Stuff We Saw In Norway

Hi. I’ve been back for 2.5 weeks but I’ve not really been back, you know? I loved Bergen.  I loved every part of it including the rain and the four hours of night and the people who weren’t friendly but weren’t unfriendly.  I did not love the expense of eating (OMG, $$$$$)  but then again, Woney and I spent an exorbitant amount of money on some really delicious chocolate bars so I’m not sure I can fully blame Norway for that.

The first week after our return, I fell asleep three times in the middle of a conversation with Martie. I tripped over my unpacked suitcase seven times before I picked it up out of the floor.  I cried over a conversation that didn’t end like I wanted it to, although I have zero recollection of the actual conversation now.  Jet lag – it’s real.

I have a lot to say about that trip. I won’t say it right now, though.  Instead I’ll leave you with a bunch of pictures to look through at your leisure.  There will be approximately 800 of them but that’s the beauty of reading this on your own time.  You can skip or stare all you like and I will never know!

For the pleasure of your eyes and soul, I present Norway:

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Crush: Addendums and Furtherances

I love Chipotle.

There, I said it. I’m not sorry. I remain unfazed in the face of norovirus and rat reports.  I would eat there every day if given the opportunity.

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This ^ is a Chipotle Chicken Bowl

 

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This ^ is some guacamole

 

Woney loves Chipotle, too, maybe with the same zeal that I have. This is convenient because soon she and I will strap ourselves in a plane to meet in Detroit, and we are hopeful to find a Chipotle. What, you don’t fly to Detroit to have lunch with a friend?  Just me?

Below is a list of my friends who like Chipotle:

  • Woney
  • Squash
  • Nurse Bananahammock
  • Felix
  • Kindle
  • Freddie
  • Quan
  • Javier
  • Martie
  • Madre
  • Pooh
  • Tigger
  • Coach
  • Daisy

I feel like Daisy is the one I have to most persuasively convince that we won’t die of Ebola if we consume some guacamole on top of delicious spicy chicken, but despite her affection for reading the news, I can usually manage to drag her in there. That’s because I’m bossy and she is nice.

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I don’t know how long her patience with me will last once she reads the below, though. I may lose her.

A story, by Daisy:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 52 times when I was a kid. I don’t know how my parents could afford it but my brother and I saw it every week for months.  Brother had Star Wars posters in his room, tons of them, and I would stare at Luke Skywalker all the time. I loved him.  I was eight, and this was real.  I knew that he lived in California because I read it in Teen Beat, and I knew that when I got to California and he saw me, he would love me back.  He would just know I was his and he was mine, I was certain.

“I asked my parents for a plane ticket. They were in the kitchen cooking spaghetti for dinner.  When I asked, they laughed, a parents’ affection for their baby child.  It took them too long to realize I was serious, that I was not going to be placated.  They put down their stirring utensils and explained that I could not go to California. That was not possible.  They probably touched my arm and looked me right in the eyes with love.

“I weighed maybe 60 pounds but I flung every bit of that 60 pounds down the hall and into my room where I planted my face into my pillow and wailed. I was devastated.  That was my first real heartbreak.  All of my dreams were dashed at age eight by my mean, mean parents who never let me fly to California to meet my love.  I know exactly how Pooh feels.”

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A story, by Jimmie:

“I bet I saw Star Wars 28 times when I was a kid. Madre would make plans to go to the movies with her friends, and she would drop me and Martie off at the Luke Skywalker show and then go see her grown up movie sans children.  It was the 70s; people did that back then.

“I loved Luke Skywalker. I always preferred blondes.  I felt like if he had less nose and fewer ears, I could really fall in love with him, but he was still pretty cute. I’d have married him if he asked.”

I’m sorry, Daisy, but I loved him, too. Do you think we will come to blows over him?  I never told you because I want to keep you as a friend, and everyone knows once you have a catfight over a man, you can’t be friends anymore.  Sadly, I’d bet on you to win.  You are scrappy and I’m a marshmallow.

Daisy is driving me to the airport so that I can meet Woney in Detroit. I might have misled you when I said we were meeting for lunch.  We are meeting for lunch, but then we are going to strap ourselves into a plane to travel to Amsterdam and then do it again to travel to Bergen.  That’s in Norway, bitches!

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Bergen ^

 

Why Norway, you ask? Let me just tell you.  Woney and I were planning our next big trip and we made fancy lists on Excel spreadsheets detailing our travel bucket lists, the money we’d need to get there, and what we could do there.  Norway was not on the list.  Spain was, though, and that was mostly because neither of us would have to drive and because it’s pretty.  We were both gung ho about it until I found myself on Instagram following Pooh and Tigger and also some hot Norwegian guy named Lasse Matburg.  Also gung ho about it until Madre and I took Pooh and Tigger to Key West last year and then decided to stay a week in JULY which is HOT and also FIERY and also HOT.  I could not breathe, so when Woney called to yap, I opened with this:

“Oh, hello heifer, we are not going to Spain, FUCK THAT, it is hot as you-know-what down here and Spain is worse and I am not, I repeat, AM NOT going anywhere near the Equator, Woman, we are going to Norway where is it not hot plus there’s this Instagram model hottie named Lasse and I’d like to get a gander at those Nordic men, hey.”

And Woney said, “Well, hello to you, too. I could do Norway.”

So basically we picked it because it’s not hot and Lasse Matberg. Woney doesn’t like him at all which leaves more for me, yay! Plus I am bossy and Woney is nice.

I was lamenting to Daisy that I didn’t lose all those extra layers of fatty cushion I needed to so that I could look frail and cold in Norway and perhaps be comforted by Lasse or similar as I shivered on a fjord. Have any of you noticed that it is harder to find hottie hot hot men that that prefer squishy, white, middle aged women anymore?  Anyway, I guess I lamented too much because this exchange happened with Daisy last week:

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Is Daisy still being nice to me? Or is this a sick attempt by her to play upon my affections, my very 13-year-old teenage hormones/ heart longings in an effort to trick me into dying a horrible noro-Ebola virus death so she can have Luke Skywalker all to herself?

I still didn’t lose all the weight.

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^Hot

 

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^Fiery

 

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In case it wasn’t clear, this ^ is fiery hot Lasse Matberg

 

I stole all these pictures from the innernet, Lord, please have mercy on my soul.  And my ovaries.

Pee-Tah Moved

I bet I didn’t tell most of you because I couldn’t really tell it without crying, but Pee-Tah moved away from me. He’s done it before and he’s very good about keeping in touch and visiting, but it still feels terrible when I want to go over to his apartment on a Friday night in my pajamas to watch Jason Bourne do unspeakable things to bad guys.  Or speakable things.  Jason Bourne is one of those guys who isn’t really all that good looking on the surface but then he does something like knock out a guy with one punch and you find yourself dealing with overactive ovaries and wondering why it all of the sudden got hot in the room and speculating about why you feel compelled to fling your bra at the television screen.  Like how women react to Dammit Todd.  Those people are the good-in-motion people.

Pee-Tah arranged nights with each of his close friends to pack a section of his apartment and then have dinner together. I was slated for the kitchen packing night which works out well for me because Pee-Tah has only expired foods in his pantry because he forgets to eat, but he has great appliances and gadgets, all clean, barely used.  Packing his kitchen is easy.  Toss the food and place the unopened gadgets, already packed securely in their original packaging into the storage bins, then tape, date and stack.  After packing, we went to dinner and planned on talking about his new house, his new friends, the dates he had planned, but instead we decided to cry and touch fingers while people around us assumed we were a couple.  In a way, we are.

“I didn’t realize everything I would be leaving,” Pee-Tah whispered. “I didn’t think about leaving you, really.  I know we will see each other but right now you are just around the corner.  You won’t be around the corner anymore.”

“I know,” I choked. “I can’t come lie on your bed and you can’t serenade me with the piano, and I can’t rummage in your cabinets and steal expired raisins.  I can’t go to anybody else’s house in my pajamas and fling my bra at Jason Bourne.  Even if I could, I don’t want to!”

We sniffled for a while, watched our poor waiter flit around desperately trying to take our orders, and then talked about the logistics of the trip. That made it worse because Pee-Tah said with a warbled voice, “Pilot Frank offered to ride with me in the moving truck so I wouldn’t have to go alone and I said no.  Why did I say no?!  I don’t want to do this by myself!”

“I don’t want you to, either!” I wailed.

Then we looked at each other, and looked away and then looked back and I said, “I can go.”

Pee-Tah didn’t even hesitate. “OKAY!” he hollered.  “OKAY, CALL YOUR BOSS RIGHT NOW.”  Because she is great, she also said, “You can go,” and our short notice travel plan was born.

I’d like to talk briefly here about the moving truck but I have to be honest with you, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that. You should’a seen that thing!  It was huge! Enormous!  Pee-Tah’s plan was to attach the tow trailer on the back for his car and have some good-in-motion moving men load the truck, and all of that worked out pretty well except for the part where Pee-Tah wasn’t fully packed yet and he and I loaded the last of it for a few hours.

I took a thousand pictures of that truck before ever clambering in it and when I say clambered, I mean clambered. Two steps with hand rails just to get to my seat, and my seat was a bench that I shared with Pee-Tah with storage underneath for our snacks and my purse.  I worried about us driving that thing for 14 hours to Minneapolis.  Would we be safe?  Would the car be safe back there?  Madre worried about us being safe, too.  “Drive carefully,” she fretted.  “Don’t go too fast,” she instructed.

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Once we hit the road, I no longer worried. There wasn’t a soul on the road that could hit us at any speed and cause us any damage.  That truck was a Sherman tank.  That truck was a hoss. That truck was indestructible.  The only worry about that truck was filling it up with diesel and I don’t even want to know how much of Pee-Tah’s money we spent on that bill.

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That truck also rode like one of those fat shaker machines – you know, the kind where you can strap yourself in and then jiggle with a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other and still get a full and effective workout? That kind.  It was pretty loud, too, so Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time speaking very deliberately and forcefully to one another while I shook my fat and Pee-Tah just shook his bones because he doesn’t have any fat.  When our 14 hour drive turned into a 21 hour drive because we never got over 50 mph because of the enormity of the truck (“don’t drive too fast,” Madre said), Pee-Tah and I spent a lot of time doing singalongs to 80s ballads and 90s love songs.  I sing great.

My favorite part of the trip, after spending 21 hours with Pee-Tah in a moving truck, and after sleeping about 8 hours total over two nights, and after the conversations we had about what we’d like God to say to us when we get to Heaven, and after we planned my next trip via plane to MSP, were the dinners we had at the truck stops. Truck stops, y’all!  I had dinner at some truck stops!  I love truck drivers.  I always have.  I’ve always felt very safe seeing those big rigs with all the lights on them when I’m driving in in the middle of the night in my small sedan.  I know not everyone feels that way, but I always have.  The truck stops were such a rewarding experience for me, but I am always particularly moved when I see someone in their element.  Those men (and probably women!) could back those trucks into the skinniest of spots.  They had beds in the back where they slept for the night on the exit ramps.  Some of them brought family members and all of them were friendly.  Plus I got to eat truck stop food which was not only plentiful but delicious. Well, as delicious as it can be when the partaker has given up all grains.

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Pee-Tah and I woke up on our last morning together at 4:30 am. Something like that.  We were puffy-eyed and sleepy but we had things to do:  he had to complete a home inspection and I had to catch a plane.  We performed our morning ablutions and ran out the door together where he fired up his big rig with a car attached, and I climbed into an Uber with a guy who desperately wanted to be an actor and wore all the gold chains and cologne to prove it.  We didn’t cry, we did hug, and we took off for our business.  It was the only way we could do it; otherwise we’d still be clenched in a lover-like embrace at the entrance of the Holiday Inn while people walked around us and wondered why we were boo-hooing like toddlers.  Pee-Tah’s house was inspected and then purchased and my plane was caught.  We talked later that night and were right on the edge of losing it when his mother arrived to help him move in.  We talk every so often to make plans for my next flight out there so I can decorate my room.  I have a room.  It’s the one with the full size bed.

I’m okay. Pee-Tah is okay.  This is what being a grown up is.  We make our choices, the best ones we can, but we never lose sight of what is important. He is important to me and he always will be.  He moved, but he’s never far away and I’m so damn thankful for that.  Plus, we are good-in-motion people and you don’t just get over the good-in-motion people. You keep them, because they are the best.

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Here’s The Truth Of It

Back last year Woney and I were having a conversation about taking a trip.  Like, last year in May as we were training for and completing a half marathon.

“We,” I wheezed, “are going,” <wheeze> “on a cruise,” <wheeze> “right?”

<Wheeze> “Yes, because,” <wheeze> “I hate being,” <wheeze> “cold,” wheezed Woney. 

“I want to go,” breezed Squash as she sped past us.

“Me,” <wheeze> “too,” wheezed Nurse Bananahammock. 

Wheeze.

Planning that trip pretty much got us through those 13 miles, and as we sipped celebratory cocktails that evening, we nailed down the details for a cruise nine months out.  That was where this picture was taken and the base line for the story I wanted to tell.  Wanted.  Not want. 

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Now that I’ve been wishy washy, I’m going to tell the original story I wanted to tell because everyone abhors a tease, but before any of you who will soon be perched at your desk with your mouth hanging open, kind of gaping at the words that pour forth from my fingers, fires off a salvo to me tell me how you’ll never read me again because you cannot believe I’d say something so pervy, I’ll remind you that there is more story coming.  Please get to the end before writing me off as a floozy.

While we were at the port stop in the Grand Caymans, Woney and I found ourselves on the sidewalk outside an ice bar, one of those places that advertises itself as five degrees below zero.  All seats are made from the ice, all walls and ceilings, and you have to wear puffy coats and Russian-style babushka hats with gloves so as not to lose your appendages to frostbite.  Now just nine months prior, Woney wheezed that she didn’t enjoy being cold and I wheezed my agreement so it was a bit of a surprise that we found ourselves so enamored of an ice bar.  But here’s how the story went.

“Oh, look,” Woney said, “there’s an ice bar.  I’ve always wanted to do that. It is nearly 100 degrees here in the sunny Grand Caymans.  Perhaps we would enjoy some below freezing temperatures?”

“Meh,” I responded. 

“Yeah.  Meh,” Woney agreed.

“You could watch the video,” the girl behind the counter said.  “Just see what it is like.  We provide the coats and gloves and these awesome t-shirts for purchase after you come out.”

“Meh,” we responded. 

“We offer Big Black Dick,” the girl said.

Suddenly I was intrigued.  “Big Black Dick?  Is that, like, a gummy?  Or, you know, a man?”  Woney listened with rapt attention, also, and we both dug around our respective purses looking for the twenties we could throw on the counter to gain entrance into the place that housed the Big Black Dick.

Turns out Big Black Dick is rum, and turns out it is delicious.  I wanted to tell you that this face I am making is due to the Big Black Dick and then I wanted to tell you that I scampered around the Grand Caymans hollering about Big Black Dick, and also tell you that I told everyone on the ship I had Big Black Dick and also called my mother, proud as a peacock, to say, “I had Big Black Dick in the Grand Caymans!”  For the record, my mother would respond in this manner:  “I am so proud!”

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I wanted to tell you as I wheezed with mirth that I was a woman of the world who picked up Big Black Dick on all her voyages.   I would wheeze with mirth until I realized that a missionary I love reads this blog.  My father reads this blog.  My old bosses and all my friends read this blog.  Some of them will be all, “Go, Jimmie, Big Black Dick, woo!”  The rest of them would purse their lips and make tsking noises and know that I was lying about what that Big Black Dick meant to me.   

Here’s the truth of my life, the story I want to tell now.  I did all those things and said all those things but I live a very different story than that.  Years ago, after I got my heart smashed into a pancake by a sledge hammer, I made some significant changes to the way I do things. These things don’t necessarily make sense to the world at large and I realize that I’m bucking a lot of trends here but I really cannot care about that.  For example, I read up on yoga and nixed that from my exercise repertoire because the spiritual implications of the poses and chanting made me uncomfortable. I stopped attending traditional churches that promoted their own programs and rules to a fault and instead just decided to love people.  I vowed that celibacy was for me until I was fortunate enough to remarry.  No matter what I say about Big Black Dick, hahahaha, and how I wheeze with mirth about it, hahahaha, I won’t experience it unless I marry it, no hahahaha at all.

All this makes me super fun at parties and on dates which is likely why I am no longer invited to any of those things anymore.

But here’s how I see it – pleasing Him is now more important than pleasing me. I’ll follow His rules because He says to do it, but by following those rules I’ve found a thousand other reasons that point to them being an excellent idea all on their own.   For example, loving people was always something I’ve done, sure, but once I became a die-hard, balls-to-the-wall, knocked-down, dragged-out, on-fire, hardcore follower of Jesus, (mind you not religious, not a Baptist, not anything other than following my Christ) it became sweeter. Love is just sweeter.

Likely I will catch a lot of flak for this, or likely I won’t.  We each get our own story to tell and I’ve never been one to tell you that your story is wrong.  I doubt anyone who loves me would repay me not in kind, but even if they do, I’m strong enough to stand on my own two feet about it.  No approval necessary.   

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Here We Go Again

I was rummaging through the console of Pee-Tah’s car on my way to work and called him to ask, “Is this a tooth in your car?”

“Yes,” he replied. “It’s a long story.”

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to know the story.

 

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No, I wasn’t kidding

Oh. You want to know why I was driving Pee-Tah’s car. Right. Because this.

 

CURSE WORD!

CURSE WORD!

This is my sad, forlorn, pitiful wreck of a car sitting at the mechanic’s shop waiting for a new alternator.

Oh. You want to know why I have to have a new alternator when I just got one last year? Yeah, me too.

Before I bought my Sonata, I drove a used Isuzu Rodeo until it had 240,000 miles on it. The belt squealed every time I turned it on and the gas pedal would get gummy and stick in the rev position until you reached down and yanked it back into non-rev mode, but it never gave me this much trouble. That Rodeo set the bar for all other vehicles – how long and how far I should be able to drive one. This Sonata only has 150,000 miles on it and is being a baby about it, quite frankly. I’d give it a swift kick to the tires but I’m afraid that will just anger it further and it will retaliate by dropping the entire undercarriage on the freeway.

I suppose the good news here is that I’m pretty adept at diagnosing a problem with my car. I’ve had nearly all of the traditional car problems so I’m recognizing the signs. I was getting an oil change when the alternator made its final hurrah. I flicked on the windshield wipers and noticed they were slow so I asked the guys at the shop to check the voltage (I knew the right terminology and everything!), and then had to ask for a jump when it wouldn’t start. On the way over to the mechanic’s, my car backfired, bucked, revved and then de-revved, flashed lights and generally acted like an asshole, much to my humiliation.  I like attention but not that kind.

Pee-Tah asked me later, “You knew it was the alternator before anyone told you, didn’t you?” Yeah, I did, and I’m inordinately sad that I did. I never wanted to be a mechanic. I never wanted to know so much about cars. That was never my dream.

Other car stories here, here, here, here, and here.  Oh, and here. And also a weensy one here.

Sigh.

About A Boy; About A Girl

I had dinner with my senior citizens last week. I still do that every month in case you were wondering. Our normal pattern is while we eat, we discuss other restaurants we’d like to try on another outing, and I make a running list of places so that choosing a new one every month is easy. Jan, the woman who is me in 30 years, piped up from the end of the table. “I’d like to go to Big Bang. I heard it was fun.”

I was conveying a piece of potato to my mouth with a fork and this revelation rendered me unable to hold onto my utensils. I dropped potato and fork into my lap and then snapped my open mouth shut.

“Jan, Big Bang is a bar. A rowdy bar. Downtown. With drunk people. You want to go there?”

“Yes,” she said adamantly. “I think it would be fun.”

So I put Big Bang on the list. I once spent a lovely evening there watching my friend Miguel kill it on the dance floor to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Seriously, he knew every move and did them all for the whole song. I’ve never particularly seen him as a ladies man but it seems that the ladies really like a man who can dance every move of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Miguel got a lot of numbers that night. I guess I’ll be teaching our two single men at the senior center how to dance now. Turn them into lady magnets. I’m pretty sure that’s why they come to these dinners, to find themselves a lady friend.

Speaking of single men, we had a new attendee at the dinner this month. Jack was the lone male that signed up to ride the supper van full of women. He was the last to arrive at the center and as he walked up the stairs to the front door, all the single ladies pressed their faces to the glass to watch him. I don’t know if that is a common occurrence for him or what, but once he realized he had an audience he threw both arms out to the side and puffed his chest out as if to say, “Drink it in broads! I have arrived.”

I fought my way through the crowd to introduce myself and explained that he was the single exception to our hen party. “How many women are on the bus,” he asked, looking around with some glee.

“Thirteen,” I replied and then he did a fist pump victory motion whilst exclaiming, “YES!” My kinda dude.

Remember ages ago when I told you about Jim and Jane, the couple who found each other late in life? Jim is the sort who swaggers into a restaurant with his tabbed-waist pants and his pinky ring, kind of smoothing his mane of white hair in a fluid motion. Jack is nothing like that.   Jack had on his rock star jeans with the designs on the pockets, his Daniel Cremiux shirt and his hipster glasses. He’d shaved his head into a shiny Bruce Willis dome and he expertly rolled his pant legs up into a look so trendy it hurts. He told us later that he’s 90 and a World War II vet. Went to a middle school last week to talk about his experience as a soldier and the kids ate it up. I think he did, too. I know I ate it up. Man, I hope he comes back. He was a treat. I’m anxious to see which lady friend he settles on, or perhaps more accurately, how many lady friends he settles on.

We also had another new person this month, Heather. I’d heard she was coming long before I ever got to the center, because Heather is what you’d call a “handful.” The schedulers wanted me to be aware from the get go that she would be there as she is legally blind, speaks extra loudly to make up for her lack of vision, and doesn’t get along with Jan at all. I mean at all.

Heather has had a pretty rough life but she’s not one to shy away from talking about it. Five bypass surgeries, sixteen eye surgeries, something in her kidney area and all the complications from a severe case of diabetes. She will tell you all about it and even show you her scars, but the whole time she’s talking she’s got the most upbeat attitude.

“I just figure that you only get one life,” she pontificates, “and you might as well like it. I take the bus anywhere I need to go and I get along. No need to complain.” She’s right but she’s also annoying in that no one around her is allowed to have a regret or a complaint or a question that might imply even a borderline problem.

For example, at the dinner one of our ladies, Beth, asked if her steak could be put on the grill for another few minutes as it was cold and little too raw for her liking. The waitress happily obliged but Beth was given such a tongue lashing from Heather over not being grateful that Margaret, another lady whose steak wasn’t done, ate her cold, raw meat in silence so as not to draw attention to herself for her own verbal tongue lashing. I don’t want any meek mice at our dinners so I had a talk with Heather afterwards who then hugged me and told me I was fantastic. Even put her head on my shoulder to rest on the ride home.

I am so lucky. I love these people. I sure do meet all kinds.

Because I’ve been remiss in writing about this lately, below are some of the places we’ve been for dinner and my review of them:

Butchertown Hall, Germantown area – a Texo-German place which means lots of meat. Yes, go. It’s painfully trendy, just annoyingly so, and it’s easy to get scared by the reviews on Yelp. It seems that the staff finds it excruciating to wait on you, the customer, and they run out of brisket later in the day. However, we had a delightful experience. It’s almost as if the wait staff got skewered by somebody higher up over the Yelp reviews and straightened out their act. We had Andrew as a server, and let me tell you, he hustled the whole night. He patiently answered every question we had about the menu, made thoughtful suggestions and kept the food and water coming. You’ll enjoy this place if you can get a table. Well worth it. The food was delicious, and I highly recommend the brussels sprouts. Mmmmm

Woody’s Steak House, Madison – old school steak house. When I say old school, I’m talking 1980’s wood paneling with heavy maroon trim, mood lighting in the form of wall sconces made to look like gas lanterns, and baked potatoes the size of your head. If you want atmosphere, this is not your place. If you want a side of beef, it is.

Cajun Steamer, Franklin – a total dive bar. It looks like nothing special inside or out. It’s in a strip mall for Pete’s sake. But when you go, order the tuna dip. That face you are making right now? Yeah, I made it, too, but then I tried the tuna dip and it changed my life. At the very least it changed my thinking about tuna dip. Trust me on this one.

Mere Bulles, Brentwood – a Nashville institution. When it was downtown it featured a painting of Madre on her horse, Louie. That painting is long gone now, sadly. But go there. The food is outstanding and the service, too.

Blue Moon Waterfront Grill, East Nashville-ish (I’m good with directions) – a marina bar and grill. It was pretty good. Go when it’s not so hot, though. And if you really want a marina bar and grill but you only get one shot at it, go to the one in Lakewood. It’s better.

Okay, that’s it. If any of you want to meet us at the next location, let me know. I’ll include you in our reservations. Single men more than welcome. You can have your pick of the ladies. They’ll treat you real nice.

13.1. Yeah, I Did It.

Four years ago I said, “Y’all, I’m going to run a half marathon.” And then I did.  I totally did, except I only ran 3.1 miles of it which is practically the same thing.  Then last year I told you all a story about drinking like a fish with My Girls and embedded in that story was a second promise to run a half marathon.  And then I did.

Okay, that is a lie.  I can’t even fiddle around with that one and pretend like I did something great.  Instead, what I did was spend all my money fixing my car for the 95th time after it kept crapping out on me and then I could not afford the trip to Cleveland for the race.  (Recently spent another $450 on that vehicle getting some additional mechanical repairs; meanwhile the side piece under the passenger side doors hangs limply down from the frame in the manner of droopy drawers.  Best car ever.  Get a Hyundai Sonata.  Go ahead.  Tell me all about it when you do.)

What I learned from those two experiences is that when I tell you guys I’m going to do something, I don’t do it.  There’s really no explanation for it, but I’m not so dumb as to keep telling you about my goals and whatnot and then have them not come to pass.  If it’s all the same to you, I’m keeping the big stuff to myself.  You can hear about it afterwards, like this:

I COMPLETED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON.

WITH MY GIRLS.

AND I WILL NEVER DO ANOTHER ONE AGAIN.

NEVER.

Months ago, and who even remembers when anymore as my “drinking like a fish” stories with My Girls are beginning to run together, we lounged around in our fuzzy pants and contemplated a second shot at doing a half together. Lo and behold, the next day my checking account was debited $35 for my race fee.  A race in Medina, Ohio which sounds cute but also foreign and far away.  I do recall Squash (the Girl who hails from Ohio) promising us that her weather would be fine and that the course would not be hilly, and I do recall some amount of enthusiasm as we each whipped out our mobile devices and our debit cards and happily signed away the fees.  We clinked together glasses of rum and Coke and then merrily called Luke over for pizza and girl movies.  (This happens often so while I cannot pinpoint the exact trip, they all kind of follow the same itinerary . . . .)

From left to right:  Squash, Nurse Bananahammock, Woney, and your favorite, Jimmie

From left to right: Squash, Nurse Bananahammock, Woney, and your favorite, Jimmie

I realized immediately after that trip that I was really going to complete this half.  And right after that I realized that I needed to train for it.  And then not long after that I realized that Daisy was the perfect person with which to train because she walks like the Energizer bunny and her complaints are very soft-spoken.  We began traipsing up and down the Greenway, three- and four-mile walks here and there and then longer walks on the weekends.  We kept adding mileage every Saturday and eventually walked 11 miles in one go.  It was awful.  It was hot and hilly and our legs were so tired.  We only meant to walk 10 that day, but I misjudged the mile markers (surprise) and when we finished we had walked just over 11 miles.

 

My Greenway

My Greenway

I could tell how the half was going to feel based on that one walk with Daisy.  We were at mile nine and Daisy wearily turned her head towards me.  She gave me a long look and said, “When we get back to the car, I’m going to beat the shit out of you.”

I looked wearily back at her and said, “You can’t catch me.”

And she wearily said, “You can’t run.” Valid.

She probably would have beat the shit out of me except we had promised each other pancakes that day, and our desire for pancakes outweighed her desire to kill me, so we carbed up and eventually forgot about our tired feet.  Carbs are magical.

 

Don't they look delicious?

Don’t they look delicious?

The day arrived for the half marathon.  I was excited enough to be full of hope and naïve enough to not be full of dread.  I had on comfy clothes, a bra that cinched the lady bits into battle ax position, and two pigtails.  There were 13 miles ahead of me and a medal and a chocolate milk at the end.  I was with My Girls and the weather was fine.  The promise of a flat walk was unfounded. We received an email a month before the race that was apologetic in nature – changes were made to the course so that the last eight miles were stuffed full of hills – but I live in Nashville.  We are hills.  I could take it, sure.

From our starting position at the back of the corral, My Girls and I trotted off.  We kept a pretty good clip for quite a few miles (Nurse Bananahammock, the runt of the litter, practically had to jog to keep up with us) and even chatted while we walked.  I greeted every volunteer who steered us in the right direction.

“How you durin?” I’d ask and they would cheerfully wave at us.

“I know, we *are* awesome, this is so great,” I’d say, every time we got the you are fabulous, good on you speech.

Woney said to the Girls, “I knew she’d be like this.”

And I was like that for about nine miles.

Mile nine was the marker where my feet started the burn.  I could hear Daisy in the back of my head saying, “I’m going to beat the shit out of you,” and I thought, “Yeah, this is maybe not so fun anymore.”

By mile 10, I was a grouch.  I was overly fond of pointing out, “That house is ugly.  It looks like doo doo.”

Woney said to the Girls, “I knew she’d be like this.  Just wait.  It gets better.”

By mile 11, I was resigned.  My dogs were barking, one of my pigtail holders had popped off, and my body was one giant salt lick from the sweat.  “I’m finishing this bitch. I did not do all this walking to get swept and not get a medal.  C’mon y’all.  Two to go. Dammit.” Fun.

Woney said to the Girls, “Hold on.  She’s coming back.”

Mile 12 was the killer.  Somehow we had picked up a Negative Nelly who whined about her feet the whole last mile.  “My feet really hurt. Do your feet hurt?  Why aren’t you saying anything about your feet?  This was a mistake.  My feet are killing me.”  Yes, our feet hurt.  Our backs hurt.  My butt hurt.  Woney was drained.  Nurse Bananahammock was winded.  Squash was already finished but her feet hurt, I just knew it.  If any of us had had the energy, we would have stabbed old Nelly over there with an ice pick.  But we had a mile to go and there was no getting out of it.  I really wished for Daisy at that point who would have said to Nelly, “When we get to the finish line, I’m going to beat the shit out of you.”  And she would have meant it, carbs or no carbs.

 

Not magical enough to save Nelly.

Not magical enough to save Nelly.

On we trudged. Resignedly I’d respond to the clapping volunteers, “Uh huh, we are great.  Yeah, this is awesome.  Sure, we can do this.”  Most of that came out as a wheeze through parched and lifeless lips but at least it came out.

Woney said, “I told you she’d be like this.”

As we reached mile 12.5, I said to the Girls, “I usually like to cry at the end of these types of events.  I don’t think I can today, I don’t have the reserves, but please know that I will want to.”  When we reached the last hill we eyed a sign that read, “You can bitch about the hill, or you can make the hill your bitch.  Finish line at the top.” We heaved mighty sighs and stoically placed one foot in front of the other all the way up the hill.  I swallowed a bug.  Maybe it was cigarette ash from a passing vehicle.  I’m not sure, but it did not help. We had to shove an old man out of our way. He was blocking the path and we did not have the energy to veer.  Children ran wildly at us and we cared not if they brained themselves on our knees.  We were automatons and we were going to finish, up the hill, on a cobblestone street, across the line.

As we got to the top, I held one hand out to Woney and one hand out to Nurse Bananahammock. We locked fingers, raised our arms in victory and crossed the finish line together.  Turns out I did have the reserves because I cried all the way across the line, sweaty, grimy, down to one scraggly pigtail.

 

Done.

Done.

It. Was. Glorious.

Here is the medal. Get a good look at it because it is the last one you will ever see on this blog.  I worked for it.  I earned it.  I am proud of it.  And I never want to do anything like that again to get another.  Isn’t it pretty?  Tell me it’s pretty.

IMG_6951

One tired Jimmie.

One tired Jimmie.

Also, you know we drank like fish after that race was over.  Keep this in mind for future posts which I will not tell you about in advance because I want the plans we made to happen.  But yeah, happy times are a ‘coming.

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