Going back on “the stuff” plus the American pastime of blowing shit up (long post)

Yesterday we went to a Fourth of July party at nerd horde member Aaron’s house. We thought half the nerd horde would put in an appearance and it would be good, geeky fun. It didn’t pan out that way but we still had a blast even among people we didn’t know (and who for the most part weren’t interactive).

The biggest news was that earlier in the day I’d decided to start back on “the stuff” a.k.a. caffeine.

Allow me to share a little back story. Feel free to skip it.

Around January of 2000, I decided to quit caffeine cold turkey (at least in drinks). It had to do with my doctor telling me I had high blood pressure (even though it was borderline) and that I either needed to lose weight or cut out Mountain Dew. If I failed to do either, she’d put me on blood pressure drugs.

Since I’d been getting headaches even when I wasn’t going through withdrawals, I said what the hell and cut out all caffeinated drinks. I’d been going through a cube of Mountain Dew a week (For those who don’t recognize the term, a cube is 24 – 12oz cans). It wasn’t healthy. Even I knew that.

Fast forward a few months. I was caffeine free yet my blood pressure was still bad. Fast forward a few years to when I finished my degree and got a new job. “Miraculously” my blood pressure smoothed out (and sometimes spikes low). Clearly the caffeine and weight weren’t the issue. It was my shit job.

My decaff lifestyle was so ingrained by that point I didn’t consider switching it. Until my guy decided to join me on the decaff side of the line a few months ago. He recently visited the doctor and found he’d gained thirty pounds over the last three months. THIRTY. I was shocked. We sat wracking our brains trying to figure out if he’d begun drinking extra sugary things to account for the shift. I couldn’t come up with enough to merit the change. His lifestyle had remained the same apart from the decaff bit. There’d been no increase in lounging about or eating extra pizza. He’d behaved the same.

We did a brief bit of Internet sleuthing and came upon a few pages claiming caffeine boosts metabolism. And I’d recalled oodles of weight loss pills that included stupid amounts of the substance. I made a snap, completely un-scientific assumption based on those “facts” that maybe I too had gained because of caffeine 😉

Voila, I’m back on the stuff.

Cue Saturday morning. I rolled out of bed at the ripe hour of half past ten. Got in a little 30-day Shred and a shower. I was ready for my return to a life caffeinated. Friday I’d bought a 6-pack of Diet Orange Sunkist. With caffeine. My fingers trembled over the cap of the newly procured drink. I popped out into the living room where my guy was lounged playing Mass Effect 3.

Shaking the bottle at him, I said, “Here I go. Back on the stuff.” (for those who don’t know why I keep referencing it as “the stuff” watch this.

He laughed and shook his head.

Slowly I twisted the cap and then took my first sip since the year two-thousand. I waited a moment and then mimed a chest burster from Aliens. A dramatic moan emitted from my slack slips.

Again he shook his head, saying, “Waiting for the mutation now?”


Back I tramped to my writing den to get in some #wordmongering before the rest of my day was shot by *gasp* socializing.

Unfortunately, what I ended up doing was Tweeting up a storm about my slide back into the land of the hopped up guzzlers. I apologize to those of you who were awake for it. And those of you who read everything I Tweet after the fact. I did go a bit crazy with the messages yesterday. Good thing I have that chatty warning in my profile. Apparently Anya on caffeine = chattier. Who knew?

After at least two hours, six hundred words (I wasn’t very productive), a couple dozen Tweets, and one bottle of Sunkist, it was time to do the sweet-making. No, not that kind. The cake kind.

Since nerd-horde member Aaron had been raving to his wife about my game night “cake balls”, yet hadn’t brought any home for her (mostly because he knows he’d eat them in the car on the fifteen-mile trek back to his house), I decided to make up a batch of the strawberry ones to take over. My guy did most of the work. I merely did the chocolate coating.

I popped on the local classic rock station on the under-the-counter radio my guy installed years ago and proceeded to dance like a goober while I candy coated balls. Two hours on and I was still hyped up. I was twice as obnoxious as usual. When I pointed this out, my guy declared we’d stop at the gas station on the way to the party so he could get me a frozen Mountain Dew. Apparently twice as obnoxious as usual is just the right amount for him.

At this point I was reminded of all of the caffeine drinks that had been developed in the past twelve years since I kicked the habit. People, Starbucks was only found in major cities back then. I don’t live in one (now we have three Starbucks). And energy drinks? The only kinds we could easily get out here in cornville in 2000 were Red Bull and things you could special order from Thinkgeek. Now with entire cold cases at the gas station devoted to energy drinks, it’s a brave new world for me!

Until we got to the gas station to find there was no frozen Mountain Dew and the frozen Coke they had wasn’t frozen in the slightest. I had to make do with frozen “green apple” which was fairly good actually. But not caffeinated.

We arrived at the party to learn the assembled group was family…people we’d never met. They were camped out in chairs on the porch looking lethargic like panting dogs. In the hundred degree weather we’ve been suffering from all week. I headed over to the picnic table out of the way while my guy put the precious in the refrigerator (the cake balls).

A dull hour past in which I was dreading having to stay. Then Aaron broke out the fireworks. The kids (Bryce and Isaac, who were roughly 6 and 8 years old) started setting off firecrackers for the first times in their lives. I’m not sure what it is about Americans, but most of us enjoy blowing shit up. The bigger, louder, and flashier the better. Maybe it’s humans in general because plenty of cultures have their annual set-things-on-fire holidays.

We got to witness these kids’ first foray into pyromania. They mumbled a few choice quotes. Bryce was particularly bloodthirsty, saying several times he was going to blow up everyone, blow up people, and blow up this “bidness”. And my favorite, one I tweeted: Kid taping strings of firecrackers together “I’m gonna blow up the whole universe.” My guy: “Well, that’s some ambition”

I was utterly charmed.

At some point I became their audience. Probably because no one else was paying them any mind and I was bored. The three times I headed inside the house to lure Aaron’s step-son Jeff away from Minecraft, Bryce would search me out to tell me he’d found something colorful (I like the fireworks that have colors better than the ones that make cracks). Out I’d tramp after Bryce to see his latest find. I started taking photos and on occasion videos too.

Finally Jeff’s mom forced him out (he’s thirteen and far too cool to hang with the kids. [Read: he’s a computer nerd and didn’t like being outside in the heat&humidity]). He proved to be the best at blowing shit up. Jeff took empty fireworks boxes, filled them with four of the same breed of firework plus two different surprises, and then he’d light them up to cause a chain reaction. Even funnier was how he’d run screaming like a girl after he’d light his masterpieces.

Meanwhile the adults were still crowded on the porch, drinking beer and playing guitar. The only amusing thing the I heard from their camp was Aaron’s acoustic rendition of the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep till Brooklyn” and when one guy derisively declared, “I don’t drink Woodchuck. Gross. How do you juice a woodchuck?” To which I called out, “It requires Barry White.” (For those who don’t know of it, Woodchuck is an American brand of hard Apple cider).

As the evening wore on, Aaron brought out different batches of fireworks for the kids to play with. Jeff abandoned us for Minecraft. We paused to eat dinner during which I got Bryce and Isaac to dance for me. And then to dance in slow motion for me. I tried to get them to do their routine “backwards/rewind” but they didn’t understand. I guess kids who have never had to use a VCR find rewind to be a foreign concept. Instead, Isaac turned and did the dance with his back to me. It was hilarious.

Here’s a little video of Bryce doing his player dance, me getting him to do it in slow motion, Isaac blowing shit up, and Jeff squealing, “hot, hot,” because of sparklers.

My cake balls were a hit. But the bigger hit were the fireworks (read: fountains) the kids got to light after dusk fell.

Too bad the drought meant the “good stuff” remained hidden in a closet for next year.

All in all, we had fun. And I discovered I’m far more comfortable with kids than adults. That said, I don’t want my own. I simply like riling up other people’s kids 😀

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