matt and lisa outside car

I don’t keep my car tidy.  I don’t even keep it picked up.  Honestly, I have no idea what’s living in my vehicle, but I’m pretty sure there’s enough mold to make at least one dose of penicillin that would kill just about anything (or at least Paris Hilton’s latest bout with the clap).

I would like to have a clean car; believe me, I would.  I just honestly don’t know how to master that feat.  (I guess I should start by not throwing half-used water bottles into the back seat.)

I usually don’t have regular riders in my car.  It’s not just because I prefer to drive alone so I can roll down the window when I get too gassy.  It’s also because my car is a complete disaster.

Those people who know me well just know this about me.  We don’t discuss it, we just agree to take someone else’s vehicle.  It’s kind of like the elephant in the room…or the Hardees bag in the back seat (isn’t that a saying?)

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t drive one of those cars where the trash is piled up so high that there is only a small space for the driver to get in, most likely to drive himself off a cliff during a psychotic episode.  It’s not like that at all (although sometimes I want to throw myself off a cliff when listening to Diane Rhem from NPR).

I can see out my windows and all seats are available…they are just difficult to get to at times. And don’t worry, I got that smell taken care of some time ago.

stuffed carI went on a work trip recently with several of my colleagues.  We all came from different offices to meet in the ever-so-exciting town of Indianapolis.  I decided to drive since it’s easier and there’s no limit to what luggage I bring, and whether my lotion is in a 3 ounce container.

(I also am still on a “heightened alert” list since that recent incident where I may have gotten sassy with a TSA official.  Hypothetically.)

My other colleagues from other offices flew (they are obviously not considered a threat to national security), and then they got a cab from the airport to the hotel.

The night I arrived, I stayed in my room making sweet sweet love to a chocolate mousse cake I ordered from room service, and then told the delivery man I was going to split it with my husband.  I think he knew I was lying, but he played along.

We met in the lobby of the hotel the next morning after I shamelessly scarfed down an omelet and hasbrowns in the comfort of my room, which was a judgment-free zone.  (Yes, I did need to eat the entire omelet, and the hashbrowns and BOTH pieces of toast.  Don’t judge.)

As we sat around waiting for all my colleagues to arrive, one of them said something to me about driving.  Yes, I agreed.  I would be driving myself to the meeting.  I suppose I just didn’t think about how the others would get to the meeting.  Maybe I assumed they would simply arrive without reference to travel, just like Batman.

“No,” Tom Bodett replied.  (Okay, Tom Bodett isn’t his real name, but his voice sounds exactly like Tom Bodett from those Motel 6 commercials.  I like to make him say “We’ll leave the light on for ya.”  He’s never amused with this, although I find it hysterical.)  “We will all be going in your car” Bodett said.

Wait, what?  I felt like he said it in slow motion.  Every thing slowed down and it took me a minute to process what he was saying.  Some of the delay in processing could have been due to the copious amount of Benedryl and Sudafed I had just ingested to mask the misery of my sinus infection.  I was practically a walking meth lab, only without the trailer park and burning hair smell.  (Okay, maybe a little of the burning hair smell.)

“Um,” I responded quickly.  (Yes, that’s the best response I could muster.  I’m not that great under pressure when the sinus pressure in my head could fill up the tire of a small riding lawnmower.)  “You are more than welcome to ride in my car with me, but you can’t judge me for how messy my car is,” I said, silently cursing myself for not even attempting to remove the trash heap in my back seat floorboards.

“It’s no big deal,” Tom Bedett said.  “I live out of my car too.”

Yeah, right.  He obviously didn’t know what he was in for, and I was just too sick to worry about it.  The valet brought my car around and attempted to put my luggage in the trunk.

kid in carseat

He returned to me with an expression of exasperation and exhaustion and I gave him a few extra bucks for his troubles, and told him to speak of the disarray of my car to no one.

I figured a few bucks of hush money was worth it.  I considered telling him to buy himself something pretty, but thought better of it.

We all walked to my car.  I walked slightly ahead of them hoping to get there early to clean out the car.  I don’t know what I thought I would accomplish in the 10 seconds I was there before the others arrived, but I felt like I at least needed to hope for a small miracle.

Perhaps the valet had miraculously cleaned out my car.  No such luck.

I opened the door to the backseat and saw the usual…papers covered in dog hair, bottles of water in varying degrees of consumption, a wadded up comforter for the dogs to sleep on, a variety of dog toys, and random receipts, napkins and Fiber One bar wrappers.

Perhaps what was most embarrassing was the pair of wadded up Spanx that were on the floor in plain site.  They were there from almost a year ago when I spoke at a convention and took them off because I couldn’t breathe and seriously thought they broke one of my ribs.

Those torturous pieces of Spandex remained in my car on the floor, where they were supposed to be.

But at that moment, I wished I would have burned them in a cleansing ritual, just as I would have liked.

I began grabbing things from the backseat and throwing them into the trunk…or at least trying to throw them into the trunk.  My trunk was packed full with briefcases for work, dryer sheets to make the car smell nice, random dog food, dog treats and water bowls, and what was most likely pieces of a wardrobe from every season of the year.

I was able to put a few things in the trunk before announcing to the group that they were going to have to stuff into the car and then hold onto their baggage.  (Not their emotional baggage, although I’m pretty sure at least one of them was holding onto some serious stuff, but that’s another blog for another day.)

You haven’t been embarrassed until you’ve seen your coworkers scrunched in your car, wrinkling their suits with their luggage, and avoiding eye contact with you so they don’t give away their true feelings about how you treat your car like a waste basket.

I felt like I needed to at least point out that although my car was a mess, my house was clean.  Strangely enough, this is actually true.  My house is always clean, tidy and picked up, although my car always looks like a tornado went through it.  I like to think it’s the ying and the yang of my life.

They all piled in the car with their suits and luggage, and although they didn’t say anything, I could actually hear them judging me internally.  I wish I cared.  I really do.

But all I could think about was how much my head actually weighed with the extra pounds of sinus drainage and if the additional pounds were the cause of my recent weight gain.  (It had to be…it definitely couldn’t have been all that room service.)

We arrived at our location and when the doors to the car opened, my coworkers literally fell out of the car with their luggage.  I looked down and one of the empty water bottles escaped the back seat.  It was most likely jumping to freedom and I didn’t blame it.  I looked at my coworkers and reminded them not to judge me and that I was super busy and important, and didn’t have time to clean my car.

They pretended like they didn’t care, but I saw one of them check to see if there was trash clinging to the back of her dress.  (It wasn’t an unrealistic concern.)

I would like to say my coworkers didn’t tell on me and my disgusting car, but I have a feeling they did.  If I get a gift certificate for a car detailing from my employer this year for Christmas, I will know those blabber mouths ratted me out.

 

parking garageI hate parking garages.  They’re like dungeons, only there’s no dragons or princesses held captive, although the smell of urine in most garages suggests otherwise.  I have to park in a parking garage for work, but I park in the same spot everyday.

It’s an assigned spot that’s probably assigned to someone, although that someone isn’t me.  However, I park in the same numbered spot everyday so as to give the impression it’s my spot and I’m not to be messed with.  It’s worked for the last 3 years so please don’t rat me out now.

Although I’m familiar with my own parking garage, I can’t say the same thing about other garages.  Recently I had a meeting with clients, because I’m super fancy and important…and because someone else set it up for me.

meterI arrived at the building where the meeting was held, and realized I didn’t want to park at a meter because the meeting would be long and I didn’t want to keep feeding the meter.

Those parking meters are hungrier than I am and require constant feeding…although I’m not satisfied by rusty nickels and dimes quite the way a parking meter is.

I decided to park in the garage connected to the building so I would have an easy entry and exit.

I entered the garage with my car, took a ticket, and began spiraling down the levels looking for a spot.  I passed several hundred cars before finding a spot that was to my liking.  It was next to a pole, so I figured it would be easy to find.

After all, how many poles can one parking garage really have?

I hurried out of my car and headed toward the corner of the level I was on.  I assumed there was an elevator somewhere, but I didn’t know where it was, so I thought I would take the stairs.  I was working out and figured I could use the exercise.  I was obviously delusional from being so far underground and so far away from civilization.

I walked up approximately a million flights of stairs, all the while cursing myself for wearing heels and wondering why society can’t accept a woman for wearing flip flops with a suit.  I finally reached the top of the stairs and saw light peering out of the window of the door.

I also saw black spots, which were a reminder that I needed to do more cardio at the gym…or really…do any cardio at the gym.  I pumped my fist as a sign of victory, adjusted my Spanx, and opened the door to sweet freedom.

I expected to see the front of the office building…or the front of the garage…or the front of any building at all.  What I saw was an alley filled with dumpsters and the pungent smell of homeless people’s urine.  And yes, that smell is different than other specimens of urine.  Trust me.

As I plugged my nose and gasped for air, my cell phone rang.  I answered the call and discovered my boss on the other end, asking where I was.  I told him I was in the bowels of hell, or maybe just a scene from West Side Story.

I expected to see highly musical gangs emerge from behind the dumpsters, snapping their fingers and doing jazz boxes.

woman looking at phoneI began singing the opening ballad of West Side Story but he didn’t chime in.  How could he not?  The tune is so catchy.

He told me to get up to the meeting quickly, as they were getting ready to start.  Obviously, they couldn’t start without me, as I’m very important.  I like to think of myself as the glue that holds things together.  I’m not saying that’s an accurate assessment.  I’m just saying that’s what I like to think.

I looked around the alley and then grabbed some weapons from my purse, which happened to be some facial hydrating spray and a tube of lip gloss.  I may not have been armed to fend off violence, but dry skin was nowhere in my future with these potent weapons.

I figured I could spray an intruder with the spray and throw the tube of gloss at him as I ran down the alley.

I had a solid plan.  I then proceeded to sprint down the alley, singing “When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way…”  (I’m soooo a Jet and not a Shark.  The Sharks were so lame.)

After my meeting, I left with a few other people and took the elevator to the parking garage.  As I walked into the elevator I realized I had no idea what floor my car was on because I didn’t take the elevator up.  However, I didn’t want to look like a total idiot, although the Diet Coke stain on my lapel was doing a good job of driving that idea home.   So I randomly pressed a number on the elevator and waited for my stop.

When the elevator opened, I looked around and saw nothing familiar.  I had no idea where I was, and no idea where my car was located.  But how hard could it really be to find my car in a parking garage?

I began walking around looking for my car and the pole it was parked next too.  I soon realized there were poles approximately every 10 feet, and the only unique thing about them were the varying shades of car paint scraped on each one.  I was completely lost.

woman in suit lookingI reached in my purse and pulled out a Fiber One bar.  Don’t judge.  I needed energy to walk around the garage.

I contemplated leaving a trail of crumbs from my Fiber One bar so I could know where I’d already been , but I didn’t want to waste a perfectly good snack on something so stupid.  I noshed away and continued walking.

I pulled out my phone and decided to call for a rescue team.  I figured I could make up an excuse for why I was lost, and someone could drive around the garage looking for me.

Immediately I realized this plan wouldn’t work, not only because I didn’t want to admit to anyone that I was lost in a parking garage, but also because I had no service in the middle of this dungeon.

I realized I was doomed, and would most likely spend the rest of my days in the parking garage, scouting for loose change and discarded food.  I took off my heels as a sign of defeat, but also because they were drawing blood from my toes.  I then began wandering aimlessly.

Not long after walking barefoot on the freezing concrete, I had an epiphany.  I would start walking around the garage hitting the alarm button on my keys.  That would make my car alarm go off, which would lead me to my car.  Perfect!

I took a few moments to congratulate myself on being such a genius, and cursed my fourth grade teacher who said I wouldn’t amount to anything.  (Who’s the idiot now?)

I furiously began walking and punching the alarm on my keys.  Eventually I heard the familiar sound of my car alarm and ran towards it, cheering and congratulating myself once again on being so brilliant.

guy reading mapI drove out of the parking garage high on adrenaline from finding my car.  I looked at the clock and realized I had been lost in the parking garage for 30 minutes.  Yes, 30 minutes.

That may not sound like much, but it’s a lifetime if you’re underground in a parking garage.  Thirty minutes is an episode of a sit com, or the length of someone’s lunch break.  It’s also the amount of time it takes for me to get annoyed with my husband’s bad jokes, which is a lifetime if you’re on the other end of his “knock knock” jokes.

If he ever tries to tell you a joke about a muffin, don’t indulge him.

I knew I could never admit to anyone that I was lost in a parking garage for such a long amount of time.  I vowed never to say anything about it, and forget it ever happened…which is why I’m writing it on my blog now.

I mean, I’m sure no one reads this anyway, and those that do may be doing so on their smart phone while trapped in a parking garage somewhere.

To those people I say “Godspeed.”

code.jpg

I recently went to Austin for a large film festival (and for lots and lots of Tex-Mex).  Seriously, who am I kidding?  I went there for food with the secondary goal of seeing a film or two.

While I was there (and in between meals), I saw several documentaries.  I know, I know, Nerd Alert!!!  I can’t help it, but I seriously love documentaries.  Maybe it’s because they make me feel smart, or maybe it’s because they usually follow someone with a more disastrous life than mine.

Whatever the reason, I saw several while in Austin.  One of the films that caught my eye was a documentary called Code of the West.  It was about Montana and their fight in Congress over whether medicinal marijuana should be legal.

film reelIt sounded interesting and had a legal aspect I knew I would enjoy.  I also secretly hoped they would serve “special brownies” during the viewing, which was another reason I decided to see the film.

I got there early and waited in line for the doors to open.  I looked around and noticed I was a bit out of place.  The others waiting in line to see the film appeared as if they’d already had a sneak preview of the material, if you know what I mean.  (And you stoners definitely know what I mean.)

Most of the other patrons seemed content standing in line staring at the back of their hands, talking about how rad the weather was.  I had a hard time differentiating between which ones were hipsters and which ones were homeless.

I assumed most of them were hipsters, as I didn’t think the homeless would waste their limited funds on a ticket to a film festival, even if it was about pot.

When the doors opened for the film, I went inside and grabbed a seat next to a professorial looking guy.  He looked somewhat normal and I was only 50% sure he wasn’t going to whip out a bong during the film.

I must admit that was part of the reason I chose to sit next to him.   I really wanted to see a man in a blazer with leather elbow pads take a hit off a Snoopy bong.

Yes, I figured he would be the type to have a Snoopy bong.

professor.jpg

The film started and it was actually fairly interesting.  It was well done and fairly portrayed both sides’ position on legalizing marijuana.

However, I was a bit distracted by the tiny, itty bitty glaring problem with the film….the fact that the federal government specifically prohibits the drug.  That small tiny detail wasn’t fully addressed in the film and it left me wondering why.

See what I mean about these documentaries making me feel smart?

So I decided to ask the director at the Q and A after the film.

For those of you not in the know, a Q and A is a question and answer session, not “Quiznos appetizers” which is what I originally thought it meant, and why I stayed.

For some reason, during the Q and A session, the director actually chose me as one of the people to ask a question.

My guess is because I was the only person not wearing a Phish t-shirt and my eyes weren’t squinted and bloodshot (although I was munching loudly on a bag of chips).

When she called on me I asked her if there was a movement on the federal level to legalize marijuana, and if so, what that movement was.

She glared at me and gave me a snotty response that was quite defensive.  She was clearly not happy with my question, although I thought it was a good one, and one an educated person might want to know the answer to.

Apparently I was the only one interested in the answer.

photo credit: mloberg via photopin cc

photo credit: mloberg via photopin cc

It was obvious the director wasn’t prepared to answer questions any more serious than “Does mixing Mt. Dew and M&Ms destroy your buzz?” or “Which Ziploc baggie is the most durable?”  (Although I must admit, these were fair questions.)

I sunk into my seat, embarrassed by her harsh answer. Fortunately I found solace in the bag of chips I had, as did the professor sitting next to me.

When the Q and A was over, we all filed out of the theater.  I was so embarrassed that the director took offense to my question and I wanted to make it right.

In hindsight, I have no idea why I cared what a woman I would never see again thought of me, but I was caught up in the moment.  Perhaps the professor’s “pipe” smoke was getting to me.

I saw the director with a few others selling t-shirts promoting the film.  Perfect.  I decided to buy a t-shirt to show her I supported her film.  I’m not sure why I cared, but I did.  I went up to the stand and asked for a shirt.

I didn’t bother to look at it, as I didn’t care what it said.  I mostly wanted to demonstrate to this stranger that I was hip and cool, even if I had a 401k and was a registered voter.

When I got back to the condo, I pulled out my newest purchase and opened it up.  I expected to see a shirt advertising a documentary about law making.  What I saw was something completely different.  Here is the shirt:

code+of+the+west.png

Yes, that’s correct.  It’s a shirt with a huge marijuana leaf on it that says “Code of the West.”  Nowhere to be found is anything indicating this shirt references a documentary.  Nowhere to be found is any reference to lawmaking or government regulation.  Nope.

Instead, it’s a shirt suggesting the wearer believes that the code of the West is lots and lots of pot.  Great.

And if the front of the shirt didn’t scream “I’m a pothead” the back sealed the deal.  Please note the quote on the back says “Not all outlaws are criminals.”  Um, actually, that’s exactly what they are.  The definition of an outlaw is a criminal and vice versa.  Frickety frick.

I obviously can’t ever wear this shirt in public unless I want my car searched periodically and a cavity search done at the airport.

This is strictly a shirt to be worn in the comfort of my own home…with my Pajama Jeans of course.

old man on vacation with inner tube

I’m back!  I know it’s been more than a week since my last post and you are all anxiously awaiting a new post.  You’re probably wondering things like “What was she doing?” and “Where has she been?”  (these are to be whispered in Gossip Girl voice.)

The answer is that I’ve been on vacation in Austin, Texas, attending South by Southwest (or SXSW for those of us cool people in the know).  It’s a yearly festival in Austin where movies are released, bands are discovered, and hipsters unite for ironic discussions and thrift store sales.  It’s huge.

This was definitely my husband’s trip.  He loves movies and all things cinema, and I love TV and all things Kardashian.  I don’t want to love the Kardashians, but that family is a trainwreck and I can’t look away.  Seriously.  Bruce Jenner’s face literally looks like a train wreck.

So I decided to go to SXSW with my husband because I’m an amazingly awesome wife, and because I knew Channing Tatum would be there.  Don’t judge.  Like you would pass up an opportunity to see those abs?  Yeah right.

Since I don’t enjoy long movies (or anything with Matthew McConaughey), I decided to attend various documentaries instead of mainstream films.  They are shorter than feature films, the lines are shorter, and the people attending them are usually older, so I knew I would feel youthful surrounded by all those AARP cards.

After attending a documentary or two, I remembered how much I love documentaries.  I decided to see as many as I could, so I attended several documentaries, or “docs” as us cool people call them.  Okay, not so much cool people as just me.

I went from theater to theater, realizing there were many things about the world I had yet to learn; like how many different birds can be found in Central Park, or how Jennifer Love Hewitt still has an acting career.

I also realized my “fashionable orthopedic shoes” were the same shoes worn by a 270 pound woman with a mustache and a cat sweater.

After seeing several docs on Saturday, I decided to catch one more before heading back to the condo for an evening of Doritos, M&Ms and Law and Order reruns.  The film I decided to watch was a documentary about the journey of an American school bus to Guatamala, why it went there, and the people whose lives it affected.

school busRiveting, right?  I felt so empowered and knowldgable as I walked to the theater where the film was showing.  I knew I was becoming so well cultured, and even felt a little bit like a hipster.  Before long I would be playing Atari games and calling everything “rad.”

I got to the theater before the movie started, so I stood in line contemplating my near hipster status and wondering if I would look good in skinny jeans.

Just as I realized I couldn’t be a hipster because my wardrobe lacks t=shirts with superheros from the 80s on them, two men approached the line and stood behind me.

They appeared to be intellectuals, and not overly douchey.  I knew we would be standing in line a while, so I struck up a conversation with them.

I also knew I would need to use the restroom soon and didn’t want to lose my place in line.  If I had any hope of regaining my coveted spot, I knew I would have to make nice with the people behind me.

The men were both named John and they were fabulous.  They lived in New York City in what I can only assume was a fabulous neighborhood where people have brunch that doesn’t consist solely of different flavors of Cocoa Pebbles.

Although why would you want something other than that chocolatey goodness on a Sunday morning?

We chatted about various issues, and I realized we were getting along great.  I was totally pulling off the cool hipster vibe, although I was missing the required components of a bandana and an attitude problem.

Either way, I still sounded smart, which made up for the fact that I failed to appreciate just how much deodorant was needed on a hot Texas day. (A lot…you need a lot.)

Once the doors opened, we headed inside to find our seats.  Since I was getting along so well with the Johns (and since I couldn’t wait to sit down), I took the nearest seat next to the John duo and continued gabbing with my new friends.

The theater we were in had regular theater seats, but there was a long table that ran the length of the row.

waitressA waitress serves food and drinks during the movie, all of which are placed on the table.  This amazing theater and their fried goat cheese may have played a role in which documentaries I viewed.

We ordered our food and drinks and waited for the film to start.  Our drinks arrived in what appeared to be 2 Liter glasses filled to the brim.  The film began and our food followed shortly thereafter, also in large quantity.

Naturally, I was happy with the big portions, as I was thirsty from chatting, and hungry from being so charming.

After each film at SXSW, there is a Q and A with the director, producer, etc.  I wasn’t totally feeling the school bus film (it wasn’t as riveting as it sounded), so as soon as the credits came on, I grabbed my stuff and headed toward the door.

The lights weren’t up yet, and the credits continued to roll.  I looked over at my friends the Johns and apologized, but said I needed to go, as I had a very important meeting I needed to get to.

I think they suspected my meeting included a Snuggie and a new episode of 48 Hour Mystery, but they didn’t let on like they knew.

Instead of standing up to let me pass through the area between the seats and the table, they simply pulled their feet back to let me through.  That left me about a foot of space to walk through, which would normally be challenging, but in the dark it was near impossible (for this girl at least).

I tried to scoot out of the row, with my butt facing the Johns and my front and purse facing the table.  And then it happened.  Without warning.  My purse knocked over the 2 Liters of water on the table next to John #1.  It tipped over and spilled everywhere.  The table, the floor, the seat…and worst of all, my pajama jeans.

I looked up, paused, and said the first thing that came to my mind, which was “Yeah, so I totally just did that.”

angry army dudeThe Johns were not amused.  For people who pretended to be so accepting of others, they were pretty judgmental about the blonde in the pajama jeans and orthopedic shoes who knocked over their water with the purse she got free with a purchase at Dressbarn.  Some people are just so snobby.

I didn’t know what to do, so I did the only thing that would make it more awkward than it already was; I left the cup where it was, where it continued to pump out water like a fire hose, mouthed “I’m sorry” and bolted out of the row and out of the theater.

Once outside, I looked down at my wet pants only to discover the water landed in a not-so-desirable spot on my jeans.  Fantastic.  Fortunately, I knew how well my pajama jeans launder, so I knew a little water wouldn’t hurt the fabric.  My pride, yes?  But the fabric?  No.

I walked the several blocks to my rental car and headed back to the condo, continuing to replay the incident in my head.  I had so many questions.  How did I manage to knock the water over?  Why didn’t I stay and try to clean it up?

And perhaps most pressing of all…How was I going to find the Johns and get their numbers?

 

suitcaseWith my ever so glamorous job, I am required to travel from time to time.  Unfortunately, my travel isn’t to tropical places like Belize or The Bahamas (or any location where The Bachelor goes to find true love).

My trips take me to lovely places in the Midwest, where the corn is plentiful and everything smells like manure, including my hotel room.  How does that happen?

Since I demand only the best when it comes to my hotel stay, and because the woman with my company who books the hotels is a little afraid of me, I always like to stay at nice places that have the finest of amenities…and by amenities, I mean room service.

I’m currently out of town for work, and when I arrived at the hotel, I was greeted by the clerk with a generous hello and a piping hot cookie.  I’m not sure if the cookie was complimentary to all guests.  My guess is that it wasn’t because the clerk was holding it in her hand when I arrived, so I suspect it may have been her lunch.  It was delicious!

I headed up to my room, inhaling the cookie as I went.  I didn’t want to be rude and not eat the entire thing.

When I arrived at my room I opened the door and discovered the room was large and spacious…and handicap accessible.  Um, seriously?  Now I wouldn’t be so concerned with the handicapped room if I hadn’t just stayed in one.

hotel

Less than 2 weeks ago I was out of town and that hotel room was also handicapped. Well, I guess it was handicap accessible.  The room itself wasn’t handicapped, although it didn’t have a minibar, so I consider that a handicap.

Was the woman at my company who booked my rooms trying to tell me something?

She’d met me before, so she knew I was capable of getting around without too much difficulty, assuming I wore my orthopedic shoes.  So why the handicapped room?

And then I saw the bathroom, and didn’t care why.  There was a huge walk in shower! Perhaps others would be offended by regularly being assigned the handicapped room, but I like to consider it an elite status that few can attain.

It’s like getting the penthouse suite, assuming the penthouse has an entrance ramp, double wide doorways and safety mats in the shower.

And let’s face it, for those of you that know me, you know having a cord in the shower that I can pull when I slip on the soap may be a good idea after all.

Of course, the maintenance man who has to answer that call and find my naked body sprawled on the floor would probably strongly disagree.

handicappedI got settled into my spacious room and then I did something strange…I went to the hotel gym and worked out.  I know!  Crazy, right?

Perhaps the handicapped room was having an effect on me, and it made me grateful for the things I have, even if they are thighs covered in layers of bacon grease and onion rings.

Not literally, although that would be awesome.

After my short workout, I returned to my room, sweaty and worn out.  I had a meeting with a client so I needed to get in the shower and get ready to go.

I removed my sweaty clothes and walked into the bathroom wearing nothing but the sweat from the workout and my disdain for the elliptical machine.

I reached over and turned on the shower, and nothing happened.  The shower didn’t turn on.  It remained a steady stream of water from the faucet, with no water coming out of the shower head.

Seriously?!  Did the hotel think people in the handicapped room didn’t need to shower?

I was immediately irritated and questioned why I bothered to work out in the first place.  That’s what I get for trying to be healthy.  Had I laid in bed and watched TV, this wouldn’t have been such a catastrophe.

However, the fact that I worked out on the elliptical machine and was dripping with sweat, and the faint odor of garlic, I knew a shower was a must…at least if I wanted to keep working with this specific client

I walked to the phone, mentally drafting my lawsuit against the hotel for violation of the ADA.  How dare they discriminate against me?

I called the front desk and told them my shower was broken.  The woman at the front desk (who was probably still bitter about the cookie incident), advised she would send someone right up.  Frickety frick.  That meant I needed to get dressed.  This hotel was really getting on my nerves.

puppy in bucket of soap

I threw on some clothes and a disgruntled maintenance man, who I promptly named Donald, arrived at my door.

He was a bit shocked when my able body opened the door, as I suspected he expected to see a handicapped person utilizing the room.  He then gave me a judging stare and entered my palatial room.

The maintenance guy went straight to the bathroom and got to work.  I returned to the other room and continued to stew in my own filth and sweat.

As I sat there waiting for him to fix the faucet, I heard heavy breathing coming from the bathroom.

What was that guy doing in there? Was he okay?  Did he need CPR? I hoped not, as my only experience with that was the plastic doll I used during my CPR certification class.

I named him Eddie. (The CPR doll…not the maintenance man.  I named the maintenance man Donald, despite his nametag that said his name was Ron.)

Was Donald okay in there?  I thought about asking, but figured he might start a conversation with me about his various ailments (as most strangers tend to do), so I decided to Google “CPR on the maintenance man” and keep quiet.

That way I would be prepared.  I was also a bit disturbed, as my search came up with some interesting results.

As I waited for Donald to finish his work, or breathe his last breath, I decided to call my client and tell her I’d be late.  Fortunately, she is cool, and knows me well enough to know that some sort of disaster would inevitably occur to make me late.

This time it was due to a combination of my own body odor and the maintenance man’s impending heart attack.  Surely she would think one of the conditions caused the other, but which one caused which was still up for debate.

band aidFortunately, Donald finished his handy work shortly thereafter.  Judging by the increase in his rapid breathing, I’d say he finished just in the nick of time.

After he left my room, I disrobed and once again turned on the shower.  This time, it worked, and I silently thanked Donald for his hard work (and mentally made a note to recommend he see a pulmonologist).

The shower never felt so good, and I got ready without any further difficulties.

Although the broken shower was less than ideal, I’m still cool with the handicapped room.

That could have happened in any room, and I’m not going to judge all handicap rooms by this one room.  After all, if history is any indicator, I will be staying in another one next week for yet another business trip.

weights

I hate working out.  Yes, I realize that’s shocking considering my svelte body and my biceps made of steel (really, they’re composed of a combination of rice from Chipotle and anything fried and dipped in ranch dressing).

Even though I hate going to the gym, if I have any hope of continuing to occupy only one seat on an airplane, I know I must work out.  Since I’m not “that girl” at the gym, and I’m also not a masochist, I hate going to the gym.

So if I have to go sweat it out, I prefer to go with one of my best friends.  Enter Downtown Christy Brown.  (Not her real name).

DTCB and I joined a gym together and go there in an effort to lose weight.  We hoped that just going to the gym would allow us to lose weight without actually engaging in physical activity, but we discovered that wasn’t the case.

The gym doesn’t make you lose weight just by stepping inside its doors.

If it did, I would take up residency there with a jar of Nutella and an endless supply of carbs.

However, a workout is required at the gym if you want to lose weight, and although we get our heart rates pumping at the gym, we have some concerns that each visit  may be our last.  We’re pretty sure we’re on borrowed time at the gym, and sometime soon we are going to be permanently kicked out.

Here’s a list of a few reasons why.

1.  We talk about ridiculous things while working out

dog in glassesFrom body odor to the genital herpes we’re sure the skinny girl on the treadmill has, our discussions at the gym have no restrictions (and no filter).

For some reason, with the noise of the elliptical machines pounding in our ears (and the feel of oxygen escaping our lungs at a rapid rate of speed), we figure we can talk about whatever we want while we’re at the gym.

No subject matter is off limits, regardless of who is on the machine next to us.

If the 55 year old male doesn’t want to hear about the annual trip to the lady doctor, he should either switch machines or turn up the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond he’s pretending to watch, because we will be discussing every last detail, from the snotty receptionist to the overly chilly medical equipment.

And who watches that show anyway?  Here’s the synopsis of every single episode:  Raymond does something stupid, Debra forgives him, and Lisa Newlin bangs her head against the wall at the lack of creative writing.

2.  DTCB yells ridiculous things when she thinks no one can hear

yellingNews flash to DTCB:  Just because you can’t hear anything because the blood is rushing to your head and you’re feeling faint, doesn’t mean others can’t either.  They can hear everything just fine.

So yelling “running really loosens up my bowels” at the top of your lungs while running on the treadmill isn’t the smartest decision to make…although it gives me an excuse to fart freely, as everyone will assume you’re the culprit with your loose bowels and noxious gas.

So I guess I should say thank you for that.  But other than that, please remember that although I enjoy your random announcements about the status of your bowels, other gym-goers might not be that interested.

3.  We provide encouragement to people who probably don’t want it

I like to think we are being helpful, but I’m pretty sure the elderly Asian man we encourage to “punch it” on the treadmill disagrees. Seriously though, that guy is a machine!

Since DTCB and I find we need motivation to work out, we assume others do too, and take it upon ourselves to provide that service to other gym-goers free of charge.  (We’re so charitable.)

We seem to believe our motivational shouts will encourage others to work that much harder.  What would probably work better as a motivational tool, would be if I stood in front of each patron’s workout machine wearing nothing but a tankini and board shorts.

The sight of my chunky thighs and “fluffy” gut would encourage them to run that extra mile on the treadmill, and to remember to pick up cottage cheese on the way home.

4.  DTCB runs on the treadmill with jazz hands

Hamster Getting a Workout on Spinning Wheel --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI wish this one wasn’t true, but it is.  The worst part is that she truly doesn’t realize she does it.  As if yelling about the status of her bowels isn’t enough, she finds it necessary to run with her hands flexed and open, as if she’s ready to karate chop anyone who comes near her machine.

Sometimes she looks like she’s in the middle of a show choir routine, and I find her shaking her jazz hands and doing the ever-so-popular sweep of the open hand across the body.

At times, she looks like she’s having a seizure.

I then have to decide if I’m going to push her off the machine to hold her down and keep her from swallowing her tongue, or if I will leave her alone and let her finish her rendition of Don’t Stop Believin‘.

Since I’m a Journey fan, I usually let her finish.  Either way, she looks ridiculous.

and the final reason we will probably get kicked out of the gym…

5.  I fart into the fan

fanIt’s true…like you’re shocked.  I prefer to pick the machine closest to the fan so I can sweat as little as possible while pumping my legs.

And since I’m one gassy chick, part of exercising (for this girl), includes being gassy.

To me, working out and farting go together like chocolate milk and Oreos…chips and salsa…Kathy Lee Gifford and copious amounts of prescription drugs and alcohol.

The two go hand in hand. And passing gas in front of a large fan does nothing but disperse the odor throughout the room at a high rate of speed.

It’s not ideal.  But since I don’t look good when I sweat, I figure I’d rather look cute and workout by the fan, than worry if my bodily functions cause a few people to flee the gym for fresh air.

It usually results in the availability of a machine I want, so I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

So until we get the proverbial running shoe from the gym, we will continue to do our workouts, most likely annoying everyone in the vicinity.

So if you go to our gym, bring your headphones, stay away from the treadmills, and stay at least 20 feet away from the fan.

woman with caulk gunI’m not handy.  Handsy?  Yes.  Handy with things around the house?  No.  So whenever I purchase something that says “assembly is required” that translates in my mind to “liquor and cursing is in your future.”  Actually, almost everything translates to that prediction.  Don’t judge.

I have a friend who just got a new place and needed help setting it up and getting settled in.  Can you believe he shot down my suggestion to do the entire apartment in a dog theme?  Some people just don’t have good taste.

So in getting him set up, a group of friends got together and bought him a new vacuum.  Not only did he need the vacuum for standard upkeep in his apartment, he also needed it to clean up the crumbs I regularly leave behind at his place.

I’m like the Hansel and Gretel of South City, only the crumbs I leave behind don’t serve as a road map to find my way back, but rather, a road map to warn people of where I’ve been.

presentRecently, The Nanny (not her real name), picked me up and we headed to our friend’s place to give him the gift of suction.

We arrived and he was excited about the gift, although he was not so excited to see I was in Pajama Jeans…again.

We headed inside and figured it wouldn’t take us long to put the vacuum together.  After all, we were 3 somewhat intelligent people and a brain trust like that wouldn’t take long to decipher some instructions.

We got out the pieces, and The Nanny started reading the instruction manual. Nerd alert!

I looked for the pictures in the manual, noticed they weren’t colored in, and immediately began coloring in the drawings with a pen.  What’s a world without color?

The Nanny worked diligently putting the machine together, while I looked diligently for different colored pens to complete my masterpiece.  My friend really needed to spice up his life with more than just black pens.

I colored away, unaware that my friends were doing all the assembly work.  I looked up and realized I wasn’t being overly helpful, aside from adding some pizazz to an otherwise boring manual.

I decided to do my part to assist in the construction.  I grabbed one of the hoses and found another hose that looked like it fit with the other hose.  I pushed them together and heard a nice “click.”

success failureSuccess!  I was helpful! The two hoses connected perfectly and were connected by a plastic piece that was about 6 inches wide, and had a delightfully colorful sticker wrapped around it.

Finally, the manufacturer realized color is the spice of life…yeah, it’s not variety.

We turned on the vacuum and clapped with joy, as we realized we successfully put together the machine without any problems.

I was also happy the manual was now appropriately colored, with a few inappropriate drawings that my friend would find later when he had a question about the machine.

I’m such a good friend like that.

We discovered the attachment worked well, thanks to the wonderful connection of the hoses.  However, we wanted to see how it worked as a vacuum, so we decided to disconnect the hoses and see how that baby performed on the floor.

I had high expectations of floor performance, as just a few days prior to that, I witnessed some serious strippers working the floor.  Strangely enough, those same strippers probably would have benefited from a vacuum such as this one…and a strong round of antibiotics.

I offered to take apart the hoses, as I was the genius who figured out they went together.  I grabbed them and tried to pull them apart.  They didn’t budge…at all.

Not even a little.  I used all my strength, which was a lot, as I have a personal trainer and have been working out.  Occasionally I work out, when I can’t think of an excuse not to go to the gym.  Despite my massive arm strength, I was unable to get the hoses apart.

My friend said he would try, and I didn’t want to disappoint him, but I knew if my mammoth biceps couldn’t get the hoses apart, there was no hope for him.  I didn’t want to burst his bubble, so I let him try.

He too was unsuccessful in getting the hoses apart.  Duh.  Had he bothered to look at my upper arms?  Obviously not.

The Nanny said she would give it a try.  Cha.  As if she was such a miracle worker.  But since I’m such an amazingly supportive friend, I told her to give it a try.  Big surprise:  she couldn’t get them apart either.

vacuumBecause I’m super resourceful (and I didn’t want to leave the comfy chair I was sitting in), I decided to call a friend of ours who recently purchased this vacuum.

I got her on the phone and asked if she had any problem getting the hoses apart. She said she hadn’t tried the attachment pieces yet, so she wasn’t sure.  Obviously she didn’t take as much pride in cleaning her furniture as we did.

After hanging up with her, and making a mental note not to sit on her couch the next time I went over there, I decided to grab the (now) colorful instruction manual, and call the help hot line.  I wanted to get to the bottom of this immediately, and I was ready to give the agent a piece of my mind.

If I couldn’t get the hoses apart, what hope was there for the regular population?

instructionsShe answered and I cut to the chase immediately.  I explained that we couldn’t get the hoses apart, but we knew they were supposed to go together.

By now, we read the manual and reaffirmed my genius idea to connect the pieces was correct.

“Is there a sticker over the connecting piece of the hose?” the woman asked, in a cheerful voice.

Of course there was.  It was the only component of the vacuum that was colorful and bright.  It really made the machine pop.  I replied and told her the sticker was present, and that we didn’t remove any instruction stickers during the assembly.

After all, we followed the rule book.

She then told me to remove the sticker on the connector part.  I wasn’t sure why this chick was so consumed with that stupid sticker, but I did what she suggested.

As I pulled the sticker away, I noticed something…something important.

There was a button hidden under the sticker.  Interesting.

I asked the woman for further direction, and she instructed me to push the button.  When I did, the hoses disconnected immediately.  Well, who knew?! Apparently she did. I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did the first thing that came to my mind; cussed.

After dropping a few f-bombs, I thanked the woman for her suggestion.  Before hanging up, I asked her how many times a day she received a call with this same issue.

She laughed and said that I really didn’t want to know the answer to that question. I  couldn’t figure out if she was suggesting it was a large number or a small one.  I decided the former was the case.

press hereWe put the rest of the vacuum together and took it for a test drive around the room.  It worked beautifully, and my friend was happy with his gift.  I stood back and admired my handiwork.  I was happy, not just because I did a nice thing for a friend, or because the vacuum seemed to be a great product.

I was happy because I knew my upper arm strength was no longer in question.

 

***CONTINUED FROM A PREVIOUS POST***

mardi gras maskAfter we left the wrong house, and successfully convinced the homeowners not to press charges for breaking and entering, we walked to the front and were once again greeted by the crazy hopscotch lady.  And by “greeted” I mean “assaulted.”

The Nudist and I decided we would take a chance and ask her for directions to the address we were looking for.  We hoped that our question about directions would divert her away from the fact that she never successfully forced us to play hopscotch.

I showed her the address and she grabbed the paper out of my hand, as if it had the secret to life on it, or maybe just the ending to the last Harry Potter book.  Seriously, who dies?

now!She stared at the address and then told us to go down the street, to the left, and down the alley.  Simple enough.  A normal person would have said thank you, held onto her purse tightly, and walked away.  But of course, I’m not a normal person.  Regular?  Yes.  Normal?  No.

Maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was the fresh smell of urine from the street corner; but whatever the reason, I decided it would be a good idea before we left to make a joke to the crazy lady…the crazy lady who tried to force us to play hopscotch…the crazy lady who I was partially sure was attempting to hatch babies in her basement at that exact moment.

I looked at her and said “You aren’t sending us down a dark alley so you can rob us and have your way with us are you?”

I know.  I’m an idiot.  She looked at me as if I was the crazy one, and not her, who was sporting knee highs and a dress that any young Pilgrim would have envied.

The Nudist slowly began backing away from me, no doubt to avoid the splatter of brain matter that would inevitably occur when my skull was bashed open by the hopscotch enthusiast.

The crazy hopscotch lady looked at me with anger in her eyes, although it could have been a reaction from the chalk dust. She said “Clearly you don’t live in the city.”  What?!  I don’t, but that has nothing to do with my question.

I was trying to make a joke.  A bad joke, yes, but a joke nonetheless.  I was trying to make her laugh, and she didn’t seem like she would respond well to the chicken crossing the road stories that are so hilarious.

I wanted to respond sarcastically that I thought we were going to be robbed in the middle of the day among hundreds of thousands of people.  And even if we were robbed, it wasn’t like we had anything of value with us anyway, unless she counted my purse full of binging food for drunken snacking.

Seriously lady?  Get it together.

streetsSince there was no way to recover from the bad joke and the crazy hopscotch lady’s anger, we retreated quickly down the alley, hoping for the comfort of a mugging to make us feel more alive.

Fortunately, we arrived at our friend Ore Ida’s house (not her real name), without any further difficulty or illegal trespassing.  We found her in the basement with her husband, making gallons of hurricanes…just like a good host does.

This is one of the reasons I love her so much…she knows how to make a mixed drink.

I watched her pour 2 bottles of liquor into the concoction and immediately poured myself a glass of delicious goodness.  I wanted to drink some of it before it disappeared, and I also wanted to take the edge off after the hopscotch debacle.

We slammed a drink or two and then headed down to the parade to observe the drunk mayhem.  On the way to the parade we were propositioned to show our boobs for what appeared to be a half eaten sucker and Mardi Gras beads that had been making the rounds since I was in diapers and not just a few weeks ago when I had the stomach flu.

We kept walking, declining the invitation to flash a couple thousand people on a street corner.  Ore Ida advised that the woman asking to see boobs was an equal opportunity offender, and frequently asked to see penises as well.

Sure enough, we heard her proposition some young guys to show their genitalia in return for some beads and a glimpse at the old woman’s cleavage.  They too, declined, much to our chagrin.

beadsAfter the parade we headed to the next party on our list. The list that was scrutinized by the crazy hopscotch lady, and was partially covered in chalk…and most likely a spell she’d cast.

I wasn’t sure where the next location was, but a friend of mine at Ore Ida’s place had already been to the second party, so she walked there with us.  As we walked, I pointed to a building down the street, and reminisced about a Mardi Gras from days past, where my friends and I snuck into an awesome party undetected.

Somehow, we managed to sneak into an amazing party a few years ago that had covered areas in the backyard and a heated tent filled with food and bottles of liquor.  Part of me wondered if that actually happened or if it was a dream, but the photos from that day confirmed we successfully penetrated the party.

The photos also confirmed that I don’t look good without a bra….and that whiskey makes me dance…and the combination of the two is less than attractive.

As I spoke about the amazing party from a couple years back, we approached the second party.  As I walked up, I noticed the covered areas in the backyard and the heated tent filled with food and bottles of liquor….wait a minute….OMG!

The second party was the party I crashed a few years back!  Memories of gyrating to Elton John came flooding back, and I secretly wondered if the homeowners ever got the smell of my farts out of their sofa.  If experience is any indicator, chances are they didn’t.

We approached the front door and were met by a police officer, who asked if our names were on the list for the party.  Clearly the homeowners got smart and decided to have security to keep out the riff raff, which in this scenario, would be me.  Fortunately, I now know the homeowners, and my name was on the list.

copThe cop gave us wrist bands and granted us entrance to the party but only after commenting on The Nudist’s appearance and failing miserably at an attempt to get her number.

We found one of the homeowners almost immediately, and he gave us a tour of the house.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him I knew his house quite well, especially the cold tile in the bathroom on the second floor.  It hugged my face in just the right way.

He walked us around the house and took us to the backyard where the fabulous party was in full swing.  I looked around and confirmed that this was the location of my prior trespassing at a previous Mardi Gras.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I seem to have a trend of entering homes uninvited each year of Mardi Gras….

sending textWe stayed for a while until I got a text from my husband asking me where I was.  I told him I was at the second party, and he should join us, but he said he wanted to go to “the big party.”  I told him to head there and we would be there shortly.

We said our goodbyes and left the second party to head to “the big party” to meet my husband and our other friends.  I knew the party would be big (hence the clever name).

I knew the party would be a bit crazy.  But I had no idea just how crazy, and awesome, the party would be, although I was about to find out…

TO BE CONTINUED….

mardi+gras1.jpgI’ve lost my mind…or at least my calendar denoting the proper year.  For some strange reason, this year I forgot I was 31 years old, married, and not accustomed to partying all day and night.

Drinking vodka out of a sippy cup all day while I clean the house and do my taxes?  Yes.  Party all day and night with more hip people than me?  No.

So this year, for some strange reason, I decided it would be an excellent idea to attend the Mardi Gras festivities in St. Louis.  I think the “strange reason” may or may not have been liquor induced, but whatever.

St. Louis Mardi Gras Nuts, right?

St. Louis Mardi Gras
Nuts, right?

For those of you who live in a more glamorous portion of the world than the armpit of America, let me tell you that St .Louis has the second largest Mardi Gras party in the world.

Second only to New Orleans, and we can’t outdo them…yet.

The St. Louis Mardi Gras festivities are ridiculous and hundreds of thousands of people flock to the historic Soulard area of St. Louis to drink, dine, and then vomit in the streets.

It’s a St. Louis tradition and one I never missed when I was single.  Doesn’t that explanation sell itself?

I’ve sat out the last few years of Mardi Gras for several reasons, but mostly because I like to do my drinking in a civilized manner; one that involves Bailey’s in my coffee and rum in my morning Diet Coke.  I’m classy that way.

But this year I got invitations to a handful of parties that I couldn’t say no to.  I decided to gather my posse and head down to Soulard for yet another year of embarrassment.

multi coloredI called my friend The Nudist, (not her real name).  She is a single girl who knows how to have a good time and can party all day, then stuff her face with poor food choices all night.

In that aspect, we are soul mates.

The difference is that I couldn’t fit one thigh into her tiny jeans.  I want to hate her but her ability to keep up with me drink-for-drink is just too impressive and I can’t turn her away.

When I called The Nudist a few days before Mardi Gras, she sounded like death and told me she had the flu and wasn’t sure she could make it.  I reminded her to stop being so selfish.

It was not an option for her not to attend, as I needed her support for the party.  And by “support” I literally meant support…as she would most likely have to hold me up at sometime during the festivities either due to an injury, intoxication, or both.

Since she’s a true party girl, she agreed to go to Mardi Gras with me, despite her flu.  I also think the emails I sent threatening to raid her stash of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies if she didn’t go with me may have had something to do with her commitment.  I’m not afraid to blackmail.  I’m just not above it.

I called Pajama Jeans and her husband, The Funniest Man Alive (not their real names), and they agreed to the festivities as well.  I also realized I needed to ask my husband if he wanted to attend, just so I would be p.c. on the issue.  He agreed.

feathers for maskI had my posse and I wanted to keep it small so we could keep track of each other.  Mardi Gras is not for amateurs.

With the large number of people in such a small area of the city at once, cell phones never work during Mardi Gras due to the overload on the cell towers (or something technical like that).

You need to have a small group to keep track of, or you will have to locate your friends the way our parents used to….by utilizing human contact.  Not good.

Secretly, I think they turn off the cell towers on purpose in an effort to prevent embarrassing texts and calls involving boobs and booze.  They wouldn’t be wrong if that was the reason.

The morning of Mardi Gras I checked in with The Nudist, who confirmed she was ready to hit the streets.  I headed to her condo to get the party started.

When I arrived, she greeted me at the door with a hangar full of Mardi Gras beads, arranged by color and length.

She offered me beads, and I took the most appropriate ones.  They were colored beads and every 10 beads or so there was a figurine of two pigs doing it.  Classy.  I was ready.

green feather mardi gras maskWe walked down the street to the local French Cafe we love.  We knew if we were going to rock it out all day and night, we needed to get some food in our bellies.

I also knew if I was going to vomit later, I’d rather vomit up a quiche Loraine than a donut from the gas station.

After all, I had an image to uphold.

We ate our breakfast and headed outside to catch a shuttle to Soulard.  The bus arrived, and a woman who couldn’t have been a day under 90 was in the driver’s seat.  This was the woman driving a shuttle bus?

I checked the side of the bus and realized this wasn’t the classiest of operations.  There was a sign taped to the outside of the bus that had “Mardi Gras Shuttle” written in block lettering.

Either she wrote it, or her 3 year old grandson did.  I suspected their penmanship was comparable.

She asked to see our wristbands and we told her we didn’t have wristbands for the shuttle.  “Oh dear,” the woman said, as she gasped for oxygen and the sweet sight of death.

girls on busShe told us we could pay and ride the shuttle, but she didn’t know how we were going to get back on the shuttle without a wristband.  Then she came up with a genius idea.

She said she would write her initials on our hands, and tell the bus driver that night that “Carol said it was okay” to ride the shuttle.

Yeah. That sounded totally legit.  I’m sure the convict on parole that is driving a nighttime Mardi Gras shuttle bus is going to know Carol and be totally okay with giving us a ride back.

Since we knew she had to have been on her last prosthetic leg of life, we agreed to the plan, and Carol took out a pen and wrote “CW” on both of our hands.

I wanted to ask her if she had any updates on the most recent episode of Gossip Girl, but I had a feeling she wouldn’t understand that her initials were the same as a television network geared toward 14 year old girls (and this blogger).

We arrived at the first party location, and immediately high-fived each other for being so directionally astute among hundreds of thousands of drunk idiots.  We obviously were going to have a great day.

We walked up to the house and noticed there was a golden retriever out front.

We commented to each other that we didn’t remember our friends getting a golden retriever, but obviously we were mistaken.  It happens every now and again….Don’t tell my husband.

We walked in the house, greeting everyone with a loud “hello” and my standard greeting of “what’s up bitches?” yelled in a high pitched voice.  A sea of strangers looked back at us.

Obviously this party was bigger than we thought.We arrived at Mardi Gras and exited the bus.  We headed directly to our first party and started walking.  Since we couldn’t use our phones we couldn’t use GPS or Map quest.

Rather, we were left to our own devices, which included a Tootsie Pop, Immodium AD capsules, and a sliver of common sense.

It was a long walk.  Somehow, we made it to the first party in tact.  As we arrived, a woman in a long dress demanded we play hopscotch on the sidewalk where she drew a hopscotch area.

Since we aren’t 6 years old, we declined.  Fortunately, 3 drunk people approached and we were able to escape before she assaulted us further and attempted to eat our hair. (She just looked like that type.)

And then I looked around.  It was like slow motion.  I saw a child’s bike, kids’ shoes and framed school pictures.  Nowhere did I see the regular Mardi Gras tools like beer bongs and puke bags.

We realized at the same time our grave error.  We went to the wrong house!  We turned around as gracefully as we could, and walked out the door.

I considered grabbing a beer for the road, but was afraid the hopscotch lady would take me hostage, so I ditched the beer and hit the street.  If this was a sign of how our day and night were going to go, we knew we were going to be in trouble.

If only we knew what was in store for us in a few short hours….

TO BE CONTINUED….

photo for bill's holiday partyYou knew this story was coming.

Not necessarily that I told you about it, but if you know me at all, or read this blog somewhat regularly, you know that I would inevitably embarrass myself at a holiday function.  Mission accomplished.

My husband and I have an amazing friend, St. Frick, (not his real name) who lives an amazing life with amazing friends.

For some strange reason, we are included in his list of friends, most likely because we are the charity case and he feels sorry for us and our lack of taste in artwork.

A poster of Johnny Depp is considered classy, right?

He is known for throwing over the top parties and the invitations for these parties are highly coveted, as the food and drinks are delicious, and the company is fantastic.

Normally, Matt and I can be easily impressed with the artwork carved into the side of a watermelon at a buffet line, so maybe believing my tale of amazing food isn’t an educated decision.  But then again, if anyone knows good food…it’s this girl.

So trust me when I say his parties are fabulous.

We received the fancy invitation for the party and immediately thought it was an error, and delivered to the wrong house.  No one sends us fancy invitations to anything.

invitationThe last invitation we got was to a bridal shower in someone’s mom’s basement…no joke.  And that invitation was on a piece of computer paper.

I wish I was kidding about that.  So getting a fancy invitation with font other than Times New Roman was exciting to us.

The fact that it wasn’t on copy paper was just an added bonus.

The party wasn’t called a holiday party or an end of the year party.  No.  That wouldn’t be good enough.

Since it was after Christmas but before New Year’s Eve, the party was called “The After Party.”  Of course it was.

Now the only experience I’ve had with an after party is when the twin singing duo known as Nelson came to my college and we went to a bar afterwards where we ordered quarter pitchers and played darts.

Somehow I had a feeling this wasn’t what St. Frick had in mind, although I figured he might like me to bring those adorable long-haired twins.

My only other experience with an after party is what we used to call “after bars” in college, which was always at a frat house and it was in a basement with cheesy music playing and one candle lit to cover the stench of vomit, beer and STDs.

Again, I didn’t think that’s what St. Frick was imagining.

Naturally, Matt and I knew we were going to attend.  After all, this was a holiday party we could get on board with, as it didn’t involve drunk relatives or the child molester from down the street asking every boy under the age of 10 to sit on his lap.

christmas party

This isn’t us, but it’s an awesome photo so I wanted to share it.

We texted St. Frick to let him know we were in.  I’m sure he was less than thrilled when he realized the riff raff accidentally got his invitation and were planning on attending.

I could practically see him moving his expensive pieces of artwork into storage just to avoid another incident of me knocking something expensive over.

Because I’d never been to a fancy “After Party” before, I didn’t know what the attire would be.  Naturally, I figured Pajama Jeans would be appropriate, but thought I would ask to make sure.

I texted him and asked him what the attire was for the event.  Here is his exact response:  “No Pajama Jeans.  Holiday cocktail party.  Pretty.  Sexy.”

Does this guy know me or what?!  I both loved and hated how he knew I would wear Pajama Jeans so he immediately forbid me from wearing them.

I wasn’t sure what “holiday cocktail party” attire was, but I didn’t think a Christmas turtleneck with a duck in a Santa hat would fit the bill (no pun intended).  So I decided to grab my flashlight and go to my trusty closet for wardrobe options.

I figured cocktail party attire meant something fancy, and since I’d recently been to several cocktail parties, I had some outfits I knew I could wear.  Okay, I’d been to two parties in two months, but in my world, that’s a lot.

I found a dress that I thought would be appropriate, and I decided to spice it up with a faux fur little shrug.  The outfit was adorable, and it didn’t cost me anything, which made it all the more attractive in my eyes.

It was also shorter than the dresses I normally wear, so I figured it would meet the definition of “sexy.”

hair doneI decided to go all out with my hair if I was going to wear a fancy dress.  I spent a long time on my hair.  For me, anything more than 5 minutes constitutes a long time on hair.

I decided to go with my hair partially up and then swept back in a simple style that looked formal yet messy.  I’m not sure the messy look was intentional, but it looked like it was.

I’m not someone who uses hairspray, or any form of hair product, as evidenced by my simple hair style, but since this was a big event, I decided to be fancy and use some.

I located a bottle that had to have been 10 years old.  The sprayer was broken, but my husband was able to fix it so I could spray away.

I doused my hair in hairspray and when I was done the entire bathroom smelled like it did when I was in the 7th grade and thought crunchy curls were attractive.

Well…it almost smelled like that…minus the stench from the aftermath of a lunch of burritos.  Fortunately, no candles were lit in the house, which is a good thing, as I was pretty sure the entire room was a powder keg.

After coughing up half the can of Aqua Net, I emerged from the bathroom and grabbed my heels and jewelry.  Yes, heels.  I didn’t wear my Uggs to this event.  Can you believe it?

My husband was pleasantly surprised by my appearance, but I figured it was mostly because I matched and didn’t have any stains on my dress (yet).  After being with me for a few years, his standards dropped on what he finds acceptable.

angry army dudeWe headed out the door and to the party, all the while wondering if we were dressed up enough and if we would fit in.  After we parked the car I turned to my husband and gave him the usual pep talk I give whenever we go to a party with St. Frick.

Don’t fuck this up for us.  These people are awesome and we don’t want them to figure out that we bring nothing to the table, other than empty plates.  Put your game face on and don’t screw this up for us.”

Pretty motivational, right?

We walked up the path to his house and were in awe of the beautiful lights and decorations.  St. Frick knew how to throw a party and he definitely knew how to decorate one.  As we approached the house, I saw another couple walking up as well.

As we got closer, I looked at them in an effort to figure out if they were in similar holiday cocktail attire.  Upon closer inspection, I realized both of them were wearing jeans.  Pfft!

They were going to look like idiots when they walked in the door and saw everyone else dressed up!  I secretly couldn’t wait to watch them be humiliated.

clinking glasses

We walked in behind the dingy couple and surveyed the room.

WHAT?!  Where was the holiday cocktail attire?  There were people in nice jeans and fancy tops and heels, but no cocktail dresses.  Where was the sexy attire?  Was this a joke?

St. Frick approached me, gave me a hug and told me I looked beautiful.  Yeah, because I was completely overdressed.

What happened to the holiday cocktail sexy attire?” I asked.

He looked at me and smiled and said I looked perfect.

We forged ahead and stayed at the party until we shut it down in the wee hours of the morning.  I decided I wouldn’t let my cocktail dress get in the way of my enjoyment, and I didn’t.

I also wasn’t mad at St. Frick for his explanation of attire.  For a guy who only sees me in sweat pants and ratty t-shirts with no bra, it wasn’t a stretch for him to believe I would dress down for the event.

dogs with Christmas stuffPerhaps he thought my idea of “holiday cocktail” would be what everyone else’s idea was of dressy casual.  I couldn’t blame him.  But next time I get an invitation to one of his parties, I’m wearing Pajama Jeans no matter what he says…