It's not about the house.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We'll Take a Cup o' Kindness Yet

I didn’t actually drink all that much on New Year’s Eve, considering. We were unexpectedly at a friend’s house, and I don’t think I had four beers in four hours. I don’t know how that sounds to you, but for me it’s an hors d’ouevre.* A liquid snack, if you will. A little sip to tide me over till the sit-down meal begins...

*As of today, I’m calling ollie ollie oxen free on the spelling of hors deuorve. I can’t spell it, no matter how many times I try, and I’m sick to death of looking it up. My Microsoft Word thesaurus doesn’t recognize it, but suggests that I try “horsy oeuvre” instead – which is certainly funny, but even I know it’s not right. So from now on I’m leaving it in whatever wrong-ass incarnation my typey fingers can come up with, and I’ll put an asterisk or a [sic] or something, for newcomers and any random Frenchmen who happen to wander by. So they all won’t simply give me up for dumb. Except I really don’t care about the random Frenchmen. Who asked them to spell things so vowel-wonky, anyway? Lingua franca my fat white mongrel ass...

Anyway, back to New Year’s Eve. God, I don’t even know if I can pull a story out of this one, but it is a new year after all, and it’s time to get back on the freaking horse. Every other day from now on, come what may.


Johnny and I have not been New-Year’s-Eve-ing people for a while. I believe I’ve rung the past few in by myself, in fact, and more likely than not on the throne: I probably just got up to pee and – oh, hey, Happy New Year, toilet paper, my old friend!

This year, though, was different. I realize you all might not be aware of this, because you know how I do like to be discreet about my private life, but last year SUCKED, I couldn’t WAIT for it to end, and I wanted to WITNESS the damn thing counted down. I wanted to be here at the stroke of midnight to burn the sage, cleanse the house of evil spirits by throwing open all the doors, and tell 2009 not to let them hit it on the ass on the way out.

The plan was that I would stop on the way home from work to get the sage, then I would have a nap to ensure I'd be able to see midnight (I may have been determined as all get out, but the physical does have a bitchy way of interfering, after all). At around six we’d head over to the Smyth’s house to deliver the crumpet bread that Johnny made for the kids’ New Year’s Day breakfast, then we’d come home and get shitty and give the past twelve months a decent, blood-soaked, bollocks-to-ya Irish Wake.

Except it was snowing and I was in a hurry and so I completely forgot about the sage. And the crumpet bread-dough wasn’t rising as fast as it usually does. And I decided to have a few beers in the afternoon in lieu of my midnight-guaranteeing forty winks...

We called the Smyth’s to say we would be late. Then called back to say we’d be later, and did they mind if we brought the dog? That second phone call went unanswered, but we figured what the hell. If they weren’t home, it didn’t matter if we brought the dog, and if they were, well, we knew for certain that the kids wanted to meet him – and who could possibly say no to those kids? Besides, we were hand-delivering not just the crumpet bread we’d promised, but a whole passel of home-baked yum – two kinds of Irish bread, two crumpet breads, and blueberry pie. They were hardly going to tell us to leave the dog in the car when we showed up with all that! And anyway, we were only going to stay for twenty minutes. Half an hour, tops.

“Hang on,” said Johnny once we were all in the car. “Pop the trunk while I run back in and grab the dog bed.”

Yeah, okay. Because, I mean, the physical must interfere for black dogs, too, right? And half an hour is a long time to stand up...

Needless to say the poocher was a huge hit, not only with the kids but with the grown-up Smyths and neighbor-ladies, too. One of them kept wondering how he’d get along with her pet named, I don’t remember, “Cinnamon” or something, and I assumed it was a dog until she showed a picture of what I swear to god was Morris from the Fancy Feast commercials. I assured her the two of them wouldn’t get along at all. Charlie’s been here for six months and he still chews ferociously on his rawhide bone whenever Dodo Boy Cat wanders by. Sister, the wiser of the two by far, mostly just stays in the master bedroom, being mad.

Anyway, before I knew it the clock said it was 10:30, then 11:00, and then twenty-five minutes to twelve. I really did want to be home to throw wide the gates and let loose the hounds of hell, but suddenly it was 11:55 and Gerry was explaining to Johnny how much easier it would be if we just stayed. Jennifer, though, took one look at my war-torn face and said “Go. Go now. You’ll make it,” while helping gather up all our stuff, right up to and including the Dog.

Johnny tried to pull the old “You’re drunk, we’re staying” routine – which is fair enough in real life, and usually spot on. But it’s extra-super-double-plus annoying when the “you” in question is the only one of “we” that drives a car. Try being the lifetime designated-driver to an Irishman, whose poison of choice is Bud, and who (perhaps these three facts are related?) has more than a few friends who’ve done dumb things on the road. See if you don’t want to spit in his dilated eye when he insists that four beers in four hours is too much.

(And if anyone out there agrees with him, I’m sorry, but I’m not going to talk about how much I weigh, or how long it's been since I had an empty stomach. It’s a sensitive subject at the moment – and either or both may or may not be directly related to my tolerance (and recent need) for beers – so you’ll just have to trust me. I was fine.)

Now, wouldn't it be fun to hear how we sped home through reveling crowds and screamed into our driveway just in time? It would be, but it isn't true. None of it. I drove like an old lady (no sense tweaking fate), the streets were dead and cold (seriously, where was everybody?), we didn’t make it on time (more on this later), and we don’t even have a driveway anymore (okay, we do, but Chuck (TFT) is in it -- ooh, remind me to finally tell that story soon -- and it’s cordoned off with this green plastic sort of mesh, so that Charlie can Tigger around the yard to his bouncy-bouncy heart’s content. And anyway, I couldn’t scream into it on the way home even if it was clear and empty, because it’s roughly a 340-degree turn. I’d have to be Luke Duke to pull it off. When I do park there, I either make a cautious three-point about-face, or else drive past and back very slowly in – more Miss Daisy than Luke Duke. Except Miss Daisy didn’t drive, so I guess that makes me Morgan Freeman and Johnny is Miss Daisy. Which is the best place I can think of to end this wee diversion, how ‘bout you?)

So, no. The stroke of midnight found us sitting at the red light by the medical supply store. Johnny was bursting for a pee, the dog was whining, exhausted from all those hours of fun with the kids, and I was hoping against fervent hope that evil spirits could be roused and convinced to vacate the premises at 12:04.

I don’t know if they can or not – I suppose only time will tell – but I sure tried. I rolled up, very soberly, to the curb outside the AssVac and bounded out of the car into the house. Not bothering to pull the front door shut behind me, I dashed through to throw open the back. The dog thought this was all great fun and went bounding out into the blue-moonlight while I fumbled with the little metal prop-it-open thingy on the screen-door’s pneumatic hinge. He barked and barked and barked – ostensibly at nothing whatsoever, but the possibility that he was bidding good riddance to evil spirits convinced me to prop up a couple windows for good measure, storms and all. Before I did, though, I had the presence of mind to make sure the cats were safely shut up in the master bedroom --


I hope the evil spirits aren’t in there...


HPH said...

I can spell it. I can, I can. Appetizer.

The spirits are gone. Outta there. Vamoosed. (And no self-respecting kitteh allows year-old spirits to remain in the room with them. Slip under the door, begone, out you old spirit.)

Happy New Year!

12ontheinside said...

1. Just go with Horse Doover. I often say it that way anyway, it's amusing how many people look oddly and you can see them wondering if I actually think that's the pronunciation. Hmm. Not that Horse Doovers come up that much in conversation though.

2. Nah, 4 beers in 4 hours is fine. Of course, I'm an Aussie, and we are almost as drunken as the Irish.

3. I have a solution to your new year dilemma. Do the spirit scaring thing on the lunar new year instead - just google chinese new year superstitions and you should find the info you need. I always do the lunar new year thing, because added bonus? No sweeping or cleaning for 5 days after the new year. Plus, at midnight I get to run around like a loony opening windows and doors and making loud noises with saucepan lids to scare off evil spirits. They do say small things amuse small minds, I suppose.

pork luck said...

Just have Johnny offer those nasty spirits a budweiser. That should scare 'em off!

ege said...

HPH -- Aha! Appetizer! And you know what? I almost think you might be right about the cats. Happy New Year to you!

12 -- 1. Aha! Horse Doovers! Isn't that what they shovel up behind them in the parades? 2. Seriously, I need to move to Australia. 3. Oh I am so totally taking you up on this suggestion. Guess when it is? February 14! So I can say bollocks to last year and Valentine's Day all at the same time!

PorkPie -- I will. On February 14th we will open our windows, bang pots and pans, yell swears, and offer Budweiser and Doghouse Roses to the evil spirits. That'll show 'em!