Monday, May 30, 2011

After-dinner conversation

"Meatloaf, peas, and mashed potatoes - there ain't a meal more American than that.  You eat that for dinner and Uncle Sam shows up on your doorstep, turns into a hot chick, and gives you a blowjob."



I'll add that to the list of reasons I don't eat meatloaf.  Or peas.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I love today because I don't have to work tomorrow.

My brother's not allowed to save any of the food we bring him during visitation - to prevent bugs, I imagine.  I didn't realize this when I brought 2 pizzas, bread and sauce, salad, and cookies.  There's a way around the rules, apparently - put all the food you want to save in a plastic grocery bag, then inside an empty pizza box, and gingerly place it in the trash.  Either have a friend looking out for you to sneak it upstairs, or you wait until later and do that deed yourself.  You can eat like a king for a day or so at least!  He said this was only the second time he's had salad since November.

I swore I was going to clean my house this weekend.  I ran the dishwasher before we left earlier - and even I recognize this doesn't count as cleaning the house.

I walked and I biked and I tried to do a 10 minute yoga program but only lasted 5 minutes.  In my defense, I don't know what I'm doing and the chick was going too fast for me to keep up.  I'll try again, though.  Oh yes I will.

This dude showed up on my crown molding just a bit ago:

He lives in a ziploc bag now:
(Jimi was going to take him outside and let him go free, but for some reason Jimi's not wearing pants and so he obviously cannot go outside.  I'll be damned if I'm going to get my fingers anywhere near this monster, so until Jimi puts on pants, this spider has to live in this bag.  I hope he can breathe.  Sorta.)

Did I mention I need to clean my house?  I should do some grocery shopping too.  I need more ziploc bags.  

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thoughts formed over Mexican food

What kind of woman actively pursues a married man?  A married man with a child?

What sort of character must you possess to text things like "I'll leave the door unlocked, in case you're able to get away"?

What kind of woman ignores a wife's plea of "I need you to go away, like you promised you would"?

What kind of man actively pursues a woman who is not his wife?  What sort of father hurts the mother of his child in that way?  What is he teaching his daughter about how men should treat their wives?

How deeply flawed must one be to repeatedly lie and cheat?

What kind of man ignores his wife's plea of "If you love me, if you love us, please stop this"?

What kind of woman actively allows herself to be disrespected and demeaned?  What example does she set for her child?

How badly has she been hurt that she accepts that an unfaithful spouse is simply her lot in life, the way of things, nothing that can be helped?

What sort of woman is able to live in a world of instability and insecurity and fear that's been created by the man to whom she's devoted her life?

What kind of friend can listen to a tale such as this and not want to punch the lying cheating bastard in his face?  How could you not want to pull the triflin' bitch's hair from her ugly head?

How much trouble can you really get into for egging someone's car?

What sort of friend could ignore a scorned wife's plea of "Let's just go for a drive - please?"?
beer + sangria + champagne = a saturday morning that doesn't start until 3 p.m.

Things. And stuff.

I'm going to try really hard to remember this night as it came.

Friend, love, drink.  (I'm going to tell you about this one day soon, but probably not tonight.  Maybe, but probably not.  We'll see.)

Off on my own
to the liquor store
then the round about way to anywhere
where do i park?
fuck, can't fit there
okay, this will work
god i hope i know someone here

"YAY! Natalie's here!!"
"Where's your better half?"
"OMG, you came out!!!"
"OMG, you're here!  Wait - this isn't your house!  What are you doing here?  Did you get lost?"
"Hey, Natalie's here!!! Where's Jimi?"
"Natalie came out!"

(Things my friends say when they see me in public)

"What do you do?"
..."I'm a philosopher..."

Steve and Maria hugged me like they were my brother and sister - love, is what I feel when they're around.  For each other, for me, whatever.  It's all the same.  Love is love, right?

I tried not to watch when they made out before parting company after they'd excused themselves from the party tonight.  They weren't really making out, just kissing goodbye.  I've known Steve for five years, and she's the first chick I've ever seen him french kiss.  I'm sorry if I'm acting like a child.  It's adorable.


That's an album title, not a statement

I called my ex-husband tonight.  It was 2 a.m.  He didn't answer, but his voicemail did.  As I typically do when I'm drunk dialing (if memory serves, as I've not done it in at least a year an a half), I paused, forgetting whom I'd called,
Then I remembered,
"I guess I call this number about every year an a half, to see if it's still yours, or if you'll answer.  I hope you're happy, I hope you're doing well.  I'll talk to you soon...bye."

That "I hope you're happy" part, it sounded way bitchy.  Ooops.  That wasn't my intent. And WTF is up with the "i'll talk to you soon" part?  No I won't.  Like, hopefully not ever.  Bad habit from work, is the only excuse I've got.

I met a philosopher tonight.  No shit.  Do you know a fucking philosopher?  I do.  I watched that bitch down a shot of Kentucky moonshine like it was milk from her momma's titty, and all I can think is "what kind of fucking badass do you have to be to be a philosopher for a living?".  She was cute and blonde and wore a jean jacket and when someone passed her the straw hat, she wore it like a champ and looked like she'd been born into it.  She's been in KY less than a year.

I felt up a woman who's had a partial reconstruction after a mastectomy.  The smooth skin, the firmness of her implants - I wanted to keep touching, to explore her scars, because her reality is my fear and I felt like touching her made me less scared of what the reality is.  Her mom and grandmother died from breast cancer; she said "I'm going to survive this, dammit" and her husband said "this will change my life" and god willing, they're both right.  They are where I want to be 15 years from now, without the cancer as a backdrop.  They have a shadow box like Jimi's.  She described it as a "living scrapbook" and then taught me how to spell my maiden name in ASL.

My friend turned 30 tonight.  I brought her a bottle of champagne, and when the cork was popped, I toasted, "may every day of your life heretofore be happier than this moment right now", and she said, "But I'm so happy!".  Exactly, I said.  Exactly.

"We're on our way home...
We're on our way home...
We're going home..."

Burning matches
lifting latches
on our way back home

You and I have memories
longer than the road
that stretches out ahead

My brother's 22nd birthday is Thursday.
I got married at 22.
He is in a treatment center.
We both found ourselves in a sort of prison at that age, I guess.  We have that in common.

I had a revelation tonight.  A few, I guess.
One of these days, I'll have the nerve to tell you about them.

Leaving my house - I should do it more.  People are happy to see me when I go out.  That's a good feeling.
And what a fucking brilliant group of people I'm lucky enough to call my friends!  They're so amazing...except that chick who kept talking about her vagina.  I was embarrassed for her.

I had so much more to say, I'm sure of it...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Storm? What storm?

The "worst storm in decades" lost its steam before it rolled into Louisville last night, but not until the local media and facebook forecasters convinced us we were going to die if we didn't sleep in our basements. I told you, I usually ignore this crap, but I got a little swept up in it this time - I even made some "just in case" contingencies:

~ I filled an iced tea pitcher with ice water and carried it and two cups downstairs.

~ Once I got downstairs, I had to figure out where the safe spot in the basement was – I determined that under our laundry table is probably best, especially with the baskets full of dirty clothes arranged in front to protect us from flying things. And I grabbed up some blankets that are waiting for their turns in the washer, thinking we could put them over us if the shit really did start to go down. The problem with the idea of taking shelter under the table? Spiders live under there. Big ones. I’m really glad we didn’t have to take cover.

~ I plugged in the radio that lives downstairs. I don’t have any batteries for it, and I really didn’t think through the fact that if we took cover in the basement, our power would likely be out, making the radio completely useless – or just another projectile.

~ I put together a bag of emergency supplies. It included: 
     ~ Tea light candles
     ~ A box of kitchen matches
     ~ Bottle rockets (sorry Adriana – Steve said the FBI would show up at my door if I tried to mail them to you.)
     ~ An unopened jar of crunchy JIF and an unopened bag of pretzel nuggets – you know, sustenance.
     ~ 2 LED flashlights
     ~ Finn’s leash
     ~ First aid kit

~ I carried down my purse (with car keys) and a sturdy pair of shoes for each of us. (I guess I thought if a tornado did hit, it would leave everything in the basement unscathed, especially my pile of necessities.)

~ I moved the laptop to the basement and plugged it in, too. (Like maybe I could pick up a wifi signal from a neighbor whose home wasn’t sucked away?)

After all that, I grabbed up my cell phone and a can of beer and I stood out on my front porch and watched the drama roll in. By the time it hit Louisville, the wind gusts were down from 90 mph to 45, and the severity they’d been warning about for hours was drastically downgraded. I watched for an hour, but nothing happened and we weren’t even under a tornado warning, so I went to bed around midnight. Jimi was already there, with the local NPR music station playing through our clock radio. “It’ll warn us if we get a tornado warning,” was his logic. Uh huh. Maybe it would’ve but when the Beastie Boys came on, it was time for the radio to go off. Even with earplugs in, I could still hear that noise. (Not that I dislike the Beastie Boys, but they’re not for bedtime.)
There’s one large branch in the middle of my yard, but that’s our only damage. My plastic tables didn’t even blow off the porch.
Psht. “worst storm in decades” indeed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We're supposed to have massive "worst storms in decades" storms tonight.  Facebook said so, so it must be true.  Do I sound like an asshole if I say "Ugh, whatever."?  Because that's how I feel in response to the hysteria of the local meteorological media.  Yeah, I get that there have been a lot of bad storms out there lately, but a tornado isn't like a wolf stalking your sheep - it's not OUT THERE, lurking, waiting for you to turn your back so it can pounce - it's not a guarantee.  Just because one town was destroyed a few days ago doesn't mean that bastard twister is hanging out somewhere over Paducah right now plotting its vengeance on Louisville.  But these guys, the ones on TV and the ones armchair forecasting on Facebook, they're getting hard thinking about rotation.  They want to be the ones who told you to go to your basement just in the knick of time, or (if you don't have a basement) suggested the bathtub or hall closet; they want to hear how their words saved your life and the life of your darling baby 13 year old pug named Eunice.


I admit it, I ignore sirens.  Almost all the time.  If I'm awake when they go off and I hear them, I'll go outside and watch the sky, but I don't head for shelter.  If we ever do have a massive tornado barrel through southwest Louisville, I'll probably be among the initial wave of missing - I sleep with earplugs and I'm not subscribed to a warning-text service and I don't have a weather radio.  Of course I'd go to the basement if I was sitting on the front porch and saw the twister headed my way - but short of that, there's a good chance I wouldn't know what was coming or what hit me and I'd probably be in some real trouble.

I can't be too scared of it.  I'm scared I'm going to give myself cancer or destroy my body with inactivity, but I can't worry about tornadoes.  I can't do a thing about those.  I likely can't outrun it if faced with one.  Why make myself crazy over something I absolutely have no power over?

See?  I can be so logical sometimes.  Or maybe I'm not being logical.  Am I?

They said the storms would start about six.  I can see some blue in the sky still.  Radar shows a line of crap that just went through St. Louis, but it looks choppy and slow-moving.  Eh.  I ain't worried.

Edit:  But I just found a weather blog.  And maybe I'll make sure I know where flashlights are before I go to bed tonight.  And maybe I'll stay up a little later than normal and watch some extra TV.  And maybe I'll check the radar a few more times before I go to sleep.  Hmm...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Things I saw today:

 1.  Pictures I took on Mother's Day and then promptly forgot about.  (These are of plants I bought Momma last year - those big tall crazy things?  They're lilies.)

2.  This little guy is happy outside.  
This plant was saved by Stacy from Granny's house after Granny died.  I've been trying to get this cutting to take off for over a year now.  One of these days...

3.  The frost bad-touched my Wandering Jew.

4.  Elephants in the bathroom window. No, they're not humping.

5.  Steve gave me a bonsai for my birthday.  I hope I don't kill it.

6.  I like this book, even if it is fluff.

7.  I'm pretty sure I've killed the roses.

8.  Can you see the kitten?

9.  Who could ever resist that face?

10.  Please tell me there's dirty laundry piled in your hallway waiting to go down to the basement too?  Please?  

11.  Branch down!

12.  Told you I polished my nails again.  

13.  If the world had ended on Saturday, at least my lips would've looked good.

14.  We're going to paint our bedroom this color:

15.  And hang this on one wall.

16.  And this will continue to hand on the other wall.

17.  There's a pineapple in my kitchen.  We need to do something with it soon.

18.  I bought these guys from Ikea.  
They nearly died, but I'm saving them.  

19.  This is going to be an elephant ear plant.

20.  I need to re-polish my toenails.  

Gray and Green

(Those are the colors outside my window.)

One of these days, I won't drop the "f" bomb in every entry I write.  Maybe after I have kids.  Maybe.

It looks stormy outside.  It's not storming right now, but it looks like it's thinking about it.

My belly is very sad and I don't know what I did to upset it so.

I re-polished my nails last night.  I think I put the coats on too thick or didn't allow enough drying time in between, because this morning they're patterned after the woven threads in my sheets.  Thank goodness for high thread count.

I'm going to work early today.  Not too early, but early enough to get a head start on the day.  I feel like such a go-getter on days like this.

Today, I'm looking forward to:  Coffee, Lunch, the end of the day at 5 o'clock, coming home to my puppy, Jimi's smile when he comes through the gate.

What's going to be awesome about your Tuesday?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today is the greatest...

The shit?  You know, from my house?  It's all gone and on its way to you.  And it didn't even cost $100, which really surprised me and made my checking account happy.  And Jimi's going to be so happy to see the living room again!

I was a bitch to Jimi all day yesterday.  As a token of his appreciation, he laid out my clothes for today, including socks that match each other AND match my shirt.  (That never happens - who has time to find socks that match their outfit?  Finding socks that match each other is hard enough.)  And my panties and bra match too!  I feel like I should get a gold star for being so fucking fashionable.  Jimi probably has earned a blowjob.  (Don't tell him I said that, okay?  Don't tell my mom I said that either.)

I found a semi-Christian fiction romance novel that I really, really like.  It's fluff, but it's so easy to read fluff.  Sometimes fluff is all you need.

I've only chewed off one of my fingernails in the last seven days; that's almost a record.  The problem is, now they're long enough where I can feel them - they're not bitten down even with the skin on my fingertips any longer.  This is the danger zone; this is when I feel the tips of my nails over and over again, and I worry the edges incessantly until, finally, one little edge gives and then the entire growth is history, chewed upon and spat out.

Our grass won't stop growing.  It just gets taller and taller and taller and taller.

I just realized I didn't put any notes or cute little cards or anything inside the packages I mailed.  So, if you get a random package from Natalie in Kentucky and you're all "WTF?", it's from me.  Kari, you got the leftover crap. :)  And someone's husband is going to be very confused.

Life is peaches and cream and strawberries with sugar.

It's about to storm like a motherfucker.  We had a nasty squall roll through early this morning, but this one's a bit more slow-moving.  It's been creeping in for an hour, and the first drops are just starting to fall.

I'm gonna go back out on the porch and watch.

Happy Monday, Friends!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Shit From My House - Epilogue

I knew I would suck at this giveaway thing.

All the things and all the stuff?  All the shit from my house?  It's finally on its way to your house - well, it will be in the morning when I drop it all off at the post office.

Please forgive me for taking forever to get things packaged and boxed and addressed and posted.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm the Queen of Procrastination?  I am.  I should've warned you beforehand.

On the other hand, almost every free thing I've ever signed up for came with a "please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery" disclaimer, so really, at three weeks, I'm not doing SO bad.  Right?  Right?!

Anyhow, enjoy your things and stuff.  And if you don't, please don't send it back.

(There are three of you whose addresses I've not received, and if you email those to nattums at g mail dot com, I'll send your shit along, too.  :)  )

I'm a bitch - take 2.

(Apparently, I've used the title "I'm a bitch" before.  Why am I not surprised?)

I don't know why I'm such a bitch.  It's just my nature, I guess.  I don't know why I pout like a spoiled child when faced with something I don't want to do - after I suggested it.  I don't know why it's easy for me to stomp around and act like an asshole toward the man who loves me more than everything; I don't know why I make him plead for my good graces when he's done nothing to deserve anything but.

I don't know why I have days where his every kind gesture is greeted with sarcasm and eye-rolling and scorn from me.  I don't know why the things I love so much every other day sometimes feel like a cheese grater across my last nerve.  I don't know why the little songs and voices that amuse me so thoroughly can sometimes irritate me so completely.

It was really bad on birth control.  And it came back last Fall.  And every now and then, every week (day) or two, it creeps back in, taking control of my emotions and thoughts and turning me into the bitch in the house.

I wish I could blame it on PMS or my period or the moon, but there's no discernible pattern - I'm just crazy every now and then.

He offers me the peace pipe, extends his arms in acceptance and love, and eventually, the tension inside me unwinds and I'm left feeling embarrassed and ashamed and confused at my attitude and swift anger and hateful thoughts.  I vow to do better, I swear I'll try harder - and I do, until the next time I get swept up in the wave of crazy that washes over me and carries me along until the lifesaver of his kindness or anger or sense is able to hook me a pull me back to the shores of sanity.

And then I come back here and write some really fucking awful metaphors about what a bitch I am.

Just your average Sunday at Casa de Loco.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Things that scare me.

These are the things I worry about daily:

What if Jimi never wants to get married?

What if I never have a baby?

What if I do get pregnant?  How would we afford it?

What if I get cancer and die?

What if Jimi dies?

What if my parents die?

Every day.  On a loop.  Over and over and over again.

Most of the time, I'm able to shove them back to the farthest corner of my mind and not pay them any attention. But sometimes it feels like they're yelling at me.

Do you have this?  Is it normal?

Friday, May 20, 2011

They call me Mello Yellow

"You know, your life is pretty awesome." 

Kimmie's words have been playing on a loop in my head all day today.  She's right - but again, hearing it from someone else, someone on the outside looking in, it shocks me every time.  And makes me smile.  

And I wonder, "Why me?  What have I done to deserve so much?  Why do I get to be so fortunate/lucky/blessed?"  

My next words were going to be "not that life's perfect, because it's not..." and then I was going to list all the ways my life isn't perfect.  But I can't, because it really is; I have more than enough of everything - there's nothing I need to make life happier.  


Seven years ago, I lived in Omaha, Nebraska.  I was married to a pilot who flew in the Dakotas every day - in the 5 months we lived there, he was home for only 10 days.  I didn't have a job - I spent my days in our 500 square foot basement apartment (that had only one window) with our 110 lbs. Labrador Retriever, our Jack Russel/Rat Terrier, and our cat.  I drank a lot of Bud Light - 9 or 10 a day.  I went to the library and read a lot.  I started to make some friends on the internet.  I swam in the apartment complex pool when no one else was out there - it was too small for laps if anyone else shared the space.  I was lonely as fuck.  (But they've got a really nice zoo in Omaha.  You should check it out if you're ever in the neighborhood.)

Six years ago, I lived in El Paso, Texas.  I was married to a pilot who flew in Arizona Monday night through Saturday morning - he was home from Saturday afternoon until Monday morning each week.  I worked in a law office downtown - my work history was in Human Resources, but it turns out no one will give you an HR job in El Paso, TX if you don't speak Spanish - and I liked my job (my boss was a young and brilliant and beautiful man named Ken), but it didn't offer me an opportunity to make friends.  (Well, my boss and I were friends, I guess, and he even let me go out to a club with him and another attorney one night.)  My weeknights were spent drinking beer, making friends on the internet, and talking on the phone.  I was desperately lonely, but I pretended so hard to be happy, thinking if I faked it long enough, I could maybe eventually WILL it into existence.  I cried myself to sleep a lot, especially on nights when I got too drunk and tried to masturbate and couldn't get off.  (Did I mention my husband didn't like sex and wouldn't have sex with me?  Yeah, life was awesome.)  I remember thinking "is this really all there is?  Is this all I'll ever have?  Oh, please don't let this be all of it.", and not just once or twice - those thoughts would haunt me as I stared through bleary eyes at the Sunday morning sunrises that turned the browns of the Franklin Mountains into a colorfully painted landscape, and as I watched the nighttime stars through my drunken haze and wished I could be somewhere, anywhere, where people loved me.  

Five years ago, I lived in my childhood bedroom in my parents' home in Louisville, Kentucky.  I was waiting for my soon-to-be-ex-husband to send Ken $300 to cover the filing fee for the Petition of Divorce that I'd drafted on my next-to-last day of work.  I worked for a company that hired me to do AP and Payroll and had yet to assign me any actual finance work - they had me calling customers to introduce myself.  I was miserable, and only got paid once a month, so by the middle of the month I was broke.  I had a million new friends, though, and I was going out almost every night to party with them.  I felt popular for the first time in my life.  I felt pretty on a semi-regular basis.  I went out on dates with men who weren't 6'6" tall pilots with blond hair, blue eyes and chiseled features.  I found a "friend" - a monogamous friend with benefits who was helping relieve the tension that had built up during 4 years of sexless marriage.  (One of these days, I'm going to tell you ALL about that - it was fucking brilliant.)  I started thinking life was pretty awesome, and that things could only get better.  

Four years ago, I lived in Kimmie's upstairs.  I'd found Jimi, and our love was new and exciting in an old and comfortable sort of way - we were on the verge of signing a lease together.  I worked for a company that sold "Rudy Giuliani for President 2008!" merchandise.  (No shit.  I had to talk to pregnant women who were going to name their babies Rudy.)  (They fired me after 2 months.)  It was my 3rd job since I'd moved back to Kentucky, and I was perpetually poor.  There were weeks when I wouldn't have been able to afford to eat - but Kimmie and Jimi always seemed to know without asking when I needed some help.  I had debt collectors all over my ass.  Life was good most of the time, but there was a constant knot in my stomach - fear of unresolved obligations haunted me day and night.  

Three years ago, I lived in the ghetto with my sweet Jimi.  We were in love and happy.  I'd been with my current company for ten months and had just received a promotion and an eleven thousand dollar pay raise.  My half of the rent was $262.50.  Life was getting better every day.  

Two years ago, we still lived in the ghetto, but we were house-hunting.  Still happy and in love, and with a new addition - Finnegan the Wonder Pup.  Work was stressful and challenging and rewarding and fun.  Life was fan-fucking-tastic.  

One year ago, we'd been here, in this house, for six months.  Happy and in love.  Work was the same.  Life was awesome as always.

Today, my friend said, "Your life is pretty awesome."  And she's so fucking right.  I live here, in this house, with him, that man I love and who loves me.  I have a dog and a cat who usually don't shit on the floor and are pretty well-behaved most of the time.  I have a stable, secure job that compensates me adequately.  I have health insurance.  My car is paid off.  There is food in my pantry, my refrigerator, and my deep freezer.  I have a deep freezer.  I have a big-ass yard and a driveway that can park six cars.  I have a basement.  I can do laundry in my basement while I run naked on my treadmill listening to a webcast of a Broadway musical.  My family is awesome and right down the road and they love me and I love them.  I have friends - real friends who know me and love me despite my flaws; friends who may tease me, but do it in a way that's never intended to hurt or make me cry; friends who keep inviting me to things even though I haven't really left my house to be social more than a handful of times in the last year; friends who celebrate my accomplishments and help pick me up when I falter.  

My life is pretty awesome.  

I'm not sure what I've done to get here, but I'm so glad I've arrived.  
My only desire now, my only wish, is that I can continue to rejoice and be glad in the small miracles and happy moments life brings every day.   

And if you want to punch me in the face, I completely understand.  

Today's gonna be awesome.

It's Friday.

I'm going into work way early so I can finally get through that stack of papers I've been reshuffling daily for the last 2 weeks.

Did I mention it's Friday?

I'm going to have a smoothie for breakfast, and make one for my man.

No one's gonna piss me off or put me in a bad mood.

Sunshine and rainbows and kittens, that's today.

Tell me what awesome things you're doing this weekend, please?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


After Tuesday's political rant, I have to confess:

Tuesday was Primary day here in Kentucky.
I didn't vote.

I'm a bad American.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Natalie For Congress!!!

I'm starting my own political party.  It's called the NAT Party - the National Alliance for Truth.

It's a no bullshit club - you join if you're tired of dirty old men who cheat on their wives telling you that Planned Parenthood is America's Enemy Number One, what with all their affordable HPV screenings and Pap smears and low-cost birth control distribution and (legal!) abortion-providing.  You're a NAT Party-member if you want to know why in the fuck our treasury gave billions of dollars in back-door loans to European nations while our government officials directed our attention to the bail-outs of Wall Street tycoons.  You're a NAT Party member if you want to know why it's okay for you and your friends to lose your jobs while the people who created this grandfuckery got to keep theirs - and they got bonuses?!  WTF?!

I'm just so sick of it all.  The people running this country are fucking it up royally, and we, the masses, are such good blind little sheep that we allow them to systematically steal our rights under the guise of restoring family values and protecting us from terrorists.

And about those terrorists.  We lost 3000 people on September 11, 2001.  Ten years later, how many hundreds of thousands have died in their names?  Who're really the terrorists in this scenario?  The only difference is we do it under the banner of justice.  You know what?  There's no such thing as justice when a woman's child is blown to bits because she happens to be unlucky enough to live in a place where someone thought some bad guys were living.  We've destroyed countless lives, on all sides.  Osama ain't got nothing on our pal George.

Here are some things the NAT Party supports:

Constitutional-ism - Specifically, those parts about equality for all and separation of church and state.

Fiscal Responsibility - if elected President, I would fill my Treasury department with stay-at-home mothers who've managed shoestring household budgets.  Fuck your PhDs, I want life experience.  Ain't no Momma in the world that'd buy a $600 toilet seat.  Give me a few hundred moms and 100 days, I'll give you a balanced budget.

Healthcare for All - I propose an immediate cancellation of all government-sponsored medical programs for all elected government officials - they must find and pay for medical coverage for themselves and their families, same way you and I do.  This would remain in effect until they were able to pass a healthcare bill that would provide medical coverage for ALL Americans, and then they would be covered under the terms of that plan.  I honestly believe this catalyst would bring swift, effective results.  (This would end Medicare and Medicaid, too.  And I'd find a way to force pharmaceutical companies to play ball, too, and the days of "I can't afford my medicine" would be fucking over.)

Education - Nothing pisses me off more than hearing a politician scream "Think of our grandchildren!" right before he proposes a bill that cuts education spending.  Hey George - you know how much college those bombs could've paid for?!  Anyhow, our system is in dire condition these days, and needs some money and common sense thrown its way.  (The Moms will find the money, I'm sure of it!)

I'm just so fucking sick of the bullshit.  Have you ever had a job where they threw that teamwork stuff at you and reminded you "You're only as strong as your weakest link"?  There's some validity to that little cliche' - how can we claim to be the "land of the free and the home of the brave" when our people are chained by debt and unemployment, and terrified because their government tells them to be so?

/soapbox rant

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Rich!!! I'm Rich!!!

The mail today tells me that my paycheck will be $152 fatter next Friday, and every Friday thereafter.  YAY!!!

No, I didn't get a raise.  I got a garnishment.  YAY!  Wait, no.  You're not supposed to YAY! for that.  BOO!!!  HISS!!!  That's what goes there.

I got divorced once upon a time.  Divorce brings bad things, mostly debt and tears and moving and new jobs.  The debt part?  That's the worst - especially when going from a comfortable $80K dual income to a lowly $24K single income.  It took a while to get back on my feet, and shit fell behind.  Later, when I finally found gainful employment, I was so afraid of how big the problem had become that I did what I usually do - I ignored it completely and hoped it would go away.  And it did, sorta, for a while.  And then it caught up with me, in the form of a $1300 garnishment that wiped out my savings and checking accounts last summer, followed up by a garnishment order that sent $152 of my paycheck each week to people who needed the money worse than me (a bank, of course).

It's been less than a year, and it's all paid off.  I couldn't imagine trying to put more than $5K into savings, but in less than a year, I managed to whittle away a $6K+ debt, and I didn't end up on the streets because of it!  Of course, it helps that I have very few living expenses; Jimi and I split the bills 50/50, my car is paid off, my company pays for my cell phone.  But still - $600 a month is a fucking lot of money.  It's more than my half of the mortgage.  And I survived!

I think now the best thing to do would be to put that $152 a week into my savings account, because if I can live without that $600 each month, then I probably should try to continue to do so.  That'll pay for one hell of a vacation next summer.  Or an awesome gift for Jimi's 40th birthday.  Or both!

Take this as a lesson, kids:  Pay your fucking bills on time.  They will find your ass, and they will make you pay.  Oh yes, they will.  And you will be ashamed and embarrassed and will forever regret those four beers at Petrus that you charged on your Visa because you only had 57 cents in your checking account.  And then, when you're older and wiser and more sober, you'll think "What the Fuck was I thinking?!  I could've gone to Europe!!!"

In case you're wondering, yes, I learned my lesson.  I pay cash for everything I buy - if I don't have the money in the bank, I can't buy it.  For 4 years, that's been my way of life.  I can't remember how I ever lived any other way.  (I wish I didn't have to state the obvious, but yeah, my credit is shit.  This cash-only lifestyle began from necessity, not because I had a vision or anything.)

I seriously question the wisdom of putting this out there for the world to know, because it's pretty fucking personal and really, it's the single most embarrassing thing ever in my whole entire life.  I'm ashamed of the financial mistakes I've made, mostly because I absolutely was not raised that way.  My parents preached to me the importance of good credit and honoring my word by paying my bills on time - but somehow I became one of THOSE people anyhow.  But that's why I have to write this, because getting that letter saying my debt was cleared, it's a really big deal for me.

I've come a long way in the last 5 years - my life is so much more than I ever could've dreamed.  Clearing the books, wiping the slate clean, it feels like I'm shedding the last pieces of my "before" life, and it reminds me to fully embrace everything that's good and wonderful about this, my "after" life.

Please don't make fun of me or be mean, okay?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Rainbows and Sunshine

I don't have the right words to express the happy I feel today.

Yesterday, one of my favorite people learned that she's going to have a baby.  (I'm not sure who she's telling just yet, so for now, I'm not naming names.)  I'm overjoyed for her - in the purest way, I'm so glad that her dream is coming true.

Yesterday, I knew I had to go see my brother.  I didn't want to, and I almost didn't, but at the last minute I knew it was something I had to do.  So I did.  He wasn't expecting me; I thought Momma had told him I was coming, which was part of the reason I felt like I had to do it - I didn't want to disappoint him.  He said he'd had a bad day so far, and he was really glad I came, because it made the whole day brighter.  He said when he was high, he'd look at me and see my job and my car and my home and my relationship and he'd think "she only wants to be around me so I can see she's better than me".  It makes me cry just to type those words.  I love my brother so much; he knows that when he's sober.  He hates himself so much when he's high that he can't believe anyone would ever love him. But he knows he's loved right now.

Yesterday, Jimi and I woke up happy and in love and the feelings carried throughout the day, without me being an unnecessary grump or bitch even once!

Today, we woke up happy and in love again.

Today, I've made biscuits from scratch to marry up with Jimi's sausage gravy.  I've washed several loads of laundry, baked a cake, marinated chicken breasts.

Today, I polished my finger- and toenails.  Hot pink.  I dig it.  I don't think there's been polish on my nails in 3 years, maybe longer. My fingernails will forever be stubs because I can't keep them out of my mouth, and I'm just not enough of a girly girl to bother with my toes.  Maybe I should work on that.  I feel pretty.

Today, we took the dog for a walk.  It was raining, but we did it anyhow.  

Today, I changed the sheets on the bed.

Today, my world is full of rainbows and sunshine, even if it is 62 degrees and rainy outside. There is love and happiness and promise for the future.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th for the WIN!

Today was pretty amazing.

I bought this last night:
It's pretty freakin' awesome.  
Last night, I bought it for $25.
Today, it's back to regular price of $49.99.

And then I went to work and got my shit done.
And I left work at 2 o'clock.
So I could come home and play my new game.
I told my boss that's why I was leaving, too.

And then I stopped at the CVS.
Because this morning, we ran completely out of face wash and toothpaste.
And that's not going to be okay tomorrow morning.
So I bought face wash and toothpaste and beer.
And I got the face wash on sale, 2 for the price of 1.
And I had a $3 coupon, so my toothpaste was buy one get one, too!

And then I came home and played Sims.
And now I'm going to go do that some more.

Have a lovely weekend...I'll see you again one of these days!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sweet baby squirrel!

Oh Emm Gee!!!

This cracked me the fuck up this morning.  I literally LOL'd.  I did it again just now, watching the video for a second time.  Everyone should watch this video - that little girl is so freakin' adorable.  (And I really like the part where the Mom says "fuck".)

Stacy reminded me of the lucky squirrel tails our Papaw gave us when we were kids - they came from a couple of the animals he'd hunted and killed down on the Property.  I have a hard time figuring out how we came to actually get to play with those squirrel tails - my Granny and my Momma and my Aunt Pam, they weren't germophobes or anything, but they weren't the sort to let us girls play with dead animal parts, either.  I've convinced myself that Papaw must've somehow sanitized those tails before they became mine and Stacy's; to believe otherwise just confuses me.

That story reminds me of the time he gave us rabbits feet, also fresh killed off the family farm.  Remember those dyed rabbits feet people used to carry around on their keychains (or, if you're living in certain parts of the South, the dyed rabbits feet your friends still carry around on their keychains)?  I thought those were pretty hot shit, and I really wanted one.  (I went through a phase where I collected keychains, specifically ones that said "Natalie" and the name of whatever tourist place someone who loved me had visited - even though I now realize most were likely purchased at Pilot truck stops.)  Anyhow, the rabbit foot.  I wanted one, and Papaw was always good about making sure I got just about everything I wanted, so he killed a rabbit, and before he skinned and butchered it, he cut off it's leg and gave it to me.  Now, I know that he somehow cured that leg before it came to be mine, because even if my Momma let me play with a squirrel tail, there's no fucking way she let Papaw give me a bleeding rabbit's foot.  (Also, I don't have nightmares about it, so I know it didn't go down that way.)  But I remember that rabbit's foot wasn't pink or green or purple, and it wasn't little, either - it was a big brown hind leg that once belonged to a living creature, and frankly, it freaked me the fuck out, but probably not for reasons you're thinking.  See, I wanted a cute dyed rabbit's foot that I could hang from my key-less keychain and dangle from the side of my little empty purse to show off to all my friends.  This hideous brown thing had a fucking bone sticking out the top of it!  There was no shiny silver cap to cover that reality or through which to thread a chain.  Of course I was grateful to Papaw for his efforts, and I thanked him profusely, but I never tried to show that shit to my friends in a "Look at the awesome rabbit's foot my Papaw got me!" sort of way.

Did you play with dead things when you were a kid?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rambling Right Along

Walking upstairs in my house right now feels like putting on a foam bodysuit made of electric blanket - it starts at your head, and engulfs more of you with each step you take up the stairs.  The heat, the thickness and the dry smell of it, it fills every place that isn't touching something else - the gap between my breasts and the bodice of the dress I'm wearing, the space between my torso and inner arm about midway between my shoulders and my elbows (because my upper arms are fat and glide along nice and snug next to the fabric of my dress), then the rest of my arms, the spaces between my cupped fingers and the palms of my hands, my hips, my bare legs, and then up between my thighs and my skirt.  Even my toes can feel the resistance.

But then!  But then I turn the corner in the hallway, pass the shrine of photographs from D.C. with which I've adorned the passageway, and move the heavy curtain of fabric Jimi rigged up to act as a barrier between the oppressive heat and the light, breathable air of the window-air-conditioned nook where we spend our non-sleeping/showering/cooking time.  And then that coat of hot that's enveloped me, it falls off from the front to the back, and maybe I might stand there for a moment or two, feeling the mixing of the seasons, the whoosh of hot and cold across my skin, raising the hairs on my neck and making my nipples hard, before I swish the curtain back closed, making sure there are no gaps for the precious expensive electrically cooled air to escape into the sucking heat of the hallway and stairwell.

(The entire downstairs has central air, but the fucking raccoon that lives in our attic has wreaked havoc on the ductwork upstairs.  We spent thousands last summer trying to cool these rooms using the separate HVAC system up here - only to learn that the cool air was being pumped directly into the crawl spaces of the attic, rather than through the vents that fed the liveable rooms.  Our solution has been to ignore the ductwork, turn off the upstairs AC, install the window unit that came with the house and hang a curtain to keep in the cold air.  Or we could've left the TV downstairs.  But there's an electrical issue down there and I have a lot of knicknacks in the other room down there so DON'T BE LOGICAL WITH ME!!!)

I like our little nook up here.  It's cozy and warm when the outside is cold, and thanks to that window unit, it's comfortably cool when the weather's warm.


I've got the Mormon fascination kickin' again, brought on after conversations with an old new friend who's left the church, the release of the cast recording of The Book of Mormon, and a long conversation with my boss about Kolob and food storage.  I just love Mormons.

I've been trying to listen to the cast recording for two days now, but I've been foiled by life - visits from friends on Monday and a fight with my beloved last night.  (The fight only lasted a few minutes, but I was an asshole and in attempt to make up for it I agreed to watch a movie with him, which meant giving up the computer for the night because our blu-ray player is jacked up so movies can only be instantly watched by connecting the laptop to the TV.  Have I mentioned how I have a hard time paying attention to any one thing for an extended amount of time?  Fortunately, the movie didn't suck and cuddling with Jimi is always good.)  Tonight was going to be the night I got past 12 minutes 35 seconds, I was determined - after all, I only needed an hour and eight minutes total.

I got home from work, popped open a beer, opened the browser and hit the play button.  Then I got distracted by shiny emails and facebook messages and Jimi coming home from work; I'd made it eighteen minutes into the production.  Jimi wasn't interested in listening along with me, so I dug out the earbuds.  Then I remembered the facebook post I read earlier today talking about how sitting is killing us and decided I may as well use the treadmill while I listen.  I moved the laptop to the basement, staged on the ironing board and an old rubbermaid tote so the short cord on the earbuds wouldn't tangle and pull the whole works onto the concrete floor.  I went upstairs and dug out some shorty socks and stripped out of my work clothes.  I put on the socks and my running shoes...and Jimi said "you should just walk naked" and since I was already naked I decided that's what I'd do.  And so I did.  I walked and jogged, naked, on my treadmill for half an hour, listening to the raunchy South Park-esque "The Book of Mormon", drinking a can of Bud Light between exercises with my two-pound hand weights.

Notice how I only walked for half an hour?  And how I said earlier the musical is an hour and 8 minutes?  The treadmill died - the surge protector popped and my feet came to a stop while the rest of me kept moving.  I think maybe it's done this once before, and  I hope it's temporary.   I think it'll be fine, and on that assumption I'm planning to get up at 6 a.m. to walk and listen to the other half of the story.  I'll get through this tale, dammit, I will!


 Jimi said last night that there are two of me, Natalie and Bratalie.  The bitch of it is, he wasn't wrong.  I hate it when I have to admit that I've acted like a spoiled child, or worse, an asshole.


It's a lot easier to write when the TV's not on.
I'm trying something different today.  Fingers crossed it doesn't result in bloodshed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

So, there's that

My dog gets a hard on when I come home from work.  I don't have anything else to say about that, I just figured you'd want to know.

I think I dreamed about Kat because there was a spot on NPR last night about how Berea, KY has introduced legislation to make discrimination against LGBT persons illegal.  Kat when to college at Berea, and this progressive bill is not in line with the memories she has from her time there - when I heard the blurb on my way home from work, I thought "I kinda wish I could call Kat and talk to her about this - I'd like to hear her opinion on the subject."  I heard the town's name again this morning, as NPR revisited yesterday's stories, and the lightbulb went off - THAT is why she was in my head last night.  That's cool.

Did you see this?  He got a face transplant so he could feel his little girl kiss his face again.  *heart melts*

And did you see this?!  You really want to hit that second link there - it'll take you to a page where you can listen to the cast recording of The Book Of Mormon.  I want to see is so bad, but I don't have Broadway musical money; the cast recording is an acceptable, affordable alternative while I wait for the show to turn up in Louisville with a lower ticket price.  (My friend Becky won tickets to see the preview on Broadway, but then she got sick the day before and wasn't able to fly to New York.  She'd previously busted an eardrum when flying with a nasty sick, so she wasn't willing to risk it again - I think I might've.)

LL Cool J is on Rachel Ray today.  Man.  He's totally on my list.

I need a nap.

Dreaming my dreams of you.

Kat came to me in  my dream last night; well, technically, since we were at her home in the dream, I guess I went to her.  One of these days, I won't see her in my dreams.  One of these days.

She had a boyfriend and he was good-looking and kind.  She knew about my miscarriage, but she called it "That time your period was 2 weeks late" and I got a little pissed off, wanting to correct her, but realized I was dreaming and it'd be pointless to start a fight - I wanted to see what'd happen.  Nothing happened.  We were in another country, and trying to travel without being snatched by local authorities.  Then visiting a blow-up palace - we were going to go inside and check it out, but my phone rang at 6 a.m., wrenching me from slumber and from that place.

Back to reality.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I posted a picture of my backyard yesterday and Kari was all, 
"Uhhh your yard is ridiculously gianormous. Seriously. Gianormous."  
Girl, you've got no idea.
It takes 2 hours to mow with a push mower. 
I really didn't think it through when I told Jimi the house with the big yard was the best one.  
Of course, he hadn't yet told me of his "grass allergy", either, so how was I to know?

Happy Mothers Day to all of the Mommas out there!  My Momma spent the weekend with her sisters; she'll be back home this afternoon and the plan is for Jimi and I to go over and make dinner and plant the lilies we got to replace the ones that were accidentally mowed over last year (Dad).  Daddy's birthday is tomorrow, so I've gotta figure out something for that - nothing like waiting till the last minute.  It'll all be fine.

I've been reading the things you've all written about your moms and how much they mean to you, and I want to do that for my Momma, too, but I feel like I'd probably do it wrong.  I don't know; I don't feel like I'm a very good daughter sometimes.  I love my Momma more than just about anything else in the world, but I take her for granted; I don't spend time with her the way I should, I don't invite her over for dinner or to bake, we don't meet out for lunch and shopping once a week or even once a month.  I'm pretty sure I went three months without seeing her after New Year's and she only lives 20 minutes up the road.  It's shameful.  I know I won't have her around forever, but it feels like she'll always be there because I can't imagine an alternative; she couldn't possibly grow old and die because she's my Mommy and she still has so much to teach me!

Sometimes I feel like I've let her down by not having a grandchild or two for her yet; like there was a way things were supposed to work out and giving her grandbabies was on the agenda and I've not done my part.  She doesn't make me feel that way - she doesn't pressure or nag - I just feel like I've let her down.  And I fear that if I wait too long I won't have her wealth of knowledge and advice at my disposal.  

Jimi asked me last night what Momma's favorite meal is, and I don't know the answer.  I could only come up with "chicken livers" - I know she loves them, but I don't think they're her favorite.  She likes eggs but can't eat many of them because they make her belly hurt.  Her favorite color is green.  She's left-handed and she plays the piano beautifully - she can open up a piece of music for the first time and play it like she's practiced for days.  She goes to the grocery probably 5 times a week.  She cooks dinner almost every night even if there won't be anyone but her to eat while it's hot.  She's a worrier - all the women from that line are, me included.  She's brilliant with money - Daddy says it's all because of her that the banks would be happy to lend them more money than they could ever hope to pay back.  She makes delicious healthy foods and says they're not worth eating because she forgot to add this or she put in too much of that - Granny did that too, and apparently, so do I.  

She says she's not my friend - she's my Mother.  There's a difference.  At 31, I'm still working to get her to revise her stance on this topic - I get why it was important 10 or 15 years ago, but these days?  Not so much.  

I love holding her hand or hugging her close to me; she's my Momma, and it feels like coming home to touch her.  I know I'm always safe and loved when she's in the room.  Her smell is Aromatics Elixir from Clinique - if I get a whiff on another woman in a store, I have to call Momma to tell her I love her because she suddenly feels close.  

She always has the right words.  When an ex-boyfriend hurt me and I had to leave the apartment we shared, I thought I'd have to suck up my pride and beg to go back home - Momma's words were "Natalie, you get what you have to bring and you come home.  And for God's sake, don't let your father find out what he did."  I don't remember the exact words either of us used when I called her from El Paso to tell her my husband wanted a divorce, but I remember the fear I felt dialing the phone, and the relief that washed over for me when she said she was just so sad for me, but that I was strong and she admired my strength and that she'd get my bedroom ready for me again - and then she sent me a check to pay for my moving expenses.  And last year, when I was pregnant and then I wasn't, she loved me and cried for me and with me and told me everything was going to be okay and I believed her because she's my Momma and she'd never lie to me.  

She's my Momma and everything I have, everything I am, is because of and thanks to her.  She's taught me everything I know, but I still have so much to learn.  I'll try harder, Momma, I promise.  I'll do better.  

Happy Mother's Day to all of my friends out there in blogland, also.  You've all taught me a lot - about life, family, friendship, womanhood.  Like a community of motherly knowledge I can draw from - thank you.    

In other news, this:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring 2011: DURING

  It's SO GREEN!!!

Our garage needs some TLC.

On their way to the Derby. 
I wish we'd driven closer to the track and found a spot to stop and watch the people.  
There's so much good people watching to be done on Derby Day.  

 Not far from the University of Louisville's campus, there's this memorial statue in the center of an intersection.  It was built in honor of Claudia Wadlington and Riley Lawrence, two little girls who were killed when a driver, fleeing the police, plowed into them as they were crossing the street with Claudia's mother to go get a Happy Meal.  Today the little girls in the statue have their Derby/Easter hats on and a pony to dance with.  

My roses haven't died yet.  In fact, they're blooming beautifully.  

Spring has sprung.

Happy Derby Day!

I saw sunshine when I woke this morning, but it looks like clouds are already moving in.  I hope the rain hold off - for selfish reasons, mostly (I'm sick of the rain and my sump pump has been running nonstop for weeks), but also because Derby is always better when the sun's shining.  A sloppy track is rough on everyone, horses included.  My Daddy says he loves going to the Derby and seeing all the beautiful women, and that makes him sound like something he's not, but I get what he means; I like to watch on TV (or, these days, check out the pics on Facebook) and see the beautiful women - Derby wear is serious bidness, and I'm always curious to see what everyone's wearing.  I love oohing and ahhing over the gorgeous dresses and wayoutofmypricerange hats.  To see all that get ruined by rain and mud, well, that's lame.

My friend Harmony posted this:  A Derby Day blessing- If it rains, may it rain briefly. If you bet, may you win gratefully... or may you lose gracefully. Let the drinks be cold, the tips be hot, let us honor the animals that make this day great and enjoy good times with the people that make it special. Amen.

Beer brewing has been cancelled for the day, but there will still be chicken smoking and well, I don't know what else.  Steve's coming over and I'm going to have to clean, that's all I know. 

My Momma is visiting her sister this weekend, so I won't see her until tomorrow afternoon.  Just as well, I've only got part of her gift together.  Daddy's birthday is Monday, so I'd better figure out something for him, too.  

I might go back to bed for a few hours.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do you do Derby?

The Kentucky Derby, that is.  As in, the famous horse race held down the street from my house each year on the first Saturday of May?

Funny thing about the Derby - I've lived in Louisville for what, 25, 26 years?  I've been to the Derby once; two years ago, because my boss gave me tickets to the Grandstands (bleachers).  When I lived away from Kentucky, everyone assumed I went to the Derby every year of my life, because, well, I live RIGHT THERE. Not so much... it just never worked out for me.

I was going to go with my loser of a boyfriend in 1999 - I'd been out of high school a year and had done everything in my power to guarantee that I'd have a successful future by hooking up with a dude who had his own apartment and access to weed and booze and then dropping out of college to make sure I could spend as close to my every waking moment as possible hanging on his every gruff word before moving out of my parents house in the middle of an argument with my momma over what time I got out of bed (4 p.m.).  Anyhow.  We were going to go to Derby that year - my daddy had even given me a $100 bill to cover our admission to the infield.  We drove downtown to discover that parking was a million dollars (that $100 was all we had to spend, and infield admission for the both of us was $80), so we turned around and headed back to the East End.  We talked about going somewhere with his brother and sister-in-law, but something about leaving town didn't feel right.  Sarah (the sister-in-law, still my friend and the best thing that came from my early adult-hood) and I went to the liquor store and got a box of booze - when we got back to the apartment, boyfriend met me outside and told me my momma had called while I was out...her father, my Papaw, had died of a massive heart attack hours before.  I wailed, I screamed, I beat bruises into his chest, begging him to stop lying to me.

Any real excitement I'd ever sorta felt toward Derby before that day was pretty much done after that, until my boss offered us tickets out of the blue a few years back.  I bought a fancycasual outfit and a fancycasual big floppy hat, and I drank half a dozen mint juleps (bourbon, fresh mint, simple syrup, crushed ice; yes, they're awful, but you get a collectible glass with each one!) and a couple of $8 tallboy Bud Lights, spent a couple hundred bucks on bad bets that didn't pay out.  I wore pantyhose under my culottes because it was cool and rainy that morning - by mid-afternoon I was drunk and the sun was out and those pantyhose had to go, so I stood in line for a port-a-pot for half an hour so I could take my hose off.  I wish I could tell you I carried them back outside and disposed of them in a properly marked garbage container, but I dropped them into the bowels of the port-a-pot on top of the contents of everyone else's bowels and called it good.  And then I drank another Mint Julep.  By the time THE race was over, so was I - my new shoes were killing my poor little feets, and I was slipping past the point of fun drunk to tiredIwannagohomeandsleepNOW drunk.  So we walked out of Churchill Downs (if memory serves, I was carrying two tallboys for the road) and hopped a rickshaw bicycle for the 5 block ride back to my office where the car was stashed.  (Sure, it's five blocks.  But parking closer costs like $20 minimum, and this spot was free and behind a locked gate.)  The ride back takes us through a residential area, and everyone was out on their porch or in their backyard, grilling, drinking beer, hanging out and enjoying the party-like atmosphere that'd been taking over our city for weeks and was finally reaching culmination.  I'm pretty sure I waved and whooped and hollered "HAPPY DERBY!" to each and every one of them, raising my tallboy in salute.  When I wasn't staring at the massively heaving muscles in the calves of the rickshaw/bicycle driver, of course.  Then we went to Steve's where he presented us with an entire chicken he'd spent the day smoking in his new wood smoker.  And I took a nap on his cat-puke-stained carpet.  (That carpet's not there anymore and the cat doesn't throw up like that anymore.  Thank God.)  The end.

Wait, no.  I was going to say some other stuff.  Like about the first time I realize the Kentucky Derby was something to which people outside of Kentucky, and even outside of horse racing, paid attention.  I was 14, and in Florida for the National Drill Team Championships (we won first place in Exhibition Squad, thanks for asking).  Our trip was a week long, and happened to end the day after the Derby was run.  Sunday morning's Daytona Beach News-Journal front page featured a full-page picture of the horses crossing the finish-line, with the winner's name emblazoned across the headline.  "They know about the Kentucky Derby down here?" I innocently inquired.  My question was answered with laughter and "Of course!  It's only the biggest horse race in the world!"  Whoa.  Really?  Who knew? 

These days, the track is located smack dab in the middle between my home and my office.  Any doubt I ever held about the size of this event has long since been dispelled - today, two days before the big race, the traffic is jammed and the banner-pullers are flying and the blimp is circling.  I'm not going, obviously.  Jimi and Steve are brewing beer - which they did back in 2008, the year filly Eight Bells crossed the finish line in second place just as she snapped her ankle, resulting in her having to be euthanized right there on the track.  The beer that year was named Eight Bells Glue Brew in her honor, and it was fucking delicious...I should know, Steve still bitches about how I drank 9/10ths of that batch.  I'm hoping this year's version will not be subject to similar circumstances that would lead to such a tragic name.

So, my question to you, friends, is do you know about the Kentucky Derby?  Do you have a party?  Do you watch?  Do you care?  Do you bet on it?  Do you wanna go?  (My upstairs would cost half of what you'd pay for a hotel this week, I promise!)  If you were going to bet, which horse would you pick?


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