Cheers to the Forest Fire

I promise I’m not really an asshole. I have a point.

(Hey Mom, let Dad read this one. Also, don’t cry. It’s awesome to have such great memories.)

So, Saturday was my dad’s 70th birthday.We were chatting about my blog, and he asked how he could read it. I explained it to him, though I’m not sure if he still understands. He’s really cute when he says, “Quirky Chrissy.” One day I’m going to film it and put it up here. But he asked if I ever wrote about the forest fire. I hadn’t, but I knew that I had to.

Mom shamelessly plugs my blog–I can tell she’s really proud that I am able to write about the crazy and make it sound adorable and endearing. I love that she does it though, because it spikes my readership. Moms are good like that… but she forgets to show my dad the tales I write…and he’s the opposite of tech savvy. His last technological achievement was playing Pacman on a table top machine. (Oh and the cell phone I made him get by bribing him with the Notre Dame Fight Song ring tone).  But he’s the best dad ever.

No one can believe that he’s 70. Especially not me. Back in my heavy drinkin’ days… Dad was one of my favorite drinking buddies. My first legal shot was with my parents. I used to hang out with dad at the family bar, doing shots of Jamo, showing off my mad skills that I learned in college (like how to open a beer bottle with my forearm), and reigning as Princess Flaherty, by my dad’s side.

My first legal shot

My first legal shot. Happy 21st birthday to ME. (Less than 2 hours later, I would have no idea which hand I wrote with, which was up, or that my skirt should be below my belly button…not above it.)

One of my earlier memories is of my estranged sister (obviously, before she was douchey and estranged), Deven, telling me that MGD was the best beer ever. I looked her square in the eye and said, “When I grow up, I’m going to drink Bud Light, like my daddy.”

And I did.

Of course, not for a while. My parents were pretty brilliant in the boozin’ world of raising kids. Nothing was ever “off limits” so to say… there was no mystery in alcohol. “Can I try?” was always met with a “sure, one sip.” This would typically be denied after a whiff of the beer, cognac, whiskey, wine, etc. in question.  But occasionally, my brother and I would go in for the kill and take a tiny swig, which we found revolting. Alcohol is definitely an acquired taste.

So we didn’t drink. We made it through high school relatively straight-laced. Friends of our parents called us the “stepford children,” because we weren’t drinking and driving, doing drugs, having sex, getting arrested, or any of the other crazy shit that many of their own children were doing… we were goodie two-shoes’. (I was terrified of my mother’s wrath…rightfully so, obviously. I was also afraid of getting caught and kicked off the cheerleading team. I fear reprimand. In life. Still.)

So, then I went off to college. And my dad bet me that I was going to come home and say, “Hey dad, pass me a fuckin’ beer.” He was always is always putting “fuckin” into my potential quotations. His biggest fear was always me meeting my future mother in law for dinner with this beauty: “Pass the fuckin’ potatoes,” which I would never say in front of Brian’s mom!

Not wanting to lose a bet…I made it a point to dislike beer. And find some nice older student to buy me liquor. As evident from previous posts about my college drinking habits…this was not a problem. For the first week, I called home every night. And every night Mom would ask, “Did you get drunk yet?” And every night I would say, “Nope, not yet.” Until one night on Geisert 8. And all hell broke loose.

So when my parents came out for parents weekend…and took me on a massive stock-up grocery trip at the Super Walmart…I was a little surprised, yet ridiculously excited when we walked down the booze aisle, and Daddy said to me, “What do you want?” I was like a kid in a candy store. It was the greatest thing ever. For a college freshman. I picked up a bottle of Smirnoff Raspberry and a bottle of Malibu. They were pretty much gone before my parents left for home that Sunday. I. Will. Never. Drink. Them. Again. Ever.

I came home that summer and not once did I ask Dad to pass me a beer. I still hated beer. I said, “Pass the fucking vodka.” And he laughed. The following summer, Dad and I shared many Bud Lights over long chats by our pool. One night we were talking about cheers and toasts. My dad looked at me, and said, “Christine, you come from a family that would drink to a forest fire.”

And so every once in a great while, Dad and I will drink to the forest fire. But only the ones that are done on purpose. We’re not monsters.

 

 

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I Turned 23? Are You Sure?

My 23rd birthday was kind of a blur. And by that, I mean that I drank myself into a stupor long before my party started.

Less than a year out of college, and my pal Mark and I were stoked that Daddy gave me a keg for my birthday. So excited, in fact, that Mark came over 3 hours before the party started to help me tap the keg.

Of course, with a big keg like that, we couldn’t just let it sit there. So we started drinking…

A few hours later, my first set of guests arrived. The party was essentially an open house pool party, in which guests came and went, swam or didn’t, drank, ate (I think), and enjoyed the merriment. When the first set of guests arrived, I was, at least, still coherent.

As this was long before my catering days, and my experience with being a good hostess including offering a variety of booze for my guests to sample, I had made a fancy fruity punch, but didn’t really have a lot in the way of food. We had burgers and hot dogs from Flaherty’s (my family’s bar), but not much else. Mark was in charge of grilling.

You can see where this is going.

So we did get hungry, and made some burgers and dogs for everyone at about 2:30… but that was the last I remember regarding food.

The party started hoppin’ and I ended up in the pool. Instead of continuing with the beer drinking, I switched to Vodka. Let me tell you right now. Vodka and the sun do. not. mix. ever. Also, never let other people make your drinks. I believe that I was drinking Vodka and club soda, and boy were there strong.

By about 4:30 (I’m told), Mark was passed out in my bed. I followed shortly, though my passing out happened on the bathroom floor.

I woke up several hours later, to discover a slew of new guest arrivals in my living room, others outside in the pool, and me groggy with a hint of drunkover (the point where you’re still drunk, but feeling the hangover).

After conversing with the guests, I discovered several who had come and gone during my ‘party break’ time. Those remaining were the out-of-town guests who came up to party with me…Of course, I was a mess and certainly done drinking. But the way I see it, it’s better than the 22nd birthday, in which two friends showed up, and we went to see Ratatouille (OK that was cool in its own right).

sigh

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!