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This weekend, I had a girls’ shopping trip planned. The idea was that Amanda in Phoenix and moi would descend on Kelly in near-Chicago, drink her wine, make her take us shopping and find us delightful food to eat.

The first problem that happened is stand-by. It’s a Godsend when you can get it, but when you can’t, your Phoenix gal ends up missing out on the fun.

The first bit of fun Amanda missed? The mouse.

Excuse me, did I say “fun”? I meant “holy Jesus shitballs.”

Cause see this?

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There’s a mouse under it.

It started with us hanging out, chatting in Kelly’s kitchen. I excused myself to go the bathroom, and mid-wipe, Kelly started to shriek. I heard “mouse” but thought … noooooo.

I ran out … and saw the little asshole poke its head from under the dishwasher. Kelly called her long-distance boyfriend for tips on what to do, and I called my husband, who laughed like a fool.

Eventually, Kelly got a bucket. And eventually, the mouse ran from the dishwasher to the oven … and back again … and then he made his fatal mistake: He ran into the bathroom. Kelly cornered the bugger (which we dubbed Motherfucker Jones) behind the toilet. She hovered with the bucket while I banged on the toilet with a rolled up magazine. When he darted out, she got the bucket over him.

Which left us with a mouse under a bucket in Kelly’s bathroom. You can’t just slide a stiff piece of cardboard under there because Motherfucker Jones don’t got no vertebrate; all he needs is a tiny opening and he can shoot out of there.

Naturally, it was time for one of these.

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So, per Kelly’s boyfriend’s suggestion … we taped the bucket to the floor. I think he thought we could suffocate him? No idea. All I know is when we got up in the morning, Kelly was on the phone with her dad. Within two minutes, he was over with heavy duty gloves.

He walked up to the bucket, shook it, and shut the bathroom door. Kelly and I looked at each other and squeaked. Seconds later, Mr. Kelly came out with Motherfucker Jones’ butt pinched between his fingers. He darted outside and came back in, announcing he dumped the bastard in the sewer.

The rest of the weekend was delightful. We perused a nearby, and new, outlet mall, we wandered Chicago’s State Street, and we ate at The Publican, which was responsible for the most amazing meal I’ve ever eaten in my life: porchetta, a fancy name for pork-stuffed-pork. The fatty pork was pinwheeled inside the leaner pork, and it was served with slivers of apples cooked like potatoes, hazelnuts and what had to have been a sprinkle of fairy dust, because seriously, that meal was life-changing.

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Kelly and I split our dessert, which further changed my life, vacherin. I’ll let the menu give you the description: vanilla meringue, whipped cream, strawberries, orange confit, orange sherbet, strawberry sherbet & vanilla ice cream. The meringue was dry and chalky, complimented ideally by the creamy, tartness of the sherbet. Each bite was a little different as I tried to combine different flavors with my spoon. Basically, if one of the waiters hadn’t looked like Adrian Grenier but cute (seriously, Adrian was butt ugly by comparison), I’d have licked the plate.

Seriously, this guy ain’t got nothing on the Publican hottie.

I left Kelly’s Sunday morning and headed to my folks, who live 45 minutes south of her. The day was for Nani, who turned 90 yesterday. We had a big ol’ party with everyone, where “everyone” is a lot of people: Nani has five daughters (my mom’s No. 4, and her younger sister died back in ’05 of breast cancer). My papa has two daughters (he is Mom’s stepfather). Together they created 16 grandchildren. Most of those grandchildren have procreated, creating nearly 30 great grandchildren (two of them are currently cooking). No, not everyone was there. Yes, MOST everyone was there.

This pic s hows all the blood relations who were there. Note Joey and Papa as the only men. Aside from Joey, there are only two boy cousins, neither of whom made it to the party. Nani had five daughters. Papa had two. Needless to say, there are a lot of women in my family.

I heard Nani ask more than once, “What’s the occasion?” She had no idea that hat was on her head. I showed her with my phone, and she laughed — then had to be reminded a dozen more times.

It was a good day, a very good day. She enjoyed herself and smiled a lot, even if I also overheard, “Who are all these people?”

Every time I get around my family, I get to know their kids even more. Like Sophia, who loved my necklace, but not nearly as much as she did my sunglasses.

imageSeriously, we’re talking the happiest baby of all time. After this, she lunged at my dad, cuddled him like he was a teddy bear and squealed, “Daddy!!” prompting her dad to look around in confusion.

After I spent a long weekend at my parents’, I was seriously missing my huny. I think he missed me too:

imageSo Motherfucker Jones … you can suck it. Cause my weekend still rocked.

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