Happy new year! I hope you had an awesome night of revelry for New Year’s Eve, preferably one that included a stupid hat. I did not have a stupid hat, but fortunately my hair is stupid enough without one. We partied like it was 2008, though. Hooboy.
We were in bed by 12:15. WOO!
Anyway, yesterday we arrived here at my dad and stepmom’s house. This marks the final leg of our little tour. Although this isn’t the house where I grew up, this is the house where I feel most at home and revert to my most obnoxious behavior (though Otto might insist I’m plenty obnoxious at home, in which case I would lovingly suggest that he SHUT IT). Despite having managed to care for myself and my own house for plenty of years, when I come here I suddenly forget how to put dishes in the dishwasher and how to make my own coffee. It’s a wonder they ever let me come back.
They probably allow my continued visitation not so much because of my own appeal, but because I tend to bring them visitors they enjoy. For example: I’m pretty sure that on a trip where I bring the children, I could swing from the rafters by my toes, pelting everyone with moldy cheese all day long, and they would still be delighted because their grandchildren are here. And on this trip, I brought Otto! He’s not quite on par with the grandchildren, you understand, but he is pretty entertaining.
(Also, you have to figure that anyone who’s known me my entire life would be thoroughly intrigued by any person who chooses to live with me of their own free will.)
And so we came in out of the snow and fell immediately into our normal patterns of interaction, by which I mean that the banter began as well as the ceaseless teasing which can only happen amongst people who really, really love each other and express that love through making each other feel stupid.
It’s a beautiful thing.
To wit: Otto has this endearing habit of opening doors for me. It’s very sweet. And chivalrous. And nice. And it DRIVES ME INSANE sometimes, because he’ll even try to do it in the most ridiculous circumstances, like if we’re parked very close to another car AND I’m walking ahead of him, he’ll still try to wedge himself in there ahead of me to open the door so that I don’t have to tax my delicate self with lifting the door handle. And because I am a brat, sometimes I make a large show of beating him to the door so that I can open it myself. And because I am not one to rub it in I will then say something sensitive like “OHMYGOD! I OPENED THE DOOR! AND THE WORLD DIDN’T END!”
Well, the other day when we were leaving Albany, we’d stopped at a mall to run a couple of errands. We were on our way back to the car when I decided to do my standard brat routine of racing ahead so that I could get to the door before him. And if you’ve read me for any time at all you know where this is going, I’m sure.
Karma smacked me down.
In this case, karma arrived in the form of the side mirror on a Mercedes which I completely failed to notice in spite of it being, well, right in front of me. So I was barreling towards our car and ran FULL TILT into the mirror on this other car.
I saw stars. They were pretty!
[We then had a fun little conversation where I doubled over the arm I’d just mangled, and Otto caught up to me and said “Why are you laughing? Wait, ARE you laughing? I can’t tell if you’re laughing or crying. Wait, you’re CRYING! Are you okay??” At which point I squeaked out that for a second I’d thought maybe I’d broken my arm, but no worries, I’d probably only bruised the crap out of it. And I was right—my left forearm is looking very colorful now. You’ve heard of the Red Badge of Courage? This is the Purple Badge of Stupidity.]
And right now you’re thinking that that’s an interesting—if idiotic—tale, but what does this have to do with anything? And the answer is that once we got here and related the story of Mir vs. the Mercedes, I was cautioned no less than half a dozen times last night to LOOK OUT FOR THE MERCEDES or DON’T HIT THE MERCEDES or told IT COULD BE WORSE, AT LEAST YOU DIDN’T SMACK INTO A MERCEDES!
I have accepted that this is how my loved ones express that they adore me. Or, at least that this is how they keep from just outright calling me a moron. (Gorgonzola!)
The nice thing about being home, here, is that no one is immune from this sort of treatment. The only problem, of course, is that not everyone in the family has the same tolerance for this sort of thing. Whoops. But it was particularly enjoyable to me when my father went rooting around in a cupboard for some balsamic vinegar and started pulling out the contents. We watched as he lined up jars and bottles on the countertop, including no less than five cans of cooking spray (you never know when you’ll be called to a COOKING SPRAY SHOWDOWN) and a bottle of corn oil.
Well, it was SHAPED like a bottle of corn oil. The label SAID it was corn oil.
The contents were NEON ORANGE.
Not wanting to appear ungracious in any way (thereby tarnishing my reputation as a delicate flower), I immediately screeched “OH MY GOD! What is WRONG with that oil? It’s ORANGE! JESUS! How long have you HAD that??”
Otto joined me in the inquisition, because it really was ASTOUNDING, the color. My father was amused, my stepmom continued cooking, but my mother (who had come over for dinner) thought I was being obnoxious. And let’s be clear: I was ABSOLUTELY being obnoxious, and don’t dispute that for a moment. But I don’t ever want to lose someone I love to toxic corn oil. I harangue because I CARE, people.
So Otto and I were cracking all of the standard jokes—it’s probably turned into rocket fuel by now!—when it finally occurred to him to check the bottle for a “best by” date. My mother was still reprimanding me and commenting that she would put it right back in the cabinet, don’t listen to them, it’s fine, when oil goes bad it gets cloudy and this oil was fine because it was still clear (“CLEARLY ORANGE!” I cackled), when Otto discovered that it did indeed have a “sell by” date.
My mom continued to maintain that I was out of line and “best when purchased by” has no bearing on how long a product is actually good for, and after some debate I had to concede that if she was comfortable consuming cooking oil older than either of my children, it was not my business to stop her. My father and stepmom, however, did throw the oil away.
And they’ve been very good sports about allowing us to bring it up several times since then.
Ah, it’s nice to be surrounded by such love.
So I guess the only question I have, at this point, is which would you choose: Smashing into a Mercedes out of stupidity or eating decade-old neon orange Mazola?