Archive for Road trips

Post #86 – Tripping for the Tribe…

Posted in Family, humor, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by tenaciousbitch

My husband is in an originals, hard rock band called The Murnane Tribe. A couple weeks ago, they had their first gig in Indiana. I was really excited for them to be breaking into another market, and very happy to be jaunting out of town to see them play. But, of course, we’re talking about ME, so you know that some sort of mayhem had to occur, and neither I nor the universe would disappoint.

First of all, I like to get all dolled up when I go to see them at a club. So, I spend a good bit of time trying to tame my unruly, curly quaff and doing my makeup, etc.

However, before all that, I decided to wax my eyebrows. Big mistake. I’ve done so before without a problem. But this time…not so much.

I heated up the wax, removed excess fur from the right eyebrow, no problem. However, while eradicating the unwanted fuzz over my left eye, I applied too much wax, and a big goober of wax landed on my eyelashes!

DAMMIT! I tried to squeeze off the wax, but it held fast like lava cementing to glass. I should’ve taken a picture because it looked rather bizarre – akin to some kind of strange eyelash pimple…

I took a hot wash cloth to the blob and tried to roll it off my lashes. No luck.  I hopped in the shower, thinking maybe I could melt it off, which didn’t happen, but I did manage to peel off a bit more. But a pin-sized dot of it remained.

Finally, after straightening my hair somewhat, I made another go at operation wax extraction by holding my captive lashes up and scraping at the wax repeatedly with my fingernail against my brow bone. It really HURT, and it didn’t budge.

I began to fear I’d have to coat my new eyelash booger in mascara and pray it wouldn’t be mistaken for some sort of TUMOR, but then…it broke free. And I smiled until I noticed it had snatched 3 or 4 eyelashes with it. FRACK and double FRACK.

And…I’m not holding my breath that they’ll grow back. Luckily, I do have relatively thick eyelashes. So, the missing lashes aren’t noticeable – especially with a liberal splash of mascara.

First problem solved. Onto the next.  I sped off for Indy around 1:30 that Saturday. My husband had left HOURS earlier with the band, and they were probably crossing into Indiana by then. But I’d still get there in time to have dinner with my cousins before the show, so I was a happy camper…

But first, I had to get gas.  Afterward, when I zipped onto 270 West, I heard this THUNK, CLUNK. I glanced around, fearing I’d hit something. Nope. Glancing in my rearview mirror, I realized I’d neglected to screw on my gas cap, and it was now flapping wildly on its rubbery little cord…sigh.

And, of course, I was driving through a long stretch of construction with a concrete wall to the left – gravel, bulldozers, and a seemingly endless string of orange barrels to my right.  There was nowhere to pull over, and no exits in sight.

I got in the far right lane anyway in the hopes there would be a break in the construction barriers soon before my gas cap became road kill. Concerned that the force of the wind would SNAP the little bungee cord in two that was holding my gas cap to my car, I slowed down to 45 MPH.

While scanning the horizon for a in the construction, a LOUD HORN squawked beside me. I look over at this old, multicolored Pontiac occupied by at least 9 dark-haired, scruffy-looking men jammed into the front and back seat – all smoking cigarettes and pointing to the rear of my vehicle.

I rolled my eyes. “Yes, I know. The gas cap,” I muttered to myself with an annoyed sigh. The men in the backseat pointed fervently again toward my gas tank. “Yeah, AND, where should I pull over on top of the bulldozer there or on the barrels?” I barked, waving my hands in the direction of the barrels, a slew of construction equipment on the right side of the freeway.

They charged past me, shaking their heads. What? I’m not bumping and grinding around a bunch of bulldozers, over nail-spiked rocks and chunks of old cement, not in my Escalade that took me YEARS to afford. Maybe, in my husband’s 14-year-old truck that’s held together by rust, spit, and duck tape (which he refuses to trade in, but that’s another story),  but not in my Caddy, ladies and gents, not happening.

An excruciatingly long five minutes later, I spotted a large slab of concrete about 100 feet ahead. I snapped on my blinker, pulled over, jumped out, fastened the gas cap, and off I went.

So, now you’re thinking smooth sailing, right? Fat chance of that…

I made it to Indianapolis in record time around 4:30, just as the spring in my sun visor broke! I moved it to the left to block the sinking blob of sun, and BOING. Down it went. It was hanging awkwardly, and in this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words:

visor photos 002I had to scrunch down in the seat about HOBBIT height in order to see the road, yeah, uber comfy.

Then, I misread the directions and passed the exit for 65 South. My cousin Juliana moved about a year ago, and I’ve only been to the new house once. When I realized my mistake, I called Juliana and spoke to her husband, Tom, who had no clue where I was, other than I was on 465, the beltway around Indianapolis.

While talking to him, I saw an exit for 65 North and thought the exit for 65 South should appear momentarily. Nope, must’ve been first. I was having trouble keeping the visor out of view, so I’m sure that contributed to my missing the exit again. My GPS is now defunct, so that was of no use.

A few minutes later, I saw a sign for 65 SOUTH. But, no, the universe HATES ME because there was an accident on that off-ramp, and it was blocked off by two cop cars, road flares, the works.

I did the math and calculated that I was 15 minutes from the 65 South exit in the opposite direction or 15 minutes to the next exit, according to a sign in front of me, which was, in fact, the exit I should’ve taken the FIRST time round. So, I just kept going.

An hour and 55 miles later (and after completely circling Indianapolis), I finally pulled into my cousins’ driveway and gleefully accepted a large glass of Merlot. We had pizza and chatted away until 10:00 when I departed for the Rock House Cafe, and the Tribe totally rocked!

Not much turmoil coming home except stopping at Steak n Shake for 30, yes THIRTY MINUTES because they screwed up my order twice. However, when contemplating all the adversity I encountered along the way, that was a minor inconvenience I could live with…

PEACE OUT from HOME SWEET home where my visor still hangs awkwardly in my face because Tom’s duck tape repair has now become dysfunctional. So, guess what my husband is doing this evening? 🙂

Love and chocolate chip cookies,

TenaciousBITCH and her crazy aplenty…


Blog 37 – New York or BUST Part II…

Posted in beer, college, Family, family battles, friends, grandmothers, relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

After Morgan dropped his heart-crushing news that he was moving in with Delilah, I rushed out onto the busy New York street, suddenly confused by the rush of people and the headlights from passing cars bouncing upon the horizon, I walked for a block or so and hailed a cab.

“Where to, Miss?” asked the cabbie in a thick African or Arabic accent, given the fact that his name was Mohammad, and his last name had like 17 letters.

“I…need, the airport,” I said while sobbing and counting the cash in my wallet.

“Which one?”

I took a deep breath. “LaGuardia. I have 19 dollars and some change. Is that enough?” I wailed, totally CURSING myself for giving Morgan $50 for gas, the bastard.  My remaining cash was in my suitcase in Morgan’s van. And I CERTAINLY was not going back to Ripley’s to ask him or Ryan for ANYTHING.

With a look of concern I noted in the cabbie’s eyes in the rearview mirror, the he said, “Yes, enough. You okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said sniveling. At which point, I started babbling about my dickhead, now ex-boyfriend. Aside from the fact that I was devastated by our bizarre break-up, I was pretty much blind drunk. We’d been guzzling beer and wine all day long.

And the cabbie just kept saying, “Oh, and such a pretty girl.” I know he didn’t understand one word I said. My speech was thickened and throttled by the current level of alcohol bashing about my veins and my brain, but I didn’t care. I just needed to let the pain spew forth.

When we reached the ramp for the BQE*, I noticed the meter was already over $20. I sighed, knowing I could’ve just wasted my last cent and then some, and I didn’t know if I could catch a flight to WV at LaGuardia or not, but I wasn’t exactly thinking clearly. “Would you let me out at the nearest subway station?” I asked digging for change in the bottom of my purse, “I’ve already racked up more-”

“No, it okay. Pretty girl not ride the subway in the night by herself. Not safe.”

I was flabbergasted. I’d always heard that New Yorkers were cold, mean-assed people, but this guy was a sweetheart! “Really, it’s okay, I don’t mind, I-”

“No, in my country, my father teach us respect, protect women. I not letting you take the subway for a couple dollars. It’s not far now.”

The sincerity in this man’s voice ignited the waterworks again. “Thank you, sir,” I said, taking a deep breath to stifle the bawling, “That’s very kind. Where are you from?”

“A small village near Kenya.”

I paid the saintly cabbie when we arrived at LaGuardia and stepped back out into the frigid New York air.

I half-stumbled my way to the US Air desk, since that airline and Delta were the ONLY ones that fly in to WV. Amazingly, they had a flight out the next morning around 9:00, which cost me $120. And THANK GOD back then, everyone took checks. I did, indeed, have my checkbook with me, just in case. Doing so bludgeoned my budget for my month, but I couldn’t worry about that now.

The whole experience at the airport was colored by my hazy beer vision, but the hefty woman at the US Air desk didn’t seem to notice my lack of sobriety.

“No luggage, Miss?” asked the hefty woman.

“No,” I said, awkwardly, avoiding eye contact with her. These days that fact might cause red flags to SPROUT upon their computer system, but back in the day, not so much.

When I asked about nearby hotels, she directed me to the area where hotels had free shuttles that picked up their weary travelers just outside baggage claim. Then, I slogged my way to a phone booth. I scanned the long listing of hotels in the Yellow Pages.

Days Inn was the cheapest at $70/night. Luckily, my mother had gotten a MasterCard issued in my name when I first started college for “emergencies”, and having no clue where the hotel was that Morgan had reserved nor any way to GET there, it was either charge a hotel room or sleep in the airport. And knowing my mother, my slumbering on a plastic chair in a public place would not be HER choice for me.

And speaking of Mom, I took a deep breath dreading my conversation with her. I needed a ride home from the airport in the morning. I picked up the receiver and dialed her collect.

I briefly explained where I was and who I was with, and…

“What the hell’s going on, Kennedy? I’ve been worried sick.”

“Why?” YES, I was confused because I assumed she didn’t even know I’d left town. And I’d only been gone a few days.

“Jenny and Haden’s wedding, remember?” Jenny was a girl from church… “Your father and I went over to pick you up yesterday, and you weren’t home. You didn’t answer the phone, and no one knew where you were, not even Shauna! I thought you’d been kidnapped or worse!”

“Oh, God, Mom, I’m sorry. I forgot all about the wedding.”

“And did it NOT occur to you to tell SOMEONE you were leaving town, so you wouldn’t give your mother a heart attack?”

I winced, closing my eyes, as the guilt wrenched my gut. I laid my head on my hand…which was on top of the phone.  “I’m so sorry. It was a spur of the moment thing. We just got here this morning. I’d planned to call you once we…got settled.”

“I see,” she said, a frosty chill to her tone.

We chatted for a few more minutes, and I gave her my flight information. She wasn’t quite as peeved when we hung up, thank god.

My room at the Days Inn was plain and small but comfortable. I plopped down on the bed and called information. Unfortunately, Ripley’s wasn’t listed. I wanted to call and let Morgan know I was okay if he was still there, and/or maybe, to plead with him NOT to move in with Delilah. On the way to New York, he’d said that he was going to stay with Nigel, a friend who lived on the Upper East side. But Nigel was out of town for a few days, which is why he’d booked a hotel room somewhere near Ripley’s.

I cried myself to sleep with my clothes on. I woke up feeling like a cat had shit in my mouth even though I had used the “complimentary” toothbrush and toothpaste I’d acquired at check-in.  Courtesy of the hangover, my head was pounding when I ordered bacon, eggs, toast and a LARGE glass of milk, which I charged to the room. Since my mother was always a FANATIC about eating breakfast, I knew she wouldn’t care about the $16 for my morning meal, that I’d added to the mounting MasterCard bill.

Smiling as though I was returning from a leisurely trip abroad, my mother stood in her long white coat at our tiny regional airport (that has only three gates) when I arrived the next morning.

Mom and I talked little on the way home after I explained that I did NOT want to talk about Morgan.

“Weren’t you nervous?” Mom asked.

“About what?” I asked, surprised.

“Driving through there. Did you have to go through any ghettos?” Mom asked, anxiously, drama dripping from her tone.

“Yes,” I replied, “We came into the city through the South Bronx, and that wasn’t exactly Ritter Park,” I answered, recalling the miles of decrepit buildings and graffiti rolling along, the backdrop for dozens of homeless people with shopping carts.

Ritter Park was one of the ritziest areas in my hometown. “But no one bothered us,” I continued. “Although, some homeless guy wouldn’t stop washing the windows of Morgan’s van until Morgan gave him a dollar. That kinda bothered me. But Manhattan was beautiful. The architecture is stunning.”

About a week later, Ryan showed up at the Monarch. “You know, you really freaked me out leaving like that,” he said, sitting on a bar stool beside me where I was loading drinks onto a tray.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I tried to call Ripley’s, but they weren’t listed, and I couldn’t remember the name of the hotel where you were staying.”

Ryan nodded. “I figured you’d just taken a walk to calm down, and you’d come back in an hour or so.”

“Again, my apologies.”

“It’s okay. I’m just glad you’re all right.”

A couple hours later when I took a break, Ryan and I strolled back to the parking lot behind the bar. He handed me my suitcase from the back of the van.

“Why’d he break up with me like that, Ryan? I thought he was moving in with Nigel?”

Ryan looked away. “He’s scared, Kennedy. None of that was planned. He didn’t know that Delilah would be there that night, and…”

“And what?”

“Staying with Nigel wasn’t, well, for certain. He knew he could stay there a few nights, but he wasn’t sure about moving in there.”

“And Delilah offered after she found out about his legal troubles?”


My eyes pulsed anger, I’m sure.

“He really does love you.”

“Whatever,” I said, walking away.

“Kennedy,” Ryan called after me. I turned around. “He…had limited options, you know? And…”


“Before Delilah showed up, he was going to ask you to stay, but, honestly, he didn’t know where or whatever, you know?”

“So, why did he CHOOSE her over me?”

“She’s a paralegal. She makes good money and-”

“Great. I got traded in for a sugar mama.”

Ryan looked at me a moment with a very stalwart expression, then just looked away.

Annoyed, I started to walk away again, but I looked back at him instead. “So, how well does he know this girl?”

“They’ve been out three or four times.”

“Jesus, freaking, Christ. She could be an ax murderer for all he knows or a complete BITCH.”

Ryan laughed, “Despite what you see in the movies, most people in New York are decent human beings.”

With a nod, that was that. My broken heart was wrapped up in a neat little package and served up with a plate of cold, hard truth. And I just wanted to go home, crawl into my bathtub and cry my way through a gallon of chocolate ice cream and a couple dozen beers. But I didn’t because I was broke. I went back to work, not knowing that Morgan would walk back into my life again a few years later…

Over and out from my Stop and Smell the Crazy life

TenaciousB and company…

*Brooklyn Queens Expressway

Blog 36 – NEW YORK or BUST…

Posted in beer, college, friends, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2011 by tenaciousbitch

A couple days AFTER my 20th birthday (Circa 1986), I started dating a guy named Morgan. With a smile that would charm the devil, better than Brad Pitt blue eyes,  and 12-pack abs from working construction, Morgan was a 22-year-old HOTTIE.

That said, one very busy Thursday night in February when I was working at a jazz club, the Monarch Cafe, Morgan swaggered in, wrapped his arms around me and whispered, “Wanna go to New York?”

I laughed and said, “Absolutely. We can get breakfast…” but the dark glint of worry in his eyes gave me pause. “You can’t be serious?”

He nodded. “Tonight. I’m…I’m in trouble, serious trouble,” he said somberly.

“What’s going on?”

“I’ll explain later, okay?”

I nodded. However, the word “trouble,” only created a minor BLIP on my anxiety barometer, like being late on his rent or pissing off a crazy neighbor who came at him with a shotgun for keeping him up all night partying or something.

“I have to work tomorrow, and I’ve got class on Monday.”

“So, do I,” Morgan said, sarcastically as if WORK/school were of no consequence. “I love you, Kennedy, please?”

I just stared at him. This was the FIRST time he’d sputtered any allusion to “LOVE” in the 30 days we’ve known each other – except to say how much he LOVED my 38D’s.

“I love you too, but…”

Like a beer fried 20-year-old, I thought about it for a moment, but the possibility of unbridled/entertaining madness with my “new love” QUASHED all sense of logic. So, I said, “Okay, okay. After last call.”

He nodded, smiling, and said, “Thank you! You won’t regret it. I promise!” And he grabbed me and planted the MOST passionate kiss upon my lips that I had EVER tasted.

After work, I rushed out to Morgan’s dark blue, rather battered Chevy van parked out front.  Morgan’s best friend, Ryan, hopped out of the front seat, so I could slide in beside Morgan.

Ryan was a good-looking, sophisticated fellow with a jagged smile, courtesy of a chipped tooth. Ryan was studying art history, and I assume he wanted to get his Ph.D. and teach.

“What happened?” I asked, gesturing to the radio now playing THE CURE, while hanging in midair from its cubby hole by a jugular of green and yellow wires.

“I walked out this morning, and someone had smashed the window,” he answered tilting his head toward the driver’s side window framed in jagged shards of glass where he’d haphazardly taped a thick wad of butcher paper. “They scarfed all my cassettes, but let go of the radio once they saw me and -”

At which point, as if ON CUE, I heard barking. I looked back, and there was Caesar, Morgan’s 45-pound dog, a beautiful blond mutt in the back of the van on a dirty mattress, wildly wagging his tail.

“You’re bringing Caesar?” I asked.

“Of course,” Morgan said, starting the van. “There’s no one to take care of him.”

I nodded, but I was worried about the furry addition to our manifest. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE dogs, but with less than 500 bucks between us, another consumer seemed unwise. The animal shelter seemed like a better choice, but it wasn’t my call.

First stop after going to my apartment to pack a few things – was Jackson’s carryout. Morgan bought two cases of Budweiser. I would’ve bought Natty Light** to save money, but, again not MY CALL… Ryan opened three beers and passed them around, then held up his bottle and said, “Let the games begin.”

To-wit, we ALL laughed.

Long about the Pennsylvania state line, a wicked GUST of wind ripped the paper off the lower quadrant of the metal window frame. And the butcher paper began flapping wildly in rhythm to the FULL VOLUME, glass-battering WHISTLE…and the blistering COLD hit us like nobody’s business.

Morgan’s saddened eyes met mine. And I’m sure my gaze conveyed the woe my ears and my FLASH-frozen skin were experiencing.

“Shit,” Morgan said, chuckling.

“Should I sing to drown it out?” Ryan asked.

“If it’ll raise the temperature,” I said laughing through chattering teeth.

“No,” Morgan replied. “I don’t want Caesar diving over the side to 86 the screeching of your vocal chords.”

“That’s harsh,” Ryan said good-naturedly, as his laughter blended into mine.

A truck stop snaked its way onto the horizon, and Morgan said, “Let there be food!” Again, we laughed. Caesar then barked several times in complaint after jumping into the driver’s seat just as Morgan was shutting the door, but we had to ignore him.

We sat in a large booth in the crowded diner/truckstop. We all ordered burgers and fries from the double-wide waitress, who had two ink pens parked in her large tornado of gray hair atop her large head.

“I think you two should get married,” Ryan suddenly blurted out for apparently NO REASON.

“What?” I said, laughing.

Morgan gave Ryan an UGLY SCOWL.

“I told you I was going to tell her,” Ryan replied with a devilish grin.

“What the hell’re you talking about?”

“Nothing. Ryan had a stupid dream, and we-”

“You love her, don’t you?” Ryan asked.

“You know I do,” Morgan said, his eyes not wavering from Ryan’s somber face.

“Excuse me, but I’m RIGHT here, guys!” I retorted.

“Then, don’t be a coward,” Ryan said.

And that statement RANKLED my innards! 🙂

“Can we talk about this later?” Morgan asked.

I nodded.

“Okay, but it’s your funeral,” Ryan said.

Which made ABSOLUTELY no sense, especially considering what happened when we ARRIVED…

FINALLY, after slogging through 10 inches of new SNOW and 20-mile an hour traffic throughout PA and southern New Jersey, followed by getting stuck for THREE hours on I-95 behind a truck that had spilled gasoline in the wake of its WRECK, finally 18 hours or so later, we traversed the Holland Tunnel, crossing into the blessed LAND of Manhattan – at 11 a.m.

First stop, a tavern, of course, by the name of RIPLEY’S on the lower East side. We ordered some breakfast and a round of Mimosas.

We wandered about lower Manhattan and Midtown all day, trekking in and out of bookstores, swanky-ish shops and various watering holes until around 8 p.m. when we ducked back into Ripley’s. Not FIVE minutes after Morgan ordered a Tequila shooter for himself and a Heineken for me, a girl named Delilah joined us.

Delilah was a very pretty redhead, and I just ASSUMED she was with Ryan. I knew that Morgan and Ryan had spent many weekends here in the last couple of years, so I didn’t suspect anything unseemingly  was going on until Morgan turned to me around midnight and said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t stay with you tonight.”

“What? What do you mean?”

“I need somewhere to stay.”

“You have a warm bed WAITING for you at our hotel  -!”

“I can’t go back to West Virginia.”

“I know that, but why-?”

“Here. Read this,” he said, handing me a very wrinkled document from his pocket.

I glanced at the legal SLOP on the document as he continued, “I stole $2800 from First Savings when I was a teller there. I’m moving in with Delilah.”

Can you say WHAT THE FUCK?

The full impact of his statement hit me like an ASTEROID on CRACK! I was COMPLETELY stunned. I stood up and stared at him for a moment. And he had the NERVE to be TEARY-EYED. I wanted to break his goddamned nose, turn those teary eyes BLACK, but instead, I yelled, “Then, why the FUCK did you bring me here?”

His only answer was to LOOK AWAY.

Delilah tossed wicked EYE darts at me, then signaled the waitress for another beer.

“And I blew off my JOB for you!? What was I then, your back up plan?”

At that, Morgan cut his gaze to mine, “I’m sorry, I really-”

“Fuck off, you low-life bastard!” I SCREAMED launching Delilah’s beer bottle against the wall. The CRASH was rather loud. Glass scattering EVERYWHERE, and at least TWO dozen CURIOUS eyes sought me out from across the room, but luckily, the 1/2 ounce of beer wash merely ran down the wall – avoiding any patrons. Thank God!

“What the fuck?” Delilah screamed. “What was that for?”

“You fucking whore!” I shouted.

A comment that brought Delilah to her feet, “What’d you call me, you stupid HICK!?”

“You heard me, SLUT DOG!” I retorted barging my way past her and POUNDING out the door as fast as I could, once again into the BRUTAL cold.

And then..



TenaciousBITCH and company…

**NATURAL LIGHT for those just joining CRAZYTOWN…