getting sh*t in order

This post has been sitting on the back burner of my mind for awhile so I decided now was the time to get it out.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life is get your shit in order. Because once you’re gone it could be a free for all. A bickering wasteland of people who you thought were your family and were looking out for you but are not after you’re dead.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned this from experience.

When I was a child and the grandparents I adored were still alive they always said that one day my sister and I would get their farm. It was always known that we’d get that farm. It was a 14 acre homestead surrounded by 115 acres of farmland that backed up to about 5 acres of woods.

Fast forward years later. Our grandmother signed the farm over to our mother thinking she would outlive her and it would naturally succeed to my sister and I. Nope. Mom died of cancer in ’99 years before grandmother who by then had no power whatsoever over the farm being split three ways between my sister and I and our father – who ended up controlling the land and profits for years afterwards. Our father dragged our mother to a lawyer while she was sick and under duress and she willed everything to him and split the farm three ways and wrote in that our father would receive the profits of the farm during his lifetime. They also wrote in that it was to be joint tenants in common with full rights of survivorship meaning that the last person alive has 100% of it.

This farm has been a contention since our mother’s death. Our father – unbeknownst to my sister and I -tore down the old house and buried it on the property. He also had all the trees taken down in the woods to make more farmland. It’s now a wasteland of corn for profit. The only thing left of the farmstead are the barns and corn cribs. My sister and I only found this out when we went to visit it one day. If it were up to us we would have kept the homestead intact.

In ’09 I was laid off from my job and started my landscape company while I looked for another job. It was then I asked our father to share some of the profits of the land with my sister and I and he grudgingly did. Let’s be aware that he has many other acres of farmland that he owns outright that he gets profits from including those of his mother and 2nd wife. So, he’s not hurting for the measly 120 acres of farm share of our grandparent’s farm. Not to mention he was the sole beneficiary of our mother’s life insurance which I’m sure was somewhere in the six figures.

So, the man ain’t hurting.

As you know recently my step mother passed. For some odd reason she always handled all the taxes including our jointly owned farm taxes. Twice a year she would call and tell me what I owed on the taxes and I would write her a check for my amount. She would put it in the bank and send in a check for what was owed for all of the taxes. I’m sure there are several tax stubs for all the parcels of land conglomerated including our 120 acres. In fact, those 120 acres plus the 14 acres of homestead have about 6 or 7 tax stubs because it’s separated into parcels.

My sister started complaining to me about this a few years ago. She tried to take over that portion of paying the taxes but our stepmother fought it. Plus, we had never received copies of the tax stubs to see what it was we owed we always just went by what she told us we owed. It would have been nice to have copies of the tax bills for our records so I called down to the county and asked to be emailed copies. I then sent the copies to my sister for her records. But, our stepmother continued to pay the taxes and we continued to send her checks for our amounts. When she passed I told my sister that it would probably be a good idea if we started paying the taxes ourselves. Our father (supposedly) by then had decided he was out of the profits and taxes on that farm (I honestly have no idea if he still receives a check for profit or not, but I don’t think so). She then told me that she would have to check with Dad to see what he wanted to do.

That burned me the f*ck up. I told her that we should pay them and he should stay out of it. I mean, the man can barely put something in the microwave to eat let alone pay our farm taxes. But, I shut up about it because since our stepmother had recently passed I didn’t want to upset everyone because then it would be all my fault for stirring the pot.

So, I sent Dad my check for the farm taxes after emailing the county yet again to get the stubs to see what the correct amount for my half was and forwarded it to my sister. (And, let it be known she has never thanked me for doing this). I called Dad weeks later to ask him if he got my check and paid the taxes. He said he did but he had a problem with my check.

Me: What’s the problem?

Dad: Well, I took it down to the county and gave it to them but it was made out to me and they wouldn’t take it.

Dad, you’re supposed to put the check in your account and write another check for the whole amount. Joe (our stepmother) always did that.

Oh, I ended up doing that and going back and paying it.

Well, if you would have told me I would have made it out to the county but I’m sure they don’t want 20 checks for every parcel of farmland that the taxes are due on.

Later, when I told my sister this she said, Why didn’t you make it out to the county?

I explained that I was never TOLD to make it out to the county and that I always made it out to either Dad or Joe to put in the bank and so on.

She then said, Well, next year one of us just needs to pay the whole amount so we only have to write the county one check for the whole year.

I have several problems with this.

  1. She just wants me to pay the whole damn thing next year and when I ask her for her half she’ll say it was $$ I owed her. (which, I don’t – she thinks I do but I don’t)
  2. The county taxes need to be paid bi-yearly because that’s what the stubs say. They send those things out twice a year to be paid then. They don’t want a bunch of upfront checks to deal with.
  3. I have that farm money earmarked for things we need. I’m not paying upfront for something I don’t owe yet.

I told my sister that I wasn’t paying all up front and this was what I was afraid of: Dad fucking up all the farm tax shit and why I said that one of us needed to be in charge of doing this. Then, she cut me off.

Well, I don’t have time to talk about this. I have to get ready and go to work now. We can discuss this later.

This is what everyone in my family does when shit gets too hard. I have to go now. Or, I can’t talk about this anymore. Or even, I’m not going to argue with you about this. Placing the blame on me like I was the bad guy in wanting to start an argument over this. I’m only sticking up for myself which always gets misconstrued of my trying to start an argument.

It’s a passive-aggressive move my sister always makes.

I was absolutely furious after that. In fact, I was so mad I sat in my car and cried before I went in to work that day. It all came crashing down on me – my stepmother’s death, my controlling father and sister to deal with and finally the loss of my mother who I cursed for leaving me this shit to deal with because her and grandma couldn’t properly get a good mother-fucking will done before they passed.

I went into work with red eyes and immediately called my lawyer and left a message saying that I needed to revise my will and that my wife also needed one.

Fast forward to me and Charlie at the attorneys office. I’m asked about my mother’s will and the farm and the language on the deed to the farm, etc. I’m shaking my head and saying, I don’t have a copy of either of those no one gave me a copy after my mother died.

The attorney acted like she was in shock over that. I said, I can’t ask my father because he blows a rod every time I ask about something like that. I don’t know if I’m even in his will.

I was told to call down to the county to get a copy of the deed to see what the language on it was – this was for purposes of whether or not it was inheritable. Which, I later found it was not – because of the language I’m sure my father had put in there while my mother was under the duress of cancer.

Just having to call the county – yet again – to get copies of stuff that is my stuff burned me up. Between my father and sister, no one wants me to know anything.  And, next year I’m again emailing the county for the tax stubs and sending my portion directly to them.

So, this is what I’m telling you. If you do one thing and one thing only before you die take care of your shit. Make sure the people you love are taken care of and don’t have to fight off mean family members. Make sure they don’t have something they have to deal with for the rest of their lives because you couldn’t get your shit right before you died. I’m thankful every day that I have a loving wife, step children, in-laws and friends – who gladly stepped in to volunteer to be backup executors and take care of our animals should something happen to us.  If it weren’t for them I’d have no one. Many times we create our own families through marriage and friendships. That’s why we need to protect the families we’ve created from the ones we’re born in to – especially, for same-sex couples.

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we’re back

I bet you didn’t even know we were gone, did you?

We took off for Colorado last week for a mini vaca from Thursday to Tuesday. We first flew to Denver and spent the first night there in a little Airbnb relatively close to downtown. We landed insanely early in the morning and had to stash our bags at the place before heading out to walk around. We walked for -it seemed- forever until we finally made it to Colfax Avenue. It seemed this wasn’t the “in” part of Colfax either but we walked past a few “interesting” stores we wanted to check out and finally ended up at Illegal Petes – drinking a beer at 10:15 in the morning – Denver time – since we’re from the ATL and it was after noon THERE we felt it appropriate. Plus, as I noticed several fellow alcoholics  others were drinking before noon as well.  After that, we were done walking for awhile and decided to take Lyfts around town to look at stuff and check out a few other breweries. We met up with a fellow blogger, Aussa Lorens at Great Divide Brewing Company who I’d not met before, and, I might add is just as hilarious as her blog.

Afterwards, we went to Epic Brewing Company where the atmosphere was nice and the beers very hoppy. (I honestly thought at one point there was something herbaceous in my beer it was so hoppy.)

The next day we packed up and headed west towards Breckenridge. I heard a lot of good things about the town and the slopes – mind you we weren’t skiing unless we took a temporarily leave of our senses which was all possible while on vacation but I just wanted to check out the town. On the way we passed a small town (when I say small I mean like population 20) that was situated around this lake where everyone was fishing and catching trout. I kicked myself majorly for not hauling all my fly fishing junk out there to fish.

We reluctantly got on the road after watching some people catch one trout after another and headed towards the town of Dillon. It was a quaint little town – maybe a bit bigger than population 20 but you could certainly walk from one end of it to another in about 20 minutes. We had a beer at the Dillon Dam Brewery and then headed out.

We pulled into Breckenridge and parked on the street and walked around for a bit. I was trying to find us a place to stay on my phone but everything I pulled up was well over $100. We wandered into a realty agency to see if they had any affordable rentals and the cheapest they could come up with was over $200. They said we’d better book fast because there were going to be a lot of people in town that weekend and that we should even make a dinner reservation because the places would be crowded. I was like, Next, and suggested we head on down the road to the town of Frisco and check that out. It seemed quaint and cute. Maybe we could stay there.

In Frisco we drove up to this motel that had a fan in every window. I got out and went into the office and asked this dude who looked like he’d partaken in too much of the local weed. He showed me a room that the bedspread looked like it hadn’t been changed since the early 70’s. Next. I got back into the van and told Charlie to drive me to the next inn. Which was a bed and breakfast.

Ok, for any of you that have read my blog and former blogs YOU KNOW how I feel about BnB’s. There’s always some weird people that run those places that love to get into your business and the whole eating breakfast together with strangers I can’t really do. I don’t do well socially in the mornings before I’ve had my coffee. In fact, it is coffee that has kept me out of JAIL a lot of trouble. But, for the sake of our trip and needing a place to stay I was willing to forgo my personal feelings. I went inside and rang the bell. (This was the third place I had to ring a bell – I guess no one sits at a front desk anymore?) and this lady came out and I asked her if she had any vacancies. She said she did and could show me a lovely (she said) room with two double beds.

Ok, I let it go that she just assumed that I wasn’t there with my wife and maybe I would have wanted a king sized bed because, yes, it is the 21st century. The lady took me up a very steep stairway explaining that it was the original stairs from the……then, it all sounded like blah, blah, blah in my head. I don’t want a history lesson when I’m looking at a place to lay my head. She showed me a room with steel beds covered in old quilts, dark curtains and little house on the prairie-ish pictures on the walls. Then, as we went back downstairs she pointed to the dinning room and said that they would be having pancakes in the morning and I thought about that for one second and Goodnight John-boy sounded in my head and then thought, Next. 

I got back into the rental van and Charlie asked if that place was ok and I said, If we’re playing Laura and Mary on Little House on the freaking-Prairie it is. Let’s go over there, I said, pointing across the street to the Frisco Hotel. It had a lodge feel with a great room and a fireplace. Subdued lighting and Kurt Cobain’s younger son manning the front desk. I made him show me a room and he took me upstairs to another great room that had leather couches and a bookshelf next to a room with hardwood floors, a mini bar and deck. Ah, we were home for the next two days. I handed him my credit card and said that would do. Aside from our Airbnb this place was the bomb!

After checking in and walking around town we settled on a place for dinner that had a jazz band playing. The food and music turned out to be an excellent choice for the evening. The next day we woke up to snow on the ground and the place was just beautiful. After coffee and finding breakfast at a cafe’ across the street we decided to go on a snowy hike on a trail just at the edge of the little town. The trail took us to a lake named Rainbow lake (of all places).

We talked to several people on the trails – especially, those who had dogs. It seemed that everyone had a dog there and it was fun. We saw one lab actually get into the lake and swim out to get a stick and wondered if he would get hypothermia. His owners didn’t seem to be concerned. I thought about our dogs and they would probably have had on fleece lined jackets with booties on their paws. After Frisco we headed south making our way to Colorado Springs. On the way we stopped off and played at the Garden of the Gods.

It seemed like we went from a winter wonderland to the desert in one day. The climate was really messing with us. When we first arrived in Denver it was actually warmer there than Atlanta. The first day in Frisco we were walking around with just long sleeved shirts on, then snow and coats, then long sleeved shirts and then even just t-shirts. After the G of the G we pulled into Colorado Springs. We left the van parked on a street downtown and headed for this brewery named Phantom Canyon Brewery  which turned out to be fun and we were just in time to watch some football. It was happy hour and all their house brews were $3 and free pool and darts. We shot pool and watched a few games and then decided that since an old college buddy of mine wasn’t going to meet up with us we’d ditch town. Honestly, it was our least favorite part of Colorado. Aside from the brewery there didn’t seem to be one thing to hold our interest long enough to stay there. It even seemed like a depressing little town. We decided to get back in the van and drive straight through Denver to Boulder where neither of us had been before.

Once in Boulder we went though the whole hotel thing again. We finally found a decent room overlooking the college and decided to go out and get something to eat and watch the Falcons. We ended up at  Dark Horse Bar and Grill and what a blast that place was. We ended up sitting at the end of the bar next to four other people who worked at the bar and had just gotten off work. It was two guys and a male and female couple. One of the guys was doing an Irish car bomb with pumpkin beer and we commented on that and the other guy said he was going to go get us a real Irish car bomb with Stout because they didn’t have any on draft behind the bar. He hopped up and later came back with just that. We had already done a shot of Jameson by then and the car bombs went down nicely. Later, we went to order food and the guys talked us into trying a burger that apparently the place is famous for – the Jiffy Burger which had a layer of peanut butter. They talked us into it and it was pretty good. I knew I would like it because there was a bar near Purdue that had the same type of burger that I always had.

The next day we decided to go on a hike before heading back to Denver for our last night. We drove out to a trail on the edge of town and easily found a trail that led to the top of this mountain. We could have done more hiking in Boulder and explored it more but I don’t regret anything we did on the trip.

     

By the time we got back to Denver about all we were up for was some warm Pho and bed at the Airbnb. We were both ready to come home despite loving Frisco and Boulder. Here is a pic of our lovely Airbnb host, Chloe.

 

ghosting the past

I know I have been writing a lot about pod casts lately but some of the topics make me really think about things I want to write about. Usually, I listen to these when I’m going for a walk. In fact, they kind of spur me to walk more because I look forward to listening to them. I cannot seem to listen to them while I’m at work because I can’t concentrate on my work and listen to what they are saying – sometimes even when I’m walking when I’m listening to something that makes me think I take off with my own thoughts and have to rewind the podcast to hear what they said because I drift off.

One of the topics that has stuck with me is ghosting. We all have been ghosted at one time or another and probably have ghosted someone else. I know I have probably written about this previously but I was ghosted by two of my good friends who I share a tattoo with and the other two friends with the tattoo I have ghosted (there are five of us altogether who share this tattoo). Sometimes I wonder if this tattoo was a curse to us. Maybe we shouldn’t have gone all-in to be marked for life with the same tattoo.  Other times I think that it’s just a way of life -having friendships come and go like the ebb and flow of the ocean. I’ve come to grips with it and am completely ok with it.

I believe that friendships fit into three categories.

  1. The besties you see or speak to every week or sometimes even more than once a week: These are a rarity for Charlie and I. We only have a few who we see every week and it’s kind of works out the way it does because if we had more then we wouldn’t have any time to ourselves.
  2. The once a month kind of friendships – the ones you may say, Hey haven’t seen you in a week, month, a few months since that ho left you – you meet for a drink or dinner.
  3. The ones you maintain a distance relationship with who you only really converse with on social media. Maybe you’ll travel every once in a blue moon to see but you remain distant friends.

And, everyone outside of that is really not a friend. They’re just someone you run in to at a bar or concert or restaurant and you exchange pleasantries of “We really do need to get together soon.” When both parties are thinking, Yeah no.

I believe someone can only have so many close friends in this life or else it gets crowded. I also believe people outgrow friendships, they move on or the time to spend with them takes a lower priority than the ones who currently are your besties or they piss you off.

I’ve lived on the same street since ’97 and have been friends with another lesbian couple three houses down. They have only been here a year longer than myself. They have both been through some health problems over the years but they are both doing well now. I used to take them lasagna’s when one of them was ill and there were times I got the mail for them. Charlie and I were always asking them down for a beer, over to dinner and even to the parties we’ve thrown – to no avail. They never hardly ever took us up on it – to a point where I was starting to think that there was something they didn’t like about us or our house or something. They always said no. It was a while back that I needed a ride to the train station – which, is less than 3 miles from both of our houses. I asked one of them if they could give me a ride to the station – this was the one who has her own business and is not tied to an 8-5 schedule. Before I could even tell her what time  or day I needed to go she said, Oh I don’t think so. I know I’ll be busy.

I was hurt by that and thought after all the lasagnas I’ve made for them when they weren’t feeling well and taking them all my Good Housekeeping magazines she won’t even give me a ride to the train? I mean, I think I almost cried.

Flash forward, they are one of our landscape clients and Charlie always gets roped into doing extra things for them like getting their mail when they go out of town and making sure if any packages that are left she gets them so no one will steal them. I told her that she shouldn’t do anything extra for them that I was done after that train station incident. She said that she was going to test them and ask if they could get our mail while we’re out of town next week just to see what she says since just recently she not only hauled their mail down to our house but also all their Amazon boxes as well. (Strangely, when Charlie said it would be easier if she had a key to their house and leave all that stuff there the woman acted all weird about it and changed the subject)

Don’t count on her saying yes, I said.

I just want to see what she says.

I guess the moral to this story is to just do stuff for people and not expect anything in return. Maybe I just need to get my head in that space and not expect anything of people. Even so – she’s pretty much off my #2 list.

Then, there’s the ones who are taking a different path – away from the friendship. Whether it’s a life changing thing, a new relationship, or a lifestyle change the ghosting may be mutual. Sometimes we’re just all in different places. I had heard that one of the “Toads” I share a tattoo with had hers removed. I find this ironic because she was one of the ones who always tried to get us all back together. I look down at mine in the traditional Chinese style on my ankle and think, this was just a phase of my life. Part of my past. I will not erase it. You can’t change history but only the future. 

hurricane central

I hope everyone had a hurricane-free weekend. I know there are a lot of us in Texas, the Gulf, Florida, coastal and island areas who are over the hurricane season already.

We have friends in Florida who are still without power from Irma. Everyone that we knew made it through the storm physically ok but had a lot of their property damaged. Charlie’s folks, kids and bro fared ok – they were all very lucky. In Georgia we got a scary storm both Monday and Tuesday of last week. Wind blew several large oaks down in our part of town. There were stop lights out for several days and trees down blocking intersections and cutting out power. Our neighbor across the street had a tree in his neighbor’s yard split and land straight across his driveway cutting out his power and cable. The tree laid there for a week before he was able to get out there to saw it up. Charlie felt sorry for him and grabbed her saw and went over to help. A huge branch broke off our neighbor’s tree behind us and landed in the back – narrowly missing our beloved bar shed. We have friends north of here in Gainesville, GA that had a tree fall across their entire house making it unlivable. Unfortunately, their landlord is a huge dick and won’t return their calls, wants to keep their rent they just paid for the month and their deposit. On top of all that they were staying at a friend’s house and their dog got away and they’ve been looking for her for two days now.

All this storm stuff and another one is on the way. I only hope it misses everyone so people who suffered the last one can take a breath. Charlie’s folks are supposed to come up for the week and called yesterday to say they may not be up because of the next storm. I was like, Wait a minute – it doesn’t work like that – it’s even more of a reason to get up here as soon as possible. Family can be so unreasonable at times. I fully believe the children become the adults and the parents regress back to 9 year olds. I feel like the next phone conversation is going to be me saying, Don’t make me come down there. We shall see where the week takes us.

Last week after the storm we were pretty busy. Charlie had a ton of cleanup work for the landscaping company and we went to our first Taiko club practice. The group was getting ready for a performance at the Japan festival this past weekend so it was their last rehearsal before then. We only got to play the numbers we knew with them and just hung out afterwards. They have another performance this coming weekend as I said in the previous post that we’re planning on going to. After that it is my hope that the rehearsals try to get us up to speed on the songs that we don’t know.

Friday we went to another backyard concert at our friends house (the ones we got the idea of our backyard music thing from). Kate Coleman opened for Granville Automatic. They were fantastic and we really enjoyed them. Below is a few videos of them:

Saturday, Charlie and I just took it easy. Mostly I worked on installing these security camera’s that our friends down the street gave us. This past week Charlie and I had our cars rifled through because stupid us left our doors unlocked. So, no more of that. I installed two of the cameras in the car port, one at the front door and the other in the living room. It works pretty well when we’re not at home. It alerts me when Sadie is barking out the window – probably because the mail person is driving by.

Sunday, we had our friends from down the street and B. Ferris over for a post hurricane party. They are two couples Holly & Darren and Andy & Rosie who live next to each other who we befriended when one couple became clients of ours. They are a total blast and it seems like a week doesn’t go by without meeting at one of their houses or ours for a beer or something to eat. The four of them showed up in Darren’s golf cart with food and hurricane drink concoctions. We sat outside and ate & drank, watched football, the guys played darts and watched the game at the shed and later Charlie had a fire. It was a nice end to the weekend and I certainly didn’t want to get up and go to work this morning.

I’m surely ready for a vacation – Colorado where there are no hurricanes.

 

 

3 Taiko songs and a funeral

Last week I went to Indy for my step mother’s funeral. Fortunately, I had an opportunity to go up there the end of July to spend some time with her and process it. I will probably save another post about that for later but –  I was ready to get back to Atlanta the following Saturday. I did want to get back because we had our drum recital on Sunday. After taking Taiko lessons for almost 3 months I didn’t want to miss the finale.

Once we were there we ran through our (3) songs and then the regular group came in to play. We’d only heard them play this one song so when they started to play all these other songs we hadn’t heard we were blown away. I was kinda like, Yeah we suck. But later the group assured us that they have been playing together for over 2 years (which, by Japanese standards is an infantile amount of time to hone the craft of Taiko drumming).

This is a video I took of them:

I really didn’t think anyone would show up for our recital but then Emil, LB and Benji’s new gf from out of town showed up. Charlie was really nervous but I wasn’t that bad. Afterwards, we went next door for post recital libations.

Tonight, we’re going to our first real rehearsal since the recital. We were asked to join the group afterwards by Peter our instructor. Apparently, according to Ginny in the group not everyone who takes the class is asked the join. By no means do I think we were asked the join because of our Taiko prowess but for the fact that we’re fun and we get along with the group – which, is primarily all women except for two men. I had already decided if this one meth head guy that was in our class joined that I wasn’t going to join because every time he was in class I wanted to throw my stick at him. He was the most annoying guy EVER. Frequently, in our sessions he would be back there dicking around playing his drum when Peter was trying to talk to us about something. This guy toted that he was a “drummer” and knew how to drum already. (So was I but I wasn’t saying anything). Constantly he was asking about the music and how to play a certain part we were working on. There were only a few of us – myself included – who could read music but Peter would put words above the notes to read so it would be a natural beat. Charlie caught on quite well and so did the rest of us except this guy who SAID he was a “drummer”. (And, most musicians I know who play drums call themselves percussionists not drummers) Fortunately, our last class Peter announced that “Kip-dip”was no longer going to join us because he was pursuing an opportunity and had to go out of town. Great – go cook your meth in Telluride, mf-er, I thought.

I think Peter was a little sad to lose another guy but I really don’t think he would have been asked to join as we later learned most of the other’s in our class didn’t like this guy either. Peter wants more men in the group but he says a lot of men who take the class want to be able to perfect it in just a few sessions and frequently get frustrated and quit. I just remember being in band and practicing the same numbers over and over again for shows. We practiced those songs daily, sometimes on the weekends -or- at band camp. We memorized everything, too. So, from only practicing once a week I would think there will need to be a lot of at home practice to get up to speed to perform shows –which is what we’ll eventually do. Right now we’re so green that we’ll need to practice with the group for a while before we do a show with them. Charlie and I scored some Congo drums from her son and we’re going to start practicing on those. I need to get us some felt tipped mallets so we won’t ruin the heads. Taiko drums are INSANELY expensive or else we would have a couple already to practice on. Peter has a whole video on youtube on how to make a drum out of an old tire (I’m actually surprised that Charlie hasn’t started this project yet) we have a lot going on right now – we may have her youngest and his gf up this weekend from Florida. They have been without power all week and are over it but gasoline shortage is still a problem down there. Benji’s gf that came up to get away from the storm said it took her 12 hours to get back to Jacksonville yesterday. Charlie’s parents are coming up next week to visit and fortunately the Taiko group is performing on The Beltline so we’re going to take them to that and support our new group.

Friday we have our friends doing a backyard concert again – the first of this year. Saturday we have the neighbors coming up to make post-hurricane drinks and I’m sure we’ll have a bunch of food. If I don’t talk to y’all have a great weekend! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

concerts & kicked out

I’m so exhausted this morning. Last night we went to see Counting Crows with Matchbox 20 with Emil and Maybe-Nicole and the Thursday before that we also saw Emily Saliers play at Edie’s Attic for the late show.  We had a lot of fun and I enjoyed both shows but I’m showed out for a while.

(Charlie and Emil with photobomb lady in the background)

In between all the concerts, we went to friends down the street for dinner, saw Benji and managed to make an hour of drum practice yesterday.

So, Charlie and I made the decision to sell her Harley on cycle trader simply because we’d like to streamline our debt a little more and get out from under the payments. Once we sell hers I’m probably going to sell mine but it’s not really necessary because it’s paid for and I can always ride her on the back of mine. Charlie first posted an ad on Facebook in case any of her peeps on there were interested – plus, they could share it with friends of theirs. She no more got it posted on FB when Shutter asked why she was selling and Charlie said she just wanted to at this time that wasn’t to say that she, me, us would never ride again. Next thing you know – we get thrown out of the motorcycle group that we were in with Link, Shutter and Rooster – Rooster had created the Meetup page and kicked us off of there.

That kind of chapped my –well- chaps over that. I mean, this is not to say we’ll even get the Harley sold – and if not then we’ll keep it, ride and keep on. Whatever. I didn’t think we deserved to be kicked out of the group for that. Granted we hadn’t ridden with the group for a while but that didn’t mean we’d never ride with them again – until now. But, hey – now that I’m no longer a member of the group I will say this – I never really liked riding with the group. Don’t get me wrong – I liked everyone as people – just not riding with them in a group. Rooster always led the group and honestly would ride a little too fast for my taste up the busy 4-lane street in Atlanta (that she always insisted that we take to get out of town) when anyone could and would pull out in front of you. What happened to space cushion?? The last time we went barreling up Candler Road I spaced myself back and when one of the girls on her Harley got her hazard light stuck on for an hour and we had to pull off into a gas station we got lectured on riding faster to keep up.

I wanted to say, B*tch, I don’t keep up with anyone when I’m on this machine. I ride my own mf-ing ride. If I’m going too slow then you just go on and I’ll see you another time.  

It’s probably not helping their cause that I have 10 years of being a motorcycle instructor under my belt and this stuff is ingrained into my behavior and brain.

Also, Rooster has no GPS and relays on some paper with directions rubber-banded to her arm. After a long, hot ride to Macon for a history lesson (now those I did enjoy) and lunch on the way back I was running my GPS and it showed that unless we wanted to extend our trip another 2 hours that we should turn at this one particular intersection. Charlie and I pulled off into the gas station at the intersection and they circled around and back and asked what was up.

Gas, and we’re turning here.

This isn’t on my directions – we were going to ride closer to Athens and then turn back. By then, the paper with the directions had blown by us and had been lost on the road and I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence she really knew where the F we were going. But, I knew because I had GPS.

That’s fine but we’re going this way. Enjoy getting lost the rest of the ride.

And, we left. Which, brings me to the question as to why, if you’re leading a group of riders don’t you get some sort of GPS device on your bike so there won’t be any confusion? Or ask someone like myself to lead.

But, no that would be too hard and too advanced.

Maybe it is a good thing we got kicked out of the group. Charlie and I were going on our own rides anyway. It’s just easier to get an early start and go and get back so the day isn’t all taken up. That group would plan a trip to Birmingham and wait until 10:00 to leave and get back at 9:00 and we’d say, No thanks.

I mean, I don’t know if I’ll keep riding. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t but I don’t like other people making that decision for me. I mean, I’ve gone to a couple of Meetups for this screen writing group – I don’t go all the time because it always meets way up in Dunwoody during rush hour and it’s kind of hellish to get there. Even so I haven’t been kicked out of the group. I just find the whole thing to be mystifying.

Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever been kicked out of a group? Became a lesbian and kicked out of the Junior League?

 

 

weekend recap

The Party

The party went off without a hitch and was very successful. We had several people there and we were even able to convince Charlie’s mom to get on a plane and come up for it. Val, LB and Emil all played and we had some business clients there along with some of our friends. Aside from almost blowing our ears our setting up the amps, once we got the setting down we could jam out.

Asheville

The day after the party me, Charlie and her mom headed up to Asheville, NC to see our friends Liz and Lina. We checked into this AirBnB on the west side of town and they met us over there for a beer before we went out. We grabbed some great tacos at this little place just up the road and then went walking around downtown Asheville for a bit before heading back to the BnB for another drink before hitting the Guitar Bar.

Sadly, the heat got to us a bit after awhile and we left after a few hours to head back to the BnB. We loved seeing our friends and had missed them terribly.

Drum Practice

The next morning we had to be up early to make it back to Atlanta for our Taiko drum lesson (Charlie and I are in an 8 week course). Afterwards we chilled at the Truman with our fav bartender, Josh, and then headed home for darts and then leftovers from the party.

General stuff

I have to go to Indiana this week to see my step mother who isn’t doing well. She got a really bad prognosis a few weeks back and I need to go see her before she passes. I’ve been talking to my cousin and I’m going to stay with him and his husband initially until I know what I’m doing. I really have no plans except to go see my step mother and to meet with the farmer who works my land up there. I haven’t told my sister a thing about it yet because I really don’t want her dictating every moment that I’m there. I’ll let her know once I’m there. I already called my step mother to let her know I’m coming and not to tell her (which, got a laugh out of her). I’m going to be rolling over another bday while I’m up there – maybe I should just stop having bday’s from now on. I’m sure Charlie and I will celebrate when I get back.

friday chex mix – and, another prayer

Friends and Working Out 

Last week, Charlie went to Florida to see the kids and I stayed home and maintained home life with the dogs. Unfortunately, while she was gone we did not have a working dryer. Since I was watching Link’s cats I hauled washed clothes over there to put in her dryer. Saturday, I went to Incubus with Emil and this new girl -I don’t know new girl enough to give her a name. Maybe Nicole – that sounds like a straight girl name, doesn’t it? So, the plan was Emil picking me up and almost killing us in a car accident on the way to pick up Maybe-Nicole to go have dinner prior to the show. I was initially a little skeptical of the evening because originally when we met Maybe-Nicole she didn’t make the best impression on me nor Charlie. I had already told Emil that if I felt like a 3rd wheel then I was outta there. Maybe-Nicole just broke up with her live-in boyfriend and was dipping her toe into the lake of lesbianism with Emil.

[I don’t know about you but is there a gong going on in your head saying DANGER, DANGER, DANGER?]

But, the evening went well – we- um – had some special brownies that kind of enhanced the show. Along with some whiskey that I had snuck in in a special compartment in my bag with pads and tampons thrown on top. All weekend I practiced guitar to no avail. Despite my fingers developing some great calluses on the tips I still suck at guitar. I really do. I will leave the performing to the pros. Emil was supposed to rehearse with me all weekend but she got caught up in this Maybe-Nicole girl. At one point during that evening we were talking about work and Maybe-Nicole trying to make a better impression and be nice asked me what I did. I explained pointing to the wires above that provide service to everything that was around us (so that should tell you I work in utilities and engineering) and Emil said, I don’t think I ever knew that about you. Here’s what I wanted to say, Because every damn time we’re together all you’re talking about is your ex is why. 

I did not say that, of course. But honestly some of our friends they’re either falling off the map because they met a girl or all they have to talk about is said girl. It’s gets so one-dimensional and boring after awhile. Seriously, can we contribute anything to the conversation aside from who you’re screwing, thinking about screwing or wanting to screw right now?? I’m tired of it. It makes me want to start another Meetup group – one of serious conversation or one that people get out and actually DO something other than talk about Tinder. It’s one of the things I really appreciate about some of our friends who do provide thought-provoking conversations that are not always about themselves. I need more of that to feed my brain.

I’ve been going to Orangetheory every night this week to make up for my eating and drinking debauchery of last week. I love it and the more I go the more I want to go. For some reason the subject of our friends and how no one in our group really works out came up last night. Charlie, being the lucky one in landscaping all day doesn’t have to pay for an elevated heart rate and lifts weedeaters and saws in place of dumbbells said, Sure we have friends who work out.

Who? Who do we know other than Todd and Christie who live in Dahlonega and cycle and run all the time do we know?

Neither of us could name anyone. It’s part of the social aspect of why I like group fitness is the outlet to talk to other people who are trying to get fit like myself. (Believe me, I’ve asked some of our friends to come with me to the gym and they look at me as if I’m asking them to join a cult or something. They sort of back away shaking their heads, trying not to trip and fall backwards.) It used to be competition when I was in bootcamp but not so much where I go now. Although, every time we have a rowing competition in the gym this one burly guy always wins it. But, then I think – maybe this is the only thing he wins ever – so then he deserves it. I think most of these people, myself included, could be across the street at the pizza place drinking beer and eating a pie with pesto crust and instead they’re in here sweating their bums off. Working hard. Yes, I’m bitter about the pesto crust as I row and look across the street at the pizza place. There should be a law against putting a Mellow Mushroom across the street from an Orangetheory – it should be a zoning law. Like not being aable to put Industrial next to Residential.

Parties

Charlie and I are getting ready for our music party the Friday after next and going to see our friends in Asheville. We’re still planning food and drink but think we have a handle on it. I know next week is going to be hectic preparing. There’s little things that tick me off about inviting people to parties – like, not RSVP-ing. EVER. Or, when you ask them to they put a comment like, Oh sorry I forgot about this and I made other plans. 

I know it’s a fact of every party thrown that there are always going to be people who never respond without some major arm twisting. Then, there are those who say, We don’t know yet? These are the people who still haven’t made up their mind if they’re going to go to work or not tomorrow. Everything is “We’ll see.” 

Ok, we’ll see if we invite you to the next party, how about that?

This weekend is anything goes – we don’t (at least I don’t think we do) have any plans to speak of but maybe it will be getting ready for the following weekend. Even without the “We’ll see’s” or “Maybe’s” we still have about 20 people confirmed.

Prayers 

In all the mix Link has to have a surgery tomorrow so please send positive thoughts and prayers or even energy today for our dear friend.

 

pray for a calm of lake water friday chex mix

Charlie and I are getting ready to be full swing into the summer and all the activities that entails. For once, we’re not having a 4th party as it falls right in the middle of the friggin’ week and we’re invited over to our [new client] friends house for a celebration that day. It’s kind of a relief, to be honest. After the 4th Charlie’s heading out of town for a long weekend with the boys and I’m going to use the time to eat pizza practice my guitar(s).

Notice that was plural? I picked up a starter Fender and amp for a little over $100 from a guy on craigslist who never played it. Even though Emil said it was a “Mexican Fender” (I saw no Spanish notations on it so I wondered what she meant by that) I thought it would make a great little practice guitar and something we could keep around for music parties. I need to be able to sound something more than @ss by the time of our music party the 21st.

The 21st. Hence the title of this post. The music party needs to be a success but relatively calm. No nudity, no heated political talks, no arguments. None of that – I’m not going to tolerate it. We have two couples coming that are our business clients so we cannot make a bad impression. (If I still sound like @ss by then I’m not playing) This kicks off hopefully a series of music parties we’ll have in the future if it’s not a bust. We have Val in town for the party, Emil is going to play and hopefully a few others. I have a lot of work to do before now and then.

Speaking of concerts – Emil got us table seats for Emily Saliers who is playing at Edie’s August 10th. This will be an awesome show as it’s a very small venue and I’m sure it will be sold out. (Indigo girl fans eat your hearts out) I remember the first time I met her I had just moved to Atlanta and was working at this bar and a bunch of us from the bar went out one night. We were at this place in Decatur and after getting beers,  I sat down at a table with my friends I was there with and someone introduced me to this woman named Emily. I said Hi, nice to meet you and didn’t think anything of it until she later said, Hey, I have to perform now and got up from the table, grabbed a guitar and headed for this little makeshift stage across the bar. I said to my friend, Is she THE Emily from the Indigo girls? My friend said, Yep, and I about fell out of my chair. I ran into Emily a few more times later (at a running race as we were running, and I carded her once at the bar I worked) but this was the most memorial story.  I’ve seen the band play several times – including twice at an outdoor venue that rained both times but, I’ve never seen her on her own.

That’s about all I got right now. Happy Friday and the 4th and be safe!

 

 

no acknowledgment

You know, I’m glad it’s over – the mother’s and father’s day weekends. Leading up to the former I would cringe hearing the commercials of “Do something special for Mom this year….” I have a stepmother that I barely acknowledge – I sent her a card with a gift certificate to homophobe central Cracker Barrel. But, it’s a hollow acknowledgment. It’s only because I feel sorry for her for being stupid enough to marry our father and put up with his shit. Ever since our mother died I have felt I have no more parents.

This last weekend I grudgingly sent our father a card and signed my new name. I know he hates it when I do that. For years he and my step mother would make out checks to my old name and I’d have to sign the check over to my new name. They would fail to acknowledge that I had changed my first and last name. I no longer wanted to carry his name as my last name so I changed it to my mother’s maiden name. I did this over a decade ago and it’s just recently they finally acknowledge my real name.  I really didn’t even want to send him a card to be honest. I told my sister that he’s lucky he’s even getting a card this year. (And, you know it’s a real challenge finding dysfunctional father’s day cards. Why can’t there be more cards that say, You were a shitty father and here’s your damn card you can stick up your @ss.)

She was having both him and our step mother over for father’s day dinner. She gets treated even worse by him but she still goes to all the trouble to meet them for lunch the other day and host a lunch for him. I called our step mother yesterday after the dinner – I had felt guilty that I didn’t call to wish him a happy father’s day. She had told me that he was already in bed asleep that when he eats lunch he just goes straight to bed afterwards and sleeps the rest of the day. (They guy is 78 going on 95) I told her to tell him I called whenever he wakes up. As I was talking to her my sister was trying to call me so after hanging up I called her back.

She told me the minute they got to her house they sat down and started eating without any conversation whatsoever. She had a few other guests present as well so I’m sure it must have seemed very awkward. Then, the minute they finished eating they got up and our father told her they were leaving. She asked if they’d stay 10 more minutes so he could open his card and he said no they were leaving now. She went and got his card and gave it to him and said, See ya, and they left.

I wasn’t surprised by the rudeness of his visit. He’s always treated her like a lowly piece of shit. Ever since after running away for the third time and him catching her and beating the shit out of her he’s treated her like that. I told her on the phone that I don’t know why she still does it – that she needs to stop. No more dinners, no more anything. She said she thought she was done. I told her she needed to be. Then, she said she didn’t know what she was going to do about his birthday. I said, SEND HIM A CARD AND BE DONE WITH IT.

Honestly, I wouldn’t even acknowledge it if I were her. I wonder why I do?

His birthday is near mine. I’ll never forget the time she concocted some scheme for me to come home and surprise him with a double birthday party she was hosting. My plane no more touched down in Indianapolis when she told me that when she told him I came up to surprise him and that she was having a party for us he said that he wouldn’t be around all weekend that he had a thing at church and he was too busy. We had a party anyway but really no one in our family really cares about anyone or anything – except eating. Usually, if there’s food they will come. All the people in our family that gave a shit are already dead. Our mother, our grandparents on our mother’s side – they’re the only people who cared. Our father’s side is just filled with people who don’t care about anyone.

And, they wonder why I don’t ever come home. Why should I? I’ve learned to move on long ago. I talk to our father three times a year – father’s day, his birthday and Christmas. I don’t really care and I admit my sister can be very difficult at times, too. She has a little of our father’s meanness in her but despite that it makes me really angry that he treated her that way. Maybe I should just stop acknowledging his birthday and calling at Christmas. I think I will say something to our step mother the next time I talk to her. I am so sick and tired of people letting their partners, husbands, wives, significant others walk all over them. They are enablers, sure. I am sick and tired of enablers. Enablers are just as bad as the people that do the acts. Because they are too weak to step up and tell people that they’re doing wrong or being @ssholes.

I’m so done with certain people. My sister’s dinner party almost contrasts the dinner party that we had that went south a few weeks ago. I am so done with them, too. Since there was no apology or acknowledgement of what happened that night it makes me not want to even acknowledge the next invitation that will not arrive in their mail. Fuck doing things with them anymore if I always have to worry about Dino being an @ss. Why should I waste the time and energy cooking a meal, buying booze, setting a table and buying desert when she’s just going to ruin it and be disrespectful. Why should I even try? And, if I do bring it up and acknowledge it guess who’s going to be the bad guy – ME.

The new clients that we recently got from the bad review on the neighborhood Nextdoor invited us over for dinner last night. It’s such a luxury to be invited somewhere for once as we ALWAYS entertain and send out the invites. We hit it off and later driving home Charlie said, I hope they like us.

What’s not to like?

I don’t know. I just hope they don’t think we’re crazy.

After all this, why would anyone think we’re crazy? Because we’re normal?