Thursday, April 29, 2010

Am I Carrie Bradshaw or Roseanne?

I hate moving but decided after 30 years in the suburbs of Chicago to be a city girl again. Yea, I'm a decrepit Carrie Bradshaw! Unfortunately, once the initial "oh goody I love my new apartment " passed, which took 30 seconds, I looked around at the boxes filled with my papers from 1975 and suitcases stuffed with clothes I stopped wearing four years ago and anxiety gripped me by the throat. Help, I can't breathe! Why did I move? Maybe I'm not Carrie, maybe I'm Roseanne! I couldn't unpack; I could only stand panic struck surrounded by my belongings and hyperventilate. Where were the smelling salts, and did I ever own any? More importantly where did I put the emergency Sauvignon Blanc? I considered calling an ambulance. I needed to rest somewhere peaceful with nurses administering medication. That sounded a lot better than staring at a pair of hiking boots sitting on top of a box. I haven't hiked in 4 years. The last time I tried it I saw a man attacked by a cactus. I like cars.

I have 14 new keys and a fob that open a dozen doors to get in my building. This makes me sweat and very very nervous. I like one key. And for God's sake what does "fob" mean? I envision standing outside at midnight madly trying key after key after fob to no avail and then pounding on the door . It won't help, but will make me feel pro-active, along with bursting into tears. Why did I move?

And uh oh, where did I put the dog? "Beefy Boy, where are you?" He glared at me from behind a pile of boxes. Thankfully he can't talk. He hates moving as much as cross country car trips. I think he wanted to stay in Santa Fe. He might like city living however- more people, more attention. I resigned myself to unpacking but not before I found the emergency bottle of wine. I've carefully labeled all the keys and wonder if the "fob" can double as a Ninja device for protection. It's possible I'll like being an aged slightly arthritic Carrie Bradshaw and ripped open the box labeled "high heels."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day Three: Gail, Emily, Beefy Boy Elliot, Alfred Hitchcock, and Truman Capote Spend the Night Together

"Oh my God, what is that smell?" Nebraska. Me, Emily and Beefy Boy Elliot were gasping for air. Yes siree, cattle lining the landscape are lovely to behold but, do not under any circumstances open the window of your car. For that matter just hold your breath across the state because even sealed in my little Honda going 75mph it was nasty. "Hold on only 700 more miles to Iowa," I choked out. Seeing as how we were in cattle country a big old steak was probably what we should have ordered at dinner in North Platte but by 7:00p.m. we had our fill of beef and ordered salad.

"Welcome to Iowa" was a welcome relief. The pancake flat landscape of Nebraska was behind us and we were joyful to see rolling hills and it didn't smell. We pulled into Iowa City in time for al fresco dining on the pedestrian mall. Beefy Boy loves outdoor dining but not Japanese food so he missed out on some really good sushi.

There is no LaQuinta in Iowa City so we were stumped as to where to spend the night that would also take Beefy Boy. We pulled into a Travel Lodge which looked ok in the dark. "Nope, no problem with the dog. I won't even make you put down a deposit," the clerk behind the desk drolled. Luck seemed to be on our side. We drove around to the very very very back of the motel to our room- a long creepy way from the front desk. We were on the ground floor and faced a swamp. Loud music was coming from a pick-up truck parked three doors down. Two guys sat on the back of the truck facing their open motel room. "Emily, what are they doing? Who sits outside the room?" It was just us, them and a the dark dark night. As we schlepped our stuff from the car we continued to stare at our neighbors. "Gail, did you ever read "In Cold Blood?" "I saw the movie" I whispered. I was thinking more about a different movie however,"Psycho." We stood stone still in our room afraid to move. "We're the only ones back here," I mumbled and couldn't get Norman Bates off of my mind. "We have a dog, aren't people afraid of dogs?" I was desperate . We both burst out laughing watching Beefy Boy already sound asleep on the floor. "Elliot! Elliot up boy, guard the door." He opened one eye and then closed it.

There is only one option when you can't get Norman Bates off your mind. "Quick, Emily move that big chair over in front of the door." But we had two doors, curses! "I'll put the desk chair at the other one." Nope, not barricaded well enough we thought and eyed the furnishings. We quickly piled all our suitcases against the doors. "What about the dresser?" I thought that seemed logical. Uh oh, we had a window too - well at least we'd hear it break and could hightail it out a door...if we could unbarricade it fast enough. All the blood had drained from my face and the rash I developed on the closed interstate in Arizona started to itch again. Alfred Hitchcock and Truman Capote had ruined my life. I vowed to stop reading and going to movies. We eventually fell asleep because staring at the window became tiring.

We woke up the next morning.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thelma, Louise, and Beefy Boy Elliot - Day two

"Yep, you could have been on the interstate all night. Only the back way 'round from Phoenix could've saved ya and that's windy as hell too," we heard from the cashier at the gas station half way back to Flagstaff. "Twenty car pile-up a week ago, coulda been out there all night, uh huh." I started scratching again just hearing the story. Me, Beefy Boy, and Emily were free and hadn't been arrested for our illegal turn on I40 but we were also heading in the wrong direction. I held back tears. We needed cocktails and ointment for my rash.

When the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. at the Flagstaff LaQuinta, I thrashed around cursing the hour. "Emily, Emily!" She didn't budge, nor did Beefy Boy who was planted at her side on the other bed. "We gotta go, 7 hours to Santa Fe...think of the turquoise, silver and shopping ... we could get there by noon," I groaned. I'm not sure but I think we slept in our clothes. I also think we were still wearing them as we dragged ourselves to the car.

Charm oooozed from every little adobe building in Old Santa Fe and there was turquoise and silver jewelry as far as the eye could see. Every store was loaded with the stuff. We measured the afternoon in bracelets. "How much is this one?" That was all either of us said for 5 hours. "That's $250" was always the answer. "Huh?" was always my response. Every freaking piece of jewelry no matter how big, small or beaded was at least $250! It's cheaper at Neiman Marcus was all I could think. (Which reminded me I had to return a pair of shoes). "This little silver bracelet with one teenie weenie piece of turquoise is $250?" I said to a local Indian displaying his things on a blanket in the square. I thought he was my one shot at a cheaper price seeing as how he had no overhead. He nodded. I stared. Even Beefy Boy stared. I sadly realized I could only afford the local "charm." Thankfully, we cheered ourselves up from shopping despair with spicey southwestern crab cakes and a bottle of red Zinfindel.

We were exhausted, bracelet-less and still in yesterday's clothes when we dragged ourselves back to the LaQuina Inn at the outer edge of town. It looked dicey but doable given we had been up for 15 hours. Nothing like what was in our motel future! Stay tuned for Gail, Emily and Beefy Boy in motel terror.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Interstate Day from Hell or Gail, Emily and Beefy Boy Elliot Day One

Who are those people who love the open road? They must have a special "inner peace" and "solitude" gene. I have the special "when are we going to get there" variety which forces me to constantly look at the odometer and clock . "Crap, it's only been 12 minutes since we left Palm Springs that can't be right." Oh it was right all right as I held back tears. With my beefy boy Lab sprawled out in the back seat staring straight ahead I sensed he was also thinking it had been hours and wanted out. Only 1,996 miles to Chicago I winced and scratched at a nervous rash I had developed. My first stop was the Phoenix airport to pick up my girlfriend Emily who reluctantly agreed to make the "fun" cross country trip with me.

Could her plane being two hours late from LAX be a harbinger of what was to come? Nah. Our first destination was part of the "fun" I promised her. I know I lied. Santa Fe would be our one and only happy place and we were going to spend a day and two nights there. The promise of silver and turquoise jewelry was only 7 hours away. Yipee and holy crap I could hardly hang on to the steering wheel as we made our way across I40 in Arizona. Whoa little Honda! My car was being blown across the interstate. "Sure is windy out here," I declared taking on a John Wayne old West twang for some unexplainable reason . Tumble weed flew across the road and I could barely steer in a straight line. "What the....." The interstate traffic came to a dead stop 15 miles from Winslow Arizona. Dead as a doornail stop. I started to itch again. As far as the eye could see in front and piling up behind us trucks and cars were at a standstill. This was not like Chicago rush hour traffic, we were in the middle of freaking nowhere going nowhere.

Emily yelled out to the trucker next to us "Excuse me sir... SIR! SIR DO YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON?" His 18 wheeler towered above us and he shouted down, "Seems they closed the interstate 'cause of the wind and dust. Might not open until 7:00 p.m." I have never itched so much in my life. "That's over 7 hours from now," I moaned and scratched. "We can't sit here for that long...oh God I have to pee already." I got out of the car to talk to the folks who were milling around , while Emily called her sister to help us. She lives in Boston. "Yep, looks like the interstate is closed until the wind dies down," the guy three cars ahead confirmed. I felt faint, sweaty and slightly nauseous. I was only certain of one thing at that moment - he might sit out here for 7 hours but I sure as hell wasn't planning on it. I called the Winslow Police Department for advice. "Ma'am you're just going to have to wait, " a woman drawled. Last week the dust and wind was so bad there was a 20 car pile-up. Couldn't see a foot in front of you." "Well....well what if I just go across the culvert and turn around?" I implored. "Ma'am , ma'am, listen to me, you'll be arrested!" Only if I get caught, I theorized. I eyed the ditch I had to cross to escape. Could my little Civic make it? And why why why wasn't anyone else heading back to Flagstaff like I wanted to do? "Emily we have to get out of here and it's now or none of us will pee for 7 hours." I think the dog agreed.

The car had to make it. I no longer cared about being arrested, I just wanted out of the 15 mile line of vehicles. As I was agonizing over our escape I saw a car enact my plan. Hell if he could do it I could. "Here we go Thelma" I laughed as I turned the wheel and jammed my foot on the gas. Go little Honda go! Down the culvert and up the other side we flew. "Whoa Nelly!" (I was still being John Wayne). We were on our way in the opposite direction of Chicago but we didn't care. Only two things were important now - not seeing a Sheriff's car chasing me and a bottle of wine in Flagstaff.

Stay tuned for more cross country adventures of Gail, Emily and beefy boy Elliot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I hate road trips and so does the dog.

There is no way to make the 2,000 mile car ride back to Chicago from Palm Springs short. It's endless, it's painful, it's boring and it starts tomorrow. I've spent four days mopping, sweeping, washing, wiping, and vacuuming my way out the door. No cleaning service for this girl. Yep, I saved myself $90.00. It wasn't worth it but it's in my DNA, thanks Dad. I've given serious thought to wrapping my yellow lab in scotch tape so he stops shedding until we leave but I didn't. I'm bad with a tape gun. My dog hates road trips so I'm sneaking the suitcases to the car while he's not looking. "Sorry beefy boy, time to leave. And keep your hair on."

I want to thank my friend Emily for reluctantly offering to drive with me. She didn't really want to but I cried and cried until she gave in. I think I told her it would be fun. I lied. I was desperate. I thought about making the drive alone but realized I'd need so much medication I'd be asleep and unable to steer. I could have talked on the phone for the entire 2,000 miles but after day one I don't think anyone would take my calls. I'd be whining and complaining and finally friendless.

I'm set to wake up at 4:45 a.m. which can't possibly be a time of day. I tested two alarm clocks to make sure they're working which isn't normal but felt necessary. I have a list of things not to forget which includes the dog, given the early hour. Sadly, I placed my Arctic parka on the front seat because it isn't warm in Chicago until mid June or sometimes July. Crap. I think I need a drink. Uh oh, the dog just saw me sneak out with his bed and glared. I think he needs a drink. I resist the urge to fill his bowl with a nice California Chardonnay. I pour myself an extra large glass instead and decide to vacuum again.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

18 seconds of fame on a bad hair day

I had 18 seconds of fame. Unfortunately they came when I looked like crap. I was out for a run heading down the main street of Palm Springs when a news crew stopped me. "Ma'm would you mind if we asked you a few questions?" Moi?! Really me? It's never me, it's always the person five steps ahead of me. Wow at last it was me! I was happy to be interviewed but not when I was in gym clothes, had sweat pouring down my t-shirt, no make-up on, my hair in a ratty ponytail and wearing my nerdy sunglasses. "Sure", I replied but , could I go home and fix my hair first?" They stared. I laughed and said I was kidding. I wasn't. They were from Channel 2 news and asked me questions about the Dinah Shore Golf Tournament that was in town for the weekend. "Does Palm Springs seem more crowded than usual?" "Does it help the economy?" "Do the crowded restaurants bother you?" All I could think about was my hair. And if I smelled.

I tried to be clever but probably wasn't. I would have preferred questions on health care or mid-term elections but I figured as long as the camera was rolling I should be happy. So it wasn't a "Meet the Press" moment, I was on TV.....with no lipstick or eye liner. I'm sorry Mom, you were right never leave the house without full make-up. Crap. They took my name and I started to jog away when it dawned on me I didn't ask when the piece would run. I was too busy thinking about my hair. And if I sounded whiney. I always sound whiney. Why did I stop for a news crew when I had bad bangs?

To watch or not to watch, this plagued me. I had become Hamlet without the good perks like a castle. I called my sister immediately. "Oh my God Terry I was just interviewed for TV, I screamed . But you watch for me I can't." "Are you crazy you have to watch." "I can't. Once I see how bad I looked and how whiney I sounded I'll never go out in public again. I'll become a hermit. I don't want to stay inside the rest of my life." I think I needed a Xanax. "I'll tivo it", she calmy responded. Whatever that meant. I didn't watch. I can't afford therapy. According to Andy Warhol I have 14 minutes and 42 seconds of fame left, hopefully I will be dressed better, and wearing lipstick.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Are we celebrity addicted?

It's baaaack! And I'm am so over it. Lo and behold Tiger Wood's sex life is back in the news. Just when I thought it was really disturbing to hear about pedophile priests there was more gossip about our lothario golfer instead. Huh? Initially, I was as riveted as the rest of the world to his cheatin' ways but enough is enough. (Btw that goes for the tattooed hubby of Sandra Bullock.) I was groggy and drinking my morning coffee when I heard on TV more than I ever wanted to know about anyone's sex life including my own. Thanks to another blabbing ex I now know every room in Tiger's house in which they had sex. Yes, including the kitchen which is still my New Year's resolution. It woke me up and grossed me out. Isn't there a war or two somewhere about which to be concerned? And I repeat,what about the pedophile priest cover-up? Our boys Tiger and Jesse pale in comparison to the magnitude of that news.

Are we celebrity addicted? The badder they are the better we like it. Bring on those lying cheating stars and "make my day." Poor Sandra. Bad Jesse. Wow sports fans Tiger isn't a great guy after all . Quick, Twitter! It was Tiger bashing day on 1010 radio yesterday afternoon ....why? In my book he's been bashed to the point of blah blah blah blah. Truthfully, I'm anxious to see the guy tee-up at Augusta next week. I'm ready to move on, but sadly the press isn't. We forgave Nixon and have turned the other cheek to Bill Clinton's dalliances so if history repeats itself, which it usually does, we will forgive Tiger.

As for the damage those priests have done, that is unforgivable.