Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy Frickin' New Year

hkI've had it.

I don't know why, but those are the three words that come to mind for this morning, the first day of 2007.

First of all though, I have to say I had a GREAT TIME this Christmas because my brother and his wife and daughter all came up from San Diego. And even though there's only me and my two brothers, when all three of us are "home" with our respective families... well, I couldn't be in a more joyous space. I love seeing my nieces and nephews together and my sister-in-laws sitting at the table and my parents hardly talking, just loving being around us! And it was great fun "camping out" with the San Diego gang... I haven't lived with my brother and my parents like that since... forever. I really enjoyed myself and even got the best present (that I put on hold HAHAHA during Thanksgiving) -- A SEWING MACHINE! I haven't had one in years and now I feel complete! LOL

Things were winding up in 2006 on a weird note though... I was supposed to leave from the Bay Area back to LA Saturday, after both my parents and my brother and his family left the house. But I couldn't get up. My body wouldn't let me do it... I was just feeling... sleepy. So I slept for hours on end, only waking to eat or start watching a show on TV. Fortunately half my car was packed, so when I finally got on the road I wasn't too tired. Remember, I'm the one who falls asleep while driving long hours in the sun... and I didn't fail myself hauling down Interstate 5. Three short naps though, is all I allowed myself (15-20 minutes) and a couple of rest stop breaks. I did good time, enough that I could still get to my appointment at 8pm in Corona (an hour away) for a New Year's party I was supposed to read hands at.

But coming down the last 50 miles through the Grapevine... I started feeling sick. Like my throat was acting up and I was starting to get a cold. I made a note: take some Airborne as soon as you get home.

I pull in, park all cockamamie because I need to unload my car -- and my key won't turn the lock in my front door. HUH? I try it again, both the dead bolt and the doorknob -- nothing. HMmmm. Has my ex been here over the break? Or worse, my landlord? Did I pay my rent? Yes. Was there an emergency, like plumbing or something? Shit, I hope not.

Tick-tick-tick... I go to the back bathroom window, which is fortunately still cracked open, and open it all the way. There's no frickin' way I can hop that window. So I get the box containing the new sewing machine out and try to step on it. Fortunately it's a strong box, but I'm STILL not going to get up into that window -- and last I recall I almost killed myself doing it last time. Hm. Terrible time to have a dead cell phone.

Hm... okay, Plan B. Go across the street where some kids are playing. Ask them to ask their dad/uncle if they can help me get into the window and I'll give them ten dollars. Uncle says in Spanish he doesn't want to get in trouble if I'm not the owner of the house. I just look panicked and say I am, and all three of them -- Jesus, Jose and Alberto -- come over. Jesus, the 10-year old, climbs up the bathroom but cannot open the front door. Oh dear. In goes 8 year old Jose, followed by Uncle/Dad Alberto. Geez, my apartment is a mess, but at this point I don't care. They got my tools out of the tool box and pound the doorknob out of the door, and squeeze the latch out with a screwdriver. Success! Or is it? Now I have a big gaping hole in my door and I can only get out with a screwdriver. UGH.

Anyway, rush rush... I AM LATE. Should I just cancel? Not show? Call the lady that booked me to run interference? I already know it's going to be a trying party... it's a "family" party of 65... that means kids. It's in Corona, so it's not hoity-toity... oh Jeez, just drive.

After I drop off $10 to the kids across the street, I'm on my way, and of course miss a big turn off and take myself at least 10 miles out of the way. When did the 210 become a long freeway to San Bernadino??!? Shit.

I show up, yes, I'm 45 minutes late. The host seems to be okay and sets me up right away in a quiet room, away from the screaming kinds and the adults with the hookah. There's apparently a list so I don't have chase anyone down for readings. I get water, swallow hard and start.

I know I'm booked for 2-3 hours, so I keep going until it's midnight, and for the first time even get translated into Arabic for a grandma. the youngest was an eight year old... so sweet, these kids, and refreshing too. But right after all the 12:00 yelling, I start looking for the host. I've done three hours and want to try to find out how to proceed. Should I continue and finish the list? Is this fine? What about payment?

I'm asking and asking for her, every one person that comes in. Everyone says they're getting her, but she never shows up because "she's holding a kid." Oh dear, this is trouble, I can feel it. The host then sends in her husband, a scary, double-thick eyebrowed man with a Napoleon complex who has had a few too many to drink. This is really going to bad.

He cuts in line from somebody else and sticks out his hand. I sit him down -- and earthy guy at that, not responsive. He says, "That's it?" Fuck, I'm defensive. I ask if he has any questions. You came at 10, right? he says. I say, no, 8:50. He says he'll ask his wife. Then he says, how much? I say your wife negotiated for $100/hour, and it's been three, almost four. "For that?" he says. OH FUCK, I think. I even count out the cards of how many people I've read [and helped!] that night -- he's not impressed.

He sticks his hand out again, and now I'm looking and shitting bricks, trying to find anything that he might relate to. Normally, I can find something for anyone, but this guy was falling asleep and drunk. Miserable... he's miserable and I'm miserable times 3.

So he stumbles out and I hear the big fuck say "It's bullshit" as some 10-year old walks in eager as anything at 12:45 am. I send her out afterwards to get the Mom. Then I send the NEXT one out to get the mom. And the NEXT.

Finally, it's 1:15 and I turn my light off and go to the bathroom -- and Mom and Dad come in. He won't look at me but says what do I owe you. I buck up: "I was here from 9 and it's 1:15 now. So that's $400. He says "$400?" The wife is says, yes, she's been here all that time. He says louder, "$400?" I say I was a little late, so I can give it to you to $350. He shoots the wife a shitty look and she caves: Okay, $300 is enough. You weren't able to read all of us."

Yes, that was true, so I say that will be fine, and smile as gloriously as I can, take the three $100 bills he practically throws at me, saying thank you and packing my shit up as fast as I can. She and I are able to say a polite thank you and good night as I take off into the night.


I'm home now, freezing because my space heater died before I left for vacation and although I was anxious to get into my electric blanket, I had to type this out so I wouldn't forget it. I felt so lousy all night, with that asshole saying "it's bullshit" but I have to remember I helped and entertained a lot of people tonight. I worked my throat off and I did good.

And tomorrow I'm going to have a lot of fun spending that hard-earned dough on a delicious new cell phone to get rid of the taste of the evening tonight. I'll think about that the whole time I'm cuddled up watching the Rose Parade, finally enjoying the new year.