It's more fun than chasing Ambien with a healthy swig of vodka, just to wake up the next morning (or afternoon) and laugh as you count the number of Kraft single cheese wrappers laying on the kitchen floor and figure out just how many $0.99 items you purchased on eBay - Holidays with the Hastings.
Last Christmas, I wrote about my immediate family's very politically correct cookie decorating party where we took the time to make sure each gingerbread man or woman was complete with the correct genitalia and I'm sure there will be more of that in the next couple of weeks.
Thanksgivings, however, will forever remind us of the two years in a row in Reno when my mom underestimated the time it would take to cook the turkey all the way through in the high altitude. As she frantically cranked up the temperature on the stove, the rest of us were well on our way to rip roaring drunk status - playing cards and cracking up as my cousin Josh repeatedly exclaimed, "I need more wodka!" and "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!" (we're not Scottish, by the way.) Needless to say it wasn't just the tryptophan in the still-pink-around-the-edges turkey we inhaled that allowed us the best sleep of our lives that night.
Like I said in the previous blog entry, this year was the first "normal" Thanksgiving, or as normal as the Hastings family can muster, since Josh's death. My cousin Jake and his wife Nicole, who were married in Cabo earlier this year, flew in from Arizona along with Nicole's parents, Gary and Susan from California on Wednesday, followed by Nicole's brother, Matt, from Mississippi on Thursday.
Thanksgiving was actually fairly tame compared to years past - only slight drunkeness, a rousing game of Phase 10 that we didn't finish (we never do anyway) and minimal drama. I did however teach Remi how to sing, "In the Ghetto..." Why is always better when a 2-year-old says it?
The real fun started Friday night when I played tour guide to the Power & Light District for the out of towners. Jake and crew enjoyed a day filled with barbeque and cocktails before I met up with them at 8 p.m. and tequila shots were being thrown down the hatch as I walked in the door.
After piling into two cars, we hung around the heat lamps outside Ragland Road since Remi isn't quite 21 yet and wasn't allowed to roam around in what is called the "Living Room" or the outdoor bar in the middle of P&L. We strayed from Miss Thang and Scott for a bit to explore this place that made me go, "Is this really Kansas City?" during my first visit.
Nicole and her mom commemorated the event with a Jager Bomb:
Then we attempted to take a family photo:
Me = "OMG, like, totally! Yea picture!" An expertly trained dancer and sorority girl I can sense a camera, gather a group, pose them, then fling myself into the frame with a smile (or some retarded face) in two seconds flat. Others, however, need some more training. While Matt knew he had blinked, my dad apparently thought gathering this cute little pose and all the yelling about "group picture" was some sort of new drinking ritual and decided to continue his conversation.
Lets try this again:
OK, there we go.
One strange thing I noticed when I walked into my parent's house on Thanksgiving was the caterpillar on Matt's upper lip. I suppose some can pull off just the 'stache without looking like a creepy molester, but not many. I've only met Matt one other time in my life, so not knowing him very well helped me refrain from laughing and asking sarcastically why he had chosen to sport the dirty sanchez.
Here we are pre-Irish Car Bomb:
I later found out growing a mustache is a tradition for Marines in their final stages of their fighter pilot training (or something along those lines) and he couldn't wait to shave. So, Matt, not a '70s porn star, just a soon-to-be Marine fighter pilot...and a good sport. It's all very Goose-in-Top-Gun-esque. I was relieved...
After our fill of P&L booze, we zipped through the Plaza to check out the lights, which were flipped on for the 79th time by American Idol David Cook the night before - woot, woot, then piled our asses into Steak 'n' Shake around 11:30 for steakburgers, cheese fries and chocolate shakes. Ah, yes, can't you just feel the arteries hardening and the cellulite forming?
We had to say goodbye in the parking lot since they were all catching planes early the next morning. I'm actually looking forward to the next visit with Jake and his in-laws. They're just drunk and dysfunctional enough to fit right in with this family and I love it.
With all the family gathered around at these things, I usually try to keep a low profile - I didn't go into detail about my drunken escapades to certain members of the family, I chose not to discuss my ritualistic animal sacrifices in front of the children and when asked about my love life, I did not reveal that I may or may not have been spending a significant amount of time with a 40-year-old man. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
I had been eyeing him in the bar he worked in for a few months over a year ago, but never talked to him because I'm a total pansy, then he disappeared. He reappeared behind another bar a few weeks ago, although I wasn't sure it was him until he recognized me, then introduced himself. Apparently I had unknowingly been caught in the eyeing act a year and a half ago. After a couple of martinis, I'm sure I had forgotten to be stealth about it. I found it to be fairly hilarious that a bartender recognized a bar go-er he had never met just because she happened to go into the bar every weekend and stare at him while pounding, er, sipping martinis. Mutual eyeing perhaps?
At the end of the night, after some coaxing from Kate, I grew some balls and left my number on my credit card receipt and much to my surprise he sent me a message the next day. I'm so used to men and their bullshit and me thinking, 'could you just care...about something? I don't care what it is, just CARE about SOMETHING...ANYTHING!' that I just assume they'll disappoint and I'll have to dismiss them. I was shocked by the smallest gesture, the slightest inkling of "care." I may have been declared a cynic more than a couple of times in my life, but there's a reason I became this way. Yet, I'm perpetually hopeful that one day, somebody won't completely suck and I'm really not going to give a shit how old he is when that happens. Bring on the cradlerobbing!
That's enough. I've already revealed too much because I usually don't talk about specific guys in detail for the aforementioned reason - they're pleasant and in my life for an unspecified (read: Short) amount of time then they a.)disappear because I lose interest for no apparent reason, b.) disappear because I lose interest for an extremely apparent reason such as douchebaggery overload and any of the other hundred million thousand choice red flags I've come to know and loathe - see Stage 5 Clinger, or c.) disappear because they just can't handle "all of 'disssssss!" *making "the sexy face" while rubbing hands down body*
Maybe this one will allow me to add a "d.)" to my fine science of disastrous dating.