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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oh What a Night

We went to my grade school reunion last week. I was so genuinely happy to see so many familiar, beautiful, happy faces when I walked in I wanted to hug the fucking waiter. Ya know? It's been a week and I can't stop looking at the pictures and smiling like a giant doofus. Whatever!

We walked into the bar and my mind flashed back as I saw those older but familiar faces smiling back at me. I don't think I've ever walked into a place I've never been to and felt so welcome. That many people, happy to see me, really?

My old man would have rather snorted Pixie Stix than drive Miss Daisy but knowing I can't see at night, he really didn't have a choice.

I couldn't hug them hard enough, as I was breathing each of them in, noticing they don't smell like playground dirt and sweat anymore. Working my way through the crowd of old school friends, flashes of memories flooding my mind.

Years, hell, decades have gone by and there they were, just as I'd remembered, sans the dirt/sweaty smell. I don't know that I've ever been so happy to see a group of people who weren't related by blood.

"We were just talking about you."

I didn't know if that was a good thing or bad, so I smiled it off and made my way back hugging everyone along the way. There was one person I didn't recognize. After hugging the shit out of that woman, I said, "Sorry, what's your name?"


"Shut up! Oh my God! Your hair! You have hair!"

How could I not recognize my bestie, Cheryl? I had to hug her again. Squeezing the breath out of her, rocking side-to-side like Rainman and Nancy Kerrigan's love child.

You long time readers may recall a story I wrote about her taking me to McDonalds.

This is us when we were 11-years-old.

Shut up! She didn't look THAT much like Screech.

Never mind.

This is us now.

"Yeah, you didn't recognize these extra 50... okay 80 pounds," she joked.

"Honestly, it's your hair! I remember walking to your house every morning to pick you up for school. You'd be all cranky, never a morning person, and you'd have that damn babushka thing tied to your head to pin your curls down."

"It was a bandana."

"Whatever! Oh my God! I can't believe you're really here."

Her face was exactly as I remember. Guess I was thrown off by her new (to me) long locks. I had to hug her again and again.

We needed to go home early because our drive was about two hours - four roundtrip. It was prom night for Lane 1, and Lane 2 was home alone...calling Mr. Lane's cell phone every half hour to ask how much longer. Which is reason 942 why I still refuse to get a cell phone. We were a block away from home when her first call came in. She said there was an emergency...she got a paper cut and wanted us back home. She was kidding. I wasn't amused as I tried to subside that sinking feeling in my gut upon hearing the word emergency. I never leave her alone, so it was strange for both of us, but necessary for me, my sanity and all of my 2,000 parts.

I didn't have enough time to visit with Emily, Carol, Nancy or many of the boys. It was virtually impossible to mingle and stroll down memory lane in two hours with everyone after being away from each other for so many years.

Early on, all the guys stood in one area, while all the girls stood in another. It was the 8th grade dance all over again. Inside, I was laughing and remembering their Pierre Cardin or Polo Cologne, combined with their Dep Gel. I was kind of sad they all didn't still smell that way either.

The girls. Back row, Lois, Cheryl and Kelly can't even stop fucking around long enough to take a picture. I'm so glad some things never change.

Cheryl and Lois trying to grope Kelly's boobs. Kelly was the flat one way back when. Guess the booby fairy finally came.

My old man tried to stay to himself but my girls wouldn't let him. They talked his ears off. One asked how he and I have stayed together so many years and he said, "It's all that butt sex I give her." Mr. Lane has no internal editor and tends to blurt the first thing to come to mind. Reason 9,322 why we really are still together. I kinda love that about him.

Blatantly trying to find his way into my panties after this shindig, Mr. Lane bought me a Mai Tai. I called him out. "You just want to get into my panties!" And he corrected, "Well, I was really trying to get you to provide some road head for the ride home." He's such a romantic. And the answer is yes, even though my moto is, "I got married so I don't have to do that sort of thing anymore."

Like fine wine, they just get better with age. Tony front and off-center, Steve, John, Carol, Jolee, Alisha, Kim, Nancy, Emily, Frank. Back row Tony, Onofrio, Brian, Kelly, Cheryl, Lois.

Frank who I never spent any time with as a kid, grew up to be so nice, smart, funny and articulate that, I couldn't help but wonder if I missed out on a really great friend so many years ago.

This was the last group of people I ever met who were really laid back and carefree. The last people to take me or leave me. Maybe it was our age, chemistry, personalities, who knows for sure why, but I loved how we were all ourselves back then, and amazed how we all seemed to pick up right where we left off.

Apparently, after liquid courage...something the boys didn't have in 8th grade, made its way through their systems, the boys mingled with the girls. By then we'd already gone home. I've seen pictures however, and let me tell you that is a rowdy bunch. Should there ever be another gathering, I'm staying until the bitter end, with a video camera on hand.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sometimes You Wanna Go...

...where everybody knows your name and everything else!

My friend Jackie invited the Lanes to her family barbeque. When we got there I was a little out of place. My old man was out of town. The kids had all ran off to join the circus or do whatever it is kids do, and I didn't know anyone else except Jackie and her old man Donny, who was incidentally already half in the bag. On second thought, he was already neck deep in the bag and awaiting trash pickup. Loaded! I'll get back to him later.

Jackie started introducing me to her sisters after making fun of her inebriated spouse. "This is Lois."

Shyly they each said hello. Then Jackie added, "The one who pissed her pants at Dairy Queen."

I was taken aback, head cocked to the side, confused, and the warm welcomes began. "Oh, that Lois?! Hi!" Turns out, they all read Home Fires. It took a while for my brain to comprehend.

My brain clicked and I said to myself, "Wow, they know a lot about me. Just about everything. Shit!"

I was thrilled someone somewhere was reading. Blogville has taken a backseat for a lot of my old regulars. I should be more vigilant in promoting, writing, and obtaining new readers etc. Epic failure. Whatever!

They said they've come across certain posts here, forwarded them in an email or read them to a friend over the phone. Seriously, that is the ultimate compliment. I remember my mom and Godmother reading Erma Bombeck to each other over the phone. And they would laugh insanely. In the back of my young mind, I would think, "I want to be able to do that when I grow up." As I listened, I had this crazy grin on my face that couldn't be subsided.

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have steered a lot of people away from the Land of Blog. But there I was with three generations of women who were new readers and already telling me, three minutes into meeting them that they too piss their pants...pretty much every time they laugh, cough, sneeze or use Karate chop action. Sam, Diane, Carla, Coach, Norm and Woody weren't there, but it sure felt like Cheers. You guys, I felt like I was home.

And like the title of this here blog, there was also a fire. A bonfire ended our evening, but not before Skinny, a 9-year-old boy realized how amazing fire really is. His eyes were so fixated, they looked like two big ass dinner plates.

Then he realized he could sneakily throw shit into the flames and it would vanish. He began small, first a twig, then a little cardboard box. He eventually graduated to a bucket of oil that was in the garage awaiting a recycling center.

Ah yes, an arsonist in the making. Good times. He poked a stick into the oil, then into the fire. His "WHOAH!" lasted until the flames subsided again and again. I sat watching him in all of his enthralled amazement. I couldn't remember the last time something made me that happily crazed. I was kinda jealous.

His mom was there "Ready to beat the flames off that little black ass" should he catch fire. I am always amused by terms a mom will use. Thankfully, it didn't turn into a Michael Jackson Pepsi commercial, and Skinny came out of the whole thing unscathed.

From a safe distance, now wearing a motorcycle helmet, he watched as the drunk grown men giggled like school girls as they dumped oil onto the fire. Flames shot up higher than the house and garage. I moved my ass out of the way, taking my chair with creating a fire lane for anyone who didn't want to singe off all of their hair.

Speaking of singeing, poor Red wasn't so lucky. She and I had been sitting near each other shooting the shit. She was 15 Jell-O shots and several beers into her night and her reaction time was a tiny bit slower than mine.

One of the guys yelled, "I smell burnt hair!"

She hollered back, "It's mine, asshole!"

Crouching in front of her, pretending to assess her potential cooter damage, I yelled, "Now she has a Brazilian! Way to go, guys!" I was so happy she understood and appreciated my twisted sense of humor. The guys laughed too, but about two minutes later since their reaction time was even more delayed.

Obviously the men were hammered. But you never really know how blitzed a man is until he begins to make announcements, like a best man giving a speech and toasting the happy couple. Donny raised his bottle, (no not his glass, his bottle...of Mad Dog 20/20) he hushed the crowd, and went on for nearly an hour about how great each and every one of us was. There was one sip left in the bottle. I didn't know if this was how a man savors his drink or what.

He said, "Mad Dog Bill (fist bump to the guy who brought the bottle for him) I would lay my ass down on the railroad tracks for you man. I would lay down for you in a second, man!"

Quietly, I said, "That sounds kinky."

He continued, turning in each direction pointing at all of us, "I mean it, man you and you, I'd lay down on the tracks, man. For you two, and of course you..." He started backtracking re-pointing at us. "I would give you anything. I'd be there. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, I'm your guy, because you fuckers have all been there for me..."

He was so sincere, I almost felt bad for laughing. Almost. One thing that put me into hysterics was he kept referring to me as Mrs. Lane, probably because that is what his kids call me. I began to wonder if he even knew my first name, but I didn't say anything because it was so funny.

Then he began toasting to my old man, who wasn't even there. But he was calling him by first name, making the Mrs. Lane thing that much funnier to me. I am younger than both of them.

"And fucking Lane, man, he is the hardest working, most straight-laced, shirt-off-your-back, help you with whatever you need guy. Dude didn't even know me and tried to get me a fucking job. Helping me take care of my fucking family, man. Dude let me borrow tools and shit. Fucking guy is the hardest working mother fucker on this block, probably in this whole fucking town, man!"

It was classic and I was so happy that I was sober and able to remember every single word to relay back to Mr. Lane. Who incidentally, couldn't wipe the goofy grin from his face when I told him the story.

What was beyond excellent...I got to take care of that baby fever I've been having, thanks to Mommy Meg. My old man was happy about that too.

Little Noah, two moths old, perfect in every sense of the word, lay in my arms, smiling, cooing, looking around, dozing on and off, and best of all, not crying. I don't know how long I held that tiny boy, but I did catch myself rocking empty handed, like Rainman counting toothpicks, long after they went home to bed. "82, 82, 82. Definitely 82 toothpicks."

Good times, indeed!