Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Four Seat Guy

For the third time this year, my alarm clock went off when it was not so bright, but very early during the five a.m. hour.  Previously, it had been for work trips in Sarasota, and play time in NYC with friends.  This time, Cheryl and I were taking the train to Newport News, Virginia where our Grandmother and Aunt would collect us.  My aunt lives in Virginia Beach and we were spending a little time with the family and catching some sun.

Cheryl and I boarded the quiet train at 6:42 a.m. where the other passengers were sprawled asleep across the seats and most of them were hiding under blankets.  It was oddly still.  The first stop was at Union Station in DC where a group of teenagers boarding looked for seats together.  As they passed, one boy said, "I can't believe that guy is taking up four seats." I couldn't imagine how one person could secure four seats, but Cheryl and I looked at each other and merely shrugged.

A while later on my return trip from the bathroom I noticed a man. The first two seats of each train car face backwards and this man was in fact sitting on the aisle seat with his feet on the chair facing him while his bags rested in the window seats.  Not having discussed the matter initially, when I got back to my seat I said to Cheryl, "Dude. That guy is taking up four seats." Off to the bathroom she went and on her return, "That guy owns those seats! He looked at me like, what? these are my four seats."

A while later Cheryl ventured off to the dining cart to grab a coffee. When she returned she informed me that not only were there a plethora of snacks and the coffee was good, but that four seat guy was having a beer.  It was about 10 a.m. at this point, but to each their own.  Around 11 a.m. I decided I needed to stretch my legs so I ventured to the dining cart and what I found was good. Real good.  Four seat guy was splayed across his booth hugging a Blue Moon, red faced and slurring, chatting up the conductors.  I hustled back to Cheryl with a "Guess what?! Four seat guy is WASTED."  Further, four seat guy still had all his things in his original seats and was now taking up a full booth making him...eight seat guy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Night Notes with Katie

As we all know, I've been occupying my time with things other than boozing.  My mind, waistline, and skin thank me. Now before you get all bent out of shape because my last posts were all about cutting back and being sober, yes, Night Notes happened.  It was a pretty typical shenanigan filled Julie kind of night, however, I consumed lightly.

As always, uttering the words "Let's go have ONE drink and come straight home," and meaning it, is going to assure you that the night gets interesting. Katie and I have been having a nightmare of a time at work lately and decided to go have a nice casual beverage.  With early beach calls in the morning, staying out late was not on the agenda.  After I introduced her to my old favorite Harry Browne's, (where I had one glass of wine and she had one vodka bev) we decided to relocate for one more drink and call it a night.

Along the way, a group of fired up fellows leaving rehearsal dinner for a wedding the next day extended an invite for us to have Margaritas with them at El Torro Bravo.  Clearly, I'm happily involved in my relationship, but Katie is single and ready to mingle, so we took them right up on their offer.  It was slightly awkward when one of the El Torro Bravo guys from the whole "Aye Mommy!" incident gave my purse a little tug to say hello and made it very apparent to all that he "knew" me when I ordered my small marg (on the rocks with salt) and our new friends totally called me out.  I quickly turned the attention away from myself by making fun of their frozen margs and bonding with the Dan one because we were drink compatible with our proper ice.  My sole point was to make sure that Katie had a good time and I was fairly confident she was when the Chris one started smelling her hair and she started partaking in the extra long straw in the shared marg episode.

In the event I ever end up drinking with these fellows again, I'll have to be careful, as the "Buffalo" games rules are in effect at all times.  IE., One must always drink with their non-dominant hand and if caught cheating, one must then down their current drink.  So it was a short Night Note and Katie's first but the fella's seemed to be amused by it as well.

Julie: Live Buffalo!
Andrew: You're such a bitch.
Chris: Did you just tuck it in my pocket?

From El Torro Bravo we headed skipped over to Ramshead with Noah.  (For the record, he was the one who invited us and the one who encouraged us to skip.) I'm not sure how it happened, but at some point Katie was presented with an engagement ring fashioned out of a straw, welded securely together by a lighter and the deal was sealed with a gratuitous make-out session an appropriate kiss. (Mu-aah!!)  Something tells me Katie and Noah are not destined to live happily ever after, however the scene was amusing to all.

I participated in a game almost as fun as Buffalo with Dan and the Mormon, (What? That's how he was introduced and referred to by everyone else.  He wished to remain nameless, and who am I to judge? Clearly.) where we picked people out from the crowd and improv'd their possible conversation at our own inappropriate discretion. We were not nice.  Seriously, these guys were a blast and I would totally want to be friends with them in real life if they didn't live in California.

I didn't make it home before last call, but I did consume water and microwave popcorn with Katie and was nice and hangover free for my beach excursion with Mel the next day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Night Note Confession

I'm going to start this post with a visual.  This is me hanging my head in shame not only about the story in question, but the fact that I didn't admit to it a few months ago when it happened.  Partly, but not entirely due to the fact that the details are very fuzzy.  As was the Night Note. Between Kristen, Jud and myself, not one of us could write a proper sentence. This took place way too soon after the whole Snowbliterated incident.

The night started as many Annapolis nights do, with margaritas at El Torro Bravo.  From there, we headed on over to The Lounge.  It was to be one of Nat's last nights working there, and I want to say we consumed a bottle of bubbly and some vodka tonics before decided to visit Harry Browne's.  Except, we seem to have headed in the other direction because I have bleary memories of sitting at the Tsunami bar doing shots with the staff from El Torro Bravo.  Now, we have been known to socialize with plenty of bartenders and further fraternize until the point of actual friendship and most recently even to the point of blissful engagement, but all of those people spoke English.  Don't get me wrong,  a good time was had by all, but even in my drunken state it was a tad awkward when they kissed Kristen and me goodbye on our cheeks and said something along the lines of "Aye Mommy!"

So yeah, all that happened and some more before 2 a.m. when we decided to stumble back to my place.  But what's that?  A never before seen ivy patch just begging to have a photo shoot taken in it?  Well, who am I to deny an Ivy patch it's destiny in life?  Kristen and I stabbed our stilettos' into the brick wall housing the foliage and flung ourselves face first into that patch and began to dramatically roll around and pose in our most seductive of ways.  We knew these were going to be the best shots ever.  Jud was totally on board giving helpful guidance and suggestions for just the classy look we were aiming to achieve.

I could have sworn we were only involved in our shoot for a few minutes when a grouchy neighbor came out and rudely asked us to leave.  We weren't even going to protest because we were sure we had got the shot anyway when an unnerving sound was heard.  "Whoop, whoop!"  Uh, oh.  Telltale flashing lights were aimed in our direction and an officer of the law was fast approaching. (Like out of nowhere!)  I slinked off the wall, pulling ivy out of my hair and Kristen and Jud ever so gracefully did the same.

"Where are you guys going tonight?"
"We weres juss leaving now, right now, Sir," Jud agreeably said.
"Juss rights around that corner.  Lesh than a block away.  We'llsh goes straight insides officsherrr," I assured him.

We acted very sober and good citizen-y.  I don't believe Kristen said a word.

"Just go straight home." We nodded and told him to have a lovely night and said "Sir" several more times.  "And go inside," he called after us!  I think he may have been stifling a laugh though.

The moment we rounded the corner to my house (about 45 seconds later,) I spotted a couple of my neighbors chatting.  I picked up the speed and barreled down the street (past my house) towards them,  ecstatic to partake in a nice neighborly bonding session.  They were definitely pleased to have their gathering grow and I even offered them to come into my place for a nice quiet beer. When they both politely declined, we busied ourselves by wrestling with a random Jack Russell Terrier.

Eventually, we made it inside.  At least, we must have at some point.  Things are a bit sketchy, but the next thing I remember is Jud telling Kristen it was time go.  We weren't inside though.  We were sipping wine out of my favorite wine glasses overlooking the water at a park at the end of my street.  At 4 a.m.  Good thing the officer didn't come back.

I did NOT feel well the next day.  Or the next.  Kristen informed me that sixty seven Ivy Patch pictures had been taken.  That's right. Sixty seven.  And the Night Note?  Yup.  Not a single sentence was legible.

Now, I'm not saying Night Notes will be retired.  I will NEVER say that.  But this was an all time low to be taken seriously.  Nat and I have safely moved about a mile away, and I haven't consumed more than two (three max!) beverages in a sitting since.  This is a calmer, subdued Julie in the making.  I'll be taking more time for my artistic side in the future.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Toad Villiage

Ok, so the big Non-Night Note post is coming tomorrow. Let this post serve as proof however that I am in fact taking summer serious and embracing my artistic side in respectable ways. (Ok, well I guess that all depends on what you consider respectable.)

You know how I had all that trouble purchasing the Adirondack chairs? I finally got them all set up, potted some marigolds and zinnias around the porch and you know who got to enjoy it all? The mosquitoes! That's who.  Not only do mosquitoes love me, but I get these violent, swollen rashes around the bites that last for weeks, unlike what most people experience.

Complaining to Cheryl about my inability to enjoy my porch and chairs, she helpfully mentioned she would be working on a toad village in her own backyard as she suffers from the same problem. Toads can eat up to like a million bugs each a day.  All you have to do is supply them with a little shelter and some water and they will move right into your back yard and gobble up your mosquitoes lickety split. I did extensive research on the matter, (IE  about ten minutes of googling) and figured out you can just put terracota pots on their sides and half bury them for the perfect toad shelter.

First, I ventured to the dollar store to pic up some pretty rocks to glue on my pots to make them pretty.  It is there that I heard the phrase, "You is so right," uttered. Gotta love the dollar store.  From there, I headed on over to the magical store known as "Homestead Gardens."  Aside from nearly passing out from the heat and then securing a free mint green tea, the trip was success. I got my pots, a few lucky bamboo shoots, a rosemary tree and some patchouli. (The last three, not toad related.) I was not able to secure any toads while out, but I figured that was OK since their village was not ready for them yet anyway.

When I got home, even though I bathed in bug spray, I was eaten alive while I built my toad town. Small price to pay in the scheme of things. I think my next move is to wait for toads to move in.  Or at least a few days before I got buy some and see if they will stay.  Clearly, the toad accomodations are five star.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

First Weekend of Summer Recap!

So last weekend started with the impromptu work Happy Hour at my house.  I got up bright and early the next morning to help my awesome friend Kristi in a covert mission to turn her basement into a mancave in one day for her husbands 30th while he was at work and totally unaware.  Kristi is an excellent organizer and totally took charge of my house decoration project to which I am forever grateful.  We straight up extreme make-overed the crap out of her basement with a small army of friends in about 8 hours with less than 5 minutes to spare.  It was a blast and well worth it.

Mel and I spent Sunday back in my Adirondack chairs finishing the margarita mix from Friday night.  While there wasn't enough tequila to get us in too much trouble, there was just enough to make me sob uncontrollably when I put on the Sex and the City movie later.  What is it with tequila and emotions? Oddly, when Kristi brought over "Dear John" a bit later,  my emotions mellowed.  Nicholas Sparks normally has the opposite effect.

Taking full advantage of the extended weekend, Nat and I spur of the moment decided to venture on over to Luray Caverns.  We're really not good at planning things hence leaving at one in the afternoon for a two and a half hour road trip.  It was surely 90 degrees outside and while both of us love the heat, it was still a great day to be underground.  We're hoping to make adventures like this more of a habit in the near future.  I forget how much fun it is to do things out of the norm with him because we have so much fun doing nothing. (Omg, that is so sugar sickeningly sweet, that don't worry I just slapped myself...but it is true.)

The mirror effect from the lake was my favorite part.

Rocking the sweet headset for the self-guided tour. 

The wishing well was my other favorite part. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Adirondack Saga

(The Non-Night Note post is coming eventually, I promise.)

Now that I'm in my fancy new house fully equipped with a proper porch, I decided chairs of some sort were in order.  I happened upon some very colorful plastic Adirondack chairs on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond last week and decided they simply must be mine.  Never occurring to me how oddly shaped they were, my friend Katie and I headed over after work last Thursday and snagged a lilac purple and a bright blue one each with matching table/ottomans.  We happily marched out to my little Sentra and proceeded for a good twenty minutes to try to shove the chairs in any which way.  They didn't fit in the trunk or the back seat regardless of seat/chair positioning.  Opening windows did not help. Another few inches and we might have been able to get them in the front seat but I surely would not have been able to move the gear shift. Or see.

So off to Katie's equally small Corrola we went.  No such luck.  We tried all the same tricks and invented new ones before venturing back to my car yet again.  It was about 85 degrees outside, I had somewhere important to be and I was dripping with sweat.  I had no choice but to give up.  I sadly walked the walk of shame back into the store where they understandingly allowed me to return them.

The next day, I took Nat's Volvo to work.  His back seat is very spacious.  I couldn't wait to get those chairs home to sip some margaritas on my porch that night.  At lunch, I meandered on over without a care in the world.  The BB&B employees greeted me all,  "Oh, your back! Great."  I happily retrieved my chairs with all the confidence in the world that there would be no problem.  Of course they didn't fit. At one point, they were stuck half in and half out and I was livid.  I did the logical thing.  I called Nat and requested he borrow his Mom's vehicle immediately to come collect the chairs while I sat in them in the parking garage.  He had some lame  excuse about having to get to work or some nonsense and I didn't like it.  I grumpily hung up and told him I'd try some more.  I became increasingly angry the more I failed so I called him up again and said the "F" word a lot and insulted his precious Volvo and even called it useless. He was very understanding promised he would help me secure the Adirondacks the next day. Then I stomped back into the store to return the stupid chairs again.  The employees seemed very sympathetic and then I felt guilty.   I text Nat an apology because I guess it's not his fault about his car being too small.  I guess.

When I returned to the office I was sweaty and chair-less yet again.  Katie told me her Dad said we could borrow his truck after work, but then my boss overheard.  He decided this was silly to drive all over Annapolis switching vehicles around and demanded the two of us go and get the chairs straight away.  I felt a little awkward, but mostly just didn't want to go back into that damn store again so quickly, but he was adamant so for the third time in less than 24 hours I purchased the Adirondack chairs.  The forth and final vehicle was a Lexus SUV and it was a success.

Adirondack chairs and margaritas officially kicked off the three day weekend with an unofficial work happy hour at my place!