Wake up at 10am and try to silently sneak out of Elmer’s place where he and Terry are probably still sleeping in their rooms. Walk outside to a gorgeous day. It’s warm and sunny and amazing. This never gets old. I head to Tara’s, driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to get there. Stop for coffee and gas along the way. I feel good. I’m glad I didn’t drink much last night. Excited for a day off and what better way to spend it than with Rich and Tara – these two are always up for anything and everything.
I get there easier this time and recognize the crazy turns. Looks like I finally know how to get here. Walk into their house and everyone is awake – but barely alive – it seems. Troy is sprawled on the floor with a pillow under his head, Mike’s dead on the couch, Tara and Rich are snacking on leftover chips from the night before. Classic. They fill me in on the details. I make fun of Troy for being such a lightweight – for being such a big dude he cannot handle his liquor. Too be fair, “Tara was on a mission,” they were telling me. As soon as Mike walked in the door Tara asked Mike what he wanted to drink. He had brought a few bottles of wine. “I guess a glass of red wine.” “Wine????! No. Vodka.” Shots of vodka it was. And Mike isn’t good with peer pressure. They each did one shot of the cookie dough vodka Mike and I had from his family polyanna. I ask how it was. They all agree it was disgusting. Did you chill it? Mike answers. “Nooo. We drank it warm.” Why? “Because Lindsay wasn’t here to tell us what to dooo.” Oh my. Tara got the spins before bed last night and threw up, so she’s actually not feeling too bad. Rich isn’t the best I’ve ever seen him, but still not completely out of it. Troy and Mike are hungover and miserable. A guy emerges from the bedroom – CJ his name is, a friend of Rich’s. He seems fine, especially compared to the rest of the bunch.
Rich runs out for groceries to make breakfast. He returns and he and Tara slave away in the kitchen. I ask if I can help but they refuse. They put a ridiculous spread on the table – scrambled cheddar eggs, scrumptious sausage patties, sliced tomato and avocado, cream cheese, and the freshest bagels. My mouth is watering. Toast up a garlic bagel and load it with with eggs, sausage, avocado, tomato, and some hot sauce. I eat half, but can’t resist going into the fridge for the ketchup. Now it’s perfect. Rich is still cooking in the kitchen. “Save room! Plenty more coming!” He puts a heaping plate of bacon in front of us. Good Lord, it’s too much food.
After breakfast, Mike and Troy look done. Everyone lays around while Tara and I do most of the talking at the kitchen table. I want to go to the beach. She agrees. Mike and Troy don’t want to go. They’d rather go home and just be hung over. Tara tries to convince them that they have to come. In the past, I would have done the same thing, but I’m at a point now where I know not to bother. If I convince Mike to come, he’ll be miserable the whole time, thereby, making me miserable, so if he doesn’t want to come, then don’t come. I am going to enjoy my day off in the sun.
Mike and Troy head home and CJ has plans and heads to friends. Rich, Tara and I head to Malibu, to Tara’s Aunt and Uncle’s place. This house is ridiculous. We drive through a gate to get in. Walk in the house and the biggest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen indoors stands before me. In the room to the right, Tara’s little cousin sits on the couch with a little white dog. Her cousin is shy and doesn’t say much. Tara tells her we’re headed to the beach. “Niiice.” She says it like a friend’s Mom would say it. I can’t help but laugh. This little girl is 35. Uncle Paul waves to me from the living room. He looks like Ken. Step in the kitchen and get a view of the backyard – someone out there is getting tennis lessons at the moment. Rich takes me through the garage to get the long board we’re bringing with us to the beach – Tara’s Aunt and Uncle’s private beach they belong to, that is. In the garage is this sick, creamish-white colored BMW – the same one they used in their engagement photos. I am not a car person, at all, but I’ve always loved BMW’s and this is the coolest car I’ve ever seen in my life.
Aunt Olenka and other cousin come out front, alongside Olenka’s father, who is the tennis instructor. Tara introduces me to everyone. The father is sweet and intimidating at the same time. He has apparently challenged Tara to some tennis lessons. He’s from the east coast but staying here until March for vacation. He is basically daring Tara to train with him until he leaves, and Tara can’t pass up a challenge. I hear him asking her to start tomorrow. “I have off so I can come whenever.” “How about 8?” “OK, yea, I’ll be here at 8.” Ugh, 8am? That sounds… early. Aunt Olenka shakes my hand and is so friendly I feel immediately comfortable. Discuss how I’m from Jersey and this seems to make her like me more, wanting to know exactly where I’m from. I didn’t know this, but they only just moved here from Jersey a year and a half ago. Again, this is why I like her, I realize.
She drops the three of us off down the street and Tara uses this crazy lock to get us through to the other side. Wind our way down a steep hill until we reach the beach. It’s beautiful. Rich gets right in the water and Tara and I continue along until we find a patch of sun. People are all around, but it’s not crowded. We sit talking about nothing and everything until we lose the sun and realize we’re freezing. It is weird how hot is it during the day and how cold it gets at night. But again, this is a California winter, something I haven’t adjusted to yet.
Tara waves Rich in. There are still a bunch of people surfing. “I just went right by Daniel Tosh.” Daniel Tosh? Ohhh Tosh.O. He points him out to me and Tara. Yup, that’s definitely him. Rich seemed excited about it, but he was also excited as he was coming in when he found a sock in the water. Tara just shakes her head, laughing.
Tara and I stop at the grocery store for a couple things for dinner. She picks up a head of lettuce and for some reason, I picture Kelly O bringing it over to the scale, weighing it, and picking it back up like, yea, exactly the weight of lettuce I wanted. So random, but I laugh to myself. I seem to bring Kelly with my everywhere I go. At the register, the lady tells Tara that this is not lettuce: it’s cabbage. Oh. I didn’t notice, either. She asks the lady bagging our groceries to go get us a head of lettuce. “Oh sure, I’ll go get the lettuce, because I know what lettuce looks like.” Wow, she is totally making fun of Tara. I just laugh.
We sit through ridiculous traffic on the way back (shocker). It’s about an hour before we arrive and we jump in the hot tub. I could get used to this. Shower real quick and decide to stay for the night – if that’s OK. They don’t seem to mind. Put on the Giants-Cowboys game. Cable! HD! Massive TV! Haven’t had this in a while. Tara uses the leftover bacon from this morning to make BLT’s with a side of pasta salad with sundried tomatoes and feta cheese we picked up from the store. My kind of meal. I open a bottle of wine. Any takers? “No, thanks.” They’re both not ready to drink from the night before, it seems.
The three of us stay up chatting and watching Storage Wars, a reality show I’ve never seen before, but I haven’t watched TV in a while so I’d probably watch anything. Right before they head to bed, Rich and Tara conveniently tell me they don’t have locks on their doors. Excuse me? We’re out in the middle of nowhere, a perfect murder site, and you guys don’t have locks on your doors? Rich laughs. “We know all the neighbors. They’re sweet, old people.” Yea, I bet. They go to bed while I stay up sipping on wine and watching Chopped on the Food Network. Oh, how I miss this channel. Head to bed wishing Mike was here with me.