Monday, November 15, 2004

The Weekend It Was

I am home today. Sam is still sleeping, and his fever spiked 102.7 yesterday, so he is home today too. I am so happy is finally sleeping it off (hopefully). Last night, coughing kept him awake until after 11:00 p.m. when I finally found my codeine and dosed him with it. Phew! Need to get another supply of that for winter.



Wow, today was a grey day, and I don't feel like I accomplished much. Tomorrow: Sam hopefully will be well enough to go to school (we'll see if he spikes a fever again tonight and how well he sleeps), and I will return to work and my pressing deadlines. Not that I love deadlines, but I am feeling anxious to carry my weight, and get to it.



I met Liza for coffee and had a lovely chat and many laughs, and then Dereck and I went on a date to Il Spazio (where else?) and had a great conversation and a nice meal. We ran some errands and were on our way to go get the boys, when Mark called and said he would bring them to us, so we turned around and came home, and now I am typing in the kitchen and waiting for their noisy boisterousness. Here they come.



This weekend was great, but exhausting. Well, great considering that I cried many times: While watching the end of Homeward Bound (which I have seen how many times?), while watching Before Sunset (many times), and while burying our cat yesterday afternoon.



Saturday, the luncheon at Liza's house was a kick.



Now, what was this luncheon business all about? Well, her priest and godfather drove 90 miles from Columbia to talk to an eclectic group: a fundamentalist couple who have protestant roots (and yes, I do distinguish between fundamentalists and protestants. Fundamentalists are crazy); a young Catholic couple (still haven't figured out what they were doing there); a family who recently moved to Kirksvlle. He is Orthodox, and she is a seeker. Then, Liza, of course (her husband out of town), and then, there was me.



I didn't exactly know what the purpose of the luncheon was except that Fr. Dean wanted to come up, and I wanted to meet him. So, I called Liza and asked what I should wear (Jeans!), and then called my 14 year old boy babysitter and reminded him to come NOW, and told him there was pizza in the oven, which I don't know whether he heard or not (but when I got home, the kids had been fed, so I guess he figured it out).



When I got to Liza's, there were six kids there, and I met all the adults, some of whom I had met before. When the doorbell rang at noon, I got it and held out my hand to the first bearded man through the door, "You must be Father Dean," but nope, Father Dean was hidden behind him, and wearing a collar, so there you go.



We gathered in the kitchen and Fr. Dean said grace. Orthodox cross themselves right to left, and Catholics left to right, and I don't think any of the rest of us had that tradition, so I was a little confused by all the crossing in the kitchen, but I gamely did it anyway.



When I went into the dining room with my plate of food, Fr. Dean and Scott were at one end of the table and the other folks at the opposite end of the table, so I sat down next to Fr. Dean and said, "I will sit by you. I'm not afraid of you." And to the others at the table I said, "They are not contagious. They are just Greek."



Unfortunately for them, they all laughed, and that kind of set me off.



We went around and introduced ourselves and gave our backgrounds, and it turns out the both Fr. Dean and Scott had lived in Utah for 5-6 years each! I looked at Fr. Dean and said, "Oh no! You must have been the hairiest person there!"



It kind of went downhill from there-- I was playing to a full house and I knew it. I asked Fr. Dean whether he had had any friends in his neighborhood, and he said, "Oh, no, " and I said gleefully, "Of course not!" He said he talked with his Mormon neighbor, the one who would talk to him, and asked his neighbor when he was going to have seven kids so he could have his own planet. I said, "That isn't true. You don't have to have seven kids."



"Yes, you do, it's in the Doctrine and Covenants."



"No it isn't. I have one at my house-- do you want me to go check?"



Then we got into the funny underwear, and I realized that I can't have a memoir without including a chapter about the damn underwear. And he asked his neighbor whether he wears it all the time. Yes.

Fr. Dean: "What about when you have to go to the bathroom?"



Neighbor's reply:"There are flaps."



I said, "No, no no, they take them off. They're two piece. They don't wear them when they go to the bathroom anymore than they wear them when they have sex."



Fr. Dean: "No, he says his wife makes them. There are flaps."



"No, no!" I cried, "Those people are just STUPID."



Saying that Mormons have sex in the funny underwear (also known as "garments") is like saying that no Catholics EVER use birth control. It's a MYTH.



So anyway, we eventually gave everyone at the table a chance to introduce themselves, and then Fr. Dean asked whether we had any questions for him, and boy, I did.



1) Why is it so hard to get my kid baptized? You're a priest, you've got the holy water, just do it, and why do I have to join the community?



He had thought I was going to ask if we were going to hell if we weren't baptized and were to die, and simultaneously he and I said together, "Of course not."



Of course, the fact that I do not believe there is an actual place, a hell, with fire and brimstone, kind of helps me there. I think there is a hell, and I have definitely been there, but you don't have to die to get there, and you can come back from it.



I also said, "Okay, I'm living with a man, and we are not getting married, so what does that mean for someone like me joining your church?"



And he said, "I'm not going to answer that because I don't know you and your situation well enough. There is no set, established answer to that."



He also said later something about not kicking homosexuals out of the church, because God is bigger than that, and I said, "Oh, I love you."



Eventually, we all finished our dessert and coffee and let the poor man go home.



Then, it was time for me to go home and clean. I did the dishes and straightened and vacuumed, and then I called Liza to dish about the luncheon while I used my swiffer wet jet, which I loved so much, I just used it on the entire house. I didn't want to stop using it! It was awesome! You all must go out and get one.



Then, laundry. I folded a couple of baskets, and then just sort of lay back on the bed, watching Before Sunset, and needed simply to be horizontal for a bit.



Dereck got home from his philosophy and religion conference (ironic, huh?) and kind of conked out for a bit, and then we gathered the troops, let Sam stay home, and went out for booze and snacks[for Bob's 50th birthday party we were hosting] and KFC for dinner. After we got home, Sam was worn out, so he ate and the other kids ate and then I put all of them to bed. And by some miracle, they were all asleep by 9:00 when the party people got there. I lay down with the little ones because I was so exhausted, I just had to lie down for a bit, and then got up, felt Sam's forehead, he was hot, but I had given him Tylenol, and then went to greet people.



Jeri and Ernst came (had been at the luncheon-- he is Orthodox and she is seeking) and I talked to them all evening.



So, you may have figured out that after months of investigating Judaism, I have actually (and ironically, or maybe not) tipped scales back toward Christianity (or perhaps toward it for the first time, depending on your point of view). Now, this came as much as a surprise to me as it has come to those few around me with whom I have shared it. And I am not going to talk about it more here. I am simply acknowledging the obvious.



Anyway, I talked with Jeri and Ernst about Orthodoxy all night, and Jeri left with a copy of my memoir. After they left, Sam woke up with a fever, so I dosed him with Tylenol and Sprite and hung out with him in his room til he wanted to read, and then gently coaxed him back to sleep. Afterward, I went and hung out in the living room with the rest of the party people until 2:2o or so, when I just had to go to bed.



When I got up yesterday, Christian said, "Why did I see that boy from the party here this morning?"



"What boy?"



Dereck called, "Karl slept on the couch!" But by the time I got up, he was gone.



Yesterday, we just hung out and Liza and Sonja came over for tea in the afternoon and the kids played, and then I went to Mass at 7:00 with Don and Ellie. We walked the two blocks over to the Newman Center. I like to go at night, and seeing as I know just about every Catholic in town, I wanted a little anonymity.



So, you can guess that I was just thrilled when Mark showed up with his new girlfriend (a woman I've been friendly with at work, who has been forewarned-- good luck).



I sat between Don and Joe, and there were students singing Christian rock-style hymns with amps and electric guitars, which I could have done without.



They brought up all the RCIA candidates, and sheesh, that right there is enough to make you never want to do it. It was kind of a cool ceremony except that I would never do that in front of a group of strangers. Which I suppose is the point.



Sam just brought me the thermometer: 100.5. Looks like we are home again tomorrow.



So, how are things with you?













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