— —In the midst of The Flood, a bunch of us headed to New Orleans. (We're comfortable with irony.)
Several months ago, Nora had announced her engagement and the location of her bachelorette party in virtually the same breath. Not to be outdone, her fiancee, Nick, decided his stag party would also be in NOLA, on the same weekend, at all the same places.
High fives were exchanged, plane tickets were purchased, and in the eleventh hour, nearly all of us were still able to get to the airport. (One girl evacuated to DIA with all her belongings.)
You know that phrase, "Hell or high water"? It was probably written about us.
Nora is from New Orleans but also works for the government, so a weekend of dionysian eating, non-stop drinking and general debauchery was planned to the last detail on a three-tab spreadsheet.
On said spreadsheet were three rules: No. 1. Don't pee in public, No. 2. Don't touch the policeman's horse, and No. 3. Don't wander alone.
Sometime Saturday night, we realized Jeff was "Oscar Mike" — probably somewhere alone, peeing, petting a policeman's horse. Hours later, he resurfaced outside the 10-foot front gate of the bed and breakfast without a key. Eyeballing the nails jutting from the top of the gate, Jeff placed a foot high up on the porch to his left and grabbed the top of the gate, preparing to heave himself over it when the owner of the B&B swung the door open.
I'm not sure who was more uncomfortable: the owner, who opened the door and had Jeff's crotch at eye-level, or Jeff, who saw the B&B owner in his tighty-whiteys.
We'll call it a draw.
Late-night swimming was in order, and since this was the first proper vacation I'd had in years, I spent a few silent moments feeling grateful to be alive, to be with so many funny, brilliant, good-hearted folks, and to be floating in a pool, blissfully still, staring at a star through palm fronds.
The Star of Fritzlehem!
Apparently I was floating too blissfully, too silently, too still, because Mac wandered outside and yelled, "There's a corpse in the pool!" before jumping in to save me.
I'm pretty sure I was seconds away from achieving enlightenment, and why she didn't choose to poke me with a stick first we'll never know, but there it is.
The next day we returned home, some taking a straight path, others following a map presumably drawn up by bees.
Some of our homes had been hit, but it felt good to return, pull on the Wellies, and start mucking. We send a big thanks to the NOLA folks for their sympathy and showing us what recovering with backbone and style looks like.