Where’d January go?


Our plan is to have more social efforts here in Dallas this year, which will swing the karmic needle from the “Disasters” of 2010 to the “Great Year” of 2011. We started with a visit last weekend from nine — count ’em, NINE — friends from three different states. This confluence of socialdom was sparked by a lovely Southwest sale into Dallas, which has almost, but not quite, made me forget how steamed I am about their new Rapid Rewards changes.

The crew arrived in different shifts on Friday, which we condensed into an evening at Uncle Julio’s as we awaited each arrival. When I passed by there on my way to work a few days later, they were still replacing the windows, restocking the bar and reloading the little circular tortilla-making thingamajig.

Seating a group of 11 on a Friday seemed to be no problem when I called ahead, but between the call and our arrival, the power went out on nearby restaurant-laden McKinney Avenue.

Cause and effect being what it is, this prompted diners to abandon McKinney, hop in their cars and dash right over to Uncle Julio’s. By the time we arrived, it looked like New Delhi at rush hour in there. I’m quite sure they were over fire code capacity, but only by a few hundred people. Fortunately, that led to a noise level that made our rather outgoing group a little less noticeable.

Back at the house, one of the more original, creative ideas we had was to sing our own version of “Stu’s Song” from the movie “The Hangover.” (Also known as the “Dougie Doug Doug” song.) We were crushed to find out that our creative idea came a mere 14 months later than the other 4,358 people who also have uploaded versions of the song to YouTube. Ours is holding its own, though, with a phenomenal 15 views. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bHC2ibaOLs) I think we’re closing in quickly on “Charlie Bit My Finger.”

Several takes were required, due to:

1. Our inability to remember the words when the camera was on, despite singing it correctly an endless number of times when it was off.

2. My ability to hold the camera steady, which had absolutely nothing to do with the wine.

3. Our friends’ ability to sing on-key, which had absolutely nothing to do with the whiskey.

4. Several friends’ ability to stay up for this late-night adventure, which had absolutely nothing to do with the vodka.

The weekend was much fun, other than the unfortunate pizza delivery guy incident. I think I’ve finally gotten him to forgive us after sending a gift basket, a fat stack of $20s and a promise to never order from there again.

The weather was icky — wet and cold, which prompted us to stay at the house and play more than exploring Dallas. We cranked up our hot tub for the first time since temperatures hit sub-freezing. It was wonderful, until we somehow decided it would be bracingly invigorating to leap from the steaming tub into the pool. I blame peer pressure, mob mentality, senility and simple, staggering stupidity.

It was bracingly invigorating, all right. Kind of like being stabbed over and over by 234 rainforest tribal hunters equipped with poison-tipped needles.

I had kind of forgotten that the nerve pain from my abdominal surgery was exacerbated by cold. I remembered in mid-leap, and found myself sorely disappointed that I could not suddenly embrace the physics of flight, turn myself around in midair and slip back into the comfort of 105-degree water.

I apparently began screaming soon after that realization. Then I screamed as I broke through the ice on the top of the pool, screamed until I touched the bottom, screamed as I shot back upwards past the large iceberg, continued screaming as I bolted out of the pool and finally finished screaming as I sank back into the hot tub. I would have cried, too, if my eyelids hadn’t been frozen solid.

That’s how the police report describes it, anyway. But you know how inaccurate earwitness testimony can be. It was fun to watch all of the lights pop on in the neighbors’ houses, though. Like Christmas decorating all over again. I’m sure our neighbors enjoyed hearing such laughter emanating from our house all weekend. It’s been so quiet here since June that hearing such happiness brought them joy. I even think that anonymous letter asking that we move out was sent in loving jest.

Having 11 people in our house for three nights could’ve been a nightmare — as Twain said, fish and company stink after three days. But they were all a hotel … er, a homeowner could ask for: cleaning up the kitchen after our cooking frenzies, stripping their beds and even washing their towels. The only casualty of the weekend seems to have been my new little helicopter, which after a rather hard landing (into the wall, actually) can now only fly in circles, like Nemo with his little damaged fin. I’m going to work on it this weekend, though. Good thing I put up that scintillating new four-minute video of it on my FB page already. (Zzzzzzz, ZZZZZZzzzz, ZZZZzzzzz, ZZZZZzzzzzZZZZZZ, crash!)

We did escape once to a bowling alley, or what we thought was a bowling alley. I had heard from a work friend (hi, Erin) about this seedy, dingy, down-on-its-heels bowling place that sounded like a blast, and perfect for this crew. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember where it was or what its name was.

So we ended up at a place nearby called “300.” I’ve already been contacted by their lawyers for calling it a “bowling alley,” despite the fact that I just wrote that 19 seconds ago. They have bowling shoes that are clean, shiny and had no fungus growing in them. In fact, most looked brand-new.

They have no big ugly racks of loser balls with huge chunks out of them and finger holes that fit only leprechauns or giants. No, you go to their counter and size your fingers on their little tester thing, then select the weight of ball you want, and they deliver up a perfectly spherical little bundle of perfection to you.

I asked for a 1-pound ball, and was even willing to settle for a 2-pounder. But noooo, they were unable to come up with one, and forced me to use a huge 8-pounder, despite my whining and pathetic pointing to my abdomen. Sadists. I kind of liked the little Strawberry Shortcake kid printed on it, though. Other people did, too, because I saw them pointing at it in envy.

“300” actually has a menu printed on real paper, instead of those felt boards with the little white plastic ALL-CAPS letters that never line up properly (not that I notice, because I AM NOT OCD.) And they served wine! Real wine, from a bottle, not a box, and mojitos made with real muddled mint. And no grubby, stubby little pencils to keep score; it was all done electronically by a Cray supercomputer that between frames performed Pythagorean theorem calculations for fun.

I’m kind of surprised they let us in. I think the security guard must’ve dozed off for a minute. The cease-and-desist order from the lawyers demands that I hereafter forever and ever refer to “300” only as “an elite facility to facilitate the respect demanded by the grand and historic sport of bowling.” Or something of that nature.

Despite the fanciness of the place, we still rolled a lot of gutter balls, had many 2-2 splits and more than a few scores below 100. I think I’ll respond to the lawyers and demand that they change the name to “83 to 300.” That’ll be more accurate, and I love accuracy, which you can tell by the fact that I never, ever exaggerate. It will also make the lawyers happy and give them something to do in the down time when they’re not sharpening their teeth. Lord knows I love to share joy.

Another highlight of the weekend was a trip to a big ol’ boot store, which they don’t seem to have in Nashville, Green Bay or South Louisiana. Somehow we lost two hours in there, which we’ll never get back until the Big Bang Theory guys create that time machine they keep talking about. C’mon, Sheldon, get off your rear.

All in all, a good year so far, with three whole weeks down. Woohoo!

About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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2 Responses to Where’d January go?

  1. Miss Tina says:

    Are you the Laurie Holloway that took dance at Miss Tina’s? I’ve been looking for you! I have a facebook page just for students and I’m uploading all the pictures from the studio, competitions, recitals, etc. If you are who I am looking for, please find me on facebook: Christine Manion

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