Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bands, Brews, and Bullshit

Right now, I want to punch Google+ in the face.  WHAT HAVE YOU EVER DONE FOR ME, GOOGLE+?  NOT ONE FUCKING THING.  In the past week, I have gotten three emails from Google+, each taunting me that Google+ has someone I know and whom I may want to join my circle.  Two of these three were ex-boyfriends, and the third was the friend who dumped me back in March of '11.  Do I want to be friends with them?  HELL NO, GOOGLE+.  FUCK YOU.  I don't even remember most of the time that I HAVE Google+ and I think I only have it anyway because of my Droid (the phone, not the Star Wars character, for those of you who are confused-- and I KNOW some of you are).  And if the Universe has teamed with Google+ and set out to get me (which is exactly how I feel after those "friend" alerts) then YOU CAN SUCK IT TOO, UNIVERSE.

Okay.  Enough about that.

I'm actually in a rather good mood today, despite what you may believe after reading the above paragraph.  The weather kicks ass, two of my favorite people (D&M) are coming over for dinner before they jet off to a two-year stint in Okinawa (unfortunately, I haven't yet figured out what we're having for dinner or if we HAVE anything I can force B to grill-- I suspect as long as I have plenty of alcohol, and I do, we're all good), and the minions are attending VBS this week somewhere on the other side of Suffolk. (I don't know what church, nor do I know the name of the lady whom they are going with-- I literally just SEND THEM OFF WITH A TOTAL STRANGER I KNOW AS "GRANDMA."  I AM SO NOT KIDDING ABOUT THIS.)  The point is, I'm feeling pretty low-key, which is impressive for me.  I haven't even vacuumed since yesterday.  HIGH FIVE FOR ME.

Things have been kind of spotty here lately, with Maddie May moving to the Great Beyond and all of my friends moving to, well, all over the rest of the world.  There have definitely been some good times, though, and I thought I would use this opportunity to share one of them with you:  The Father's Day Trip To See Dave Matthews Band.

OUR STORY BEGINS

I bought B tickets to see DMB ON Father's Day, FOR Father's Day.  B has loved DMB since their early days in Charlottesville when he was an undergrad at UVA and used to go hear them play in dive bars.  A group of our friends were going to the concert as a last hoorah before they all leave (one of approximately 8 last hoorahs at this point) so we joined up with them.  There were ten of us, total, stuffing ourselves into two SUV's-- one driven by a husband who had to work early the next day (not mine) and one driven by our sweet, patient, 8 1/2 MONTHS FREAKING PREGNANT friend, EB.  Both were great designated drivers because neither could drink.  (Surprisingly enough, I, too, was sober this night as I had passed out in my bathroom floor after roughly sixty ounces of vodka and cranberry juice in a two-hour time period and on an empty stomach the night before.  I had awakened at one point to find four children (or, frankly, they could have been elves, midgets, leprechauns.....who the fuck knows-- not me, I had had WAY too much alcohol) surrounding me and overheard one say, "Is that rolled-up towel under her head supposed to be a pillow?" as they poked at me curiously.  Another one (the oldest, who is probably....12? maybe?......said, "She's fine.  That's what grown-ups look like when they have too much to drink."  GOOD TIMES, Y'ALL.)  I had not been asked to drive despite my sobriety because I CAN'T FUCKING DRIVE FOR SHIT.  But that's a total side note.

Anyway, you have the preface.  Here are some of the highlights of our evening:

1.  Watching in amazement as one of my girlfriends smuggled FOUR airplane bottles of vodka in UNDER HER BREASTS WHILE WEARING NO BRA.  That, bitches, is some talent.  Do you know how many bottles of vodka I could smuggle in under MY braless boobs?  NONE.  Sad, but true.

2.  Watching, yet again, in amazement as EB hiked her extremely pregnant self up a damn MOUNTAIN to get to our seats WITHOUT going into labor OR tripping and rolling down the hill, taking out a bevy of DMB tree-huggin' granola-eatin' pot-smokin' groupies along the way.  GIRLFRIEND HAS STAMINA.  When I was pregnant, I would NEVER have been that badass.  I would have demanded to be carried up the hill and then situated on my own, private, air-conditioned pedestal where nobody could INVADE MY FUCKING SPACE.

3.  Being able to sit on our blanket, take a deep breath, hold it in, and get abso-fucking-lutely stoned just from being in close proximity to so much good weed.  Good thing J brought those pretzels.

4.  A spirited argument with B, who was jammed in the third seat between two of my smokin' hot friends so that I could sit in the middle seat and NOT feel like I was going to get carsick (I don't think he minded that much), regarding how much more beer he could handle without puking.  Turns out, I had the cooler tucked beneath my legs in the car, so I was the MASTER OF THE BEER.  If anybody wanted it, they were going to have to come and get it.  And, seeing as how I was one of the few sober ones on this adventure (quick props to my one other sober friend, Tina, who was one of the hot chicks sitting by B) and all those other drunkards who had far surpassed their tolerable alcohol intake quantities, I had to use my judgement wisely.  And my judgement felt the need to inform everyone that WHEN B PUKED FROM DRINKING TOO MUCH I WAS WALKING TO EACH OF THEIR INDIVIDUAL HOUSES (we all live in the same neighborhood) TO WAKE THEIR DUMB ASSES UP AND MAKE THEM COME CLEAN UP THE PUKE BECAUSE I DON'T FUCKING DO PUKE, ESPECIALLY PUKE FROM MY HUSBAND WHO SHOULD HAVE LEARNED THAT LESSON A LONG DAMN TIME AGO.  I WOULD BEAT ON THEIR DOORS AND USE THEIR DOOR CODES (several of which I know) TO COME IN AND PEEL THEM FROM THE COMFORT OF THEIR BEDS AND MAKE THEIR LIVES AS MISERABLE AS MINE WOULD BE AT THAT MOMENT.  And they KNEW I would, because that's how I roll.  Lucky for everybody, my B can hold his beer.  There was no puke.

5.  Getting LOTS of blackmail-worthy photos of my Peoples and realizing just how much I was going to miss this bond we all had.  (Then remembering that I'm an Introvert and I don't like anyone, thus negating said realization.)

It was the best Father's Day I've had since I lost my Dad, the first one I've had where I didn't spend the whole day wishing the best for B and secretly begrudging all those people my age who still had their Dad.  I think it means I'm moving forward a little bit at a time.  Maybe I WILL miss those friends after all.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Blood Is Thinner Than Water

Last week, B and I were a few houses down from our house visiting our friends, the Donahues, when I stepped out of their front door and suddenly saw my idiot first cousin (our Dads were brothers) riding a girly, sparkly pink bicycle through my neighborhood.

*Let's quickly review why this is MESSED THE FUCK UP.  1)  My cousin lives over 600 miles away in Cleveland, Tennessee, with the rest of his stupid, redneck relatives.  2)  None of that side of the family has known where I live, or if I was still alive for that matter, for approximately three and a half years, minimum.  Technically, it would be longer, only I saw them at my Dad's memorial service in January of 2009 (THIS is why I strongly believe memorial services should be "by invitation only."), otherwise I would not have seen any of them for a multitude of years, PRAISE JESUS.  3)  Sparkly pink girl's bicycle.  He's a 30 year old man.  What the fuck?

Did I have to do a double take?  Nope.  Because I'm used to weird-ass shit happening to me ALL THE DAMN TIME.  I am a WEIRD ASS SHIT MAGNET, as I have pointed out on several other occasions.  God made me this way for the sole purpose of keeping himself entertained I AM QUITE CERTAIN, henceforth I decided long ago to just take it all as it comes at me.  So I took it for what it was-- my 30-year-old male first cousin riding a young girl's bicycle through my neighborhood in tidewater Virginia.

Turns out, I wasn't seeing things, it IS a small world, and somefuckinghow his brother-in-law lives down the street where the cousin and his wife and kid (I currently cannot remember if their kid is a girl or a boy) were visiting.  AWESOME.

All of this led me to mull over my "family" for a bit and laugh a little at how it didn't even occur to me to say hello even though we grew up right next door to each other, share a set of Grandparents, and of whom I have a plethora of childhood memories.  This would be unusual for B, or most everyone else I know-- to let the youngest child of your Dad's only sibling ride right by you and not even acknowledge that you know him.  B still sends birthday cards to his fourth-cousin-by-marriage-twice-removed and such.  Not me.  Heart of marble over here, bitches.  There is that old saying, "Blood is thicker than water."  But I figured out a long damn time ago that whoever first said that was a blithering fool and clearly NOT my kind of people.  My own, personal Haley quote regarding family goes something like this, "DNA DOES NOT MAKE ME LIKE YOU IF YOU ARE A SHITTY EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN BEING.  SO SUCK IT AND DIE, LOSER."  (Isn't that MUCH more colorful?)  I have a large family-- my Mom has six or seven brothers and sisters (I lose track, because I do not like most of them, either) and all of them (probably) have kids and their kids (probably) have kids and (seeing as how we're talking about Tennessee here) there's an excellent chance that THOSE kids may even have kids by this point.  Out of all this SUPER AWESOME "family," (my immediate wolfpack--husband and kids--aside), I claim approximately five people.  And two of those are dead.

Why is it that so many people love their family BECAUSE they are family, but would never give them a second glance if they were not related?  Why are there so many ridiculous sayings about friends coming and going and family being forever?  Family isn't forever.  Families move.  They die.  They do really stupid things that make you spend inordinate amounts of time wondering if you could kill them and get away with it, knowing that you would feel no remorse but would actually spend the remainder of your life high-fiving yourself for ridding the world of such scourge?  I choose who I love carefully, and it has nothing to do with genetics.  Never has, never will.  It may be said that one can't choose one's family.  And I can't.  But I don't have to claim them, either.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Love Letter to a Friend

This morning, Blaker woke me up early to tell me that our dog, Maddie May, was gone.  She had recently had some health issues, but it was still very unexpected.  She started acting unwell last night, and Blaker checked on her throughout the night, then was with her this morning when she passed, curled up on her bed that was next to our own.

I adopted Maddie from a shelter in Charleston, SC, in November of 2002.  Maddie and her sister had been picked up as strays and taken to the animal shelter where her sister,  whom the shelter called "Cathy," had quickly been adopted.  Maddie, whom they called "Chatty" because she was such a vocal little pup, had spent a month at the first shelter, then was transferred to a second shelter where she was nearing a month as well.  This is where I found her.  I walked in, heard some crazy animal howling at the top of her lungs in the back, and went to her immediately.  She was dirty, matted, scruffy, and the most spastic damn dog I had ever encountered.  Of course, I immediately fell in love.

No shelter employee or veterinarian I ever found was able to tell me exactly what kind of mix of dogs my Maddie May likely was.  Guesses included poodle, maltese, wheaton terrier......who the hell knows.  Because of that and because she had been a stray, I started calling her Junkyard Maddie, or Junky.  She had other nicknames-- Tracker Jacker, because she loved to patrol the backyard; The Wampa, once Sutt became a Star Wars fan and we realized she looked like a wampa; Chastity Maddie, because she always wanted to be between Blaker and I, touching us both, in bed--but Junky was the original.

Maddie spent every second of her life being happy.  It didn't matter where she was or what we were doing, she was the happiest creature I have ever known.  Walks and rides in the car thrilled her to no end, and no one has ever been so enthusiastic about their family as Junky.  Sometimes when I was sad, I would step outside, then come right back in so that she would get excited and spin in circles and howl at me to welcome me back after my thirty-second absence.  She was incredibly smart, and she LOVED HER PEOPLES.  If one of us sat down, Maddie had to sit touching us.  She would sit and paw at you wanting you to pet her, and when she figured out that the pawing annoyed me, she would lick me instead (I'm a sucker for dog licks).

Spending eleven years with this amazing little dog taught me a lot of things:  sing loud, love your peoples, and just be happy and grateful to be alive, no matter what else is going on in your life.

As expected, I'm having a tough time being happy today.  I miss my girl so much.  Even though Maddie is definitely in Heaven (we always attributed Maddie as being very religious--long story), probably getting butt scratches from my Dad and howling along with a celestial choir, my heart is broken by her loss.  We now have this quiet hole in our family that a very energetic, noisy, joyful little dog used to fill.

I will always be grateful to have had the time with her that we did. 

Good girl, Maddie May.  Your mama loves you.