spring fever

I just firmed up all my vacation plans for the summer and all I can say is………………….

I CAN’T FREAKING WAIT!

Lee and I are going on down to Pensacola for Memorial Day weekend. My best toad friend is going with us along with her on again/off again gf. (I like the gf so whether or not they work out I plan to have a good time regardless.) I have a feeling I’m going to need a vacation because I don’t actually have a day off until then.

The other day I took out all my board shorts and bikini tops. I filled out the tops nicely, however, the bottoms I had a hard time fastening. Lee had just modeled a new swimsuit the night before that she looked hot in. I can see it now, here I am with a hot gf on the beach and I’m a fat-@ss. So, I signed up for another bootcamp class yesterday that starts on Monday and goes all the way up until it’s time to go to the beach. My bootcamp goals (which, we have to share with the group the first day) is not be a fat-@ss to be able to get my shorts fastened – heck, even have them hang a little loose. We’ll see. I’ve also been running every day after work so I hope to keep that up along with the bootcamp.

Next on my vacation list is Savannah. Lee and I are going to spend a whole week there for my birthday and I cannot wait! I hope to do a lot of beach running, lounging and hanging at our favorite dives.  After we get back from Savannah I have to do the obligatory trip to Indy to see my family which, I won’t dread as much because of the fact that I am getting to do exactly what I want on my real birthday. I think part of the reason I want to go ahead and firm up all vacation plans is that I have been wanting to play hooky lately. I’ve been fantasizing about going to Savannah, goofing off and not doing anything and all with Lee, too. Having a gf who I can do things with is something I haven’t had in a very long time and it makes me want to get out the door and go experience all these things with her. I recently turned off the cable and internet at my house to save money and realized that I really never use it anyway. I’m never really home to look at the and when I do, I frequently just watch something I rented on Netflix.

Last night Lee and I met some new friends out for dinner. They were the couple we met at that horrible party a few weekends back. We met at this popular BBQ place near Little 5 points. I had never been there before but had heard good things about it. Lee and I got there a bit early and went in and sat down at the bar. I looked around and said, “Hey, this is cozy. I could get in to hanging here.” That is until the bartender ignored us for 15 minutes and when she did take our order she waited so long to fill it she had to ask us again what it was. After we replied she then said, “That will be $8.50.” and she hadn’t even poured and sat the drinks on the bar in front of us yet and I said as much to Lee. Normally, when you order a drink at the bar of a restaurant when waiting on a table you either get the tab delivered with your drink, are asked if you want to run a tab or pay up when the drink is delivered. I’ve never experienced someone wanting the money up front unless it was at a beer festival. I was honked off to say the least. I’m all about customer service and if I feel a bartender or server is being less than friendly – especially, on my first visit there I am less likely to ever go back. Thankfully, our food server and the food made up for it.  

After dinner Lee and I went down to country bar. It’s actually closing and I wanted to go on the last Thursday/women’s night. We got there and it was packed. I thought if it was packed every Thursday like this then it would never have to close. We grabbed beers and stood by the bar watching people. Later, I signaled the bartender who I was on a first name basis with to order drinks and I hesitated slightly trying to remember Lee’s drink and the bartender yelled “Come on, come on! Spit it out.” Lee chimed in her drink and I asked for a beer. The bartender slapped my beer on the bar so hard that part of it splashed out and hit me in the face and nearly spilled Lee’s drink setting it down just as hard. Needless to say when I closed out the tip was just minimum 15%.  I looked around at all the same people I had seen over the years and realized that I wasn’t going to miss that place. It seemed desperate, like people were trying too hard to have a good time. Maybe it was because it was the last call at the OK Corral. I grabbed Lee’s hand and said, “Come on. Let’s get out of here.” And we walked out. It was the end of an era and the beginning of another.

pigs fly

Lee and I were sitting at the bar of one of my favorite joints. We had just finished sawing up a tree for one of my clients and were starved. It was the first night of their new menu bringing back my beloved nachos.  We had already ordered drinks when I looked down the bar and noticed one of my ex bosses.

“Dammit! I can’t believe this!” I said, slapping my head.

“What? What’s wrong?”

Pointing across the bar, “There’s my old boss who I can’t stand -the one who laid me off and who lives in the neighborhood. Let’s go.” I started to slide off my stool when she grabbed me.

“You’re ok. Don’t let him run you off from your nachos. I know you’ve been looking forward to this.”

Looking down at my dirty hands from landscaping I said, “I can’t even go to the restroom now because I will have to walk right by him.”

“I will go for you and bring you back a wet towel.” She said, hopping off the stool and taking off for the restroom.

I tried to ignore him by looking down and thumbing my iPhone.

“Hey, you looking for any emails from me?” He said coming up behind me.

I looked around thinking ‘Why the hell would I be looking for an email from the person who was responsible for my being unemployed for over a year?’ But, I didn’t say that, of course, because I have a rule where I never burn a bridge. Never.

I shook his hand and asked how he was. He pointed out my t-shirt that had my company name on it and asked if I’d been busy. I said I had been, that I was employed full time at [government agency], had my own landscape company and was still teaching motorcycle classes.

“Well, glad one of us is busy. We’re slow. We’ve had to lay off people and [other old boss who yelled at me on a daily basis] is only managing one project right now. In fact, him and [inspector who took my old job and was shitty to me] are only working part time right now.”

“Oh, well that’s tough. Sorry to hear that [I wasn’t].”

“Yeah, well it’s been nice seeing you.”

“Yeah, you too. [for reasons you have no idea].”

“Keep in touch and come by the office sometime and visit us.”

“Sure.” [when pigs like you fly]

As he walked out I couldn’t help but smile over how well I handled that and feeling somewhat triumphant over the terrible situation that him and other old boss had put me in. The shoe was definitely on that other foot now.

Just then Lee slid into her seat handing me a damp paper towel. “Hey, so you talked to him, huh? See, that wasn’t’ so bad, was it?”

“No not at all.” Taking a drink simultaneously as the nachos were placed in front of us.

payback

Lee has this friend that she met on an online dating site prior to us meeting. Lee and “Kari” also play tennis and Lee has joined her team. Lee and her had one date and decided that the chemistry wasn’t there and decided to be friends. (One of the reasons for the off chemistry was that this woman almost took out a tooth trying to kiss Lee on their first date. Lee told me it was probably one of the worst kisses she ever got in her life.) I’ve met Kari a few times and she seems pleasant enough. Kari is now seeing someone else she met online who is from Florida. She swears she’s in love with her and has been driving down to see her almost every other weekend. Lee is a bit concerned for her friend as she not only has an 8 year old child who she shares with her recent ex of 17 years but also shares a successful home renovation company with the ex as well. Who can mother, run a business and drive 8 hours to Florida every other weekend?

But, what do I care – I’m just giving you some background here for the real story.

This past weekend Kari’s girl from Florida was in town and she was having a cookout and wanted us all to come over and meet her. Kari’s friends Chris and Greg had already met her and like Lee were concerned. There was a festival that day where I ran in the race they held for it and Lee and I had lunch and walked around afterwards. Later, we found ourselves in Little Five points shopping and having beers at the Yacht Club.

“Do you want to eat?”

“No, we shouldn’t because if we do all I will want to do is stay here and not go to Kari’s. I have to stay focused.”

“Right. We need to pick up some things at the grocery to take, too.”

“Yep. Let’s go.” I said, draining my beer.

We ran our errands and headed to Kari’s fashionably late. Edith was also coming and bringing her new gf, -from a whole other country – talk about long distance. (Edith didn’t know Kari but when Lee told her that we were hanging with them that weekend because of her new girl being in town she invited them, too.)

Granted, Lee and I hadn’t dressed up for this cookout/party. I had changed into shorts and a fresh t-shirt in the car after the race and we both had hats on. We walked in and no one really greeted us. We sat the food down and one woman peeled away from her conversation with Kari’s new squeeze, “Katie” and came over and introduced herself. I looked around and saw my vet there and wondered how she fit in to this crowd of “lipstick lesbians.” I took our cooler of beer and cider out onto the back deck and introduced myself to the woman who was running the grill who then asked if I wanted to take over after shaking my hand. (Obvisously, I looked more the part for grilling than she did – probably worrying that she’d break a nail.) I ignored the question and grabbed a beer going back inside to find Lee.

Lee was talking to Kari who had finally appeared. I joined them and introductions to Katie were made. Katie barely shook our hands before turning back to the conversation she had been having with the first woman who introduced herself to us. There was also a woman there that Lee, Kari and I all had had some contact with on the online dating site. I will call this woman stuck-up bitch Shelia.  Kari had gone out with Shelia at one time and said she was the worst kisser (worse than her, I guess) and that she talked about herself all during the date. I had winked at Shelia one time and got a standard boilerplate reply back from the dating site saying this person was not interested in me and please refrain from contacting her. Lee had gotten several winks from her to which she never replied. Since she was standing right next to us, Lee  introduced herself (not even mentioning the dating site recognition) and got about the same response as we both did with Katie.

I looked around the room and absolutely no one was talking to us and everyone was engaged in their own little personal conversations.

“I feel really uncomfortable here.” [me]

“I know, me too.  Just wait until Greg and Chris get here. I want you to meet them. I think you guys will hit it off.” [Lee]

“Ok, I guess Greg and Chris and Edith and Etzy are worth it. I’m going to go get another beer.”

Thankfully, Greg and Chris showed up right after and like Lee said we did hit it off. The four of us decided to grab some food and sit out on the deck ignoring the rest of the party. Later, Edith and Etzy showed and as far as I was concerned the party began. We somehow made it back into the kitchen where the party was going the six of us talking and joking in the corner when Katie broke away from her still ongoing conversation with Natalie to make some crack about Edith’s Tennessee hat. I mean, I can understand some playful college rivalry but when you haven’t even introduced yourself to someone and make a mean spirited crack about their team then that’s just rude. I turned to back to Greg because I knew Edith could take care of herself and she did asking her what college she went to and when she got an answer she said,

“Oh, I see you’re just ripping on my team because yours s*cks.”

Edith had her and Katie knew it but, she didn’t stop there because as Lee came over to join the conversation she turned to her and said, “So, who did you come here with?” She knew who Lee came with because we met -it was just a smear on her and I. I had no idea why this Florida bitch she was out to get me and my friends but I didn’t like it. I turned to Greg and said, “What’s with her?”

“I don’t know but I don’t like it.” Greg had been friends with Kari for years and had recently stepped in it a bit with her for being concerned for her child and calling Katie a rebound.

Edith and Etzy were getting ready to leave and I asked Lee if she was ready and she said she was. I went out back to retrieve our cooler and noticed some of the beer that Katie was drinking sitting next to all the others.  I snuck two – one for each jibe she had made – into my cooler thinking “Payback’s a bi-otch.”

hustler

Last night was a very late night at pool. My friend, Amy who is an editor as well met me there to discuss the manuscript. She actually had better things to say than the other woman I met with on Tuesday – not that what she said was so bad but she seemed to think I had A LOT of work left to do on it whereas Amy didn’t. It’s always nice to have a couple points of view and now more than ever my fingers are itching to write and work on the book. One of the things I’m going to do is start reading it to Lee. I’ve had several people give me that advice as a way to work out the kinks and self edit.

I hadn’t seen Lee the past few nights because I’ve been all slung up in landscape work and pool playing, (the practice night paid off, btw.) plus, my pool nights are my own as her tennis nights are to her. Yesterday, on the phone she sounded irritated. I asked her if she was upset about something or frustrated and she said she was hungry and was stuck in traffic. I knew she missed me and wanted an invite that night but it wasn’t coming. I told her to have a good evening, to take herself out to eat and relax and hung up. Again, pool nights my own.

I’m getting more and more in to playing these days and have even started scheduling practice on Wednesday nights – at least until this season is over (think we only have two more weeks and we’re still barely in first place) so that makes two nights a week with pool. It’s also a time where I get to hang out with some of my friends who play on other teams. Despite the competitiveness of the league we all are very social and friendly to one another. That’s what I really like about it is the sportsmanship. There’s always a handshake and introduction before the match if you’ve never played each other before and compliments on nice shots and good matches.

Despite just rolling over four months since Lee and I started dating it still seems relatively new. I am just not ready to dive into being tied down or that I have to constantly check in with someone. My nature is to get a little rebellious when I start feeling that way. It could be as subtle as a missed call or a delayed text to an all out “I need some space” and not talk for a few days. Sometimes it’s not even about space. When I’ve ran really hard and fast for several days in a row I just need the down time to crash and I haven’t had one of those days/nights since Dallas (- there was one day where I didn’t have a class until 3:30 so I slept late, read two newspapers and caught up on my email – it was heaven, too!)

I say all this about space while at the same time I’m crazy about the girl and do want to see her and miss her when I don’t. She has a photographer friend (Lee is also a photographer) that needed to do a photo shoot out of town and she asked Lee to go with her to assist and paid her for the job. When they got there her friend took some test shots and asked Lee to pose. Lee sent me two of those pictures and I had them developed and put them in frames. I set one on the bookshelf I have in the living room. I have several pictures of my family on this shelf but as I sat it there I couldn’t remember the last girlfriend I had whose picture I put there with the rest. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a picture of a girlfriend there. I put the other in the bedroom on the nightstand. (and, I know for a fact that I’ve never had a picture of a girlfriend there) I’m waiting for her to notice these when she comes over tonight.

Work is dragging on today and I wish I were off. I think I will take a power nap before the concert tonight. Have a great and safe weekend, everyone

Time management

Tuesday, I met with an editor who had volunteered to look at my manuscript and give me some feedback. Her girlfriend actually plays on Lee’s tennis team and Lee offered to hand it off to the teammate to give to the gf. This was the first time I’ve had any feedback since it was finished. (Although, I have another friend also an editor who is meeting with me tonight to give me some feedback as well. I am very curious to compare the two.) I wasn’t surprised by the feedback I got and know that there are several things that need to be tightened up and expanded on. It really makes me want to get back at it and work on it but I honestly don’t have the time right now. Time management has been my biggest challenge recently.

Since I was out of town all last week for my main gig and taught a class over the weekend I’ve had to play catch up on my landscaping work. It’s a very busy time of the year landscape-wise. I have clients that want things planted, like, right now! I’ve had to do this work in the late afternoons and early evenings after my regular job. The past two nights I have literally changed from my workout clothes right into my landscape clothes and have gone straight over to a clients house up the street and planted 9 rose bushes, transplanted 2 blueberry bushes (and the rootball on those suckers were as big as a that of a tree), trimmed, blown and watered. Last night I ran home afterwards, hopped in the shower and took off to pool practice. Since our team is in first place and we only have two weeks left I knew my pool captain would kick my butt if I didn’t make it to practice.

Tonight is our regular league night, Friday Lee, Ellen and I are going to a concert, Saturday I am planning to take off and go to the 420 festival come h*ll or highwater and Sunday I was supposed to go to a baby shower but it turns out that I have to do more landscape work. (which, reminds me that I can’t be hungover on Sunday because I’m running a chainsaw and I’d rather be sawing up a tree than going to a babyshower anyway)

All this makes me tired just writing about it but I have no one to blame for my busy schedule but myself. Sitting there with the editor last night and listening to all the feedback I had to stop myself from shaking my head and asking “When am I going to do all this?”

There will be plenty of times when it’s raining, cold and winter where I don’t teach as many motorcycle classes or do any landscaping work. That will be the time to work on the book. Ah, but it would be nice to take off a week and spend it on Tybee running and sunning and writing, which, reminds me to ask Lee about whether or not she can take off a week in July to go to Savannah for my birthday. That’s when I’m thinking I could start the next book.

whew

Holy cow I have been so busy lately. I’m feeling like I’m in the weeds. Last week I got approved to take a business trip to Dallas, TX at the very last minute. So, I’m running around like crazy trying to book my trip, submit all the paperwork and get all the approval sign-offs. I originally didn’t think I was going to go so I promised Lee I would go to Savannah that weekend to meet her folks that were staying at her house. When the trip got approved I managed to book the last flight out of Atlanta Sunday evening so I could go to Savannah. The remainder of the week was packing and getting ready for both trips.

But, I digress. The last time I wrote I was meeting an ex to discuss my brokerage accounts before going to Savannah. It all went well. Very well, in fact. I did ask her the question and I liked the reply I got so my money stays with her.

I’m finding that every time Lee and I go to Savannah it bonds us even closer than before. Her folks were great and the weirdness I anticipated never showed it’s face. We had a great time with them and taking the seafood down with us to have a boil was a hit. Like I originally imagined, it was a great ice-breaker. Friday evening we had dinner, and then Lee and I drove out to Tybee and hit our place with the two-dollar bill we had stapled on the ceiling that previous January. The next day, I drove back to Tybee and ran on the beach for an hour and then had an ice-cold beer. Afterwards, I ran around the island shopping and picking up a charm and t-shirts for Lee and I. That night, Lee and I went downtown and wound around the many squares of Savannah breathing in the sweet air, taking in the mossy live oaks and hitting River street to have dinner and drinks at our favorite Irish pub. To say it was less than one of the most romantic evenings I’ve ever experienced would be a travesty.

The next day went too fast. We had breakfast with her parents and then headed back to Atlanta where Lee was dropping me off at the airport to fly to Dallas. I got into Dallas at 2 a.m. the next day and was exhausted dragging into my first class at 8:00 with 4 hours of sleep. My hotel room was very nice, though, and I actually enjoyed my time there. Wednesday evening I finally found the “gayborhood” and went out. It was a 5 block strip of gay bars, restaurants and shops. It reminded me at little bit of Liberty Avenue in Queer as Folk. I ended up at a lesbian bar “Sue Ellen’s” and met some really nice women who I ended up partying with the rest of the night, pouring myself into a cab at 2 a.m. to go back to the hotel. I found the people in Dallas very friendly and I would gladly go back.

Friday I landed in Atlanta to find smiling Lee at the top of the escalators of the terminal and the rest is history. I’m back!