the 25 mile drive was not arduous, in fact, it was rather relaxing. traffic was light, the sky: overcast, the weather: had not arrived. i pulled into the drive-way, turned around, parked. upon exiting the vehicle, i noted a hissing sound. stu asked, "what is that sound? do you hear that?"
oh, well, that would be my mother's front passenger-side tire deflating. upon realization of this, i start to crumble. tears immediately rise to the occasion; a torrent of profanity was unleashed from my mouth. "i didn't hit anything. i didn't run over a car-swallowing sink-hole. i did not trek through a construction site. i don't understand."
stu had turned away and was walking towards his friend's house. i called to him: "i realize that you are not responsible for my vehicular maladies, but would you happen to have a suggestion as to what i might do at this juncture?"
he stopped, turned, "i was going to announce us to my friends, and then i was going to ask if the man of the house would let me borrow his jack and tools so that i can change your tire. however, it would better suit your purpose if you did not insult the person who you are requesting assistance from."
me: "i was not insulting you. i was only asking for a suggestion; i was not commissioning you for assistance.
we went inside the house and made our hello's to friends, their family and the dogs. stu and his friend took to changing my tire, and i chatted with the mother and the birthday girl.
later, after my tire was changed, i thanked stu and his friend for helping me. they plugged the old tire, filled it with air and put in place of the full-size spare.
please note that i damn-near experienced a mental break-down over this flat tire.
the goddaughter opened her gifts. stu gave her $800 in a card, and her parents gave her a car, just as long as she promised that she pass her driver's test this third time around. she cried and giggled and bounced around the room. i was stinking jealous and angry at myself for feeling that way. my mother gave a me strand of black pearls for my 18th birthday. my aunt gave me semi-expensive shampoo and a "welcome to adulthood, i am so sorry". the strange thing is that me family is in the same financial status as this girl's family... where did i go wrong?
sherry (who hits on stu, and reminds him that "older women are where it's at), who is the mother's best friend arrived with her family: daughter and boyfriend with their child, and sherry's youngest son. sherry's granddaughter was the center of attention for the next 3 hours. the child was passed around and cried every time she was moved to a different person. the baby cried when the person that held her sat down, so the baby-totem must be standing. all the women (except for me) cooed, poked and tickled the baby, they marveled at "how small she is", "those eyes", "her chubby cheeks", "what a happy baby!" and of course "how beautiful she is".
is it time for cake and ice cream?
at 5:20pm, all non-family left, except for the birthday girl's boyfriend, stu and i. we went out to dinner at a Red Robin 15 miles away, 15 miles further from stu's house. the family and boyfriend went in one car, their youngest daughter, stu and i went in my mother's car. it was snowing heavily and the roads were very messy. i slid several times on the winding road that took us to the highway.
the meal at Red Robin was OK, there was nothing spectacular about the food or drinks. although, they serve their onion rings in a surprisingly phallic manner. the mother arranged to have the RR staff sing and clap for their daughter and bring her free ice cream that she snubbed. with her newly-fattened wallet (compliments of UNCLE STUUUU), she, the boyfriend and the younger sister walked over to aeropostal. they returned after having discovered that all the stores were closed.
we embarked on the ride back to the family's house. i slid several times on the highway, a woman almost ran me off the road (i ended up in the emergency lane) because she was staring so intently into the vortex of snow attacking our cars that she drifted over into my lane.
white-knuckled, i was convinced that i was going to skid into a tree. stu continually made mention of how nervous i was, following with offers to drive. the roads were awful, visibility was almost nill and the temperature was dropping. the family was going to be putting on a movie, stu wanted to stay and watch. it was already after 8pm and travel was horrendous, i was unnerved by the prospect of traveling at 11pm with freezing rain and even lower temperatures. stu didn't think that my fears were legitimate.
damn it, i was just in an accident not even a week ago... let me have my anxiety and a goddamn piece of cheesecake.
i dropped off the younger sister; stu and i said our goodbyes. i thanked them for their hospitality and apologized for not wanting to stay. stu said, "she's just scared."
back on the road, i slid several times. on the highway, driving was a bit easier. i was almost out of gas; i pulled into a gas station. of course, i pull up to the ONLY PUMP that didn't take credit cards. (there was a sign on the pump: Sorry, must pay credit/debit inside. THIS PUMP ONLY.) i trudged into the convenience store, handed the man my credit card, showed him my ID, and proceeded to pump my gas. the handle on the gas pump would not stay in the "on" position; my cursing prompted stu's attention, who curtly explained to me that the little "ridge-thing" broke off and now it has to be held in the "on position". whatever. i left him to it.
people, i am losing my shit here.