Posts Tagged ‘1987’

The hot tub story

May 29, 2013

I asked the family, “What story do I tell for Uncle Mike’s birthday?”

I got the most insulting look from all three. Then they said at once: The hot tub story. Duh.

It’s a family favorite.

One night Mike was out partying and he met a girl he really wanted to take home. He invited her to come over and get in the hot tub.

Mike didn’t have a hot tub.

When they got to his house, (and by ‘his house,’ I mean his parents’ house), he gave her a drink, put in a movie and went out to heat up the tub.

After wandering around the yard for a minute, he came back in and waited with her. Every half hour or so he went outside to check the temperature. He turned the garden hose on his hand and came back in shaking it dry. “It’s not warm yet. Let me get you another drink.”

Michael is a bad boy, and he was rewarded for it.

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My prom story

May 22, 2013

Tonight my son’s friends are throwing a private prom at my place. They strung little white lights in the wisteria arbor overlooking the orchard. It empties onto the carriage house deck, which they made into a dance floor.

My son will put on a tux to stay home.

I hope it turns out better than my prom experience.

Here’s what happened. My boyfriend didn’t have the money to ask me to the dance, and my best friend was between beaus.

She and I grabbed a can of Pam cooking spray and beach chairs and went to Whitewater — a creek just outside of Palm Springs — for some after-school tanning.

Our friends Craig and Eddie showed up on Craig’s motorcycle and asked us to go, as friends, to that night’s prom.

Eddie and my best friend went back in my car, and I hopped on the back of the motorcycle.

The boys left us girls at my house, where we put on our leftover homecoming dresses.

They picked us up on time. Mom took pictures. We were off.

We drove to Rancho Mirage, parked and walked up to the door of the prom facility.

That’s when the boys admitted they hadn’t bought tickets.

We leaned across the open door to exchange waves with people inside, got back in Craig’s mom’s Camaro and went to Carl’s Jr. for dinner.

Then they took us home.

It was awful.

Though he won’t say it with regret, my son and I will both be able to say we spent prom night all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The ski trip story

February 20, 2013

My kids are gone tonight with their school ski clubs. They’re great snowboarders. They didn’t get it from me.

Two cool guys, both named Steve, invited my high school best friend and me skiing once.

We were excited. We bought outfits. We looked great.

It turns out, this is not the important part of preparing for a ski trip.

It was still dark when the boys picked us up. We bopped in our seats to the Beastie Boys all the way up the mountain, flirting, laughing, looking great.

The Steves got on the lift in front of us. Our plan was to watch what they did and copy it.

First they glided off the lift. They unbent their knees and stood. Got it.

We had less finesse. Our skis tangled together and we were lucky to fall in a heap clean of the lift chair.

I don’t know if our inexperience was evident at that point, but I know we were no longer looking great.

The jig was up quickly enough, though, because we couldn’t get up. In fact, the lift attendant had to scoot us out of harm’s way by the armpits.

After lots of humiliating sliding we came to be upright. It didn’t last.

It was dusk when we got to the bottom of the mountain. We got there through a combination of sitting on the skis and gripping the fence we discovered abutting part of the trail.

Occasionally the Steves would call  to us from overhead as they ascended for another run. There was nowhere to hide from them.

We didn’t do any bopping on the drive home, but half of us did a lot of laughing.

The dead boyfriend discovery story

January 15, 2013

I was 17, and it was just after New Year’s. My Best Friend, three friends and I were cruising around, up to no good. I was driving.

Near to My Best Friend’s house, we saw stationary police lights.

“Hey, this is one of those checkpoints they’re doing to catch drunk drivers,” one of us said. I don’t know if this was a new practice, or just new to us, but we were curious about it.

We approached, but, being teen-agers up to no good, chickened out and turned the corner a block early. We went to My Best Friend’s house.

After a period of restlessness, we piled back into my car and went to watch the police catch drunk people. 

It wasn’t a checkpoint.

There was a motorcycle on the ground, and a boy lying very still. We couldn’t get close enough to get a good view, but we parked and stared.

“Best Friend,” I started hestitantly. “Doesn’t that look like David’s bike?” David was My Best Friend’s boyfriend.

“I guess,” she said casually, “but he’s working tonight.”

I got out of the car and walked over to an officer. I found out that the motorcyclist wasn’t carrying identification. They didn’t know who it was. I didn’t look at the boy. I acted casual to My Best Friend, “Let’s go back to your place.”

When we got there, still trying to appear calm, I suggested we call the grocery deli where David worked and see when he gets off. His boss said he got off early; he should be home by now. I said, “Hey we have nothing better to do, let’s call him at home and see if he wants to join us.”

His sister said he wasn’t home. He was at work. Was he wearing the new helmet he got for Christmas? No. Does he have his wallet? No, he forgot it on the dresser. Uh oh.

I don’t know now how I got the nerve, but I mentioned there was an accident around the corner from his house. I remember saying, “It’s probably nothing, but there was a motorcycle there.”

It was him, and he was dead.

He was hit by a Greyhound bus, the driver of which hadn’t taken his insulin and was declared to be completely at fault. Apparently this approximates driving drunk.

A few days later My Best Friend and I were alone in the mortuary viewing David. He looked different, rubbery. My Best Friend was sobbing.

It was one of my first experiences with death. It was profound. He was just there the other day, and now he doesn’t exist. Where is he? And wow, David knows what happens when you die.

But I learned something, too. If blood isn’t circulating, hickeys are forever.

The transfusion story

November 4, 2012

I got a call at work from my mother this morning, saying Nana was in the emergency room because of internal bleeding.

It’s a quarter to 11 p.m., and I’ve just come in the door, still in my suit and heels, because they only just got her settled into a hospital room.

She’s having a blood transfusion.

She had one before. Here’s the family’s oft told story about it.

AIDS was new and mysterious at the time. Nana was afraid to have blood from the blood bank. She wanted to select her donor by reputation.

We all volunteered and learned we weren’t pure enough.

Auntie Doreen, Nana said, was the only one she believed was truly innocent. She wanted that blood, and that’s the blood she got.

Doreen’s husband, my Uncle Punt, came in after the transfusion and shook his head at my grampa. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But now that she has Doreen’s blood, she’s going to want to go out for dinner every night.”

And you know what? She did.

Migraines

October 18, 2012

I woke up in the dark hours of this morning with a migraine.

Somehow I made it to the bedroom doorway, but couldn’t get farther. My husband woke up and got me an Excedrin Migraine pill and some water.

Let me give a free ad to this product. You’re about to read what my migraines are like. Nothing else works. Since it was invented I’ve kept a bottle in the car, my purse, and several places in the house. It’s made a big difference in my life.

I was 17 when I got my first attack. I had come home from work with just a bad headache, but by the time I had gotten upstairs it was so bad I couldn’t get to my bedroom. I lay in the hallway, thinking there was no way I could survive another 10 seconds of that pain, as it went on for minute after minute.

The second one started while I was playing Trivial Pursuit at my family reunion, which you read about in Sonnets. It rained that day, and the whole fam damily was packed in Auntie Barbara’s great room, which I ended up lying in the middle of with my arms pressed over my eyes before my boyfriend peeled me up and drove me to the hotel. I was 20.

My third struck when I was 24, and my fourth when I was 27. But the summer I turned 28 I had a bunch of them. I ended up in a CAT scan machine.

Over the years, my husband has found me on the kitchen floor, the front lawn; once I got one while I was driving home from the grocery store. I was around the corner from home when it got bad enough I had to pull over. I had toddlers strapped in th back seat wondering what was going on.

This morning’s was one of the worst I’ve ever had. My husband gave me a pill and some water, and I waited, chewing that familiar dread of an in surmountable few more seconds of pain. I tried to come up with ways to cope until the medicine broke through. That’s what it’s like, a balloon bursting. Excedrin is the cavalry, ride in to save.

I tried to think about lying on a beach, watching football, being hit on.

It didn’t come. Twenty-six minutes went by, and the relief didn’t come. I sent my husband to get me another pill.

Sitting up to swallow makes it worse for a little while. I’m a rational woman, but while I waited for the second one to work I was thinking about having my husband take me to the hospital to have me put down.

Then it washed it over me — freedom from pain. It brought its buddy, the will to live.

And here I am, woke to blog another day.

The ditching story

September 8, 2012

I have to write something that makes me smile tonight, as therapy. I am so angry with the employees of Barnes & Noble in Riverside that I feel violent. They have no kind of concern for their customers.

So here is one of my favorite stories. Even in my fuming state, I’m chuckling thinking about it.

One day in high school I played hooky. I had no choice. I had cut school the day before, and the Laverne & Shirley episode I watched was to-be-continued.

At the end of the episode I called Mike to chat.

He scolded me. “Shouldn’t you be in school?”

I lied. “I’m in the library. We’re here for the whole period. My English class is supposed to be picking out a monologue, but I already picked mine out.”

There really was a pay phone in the school library. I really had already picked out my monologue.

We talked about whatever we used to talk about. Then I feigned distracted.

In the middle of one of his sentences I said, “Hold on. Dude, hand me that book. I’m sorry, go ahead.”

He started cracking up.

I’m no kind of liar.

The concert story

August 19, 2012

In high school, I discovered the ’60s band Tommy James and the Shondells.

I loved all oldies — Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Supremes, The Beach Boys— but Hanky Panky was one tier higher in my book of brilliance.

Because I was the one with the car, my girlfriends knew all the words to Tommy James’ complete discography, liked it or didn’t.

We would pile in my little ‘Smo-mobile,’ roll down the windows and sing along — unreasonably loudly. We bounced with such vigor, people would see us at stop signs and start bouncing in their cars, even if we were holding still at the time.

The summer after high school, I saw an ad I couldn’t believe. Tommy James and the Shondells was to headline at the Greek Amphitheater, with The Turtles, Herman’s Hermits, The Mamas and The Papas, Tommy Roe and my other favorite, The Grass Roots.

I borrowed money to buy the most expensive seats, which were $50 each — a fortune — and worked extra shifts to raise the money. I was taking my best girlfriend as a birthday gift to both of us.

That would be My High School Best Friend, who turns 42 today.

On the morning of the concert, I went to an employee swim party at a coworker’s house, about 20 minutes out of town.

It was August, and it was hot. I drank a lot of watermelon punch.

Unbeknownst to me, there was everclear in it, which at the time I had never heard of.

By late afternoon, I was in a sorry state.

One of the waiters took me to his apartment, where I spent a lot of time throwing up. Somehow I managed to remember that My Best Friend needed calling, and even relayed the phone number.

I remember being surprised when she showed up to get me.

She drove me to my house to get clothes and the tickets. I waited in the car.

We got on the freeway, and my head was coming pretty clear. As we neared L.A., we started realizing we were ill prepared for the concert.

By that I mean we didn’t know where the Greek was, and I didn’t have any shoes.

My Best Friend turned the car around, and took me home.

No Hanky Panky, no Sweet Cherry Wine, no Draggin’ the Line.

But there was a lot of moany moany.

The horse riding story

July 2, 2012

My Junior High Best Friend just got back from a family vacation in Mammoth.

Fun fact that isn’t particularly fun: Her boys are the same ages as my kids, and her oldest boy has dealt with tumors in his head, too. This makes me wonder if we were exposed to something together during our teens. The other two girls we hung out with never had children.

I’ve been to Mammoth this time of year. It’s beautiful. My dad rented a condo there for the week after I finished high school. We took My High School Best Friend.

We spent the first couple of days lying by the pool, but I woke up one morning with a chest, and my bathing suit didn’t fit anymore.

So we went horseback riding.

We had never been on horseback, any of us, yet we had the nerve to be disappointed we would be led nose to tail slowly on a narrow path. Now that I’ve actually ridden free, I can see the beauty of our Mammoth ride. Who did we think we were, Hoss and Little Joe?

There we were, meandering painfully slowly through the forested mountains, and all I could hear was my mother behind me anxiously sucking her teeth.

“What?”

“There are loose rocks on the trail. I’m afraid your horse is going to trip.” This is my mother in a nutshell.

I tried to get someone to trade horses with me. No luck.

Then the gasping started.

“Mo-om! This horse walks this trail everyday. Its whole life is walking this trail. Plus, it’s a horse. It’s not going to trip on a rock. Someone please switch places with me!”

And then my stupid horse tripped on a rock.

His front leg slipped and buckled. I almost fell off.

I think she’s forgotten about this, though I will never know, because to ask would be to remind. I hope she has, because I hate to see her nervousness rewarded.

I’m pretty sure if you ask her what she remembers about our trip to Mammoth, she’ll tell you about my visit from the booby fairy.

Station change

March 31, 2012

We have a rock station in Southern California, KCAL, that Mike and I listened to in the late ’80s.

One March 31 we were parking outside a restaurant, where we meant to have a beer. Before Mike turned the ignition off, the disc jockeys mentioned they were in countdown — 45 minutes left of KCAL.

They were crying. We looked at each other, “What?”

We waited. At the next break they told those just tuning in that the station was purchased, and would change to a country-western format. It would be KCOW.

We sat in protest. KCAL was iconic. This was not OK.

As it came closer to midnight, the program went into full good-bye mode. People were calling. Memories were shared. We sat in the car.

At the stroke of the hour there was a second of silence, and then a drawn-out cow’s moo.

I caught on.

A hick-voiced jockey came on talking about the incoming era of beer, dogs and trucks.

Mike caught on.

The jockey gave it up. “Gotcha,” yeah, he did. “April Fools.”

Mike turned the ignition back to start, and we just went home.

The University of Virginia story

March 21, 2012

My daughter had decided years ago she wanted to go to the University of Pennsylvania. Then this fall she started looking into the University of Virginia. The more she read about it, the more she thought it was a good match.

I just got a call from her yesterday from Washington, D.C., where she’s spending her spring break. She got an opportunity to tour the campus. She even ate dinner in the dining hall with the students. She’s sold.

This is ironic, because if that college hadn’t made an uncommon error, she wouldn’t exist.

My husband had applied to UVA, Columbia and CU Boulder for graduate school. Columbia sent him a rejection letter; UVA sent him a  rejection letter; and CU said come on over.

It was the environmental movement in Boulder that ended him up as a protester in Hawaii where I was sent as a reporter.

Shortly after he began his master’s degree at CU, he received a second letter from UVA wondering why he never responded to his acceptance letter.

Thank goodness.