Sunday, July 28, 2013

Return To Sender.

If I can do anything well, it is definitely laughing at my own missteps.  This morning I committed the ultimate misstep and am on my way to joining the ranks of Anthony Weiner and Geraldo...but not quite the level of Kim Kardashian and Ray J.  

In an effort to send one thing to Jambo and something else to Petunia, I got a bit mixed up.  I actually don't even know what happened so I cannot make a lame excuse...I cannot even blame it on the 7 mimosas I had with brunch....I just was not paying attention.  Long story short, I sexted Petunia...and not just a racy included a picture.  It's true.  Obviously, this is my karma for attempting to sext Jambo while he's singing in church.

I realized my mistake within moments of hitting send.  I tried to be stealthy and delete the message before the send status meter filled up completely in hopes that it would not be delivered, but I was not so lucky.  The message went through.  Delivered.

Of course my first option was to crawl into a hole and DIE.  I thought maybe I should just not say anything, perhaps Petunia wasn't by her phone and wouldn't notice...ever.  Or perhaps I could quickly send her a bunch of memes and someecards and push the message in question far enough back that she couldn't find it.  Or I could just join the witness protection program, change my name, move away, and never speak to her again.  The latter of the three seemed the most reasonable.

Finally, I just swallowed my pride and apologized for sharing my assets with the wrong recipient.  Petunia, being the incredible sport that she is, laughed the entire situation off...I'm sure she was laughing at the situation and not the picture....

On the bright side, it could have been much much worse.  The message could have ended up with one of my other recent contacts which include my current boss, my former boss, and my aunt.  Clearly I need to brush up my sexting skills before making an attempt like this again in the future, and frankly, I sure feel like a weenie.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Nothing about roller skating is remotely appealing to me.  I don't really understand how to do it, and I am physically incapable of making the skates cooperate.  In my mind, I feel as though I look like a newborn calf trying to walk for the first time.  On the other hand, my other half is somewhat of a roller disco phenom.  Jambo loves to tear up a skating rink, and if they ever cast an all black remake of Xanadu, he'd gladly take over for Olivia.

Well, Jambo recently celebrated a birthday, and wanted nothing more than to skate the night away.  He had his heart set on be-bopping around the rink to his favorite hits such as "No Parking on the Dancefloor" and "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough."

Obliging, since it was his birthday, I rounded up a couple of people and headed to the skate center.  I did some research before hand, and on this particular evening it was supposed to be Adult Skate.  I also really wanted to take my own Rollerblades in - those I can handle, and although I cannot stop smoothly on Rollerblades, I can at least do a few laps without looking like a complete fool - but I was informed that if I had worn my blades outside, I would be unable to bring them into the rink.  Who the hell has a pair of indoor only Rollerblades anyway?  Jambo however, came prepared, and brought a pair of his very own roller skates to use.

Within moments of stepping inside, my anxiety level shot through the roof.  The place was packed...with children.  Everywhere I looked children and tweens and teens were zipping around the place on skates.  It appeared as though there were even skate gangs.  First off, I cannot handle large groups of awkward teenagers to begin with, but I especially cannot handle them on roller skates.  These fools were zipping in and out of every nook and cranny possible...I'd be doing well enough just to stand alone on skates.

Once skated up, Jambo took off.  He left me high and dry without a second thought.  Holly had joined us for the evening and even he was able to join the flow without any second glance.  However, Petunia deiced to hold down the wall...with me.  Our job was to make sure no one ran off with the wall, mostly because we CANNOT skate.  At all.

Jambo was in his element.  He tore up the skate floor, and all the while Petunia and I watched with obscene jealously.  Even the seven year olds who littered the rink were able to jive with the best of them.  Petunia and I tried to self talk our way onto the rink, in every way possible, with no avail.

In skate world there's also a fad known as "trucking."  Trucking occurs when a group of people skate around the rink and bob to the unison with each other.  I cannot even manage a trip to the bathroom, let alone truck along with a bunch of other synchronized fools.  On roller skates, I was a complete novice...maybe even a step below a novice, and the only way to get to where the other novices skate was to cross the Ring of Death.  It's probably not refereed to as the Ring of Death to other people, but to me it is.

The Ring of Death is blocking the inner track of the skating rink where all the beginner skaters skate.  The Ring of Death is the entire floor, where anything is game.  Crossing through the Ring is social suicide.  87% of skate center participants are skating around the Ring, in top speed and doing fancy tricks where they criss-cross their legs or skate backwards...Jambo and Holly are those people.

Before long, Cookie joined us.  Cookie started off as a friend of Holly's, but now she's my friend too.  Wearing a full length skirt, Cookie tied the excess up around her knees and was ready to go.  Luckily for me, Cookie wasn't as proficient as Jambo and was also needing to skate inside the Novice Circle...inside the Ring of Death.

Cookie and I battled our way through.

Cookie was much more comfortable than I was.  I wanted nothing more than to be on the sidelines with Petunia.  I could not make my skates go the right way, and I was deathly terrified that every single person on the rink would cut in front of me causing me to flip head over heels.  My uncomfort level was through the roof and now I was trapped...all the while, Jambo kept doing circles around me.

I was in the Novice Circle and the Ring of Death was moving faster and faster.  It seemed to me as though eternity had passed, but in all actuality it had only been about nine minutes and I had only completed four laps.

Cutting my losses, I made a valiant attempt to dart across the entire rink and get back on land...and back to my shoes.  Every stride across the floor made time stand still, and the Chariots of Fire theme rang  through my ears.

Finally, I made it to my destination, right next to Petunia.  Jambo, Holly, and Cookie continued to skate merrily along, and frankly, I xana-don't plan to skate again.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This Is 30.

I have put Jambo into some fairly ridiculous situations so far through the course of our relationship -which will soon hit its 14 month (I opted not to write an anniversary post, mostly because we both had to work and the post was boring), and this past weekend was no exception.

Without much planning time, I informed Jambo that we would be driving up to Michigan for a mere 42 hours to celebrate a dear friend's 30th birthday.  This particular friend has been previously referenced as Blanche in the "Stay Golden" post, and has probably accumulated several other nicknames in both the blog and in life, but we'll refer to her now as Ariel...not because she has flowing red locks of hair, and not because she's a shell bra wearing mermaid, but because she's been known to sing a song similar to the one Ariel sings when giving up her voice to Ursula...only she does it during her alone time with her bf.

Jambo and I packed a duffel bag, hopped in the car, and headed up to The Mitten.  An eight and a half hour car ride really gives you the opportunity to get to know someone on a whole different level.  Every day that Jambo and I are together, I learn something new about him.  We talked about all of the things that are working really well for our relationship...which is just about everything.  We also talked about the things that are not working so great for our relationship...which is apparently my singing.  As I was cruising up 65N, and belting out a Mariah Carey chart topper, Jambo tells me that because he actually can sing and works as a choir director, and has the ability to carry a tune on perfect pitch, his ears have an adverse reaction to my version of all songs.  I sing all of the time...I have a mean version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" that I keep up my sleeve for special occasions.  Of course I was crushed by this revelation and made a mental note to share this bit of information with Ariel as soon as I could.

We arrived at Ariel's house in record time, but Ariel wouldn't be home from work for a couple of more hours.  Jambo and I took full advantage of this down time before the celebrations began...I got caught up on my Candy Crush and Hanging with Friends games, and Jambo practiced the Wobble and Turbo Shuffle to dance with Ariel at the bar.

Per tradition at Ariel's house, I ordered us a chicken feta pizza from Cottage Inn and made sure the wine was chilled for as soon as Ariel got home.  I had not been back up to The Mitten since December, and Jambo had not been since November...we definitely had some catching up to do.  Before long, Ariel arrived.  The pizza delivery time was still about 30 minutes away, so the three of us ran a quick errand to see Ariel's aunt.  We made sure to be quick, as to not miss the delivery guy.  We got back to the house, totally ready to uncork some wine and chow down.  However, there was one small glitch.

In Ariel's rush to run her quick errand, she locked us out of the house.  The house keys were sitting on the hutch inside the locked front door, right next to the money for the pizza delivery guy.  The quickest way into the house was to climb up the back balcony, hop over the railing, and open the sliding glass door.  After spending hours in a car, and without proper footwear, I was in no condition to scale the side of a building...but someone had to do it.  I kicked off my Sperry's, hopped up onto the canvas seat of an old lawn chair, and began to shimmy my way up to the top.  Shimmying up the side of Ariel's house was not easy, and I suddenly felt like I was in the midst of a Warrior Dash obstacle.  Finally, and not quite as difficult as I had expected, I made it to the top.  I flung my body over the banister, and fought with an ancient screen door that seemed to be welded/rusted shut, all the while I could hear the pizza delivery guy frantically ringing the front door bell.  I tried shouting out to him so he wouldn't now I was starving for some chicken feta pizza!  I made Ariel and Jambo run around to the front of Ariel's house, which by the way is in the middle of a row of townhouses, to hopefully intercept the pizza guy.

Alas!  The door finally gave way, I made it into the house and flew to the front door just in time to catch the pizza delivery guy as he was beginning to pull away.  Ariel and Jambo finally made it around to the front, waving money to offer for the pizza.  We caught our pizza at the very last second, the guy had already tried to deliver it once and was about to take it back for good. 

Finally, we could eat.  We gathered around Ariel's dining room table and devoured an incredible pizza and downed some wine while YouTubing 80's power ballads.  Before Ariel got too out of control with her take on Atlantic Starr, I warned her about Jambo's ultra sensitive ears...I'd hate for him to relive the same pain I had caused him just hours before.  As it turns out, MmmBop had previously told Ariel that exact same thing during her rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'".    

With full stomachs, and the beginning of a wine buzz, we were just waiting on Ariel's lover, MmmBop to show up.  Ariel was in the mood to begin celebrating the big 30 right at the stroke of midnight...and she had a very special place in mind.

Once MmmBop arrived, we grabbed a couple of roadies and headed off to the local VFW Hall.  Before turning 30, Ariel apparently wanted to relive 1996, and we would be meeting up with Ariel's friend LuLu (this is actually her real name, her name is just too good to give a nickname.) 

Just before midnight, we strolled into the VFW Hall.  I am fairly certain that fresh air and sunlight have not made an appearance since the day it was built.  The karaoke stage was situated to the front of the hall, adjacent to a rather large dance floor.  As we walked in the front door, we were greeted with some tortured version of Alison Krauss' "When You Say Nothing At All".  There was a a shuffle board table along one of the walls, numerous American flags scattered about, and a few strands of white Christmas lights hanging from various corners of the ceiling.  A wood paneled bar lined the back of the hall and was surrounded by Pull Tab machines.  Ariel quickly whipped out her cash, and we dashed over to the Pull Tab machine.  Any one from The Mitten will tell you just how addictive Pull Tabs are, and the concept is simple.  Each "ticket" is a small card with 5-8 "pull tabs" running horizontally down the card.  You simply pull each tab across to reveal any cash prizes.  We started with $20 worth, won $5, played $5, won $2, added $5 more dollars, and lost it all.  The adrenaline rush alone was well worth it. 

About a dozen or so people were scattered throughout the hall, and LuLu was about to take the stage for her karaoke performance.  Jambo, Ariel, MmmBop, and I ordered a round of 1 Crown and Diet, 1 Vodka Tonic, and 2 beers...for a total of $6.  Clearly, this was the place to drink on a budget.  Suddenly LuLu's song selection began and my heart was full  LuLu performed my karaoke speciality, "Total Eclipse of the Heart."  Amazing.  LuLu rocked that microphone like it was going out of style, which it actually had....23 years ago.  She had opted not to sing the shorter, most common, radio version, but instead belted out the song in its entire original format - all seven minutes of it.  Talk about seven minutes in heaven.

Once LuLu finished, the karaoke DJ decided to spin a little dance music for the ladies in the crowd.  With a deafening boom,  "Baby Got Back" blasted through the speakers and the dance floor was flooded.  Each lady that felt the need to rush the dance floor to dance her ass off had a lot more than just "back"...the average weight  was roughly 325 lbs.  The europhic state I was in from LuLu's angelic voice was now replaced with a state of sheer horror.  These ladies were getting down, and in the worst way possible.  I scrambled to order more drinks, I was entirely too sober.

Sir-Mix-A Lot played for what seemed like an eternity.  I used this opprotunity to run to the bathroom, I didn't need to see any more booty shaking.  Along the way to the bathroom -which was roughly 17 feet away from where I was standing - I met Toothless Kim.  Her name is self explanatory.  She complimented me on the shorts I was wearing, and then asked if Jambo was my man.  Picking up on the social ques from the event space and its patrons, I was not about to openly admit I was in a homosexual relationship with the only black man in the entire VFW Hall...that would have been an immediate two strikes for both Jambo and I.  Just as I was wrapping up my brief and incredibly awkward conversation with Toothless Kim, her 19 year nephew, who was equally as toothless approaches and says: "Now don'tchu be hittin' on my Auntie!"  Oh you have nothing to worry about Toothless Nephew.  I politely excused myself, and continued onto the bathroom.

Just as I was walking back to the group, "Brick House" began to play, and with lightning quick reflexes, LuLu ran over to me, grabbed my rock hard butt while grinding up on me and harmoniously sang "mighty, mighty!"  Surely this could not be real life.  Ariel's first 60 minutes of being 30 years old were quite exciting, I can only hope to experience such when I turn 30...in17 months. 

It was now well past 1, and the crowd was dwindling down, but LuLu and Ariel were still ready to party.  The last song of the evening was "American Solider" to pay tribute to all our service men and women, of course.  The lights slightly dimmed, some spot lights came on to set the mood, and I was trying to finish my beer when Toothless Kim asked if she could have a dance before the night ended.  Ugh.  How could I say no?

She quickly dragged me to the center of the dance floor, placed my arms around her waist and settled in as though we were at a high school homecoming and Lonestar started playing.  Of course, Ariel, MmmBop, and Jambo had a field day - they all started heckling and snapping photos.  Toothless Kim told me how I was the sexiest man in the whole entire building - which I already knew- and if I were just a couple of years older she would try to take me home.  Sorry Toothless Kim, your nephew had already chased me away.

Finally the song ended and it was time to make a quick departure.  Ariel insisted on meeting LuLu at City Market bar.  City Market is somewhat of a mini farmer's market in Downtown Lansing, which apparently has an after hours bar.  The bar is about the size of a shoebox .  12 people were in the bar when we showed up; our group of 4, plus LuLu and her sister...the rest were employees.  We drank some beers and threw back some shots while City Market blasted the soundtrack to Great Gatsby.  We got kicked out somewhere between 2:00 and 2:30, the bar would just be serving employees for the rest of the evening.

We made our way back to Ariel's house, this time making sure she knew exactly where her keys were.  We all changed into our pajamas, and per another tradition, hopped onto Ariel's gigantic bed to watch TV.  Ariel was dying to introduce us to the HBO hit "Girls".  I only had it in me to watch the very first episode, if I weren't so exhausted I could have watched the entire series in one sitting.  I was hooked. 

After sleeping off the night's festivities, we were all slow to get moving Saturday afternoon.  We watched another episode of "Girls", and Ariel fought through an allergy attack.  Apparently turning 30 isn't all glamorous all the time, and MmmBop made sure to mention that Ariel had begun her downward descent towards dying.

The afternoon passed rather uneventfully, and it was time to get ready for Ariel's big birthday dinner.  A few other guests showed up, including my college Wife and one of her sidekicks.  Ariel made sure to reserve her go-to cab driver, Juan, for the evening.  Juan isn't a traditional cab driver, and I'm actually not sure if he's licensed to drive passangers in his four door mini-van and charge them for it, but he's reliable and gets us to where we need to go without fail.

Jaun rolled up, we piled into his van, and we were ready to go!  As he dropped us off for dinner he handed us each a ticket for free admission to Omar's Show Bar.  No 30th, or any birthday for that matter, could be complete without a visit to the titty bar...especially if it's free!

Ariel's childhood friends, college friends, and family all joined to celebrate her, and we gorged ourselves on some of the best calamari, risotto, steaks, pastas, and grilled cheeses possible.  Since we were all dressed up and dining at a fancy restaurant, we were on our best behavior.  However, Ariel's grandmother entertained us all with a delightful acapella tap dance routine.

Once dinner was over, we parted ways with Ariel's tap dancing family, and the true party animals went out to drink.  No one should spend their 30th birthday sober.  Ariel had her sights set on boozing and dancing, and we ended up at Eden Rock.  Eden Rock is every club/bar/frat party you have ever been to rolled up in one.  It has a dimly lit lounge, a dance floor, video screens, beer pong tables, a patio, girls dressed for bachelorette parties, douchebags with popped collars and croakies, wanksters in basketball jerseys, thugs with sagging jeans, and a Kurt Cobain look alike with greasy hair and a flannel shirt.

Unfortunately, the dance music wasn't up to par for Ariel's liking as it was an odd mix of every popular R&B song mashed up with dupstep.  Jambo took matters into his own hands, and requested the Wobble and Turbo Shuffle for Ariel, after all he had been practicing just for this very moment.

After several rounds of drinks and a few shots here and there, we called it a, we had a game of Cards Against Humanity to play.  As requested, Juan returned to pick us up, and this time he had coupons to Rally's for us.  He kindly stopped at Rally's so we could get our fix of banana shakes and french fries before the night was over.  While en route to Ariel's house, my Wife's sidekick schooled us all on the proper use and form of the plural of cul-de-sac.  Although we did not encounter a single cul-de-sac that night, I now know cul-de-sacs is not the correct plural form, it is actually culs-de-sac.  I just hope I never find myself trapped in a culs-de-sac. 

Sunday morning eventually rolled around, and after a delicious breakfast at the neighborhood Cracker Barrel, it was time for Jambo and I to head back South.  I had a fantastic time celebrating the 30th year of Ariel's life, and frankly I may just stay 28 forever.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Of Mice and Men

The Homeowner and I have been dealing with a rat infestation.

Ok, so it's not really an infestation - we've caught like 5 or 6 - and they aren't rats, they're mice.  Nevertheless, they are disgusting and even just one is one too many.

I absolutely cannot deal with rodents of any sort.  Mice, rats, hamsters, and/or guinea pigs are all vile creatures. Everything about them disgusts me, from their beady little eyes to their weird claw-ish feet.  Plus, they are all sneaky and carry diseases.  No joke, I almost have a panic attack and physically shut down in the presence of these monsters.  Call it a phobia if you wish.

Our problem with these foul things started a couple of months ago.  I was sitting on the couch watching television, when I heard a rustling in the kitchen.  I glanced up just in time to see a stealthy shadow pass across the counter top.  Thinking I may be hallucinating, I shrugged it off.  The Homeowner and I are neat and tidy people, surely a mouse had not moved in.  I went back to minding my own business when something scurried across the living room rug, just mere inches from my feet, and darted underneath the entertainment center.  With lightning quick reflexes, I jumped up onto the couch, pulling my appendages out of harm's way, and through text message, demanded that The Homeowner come home at once to kill this small beast.

At first, The Homeowner did not believe me, but I was finally able to compile enough evidence that showed a need to invest in some traps.  Initially, we were winning the war.  In just a few days we had caught four of the filthy things.  Each mouse causality was a victory and an adrenaline rush.  Of course, I made The Homeowner clean up the carnage.  Even in death, I couldn't bear to look at their beady eyes caught underneath the icy cold metal of the trap with flecks of peanut butter stuck to their pathetic whiskers.  

Weeks had passed and the set traps started to collect dust.  We hit the battle lines hard and had proven to be victorious.  We had gone almost a month without a mouse murder.  I figured that since the weather had warmed slightly and so many had fallen during the winter, that perhaps the remaining critters had gotten wise and moved on.  The Homeowner and I let our guard down, and pay back would be a bitch.

This past Saturday, I was suddenly jostled out of a peaceful slumber by The Homeowner.  Apparently he heard quite a rustling noise in the kitchen and had assumed it was me preparing a late night snack.  However, after quite some time and finally realizing Jambo and I were tucked snugly in bed, The Homeowner went to investigate.  The scene in the kitchen was nothing I'd like to relive, but I'll be strong and describe it anyway.

Stuck in the trap was the fattest mouse I had ever seen.  This beast really could have been a rat.  It was much more than a mouse.  This hulk of a thing had actually managed to move the trap and itself out from underneath the bar cart in the kitchen and made it out into the open next to the refrigerator.  Somehow it managed it travel about 16ish inches from the trap's original location.

The worst was not yet over.

The mouse was actually still alive.  The trap did not snap down and break its tiny little neck, causing a quick and painless death, but instead it merely caught the mouse's paws.  The mouse was alive and its beady eyes were piercing into my soul.  Every breath of the mouse rang in my ears, and I was convinced it was summoning its mouse-friends and in moments the entire house would be under attack.

The Homeowner and I were completely beside ourselves, and I was rendered essentially useless.  Before I knew it, I was in full on panic mode...I was quickly getting hot, sweaty, and anxious.  I feared the mouse breaking loose and making a made dash across the floor to savagely attack my feet.   We needed to get the mouse, preferably dead, out of the house.  From the top of a chair, I offered a couple of solutions to The Homeowner; he could grab a hammer and just quickly give the mouse a whack, or he could put a Tupperware container over the mouse and the trap and starve the mouse of oxygen, causing it to suffocate.  He didn't care for either of these options and insisted I hold open a shopping bag, and while using a dustpan, he would scoop the mouse into the bag and throw the whole thing into the trash.

There was no way in Hell that I could hold open a bag while he attempted to throw a mouse into it.  We were two grown men, panicking over a mouse.  I was in such a state of shock that I couldn't even wake Jambo up to help me.  So many irrational fears were rushing through my mind.

At one point, The Homeowner tried to pick up the trap, but the mouse moved and we both ran screaming from the kitchen.

Finally, The Homeowner realized that I was useless in this battle, and if we were going to win, he would have to take action on his own.  He manned up, and in one swift motion, scooped up the mouse, put him the plastic bag, and threw the plastic bag out onto the front porch.

Great.  Now we had a live mouse, barely stuck in a trap, inside of a plastic bag, out on the front porch.  This creature could now summon all of its outdoor rodent friends.

Through a miracle, I was able to talk myself off of the chair and get back into bed.  All the while, Jambo remained asleep, completely unaware of the tragedy unfolding just feet away.  I was barely able to sleep that night, and it did not even get cold enough for the bagged mouse on the porch to freeze to death.

Once the sun rose, I was ready to face my fears - somewhat.  I marched out to the porch, and using an incredibly long golf umbrella that had been left at the house, I slowly slid the tip through one of the bag handles.  The bag opened just enough, and I got a glimpse of it's creepy little eye...peering straight up at me.  I didn't let this bother me, I needed to be strong.  In my sweat pants, slippers, and grandpa cardigan, I ran across the lawn with the bag hanging off the end of the umbrella.  I quickly threw up the garbage can's lid and slipped the bag down inside.  Then using the umbrella again, I pushed one of the garbage bags onto the mouse bag just to ensure he couldn't get out.  To further guarantee the mouse's demise, I triumphantly slammed the garbage can lid down, and frankly justice will be mine.      

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rack 'Em.

I could spend just about every weekend in an antique shop or at the flea market.  I have no problem perusing through old junk, with the hopes that I'll find an amazing piece that is screaming to be taken home and collect even more dust in my house.  I take all the knowledge I have gathered from American Pickers and Pawn Stars and pretend as though I know the historical context of whatever item has caught my eye.

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I got this crazy idea firmly planted into my head that I needed to fill a clear glass container with a set of billiard balls.  The balls couldn't just be any set of billiard balls though, they needed to be a set from an antique store or flea market.  I wanted them to be faded and worn with dents and bumps and the residue of chalk.

I did a little bit of research on Etsy and Craigslist, but I did not find any promising leads, plus I really wanted to scavenge to find the perfect set.  Just days after Jambo's hospital stint, we plotted out our route to hit up the four antique stores that the Boro has to offer.  Jambo may have been on his death bed just days prior, but I was hell bent on making this vision become a reality.  I needed vintage billiard balls in a class container, displayed on somewhere in my bedroom.  Please do not question my rationale or reasoning.

Unbeknownst to me, Murfreesboro actually has incredible antique stores.  Since there isn't much else to do there, Jambo and I have begun frequenting these shops whenever I have to fulfill a crazy, off the wall whim.

So I loaded Jambo up, insulin and all, we were off!  I was on a mission and there would be no stopping me.

We entered the first shop, and I was immediately blindsided/incredibly distracted by the room full of amazing vintage Christmas things.  Glass ornaments, silver tinsel trees, bottlebrush trees, Putz village pieces, winking Santa mugs, red and gold punch bowls with etched holly trims.  There was just so much to look at, lust over, and wish for.  I wanted all of it, every single thing.  Jambo had to quickly reel me back in before I whipped out the Visa card and went on a charging frenzy.  After all, Christmas is over with and we needed to find pool balls, not holiday decorations.

I was scouring every corner of the shop.  Like most antique stores, there wasn't any rhyme or reason as to how things were merchandised.  My set of balls could easily be tucked alongside some mint in the box Holiday Barbie dolls or the iced tea pitcher and tumbler set that is straight off the set of The Help.  I was completely in the trenches looking through every nook and cranny, and double checking to make sure I hadn't missed anything.  Jambo probably thought I was a lunatic, but suddenly he let out the most delighted squeal.  There's nothing like a big black man squealing like an Asian school girl at a Hello Kitty convention.  He had stumbled into a cabinet - literally stumbled into it as antique stores are packed full and Jambo is a big guy- and on the bottom shelf was a box of the most perfect pool balls.  They were exactly what I had been hoping for.  The whites had faded to a pale yellow, the colors were vibrant but aged, and there were specks of blue chalk dust from games played.  Score!

Box 'em up, I was sold!

However, there was one small hitch.  The 8 ball was missing.  I knew I had gotten too lucky by finding a set in the first store I had ventured into.  Now came the decision making.  Do I buy an almost complete set with the hopes I would be able to find a lone 8 ball?  These balls were being sold individually, so surely somewhere out there an 8 ball would be sold singly?  But who bought just the 8 ball, what does one do with just one 8 ball?  So many questions were rushing through my mind, but I needed to think fast.  I opted to purchase the almost complete set and would take my chances.

Jambo and left the store and headed on, this mission was not yet complete.  Plus, I still needed a container, bucket, or jar to display them all in.

Just as luck would have it, there was another antique store tucked right behind the first one.  I didn't bother asking the sales associate if she knew of an 8 ball on the property, I wanted to find it for myself.  Once again I went to stealth mode.  I was scouring, scavenging, and hunting.  This time I wouldn't let any Christmas decor distract my focus.

After just minutes I heard yet another delighted squeal.  Jambo's luck struck again, and he had found an 8 ball!  Sitting amongst fishing lures was one 8 ball and one cue ball.  Well I already had a cue, I just needed the 8.  I tracked the sales associate back down so she could unlock the display case for me, and she was quite full of questions.  What would I do with just one 8 ball, and why didn't I want the cue ball too?

Well lady, don't worry about it, and why are you selling just one 8 ball and one cue ball in the first place?!

I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my set would soon be complete, and it only took about 40 minutes total.  The inquisitive broad had to call her manager to see how much she could even sell the 8 ball for because there wasn't a  price on it.  I told her that I had just bought an entire set for $1.50 a ball from the shop next door, and as it turned out, both shops are owned by the same person anyway.  This 8 ball should only be $1.50 too!  Suddenly this felt like a pyramid scheme.  After what seemed like hours, she said she could sell the ball for $5.

$5.00 whole dollars for ONE ball!?  Highway robbery.

I needed this 8 ball and I had been far too lucky to find it so quickly.  I didn't even bother to haggle, and being the gentleman that he is, Jambo foot the bill.

A box of balls.

With his hawk eye precision, Jambo found the coveted treasures in no time.  To add to that, he didn't seem to have much of a problem being dragged along on my quest for such a ridiculous item.

I figured finding the set of balls would be the difficult part and that I wouldn't have much of an issue finding the container to display them in.  Boy, was I wrong.  My lack of being able to estimate the volume of a jar coupled with my inability to accurately determine just how large of an opening was necessary for a billiard ball to pass through made for quite a wild goose chase.

Jambo and I searched through the remaining two antique stores, as well as Pier One, World Market, Target, TJ Maxx and Marshall's to find the right size and shape.  After several purchases, trials, returns, and exchanges, I was finally able to find an apothecary style canister that worked perfectly!  It took just over a half an hour to find the balls but took about 2 hours to find the holder.  Then it was onto the really difficult part; arranging the balls just right so that not too many solids or stripes were together, and so that the solid and its corresponding stripe weren't touching, and even so that not too many warm or cool colors had ganged up... after another hour or so, the vision in my head was now a reality.

Jambo was a trooper.  He trekked around with me to find some vintage billiard balls that hold no significance beyond just my wanting them, just days after a serious health scare, and frankly I won on the snap.

The finished product. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hump Day.

Have you liked And Frankly on Facebook yet?  And frankly, you NEED to.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shelby, Drink Your Juice.

A couple of weeks ago Jambo was complaining about not feeling too well.  Being in the midst of a nasty flu season, I just assumed he was coming down with something.  He spent a few days at home waiting it out, but as his strength and energy were decreasing the flu never ended up coming around.

Monday rolled around, and as I went to work, Jambo stayed camped out on his couch. The afternoon progressed and he blew up my phone with seemingly over-dramatic text messages.  He was complaining that he felt drained, unable to fully use his hands, and feeling slightly light headed.  Being miles away and virtually helpless, I suggested he pay a visit to an urgent care clinic.

The urgent care clinic could not do anything but send Jambo to the ER.

I got off work a bit earlier than normal because my after school program was cancelled due to impending bad weather.  It's hard enough for Nashvillians to drive when it is dry and sunny outside, but throw some wintry mix into the situation and all bets are off.  I decided to cook a small dinner while I waited to hear back from Jambo.  I wasn't entirely sure what my next move would be, but if visiting him in the hospital were necessary, I'd be on my way.

Just as I finished up a quick stir fry, Jambo requested I trek out to the ER as he was about to begin a lovely three day stay in the ICU.  The thought of something being seriously wrong suddenly weighed heavily upon me.  Besides that, I hate going to hospitals.

The sickness and death aspect of hospitals is not what freaks me out.  I feel as though I don't know how to act appropriately in hospitals.  I never know if I am in the right place, if I am talking or laughing too loud, or is it even inappropriate to laugh at all??  I cannot keep myself from looking into an open door as I pass, and that doesn't seem too appropriate either.  Plus, I would love to spend a day in the ER waiting room asking people what stupid life choices they made that lead them to have a lead pipe and a beer bottle sticking out of their left femur, but that would just be bothersome to the other patients.

I sent out a quick message to the troops, I wanted someone to make the journey to Murfreesboro with me.  My dear friend, Petunia, answered the call to arms.  I quickly threw my stir fry dinner into a Tupperware container and headed out.

Things were not good.  It turned out that Jambo's blood sugar was too high to be read by the machine the nurses keep on hand and needed to be sent to the lab.  On top of that, his potassium level was about three times the normal level.  Jambo was the new owner of a Type I Diabetes diagnosis.  By any medical standard, Jambo should have been in a coma.  Essentially his body was going into shock and was on the verge of shutting down.

With what seemed like an incredibly low level of security, I walked right into his ER suite.  Shouldn't I have needed to at least wear a visitor sticker?  By time we arrived, Jambo was hooked up in a mess of about 37 different tubes.  However, the genius who connected the monitors and IVs had arranged them quite haphazardly.  Jambo was pretty much strapped down to the cot, and being much longer than the cot in the first place, he looked and was incredibly uncomfortable.  Now it was time to wait for his room in the ICU to be prepped.  Because Jambo needed to stay on a constant insulin drip for the next 24ish hours, they arranged his stay in the intensive care unit until his blood levels became lower.

I sat with Jambo and his roommate in the ER suite, and Petunia patiently waited in the waiting room.  It took everything in my being to not make any Steel Magnolias references, but even then, one slipped out occasionally.  Every now and then one of the nurses would pop in to offer more ice chips or to take another blood sample.  I couldn't help but notice that there are two types of nurses in this particular ER.  On one hand you have the middle aged overweight nurses with hair teased to heaven, who have probably been on staff for 26 years, and on the other you have the fresh out of nursing school, or community college, chick who thinks she's hot shit and wears way too much black eye liner.  I couldn't decide which of the two options was worse to deal with - one was grumpy as hell and one was just as annoying.

During the whole 2.75 hours I spent in Jambo's ER suite, the attending doctor only came in once.  I cannot even express how incredibly awkward he was, and was most certainly lacking the slightest hint of bedside manner.  The doc rambled on about the plan for the next 24 hours, immediate life style/diet changes, and to keep a vigilant eye out for a penile infection.  Eventually, Jambo's roommate needed to leave for home, Petunia was able to join us, and so we waited some more.

Finally, at about 9:30, Jambo's ICU room was ready for him.  It was now the task of the smallest, and probably oldest, nurse on duty to wheel Jambo's hospital cot down 784 feet of hallway, maneuver into an elevator, ride up three stories, and jockey his bed through the ICU.  As if being in the hospital weren't bad enough, now his life was being even furthered risk as the nurse careened around corners and tried not to crash into anything.  While the nurses were getting him set up in the penthouse of hospital rooms, Petunia and I took to waiting in the lounge.  We waited and waited some more, and just when we thought we were waited out, we continued to wait even longer.  Waiting patiently is not my forte, but making light of a bad situation is.  Petunia and I joked about everything in our surroundings, right down to the janitor who was riding the floor polisher around in circles on the floor below us.

After what seemed like waiting for hours, but was really about 33 minutes, the night nurse came to collect us and take us to see Jambo before it was lights out for the evening.  The Night Nurse had to have been the most socially awkward fellow I have ever encountered, and to make matters worse, he had a speech impediment.  He stuttered.  I am not one for being bullshitted to, and having a bit of a medical background - I became in EMT in high school and my college education track had been set on med school - I wanted to know straight up what was happening.  No sugar coating or dumbing down would be necessary.  The Night Nurse was having the toughest time answering my questions, I was able to gather more medical information from Petunia's obsession with 'Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman'.  Basically, all I needed to know was how long Jambo would be camping out in the hospital and if he would be allowed cell phone access.  Continuing to stutter his way through any coherent answers, I was hoping the Night Nurse would just be watching over the ICU patients and not actually administering anything that could be considered life altering.  It took awhile, but I was finally able to trust that Jambo would be in good hands for the night.  Finally, after hours of hanging around the hospital in the Boro, Petunia and I headed home to Nashville.

Jambo is now out of the hospital and finally feeling more like himself.  We still have a long road ahead in terms of figuring out how to satiate his unstoppable hunger, and I'm not the best at whipping up diabetic friendly cookies with my beautiful KitchenAid mixer, but poking fun at his situation, albeit quite serious, is the best way to cope with it.  I now have to find a trendy bag for Jambo to carry his blood tester and his insulin pen in, maybe Coach makes something nice, and frankly the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.