Monday, June 3, 2002

Oh! Why, hello there!

Sorry to leave you all hanging on Friday with that "I'll be back" ending...I didn't get back to the computer all day, or even over the weekend! All sorts of stuff was going on, and I underestimated how time-consuming it would be.

So last Monday was my 7th Sobriety years ago Monday (on May 27, 1995, around four pm), I decided to quit drinking and haven't had a drink since (though it's certainly not been as simple as that sounds). Seven is one of my "magic" numbers: every seventh year is a year of major change for me...0-1 I was born, and learned to walk, to talk, and to eliminate in the toilet; 6-7 was when my father won custody of my sister and me from our mother and we went to live with him and our stepmother and stepsisters; 13-14 was when puberty ran me down; 20-21 was when I moved out of the house and started drinking; 27-28 was when I hit bottom and quit drinking, and now I'm between 34 and 35, and God knows what the hell is going to happen to me next.

So, since Seven Years of Sobriety is such an important milestone, I decided to have a party on Saturday. Not a big party, by any means...just people I know in AA along with a few close friends and family members. I invited around thirty people, I knew fifteen were coming, and so could guess at 20-25 actual attendees. No big deal...except for the fact that I hadn't had a party in three years (since I graduated from SFSU in 1999) and was fairly well out of practice.

The first thing I did was go shopping for food and beverages on Friday. Caroline took me to Costco, a place I haven't been to in ages...and had no idea how fascinating the place has become. I mean, when I last went, it was just a big, dark, jumbled warehouse of giant-sized nonperishables and frozen foods, with tires and things in the back. Now it's still big and jumbled, with giant-sizes of everyday things that would be very tempting if I had a walk-in pantry and a spare freezer...but now there's actually stuff I want and could use! Furniture! Electronics! Servingware! Pianos, fer chrissakes! Plus the bakery and produce sections, like the rest of the store, were huge, clean, brightly-lit, very well-stocked with brands and types I love. I'm going to have to go there more often!

So I spent $335 there, mostly on food (everything from smoked salmon and prosciutto to chips and salsa, veggie trays and strawberries to Jelly Bellies and M&Ms), but also fresh flowers (two dozen Leonidas roses, my favorites for only $15), some VHS videos (I got Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for super cheap), razor-blade cartridges (a twenty-pack of Gilette Mach-3 refills, the only blade I've ever found that leaves some skin on my face), and rainbow-colored plastic 20-oz tumblers.

One would think that this would be enough food, but it wasn't. Caroline and I then went to Beverages & More, where I spent another $200 on nine kinds of soda (mostly Stewart's), a case of Pellegrino, three kinds of olives, chocolates, and seven fancy cheeses ranging from Derby sage to fiore di latte.

By the time we schlepped all this stuff into the house and put it all away, I was utterly exhausted. Unfortunately, the house was still not quite clean yet...the living room and dining room were wildly untidy and the carpets needed vacuuming...though Grandmother had already cleaned the bathroom and kitchen and even washed the deck chairs in the back, and I had dusted the out-of-the-way portions of the rooms. So I tidied up the rooms and scattered Carpet Fresh liberally over the public rooms before I finally made it to bed a little after midnight, but again didn't get to sleep until after 1 (you'll remember from Friday that I got very little sleep the night before, either).

So then I was up again at 9 the next morning, went to get my dad from the BART station, got home and vacuumed all the Carpet Fresh off the rugs and dusted it off the furniture legs (leaving behind an overpowering smell that was supposed to simulate the scent of fresh rain), and started setting up the dining room for a buffet.

Dalton came early and helped with the setup, and also with ferrying BART-travelling guests from the station while I showered and shaved and dressed rather more casually than usual (due largely to the fact that I haven't done laundry in weeks and didn't have a thing to wear).

Poor Caroline couldn't come, as she'd spent most of the night in the emergency room with the stomach flu (she had been afraid it was something she'd eaten when sampling indiscriminately at Costco, which would have meant that I'd have had to throw out a lot of the food I'd just bought, so it was something of a relief to discover it was just the flu).

The party went very well, though I spent more of my time arranging the food than actually visiting with my guests...I had completely overdone the menu, and every time I finished one dish and got it on the table and started chatting with someone, I would remember another menu item I had forgotten. I mean, when you spend that much money on food, you can't leave it in the fridge--you want people to eat it!

Also, for some reason, most of my guests chose to hang out in the back yard in the sun, where I really don't like to be...fresh air and sunshine are all well and good, but I prefer to observe such phenomena from indoors in the shade; but I guess since most of the people I know live in apartments, a big back yard on a sunny day was too great a luxury to pass up. Still, a good time was had by all...and I got presents, too! Flowers, jewelry, bubble-bath, framed pictures of Marlene Dietrich, all the things a recovering alcoholic drag-queen could ask for.

After everyone had gone home and Dalton had helped me put all the leftover food away (I have no idea what to do with all that food...I'm going to have to have another party to get rid of it all), he and I went to San Francisco for a meeting, after which we played Rummy at the Castro Country Club for the rest of the evening. I got home a little after 12, and was so tired I went immediately to sleep...after a quick snack of croissants and Cotswold cheese with a glass of milk (I realized later on that I had eaten very little at the party, mostly just nibbling as I set up tray after tray of hors-d'oeurves).

I thought I'd be able to get some sleep the next morning, but Grandmother woke me up at 9 to ask if I wanted to go have lunch in San Jose (yes, Dionne, I do know the way) with my aunt Terry and her son, my cousin Michael. I had no idea Michael was in town (he's one of those who now live in Tuscon), and though he and I have so little in common that we almost never actually speak to each other, I had no objection to seeing him...and I never turn down a meal at the Ocean Palace (the best Chinese food in the South Bay, if you ask me, and their honey-walnut shrimp is to die for!) So instead of sleeping and loafing my Sunday away, I got to drive to San Jose (in rather intense heat with no air-conditioning), eat a huge and fabulous meal (and have a nice visit with family), and drive back home with the sun in my eyes, still hot, in hideous traffic (why must people slow down to view an accident, even when it's on the other side of the freeway?)

We got home around six, and I was utterly done in, with just enough energy to crawl onto the sofa and flip through the channels for a while. Nothing very good on, but I didn't have the strength to actually get up and do something else, so I just lay there absorbing idiotic television.

Of course, later in the evening, my two favorite shows came on one after the other...Six Feet Under's fabulous season finale and a fairly good episode of Queer as Folk (I didn't cringe once)...preceded by The Simpsons and Malcolm in the Middle (both old reruns, but I hadn't seen them yet). And then again to bed (after another small snack, this time of grapes, herbed dinner rolls, and baby brie) at 11 pm.

This morning I slept until 11 a.m...a full twelve hours in bed. Such a relief! And then I came to work and the Boss Lady started firing letters and phone calls and web-research at me (much fun...investigating some of the claims of a member we're defending but who has been lying to us all along...and we still have to defend her). While executing my various tasks, I read my blogs (so jealous of Bill, by the way), checked up on my weekly update sites, played a couple of games of Rummy against the computer, and finally, after all that, started writing about the weekend...right here and now.

And that's all I have to say today. Here's another bit of Versaceana for your delectation:

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