Continuing on with my assessment of the month that was May…
Weekend 3 (May 16th): This was the day I planned on going to a folk metal show in Lincoln, but decided that morning to skip out and do nothing. I wasn’t feeling like traversing all the way to a city that bears nothing but bad memories and the like, just to get my face melted off by a trio of bands that, admittedly, I am not very familiar with, outside of checking out some clips online. They’re very obscure, and I know I would have enjoyed them more had I gone, maybe even picked up some merch and looked into buying a download of one of their albums. I would have even been supporting live \,,/METAL\,,/ playing in Nebraska. But, my despondency levels due to my ongoing depression won out, and I instead remained in Omaha. I do not regret this decision.
Weekend 4 (May 23rd-May 25th): Memorial Day Weekend. Due to the events happening last year, I decided to once again participate in the annual Pancake Feed that the Dunlap, Iowa Volunteer EMT puts on in the Firehouse the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. I actually enjoyed helping out last year, and this year I thought it would be a good way to come full circle for certain things. I arrived Saturday morning around 10:30-ish to my Aunt and Uncle’s place (it’s been a familiar home-away-from-home since I could remember), and napped in my Uncle’s easy chair for a while, as my Aunt Joyce was called away to help with an accident that happened on Hwy 30 a mere fifteen minutes after I had driven in that area myself. Chilling. But, she finally arrived back, and after chatting for a bit, I accompanied her to the local cemetery. She was helping map the entire place, and she had to go back and double check a few things. I got to walk around a graveyard, which is one of my hobbies. Don’t act so surprised. She pointed out some of the more interesting monuments there, including some gravestones dating back to the Civil War period, and a couple of her favorite ones there. Gleeful chats of the morbid abounded. I’m beginning to understand the part of the gene pool that got sloshed onto me. So now, whenever one of my parents ask me, “Where do you get that kind of morbid behavior from?”, I can now smile conspiratorially, instead of wonder myself.
Later on, Aunt Joyce had to take part in some church activities, so Uncle Pat and I joined my Cousin Rob and his kids at the local ice cream and burger joint for some dinner and catching up. My Cousin Julie and her family showed up as well, so it became a nifty family reunion of sorts. Then we all went back to the firehouse to a surprise party thrown for Uncle Pat for his birthday. Yeah, I forgot to mention that it was his birthday that day. There was cake. Very good cake. The kind with toys on top that the kids there made short work of removing to play with when the cake was cut. After all the birthday-related hobnobbing was over, those who were to be involved with the Pancake Feed commenced with the pre-setup duties. For me, that entailed helping to bring over all the foodstuffs needed, breaking open several dozen eggs into five gallon buckets for the scrambled eggs (the highlight of the whole thing), bringing over various cooking implements and the like. Basic grunt work, like last year. There were a few there that remembered me from last year. A couple of people I didn’t recognize praised my work ethic, which always makes me rather uncomfortable, as I’m always thinking that I could always put more effort into whatever it is I’m doing than what I am. Kind of a messed-up situation, having people tell you you’re doing awesome, while you’re thinking that you’re really sucking at what you’re doing. Anyway, we finished that up and went back to Casa de Cogdill, where I immediately went to bed, on account I was looking at a 5:30am start time the next day.
I awoke to the alarm at the prescribed time, somehow managing to not instinctively throw the Android across the room to make it shut up. I don’t care if I was raised in a farming family, 5:30 in the morning is a time when only the truly bent really enjoy being up at. Oh, I’ll do it, but just don’t expect me to be cheery at that time. Or coherent. Or able to conjugate verbs, for that matter. I was lucky enough to conjure up the motor skills needed to turn the shower knobs. But, shower and dress I did, and I was off to meet Uncle Pat at the Firehouse to begin the final setup for the Pancake Feed that was to start at 7am. Others started trickling in, as we set up some signs, moved the emergency vehicles outside, set up tables and chairs, and got the food prepared. I nominated myself for juice duty, as it was something I did last year, and it also kept me from having to manhandle the food serving too much. That, and I could indulge my OCD side, in making a bit of a game with seeing if I was able to keep an even amount of juice-filled styrofoam cups out at any given moment. The goal itself was to maintain a perfect square of juice-filled cups, which…okay, I’m beginning to now see how kind of sad that is. Still, no one ran out of juice cups to grab. Yay, me.
The pancakes were really good. The sausages were fantastic, though. They were Farmland brand, I was told, and I found myself having to make myself not snack on those tasty links of spiced breakfast pork meat the whole time. The eggs were good, though needed a bit of salt. The ham was good, but I do have to admit that I kept looking at the bunch of ham that was being served, and couldn’t help but think about a certain Patton Oswalt bit and snicker, which drew a few confused looks from the servers at times. I didn’t really explain, as I’m not going to do so now, really.
Massive amounts of people came, consuming mass quantities of carb-laced goodness. I think Uncle Pat gave more firetruck rides for the kids there than before, not certain exactly how many he gave. It was a lot, enough for him to comment on it later. I managed to stay and help out until a bit after Noon, when my body began aggressively insisting that I go lay down somewhere, and soon. So, I was given leave to head back to Casa Cogdill, where I gratefully crashed on the couch for a few hours. I was told I looked comfy. I was.
The next day, Memorial Day, I didn’t have to be at work, so I stayed one extra night, and went to the nearby town of Woodbine, where my cousin Rob dwells with his family, to hang out a bit. It was his youngest child’s third birthday, the one I came to nickname “Boo”, on account of her uncanny resemblance to the toddler in Monsters, Inc. Watched Big Hero 6 (which is something I have to get around to reviewing now), hung out with the kids, chatted with the cousins and family, then I made up a cup full of various fruit and grabbed a diet Root Beer for the drive back to Omaha, for the planned Cookout & Movies gathering at Nex’s place. Got there in time for a couple of hot dogs, then watched Stargate and The Grand Budapest. I did more socializing that weekend than I normally do in a handful of months. And my introvert nature was making me hyper aware of this.
Last part is coming up…