So, we finally made it here. It’s been super rad. I guess I should back up to right before we left. My last day at Big Box Hell was on a Wednesday night. I left my last shift with nothing more than the store manager saying how he wished he could escape as well. The next day I attempted to get my oil changed with the same nonsense that usually comes with any Jetta experience. They didn’t have the filter after ten minutes of deliberation on the size of my engine litre blah blah. You would think I owned the fucking Batmobile sometimes. So I trekked down the road to Auto Zone to purchase one, had a lovely chat with the nine and a half fingered man at the counter about the diesel Rabbits, and went back to the shop. In the time it took me to do that, ten minutes tops, they decided to start installing some sort of ventilation system in the auto shop. I had some things to pick up so I was willing to wait the half hour. After purchasing a cell phone minute card (which ended up being useless since the prepaid customer service lady was well aware of an unpaid old bill, touché Verizon) I enjoyed shitty coffee and scalding hot soup from Subway. I went back to the Tire Lube Express and they were going to let the shop guys work on my car. Under the guy on the scissor lift installing the ventilation. Great idea because it would be amazing for him to drop the unit onto my windshield the day before a cross country road trip. I quickly put that idea to an end and just drove to Medina to Monroe to have it done. I made friends with a lady whose son is employed as an engineer by Lockheed Martin. His high school teachers told him he would never graduate with his math skills. In your face teachers! So after Monroe I went back home. Did I mention that two days before this I found out that the apartment I had set up fell through and we were homeless? Yeah…after I sent them $150 to hold a place for us I found out there is a secret credit bureau named Rent Bureau that was jamming me up for close to four grand from the last place I lived…who promised to send me the paperwork for a payment plan for that amount…who never called or sent the paperwork…who moved someone into my place two days after I left…pretty classy eh? So you could say I was stressed. I gave a little visit to Pee Wee to drop off some of my beloved belongings that would not be making the trip with me (picture frames with old boyfriend in them, candles, rocks, vases, clothes for Chrissy) and he gave me some anti anxiety pills. I gotta tell you, after I almost passed out in the kitchen from stress I took one tiny pill and felt magical. I didn’t give a FUCK about packing, getting my shoes on, picking a dinner order from the Chinese place, nothing. It was sweet. The family went over to Pee Wee’s to watch the hockey game and bullshit awhile that night. I always forget how much I miss them until I have to leave again. I hadn’t been home for that long since I was 18. I went into the kitchen to say bye to the boys and they were smoking and joking. I couldn’t even tell you how it got started but soon we were pretending to be drug dealers selling drugs that didn’t do anything. “Hey man, you wanna feel good?” JD started. “Yeah, get mediocre,” Pee Wee chimed in. “Hey man, you wanna feel sorta kinda ok?” I added and we were all laughing like bastards. I wish I could say that it is still hard to leave but I never feel sad when I go. I know I will see everyone again soon. I didn’t even cry when grandma was crying although I did pull away before mom could really get going. Was ex-boyfriend right when he tapped my sternum and said “Is THIS cold?” No, he was a dick to insinuate that I am heartless, but I don’t get super emo anymore. That’s just me I guess.
Getting up early the next day sucked and I still had to leave more things at the G Folks to be sent later. The doggies were not getting along immediately (they are currently BFFS) so Shiner sat on Tori’s lap. That lasted about an hour before Tori started breaking out in hives from Shiner. We did a quick doggie drugging (doggy sedatives) and then put them next to each other. They were so stoned you could have put them on the roof and they wouldn’t have cared.
Some random notes from the trip
Ohio had an absurd amount of tolls. One time I didn’t pull close enough to the ticket machine and as I was reaching out the window and an attendant was walking over to help, I simply muttered ‘fucking Ohio’ and drove off. It was uncalled for. Tori laughed.
Chicago had 60 cent toll signs written on cardboard with sharpie pens. Seriously? They could have at least had some printed for the amount that they collected while I waited in line there.
The first (oh yes there was more than one) Motel 6 we stayed at was in Iowa City and had half-assed door handles that you pulled up to open. And the parking lot was full of hookers screaming to each other at 3am. I think they said ‘Man this New York governor tips well!’ Haha, I’m just kidding. Plus it was -5 degrees the morning we left.
Flying J is like the Wal-Mart of truck stops. That saucy temptress had such reliable gas prices, clean restrooms and ample doggy shitting areas that it lured us 38 miles further than necessary even though our asses hurt. At one along the way I met a cashier named Lydia with a disabled arm. It was like her arm stopped at her wrist but attached to the stump were tiny fingers, like newborn baby sized. It was amazingly dexterous because she was counting money and leafing through bills with it. I tried hard not to look but it was fascinating.
Cheyenne, Wyoming was an incredibly interesting place. Did you know they have a large Asian population? We didn’t. The crazy lady at the Guest Ranch Motel was and had such an accent that we first thought she said they didn’t wash the bedding! Everything smelled like bleach though. Our room had the main room with two beds, a bathroom and then a second bedroom with just a bed and no windows. We figured it was a place to either hide your illegal immigrants or your kidnapped victims. Either way, we shut the door and refused to go in there. They also allowed other guests to run their diesel pickups on and off all night right outside your door. The town square had an enormous cowboy boot statue in the park. It was sweet. Just down the street was a laundry mat with a hair and nail salon also at your service. Weird, but an interesting business concept.
Taco Bell WILL destroy your insides. Don’t be fooled by the amount of food you can get for the small fee.
We drove through the Rockies for a day and a half and not once did that fucking Coors Light train come by. Even as I screamed to the heavens “enough of this sobriety! The clarity is killing me!” it did not appear. Even as we sang “Tap the Rockies, COORS LIGHT!” it did not appear.
Favorite bumper sticker: Jesus Christ is your Lord, not a swear word. Runner up: So many cats, so few recipes.
Cabela’s World Headquarters is in Sydney, Wyoming. I think…
“Who died and made you the authority on windmills?!” Tori was questioning my knowledge of alternative energy sources in America.
Wal-Mart truckers do NOT honk their horns when you give them the international ‘trucker honk your horn’ arm pull gesture. We would like to thank the super enthusiastic trucker with the purple cab though for his entertaining and rhythmic honking.
The second Motel 6 we stayed at did not disappoint either. At the one in Boise a crazy drunk redneck about to give birth to twins by the looks of his stomach, no shirt naturally, wanted to shoot the Pepsi machine for not functioning. He had a 2 pound Chihuahua with him. Interesting tactic. The Wendy’s in Boise also blows but there was no Sonic in sight. It wasn’t the last shitty meal we would have.
Our apartment woes were quelled by an angel named Ray. Actually he’s a 70-something year old ex-Boeing engineer who owns a ton of property in the northwest. I started calling newspaper ads to find a place. Most places wouldn’t let you have pets or wanted a TON of extra money in deposits. We could have lived above the Mercer Island Judo Club but when I mentioned the mutts the guy said “oh sorry no pets. You could have, like a fish or something would be ok but no pets.” I interrupted another guy’s weed nap and when he finally thought about the ‘pet thing’ he wanted an extra $300 deposit, PER DOG over the first, last and $400 deposits already in place. The man obviously was smoking the good stuff and I wasn’t about to fund his habit. I called our last hope and all I got was a strange recording of a penthouse that overlooked a golf course. I hung up figuring that it was extremely expensive but he *69’d us and told me all about it, touting that it was indeed the penthouse. I gave him the low down and told him that we wouldn’t be able to visit. We would need to move right in. The apartment was $900 a month and we would have to agree to a year lease. After a few more calls and confusion (he insisted it took 17 hours from Boise to Seattle. It took less than 7. He may have been traveling by burro.) he gave us the address and directions to get there. We stopped for our only coffee of the trip (I was going to freak out if I didn’t get those sweet beans soon) on our way. As we pulled up to the intersection there was a row of really nice townhouses that overlooked the golf course. Tori and I looked at each other with a sense of relief that we weren’t going to live in the ghetto…
The building that we really were going to live in was behind the townhouses. It had a very unassuming front and super steep driveway. I pulled the Jetta in nose first and left the doggies. We were taken up to the 4th floor, undeniably the penthouse, and into our soon to be new home. The smell that assaulted us when we first stepped in was unacceptable. Like old lady mustiness. The brown shag carpeting covered the entire apartment with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom floors. It must have been built in the 60’s because that’s how old the refrigerator and oven were at a minimum. I haven’t had to defrost a freezer ever but apparently would be from now on. The biggest sight to behold would belong to the bathroom. Marshmallow pink was the only way to describe it. The walls, the tub, the sink, the countertop; everything was PINK. Ray showed us around while Tori and I gave each other a few WTF looks but it wasn’t like we had a lot of options. He shoved a bunch of paperwork at me, accepted a check for first month plus some cash for the deposit and was gone. That was it. We weren’t homeless. Furniture-less, yes but homeless, no.
We needed provisions fast. We had no food and nothing to sleep on except for a few blankets. We got directions to Wal-Mart and were off. We found the Wal-Mart perfectly fine. It wasn’t a Supercenter though like most are. It had some groceries but not a dedicated area like usual. We went up and down each aisle of the house wares and evaluated what was an absolute must have and what could wait. We needed trash bags but not necessarily the receptacle. Could we use hand soap for dishes as well? The $8 coffee maker would be just fine. I had some things at my very patient friend’s house that could be sent later so no need to buy it now. Our next plan was to buy some inflatable mattresses to get us through until I got paid. After Susie Dickaround and her equally oblivious son moved out of the middle of the pillow aisle we discovered that there weren’t enough twin sized mattresses, as in only one on the shelves and none out back, according to the frumpy sales associate we asked. The queen sized inflatable mattresses were almost $50 each and most of our budget for the next two weeks, until I got that first sweet paycheck. Stunned by the apparent rush on inflatable mattresses we walked away trying to devise a back up plan, which was try to find another store that might have them. Tori didn’t want to attempt my first back up plan of pool floaties. At least they would have drink holders attached by your head, which was what I was going to need to get through this ordeal. But then we walked by sporting goods and saw our new plan: Coleman camping mattresses. They had tons of them and they were around 50% cheaper. Even though we had to buy the air pump and batteries separate, two camping mattresses, an air pump and a 4 pack of D batteries was still cheaper than one twin ‘home wares’ inflatable mattress. We were brilliant, the bees knees, the cream of the box store crop! It was a major coup and the money we saved could be spent on important things, like beer. So with our extremely cheap new belongings we headed out to find a grocery store, pleased as punch. We didn’t have the foresight to ask Ray where one might be because we didn’t expect Wal-Mart to NOT be a Supercenter. We were in an area that looked like King of the Strip Malls so we figured there had to be one near. Right around the corner we saw a sign for RK Market and it was brand new. All aboard the grocery express chumps! Even the carts still had bubble wrap around the legs it was so new. We grabbed a cart, that had amazing handling capabilities I must add, and headed in. It only took us three seconds to realize three things: 1. this place was ghetto, 2. we were the only Caucasians and 3. we wouldn’t be finding anything here to eat. It was basically a gutted out warehouse and they had pallets of food in ‘aisles’ in the very center. The other patrons were Asian and no one was even speaking English. In fact when we walked in everyone stopped and looked at us, kind of like ‘y’all ain’t from here’ looks. The food was all Asian and the packaging wasn’t in English either. Other than the noodles we had no idea what was what. Sprinkled throughout the pallets were some random Russian items but nothing we would be able to construct into a meal (unless you consider sauerkraut and pickles a meal in which case get away from me with that stank ass breath). We headed for the door, gave our cart to incoming patrons and set out in the Jetta. “Where the FUCK do people in this town EAT?’” I screamed after twenty minutes of aimless and fruitless driving. There were no grocery stores in sight. A few 7-11’s but not one bonafide real grocery store. I didn’t understand this strange new land we were now calling home. After some real stressing and accidentally merging onto highways we found a Target and maneuvered our way inside. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Target for anything but DVDs, towels or cookware but if you’ve ever been grocery shopping there, you will get some looks. Trust me. The selection is limited but not terrible. If anything it is a little pricier than your average Albertsons or Kroger, but on par with Raleighs. (NOTE: that was an ABQ reference.) (NOTE NOTE: ABQ is Albuquerque.) Also, when it is time to check out they don’t really care how they bag your things. But I will say that the Target bags are phenomenally strong and durable. Thank you Plastic Developers of America!