PLANET OF THE GRAPES

I keep a sign on my front door that says No Soliciting….unless you’re bringing in a bottle of wine and are willing to wash some floors. That sign sits alongside another sign of special importance. Property protected by a wine swigging female. Boyfriend and parrot may not be upstanding either.

I’m not the only person on the planet with the commonality of such fruitful undertakings as drinking wine. It’s sometimes difficult persevering along this life path, which is also fortuitously timed with long hours of employment, uncivilized motorists, government idiocy, and gopher holes in the yard. There are days when we need that second glass, and days we need that second bottle. Although that second bottle should never serve as an inspiration to call Iran in a rather impulsive attempt to cease conflict. Vino may not solve all my problems, but neither will Sake or Tang. I drink because without it, I’m not as good a belly dancer or hula hooper unless I’ve successfully installed Sauvignon into my system. Sweet dreams are made of these, and I have found my sleep number in several glasses of the liquid goodness.

It wasn’t until later in life that I started grape cleansing again. I stopped way back when I drank something so sparkling that I scarcely noticed that it was cheap half-concord Cold Duck. I scored high on the popularity poll when I woke with my head spinnin’ and a regurgitating tummy. At the time, I believed that I would be a much better individual if I was inebriated. But I didn’t know the protocol for this particular amusement. Nowadays, I like grapes that have been stomped on until they mature into something I’d like to have dinner with and won’t make me walk away from feeling so pukey. Three goblets and I was slurring words and dizzily casting off the shackles of normal behavior. My idea of a happy meal was Two-Buck Chuck and a plate of Oreos. As anyone who has had a few with lunch can attest, funny things happen when we’re tanked and hyped up on sugar. Picture Mary Poppins in shorty shorts with chocolate crumbed lips, pole dancing on a tree trunk. While I didn’t die directly from ethylene glycol additives, I did end up in a state of headache shock. Cheap wines have also chased away other dedicated practitioners.

When I was dating, I practically auditioned men with Must Love Wine. Only they had to stay sober designated drivers while I proceeded to have all the fun. If guys showed up on first dates insinuating a booty call, I HAD to drink. Once I had kids, I needed to function on all cylinders. So I gave up a career to be a stay at home Chianti guzzler. It was the only thing that got me through those years of chaos. One time I think I made the mistake of adding wine to cupcake batter instead of water. My child was in an awfully good mood that day, but turned into a persevering graffiti vandal by placing crayoned sticky notes all over every inch of the house. Her younger sister simply passed out. I’ve spent a significant amount of time in the wine section of the grocers determining which vintage was the most sedative. My mother was always tethered to a wine glass. I can only imagine her horror when I was her kid who decorated the house with my cake frosting fingertips imitating Matisse.

After moving to California, I couldn’t be threatened by a drought. Nor did I want to limit my happiness to an hour, especially if somebody else was buyin. I discovered my love for wine in a bottle of Amarone and have stayed winsomely cheerful and somewhat sober ever since. And while practicing random acts of wineness, I drink from boxes only because it isn’t available by pods. Which is unfortunate when they’re slogan could be We Deliver, You Drink, We Pick-Up. I don’t want to confuse anyone into thinking that over-intoxication is acceptable. The devil is always around to taunt and tempt us into displays of foolishness. I have tried other intoxicants, like the night I discovered pina coladas. I was highly engaged in a heart-to-heart about sun protection until the barman informed me that I should be talking to people instead of small umbrellas. And yet if I gave up the coconut cocktails, I was afraid I might replace them with shot glasses filled with Ouzo or Grappa.

My challenge now is going to the grocers where I stand listening to strong opinions about what shoppers think I should be drinking. I’m never sure which bottle to buy. A bazillion of the stoic forms of fermentation stare back at me then blink their codes of silence. I’m always hoping that some extremely knowledgeable connoisseur will come along and fill me in on the incidental details of chemical balancing and what pleases the palate the most. If I choose a bottle of Chablis, then for sure I’m turning into my mother. If I pick the gallon bottle of Chablis, then I’ll know I’m my mother. If I buy a basic blend of Champagne varietals in an off-dry sweetly fortified Shiraz, then I’m really an Aussie. I sometimes wonder how a Riesling will pair with a sometimes emotionally fragile female. If it was left to me, these beverages would be served in every public place throughout the country.

Who knows better than the Europeans and the quality of tannic red grape content they contain. Surprisingly, the Vatican City populace has pounced on enough graped beauties with the sole intention of intoxication dominating every other country. The enclave of priests and cardinals are enjoying life a whole lot more than we are. I might have to move there. Their local cider seems very innocuous at first, then wham bam you think you’re in Amsterdam discussing Dutch rituals. Here, communion consists of a wafer and a sip of wine. In Rome, they offer a carafe and tell you to go find Jesus.

I will defend drinking these violaceous intoxicants until my dying days of Metamucil mixed with Merlot. So I say drink and be at your merriest, for tomorrow we may be aridly entombed from all those global warnings.

SO HAPPY TOGETHER

For a couple of years after we met, my beau and I were consumed with yearning and ended each loving sentiment with, Be Mine. Then, every enthusiastic body membrane told us to move in together. You have no idea how great it feels to wake up every morning and know he’s mine, and I’m his meal maker, dirty underwear picker-upper, and lost items locater. Which could be totally misconstrued for relationship purgatory if taken the wrong way. The secret to our success is that my boyfriend sees my sagging figure every day and still gets excited. And I call him lovenuts. This man would fight a bear for me. Not a grizzly however. More like a stuffed teddy, or a tiny spider. Sometimes I look at him and think he’s so darn good to me. He looks at me thinking damn, she’s one lucky gal. But every time he’s ready to embrace someone sexy as hell, I have to tap on the mirror and remind him that it’s just his reflection.

I read somewhere that it’s really a terrible idea to dwell together. I don’t know how they reached that silly conclusion. It’s simple. When the other person has their back turned, you can instantly resort to being a slob, a remote control stealer, and a farter. If you think a minute goes by fast, you’ve never stood in a love nest with a person that passes an enormous amount of bodily gasses. My hunka burnin’ love smells more like a hunka burnin’ rubber when he lets one loose. Diamonds used to be a girl’s best friend. That was before the garage was invented where a gal can go to get some alone time and fresh air. But I salute my man’s sensitivity when he takes the noxious intoxication to another room where he can release like a blast furnace. Although he needs to retreat to his man cave in say, Mars, when he’s eaten broccoli with cheese sauce. Consequently, I have invested in a few Air Wick freshmatics. I could easily be categorized as an irritant myself when I have noises slithering simultaneously out of certain cavities. Apparently I snore. He says I sound like fifty snorting pigs with sinus infections. Some swine’s can be cute. Look at Babe! My loverboy hasn’t resorted to slaughtering me quite yet.

Cohabitation requires adjustments and we have to do nice things for each other to stay mentally attractive. So we started random acts of lovingness like squeegeeing the shower glass door so the other one doesn’t have to. Then I take on the role as compulsory servant when he leaves those Lilliputian stubble hairs that dot the bathroom sink daily. There are sacrifices I’m willing to make, and it takes only a few seconds to wipe it clean. But I figure anything I can do, he can do better if he tried. And come to find out, he’s allergic to the dishwasher. Some days I wake up and think yep, today’s the day I’m going to hide all the clean dishes, silverware, and the bathroom bowl. I also have my own penal code. Don’t miss the toilet. The only other two things I require is help with housework and basically make himself available for me at all times. With a little effort, he could probably wash me as well so I wouldn’t have to bathe, if I just lay on the floor when he takes to mopping. That chore would include slathering my body with scents that simulate a sexed up brothel. My big bad wolf wouldn’t be able to keep his paws off me. I can hear him now. “All the better to hug you with my dear.”

I also take those generous strolls to the kitchen to fetch him pails of wine. That’s not only dedication, but sweetness doesn’t cost a dang thing. It’s the vino that might put us in the poorhouse. He can certainly flash his bare behind at me anytime because my Moondoggie is the finest example of manhood. When my cataract ridden hunk returns home wearing lipstick smudges, I know not to worry. He likely left the house with my tube of Max Factor instead of his Blistex. We stay fit for each other by eating salmon for dinner before sitting down with tubs of tapioca and watching episodes of Blue Bloods. Though we just watched A Fish Called Wanda, and I went to bed with a hankering for cod and Kevin Kline.

We share our deepest emotions which are usually hungry and tired. So it is sometimes hard transforming our couch into a magical island of sexual intimacy. Sweating and groaning occurs more when I’m facing the open fridge and the last cola is gone. But my caffeinated honeykins has the humility to repent and replenish since he strives to take special care of me. Unlike my nine swiping siblings while growing up. Envision a desperate soldieress with a weapon yielding yardstick racing after a battalion of bottle swappers as they scatter like pigeons. My childhood didn’t do much to equip me for future battles. A fog of worry washed over me that my boyfriend may monopolize everything and I might have to be armed, or label things with It be mine. Yet I don’t worry about him hogging the bedcovers since they came out with the California king. What a fitting name. If my man is the king of the castle, I must be his dirty rascal.

I should probably keep my mouth zipped and wait for those precious moments when my man wants to open up and talk. I could test one of those Cupid arrows to see if he responds, but spouses can become miffed when a significant other argues or doesn’t listen carefully. Researchers say that nine out of ten boyfriends agree that their girlfriends are right. Unfortunately the tenth one hasn’t been seen since the survey was conducted. I don’t stop arguing because he’s won. I stop arguing because I’d rather walk away and be right somewhere else. Sometimes it’s more fun doing animal faces. If my honey is not in a mood for merriment, it’s easier just to leave him a note that he can ponder. Who ate your sunny side eggs this morning mister thunderstorm? Though I have to ask myself if I was too much of a chatterbox, snide, or smart-alecky. Knowing him, he’d say, “You’ve already brightened my day. What do I need sunlight for?” I have come to realize that boob fondling can brighten any man’s day and overthrow a disagreement. I’ve also learned that anything I say will only be inadmissible in a court of basketball. I know better than to speak during the fourth quarter.

I will take exceptional care of my Valentine when he’s older and possibly hard to live with by adding liquor to his morning coffee. But he’s mine, and I can’t see me loving nobody but him for all my life. Besides, we both feel we’ve met our match. It was important for him to find someone who won’t nag or force him to take his Metamucil. I conceal it inside his meat loaf. It was crucial for me finding someone who approves all the ridiculousness I write. And he does. Except that I just heard him toot again. He told me that he likes to live up to his reputation.