Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm Giving Up Trucking And Going Into Clothing Design

My friend Marlaina sent me this link for the jeans in the photos below. 

Not because I would be interested in them - helloooo, they don't even make these in my size, you have to have pipe cleaners for legs to wear them - she sent the picture to me because she wanted me to see how expensive they were.

Are you ready?  They're selling for $443.00.  Did you get that?



My favorite part of the whole ad is where they say that the jeans are "made in Japan by expert tailors using high-quality local denim and brilliant detailing."
Expert tailors??  They're ripped at the knee and then sewn back together all Frankenstein-like!  That's expert tailoring?  I can do that.

Here's a close up of the ripped knee.  Brilliant detailing.
And this "absolutely extraordinary denim" that these pants are made of, have evidently been splattered with pain.  ON PURPOSE. 
Look at the hem.  The "expert Japanese tailors" took a seam-ripper to the hems and just ripped 'em out and left the strings hanging.  Stunning.
I have absolutely no understanding of how someone can pay over four hundred dollars for a pair of jeans.  Chimala?  What the hell is that?? 

The ad also claims they "know great denim when they see it".

I'm pretty sure Levi Strauss knew great denim when he saw it too and he wasn't charging over four hundred dollars for it.

But they've only been in the jeans business for over 140 years, what do they know?

I'm clearly in the wrong business.  I need to start ripping jeans and splattering them with paint.

In fact, the next time you see me on the fuel island, I'll be wearing cropped jeans with the hems ripped out.

And I might smear a little fifth wheel grease on them just to make them unique. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Wynning Diamonds
2011: Donuts From Heaven
2010: Captain Of The Most Expensive Fried Seafood This Side Of Arthur Treacher’s
2009: Eddie Acts Like A Monkey Friday
2008: I Might Like It If There Were Some Balling Involved
2007: Very Large Cheek Pouches Come In Handy When Traveling
2006: The French Are So Romance Savvy
2005: Wyoming Clean Air Act

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Musical Parking Spots

Whenever we park the truck, we use this bubble level to make sure the sleeper isn't leaning significantly to one side or the other. 

I'm the pain in the ass when it comes to the truck being level.  Big surprise, right?

The bed in our truck is situated on the side of the truck - most trucks have the beds going across the back - when we're moving, we sleep with our feet facing the cab, when we're stationary, we sleep with our heads facing the cab. 
The lean isn't much of a problem when it comes to sleeping, unless it's significant, but sitting at the table, if the truck is leaning forward or to the right, it's an issue for me.  Because when the truck is sloping forward, I slide out of my seat.  And when we're leaning to the right, I slide out of my seat.  This is not ideal for spending a night hanging out watching TV and surfing the net.

So I make Ed drive around the parking lot until we find a level spot.
Ed hates doing this as you can imagine.  The most recent parking spot search went like this:
He parked and said, "OK?"
"No, it's leaning to the right.  Can you move up a smidge?"  I said.
He moves up a little and said, "Now?"
"Nope.  Still leaning.  Can you try another spot?" 
He sighs heavily and moves to another spot.  "OK, how's that?"
"Welllll....the bubble isn't really in the middle.  It's kind of leaning to the right a little." I said.
"I'm not driving around this parking lot all night." he said, getting annoyed.

"Well, I'm not sitting on a friggin' slide all night.  So, try another spot please.  How about that one over there, by the blue Kenworth." I said, directing from the back of the sleeper, looking out of the front window.  

"I look like an idiot, pulling in and out of spots, parking and then unparking."  he said.


"You know what I mean.  I'm only moving one more time.  If we're not level, too bad."  he said.

Most truckers are worried about the 30-minute breaks imposed by the new Hours of Service.  I'm worried about getting a flat parking spot. 

So if you ever see a big black truck playing musical parking spots, or you think someone is stalking you trying to steal your spot as soon as you pull out, it's probably us. 

And if you're in a flat spot and want to switch, let me know.

I've got $10 bucks for you.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Me And The Thunder
2011: Her Cup Overfloweth With Idiocy
2010: Dear Arizona,
2009: Come Sit In Our Cab For A Spel And Let Us Take You On The Road!
2008: How Well Do You Know Your Stringed Instruments?
2007: Meat. The Old Fashioned Way.
2006: Kicking The Hell Out Of Texas
2005: Look, Mary!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Reflection On The Island

Sitting on Long Island after we got unloaded, I took this picture of our truck.

We almost never get to see ourselves from this angle.

Lookin' goooood.

Yeah, it's been a slow week.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Sprinkled
2011: Prized Good Luck Piece
2010: Summer In The City
2009: I Should Get A Job Working The Pole At A Boy Scout Camp
2008: The Flavor Of Life
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: Again??? But You Just Got Off The Phone With Her!
2005: A Cow’s Opinion

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Another Home Run By Big Ed

We saw an ad on the side of a bus on Long Island for New York Yankees fragrance.

I said, "C'mon.  Really??"

Ed said, "Do you think it smells like sweaty balls?"

Boy, he's just batting a thousand in the humor department lately, isn't he?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: A Window On New Mexico
2011: My Man Makes A Mad Meal
2010: Less Is Not More In All Cases
2009: Grain Gone By
2008: The Absolute Beauty Of It
2007: Not Only Did He Pray, He Posed
2006: Camera Phone Coolness
2005: Life Is A Salt Shaker

Saturday, July 27, 2013

At Least They Don't Have To Worry About The Fourteen Foot Bridge Clearance

We had another visit to Shipshewana this week to have the air-conditioning in our bunk fixed, got a new set of exterior steps on the sleeper, and had extra cushioning put in our cab seats, as they haven't been very comfy lately.

As usual, I love being in this part of the country and it's always nice to see the horse and buggies in the streets.  Here's one that was sitting in front of us at the light. 

It's so odd being on the same road as a buggie.  It just feels weird.  They've got the power of one horse to propel them, we've got 515 horses under our hood.  Totally two worlds colliding.  Well, existing at least.

We had lunch at the Blue Gate restaurant and stopped at the teeny post office to mail some packages. 

Next stop, Wisconsin.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Ladder 11 To The Rescue
2011: It’s Got Lipstick Written All Over It
2010: Liquid Crack
2009: For All The World To See
2008: Studio Blue
2007: Eddie Tests His Spine Friday
2006: Almost Twenty
2005: Thinking

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Saw And I Said

I was shopping at my favorite Midwestern grocery store, Meijer, salivating over the six ears for one dollar price of corn.  I was in the heartland, where corn is grown.  I knew right off the bat I was getting at least 18 ears.  I'd figure out where I was going to put it later.

I approached the huge corn bin in the produce section but couldn't get near it because there were two women standing in front of it.  Based on their conversation, I determined they were mother and daughter.  The daughter appeared to be in her fifties, overweight wearing a frumpy dress, unkempt hair and no makeup.  She had a sour face.  She had parked her cart in front of the bin and was standing there shucking her corn, filling several bags with the ears.

Her mother, a carbon copy twenty years older, was sitting in an electric shopping cart, also parked directly in front of the bin.  I had no choice but to wait.

When they left I noticed the younger woman who had been shucking the corn, left a huge pile of corn husks all over the top of the fresh corn.  I shook my head and thought what an asshole as I pushed the husks aside to get to the corn I wanted.  Then I realized I was really annoyed that I had to do that because this woman before me decided to leave her mess all over the corn and walk away. 

So I gathered up all of her garbage and stuffed them into clear produce bags.  When I was done, I had two bags overflowing with husks.  I looked around and saw the two women at the deli counter. 

I was planning to drop the bags into the younger woman's cart when she wasn't looking and just walk off, but as I got closer and raised my arm to put the bags in her cart, she turned around.

I froze.  Then felt indignant.  So I looked her in the eye and from shoulder level dropped the bags straight into her cart and walked away.  Her mouth dropped open and she turned to tell her mother what just happened.

Then she came over to where I was at the corn bin, and had the nerve to say, "These aren't all mine."

"I saw you leave them there.  I watched you peel all your corn and drop the husks right here." I said, waving my arm across the area in front of me.  "And I'd say they are all yours.  You got at least twelve ears."

"Well..." she stammered.

"Well, nothing." I said.  "It's just rude.  You left your garbage on top of the corn other people want to buy and you just walked away."

She was looking around and under the bin, as if she were going to leave her bag of husks next to the bin on the floor.  I was watching her as I peeled my corn.  She was still stammering about how they weren't all hers, blah blah blah, but I wasn't listening .  I decided to get louder.

"Whatever.  You just left all your crap on top of other people's food.  It's just rude.  You didn't care about anyone else and you certainly didn't care about the people who work here and would have to clean up your mess."

She eventually walked away.  I saw her a few more times in the store but ignored her.  I'm glad I said something. 

I know most people wouldn't say anything and in today's climate you do have to be careful since you never know when someone will pull out a gun.  Shit, there have been shootings over disagreements at Little League games.  But that day I was pissed that I had to fish through a pile of wet corn husks, silks flying everywhere, because of some lowlife's actions.  I assessed the situation and decided she most likely didn't have a gun.  And her mother was in a wheelie-cart.  What were the odds there'd be a problem?

You know, we always hear about these "If you see something, say something" campaigns - granted, they're usually talking about if you see a backpack left on a train or something - and I think it should apply to more situations. 

I think I should start the "If you see someone being an asshole, say something." campaign.

I've already started the ball rolling, so let's beta test it.  Go on, try it.  Should keep you busy for a while.

Report back with your results.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Juicy Driving Treat
2011: Reckless In Rome
2010: Back And Forth, Back And Forth, Back And Forth…
2009: Eddie Enters A Copper Mine Friday
2008: Oshkosh B’Gosh!
2007: Queen Of The 21st Century
2006: Sketchbook
2005: A Queen’s Life

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Painting The Serengeti

Oh, boy.  You are in for a real treat - a Toni Twofer. 

That's right, two stories about my mother.  In the same blog post.  I swear I don't make this stuff up.

Last night I was driving and talking to my mother on the phone.  She's recently become addicted to Pinterest so that pops up in conversation all the time now, her telling me about all the things she's recently "pinned".

"Oh my God.  You won't believe the gorgeous places I "travel" when I'm on Pinterest." she said.

"Oh yeah?  Like where?"  I asked.

"Oh, everywhere.  Paris.  Italy.  Switzerland.  The Fiji Islands." 

My mother has always wanted to go to the Fiji Islands.  I think because my grandmother, her mother, used to use the Fiji Islands as the catchall place for anything that was exotic.  If you were going somewhere unheard of, it was the equivalent of the Fiji Islands.  Which in her day meant anywhere more than three hundred miles from the Bronx. 

"And Africa.  I really want to go to Africa." she said.

"Africa?  Really??  Like a Safari?"  I said.

"Oh yeah.  I want to see the elephants roaming around, and the zebras, and the big cats."   she said, her voice painting a wistful image of what Africa would look like when she got there. 

"Like the ones in the Serendipity." she said.

"The Serendipity?  I think you mean the Serengeti." I said.

She laughed.  "Oh, yeah, yeah.  The Serengeti.  That's right." 

I told her I had to get off the phone because I had to call my brother immediately to tell him about what she just said - we love to share stories like this about our mother - and that I'd call her right back.  She laughed and said okay.

Little did I know he'd have one of his own.  After I finished my story and we finished laughing, he said, "I know, I know.  I had the same thing happen."

He told me about the spare bedroom my mother had painted, touching up the scuff marks on the wall.  She wound up using the wrong paint and all the places she touched up were a different color - beige, but a totally different beige - the wall was a canvas of odd shaped polka dots.  She told Michael that she thought it was the same paint he used when he painted the pantry and laundry room, but she picked up the can of floor paint, not wall paint.

"Oh.  Well, I can just go to Ted Williams and get more then." my mother said.

"Ted Williams?" Michael said.

"Yeah.  To get paint.  I'll just match it to the one I had for his room.  I think I got it at Walmart.  They sell Ted Williams."

"I think you mean Sherwin Williams, Ma."  my brother said. 

It seems a lot of our conversations with my mother end with us saying, "I think you mean..."

"Ohhhh, you're right.  Sherwin Williams." my mother said, chuckling at her mistake.
"Or you can just go to Dunn Edwards." my brother said.  That totally undid her.  She has no idea who Dunn Edwards is.  My brother likes to do that, throw a little wrench in the conversational works.

For some reason, he has a belief that she's capable of sorting all these things out, but I know better since 
I'm the one that logs hours more talk time with her. I always tell him to keep it simple. Don't overwhelm her with information and don't give her too many choices.

She used to be an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, and to this day can spout off names of drugs, along with their dosages, side effects and interactions like she was a pharmacist.

But ask her where she bought a gallon of paint and you've opened a can of very confused worms.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Why Fig Newtons Will Always Be On My Shopping List
2011: Losing The Wallet At Your Convenience
2010: Bridge Over Troubled Roadway
2009: If Only The Streets Were Truly Paved With Gold
2008: She Reigns Supreme
2007: A Match Made In Heaven
2006: Proof
2005: Caped Crusaders

Monday, July 22, 2013

Polly Needs More Than A Cracker. Polly Needs A Roll Cage.

A few months ago we had dinner at a friend's house.  When we arrived, our friend's housemate greeted us at the door with a bird perched on the edge of her eyeglasses.  I mean, sitting right at her temple, on the frame of her glasses.  It was super tiny, maybe two inches tall.  And very cute.

It never left her side.  It would fly away or she'd throw it into the air for fun, but it always swooped back to be near her - on her shoulder, around the back of her neck, in her hair, again on her glasses.  We were told that she had this particular bird longer than any of her husbands.  Well, I can see why - it's small, unobtrusive, doesn't talk back, won't leave socks on the floor or the toilet seat up.  Essentially perfect. 

But then tragedy struck.  I'm not sure of the exact details, but apparently in her sleep she rolled over on the bird and crushed it.  To death.

So just yesterday my friend texted me to say her housemate had a new bird - an African Gray parrot (see photo above) that says "bombs away".  I can't imagine when that phrase might be useful.

"I'm going to teach him how to say 'Fiddlesticks'." my friend texted.

"Is that hard, to teach a parrot?" I replied.

"Some birds can vocalize better than others, and the African Gray is supposed to be the best talker.  We shall see." she texted back.

Then Ed piped up and said to me, "She should teach it how to say, 'Get the fuck off of me.'"

I'm glad I wasn't driving, because I was laughing so hard, I couldn't see.  I could barely text what he said back to my friend.

When I did, she replied with, "Tears are rolling down my face I can hardly breathe I'm laughing so hard. Ed has a VERY funny streak."

That's my Eddie. 

Just when I think he's not listening, he proves me wrong and sums up an entire conversation by injecting the unexpected.

Avian humor.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Hats Off To Tits And Ass
2011: Approaching Chi-Town
2010: Paneful Outlook
2009: Gray County Silhouette
2008: This Little Piggy Went To Market
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: The Heat Bog
2005: Five

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Thirty-Thousand Square Feet Of Stuff To Spend Money On

It doesn't matter how many times we go to the Iowa 80, I'm always in awe of how gigantic it is.  These pictures were taken from the upper level of the main building, overlooking the showroom.

Rows and rows of chrome...
Truck accessories (Look at that first display case - those are all steering wheels)...
Map books, air fresheners, logbooks, cleaning products, storage bins, seats, baseball hats, clothing, cowboy boots...
They even have a full service embroidery shop.  You can have ANYTHING embroidered on anything.  They have several books' worth of designs, and they can even take a photograph and turn it into a stitched creation on a t-shirt or jacket or blanket or baseball cap.
We never leave without buying something, but I swear one of these days I'm going to have something stitched.

Perhaps a Daily Rant t-shirt?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Truckin’ With Ed
2011: Way Better Than Seven Years In Tibet
2010: His Charm And Understated Humor Is Totally Contagious
2009: The Creature Comforts Of Home
2008: Checklist
2007: Happy As A Clam
2006: Two Things
2005: Good For Licking

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oh, To Be A Kid

I caught this little girl playing in the fountain in the middle of Old Town Alexandria in Virginia.  She was with her brothers and they were all frolicking around the bursts of water, laughing and smiling.

It was so miserably hot, I was thisclose to joining them.

Kids have it made.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Jack & Jill Went Up A Hill To Fetch Some Aircraft Parts
2010: Live Longer. Live Better. And Be Sure To Have A Devil Dog Once In A While.
2009: How Can You Not Be In Love With The Man Who Invented Kisses?
2008: And We Wonder Why We’re The Fattest Nation On Earth
2007: Star Gazing
2006: Only A Southerner
2005: Do You Take Wolfgang Winkelmeyer To Be Your Lawful Wedded Husband?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hey! It's A Million Degrees Outside. Wanna Help Me Move?

A friend of mine in Tucson recently moved from a big house to a slightly smaller house, and there was an interim period where she was in limbo - the old house sold, but she didn't have a new one yet.  During that period, she stayed with family. 

I wasn't there to help with the move and I have to say I'm kinda  happy about it.  It's freaking JULY, people.  In Arizona.  In the DESERT.  Average temperatures this time of year hover at the 100 and above mark.  And that's inside.  When a temperature gauge reaches three digits, you will not find me very far from frigid a/c.  To make it easier, I just do everything in my power to stay away.  I would have loved to help with the move, and would have done it (with a lot of bitching included) because that's what friends do, but I would have hated every.  single. minute.
Being temporarily homeless meant she had to figure out what to do with her belongings.  She was able to sell some furniture and other things so she wouldn't have to get a huge storage place, and she wanted to new furniture, drapes and other things for the new house anyway, but she still had what George Carlin calls "stuff".  And she needed a place to put it.

You have to know that in Southern Arizona, if you put your treasured belongings in a shed in your backyard,  they're gonna die.  Anticipate that anything remotely meltable (is that a word?), will melt.  CDs?  Forget it.  Candles?  Gone.  Photo albums?  Stuck together, possibly forever.  Tupperware?  The lids will never fit right again.  I've had it happen more than once and have ruined many things by leaving them in the sweltering heat of a storage shed.  I learned though, to never put anything of value in a backyard shed.  Anything I want to keep for a long time, stays inside the house.

The good news?  We have lots of storage in this town.  There are places to keep your boat, RV, car, pool toys, whatever.  Where do you think all the snowbirds stash their stuff when they go back to Minnesota? 

Not only can you find them all over town, because it's such a transient place with people moving in and out all the time, but
Tucson has storage units that are climate controlled.  Kinda like a beer cooler.  So you don't have to worry about your candles melting or your furniture warping. 

As soon as she's ready to move into her new place, it'll just be a few quick trips to the storage facility and then she'll get started on the putting away and organizing part.

That's where I come in.  I have a knack for that sort of thing.

And it takes places indoors.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: Kind Of Like A Virtual Celebrity Bodyguard
2011: Things Are Going Just Swimmingly
2010: A Real Truck Driver Meets A Real Housewife
2009: Stars Glowing, Wine Flowing, Sax Blowing
2008: Western Ed Friday
2007: Salena Kandinsky
2006: Bam! Traumatized.
2005: Swing Low Sweet Chariot

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Italian, French, And Classic Canadian

Whenever I go somewhere new, I always try to pick up things for people I love.  Sometimes I even get stuff for people I just like.  When I was at the Atwater Market in Montreal, I saw all this stuff in one of the stores and had to buy it all.  I couldn't decided at the moment who they'd be for or how many I needed, so I got a bunch.

These tins contain black licorice flavored candies.  They're Italian, from Calabria. 
I love the colorful tins.  They're about 2" across, and 1.5" from top to bottom.  Look at the pretty colors.  They even have some sort of museum, but it's in Italian and I can't read it.
And this one, with the - seven dwarfs? - drawing on it.  I know exactly who I'm giving that one to. 
These mints are also in a little metal tin and made in Toulouse, France.  They were developed by French pharmacist Leon Lajaunie in 1880 to help people achieve fresh breath.  The mints are teeny tiny, about 1/8" x 1/8" square and come out of a hole in the side of the tin. 
While on my black licorice kick, I also picked up a tube of toothpaste for myself.  I've tasted this on the tip of my finger and it has a minty licorice flavor.  I'm not sure if it will be too overwhelming though to brush with.  This stuff is also Italian, out of Florence, Italy, and in a very luxurious silver box, printed with the little logo on the inside of the box also (leave it to the stylish Florentines to decorate the inside of a toothpaste box). 

On the side of the box it says, "Marvis, The pleasure of flavor.  A rich, creamy toothpaste that offere a tingling sensation and removes plaque and tartar for a sparkling white smile.  Our cooperation with the Amarelli firm, producing liquorice since 1731, has given rise to an elegant aroma that combines the clean, seductive flavor of liquorice with the freshness of mint."  Wow.  My current tube of toothpaste doesn't have a "clean, seductive flavor".  Leave it to the Italians. 
The next thing we get into is food.  Condiments and stuff.  I bought the following items for my friend Vicki (haven't sent them yet, so hopefully she's not reading).  The first is French, Fleur D'Olive's Moutarde Baies roses et huile d'olive - Pink Peppercorn and Olive Oil Mustard.  It's made in France and it's all I can do to not open the jar. 
In addition to that is a product made by the company A L’OLIVIER.  It's called Cassis - préparation 'a base de vinaigre et de pulpe de cassis - a preparation of vinegar and blackcurrant pulp.  I'm really not sure what she's going to do with blackcurrant pulp vinegar, but I hope I'm there when she uses it.  With her cooking, it's sure to be amazing.  This item is also a product of France.
And last but not least, I couldn't leave Montreal without buying the quintessential Canadian product - Pure Maple Syrup.  Marlaina told me to buy it in the cans, as that's the "real" Canadian way to purchase it.  I several cans, and for myself I also got Maple Syrup Sugar.  It's AMAZING.  It's a very fine sugar made from maple syrup.  I'm rationing it because it's so delicious.

It's made by Érablière Marois et Frères - which Google translates to Maple Marois Brothers.  I bought cans of medium and amber, two grades of syrup with two distinct tastes.  We had this on pancakes when in Montreal and it was delicious.  We also drizzled a little over vanilla ice cream.  Decadent. 
I'm so happy with all my goodies, now I just have to get them in the mail before I become tempted to dig in and use them myself.

And I've got to try that seductive toothpaste.  With my luck, I'll fall in love with it and have to make regular trips to Quebec to get it.  Or have my Canadian friends smuggle it back for me.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: A Hodgepodge Of Fun
2011: Sleeping Pill In A Swirl
2010: Putting Death On Hold
2009: Eddie Brings A Guest Friday
2008: The Things We Do For Love
2007: A Million Comedians Out Of Work And I’m Lucky Enough To Live With One
2006: Ah, The Primitive Beauty Of The Desert
2005: The Perfect Storm

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Joisey Tomatoes And More

Today we picked up a load in Southern New Jersey and drove through a lot of rural farmland.  Lots of farm stands lined the roads, everyone selling basically the same stuff - Jersey tomatoes and blueberries, peaches, watermelon, cucumbers, squash, corn, flowers, etc. 

I tried to take a picture of this one, Murphy’s Farm Market, as we went whizzing by, but my camera was cold (from being in the icebox interior of our truck) and when I hung it out the window, the heat and humidity (OMG, the humidity) fogged up the lens, so this was the best I could do.
We couldn't stop at this one because we had an oversized load (no unauthorized stops allowed), but in our travels we try to stop at local farm stands whenever we can.  I love getting honest-to-God local stuff, grown within miles of where it's being sold.

And everyone knows nothing compares to a real garden tomato.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

2012: A Very Gradual Climb
2011: Out With The Old, In With The New
2010: Urban Rest Area
2009: Within Striking Distance
2008: An Island Of COWS, Lobsters, And Girls In Imaginary Prairie Dresses
2007: Freakin’ Ewww!
2006: And People Say All The Good Ones Are Taken
2005: Ahhhhh, Bahston

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Surprise In The Park

Ed planned a surprise for me.  And kept it to himself for two days.  Even though I endlessly nagged him to tell me what it was.

"I'm not telling you." he said.

Three hours later I'd say, "So, what's the plan for tomorrow?" hoping he'd slip up and tell me.  He just smiled.

"Well, I'm not going." I declared.  "Not unless I know what it is.  I don't like surprises."

"What you mean you're not going?  And what do you mean you don't like surprises??  Everybody likes surprises." He said.

Then, "You'll like it, I promise."

"Well, what is it?"  I said. 

"Don't worry about it."
"OK, you do know the list of things I like is very short, right?"  I said.  "I mean, like there's maybe three things I like doing, especially in this kind of weather."

Then he told me it was an hour away by train.  WHAT???  I couldn't sleep the night before.  I was stressing out. 

Then he told me we had to bike part of the way.  Before we spent an hour on the train.  WHAT?? 

Seriously, he's been with me for more than nine years.  He can't possibly be planning a surprise that involved biking in ninety-degree weather, to go somewhere by train for an hour and think I'm going to like it.  WHAT was this friggin' plan??  I couldn't stand not knowing.  But he wouldn't budge.  He wouldn't give me the slightest hint.  He wouldn't even tell me what time it started.  Only, "After dinner." 

We were parked at the port in Newark, New Jersey so that was our starting point.  And since I had no idea where we were going, I had to follow Ed.  About a mile and a half ride from the truck is where we started the first leg of our journey, waiting for the bus.
We put our bikes on the front rack of the bus and sat up front watching them through the window as we weaved through the congested city streets to Newark’s Penn Station.  We'd never taken our bikes on a bus or train before, but the train station seemed a little more complicated.  Once we found out from the information desk exactly what to do, getting the ticket and getting on the train couldn't have been easier.

They have different rules for bikes at different times of the day, which is to be expected since they're packed during the rush hour commute, but since it was late in the day on Sunday, we had no problem finding space for us and the bikes.  In fact, we had our own little section of the train car.  I know people have been doing this for years, but this is a whole new experience for me - both bike riding and taking public transportation.  It's just not something I've ever done. 
We spent an hour on the train, heading south to Raritan, NJ.  I still had no idea where we were going, just that we'd get off the train at the Raritan station - the end of the line - and then bike about three miles to the final destination.

On the way to the surprise, we stopped and had meatball parmigiana sandwiches at Enrico's Pizza and Pasta in Somerville.  I was starving and the humidity was taking its toll.  I needed food and air-conditioning.  The only two things that sustain me in life.

The restaurant was halfway to our destination so we didn't have far to go.  Ed said we were almost there.  I didn't even know where "there" was until we rode into Duke Island Park in Bridgewater, NJ and I saw the band shell.  We were at an outdoor concert!  On the grass.  Under the sky. 
And the band that was playing was Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses.  Louis Prima, Jr.!

I don't know how Ed finds this stuff, and I didn't even know a junior existed, but it turns out he's the only son of
Louis Prima, the singer of music I love and grew up listening to.

Louis Prima Jr.'s mother is Gia Maione Prima who was the vocalist that replaced Keely Smith, the woman most often associated with Louis Prima's music.  They were so great together.  I listen to his music often - I have tons of his songs on my iPhone and love how peppy and totally swing it is.  It's toe-tapping, for sure.     
His band features Sarah Spiegel as the female vocalist and they came all the way from Las Vegas, where they regularly perform.  Prima Jr.'s voice sounded similar to his fathers, but the thing that made it different to me was that he seemed to enunciate the words of the songs more than his father did.  Louis Prima had a slurry, gravelly, New Orleans kind of drawl, with a little Sicilian flavor thrown in.  I kinda couldn't believe I was in the presence of someone who shared blood with the King of Sing, Sing, SingTotally my kind of thing. 
This trumpet that he's playing in this next photo belonged to his father.  He said it was over sixty years old and getting a bit worn out and that when this tour was over he was retiring it, putting it in some sort of display box in remembrance of his dad.  

Ed and I were both surprised that there wasn't anyone dancing at the concert.  I know if my mother and step-father were there, they'd be cutting a patch of grass beneath their feet.  It's impossible not to move to these songs.
When the concert was over, we rode the three miles back to town, stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for a late night latte and donut, and then headed over to the train station to get ourselves back to Newark.  The train was due to arrive at 10:19 pm.

We got back to Jersey's Penn Station about an hour later and although this photo makes it appear as if the place were deserted, Ed and I couldn't believe how many people were out and about taking trains at that late hour.  Our next stop was the bus back to the port.
We arrived back at the truck at midnight, sweaty and exhausted from our ride.  Well, I was sweaty and exhausted, Ed was just sweaty.  I was thrilled that the truck was ice cold.  We took showers, put fresh sheets on the bed and hit the sack.

Overall, the surprise was great.  As my friend put it, Ed really IS a romantic.  And he's been that way since we first met.  He's a great gift giver, always thinks about what will make me happy, and he planned a surprise around a music event he knew I would like.

I also discovered he'll go to great lengths not to ruin a surprise.

And all I had to do was ride a bike.

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2012: A Little Red Water Never Killed Anyone
2011: Instantly Sexy
2010: Natural Light In Waterloo
2009: So, What Brings You To My Neck Of The Blogospher?
2008: Eternity Is Going To Be SO. MUCH. FUN.
2007: I’ve Been Everywhere Sunday
2006: That Eddie Guy
2005: Pee Bum Head