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

Things That Matter and Other Things

Today is Todd’s 51st birthday. I thought about writing a long post honoring him, but I think after the previous posts (see under “Love” tab above) it would be overkill and these days I’m feeling more private about “us,” which I’m sure makes everyone happier since people do get sick of hearing sappy and gushy love stories from middle-aged folks I think. So, let’s just say a BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the love of my life and move on, shall we?

Thanksgiving came and went more smoothly than a Hallmark movie. Well, except that I almost burned down the house before we even finished cooking the second turkey  when one of the towels on the counter caught fire – but then it wouldn’t be a holiday without a little drama. The housecleaning was done the weekend before and I prepped all the food the day before with an actual list of what needed to be done when. This goes way beyond my usual capabilities, since I prefer a more by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach followed by a meltdown of hot stressy mess. I was inspired by a friend who takes organization to a diabolical level – which, for the record, I am in awe of – and now I’m feeling competitive over completing home projects, which is a good thing since we’ll actually be getting stuff done and even though she has no idea, it’s all thanks to HER.

Opac is finishing up his final days of his first semester – which definitely wins the prize for fuckery of the most epic kind. I took a photo of him and his roommate on move-in day and sent it to my mom with the caption, “taking bets on how long it’ll be before he’s smoking pot” (if you saw the roommate you’d fully understand). Little did I know.

When he returned to school from fall break, he ended up getting really sick. All upper-respiratory – really bad, persistent cough, headaches, and fever – the latter was what prompted him to call me and ask what he should do because his fever was 103. No mom 98 minutes away from her child wants to get this call. After I asked how he knew his temperature (there’s these strips they put on their tongue – he got one from a friend – and I’ve never even heard of this) I ordered him to get to an urgent care. Now.

Long story short, his friends took him – one of whom called me and told me they were in the car and on their way (my heart). I sat on the couch and waited. An hour or so later O called me and told me that he was given medication and was staying out of class the next day to rest.

A couple of weeks later… he called to tell me he was “not living in [his] dorm right now.” WHAT do you MEAN, you’re not living in your dorm right now?

Roommate has a big problem, apparently, with alcohol, marijuana, and keeping his hands off of my son’s throat. He has a knife collection he calls “tools” and plenty of vehicles by which to deliver marijuana to his internal organs. Opac asked him repeatedly not to smoke in the room.

Okay so now at this point I’m wondering how this kid was smoking in a freshman dorm and – let’s face it – that particular habit has a VERY distinct odor – how, just HOW has he not been caught? And then the flood of other concerns… like my son smelling like that, he could end up guilty by association or worse… and then all of that was shut down by “let me go there and put my hands on him” because that meme You hurt my son and I’ll make your death look like an accident suddenly felt like my theme song.

But. My son went to his RA and Resident Life and told them everything, including that the physical assault was a repeat offense (yeah, like WTF – he never told any of us) and he was moved to an “emergency room” in another hall, there was an investigation where of course they found nothing in a subsequent room search, and in the end O was moved to a new dorm with a new roommate. And all of this transpired with absolutely NO intervention by myself, Todd, or the ex. My kid HANDLED it. And I couldn’t be more proud.

And now for an illogical segue to The Black Handbag.

Back in Vegas, I saw a handbag in Michael Kors that I WANTED. At the time, my adoring and most wonderful husband told me to just buy it. But I’m practical, not to mention broke, so there is no justification for a $350 handbag unless it cleans the house, cooks dinner, and spontaneously refills itself with hundred dollar bills.

Anyway. Michael Kors + holiday season = 70% off sale (my favorite kind of math!) I told Todd. He again said, just buy it. (But also noted how fortunate I didn’t buy it in Vegas at full retail.) I waited several days, and then finally just did it. Meanwhile, V was texting me pictures (from her dad’s house) of Michael Kors boots and an MK backpack she wanted.

You know, when I was her age, I wanted clothes from The LIMITED and a Swatch watch…. none of which cost a car payment under the bridge of my parents’ incomes. What the hell with all these topline designers for teenagers?

I pointed out that she already has a Michael Kors backpack (from her dad – I’m not that crazy). Yes, but this one is black, she said. And then, you have more than one handbag (a remark aimed at my newest purchase, scheduled for delivery the next day). Deep breath. I am an adult and have a job. I don’t need to justify my purchases with anyone. Which, though it hardly matters anymore, was a regular expectation in my previous life.

She turned the conversation to the topic of another thing she wanted for Christmas – a mini-fridge. Not just any mini-fridge. This one is for makeup. What makeup needs to be stored in a mini-fridge? I asked. Different things, like skincare products and stuff, she said. Since when does this stuff need a refrigerator? It’s small. It sits on my dresser, she said, and it’s only $30. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And she got mad and said, fine! I’ll buy it myself.

The next day, when Todd picked her up from practice – and I have absolutely no idea how this conversation got started because I was at work minding my own business – she brought up the handbag I was getting and he gave her a mild-mannered talking to about the merits of being a grown-ass woman with a job and her own money to do with as she sees fit. Essentially I’m her mother and I do a lot for her and O, and I made sacrifices and I’ve worked hard and don’t I deserve to have nice things?

I don’t know all the details, but I do know that they drove along in silence until he pulled into the driveway and my delivery was on the front porch… and Little Miss Attitude with the unfortunate and entirely genetic defect of snarky spillage of the mouth noted…

and there’s the purse mom doesn’t need.

Poor Veruca. Now she made Todd mad. She spent the rest of the night in her room in self-imposed exile, wasn’t hungry, and didn’t want to talk.

The next morning she came into the kitchen and chipperly asked me if I was “so excited” about my new purse, with genuine interest and nary a twitch of sarcasm.

But she’s still not getting a duplicate MK bag.