Ok, so we moved in over a long weekend. Started on Friday and finished most of the major unpacking on Sunday. It was the middle of summer and the July heat was baking us as we were moving the last of the little stuff from our SUV. I noticed that Kay, my wife had stopped helping me and had been surrounded by a couple of "locals".
It seems the "knitting circle" had finally struck. The 5 women slowly surrounded my wife and were circling in for the kill.
"You guys all unpacked?" one chubby little brunette asked.
"No, still tons of boxes to get to." Kay replied.
That is how they get you I thought. Slowly bring down your guard, right before the claws come out.
"If you need any help, I can get Joe and William to help." chimed in another..
"I think Matt's got it" Kay nicely replied, "but thanks for the offer, we will keep it in mind."
I made a couple more trips back and forth out of the house finally emptying the vehicle. Kay finally wrenched herself away from the gaggle of neighbors and caught up with me the final walk from the driveway. She opened the door for me and asked "Are we doing anything Tuesday night?"
"I think we are free...why?"
"Well the neighbors have this thing where they meet every Tuesday night for drinks. They invited us to come. It will be a good way to meet everyone." her small smile told me she was eager to meet some new friends.
"Yeah sure." Feeling that I really had no say anyhow, plus it would be nice to meet everyone. "What time?"
"I think they start at 8:30-9:00."
"WHAT? That is kind of late" I argued.
"Well, everyone wants to put their kids to sleep. That way you can put Rose to bed early"
Rose is our daughter. 4 years old, going on 14. Full of energy, I knew getting her to bed ANY time was a problem. Let alone early. I later found out that we had about 13 kids in the small court our house was in. 8 of them girls. I doubt I would ever get Rose in bed at all this summer.
So Tuesday came and we later found out that everyone hung out on Tuesday nights because my next door neighbor is a Firefighter for Detroit. His schedule was from Thursday-Sunday, midnights so he could never go out on the weekends. Gabe was a good guy. We hit it off pretty quick because I had volunteered as a firefighter for 7 years in the city I had just moved from. His wife Carrie and my wife hit it off as well. Carrie was probably 110 pounds soaking wet. About 5'-3" at the most. 28 years old with 2 kids, the littlest was a new born she was always carrying around. Unfortunately,in her other had was always a glass of cheap white wine. She might have been in her late 20's but she looked like she was in her late 40's. Almost had the face of a meth addict. I am not trying to be mean, but I think she got constantly punched by her father when she was born. There is no other explanation for a face looking like that. But hey, Kay had found a friend in her, and she seemed nice enough...if not always drunk. Plus her other daughter was only a year older then Rosey and they also became fast friends.
So Kay and I walked up to the small circle of people that had camped out on one lawns a couple of houses down. There Kay and I were introduced to everyone from the Culdesac, plus a couple of other people across the street:
Neighbor's #1 - Joe, William & Megan. Joe and William are brothers. They are from Canada and have lived in the states for a couple of years. You can still hear the accent when they talk for a while and/or they are drinking...which is often. They work as contractor's for a local flooring company, mainly installing hardwood floors. Megan is Joe's girlfriend. They have been dating for 2 years and she has two boys from her previous marriage that live at the house on occasion.
Neighbor's #2 - Gabe and Carrie. See above.
Neighbor's #3 - Bob and Mary. Mary is an imposing women. Standing about 5'-10" and pushing 250 pounds. She is very loud and opinionated and I am pretty sure the cackle I heard on the way over was from her. Bob is fairly big himself. Kind of quiet, but overall a good guy. He tends to drink too much when we hang out and subsequently gets into heated arguments about stupid things.
Neighbor's #4 - Tony and Gina. Gina was the short chubby brunette from the other day. Gina is a stay at home mom, while Tony is a computer geek. I remember him saying something about Unix, but all I could concentrate on was his t-shirt which read "You have an ID10T error." He was about 6 foot tall and pushing 300 pounds. His voice is really high and squeaky, reminded me of one of the muppets...the one with the glasses. I can't remember it's name.
We pulled up our chairs and sat in the circle. Everyone already had been drinking for a bit. Kay brought a glass of wine and I had brought the 5 leftover beers I had bought for the guys helping me move. I hauled them over in my lunch box so I could keep them cold with my ice-packs. It was still 85+ degrees at night.
"Why the lunch box eh?" William's Canadian accent had come out early..."didn't you get the memo? We're drinking not eating!"
"Well I didn't want them to get cold." I reasoned.
"Haha...you ain't drinken' fast enough 'den" his brother chimed in. He peered over into the box when I pulled one out. "Only 5? You going in early?"
Soon after, one of the brother's pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels and they started passing it around. Everyone started taking pulls out of the glass bottle. It came to my turn and I politely tried to pass.
"Eh! You can't pass on your first time out wit' us!"
Well, I reasoned...one drink won't hurt. Even though all I could think about was the last 7 people who had slobbered all over it, but I looked over at Kay who seemed to be in the middle of a deep conversation with Megan and Carrie. If she could have fun, so could I.
The bottle went around a couple of times. Each drink got a little easier. I think at one point another bottle showed up...not really sure. It gets fuzzy from there. Next thing I remember is looking at my cell phone and seeing that the time was 3:00 am!
"Holy Shit! I need to get to bed!" my speech was a little slurred. I tried to get up but the world picked that exact moment to spin a little and I lost my balance. Gripping the sides of the chair seemed to help as I finally got my bearings and headed home.
Wednesday Morning came way to quick. And what a hangover it was...
I learned two things that night; First, don't try to go shot for shot with a Canuck, let alone a pair of them. Second, keep better track of time.