First things, first.
"Don't fall prey to WebMD." Jen admonished me over iChat just now.
I've been somewhat sick for the past week, a weird stomach bug that seemingly triggers itself ex nihilo, or for no fricken reason whatsoever. Thanks, stomach. No, really. I feed you. I give you Diet Coke whenever you want it. And this is how you repay me. Scorching heartburn, debilitating nausea, a general feeling of sourness at the very presence of food, as if to say, food? How DARE food enter the sacred chambers of the unknown. I don't need food, by God, I'm THE STOMACH! HEAR ME ROAR!
I've heard you, stomach. Trust.
Of course, before consulting WebMD I called my mom for some advice. I'm not exactly sure what I hoped to accomplish by calling her, as though she would know instinctively whether this were some weird strain of the flu, or if I was just trying to get out of going to school again. Bahhh I feel feverish. Instead, my ever-so-helpful mother commiserated with me for a moment and then remarked, "You know, one of our pastors recently had his gall bladder taken out. When they opened him up they discovered it was gangrenous. It could be life or death."
So onto the next most reliable source of self-diagnosis available at my fingertips: WebMD dot com. According to the Good Doctor, it could be stomach cancer. Or ulcers. Or chronic pancreatitis. Or pregnancy.
Oh, not THAT. Anything but that.
In a fit of insoluble self-pity, I asked Mike if he would still be my friend if I had no stomach and ate intravenously, which is quite likely given the symptoms? He replied, "Yeah, maybe. Depends upon how gross it is."
I assured him it would be just like another accessory: Scarf, necklace, bracelet, feed bag.
So, about the weekend.
Friday night we BBQ'd at J's house, and fun was had by all.
Shortly before the beer dribbled down into my hair. Beer-hair. Gross.
Shortly after dinner, we ate ice cream and the Mikes were in full effect, to the point where, as pathetic as it is to admit this: My abdominal muscles were actually sore the next day from laughing. Either this means that when I really get going, my laughter is spastic and damaging, or I really, really need to keep up with those sit-ups.
After the BBQ, Jody and I begged and pleaded until we finally convinced Mike to slumber party at our house that night. There were the usual slumber party hijinks--underwear pillow fights, M.A.S.H., Truth or Dare, hair braiding and nail painting and pillow talk--along with a slightly disturbing development when we walked in on Mike and discovered this:
Saturday was a fairly uneventful day. My stomach decided to join us at breakfast in the morning, so while Jody and Mike enjoyed a bountiful spread from Eggs, Etc., I nibbled dry toast and slurped down Emitrol like it was my job. Later in the evening, Jody and I met up with The Mikes for dinner at Chen's and a stroll down to the 4th Street sidewalk sale.
Afterwards, I took the kids up to Signal Hill to show them the view of the city. It's one of my favorite spots in Long Beach because the view is unbeatable:
If you look closely in that photo, you can see fireworks going off in the distance. They were exploding north of where we were, and I made a comment that I wondered if they were from Disneyland, since it, too, is north of where we were. Ham nearly choked on the balmy nighttime air. "Laurel," he said, "Disneyland isn't north of Long Beach. It's south of Long Beach."
"I'm pretty sure it's north of here, Ham," I said evenly, shrugging it off as a misunderstanding. Ham looked at me as though I'd just told him California shared a border with Spain.
"Oh, Laurel," He began in a pedantic and condescending tone. "Disneyland is in Orange County. Orange County is south of Los Angeles County. It's an honest mistake, but I think you have your directions mixed up."
"Ham," I protested, "Disneyland is absolutely north of where we are right now." I swiveled around to the black expanse of the ocean. "And the ocean right there? That's SOUTH of here."
At this point Ham nearly lost it with a patronizing guffaw. "This is why they didn't let women get driver's licenses for so long," he sneered to Mike and Jody. "Laurel, you are confused. The ocean is west. Disneyland is south. Those lights right there are San Pedro. And over there, that's east."
"Do you want to make a bet on that, Ham?" I asked defiantly, because if there's one thing I pride myself on living down here in Southern California, it's that I am a veritable human GPS when it comes to the geography in my area, especially the coastline.
Ham, unaware that I was, in fact, irrefutably right and superior in my claims, foolishly accepted my bet and wagered $5 that Disneyland was south of where we were at the moment, and that the ocean was, in fact, west of us. Much trash talking ensued.
Upon returning home, I pulled up the map and pointed out the cold, hard facts:
Silly, Ham. Don't mess with human GPS.