Sunday, January 30, 2005

3:30am. The doorbell rings. I wake up, but decide to ignore it. It's probably just the same shitheads that stole my sick plant off the front porch.

It rings again. Then again. I wake Chris up, then ask him what we should do. I mean, answering the doorbell at 3:30 in the morning is never going to yield good news. He decides to answer it.

We open the front door out into the hallway we share with the girls that live upstairs. It's one of their friends, a college age boy who compulsively wears a red baseball hat. Chris walks down the hall and opens the door.

He finds out that the guy is drunk and he is staying with our upstairs neighbor and that he and his companion got locked out. We don't know if she locked them out on purpose or if it was just an accident. I am hanging back in the hallway in my pajamas, away from the strange people.

"I'm terribly sorry to disturb you at such a late hour, but I'm a friend of Sonya's and my friend and I just went to the bar down the street after Sonya passed out and she must have locked the door and we're staying with her and she won't wake up to let us in." Red Hat gushes the run-on sentences of a socially well *ahem* lubricated man, but is freakily polite about it. "Thank you so much for being so understanding, and we apologize again for waking you at this hour."

We don't know if we should let them in because there is no way of knowing if these guys even know our upstairs neighbors or if she wants them there. We need to ask Sonya what she wants us to do. Chris runs up the stairs and opens the front door to Sonya's apartment, which is unlocked. He calls her name. No answer. He ventures in as far as her closed bedroom door and calls her name again. Still no answer. He comes back down.

I have decided that my need to know exactly what is happening on my front porch overrides the fact that I am clad in flannel pajamas with baby chickens all over them. I grab my robe and jump into the fray.

The first thing I notice as I enter the hallway is the flashing disco lights of a police car in front of our house. Not a good sign.

A policeman has pulled over and handcuffed Red Hat's companion for mooning his patrol car. The kid sloppily insists he was merely trying to hail a cab. I will later wonder how he thinks he was going to flag down a taxi on a street with no traffic in a town with no cabs. But that is later. This is now:

Red Hat is upset that the policeman tackled his friend to the ground, bruising his face and making him bleed on our front steps. The cop is defending himself by explaining that since he wouldn't take his hands out of his pockets and he was "dancing drunkenly in the middle of the road" and "wouldn't comply with my orders" that he had to assume he was carrying a weapon of some kind. Red Hat is trying to calm down the mooner, whose name I find out is actually Jason, by holding him down on the front steps, blood dripping onto the sidewalk.

A fire truck/ambulance vehicle pulls up. A woman gets out and examines Jason. The cop is calling his sergeant for back-up. The EMT lady clears Jason of any possible concussion.

I wonder out loud to Chris if Sonya has choked on her own vomit upstairs, as Red Hat keeps telling us how much she was throwing up earlier. That plus the fact that she hasn't woken up even with all the noise makes me think she might be dead. We both return to her bedroom, where I knock on the door and call her name. She doesn't answer. It flashes through my mind that this might be a very long, gruesome night. I tiptoe over to her bed, why I'm not sure, I mean, I WANT her to wake up, right. Still, I'm in a strange person's bedroom in the middle of the night and I feel ginger about touching anything or stepping to heavily. I touch her head and she moans. She is incredibly fucked up, but still alive. I ask her if she knows her friends have been locked out. She wakes up a little and tells me to let them back in. She is distressed. I smooth down her unruly curls and tell her to just lay back down. She asks if they are okay. I hesitate and then shrug, saying "I think so."

I do not want her to wake up and "try to help." We shut her bedroom door and promise to let her friends back in her apartment. We do not mention the police, the handcuffs, or the swollen bloodied face.

We return to the front porch where Jason is repeatedly attempting to stand up and confront the cop about his handcuffs. He asks to have them removed. Or at least loosened. This request is denied and Red Hat pulls him down into a sitting position again. Jason and the cop are still discussing whether or not he deserves to be in handcuffs. Red Hat agrees with his friend that they should be removed and is growing visibly upset at his friend's appearance.

The cop refuses to discuss taking the handcuffs off and tells Jason to get used to it(paraphrasing like crazy here, as I could only hear bits and pieces, sorry).

Red Hat tears up the stairs on his way to Sonya's apartment, calling the cop a fascist on the way. I suck in air through my clenched teeth and think that this is not the way to endear yourself to a law enforcement official.

Back-up arrives. There is talk to taking Jason to detox, as he is clearly unable to handle himself, and is even possibly a danger to himself and others. The evidence they have to prove this is the fact that he tried to "hail a cab" by flashing his ass in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. Oh, and that he refused to comply with the officer's request that he remove his hands from his pockets and get down on the ground. Things aren't looking so good for Jason.

Red Hat vehemently opposes Jason's immanent departure for detox, and requests to be taken with to keep an eye on him. The sergeant laughs and says that he does NOT want to do that. Detox is not fun, and the only way he can go with is if he agrees to be locked up there as well.

I think the police are being more than generous with their plan, as they could have just saved themselves a lot of trouble and arrested both of them for being drunk and disorderly.

I mention to the policemen that Sonya has in fact given them the okay to just come back in her apartment and crash. One of them asks me if I am in fact taking responsibility for the two drunk people. I wave my arms and say no. He asks me if I am sober. This grates at me. I am standing on my porch with two strangers causing a scene in the middle of the night. I am in my pajamas, have bed head, and have clearly just been interrupted during a critical stage in my sleep cycle. I am the only one here besides the officers who is sober. But I let it go, as this is clearly an uncool situation and someone needs to take control. I say no, that I have to work in the morning and that I don't even know these people.

The officers confer and decide that Jason really needs to be taken away to sleep it off somewhere where he won't get up and wander off or freak out. They load him into the back of the patrol car. Red Hat flips out. He does not want Jason to go, and asks for the address, which is given to him with the promise that as soon as Jason has sobered up, he will be allowed to call Red Hat for a ride.

"How long are we talking about here?" Red Hat asks.

"You'll probably make it to church."

"We're not going to church, I don't believe in God-" Red Hat is getting upset at the assumption that he is a God-fearing type and the cop laughs a little and tells him that he was just trying to give him a time frame.

Jason making loud noises by himself in the patrol car like he is banging his head against the patrol car window, hard.

The policemen decide to wrap things up and leave Chris and I to reason with a drunk man, with his own brand of circular logic.

After two more whole recaps of how Red Hat thinks things went down, which makes increasingly less and less sense, Chris announces that it is late, and that we are going to bed.

Red Hat apologizes again and thanks us for being so understanding.

We lock the door and go back to bed.

Chris plays his gameboy and I lay awake, eyes on the ceiling, wondering if I'll sleep

Monday, January 24, 2005

Last weekend when Portland had that huge ice storm, Chris got a call telling him that he still had to go to work. I was worried(like a mother hen) that he would slip on the front stairs or on the way to the bus stop, so I decided to venture out on the front porch and see just what we were dealing with. I grabbed my cell phone to cancel my appointments for the day, and opened the door. Everything was covered with a solid layer of wavy ice, sort of beautiful, like a big glazed donut. (The machines that cover donuts and candy bars with the final layer of glaze/chocolate are called 'enrobers,' if I'm not mistaken, and that's so cool.)

I put my slippered hoof down on the top stair and slipped, then bounced down all eight stairs to the sidewalk. Luckily, I was able to break my fall with my cell phone, and so I only sustained enormous bruises on two major portions of my back instead of three. My arm got dinged up too, but my phone only got a small scratch.

When I tried to stand up, I realized I was soaking wet. This was because it was, you know, raining, but I was convinced that it was blood. I kicked off my slippers and used my socks as impromptu wooly cleats, dragging what I thought to be my blood-covered carcass back up the mountain.

I threw myself on the couch in the living room and tried to get my breathing under control. I called out to Chris, who had been getting ready to take a bath. I could hear the water still running and I hoped he hadn't gotten in yet. No answer. I called again, louder this time. Nothing. So I shouted. Then I screamed. That got him. He came out of the bathroom holding his towel, brow furrowed.

"Angela, what is it? What's wrong?" he came over and inspected my crumpled form.

"I fell...down the front steps. Am I covered in my own blood?" I started shaking, the kidney punches the cement had laid into me were starting to really ache.

"What? Blood? No, you're just wet. Come on, let's put you back in bed."

He helped me into the bed room and tucked me in. Kissed my forehead and said, "It's weird, because ten minutes ago, your sister called and told me to tell you to be really careful to not fall down the stairs."

"Why didn't you tell me that?"

"I figured you wouldn't fall down the stairs."


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Last night after a weird bath(long story, too personal), I heaved myself out of the barely lukewarm water and racked myself on the faucet. I don't normally sit on that end of the tub, and wasn't at all ready for the feeling of being stabbed in the small of my back by what felt like a hollow needle the size of a, well, a bathtub faucet. I checked it out in the mirror, as best I could without my glasses, and it hadn't even broken the skin, which wasn't consistent with the way it felt. After five minutes, I looked at it again, and to my horror, it had swelled up and looked like a sugar cookie had been implanted under my skin.

I went to put on my pajama pants and realized that the scrape was dead center in the physiological lane my waist bands usually drive in. (What a horrible metaphor. I have a headache and girl trouble, can you tell? Fuck.)

Chris put a bandage on it, but that lasted all of 10 minutes, as it just pulled on the fine little hairs around it.

Then I got glassy-eyed as my femininity made itself rudely known by kicking me in the groin.

I went to bed mad that uterine cramps had once again surprised me, deer in headlights style. I mean, I should know what to expect, I've been doing this menstruation thing for quite a while now, but it never fails to blow my fucking mind.

As I drifted to sleep I mentally went through my closet to figure out what clothes I could wear that would accommodate my swollen reproductive organs and the sugar cookie-esque bruise on my back. I decided that I should go pantsless. Then I fell asleep to the sound of Chris playing his Game Boy...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

For my birthday yesterday, Chris gave me an armful of purple presents, including a stuffed unicorn. Then we went out for sushi at the place downtown with the train. I stuffed myself with multiple orders of tempura tai(a jazzed up fishstick teetering atop a nub of sticky rice smothered in hot sauce) and creamy scallops. I ordered real crab sushi too, which I normally don't do because it's so expensive. But, this is the last year of my 20's, and if I want real crab with my seaweed, I'll have real crab.

I always buy the 25 cent mints at the counter there when we leave. They're nothing special, but I like how the clear plexiglass mint cage has a pink sign taped to it that says: 25 cents! NOT Free!

I told Chris I was going to name my birthday unicorn 'Sushicorn' in honor of the delightful dinner we had. He thought that was a pretty good name for a stuffed animal.

We're having a reading on Thursday night at our house to give everyone who wrote books for National Novel Writing Month a chance to publicly showcase their efforts. We have about 5 or six people lined up to read, including ourselves. Nervous in that I'm not sure who is going to show up, and will we have enough chairs. Not nervous about reading. That last workshop I took sort of took the wind out of the fear of public speaking.

Now then, I have taken to wearing these fingerless gloves everywhere, because I'm always cold and black fingerless gloves are just rock star cool, no matter what anyone says.

Monday, January 10, 2005

My mom calls those mini-bananas that are all the rage in organic grocery stores right now "banditos." I'm not sure why. She says that's just the first word that pops into her head when she sees them.

Last night I fell asleep on the couch clutching a half-eaten bag of Doritos and the remote for the DVD player. I had been watching the Simpson's third season and when I got to the end of the fourth one I just sort of slumped over and started drooling on Tube Pillow(a pillow shaped like a tube, FYI.).

I had my dog Jake on Saturday for a few hours. We played in the mud, lunged for a guy holding a cup of coffee, and got caught in the rain. We went back to my house and drank a huge bowl of water, curled up on the couch and napped like littermates, and then did some laundry.

Jake loves carrying around dirty socks and underwear in his mouth, and I figured, what the hell, they're all going in the wash anyway, so I let him carry a few pungent items to the basement. It's important to make your pets feel involved.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

December 28th: The Final Judgement

Didn't really get up to much. We took a scenic drive on I-84 to scope out activities for mom's summer visit. Drove up to some building on a cliff that I can't recall the name of, and it was so windy, we couldn't even get out of the car. I attempted it, but had to abort the mission as my hat flew off my head, my glasses rattled on my face, and my nostrils flapped shut like a camel.

Kristi, Jackson, mom, and I went to Green Papaya for happy hour, where the service is pretty slow, but the blond bartender is cute and you can order all the cream cheese wantons you can eat for two hours. I'm not sure if the crunchy fried wrap is a vehicle for the cream cheese or the other way around, but it really doesn't matter. We each had an order and I pigged up almost half of them. Luckily, the mom and Kristi were distracted by the steak rolls and Jackson wasn't very hungry so no one slapped my hand away or anything.

The bartender only charged us for our food for some reason, I'd like to think it's because he thought we were all cute, but it was probably just an honest mistake. So we left him a $20 tip.

It was almost 6pm, time for Chris to get off work, and the library's only two blocks from the restaurant, so I walked up there by myself to wait for him. I sat on the windowsill near the back door and watched my coworkers flee the building like it was on fire.

A group of three guys in their 20's, either drunk or stupid or both, rounded the corner and headed my way. I turned slightly in the other direction so I wouldn't have to watch them as they punched each other and had a conversation that consisted only of the words "Fuck you. No, fuck you!"

They walked past me and I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when the littlest one, shaved head and huge cholo style cross swinging from his fat neck, whirled around and clumped over to me. He got six inches from my face and said, "You're so not out of my league. I could totally date you." I was so stunned that I didn't do or say anything, just stared at him for about 8 seconds(a really long time to have a stranger close enough to lick) until he smirked and said, "It's so true," and then ran to catch up with his buddies, who hadn't even noticed that he had peeled off from the group. The 'fuck you's' started up again and dopplered out of my hearing range.

Still, no Chris. I went into the back area, not feeling as safe outside anymore, and checked the schedule. He had gone home early after a training. Curses!

What else?

Not much. Mom and I read for a while and Chris, Jackson, and Kristi played a cutthroat game of
Monopoly in the kitchen.

Kristi generously agreed to pick mom up for the 6am airport run the next morning. We said our sleepy good-byes, no tears thank god, and it was over.

The most stress-free, easiest, agreeable visit my mother has ever had. I know it's not what you were looking for, coming from me and my familial nutjobs, and so I make this promise now: Next year, we'll get her drunk.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

December 27th:
was a day dedicated to shopping. Not stuff for the weak of heart or stomach. Jackson went with us for about an hour until mom got stuck in a sweater store at the mall and then he sort of wandered off to drink coffee and read. Good move on his part because the three of us went nuts.

We went from the mall downtown to northwest, where the parking is scarce and the girls all wear those super low-rise jeans. Intimidating. I wished I had worn the fancy new underwear that Kristi had given me. I feel like I'm in a superhero costume in those things, that's how cool they are. But I had decided to save them for a 'special occasion,' whatever that means. It turned out to mean today, I'm wearing them right now. I could rip off my clothes and clothespin a fleece throw blanket thingy around my neck and become my alter ego "Vitamin A."

I was the only person who bought nothing. I just couldn't get into it. Oh, well. Less crap for me, cluttering up my space.

We had chicken salad sandwiches at the Daily Cafe in the Pearl, and made plans for that evening.

After I drove the ladies and their loot home, we got bundled up and jumped back in the car to go to the Festival of Lights at the Grotto. A huge Catholic outdoor sanctuary, it is actually one of my favorite places. It's always peaceful and no one hassles you. I light a few candles and sit and just breathe. Very meditative.

But the F.O.L. is a huge deal. They decorated the whole place with buttloads of lights depicting the story of the baby Jesus, hauled in dinner theater actors to portray people of that time, there was a spanish folk singer in the actual church, Feliz Navidad and all that crap, and best of all, a petting zoo stocked with baby goats, sheep, ponies, and chickens. I could have spent all night in there. I loved the goats. Yay! Yay for mini animals that butt up against your leg for food!

Mom spent almost an hour in the two gift stores, looking for 'the perfect angel' for her collection and ended up buying one that was made in Eden Prarie, MN, about an hour from her house. I started obsessively separating the saint medallions that had been mixed together in their bins, until Kristi stopped me. Just being in there with all that stuff made my stomach hurt.

When we got home, Jackson and Chris made pizza and we all played gin, my mom picking up the game as we went and sort of adapting it to her liking.

"Well, it just doesn't make sense to discard another card if I just played something."

"Mom, that's a good thing. You WANT to get rid of your cards. You should want to play as much as you can when it's your turn."

"I'm just saying, it doesn't make any sense."

Mom. Sigh.

December 26:
Kristi and I dropped mom off at Dosha the next morning at 9:30 to get her massage. We walked around Hawthorne, did some browsing at Fred Meyer for products that decrease eye puffiness. Lots of bottles of creams and gels that made startling promises with great before and after photos, but we were dubious and so just decided to get more sleep and drink more water.

I tried to return some underwear, but that store wasn't open yet.

Kristi had a massive stomach spasm and we ducked into Powell's bookstore to "deal with it."

After an hour of window shopping we went back to the spa and picked up mom, who came down the stairs to meet us like she had been beaten with a sock filled with oranges.

"Mom, are you okay?"

"Oh, yeah, it was great." She hobbled over to us, her hair wet, her swim suit balled up in a ziplock bag sticking out of her purse. "Now I know why I needed to bring my swimsuit. The whole room was soaking after the hydrotherapy."

"What exactly is hydrotherapy?" Kristi asked.

"They had this huge hose attached to the ceiling and a girl wearing a rubber apron came in and pummeled me with the spray for 15 minutes. Anyway, I think I can achieve a similar effect withe the garden hose hooked up to the kitchen sink. I'm going to have my boyfriend try it this summer. I'll just lay on one of those plastic lawn chairs."


I finally got to exchange my underwear and we all had a quick bite to eat at my house.

Oh, man, I totally forgot to tell you about the chicken Kiev.

We made it from scratch for Christmas Day Dinner. Kristi's boyfriend, Jackson, is a vegetarian, so he brought himself over some asparagus thing, but the four of us pounded out chicken breasts with my all purpose utility hammer until it was wafer thin. If you haven't pounded out raw meat between layers of plastic wrap, by God, you should. The sensation of hammering something's muscle is really primal, and I feel like it was better than therapy. I didn't even get all weepy. Progress made in leaps and bounds.

But then we made little raw chicken burritos with filling of sticks of butter and lots of parsely. A little milk, a little flour, a little frypan and then the oven. Ta-da! Delicious chicken twinkies, made from scratch right here in my own kitchen.

We watched Young Frankenstein while we ate. Merry Christmas!

I digress.

We went to the play 'Narnia' at the children's theater. I brought along a koala finger puppet and danced it around until my mother wrestled it from me and put it in her purse.

The snow queen actress was the best part of the play. She was fantastic. Mom gave me back my finger puppet and we went to pick up Chris for dinner.

Kristi wanted to go to the Farm, a tiny restaurant on Burnside, and so we went. We drank and ate and ate and drank. We even ordered desert.

After a whole day of rushing from one activity to the next, we were all ready to go to bed by like, 9:30.


Kristi called our dad last night and we all talked for a while. He asked if I liked my job and I told him that working at the library wasn't going to make me rich, but I enjoyed the work.

"That's important, see, that you like what you do. You like books and so you work at a library. I like to dig holes in the ground and put dead people in them, so I dig graves. You have to do something that you like."

For some reason, I thought you needed to know that about my father.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

December 25th:
Mom was still snoring away on the futon in the living room until 9:30 or so, thank god.

I tiptoed into the kitchen and had a couple of the several hundred full-sized peanut butter cups we made the day before. I forgot to mention it in my last entry. The three of us ladies formed a sort of chocolate bark-peanut butter dough ball assembly line and cranked out a fridge full of candy in less than two hours. One of my greatest accomplishments to date, for sure.

Anyway, we pulled ourselves together by noon and headed over to a friend's house for brunch, where they served a menu straight off of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy"-little poached egg muffins floating on sauteed porchini mushrooms in a cupcake liner made out of prosciutto, that sort of thing. Scrumptious. We brought over a box of our peanut butter cups. I didn't eat much as I had already ruined my appetite with candy, but I'm an adult and if I want to spend Christmas the way most 6-10 year olds spend the day after Halloween, it's my perogative.

Then we went back to our house for a rousing hour of opening presents. Since everyone gave everyone else exact lists with product numbers and sizes, there weren't any surprises, and the whole thing seemed sort of hollow. The exception to that being that I gave Chris a DVD burner and managed to keep it secret for two whole months. I told him I was getting him a new office chair. He was quite pleased. And he said he'll give me his old CD burner, and so we were both happy, materialistically speaking. Mom gave me a stapler, Kristi gave me some fun underwear that I'd never be able to justify buying myself. Kristi and I gave mom a massage scheduled for the next day. Wine was consumed. Chet Baker was played. Grocery bags used as wrapping paper were folded and recycled. The whole thing was really very civilized.

The five of us went to see The Life Aquatic in the late afternoon. Theater packed. People cranky. Chris had a mild anxiety attack. He doesn't like crowds. Movie was great. Best line was "We're not good husbands, are we? But I have an excuse. I'm part gay."

After the movie, more chocolate bark products were eaten, and we all passed out by 10.

Oh, happy day!

Monday, January 03, 2005

December 24th, Part 2:
After fondue, we all took naps. My mom sat upright on the couch with her mystery novel propped up in her lap, but she wasn't fooling anyone. Her mouth kept falling open and little snorkling noises would come out of her throat.

I curled up in my standard armadillo position and tucked my head under an afghan, hoping we would all fall deeply asleep and miss going out to the 11 o'clock church service downtown.

But mom was determined to go.

So at quarter to, Kristi, mom and I piled into the car and headed over to the church, where we wandered around, looking for a door. The building itself was huge and imposing, gray stones all looking very gothic, and there were only two small wooden doors, as far as we could see, bearing black metal hinges like the door to a steakhouse. We spotted a handicap ramp and figured, well, we're all a little handicapped, and rattled on the door until someone from the choir came out of the dressing room to see what all the rucus was about.

We should have gone through the steakhouse door.

Once we got settled in towards the back, mom nestled between us, I staged a raid on the donation envelopes, which were labeled "PEW OFFERING." I mean, come on.

The lessons were given by a woman with a walleye, very cute, one eye rolling dramatically to the right while the other looked straight ahead.

The minister gave a sermon on how baby Jesus was really born in the heart of the innkeeper's house, as that's where people in those times kept their animals.

A large man in front kept shouting out answers to the mininster's rhetorical questions.

A smaller man in the row ahead of us got a nasty case of the hiccups. The walleyed woman eventually came and sat down next to him.

The choir sang a bunch of songs and rang large bells.

I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open.

My sister nudged me and asked if I was going to take communion. I told her that I hadn't been to confession and that I'd probably burst into flames, my standard excuse for not partaking in the freaky cannibalistic ceremony that is transubstantiation. She whispered back that we were at a LUTHERAN church and that I didn't need to go to confession first. Oh, right.

We took communion. We dipped our wafers into a mug of wine held by a ten year old girl. My sister went for the grape juice, which is a popular alternative in this age of recovering alcoholics. She started to dip her wafer and the guy holding the glass said, "This is grape juice, but it's still the blood of Christ, shed for you."

"What?" she said, tilting her head to hear above the organ and the warbling of the congregation singing.

"Grape juice, not wine. But still the blood of Christ, shed for you," he repeated, leaning in.

"I'm sorry, I can't hear you," she stepped over and got within six inches of his face.

"It's GRAPE JUICE!" the man finally raised his voice and shattered the illusion.

She dipped her wafer and stared at him, then turned and walked away.

I was having my own difficulties. The woman in front of me was wrestling with the ten year old, trying to grab the goblet from her to take a drink, a much more traditional way of doing things, although not nearly as sanitary. The kid was holding her own, attempting to stop it, but the minister intervened and let her take a drink, then wiped the edge of the glass and continued as if nothing had happened. I was paralyzed. I'm sort of an obsessive-compulsive freak, and along with that particular disorder comes a great fear of other people's mucus. If I dunked my wafer in there, it would be like kissing her, and who knew where she had been. We're all children of God, my ass! After a slight hesitation, I felt my mother push me with a hand to the small of the back. I dipped into the contaminated wine and put the wafer in my mouth and rubbed my tongue against the roof of my mouth with vigor, in an attempt to psychologically crush the germs that might have been in my few drops of the blood of Christ, shed for me.

When we got back to the pew, mom slid in first, leaving the two of us to sit next to each other. Bad move. Inappropriate laughter ensued, starting with giggles at the chorus to "Most highly favored lady, AMEN!" The hiccup guy couldn't get it under control. Neither could we. The whole pew vibrated with our shaking laugher. The choir walked through the aisles and the guy in front of us high fived one of the tenors. We lost it. People around us glared.

Mom ignored us.

Everyone said an "Our Father" outloud. The last half has been rewritten and revised so many times that no one knows what it originally was. Everyone diverged and said it the way they learned it. It sounded awful, everyone talking at once but with no unification. Kristi hee-hawed. Mom smacked her in the arm.

Mercifully, it ended. We left by the front door on the way out and shook the minister's hand. I caught a glimpse of hiccup man and the walleye woman. I started laughing all over again.

"You are going straight to hell," Kristi giggled in my ear.

"So are you, most highly favored lady," I snorted back.