Monday, September 29, 2014

It Can't Possibly Have Been 25 Years...

I went back to my 25th high school reunion two weekends ago. I hadn't even been back to the state since graduation; the moving van pulled out of our driveway about 6 nanoseconds after I was handed my diploma. But I thought that 25 years was a good time to go back if I ever planned to do it. Never mind that I do not look anywhere close to what I'd have liked to look like when seeing people I haven't seen in so long. (I'd settle for looking like my 18 year old self, not that that would be hard, right? HA!) I realized about three years too late that I hadn't prepared my best self for the reunion. You know, the self that has lost a ton of weight, looks fit and gorgeous, and is completely stylish. Then again, if *that* person had shown up for the reunion, no one would have recognized me since my nerdy 18 year old self didn't exactly qualify either. I'm willing to concede that I was fit, because, well, I was. The rest...not so much. So took a stab at lowering people's expectations just a bit by posting this on Facebook: "My high school reunion is next weekend. And I'm going. I haven't been back since I graduated. Do you think if I bleach my teeth into a blinding whiteness, it will distract everyone from noticing that I have a much more enduring love affair with food than I do with exercise? Or that I can't be arsed to dye the greys that are pushing me dangerously close to what I like to call Mother Nature aided blonde? Pretty sure my personality hasn't gotten any better since high school and that I am more socially awkward than ever. This could be a hot mess. But it could be a hot mess with great, blazingly white teeth. So there's that." See? It's not all about physical appearance? OK, so in this status update I forgot to mention that I briefly considered Botox until my longstanding needle phobia ruled that right out and then I thought that an eyebrow waxing would be subtle but helpful until I recognized that my luck meant that I'd find someone who completely removed one of my eyebrows entirely, a look I'm quite sure I am incapable of rocking. If you are keeping track, that's 5 out of 7 things that are appearance driven. And that discounts the fact that I had to go shopping for new clothes so I'd be marginally less frumpy mummy than I usually am. Apparently I am ridiculously vain. Who knew? But I'd committed and hoped for the best. (Side note here: the high school I went to was quite small so I knew every last person in my graduating class. Anonymity was never going to be an option. So I convinced my husband, who did not go to school there, to go with me to run interference if my chubby, insecure, introverted self needed bailing out.)

Being the neurotic, regimented sort of Type A personality I am, the night before I left for the reunion (post shopping and tooth whitening--they never did get the fluorescent white color I thought would be the perfect distraction), I printed out a blow by blow of what the weekend would have to look like for everyone to get everywhere he or she needed to be. I taped it to the door leading into the garage so that each kid (and my husband, since he was following me a day later) would see it each time they left the house. I pointed it out to everyone. Then I packed and went to bed. Thursday morning I ran some last minute errands and then headed to the airport. Direct flights from here to there are few and far between and since I had waited fairly last minute, were obnoxiously expensive to boot. So I was forced to endure two flights on commuter aircraft, and I don't much like flying. For the first flight, my seat was the ever-coveted last row before the bathroom. I sat down, pulled out my book, and started reading. The plane was mostly full when an old dude (and you know he was an old dude if my middle aged self thinks so) took one look at the seat next to me and told the flight attendant that he'd rather sit in the bathroom. If I'd have been her, I would have allowed it, FAA be damned. The second flight was on the same plane but I still had to deplane and then get back on again, thankfully in a seat further up the way.  However, I got to sit next to a mom who held a grizzling 3 month old baby while getting to listen to his older sister sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame quite loudly across the aisle. I may not find baseball any more interesting than watching the grass grow but even I know there are only three strikes, not five, as our little songstress seemed to think. Have I mentioned I'm not very fond of flying?  I might have opted for a seat in the bathroom on that one.  So I finally arrived, collected my rental car, and headed out to find J.'s house since she graciously offered to let us stay with her. I recognized absolutely nothing about the city.  Seriously!  Nothing.  Not long after I got to the house, R. called me in tears to tell me that there was no one to drive her to dance. W. had gone off to his tennis lesson and my husband, who had one job Thursday evening (getting the kid to dance), had also disappeared because he hadn't read the schedule. I had to call all of my friends and neighbors to get the poor child to where she needed to be. Home crisis handled, I tried to relax for the rest of the evening.

Friday morning dawned clear and lovely and I trailed J. to the middle school for Breakfast at Blake where one of our classmates was being honored as an Alum of the Year. When I first saw R., I love that he complimented me on my lovely teeth (yes, he had read the Facebook post). It made me feel just that little bit better about looking the way I look right now. R. and his brother gave an interesting talk about their lives and successes as entrepreneurs and I intend to force my husband to watch the whole thing on YouTube once it's posted since he missed it, still flying in. I did have to sneak out early in order to head back to the airport to pick up my husband so I didn't get to do any mingling afterwards, which turned out to be okay since I have to ease into that much social stuff. I drove my husband all over the city, including out to my old house (which I had forgotten you can't see from the road as it sits over the crown of a hill and behind a bunch of trees). He was mightily impressed when I pointed out one small triangle of roof and about three bricks and told him that's where I lived for four years. ::snort:: Then we drove around to the high school (20 minutes with no traffic at midday) and I tried to drive from the upper school to the middle school, a drive I did daily for four years, on memory alone. I got about half way there but then my memory conked out. In another twenty-five years, I probably won't even be able to find the front door of the school. We headed back to J.'s house and as is fitting for our status as old buggers, took a nap.

Friday evening we headed to the Homecoming football game. There was a nice alumni reception on the loggia at the school. I don't think this is a new thing but I have to be honest and say that in the four years I went to school there and was at the Homecoming game, I had no idea they were having this old folks party on the loggia. Amazing how oblivious ages 14-18 can be! I chatted with people I hadn't seen in forever and my husband, extrovert that he is, met not only my classmates but spent time talking to other alums I had never before laid eyes on. After the game, which I did not watch and which we lost badly (apparently not much has really changed in 25 years, for me or for the football team), the class party moved to a bar and bowling alley. I did not bowl as no one offered bumpers. (Actually, very few people bowled; it was mostly more talking.) I did recognize almost everyone there. Turns out the only person I didn't recognize was a guy who left after eighth grade. I didn't arrive until ninth grade so that earlier cheating by looking at the yearbook paid off in spades. ;-) There were a few people who didn't recognize me (they should have looked at the yearbook and then added weight and grey hair to my picture and it would have been immediately obvious who I was!). I told my husband that it was giving me a complex when people had to squint at my nametag to figure me out. Always wanting to help, he suggested that they just wanted a closer look at my boobs and pretending to not recognize me was just a ruse. What would I ever do without his thoughtful support?!

Our morning Saturday started much earlier than planned when my mother called us at 5 am. We'd left the kids home alone (several states away, mind you). Well, at that insanely early hour, the alarm company had called her to tell her that they were sending a police officer out to our house. No, not a party, but an alarm going off and no one answering the phone. Talk about wide awake and in a panic quickly! We called everyone we knew to try and rouse them to meet the police at the house and made the youngest wake the oldest (who had slept through the alarm) so we didn't have a 12 year old telling the police that he was home alone. Turns out that the kids forgot they'd set the alarm so when R. went to let the dogs out, she just opened the door. And none of them saw any reason to answer the phone to reassure the alarm company. While we were panicking trying to get everything handled from afar, the kids were completely sanguine and unruffled by all of it. Of course, they hadn't been awakened from a dead sleep to deal with it either. But it all worked out fine, a neighbor showed up to make us look like more upstanding parents than we actually are, and we managed to drift back off to sleep. Once we had start number two to our day, it was absolutely gorgeous, sunny and 75 and it looked like a day straight out of a tourism brochure. There was a class picnic at Lake Harriet and a few people brought their kids to play on the playground. We did not bring our kids but they are so much older than most of my classmates' kids that every time I had to admit to having a senior, a junior, and a seventh grader, it made me feel irrationally older than whoever I was talking to.

Later on Saturday, there was a another party at the Upper School and J. wanted to paint the rock in the courtyard for it. We took all the stuff to get set up and as the rock was being painted, I got yet another phone call from home. This one was from a neighbor telling me that T. had been playing football and had hurt his arm. I talked to him and suggested that he take some Advil and call me back in an hour. I know, I know. Not exactly the most concerned and empathetic response ever but he's a very dramatic child. Anyway, my suggestion suited him and later in the evening I got a text from him saying that they were going to go to the local amusement park's haunted weekend. I patted myself on the back for appropriate mom intuition. We raced home, got dressed for the party, and headed back to the school in a monsoon of vast proportions. On the plus side, the spray paint had managed to dry before the skies opened up so the rock looked good to greet people, if they could see it through the driving rain. I took the opportunity to walk around the school and see how it had changed in the past twenty-five years. Much of it was the same but there were some gorgeous additions too. Comparing it to my kids' school really drove home how lucky I had been to go to school there. There were some different people at this party so there was more chatting and catching up. One classmate even asked me if I was this funny in high school (meaning my Facebook posts). She looked a little skeptical when I told her I wasn't actually this funny now either. We opened the time capsule that we'd put together 25 years prior and although I have no memory of contributing to it, the first thing pulled out of the box was from me. Turns out it was a pair of shoes. I must have worn them every day for four years. The sole was split through on one, the inside leather was curled and gross, and there was a rime of mud on them. Most of the other things in the time capsule were historically significant newspaper articles or letters about what people thought their lives would look like twenty-five years on. I was one of the few to put in a cultural artifact (this is my fancy justification for the weird way my eighteen year old brain worked). My husband sent a picture of me holding the shoes to my mother who promptly texted back wondering where my wedding ring was and warning him that I might be "trolling for guys." She also wanted to know if my high school boyfriend had come back. Honestly! I clearly inherited the crazy fair and square. For the record, I am too fat for my wedding ring and between my husband and my sons, I have more than enough guys in my life, thank you very much. But it was a lovely time and I did enjoy catching up with people in person.

The next morning we headed home. Although my husband had made both our reservations, making them a couple of days apart was a mistake because he forgot which flight he put me on and booked a different one for himself. At least he claims it was an accident! Maybe he went to my reunion trolling for women. ;-) In any case, he had a four hour layover at O'Hare and I spent my long layover in Dulles. Although I had no less than appealing seatmates, I recognized my discomfort with sitting as an incipient pilonoidal cyst (look this up only at your own peril as the pictures are horrifying and the description might even be worse). Suffice it to say it's a cyst on your tailbone and it makes sitting very unpleasant so two plane rides were great fun. I immediately made plans to spend Monday at the doctor's office getting good drugs. Other than that though, the trip home was uneventful.

Re-entry into regular life was not destined to be quite so easy. Monday morning, the kid with the injured arm that I had dismissed as likely to be fine still could not move his arm. After many hours at the ER and then the orthopedic doctor, I have been permanently struck off the list of nominees for mother of the year. Yes. Broken. And I encouraged him to take Advil and just walk around with a broken arm for two days. So much for mom's intuition. Back at home I found dog vomit in the front room and damp mildew-smelling clothes in the dryer after R. told me that she'd gone to get her pants out on Friday but they were wet. When I asked her if she'd run the dryer, she looked at me in surprise and said that no, she'd just tossed the wet jeans back in there and closed the door. Argh! Obviously I can never leave home again. And no, I didn't get to the doctor to handle my own issues until two days later at which point I could no longer sit or walk normally. Reunions are clearly a pain in my ass. Literally.  Can't wait to see you all in another twenty-five years!


  1. I went to my five-year reunion, which was held in the high school courtyard. Several of my classmates already had 2 or more babies. I went to my 10 year reunion, which was held at a downtown hotel, and ditched out before the meal was served because I was bored out of my skull! (I wound up seeing a movie instead.) Haven't been to any others since then...and it's been a LOT of years.

  2. I enjoyed your 25 year reunion post and cracked up as I read. I went to my 10 and 20 and that was it - They were fun enough, but never cared enough to go back for the ones that followed.

  3. I LMAO, in fact I think you should write a book. I did not go to my 50th reunion this year....what's the point!


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