No Place Like Home
[Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “H,” as in “HOLYFUCKINGSHIT, the baby is officially due in less than a month.]
“H” is also for “Hippo who appears to be getting a special present from someone at the back door.” Hold on tight, Hippo!
But this post isn’t about the baby. Or at least not directly about the baby, at any rate. This post is about my parents’ baby – ME – and how, despite the enormous love she has for them – she shuddered when she saw this headline on CNN.com:
I would have read the article, but the sound of me, my mother & father collectively screaming in terror distracted me.
[Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me just share that this was MY experience in moving back in with my parents, and it was shaped by the fact that I was fresh out of college and miserable being away from Brad. I am well aware of people who move back in with their parents for all sorts of reasons – happy and sad – and things work out JUST FINE and everyone is perfectly happy and there are no discussions about unloading the dishwasher that devolve into screaming matches about politics and religion. Not that I’d know anything about that.]
Allow me, if you will, to take you back to the summer of 1999 and the glorious months (TEN YEARS AGO, OMG) I spent after my college graduation waiting tables and smoking menthols with CFoST. It was the first and only time I would ever wait tables, and although the gig only lasted about three months, it should be noted that each and every one of the bizarre songs that this particular eating establishment had on its ancient, actual-45-playing jukebox (which was THE ONLY music we could listen to) is permanently attached to the memories of that summer. So if you’re ever around me and “Nikita” by Elton John or “In the Summertime” by MUNGO-fucking-JERRY starts playing, you’ll have to excuse the glazed-over look in my eyes and ignore any mumblings of “Would you like another whiskey sour?” that come out of my mouth. And try not to act embarrassed whenever I know – and insist on singing – all the words to “Abracadabra.”
I know this was your fave, CFoST.
I had never actually spent a summer away from home up until this point (unless you count the 6 weeks I spent the previous year doing summerstock theatre in the middle of Ohio, which is truly a colorful tale for another time), and it was kind of fun for me to extend the whole college experience a few more months. The only downsides were that Brad was in a summer outdoor theatre show 45 minutes away, so I didn’t get to see him much. And when I did see him, I usually reeked of deep-fried foods because it took about 3 showers to get the aroma of my workplace out of my hair.
That being said, I would CUT A BITCH to score some of the fried beer cheese they used to serve there OH MY GOD.
OK , I know I’m getting way off track here, but now that I’ve started thinking about my 3.5-month stint waiting tables, the memories have started flooding back, including the facts that:
- We totally used to get paid under the table, and each time it happened, the owner would say “I forgot to enter your name into the payroll system this week” in a lame attempt to cover it up AS IF any person on his entire staff of under-25-year-olds CARED.
- The place was jointly owned by 2 guys – one of whom was small and skinny, the other of whom was ENORMOUSLY LARGE. The year after I worked there, one of them had a heart attack. And it was the skinny one, because OF COURSE it was.
- We never got breaks during our really long-ass shifts – which is totally against the law – but the owners claimed that they made up for it by letting us sit on the bar stools whenever we weren’t busy. And you know, it kinda worked.
- We got a free meal with every shift: before your shift if you worked evenings, and afterwards if you worked days. There was NO eating on the job, and if you worked the evening shift (which ended at like 2am), you got to have a free well-liquor drink during the last hour of your shift. Let me just share: 8-hour shift + empty stomach + booze = AWESOME LAST HOUR OF YOUR SHIFT.
- Actually, I think you got TWO free drinks at the end of your shift, but I seem to recall only ever being able to take advantage of one because I still had to be able to count my money correctly.
- We served carafes of mixed drinks instead of your run-of-the-mill pitchers. Fancy! And also probably a cost-saving measure, because the carafe wasn’t really that big. Anyway, there was this incredibly douchey guy who came in and hit on me a few times, and he used to order carafes of FUZZY NAVELS. Because no girl can resist a man who can handle his peach schnapps.
- The place was not so much a restaurant as it was a bar that served food, if that makes any sense. It was really dark inside, and most of the seating was comprised of small tables and sofas. Some of the sofas were in really dark corners, which means that there was often a lot of, uh, action taking place on those sofas. I recall someone leaving underwear between the cushions. Ew.
- Also? I am kind of horrified to think that anyone possibly had any kind of orgasm (or worse – CONCEIVED) to the dulcet tones of MUNGO-fucking-JERRY.
ANYWAY. The end of the summer eventually came, and was marked by three very sad things:
- I picked up some really awful pneumonia-like thing at work right before I quit, and was the sickest I’d ever been for about 2 weeks straight.
- CFoST left to move to Chicago. *sob*
- There was someone set to move into my room at the apartment, which meant I had to leave. And go live somewhere else. And that somewhere else? WAS MY PARENTS’ HOUSE.
*insert blood-curdling scream here*
I remember weakly petitioning to try to find another apartment in Lexington so I could still be near Brad, but my parents shot me down, and they were right: my goal for the year was to save money for grad school (and for the wedding, but I wasn’t engaged at this point), it didn’t make sense for me to blow any money on rent. So, back to the empty nest I flew.
Minus the delightful Richard Mulligan.
Let me say right up front that I was very grateful for my parents being so cool about me moving back in. They didn’t make me pay rent or anything and they let use of one of their cars whenever possible because they are generally awesome like that, which I unfortunately don’t fully appreciate until I’m looking back on it TEN YEARS LATER. Oops.
At any rate, I moved back in and went from complete independence (well, the college version of complete independence) to being under my parents’ roof, and subsequently, under their rules. It’s not that my parents were incredibly strict, and they didn’t care at all how late I stayed out [getting completely hammered] on weeknights, but whenever you take parents who are used to having an empty nest and combine them with their daughter who is used to no one telling her what to do or making comments on how she should really iron those jeans before wearing them, well… things get a little TENSE.
I quickly got a job at a local bank that was right across the street from where my Dad worked, which meant we shared our morning commute together – giving us even MORE time to get on each other’s nerves. I would wake up approximately 5.4 minutes before I had to be out the door, meaning I was a total (and usually hungover) ZOMBIE in the car, but my Dad always felt like chatting, so you can imagine how lively those conversations were.
“Sweetheart, do you want to tell old Pops why you reek of Jack Daniels?”
And then there were the perpetual arguments over my absolute NEED to go and visit Brad in Lexington every possible weekend, my mother’s frustration over how much I complained about the grind of my 8-5 job [ATTN MOM: NOTHING HAS CHANGED], and the GLORIOUS time my mother discovered some rather, uh, personal letters that Brad had written to me.
I believe this spurred the cringe-tastic “Why Buy the Cow…” conversation. Incidentally, one of my friends later threw me a bachelorette party with the theme “BRAD’S BUYING THE COW,” because my friends are awesome.
Basically, we drove each other crazy for what seemed like the longest damn year of my life, but sure enough, it all drew to a close the following July when I got married and moved out.
But parting couldn’t be that simple and drama-free, now could it? OF COURSE NOT.
It seems that at the aforementioned “Buying the Cow” party – for which my friends hired the world’s gayest and most-farmer-tanned male stripper – my lovely friend A., who was the only sober one in attendance that evening, took pictures. LOTS of pictures. Which she gave me at my wedding reception. And, Internet, they were bad. BAD. Sure, I had a good laugh at them, but I fully intended to hide them away somewhere and completely destroy a few choice ones whenever I got the chance, but thanks to the free-flowing champagne and wine at my reception, I completely and totally flaked out and left the pictures somewhere at the reception hall. Probably the head table. And I DIDN’T EVEN REMEMBER A. GIVING ME THE PICTURES until I got back from my honeymoon and began packing up my things to move out of my parents’ house, and…there I found them. Tucked in between a stack of books on my floor. Internet, TO THIS DAY I have no idea who found them at the reception and hid them in my room for me, but neither one of my parents has ever said a word. This is probably because they were rendered totally speechless over the one spectacularly choice photo of me being carried around the room by a shirtless male stripper wearing a condom-studded veil.
Thus ended the period of emotional trauma known as The Year I Lived With My Parents. When I visit them now (which is usually for a span of three nights at most), it’s of course totally different. My old room is now my mom’s office, and I feel more like a guest in their house rather than a prisoner. I even help with the cooking and cleaning! But as we all age and get more and more set in our ways, the thought of living with them again and having to put up with my mother’s continual QVC-viewing or my father’s stubborn insistence on using the same old 30-year-old Corelle dishes no matter HOW MANY NEW DISHES WE BUY THEM OH MY GOD, or how the house is always freezing first thing in the morning because of my mother’s hot flashes when she gets out of the shower – I mean, is it TOO much to ask to be able to eat breakfast without a fleece on?!?!
What was I talking about?
No matter. Let us move on to the next scintillating CNN.com headline, shall we?
Coincidentally, all the OCD hamsters I know gave up iFarts for Lent. Hm.
Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.