Tension reached operatic proportions on Thanksgiving when Peter and I got lost in the night rain near Route 22 in New Jersey. The sign at the state entrance should include a photo of Peter with a red circle and a slash across it. Peter hates New Jersey, and by the number of times we've gotten lost there, the feeling is mutual.
He winds himself up into a frenzy before we even leave the house about going to "that godforsaken state" (even though one of his oldest friends and much of my family lives there). If you believe in the Law of Attraction, as I most certainly do, the guy set us up for disaster on Thursday.
We ended up getting cut off on Route 1-9, careening up a curb, and mangling our front right rim and tire. The scene reminded me of the one in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where Brad and Janet's tire blew out, necessitating their visit to the Frankenstein Place. But Brad and Janet didn't have two freaked out children quivering in their back seat.
We made a call to Aunt L's and asked her to start dinner without us, but she wouldn't. Peter managed to creep the car into a Daffy's parking lot, so my cousin, K, and her boyfriend the podiatrist (both of whom knew the area well) offered to drive over and fish us out. We made it to a lovely dinner about an hour later without additional drama, although I did pour myself a monster glass of wine as soon as we arrived.
Yesterday morning at breakfast my cousin, K2, told me a story: His mother (my aunt) used to make him stepdance at assemblies at his school on Staten Island. For the rest of the year, all the other boys--who descended from cultures that did not include males hopping around in skirts--would knock him against the wall in the boys' room and shriek, "Dance for me! Are ya gonna dance for me?"
Eventually, K2 had an idea. He made a deal with his mother that if he made the basketball team, he could quit stepdancing. Fortunately, he was a natural athlete and had almost closed in on his full height of 6'5 3/4 inches. (He didn't tell me this, but he later became a team star and local celebrity.)
I guess you can overcome just about anything if you can overcome being a male stepdancer on Staten Island.
I'm told my brother-in-law is currently perched atop a ladder decorating his house for Christmas, so the holiday season is officially upon us. Be good to yourself and stay away from sugar. It's worse than I thought.
Before you go to the party, you must be able to do this.