I had a nightmare a few nights ago. Nightmares are no stranger to me. I have nightmares at least once or twice a week and I should probably document them more often. Each one is very vivid and detailed; most times I can remember every bit of it when I wake. Luke has to wake me occasionally because I am crying, screaming,  or kicking. Some trouble me so deeply that I go through the next day feeling like it really happened.

Last night, I dreamed about my mother. She was at my house under my care again but more like she was when she first arrived. She was lively, lucid and still on the go. My sister Tracy was at my house with her son Avery.  My mother could do nothing but talk of Avery and what Tracy had done for her. She would tell me over and over that she thought she should go live with them. As much as I begged and asked why, she continued to tout them without saying a word about me positively or negatively.  I was so upset that I was crying and I told my mother, “Maybe you should go live with Tracy. Let me help you pack your things!”

Luke woke me because I was crying. I truly felt the pain….deep down. My mother was the one person I always knew would be there for me, no matter what. And in the nightmare, she wasn’t. Kind of like now.


Would you care for some dessert with lunch??!?

Yesterday was our girls lunch day. Three of our four were able to go this week. And naturally since I was there, something odd happened.

I’m not going to name the restaurant for reasons you will later understand. But at this particular place, you place your order up front, get a number and they bring the food to your table. I get to the register to order and there is a young guy, very cute and personable, taking orders. I see a sign that says 50% off wine on weekends so I asked if that applied today. No, of course not. I ordered a New Castle. He wanted to know if I needed a glass. I laughed and told him that I always come prepared and pulled a hugger out of  my purse. He found that amusing. I got our number and headed off to our table.

Another man brought our food and a few minutes later, here comes that young fella asking if we needed anything. We told him no that we were all good. He struck up some conversation and was overly friendly. As soon as he left, we started discussing who he might be flirting with and whether or not he was gay. Something about his gestures and body movements led us to believe he was probably gay. We continue our conversation talking about our holidays and New Year’s Eve. Well, a little later, here he comes back. He wanted to know if Debbie and I needed another drink. We told him yes. While he was away, I pulled out the money to pay for it since Debbie’s birthday was coming up. She insisted on getting the tip. He comes back with our drinks and I try to hand him a $20 to pay for it. He whispers and motions for us not to worry about it. I insisted he take the money and he said no. Debbie asked if she could at least tip him. At that point, he jokes and says, “Sure. And for $100, I’ll meet you in the bathroom!” We all laugh as he takes her tip and walks away. Well, that was weird! He went over to another table and was talking to two guys eating. We thought they looked like they might be gay as well so again, we come to the conclusion he’s gay. Plus, Debbie offers up that any heterosexual man wouldn’t ask for money to meet him in the bathroom for a quickie!

Another visit from our friend and Debbie and I are getting another round. This time I MADE him take the money. When he came back with my change, he asked if I was married. I told him yes. Now he mentions he has a new relationship in Huntsville so he works weekdays and goes there every weekend. Interesting. He didn’t say he had a girlfriend…he said a relationship. What straight guy says that???

Right as we are about to leave, he comes back one more time. He pulls out a stack of business cards from his pocket and puts one on the table in front of each of us and tells us to please come back and should we ever need ANYTHING to please call him at the number on the card. Three times after that, he told us that the number on the card was his cell phone number. He couldn’t seem to emphasize that enough. Isn’t it a bit odd to have your cell number on your business card when you work in a restaurant?!?? Most people that work in a restaurant are there all the time anyway so why wouldn’t you have the restaurant number on the card? And his title was Resource Manager. What the hell is that?!?!

When I got home, I looked him up on Facebook. His photo is of him and another guy. Again, not your usual “fella”. Hmmm… I googled his cell phone number. The search came up with a sex toy store in Cottondale, AL. I asked Luke his thoughts on all this (leaving out the phone number part cause I knew he would go nuts). Luke says he’s selling Amway or something. Is he selling sex toys? And if so, why didn’t he have a different business card for that??? For a real opinion, I laid it all out to my girl Heather. She immediately says he is prostituting. *GASP* When did I become so naive??? That thought never occurred to me! Oh my God! That gay boy is selling himself for money! I don’t get it but I’m pretty damn sure she is right. Well, just in case you need some toys or sex, call (205) 534-9805.

Smooth move!

I have to back up and pave the way into this one. So Norma was my dad’s wife. We’ve gotten to know her family because they were often down in Orange Beach at different times and also came down for a week every summer. Norma has a sister, Susan,  that lives in Atlanta. Susan is married to Dan; they are a few years older than I am. Dan is one of the greatest guys! He is a jokester, hilarious, outgoing and super friendly. As for Susan….

Yeah. At that wedding reception when I was pretty well lit, I called Haley’s uncle Dan over. For some ungodly reason, I had decided that was a good time and location to discuss the fact that his wife HATES us (me and my family). He insisted she didn’t but she never speaks to us. As a matter of fact, she avoids us at all costs. We’d seen her at the two gatherings at Norma’s and each night, if she came into a room where either Luke or I was, she would turn and leave. I asked Luke if she ever spoke to him. He told me no. So I relayed this to Dan. Again, he insists she has nothing against us but it is this way every time we see her.

Well today, on my way in, I picked up the mail. Low and behold, I got a fucking letter in the mail from Susan. I really didn’t have a recollection of dumping all that on Dan so I had no idea what it was about. As I opened it, it all came flooding back and I felt bad…just for an inkling. In the letter Susan explained what tremendous amounts of stress she was under that weekend. She’d brought her 13 year old son and one of his friends that were bored stiff, she went on a 15 mile bike ride the day of the rehearsal dinner, she is training for a triathlon Dan has signed her up for, blah blah blah. Ok. What about the other 40 times I’ve been around her??? She always looks like she’s pissed so I never bother with trying to approach her.

A few months ago, Norma confided in me that Susan has an ongoing health issue with her colon. When Susan had her last child years ago, it apparently ripped her from one end to the other. She has had numerous surgeries on her colon/rectal area to try to repair it but no success. The last one, the doctors gave her the option to have a colostomy temporarily and do a radical surgery that should fix it permanently or go for just another patch-up and hope for the best. She opted for the latter because she couldn’t stand the idea of a colostomy.

All that kinda makes me feel bad for her. But all in all, maybe it’s why she holds her ass so tight and is a bitch! Cause it wasn’t the stress of that weekend….

Now, I have only myself to thank for having to write her back.

The Wedding

So the wedding…

Let me say up front, it was one of the most unique (in a good way) and detail oriented weddings I’ve ever been to. Traditional with a modern flair, if that exists. She is an event planner so she was able to pick and choose details she’s done for other people and make them her own.

Prior to the wedding, there were so many different things to attend! It started off with girls pedicure on Thursday (me, bride, step mother, brides grandmother, step brother’s new fiance, my daughter, and step brother’s 3yr old illegitimate daughter). We had champagne and cranberry juice with cheese and crackers. After my pedi was complete and I was about three glasses of champagne in, an old lady in there having her nails done went into a seizure. Two of her daughters (in their 50s mind you) were in there with her. She went white and was in and out of consciousness. The ambulance came to take her to the hospital. I had to explain to the kids what was going on in simple terms: that lady is very sick; she has to go to the hospital…but it’s ok…they are taking care of her. Once they got her in the ambulance, my step mother and I finished off the remaining champagne!!! Jesus! The whole time I’m thinking…this is a bad sign.

That night, bride’s family all went to dinner at Franco’s. We (me, Luke and the kids) opted out of that because they were going to have like 30 people in that little restaurant already and we figured it would be too long for the kids to wait. We were invited to Norma’s (step mother) house afterward for dessert with the family and planned to attend that instead.  At the house, people began to pour in; some of them we knew and some we didn’t. Most were nice and introduced themselves. Of course, my cousin Tina was there. She’s the one I have to thank for introducing my father to Norma. I try to keep her at arms length and not tell her anything I wouldn’t want the world to know.  And she grew up in NC and doesn’t know the Ken Hoots WE know…nor do any of the rest of these people. Tina immediately told me her dad (my uncle, my dad’s brother) hated the he couldn’t be there but he just couldn’t come back to Orange Beach anymore without Ken there. My thought? Ummm…yeah. Because who’s gonna buy his airline ticket??? So, this was the first night of , “I’m so sorry about your dad. He was such a sweet man. We all miss him soooo much.” to which I would respond, “Would you please excuse me….I need to go get another glass of wine.” This is also the first time my children met Norma’s new boyfriend, Mike. After, the kids wanted to know if Mike lives with Norma. My response, “No, NorMama lives with MIKE.” You could see the little wheels turning in Cole’s head.

On to Friday, rehearsal dinner night. I took the kids out to Caribe to swim in the indoor pool that day while the family was working on preparations for the wedding and such. That evening, the kids had to be at the church for rehearsal by 4:30p. Luke and I were to go back to Norma’s house to greet friends and family arriving for the pre-dinner cocktails. Again, more people we didn’t really know droning on about my dad and lots of the bride’s young girlfriends with babies….none of whom ever spoke to us. “Please excuse me. I need to go get another glass of wine.”

Rehearsal dinner at Ono Commons. The poor groom’s family. I’m not sure how most people do it because I haven’t been to many weddings or rehearsal dinners but Haley invited ALL her family and friends to this dinner. There had to be at least 60 people there. Maybe 90. But right on time, a waiter approached us coming in the door to find out what we wanted from the bar! YIPPEEE! I got into the red wine. So eventually we all sit down for dinner. I’m at the table with Tina and Mary (Tina’s girlfriend; did I mention she is lesbian?). Mary is great company and sat next to me with Luke on my other side. I felt rather well insulated. The rest of our table consisted of Haley’s cousins. When the time came for toasts, the groom’s father spoke first.  I can’t recall exactly what he said but  I recall it being about the hardships of marriage, tough times and good times and being there for one another. Suddenly, a million instances come to mind of hard times, good times, struggles, and how Luke has always been there; I began to tear up. When the father finishes speaking, Luke turns and looks at me. He too has a tear in his eye.  I touched his cheek and he kissed me. When we turned back to the table, the photographer came running up and said, “Awww! That was so sweet! Could you do that again???” So we did.  🙂

After everyone finished their meal, someone turned on some music and we all started dancing. Things get a little fuzzy after that.

Bridal luncheon – Saturday morning.  I was a no-show.  My damn check liver light was on and I didn’t want to be anywhere at 10:30a! But I was told the dress code was “kinda like the Kentucky Derby but without hats.”  It’s December.

As for the service, the ceremony was at 7pm on New Year’s Eve. Haley’s whole family sings so a large group of them sang. Her REAL father brought her down the aisle with her mom. The unique touch there was instead of playing the traditional bridal march, they played Stars Fell on Alabama. Then all traditional stuff for the Methodist church and at the end as they introduced the couple, through the side doors on each side of the front of the church enter the family singers dressed in choir robes singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” gospel style…hands clapping in the air, pulling the whole church into singing with them and clapping as the couple exits down the aisle. I’m not generally a crying person but I teared up about three different times during the ceremony.

They were married at Orange Beach United Methodist Church. Not a lot of accessories to the church; there was a flower wreath and swag over the outside door…very beautiful and simple. And each pew had a bouquet of baby’s breath with stalks of cotton in them. That part I didn’t think was so beautiful but she likes the baby’s breath and he’s from MS so they used cotton. I understand the sentiment.

On a side note, Cole and Ila were in the ceremony. Ila came in behind the brides maids dropping flower petals with Ginny Rose. She did a perfect job and behaved like a little lady. Ginny Rose on the other hand, couldn’t be still and was goofing off the entire time during the ceremony. Once, Ila reached over and gently touched Ginny’s arm and mouthed, “Ginny Rose! No! Stop!” That didn’t work. Cole ushered in Norma’s mother and also lit one of the candles at the front. He chose to stand up front with the groomsmen. He was very still and I only saw him yawn once…but it was very small and concealed.  I’m proud of them both.

Off to the reception! The reception was held outside at Orange Beach Arts Center.  Every detail was perfect! She had a large white tent strung with lights, two bars, a dance floor, a leather sectional sofa nearby for seating, and all the food you could ever want.  The first thing I noticed when entering the tent were the bartenders. On one side there were two male bartenders and on the other, two female bartenders. I’m not sure if she planned it that way. The two men were both Eastern European; one was wearing a nylon type flight suit that zipped in the front and had his sunglasses perched on his forehead. His hair was very close cut. He looked just like something out of an action movie! I had a plan. Later in the evening after the couple was introduced and cut the cake, I asked the photographer to take some photos of me with this bartender. I thought it would be funny for Haley to find these in the middle of her proofs. The photographer was more than willing. We went over and I explained it to the bartender. He stepped out from behind the bar and I had him pose with me using our hands as guns. We took several photos then I thanked him for his time. I asked him where he was from but I have no recall of that. When he was leaving, I leaned in to do the European cheek kiss (which I know NOTHING about) and kissed each of his cheeks. He said, “No! No! It is THREE times. Like this.” So we did it once more but three times.  🙂

It was the first New Year’s Eve my children have stayed up to see the change of the year. Actually, they were asleep on that sofa (Ila was tired from dancing all night with Ginny Rose) and we woke them up for the changing of the year. They were thrilled…mostly about the party horns and hats.

We took it home after that. All I remember is waking up on the sofa in the living room wearing my fancy dress and all my make-up. But it was over.