A sure way to irritate people and to put evil thoughts into their heads is to keep them waiting a long time. This makes them immoral.
The Mist (Yes!) may be able to sleep in, but I've got to make the necessary arrangements for our stay here on the Gulf Beach. By 10:00 on Saturday morning, I'm up and moving, but the world is still a little out of focus and I know that the lack of sleep will bite me at some point during the day. Still, I've got some ice and that Glenfarclas and a cup of coffee as I stand on the balcony in my underwear and yell at who I am sure are my dear friends, Section X and his lovely wife and El Tio, Uncle Fenster, coming from the liquor store across the street where I will soon be making my purchases, so I proudly Yell At Them: "FODETUS MORTUUS EST, SEMPER VIVE FODETUS!" Loudly, while standing half dressed on the fourth floor balcony and hoisting a glass of booze at 10 a.m.
Ah well what a goof, it is not at X and crew, but at my young niece and nephews that I am Yelling and Toasting in my skivvies from the balcony at 10 in the morning. This is going to scar them for life.
"Uncle Padre is drunk already, mom," Sistah Barb later reports as the take of nephew J.
"Still drunk, I think," says other nephew J.
Ah, well, it is way too late in my life for appearances anyway and better that I scar them than somebody really dangerous.
I quickly discover that the BWSWBR hotel has an advantageous location: its own bar, which also opens up to the beach for easy ordering; a Rennebohm's (the generic name for any drug store in my lexicon) across the street; a liquor store right next to the Rennebohm's which opens early and stays open late, until midnight I am informed; and a decent nearby sports bar with some long name with the word "Beach" in it, but just a block away. In fact, I run into the owner of the nearby sports bar, who says it is open and they hope some Wisconsin fans show up for the UW basketball game later that day, which I assure him we will do. He informs me he is a huge Packer fan and he grew up in Louisville and got to know Paul Hornung, which explains why he owns a bar, I guess.
The booze prices at the nearby liquor store also are reasonable. For something around $100, I am able to score the staples for our stay, a large bottle of gin and some tonic, the traveling Chivas bottle, about a case of Miller Lite and a cheap cooler to assist us in traveling.
It is a raucous scene in the Nearby Sports Bar as the Badgers gather to watch the basketball team play Texas, ranked in the top ten. Somehow, the overmatched UW hangs around, waiting, waiting, keeping it close, until Michael Flowers nails a three point shot with only a couple of seconds left, and then steals the final inbounds pass, tossing it high in the air as the clock runs out, and Wisconsin has upset the Longhorns, 67-66, making us all pretty giddy. The food ain't bad either.
By the time I wander back to the BWSWBR, the Mist (Yes!) is on the beach and well into her third margarita, and she makes even less sense than I am making. That lack of sleep and early decision to have some drinks sure has HER off her game! Har, har! I manage to wander into the salt water, a requirement on these excursions, and TAW and Chico and LaVerne are now here and the Mist (Yes!) is talking endlessly about the Linda Drowzd Diet, the one endorsed by that internationally famous actress, Linda Drowzd.
"Linda Drowzd! Here, you read it and tell me where the catch is. I think this is for real!" asserts the assertive Mist (Yes!).
It only took a few moments to find the "catch," but I'm not convincing her, not now, not today, and it serves me right for hanging out at a sports bar while I leave sisters and spouse on the beach with margaritas and steamy pop magazines. The sun is bright, the air is warm and we are all as funny as we think we are.
"In hippo society, the mouth is an essential tool for expressing affection and communicating."
I don't know why the hippos intervened, but the rest of the afternoon and evening gets crazier and less and less in focus, until Chico and LaVerne and That Awful Woman and her son, the Hairy-haired One, and the Irish Mist (Yes!) and I wander a couple of blocks to have dinner at a place called Shell's, whereupon the Mist (Yes!), still feeling happy from the afternoon, engages the waitress in a running battle over our coupons and how much they worth at dinner.
"But they say $10 off per couple. We should get $30 off."
"No, you can't pool them together like that."
"That's what it says. Are you engaging in false advertising?"
"I'll ask the manager, ma'am, but we've never done that."
"But that's what it says."
The food at Shell's is actually pretty good and the price is even better, as I had a pretty decent lobster for something like $25 (not sure if this was before or after the discount that my lovely wife eventually wrangled out of the waitress), but nothing matched the look on LaVerne's face when the topic turned to health, as it always does when you reach COF status, with Chico indicating he had now lived longer than his father, and was reaching a family longevity record for any male. I don't know if it is possible, but his health habits are worse than mine, and we began laying bets on whether the coot would reach age 60 and set that family record.
"Hell, Chico, if you live to be 60, I'll give you another blow job!" I challenge.
"What did you say?", LaVerne picks up her chin from the table, amidst the surrounding laughter, and I catch her whispering to the Mist (Yes!), "Sometimes I wonder if I should believe these guys …."
Well, best to keep her wondering. Chico and I go back so far, we have to remember that it was one of those first days back at the Seminary in the late 60's when we met and then later were dorm-mates in the late great white Ogg, and recently have become seatmates at Badger football games, and even more recently began our odyssey to visit some of the top college football rivalries in the country. This year we had that liver-arresting trip to California, including a distressing but happily short visit to the unforgettable Hotel California and the long dinner with the California divorcee, a sister of a classmate who is now a priest, and then cadging beers off many Southern Cal and UCLA fans outside the old Memorial Coliseum before the game in which USC plastered their neighbors. The entire tale itself is quite sordid, and we shan't get into it here, but I find in the middle of my Outback notes the following, very troubling, list:
Hotel California - $174.96
Ivy@Shores - $300.00
Ocean View - $415.32
Total - $890.28
Tickets - $565
Rental - $90
Gas - $25
Pantry(??) - $48
Total - $728
Chico - $81 = 1/2 difference +$132 (Outback)
GRAND TOTAL - $213
I suppose I could make some sense of this apparent accounting, if you stuck a gun to my head and made me. All that aside, for some reason, this is a perfect remembrance of that trip to La-La Land. Do not ever ask Chico or me about the Hotel California. I still have no idea what pantry or pastry or something like that is supposed to mean, and I'd ask Chico, but he would likely remind me of what went on in Santa Monica.
Tonight, after our dinner at Shell's and more cocktails and returning to the BWSWBR, I am easily talked into a trip back to Nearby Sports Bar to watch the oldest codger, JoePa himself, pull out a win for the PSU Lions in whatever bowl it is that they landed in. I stumble home, wondering why I put myself through this immorality and idiocy on four hours sleep, only to find the Mist (Yes!), happily asleep, with the television blaring, but the clicker firmly held in her hand.
To Be Continued ...