follow the leader

The weekend was good but went by in such a blur that I can’t even recall what we did Friday evening. I think the weather was good – a bit cold and I came home and changed clothes and Charlie and I sat out on the porch – which, is usually what we do on a Friday night.

Saturday, I rode up to this motorcycle swap meet with Katherine and Yvonne. Mary Ann and Charlie followed in Mary Ann’s car. This swap meet was for Mary Ann’s benefit, mostly, because she wanted to look at bikes. It was also for Yvonne’s benefit to break in her bike and have a first long ride.

It was kind of a stressful, long ride for a newbie, I admit. But, Katherine has her planned for a couple of upcoming rides that are just as big so this experience was good -if not necessary as she has to learn sometime – what better way than to do it with us and Mary Ann and Charlie providing car support.

I ended up taking the Triumph because it was cold that day and I wanted to plug in my heated jacket. (I do plan on getting the plugin attachment for the Harley just that’s not a huge priority right now). Katherine asked that we ride up Buford Highway until we got to 985 so Yvonne wouldn’t have to get on the highway right away.

By the time we reached 985 I was starting to feel like I did that one time when I rode that 50 mile funeral procession with the Patriot Guard my clutch hand was killing me. Once on 985 it was very windy and I was initially glad we only had a few miles on that before we got to Gainesville. For some reason – despite not knowing where we were going I ended up leading the procession.

I took the second exit to Gainesville and when we pulled off the exit I swung into a gas station so we could regroup and figure out where we were going. We gassed up, had a snack and Mary Ann had mapped out the location on her phone so to my relief we followed her. When she stopped to turn left into this almost deserted strip center with the Honey BooBoo-like yard sale in the front I thought she had missed it and was turning around. To my concern we wove down into the parking lot and parked next to some Harley’s that had seen better days.

This has to be a joke, right?

I pulled off my helmet only to be met with a cloud of cigarette smoke. Waving my hand in front of my face I said to the group, I guess we should have just followed the smoke.

There was every bad biker stereotype there. Leather vests with confederate flags, long scraggly beards – like Duck Dynasty goes Hog Chapter. Unfortunately, we all paid $10 to get into some disserted warehouse that only had a few bikes parked inside – one a John Deer chopper that had seen better days. (Hmm, that deer don’t run…) and some lady who was in dire need of dentures sewing on patches to the likes of “Gun control – use both hands” [actually, I liked that one but I’d never wear it]. Katherine slapped down a ten and had her sew on her chapter patch. I was mortified that we had to hang out there long enough for the woman to sew it on. Some guy was revving an old Harley and I was tempted to go over and tell him to stop doing that but realized that I was outnumbered and probably wouldn’t win a fight against these people.

Let’s get out of here. This place is so redneck.

Hon, we’re rednecks if you think of it.

HON. We’re inside-the-fruit-loop-of-Atlanta-gays-who- own-a-CAMPER-redneck there’s a difference – these are scary rednecks. These are string-you-up-rape-you-and-set-you-on-FIRE rednecks.

Much to my relief, we left after that. I walked back to my bike hoping that the girls would follow my lead and start getting dressed again to ride. Unfortunately, one of the rednecks was checking out my bike. I thought for the 9th time in that hour that I should have been packing. Why don’t I pack when I ride, why, why, WHY?! Gun control use both hands….

I like Triumphs!

Thinking, that’s great, so do I, wow who would have thought we had something in common.

Er, great!

What’ll you take fer her?

Uh, she’s not for sale.

Thankfully, he wondered off after that. I went over to Katherine and Yvonne’s bikes. We took a few pics and I said, Let’s get out of here!?

We discussed where to go to lunch. I threw out Mexican because there is a large community in Gainesville and the little hole-in-walls are supposed to be great. Mary Ann pulled up Yelp on her phone and threw out some Spanish name that we agreed to and hopped on our bikes. We pulled out of the shopping center, went up to the first light, hung a right, lost Katherine, went through another light and pulled over in a parking lot to wait for Katherine, Mary Ann exclaimed she was lost, Katherine pulled in, we took off again around through the projects of Gainesville – past dilapidated houses with people sitting on the front porch that I felt safer around than the bikers I needed to wave to – until she pulled back up to the original road and gestured through window which way. I pointed right because there was no way our procession was going to make a left turn onto a 4 lane road. Once back on the road she was gesturing again through the window and I pointed to the Chinese buffet. We pulled in and parked and I no more pulled off my helmet when-

-everyone was like, Noooo we don’t want Chinese.

Well, where do we want to go?

We don’t know.

Freaking women.

Mary Ann was supposed to be leading us there and at this point her little post-breakup mind had shut down. I almost suggested Charlie drive.

Pulling out my cell phone I brought up Yelp and said, There’s a Wild Wings right up the street on the right.

Yes, let’s go there.

Leave it to the project manager to figure shit out. And, I thought I wasn’t working this weekend.

Again, I led the way and swung into the parking lot and parked. I think everyone needed the fortification of chicken wings at that point. After wings and salads we headed out. I wasn’t looking forward to the cold, windy ride home. Once again I felt like I needed to be in charge since I was with women who couldn’t read a map or Yelp I told everyone that 985 was going to be up the road and it would eventually turn into I-85 and at that point I was taking I-285 once I got to it that anyone else could choose how they wanted to go but that was the route I was taking. I was done with clutch-in-clutch-out all the way down Buford Highway. I figured Katherine and Yvonne would pull off and Mary Ann would follow them and I’d be on my own – which, was fine. I’m a big girl and can ride highways just fine by myself –done it for years. Everyone decided to follow – again, I was the leader. I felt like, Ok, I’m the leader you need to keep up and put it on 65 mph and held it.

Once home, Charlie said – You were going so fast it was hard to keep up.

Y’all needed to keep up. I was only going 65 – any slower and we would have had people running up on our butts. As it was it was 5 mph under the speed limit. I mean, it was kind of a tough ride for Yvonne but, hey, you have to learn some time and they could have turned off on Buford Highway again. I was letting everyone know that they didn’t have to follow me but they did.

Sometimes it’s hard always being the leader.


where is the karma?

So, today I’m going to write about a friend of ours – Mary Ann. Charlie and I first met her at Ellen’s house when she was having a party. Mary Ann had just moved here from California at the time and had already made a slew of friends – ironically, ones that she knew while she was in Cali who had also moved here. I think I have mentioned that she’s friends with Katherine and Yvonne – who are now together and have a band.

At the time, Mary Ann had her –then – girlfriend here. In fact, at the party I mistook her for another friend of ours who had moved to Texas and wondered why she just looked at me and looked away like she didn’t know me – later, I found she didn’t because it wasn’t the ex-friend from Texas but Mary Ann’s girlfriend, Krystal.

Despite speaking with Krystal a bit that night I realize now that I have never liked anyone with that name. In fact, everyone with that name I have despised.

Krystal was working and living in Maine and had plans to quit her job and move to Georgia with Mary Ann. We have several friends who have coupled up this way – me and Charlie including. She moved here from Florida. Yvonne is moving here from SC and Ellen just had her new squeeze move here from Arkansas.

At Christmas Mary Ann proposed to Krystal and started house hunting. In January she flew up to Maine, picked Krystal up and they drove back to Georgia stopping along the way making it a vacation. When they got to Georgia they closed on a house [a very lovely one, I might add] and Krystal flew back to quit her job and start packing.

Or so we thought.

In murder mysteries this is the part where someone discovers a bloody knife in the cupboard.

As I told you before, I knew something was up at the Super Bowl party when Mary Ann said that Krystal was having a hard time quitting her job. Well, she didn’t afterall. She broke up with Mary Ann right before Valentine’s Day. Since then, Mary Ann has gone through the stage of grief of “What did I do wrong?” the self-blaming kind – much to all of our frustration.

You didn’t do anything, Krystal is just a bitch.

At the St. Paddy’s day party at Katherine’s I tried to talk to her about it. She was still in the what did I do mode. I said, You have to let this go. You may never know the reason.

Although, I suspected there was another chicken in the coop.

In the meantime, her very old dog – a two-time cancer survivor, I might add – hadn’t been doing well. In fact, he was taking a dive. Many times the past month we have had plans where she would say, Rudy’s not doing well and would stay home with him. We’ve all been on pins and needles about it – really. Poor girl going through a difficult breakup and her dog – only companion – not doing well.

What a fucking raw deal. It makes me want to go hug my Sadie-McTaddie-Fatty-McTattie and Bailey –Bait – well, you know.

Tuesday, we all had plans to go eat at the bar that has the burger specials when Mary Ann said Rudy wasn’t doing well. Then, Wednesday morning Ellen texted that he had passed. That night, she came out for one bowling game. She looked defeated. As she talked to us she raised her sweater and pulled her belt to another notch tighter – already pretty thin she was even more so now.

We need to get some food on those bones, girl.

She was showing Ellen something on her phone. When she went up to bowl later I asked her what that was about.

She’s getting messages from Krystal now about how sorry she is that Rudy isn’t doing well.

What? Has she told her that Rudy died?

Nope. She’s mad now.

Good, we’ve been waiting for this stage.

Saturday, we have plans to meet up at a motorcycle swap meet in North Georgia to look at bikes for Mary Ann. Katherine, Yvonne and I are riding up and meeting Mary Ann and Charlie. I hope she gets a bike and starts riding soon. She needs this. I just feel so terrible for her -just all these sucky things happening to such a good person. It just seems that nothing bad ever happens to the people who suck.

Where is the Karma in all this?

Next up – Lee the homewrecker. Stay tuned!


running on chex mix

We’re on the fourth week since Charlie’s injury. Currently, she’s able to get around pretty good with her wheelchair and crutches. The other day we were able to go to Sam’s Club and do some shopping pretty easily with her in the chair and me pushing a cart. Originally, we were considering the Farmers Market but it’s hard to get around in there with two usable legs and a hand basket let alone someone in a wheelchair. I probably would have been arrested going after someone for tripping over her leg if we have gone there. People in there are so rude they will push you aside just to get at some cucumbers or they’re not looking where they are going and will run right over you.

I can’t wait for April to get here and winter a distant memory. We don’t have a date just yet for Charlie to lose the cast but we’re hoping by the end of April. St. Paddy’s day we went over to Katherine’s house for a party with the motorcycle group– a mixture of both gay men and lesbians. Yvonne was there – newly moved in with Katherine and just having successfully completed her motorcycle class the weekend prior. I explained to her the situation with quitting and was sorry I couldn’t be there but it couldn’t be helped. But, on the upside I’m available now on weekends to ride and run races. I have been taking Black Fury out on the weekends and doing my in-town loop for the break-in period so last Saturday it was nice out and I took her on the loop and back.

Sunday, I had signed up to do a race with Ellen. Regrettably, it rained the entire race and day. It was a decent race, relatively flat and it wasn’t raining too bad during race. We were still soaked by the time it was all over. A hot shower never felt so great afterwards.



one more time

I originally thought that I would teach this one last class and be done with it since my friend had signed up for it because she wanted me as an instructor. Then, when things went south with that class I thought – once I get paid and teach that last one in April then I’ll be done.

But, the universe was telling me different.

The night before I quit I slept very poorly. I woke up and my clothes were all sweaty and I was shivering. I had this dream that I was back at this very terrible company I worked for 6 years ago. During my time there I took Xanax regularly because I had panic attacks all the time. I had a boss who would scream at us in meetings and another one who constantly harassed me because I was a woman. I was even sexually harassed there by another woman. One time while I was there I even broke out into shingles I was so stressed out. They really did me a favor in laying me off in 2009. However, it was a very bad lesson to learn. Because of being laid off – I lost my BMW, I had to file bankruptcy and I was unemployed for over a year before I went to the last job at the DOD. [And, can you just imagine how embarrassing it is to have your neighbors who you have lived next to for years see a tow truck come and take your car right out of the driveway?] But, like I said – they really did me a favor laying me off because I would have gone on working for them and being miserable. Ironically now they are one of my consultants and they work for me.  The first week I was at my new job their snake of a VP caught me in the elevator and tried to suck up to me. I just looked right through her.

In the dream I had decided to work for them part time along with my full time job – like the motorcycle gig. People were treating me ok to my face but when I tried to go find a restroom they didn’t have any. [I always have dreams about not getting to a restroom in time, or not being able to find one, or finding one and it’s too dirty to use or all the stalls are full – I don’t know what that’s about that but I think it has to do with anxiety].

So, I sat at the bar thinking about this and decided that the universe was telling me something in the dream and between that and everything that happened lately I needed to do something or else something really bad was going to happen. Like say – I teach one more class and someone gets really hurt or even killed on my watch. It changes my life forever – that one.last.class. I mean, I’ve been fortunate in teaching that the most someone’s ever gotten hurt is from a broken leg. [Although, that was pretty serious – the student at the time was going into shock, it was cold outside, we were covering her up, we called 911, I had to call her husband who was a cop and he came right over in the squad car with a prisoner he was transporting in the back. But they had great things to say about us and handling it]. But, back to that – the universe was saying if you don’t let this go it’s going to get even worse. So, I took another drink and wrote out that very short resignation.

But, let me tell you one of my favorite one more time stories. It wasn’t about me but two other instructors, Dan and Paula. They were teaching together and on their last exercise of the day on Sunday doing an exercise called “the box” where it’s very tight turns in the limited space of a box. They have to do a really tight U-turn left and then one right. So, they were running it and Paula said to Dan, “Ok, they’ve had enough. Let’s end this and start the evaluation.”

“Let’s give them one more time.”

So, they did. They had a few riders who were very weak in this exercise – why Dan wanted to give them another chance before the test to nail it. One of the weak riders entered the box and as she was doing her second turn to the right hit the throttle and took off towards the line of people sitting on their bikes waiting their turn to go. She managed to hit two of them –one diving off the bike before she hit it and the other going down as she clipped the back of it.

Both instructors acted quickly in assessing if everyone was ok. Paula was next to the woman who hit the other two who was ok. The other guy who got clipped was fine and had already gotten up and brushed himself off but his motorcycle had to be replaced because of a broken brake lever. Dan was next to the guy who had dived off his bike checking him for injuries and talking to him. He didn’t appear to have any and when he asked him if he needed help up he said, “I feel a little faint.”

“Ok, do you want us to call an ambulance?”

“No, I’m just – is the other lady ok?”

“Yes, she’s fine, why?”

“Because there’s her hair laying there”, pointing, “did she get her head caught in the chain or something.”

Both Paula and Dan went over to investigate. The hair he was referring to was a weave the woman was wearing and apparently it had come off when she hit them and was laying on the range.

Paula looked darkly at Dan and said, “One more time, huh?”

So, fortunately no one was hurt but that cost them an additional hour on their day of switching out motorcycles, letting people chill a bit before the test and writing up accident reports.

But, it could have been worse be-weave me.



gone girl

Please accept this message as notification of my resignation as rider coach at the MSF facility in [City near Atlanta] as of today March 11, 2015. 

I have arranged for the personal items I left there to be returned to me so no further contact is necessary.


I sent that to the two managers as I sat at the bar having a beer and waiting for Charlie’s prescription to be filled. Not more than two minutes went by and the bitch was calling me. I casually reached over and hit the Decline button. She can fuck off.

A day later I get an email from two of the guys I used to work with saying, “Heard you retired”. I looked down in the body of the message [which, I might add was never sent to me] and there was this:

Hey Everyone!!

Good morning!!  Just wanted to give a heads up that Lanie has decided to retire from teaching at the MSF Campus. Lanie put in a lot of great years working with students!!  We wish her nothing but happiness and the best !!!

Please get in touch with me if you have any coach referrals that may want to work with us. Would like to meet with any interested prospects. I prefer someone that isn’t already teaching a lot at other sites.


Normally, when coaches retire they send out a message to everyone saying, Hey, I’m retiring. It’s been a blast and I will miss working with you all… – blah, blah, blah. Me – I sent out nothing. The few people who messaged  me got cryptic replies back with no details. Those who are on my FB know a little more detail since I posted something.  I figure K can fill Peter in this weekend when he’s teaching MY class and then everyone will know the story because rider coaches gossip like a bunch of old women anyway. And, yes, I did put in a lot of great years there and don’t deserve to be treated like I did. So, it’s over and it feels great not to worry about it anymore.


Today it’s been a week and 2 days since Charlie got out of the hospital from having surgery. I took her to the doctor yesterday so they could remove her temporary cast from surgery and put on a new one that will remain for the next 6 weeks. We both have been looking forward to losing the old cast with the drain attached. That thing makes it a bi-otch to get pants over it [although it did ensure we had privacy at the bar the other day as the woman sitting at the table next to us – when she spied it moved to the other side of the bar and we were able to stretch out].

Things have been really hectic with me taking care of everything and really slow for Charlie trying to heal. I think we would both gladly trade places right now – let me sit on my butt for a while and you can run around – gosh, I wish we could do that.  Friends have been by to bring food, sit and talk, visit and just help in general. Although, we had so much company last week and Charlie’s friend, B, coming in from Florida over the weekend that we were pretty worn out by Sunday.

I have realized that there is only so much I can deal with and will let Charlie deal with. I have taken her phone away a couple of times because of certain people who will remain nameless calling and upsetting her.

Other things I haven’t been able to deal with is the motorcycle shit. The site manager and I have been going around and around about stuff lately and was kind of a raging bitch because I had to leave my class and could not work that Sunday because Charlie had surgery. That is -until she found someone to step in and replace me.  That was the straw that broke the camels’ back. So, I’m quitting, however, I was waiting to teach this class with my friend in it this weekend and I see that she’s put her in K and Peter’s class and cancelled my class. So I plan on sending in my notice. I mean, I know that we could probably use the extra $$ right now by me working that job but mentally I’m not there. I hate it all. I mean, I can’t teach people if I don’t give a rats ass about the program, them, the site manager, all of it. And, do you think she once texted or called to ask about Charlie? Nope. There are so many other things I could be doing for myself and Charlie that are more positive than working for an organization that doesn’t give a rats @ss about their instructors. At this point I’d rather cut grass.

I have been going to work at my regular job and then coming home in the afternoons and sometimes working there. I’ve been carrying my laptop around everywhere I go. I’m very fortunate that I have the type of job that a lot of my work can be done remotely. Very thankful! So, that job is going well and I love it. Maybe I should focus more on a promotion instead of teaching, anyway. I think all of this is the universe trying to send messages like, You don’t need to do this anymore and you need to do more of that instead. 

So I will.

miller time turned into……

….shit. Saturday I was teaching a class with K. We had had the normal share of difficult students – one I had to dive out of the way before he hit the fence. When I picked it up and rolled it off the range and gave him another one he said, “This one feels better” Yeah, blame the bike why don’t you – it was the same damn bike.
I had been texting Charlie and she said she was taking Black Fury out. She wrote back that she had a great ride, it cornered well and that she took it through the neighborhood. Later, we were doing a split exercise, I was bringing people in on bikes and sending people out and she called. I knew it had to be an emergency for her to call while I was teaching as she knows I have my hands full. As I’m telling people to shut down I answered.

You know how people talk really calm when they’re not so calm? That was how the neighbor was talking on Charlie’s cell phone.

“Lanie, yes Deborah here. [she never calls herself her entire first name so I knew something was up] Yes, well Charlie has had a little accident. [I hear Charlie moaning in the background] and the paramedics are here.”

My stomach dropped to my feet. She’s wrecked Black Fury.

“She wrecked the bike.”

“No, no she fell off the ladder. There’s some blood and – [talking in the background more moaning from Charlie] let me call you back.”

Just in time for me to send out the people I just parked and bring more in. K is looking at me like he knows something’s up because I would never be on the phone while I’m trying to park people. Thankfully, this group was done with the exercise and after telling them to shut down, dismount and discuss I walked out and told him what was up. He asked if I needed to book and I said I was waiting for the neighbor to call me back.

Call back. “Lanie, Deborah again. Tom [her husband] is taking Charlie to the hospital. [more moaning in the background].”

“What happened?”

“She fell off the ladder and hurt her ankle – we think it’s broken and there was a big cut on the side that we had a time stopping the bleeding. So, Tom is going to take her to DeKalb Medical.”

“Ok, let me talk to her.”

After talking to a moaning Charlie I said I would meet her there as soon as possible. By then K and I were running the next exercise and I gave him our shut off signal meaning I had to go. He had texted me that he would send them to the gate and once I parked them I could take off – which, I did. I merged onto 400 and was immediately stopped because there was a 3 car pileup and they were stopped to move the cars off the highway. So – an hour later I arrived at the hospital. Fortunately, when I found Charlie in the ER she was already plugged up to a morphine drip. Good thing about this hospital if you come in bleeding they see you right away. Her ankle was still bleeding. What appeared to be a broken ankle and cut turned out to be a crushed heel that was a compound fracture –causing the bleeding. So, it was a very serious break and one that couldn’t heal properly without surgery.

My ex Bird came by after she got off her shift. Then, Cindi showed up. We were all crowded into her curtained room. The woman next door to Charlie’s curtain was heaving ever minute or so and every time she did the conversation stopped. At one point I heard her mumble that she needed some alcohol up in here and I said under my breath, You know it, sister. They had to admit her that night and surgery was going to be the next day. I kept going in and out of the room to talk to Charlie’s family on the phone.

Much later, we got her to a room and settled down. Finally, at about midnight she fell asleep and Cindi and I slipped out of the room to go down to the parking deck to charge my phone and to drink the Fireball she brought me. We sat in the deck talking and me drinking when Ellen pulled up with phone charging cords and beer that I requested. She got into Cindi’s car and we talked until Cindi had to go home and go to bed. Ellen and I snuck up to Charlie’s room and I went in and checked on her and grabbed my phone cord. She woke a little and I told her to go back to sleep that I’d be back in three hours. They had given her Benedrill with her morphine and it had knocked her out. The neighbors had been letting the dogs out while I was at the hospital. When I got home they jumped into bed with me and we all crashed. This was 2 a.m. They were stressed I could tell. Deb had barely been able to get Bailey into the house after the accident. Sunday afternoon she had surgery – fortunately, they were able to put her heel back together with only six screws. She came out of it really well and was starving. Monday I was able to take her home. There have been so many friends helping out and bringing food over – all our friends have been really, really great -our families – not so much. They have added more stress to the situation in my opinion.  At some point yesterday I took Charlie’s cell phone away from her and said, It’s time to relax, no more conversations, no more texting and FB. Finally, after feeding her the fettuccini that Steph brought over, watching The Walking Dead and giving her a bath I was able to get her to relax.

I’m sure I’ll write more later but this is a start….