Hi! I’m back, I’ve missed you! Did you miss me? Let’s embrace.
Have you ever had an ingrown zit right on your lip line? I do and it sucks and it looks and feels like a beesting, it’s distracting me.
Anyhow, I had a quick jaunt down to the good old sunshine state to work on a Top Secret Project with my good old pal Jennifer Ann Swartzwelder Brittingham, or Jen for short.
If we had a car invented especially for us it would be called the Cadillac Escapade.
Anyway, I hop on a 7:30 am flight Sunday morning that gets me into Ft. Lauderdale at 10:20. This will give us 3 full days to work/laugh before I fly back early Wednesday (yesterday) morning. It’s an easy 2 hour and 20 minute flight, so I scramble to secure my exit aisle seat for my long giraffe legs, agree to do the flip-open-the-door-and-assist-all-passengers-in-the-event-of-an-emergency(crash) and flip open my laptop once we are in the air.
It’s a full flight, and I am in the window seat typing away when I notice the guy sitting next to me attempting to be inconspicuous as he read what I was writing, which happened to be the last piece I posted about the spinach saag poop debacle. I decided to have some fun, and increased the font size to 18 pt. It was perfect because I had my face buried in the computer so he had no idea I could see him perfectly in the reflection on my screen. He became my own personal litmus test.
I’m typing away and he was hooked. I watched as he smirked and then he would look away for a few seconds, then he was right back. I was having a ball typing the overflowing toilet part when I heard a snort-laugh escape him. At this point I looked directly at him with a grin and said, “it’s some funny shit, right?” And went right back to engrossed speed typing.
His face was that of a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It was priceless.
I finished up and put my laptop away for a quick 20 minute snooze before we landed. I grabbed my carry-on and told him he could read the finished piece on illbeoutinaminute.com. He looked at me like I was on temporary leave from the asylum, and I exited the plane and began dragging my shit through the airport, texting Jen to let her know I had landed and that I’d meet her out front of Southwest arrivals.
As I’m walking out the doors to the curb, I pass 2 weird/strippery women holding a sign that says, “TOOTSIE’S Welcomes Dancer of The Month Crystal Bush.” I walk past saying “not me” as I am preoccupied with the post flight cigarette I am about to light. I’m standing outside having a smoke and texting her that I am at the curb. I see those 2 women still standing with their sign and think I should go get a picture with them because that could be some funny blog shit. I get the camera set on my phone and as I start to walk over to them I do a complete double-take as the picture becomes clear. It’s Jen and her sister Jami and tears run down my legs.
* TOOTSIE’S is the local strip club, in case you were wondering.
I cannot believe I did not recognize them, and that they got one over on me. It was so unexpected. We all hug and laugh and then they point to the truck parked at the curb and say “let’s get your luggage to the driver.”
It’s Papa Swartzwelder, whose name happens to be Mitten (I swear to god that’s his given name) playing it up. We are all in hysterics and people are staring, just the way we like it.
He points to the ground, like I’m royalty.
I am remnant worthy.
We all drive back to Mama and Papa bear’s house (aka Kathy and Mitten) who, like it or not are my adopted parents. It is now about 11am. We take our commemorative picture and go inside.
There are grandkids running around happily, a baby in a high-chair and Kathy is in her robe asking me what I would like for breakfast before I even set my bag down. Would I prefer homemade waffles or pancakes? I made bacon, would you like an egg? How would you like it? Would you like some juice?
I swear to God they are like walking into a Norman Rockwell painting every time, for the 20 some years I’ve known them.
Now it’s Kathy, Mitten, their kids Jen, Jami and Jason (rockwell-adorable) their husbands and wives and about 5 grand kids and myself. Everyone is sitting around talking and laughing and Kathy is turning out homemade waffles faster than a line cook at Denny’s. I am always in awe of this Perfect American Family. I’m serious, it is twilight-zone crazy.
After brunch, we headed back to Jen’s. The next few days were spent dedicated to our Top Secret Project, breaking occasionally to eat healthy and check my stats.
Monday night we were going back over to Mitten & Kathy’s for Nicks Birthday Dinner (Nick is Jami’s husband.) It is tradition for them that the birthday person pick his or her favorite meal and Kathy will make it.
We arrive back at the Swartzwelder compound punctually at 5pm. When it is their immediate family, there are 14 of them, plus me and 2 cousins and their baby. We all set up around the pool for appetizers and a cornhole competition. Cold beers and fresh brewed iced tea, kids splashing in the pool, beanbags flying, laughter and conversation ensue.
Then it’s time for The Birthday Dinner, and Nick has chosen the dinner of an all-American 12 year old boy. Sloppy Joe’s (aka Sloppy Kathy’s, of course) summer slaw, tater tots, and corn on the cob. All of it followed by pumpkin spice cake and Apple Pie.
Is this for real? I’m not kidding when I say I am walking around in a Norman Rockwell painting, not one iota. Everyone sings happy birthday then we all go into the living room to do presents. All 17 of us snuggle up on the massive sofa and surrounding chairs. Then, just when it can’t possibly get anymore twilightzoneperfectamericanfamilyesque…Jen and Todd’s daughter Mya, who’s 9, would like to sing a song for her Uncle Nick. She stands in the middle of the room and with the voice of an angel proceeds to serenade him. A tear falls from my eye and I never want to leave this place.
Nick opens his presents and Kathy tries to persuade everyone to take the deserts home. Hugs and kisses and Thank-You’s all around and off we go.
On the ride home I tell Jen and Todd that I am going to make An Adoption Kit to send to her parents. It will include an adoption certificate, and family photo’s with myself Photoshopped in, all the way back from my birth. I will get Glamour Shots taken and frame them to include on their mantle. I will include a locket of my hair and a baby tooth. I will send them copies of my investment portfolio to let them know that they will greatly increase their odds of getting The Silver Package when they enter the retirement home one day. I will send them a list of my allergies and favorite foods, likes and dislikes.
Maybe I’ll just send her a letter telling her what My Favorite Dinner is, and a copy of my airline ticket and hand-deliver the kit, with a notary of course, on February 12th. Who wouldn’t want to adopt a 42 year old woman with 2 kids, right?
And you know what the funny part is? I’m 100% serious.