Friday, June 15, 2007

First Full Day In Ohio

It is 11:35pm in Ohio right now, and my mom went to bed because she wrenched her shoulder getting my grandmother's present out of the car (an automatically retracting hose wheel for her garden, it apparently weighed 50 pounds and my godmother Joycie laughed at my mom and hauled it one handed (after 5 margaritas) into her own car) and my dad is drinking a glass of red wine and watching a cooking show whose camera angles are making my head spin.

But perhaps that is because I have consumed more alcohol in a 12 hour period than I have for the last six weeks combined. Welcome to a Tice/Wilhelm Ohio visit!

I'll recap for those of you who have never come here with me.

6:23am - my dad gets up and goes out to get the paper. The security system beeps when he leaves the house, and beeps again when he comes in. For some reason these two beeps wake me instantly and completely. I lie in bed and listen to my dad make coffee and then I pad downstairs and get a cup. It is now 7:00am and my father's mouth drops open in shock to see me. I drink two cups of coffee and then head upstairs to lie in bed and read my book.

8:45am - my dad leaves for work and says something to my mom. This is after he walks in and out of the house at least 13 separate times, sending the security system into apoplectic shock.

8:50am - I peek my head into my mom's room and she is doing the crossword puzzle in bed, drinking coffee. I ask what my dad said and she says, "He said to pace ourselves today, because we have a long night ahead of us." She means my grandmother's birthday lunch at our favorite Mexican place, Loma Lindas.

10:45am - after my mom and I have read the paper, had three more cups of coffee each, and looked at photos she's taken over the last 17 years (her memory chips holds, currently, 700 pictures, to which I say, what the hell is wrong with my camera that it is full after 10??? Ridiculousness) we head out to get pedicures. We laugh and chat the entire time and then we head over to Lomas to surprise my grandmother.

12:30pm - EVERYONE is at Lomas. EVERY single member of my mother's side of the family are there. I walk in to surprise my grandma (after sitting in the parking lot for 15 minutes because Joycie is late, as usual, and doesn't want to miss the surprise. So we wait, and as soon as she walks into the restaurant, we do too.
My family has taken over one whole room in the restaurant, all the waitresses know us by first name (at least one member of my family is at this restaurant every day of the week except Monday, because they are closed that day). We have been doing this for over 30 years. I walk in and head over to my grandma to surprise her. She sees me when I am about 10 feet away and her mouth drops open in shock. She stands up so quickly she knocks my cousin Adam in the head with her arm. She bursts into tears and lights up with the biggest smile I've seen from her in a while. I want to freeze this memory in my mind, because it is the single best feeling in my life. My aunts freak out, too, because they didn't know I was coming. Everyone is crying and rushing up to hug me and I haven't felt this loved in a long time. It feels great, and I'm smiling and crying and laughing and hugging people into comas.

We eat lunch and she opens presents and Joycie hands me her card to Grandma, saying, read this, Ena, you'll cry your eyes out. And it is good, but Joycie has taught me well, Grandma opens my card, the card I bought about three hours earlier, and the one that made me burst into tears in the card aisle. Joycie reads over my grandma's shoulder and bursts out crying and declares me the winner.

I am covered in cousins and aunts and my mom's best friend is sitting across from me and my grandma is sitting next to me and my mom and I are laughing at our own jokes, and I just cannot tell you how much I need this. I absolutely love my family, I love them dearly. I miss them more than I realize. What a great place to be from.

Somehow we drink 4 margaritas and each of us only take a few bites of our food, what with all the joyous chaos. My mom and I grab PJ, Allison and Mallory (cousins, PJ is my favoritest of favorites, and he's a total computer whiz.) We stop by their house and my mom buys his friend's Wii for my dad for father's day. Then Mallory and PJ come over and PJ rewires the house. No kidding, he just set up wireless internet and hooked up the Wii, but the guy is incredibly impressive with his technical skills and know-how. I swear there is NOTHING this guy can't do. We bowl and play tennis with the Wii for a couple of hours until my dad gets home, and he plays my 12 year old cousin Mallory in bowling and she almost beats him. (oh and I have a beer, while my mom has a beer and then a scotch and my dad has two martinis.)

6:30pm - we head down to the Toledo zoo for Toledo's biggest event of the year, the ZooTo-Do. Expensive tickets, and the men wear tuxedo coats, shirts, cumberbunds and then shorts and tennis shoes. The ladies wear high end dresses and tennis shoes. You buy drink tickets and all the best restaurants in Toledo have booths where they have samples of their food and the food is excellent and it is free. I drink two cosmos and a margarita.

We stay until the thing is breaking up, my parents know every single person in Toledo and they all tell me I look JUST like my mom and there are three bands and it is just awesome. I argue with my dad about whether the band is playing Queen or Def Leppard, and I'm right. I have to sing along to prove it and he gives up, whether because he believes me or just wants me to stop singing, I'm not so sure.

We drive home, I'm having a glass of red wine, and tomorrow I'm going to go shopping with my mom and then come home and help my dad plant his flower baskets and then I think we're going out to dinner. On Sunday I'm golfing with my mom, dad and my uncle Bob which right there are three of my most favorite people on earth. I couldn't be happier right now.

I'm home.

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