Monday, July 28, 2008

Baby, prerequisite


Baby showers aren't a great place for people who are less than share-y. Unless you're not above talking about bowel movements these are events to which you may want to steer clear. I wish I had been warned, really.

My sister's baby shower a little over a week ago wasn't my first, and it won't be my last, but it was definitely the most interesting one yet. It was the only shower I've been to that included drinking games and lasted until the backside of midnight, though. It's also the only one to incorporate (unintentionally) full contact fighting, too (thanks bro-in-law!).

I think baby showers are the forte of morbidly pregnant women and women who have already been morbidly pregnant. The rest of us are dearly out of our element. Another given is that there will always be a diaper game component to a baby shower and it will be both ridiculous and embarassing.

I digress. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I had been planning my trip to C-town for quite some time. Two days before I left I was excited enough for seeing my family for the first time since Christmas (six months, the longest I've been away ever, and boy did I catch hell for that!) that I did a mock-up of my itenerary and sent it to my immediate, C-town residing family for their perusal:

To: Family list
From: Miss Dallas
Subject: My Itenerary This Weekend

(Editor's Note: Names and addresses and whatnot have been redacted to protecte privacy. After what happened to Martini, I'm beginning to realize that there are a lot of douchebags on the Interwebs.)

If everything holds up, this is how this weekend should go for me. Suggestions? Want to join in on the fun? Let me know!

7 p.m. Friday -- Arrive in C-town at the J(redacted) Clan Compound

8 p.m. Friday -- Dinner of McKenzie's ribs and beer (or scotch) and knitting. (Note to Mom and Dad: Dinner=McKenzie's ribs)

9 a.m. Saturday (or whatever time I pull myself from bed) -- Run and yoga

10 a.m. or whenever I'm done being a hot sweaty mess -- shower

12 p.m. -- brunch and hopefully meet up with K and V to check out their new house (totally contingent on K and V's plans, I realize, so K, do text me and let me know if this is viable!)

Leave K and V's house for S and B's house and pick up a few bottles of bubbly on the way.

4 p.m. -- Baby madness

Post Baby Madness House Madness

TBD time -- pass out drunk in a pool of my own warm vomit at S and B's house

Sunday -- Clean off vomit and eat something to cure my hangover.

Head back to Dallas.

Love y'all

-Bubba (Editor's Note: it's a family nickname)

The. Perfect. Weekend. Well, it would have been perfect had Dave been able to go with me. You see, we now have 3 chickens, 2 dogs and 2 cats. (We're also crazy enough to be digging a koi pond at this very moment.) It's hard to find someone competent enough to watch the house for the weekend, so I found the next best thing: my husband!

So, I departed Dallas a little later than I would normally prefer and embarked on my trip to Houston. The drive was uneventful, save for the gajillion people who passed me on I-45 while I was driving the speed limit, which is 70 mph most of the way. Funny thing is, I drove straight through without stopping, so all of these assholes that flashed their brights, honked their horns and threw me the bird actually passed me twice, once after stopping, too.

There was a total dickface in a Saab convertible that zoomed past me when I was getting close to Huntsville, just as the pine trees start to noticeably tower over either side of the interstate. It's like driving through a canyon, and there are feeder routes on the other side of the trees most of the time. I guess the driver of the Saab didn't notice a State Trooper on the route, because I ended up passing that asshole -- while he was being pulled over and searched! You just can't speed through Huntsville: Jail capital of Texas.

So, I'm on the south side of Huntsville and I call my 'rents to tell them to meet me at McKenzie's Barbecue, because I was dying to bury my face in a plate of ribs! For the rest of the trip to town I'm salivating, just imagining me and these delectable ribs, with just enough of the tangy-sweet sauce, a pickled onion on the side with a slice of bread. Fucking Heaven.

We meet at the joint and I give my parents each the tightest hugs I can muster, hit the can and then I'm ready to order. I tell the gal "I'd like a two-meat plate, both ribs ..." and she says "I'm sorry but we're out of ribs" and I say " ... and a side of potato salad with ... Wait, I'm sorry, what was that?" My mom, sensing an implosion gently grasps my arm. "We're out of ribs, ma'am." My lower lip starts to quiver and I'm thinking, 'Out of fucking ribs?! Just my damn luck! Any other time they'd be swimming in those tasty little pig sticks, but nooooo, I drive 3 and a half hours to fucking Conroe and McKenzie's has no fucking ribs!'

I almost cried. I'm not going to lie. I almost lost it. Right. Fucking. There.

But my dad, quick to quell a crisis, quipped, "Yanno, there's a little seafood joint across the way. They have great shrimp."

"Yeah, OK, we'll have shrimp..." I said, rather dejected. Turning back to the counter, to the girl who had no idea what she was in for, I asked "Will y'all have ribs tomorrow? Yeah? I'll come back tomorrow? That OK?" "Oh sure, we'll have plenty of ribs tomorrow. Just get here early. Sorry 'bout that. Y'all enjoy you're dinner."

So, we went over to Baytown Seafood, which is really a hole in the wall, ate enough shrimp cooked enough ways with enough beer to make me forget, at least temporarily, that I drove 3-plus hours, aching for a plate of ribs, and was given the culinary version of blue balls.

After beer, we went home. I knit. And I rested, knowing that tomorrow was Saturday, and it was going to be epic.

I'm not a real early riser. In fact, only in strange circumstances will I actually wake up unaided by an alarm clock. Since I wasn't dozing in my own bed, I woke up at around 8 a.m. on Saturday, which is about 2 hours earlier than normal if I'm not going to yoga at 9.

I made my way downstairs and my parents were already up and around. We had breakfast together and then I headed upstairs to change into running tights and a tank top. I was really looking forward to running the trails in my parents neighborhood. It's a rather secluded area, you wouldn't know they were just north of one of the largest suburbs in America. Everything is quiet and peaceful, and there's a small lake at the center of the subdivision that has two islands. There's also a smaller pond in another spot.

I set out at from their house at about 4.5 mph, really just taking in the sights. I figured I'd top out at about 6 mph after the hills and taper down to a power walk, about 3.5 mph towards the end. What I wasn't considering was the fact that the air in Houston is much more dense and moist than in Dallas, so by about a mile into my run I had to slow down or I wasn't going to make it. So I slowed to about 4.5 mph and I started down toward the lake. I had forgotten how beautiful the area was, and how lucky I was to grow up there. I slowed even more, to what turned out to be more of a deliberate walk. It was about 100 degrees outside and near 100 percent humidity; I was still sweltering but I no longer cared.

As I was rounding the lake, I found a nice grassy spot near the spillway and slid into sukhasana (easy pose), concentrating on my breath. After that, everything started to bleed together; the hot sticky air, the mirror-like surface of the lake, the trickling of the spillway and the asana. From sukhasana, came cat/cow, then downward dog, to eka pada rajakapotasana (one-legged king pigeon pose), which later bled into ardha chandrasana and its chapasana variation. It all ended with an extended meditation. It was definately in my top-five practices ever.

So I went home and showered and readied myself to go to the baby shower because I knew that V and K were not ready to show off their house just yet. But not so fast. We had to have lunch, didn't we? Hrm... where to go for lunch? I KNOW! RIBS AT MCKENZIES!!!

We went in to McKenzies at lunchtime and it was like being George in It's A Wonderful Life -- everyone knew why I was there. I guess the night staff had spread my tale of woe, my ribless sadness, and when I ordered the double-meat-plate-just-ribs-thank-you, it was like a light shone down on the soggy styrofoam plate and heaven dropped down on it. Gorgeous, succulent ribs. I would have pictures of me scarfing them down with corn, potato salad and a piece of Mrs. Bairds, but it wasn't a pretty sight.

After I cleaned up the barbecue sauce from my face, and my mother and I stuffed Honda Solo full of baby goodies, we headed to my sisters house for "baby madness." Madness is the perfect explanation of the mental state you must be in to spend three hours taking about different viscosities of poop around cooing women as the mom-to-be unwraps YET ANOTHER PINK BABY OUTFIT.


We also played a game throughout the baby shower that anyone who said the word "baby" had to put on an adult diaper for the duration of the shower. I was the unwitting victim of having a sister with faulty hearing and an ax to grind, so, I ended up donning a pair of Depends (Just for the record, if I ever have to buy these in the future, I sure as hell don't want them to be called "Depends." You better name that shit "For Sure" or "Of course" becuase I don't want to be caught with a full bladder on "Well, it Depends").

The night got more rowdy, though when the menfolk came back from their bonding session at a local pub and we cracked open the keg. And the wine, champagne and margaritas. My family likes to get their drink on and we're not ashamed about it! My father showed up later with the scotch and cigars, and then it was officially a party. More baby-related games came later, but didn't top it all off until three of our manly guests had a drinking contest: who could empty a baby bottle full of suds the fastest. Three men sucking beer through a nipple = awesome!

Needless to say, we had a good freakin' time.


The party started to wind down, especially after my brother-in-law started to demonstrate his prowess at "mixed martial arts" (otherwise known as street fighting, cage fighting, or two neanderthals trying to beat each other's teeth out) on a fellow partygoer.

I crashed upstairs on an air mattress because some drunkard passed out on the bed I was supposed to pass out on. Bitch.

Anyway, I woke up the next morning and cooked everyone breakfast (it's not because I'm nice. It's because I can't stand other people in the kitchen when I could be in there doing a better job, by far!). I made coffee and I resuscitated the father-to-be from his outdoor roost (he passed out in a lawn chair).

I had to go back to my parents' house, so I made sure I could help my sister do as much as possible to organize all of the baby junk she got. I figured she already had a system in place, probably a closet organizer and bins. There's a lot of things you need to have handy when a baby's about to spring forth from your nether regions. So I inspected her organization system and was aghast. She had stuff still in their boxes! No organization system! No diaper drawer! No changing mat! We spent the better part of the morning taking stuff out of their boxes and organizing the closet, doing the laundry and stuff. I was much more comfortable with her level of organization after that. Not totally comfortable, but my OCD alarm wasn't at level red anymore.

So I headed for my parents house, where I immediately chowed down on a sandwich and more coffee and fretted about the drive back to Dallas I would have to start in a matter of just a couple of hours. My dad and I sat down as I was finishing lunch and we started to do something I think is mostly akin to torture -- talking politics. Now, I'm not partisan. I'm more of a civil libertarian. I'm not a fan of taxes or government or bureacracy, but my father doesn't like to realize that I'm more politically literate than him, or that he doesn't really know what my views are on important stuff like war, taxes and whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim (he's not) or whether or not I'm likely to vote for him (not likely). I'm rational, knowlegeable and a good debater.

But this argument that we had goes down in history: It was the first argument between my father and I that we both acknowledged me winning.

After that, I took a walk around my parents organic garden with my mom and we chatted. I started packing up my car (AGAIN!) and getting ready to head out when my mom handed me a plastic sack. I was in a big hurry, so I just grabbed it, kissed them both and backed out of the driveway, disembarking from family again, almost against my will.

Back in Dallas, unloading the car, tears came to my eyes. My mother is a saint and she knows just how to show me that she loves me: she had packed two slabs of McKenzie's ribs, with sauce, for Dave and I to feast on for dinner. The trip had officially come full circle...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Out of the park, out of this world

(Editor's note: Next post will be the epic recollection of my weekend at my parents' house almost a month ago. Those who held out for it will be dee-lighted. Promise!)

Last night I practically raced home from yoga class. As we were leaving the yoga room, I spied people with jaws agape, eyes glassy and fixed on a hanging television (i.e. the American national facade), and I knew they were watching the All Star Home Run Derby. But what was even moreso transfixing was that local Ranger great Josh Hamilton was killing the competition in the first round. I raced to my car, turned up ESPN radio all the way home, ran inside without unloading the car to watch the rest of the derby. I dare you to watch these 28 home runs at Yankee Stadium and not be in total awe of this man. He has beaten addiction to come back and live what can only be defined as a gracious, humble greatness.

Regardless of the fact that Hamilton lost to a very obliging Justin Morneau, Hamilton was and is the star of the All Star break.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Race politics are a "black hole"

You know what else has a hole? Commissioner John Wiley Price's logic.

Folks, we now have video.

I'm still in shock. I was seriously falling over myself after tripping on my jaw, which is still firmly stuck to the floor. This is the definition of ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Racial issues, much?

I've talked about the inherent friction of racial relations in Dallas before. But if anyone was looking for a really solid example of what I was talking about, take a read all about our fine Dallas County Commissioners and their congenial back-and-forth during an otherwise uneventful meeting:

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster's, is perhaps "the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape."

Stunning. Abso-effing-lutely stunning.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Life is better in a room full of chicks

Ever since I bought chickens I've been a poultry proselytizer. Anyone that will sit still long enough will eventually hear me evangelize about fresh eggs and bird poop: two wonderful benefits off chicken ownership.

The problem comes when I start talking about a chicken's third asset: meat.

Why is it so wrenching, so cruel and crazy, that after one of my dear hens stops laying that we might extend their usefulness in a more brothy consistency?

My mother-in-law thinks it's mean, that they're like pets and that when the time comes I won't be able to slaughter them. She might be right, but I see chickens the same way I see horses, cows, goats, sheep, rabbits and all other agricultural animals: When they can't do their farm job anymore, it's time to help them go back to the earth to make room for animals that can.

That's not so bad, is it?