Tuesday, November 13, 2007

There and Back Again

Ollie likes to run around the apartment like a winduptoy in the pre-dawn hours. We've taken to calling him "the Mazda." :::Sings commercial jingle poorly::: "Zoom, zoom, zoom." Get it? :)

6:00 a.m.

Joel: Ollie is zooming around the apartment.
Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whappituh* *whappituh*
Me: Zzz...snert?
Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whappituh* *whappituh*
Joel: Ollie is zooming around the apartment.
Me: Put him in the bathroom for ten minutes until he calms down.
Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whap-*

6:12 a.m.
Joel frees the cat.

6:13:01s a.m.

Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whappituh* *whappituh*
Joel: Ollie is still zooming around the apartment.
Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whappituh* *whappituh*
Me: Put him in the bathroom for ten minutes.
Cat Feet: *whappituh* POUNCE! *whappituh* POUNCE!
Joel: I tried that.
Me: Put him in the bathroom until it's time to get up.
Joel: What if Fred has to pee?
Cat Feet: *whappituh*
Me: Set up the second litterbox, then.
Joel: *groan*
Cat Feet: POUNCE!
Me: Fine, I'll do it.

11:04 a.m.

Joel: Up time!
Me: What time is it?
Joel: It's a little after 11. My parents will be here in less than an hour.
Me: WHAT?!?
Joel: What?
Me: Here? What? What happened to meeting at the restaurant?
Joel: They're meeting us here so we can all go to the restaurant together.
Me: Noooo!
Joel: What?
Me: The house is a disaster!
Joel: So?
Me: There are piles of laundry everywhere, cat litter all over the bathroom floor- Oh my God, OH MY GOD!
Joel: .....?
Me: You do NOT bring a future mother-in-law to an engaged woman's incredibly untidy apartment with no warning.
Joel: huh?
Me: (grabbing vacuum, Swiffer mop and disinfectant wipes) CLEAN! CLEAN! Clean like the wind!
Joel: My mom doesn't care.

Joel's mom is possibly the most judgmental person alive. Trust me, she cares.

Me: If I killed you right now, no all-woman jury in the world would convict me.
Joel: The D.A. would make sure to put a man in there.
Joel: I want to eat a bowl of cereal first.
Me: We're going out to lunch!
Joel: I'm starving.
Me: So eat a quick bowl of laundry.
Joel Eat a bowl of laundry?
Me: Oh my GOD. Can't talk, cat hair everywhere.
Joel: But...
Me: Eat, then clean!

11:32 a.m. Joel walks Bella, throws in a load of laundry just to get it out of sight.

11:35 a.m. Joel curiously watches me frantically add dirty laundry to a partially filled basket while (still) eating.

Me: (bitchily) is that, like, the everlasting cereal bowl?
Joel: huh?
Me: I feel like you've been eating cereal for 15 minutes.
Joel: I keep stopping to do stuff like walk the dog. Why are you dumping dirty laundry in the clean basket?
Me: This is all dirty stuff.
Joel: No, it's not.
Me: Are you sure?
Joel: Oh.
Me: What?
Joel: I guess the stuff I just put in the washer was the clean stuff.
Washer: Swish, fill, swish, fill.
Me: The only clean clothes we have are now wet?
Joel: Yeah.
Me: Everything I was going to wear is in there.
Joel: Shit.
Me: Clean like your life depends on it! It kind of does!
Joel: You love me!

11: 37 a.m. Bella is barking her face off. I yell at her and threaten to take her to a glue factory.

11:38 a.m.
As I'm yanking the second laundry basket out of the closet to fill with mountains of dirty clothes, to then be shoved BACK into the closet and hidden, I unearth a puddle of cat pee on a big blue duffel bag full of bottled water, tarps, and other provisions in case of natural disaster or terrorist attack. (Al-Quaida is no match for our DD batteries and canned Progresso soup. Rah!) Late last week, Joel accidentally trapped Ollie in the Closet of Enchantment and Mystery for, oh, five hours or so. When I finally freed him, it was clear that nature had, um, called. I thought I had cleaned up all the pee, and a highpowered Renuzit air freshner took care of the stink. But apparently there was a small puddle still on our waterproof duffel bag. Hell damn fart.

The dog is still barking.

11:39 a.m. We decide the best course of action is to merely stash the reeking duffel bag in the backyard until after his parents' visit. Joel runs down the stairs with the bag. He runs into his parents, who are standing on the porch. They are 20 minutes early. They have been there for a few minutes already. They never remember that our doorbell has never, ever worked. This is why Bella has been barking. Crap.

Joel tells them that we're not quite ready yet and suggests they grab a cup of coffee at the nearby Dunkin Donuts. I am muttering, "I was not brought up this way. I was not brought up to leave guests out in the cold" while frantically trying to find pants, as my only clean pairs are swishing away in the washer. They return to their car, but do not leave for the suggested coffee. Joel is trying to haul the 70-lb metal box of studio lighting gear up three flights of stairs, so there's room for them in my car. He gives them clearer directions to Dunkin Donuts. His father yells, "We don't feel like it!"

12:00 p.m. sharp. We are dressed. The apartment is presentable for in-law viewing after lunch.

Joel: She's pissed. Time to kiss up.

12:01 p.m. His mother refuses to ride in our car.
12:02 p.m. Joel convinces her. There is a scuffle over the seatbelt in the backseat. I try to take on my role as cheerful cheerleader. We're going to a historic inn! George Washington ate there! It's supposed to be haunted!

12:40 p.m.
We are twenty minutes early. I say that if we have to wait for our reservation time, we can always sit at the bar. It's the original wooden bar from the 1770s! Sam Adams drank there! We can have a Sam Adams at the bar where he actually drank! I am so upbeat and positive that I want to shoot myself in the face with the genuine Continental Army musket hanging by the coatcheck.

Joel's mom says, "If the waitstaff can't seat us because we're early, maybe they can waste the time dragging a big blue bag into the backyard."

Cricket, cricket. Cricket, cricket.

12:45 p.m. We are seated. His dad gives us a hard time about how busy we are and how hard it is to pin us down to get together. He helpfully shares that some distant relatives are angry that they haven't met me yet. What have we been so busy with? Why are we so hard to make plans with? What are we so stressed out about?

I accidentally start a family fight when mentioning sources of stress: election coverage, championship games, report cards due, meeting our officiant, Joel's car getting broken into. KABOOM! They didn't know. He didn't want them to worry. Let's fight about it!

12:48 p.m. I order the pot roast! Joel points out that it costs $17.76! Get it? Revolutionary War Era Restaurant? Ha! Ha ha ha! We are jolly!

1:27 p.m. Joel's mom is too cold. We are sitting by the fireplace. She wants coffee. The coffee is too cold. The waitress brings a fresh pot over to warm it up. It is still not hot enough. Joel's father asks the waitress to microwave his coffee for "exactly 1 minute and 60 seconds." There is no redeeming the coffee for his mom.

1:30 p.m. I start to get a creeping feeling of doom about impending tasting with wedding caterer.

Me: Scenes from the Julia Roberts movie "Stepmom" were filmed here!

1:32:57 p.m. His mother yells at his dad for talking with his mouth full.
1:33 p.m. I escape to the ladies room and play Pac-Man on my cell phone for a few minutes.
2:00 p.m. Lunch mercifully ends.

2:30 p.m. Annie calls my cell phone. I bounce it to voicemail because I am fielding questions about the East Pete Sportsmen's Club and whether or not they have a target where Joel's dad can throw tomahawks over Thanksgiving. They might.

2:33 p.m.
I surreptiously check the message. She says she's sad to report my 9th grade science teacher- Mr. Way, a beloved icon and notorious physics hardass- has died. He was in his early 40s. Do I know how it happened? No, I do not. Make mental note to call my dad, who used to run a science camp with Mr. Way. Say nothing to in-laws.

2:45 p.m. Welcome in-laws to hastily cleaned apartment. They meet the new cat. Bella puts on a show of whirling joy, bestowed toys and enthusiastic snuggling. Offer to make coffee flatly refused. I produce the mockup of the wedding invitation I finished designing last night. Joel's dad declares it wonderful, wonderful! His mom dislikes the choices on the RSPV card. (Guests can check: "Will be there with bells on!" OR "Will attend, not wearing any bells" OR "Can not attend, regardless of bell controversy.") Joel's dad keeps talking about adding something to a garter that I definitely am not going to wear. I can't figure out what he's referring to. Realize he means the ribbon and photo charm surrounding the invitation. Whuh?

3:15 p.m.
In-laws leave. Am absolutely exhausted. Joel and I hide under the covers.

5:15 p.m. Visit friend and new baby. Bounce, coo, laugh, toss. We eat McDonald's and play with baby on Happy Hippo mat. I learn how to reload the wipe warmer. I leave with formula in my hair and on my pants. I don't even mind.

9:45 p.m. Dad says he heard from Mrs. P who got a call on the teacher alert phone tree that Mr. Way was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor about a week ago. He had a seizure on Sunday and died.

10 p.m. Return home. Hang out with Joel, who accidentally set fire to a decorative autumn-themed throw pillow while I was out.

11:15 p.m. Am sad. Join Facebook so I can read memorial messages for Mr. Way that Annie mentioned in voicemail. I remember Mr. Way coming up to me and Jon the night he graduated from HHS in '94 and wishing us well as a couple. He asked me why I wouldn't let Jon help me with my physics homework for the first two marking periods when Jon was a crackjack AP Physics student. Jon gave me a squeeze and a kiss on the cheek and said fondly, "She's very stubborn." It's only 10:15 p.m. in Colorado, where Jon lives with his wife, but still too late to call.

11:16 p.m. Have overwhelming urge to find and reconnect with Alison Trendler.

11:17 p.m.
Urge subsides.

12:22 a.m. Say goodnight to future husband. Play on the Internet. Start writing blog entry.

2:44 a.m. Ollie is zooming around the apartment.
Cat Feet: *whappituh* *whappituh* *whappituh*
Me: (warningly) Ollie...
Cat Feet: *whappituh* POUNCE! *whappituh* POUNCE!
Fred: Moo-oom! Get 'im off meee!

2:55 a.m. Put Ollie in the bathroom for ten minutes until he calms down.
3:01 a.m. Click "Publish Post."


Wetzel said...

I love your blog so much, Angie. Yes, Mr. Way died of a brain tumor. He found out that he had it on Friday and died on Sunday. He was scheduled for surgery this week. Here is an email that he sent to the Hempfield faculty over the weekend.

Dear colleagues,

Monday I will be informing my students of some information that is important to them. Before you hear it from a student, I thought I should inform you as well. For the past three weeks I have been suffering with severe headaches which where thought to be migraines.

Thanks to the wonders of modern science (sorry I had to put that plug in for science) the cause of my headaches has been found. Last Thursday, I received an MRI. On Friday, during school, my physician
called my classroom to inform me that the MRI showed some "irregularities" and that he wanted me to see a neuro-surgeon that day. The doctor's call came in a 2:30 pm and by 4:30 pm, I was
sitting in a neuro-surgeon's office signing papers for my brain
surgery (removal of a life-threatening tumor) that will take place this Thursday. "Life comes at you fast!"

I will likely not be returning to school until January '08 or later. My family and I would appreciate your thoughts and prayers as we face this challenge together.

Jeffrey A. Way

Wetzel said...

Wait, I just caught the comment about having a strong urge to reconnect with Alison Trendler. Katie Shields too?

Michelle said...

I am so sorry about your teacher. The first part of that story was absolutely hysterical!

lauren said...

My mom was talking with Mr. Way about this on Friday...he thought everything would be OK. She's very sad, he was her good buddy.

If you want to connect with Alison (her last name is now Moore), let me know and I'll send you her email. She has a baby named Lily and she and her husband are considering moving back to Lancaster...

Life does come at you fast.

jeneflower said...

I read your blog post to my husband. Very funny! Such typical guy behavior with the clean house thing and the in-laws were hysterical. Especially telling them to microwave the coffee for exactly 1 minute and 60 seconds.

cindy w said...

Not that this will ever be an issue since there's an ocean between me and my in-laws, but if Dave didn't warn me before his mother came over, I would have his balls hanging from my rearview mirror like a pair of decorative dice. Joel's lucky to have escaped that situation with his life.

Your future m-i-l sounds like a handful. Good luck, believe me I know from experience that you're gonna need it. :-)

Carl said...

I bet you didn't intend for all that to sound fun, did you? It sounds like you had fun. You have the Eye of the Tiger, or something like that.

Kelly said...

Hi, Wetzel!

Laughing my ass off over here! Hee hee! I think it's a guy thing to not care what the house looks like before his parents come over...or, anyone for that matter. House must be presentable!

Am sad about Mr. Way even tho I never had him. He always seemed like such a nice man...

annie s said...

Best. Blog. Ever. I would pay to read this. And unlike Jen Lancaster, you're FROM Lancaster.

Good to talk (however briefly) about our Mr. Way memories. I'll give you a ring about meeting up next week.

G said...

Your blog is funny every time I read it. (Which is now, um, twice. But hey! That's better than my blog, which is both unfunny and unreadable.)

Amy said...

awww, you have a cat???

such amazing dialogue!! you're so clever - through the written word and in person. i could see you writing an amazing comedic novel or screenplay!