Please Be Okay

I know there’s a war brewing and all but what I’m going to write about today is something that, to me, is a bit more important and serious right now.

My grandpa is in the hospital.

On Monday he and Grandma traveled from their little podunk southern Iowa town to Iowa City for a routine stress test/EKG. During this test the technicians freaked out and said it was the worst they’d seen in awhile, so they made plans to do a cardiac cath the next day (yesterday).

During that test they found that he has 80% blockage in his heart and it’s a wonder he’s alive right now. He hasn’t experienced any warning signs of an impending heart attack because he’s severely diabetic and I guess that blocks the pain receptors or something. So. He has to have a quadruple bypass surgery soon. They’re still not sure when, but as soon as they can schedule it.

My mom and #2 are planning to drive to Iowa as soon as they know when the surgery is scheduled. If it’s tomorrow they will leave tonight. If it’s next week they’ll go then. I chose not to go because I feel like I need to be at work right now, but as I’m sitting in my office worrying I really hope that I haven’t made the wrong decision by choosing work over family (something I normally never do).

He is the only grandfather I have ever known, and last night I was really hit hard with the reality that one day he’s not going to be here. I’ve always been aware of it but it’s an easy thing to push aside, especially when it comes to him.

Grandpa is in his seventies and “retired,” yet still works as a bricklayer, contractor, and owns and operates a bar in their town. He has worked hard his entire life and is a true example of the kind of person I’d like to one day be. He was an errand boy for the Chicago mafia in the 50s. He was married at 18 and had three children in the next seven years. He has worked as a contractor and bricklayer for much of his life, and has built churches all over the United States.

In his thirties he was afflicted with a disease that left him paralyzed. The doctors said he would never walk again – he said “fuck that” but got his college degree, just in case. He did walk again, and he also spent time as a college professor. He’s one of the smartest and most well-informed men I know, and can talk for hours on any given subject. He curses as much as I do, which is really saying a lot.

He has been some sort of grand poobah in the Shriners. He has been the county magistrate and the mayor of his town. He is an ordained minister and does weddings all the time. A few years ago he bought a limo just for the hell of it and made some money as a limo service before he hit a deer and subsequently got sick of driving the big-ass car.

Grandpa wanted a place where he could drink the kind of beer he liked and listen to the kind of music he wanted, so he built a bar that serves Old Milwaukee’s Best Light on tap and has a jukebox that plays nothing but the GOOD old country music – the stuff from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s that is legendary today. His average highway driving speed is 85-90 mph, and on the rare occasions when he gets pulled over he usually gets let go because all the cops know him. Nearly everyone in town calls him the Judge, and they come to his bar to listen to the stories of his adventures and to try to beat him at pool. He kicks their asses handily in nearly every game.

And that doesn’t even to begin to probe the depths of what his life has been so far.

Grandpa’s in good spirits. He’s in the hospital bitching and complaining that he wants to go home, and he threatened to haunt the surgeon for the rest of his life if they mess up on the operating table. The surgeon said that’s the first time in his career that a patient has threatened to haunt him. And the best part is that my grandpa doesn’t make idle threats – he’d totally haunt that man.

But I hope with all my heart he doesn’t have to.

March 19, 2003

The Classiest Cocktail Party EVER

One time last fall, we went to Harrisonburg to visit barybabe at JMU and to see a football game. She asked me to stay overnight at her apartment, saying that one of her roommates was having a birthday party and they expected it to be a good time. I’d never partied with #2 before, so I said sure.

After the game, we went back to her apartment where her roommates were getting ready for the party. Since, unlike #2, I was over 21 and had money, I offered to buy some more alcohol to cover #2’s portion of the party (they were all chipping in together). I asked what they had and they pointed out the vodka, mixes, etc. and mentioned that they were also going to get some wine. I said I’d pick up a few bottles to help out and they said no, that roommate J was going to go pick up a few boxes of wine. I looked at them like wha? and said, “wine in a box?” and apparently they caught a vibe because they all looked at me like I’m a major snob and one was like “Not the crappy wine in a box. We’re going to get the GOOD wine in a box.” O-kay.

I should have known then that this would all end up badly.

So #2 and I went to the store and ended up getting two veggie trays and some cranberry juice. When we came back the roommates were all “cleaning up for the party” and somehow my sister ended up doing the dishes and vacuuming the floor while the other roommates put out food and strung tinsel around a table. Then everyone decided to get ready.

For this party, I brought jeans and a nice shirt to wear. Reasonable attire for a college party, right? No, you would be wrong. #2 tells me that the roommates want this to be like a “classy cocktail party” and they’re all dressing up. I see them, and they are. In nice dresses, dress pants, glittery tops, the whole nine yards. So then I feel uncomfortable in my jeans and nice shirt, thinking maybe JMU parties are different from Northwestern parties. #2 asks roommate J, who is probably exactly the same size as I am, if she has anything I might be able to wear and roommate J cops a major ‘tude to say that she doesn’t have anything that will fit me. Suck it, J.

I end up wearing one of #2’s skirts and pinning it up a little bit so it will fit me. And I borrowed a pair of her shoes and wore all this with the shirt I’d brought.

The party gets started. People are showing up in STANDARD PARTY ATTIRE – jeans, bitch pants, button-down shirts, etc. After about ten minutes in the ridiculous skirt-and-heels ensemble I say fuck it and go back and change into jeans and bare feet, which is what I wear for the rest of the evening.

Freak roommates decided to play Never Have I Ever. Anyone who’s ever played this game knows that it tends to get pretty dirty and sexual. That’s the POINT, after all. But no. At THIS party, they say things like “Never have I ever worked at B. Moss” or “Never have I ever left my instrument in the music building” in an attempt to “slam” the other players. So that sucked. I chat up a boy sitting next to me and when I go to break the seal, he leaves because either the party was horribly lame, or I was. And if I was lame, I still blame the party.

THEN, all randomly, as people are getting drunker, roommate J goes to her room, gets a porn video, pops it in the VCR and starts playing it. The party begins to clear out immediately, and still they keep the tape playing because it’s “funny.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with porn. Do your thing, you know?

But when you put on a PORN MOVIE at your fucking COCKTAIL PARTY and EVERYONE STARTS TO LEAVE, shouldn’t you maybe turn it off so you stop alienating your guests who are obviously uncomfortable with the whole thing?

Of course not. Let’s keep watching those three people having sex on a rock.

I don’t know how long the party lasted after that. But between the porn movie, the wine in a box, the enthralling Never Have I Ever game, and the bizarrely overdressed roommates, this party was getting a bit more classy than I could stand. So I went to bed pretty soon after that.

Needless to say, that was the last time I partied at JMU. barybabe and I were talking about this last night and I realized that I’m still a little weirded out by the whole experience, so I decided to share it with you today.

Aren’t you glad?

1 Comment March 18, 2003

Saturday Night with the Younger 3

The Younger 3 and I went to Ragazzi’s tonight. I was supposed to go out with S and B (I think they’re trying to fix me up with one of B’s friends) but those plans fell through so I took the Y3 out to dinner instead. So much for that non-spending-money thing.

We had a really weird, although nice, extremely soft-spoken waiter. I kept having to ask him to repeat himself. And when he came to ask us how our food was, he rubbed his belly when he asked. Like “is it nummy good?” And he apologized for our bread basket becoming empty. Well, it became empty because we ATE THE BREAD, dude.

We had our food served to us by the hottest server boy on Earth, and just as he walked up TG and I happened to be holding hands lovingly and pretending to be dates. Then we flirted with Hot Server Boy. TG says she’s never washing her left hand again, because Hot Server Boy touched it when he gave her her plate.

Ragazzi’s serves generic Sweet & Low. It’s called Sweet Thing. We thought it would be funny if they had generic Equal and called it SameAs.

Also, tallgirlsam the ho TOOK OFF HER SHOE and proceeded to caress my thigh with her socked foot right in the middle of dinner. All barybabe and Witchy got was this sudden but calm remark from me: “Put your shoe back on and get your foot Off. My. Thigh.”

You had to be there.

I bought three previewed movies at Blockbuster:

1. Blue Ridge Fall, because I don’t know why.

2. Kill The Man, because Luke Wilson is in it.

3. Rock Star, because I think Marky Mark is hot, and it was only $6.99, and if I bought it I got one of the others free, so there. Also because I’m a geek.

barybabe bought On The Line, however, so she’s more of a dork.

Neener.

March 15, 2003

The New Toys

I’m going to go work in product development for Little Tykes. I already have lots of good ideas. Witness the magic:

Little Tykes Bartender Set: You’re dying for a Jack & Coke, but since that hag of a wife left you there’s been no one to make it for you…until now. With the magic of the Little Tykes Bartender Set, little Suzie will be whipping you up a double in no time!

Little Tykes Crash Cart: That lifestyle’s really getting to you. The doctor says you’ll die of a heart attack within the year, but it’s not like you can stop eating 16 oz. steaks every day. Besides, nothing starts the day off better than a mess o’fried eggs and a Marlboro Red. Never fear! With the Little Tykes Crash Cart you can live however you damn well please. If something should go wrong (not that it will – it won’t happen to YOU), Bobby will know just what to do. CLEAR!

Little Tykes Honda Civic: Every little boy dreams of the day when he can pick up bitches in his pimped-out Honda Civic. Why wait? Now he can get a head start on pimpdom with the Little Tykes Honda Civic. *The Little Tykes Honda Civic retails for $9.99. Rims, spoiler, and system retail for $249.99 each. Bitches not included.

Little Tykes Pop Diva Dress-Up Set: Every little girl hopes to one day be just like Britney, Christina, or Avril. Now she can live her dream with the Little Tykes Pop Diva Dress-Up Set. Comes complete with skanky hair extensions, low-rise leather chaps, recording contract, and contact information for Colin Farrell.

See? I think I’ve found a new career path.

* * *

This morning Dad and I got up early to go to the Shamrock Volleyball Tournament which was being held in about a zillion different places in the ‘Noke. There were a few specific teams we wanted to see so we ended up going to Hollins University for one game, Salem High School for one game, and Hidden Valley High School for the last one. At SHS’s gym which I’ve never been to before, they have signs showing where the Salem fans sit and where the visiting fans should sit. I think it’s kind of unnecessary. If you have a Salem jacket on, you sit with the Salem jackets. If not, you sit far, far away. Also? Hidden Valley High School is a bit excessive, I think.

That is all.

March 15, 2003

Honda Civics Can Suck It

What is UP with the Honda Civic? Seriously, what is so fucking special about it?

I have this irrational hatred for Honda Civics. Specifically, pimped-out customized Honda Civics. Isn’t the Civic just a shitty little standard sedan? Since when did the Civic get elevated to this mythic status of street sportscar?

This guy who goes to school with TG and Witchy has a teal Civic with yellow wheels and flame decals. And I’ve seen way too many high school aged guys with these ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS pimped-out little Civics. I see them all over town. Now I’m not a huge car buff or anything – I know a little tiny bit about cars, and I know what looks good, and I know what’s expensive. Customization is expensive. So why not just sink all that money into a car that doesn’t suck my ass?

If you happen to be the proud owner of a Honda Civic and it’s actually just a CAR, like you bought the car and maybe bought a thing or two to make it look nicer, but really you know that it’s just a Honda Civic and you bought it because the Accord was too expensive, then you’re exempt from my Civic hatred.

But guys? A pimped-out Honda Civic doesn’t impress me. At all.

It’s like putting dubs and a big ugly spoiler on a Hyundai Excel and then going out and getting a system for it. That’s fucking dumb, and I get to say that because I used to have a Hyundai Excel and I recognize it for what it is – an economical little foreign car.

NOT the car that’s gonna get me laid.

That’s what the Dodge Neon is for.

18 Comments March 13, 2003

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