Monthly Archives: June 2012

BIG TALKER, BETTY CROCKER.

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Here it is Thursday night and the Urban Artist is still just a concept.  I did order some black clothing and I did bleach out my hair tonight but that’s as far as I got.  I am afraid to color my hair.  I am afraid to be stared at.  And I hate myself for that fear.  Would I be so afraid if I wasn’t fat?  Or do I just use my fatness as an excuse?  “If I were thinner I’d _________”.  Well would I?  Maybe I’m just a coward hiding behind a false bravado.  Maybe I’m not really a Queen but a chamber pot maid.   Maybe after all these years of “in your face-ness”, I am realizing it was only a good act?   Maybe I’m not really “me” at all.  Maybe I don’t even exist.

Or maybe I just need a good night’s sleep and tomorrow I’ll wake up full of piss and vinegar and put on my Queen Robyn suit and dye my hair aqua and stare down anyone who stares at me like Queen Latifah would.

Maybe.

THE REINVENTION OF ROBYN~MARIE

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I think I shall reinvent myself tomorrow.  Why?  Why not!  Who says we have to stay the same?  I like to think we can transform ourselves any time we want.  Does it mean I am unhappy with the way I am now?  No….but I am a person who loves to “mix it up”.   I love the way Gaga changes and Katy Perry’s kaleidoscope of personas.  Do you have to be an entertainer to be like that?  Not as I see it.  Look at the trees that change colors.  Do they worry about what the rest of the trees will think?  No, they just burst forth with a profusion of color and it delights the eye.  Maybe that’s what I want to do….delight the eye.  Tickle a fancy.  Make someone smile.   So I change.  My new persona is going to be Urban Artist.  I see myself wearing only black and gray clothing….very Eileen Fisher-ish….unisex in shape…almost zen…BUT with bright, outrageous colored hair.  Now I can just hear some of you thinking, “You have already had bright, multi-colored hair”  and yes, that is true BUT I have never had my whole head one outrageous color!  OK, some of you are thinking back to the Bozo red incident and yes, that was bright but I am talking PURPLE or AQUA or PINK.    Of course, often my inner vision doesn’t quite translate well to my outer shell but what the heck.  Most of my clothes are black anyway and I had to promise to either keep or sell my other colored clothes as hubby has been thru these “metamorphosis'” before and he knows it won’t be too long before I change again!   And I am going to only wear vintage jewelry.  I have a HUGE collection of it so I might as well wear it exclusively.    Yes, Urban Artist it is.    I think there may be a new pair of glasses in my future, too.  Time to get new ones as my cool old ones are too weak and I can’t see much with them on anyway. OOoooooo, the possibilities of this new persona are endless.   I’m kinda like a big, walking, talking, blogging, Barbie doll….only old and fat.  But I can still buy it new outfits and change it’s hair and accessories and it can be anything my imagination wants it to be!  Life should be fun and I certainly try to have lots of fun in mine and if I bypass the paternal death curse, I shall have years more of reinventions!  I challenge each one of you who reads this to change ONE thing in your life. Even if it is only a new color pen or lipstick or the route you drive everyday!!!!!  Start small and let me know what you did.  Take a chance!!!!!!!  Who knows, this may be the start of a whole new you 🙂

WATER EVERYWHERE AND ME WITHOUT A DRINK

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You knew I would have to blog about the flood of the century.  Too much good stuff floating around to not comment on it.  Please know I am not making light of the suffering of others but just of the inconvenience of yours truly.  For those of you reading this who did sustain much damage, I am truly sorry.

My day started off with a text from a friend who was going to come up for a visit.  She said she had been up all night bailing water out of her basement and would not be coming up.  After reading that, I figured there was no sense in getting up before the crack of 9am, so I snuggled back into the comfort of my lazy arse bed revelling in the fact that my basement never leaks.  As I was smugly happy, a small little thought began to grow….what if the basement did have a leak?  Remember that time you thought that the dog had peed in your craft room (aka “crap” room)?  That was a lot of pee for such a small dog….hmmm.  So I rolled out of bed (not easily done when the air seeps out of our old Select Comfort air-filled mattress and makes a huge crater into which I sink) and went down to the basement under the pretense of doing laundry.  Sure enough….there is a big puddle in my craft room, a big puddle in hubby’s room and a big puddle in the laundry room.  So I call up to said husband, and he comes down and assesses the situation.  “Better move stuff upstairs”, is his opinion.  Now I don’t know about you all, but it is all I can do in the morning to get out of bed and get myself a cup of coffee and then stagger to my lazy arse chair where I spend the next hour trying to wake up.  Should a fire ever happen in that first hour, the first responders will have to carry me out in my lazy arse chair cause I ain’t moving.  I have been married long enough to know that there are certain times my whining about moving before I’ve had my coffee isn’t in my best interest and this was one of them!  So we moved everything that wasn’t too heavy (ok, in all fairness, hubby moved everything while I kinda just flitted here and there in a coffeeless fog) to the upper level.  And the puddles turned into lakes and the lakes became one.  By noon the whole basement had an inch of water in it.  We had attempted at first to shop vac the puddles but soon figured out it was like using a teaspoon to scoop water out of a pool so we gave up (I love using the word “we”, when really it is mostly just hubby)  and made our way upstairs for coffee.   It is hard to enjoy your coffee when water is rising in your basement and you have no idea how deep it is going to get or how in the heck you are going to get it out of there.  We do not have any floor drains or a sump pump as our basement “never” leaks so how do you get hundreds of gallons of water out?  I saw that someone on Facebook had said that their husband would take his septic truck and come pump you out so I told hubby to call them. First mistake….”telling” hubby to do something….I had forgotten the first rule of wifery…..”suggest” instead of “tell”.  Second mistake…..I told hubby wrong septic company.  (Important side note here: septic company mentioned in FB is my mom’s “significant other”s son-in-law’s…..remember that as there will be a quiz at the end).    Hubby calls wrong company and guy tells him that maybe they can come by tomorrow afternoon.  So water will be in basement for at least 24 more hours.  Oh joy.  Husband sees silver lining in all of this….at least floor will be clean ( is that a housekeeping crack, I wonder?)

Now the next big decision is do I try to get to work  that night as my job is right by the Mall and by all reports it is a “no drive zone”?   If it wasn’t that someone has to be with my client at night, I would have enjoyed another day off but I had to try to get there  eventho hubby was against it. Not that he was staying home…oh no.  He and daughter and her family, all piled in son-in-law’s big truck and drove around for hours while Nervous Nelly here worried that they had fallen into a big sinkhole or had been swept away by a raging current.   Finally I can stand it no longer and I call hubby’s cell phone.  No answer.  So I text.  No answer.  So I call daughter’s cell.  No answer.  Text daughter.  No answer.  Now I am beginning to panic.  My whole entire family is in that truck and I can’t get ahold of anyone.  By now my imagination is running as rampant as the Cloquet River and I am trying to figure out what I will wear to the funeral service and will I have them all cremated and put in one urn or will I have hubby separate and what will I do with daughter’s home, etc.  I kid you not….I have a very good imagination.   I finally get ahold of son-in-law and he says they will be back soon.   Now I am royally ticked off.   All this time they have been joy-riding while I’ve been planning funerals.  By the time they get back to my house, I am seething.   I am so upset, I have to leave the house early and start my quest to Duluth.  I run into my first obstacle a little more than a mile from my house.  Water is rushing over the highway from a flooded creek….do I dare cross it?  (Important side note here:  I can’t swim..and I have had nightmares for years about this exact situation and it never ends well for me.)  So I wait until someone else comes by to see if they cross it.  Car comes. Car stops. Car turns around. Car leaves.  Well, that wasn’t helpful.  Big SUV comes up behind me and roars around me and plunges right thru water and makes it to the other side.  Ok…but it was twice as tall as my car.  Here comes two big dump trucks….right thru the water.  I roll down my window and frantically flag the first truck down.  “Do you think I can make it through?”, I ask.  He tells me if I go slow enough and stay in the middle of the road I should be alright.  My mind races….what is “slow enough”?  What will happen if I go too fast?  What if my car dies in the middle?  I felt a tad bit better since there were guard rails on both sides in the deepest part of the road so I wouldn’t be swept down stream (I watch all those shows like “1000 Ways To Die” so I have seen dummies try to cross these things).  I mustered up all my courage, put my car in gear, stepped on the gas, held my breath and went.  I was scared to death.  Driving across that water, slowly, was one of the hardest things I have ever done.  I swear by the time I got across it, I was exhausted.  I was shaky and light-headed (probably from holding my breath, duh) and I knew the only thing that would help would be a chocolate malt from DQ!   There I sat, in the parking lot of the new Super One store in Pike Lake, drinking not only my delicious chocolate malt but drinking in the feeling of having cheated death.  I faced my worst nightmare and was victorious.  (Ok, it probably wasn’t all that dangerous but this is my story and I’m stickin’ to it!)

TO BE CONTINUED……..

EVERY WOMAN’S NIGHTMARE: THE DRESSING ROOM

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I rarely ever go to a store to shop for clothes.  I can tell myself it’s because I don’t want to drive there, I don’t want to look for a place to park, I don’t have the time/money, it’s too cold/too hot, but you really know why I don’t go into stores, don’t you?  It’s those dreaded dressing rooms!

Because I don’t shop in stores for clothing, by the time I am almost naked and have to take that walk down those aisles of shame, I have way more clothes than you are allowed to take into a dressing room.  Now here is problem number 1:  Do I cheat and bring in all the clothes?  What if I get caught?  Will they think I am attempting to shop lift?  (Seriously, how many layers of clothes can a fat woman put on before looking like a circus side show freak, so that is probably not an issue).  Or do I follow the dressing room code of honor and bring in only the allotted number?  And since I always shop alone (very few people can shop with me as I am known to look at everything…remember tho, this is a rarity for me so as long as I am out at a store, I’m gonna check everything out!), I have no buddy waiting outside the door to slip me more clothes as I try on and ultimately discard, my allotted number of items.  So that means that I have to get re-dressed and leave my room/stall and go and get the other items waiting outside the dressing room, cause you can’t bring your cart in the dressing room area.  Personally, I have never heard of someone trying to sneak a cart out of the store under their clothes, but it must have happened somewhere.   This brings up to problem number 2:  do I leave anything in the dressing room so it looks like someone is still using it and if so, what to leave?  Purse?  Not unless you like to give your stuff away.  Shoes? Not if you like them or aren’t planning on buying another pair in the same store.(Ah, but that brings up another question.  If your shoes are stolen while you are trying something on, and you have to walk around without shoes, can they still refuse you service?  No shoes, no shirt, no service.) If you leave a piece of clothing that you had tried on , that still counts as 1 item so you will only be able to bring back less than the first time.  Or do you live dangerously and run to your cart and hope no one gets your room before you get back.  Problem number 3: Remembering which dressing room was yours.  They all look alike and most have self-closing doors so there you are, standing out in the hall, wondering how you can be so dang dumb as to not remember what room you just came out of.  Worse yet, is when you need to see a panoramic view of your butt (cause you all know it’s the first thing we look at when we try something on….even a bra) and you come out of your room and walk down to the end where the big 3-way mirror is (just makes my day even better to see my large butt in three different views).  Oh, and have you ever had on your mumu sized outfit and Miss  “Does this size TWO make me look fat”? come and stand next to you with her equally tiny friend who are both horrified that someone could let themselves “go” like that.  And hell on earth is when you both have on the same clothes.  It Has Happened To Me and it wasn’t pretty.  You flee blindly to the safety of your room and of course, the door you fling open has another Barbie doll standing in it, partially dressed, and she shrieks and grabs the door to slam it in your already deep red face.  So now you are faced with yet another dilemma.  Do you open doors at random, or do you get down and look under the doors (if you can) to see if you see your shoes or purse.  Then fear hits you like a dagger to the heart….you left your purse in the room and what if someone came in and took it?  Now sweat is running down your face, down into your ample cleavage and you are starting to hyperventilate.  GOT….TO…FIND….ROOM….you have gone from embarrassment to panic in ten seconds or less.  You no longer care who is behind those doors and you start flinging them open, not even looking at the person in them, all you care about is seeing your purse.  Finally!!!  There it is!!! Safe and sound.  But just to make sure, you open it and check you money and credit cards….all safe.  You are so happy you could cry.  The hell with clothes, you think.  This just isn’t worth it.  Maybe you can decorate your sweats with some rhinestones for that wedding….like Betty White on “Hot In Cleveland”.  Dejected, hot , sticky and frazzled,  you start to take off the mumu sized clothes.  But wait…..yes, it was a tad difficult to get them on but what new fresh hell is this? They aren’t coming off.   Somehow they seem to have shrunk.  New rivers of water are pouring down from your head and armpits and even your hips and legs are moist from all the emotions you have just been through.  You start to panic.  The postage stamp-sized room is getting smalller and hotter.  You manage to get the top up around your elbows and neck and over your head but it is stuck on your boobs and now you really are in deep doodoo.  There is no one to help you get out of this straightjacket and you are starting to feel a scream rise up in your throat.  The only thing that stops you from hysteria is the knowledge of the condition of your undergarments and you would rather die than to have people see the dingy color and the stretched out elastic  and the honkin’ big safety pin holding up  your bra.  Problem number 3:  Do you try to calmly wriggle out of this piece of clothing that is suffocating you like a giant boa constrictor or do you say the heck with this crap and rip the thing off  not caring about the condition of the offending garment once it is off?  I must confess to both.  Sometimes the sheer panic of being stuck in a hot coffin with layers of clothing wrapped around my face is too overwhelming and I tear that piece off like Adam Levin ripping off his shirt during a concert.  Freedom at last!!!!  The sight that you see in the mirror is enough to scare any one.  Your hair is standing up all which ways, your eye make-up is smudged, your lipstick has blurred from being rubbed off inside that death cloth and your face is puffy and red and shiny.  You try to do some damage control so you don’t look like the lead singer from “Twisted Sister” (who, by the way, is now doing commercials for Stanley Steamers….so sad…give it up, Dee) and then are faced with the last problem:  do you just leave all those clothes in the room and escape or do you do the right thing and put them either on the rack outside the dressing area or back where you got them?  I want to hear comments on this!!!!!! Tell us your worst dressing room horror story.

FOUR GENERATIONS TOGETHER OR MY DAUGHTER SEES HER FATE

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Yesterday I got together with my daughter and her two kids, my sister and her baby grandson and my mom to celebrate my sister becoming a Senior citizen (somehow we have become older than our mother or so she says!). I now realize why my daughter often doesn’t make our sporadic get-togethers…it scares the crap out of her to see her future!  It has become very clear to me that if my sister and I out-live my dad’s family genes and have inherited my mom’s we will live to be a ripe old age but nuttier than a bag of mixed nuts.   Our conversations were like old slap-stick routines, no one listening to one another or getting only bits and pieces, asking a question out of the blue about a conversation that had been prior and the rest of us looking at the person with no knowledge of what the heck they are talking about.  It reminded me of a three-ring circus.  I wonder what an outsider would have thought….”Three flew over the cuckoo’s nest” comes to mind.  Add to that chaos three kids under 2 1/2 and you can see where it was a wild afternoon.   But there was lots of laughter and love which my family has in abundance so my daughter has at least something good to look forward to!

I’ll give you one example of the kinds of conversations that go on when we get together……My mom was telling us about a man she works with who fell over his cat in the bathroom and hit the tub and broke ribs and lacerated his spleen and is now laid up at home and bored.  She thought it would make him laugh if I wrote to him via Facebook and told him I had a cat I would give him since I heard about how much he loves cats.  So being the dutiful daughter I am, I sent him this message: “I heard you are looking for a cat since something happened to yours :)”  knowing he would get the message that my mom had told me his story.  So I post it to his wall and then my mom tells us that he had the cat put to sleep after falling over it!  Did you notice I put a smiley face at the end of the message?!  Now this poor man is going to think what kind of person is happy that he had to put down his beloved cat?????  My sister was screaming with laughter (we seem to relish the foibles of one another). So I had to hurry to post an explanation so he wouldn’t think me inhuman.  I wish I could say this was a freak experience but alas, it is quite common in our conversations with our matriarch.  So I guess I really do know why my daughter skips these forays into madness…she is trying to save her 8 month old daughter from her destiny!

THE GIRL IN THE PLASTIC BUBBLE OR I WAS AN OVERPROTECTIVE MOM

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Maybe it was because my daughter was an only child that I was (and still am) a nut case about protecting her from the dangerous, hurtful, harmful, sad, scary, bad, uncomfortable, embarrassing and downright not nice things in life.  In other words, LIFE.  I did it out of love, of course.  Not a need to control her…just a need to control the world around her.  If I am to be truly honest, and at my age I have found it to be a whole lot easier than trying to remember some fabrication (heck, most days I’m grateful just to remember my name), I think I was more afraid of how I would live in a world without her than how it might affect her.  To understand my dependence on her we will have to go back in time…..

I had a difficult childhood and can remember much of the pain and fear that I lived with and I never wanted my child to suffer in that way so I went in the opposite direction.  I was going to do everything possible to make sure she never had to experience it.  In theory it is a noble idea but now that I am a wise old sage, I can see where it could have crippled her emotionally.  Alas, if we only could go back and redo the past.  Many of the things I tried to protect her from I would still do as they were sensible, normal things but the over-the-top things I did, I wish I could go back and erase….or at least tone down.  I worried about everything.  Child abductions, childhood diseases, molestations, bad influences, were Smurf’s really evil, fires, drowning, choking (I wouldn’t let her eat a hard piece of candy without breaking it up for her until she was like 8), animals coming out of the woods to attack her as she walked down the driveway to get the mail (I would look out the window the whole time eventho it was only 75ft from the house), I wouldn’t let her have her bedroom windows open at night cause she slept in the basement and someone might try to get at her (we were surrounded by woods so who might be lurking in the woods at night?), I wouldn’t let her ride her bike on the road, or walk by herself, I didn’t want her babysitting, I didn’t want her to eat anything if I wasn’t home (see choking above) or to stay overnight anywhere (there were a few families that I felt were “safe” and she could stay overnight there), I could go on but you get the sad picture, I’m sure.   Over-the-top crazy woman.

So you must be wondering what mental facility my daughter is living in as there should be no way that she is normal after having that kind of upbringing but I am happy to say that God was merciful and she lived through it and turned out to be a very laid-back, non-fearful, funny, non-neurotic person.  And did I save her from all the world’s pain?  No.  Of course not.  To fully live we must experience pain to understand joy, to cry to understand happiness, to grieve to understand love.   Sad thing is, that eventho I just wrote those words and believe them in my head, my heart still wishes I could have “saved” her from those experiences.  Is that sick or what?  And eventho she is married and a mom herself, I still try to protect her and her kids from the world.   And I still have to ask myself, “Is it for her or for me?” and I struggle with the answer I know to be true in my heart.  The real person I am trying to save from pain is ME.

ONE FOR THE ROAD…MY LIFE AT THE BAR

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One of the more colorful jobs I’ve held is that of a cocktail waitress and bartender.  My first taste of this life came when I needed a second job after purchasing a home.   I had no waitress experience but plenty of bar experience so I figured how hard can it be?  I got a job at a well known bar and my education began.  It’s funny how different it is to be in a bar and not be the one drinking.  Boy, drunks are an obnoxious bunch! This bar had lots of college students and the tips were not great but you have to start somewhere, eh?  I worked with some nice girls who would always call me to see if I wanted to go to the beach with them which I always thought was so nice until I overheard them tell someone that when they go to the beach, they always lay next to the fattest woman there so they feel thin!  It only went downhill from there.  When I had the opportunity to work at a classier establishment, I gave my two week notice and the owner was so furious with me for quitting, he fired me on the spot!

My next position was at a much nicer place with an attached resturaunt and hotel.  We had uniforms we had to wear and when I interviewed for the job, I had to try on the uniform to see how I looked in it.  It was one of those horrid “Swiss barmaid” type costumes.  Thank goodness right before I started, someone in their right mind decided that cocktail waitresses have enough problems with male customers so they changed the uniform to black pants and black vests and white shirts.  Whew!  Now back in those days, there was this brand of pants called “Bend Overs” (don’t ask me why they were called that, maybe cause when you bent over they stretched with you?) that were made of pure polyester and wore like iron.  But they didn’t really hold any excess flab in so eventho I was pretty thin, I wore these things called “long-legged girdles” which really held you in from your waist down to your ankles.  But just to be sure I looked my slimmest, I would also wear support pantyhose underneath them.  I was packed in so tight by the end of the night, I had no feeling left in either leg (when I would take it all off, I would explode like dough from a Pillsbury bisquit container).  Now one night during my shift, I had to “go see a man about a horse” (if you don’t know what that means you are too young to be reading this anyway!!!) and ran to the lady’s room.  Everything was going fine until it was time to pull up the layers.  I was struggling with the support pantyhose when my hand slipped and it flew and hit the toilet paper dispenser and became instantly numb and I had no strength left in it.  Now, even at the best of times, it took great two-handed strength to hoist those suckers up and here I was, stuck in a stall with them at half-mast.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get them up.  Time ticked by and I was getting more and more concerned as I knew I was being missed and would be in deep trouble when I got back.  Finally after 20 minutes another waitress came in looking for me.  I had to have her come in the stall with me and help me get all my layers up and then go back and explain to the bar manager why I took so long in the bathroom and he didn’t like me all that well to begin with.  Thankfully the top of my hand was bruised and swollen so he knew I was telling the truth but I was quite mortified to have to tell him that I had on a girdle!

Another night at this same place, I had a very large tray of drinks and I was serving a pair of older couples (which were probably only in their early 40’s but when you are only 24 anyone older than 30 was elderly) and one of the women asked me if the tray was heavy and I said yes and that by the end of the night my wrists swell.  Well the night went on and this group nursed a couple of drinks and finally around 10:30 they called me over and asked me to repeat what I had said about the tray being heavy.  So I replied that by the end of the night my wrists swell.  All at once, they all started laughing and one of the women said they had thought I had said that by the end of the night my BREASTS swell and their husbands didn’t want to leave until they had seen this phenomenon!

My next foray into this exciting low-life experience was my tenure at a neighborhood sports bar.  I went from classy to trashy.  I had been “let go” from my above job and was in dire need of another when I met the manager of this bar and he said he needed a waitress.  Well here I was, a waitress in need of a bar so it was a match made south of heaven.   I found out my first night of work, that not only did I have to waitress but I also had to make the drinks.  I had never actually made a drink, just served them so this was a whole new learning process.  You can’t imagine how hard it was for me to open beer bottles at first.  I just couldn’t get the hang of how to grab the bottle and tilt it just so so it would go into the stationary bottle opener on the coolers and the tops would pop off.  The manager told me that at first I was so bad he thought he would have to fire me but then I got the hang of it and how to make the no-frills drinks.  This was not a martini-type bar.  We had tap beer on sale twice a week for 15 cents a glass so you can imagine the type of clientele we had.  I had worked there just a couple of nights when one of the regulars decided to “break me in” and gave me a “full moon” after he had ordered his drink.

This place was just like Cheers.  We had our own Norm and Cliff and Carla.  The bar manager was exactly like Sam Malone….exactly.  I guess you could say I was the Diane Chambers character.  I always wore nice clothes instead of jeans and a tee shirt so I was an oddity from the start.  One night I had on my Bend Over pants and a tuxedo jacket and a sequined tube top (remember dear reader, I was MUCH smaller back then….everywhere…..) and this old guy sitting at the bar asked me in a drunken tone, “What time’s the show, sweetheart?”    Getting back to the characters in this bar, the manager who I shall name, “Sam”,  had a long-time girl friend but always had other girls on the side and sometimes he would have three of them sitting at the bar, all waiting for him to go on break and he would tell me to go sit down and take a really long break!  It was amazing to watch him juggle all the women that would come into the bar to be with him.  He had it down  to a science.  If more than one was left at the end of the night, he would escape into the office and I would have to tell these girls that he had to do “bookwork” and wouldn’t be back out that night.  I don’t think he ever got caught in this web of deceit!

Part of being a bartender was you would have to wash the bar glasses using this machine that had brushes that you would place the glasses on and the brushes would spin. First you would dunk the glasses in a sink filled with soapy water, then do the brush machine and then dunk the glasses in a sink of bleach water and then put the glasses on a rack to air dry.  So one afternoon I had to open up the bar and I got there an hour before I was to open to do the prep work and for some dumb reason, I picked up the brush machine and tipped it over so the brush heads went into the soapy water and I felt this bolt of electricity shoot thru my arm, up my neck and out my tongue….I had electrocuted myself!

There are many more stories to tell but not tonight.  I can tell you that not all my time at that bar was negative.  I made a few good friends who are near and dear to me even today and we probably would not have met otherwise so for that I am grateful.