Monthly Archives: December 2011

Christmas Bliss. A Holiday Tale in 3 tries-Tres

Let me just preface. Let me just preclude. Let me just head shit off at the pass-

EVERY SINGLE DAY SPENT IN THE LOVING ARMS OF OUR LOVING FAMILIES IS AND WAS THE BEST WE’VE EVER SPENT.

Ok?

That said, day three of our Christmas journey was a weirdly nostalgic trip down a wonderful sparkly lit highway my brother and me hadn’t traveled in a long, long time.

It started with us walking Cutter and Tug in the early morning drinking a beer and talking about the future and then driving over our sister’s lawn ’cause it’s fun to piss her husband off and then drinking more beer and watching football. We hadn’t spent an afternoon doing that since before Miss Carol and me moved to the beach decades and centuries ago.

It was good. I mean, really, good.

BUT THAT’S NOT TO SAY THAT EVERY OTHER DAY WASN’T GOOD. AND FUN.

On the downside, Cutter and Tug ramped up their hunger strike. They do this any time a trip plows past their comfort zone. Anything beyond a half hour or so and Cutter’s like, I’m not eating ’till you take me home. And Tug’s like, me neither motherfucker.

I’m like knocking my head against the wall.

Anyway.

At five the next morning after all the fun and beer and the dogs not eating I go out and load up MR.GREENE. for the ride home and start him up and while he’s idling my brother and me spend a little more time together walking the dogs. It’s nice.

BUT NOT NICER THAN ANY OTHER DAY. OK?

And then I pull MR.GREENE. around and Miss Carol comes out with her blankie and settles down for the long nap home and I open the back door for the dogs.

*big pause*

Both dogs look at me and then look at the open door and the backseat and then they look at me again and then Cutter starts to twitch and Tug begins wailing, NOOOOOOooooooooooo.

C’mon guys, I say through gritted teeth, Cutter backing and pulling and Tug yelping.

We’re going home!, I say brightly, tossing Cutter into the truck and grabbing Tug, trying to push him into the open door, his four legs spread against the opening, Cutter barking now and Miss Carol yelling at all of us to shut the fuck up ’cause she’s desperately clinging to wanting to sleep.

Christmas is fun, right?

We finally get rolling through the pre-dawn darkness and on into the sunlight but about halfway home Tug freaked. He does this when he’s really fed up. Miss Carol had to climb into the back and calm him down and Cutter whispered sweeeet and clambered into the passenger seat.

And we drove down into yet another Christmas dream.

Christmas Bliss. A Holiday Tale in 3 tries-Dos

Cutter stared at the open door for a second and then bounded up into the truck.

Shotgun, he yelled, hopping over the center console and settling into the passenger seat, facing forward but glancing at me out of the corner of his eye.

Tug lumbered up and settled with a groan. This is awwwwwful, he wheezed.

Miss Carol opened the passenger door and shouted, get in the back dickhead. I started to climb in the back and remembered I was driving. I shut the rear door and got in behind the wheel.

Cutter was staring at me. This isn’t fair, he said, looking all woeful. Move it Cutter, Miss Carol said, prodding him and clambering in. He moved to the back seat and settled next to his brother.

You guys suck, he muttered.

Anyway.

So then we drove out to my littlest sister’s palatial estate in Watertown or Waterford or Waterwhereverthefuckarewe. It’s a beautiful castle that sits on a hill overlooking the mountains on one side and the plains where the little people live on the other.

It’s amazing.

And the food and the cocktails and the party and seeing all my family was amazing. And it was amazing that Cutter and Tug behaved and never peed in the house, not once. And it was amazing that my littlest sister told me that her husband’s pet peeve was people accidentally driving over a corner of the lawn when they pull into the driveway or into the 5 car garage.

‘Cause ya know my brother and me both offtracked over a corner of the lawn when we left the next morning to go to he and his cupcake’s place for party number three.

Christmas Bliss. A Holiday Tale in 3 tries-Uno

Cutter is pushing his nose into the side of Miss Carol’s boob, trying to squirm his way into her lap from the back seat.

C’mon, he says, let me get up front with you, it smells all doggy back here, he says.

From the back seat I hear Tug howling- hooowwwww much lonnngggggeeeeerrrrrrrr????

Miss Carol pushes Cutter back into the back seat screaming at him to sit down.

It’s Thursday and we’re twenty minutes into a four and a half hour drive to visit our families for the holidays. It’s our annual trek and something I look forward to each year with as much anticipation as a root canal or a colonoscopy sans¬†anesthesia.

On the seat behind me Cutter and Tug are tussling with one another, growling and snapping and yelping, the truck swaying with their wrestling. I clench my teeth and grip the wheel tighter. It’s gonna be a long ass trip.

Suddenly, there’s silence and Cutter is standing with one paw on the center console and the other resting on my arm, his nails gripping my shoulder. He stares out the windshield watching me drive for a moment and then he leans down and rests his head on my shoulder and gently licks the side of my face, his breath hot in my ear. Boss, he says, you know I love you. My heart melts a little, but then he’s pushing and squirming and trying to get into MY lap.

You wouldn’t believe all the dog hair back here, he grunts.

I push Cutter back into the back with my elbow, swerving into the other lane as I do so and Miss Carol screams at him again. Both dogs are quiet for a coupla minutes and then Tug starts barking.

This sucks, he barks.

I hate you, he barks.

Cutter joins in, yelling, When are we gonna get there- and- I gotta go to the bathroom. And Miss Carol’s screeching at both of them to shut the fuck up so she can hear the person she’s talking to on her cell phone.

I close my eyes briefly and try to tune them all out.

Four and half days later we get to the sadness that is Miss Carol’s folks’ house. Miss Carol’s father (we’ll call him Mr. Carol) had to put Miss Carol’s mother (Mrs. Carol) into an assisted living facility a couple of months ago and neither one of them is very happy about it.

We had originally planned to visit Mrs. Carol in her new digs and have dinner with her there but at the last minute Mr. Carol had called Miss Carol and told her that he’d bring her moms home for dinner saying he’d “found” a roast beef in the freezer that Miss Carol could cook.

Well.

We get there after four and half weeks and while Cutter and Tug are tearing around the house and Miss Carol is visiting with Mr. Carol, I’m carrying the baggage and the presents and the dog food and stuff into the house. I carry the dog bowls into the kitchen and see a teeny-tiny little flank steak thawing on a cutting board next to the sink.

I look at it and I think, it can’t be.

So I finish with my chores and grab a beer and I’m leaning up against the kitchen counter when Miss Carol comes in to make herself a cocktail. She looks at the little mound of thawing meat and sighs.

Tell me that’s not dinner, I say.

She sips her drink and says, it’ll be fine. They don’t eat much anymore and I’m not very hungry, she says. And shrugs.

To give Miss Carol her due, she really tried. Once the little lump of flank steak had thawed she pounded it flat to make it look bigger and marinated it and grilled it and then sliced it really, really thin.

But it just wasn’t enough.

We’d been driving for four and half months and hadn’t eaten anything. Even with the potatoes and green beans, it just wasn’t enough so finally, after I’d licked my plate clean, I distracted Mr. Carol by saying, What’s that?

And while he looked away, I stole a scrap of his steak and jammed it into my mouth.

Miss Carol saw me do it and hesitated and then she said to her moms, Wow, look over there.

And stole a scrap of HER steak.

This went on, back and forth, until Mr. Carol’s and Mrs. Carol’s steak was gone. They gazed down at their plates, looking a little puzzled and perplexed until I convinced them that they’d eaten a TON of food and gosh, golly, they must be full.

The next day, after I’d carted everything back out to MR.GREENE. again and loaded it up, I left the back door of the truck open and went to fetch Cutter and Tug. They burst out of the house dragging me from bush to bush smelling everything and peeing wildly until we got down the steps to the sidewalk and they saw the open door and they both stopped, stunned.

You’re kiddin’ me, right? Cutter said.

doggy hell.

Super Carol Sunday.

Miss Carol decided that this Sunday past would be the end-all, do-all Christmas weekend. Or not even the weekend. It was gonna be the be-all SUPER CAROL SUNDAY.

And it was.

Miss Carol made like 35 bread pudding thingies for her staff and a half dozen rum cakes and made brunch and pulled a splinter out of my finger and cooked dinner and we did the tree thing and hung lights and addressed cards and lit Christmas smelling candles and slathered and wrapped ourselves in Christmasness.

And then late last night while I’m slunk and spent in the Me Only Room, listening to music and trying to forget Christmas, Cutter walks in and sits down.

He cleared his throat, but I didn’t hear him. So he grabbed my shirt sleeve and yanked it back and forth to get my attention.

Coming awake, I was like, dude, what’s up?

Cutter stood and glared at me.

Why’d you drag that bush into the living room? he says.

It’s a Christmas tree, I say. It’s supposed to represent the joy of the season, pulling my sodden arm out of his mouth.

It’s a bush. It makes me wanna pee on it, he says.

Super.

Windows.

I’m a Mac in a Windows world. I realize my minority-ness. And for the most part, I’m good with it. I love and hug my little Mac and mostly don’t care about the whole big bad Windows world.

But every now and then, Bill Gates pokes his nose into my rosy little Mac-dom.

Tonight was one of those nights.

Every year, every Christmas, I temporarily stuff my Grinchy von Grinchness into somewhere and I write a seasonal letter for family and friends. In years past I’ve written on a company computer (Windows) and e-mailed it to Miss Carol so she could print it on whatever gay holiday paper she’s managed to find.

Then the last coupla years I’ve printed it at home in the Me Only Room ’cause I had an awesome printer. But the printer died wheezing and gasping last year and I didn’t replace it with awesomeness. Truth be told, I don’t print anything anymore. Who needs paper?

So this year I wrote the seasonal letter on my trusty Mac not realizing I had no way of disseminating it.

Oh shit.

After trying ways to make the Mac work with the Windows I gave up and decided the fastest, easiest was would be to just re-type the stupid seasonal letter on Miss Carol’s Window-based HP laptop.

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I did it, finally. I somehow managed to type a 400 word document into that stupid piece of shit.

But I won’t never ever do it again. I’d rather cut my fingers off with pliers.

Windows is the most aggressively anti-intuitive garbage I’ve ever had to deal with. I’d rather Mister Wiggly was attacked by wild dogs.

The cursor kept floating around adding letters to previously typed sentences. It kept trying to help me spell. It kept changing to italic. It was annoying beyond words.

I told Miss Carol if the laptop wasn’t hospital property and if it weren’t Christmassssss I’d a thrown the thing through the window and run out and stomped on it and started up MR.GREENE and driven over it and then stomped on it some more.

Fuckin’ Windows.

Thanks Bill. Merry Christmas.

Dreamy.

So this is what happened.

Over the weekend I had to drive to the D.C. area to my Moms house ’cause my brother and me had to replace a big bay window in her kitchen.

We’d ¬†been trying to do this for about three years now, and being the dutiful loving sons we are, we were finally gonna get it down before she, like, died?

So anyway, I left around 5 on Saturday morning, drove up and we worked on it and got it done around 5 that evening then we all went out to dinner and then I went back to my brother’s and his cupcakes’ place and then we drank some more and then none of this was the dreamy part.

The dreamy part happened on the way home.

Driving south on I95 in the pre-dawn darkness I decided to get off the super slab and take Route 17. Just as I merged onto 17 I finished listening to a particularly crappy book on CD (Dance, Dance, Dance by some Japanese dude- don’t ever get it and don’t never ever waste your time reading it- trust me) and so instead of starting another book I flipped over to Sirius/XM and dialed up Coffeehouse.

For those of you that don’t know, Coffeehouse is the channel that plays acoustic versions of songs performed by other artists. Think Pink Floyd by Natalie Merchant. Think Dave Matthews doing Bruce Springsteen covers. Think solo acoustic versions of the Counting Crows.

Flow the dreamy part.

It’d been years since I’d driven 17 and I’d forgotten just how beautifully desolate and lonely and completely bypassed Route 17 was and is. I’m driving along all alone on this forgotten piece of highway and I’m rolling up and down the rolling road, watching the sun slowly rise and warm the frost, and I’m listening to these sad seeming songs and I completely lost myself.

It was the most peaceful and tranquil two hours I can remember in this turbulently busy year. I’m pretty sure it was a combination of lack of sleep and surfeit of alcohol, but it was transcendental. It was Zen-like. It was serene and it was ephemeral. I just drove and flowed and listened. I could’ve driven on and on like that. For hours. For days. For weeks.

It was dreamy.

New.

How much have you ever wanted to just run away?

To just chuck it all.

To just roll and leave everything, absolutely, everything, behind? To become dead to close friends and family knowing you’ll probably never ever see them again. To head off into the far distance knowing you’ll only be seeing strangers for the rest of your time.

could you do it?

Could you leave kith and kin and little doggies and the warmth of the homely hearth behind and strike out into the razor sharp brittle coldness?

could you do it?

Nah, probably not.

Me neither.

But me and Miss Carol are fighting again and it does make me wonder-

could you do it?