Long time, no talk, which given my mood last time I posted may be a good thing. Honestly, my mood has not improved a whole lot…I feel overwhelmed, frustrated and completely powerless. I still have zero idea what I am going to do in about 7 weeks, the job searches are fruitless and I am starting to believe pointless, and the arrangements are what they are. Sporadic, hit and miss…that does not even begin to cover it. The news pisses me off: it is either politics (seriously, the election is OVER , we are once again looking at the same cast of characters and I can only hope we actually do move forward this term), Sandy (she was a beast!) or random acts of violence and/or larceny. Oh, let’s not forget General Petraeus….the nation’s top spy brought down by an insecure, paranoid and jealous woman and somehow both parties are blameless because both are skinny and one wears makeup. Facebook is no better…I see/read posts and statuses from( my version of) the 1% whose situation has not been affected economically or has somehow miraculously improved who say they don’t see a recession, the ones that say how great people’s lives are and if you are not where they are, pray. I am not even getting into that can of worms right there…just know that my lack of patience makes it all get on my nerves more than it should.
I am just trying to breathe here….clear my head and just… be. Lord knows the problems aren’t going anywhere and if by chance they do disappear, there is an entire line of new ones ready, willing and able to take their place. However, there are bright spots here and there: had a really nice dinner and walk (more of a bus ride) through Georgetown with Reliable One for his birthday; UTA finally getting her house and being super-duper excited over it; finding new songs to fall in love with and play on repeat forever. Spending Thanksgiving with my parents and sisters and getting to go to Oscar’s baby shower!! I wasn’t going to go…money was tight (Oscar hails from the City of Brotherly Love and Cheese Steaks), I needed to save and she would not miss me since she was not expecting me. But I changed my mind…I needed a change of scenery (trust me, unemployment is no vacation, no staycation, nothing like that) and a break from my thoughts. No matter how much I save, the money will be spent eventually and may as well indulge at least one more want before I can’t any longer.
The trip to the bus station was more eventful than the bus ride itself…the Greyhound station here in DC has closed and bus service is now out of Union Station…I was a frazzled wreck trying to catch the bus before it left (no idea what time the next bus was due)…I yelled at workers, screamed profanities at no one in particular (because that is what crazy people do to vent their frustrations) and honestly considered turning right back around and offering Mama Oscar some lame excuse (the important things like presents and cake were already there) while I sat in the apartment alone yet another weekend. But the bus was late and I did not miss it, so I decided to keep on track with the plan at hand. It was a quiet ride and not as long as I thought it would be…I looked out the window at the passing scenery, the Baltimore skyline, someplace industrial that if I did not know better would swear was New Jersey (I think it was Delaware) and then my destination skyline. There were no random conversations this trip…the bus was not full and the few passengers were sleeping or reading. Just a quiet ride with me drinking in sights I had never seen before, which helped to improve my mood a lot.
When I got off the bus (this is going to sound so corny and so trite) I actually felt at home…or at the very least that I had been there before. The sights, the sounds, the smells…I felt I could make a new start right there (which I am now looking into) and I knew I made the right decision to break away if only for a day or so. I caught a cab to Oscar’s house and drank in the neighborhood, the street signs, the row houses (where are the stairs leading to an actual porch at in this town?) and surprisingly, the lack of architecture. Here in DC, every building over 50 years old is pretty much an architectural masterpiece…up there, not so much. I saw Chinatown, marveled at how short the buildings were and felt like a 10 year old again when I saw that the downtown actually had a shopping district. DC has not had that in decades! And then I was there…
The look of surprise on Oscar’s face when I whispered her name through the open window was priceless and I KNEW I had made the right decision. The woman is HUGE people and I mean that in a wonderful, I love you so much kind of way…after all, she is pretty much 7 months pregnant. Her complexion is so clear and smooth and if possible, the woman is even more beautiful than ever. She kept saying how she looked terrible, she wasn’t ready, blahblahblah. We hugged as if it were the last time we would ever see each other and then decided to go eat some food.
You cannot go to the City of Brotherly Love without having a cheese steak, so we walked over to the two of the most famous places in Philly for that: Pat’s and Geno’s. We decided we would buy one from each place so I could compare the two and I have to say….both disappointed me but if I had to choose, Pat’s would win because there meat was more flavorful. The prices were pretty high, the fries were greasy and in my opinion, all they have going for them is a long standing rivalry. Kind of like the Redskins and the Cowboys…both teams are mediocre but the rivalry has gone on so long, they are known more for the rivalry than for great plays. So we decided to go to the neighborhood bar and grill where we split pasta (humongous does not do justice to the serving size) and an Italian meats pizza (which was yum-yum). We laughed, talked, flirted with the waiter (who flirted back) and Craigslisted at the table. Once we made it back to her house, she was on the phone with Morning Person, Chef and Cuz while I met her family.
There was Mama Oscar who is a complete whirlwind….I cannot keep up with that chick. At all. There was MATH (man around the house) who definitely looks better in person than he does in pictures and was hilarious. I met Brother Oscar who surprisingly knew who I was, Poppa Oscar who was super sweet and very accommodating, Baby Oscar who trusted me with his secret identity (you can’t tell anyone but he is actually Spiderman) and was highly upset when I left and Mom-Mom Oscar. That lady is off the chain and is offering refresher courses on keeping folks on their toes. I even met Oscar’s hometown BFF who was quieter than I expected but very sweet, nice and goal oriented. I met Mama Oscar’s sister of the heart and her two beautiful daughters. All of these people treated me like I was family. In fact, better than family because there were no arguments or nagging or the things your family does or says that is always “for your own good”.
I have to say, I felt at home with The Oscars….and their home is filled with so much love. It is lived in and filled with pictures and Baby Oscar’s artwork. The kitchen had pots and pans bubbling over and I was put to work with the rest of them. Oscar and I put the party favors together (pink diaper pails with tulle, pink safety pins and colorful mini-pacifiers and filled with candy baby feet) while Mama and MATH prepared the food. Everyone tried on my hair, we laughed, we took pictures and told stories and jokes. That night, Oscar and I slept downstairs where the sofa bed tipped over with me in it…we laughed so hard I just knew we were waking someone up. The only blight on the trip (and my #1 issue with this city period) is that the bathrooms are simply too tiny. I simply could not fit in it and say what you want about weight…I could not lose enough weight to ever fit in them unless I became a skinny man, and even then it would be a tight fit. Seriously, the City of Brotherly Love does not have bathrooms….they have bodily function torture chambers.
The baby shower was small but great…I made up objective questions all about Oscar (they were so objective I lost the game) and when I tried to get answers from Baby Oscar, he was instructed not to tell me. I told Oscar she is NOT RIGHT when all I am doing is fostering an interest in the child. Mama Debbie got the answer sheet mixed up with the question sheet and Mom-Mom Oscar actually whipped out her cell phone to make a phone call for an answer. In the end, Oscar’s cousin walked off with the scented candle prize. We ate the yummiest foods and the cake was dee-lish. I need more of that cake. Baby Kayla got wonderful presents both practical and not so practical and Oscar was so.incredibly.happy….I almost cried. I do not begrudge anyone happiness or success but when it comes to people who really do not have a lot of it in their lives….to see it take over and transform them…leaves me speechless and teary-eyed. I am so thankful that Mama Oscar invited me and that I was able to be a part of their lives and this celebration….again, what people say is true. It is the little moments and the little things that pack the biggest punch. No one there was rich or bought huge, expensive presents…it did not make the gifts any less fabulous or any less appreciated. It was the love, the laughter and the spirit in which we all gathered and gave that made it so incredibly special. The food was more yummy because we shared it with good company and for a little while…we were a family with all the good parts and none of the bad.
And then I left…to return to my reality but I have a new determination and I think I may have a little bit fight somewhere inside of me. I will get into all of that in my next blog post. For now, thanks for stopping past and reading and as usual….enjoy your day!