Sunday, February 21, 2010

My AH-Mazing Trip to FL - Part 2 (I cried, I laughed and at one point I wondered what the hell is that taste in my mouth)

"19 years can pass quickly when your living life, but you never really forget about the ones that aren't there living it with you." 

When I was making my way to Kara's house the day before I passed the cemetery where my sister Alicia had been laid to rest.  I had already planned on going there because the day that I was due to head back home was the 19 year anniversary of when she was killed.  A lot of changes had been made to the area including  a huge road running next to the cemetery where it used to once be a wide open field.  I thought that it would make it loud and non-sanctuary like, but as with all cemeteries, to me at seems the moment you are on their grounds all the sound is sucked out of the atmosphere around you.  

Sunday seemed a perfect day to make my way to her headstone.  I carried a bottle of water to clean off her grave since my parents no longer live in the state and there isn't a continual visit by my mom and dad as there has been in years past.  I didn't think I'd be overcome by emotions but before I knew it tears were streaming and I was watching the sun set through the trees and thinking about all the things that she missed.  

When I look at my girls, especially Olivia, I see so much of her.  Of both of my sisters actually.  Olivia tends to favor Alicia and Hannah is definitely a mini Nicolle.  The birth of Olivia, although it came as I was a teenager and just a little over 3 years after Alicia was killed was truly the saving grace to my family.  There was a massive hole left by the loss of my sister and while no baby was ever planned (cause my parents couldn't have any more) and I was supposed to be focusing on college applications and most DEFINITELY not how to diaper a baby and function on 30 minutes of sleep....she ended up being a hidden blessing.

As I stood there looking down at Alicia's grave with the picture of her face done in bronze I wondered how differently things would have turned out in all of our lives if this part of our family's history didn't exist.  I try not to go to that place mentally very much.  It's too painful.  But when you are standing face to face with the reminder, it's difficult to push it away.

For a moment it seemed like yesterday that we were trudging over the grass at Calvary Catholic Cemetery after the 100+ car processional that even included my middle school principal.  I remember my mom clutching a purple plush My Little Pony and me feeling as though I was going to fall over.  I didn't sit with my family by the tiny casket that now held the body of my 3 1/2yr old sister.  I remember that clearly.  I stood off to the side, because I thought at the time...if I sit I will never stand back up and my mother needs me to take care of my 2yr old sister. 

Life seemed to whoosh by after that moment.  My remaining sibling went from toddler to child seemingly overnight and then came the loss of my step-father's mother, then the unplanned arrival of Olivia and the end of my relationship with her father.  It seemed that after that time was marked by deaths, weddings and new baby's but not particularly in that order and then before I knew it I was tracing the time line right  to the very moment that led me strolling back to my car and the sun going down.  

I drove back to Kara's with no music on.  Windows down and cold air on my tear stained face.  I had a feeling Kara's mom would be home and I didn't want her to question why I was crying.  I'd never met her before and this was not the first impression that I wanted to give and I certainly didn't feeling like launching into the story behind the tears.

" I know we've never met before, but I slept with your daughter last night."

Coming back to Kara's after being out an about Sunday I finally had a chance to meet her mom.  She was a total sweetheart so I know where Kara gets it from.  We sat and chatted about my kids and how my trip was going, how long I was staying and any plans that I had while I was there.  She found it slightly comical that I hadn't really made any real schedule of events.  

With a daughter like Kara I would think that free spirited, non scheduled would be her norm.  I settled in on the big comfy chair in their living room and we watched "Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss" was kind of like being with my mom.  I found this to be one of my favorite parts of the trip thus far.  
As the last few moments of the shows aired I started to feel really sleepy and decided to go get comfy in pj's on Kara's bed.  Apparently my timing sucked cause just about the time I got all cozy in her bed she came in from work.  I hadn't really "napped" although I couldn't use that as an excuse seeing as she had been working all damn day after me keeping her up until close to 5:30 am jabbering on about the past 8 years since we had really hung out.  

So when she came it was like "what we gonna do tonight".  We decided to go to Applebee's and get our late night Valentine's 2 for 1 drink on.  Love that this girl can match me drink for drink.  Reminds me of my girls here in Louisiana can.  Not that we are lushes but when you have access to liquor 24/7 you tend to learn how to hold your drank!

We noshed on appetizers...if you haven't had their wonton chicken taco's....ummmmm, HIGHLY recommend those!  We people watched and laughed about all the crazy shit we used to do together and how we really can't remember how we became friends but that we are sure glad that it happened.  I told her how I miss hockey games with her...running after the players bus because we were preoccupied with stuff going on inside the arena.  Seriously what jackasses miss the opportunity to hang out with the player that left you kick ass seats at "will call"??? Ummm, yeah that would be Kara and me.

Then there were the countless Thursday nights that she would come to the house and I'd made dinner or we'd pick up dinner and watch Survivor.  These nights mostly happened after I became really sick and was on medical leave from our mutual employer.  She was my weekly bright spot.  There were times I was so sick or so medicated, especially once I was on home health, that I would sleep while she was there.  Nurses would come and give me my injections or run my IV and Kara would just be sitting there talking to me like it was just a normal Thursday.  

There were also the times that she would coax me out of the house and have the patience of a saint when after a mere 15 minutes or an hour somewhere I'd want to go back home because I felt ill or the meds were kicking my ass.  If she was bothered by it, she never said anything.  She just made me laugh.

The last time we truly "partied" was when she made her way out to visit me here in 2002.  We made our way down to Bourbon and even now in the close to 8 years since that trip, I have never quit experienced that street the way I did with her.  I've noticed that every time I do something or go somewhere with Kara and then I try to go back later and recreate that moment with a different group of people it never truly measures up.

"No I'm not working on my Farmville...I'm just showing you this guy on my Friends list."

After Applebee's we made our way back to her house and even though I needed to get to bed because I had plans in the morning we decided that we were responsible enough to have "just one" more drink.  Thank God I wasn't responsible for anyone but my self during this trip because my kids could have gone missing for all I would have known.  We sat out in her sun room (another thing I miss about FL...all the damn houses seem to have sun rooms, sun porches or just some extra room with LOADS of light).  Hers houses her computer and I was hoping on it to check my facebook.  I can get on facebook on my Crackberry but sometimes I just like to be on the actual computer.  I had brought my laptop for this precise reason but apparently her wireless connection is crap.

Thank God she had so many other ammenities like a kick ass bathroom, yummy smelling perfume, socks (cause I'm a ruh-tard who forgot to pack those), the comfiest damn bed, a fair amount of Crown and free international long distance or else I would have hauled my ass to the nearest Marriot for some damn wireless access!!  The last two ammenities on the list apparently made for a wonderful equation to contact a friend of mine from facebook that I have NEVER met in person but have now...well after the several drinks of Crown... somehow convinced to have him show Kara and I around when we make a trip to see him in Antigua.  

"You say the words you've never actually met him in person like it's a bad thing."

Kara is the traveler, she's gone here there and just about everywhere.  Although when you talk to her mom about it she can list off the non traveled spots in the world that Kara hasn't hit up...yet.  Me, I've got Canada and Mexico under my belt....all the rest, I just dream about.  So I'm holding her to the drunken promise that we will in fact do this trip. facebook friend....won't know what hit him when this terrible twosome comes to the island!  That's what he gets for accepting or making a friends request based off another mutual friend.  If he randomly drops me from facebook...I'll know that this drunken phone call and unexpected travel plans was the culprit!

I don't know how long we stayed on the phone but I finally let him get go when I was pretty sure I was no longer making sense although listening to his accent was nice.  What can I say...I'm a sucker for an accent!  It's probably why I love Kara so much, eh??  Ha ha ha...that damn Canadian...she rocks!

"Just one more...."

We tried so hard to make it to bed at a decent, by our standards, hour...but again we failed miserably. It was probably that last ill fated drink we poured.

 It should be noted that this bottle was full and in an unopened box before we started.  There were only 2 of us drinking it.  It's a sad admission but man we had a blast.

So when my alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 9am...I shuddered at the idea of having to get out of bed.  I must have thought I hit snooze but in fact turned off my alarm on my phone entirely because the next thing I know I am getting a phone call from Marci (the mother of my oldest daughter's cousin) asking if I am still coming out to meet her, Vis (my oldest daughter's father's cousin) and all their kids....I know, I know...we put the fun in dysfunctional....anyways, I was supposed to be meeting them and driving with them out to the fair and meeting up with another good friend from my high school days named Chrissy...but I was hungover and still in bed!  Bad, bad me!  I tried and tried....and tried to pull myself together quickly but my head was spinning.  Looking out of one eye seemed my only option and the UNBELIEVABLY horrid taste of morning after Crown mouth was disturbing and a little unsettling in my stomach.

"I'm pretty sure that 4 out of 5 dentist would agree that there is no amount of brushing or swishing of mouth wash that will get that taste out of your mouth in a decent time frame."

I brushed my teeth once, twice, three times and finally gave up at #5.  I decided my only chance of making it to Tampa in one piece was fast food.  It seems to be my cure all after a night of drinking.  And the fact that I couldn't rid myself of this rot gut taste in my mouth that at one point Kara and I turned to each other and questioned "when did we eat dog shit last night"...I figured adding fries to the equation wouldn't worsen the situation and for once...I was right.....

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