The chorus show was a smashing success, undermined only by tiny technical glitches and the occasional misguided usher trying to seat latecomers during a tender ballad. My parents had to cancel their trip to see the show at the very last minute as my mom got violently ill on Friday morning. And her illness was not, as early reports had indicated, induced by the fact I wore a discount-brand shirt on stage. But some family friends from Iowa and Tennessee—all women of a certain age who come to Chicago every December for a girls’ shopping spree and a group mothering of yours truly—came to see the show without my folks. And the boyfriend met them sight-unseen for dinner beforehand while I was getting ready backstage, and then he very graciously sat with them during the show. Then he came to all the rest of the shows. And he didn’t once embarrass me by doing a monkey dance. Which makes him the best boyfriend ever. I shall buy him socks for Christmas.
The boyfriend and I are making a show-tune pilgrimage to New York the first weekend in February. We’ve been talking about it literally since the hour we met last July, and we finally booked our tickets this weekend. So our first vacation together is set in stone—or, more accurately, floating somewhere in the ether. And if that weren’t enough to induce heart-fluttering excitement, we got the tickets for a whopping ninety-five dollars. Round-trip. No stops. Major airline. Holy shit.
I got my first parking ticket in Chicago a month ago. Well, the first one that I will accept as my fault. The first one I received happened soon after I moved here in 2000. The ticket was for parking too close to a fire hydrant, and it cost $100. Having just moved here, I had just read the book and taken the Illinois driver’s license test, so I knew quite well that cars should be parked nine feet from any hydrant in Chicago. The hydrant in question, though, had no paint on the curb, so my eyeballed nine feet didn’t match the goddamn fucking meter maid’s eyeballed nine feet. And even when I submitted photographic proof that no paint = an obvious money-making trap, the city denied my appeal. Stupid fucking city. The second ticket I got was for a surprise street cleaning not in synch with the once-a-month street cleaning that had happened two weeks earlier, which was also a goddamn fucking money-making trap. And the third and fourth tickets were earned by people who had borrowed my car. Totally. Not. My. Fault.
The ticket I paid this weekend was also for a street cleaning—on a street where I’d left my car for a whole week without bothering to check the cleaning signs. So I will accept responsibility for it, and I paid my ticket this weekend without using a single goddamn or fucking in the process. Not even under my breath.
The boyfriend’s niece’s birthday was yesterday, and we had an extended-family-including-the-uncle’s-gay-boyfriend celebration last night that was quite lovely. First of all, I got to hold the baby. I haven’t held a baby in a long time, and there’s something about holding a baby (at least a happy, cooing baby) that makes me feel so nurturing and valid that I almost produce milk. (Come to think of it, though, the baby should have been listed as second of all; the first-of-all part was where the boyfriend’s brother made me my very first (light-on-the-vodka) vodka tonic, which I actually liked. So I hereby revise the order of this paragraph to: 1. Drink vodka. 2. Hold baby.)
My first boyfriend’s parents didn’t know he was gay. And the parents of the other two guys I’ve dated either met me once or never met me at all. So I’m incredibly new with the “Hi! I’m now a part of your family. Can I eat your food and hold your baby?” stuff. I’ve long entertained a delightful-inlaws domestic fantasy, and the boyfriend's family delivers everything I’d hoped for in spades. Though I have met his nieces a total of three times now, their parents are already calling me Uncle Jake—which we could call a premature unclejakeulation if we were inclined to make a vulgar pun, but we aren’t so we won’t. Besides, words can hardly describe my delight over being considered such an integral part of the boyfriend’s family that his niece’s parents are already committing me to honorary uncle status. I wear the title with pride, and I’ve gotten tears in my eyes twice just by writing this paragraph about it.
In discussing the party last night, I would be remiss in not mentioning 1) the free legal advice I got from the boyfriend’s brother to help me combat the negligence of the developer of the Two-Bathroomed Barbie Dream Condo I am now not buying, 2) the boyfriend’s brother’s mother-in-law’s Jell-O® salad that was so good it caused me to disrespect my own mother’s delicious Jell-O® salads in comparison, 3) the fact that the birthday niece loves horses and I had the presence of mind not to buy her glue and 4) the fact that there were TWO desserts: a giant delicious fruit tart and a giant cupcake cake with those soft-crunchy candy sprinkles that are so delicious they make you blurt out inadvertent yummy sounds even as they pack doughy poundage on your hips.
The boys I’m staying with until the Great Condo Fiasco gets resolved have a fireplace. The boyfriend and I snuggled and talked in front of it last night when we got home. It was perfect.