March 8, 2006

I Am Not Preefreadign This Entry. <---see

I misplaced February. Or, the flu and the audiobook TOOK February. I was sick for more than a week, Sam missed four days of school and a weekend, Maisy was down for a week and a half, NONE of these illnesses overlapped by more than a day or so --- when you add up all those sick days and throw in four days of taping an audiobook, February is gone. It's a short month to begin with. I think I got LESS work done on the draft in February than I got done in FREAKING DECEMBER.

Yesterday at bookstore where I was buying more Joe R. Lansdale novels, I stooped to write a check and when I got to that DATE slot I paused, staring off into space with the universal expression for "clinically brain dead" on my face. I'd be standing there still if the bookseller had not said, "It's the seventh." I looked up at her with absolute sincerity and asked, "The seventh of WHAT?" Her eyes widened marginally and she said, "March?" I wrote it down, March 7, and then stared intensely at my check for another endless thirty seconds until she added, "2006." I wrote THAT down too. Then I bought the biggest cup of coffee in America and drilled a hole in my skull and poured the boiling black caffiene directly onto my quivering brain.

It didn't help much, obviously. I STILL forgot about the Blogging for Books contest. Because I forgot it was March. I do not see how I will ever in my life get back on top life. My life is currently on top of me, and from where I lie, it feels like my life is jogging in place, maybe doing a little stomping. Speaking as the pile of smashed person underneath it, let me tell you, my life could stand to lose a few pounds.

I will start B4B NEXT Monday, in the middle of the month, and it can run while I am in New York. SORRY!

OKAY SO. Flaming cocktails, right?

Here's the thing, right at the tale end of February, just after Sam and I took our turns being sick and right before I began taping Between and Maisy began her own girl-power veriosn of Flu-palooza, the festival of birthdays happened. February 25, 26, and 27th are Scott's, Sam's, and then my birthdays, respectively. Maisy clicks over on the numerically correct day---the 28th, but of March. Month late. SO. Scott and I kinda abdicate our birthdays so that we can give Sam his own instead of having it lost in a parent party sandwich.

SO we asked him what he wanted to do for his biorthday and he said those three little words that send parents everywhere scrabbling for the Prozac....

On a normal weekend, I would rather scedule some exploratory dental surgery than darken the door of the house of mouse. Still it's my kid's birthday. If he wants to drag us down into the seventh circle of Dante's hell, then I'll bake a cake and pack up some streamers and balloons to decorate the bows of the centaurs who stand and plunk arrows into the murderers who try to creep up the banks of the river of blood in an eternal ritual that really, when you think about it, is a LOT like Whack-A-Mole. Actually? A blood river full of murderers is probably a more peaceful spot that Chuck's place, and if the screams of the damned are wearing, at least the damned do not emit and cacaphony of rhythmic electronic beeping noises that make me, after 10 short minutes, curl up in a fetal postion under the salad bar and begin clawing at my ears. BUT I DIGRESS.

We decided, rather than the ten kid Chuck Party, to let him have his best friend sleep over. They would be taken to dine at the good Chinese place and THEN to CEC, and in the morning we scheduled an at home party with a pinata and more friends and such. So Scott and I did rock-paper-scissors. When something hateful approaches, like POKEMON THE MOVIE is coming out, or a Chuck visit looms, Scott and I traditionally play rock-paper-scissors to see who actually had to chaperone the awful thing. We do this because I am an intuitive GENIUS when it comes to rock-paper-scissors with Scott; I can SMELL him readying to throw SCISSORS from 2.7 miles away. I could just let Scott take him and save the drama, but I like to preserve the illusion of fairness. And truly, it IS an illusion, the one time my psychic mind-hamster was asleep at the wheel and threw rock when he unthinkably and capriciously decided to throw PAPER, and I should have had to take Sam to some horrid SPORT something, Scott took Sam ANYWAY. SO. We played rock-paper-scissors, and it was decided by my Paper that SCOTT would take the boys to Mouseland.

EXCEPT...On the Friday this was all scheduled, I finished reading the audiobook. I had spent FOUR DAYS in a box talking, ad then I would go home and pass out. When I emerged on Friday, I felt like I had not seen or talked to Scott in 10 years, and I REALLY like Scott. And it was OUR birthday too and I had not even TALKED to him really in DAYS. So I got home and saw Scott was leaving with the boys and my mouth opened, and my mouth said, "I'm going to Chuck E. Cheese with you." Everyone standing in the room who was over 5 feet tall looked at my mouth like it had just asid, "I know! Let's try cannibalism!" Me included. But my mouth had said it. SO off we went.

We got to the Chinese place and ate and it was SO nice to sit by Scott and talk to Scott, but in the back of my head, I had this creeping horror rearing up from under the sludge where I used to keep my brain when I had one befoer I began taping an audiobook, and the horror was rearing because because I KNEW CEC was NEXT. So I flipped through the drink menu and saw they had a FLAMING PINEAPPLE COCKTAIL. It was literally the most expensive thing on the menu. You can have the three course dinner for two for LESS than ONE Flaming Pineapple Cocktail. I tapped Scott on the shoulder and my mouth said, "I want a Flaming Pineapple Cocktail." I FORGAVE my mouth immediately for its earlier shenanigan. GOOD MOUTH I thought, and gave it a serreptitious pat with my napkin.

"What's in it?" said Scott.
I shrugged. He ordered. It came.
It was a HUGE pineapple that had been hollowed out and draped with flowers and flled up with pinkish goldish liquids. It was ON FIRE. It had a TEENY PINK UMBRELLA and a PLASTIC GIRAFFE IN IT. The boys were MIGHTILY impressed, and it tasted like candy. I AM SO FOR THE FLAMING PINEAPPLE COCKTAIL. I am running on a Flaming Pineapple Cockail platform in the upcoming election. I had ONE, ONE of these things, and suddenly, CEC seemed like a GREAT idea. I played Skeeball for a solid hour, scoring 90's because I kept shooting for the 100 point hole in the tippy top and missing and getting 10 points and cackling, and then I let Sam have all my tickets so he could get himself a Fantastic Four notebook. I can't remember when I've had a better time. I seriously think this thing was full of OPIUM or or the brain drippings of atheletes who drop dead just when they are chock full of endorphins, because I like a glass of wine with dinner and suchlike, but there isn't enough Shiraz in the WORLD tomake me like CHUCK E. CHEESE....

Happy birthday to ME.

Posted by joshilyn at March 8, 2006 9:25 AM

You SO need to ask the bartender at the Chinese place if he'll give you the FPC recipe.

Posted by: DebR at March 8, 2006 9:36 AM

I think I just had some type of aneurysm from laughing. Is that possible? I don't drink, but I think I just might be tempted by a flaming pineapple cocktail. Thanks for the good laugh.

Posted by: Mel at March 8, 2006 10:45 AM

Excessive birthdays and lingering illnesses are VERY understandable reasons for your brain to take spontaneous naps!

And yes indeed, the cure is caffiene and alcohol! Yea!!!! (I'm not a doctor but I play one on the internet.) And the only thing better than a Flaming Pineapple Cocktail would be a FREE Flaming Pineapple Cocktail--Maybe next time.

Posted by: Renee at March 8, 2006 10:55 AM

OMG. The bloody river of murderers and the centaurs with birthday bows tied around their necks and the Whack-A-Mole about killed me. I'm crying here, in my strong coffee, wanting a Flaming Pineapple Cocktail at 11:00 a.m. OMG.

My son used to be terrified of CEC, which I encouraged mightily. Unfortunately, he seems to have grown out of it. But the first time I took him there, for someone's birthday party, he took one look at the giant animatronic mouse and said, "Mommy, that mouse wants to EAT us." He was probably right. O, and have you noticed how that mouse resembles a certain leader of our country?

Posted by: Edgy Mama at March 8, 2006 11:34 AM

Though I occasionally complain about living in this "small" college town it is a very, very good place to live for one very good reason: the nearest CEC is a 50 minute drive! Though living in Fairbanks, AK before this was even better...the nearest CEC was a 6.5 HOUR drive!!
The kiddos still asked but they knew they had about as much chance as finding gold under their pillow.

Posted by: LoryKC at March 8, 2006 11:44 AM

I am now officially 43 today, and I would like to drill a hole in my skull and pour in coffee AND FPC, and then play skeeball. Maybe with Eric Clapton, since this is already ridiculous.

I AM SO GLAD YOU GUYS ALL SURVIVED FEBRUARY!!!! Welcome to the shores of Maisy and my's month.

Posted by: Cornelia Read at March 8, 2006 11:48 AM

Thank you for not forgetting to tell us about the Flaming Pineapple Cocktail eventhough I felt almost guilty about reading it after your prologue of illness and brain death.... (Was it really on fire?)

That said, only you could compose a CLASSIC essay comparing Dante's Inferno and Chuck E. Cheese-- pHd dissertation material. You are truly at your best when things around you are awful. Hope March is happier.

Posted by: Elizabeth at March 8, 2006 12:30 PM

Happy Birthday!

Oh that I had NOT held the coffee cup to my lips whilst reading though. {Cleaning spew and spittle from monitor}

Your stories are always a delight to read. Thanks for sharing. (If only it were possible to share that cocktail LOL)

Posted by: Marti at March 8, 2006 1:20 PM

Happy Birthday to you, indeed! I think I need a flaming pineapple cocktail to get through work today.

Posted by: Jessie at March 8, 2006 1:21 PM

Elizabeth seems to have stumbled onto something with the Dante reference. Flaming Pinapple Cocktail needs a better name. "Dante's Pineapple Inferno"? "Pineapple Pyro"? "Flaming Fruit - An Alcoholic Tribute to Little Richard"? Maybe simply "Chicago, 1871".

It's all in the marketing... or so the TV tells me.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at March 8, 2006 1:27 PM

Cocktail sounds yummy. YAH for birthdays.

Just finished reading gods in Alabama last night! LOVED it....when is your new one out?

Happy March!

Posted by: Carrie K at March 8, 2006 1:46 PM

Beware those one initial people er uh, mice. There is something a little creepy about them all: Dwight D. Eisenhower, F. Scott Fitzgerald, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, CHUCK E. CHEESE. Don't you wonder what the E stands for?

Yes, get the recipe for the Pineapple Miracle and share with all. Tomorrow I hit the big 3-5 and it might be the only way I make it through the day.

Happy birthday to you, yours and Cornelia!

Posted by: Andreia at March 8, 2006 2:41 PM

Happy Birthday! And thank goodness for Flaming Pineapple Cocktails. Is there any other way to get through a Chuck E. Cheese experience? We've been blessed with an alternative to CEC here - it has "adult" sections (pool, darts, BAR) in addition to the kiddie ones. Yippee!

Posted by: dragonfly at March 8, 2006 5:53 PM

Just so you know, don't goggle Flaming Pineapple Cocktail. I never knew there were so many interesting cocktails that were kinda scares me.

Happy birthday to you and Mr. Husband, and Maise, and Sam, and everyone else and hope you are all plague free. Keep the plagues in WOW for the horde.

Posted by: Gabi at March 9, 2006 11:54 AM

Your February sounds like mine, but we add a day or two between the dates.

I am blessed, there is no CEC in my area the nearest one is gosh, a hundred miles away in Salem I think. Thank heavens. I won't even go to pizza parlours because parents let their children run rampant. After wearing a headset all day long the noise is deafening - the migraine unbearable.

So you've got the Joan Giradi luck of the fist. I wish I had that luck, I end up with the unlucky chores.

Glad you are all better and survived the bug of nasty copious phlegme 2006.

Posted by: Cele at March 9, 2006 12:25 PM

Happy birthday, you two! I am so glad you guys are better.

My birthday is on the 30th! I decided I want a yearly physical for my birthday. Best not to have expectations that are TOO lofty.... :o/

Posted by: Martha O'COnnor at March 9, 2006 1:58 PM