2016 continues to be a never-ending dumpster fire and I’m not going to tell you what to do with yourself, but I have found baking more cookies to be very therapeutic. Our entire house is now filled with cookies. Crowded, yes, but on the other hand: Cookies! Plus, my eldest apparently has half a dozen pals from college coming to stay with us for a few days, and I suspect I can count on them to take care of my cookie problem.
Anyhoo. Here is a good thing to do when you are feeling like everything is terrible: Get on a plane. Fly across the country. Sneak into the kitchen of your best friend on the night before her at-long-last graduation from college and pop out from behind her son and make her scream. I highly recommend this. In fact, that’s just what I did last Thursday and it was awesome.
Kira (you remember Kira) and I started college around the same time, and I graduated in 1992, and she just graduated on Friday. One way to look at this is that I was somehow more organized or something, having finished in the expected timeframe. But I prefer to view it as Kira being utterly Kira, having allowed everyone else’s needs to take precedent while she selflessly put her own pursuits aside for… oh, 23 years or so. I did things the usual, boring way. She did things her way, which is how it came to pass that her oldest, halfway through college himself, now, picked me up at the airport and snuck me into their house after I’d spent two weeks going on and on to her about HOW BAD I FELT about not being able to be there for her graduation. She was totally fooled. I am a horrible person.
So she screamed, and then she cried, and then I felt bad for a couple of minutes. (“No no! Don’t cry! There’s no crying!”) Then I was super excited to be there for the weekend.
The next morning, we all got up very early, and went downtown for graduation, and Kira wore a funny hat and we all yelled like hoodlums when her name was called and she walked across the stage. I also finally got to meet another blogging friend in person, yeeeeeeears after I first started reading her (her blog is now defunct, which is sad, because it was HILARIOUS), and later we all went out to lunch with Kira’s extended family and it was, frankly, a lot more fun than when I graduated from college. (Part of that is because I had no idea what was fun when I was a wee new graduate, and part of that is because Kira’s family is a lot more fun than mine.) Friday was ALLLLL about graduation—it is AMAZING how many times you can work the mention of being a college graduate into a sentence if you try—and then that night Kira’s youngest had a Christmas pageant at church and basically my heart grew three sizes throughout the course of the day.
Oh! Also!! You know how I bake all the time, right? Said Christmas pageant was to be followed by a cookie reception. Kira said they had plans to make these no-bake cookies her daughter loves. No problem! I’ll help! So Sophia and I set about making the cookies and then… they just weren’t setting up. Because I—baker extraordinaire—am great at baking, but not so great with NOT baking. More specifically: I am not so good with READING. I put twice as much milk into the mix as it called for, meaning that instead of no-bake cookies we had… thick oatmeal. Whoops. We started over and the second batch turned out fine. That’s good, because it’s fine to make your grown friend cry by appearing at her house, but it’s NOT fine to make her 7-year-old cry by ruining her cookies.
The pageant was adorable. Friday was basically a non-stop carnival of choking up.
Lucky for me, though, it then SNOWED in the wee hours of Saturday morning and the temperature dropped to 2 degrees. You know how I love cold weather and snow! (Hint: Not at all. But it’s a good antidote to all the emotion, because it’s hard to be verklempt when you’re frozen.) Not to be deterred from our designated rounds of leaving the house to do important things like go thrifting and hit up the Dollar Store, we ventured out while I said helpful things like, “Kira, this air is hurting my lungs,” and “Kira, why do you live here where everything is so terrible?” I’m a delight.
[Sidebar: Kira said something about how, “Because where you live there are bugs the size of your head,” and while that is both true and terrifying, the little hairs in my nose don’t freeze when I see one of them. So.]
Later we returned to her house and sat in front of the fire until our eyebrows thawed, and then continued sitting there because it was warm and lovely.
On Sunday we talked and talked and talked some more—which is basically what we’d been doing since Thursday night, but why stop when we’re so darn good at it?—and eventually she took me back to the airport and I got on a plane and sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half past our scheduled take off because they were “loading.” I have no idea what they were loading. I guess it was pretty important. Lucky for me, though, it was one of those planes with a whole embedded media center in the back of each seat, so I just plugged in my headphones and got to watch not one but TWO entire movies, PLUS I listened to a podcast. I mean, sure, I did it while packed into a metal death tube with 300 of my closest friends, but whatever. Quality time, man. (For the record, I started with Florence Foster Jenkins, because: Meryl Streep. But by the time we’d firmly inched into “past my bedtime” territory and we were still in the air, I gave up all pretense of being a cultured human and put on The Secret Life of Pets.)
I fell into bed, finally, around 1:30 in the morning on Monday. Then by 9:00 that morning, Otto and Monkey were on their way back to the airport so that Monkey could go see his dad. We are jet-setters! We jet-set! I sat on a jet just last Sunday night. Woo!
Now life is back to normal(ish) and I miss Kira and the dogs are being very clingy (WHERE MOM GO? MOM BACK! WE LOVE MOM! WAIT WHERE BOYPUPPY GO? MOM! MOM!! BOYPUPPY MISSING, MOM!) and Chickadee would like to sleep 20 hours a day and Netflix-binge the remaining four hours, and any attempt on my part to 1) disrupt that sleep, 2) get her to eat something, 3) get her to pick up her dishes after she’s eaten something, 4) suggest she interact with her family in any manner not involving snarling and rolled eyeballs, 5) breathe in her general direction is THE ABSOLUTE WORST, much like me. (Joke’s on her. Her friends are coming tonight and I have not even BEGUN to demonstrate the extent of how embarrassing I can be.)
So. That’s how things are here. Also, it’s apparently not just my Discover card that’s been hijacked, so THAT was a fun thing to return home to. And I think I never linked to my last advice column at Alpha Mom, either, in the flurry of everything before I left town. So there you go.