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The joy of giving

I woke up early on Saturday morning. Esteban was sleeping on his back, snoring, which I can usually tune out, but also kicking his right leg every minute or so. FYI: it takes me about forty-five seconds to fall back asleep. I’d just resume my dream (in which I was wearing Ryan Atwood’s armband and everyone thought it meant that I was having an affair with him, which seemed squicky, even though it was somewhat common knowledge that he was really in his mid-twenties and not seventeen, as portrayed on the television series The OC. Because you see, in my dream world, he was still the fictional character, but only somewhat fictional. Even my subconscious can’t put up with too much artifice) and then *kick*’back awake.

I put up with that for about a half hour but gradually my bladder also woke up, so then I just gave up the idea of sleeping until at least 7 on a Saturday morning. Gah. I think Esteban was dreaming that he was one’ singular sensation’ every little step he takes. But of course, upon waking, he’d never admit his Broadway hopes for an all flannel-wearing bearded chorus line, which I’m certain would be widely popular with at least one segment of the gay community.

The entire time I was getting dressed, I only had one word going through my head, on looped repeat, and that word was ‘Starbucks’. I have eschewed Starbucks because I normally budget $25 every two weeks for my little habit, but then as the temperature dropped, I must have stopped every morning and ran out of money. Either that or I forgot to recharge my Sbux card two weeks ago. Regardless, I had become oddly self-disciplined and decided to ride out the budgeting period, drinking only Diet Cokes from home until payday. But now I was on day 2 of the next budgeting period, so Venti Vanilla Mocha, coming up. I grabbed the dry cleaning from Esteban’s luggage and was out of the house by 7:30, which is just sad and wrong for a Saturday. Stupid kicking.

I ran through Starbucks and then had all sorts of warm lovely feelings as I held the steaming cup of goodness in my chilled hand. Mmmmm’ how I missed you, darling one.

I decided that I would take advantage of this earliness and hit the grocery store before it got too crazy. First, however, I went out to the good butcher way out in the country, ostensibly to buy some meat but really to see if they had any cookies from the country bakery in Pulaski. They did and I got a dozen frosted sugar cookies (which is probably my favorite cookie of all time, because it’s almost like a little personal cookie/cake of your very own), as well as some ground round and some sandwich cut tenderloin that were just so excellently marbled that I couldn’t leave them behind. Even the former vegetarian gets excited at a really choice cut of steak, it seems. Then, for reasons that seemed very good in my head but now escape me, I went to the ridiculously large grocery store, with the plan to get items for Joel and Cheri’s Christmas party/potluck thing. Esteban had volunteered to make chicken wings and he had also volunteered that I would make cocktail franks. I balked at this, because a) even though I realize that many people at the party rave about the current jelly/ketchup/lemon juice franks, I do not, b) I was going to make my incredible mushrooms, as everyone liked them and also, there would be at least one vegetarian there who no one ever considers when they are making a million meat dishes and c)I am not a take out deli and I will make whatever I want to make, damn it.

But then, standing in the store, about to buy a million pounds of white mushrooms, it occurred to me that last year, when we brought meatballs and also mushrooms, we had purchased a new crock pot because I had dropped our first crock pot at least twice due to the broken handle. However, it still worked, so we figured that we’d use it one more time for the party and then, instead of washing it, we could just throw it away, since had proven itself to be unsafe twice at that point. However, Scotty Boom Boom, being a thrifty kind of person, claimed it as his own, replacing the broken handle with a very long screw. Thus, we only had one crockpot. I really didn’t want to go out and buy a second crock pot just to bring two items (because it’s bad enough trying to find storage space for the first one) I decided that Esteban could make his wings and I would just get something else that didn’t require warmth. Therefore I picked up 10 pounds of chicken wings and 4 pounds of chicken drumsticks (for people who like hot stuff but get disgusted by how veiny and rubbery skinned the wings are, people like, say, me) and bought some pre-made appetizers from the entertaining section. I then went home, where Esteban was just convincing himself to get up out of bed. I explained the whole wing/drumstick thing to him, and he then went into the kitchen and informed me that I had screwed up at the store and did I realize that one of the packages wasn’t filled with wings, but rather drumsticks? Ah. The urge to beat one’s head into the wall is overwhelming some days.

Also, I mentioned that he would have to cut the wings into three sections, the drummette, the two-boned section (radius and ulna?), and the weird lizard-like unappetizing wing tip. He couldn’t quite understand the concept, and kept asking ‘Why do I have to cut them at all? Why can’t they just eat them like that? This is crap!’ and finally I explained that at a cocktail party, it’s bad enough to try to eat a sauced bit of buffalo wing without having to wrangle a big segmented messy chicken numchuck. After much ‘Where’s the cutting board? Where’s the chef’s knife? Where’s the other one, that German one, the Voo thingy knife? Uh’Where’s the Band-aids?’ he was on his way. He wanted to throw the discarded pieces down the garbage disposal, but I didn’t think it was a good idea. However, I knew that there was no point in arguing, given his history of forgetting that the sink does not have the waste elimination potential of your standard chipper/shredder. I just stayed the heck out of the kitchen, as I had already had my control freak moment with the ‘No! It must cut the chicken wings! It must do as it is told!’ thing. Also, looking at all of that raw chicken was giving me the heaves and I figured that he would find out on his own. He then was forced to retrieve said raw chicken when it made it perfectly clear that it was not willing to be disposed of quite that easily.

He roasted the drumsticks in the oven, with orange sections, and then decided that it would be easier to grill the wings. I worked on my freelance stuff and also iced my knee, which has been a bother since I’ve stopped getting the cortisone treatments. Then I took a shower and got ready, running through three different outfits before deciding upon a white cardigan, pink cami, a matching rosette pin, jeans, and very flat shiny hair.

The party was lovely. I didn’t really eat anything substantial, though, choosing instead to snack all night on the second non-whipping cream fruit pavlova that Joel makes in consideration of my dairy allergy. While fruit and meringue are lovely, they don’t do much to stop you from getting giggly while sipping on the Malibu and diet Cokes. I had a lovely time and at least twice was laughing so hard that I started to do the semi-black out thing. Of course, both times I was laughing at the mental image of various things being inserted into various rectums, so good times, good times.

If I ever should die from my syncope, you can believe with certainty that the thing I was laughing at is somehow related to someone’s butt.

I was pleased, however, to see that my attempts last year at raising the fashion bar were not in vain, as several of the worst offenders made the lonely trek to the musty sides of their closets to dig out their party clothes. I’m glad, because as snobby as it sounds, I hate going to parties where there are people in kitty sweatshirts. It brings down my own stock price in the cool free market. For the record, this year Lori was awarded Best Dressed (in my head, there isn’t actually a red carpet at these things, despite how glamorous my life must seem from reading about it on the internet), in her black knee boots, black skirt and black sheer shirt. A nice bounceback from last year, although at least she hadn’t had a kitty on her breast, chasing a bell that hung next to her nipple (for the record, this year, that tragic figure stepped it up a notch too, wearing the finest of the winter ’97 season, but still had Olive Oyl’s hair style and a bra that seemed to be experiencing a serious bout of depression. Lift and separate, people! Your breasts should not rest on your stomach! And also, make-up counter at Walgreens’ look into it. A velvet shirt requires at least lipstick and your under eye circles were giving me vertigo).

All in all, it was a lovely night. I chatted with people I haven’t seen in a year, gave two people backrubs (and an artfully subtle slam to a person I dislike), and witnessed a truly surreal moment when CC unwrapped our snowman teapot gift and the entire room of 30 people spontaneously started singing ‘I’m a Little Tea Pot’ and then burst into joyful applause.

Since I was the third person to pick from the pile of gifts, I was pretty sure that I would be stuck with a homemade role playing game (love Christmas parties with a bunch of geek boys) that I selected because the package was small, but then GodVee came over and took it from me and I scored the authentic slide rule that Esteban had for a small time and then had lost. He ended up with a six-pack of Leinie’s Big Butt beer (which later prompted an acapella Sir MixxAlot rendition by Eric and myself that was underappreciated by the few remaining members of the audience, most of whom were too drunk or uptight to care), so our streak of ending up with decent White Elephant gifts remains unbroken (which I’m sure is karma from the year I ended up with twelve empty florist vases from Cheri). However, I feel for our friend Steve, who ended up with my Archie McPhee stash of Internet Urinal, antique recipe cards (which, actually, are kind of cool) and bacon-scented air freshener. We managed to get home by midnight and to bed by two, and for one brief shining moment, it was almost like we were actual adults. Maybe next weekend, we’ll invest in a pyramid scheme and get an ulcer.

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