Sunday, July 22, 2012

In The Beginning...

Now this is the story all about how 

My life got flipped, turned upside down                                                                                                And I'd like to take a minute just sit right there                                                                                          I'll tell you how I became the prince of a town called...East Nashville.  

So fitting East Nashville into the lyrics for 'Fresh Prince' may not have the best rhyming pattern, but this will be the story of how my life did get flipped upside down and how I came to live in an attic.

Two years ago I bought a new car, packed up my life, fled the scene of a crime, and became a stowaway in The Homeowner's attic.

Before moving to Nashville, I was living in Oak Grove with at the time, a friend I had made while in undergrad at Michigan State.  The two of us were staying at her husband's best friend's house while the husband and friend were deployed.  I had recently graduated from grad school and was just biding my time until I was sure of what my next move would be.  The offer to stay in the Soldier's house seemed like a good idea, I wouldn't be locked into a lease in the case of a job opportunity arising and needing to move away.  The "Friend" and I had been friends for about 5ish years at this point (I had even gone to her wedding), but to clarify, she considered me her best friend...however, I did not find it to be a mutual sentiment.  

So together, we lived in the house, took care of the house, took care of the Soldier's bat-shit crazy dog, and went on with life.  I cannot leave out the detail that the Soldier's dog was deaf, had OCD tendencies, and displayed behavior typically found in lunatics and psychopaths.  To add to the combination, the "Friend" had two dogs of her own; an aging and grumpy pit bull mix and a hyperactive pit bull puppy.

Sparing all the nitty gritty details, I'll fast forward to when things got real.  After about 6 months of inhabiting and maintaining the home, my baby sister's high school graduation party rolled around.  I had missed to the actual graduation ceremony and I had not been home since Christmas.  On top of that, my family knows how to throw one hell of a graduation fest, so I had to attend.

The night before I was to head up to The Mitten, I made a pit stop in Nashville.  At roughly 5:30 pm, my beloved ten year old PT Cruiser named Dorothy bit the dust.  The timing belt snapped and completely destroyed the engine.  Fantastic.  I was able to get it towed to the nearest dealership, but being that it was after 5, the service department was closed.  I would have to wait until first thing Friday morning to hear anything about my car.

Well as it turned out, the car was too far beyond repair...I'd have to scrap it.  It was now mid-afternoon on Friday, and I really needed to be cruising up 65 to get to Michigan.  I was wasting time.  I quickly thought through all of my available options.  I couldn't borrow The Homeowner's car, as I was planning on making my visit a Pure Michigan adventure and would be gone for about a week.  I couldn't rent a car for the week because the rental place wanted to place a hold for the amount of my credit debit card wouldn't cut it.  Finally, the third and most desperate option popped up.  I could borrow the Soldier's car that had been parked in the garage for months.  The "Friend" and I had used the car before to run errands and keep the motor in running order so that it wouldn't become a stagnant pile of metal while the Soldier was gone for a year.  In hindsight, this was clearly not the best fact, it was the worst.  But, I was a reasonably responsible adult, the Soldier and I were friends; he had trusted me to take care of his house, his dog, his finances, and his life in the States for a year.  Surely, I could borrow his car for a few days, right?  


I didn't have time to ask permission, so to speak, but like I said...I'd had permission to use it before, and not too long ago at that.  Both the 'Friend' and I had needed to use the car when our own cars were in the shop for various reasons...these times had all been consented to.  I must add, during all of this, "Friend" and her husband were also up in Michigan while he was on leave, and all three dogs were in the kennel until we all got back.  Furthermore, the "Friend's" husband and I tolerated each other, we were anything but friends.

My plan was going off without a hitch, I had made it to Louisville and I would shoot the Soldier an email explaining what had happened.  After all, he was in the middle of a desert, fighting a war...I didn't think he could be bothered with such trivial matters.  Now here comes the biggest flaw in my plan.  I made the mistake of telling my "Friend" what I had done.

Quicker than trailer trash on Velveeta, "Friend" had managed to hop on Facebook, and coincidentally Soldier was on Facebook at that very moment as well.  To this day, I am still not sure what she said to him, but she did one hell of a job of throwing me under the bus.  The cat was out of the bag.  No sooner could I cross the Indiana state line, but my Facebook was blowing up with irate and malicious messages from the Soldier.  Basically, he called me a liar, thief, and a miserable excuse for a human being.  I may be a lot of things, but I am none of those.  I had to quickly make a feeble attempt at some form of damage control, and since I was driving, I made my best friend from college -who was also friends with these fools - take over.  I relayed the message to her over the phone, and she typed it up and sent it off.  The last I heard from Soldier was a threat to call the police and report the call stolen.

During the remainder of my drive, I made the plan to move out of the house ASAP.  Clearly I was now in enemy territory, all the while my "Friend" played the victim card.  She thrown me under the bus, and made sure the bus backed over me...several times.  I got on the phone with The Homeowner and he agreed to let me stowaway on his property.

I made it up to The Mitten and was able to enjoy my sister's party.  However, I had to cut the trip short... a lot short.  My college best friend, who is also my Facebook Wife, so graciously agreed to leave Michigan bright and early Sunday morning to head back down South, collect my life, and get the hell out of Dodge.

Within minutes of pulling pack into Oak Grove, I stowed the car back in the garage, and began packing. My plan was to be out of the house as soon as humanly possible.  During the packing, "Friend" and I had exchanged a few text messages, she acted to be more inconvenienced by this whole situation than I was, and continued to play the victim.

There was still one small matter to be taken care of before I could up and move.  I still needed a set of wheels of my own. 

First thing Monday morning, I was on the lot of the nearest Chrysler dealer.  It was time to really become an adult and buy my own car with my own money.  I was scared shitless.  The Wife and I, both being from Motor City and having families deeply rooted in several trade unions, knew we could not be swindled by a sleazy salesman lookin' to make a deal.

We swallowed our fear and simply made it clear that being from Detroit, we knew how to buy a Detroit car, and if we weren't getting a good deal here...we'd take our money (what little I had to my name) elsewhere.  Well my awesome negotiating skills were successful and I was able to knock about a 1/3 of the price off the sticker.  Score!

With a brand new car to my name, one that I was in no shape or form prepared to buy, I was ready to pack the rest of my things and move to Nashville.  Wife was only able to stay with me until Tuesday morning, but we managed to get everything boxed up and ready to go.  I dropped her off at the airport, made arrangements with U-Haul to rent a truck, and waited at the house for Homeowner to come assist me.

Within moments of labeling the last box, the Oak Grove Sheriff's department knocked on the door looking for "Friend".  "Friend" had been named as a witness to a stolen vehicle.


My heart rate shot through the roof and I began sweating like a prostitute in church.  

I tried my best to calmly explain that she was out of town, all the while the fear of being arrested and thrown into the State Pen. grew inside of me.  I've never stolen anything in my life...except for a construction barrel on the side of the road one drunken Halloween, but that doesn't really count, right?

Not sure if this was a brilliant move at the time (but it worked in the moment) but I said that I had actually been the one to drive the car.  The officer seemed shocked, and probably thought I was some fool for admitting to a possible crime.  Yup, it's true, I took the car in question, and now the car is parked safe and sound back in the garage of its owner.

For a moment, the officer seemed a bit speechless.  He asked if he could see the car, and I politely cooperated.  I opened the garage, and there it was...the black BMW which had been reported stolen, sitting parked and unharmed at the owner's residence.  (You all didn't think that if I were going to take a car it would be a cheap domestic, right?  Go big or go home, or in this case, the slammer.)

The officer took a few notes, walked around the car a couple of times, asked a few questions, take a few more notes, and wished me a good day.  He seemed stumped as to how a car could be reported stolen and then show up where it was supposed to have been the entire time.  He probably thought this was just some crazy domestic dispute.

I fought the law, and in this case, I won.

Everything else was smooth sailing.  I got the truck loaded up, got everything moved from Oak Grove, and took up residency in the only available space in The Homeowner's house...The Attic.

I was now the proud inhabitant of a 300 sq foot attic...the kind that has slanted ceilings...and a lone air conditioning unit in the far window.  Being 6'0" tall, I can only stand upright in the very middle, and have to duck down to fit anywhere else.  On the plus side, The Attic, actually has a stairway leading's not one of those fold away into the ceiling ladder sort of spaces.   

I wasn't sure if  I were entirely in the clear yet, as I had not spoken to Soldier or "Friend" yet.  I could have a warrant out for my arrest in Oak Grove, KY.  Wouldn't that suck?

About a week into attic dwelling, I received a text message from "Friend".  She sent me a picture of the car with what looked like a scraped up front bumper.  She said her husband had wanted to pull the car out of the garage to inspect it, and they noticed the scratches.  She continued to say that she wasn't sure how I had done it, but they would have to tell the owner.  Now I know damn well that nothing had happened to the vehicle, so I simply replied; " You're more than welcome to contact the police officer you had called on me, who inspected the car and did not notice any damage.  I'm sure he'd be willing to address any of your concerns."

And that was that.  I have not heard (knock on wood) from them since.  I figured I would make light of the situation and become Nashville's own Carrie Bradshaw and blog about my experiences of being single, dating, and living in an attic.  I figured it worked for Anne Frank, well maybe she wasn't so worried about dating, but I had to put a modern twist on diary-ing as an attic dweller, And Frankly...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Perfect Storm... event where a rare combination of circumstances will aggravate a situation drastically.

Aside from the oppressive and stifling heat, Nashville experienced another natural disaster recently.  Unlike any heat wave, drought, or flood that has ravaged Nashville before, this occurrence is simply known as Lisa.

After a year long hiatus, Lisa was back in town from Kansas City....only this time, she left Sidekick at home, and instead brought a Ginger with her.  Like an unstoppable rebel force, Lisa blazed into East Nash last Thursday evening and was ready to get the party started.  Within just moments of being here, she was already slinging back margaritas and putting Diva in his place with a few cleverly placed quips.

We began the weekend on Thursday night with a visit to BTE.  I am not sure if it was the heat or the 2 for 1 beers that Lisa was double fisting, but she was already experiencing a bit of a language/comprehension deficit.  While conversing with The Professor (a fellow Grizzly who is new to the blog), Lisa was trying to explain her Mexican roots, and upon The Professor asking what part - in terms of geographic location within the country - Lisa simply replied "half."

To further insert her foot into her mouth, Diva had invited a gentleman friend to the bar with us, and upon his parting/shaking hands/expressing how nice it had been to meet everyone, Lisa managed to muster up a "it's so nice you're leaving" sentiment, however she claims it was lacking some 'verbal punctuation' and she intended to say "it's so nice, you're leaving?"

We wrapped up Thursday evening with a stop at Lipstick Lounge.  Before diving further into Lisa's antics, I must explain that The Professor is a bit of a germaphobe...he will NOT participate in the 'licking game' that the Grizzlies are so fond of, and does not believe in the '5-second' rule if food were to touch the floor or land on a table at the bar.  Of course, Lisa broke all unspoken rules and sure did lick The Professor's face, and then ate, as well as fed to The Homeowner, The Professor's french fries after they spilled out of the basket and onto the table at Lipstick.  Once everyone had their fill of beers, dirty fries, and The Homeowner belting out 'Loveshack' karaoke, we decided to call it a night.

Friday was spent running errands, I was able to give Lisa her first Kroger experience.  Apparently they don't have Kroger back in KC, and looking back on this adventure, I should have taken her to Kro-Ghetto and not the nice one in Inglewood.  While perusing the aisles in the grocery store, our inner 8-year old fat kids kicked in, and we decided that since it was too hot to go sit on a patio for lunch, we would make our own lunch of shells and cheese and chicken nuggets.

We got home, turned on Wimbledon, and apparently the anticipation of our delicious lunch was just too much for Lisa to bear.  As I was preparing the pot of water to boil our shells, Lisa attempted to stealthily take a bite of a frozen chicken nugget!  Yes, that's correct.  She totally picked up a frozen nugget, and slipped it into her mouth.  I'm pretty sure she even sucked on it a bit, like a Werther's Original.  Now, Lisa will claim that she was just inspecting the nugget in question, but I'd bet money that she took a bite.

Lisa and I parted ways Friday evening, she went to go see Magic Mike and I went to go celebrate Jambo's birthday with Holly.

Fast forward to Saturday.

Of course, Lisa did not just decide to blow into town for the hell of it.  She came to join in on the Grizzlies' Pool Party.  It wouldn't be a proper trip to Nashville if Lisa did not end up in a pool full of gay men.  The beers were in abundance and the swimsuits were at a minimum.  In fact, Lisa, The Homeowner, and I were about the only ones to actually keep our swimsuits on...the entire time.

A Grizzly pool is truly unlike any other party, ever.  To protect the integrity and dignity of the team, I won't go into much detail...I'll just say that my British import Deb was convinced she'd end up pregnant after having actually been in the swimming pool.  However, at one point in the afternoon, the kegs had been tapped dry and there were still hours of heat, sunshine, and pool to enjoy.  Being the brilliant problem solvers that Holly and I are, we decided to take up a collection and go buy more beer.  We recruited a rugger and headed out, on foot, in the sweltering heat to the corner convenience store.

As the temperature soared into the triple digits, the three of us hiked to restock the libations.  As a group, we probably looked like the Sanderson Sisters from 'Hocus Pocus'...running amok through the streets of East Nashville.

We made it to the store and pulled every case, and by every, I mean 3 cases of Miller Lite out of the display case.  Now, there was no way that we could return to the party with just 3 cases of beer, so Holly  took it upon himself to let himself into the storage cooler to rummage around for more beer.  Myself and the other Sanderson Sister, who insisted on being the Bette Middler character, were shocked...however, Holly was clearly onto something.  The beer storage cooler was an oasis of cold, cold, cold air.  Before long, I barged into the cooler as well.  My northern blood is not meant for this southern heat, and being inside the ice-cold cooler reminded me of life back up in the mitten.

The party continued for many more hours and included an awards ceremony, a rigged flip-cup challenge, and Lisa burning a few bridges here and there.

Finally, Sunday rolled around and as my liver was beginning to go into early stages of failure, Hurricane Lisa was still ravaging on.  With the help of Purple Drank, I was able to hang on to some form of life and rally well enough to get ready for Showtunes.

Showtunes was Showtunes.  Nothing extraordinary, nor anything lame happened.  We all went pitcher for pitcher and shot for shot with Lisa.  We even did a shot in memory of Sidekick, since he is now dead to Lisa and I for not showing in up Nashville.  RIP.

Just as quickly as it started, Lisa's visit to the South came to an end.  It has been a year since Lisa has been in town, and I think it will take a year to fully recover from the devastation Lisa has left in her wake...particularly on my liver and the egos of some people she encountered, and frankly, Lisa is the perfect storm.