouldn’t be letting him do that, she said. You could get arrested, she said.

At this point I was wondering where all this fuckery was coming from at the end of a very long week. She, like someone else in her family who shall remain nameless, is relentless in cross examination and accusations. I maintained a calm that did not reflect the fluctuation in blood pressure I was experiencing and played along (which, obviously, was the wrong thing to do) and then I was accused of being “like Nannie.” Being too much like my mother has never bothered me before, but now I have to wonder. What has she done that I don’t know about? Now I have questions.

And the whole conversation ended abruptly in her dad’s driveway and she announced that maybe she just wouldn’t come back home for Thanksgiving. Well, okay then. More wine for us!

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am in NO WAY advocating for or sponsoring underage drinking.

*Disclaimer: I am a lot like my mother. Except for those things she did that I don’t know about. I am not like that.