Tomorrow morning, CN and I leave for Virginia to go visit The Czarina. And my little sister Smurf. And my younger brother Fungus. And a ton of other people. The only person he won't get to meet is Fat Dog, because he will be out of town, a groomsman in a good friend's wedding this weekend. Which is unfortunate, since Fat Dog is really fun and easy to be around.
We will be up in my hometown for four days. This Saturday is the annual BBQ held in honor of my dad's birthday. The Czarina has hosted it every year at her house since he passed away 3 years ago.
We have a big buffet of BBQ pork and all the fixin's. We have fireworks. There's lots of drinking and story telling. It's such a mix of people, too -- not just my immediate family, but all of our family friends...and everyone brings their kids.....and dogs......so I would say that the age range here is anything from 80-something down to newborn. But heavy on the 60+ crowd, all of whom are very conservative, highly educated, staunch Republicans. (I swear, most of them are fun after their 3rd scotch.)
I really look forward to this annual event. Good food, family, good friends, a nice summer evening in the country under the stars...what's not to love? Sounds like a great time, right?
Unfortunately, since I am someone my boyfriend describes as "always excited about something", I think I went a little overboard this time. When I invited him to go with me a few months back, our conversation went something like this:
VB: Ok, guess what!
VB: Every year! at the end of June! my mom throws a huge party! and everyone comes over! and eats BBQ! and drinks all day! and then we watch fireworks.
CN: Oh yeah?
VB: [growing excited] Yeah! And I thought it would be fun if you came with me this year! It's a huge party and it's so much fun! Everyone will be SO excited to meet you! [eyebrows raised expectantly] So....you wanna go?
CN: Sure, babe. How many people are we talking about?
VB: [slightly confused as to why that question is important] Oh, like a hundred or so. [switching back to the high-pitched excited voice] Anyway, my mom will be SO excited to meet you! And so will Smurf...and my brothers....hey! You wanna shoot guns with my brothers while we're up there? They love to do target practice! And you can meet Howard, and the P family and my mom's cousin, and...
CN: [I'm not sure, but I bet this was the point where his eyes started to glaze over.]
VB: [undaunted, I am now on to all the activities we can do on our long weekend in my hometown]...and I can show you where I went to elementary school! and we can visit the college where my dad used to teach! and I can show you this supercool store downtown! OH! and we can drive out to the old house where I grew up! It is so cool. It was built in 1840 and--
CN: [Stopping the verbal excitement gushing from my big mouth] Hey, hey, hey. Wait. Um, ok. That sounds cool. We can do that. It's just that based on what you've told me about your mom...
VB: Yeah, yeah. I know. My mom is Queen of Loaded Questions. I am a little worried she will chew you up and spit you out. Ugh, she can be so judgemental. And close-minded. And snooty. Sometimes. Hopefully, she won't be like that with you. She will love you. Maybe I can just answer her questions for you....
CN: That won't be necessary.
VB: OH! I have a great idea! Here's the thing. She will be running around like a chicken with her head cut off, because of the party. So she probably won't even have time to really have a major heart-to-heart with you! She'll probably talk to you for like, 30 minutes, and that will be it! Yay!
CN: Yay...? Ok. [He is laughing at me now]
VB: Oh! You know what would be really good? You should offer to help her get ready for the party. She will LOVE that. And remember, don't put your feet on the furniture, don't sleep in, and don't leave dirty dishes all over the place. Those are her pet peeves. But we can go all over this again in the car on the way up there. OOOH!!! I am so excited to introduce you to everyone!!! There are so many people who will just love to meet you!
CN: [giving a deer in headlights look] *gulp* How many people did you say were coming to this thing?
VB: [again, confused as to the relevancy of this question] Like a hundred. Maybe 75. But at least 50. It lasts all day and all night. Sometimes, people even come over for breakfast the next morning. Don't worry. I'll keep you away from all the people who only talk about politics. And the people who will ask nosy questions about our relationship. I need to remember not to wear any of those shirts that old people mistake for pregnancy clothes. Dear Lord, that's the last thing I need...OH! And before I forget, you will be sharing your room with 3 guys.
CN: [slightly panicky] Share? Three?
VB: Yeah. My mom's house only has three bedrooms. [with sympathy] Oh, I know, sweetie. I know how you can't sleep with strangers in the room, and you can't sleep through snoring. And just so you know, Fungus is kind of a night owl, so he will probably be in and out of the room all night...but you can bring your ear plugs and Tylenol PM, right? You should be fine with that, right?
CN: I hope so. Are you forgetting?
VB: Oh probably. Let me think...what else should I tell you...*thinks about how else to describe our trip to my hometown*
CN: No, I mean you are forgetting things. Like...I don't like parties.
VB: [quietly] Oh. Yeah. Right.
CN: Or lots of attention and fuss all over me.
VB: [even quieter] Oh. Ok.
CN: Or people.
VB: [whispering, at this point] Oh.
*I look at my lap*
*realization sets in*
VB: So, everything I just told you is...bad? And I just freaked you out?
CN: Pretty much.
VB: I'm sorry. Sometimes, I forget that you're not a social butterfly like me, babe. Crap. See, I forget about that stuff, because you always seem to enjoy going to parties with me. You had fun at Mr. Bill's. And at my Lasagna Night.
CN: Yeah, but I know you. And I know Mr. Bill. And your friends. Plus, there's beer. You are the one who gets excited about social interaction. I just get nervous.
VB: [excited expression returning to my face] So.....we should just get a lot of cold beer before showing up at my mom's?
CN: Yeah, that would probably be a good idea. Because right now, I'm really anxious and nervous, based on what you just told me. I will definitely need a beer upon arrival.
VB: Ok, we can do that. And if you need to get away, you can just tell people you have to walk Sammy! Or you have to find me! Or you have to pee! Ok? And I'll bring some Xanax, so let me know if you need one.
CN: Ok. I'll be fine. Just stop making a big deal out of everything.
VB: But babe, that's what I do. Duh.
Because of this conversation, and its subsequent additions (no, I can't help it), I have not brought up the trip home in the last 2 days, as a way to allow CN to relax and decompress before showtime. It's probably too late to convince him to relax, but it's better than nothing.
Meanwhile, my overactive imagination has been scheming up all sorts of horrible scenarios, many of which involve rudeness and screaming, leading to the resumption of my cigarette smoking. Gah. Just thinking about all of this right now makes me want to grab a pack on the way home, just to get warmed up.
The truth is, I have never brought home a boyfriend. Not like this. Not to stay for a weekend. And meet EVERYONE. So I have no idea how this is going to go. I guess if it goes horribly, I will have a good story to tell, right? Ugh.
Pray for me. And wish us luck.