I am. While Al drives almost anywhere, does minor home repair, and has a particular talent for looking at an issue or problem and pronouncing, in his slow, rural Missouri drawl, "Yep. Yer fucked," it does fall on my shoulders to handle the housewifely things, like cleaning his toilets and making sure he has vegetation in a non-hoppy, non-liquid form. Let's call us "mutually parasitic." That's the best way to go with it (less guilt for me.) But Al and I are nothing more than friends, and most people find it almost biblically terrifying to know that we now live so close to each other and drink together, frequently. Those "people," of course, include the FOWs.
Al and I struck a bargain on Friday night: If he would drive to Sunday Tavernacle Services, for all the beer I could drink (brave man,) I would feed him Sunday dinner. Al is in his mid fifties, but manages to hang with the 20-Something set, frequently, because he has daughters in that age group who like to party with dad, and really -- I don't blame them. I question Al's sanity, but... So when Al called me on Sunday at 11:30 AM, I wasn't exactly surprised to find out he hadn't gotten to sleep until 6:30 AM.
Then again, I wasn't paying all that much attention to him because I was scratching my legs hard enough to break skin and bleed, so it was a little difficult to pay attention to anything.
One of my newest little pet peeves about Suburbia is the prevalence of critters. They're everywhere -- squirrels, skunks, opossums, cardinals, chiggers and wasps (remember the wasps?!) I'm not really comfortable with this much "Nature." In fact, I much prefer concrete and tall buildings, but... So far, I've killed the aforementioned wasps, as well as centipedes and daddy longlegs. I am assuming that one of the wasps (thuggish and cruel little bastards,) used his last, dying breath to contact the Spider Mafia and take a contract out on me. Because something, and I am certain that something is of the family arachnae, bit the living, bloody SHIT out of me while I slept Saturday night. I woke up looking like I'd been beaten with a switch on my lower extremities and scratching myself constantly, and without shame.
The last thing I wanted to do was make dinner, but the one thing I did want to do was have some beer. So I was sort of stuck, you know? I'd also promised the FOWs I would make a Hershey's Cake with Mayonaise (sounds gross, but it's not,) so I slathered what appeared to be an equatorial disease with rubbing alcohol -- which did squat to relieve the itching -- and got to work. I made a pan of Inside-Outside Ravioli while the cake baked, knowing full well that I'd be in no condition to actually do anything more than slap something in the oven later. This would be a false premonition, but we'll get to that in a bit.
So off Uncle Al and I set to The Tavernacle, merrily singing along with Linda Rondstadt and Jimmy Buffet all the way. And once there, people started thrusting money in my hands for the jukebox so that, perhaps, we older folk would not have to sit through a marathon session of "I Kissed a Girl," insterspersed with songs about Shawty getting low and -- I had to make this stop -- Poison.
There came a certain point of drunk where my friend, Sammy and his friend, Doc, handed me fifty dollars and insisted we hear nothing but Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Fearing for my own personal safety, I split the difference and only played $25 worth. My legs were itching something fierce beneath what had been dubbed my "clown pants" and the idea of having to divert any attention from making the itching agony stop to get involved in a parking lot beat down was not something I embraced.
At some point while I was at the jokebox, Chris, our resident Green Thumbed Alcoholic came in and began distributing cucumbers from his garden. These were giant, fragrant and amazing cucumbers and FOW#2 was going to be a happy, happy girl, knowing that Uncle Chris had remembered her. Al and I, combined our bags, thinking that remembering a single parcel would be more likely to occur than two. I continued to drink until the itch went away.
Then we came home and I made FOW#1 work the oven because, in my All-You-Can-Drink State, things like numbers and push buttons were beyond me. We ate dinner, the four of us, and had a fine time. We even tore into the cake, afterwards. But for the strong odor of alcohol, it was just like the happy, "all's well" end scene of some heartwarming family drama. I damned Norman Rockwell again for being dead and unable to capture us in oil paint so that future generations might be inspired by our quaint, homey meal.
After we were all stuffed and sleepy, Al left... abandoning his cucumbers and his curiously fuchsia lighter. Al is not the sort to let free things get away from him, any more than he is the sort to let things he paid for go. On Monday morning, Uncle Al called and told me he'd be stopping by for his cukes and his lighter. I readily agreed, as long as there was nothing involving hops on the horizon.
I did not hear from him all day Monday. Yesterday, I called him and asked, when he answered his business line, "Should I consider these cucumbers wards of the state, now?" He laughed and told me he'd stop by after a business meeting later in the day. I off-handedly mentioned it to the kids, you know, "Uncle Al will be stopping by for his cukes, later." I did this for two reasons:
- If, for some reason, I was not here or was unable to answer the door, I wanted them to be on call to hand out the cukes and the lighter; and
- I did not want FOW#2 to eat every cucumber in the house, and thus rob Al of his free food.
Then, I set about catching up on some work-work and some housework. And while I was on the first floor, cleaning my children's bathroom, they were upstairs, on my leather couch... having an Orville Reddenbacher Extra Butter Popcorn war...
Which pissed me off.
This was when I turned into Raving Mommy, complete with glowing eyes and the power of Satan. They, wisely, decided to take a ride to see the completed renovations at their high school and leave me alone to chew through some of my irrationality.
In my anger, I was stomping around, and I'm not going to lie -- I was sort of digging my irateness; so much so, that I got into a little rhythmic 'Tard-Stomp. There are seven steps that lead from my third floor to my second, which is where my living room is. The plan had been to stomp down the stairs, throw myself into my Archie Bunker Chair, turn on some TV Land and have myself a nice little Pissed Off Party complete with visions of revenge upon my two ingrates.
Except I miscounted the stairs, and while I have, in the past, forgotten a step, I have never added an extra step, and Friends -- let me tell you something: It is an extremely painful, extremely jarring sensation when that occurs. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
Suddenly, the living room carpet was up in my face and there I was, lying in a confused and befuddled puddle, trying to figure out just what the fuck had happened to me. I realized that I'd torn my jeans and that both of my knees felt like they'd been ignited. I tested myself and staggered back up the stairs to my bathroom to assess the damage.
I removed my pants. This is a very important fact. Please note it accordingly.
I had two enormous, weepy, angry and red rug burns on my knees. I also had a touch of rug burn on my face, which stretched from my chin to mid-cheek. And the bites were itching like a sonofabitch again. In pain and not thinking clearly, I grabbed for what I believed to be the rubbing alcohol.
The first dribble of nail polish remover made me howl toward the heavens. It also dribbled down onto one of the spider bites, which immediately stopped itching. I stopped my lupine vocalizations and smiled. I then furiously covered all 13 bites in cheap-ass, dollar store polish remover and breathed a sigh of relief that after almost 48 hours of non-stop itching, I felt normal again. And I was about to tend to my rug burns, when the doorbell rang.
Assuming the kids had forgotten their keys, I ran to the door in just my teeshirt. It was Al, who was pretty delighted to see me in this state, being a boy, and all. I punched him and then wandered upstairs to try to stop the insanity-inducing throbbing on my knees. Al followed, offering to help.
In order to not make Al kneel in front of me, which seemed weird (although, in retrospect, this whole thing seems weird,) I grabbed all the first aid stuff needed and headed down to the living room, where it was determined that "hydrogen peroxide + leather couch" is as bad as "popcorn + leather couch."
Back up to the bathroom, where I sat my flabby ass on the vanity and let Al swab my knees out. And probably because an open wound already roiling with nail polish remover is pretty painful on it's own, the introduction of peroxide adds a pain that is almost other worldly, so I began to moan, "No! Don't! That hurts stop!"
And that is probably why I didn't hear the kids come in... and up the stairs... and around the corner in time to see their mother perched on the counter without pants and massive rug burns on her knees, and the guy that takes them to Royals games and slips them $20s when he thinks I'm not looking crouched between those extremely rug burned knees, in what can only be best described as an "extremely compromising -- yet innocent! -- position."
So now you know why I got double cucumbers and a pretty fuchsia lighter. It also explains why I now have drive my own self to the grocery store...