New Beginnings… And the Girl on the Other Side of the Fence

Last November, Ginge and I, who had been cohabitating (living in sin) in a house in Pacific Beach with two other roommates, decided it was time to move on, “grow up” a little, and get a place of our own. 

 Although I was very much at peace with the decision to leave the party-beach town I had called home for the past two-plus years, I knew very well there were things I was going to miss.  

Besides all of the roommates I had come to love over the years (ok that’s a total lie…those roommates were definitely hit-and-miss), our neighborhood developed a special place in my heart. Between the guys with no apparent day-jobs across the street who were constantly outside playing corn-hole or jumping rope, and the middle aged-man and his 30-year old “roommate,” Tyler, on the right side of us, things were rarely boring. The old man Howard, offered me new designer clothes that his friend had just “found” with all the tags on, which I graciously accepted, giving a $70 workout jacket to a petite old homeless lady promptly afterwards, and keeping the red sweater and workout pants that would come in handy at some point in my life, I’m sure… while his “roommate” Tyler, would stop by very frequently during nights we were sitting on the front porch chatting, while he was on his way to the gas station around the block, always coming back with nips of Fireball and dropping them off on his way home.

Malta, across the street, the German man who had invented fully recycled stuffed animals, and created a semi-successful start-up, was a frequent visitor whenever there was someone meandering on the front porch, or hanging out in camping chairs in the driveway, and Antwan, two doors down, an Athletic Director at one of the universities would always stop by to pet Oliver and have a chat while he was walking by. Irena and Chris became constants, as their daily walks of Bear (another huge Goldendoodle) took them passed our house, and the two doodles developed an immediate platonic love affair.  

The move out of the neighborhood was bittersweet. Our roommate Emily (a “hit” as in, the roommates being “hit-and-miss”), threw us a big going away party the night we moved out, in which Bear was an obvious VIP guest, and we got to say goodbye to all of our beloved neighbors who made a cameo at the Val party (please I’ll give you a dollar and a kiss if you catch this reference).

The new house is all we had hoped for… a big side yard which we furnished with new outdoor furniture, an extra refrigerator, my favorite twinkle lights, and a grill, enough space for a guest room and an office, and a place on one of the walls for our dartboard (totally classy, I know… but necessary).  

The location, although not in a beach town is pretty sweet… close enough to walk to the bumpin’ gay bars, a grocery store across the street, and the most delicious Thai place I have ever encountered just a few blocks away. Something was missing though… a neighborhood. Neighbors. People to converse with. Being on somewhat of a main road, we don’t sit out front anymore and talk to people walking by. We don’t let Ollie gallivant all over the front lawn and make friends with the mailman and all of the neighbors who become his friends whether they want him to or not. We are semi-secluded to our own backyard, giving us more couple’s bonding time to play lick-it-stick-it (don’t get weird ideas…think: “20-questions”), and have nightly dance parties, just the two of us.  

One night a couple of weeks ago, we were sitting in our yard with the lights on, and out of no where, a little blonde head pops up over the tall fence separating our yard from the condo complex next door. “Hello!”

“Holy crap!” I was scared shitless.  

“Hi! I’m Ashley! I’m your neighbor! Can I come over?”

“Yeah…sure!”

Ashley came over with the guy that had lifted her high enough to pop her head over the eight-foot fence. She told us she’s been wanting to meet us since she discovered she had new neighbors and saw the strings of lights lit up on a nightly basis. We sat outside for a little, had a beer with them, and Ashley and Ollie became fast friends. She offered to watch him whenever we needed, and “lend us a cup of sugar or booze WHENEVER!”

We didn’t get Ashley’s number that night… which we realized when we were in LA the following week and were trying to find someone to let Ollie out to pee. I figured we’d run into her again at some point. I just didn’t realize the some-point was going to be a few days later, when she had yet a different guy lift her up over the eight-foot fence to announce her presence, as I yelled “Holy crap,” yet again, startled by her head above the refrigerator.  

She came over, introducing her Tinder date, Nick, who was rugged and handsome, but apparently boring as a paper bag, as we learned shortly thereafter… the third time Ashley bounded up above the fence, held up by a third guy, who came over to go out to dinner with her.  

We spend our visits talking about our love lives, careers, and travels… not to mention the woman with the mullet who lives in the apartment above Ashley, and growls and slams her window every time she hears us outside. One night, Ashley’s roommate, Britt was walking by the other side of the fence, and we recruited her to sit and join us for a bit. We’re growing to appreciate a new neighborly feeling that’s developing, and learning that if we keep the lights on, we’re bound to have a cute blonde appear over the fence… (come to think of it, I’m going to have to make sure the lights are unplugged when I’m out of town… ahem)… and on the flip side, we’re learning to turn the lights off when we’re not so much into a random visitor on a Tuesday night.

It’s encouraging that a new friendship is starting to develop, and I’m learning that things take time to get used to and start feeling more like “home.” Oliver still barks at the mailman from the window, instead of getting to chase him down the street, and he misses Bear’s frequent visits, but now he has a side yard to lounge in, and special play-dates and babysitting weekends set up to spend more time with his buddy.  

As for the girl on the other side of the fence… I’m grateful to now have my own, personal “Wilson…” I mean how many people can say that? I’m sure more surprise visits are in store, and hopefully the next guy who lifts her up will be a keeper.  

  
xoxo

How NOT to Get on The Price Is Right (and other tips)

A couple of months ago, our friend, Maxwell informed our group of friends that he created a ridiculous amount of email addresses, and eventually scored 20 tickets to The Price Is Right, filming in Hollywood for a Tuesday afternoon.

I didn’t even get the invite yet, when I cleared my calendar and decided on requesting a vacation day.  I shortly after, got the invite (I would have some way wiggled my way in, of course, but the legit invite was nice to have).

The group was intense.  Our group of PB friends is often intense, but throw in a game show in which there is a chance one of us has an opportunity to showcase our intenseness, and we rise to a different level of intense.

It was decided upon that we’d all be wearing Hawaiian shirts, and a party bus from PB to Hollywood was immediately booked for 8am on Tuesday morning, April 7th.  The internet savvy members of the group did their due diligence to find out the best way to actually get to contestants row, and we learned a few things:

  • You’re being judged by roaming producers, as well as hidden cameras as soon as you step foot in line
  • Over-the-top enthusiasm will take you far
  • Large groups of 15-25 are basically guaranteed to get one person chosen for contestants row
  • You need to arrive at noon and plan on being there for 5 hours

Over-the-top enthusiasm?  I’m pretty sure we have that covered on our sleepiest of days.  Add an 8am, three-hour bus ride (including at least one bathroom break), coolers full of mimosas, beer, and some Fireball, and we’ve got the whole audience covered on the enthusiasm-meter.

We get there close to noon, our deadline, and are ready to wait in line for a while (acting peppy and friendly, of course), and ditch alllll of our food and drinks on the bus.

Let’s fast-forward to FOUR HOURS LATER… we are STILL in line.

Here are some things I’ve learned from actually GOING to The Price Is Right:

  • BRING THINGS– drinks, food, whatever floats your boat.  You are waiting in line for legit 3 hours before you even get to the security area where you need to ditch drinks, food, and your cell phone
  • BRING YOUR CELL PHONE– many of our group members left their phones on the bus, after reading the show’s instructions that they would need to be “checked” at the door.  The “check-point” isn’t until an hour before you enter the studio, which leaves you THREE HOURS of potential selfies with your super cool PIR name tags, texts to your jealous friends, and responses to work emails if you happened to just “call in sick” or “work from home” that day.
  • DON”T BE AN ASSHOLE–  there is a fine line between enthusiasm, originality, and assholism.  As a group, we did not put ourselves on the right side of that line.  Being enthusiastic, sweet, friendly, is great.  Leave the cockiness at the door [*guilty as charged]
  • YOU ARE NOT GUARANTEED TO HAVE A GROUP MEMBER GET CHOSEN:  It doesn’t matter how big your group is, if they don’t want one of you, they WON’T PICK ONE OF YOU

As we’re waiting in what seemed to be the last leg of the line, right before security, after several overpriced Red Bulls and stale, tasteless personal pizzas from the show’s “snack stand,” and after being told we ONLY have an hour and a half left ’til we get into the studio, my sister says to me,

“I’m tired of this, do you want to just go to the bar across the street??”

I respond, “Umm.. yeah, if it’s really gonna be another hour and a half, I’ll go.”

“No, I mean, INSTEAD of going to the show.  I”m over this.”

That’s where I put my foot down.  There’s no way I’m waiting in a sea of ridiculous lines for this long, and not even getting in there.  We started making jokes such as,

“What if Carissa gets picked and they’re like ‘CARISSA!!!  COME ON DOWN’ and we have to say on national TV— OH- she’s not here anymore– she went to the bar!!'”

She resorted to just napping once we got to our seats.  She was over it.  Little did she know… there would be NO NAPPING.

The person I feel for the most in production of The Price is Right:  The young’ish looking man, who had a title I can’t even fathom, (Cheer police??) who stood on stage having anxiety attacks every time the cameras rolled, convulsing over getting everyone to stand up, clap, and act like they were having the times of their lives.  This poor guys was sweating down his cheeks and looked like he was about to cry when he wasn’t getting a proper response.

My hands were literally sore from clapping, my voice horse from hooting and hollering, and my Fitbit going out of control with all the fist pumping.  Sitting in the audience of The Price is Right is a much different experience from sitting on your couch.  You can’t hear anything that is happening on the tiny little stage.  You literally have to wait to see poor little Cheer Police’s note card to know who was chosen next to “COME ON DOWN,” because you couldn’t hear a damn thing.

The group of assholes with the Hawaiian shirts and enough enthusiasm to light the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, (even after a mid-afternoon hangover at this point), was strategically seated front and center, two rows behind the contestants.  We were USED.  They baited us before the show started, by saying all the contestants were not yet chosen after the interview process (obvious lies), and that they’d be watching us throughout the show to see who was cheering loudest, and helping out the most.  That’s how they continuously got us out of our chairs and screaming.  We bit the bait.  Bastards.

Contestant after contestant was chosen.  Not.one.of.them.came.from.our.group.  W…T…F…

The beginning of the bus ride home was somewhat solemn.  How did NOT ONE of us get chosen?  We were soooo cool, and fun, and enthusiastic.  Weren’t we??  We got over it by the time we hit the highway, got back to our normal selves, and started  pumping the jams (I’m old… I say pumping the jams), cracking the beer, and passing the Jack.

We made the bus driver get to record speeds on the way home (approximately 55mph), as six of us on the bus had a  co-ed softball game to get to at 9pm.  Forfeiting was not an option.

We made the game.  Me, still in my Hawaiian shirt, jeans, chucks,  and Price is Right name-tag, as I didn’t have a second to change.  We also won the game, due to something I can’t put my finger on.  Probably the fact that the other team had never played softball in their lives??  There’s nothing else I can guess there….

Ginge and I had a talk later on that night… why didn’t any of us get on?  It wasn’t very hard to decode.  After all of the tips we read about being outgoing, enthusiastic, and original, we didn’t really stop to think about the target audience of the show.  Who is the target audience?  Mostly old retired people, maybe some stay-at-home moms, and the obvious kids who pretend they’re sick to stay home from school and binge-watch game shows.

What were we lacking in our approach?  Genuineness.  Plain and simple.  We didn’t need to be these over-the-top ridiculous people, making up fake occupations and turning on the ham.  That’s not what people want to see.  That’s not what people are rooting for.  At least not on this show.  We discussed the people who got called up, and the old woman who won the entire showcase, whose husband, who was bound to a wheelchair was crying tears down his cheeks.  We realized then, people want to see good people win things.  Not annoying people, not crazy-hyper people… real people with good hearts and a great desire to play the game.

We are those people.  We are all, individually, good, genuine people who have good hearts and want to play the game and win things.  Every one of these people I love is that great person you’d cheer for if you knew them.  But I’m not sure we portrayed ourselves in the best light possible.  I’m not going to say we were the drunk idiots of the interview process, because we weren’t.  Maybe we would have been if we knew better…. they kept us in line for so long beforehand that it would have been somewhat impossible to STILL be the drunk idiots that we may have been on the bus.  But they may have read our enthusiasm incorrectly.

Here is my humble advice for anyone who scores tickets to this show:

  •  BE YOURSELF-  Just maybe a less-inhibited version of yourself.  Be friendly and kind, very happy and really want to play the game
  •  BE PREPARED- They tell you not to wear open toed shoes.  Don’t.  Our friend with flip-flops stopped at a store outside the studio and bought a pair of knock-off chucks for $194.  (He’s pleased with his purchase, so all is good).
  • DON”T PLAN ON HAVING A VOICE…OR PALMS the next day:  You will clap like you’ve never clapped before, and yell like you’ve never yelled before.  Even if you don’t want to.  Cheer Police knows what he’s doing.  He’s no joke.  You will clap.  You will yell.

All in all, I could not have thought up a better way to spend my Tuesday.  A group of great friends getting together and sharing an experience so close to home that most don’t really put on their priority list…. we put it on our priority list.  Thank you Maxwell, for all of your finagling and hard work.  I love you guys all to the moon and back… and no RV, Range Rover, pony, sailboat, washer/dryer, cooking set, or bear hug from Drew Carey could even make me love you more.

To all of you thinking of going to The Price is Right?  Go.  It’s an experience for sure.  Just pack a backpack full of snacks and refreshments for the wait… and try not to act like an asshole.  😉

PS- Our episode airs June 1, 2015.  Look for the sea of Hawaiian shirts up front. 🙂

xoxo, pumpkins,

Gossip Girl

price is right

Ginger Comin’ in HOT

Our first date was a Friday night. Second was Monday, third was Wednesday, fourth was Thursday, fifth was Friday, sixth was Saturday, seventh was Monday, eighth was Wednesday. I’m not sure when you’re supposed to stop counting. But I’m very confused.

I’m confused as to how I have been being completely myself the entire time… at times, purposely pushing the envelope to see if I could creep him out, or he’d get squeamish, and he keeeeeppppsss coming backkkkk. I’ve burped, I’ve knocked over food, I’ve told him I had ghost pets, I’ve had him hang out with my sister and HER burps for an extended period of time, he’s witnessed my dance moves, I’ve made him sit through The Bachelor…TWICE… he’s stilllll calling.

I’m trying to find things wrong with him, but I really am having a hard time. He takes initiative on plans and always follows through, he’s been the epitome of a gentleman in every sense, he drunk dialed me, like an actual phone call… which yes, I consider very romantic, he’s a crap ton of fun to hang out with, my friends love him, he thinks we’re funny, and he has a cute bum (and a pool).

But there’s the one thing… The day after he came out in PB and met everyone, my sister was over, and was asking what I thought of Ginge. I explained that I thought I liked him, but there wasn’t anything that jumped out at me that was different. She responded:

“That’s because he’s a normal guy.”

“Yes! That’s what it is. He’s normal. I don’t usually see that as a positive.”

She gave me a long look. She didn’t even need to say anything, and I knew what she was thinking.

“Ohhhh…. maybe that’s what my problem is? I keep dating weirdos? Maybe that’s why it never works out?”

“Ummm… yeah…maybe, Court.”

Hmmmm… something to think about. Of course, now I thought I had found something wrong with him. He was too normal. But the more time I spend with him, the more his little quirks come out. He’s still normal, but there’s definitely a little spice in there.

Keeping true to form, there have obviously been the awkward moments. One night I was planning on going out in his ‘hood… Mission Valley… land of the strip malls (this is called sacrifice). I told him I’d leave in 15 minutes to pick him up at his place. About 15 minutes later, I’m getting ready to walk out the door, and Brie calls me.

“Ummm… I’m at Target in Mission Valley and I think I see the Ginger.”

“My Ginger??”

“Yeah.”

“No, it can’t be him, I just got off the phone with him and he was home. I don’t know why he’d need to go to Target right now.”

“Pretty sure it’s him. He’s wearing a blue shirt. Do you want me to go find him again?”

“Yeah… go ahead…”

I hear mumbling, and then Brie goes…”Yep…it’s him. Oh, we’re giving awkward hugs.”

She calls me back when he’s out of earshot.

I tell her, “I wish you didn’t let him see you. I could have been so creepy about this.”

“Court, don’t be creepy yet.”

“Was he buying anything weird?”

“No, just hair gel because he dropped his in the toilet or something. I wish I caught him buying condoms.”

“Ohhh yeah, that would have been so good.”

I picked him up a few minutes later, gave him a stalker look and told him I had eyes all over town. He just laughed, and our night continued as usual.

There’s something wrong here. And I’m going to get to the bottom of it. But I think I’ll wait to figure it out until after we jump out of a plane together… which he just bought us a Groupon for. Maybe he’ll swap my parachute for a faulty one and I’ll end up dead. Maybe murder is his end game. I think I’m going to go with that.

Until we meet again, chickadees…

xoxo
Gossip Girl

A Weekend at Big Bear… and a Flat Tire

My newfound love of Southern California is that you can go from summer to winter in a three-hour road trip.  And by winter, I’m referring to only the nighttime hours when the temps drop into the teens, and the mountains can make plenty of snow for you to snowboard on the next day.

This past weekend I took my first trip up to Big Bear to hit the slopes, and spend a couple of days in a rented house of 20 friends.  The boarding experience was surreal.  The conditions obviously weren’t the top-notch, but they were way better than I was expecting…  And the weather during the day couldn’t be beat.  By the end of the first run, our jackets were tossed into the lodge, and shortly after, Under Armour was removed on the lift.  We spent the day getting tan instead of wind burnt.  Removing cold weather and constant snot coming from my nose from the equation was key… it was amazing how little I complained.

The antics that went on in the house were what you’d expect of a rowdy group of 20.  Or possibly not.  After seeing Clueless 150 times, and always wondering if the cool “Valley” kids actually played Suck ‘n Blow at their high school parties [see clip below], I never thought I’d be 31 and giving it a whirl for the first time.

Over a two-hour period of time around the dining room table, I gained a ton of respect for those actors, and the entire crew of the movie Clueless, for the amount of patience they must have had to get that 18 second shot.  Let me tell you… Suck ‘n Blow is NOT easy.  It started with three of us.  The first 20 tries were ruined with laughter.  The next 100 were trying to figure out the proper ratio of sucking to blowing.  The group slowly grew until there were about 10 of us and we refused to quit until we got successfully around the table.  About an hour in, it wasn’t funny anymore.  It became intense.  I never would have put my money on a 35-year-old man screaming profanities over a game of Suck ‘n Blow… and vowing to go home and practice in his living room.  But that happened.  And I loved every second of it.

Sunday morning rolled around, and it was time to go home.  As Carissa, V, Brie and I rolled out of the house in our mismatched pajamas, shoving all of our stuff back in the trunk and saying our goodbyes, we assumed the weekend was over, and it was a straight shoot home to plop on the couch for “Surf Sunday,” which included watching footage from the morning’s Maverick’s Invitational surf competition followed by the movie Chasing Mavericks.  We were wrong.

The drive was okay for about five minutes.  After five minutes V wanted to vomit.  It wasn’t hangover vomit, it was windy mountain road carsick vomit.  And unfortunately, the windy mountain road lasted for 25 miles, which equated to a full hour.  Brie was in the backseat chit chatting away, and one of the only times V opened her mouth to speak was to say, “If I vom, I’m aiming it at Brie because she won’t shut up.”

She didn’t vom.  We made it off the windy road without incident.  It wasn’t until we were on a real regular highway, about an hour and a half into the three-hour trip, that we heard a huge THUMP.

“What the hell was that??!”

I suggested, “It was probably a rock hitting us that came off that trailer.”

I moved over to the left lane to keep away from the trailer.  Brie asked V how she was feeling.

“I’d probably be feeling a little better if Court would stop swerving.”

I was swerving a little.

“I’m sorry, but it’s not my fault.  Don’t you see these divots in the road?  They’re making me swerve.”

I kept driving.  And kept swerving.  The damn divots in the road… Then I saw flashing lights in my rear view.

“Crap!  What did I do wrong???”

“He probably thinks you’re swerving.  Because you are.”

I pulled over to the side of the highway, and that’s when my car started thumping a little…. the girls looked out the passenger side door and noticed the back rear tire was COMPLETELY flat.  The cop came to the window and told me I had a flat.  ;aldfjsa;ldsfjal;dsjfa;ldfjal;kjdakld

Thankfully, there was a huge fieldy area next to the shoulder, so there was plenty of room to pull over.  Before I was even out of the car, Brie and Carissa were walking through the prickly field to bring back a large piece of cardboard they found, and they promptly plopped their asses on it.  V said she knew how to fix a flat tire, but didn’t trust herself to do it and then actually drive on it.  The rest of us didn’t have a clue.

I called Emergency Roadside Assistance who said there was high call volume, and they would call back in an hour to let us know when someone would come out to help.  At that point, V went and got another piece of cardboard that was a few feet away.

Carissa advises, “Stomp on the cardboard to flatten the grass before you sit… otherwise the prickly things might come through and stick you in the butt.”  Solid advice.

Five minutes later, we were all sitting there on the cardboard, snacks out, and Loaded Questions set up.  We figured if we were going to be here for the next couple of hours, we’d better make ourselves comfortable.  The suggestion was made to get a few beers out of the car, but Brie piped in with “I think that might be illegal,” which it obviously is, so we decided against it.

Hobo Picnic

 

At this point, we were very content, and in no real rush.  Carissa found a cut-out finger bunny on the back of a box of crackers, got scissors from the car, and was kept busy practicing her fine motor skills.  We crushed a bag of Doritos in 10 minutes flat, started on the bags of candy, and were playing some tunes.  We alerted some friends who were still in Big Bear that we were on the side of the road, so of course they offered to come to our rescue on their way back if roadside assistance didn’t get to us by then.

About an hour later, a passing cop on a motorcycle spotted us and pulled over.  Carissa says, “This guy’s shaking his head.  I don’t think he’s impressed.”

He approached us and asked what we thought we were doing.

“We’re having a picnic, because we have a flat.”

“Did you call anyone?”

“Yes, we called roadside assistance.  They’re supposed to call back within an hour but we haven’t heard from them yet.”

“None of you knows how to fix a flat??”

Three of us shake our heads, while V explains that she knows how, she just doesn’t trust herself to do it on someone else’s car.”

The cop grumpily says, “My 16-year-old daughter knows how to change a flat.”

Like what does he want us to say to that?  Brie responds, “Oh she must be very smart!”

Officer stars yelling at us, “You cannot be sitting on the side of the highway.  Do you know how easy it would be for a car to veer off and hit you?!  Then I’d be dealing with four dead girls.”

Brie pipes in again, “Well that wouldn’t be good.”

Officer:  “Who’s car is this??”

Me:  “Mine”

Officer:  “WHOSE?”

Me:   “MINE.”

Officer:  “The rest of you get in the car and put your seatbelts on.  YOU.  You’re going to change this tire.”

Me:  “Sir, I already called roadside assistance.  They will be here.  Thank you, but I don’t know how, and I’d just rather wait.”

He ignores me. “Open your trunk.  We need to find the spare.”

Is he kidding??  I open my trunk which is packed to the max with all of our weekend gear.  The girls are in the car looking back.  The cop starts taking all of the stuff from the trunk and throwing it into the backseat, demanding Carissa and Brie help him.  He grabs my backpack and starts to toss it from the back of the car into the backseat.

I say, “Oh my laptops in there.  Please don’t throw it.”

He responds, “It’s fine; it’s not going to break.”  And continues to toss it over the seat.

He tells me to get the car manual to figure out how to release the tire from underneath and find the jack and the tools.  V quickly locates it and hands it to me.  I’m shaking a little because this guy is so mean, and I finally find the pages that contain information on changing a flat.  There are secret compartments and tools and levers and lots of confusing things.  The cop is giving me some direction, but mainly wants me to figure it out myself, and is standing a few feet away watching.

A few minutes later, a car-full of our guy friends pulls up behind us.  I’m thinking “THANK GOD.”  Now this man will leave.

No.  The four guys pull up, get out of the car, and start walking over.  The officer turns around and yells, “All of you get back in your vehicle.  ONE person can stay and help.”

They all stop in their tracks, turn around and start walking back to the car.  I say, “Wait, ONE of you can stay!!”

The officer points to Clarence and says, “YOU. Stay.”

I plead, “Well can whichever one of you knows how to change a tire the most stay?”

Clarence turns around and goes back to the car, and Jarred was the chosen one.  The officer immediately starts calling him “Raven,” for an unknown reason, and bossing him around as well.  I just wanted him to leave.  He didn’t leave.  He was directing us, making me get under the car several times to LOOK at things because he wouldn’t just TELL me what to do.  The guys behind us were texting the girls to get out of the car and go into theirs when we needed to jack it up.  When they tried to do so, the cop shot them down and told them to stay where they were, and just sit on the opposite side of the car as the flat.

Raven and I are both fully under the car, because the jack is so far back.  We have it about halfway up, when it slips out from under the axle and the car comes crashing down.  I scream.  Carissa yells to get out from under the car.  Joey, watching from the car behind gets pissed, and gets out of his car.  The cop turns around, points at him and tells him to get back in.  Now I’m mad because I feel like I almost died.  I’m also really frustrated because I’m hot, dirty, and have cactus pricklys all up and down the front of my body which are stabbing me, from lying on the ground.  I DON’T want to be learning a life lesson right now.  I don’t want to be changing this tire.  I plead,  “Can we just wait for roadside assistance?”

The cop says.  “No, go put the jack back under the axle.”

I kinda want to cry.  “Can the girls please get out and go in the other car this time?”

“No.  It won’t make a difference.”

Back under the car we go.  The jack looked like it was going to slip again, halfway up, so we had to release it and start over.  Finally it was up.  When it was time to remove the flat, the cop demands that we kick the tire and then pull it off.  It’s not coming off.  “KICK IT HARDER.”

He decides to take matters into his own hands and starts kicking the tire with all his might, as the car shakes with the girls inside.  He finally loosens it and makes Raven take it off.  At this point, I’m thinking, even if I KNEW how to change a tire, I wouldn’t have been physically able to do this by myself.  This guy’s a jerk and I want him to go away.

When the new tire was on, and the old one was back under the car, the cop asked me how old I was and then pulled me aside.

“Are you going to reprimand me for not knowing how to change a tire?”

“No, I’m going to reprimand you for something else.”

We walk to the side and he continues to yell at me like I’m 5 years old and he’s the meanest father on the face of the Earth.  He tells me I should never ever get out of my car again if I have a flat and that I should remain in it with my seatbelt on.

I’m sorry, but I’m not sure how sitting 30 feet AWAY from the shoulder, waiting for roadside assistance, which, by the way, is INCLUDED in my insurance because I PAID EXTRA for it, is more dangerous than being under the car and changing the flat MYSELF.

I thanked him for his assistance and life lesson instead of doing what I actually wanted to do, and kicking him several times in the nuts, and got back in the car.  He then felt it necessary to get on his bullhorn and give us instructions on picking up speed in the shoulder before merging back onto the highway.  Really dude?!

The girls complimented me on my patience, saying they would have probably freaked out.  I’m not sure how I didn’t.  I just wanted it to be over.  I was beyond thankful that Raven and the other guys stopped to assist.  Having to deal with the drill sergeant bossing me around on my own would have been an even more hellish experience.

We followed each other to Chili’s and then it was all better.  We only half cared that we were still in our pajamas, and I was covered head to toe in branches, dirt, and cactus needles.  V asked me if I felt accomplished after changing the tire.  I told her I would have felt just as accomplished if roadside assistance had changed the tire.

Moral of the story is this:  If you have roadside assistance, you do not need to learn how to change your own tire.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  Tire changing is for men.

Second moral of the story is:  If you’re with the right people, any situation can be turned into a positive experience.  But that’s something I learned a long time ago.

Cheers to a fantastic weekend with a bunch of terrific people.  And hoping that police officer got really bad diarrhea.  Or something else unpleasant and inconvenient.

xoxo

Gossip Girl

 

 

 

 

First Trip Back to NY

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when moving from New York to California was for people to be mad.  Sad, yeah, of course… I was sad to leave people I love, but mad?  No.  I’m not sure how that emotion came about.  It doesn’t really upset me that people are mad, just confuses me.  I feel like we are all living our lives with the goal to experience things and make ourselves happy.  And different things make different people happy.  I don’t think I’d be mad at anyone for a life decision unless it were specifically to hurt me.  I never really anticipated feeling the bit of guilt I feel, now living on the other side of the country.  Not because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, just because it’s clear that a couple of people I love are mad at me for pursuing what I wanted to do… my selfish dream.  I miss these people all… like crazy.  But didn’t plan on feeling guilty about it.

Carissa and I have been here for a little over 4 months and hadn’t had plans to go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year.  Flights are crazy expensive, we made a no-man-left-behind pact, and my parents decided to come out in early January to celebrate Christmas with us here.  Some minor guilt trips were laid out about not being around for the holidays, but that didn’t really affect me.  What did affect me was that I really started missing “home” and the people who were there.  Not because holiday season was approaching, but because I just genuinely missed them.  Sitting on my front porch one night with a glass of wine (the best ideas are sparked by a glass of wine), I asked Carissa if she’d be interested in coming home with me for a long weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She was.  We decided on going for our brother’s birthday weekend, booked the trip about 6 weeks in advance, and decided we would make it a surprise.  The only person we notified for coordination purposes was our “brother,” Courtney, who was planning birthday festivities.

We flew in separately last Thursday.  I took an early flight, and Carissa got one after her classes.  Since no one really knew we were coming, it was hard to coordinate sleeping arrangements for the first night.  I knew I had to go to Hoboken straight from JFK to pick up my snowboard from my condo’s basement to bring back with me, so I planned to stay with a friend there.  Carissa on the other hand, didn’t want her friends to know she was home until the following night, so her plan was to get home to Babylon around 2am, SNEAK INTO our parents’ house, and into her bed, and then meet me in the morning to surprise them at work.  FLAW FLAW … hole in the plan.

“Carissa, you CANNOT sneak into the house.  Dad’s going to shoot you when he hears someone creeping up the stairs in the middle of the night.”

“No… he only has a Louisville Slugger next to his bed… I’ll be fine.”

“He has a GUN.  He will shoot you.”

“Oh….really?…. hmmmm… okay I’ll figure something else out.”

She figured something else out.  I also had to figure something else out at the last-minute because my Hoboken sleeping arrangements fell through.  Planes trains and automobiles later, I arrived in Hoboken and met up with The Architect, who I had informed earlier that I’d be in town for the night.  The feeling being back there, but homeless, was eerie.  It felt so amazing to be back.  I’d missed the vibes of the town.  I had a fun random Thursday out, visited my favorite local watering hole, and saw a couple of friends.  The next morning as I walked to my old condo in the dark, cold, rain, I couldn’t help but feel happy anyway.  I was so excited to be back, and so excited to see my family over the next couple of days.  As I crossed the street near my building, dragging my luggage with a hood over my head, the crossing guard who looked like he was basically covered in plastic bags shouted, “Happy Friday!”  I beamed, and shouted back to him.  Even the nasty cold rain was making me happy.  I felt back at home.  Back home with all the miserable commuters I was used to.

If getting through public transportation on a Friday morning during rush hour isn’t complicated enough…. I challenge you to do it with a rolling suitcase, an oversized purse, a sweater, and a packed snowboard bag over your shoulder.  I can’t count how many times I said “I’m sorry,” and after the first leg of the trip, making it down to the PATH and then up into the city, I just couldn’t stop laughing.  As hard as I tried to control all of my things it was just impossible not to whack people either in front of me, behind me, or to either side.  As I fielded dirty looks, I felt it was necessary to explain what a nightmare it was to be pushing through turnstiles with the amount of odd-shaped things I had to carry.

I finally made it to Penn Station, got a real New York bagel, made my way down to the Long Island Railroad, got my snowboard up on the top shelf with a big sigh, and sat down.  The conductor collected my ticket and I asked him if he knew when the train would get to Babylon.  He told me, and then asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I did know who he was.  He was my mom’s friend’s husband, Frank.  Funny enough, he was one of the only OTHER people who knew I’d be in town, because his wife, Marie helped me get my mom half a day off of work that day in secret.  Frank asked where Carissa was, and if we were ready for the surprise, and chatted with me for the majority of the train ride.  Feeling at home already.

I get to Babylon and looked for Carissa who was supposed to be picking me up.  I called her.  She picked up and whispered, “Hey, I just found Dad’s keys in his jacket pocket.  I think he’s still home.  I’ll be there in 5.”

Okay, now she’s breaking into the house and stealing my dad’s car… while he’s home.  She pulls up a few minutes later with incessant horn honking, starts laughing at me struggling with my bags, and as I throw myself into the car says, “Ok, let’s go to mom’s school.”

“Carissa!  We need to get the car back to Dad before he notices and calls the cops!”

“Oh yeah.”

It’s so weird being back, homeless, and carless.  We hurried back home before our dad knew his car was missing, crept upstairs and freaked the crap out of him.  It took him a few minutes to understand what was going on.  We asked to borrow a car and then headed to my mom’s school… which was the highlight of the weekend.  To be honest I would have made the trip east JUST for these few minutes with T-Diddy, which thankfully we caught on video:

It took her a few minutes to process that this, in fact, was NOT a dream, and then we kidnapped her for the second half of the day for some quality girl time.

The rest of our time flew.  We got to see our brother and other brother for their birthdays, our sister Britt, and a bunch of other family and friends over the weekend.  There was obviously not enough time with each person, nor enough time to see as many people as I would have liked, but we did our best.  We spent the entire day on Saturday taking over Sixth Ward on the LES, rearranging their projector, Christmas decorations, TV channels and audio system to meet our sports watching and pool-playing needs.  We spent a solid 12 quality hours there, eating two meals and using the bathrooms a record-breaking amount of times.  At the end of the night, when Carissa and I gave our final hugs goodbye to Chase and Britt on the frigid street, and scurried into the closest cab, I turned to see her start to cry.  “I hate leaving my brother…” which of course started my waterworks as well.  Spending a whole day with people you love so much in the city you love so dearly was bittersweet.

The energy in NYC is un-matched by any other place.  Maybe it’s because it’s the one in which I feel most at home, but maybe it’s because it truly is the greatest city in the world.  When Monday night came around and it was time to go back home, the goodbyes were sad, but I had a peace about me, because I felt happy to be returning “home” to California.  It’s somewhere that you smile getting off the plane and feel welcomed by the palm trees and cheery people.  Will it be home forever?  Maybe not… but really…. who knows?  For now, my heart is split between coasts.  And that’s how I like it.

Peace out for now buttercups…

xoxo

Gossip Girl

The Italian Stallion

During a normal phone convo with T-Diddy last week, she asks what’s new.

“Well I think I’m going to go out with an Italian guy. Like one actually from Italy.”

T-Diddy responds, “No, don’t ever go out with an Italian guy! Didn’t I tell you about the one that I dated??”

Dad must overhear the conversation; I can hear him shout in the background: “Or a Greek guy! No Greek guys either!”

Well that eliminates a large part of Europe… You think they’d be less picky at this point.

I obviously didn’t listen to my parents’ advice, and decided to go out with the Italian. He was from Tinder. Was very aggressive in the messaging, Facebooking, etc. He just moved to San Diego from Italy for an engineering job a little over a month ago, although he spent 6 months at the same company last year, and a few months in NYC. So although he is literally straight from Italy, he has spent a pretty good amount of time here. At first, I think he paid a lot of attention to using proper English in text messages, and had me fooled, but when he started getting lazy was when it got funny.

Each time I shared a funny text, I felt it had to be in an Italian accent or it wouldn’t be as accurate.  It became routine for me to start giggling over a message, and one of my roommates to say, “Lorenzo?”

“V, get me into my Italian accent.”  (Italian doesn’t come naturally.  Asian accents, yes, Italian, no.)

V would say something like, “VinCENza!!!!” with her hands in the air, and I’d immediately be able to imitate Lorenzo’s message in perfect Italian form.

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Friday night started with an invitation to go out with Lorenzo, which I turned down because I was wicked tired.  Crap… get the Boston girls out of my house.  I told him I had a date with my couch, so we made plans to do something on Saturday night instead.  I put on my sweats, got my blanket and my real pillow from my bed (that’s when you know it’s serious), and curled up on the couch to watch TV.  I was definitely in for the night.  Turns out I wasn’t.  Breezy came home about a half hour later with Bud Light-aritas, looked at me and told me to get in the shower.  I said no.  Then V put on her sad puppy dog face.  So I got in the shower.

My date with the couch turned into a typical night out in PB, and wouldn’t ya know it, Renzie ended up coming back from his plans downtown early, and wanted to meet up with us.  Since all of the girls wanted to meet the mysterious Italian, I told him where we were and he came out.  I figured he’d just stop in for a bit, but he ended up staying with us the entire rest of the night and didn’t go home until like 3am.

Saturday night rolls around, and Renzie and I make plans to go bowling.  I’m last-minute getting ready (as usual), looking for something to wear, and yell out of my bedroom…

“V, is it cold out??”

“I don’t know, I’ll check.”

She walks to the front door and then all I hear is two loud screams.  I run out to see what happened… when she opened the door, Lorenzo was just standing there with his face two inches from the screen.  I guess he was getting ready to knock??  We invited him in.  I checked the temperature for myself.  V and Breezy were sitting on the couch painting their nails.  Renzie sits down and says,

“I paint.”

Breezy hands him the colors and says to pick.  He sifts through, “no. no. no.”  He finally finds one he is satisfied with, and looks at me and asks:

“I paint?  It is ok?”

“Ummm sure…”

He paints their nails.  I ask him a question about bowling and he responds with, “What you did?”

“Huh??  What you did?  What does that mean?”

“You.  What you did today?”

“It’s ‘what did you DO today?'”

“Yes, that what I mean.”

He’s making us laugh… a lot.  Breezy says, “I’m kind of jealous.  I feel like you’re going to have a really funny night.”

We did.  We went bowling and drank Long Islands… he insisted we drink Long Islands because “That where you come from.”

We had conversations that would have been funny WITHOUT the language barrier, so add in a strong Italian accent and some communication problems, and the night was a hoot.  On the way back from bowling, it was about 11pm.  I asked Renzie what he was doing for the rest of the night.

“I do what you do.”

“Okay, well my sister and roommates are at a party.  Do you want to go meet with them?”

“OUR sister.”

“Yes, our sister.”

“Yes, let’s meet.  And I need to meet boyfriend.  Sister’s boyfriend.  Will he be there?”

“I don’t know… ”

Lorenzo was quite the social butterfly.  He easily made friends.  V randomly asked him if he liked soccer.  He responded “No,” as another guy who overheard, informed her he loved soccer.  Lorenzo whispered, “soccer is for the gays.”  We laughed.  Because you just can’t not laugh at him.

He joined us for a stop at the Silver Fox, and pulled out his flawless swing dance moves, which he debuted at Duck Dive the night before.  He was quite the charmer.

The next afternoon, Carissa and I had a lunch date.  I texted Lorenzo to ask him the name of the Acai place he has been raving about.  He responds.  I say thank you.  I also say, “Thank you again for a lovely bowling date.”

Carissa and I look up Rum Jungle in PB and head over there.  We are sitting on the couch, eating our Acai bowls, and I get a response from Lorenzo:  “yes it was pretty boring.”

WHAT???  Carissa says, “I think he gets his words mixed up.”

I say, “No I think he actually meant it was boring, but he is trying to use sarcasm?”

We start dying laughing, quoting some of his bests from the night before.  I pull up old screen shots of texts that had made me laugh, and we are just having a doozy of a time cracking up at this guy.  Then Carissa looks up from the tears of laughter and says, “Oh, hi.”

It’s Lorenzo… walking OUT of Rum Jungle to take a call on his cell.  Which means he was IN Rum Jungle the entire time we were laughing.  There were only about three other people in the tiny little place.  I don’t know how we didn’t see him walk in… I died.  I said, “Should I run away??  Did he hear everything??”

Carissa says, “No, I don’t think so… even if he could hear us, we were talking too fast for him to understand.”

He comes back in and sits down with us.  We have a conversation about Acai and cauliflower ear.  Then we leave because Carissa has to head to work.

“Why would he go there??  I JUST asked what the name of that place was!”

“Maybe that’s WHY HE WENT THERE!”

So weird.  “Carissa, why does this happen to me all…of….the….time??”

“It really does.”

I need to learn how to keep my mouth shut unless I’m in the privacy of my own home.

In any case the Italian Stallion is at the very least, AMAZING entertainment.  And really nice to look at.  I’m thinking the whole dating thing may not work out due to the fact that we spend entirely too much time saying “What??” and “I don’t know what that means?”  And “I don’t know how to say in English.”  And the rest of the time just laughing.   Breezy asked several times yesterday, “Can Lorenzo come over?”  Hopefully.  Hopefully Lorenzo will remain in our lives for at least a little longer.

xoxo

Gossip Girl

Scum Between My Toes… Bobby Birmingham (the third)

I’ve been played like a fiddle! It’s a fact. Backed up by facts. And more facts. And lots and lots of screenshots.

So remember the story about the 4 Month Husband? If you don’t, or you haven’t read it, or you need a refresher, click here: The 4 Month Husband. Like just do it. The following story will make way more sense if you do. Promise.

Husband doesn’t have Facebook. I remember a fishy comment made by his brother last winter that he “couldn’t” have Facebook, or something to that effect, but I didn’t think much of it, and just assumed he maybe had a crazy ex-girlfriend or something. But I AM Facebook friends with his brother, Rory.

Husband moved to Atlanta “for work,” at the end of July- same exact time I moved to California. After almost a year of intermittent communication (CERTAINLY not consistent), and seeing each other here and there, I just pegged him as a nice, really fun guy with a great job, but one in which required a ton of travel.

So I was doing my regular Facebook perusing yesterday, and noticed his brother Rory was tagged in a photo with Husband, Bobby. I hadn’t thought about Husband Bobby in a while, so I clicked on Rory’s page and looked at a couple of photos. There was one, posted from a girl who I didn’t know, and I randomly clicked on her face. Husband Bobby was in her cover photo standing next to her and what looked to be her family. I thought “Oh! Husband Bobby got a girlfriend already in Atlanta! Super cute!”

Clicking on her profile photos, though was a little funny. There were photos of her and Husband Bobby, that went back quite a while. They were all visible to the public, so you didn’t have to be friends with her to see them. She had also written several posts over the past year which were visible to the public……………. which had me sitting in front of my laptop with my jaw dropped open.

Husband Bobby…. Bobby Birmingham the third, to be precise, had a girlfriend. The.Whole.Time. She lived in Atlanta. Holy freakin’ ;lsadfjka;ldskjfa;ldskfjadl;ksjfa;lkdjfa;lkdja;ldkjf;aldksjfal;dksfja;lkdfja;lkdsfja;sdlfkja;dlskjfa;ldsjf;aldkjfa;ldkjfa;dl.

I had no idea. And when I say no idea, I mean NO.IDEA. We had conversations about girlfriends, boyfriends, exes…. and she was not the one mentioned. There were lots of photos of Husband Bobby’s ex from San Diego on his brothers Facebook page, but zero current photos with any girls. Until now. Until yesterday when I happened to come across the update on my newsfeed.

How could someone do that? It wasn’t like he met me out one day and flirted with me, and that was it…. although it may explain him leaving the bar that first day WITHOUT my number… it may explain a lot of things, actually. But he was in communication THROUGHOUT THE YEAR. THE WHOLE YEAR. I have text messages on my phone from the beginning of time; I suppose if there were such thing as a text hoarder, I’d be one. I pulled up his name, and sure enough, I had every single text still in my phone. Which allowed me to correspond this poor girl’s Facebook public updates to his communication with me. I feel sick to my stomach for this girl. Does she have NO IDEA? Do I tell her? Would I want to know? Yes, I would want to know. I think any girl would want to know. Is it my place to tell her? I don’t know. No. Probably not. I don’t know her. But I do feel somewhat of a moral dilemma.

Guys, don’t do this. It’s sickening. I’m mad. I’m more mad for her than I am for myself. He didn’t owe me anything. We never actually dated. What he did over this year was wrong, scummy and disturbing. And I fell right on into it all. And I wish I could send out a public service announcement to have him banned from all women. Here’s a glimpse into the past year…. a sampling, if you will….

 

Husband Bobby: White bubbles on left

Me: Green bubbles on right

Bobby and I met on October 14th… two weeks before his 29th birthday.

October 30, 2012

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Two days before his birthday:

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December 20, 2012:

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5 days prior:

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And a couple of weeks later… Girlfriend comes to visit again:

 

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February 13, 2013:

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A week before girlfriend comes for a visit we have our first real date (four months after meeting):

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Date went well… Four days before girlfriend visits: Booty-call attempt? [FAIL]:

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And the next morning:

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I guess I thought I liked him after our first date…

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DURING the visit from his girlfriend (which happened to be on VALENTINE’S DAY)… And immediately after….

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No date stamp on this one, but it directly followed the one above, Still February 22, 2013:

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My sister and I met him and his brother at White Rabbit that night. Then we all crashed in his brother’s living room on the LES that night.

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February 28, 2013:

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Hey Bobby… you left out the part about how you were skiing for 6 days WITH YOUR GIRLFRIEND.

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May 28, 2013:

Girlfriend visiting NYC again….

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Two days prior:

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May take it easy because YOUR GIRLFRIEND is in town visiting? Ohhhh!

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July 4, 2013…. Girlfriend in NYC:

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4 days prior to the July 4th visit:

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And then a week AFTER the visit:

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Well we met up at Husband Bobby’s apartment that night and then went out with a bunch of friends. I suppose we had such a great time THAT night, that the next….

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Then I moved to California. Then Husband Bobby moved to Atlanta… “for work.” I know overkilled on these screenshots, but I felt the need to drive my point home. I don’t think I’ve ever been so fooled before in my life… but hey, I guess I could have been, right??

I think I need to put all men on a time-out.

I’d like to thank my girlfriends, specifically Team KP, for helping to develop and hone my internet stalkage skills. Without them, this post wouldn’t be possible.

And I ask you, my friends, what would YOU do, had you stumbled upon this information?

xoxo

Gossip Girl

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