Pay it Forward

When George and I told our individual stories about first finding out about Baby Herron and the problems we were facing (Jesy’s version, George’s version) we were absolutely overwhelmed with support near and far. Not only did we receive love and support but we were also connecting with other families who suffered a pregnancy loss. There are so many cards, books, letters, emails, comments and phone calls of others pouring their heart out to us and telling us their story. Many of the stories were ones that ended with a positive note on how they were able to conceive again but one story was still in progress……

{Meet Lauren Starling Hope}

In a sense Lauren and I grew up together in the West Chester area of Cincinnati. Her brother and my brother were in Boy Scouts and our families would also camp together in the summers. Lauren and I were never  “best friends” but more like acquaintances as we grew older. We went to different schools and I was a few years older which meant that I didn’t get a chance to interact with Lauren or see her that much.  I think it was decided that we were in either grade school or junior high the last time that we talked or saw each other. Fast forward about 14 years to the reason that Lauren and I became friends again.

{Late September 2010} Greg and Lauren Hope are getting ready to welcome their first child, Johnathan Hope, into the world. Lauren was 9 months pregnant and ready to burst went she went into labor. Getting to the hospital feeling anxious and expecting to meet the new handsome love of her life when she and Greg were given the most unexpected and horrific news. The nurses could not find Johnathan’s heartbeat, Lauren gave birth to a stillborn beautiful baby boy. I remember looking on Facebook to try and see if there were any pictures as some of the status updates indicated that she would be delivering soon but could only find “thinking of you and Greg” or “praying for you and your baby.” I thought about reaching out to Lauren but never knew exactly what to say.

{December 3, 2010} I received a message from Lauren reaching out to me after hearing that we lost our baby girl. This message from Lauren is one that I have kept and continue to read to this day to remind me of how a friendship rekindled over such a crappy loss and terrible time in our lives. Lauren and I began exchanging Facebook messages, phone calls and emails of similar thoughts and emotions. It was such a relief to have someone to lean on and cry to that knew exactly what I had gone through and she was still breathing and living day by day but always having her baby boy on her mind. Lauren gave courageous and hopeful advice that I know helped to get me where I am emotionally today. She would say things to me like, “its okay to be pissed” and sent me books and blogs that were about pregnancy loss that were comforting at the time.

{December 22, 2010} Lauren sent one of the most hopeful messages that left me with goosebumps. She had just told me about her friend Caroline who lost her baby 3 months prior to Lauren losing Johnathan. The message was titled, “Happy thoughts” and in the message Lauren informed me that Caroline was now 12 weeks pregnant. Lauren also wrote, “The way I look at it, it seems like the natural thing to be, as she was pregnant, then me, then you. Seems only fair that she would be pregnant again first out of the three of us, right?” I LOVED this message, it put the biggest smile on my face. Of course that was fair, Caroline suffered a loss then Lauren then me and now Caroline is able to celebrate with pregnancy. It was a matter of time before it was Lauren’s turn and then it could be mine. I have OFTEN thought about what Lauren said to me and I thought about her and her friend Caroline pretty frequently.

Over the Christmas season Lauren traveled back up to Cincinnati from Texas to spend time with her family and friends. We were able to hang out a few times and finally see each other again after sending messages back and forth and talking through emotional issues over the phone. In our conversations hanging out at a local bar (obviously having a great time) we were able to catch up, reminisce about old times with our family and future doctor appointments and how each of us were on a “plan” to conceive again. Its nice to know that I’m not the only nut out there!

A month or so after seeing Lauren she called to chit chat like we have been doing. This time we weren’t celebrating Caroline being pregnant but it was Lauren’s turn! She was 9 weeks prego at the time and you could hear the absolute joy in her voice. I think I was almost excited for Lauren’s pregnancy as my own pregnancy with Baby Herron. It was such a full circle moment and even though I wasn’t with Lauren from the moment of her loss with Johnathan I could at least experience this awesome news of pregnancy #2.

Lauren was so sweet, she was excited for her pregnancy but she was also calling to let me know that it was “my turn.” I will gladly carry that baton which was passed from Caroline to Lauren and when its my time I’ll continue to pass it along to those who need it too.

Have you met our nephew?

{Mason Matthew Wenstrup}

One could say that I’m slightly obsessed with getting this little cutie to smile. But he is so photogenic and fun! Plus, from the pictures he must love playing with his Aunt Jesy. Thought I would share some photos of my handsome little nephew who I lovingly call, Bubby. Who do YOU think he looks like, Matt or Jami?

Things I realize

Ohhhh, that's why he is screaming like that. He managed to get out of the car seat and is now a decoration on my window!

My brother-in-law has been very sick for the past week. And because of this the family has pitched in and to watch Mason, his and Jami’s son, while Jami has been at work.  Jesy and I have helped out when we could and that has meant taking him last Friday night and also last night.  In doing this there are a couple of things that I have come to realize about having a baby around that I think I knew before, but really comes to light when you have a baby around all day.

  • Just because you think you are ready to be a father doesn’t mean you really are.  Ever since turning 30, I have felt ready (“finally” as Jesy would probably say).  I thought that I had gotten all the selfishness out of my system, or at least most of it.  I thought that I had learned how to control my temper enough to give a child a fighting chance, I mean I have to deal with Carson everyday, how much more trying can a kid be?  The temper still needs work.  It will probably be something I struggle with the rest of my life, I just hope I can learn to control it enough to not let it severely affect my child’s development.
  • My patience still needs a lot of work too.  What is that old saying?  There’s nothing in the world that’s better than the sound of a laughing baby?  Well conversely there is nothing in the world more aggravating than a screaming baby and no solution for what ails the baby. Twice now in the last few days I have gone to pick up Mason and steal him from the living zombie that is Matt and twice now Mason has screamed like he was being murdered by his car seat the entire ride to my house.  I thought kids loved riding in cars?   I thought car rides put almost any kid to sleep?  Not Mason, at least not for me.  And what could I do, I was driving, it’s not like I could reach back and shove the bink (pacifier*) in his mouth, although he would have more than likely spit it out anyway.  So I tried music, not too loud, although I wanted to just to drown out the screaming.  I tried The Beatles first, they have a lot of calming songs plus it was music that I would love too.  Of course the first song was Revolution, probably the least calming song The Beatles have other than maybe Helter Skelter.   I quickly changed the song, ahhh Blackbird, that is a good one, but alas the little man was still doing his best impression of a banshee.  After a couple more tries with The Beatles with no success I try a different tactic.  What is something he would be used to listening too?  Matt and Jami have pretty different tastes in music than me, but I do have some Ludacris on my iPod, so let’s try that.  Nope still nothing.  It wasn’t until five seconds before we pulled in the driveway that Mason finally ran out of steam.  It’s a long trip from Liberty Township to Sharonville with an angry baby.  Road-rage would have had nothing on me.  Situations like that are why people start smoking.  I felt helpless and the more helpless I felt it seemed like the louder he got, it was enough to make me want to stop the car and just get out.  By the time I got home and he had just stopped I just sat in the driveway with the car on letting him sleep and letting me regroup.  That is when it dawned on me that I need to keep working hard to get better with patience, it is still a long road, but one I need to travel.
  • Our house is still nowhere near ready for a baby.  We have nothing to entertain a kid, or worse to put a kid while he/she sleeps so that we can get things done while said baby is sleeping.  When Jesy was home we took turns holding and watching Mason while the other did stuff, doing dishes, making dinner, whatever.  We have no pack and play, no bouncer, no real toys, nothing that would entertain the baby that would give both of us the opportunity to get things done.  Likewise we have nothing to hold the baby or tether it to us making multi-tasking nearly impossible.  All we have is a high-chair, and while that has certainly come in handy it is not nearly enough.  You would think with as much as we have watched my best friends baby, Aayla, and now with Mason we would be better prepared, but we aren’t, and it was no more glaringly obvious than last night.
  • Jesy will make a superior mother.  Is there something better than superior?  Seriously, I was amazed, as I often am with the ease at which she takes on a motherly role.  It was like she was born to be a mother.  Despite the crying and screaming she was calm and did anything and everything to calm Mason down and he responded quite well to her on most occasions.  She also brought the best out in him.  He played with “us” for like an hour before he fell asleep and she was brilliant with him that entire time.  She found little things that he loved to do and would always be interacting with him and making him smile and “goo.”  I don’t know that I had ever heard a baby “coo” and “goo” like Mason was last night, it was incredible and Jesy was 99% responsible.  And I guess that is what makes what we went through recently even more baffling and upsetting to me.  There is not more perfect person to be a mom than Jesy and for her to have gone through what she went through is unfair to anyone, but especially someone who will be such a good mother as her.
  • Mason farts like his father and sleeps like his mother.  I was sitting several feet away and I could hear Mason farting like he was cast in a Fatties movie with Jack Black.   Some people have stream of thought, Mason has a stream of fart.  Is that an earthquake?  Did a train just go through our backyard?  Is there a T-Rex loose in our house?  Nope Mason is just farting….again.  The kid is a champion.  But lets face it, he’s just carrying on a family tradition, congrats my boy you are a Wenstrup.  And how a kid can feel rested after the way he sleeps is beyond me.  Half the time I was holding him while he slept he looked like he was trying to go ten rounds in a ring with Mike Tyson.  The kids arms were moving and swinging with a quickness that Ali would have been proud of.  I know Jami is more known for her conversations in her sleep, but it looks like Mason has decided to take it up a level and do some shadow boxing in his sleep.  I feel sorry for any future girlfriend.

I guess this works, but I'm pretty sure only girl babies should be sucking on it.

  • A baby is exhausting.  I know every mother will scoff when they read this and will just laugh it off as me being a typical man, but I had no idea a baby was so tiring.  How something that only eats, poops, and sleeps can wear an adult out was beyond me.  But then it dawned on me, this little human is relying on me for everything, so I’m constantly on and that is after working for 8 hours already today.  So calm down ladies, the light bulb just went on.  A special shout out to all the single mothers/fathers out there.  Wow, I have no idea how you do it.  Jesy and I tag teamed Mason pretty well last night (does that sound as bad as I think?) and he wiped us both out (yeah it does).

It would seem I have learned a lot in a couple of days, and thank God I did.  There are some things I definitely need to work on, I just hope I can be better.  It’s tough to teach an old dog new tricks.  The good news is that where I fail I know Jesy will be there to pick me up.  My only fear is, and it has been a fear for a long time, ever since we started seriously talking about having kids, will I be good enough?  Looking at Jesy I know she is ready and I know she is good enough, she will be fannnnnnnnnntastic.  I just hope I can do half as good, because I’m scared that I might not be able to be better and our kids will have a broken dad.

*This little footnote is about the pacifier.  How many names does that damn thing have?  Bink, binky, pacifier, paci, mouth plug, scream stopper, fake nipple, nuk, baba, nibbler, and Vin Diesel.  I’m sure there are 100 more as well, but these are the most common ones I have heard.  No wonder English is one of the hardest languages to learn, we give something like a pacifier 2,000 different names.  Good luck kids!

Rant over.

Hope

Everyone, Hope. Hope, everyone.

Does anyone know what in the hell was going on at Kenwood mall this Saturday?  Was there some huge sale going on?  Was it the “Please come out and shop because the economy sucks and we need some business and let’s face it, it’s the middle of January and you weren’t doing anything anyway” sale?  Because that place was packed like it was the week before Christmas…and it was the only mall in America.  You would have been hard pressed to tell that there is a recession going on at Kenwood mall.

Normally I would have just turned around and went home after Jesy and I went up and down at least four isles to find a parking spot.  I’m just not that patient when it comes to mall parking.  Nine times out of ten I don’t want to be there anyway, so why would I put that much effort to find a parking spot three zip codes away?

But it was a special day.  Today was the day that both Jesy and I felt like we could handle going to the Build-A-Bear Workshop at Kenwood to make the stuffed bear that we had planned on making for our child.  You see, before we heard the heart beat for the last time (wow, that was tougher to type that I thought it would be) we went to Build-A-Bear and bought a recorder and took it with us to the appointment to record the heartbeat. Our plan was to then put it in a bear for our baby.  I must admit this was not my idea, I stole it from a co-worker who suggested it.  So, before everything blew up, we had recorded the heartbeat and for the last two months that recorder just sat in the original bag that we bought it in collecting dust.  As a matter of fact I hadn’t even listened to it since that day, couldn’t.

Sooooo, yeah it was worth the Everest-like hike from Scooby Doo 17 to the mall entrance.

Picking the right bear:

Harder than I thought.  I’m an unconventional thinker sometimes and I like to mix it up.  I thought the rabbits they had were very cute and didn’t feel like going all main-stream with this.  But, Jesy hates rabbits because she had a real rabbit when she was younger and it was mean apparently.  So the rabbit was out.  I liked the wolf that they had, it was a special WWF (World Wildlife Foundation, not wrestling) that would be replaced by another animal in the coming months.  But the way it had to sit didn’t make it very cuddly.  Dear God, I just used cuddly and cute in the same paragraph, this is getting dangerous.  So two strikes so far.  Jesy and I just kind of wandered around like zombies staring at the bears and other animals you could build not getting “that feeling” from any of them.  And of course I didn’t want to budge either about getting a traditional brown bear, it just seemed to normal for any kid of mine.

But then there it was.  A white bear with pink hearts.  Perfect for that little girl we had lost.  I mean if they had a frog it would have been an easy choice, but this bear was a fine substitute.  I can imagine a very young Jesy picking out this exact bear.

Building the bear:

Once we had the deflated bear in hand it was time to get her all stuffed.  As we were waiting in line to get the bear innards I noticed that we were the only people in there without an ankle biter with us, I’m sure it seemed a bit strange to the employees there, because several times we were asked, “Oh, building a bear for your little one?”  Ummmmmmmmmmmmm.  Blank face. That was our response.  Pretty articulate right?  What do you say, how do you respond to that?  “Well Build-A-Bear employee that I have never met, let me tell you all about how we lost the baby that we had planned on building this bear for, and please excuse my wife’s tears right now as you have struck a nerve.  Thanks.”

I know it wasn’t their fault at all and they were just trying to make small talk as the machine filled the bear, but dammit I was really hoping to get out of here without Jesy having to even think about re-hashing that story verbally again.  I was prepared just to say yes to shut him up, but Jesy bravely told him a VERY Reader’s Digest condensed version.  He did the awkward shut up and looked down at the ground.

Naming the bear:

The hardest part of all.  With bear in hand we had to sit at the “naming station” and fill out a “birth certificate” for the bear.  Weird.  The bear gets a birth certificate and our baby doesn’t.  Surreal really.  So what do you call a bear that you build for someone who has passed away?  What do you name a bear that the intended recipient will never receive?  What do you name a bear that your wife will cuddle with and cry on?

Hope.

It was so easy, but I blanked.  Jesy was the one that came up with the name and it couldn’t have been more perfect.  I think she felt like she needed some hope, and Hope is what she got.

Jesy has slept with the bear both nights since bringing it home.  Even I rolled over this morning while Jesy was in the shower and hugged it.  I’m not sure that I will be brave enough to listen to the heart beat again anytime soon, but baby steps right?

It was a powerful and emotional day/weekend, but I’m glad we finally did it.  It was another necessary step in healing and moving on I think.

“You have to admit it’s getting better.  It’s getting better all the time.”

Toilet Humor

How appropriate, It captures deep thought and what looks to be someone squeezing out a turd.

Well that really isn’t accurate is it?  Is it toilet humor when no toilet was involved?  Not to get too philosophical on people, but is it toilet humor because it involves bodily functions that produce waste like dropping the “duce”or “draining the snake?”  What about farting?  That isn’t really waste, but it certainly has a similar smell, right?  Does that fall into toilet humor even though people rarely do it on or even near a toilet?

While Socrates is rolling in his grave I suppose I will get to the point.  I had the pleasure of hanging out with my brother-in-law, Matt, and his brand new baby boy Mason, which is of course my nephew, the other night. He is my first nephew and I couldn’t be more proud, or happy.  I love spending time with him, looking at him as he absorbs everything around him.  Holding conversations with him that I know he can’t even begin to comprehend, but helps make me look less crazy because before it was just me talking to myself.

But what really made the other night special was for the first time ever I got to see a baby really work a turd out.  Gross?  Hell no, try hysterical.  It might have been the funniest thing I have ever seen.  I loved watching this little guy go from looking like a cute little sleepy baby transform into a 70-year-old man who is seemingly putting every ounce of effort into squeezing out a fudgecicle no bigger than my pinky finger.  It was almost like watching that Michael Jackson video where everyone’s face is changing.

He would scruntch up his face and stick out his tongue and give it a good, “Ughhhhh.”  Then he would relax, like he was building up for round two.  I mean it was honestly like a boxing match.  Some imaginary bell would ring and he and the turd would go to their respective corners and get some relief for the coming rounds.  Matt and I would act as his trainers, encouraging him, telling him to show that turd who’s boss, not to let up, to stop playing around and just end this.

"Who does Number 2 work for?"

The turd was clearly getting encouragement of his own, because this “fight” would go on for at least 5 rounds.  Grunting, face shriveling, and an all out abdominal attack, and that was just Matt and I eating the pizza we ordered.   Mason was deep into the fight of his life to prove once and for all that he was stronger than the turd.  All I could think about was Austin Powers , “Who does number two work for?”   The answer by the end of the night would be Mason.  But until then it would be a back and forth battle that was just too close to call.  I had them even on my score sheet until…

Suddenly it was over.  Mason delivered the knockout punch with a grunt that would have made a feral animal shy away.  Oh and I could feel it, I could feel the vibration of the turd hitting the back of the diaper.  Matt and I both looked down and laughed and then congratulated Mason on his hard-fought victory, raising him up like the champion he was.  And as I looked at him I couldn’t help but notice the relief on his face.  It was like he had just given birth to a brown baby boy.  If it wasn’t for the fact that he had to be changed I think he would have just fallen asleep.

A goodnight and a great victory for the nephew.  I just hope that he knows that there will be an endless stream of rematches from here on out.  Good luck buddy, give ‘em hell!

“Christmas Shopping.”

Clearly this Christmas Shopping Tradition goes back a ways.

I have been a part of the Wenstrup family for 9 Christmas’ at this point and this is the first year I was invited to go along on the men’s annual “Christmas Shopping Adventure.”  I was so excited when I was first invited that I almost peed myself.  Finally, I get to take part in the time old tradition that always had good stories to tell afterward.

For you see, this was not any ordinary shopping trip.  For years these men have gone out under the guise of shopping for their significant others and got stupid drunk instead.  I of course can’t drink, but the stories that have always been told about this night are legendary, and I wanted in.  I suppose there are some years that people actually do have to go shopping, in that unlikely event he would be made fun of all night for interrupting or delaying the drinking for actual shopping.  LAME.  But of course the legend does have it that it did all start as shopping for jewelry first, which would take all of 10 minutes in Newport. And since they were already in Newport why not hang out and drink with the other three hours to kill.

So the legend goes.

So here is my entry to the mythology of  “Christmas Shopping.”

Cast of Characters:

  • John Wenstrup – The leader and worst organized.  He has a penchant for over drinking and cracking wise at the least advantageous moments.
  • Paul Clements – Second in command.  He easily has the biggest mouth, but swears to have never been in a fight.
  • Randy White – The peace keeper.  A new addition to the outfit, but fits in like a glove with the rest of the “Wild Hogs.”
  • Bill Meinhardt – The innocent.  I’m not sure Bill quite new what he was getting into.
  • Matt Wenstrup – The enforcer.  Knows immediately where all bottles are that could be weapons when entering a bar.
  • George Herron (Me) – The DD.  Due to a close call last year with the local police, my bodies resistance for any sort of alcohol, and I’m nearly positive Jesy “secretly” asking that John involve me.  The stars were aligned; it was my call to the big leagues.  If nothing else, so that they have a driver.

Would I blow it?  Being the DD with a crew like this would require focus and a swivel head, eyes constantly moving.  Closest exits, fire extinguishers, knowing where the biggest guy in the bar was, bathrooms, how many pool cues, where wallets were, you had to know all these things.  Driving a large car full of drunks of this magnitude through the back roads of Liberty Township.  Three different directions being thrown at you all at once, just having to kind of MacGyver the directions together and make my own.

I wish I could put this on my resume somehow.

Storage Unit:

Like all adventures, there is quite an auspicious start.  We were driving Randy’s Tahoe, since it was the only vehicle that was going to be able to contain the craziness that we were packing.  Randy, Matt and I had to stop at the storage unit to pick up the back seats.  First off, back seats were a little buried.   Not tragic, but come on now, it’s freezing out here!  Then there was the matter of, “it’s a lot easier to take them out than put them back in” issue that you always seem to have.  Matt and I just get to stand there and watch Randy wrestle with the back seats for like 15 minutes.  I mean, there wasn’t any room for us to actually help, and no one had a flash light of course, so we just kind of had to just stand there and quietly ask if he wanted us to look at it.  I mean you just can’t throw that out there, that’s like calling a man a less of a man, you just can’t do that.  So we just kind of stood there and our penance was freezing to death, but Randy got it and then we were off to our first stop to pick up Bill.  None of us could tell you how the seats work, Randy included, getting those seats to stick was luck.

Win, Place or Show:

The rest of the passenger pick up went as predictable.  Randy drove all the way to this the first official leg of the race, so I actually had to first test those back seats that were wrestled to submission installed by Randy.  I survived, so Randy won.  Being what I thought would be the safest of the bars to order actual food and the fact that it was 7 or after it just made sense to get some food here.  Horrible call.  It took FOREVER to get the order in and then it took FOREVER to get the food.  And this food wasn’t even worth waiting 3 minutes for.  Their covered cheese fries came 1/4 covered in the thinnest layer of cheese I had ever seen, with about 5 bacon bits on top and a half a cup of ranch on the side.  I ordered a bacon cheese burger plain.  I got it loaded and to make it worse that meant some weird sauce, either tartar, or some weird Italian concoction.  And the burger was sub par even without all those issues.  Then there was the matter of waiting for the checks to arrive so we could get the eff out of that nightmare.  While waiting for our waitress whose last name must have been Houdini, we had to suffer through the beginning of karaoke night.  I hate karaoke and already being annoyed didn’t help that.  This night had potential to get ugly before it really starts.

  • Mood(Group):  Annoyed.
  • Alcohol level:  A college junior after three beers.  Slightly buzzed, but feel that they have had enough to justify uglier girls hotter than they are.
  • Primary Discussion:  The GAWD AWFUL field that Eastern Washington has.  Boise State’s is odd and a discussion piece, but EWU has taken it too far.  The loudness of the karaoke.  Old men love to complain and especially about loud music, it was a recipe for disaster.

Peg’s Pub:

This picture could have been taken inside Peg’s Pub.

If I didn’t have lung cancer before, I do now.  But I knew what I was getting into, so I’m not laying blame here, just saying.   Highlights include; John had the first of a few Hudy Delights for the evening, cover band playing some good 60’s and 70’s hits, old man in sweater trying to get his bump and grind on with what normally would be considered cougars, but were just kittens for this guy, Doug standing us up for actual shopping, a man dangerously dipping a woman maybe three times his size and a guy dry humping a hanging banner.

Except for the pocket walls  of second-hand smoke,  this was a pretty good experience.  Peg’s does seem to be a hotbed for contestants for a show that could be called “So, America is pretty dammed sure you can’t dance.”  John also starts what will be a disturbing trend all night here at Peg’s, the bathroom run.  We would have been better served picking up some diapers for the man, or maybe next year look into having a catheter put in?

  • Mood:   Jovial.
  • Alcohol level:  A functioning alcoholic on a Tuesday night.  None could probably drive at this point, but I think they all could have passed the test.
  • Primary Discussion:  Sweater guys persistence and seeming skills.  Making fun of Doug for actually shopping.  Although him not showing up was probably for the best.  Had he shown up, I’m sure there would have been a billiards challenge and then all of us would have had to prove how big our penis’ were by trying to win, blah, blah, blah, you know the story.  Everyone is starting to notice how frequently John is going to the bathroom and the inevitable “let’s stop at Kroger and buy you some diapers” comments begin to fly.

Al’s:

Located in downtown Sharonville.  You will notice that we progressively go from worse to worse bar in terms of selection goes.   The place was a dive for sure, their tables were the old school tables that Wendy’s used to have.  But the band was surprisingly decent.  The bassist was crazy looking though.  Like Nick Nolte looking crazy, except older with a beard and he was wearing a crazy hat.  Smaller more “intimate” setting than Peg’s, but all smoking was outside and the band was an upgrade.  An apparent bar fly named Lacy was invited to sing a couple songs, she delivered a quite passable Patsy Cline and the rest was some rockabilly and Southern Rock.

The primary source of entertainment was John jumping “on stage” and singing Elvis’ “Are you Lonesome Tonight?”  He did quite well until he starts to forget the words and the guitarist has to help out.  Kind of a downer of a song, but I guess it’s best to stay in your wheel house, no matter how many beers you’ve had.

Bill might be thinking he’s out of his element at this point.  Bill is not a heavy drinker and I know he has had over 5 at this point, and while I’m sure he doesn’t want to start getting lapped he knows he can’t keep pace.  Bill lies low, knowing that people are still sober enough to notice him nursing a beer.  He’s certainly not regretting, but he is beginning to see why he can only do this once a year.

  • Mood:  Rambunctious.
  • Alcohol level:  After the bar closes drunk, but still ready to go to the after party back at the house and make some more bad decisions.
  • Primary Discussion:  John’s performance, the tables being from Wendy’s, the crazy looking bassist, the crazy looking bassist’s hat, John and now Bill are having problems not peeing their pants every 5 minutes.

Phil’s:

Closed.  The running joke was that we were going to have to take shifts going in and out of the bar because there was no way that all 6 of us were going to be able to stand in the bar at once.  But it didn’t matter because they had just closed when we got there.  Sad to think that a bar closes at 12 on a Friday night.  Paul of course is feeling pretty good at this point so he tries to argue his way into the bar, but to no avail.  So begrudgingly we head off towards the Gano Tavern.

Gano Tavern:

I was expecting worse that’s for sure.  While it’s not great, it’s bigger than it appears and just as smokey as Peg’s.  The bartender was nice enough, there were some that thought she had a nice smile.  I thought that her hair looked like she had just walked out of a White Snake video and that trumped any good feature she might have had.  After scaring off a couple of youkles we took over the bar with only Paul sitting on the opposite side.  This set up perfectly for sniping from all of us at Paul to continue for the entire time we are at the Gano Tavern.

Highlights include:  The largest man in the bar toasting to the greatest man he ever knew, his father.  This prompted the completely drunk and always sensitive John to toast the man’s mother.  The man stares daggers at John and warns him not to be a smart ass.  He had just buried his father two days ago.  Matt begins looking for weapons and I’m making sure people are paying attention in case this goes south quickly.  After another comment things die down and John shifts his focus to the lesbian who is also too drunk for her own good.  She stammers on about how her motorcycle is bigger than John’s, which delight’s Paul to no end.    Fortunately the rest of us knew that she really meant penis when she said motorcycle, so whatever.

As we were trying to leave John had made best friends with the giant angry man.  Of course he had.  So in an effort to try to break up their two-man love fest I begin conversation with the ogre.  Oh great we both work at Kroger.  He works in the store at Tylersville, I explain to him that I work in the IT department.  He asks if I know Meg.  I don’t.  Then it gets really weird.  He puts his arm around me and starts insisting that I know Meg.  I get loose of him and start walking outside to the car and he starts to follow me still insisting that I know and work with Meg.  Hell he might still be there right now yammering on and on about it.

  • Mood:  Freaked out.
  • Alcohol level:  John Daily drunk.  No one could pass a test and everyone were talking in decibels much louder than when the evening first started.  We had also entered the one ups manship zone of the night.  The time when they all had to try to out story the previous person.  Like a giant pissing contest.
  • Primary Discussion:  John’s ill-timed and sarcastic toast, the giant weird dude, the group of mid-late 20’s homely looking girls that were having a party in the corner.  Why were they there of all places? Was it the appeal of bad lighting and smokey atmosphere to give the vague appearance to really drunk men that you might be attractive?  I can see no other reason.  Paul screaming “bar bitch” at the guy behind the bar.

Liberty Inn:

Randy’s inspiration.

The last stop of the evening as far as the bars are concerned.  And coincidentally (due to the main conversation that took palce here) the only place that John was ever almost in a fight.  The legendary “Hold my Palm Pilot,” fight.  Paul spent most of the time harassing the waitress for Pizza that she had expressly told him when we walked in that the kitchen was closed.  John was starting to run out of steam and was falling asleep at the table.  Matt and Paul and Randy were talking about fighting.  Paul said Matt was dumb for getting in fights, Matt said that sometimes he just didn’t have a choice.  Matt called Paul a liar when Paul announced that somehow with as big of a mouth he has he has never been in a fight.  Randy tried to point out both sides of each of their stories to make peace, Matt can’t walk away so the arguing continued.  Then Matt played the “you hated me when I dated your daughter card.”  Paul denied any malicious intent and the rest of us just awkwardly laughed.

You could tell that the evening was coming to an end.  Too much alcohol mixed with the late hour was starting to take its toll.  I think everyone only had one beer before we decided to call it a night and head back to Randy’s so that I could pick up Jesy who was helping Jami and Dina with Mason and drive everyone else home.

Good news is that sometime during this leg I was asked to come back for next year.  So I must have passed the audition!

  • Mood:  Reflective.
  • Alcohol level:  A Catholic School teacher the day after classes are over.  So drunk Lindsey Lohan thinks you have a problem.
  • Primary Discussion:  Paul’s claim to have never been in a fight.  All of Matt’s fights.  Randy’s previous arm wrestling experience.  Food.

Randy’s House:

Getting there was a slight adventure.  I had the not so easy task of deciphering several different directions at once.  They were directions given by drunks on top of that.  We dropped off Matt and Randy.  We were going to have a billiards tournament at Randy’s house that would have happened at Peg’s but Jesy said hell no, cracked the whip and forced the drunks back out to the car.  On the way out Paul made sure to yell up the stairs to wake up Dina.  I believe Randy was yelling as well, which will probably get him grounded.  Not a smart play Randy, but eleventy seven beers later what can you do?

  • Mood:  Exhausted.
  • Alcohol level:  Waining at this point.  We’ve probably come down a little bit, so I would say we are back down to Liza Minelli in the 90’s.
  • Primary Discussion:  Where to pick up food.

Dropping off the rest of the crew:

Other than Paul NOT paying me (and you know what for Paul, it was for $5) and having to stop and get White Castle’s, the trip home went without incident.  John took turns passing out and taking bites of his sliders and Paul talked our ears off.  It was a nice conclusion to the evening.  I was concerned when we dropped John off however.  I had to get out to open the garage door for him and he was kicking stuff as he trudged through the garage.  I was worried he wouldn’t have enough steam to make it to bed.  but it wasn’t like I was going to help him either.  So away Jesy and I went to finally return home and reminisce on a pretty entertaining night.

A great time, with great men.  I can’t wait to do it all again next year.