With both Pinot and Grigio newly married, and Cat in college, my life was dramatically changing. No carpooling, no running to practices, no tripping over huge piles of stinky socks. Well, maybe smaller piles. The Big Guy was still home, firmly planted in front of the big screen TV.
It hit me since the nest was empty; there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than affectionate feather-fluffing between two lovebirds. I tip-toed behind the Big Guy’s recliner and could tell he was in the mood for heavy-pecking.
“Baby, I can’t believe you’re back in my life,” he said, his voice rasping. “I fantasized cradling you again, savoring your rich, sweet existence. How crazy that after all our times together where you left me with aching teeth and a throbbing head, I still want more.
“I could eat you up, one long, slow slurp at a time.”
“Big Guy, I’m ready!” I hadn’t been this excited since my vacuum broke.
“Too late,” he said, handing me an empty carton of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream.
After scratching romance in the nest off my list, I turned to pursuing a new hobby. Perhaps because I never got over flunking kindergarten finger-painting, I tried Painting with a Twist. That’s an art class where you sit in front of a blank canvas holding a paint brush in one hand and a wine glass in the other. After an evening of step-by-step instructions, and a bottle of Cabernet, you leave with your own personally created art treasure. That, and, a note from the owner asking you not to display it.
I followed instructions to dab a glob here, swish a stroke there, all the while visualizing a vase of flowers that would fill my canvas. The teacher walked behind us, sharing pointers and praising our efforts.
“Interesting,” she said at my side, after taking a slug from my wine bottle. “I’ve seen artistry like that only one other time.”
“Oh, at the Guggenheim?”
“No, in stroke recovery program for chimpanzees.”
Freaky, my kindergarten teacher told me the same thing.
Not long afterward, senior attention deficit disorder kicked in and my mind drifted. OK, maybe it was wine, but instead of petals I began painting faces. Smiley faces, sad faces, goofy faces, even one wearing a mustache straight out of a ‘70s porn movie. The teacher must’ve been impressed by my faces because hers looked like “The Scream.”
A manic surge of creativity engulfed both my mind and body. First, I fretted over the minutiae, like selecting the ideal skin-tone shade for my Munchkin’s face. Then I burst into tears when it turned out Oompa Loompa orange. I understand why Van Gogh severed his ear. Vincy, I feel your pain. Not literally. My ears are intact.
I painted with such flourish that stopping was difficult. Even a wine-refill break risked drying up my creative juices. No worries. Sitting next to me was an elderly woman drinking Cabernet. I turned on the water faucet in the sink behind us. Full force. Soon, she tottered to the restroom and I switched wine glasses. Grandma Moses had been so wrapped up in her artwork, you would’ve thought she was painting for the Louvre instead of her husband’s work shed. No way she’d remember bringing in her bottle of wine, much less drinking it. Sorta like teachers after the first day of school.
Not long afterward, I felt as if something other than creative juices was about to flow. Jeez, I forgot to turn off the water faucet. I tottered to the restroom – with my newly filled wine glass in hand. We creative geniuses can’t be too careful. There’s always a starving – and thirsty – artist ready to steal your work. And wine.