Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Cracker Barrel And The Stripper Pole

You know what two phrases are rarely heard together in a sentence?

"Stripper poles" and "Cracker Barrel."  But today, friends...prepare to be amazed as history is in the making where these two phrases are concerned.

Only in my world could they ever be together.  A fact for which I thank God for...truly.

Now, I love ye olde "CB" but I am in no way affiliated with that corporation, nor am I being paid to mention anything about them.

I just like to eat there.

And a few weeks ago, whilst on yon vacation...I decided to stop there.  To eat.  With my friend and her two littles.

The only problem with it was, we were in South Carolina and apparently, they do things a bit differently there.  In my neck of the woods, when you walk in to a CB, the dining hall is always to your left, and the general store is to your right.

Not so in South Carolina.  It's all backwards.  So after hitting the bathroom up and mentioning all the geographical oddities of this particular locale...we commenced to being seated and eating breakfast.  It should be mentioned here that Girlfriend's four year old has an appetite that is approximately the size of an ant.  She's a little stick figure with white blonde curls and gorgeous blue eyes that swallow her whole face. 

She is lethally adorable.

The one thing she does love to eat in any sort of measurable quantity is bacon.  Because...who doesn't?  Even if you don't eat it because of diet're still craving the salty, crispy goodness of porkfat.  Yum.  So...Princess Pea (as she shall henceforth be named) and I ordered ourselves a nice helping of bacon.

At which point Princess Pea says, "You wike bacon too?"  And I said, "Psshhhttt...yeah...I lurve bacon!"  And then she giggled and squirmed and put her hand up to her mouth to whisper to me, "You and me can be bacon buddies!" *snort giggle giggle snort*

To which I replied solemnly, "Yes.  Yes we can."  And so we are even to this day.

Now during this whole exchange, the eight-year-old was discussing with his mother what he would have and so on and so forth.  When the food came out...he took two bites and declared loudly to all within hearing range that "This is the best food I've ever had!!!"

Have I said to you that I love these kids???  I mean...they are foodie geniuses!

Eight-year-old declared and avowed his love for his meal again to our waitress, who then proceeded into the kitchen to tell the cook...and buddy boy got a huge thumbs up from our table.  And eight-year-old's day was made when the cook waved enthusiastically in response.

And then we all rolled out to the car...having eaten so much bacon and such that we could no longer walk.

I tipped the waitress with some "ones" from my "stripper stash."

Oh wait...I forgot to tell you about that part.

Prior to the culinary episode at CB...we had stopped at a gas station.  I walked into the store to pay because all I had on me was cash.  Large bills.  It was a bit early in the day and the cashier only had ones, so she asked me if it would be ok if my change was a bunch dollar bills.  I said, "Sure."

To which she replied, "Just tell everybody you got them at the stripper pole last night."

To which I said, "Alrighty then."

And then I thanked her for thinking I had the flexibility and dexterity to be able to work a pole.

At my've got to take the compliments where you can get them people.

So please bless the Cracker Barrel people who have to serve copious amounts of bacon to weary travelers who can only tip them with cash that may or may not have been earned at a stripper pole.  And bless the gas station attendants who have the optimism to believe someone whose physical shape largely resembles that of a bowling ball...would seem desirable enough to have warranted that many dollar bills.


Tune in next time folks when Mimi throws together the phrases, "Angry Midget" and "Hot Tub."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Driving In The Car With Kids...A Guide

So I promised a second part to the whole vacay story.   So this week, in not-so-Paul-Harvey-esque fashion, I promise to relay the "rest of the story."

But first...a list.  Consider it a guide of sorts.

You're welcome.

1.  If you're planning on driving a car with a friend and two kids in the backseat for a significant distance, make sure you wait until the last minute to pack so that you won't go to bed until 3 hours before you're supposed to leave.  And then as you slide into the driver's seat...tell your friend that you didn't get any sleep.  This is to build up her confidence that she and her offspring will survive the drive.

2.  Make sure that your route is filled with as many mountainous roads and switchback turns as possible.  This will ensure that your friend at least will stay awake even if you can't.  Also, if you're gonna go off the side of the mountain...then at least one of you should get the "full effect."

3.  Don't be afraid of eighteen-wheelers.  Get as close to them as you can. If you can coast in their blind-spot, so much the better!  This will give your friend an opportunity to get closer to Jesus, as she will certainly call out His name several times.

4.  Take the time to plan a vacation at a destination you've never actually had to drive to before.  This will give your lazy GPS lady a workout and goodness knows she needs one.   It will also give your friend something other than the door-handle to clutch as you go barrelling around those switchback curves.

5.  Get friendly with your gas pedal.  This is because your lazy, good-for-nothing, cheap, worthless GPS lady will give you wrong directions...and you'll want to be able to show off your donut skillz while performing numerous "legal" u-turns in traffic.

6.  Be observant.  You want to make sure to point out those stop signs and various shrubbery to the kids because they might not have noticed them the first 8 times you passed them.

7.  Don't forget to call your husband en route to let him know that your tires feel funny and your engine light just came on.  Do this in front of your friend...that way you kill two birds with one stone and can possibly spark a revival, as this will up the amount of spirit-filled prayer that your friend is now doing non-stop; not to mention all the "special" language now being uttered by your husband (who is hundreds of miles away).  Remember, where two or more are gathered together....

8.  When filling up your tank in a strange city, go to the one with bars on all the windows and a parking lot filled with "hooptys" bouncing lots of bass and gangsta rap.  This will help the two youngsters in the backseat get the full message behind Elvis' classic hit "In The Ghetto."  Because vacations don't always have to be filled with fun and sun.  They can be educational too.

9.  Take only cash with you.  That way, when you're in above-mentioned gas station, you can flash it to any and all passers-by as you go in to pay.  But make sure you take your car keys with you into the station, as your friend may by now be slightly over-reacting and won't unlock the car door without a certain amount of "encouragement."

10.  Buy candy for the kids to gobble up in the back seat.  This move cannot be overstated as it will improve the chance for a full sugar melt-down right as you're pulling into your destination and are getting ready to unload the car.  Your friend will appreciate the fact that her kids have demonstrated their vocal abilities to the entire establishment, because who doesn't love a "grand entrance?"

So...that's it.  My guide to traveling by car with other people.  And kids.  I have no copyright on this guide, so feel free to tweak it with your own special variations and make it "yours."

Also, no children or friends were harmed in the making of this guide.  At least...not physically.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Time For Silence

In my opinion, today really isn't a day for a lot of words.   I wanted to post about the rest of my trip, but to do that would dishonor the day.  Instead, my thoughts wander once again with the rest of the country back over the past 11 years.  My thoughts wander, and I wonder.

After all this time, I think that the people lost in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 weren't the only ones who died that horrible day.

Thousands of military personnel from all over the world, Iraqis, Afghanis, and Pakistanis have also died paying the price for one man's hatred.

The America I grew up in died that day.

Today many will vow to never forget.  Many will grieve again and cry as they see the images of smoke and utter chaos again.  Many will share their memories of where they were the moment they heard the news.

Some will stir up old anger and fear.

Some will stretch out yearning arms for lost friends and loved ones...and find only empty air and the pain of memory.

Some will comfort themselves with the thought that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Justice has been served.

Or has it?

As I isn't a day for a lot of words.  It is a day for introspection.

I admit I have spent a lot of time in the past 11 years shaking my fist at the "enemy."  I've chanted "USA! USA!"  I've flown the flag and cried with the rest of the country. 

And now I begin to question. 

2,996 individuals died on September 11th. 

Estimates range from 110,000 to over one million military personnel, insurgents, civilians, journalists and government contractors have been killed in the resulting wars.

My father served in the military for 22 years.  I have the utmost respect for our brave men and women in uniform.

So I ask this in humility...with respect and no small amount of trembling.

Has it been worth it?

I wonder how the 2,996 people who died in the planes, the Pentagon, and the Twin Towers would answer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Which I Tempt Fate A Second Time

Y'all.  I believe I have documented somewhat my feelings about myself interracting with nature.  Don't get me wrong,  I like nature and I think it's good and stuff...but it could be so much better if it were devoid of bugs and had better air conditioning.

But last the self-sacrificing Christian I am, I ventured out once more in the name of friendship and freedom.  As in "free lodging and food" freedom.   An issue which I'm sure our forefathers would have included in the Constitution had there been such things as condominiums and vacation resorts in their time.

Instead of rolling down the river, this time I was at the beach.  I shall not name the beach except to say that it starts with "Myrtle" and ends with...well..."Beach."  I haven't written about it until now simply because I'm lazy the words wouldn't come out.  It was a trip of epic epic-ness in a way that only those who are in love with Dr. Sheldon Cooper and the movie The Great Outdoors can understand.  The selection of wording must be just right so that you too, Dear Reader(s), can experience what my friend and I experienced last week.  You lucky dog(s), you.

A couple of months ago, a very sweet friend of mine mentioned to me that she had an opportunity to go to the beach, but no way to get there.  She sort of asked in an off-handish way if I would be interested in going...I'd just have to drive and provide the gas and she would take care of the rest.  In what I can only describe as a cranial infarction, I said, "Sure! I'll go!"  Obviously I had completely blocked out my previous flirtation with paralysis a few short months ago and had now opted for certain death by various and sundry means on our nations coastline.

Now I should note here that my friend and I had heretofore spent a little time together, but nothing like this.  I mean, 10 hours in a car and then 4 nights together with her two littles?  It had not yet been attempted.  At this juncture I should also tell you that I adore her kids.  She has an 8 year old boy and a 4 year old girl.  In my opinion...this is the best age to take your kids anywhere.

My friend had been to the ocean before...but her kids had not.  So we were both kind of pumped to see the reactions on their faces.  I had mentioned to my pal that we would leave super-duper 6am...(and we all know what a fan Mimi is of pre-sunrise activity) and that the kids would probably sleep most of the way there.

It was at this point when my friend patted my shoulder and got this sad, yet loving and sympathetic gleam in her eye as if to say..." sad, strange, little's been a while since your kids were small hasn't it?"  I shrugged it off as Mom-jitters.  You know, the kind where you really want people to think your kids are the greatest thing since sliced bread and you're nervous and tense that what they're really gonna do is make people think that you and your husband should be henceforth banned from ever procreating ever again?  Sort of like Honey Boo Boo's parents?

Yeah...Mom-jitters.  Not that I've ever had them or anything.  My kids were angels I tell you.  ANGELS.

We got the trunk packed up in a fashion would have made R. Lee Ermey proud, got the kids buckled into their carseats and proceeded to put the pedal to the metal.  Or something like that.  Actually, I went the wrong way right out of the gate, but it was all good because I needed to stop at the gas station to top off the tank.  (That's my story and I'm sticking to it!) We got that done and I get back in the car and I kid you not...we had come all of 2.5 miles and we needed a potty break.

Yep.  It had been a while since ol' Mimi had gone on a trip with littles.

There was a Hardee's across the street from us which also happens to be the primo spot for all the local geezers to get together for breakfast and solve the world's problems.  I know this because there were two of them who stared at us upon entry and exit of afore-mentioned potty break and made us feel as though we had tread carelessly on sacred ground.   Like we had let the kids pee on the Lincoln Memorial or something.  I waved to them as my friend shoved her kids into the back seat and we peeled out of there like two bananas.   (Get it? Peeled? Bananas????)

Clearly...we were off to a super-duper start.

To Be Continued...