Archive for November, 2007

Without luck, though, they’ll get my ass, his acne, and a narcissistic need to write about their life in a public forum

Monday morning I was awakened from my residual post-tryptophan stupor by a racket that I could only assume was what a root canal would sound like on a really bad acid trip. Turned out our landlord decided to bring in a gaggle of workers to tear apart the balcony and rebuild it. A post-holiday gesture which screamed, no, DRILLED AND HAMMERED, “Back to the grind, dear tenants!!”

This after a late night arrival back into SF on Sunday night, and a 5 AM trip BACK to the airport Monday morning to drop The Brit off for a business trip to Chicago. I can only assume that somewhere in that 6-hour interim period (while I was diligently studying the back of my eyelids), The Brit somehow managed to unpack, do a load of laundry, and re-pack. Because if not, The Brit’s work colleagues are probably right this second trying their best to overlook the current state of his dress shirts which surely have a little caked-on mashed potato and gravy…carnage from a Thanksgiving holiday dinner that mostly made it into The Brit’s cakehole.

And oh, what a glorious holiday it was! Boston was many things…among them: Great! Fun! Pretty! And let’s not forget: WICKED COLD! Yes, ‘twas indeed quite frigid! But the risk of flash-freezing my mucous membranes every time I stepped outdoors was well worth the treat of finally having my family meet The Brit’s. (Though a few heat lamps, preferably along the entire length of the Freedom Trail, wouldn’t have hurt…Mayor of Boston, get ON that, eh?) It’s not too often that both of our families are on the same side of the pond, much less in the very same city, MUCH LESS in one of the very cities that is so deeply steeped in our country’s historic separation from…errr…Britain. So, it was…special, to say the least!

Yes, there was much fine dining…and much fine drinking…probably in some of the very same places that our forefathers dined and drank. (And when I say “our” I mean any of “you” that fit into that category, because there certainly wasn’t anyone in our group who ever had a forefather in the New England area.1) Between several dinners out and many visits to cafés and a walking tour there and a shopping expedition here, Mamacusa and Lulu had plenty of time to get acquainted. And I have to say everything went swimmingly…not that I expected anyone to bust out their nunchucks or anything, but still! It went fantastically! So, yay for that. And, of course, Mamacusa got to tell all of her 3 decade old jokes about my ass (her favorite one being the one about how she didn’t need an episiotomy to get my head and shoulders out but BOY DID SHE NEED IT WHEN SHE HAD TO PUSH MY ASS OUT…HA HA HA) and I got to smile politely and pretend that I thought it was funny for the gazillionth time. And, of course, Lulu got to share stories about her son. And, bless her, she came armed with pictures!

Exhibit A:


Is that not the cutest 7 month old chubbers you ever did see? Yep…he was a good eater, that one. To be fair, though, so was I…


With any luck, our future children will get his dimples, my hair, and his easy going temperament.

1. Considering our group of people consisted of mostly British, a few Cubans, one Gibraltarian (The Brit’s Uncle) and one Vizsla (my brother’s new adorable puppy). Only one of our group members insisted on chewing on everything in sight…let it be known that’s the last time we invite the Gibraltarian anywhere!


She’ll either be the next Einstein or the next Unabomber…it’s too early to call

Just after we landed in Boston, I witnessed a father, who was seated across the aisle and a couple rows ahead of us, lean in to his 3 year old daughter and say, eyes wide with amazement, “Can you grasp the concept that we’ve just flown across the continent at a speed of more than 900 miles per hour???”

The meeting of the Mums

By this time tomorrow, The Brit and I will be arriving in Boston and getting ready to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday with our brothers, both of whom live there. This is convenient as it means we get to kill two brothers with one stone, all while we eat one bird…wait. You know what I mean.

We’ve been looking forward to this trip for months now and when The Brit and I each mentioned it to our respective parental units earlier this year, they decided to join in the holiday fun too! So, Mamacusa and The Love Muscle are flying in from Portland while Lulu and The Brit’s stepfather will be flying in from England…along with The Brit’s aunt, uncle, and two family friends, also coming in from England. Considering our families have never met (with the exception of our brothers in Bean Town, of course) I figure we’ll need a few ice breakers to loosen everyone up. So, first up on the agenda? KEG STANDS AND BODY SHOTS!!! Woo hoo!!

Mamacusa, in all of her excitement, text messaged me the other day asking what to wear to Thanksgiving dinner. I told her to wear something nice…like some slacks and a nice top or something. Hopefully she didn’t take that to mean her MC Hammer pants and that one mesh/spandex halter top, because I REALLY hope she leaves that outfit at home this year.

At least he remembered the coyote repellent!

On Friday night, about half an hour before we got into the car to drive allllllll the way down to Joshua Tree for a weekend of camping and climbing, The Brit checked in with me about what to bring…

“Do you want me to bring the tent or do you want to sleep under the stars?”

This was a no-brainer for me…I mean, seriously, with all the coyotes and the bunnies out there? I hadn’t researched it yet, but surely there had been reports of careless campers sleeping out under the great blue sky and, in the dead of the night, being eaten by rabid coyotes in the California dessert!?! And if not, perhaps being nibbled to death by a pack of serial killing bandito rabbits? And if not, dude, it gets COLD down there at night!

“Bring the tent!” Duh!

So, fast forward five hours and there we were in the car. Driving. Still. With several hours behind us, and several more ahead. And while I was busily concentrating on forming deep venous thromboses from the lack of leg mobility (note to self: don’t bring the Mini Cooper on long road trips), The Brit startled me by exclaiming, “SHIT!”

“WHAT???” If he was gonna scream, I sure as hell was gonna scream! It’s fun! Try it!

“I forgot the tent!”

“Wha…but you…how could you…WHAT?”

“I just forgot! Shit! Sorry!”

I took a couple of deep breaths and decided that I shouldn’t make him feel too bad about it. After all, if I got eaten by a coyote, HE would be the one who would have to explain that to my mother, and that would be punishment enough.

But, alas, as I live and breathe and type…I am proof that we survived the great outdoors sans tent. And not only did we survive it, but we had a fabulous time. But who wouldn’t when your campsite, which you are sharing with some of your favorite friends, looks like this in the light of the half moon…


Or when you roll over in your sleeping bag to see the sun start to creep out over the horizon…


Or when you get to climb great rocks like this…


That’s me, climbing a 5.9, which, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the difficulty ratings for climbs, may sound advanced. But I can assure you, it’s not! Considering the scale goes from 5.2 to 5.15, this climb was about the level at which my grandmother could do it. On a full stomach. And without a harness or a top rope. But still, it was fun!!

* All photos taken by The Brit.

Whatever comes or goes, I’ll be sure to put my brother next to her when it’s time to arrange the seating for the reception

Dochechka’s aunt, Mrs. Complainsalot, by and large remains true to her name: She enjoys complaining. A lot. About just about anything. Like this air? Which you’re making her breathe? It’s AGONY!!! YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!

Trust me. You just don’t.

She also likes to pontificate about how unmarried women are failures even if they’ve, say, gone to medical school and found successful jobs. Like Dochechka and me, for instance? Total losers. We couldn’t be bigger disappointments if we were stealing her jewelry and electronics to pay for our heroin addictions. (Which we’re not. We totally stopped doing that a long time ago.)

Several years ago, when I was still in medical school, she gave me the shpeal. “Doctor shmoctor!” she said, “All of zis means nothing without husband and children!” But a few months later, when she got wind of the fact that I was three months into a relationship with a surgical resident, she sat me down for a very important little chat…

“Dochechka tells me you have boyfriend?”
“He is doctor?”
“Ah…ok. He is good to you?”
“Dochechka tells me he bake cookies for you?”
“And he wash car for you?”
I had to think about this one, “Yes, he did take my truck to the car wash for me once.”
“Good. You must marry him.”
“I know! Three months! Maybe too soon! But if by 6 months, he no ask, YOU MUST TELL HIM!!”

Needless to say, she was a bit miffed when I broke it off with that guy. More than a year later, however, she had a small glimmer of hope when she found out I’d just started dating The Brit. She shared this hope with me from across the dinner table, around which approximately 15 others were sitting…

“So, my dear, when you will get married?”
“I don’t know!? Someday, I suppose.”
“Ahh, yes. Well, perhaps someday I vill come to your wedding. Or maybe I vill die first!”

It goes without saying that she’s the charming one in Dochechka’s family.

A couple years later, Mrs. Complainsalot’s son got married and she orchestrated the entire event. The Brit and I were invited along for the spectacle extravaganza. It was 40% vodka, 35% Hava Nagila, 25% cabaret dancer, and 100% appalling. Seriously, it was a fanciful, unadulterated, almost delightfully shocking display of opulence…everything was dripping with flowers and mirrors and tulle…and bubbles and confetti and caviar…and marzipan. Don’t forget the marzipan. We later found out the bride was pissed off that the 60K wedding budget that Mrs. Complainsalot set didn’t allow for exotic birds to be free flying throughout the reception hall. Which, I’m kinda glad it didn’t, because the last thing I needed in my caviar was a hot steaming load of Macaw crap.

Anywhoo, when the whole shindig was over, Mrs. Complainsalot came over to me and The Brit and said, “My wedding was good yes?”

The only answer to that question, clearly, was an enthusiastic “Yes!” We might have been killed otherwise. Either that or thrown into the pit with the cabaret dancers, whom, at that point in the evening, had changed out of their Carmen Miranda costumes into their Lederhosen outfits and were frolicking around the stage like Germans on uber-crack. One could get seriously maimed in there. You don’t believe me? Check it:



(Don’t EVEN ask me where the pimp in Zebra print fits in…I’d stopped trying to figure it all out by this point.)

“Good. Now you know what a good wedding is like for when you get married,” Mrs. Complainsalot said.

We assured her that we’d been taking pictures and extensive notes on what not to do.

So, long story short, I’ve been very much anticipating the congratulatory phone call from Mrs. Complainsalot ever since the announcement of my engagement. That phone call came today.

“Congratulations, my dear.”
“Thank you!”
“I am very happy for you!”
“Thank you so much, really.”
“You will have a big wedding?”
“Oh I don’t know, we’re thinking maybe 150 guests?”
“Ahh…little bit bigger than mine. Ok….when you will get married?”
“Next October?”
“You must wait one whole year? Why?”
“Well, there’s a lot of planning. And we have people coming from England…”
“Ahh, ok. I see…and the ring? It is big diamond with diamonds all around?”
“No, actually, it’s a garnet.”
“It’s what I wanted.”
“Ok. If you are happy. He is good man. I can tell! I saw him! I know these tings!”
“Yes, he is great.”
“Ok. Good. And your family?
“They’re all good.”
“Your brother?”
“Yes, he’s well. He lives in Boston.”
“I know, but he is married?”
“No, not yet.”
“He has girlfriend?”
“No…still single.”
“Maybe he is a gay.”
“I don’t think so, he’s quite fond of the ladies.”

That’s Mrs. Complainsalot-speak for “Riiiiiiiight.” It also doubles for, “This conversation is over.” But deep down, somewhere in there, I know she’s happy for me…even if she thinks my brother’s a homosexual. Oh, THE SHAME!! Surely, she’s got a cream for that or something…

Either that or we’ll have a righteous party where the bartenders get so drunk that they lose track of the bill and give us tons of liquor for free!! Hard to say.

Is it a bad sign when the sales manager showing you a space that you might potentially reserve for a wedding reception is so drunk he’s swaggering from side to side? And you’re so distracted by your own thoughts about what his liver enzymes would be if you did a blood draw and sent an LFT panel off to the lab right then and there that you can’t even concentrate on what he’s saying about the tables and the linens and the dance floor?

Because his intoxication kinda made me think that on the day of the event I’d have to call him to remind him to open up the kitchen for the caterers…and that maybe, even if I spoke really slowly and clearly, he still might not understand me. Through his hepatic stupor, he’d hear that I’m instructing him to give the kittens over to the Care Bears…or something equally as fantastical. Perhaps there would be unicorns involved. (There would be if I ever became a drunkard!) Then he’d hang up the phone, write me off as a Crazy, have a grand mal seizure, and fall back asleep. Then 5 pm would roll around and we’d have a whole gaggle of hungry, thirsty Cubans and Brits clawing at the doors demanding the promised mojitos and Pimms. And the Care Bears caterers would be there too, all like “Dude…the food’s getting’ cold….might as well eat here!” So then everyone would just go ahead and start opening up the serving trays and diving in, right there in the hallway in front of the ballroom doors. The goat cheese tartlets would be all but gone by the time Drunkard rolls up, all bloated, jaundiced, and in full-on delirium tremens after his nap, with dried spittle caked onto the side of his face.

I’m thinking it could be a total, if not at least a minor, disaster.

He took the words right out of my mouth

I slipped into bed and did the little under the sheets wiggly dance I do to warm up the bed when it’s cold. I’d just gotten settled in my cocoon of warmth when The Brit slid in, frigid enough to make me think for a moment he’d given himself a rub-down with ice cubes just to spite me. He scooched right up next to me, pushing me to the edge of the bed.

“Dude. You’re COLD!! And can you move over? You’re about to push me off!”

“Sheesh, you’re whiny tonight,” he said while laughing at me. And in a playful, nagging tone intended to suggest he was imitating me, he added, “Wah wah wah…You’re too cold!! You’re taking up too much space!! Your knob’s too big!!!


The madness featured here is mine and mine alone. It does not, in any way, reflect the madness of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family, or my colorful friends. The privacy of my employers, colleagues, patients, nutty family and colorful friends is sacred & deeply respected, so no names. All words Copyright © la cubana gringa, no method, just madness 2006-2010. All comments © their authors. Don't steal; it's not nice. (And my Grandfather knows people.)

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