Monday, August 8, 2011

nebraskapalooza part 2

“I don’t remember last night,
Did I fall in love, or did I get in a fight,
I don’t remember last night,
Not a god d*mned thing!”

-- “I Don’t Remember Last Night” by Sunny Ledfurd.


Day 2: Friday, August 5th.

* A couple things I missed from Day One’s cliff notes:

1. the signs / pictures at the Union Bar. They had a t-shirt that read “If I Don’t Remember It, It Didn’t Happen”. There’s another motto in life. A couple others:

a. “Beer: Helping Ugly People Have Sex Since 1862!”

b. “Alcohol: I Only Drink To Make You More Interesting!”

2. In addition to the “Dude or Chick?” person at the Legion, we had another one at the Union that night! Kellie’s mom and I were debating “dude or chick?” on this 300 plus pound thing at the end of the bar until we literally walked out the door at closing time. I still think it’s a coin flip … but I’m leaning chick.

3. On our way to the Mexican restaurant on Thursday night, Bill kept trying to get us to drive by an abandoned place known as Harry’s Truck Stop. Turns out, he wants to set “The Kid” up with his own restaurant in western Nebraska. As someone who loves that guy’s cooking, I’d stop by a couple nights a week, and I would be living 9 hours away.

4. Should have also mentioned, we opened the roadie with some Bailey’s and coffee, as well as reading a text message you’d never expect to receive from, uuh, the person who sent it, we’ll put it that way.

5. One of the DJ stories we told was when he accidentally set himself on fire, back when we lived on Stubbs. (Long story short: gas fumes are flammable.) This tragic accident apparently occurred between “The Crush” and “Needs a Nickname” dating Dusty, which led to this classic line from his (now) wife: “oh, you mean the two months he was celebate?” Brought the bar down.

6. Our first encounter with Jim (and he’ll feature prominently once Day 2’s post gets going below) was at the Legion on Thursday night. He warmly greets us, exchanges a few pleasant words, then notes “whoops, I’m late for the (Legion’s) meeting!” He then grabs his 16oz Miller Lite can and heads off for said meeting.

His role in the meeting? Oh yeah. He’s the Legion’s chaplain. I swear to God, I do NOT make this stuff up …

Finally …

7. As we pull in to park at the Union Bar on Thursday night, Kellie’s mom notes that her daughter used to work at the pharmacy across the street, and then goes “yeah, she was the biggest drug runner in Scottsbluff!” Now to be fair, she was referring to dropping off prescription medication at various homes around the community but still, anytime your mom refers to you as the region’s “biggest drug runner”, you’re doing something really special!

(tv recapper voice) And now, Nebraskapalooza! Day Two!

* The morning started out attempting to recover from the night before. Katie’s cell phone went off at 8:24am. It was DJ asking if we were ready to eat yet. I was – I’d been up since 7am, damned “up for work at that time all the time anyways” internal alarm clock. She, on the other hand, was still dozing away. After hopping in for a quick shower and cleanup … turns out, we were still an hour away from eating. Gotta love the “hurry up and wait” mentality of some people.

* They pick us up, and it’s off to some trucking leasing agency so Kellie can check in with one of her best friends, Lindsey*. After a few hugs, handshakes, and laughs all around, it’s off to Joe’s for some breakfast and good times.

(*: like Jim, she will be figuring prominently into the Day 2 Recap. Unlike Jim, you did NOT see her part of the recap coming, from even 50 miles away, based on the initial encounter …)

* We pull into El Mexicano, aka “Joe’s”, and I gotta admit, I was immediately hopeful. The best restaurants tend to be places that look like a hole in the wall. (Just like the best bars tend to be places that just have the word “Bar” or “Lounge” as their welcoming sign.) Joe’s literally looked like a tin shack on a gravel parking lot. It did not disappoint.

* I ordered the pork chile burrito with beans. It’s the best $2.94 I have ever eaten in my life. I cannot even begin to describe how good this thing was. And sweet Jesus, the homemade pico de gallo! I mean, when even “The Kid” is describing it in terms that at best can be described as “drooling”, you know you’ve got a keeper. And “The Kid” makes the best salsa I’ve ever had. When even he is like “I can’t match this”, you KNOW, in the words of Buddy Ryan, that “you’ve got a winner in town!”

* After fattening up on the breakfast burrito, the immediate question is, “what now”? Well, leave it to the history freak in the group (hey, that’s me!) to want to check out a historical sight. In this case, the Scottsbluff Monument. We head back to Kellie’s folks house to pick up her mom, then head off to the Monument Inn about 30 minutes later to get DJ’s mom and aunt*.

(*: they also had clock issues. They went to breakfast thinking it was 8:30am … uuh, guess again ladies. It was 7:30. I’m telling you, Mountain Time is all kinds of screwy.)

* We meet them next to their car, and all pile into Kellie’s folks Denali. Let’s just say, “skunk!” was the word of the ride.

* If I told you that a boatload of people could ride up to the top of a freaking 3,000 foot tall monument only cost you $5, would you do it? Hell yes you would! DJ was behind the wheel, with the lovely Kellie next to him. Katie and Beth had the middle seats, me and the Vickie’s were in the back. Up the Monument we went, to the top.

* Apparently some folks had been on this thing before. The view … is absolutely breath-taking. And I mean that in multiple ways – first, that it’s absolutely beautiful. Second, that I really wish I’d remembered the inhaler.

* From the “Bad Idea Jeans” department, I absolutely volunteered to walk down to the bottom of the monument. Now, to be fair, I am scared of three things, and only three things, in life. (1) earthquakes, which I was fairly certain wasn’t about to hit western Nebraska. (2) heights. Whoops. And (3) snakes. Double whoops. Kellie’s mom opens our walk down a 3,500 foot mountain by noting “there’s gonna be snakes in our path”. (stevo panicking voice) really? You just NOW tell me this?!?!

* Let’s just say, I was a solid 10-12 feet behind everyone else walking down, because I was too damned scared to move any faster. It’s a very steep drop down. There is NO railing to speak of to, you know, keep you attached to the pathway. I had visions floating through my head, and they weren’t pretty dreams of lollipops and rainbows.

* Oh, and it was really damned hot walking down that mountain. Or monument, or whatever you want to call it. I was about two more sweat beads away from dropping the “f*ck it, I’m done” blast and taking the shirt off.

* The “Peanut Gallery” had a good couple laughs at my expense watching me try to walk down. Nothing says “yup, he’s one of my best friends” like seeing Dusty laugh at my pathetic, slow, “whoa, this step seems a bit dangerous, let me take my time …” approach to walking down what to the locals is a glorified jogging trail.

* We finally make it to the bottom (thank you Bloody Mary for the liquid courage to do it!), then head back to the Boasheao’s residence for some downtime. We order a pizza, Kellie’s brother arrives, and after a lot of folks depart to set up for the reception, me and Katie head off for the Target to get a few things, and then start searching for a liquor store.

* Which we miraculously finally find about 3 miles away from the hotel on 27th Street. Yet another way Scottsbluff is different than South KC: here, you can’t go an intersection without a liquor store.

* A totally uneventful afternoon of watching some horrendous wedding show on (I think) Bravo followed. Thankfully, TBS started airing one of my favorite “Family Guy” episodes at 4 as we were getting ready for the reception. Oh yeah, “McBurgertown”. Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! Stop Mocking Me!

* We left for the reception about 5:30. Were supposed to be there at 5:45. Made it with seconds to spare.

* I was really impressed with the reception, for four reasons:

1. The Gering Civic Center is a helluva lot nicer than you’d expect a civic center in a town of 5,000 some odd people to be. Very tasteful.

2. A rock solid cash bar. I’m not really a beer drinker, so that was nice.

3. The pina colada near-catastrophe. At first, it seemed like the pina’s were non-alcoholic, and an eight year old walked up ready to spoon herself a glass. Uuh, yeah. I know I have voluntarily given a jello shot to a (depending on who you believe) 13-16 year old girl before, but not even I’d serve an 8 year old. Thankfully we shut that tap off. Oh, and

4. The food was beyond incredible. The lemon-glazed tilapia was to die for. The jerk chicken was dynamic. The fruit was really good. Even the rice concoction was delicious. Someone punted well beyond their coverage for this reception, and for once, I’m not referring to the groom.

* Funniest moments of the reception, and God, there’s at least 5 of them:

1. We’re out on a smoking break, and Kellie, Katie and I are talking to an adorable 8 year old girl named Cloey. Somehow she’s told that “you have to wait until you’re 25 to marry”, ok fine. But then someone says “unless you find the right boy”. Cloey responds “or girl”. (cue long awkward pause). I then drop the “well hell, 17 years from now, that’ll probably be ok in this state” blast. Every once in a while, I can make a funny statement.

2. Also on same smoking trip, Kellie telling her cousin, who noted she picked up current boyfriend because “he was the best friend of the guy I thought I liked”, her response was “hey, that’s how I met Dusty!” The lesson? As always, if even Jesus himself hit me with a hammer over the head, I’d still miss the obvious most of the time.

3. Wade’s playlist for the dancing portion of the reception … opened with “Evil Woman”. Brought the back table down, at least.

4. Hell, his entire playlist was hysterical. Every other song was either by 311 or Incubus (we were taking bets in the back corner). Also, he had “Jeremy” as a dance number. Again, I can’t make this sh*t up. Oh, and …

5. Jim! We’re near the end of the reception, there’s just those of us left going out afterwards, and he somehow hits his knees, and starts doing a Japanese / Asian impersonation for Kellie that was so damned funny, I had tears streaming down my cheeks from laughing so hard, and I wasn’t the only one.

* After clearing stuff up and loading it into cars, it was off for the after party, which this night was going to be at “The OT”. Or, as properly known, the Oregon Trail Bar.

Uuh, where to begin. I know! With the car ride there! I was stuck in a car with Cody driving and Lindsey right behind me, and somehow, I wound up with a huge bump in the back of my head from her pounding on my head like a bongo. Every time she wanted to say something, she’d “smack” my head like it was the back of the seat, and state what she was thinking. Some of her “inspirational” ideas included:

1. her wearing a party hat next time, so that I could “have a good time”.

2. her calling me “Scuba Steve”*. And

3. her asking me to get her “wedgie out with my teeth”.

I just kept walking straight into the bar.

(*: I HATE, and I cannot even begin to stress that word enough, I HATE being called “Scuba Steve”. For the first two, three years after “Big Daddy” came out, that is ALL I was called. “Hey, it’s Scuba Steve!”, like that’s funny somehow. (joe pesci voice) funny? Funny how? How the f*ck is that funny? How the f*ck am I funny? Please, do not EVER call me “Scuba Steve”. It annoys the piss out of me.)

* First bar I’ve ever been to in my life with a $2 cover charge. Cash only. Yes, you read that correctly, a $2 cover charge. Even better yet –

* Every person walking in the door was ID’d. I mean, EVERY person. Dusty’s mom and aunt were ID’d, as was Kellie’s mom. Either the dude running the door was the most retarded gentleman manning a door anywhere in America … or this bar has had serious underage drinking issues. (I’m going with the latter, based on the clientele there Friday night.)

* We pick out a table behind the dance floor, as “Shots!” by Lil’ Jon and LMFAO comes on the speakers. To “The OT”’s credit … unedited music! Don’t expect to find that in the heart of rural America.

* Sitting right behind us, is a lovely couple … and I use the words “lovely” and “couple” quite loosely. By “lovely”, I mean, “neither girl was going home with any straight guy tonight”. Which, in their defense was totally cool … because they could not keep their hands off each other. One was a hefty chick with tats everywhere, in a very loose fitting blue halter top type deal, the other was a “yup, she’s gay, no doubt about it” looking chick in a white t-shirt.

* Funniest moment of sitting next to these two? One of three things:

1. Their “pimp”, aka Keith, this black guy sitting next to them. He wound up nearly throwing down on the back deck later in the night with Dusty, after he hit on DJ’s mom AND tried to pick up his wife to boot*.

2. They literally could not stop touching each other’s, uuh, “private areas”. I’m talking, hands up in there. And by the end of the night, we’d seen hefty chick with tats and blue halter top’s, uuh, goods. Oh, and

3. The white t-shirt chick invited us to a wine tasting the next day at the grocery store she was affiliated with. Don’t worry, we’re coming back to this in Part 3.

(*: if it had come to blows, I’d have made Dusty a 3:2 favorite, and I’d absolutely have laid odds on “The Kid”. This Keith guy was creepy in a “he might share a few traits with a Catholic Priest” kind of way.)

* Funniest moment I totally forgot from the reception? Wade’s “best man / maid of honor” speech. He not only totally summed up what most everyone who knows Dusty feels about him (awesome guy, fun to be around, but way, way, way, way, way too godd*mned competitive for his own good) … he did it in true Steve-style:

(wade voice) then Dusty showed up in the picture … well, at least the bottom half.

Brought the entire house down. Don’t worry, there’s more small guy jokes coming, especially in part three.

* Funniest moment at “The OT”? Easy. We move to a new table because Jim was repulsed by the lesbian chicks getting each other off behind him. We’re at a table on the other side of the bar, and it’s me and six females sitting down (I believe the six were Vickie, Kellie, Beth, Vickie, Cindy, and Tiffany). I offer the last seat at the table to DJ, who deadpans “no thanks, I don’t want to sit at the girls table”. You can’t do anything but laugh at that. Good one.

* A couple other funny moments from “The OT”:

1. DJ was ready to go. Kellie dropped the “I see these people once, maybe twice a year! I am staying out an extra couple hours!” blast at her husband. Which I totally dug – nothing makes me laugh more than seeing “The Kid” put in his place, and she’s the first girl I’ve ever seen him with that does that*. But, it would blow up in Kellie’s face later come Saturday. The lesson? “The Kid” might have a Napoleon Complex, but damn if he doesn’t have a memory of steel.

(*: and the last girl. You two are going to last a lifetime.)

2. His aunt plowing through the White Russians. At one point, she had two full ones in front of her, and was ordering a third. She claimed the next day she only had “two”. Uuh, they don’t count as “two” when you keep refilling the glass every five minutes.

3. The forcible eviction from the bar at the end. Let’s just say, “The OT” doesn’t really care too much about potential liability from DUI’s and/or fatal car crashes. It’s a “get the f*ck out of here, consequences be damned!” mentality you don’t see in the city.

* Hang on, looking over the one-liner notes, I missed a classic reaction between bride and father:

(bill) wow, you can see the lines (where the wedding dress pulled in the skin)
(kellie) yeah, it’s called back fat, dad!
(bill) (not missing a beat) I wouldn’t know, I don’t have any.
(kellie) I know! I got all of yours!

I laughed. I mean, Kellie has maybe what, 1% body fat? 1.2%? Jesus, she’s the model of attractive and fit, and here they are arguing over back fat. Also meant to say …

* She gets prettier every time she dons the wedding dress. Kellie was absolutely “jaw hitting the floor” drop dead gorgeous at the reception. (steve rechecking notes …) OK, we’re caught up.

* Tiffany takes us back to the hotel for the second night in a row. Tries to get us to go to some Mexican joint at 1am. We pass. I’m guessing if Taco John’s doesn’t agree with me at noon, some random non-descript joint in Scottsbluff is definitely not agreeing with me at 1am.

* I had bought a handle of pre-made Cuervo margaritas that afternoon. It was gone when I finally passed out that night. I'd be lying if I said I remembered much after that.

All in all, a tremendous Day 2. Next up in this odyssey, is Day 3, Lake Day! Where I’m too chicken sh*t scared to pilot a jet ski …

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