This is Cousin Tricia (formerly known as "Trish the Dish" due to her high rate of success attracting men in our college days). Dish stayed with us for four days, home from Las Vegas for grandma's funeral services and therefore, by sheer luck of timing, our early extended-family Christmas celebration. Now, Dish and I have not spent any great amount of time together since sometime in 1991, when we were in college at UW-Madison together and it was imperative that not a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday night go by without painting the town red.
Dish was the responsible one. She actually studied regularly; I crammed at the last minute. She actually went to class; I skipped more than I attended. Dish was a whole lotta d*mn fun, but she had a 'look' she'd give when it was time to reign me back in. Sometimes I didn't know how to find the brake pedal. There were some things I had over Dish, though. I changed my sheets more often than she changed hers, for example. Far more often. I'm just sayin'.
drinking man-trolling social establishment was Joe Hart's which, sadly, is no longer Joe Hart's. (I hate it when they mess with my memories like that. Even worse, the Pizza Hut where I waitressed all through college - can you say holy free-pizza-jackpot - is now a parking lot.) Joe Hart's was the sort of place where you could count on the same group of folks to end up, night after night. The whole place erupted into a loud, arm-in-arm swayin' rendition of Piano Man every night. It had a bit of an English pub flair, good food, too small bathrooms, a payphone (remember those?) I used regularly, and was plum full of very nice looking boys to choose from. Which we did. Regularly.
And we had this sort of schtick.. part of it went something like this:
Cute guy: That your friend? She's cute.
Trish the Dish: Of course she is, she's my cousin!
She was my partner in crime, my side kick, my protector, my make-you-laugh-until-your-sides-ache grrrl pal, and the fact that she's my first cousin was a super huge bonus. We had another little schtick that when employed just so, was very effective - we were kissing cousins. Dish liked to use this for shock value, and it wasn't unusual for her to call to me from all the way across the bar, wave me over, lay one on me when I got there, and say, "See?" to whichever guy she was working at the moment; and I'd just smile, shrug my shoulders, and return to the place from whence I'd come. It dropped more than a few jaws over the years, made even more fun by how nonchalantly we did it.
But an important thing to note is we very, very rarely let one of us leave with a guy. For one thing, we very, very rarely found a guy worth leaving for; at least never ones who could ensure more fun than we were having together. We weren't there to land guys, we were there to have fun; and we had the most fun together. For another thing, we took each other's safety very seriously. If Dish wanted to leave with a guy (and I'm talking about even letting her walk to the next bar with him), it was standard that I gave him the once-over, the twice-over, the check under the hood plus the kick of the tires, and I'd have done a background check if possible. We always made sure we got a good look at the bloke, and fired a few probing questions at him. We usually made sure some of our protective male friends got a good look at the guy too, adding a few thinly veiled looks-of-threat that delivered the clear message that he was being trusted with precious cargo - Dare Not Screw This Up Lest You Want to Be Hunted Down. And Maimed. No, really.
The Dish really has a way with people. One year five of us took a bus trip to Florida for spring break. Five hours into the trip Dish knew every person on the bus. Every person on the bus. While I flirted with the cute boys behind me, she went from seat to seat, wriggled herself in, started with, "Hi! I'm Tricia!" and launched into her litany of questions that always makes even the most introverted of folks crawl out for some attention. In Florida we'd walk into a nightclub and without fail, a group of people I'd never seen would hail Tricia like she was an old friend and life of the party. She was both. For years after, we'd walk down the main street on campus and it was common for Tricia to be greeted, me to say, "Who was that?" and Dish to reply, "You don't remember him? He's a psych major from Milwaukee. A senior. He was on our Florida trip."
Of course he was.
But I'm not here to share all the torrid details of our college years together. (That could be its own blog. Come over for tea sometime, though - I've got some goodies!) I'm here because Dish has finally, after all these years, finally, caught up to me, finally, in one certain department. She finally started having children! (Jeez, grrrl, I told you it was fun!)
Look who she brought with her - Baby A!
Look at that face, would you? It's enough to get a grrrl's hormones in a twist.
And here's the thing about Baby A. He's always content like this. And I mean always. Always as in all the time. Morning, noon, and night. Middle of the night, too. And middle of the morning. And middle of the noon. Or something.
Seriously. He's very happy. He's calm. He's curious. As in, what is that thing that keeps flashing in my eyes and why does this lady keep moving it around?
"Hey mom? This lady has that thing in my face again."
I told Dish she could leave him here if she wants. She probably won't, but I offered just in case. You never know. It's worth a try. I've got experience with babies. And we've got lots of fun things to do around here.
And I won't always put him to sleep on the bathroom floor. Just sometimes.
For the record (and for those who have DCFS on speed-dial because of times like this), Dish took him into the bathroom while she showered and he fell asleep. We have better places for babies to sleep in our house. Like in my arms.
We became fast friends, Baby A and me. And thanks to Baby A, I have a new nickname - Cousin L.
Doesn't Baby A look like he belongs here with me? Don't I look good with Baby A on my lap? I think he'd fit in nicely with our family. Here, my niece Maddie (Cousin M) helps me entertain him. Except, he doesn't require entertaining. Maybe we were just entertaining ourselves.
And Baby A even helps Brady study for finals. Brady needed help writing some essays, so Baby A, Dog D, and I came to the rescue. We hung out and took pictures and got to know each other better and discussed which room he'll want when he gets a bit older while Brady studied.
But Baby A, frankly, was a bit disgusted with the state of Brady's study area. He got Brady started on his history essay by asking some leading questions about the geography of Ancient Egypt, then fussed, "I can't work in these conditions."
You can see how Brady (Cousin B) was happy to have Baby A's input. "Hey Baby A, why does my mom call your mom Dish?"
But alas, Jonathan's activity seemed far more engaging and fun. Baby A decided to get in a little video game action.
I think he's gonna fit in just fine around here. Don't you, Dish?
Where you goin' with that baby?