So last weekend we threw a big party for Nola, who somehow has survived our haphazard and general head-up-ass parenting long enough to throw out a “V” sign and say “DOO!” The house was packed, Daron did a full-on, grown-up catering, and homegirl was looking pretty sweet awaiting her princess cake:
So immediately after the birthday song and the ritualistic Disemboweling of the Disney Princesses (TM) cake-cutting, Nola was ready to open her some presents, and in my invariably finite wisdom, I decide that Grammy should aid them in this, because that way I can play gift hander-outer and photographer, and also because I am a short-sighted nitwit who will undoubtedly live to rue this experience in a blog post.
(A little background: one of the invited guests was a friend of nearly 10 years, Rudy, and his son. Rude had RSVP’d, but I hadn’t seen him all day, nor had he texted me, and it was really unlike him to be a no-show, especially with Daron in my kitchen. Rudy not being in my house that day after saying he would be is about on par with inviting me over to your Stoli-filled Jacuzzi and me blowin’ ya off for TiVo or laundry or anything else that didn’t involve prying me outta that thing with an SUV and a tow line… Just sayin’.)
Now asking Grammy to help open gifts isn’t foolish per se. She’s perfect for it, getting the girls to open the gifts together and making sure everyone feels special and included. . . with one exception I keep forgetting: Grammy always forgets her reading glasses. So a couple gifts in, I hand her a bag and she reads, “To Nola, From Rudy,” I yell, “From RUDY?!?!!” and Mom very calmly responds, “Yes, ‘From Rudy.'”
So at this point I remember that Rude mentioned his ex-mother-in-law was in town and there might be a child care snag, and I figure maybe he swung by, dropped off a present, and couldn’t find me before having to take off. TOTALLY PLAUSIBLE. But he’d asked me what he should get Nola, and I’d given him a few ideas, and when she opens the present, it’s totally none of my “she’s 2, and she’s a girly-girl, and she loves makeup” suggestions. It’s a PAIR OF HIGH HEELS.
And I know, you’re thinking, “Well THAT’S inappropriate,” but it wasn’t little toddler stilettoes or Lucite stripper platforms or anything, it was a cute little purple pair of kiddie high heels, and as soon as those babies were out of the box Nola had slapped ’em on and was clomping around the hardwoods in her nightie like Miss America (who, because she wears heels with her bikini, obviously wears heels perpetually, maybe even to bed).
So the night after the party, I’m supposed to meet up with Rudy for a drink and some boot-to-my-ass as to why I haven’t finished the second draft of my novel, so I give him a call to confirm. And I say, “Hey man, what’s up with stopping in at the house during the party and not even saying hello?” And he says, “What? I didn’t stop in at your house. My kid was sick all day yesterday and I was trapped at home watching a never-ending loop of ‘Spongebob.’ Also? I just got an iPhone, but it hates me, and I kept trying to text you, but every time I did the damn thing would send it mid-word, so I think I texted you a bunch of shit like ‘Damn you-‘ and “Hey, ho-,” so if you pretty much hate me and don’t wanna get together tonight, and I can totally see your point.”
But I say, “Wait, whaddya mean you didn’t stop in at my house? Because if you didn’t stop in at the house, who left the present with your name on it?” And Rudy’s all, “I left her a present?” And I’m like, “Said it right on the bag, ‘To Nola, From Rudy’!” and he’s all, “NOOO! Get the fuck out!” And I would NOT get the fuck out! And he says, “So what’d I get her?” And I say, “You got her high heels!” And he’s like, “For a 2-year-old? Well THAT’S a little inappropriate!”
Then I have to explain that they’re kiddie high heels, and we muse on this ghost Rudy who leaves Nola high heels in his name, until I finally say, “Oh. Shit.”
“When Grammy read the bag, she didn’t have her reading glasses on. And by the time I read the bag, I was half in one. I bet it was from RUBY, the little girl next door who left early. . .”
“Goddamn you dyslexics!” Rudy yelled. “You’re always making my life a fucking hell!”
So in return for making his life a fucking hell I offered to buy him drinks that night, and when I walk into the bar Rude jumps up and and smiles and hugs me and is obviously TOTALLY HIDING SOMETHING BEHIND HIS BACK.
“Whatcha got behind your back?”
“Well I felt bad about not being at the party, or sorta being there in spirit but not actually bringing a present,” he said. “But it’s garage sale season, right? And on my way here, I passed one that was shutting down for the evening, you know, kinda just the dregs left, everything-must-go, and I found something that was perfect, just screaming Nola’s name. Actually, I found something that’s wrong, totally wrong — seriously, just completely inappropriate for a two-year-old.”
And with that, he handed me this:
“It’s from Le Faux, a drag troupe performing weekly at Julia’s!” he said. “Look, it’s not even nice enough to be a Barbie. It’s a ‘MARY’. . .”
“And it must be something from an auction or something — look, all the troupe members signed it: Cookie Cosette, even Tami Wynott!!”
“I love her shoes,” I said. “Way to toss in a choking hazard. . . Hey, who autographed the front? Does that say ‘Boo’? At least that’s cute, I guess. . .”
“Maybe it says ‘Boo,’ maybe it says ‘Poo’!” Rudy said, clearly delighted now. “Look at the swirl and the dot, though. Maybe it says ‘Shit’! ‘XOXO’! Nola’s gonna love it, right?”
(And yes, the first thing she did with was tear off Mary’s admittedly Rockin’ the Trailer Park Kegger dress and — Nola being fascinated with all things feminine-hygiene-related — straddle her atop a maxi-pad like some kinda extra fluffy magic carpet.)
Just you wait, Rudy, I got a little something in mind for your kid’s birthday too — I’m just torn between buying at this leather shop on Broadway or turning him into the hottest glockenspiel player in his class. . .