All good stories begin with either “Once upon a time…” or “It was a dark and stormy night…” This tale, however, begins with the birth of a 6’ tall manly, Bronx Italian bo-hunk finding what has now been dubbed “his bitch foot.”
Our 13th wedding anniversary is Tuesday, August 26, 2014. As any good, self-aware Pagan, the number 13 is fabulously awesome, so let us tempt the fates and guffaw in the face of all of the superstitious who believe it portends ominous shit. I am the WORST gift giver in the history of ever, so I decided that this anniversary was so special that I strained my brain trying to recall the last year and what it is that my husband says his passion would entail. Keep in mind the key phrase “my husband SAYS…” it will be important in a few more words.
I remembered our friend, Mario, coming over after a game of golf last year while Paulie, Willie, and Mario sat in the basement bar drinking one beer after the other retelling the golf game stroke by boring stroke. Some how, an adrenaline switch was flipped as Mario began telling stories of his tandem skydiving experiences and how much he wanted to jump – any time, any place, any where – Mario’s passion for jumping was contagious. Mario told us all, as we sat on the edge of our seats, hanging onto his words as if tandem with the orator. He recounted in detail the suiting up process, the plane ride up to 13,500 feet (which is over 2 miles), and all about being harnessed to a stranger and leaping from a plane on the count of 3, free falling for two minutes and then deploying the chute and gently wafting to the group waiting on the ground. Sounded incredible to me, something I would never challenge myself to do…not ever! But, to my husband and Paulie, it sounded like something they wouldn’t think twice about doing…jumping from a perfectly good aircraft while tethered to a stranger…to hear them tell it, it seemed like something they had the real balls to do. In fact, this became an “every time we see Mario, let’s talk smack about when we are jumping.”
Cut to two weeks ago. I was scrambling to figure out an anniversary gift and Mario magically popped into my head, so I reached out to him on Facebook and asked for his telephone number. I began to set up everything, just knowing that all of the details would be perfect! Meanwhile, during my preparation over the last two weeks, Willie received two boxes in the mail. When I asked him what was in the boxes he replied “Nothing” so I calmly decided these MUST be anniversary gifts for me and I could feel the worst gift giver in the world pressure mounting…I called Sky Dive the Ranch in Gardiner, New York, this would be my year to shed the worst gift giver title. I even set up a video cam and still photographer for Willie’s jump, which Mario so generously decided to do for Willie as an anniversary gift. I purchased a gift certificate for two tandem jumps for August 23, 2014. The deal was done.
On Friday, August 22, 2014, the night before the world would forever change in our lives, Willie invited a bunch of friends over to watch the Giants/Jets football game on the outdoor screen. Since everyone arrived before Willie got home from work, I decided to fill them all in on what was happening the next morning. The only thing that I had told Willie was “Please don’t get too drunk tonight and don’t plan anything for tomorrow.” Meanwhile, everyone else knew the game plan. So, knowing our group of miscreants, the conversations started about “Hey Willie, we are going on a hot air balloon ride in two weeks, want to come along” to which Willie replied that he wasn’t keen on fire and wicker baskets and electrical wires. He then immediately commenced bragging about how he has wanted to jump from a plane for a while now. He bragged about Mario having done it and how he was next in line but that he needed to first find the perfect day to go and coordinate with Mario who was always so very busy. When several people began to express their fear of jumping from a plane and saying “You’re crazy man, I would NEVER do that” my husband’s waist line sucked in 5 inches and his chest puffed out 14 inches as he exclaimed his bravery in the face of skydiving! (((Let us all keep in mind that this is the same man who will not climb an 8′ ladder to clean the gutters out on the house.)))
Finally, one of our friends asked him what he was doing the next day. Willie said “I don’t know, I think I am going to Joe Torre day at Yankee Stadium, but Shirley won’t tell me, I’m excited to be able to see them retire his jersey and his number and rank him as the best manager of the Yankees team. Its going to be great, I think that’s what she is surprising me with, but I can’t be surprised. She doesn’t do well with gifts.” The last zinger almost had me shouting “I will shove your ass out of a plane without a chute for that one!” But I found my restraint and swallowed it. Everyone left around 10:30…we set off to bed and he asked me “What are we doing tomorrow?” to which I replied “What’s in those boxes?” his retort “You’ll know Tuesday” and I snorted and said “So will you.” I went to sleep.
Saturday morning, he wakes up, grabs his phone and starts Freaking. The. Fuck. Out. “OMG! Are you kidding me??? We have to leave! We have to head to the train station! I’m going to miss all of the Joe Torre Day festivities!!!!!!!!!!”
He is literally running in a circle in the bedroom, trying to find – I really do not know what – but he is searching like a mother fucker for it…I roll over and ask him what in the hell his problem is as he shoves his telephone in my face, purple vein in his forehead bulging well beyond his skull, spittle flying “IT SAYS RIGHT FUCKIN HERE ‘ALL FANS ARE REQUESTED TO BE SEATED BY NOON IN ORDER TO ENSURE THEY SEE ALL OF THE JOE TORRE DAY FESTIVIES’ ”
I calmly sat up in bed, rubbing my eyes, saying “Don’t worry, daddy, from where we are sitting, you’ll see everything, don’t worry about it” Well, needless to say, this did not sit well…hold on…it got so much worse…his whirling dervish turns into a full on mantrum…arms flailing, whining like a 2 year old, he screams…THIS. IS. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. STOOPID! And…wait for it…
He stomped his BITCH FOOT right on the ground and glared at me as he said “I am not going into the City. If we aren’t going to the game, I’m not going into the City, I hate, Hate, HATE the City and I’m not going. This is so fucking stupid, just tell me where I’m going so I can dress appropriately.”
I couldn’t stop laughing at him at this point…so I made matters worse and said “You can stomp your little bitch foot all you want, hold your breath, gnash your teeth, but you aren’t ruining this, now go take a shower and get dressed…I could give a shit if you wear a Yankees shirt or not, just go!”
While he was in the shower, I got his laced sneakers and a pair of socks and put them in the car along with this waivers and jump docs and put them in the back seat for Mario. He emerged from the shower, Mr. Poopy Pouty Face, and went outside mumbling “The Yankee Clipper is leaving the station now, the next one at 11 is going to make me late, I’ll miss the Joe Torre Day festivities, this is stupid.”
At 10:00 I emerged from the house, locked it up, and we set off taking every back road I knew because we weren’t supposed to meet with Mario until 11:00. I saw Mario turn into the park and ride, so I went to the gas station across the street to delay so that Mario could park. Still grumbling and grousing, Willie pumped the gas, when he got back into the car I gave him my sleeping mask and said “Sorry, daddy, you have to put this on for a little while” and I got from him “I get car sick, I hope I throw up on you” I said “As long as your bitch foot stays planted it’ll be ok.” We went off to the park and ride and Mario hopped in the car, as soon as he got in, Willie took his blindfold off and Mario handed him the envelope saying “Hey Willie, we’re jumping today”
Do you know what that little shit responded? Do you?! “I’m not jumping today, you can’t just throw this on someone, you have to prepare them for this” and Mario told him he could prepare for the next one hour drive over. Willie went on to try to weasel out by saying “I didn’t mean I would do it today, I meant some day, like in the future.” When I said “You bragged about how you could do this, so you’re doing it” he responded “I’m a fucking man, I ain’t got no balls, I talk shit, I talk A LOT Of shit and that was a TON of shit, I’m not jumping. I didn’t mean it, really!” He went on to say “I guess I better watch what I say around you, if I said I would wrestle a gator, we would probably have a flight to Florida tomorrow”
Once I told him that there were no refunds he settled in to the idea and then proceeded to tell us all what a bunch of lying mother fuckers we all are. He was really pissed to know that the night before when he was bragging everyone else was taking wagers on whether he would man up or pussy out. Happy to say, once he planted his feet on the ground he was ready to go again! We have video of his jump but I can’t figure out how to download onto his computer.
On a side note, once you board the aircraft, you have to straddle a bench while your instructor wedges in behind you, and the next instructor wedges himself and his chute in front of you…your legs get pressed really far apart…my response to the query…”can you open your legs a little wider?” was “I haven’t had them opened this wide since prom night!” A few seconds later, this parlay between me and my instructor ensued:
Instructor “Do you have any children to leave your wordly possession to?”
Me “No, eww!”
Instructor: “Why don’t you have any kids?”
Me “Because they smell funny and cost money”
He laughs and tightens my hips even more tight into his groin to which I respond “HEY! Didn’t you hear me? I have no children, let’s keep it that way!” Well, we were all laughing so hard after that, I couldn’t NOT jump. It was an experience that I have to tell you “YOU GOTTA GO TO KNOW!” I highly recommend it.
And as for his bitch foot…we are so totally going to need to remove that…he stomped like a little bitch!