Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's not that you can't go home again; it's just that you shouldn't. Often.

As readers of this blog may well know, I recently spent several days in my hometown, ostensibly to help out after my dad had surgery. In addition to my adventures bat-hunting, here are some highlights of my time at home:

But with oxycodone
Being a hobo ROCKS
  • My parents' sheltie, Jack, brings a bottle of pills out to my dad in his recliner every morning. He's like a pharmaceutical St. Bernard.
  • My sister's consistent state of nomadism has led to various rooms in my parents' house being designated for storage of her belongings and furniture "until" she gets her own place/ gets settled in said place/ finds a new place etc. Hence my brother's old room being referred to as the "Hobo Room."
  • My parents do not recycle. I was kind of shocked at how much this bothered me. Granted, I do live in Ithaca, NY, a place so crunchy it practically snaps, crackles and pops when you enter the city limits. But I found myself cringing as I put cardboard boxes into their trashcan. (Confession: we're fairly rabid recyclers at home as much to save money on garbage tags as to save the environment.)
  • I learned the true origin of my childhood nickname, and it wasn't all cute & fuzzy bunnies.
  • I was reminded of my family's deepest, darkest, most horrible secret:  (are you ready?)  We are related to Dick Cheney. Yup. Ol' Uncle Darth Cheney.
    Who invited this D-bag to the family reunion?
    My paternal great-grandmother was named Josephine Cheney; our family genealogist, Aunt Marnie, has confirmed that she and the Dark One were cousins or some such garbage. Go ahead. Shudder and shake your head like you just did a shot of Nyquil. You may want to do an actual shot of Nyquil to help you process this information or at least numb yourself. I know I did. We have decided to deal with this ugly fact by quoting a wall plaque I gave my mother one Christmas:  "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning."
  • Leaving my mother's house can easily turn into her version of a "Favorite Things" episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
    She will literally turn the house upside down to find things for you to take away with you. As she was rooting through the kitchen cupboards, I kept hearing in my head, "And YOU get a package of lemon jello!" "EVERYONE GETS A CAN OF GREEN BEANS!" "Would you like this dress that I bought that doesn't really fit me?" "DO YOU NEED WASHCLOTHS?" "Would you ever wear those fringed moccasins that you had in eighth grade again? THEY'RE IN MY CLOSET IF YOU WANT THEM." (Note: it just occurred to me that this may be a deliberate effort on her part to cut down on the piles of stuff that have driven us to name rooms in her house after homeless people. It may be some kind of hoarder preventative mechanism.)
Now, imagine the opposite of this.
I also went out one night with some girlfriends. I met my friend Aimee of Raimen Pride out at the one bar in our hometown besides the American Legion. It's a little one-room place with maybe five barstools. She was getting her ear talked off by the owner, who thought for some reason that it was acceptable and a good idea to tell her just exactly how he ripped off customers by charging more for drinks than they're worth. This fine gentleman greeted me and asked me what I wanted. I was honest.
I shouldn't have been.
I asked for a martini.
"A what? Honey, what the hell is that?"
I'm pretty sure my face went blank. "Oh, never mind, I'll just have a beer."
"Nah, we're gonna figger this on out! Jolene, get the book!"
The Book. What have I wrought?
Jolene opened "the book" and began reading, "2 1/2 ounces of gin..."
"Oh, hey, could I make that vodka, please?" I interrupted. Got a scowl from Jolene for 'fancyifying' things up even further.
"... 2 1/2 ounces of vodka, 1/4 ounce of vermouth- do we even got vermouth?? Yeah? Okay, if you say so."
Jolene began assembling the ingredients for my drink, and BarKeep told me, "Now it says here to add cocktail olives or a lemon twist. Well, honey, I ain't got no olives, so you'll have to make do with the lemon."
"Not a problem."
"No, Jolene, don't use the plastic cups! Get out the martini glass!"
Just add dust!
The martini glass.
"It's back there behind the bottles. The nice one."
The single martini glass in this establishment was so dusty that Jolene had to give it a vigorous scrubbing, thus sending my eagerness to taste this drink concoction right out the effin' window. Barkeep was going on about seeing people in the movies using a cocktail shaker with the ice then straining it into the glass, but karaoke had started by this point and drowned out his philosophical musings. Aimee named my drink a "Steuben-tini" after our home county of Steuben. I switched to vodka tonics after my one Steubentini. I think Barkeep & Jolene were relieved to return The Glass to its place of safety and honor.

The bar had an overly aggressively fruity air-freshener in the ladies' room, so much so that Aimee came out of the bathroom at one point and said, "I felt like I was peeing in a giant cantaloupe."

One of the girls' boyfriends picked us up and gave us a ride to the next town over where we proceeded to do shots. Now, maybe I hang out with a harder element, but in my corner of the world when someone refers to "shots" it means a small glass of either tequila or whiskey or possibly a speedbump (jager and red bull). In the Southern Tier, however, "shots" means wee fun-sized cups of fruity alcohol-infused mixed drinks. And are apparently the cue for the person designated in charge of the music to play some dreadful vocoded dance song whose lyrics, to the best of my deciphering ability, are "shots, shots, shots, shots, shots." Repeated. Repeatedly.

Must be the "before" pic
So thus concludes my adventures in Steuben County for this summer. In spite of my whining, I did enjoy it. After the bat-adventures died down, I got some rest and relaxation; sat out in the sun and swam in the pool, took long peaceful walks, read books, slept well, wrote a little, got treated to a long-overdue haircut (at a salon where Bill Pullman got a haircut- they still have a little baggie of his hair!), and was able to play the good kid by doing some of the cooking and cleaning and giving my mom a temporary break.

But I must admit, I've been dying for a real martini since I got back.


  1. They have a baggie of Bill Pullman's hair? Oh my word. This is amazing. This Saturday is "Fall Fest" in my hometown. Yeah, that's right. Fall Fest in the Summer. They don't give a rat's ass about seasons!

    It's a fun place to visit, but I'm so glad not to be living there. I'm only 20 minutes away, but it's like I'm on another planet.

  2. Yup- same planet, different world. It's not necessarily that things are bad, it's just a whole different world that I'm not a part of anymore & that I don't really understand.

  3. holy crap, you and DICK? I think you and I must be cousins somehow too because we got those EXACT and I mean EXACT martini glasses (squggly stem above) at a garage sale this summer! shoot, girl, when you folks comin' over here for a martini? and pizza??????

  4. At least 155,000 times this summer, Brett & I have turned to each other and said (usually while drinking coffee out of one of your mugs), "We HAVE to have Gary & Maude over for pizzas & delicious drinks!" Would you like to come over on September 1st (I think it's a thursday) to help us celebrate Minchy's adoption day?

  5. Kerry, I am so sorry for the unfortunate infected disease ridden branch in your family tree, Doug had the same reaction I did when he read that OH NO!!! And Emily had her hair cut this week in the same salon...I'm sure I'll hear all about the creepy hair baggie...eewww couldn't they just get an autograph? All and all it was fun though, and my Mom does the same friggin thing to me! I always come home with more crap then I showed up with! At least we got to play count the tramp stamps and meet Mr T-Rex arms!

  6. Horrifying, isn't it? The looks on our faces when we found out must have been priceless.
    Yes, "Count the Tramp Stamps" should be an iphone game like Angry Birds. :)