August 23 is a big date in the Parrots’ calendar: it’s our catcher Adam’s sobriety anniversary.
And it’s not any sobriety anniversary this year: this is gonna be his 25th.
We usually get Adam one of those hugeass cards you have trouble fitting in the car and all of us sign it, but this year we wanted to do a little more than that. Normally I’d of suggested Buca di Beppo, which is where go for team birthday parties. Fun atmosphere, plenty of good food, chance of watching me and Sloppy Joe get into a meatball eating contest lol…but of course that ain’t happening this year.
It was Melanie Kate who gave me the idea that we should have a ‘virtual birthday party’ for Adam on Zoom. She said she’s been to a couple of kid’s parties that way and that they were…well, she said they weren’t completely lameass. I suggested it to our captain Josh, he liked the plan…and then to Adam’s husband, Allan, and he liked the plan too. So that’s what we’re gonna do: give Adam a ‘surprise’ party on Zoom.
Since it was my idea and I’ve got plenty of time on my hands, Josh put me in charge of the arrangements. Joyce helped me with the Zoom set-up, and I’m doing the rest. Everybody’s gonna be ordering in their favorite food from Buca, so it’ll be kinda like we’re there…and I told everyone to get a bottle of sparkling cider, so we could drink a sober toast to the sober ‘birthday boy’.
Melanie Kate told me I was gonna need party supplies too. She said Dollar Tree is the place to get those, so I headed there to get party hats and noisemakers and shit like that. Hey, it’s a buck for 8 hats, so it’s hard to go wrong. (It kinda pissed me off that everything came in packages of 8 when I needed 10 hats, but, for a buck, I reckoned I could afford to splurge on two packages.)
Of course Keaton said the party hats and shit were totally gayass; I told him he’s lucky I didn’t go for the princess tiaras instead of the funny hats. (I actually did waffle between hats and tiaras when I was in the Dollar Tree…then I decided tiaras would be going too far lol.) That’s not to say he doesn’t want to celebrate with Adam: “but his being gay is no excuse for making us wear gayass party hats, bubba.” He hasn’t gone into it with me in any detail, but I think he knew an alcoholic back in Fairbanks who needed help but never got it. You meet people like that when you work in a bar, I reckon. I’ve played with guys who had drinking problems but I don’t think I really got to understand alcoholism and addiction until I got to LA and met Adam and Ryan. (That’s the Ryan who pitches for the Parrots, not the Ryan who gets Keaton girls. I have no idea how, but Joyce is always getting the two Ryans mixed up lol.)
Speaking of pitcher Ryan, he’s doing a lot better since he got back to work a couple weeks ago. Y’all may remember that he was seriously freaking out because he had no income and was afraid he’d get kicked out of the sober living where he’s living. But now he’s back to working at Mi Casita, where the delivery business is going great, he says. Ryan doesn’t have a drivers license (and there’s no way to get a driving test because the DMV is still all fucked up from the quarantine), but the owners gave the other bus boy the delivery job and brought Ryan back to work in the restaurant. He’s super grateful to be working again and to not have to worry about keeping a roof over his head.
So I made everyone a bag of sillyass supplies and drove around to everyone’s houses to drop their stuff off and get them to sign the hugeass card I ordered from Walmart. That wasn’t so hard, since most of the team lives in Pasadena, although Ryan’s in Eagle Rock and Trey lives with his parents in San Marino. And, although Travis and Trey’s parents are next door neighbors, Travis is still living in his mental health facility. So I had to drive out to Glendora to get him his hat, noisemaker, beads and “loot bag” (20 bucks goes a long way at Dollar Tree lol.)
I haven’t written much about Travis lately, but I’m in touch with him almost every day. I get kinda worried if I send him a text and don’t hear from him, but I know he’s ‘safe’ where he is and that the whole reason he’s there is so he can be safe like that.
Because of COVID, they’re not letting visitors onto the grounds of the ‘funny farm’ (as Travis calls it), but there’s a nice park a couple blocks from the facility and Travis met me there so we could hang out some. I picked up some frappuccinos for us and brought along a ball and a couple gloves so we could play some catch.
I’m super glad to report that Travis looks good and seems like he’s doing well. He’s been out in the sun some: part of his therapy is looking after a little garden plot, and that gets him outside every day. He’s dropped a little weight, though. He says the food’s not great and that he’s eating a lot of cereal. He didn’t say too much else about what they give them to eat at the ‘funny farm’…except they regularly fuck up box mashed potatoes.
(When I told that to Meemaw, her answer was that there’s no right way to make mashed potatoes from the box. Any idiot can boil and mash potatoes; using dried ones is an insult to good cooking.)
Travis says he likes living in a place where there’s “less pressure to be sane” – since everybody there has some kind of issue. He feels less crazy as a result, and that’s a good feeling for him to have. He used to beat himself up a lot for being crazy, no matter how much me and Keaton told him that was bullshit and that just because he has issues doesn’t make him totally fucked in the head. He says he thinks he’s in for a rough couple weeks, though, since we’re coming up on the anniversary of when he tried to jump off the Colorado Street Bridge and ended up in the hospital the first time.
(Hard to believe that that was a year ago already. COVID is screwing around with the way we’re all perceiving time.)
So everybody’s equipped with their party supplies and we’re all ready for Sunday. I don’t know if a recreational softball team is a good group to get together for a Zoom party, but I reckon we’ll find out soon enough. I watched a few videos about games you can play on Zoom, a lot of which really did seem super gayass. We’re gonna try and play charades and pictionary, though…since those are fun and everyone knows how to play them. We’re all set for pictionary, too: I got everyone a notebook and markers at Dollar Tree while I was there.
We all pitched in and bought Adam a present too. We kept to the silver anniversary theme, but I won’t tell y’all what it is until we’ve given it to Adam at the party. I’m actually pretty excited: this is actually the first time I’ve thrown a party on my own. Even if it is only on Zoom. Melanie Kate said I’ve set everything up right, so cross your fingers that it’ll be fun when we all get ‘together’ on Sunday.