Noodle Party, 2020
Sunday, January 19 2020
location: rural Hurley township, Ulster County, New York
After I got up this morning, I made coffee and pancakes, since it was Gretchen's birthday and she had said something about wanting both. I don't have much experience making pancakes, so I had to find a vegan recipe on the web. The results weren't great, but they were sufficient.
Maybe four inches of very dry snow had accumulated overnight, and I didn't have time to shovel out a path suitable for the two-wheel-drive Prius before Gretchen had to leave for her Sunday bookstore shift, so she took the Subaru. With some effort, I managed to completely remove snow from all the paved areas of the driveway, as well as the walkway to the front door. I wouldn't've done such a complete job of shoveling were it not for the fact that we would be having people over tonight.
To help with my motivation this afternoon, took 120 milligrams of pseudoephedrine, which I tempered with a concoction of gin and orange juice. But you have to be careful when using alcohol no matter how stimulated you are from other substances, since I find that it has a strong demotivating effect. Still, I managed to undertake a modest cleaning jihad, part of which involved the disposal of the enormous box that the Ricoh multifunction printer had come in. The cardboard used in that box was unusually thick and provided an enormous amount of heat as I burned it in the stove. By around 4:00pm I was feeling extremely sleepy, so I nestled into the bed with Ramona and Neville and fell asleep with my eyeglasses on. I slept for about an hour and woke up surprisingly refreshed.
Gretchen messaged me from the bookstore to tell me to preheat the oven for the lasagna she'd made yesterday and to also get a pot of hot water going for a gluten-free pasta dish she intended to make.
As always when doing work involving my hands, I kept myself entertained with audio broadcast into headphones from my computer via an FM station. In the course of feeding my true crime interest, today YouTube queued up the interrogation of Nicholas Godejohn, an aspergery young man from Wisconsin who met a young woman named Gypsy Rose Blanchard on a Christian dating site. Gypsy convinced Nick to take a Greyhound out to visit her in Missouri. Once there, she convinced him to stab her mother to death, and once the mother was dead, she rewarded Nick by shaving her legs and privates, putting on a brunette wig (her mother kept Gypsy's head shaved) and having sex with him. This all sounds pretty psycho, but it turned out this was all meant to solve an even deeper pathology: Gypsy's mother had been using Gypsy in an elaborate multi-year fraud to gain sympathy and donations by claiming Gypsy had a number of serious debilitating illnesses. This is classic Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, and was carried to such an extreme that the mother would keep Gypsy medicated so she would present better symptoms. She also required Gypsy to use a wheelchair and even had unnecessary surgeries performed on her by real doctors. It's telling, then, that Gypsy thought the best way to escape would be by having someone murder her mother. Sadly, Gypsy is now serving a ten year prison sentence, while Nicholas, the troubled young man she manipulated into stabbing her mother, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Our first guest to arrive at our noodle party was Chrissy, followed soon thereafter by Sarah the Vegan and Carrie. Later came Falafel Cathy, Alana, and Eva. Ten people had been invited, but none of the male halves of any of the couples showed up, so I was the only man present. I asked Gretchen at one point what the opposite of a "sausage party" is, and she offered "hen party." As for the food, since everyone brought at least one tray of pasta large enough to feed something like four people, there was an embarrassing oversupply of noodles. Amusingly, the party chatter did nothing to dispel the stereotype of what a group of menopausal women talk about when they all get together. There was a lot of talk about hormone levels, hot flashes, and various maladies of the lady parts. After everyone talked about their gynecologist, Gretchen offered that she never actually had one; she'd used Planned Parenthood back before her hysterectomy, and since then she hasn't had enough lady parts to worry about.
Sarah and I had split the cost of an "Earl Grey" cake made by an excellent baker at the Garden Café in Woodstock. Normally I don't have anything to do with birthday cake logistics, since I don't care about birthday cakes and Gretchen usually handles it. But, since it was her 49th birthday we were celebrating, it seemed appropriate for me to put the candles on the cake (I used seven menorah candles) and bring it over to the ladies as "Happy Birthday" was sung. Amusingly, we all seemed to be in agreement that "Happy Birthday" is a stupid song, so we all went out of our way to sing it out of tempo and out of key and then stop singing it abruptly and prematurely (all things that I always do, but which nobody else ever seems to want to do).
Towards the end of the party, I tried to broker some sort of cute moment between Diane the Cat and Penny the Dog (she being our only canine visitor). Diane and Penny had met before, so Diane was making friendly overtures. And Penny was definitely interested, though she kept holding back, as if she'd recently had a bad experience with another cat.
Most of our guests took some pasta as they were leaving, though we still ended up with enough leftovers in our refrigerator to feed me for the entire week.
Diane the Cat and Penny the Dog this evening.
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