Category Archives: Personal

Luxury riders

I’m back. Time for that story.

St. Patrick’s Day 1989 was on a Friday. Everyone at Arabi Park Middle School was looking forward to the final bell that day, since it would mean the beginning of one week off, the unofficial spring break, even though it wasn’t called that.

That night would be another of Arabi Park’s dances for the 7th and 8th grade students. Want to talk about awkward? Your intrepid blogger was the poster child for awkwardness. I didn’t have the guts to ask any girl to dance, and I often started crying by the end of the first hour.

Many girls were turned off by that, but I don’t blame them. They were 12 or 13, what were they supposed to do? Fortunately, Rosemarie Renz (now Huguet), who is my longest-standing friend on earth (37 1/2 years), was always nice enough to dance with me once or twice, and eventually, Stacie Dauterive (Seube), the young lady whom I had a crush on at Arabi Park, also danced with me near the end of the night.

Stacie was beautiful then and is now. But she has a wonderful heart. That’s why I really had a crush on her. Her sister, Andree (Addison), has that heart of gold, too.

I can’t say enough great things about Rosemarie. I hurt sometimes that we lost touch after 7th grade when I went to Brother Martin. Part of me wishes I would have stayed at Arabi Park fo the eighth grade and gone to Archbishop Hannah, the Catholic high school in St. Bernard Parish (county) with her.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1989, the APM student council sponsored a raffle. The winner would win a ride to the dance in a limo and would be able to bring five other people with him or her.

Let’s just say I spent as much money on trying to win the raffle as I would buying music credits during a long day at Buffalo Wild Wings. And $20 in 1989 was a lot more than $20 in 2019.

My classmates noticed I was going after the limo ride hard. During an afternoon class, I kidded with Toni LaRocca and Allison Richardson about inviting them to ride if I had won.

My heart weighs very heavy thinking about that right now. Allison Richardson (White) passed away in 2008 from cancer. Toni was extremely close to Allison, as was Stacie and several other girls in my classes at APM, and they are still devastated over a decade later.

If I could press the rewind button, I would certainly have invited Allison and Toni to ride. Rosemarie too.

That last sentence tells you I won the raffle. Shawn O’Neil informed me in the gym during a mini-carnival going on after classes ended.

Shawn never went to dances at Arabi Park. I tried to entice him to come with a spot in the limo, but he wisely said no.

I knew I couldn’t invite Stacie. She was going with Glen Weaver, her boyfriend throughout APM. She met her husband, Jeff, at Andrew Jackson High.

Jason Malasovich was going to ride, of course. It was an all-male crew: Jason, Jared Couture, Brandon Miller, Jack Bastoe, Joe Monaghan, and myself. Jared, Brandon and Jack were in classes with Jason and I, and Joe lived near Jason in another part of Arabi.

We met at Jack’s house since it was the farthest from the school, not too far from the bowling alley in Chalmette. The ride was fun. The dance was a repeat of the past, save for two things.

First, my mother was a chaperone, and Joe danced with her.

Second, I danced with Stacie’s mother, Kathy, who was then a teacher at Carolyn Park Elementary School, about five blocks from my house. She said I should dance with my mother, but I declined.

Confession: if I ever got married, I would be quaking in my boots over dancing with my mother. She is quite aloof and afraid of physical contact. I can name at least 50 people I have hugged more than her in my lifetime. Let’s see: Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda, Liz, Lisa, Dawn…I’ll stop there for now.

The Dauterive family resided on Badger Drive, only 200 feet from St. Robert Belarmine Catholic Church, whose school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade. After Katrina, Stacie and Jeff moved in with their sons to 905 Badger Drive, while her parents, Rene and Kathy, moved to Baton Rouge.

Rene owned a very successful plumbing company in St. Bernard Parish while I lived there, and he took care of our house at 224 Jaguar Drive. I’ve joked with Stacie and Andree that I want to bring Rene to Russell so he can fix the American Legion post’s plumbing problems for my parents, as well as those at 1224 North Brooks. Fortunately, there is a fine plumber in Russell, Donnie Boxberger, so we’re covered.

Two schools of thought on my fellow limo riders 30 years later. First, the guys were the right choice, because it avoided any awkwardness I would have had with girls. The other is I should have invited at least Rosemarie, because she and I had been friends for so long and she was always so nice. But Jason and I had been friends before APM as well, so he was a great choice.

I attended one more APM dance in late April. My mother did not allow me to go to the one in May, and rightly so, because I failed to turn in an assignment on time. I was very fortunate I was not forced to go to summer school. I could have been failed for not turning it in on time, but I was allowed to turn it in the following Monday for a D. On June 2, 1989, I was jeered out of Arabi Park twice, first at school, then by a passing school bus as I walked back to 224 Jaguar.

I don’t blame any kids who were unhappy that I was going to Brother Martin. I rubbed it in their faces for the last 3 1/2 months of the 1988-89 school year. I thought I was on another plane because I was going to a school in the New Orleans Catholic League and they weren’t. I was not welcome back on campus during 1989-90.

Sadly, Arabi Park closed in the late 1990s when St. Bernard Parish’s school system consolidated some schools. The shell of the old school stood until Katrina wiped it away.

I lost touch with so many until discovering them on Facebook in 2014, 25 years after I left for the school at 4401 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. I saw Jason last August when he was in town with his lovely family. I hope I will see more Epton (before it’s too late in Foots lingo).

After the dance ended, I got home in time to watch the second half of LSU’s NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP. The Bayou Bengals enjoyed a fine season with All-America freshman Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), but the Miners had future NBA standouts Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, plus the coaching acumen of the legendary Don Haskins, the same Don Haskins who led an all-black Miner team to victory over Adolph Rupp’s all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 championship game.

Many in Louisiana were salivating at the possibility of LSU playing Indiana and the hated Bobby Knight in the second round, but UTEP won 85-74.

If you’re wondering why LSU was playing so close to midnight Central time, here’s the dish.

Prior to 1991, CBS did not televise every tournament game prior to the Elite Eight. In the first and second rounds, CBS would select the games it wanted to show nationally, then the NCAA would put the other games up for bids. The NCAA produced the games and provided the announcers, and games were either televised by ESPN or a local network. In the Sweet 16, CBS selected two games a night, and the other two that night would be on locally in the areas of the participating teams.

In 1991, CBS took over all games, and contests before the Elite Eight were regionally broadcast. It stayed that way through 2010.

In 2011, CBS split the broadcast rights with TBS, TNT and TruTV, meaning every game would be televised nationally.

I’ve got a sinking feeling LSU will be one-and-done 30 years later, thanks to all the scandal surrounding coach Will Wade, who is suspended and may be fired. The field will be revealed at 1700. Not that I’m going to fill out a bracket.

Enjoy what’s left of your St. Patrick’s Day and weekend.

May the luck of the Irish be with you

Top of the afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Yes I am wearing green…want proof? See below.

I have a very good story to tell about a St. Patrick’s Day from many, many, many years ago. Coming in the next post! Stay tuned…

Business at Pump 5!

The wind has been HOWLING across Kansas and neighboring states the last two days. A fierce low pressure system brought a blizzard to Colorado and high winds and rain to Kansas. The barometric pressure in Russell at one point yesterday dropped to 977 millibars (28.77 inches), the lowest ever recorded at the Russell airport. That’s lower than most Category 1 hurricanes.

That pressure is nowhere near as low as it is in the center of tornadoes. I believe the pressure in the center of the EF5 monster which struck Greensburg in 2007 was 840-850 millibars. That’s going to cause a hell of a lot of destruction.

I drove to Kansas City this morning and arrived just after 1000. Right now, it’s 4 Celsius (40 Fahrenheit), but the wind and mist makes it feel much colder than a calm day when it’s minus-15 Celsius (8 F).

I stopped for gas at QuikTrip in Parkville. I pulled up to a pump on the back row, behind a van from A.B. May one of the two major HVAC installers in Kansas City. Ironically, a van from his competition, Bob Hamilton Heating and Plumbing, was at a pump to the left.

I was not happy the A.B. May van was parked in front of a red pump, which is for non-ethanol gas. Not all QuikTrip locations have them, and those that have them have only four pumps at most dedicated to non-ethanol. The ones I have noticed with them are State Line and I-435, Parkville, Riverside, I-435 and Parvin Road, and Blue Springs on Highway 7.

In October, I boiled over when I noticed two cars parked in front of non-ethanol pumps on State Line Road, yet the motorists were using the black pumps for the gas with 10% ethanol.

It happened again today with the van from A.B. May, as well as two other motorists. But the A.B. May van really got under my skin.

After pumping my gas, I pulled up to the parking lot in front of the store. When I got out, I noticed there was a man inside the van. He was texting away.

I went into the store and used the restroom. That took 10 minutes, and the A.B. May van was STILL in front of the pump!

You know how some companies have a number to call on the back of the van to report bad driving? I’m tempted to call that number. I’m also tempted to call A.B. May’s main number.

Look, if you have pressing business to conduct while you’re at a gas station, pull up to the front or side of the store and do it. Don’t block the gas pumps.

If this were a station in a crowded part of a big city, it might be a problem because there might be a line for gas. The old Exxon at Lee Circle in New Orleans comes to mind. That place was ALWAYS busy prior to Katrina.

Fortunately, it was not a busy time and Parkville’s QuikTrip is not in a crowded area. It also has a lot of pumps. One of my favorite stops on the circuit.

Otherwise so far so good in Kansas City. Fourth laser hair treatment on my body went well, checked into the hotel, trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek, where I saw one of my favorite bartenders, Tina, for the first time since December 2017. I’m very happy she recognized me.

Mood-altering Monday

My life is over. I got some horrendous news just before 1700. Horrendous. Will make my life a living hell.

Good night.

The sandman always gets his man

So much for getting to bed at a decent hour.

I got home from Salina last night at 2145–not bad. However, I chose to stay up very, very, very late, not going to bed until 0215 the next morning.

Ouch.

I paid for it by not waking up until 1205 today. I kept dozing off through the afternoon.

Thankfully, there were no games I wanted to see today. Norton plays Royal Valley at 1500 tomorrow in Hutchinson in the first 3A girls semi, with the second at 1830 between Cheney and Nemaha Central. The winners play for the title Saturday at 1600, while the losers play the pointless third place game at 1200.

It’s been a very rough week. Luke Perry succumbed to his massive stroke. Alex Trebek revealed he has incurable pancreatic cancer–stage 4–and may not be with us much longer. Tom Seaver, the Hall of Fame pitcher who won 300 games, struck out more than 3,000 batters and won 3 Cy Young Awards, revealed he has dementia and will not make any more public appearances, including the 50-year reunion of the 1969 Miracle Mets in June.

Add in a president who is making power grab after power grab after criticizing his predecessor for doing exactly the same and demagogue members of Congress advocating white supremacy, anti-Semitisim and unrealistic ideas America can’t afford and many Americans don’t want, and it’s a wonderful life, right?

A burned out turn signal and a finicky iPad

This trip to Kansas City has been a bust. Huge bust. It isn’t Kansas City’s fault.

I was supposed to get the Buick detailed Saturday. Turns out the place didn’t have enough workers on staff. I rescheduled it for this Thursday, which would be okay, if not for something which happened today.

The left turn signal on the Buick is now burned out. I discovered this coming out of the automatic car wash on Wornall. Now I have to take the car to James Motors Friday and get all of the headlights and tail lights replaced.

I drove from Briarcliff to south Kansas City without my phone. LOVELY. Frank was trying to get a hold of me for an hour, but dumbass me was unreachable because my phone was in the hotel room, and my iPad was in the trunk of the car.

At least the iPad was working. Yesterday at 1500, it shut down all of a sudden for no reason. I had been streaming movies through the iPad to the television in the room, yet all of a sudden, the iPad’s screen went pitch black. This really angered me, especially since I received the iPad only last Wednesday.

I chatted online with Apple support. I was desperate to get an appointment with a technician at one of the two Apple stores in Kansas City. After a long amount of wrangling, I finally received one for 1250 today at the store on the Country Club Plaza. Good I got an appointment. Bad that it was on the Plaza, a place I hate going to due to the crush of people and lack of parking. I have not visited the Plaza in almost a decade, and I have no desire to return any time soon.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to go to the Plaza. I searched on Verizon’s site about an iPad where the screen was totally black for no reason. It suggested a quick fix, and sure enough, my device came back to life.

Today, Frank needed something from me ASAP, and while I had my iPad, I did not have the full-sized keyboard I use with it. I left that in my room, too. I tried the best I could with using the on-screen keyboard, but it was painful. I tried dictation, but with people’s names, that’s tough. Somehow, I got through it.

Spent most of yesterday sleeping. Considering I had little sleep the previous week, it was understandable. I have to sleep better.

Ready to go home tomorrow. I thought about going to a basketball game in Norton to see Peggy and Caitlyn, but with the turn signal out, I don’t know. Ugh. My life.

Exploits of a 12-year old

I swear I need to discipline myself to post every day during 2019, no matter how short or how silly it might be. Actually, short posts might be better considering I have the tendency for posts which fall just short of the length of War and Peace.

I didn’t get to Kansas City until 1915 last night. I had to stay behind in Hays due to an eye exam with Dr. Stacey Jones at 1415. It was the last time I’ll visit her at the corner of Canterbury and 22nd in Hays, because in January, she and her husband will open their own ophthalmology/dentistry private practice in downtown Hays across the corner from the Hays public library, Fox Theater and James Motors. I’ve been seeing Dr. Jones since moving to Kansas in 2005, and she has picked up right where my ophthalmologist in Louisiana, Dr. Martin Schoenberger, left off. Both have been great caring for my vision.

I ended up sending out 73 Christmas cards. So, far one has been labeled returned to sender. One person was not happy that I looked up their address and sent a card. Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda and a few others, some of whom were middle school classmates of mine in 1988 and ’89, were much happier. They’ll stay on the list for 2019. The complainer won’t.

Tuesday was the 30th anniversary of my only memorable athletic achievement.

I played youth basketball for the local playground, Carolyn Park, for three years in the 1980s. My last year was in the 1988-89 season, when I played on Carolyn Park’s 11-year old team (I was 12 by time the season started, but since I had an October birthday, I played with the 11-year olds, as did my Arabi Park Middle classmate, Jason Malasovich). The goals were only 8 1/2 feet high, and the free throw lanes were trapezoidal shaped like they were in international basketball at the time, albeit narrower than what was used both internationally and the NBA.

On the afternoon of Dec. 18, 1988, Carolyn Park played Versailles, which was located at the junction of Paris Road and St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, not too far from the ferry landing where the boats which ran between Chalmette and the Algiers section of New Orleans would take on cars.

There were six playgrounds in St. Bernard Parish. Carolyn Park was the farthest west, taking in the community of Arabi, which stretched from the city limits of New Orleans about two miles to the east. Three–Vista, Versailles and Rebel–were in Chalmette, the largest community in St. Bernard. Bournemouth (spelled the same as the city on the south coast of England) was in Meraux and Violet, and then Kenilworth took in the eastern third of the parish.

Carolyn Park didn’t have its own gym, so the game was played at Bournemouth. Four nights earlier, my team played Kenilworth at Bournemouth’s gym, and I had a decent game, scoring six points and blocking a shot from behind. I blocked the shot from 12 feet at its apex and it flew out of bounds. I could hear my mother and brother cheering that one.

Jason was one of three very good players that Carolyn Park team had. The others wer the guards, Chad Nuccio, son of our coach, A.J. Nuccio, and Trey Guillot, who later enjoyed a stellar baseball career at Holy Cross before pitching for Tulane. I wasn’t athletic enough to be a starter, but I came of the bench and did what needed to be done, mostly rebounding, good defense and points here and there.

In the game vs. Versailles, I scored on a pair of jump shots from the foul line in the second period, and it helped Carolyn Park lead 30-15 at halftime.

In the second half, Versailles came back. It had a couple of future high school varsity starters, Brett Tessitore (Archbishop Hannah) and Michael Marques (Brother Martin); Michael was in my graduating class at Brother Martin, and his dad and my dad worked together at Air Products and Chemicals.

Foul trouble nearly crippled Carolyn Park. Five players fouled out, including Chad and Jason. I would have been on the bench the entire second half, but the starter who played my position, Alex Dupre, fouled out with three minutes left. I knew it was his fifth foul, and coach Nuccio sent me into the game.

As the fouls began to pile up, I got so angry I slammed the ball with 90 seconds left. It was right in front of an official. I should have been given a technical foul. He let it go. He must have known I was frustrated.

With 30 seconds left, Carolyn Park was down to four players. Basketball rules allow a team to play with fewer than five if players foul out or are ejected, but you cannot start a game with fewer than five.

I thought I would be gone with another foul, but it turned out I had three. With 12 seconds left, Versailles missed the front end of a one-and-one (the double bonus was not adopted in high school basketball until 1995-96), leaving it ahead 45-44.

Trey pulled down the rebound and sped down the left sideline with a beautiful left-handed dribble. His layup was off the mark.

The rebound came down to the right side of the lane to #14. ME.

From seven feet away, I put an awkward-looking jumper.

It skimmed the backboard and fell through with two seconds left.

Versailles called timeout. I was mobbed by my teammates and coaches. All we had to do was defend and my shot would be the winner.

Versailles threw a long pass which was tipped and bounced harmlessly away. Carolyn Park won 46-45.

Of course, I got a hugely inflated head over the shot. I bragged about it the next two days at Arabi Park. Thankfully for Jason, Shawn O’Neil (who was a damn good player for Vista) and my other classmates, school let out that Tuesday for the holidays.

The shot went to my head. I played like crap the next two games, and my dad suggested after the second, a 19-point loss to Rebel, that I quit because I wasn’t committed.

The Thursday after Christmas, I wasn’t feeling well. I was battling a cold, and I had to wear long sleeves under my jersey. Carolyn Park played Bournemouth all the way at Kenilworth at the other end of the parish.

I was on the bench in the first quarter. In the second quarter, I went off.

Ten points in six minutes. I went to the foul line for the first time that season and swished both shots. I played the entire second half and finished with 14 points in Carolyn Park’s 53-34 victory.

The night before my big game, Shawn O’Neil held his 12th birthday party at Showbiz Pizza in Algiers, across the Mississippi River from St. Bernard Parish. Showbiz was Chuck E. Cheese’s competitor in the 1980s, and both places advertised heavily on the four main New Orleans television stations. Chuck E. Cheese was on the Metairie-Kenner line on Veterans Highway in Jefferson Parish.

Shawn’s dad insisted on taking the ferry to Algiers. I begged him not to. I HATED HTE FERRY. I hated it. I knew all about the infamous incident in 1976 (exactly one week after I was born) when a drunken ferry pilot did not see a huge tanker crossing the river in St. Charles Parish. The boats collided, and all of the cars went into the river. Of the 94 people on board the ferry, 78 perished.

My mother took the ferry often to visit her mother, who lived in Algiers from 1970 until her death in 1992. It made some sense before October 1988, when the second span of the Greater New Orleans Bridge (now the Crescent City Connection) opened. When it was one bridge and there were only two lanes of traffic in each direction, an accident could cause delays of up to six hours in some cases.

I tried to get girls in our class at Arabi Park, especially Stacie Dauterive (now Seube) invitations, but the O’Neils said no way.

Jason and I had to play in a Christmas concert in New Orlean’s’ Jackson Square with the Arabi Park Middle band the day before I hit my game-winning shot. It was chilly and windy. Good preparation for my future life as it turned out.

Shawn, Jason, Stacie and a few others from Arabi Park were on my Christmas card list. I would give anything to see all of them. I’m very happy that rift has been repaired. It was pretty ugly when I left Arabi Park after seventh grade for Brother Martin. I lorded Brother Martin over them much worse than that game-winning shot, and it was little wonder why they were glad to see me continue my education at 4401 Elysian Fields Avenue in New Orleans.

Apparently, forgiveness is a four-letter word to some I’ve known through the years. Sad.

Brewers survive; I must drive

Well,, the Brewers tried to give it away last night. Fortunately, they didn’t, and held on to beat the Dodgers 6-5 in game one of the National League Championship Series.

I listened to the second inning driving from Minsky’s to the hotel. Manny Machado hit a leadoff home run off Gio Gonzalez. I screamed to myself I knew it would happen. Therefore, I chose not to put myself through the ringer and watch the game. The Brewers ended up taking a 5-1 lead in the fourth, and I finally watched a few batters in the seventh.

I went to bed right after that. Luckily I wasn’t awake to see the Dodgers rally.

Game two is at 1500 today. I’ll be out and about so I won’t have to torture myself. Houston and Boston play at 1900 to open the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park.

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My day has taken an unexpected turn. Actually, it took the turn last night just before I left Minsky’s.

I looked up the weather and saw the chance of snow in western and central Kansas for Sunday has increased greatly. The timing could not have been worse for a potential late morning return: by 0800 in Hays, 0900 in Russell, and 1100 in Salina. And worse, there is going to be accumulations from 2 to 4 inches in Hays and Russell.

Yikes. And tomorrow is only October 14.

Last October 14, I was running around in shorts with no sweatshirt. I wore a floral print shirt on my birthday, the same one I wore to eat with my dad, Brenda and Dorinda in Baton Rouge exactly six months later.

This October 14, I was going to be wearing a turtleneck and sweatshirt to drive home. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be enough. I was hitting myself (mentally only) for not packing my parka.

Now, I’ll be waking up in my own bed Sunday.

I’m driving home right after Ottawa plays volleyball. It’s not a bad drive–US 59 to Lawrence, then Interstate 70 home. US 59 is four lanes and controlled access between Ottawa and Lawrence, and I won’t have to go through the city of Lawrence (especially the KU campus) since K-10 goes around the west side to I-70. It will be about the same time (four hours) as going from Kansas City to Russell.

I drove home from Kansas City in the late, late hours on my 37th birthday (2013) to beat bad weather. I drove from Emporia to Abilene to Russell on my 30th birthday (2006), not getting home until after 11. Therefore, it’s nothing new.

It isn’t the worst thing to be going home early. Probably a good thing. Lots of work to do.

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LSU plays Georgia in a supposedly huge Southeastern Conference game today. I hate to say it, but Georgia is going to run roughshod over the Bayou Bengals in my opinion. I can’t see LSU staying close for long. I like the Bulldogs 37-17. I won’t be watching that, either.

The final hour of my 42nd year is underway. In 45 minutes, year #43 officially starts.

Rude and disgusting people

**DISCLAIMER**
I am sorry about all the cursing. I wish I didn’t have to. But it’s been that bad. 

Today has been hell. As bad as it was discovering the hotel in Lenexa was an island in the middle of a sea of construction, it would get worse. Much worse.

First, I should never, ever have assumed Peggy Cox told me not to come to Ottawa Saturday to watch Caitlyn play. I am very sorry I said that. I should not have.

When I left the hotel around 3:00 to go back to Johnson County, I backed out and happened to bump another car. I was scared shitless. I looked at the lady like I didn’t know what to do and I was so scared I almost took a dump in my pants. I screamed out loud and she got scared, but her husband told her I was screaming at myself, not her. He said everything was okay. I am very grateful. If they think I’m a total fool, then that’s fine. I don’t blame them.

The only good thing about today was getting my car cleaned.

Then came two incidents at two places along State Line Road that boiled my blood.

The first was at the QuikTrip just off I-435. I stop there quite often for gas and a drink, and sometimes to use the restroom. That QuikTrip is one of only a few which has no-ethanol gasoline.

I HATE ETHANOL. I HATE IT. It is dirty, it causes farmers to farm too much corn and not enough other crops, and it significantly reduces gas mileage. I was royally pissed later this evening when I found out Trump wants to allow the use of E-15 gas year-round. Asshole. Fuck you Trump. .It has been proven E-15 is 6 to 8 percent less fuel efficient than non-ethanol gas.

At the QuikTrip at State Line and 435, there are four pumps with non-ethanol fuel. Yet when I arrived at 4:15, all four pumps were occupied by customers buying non-ethanol fuel.

There are 16 pumps at this QuikTrip which do not have non-ethanol or diesel fuel at the pump. Diesel customers are not common in a big city, although I’m sure that QuikTrip gets some. Why the HELL do customers who want to buy the cheap shit have to block those who want to buy non-ethanol fuel? I complained to the ladies working the registers, but nobody seemed to care.

When I exited the store seven minutes later, three of the same vehicles which were blocking the non-ethanol pumps were still there!!!!! I saw one woman who was driving one of the blocking vehicles in the store.

That is pure rudeness right there. When you are finished pumping gas and you want to go into the store, please pull up to the front of the store and let someone else pump gas, especially when it’s blocking a non-ethanol pump and there are only four on site. At least she returned to a car after two minutes waiting and I was able to get my ethanol fuel.

What really pissed me off to no end was the other two vehicles sitting there in front of the non-ethanol pumps. A guy in a van with a Kansas plate (Franklin County; lordy, lordy he’s from Ottawa) was eating. EATING! Give me a break.

There was a woman in a black Toyota sitting there talking on her phone. She had the phone in her ear when I arrived at the store, and when I finally finished fueling, 12 minutes after arriving, SHE WAS STILL ON HER FUCKING CELL PHONE.

Okay, talking and driving is dangerous. But sitting in front of a gas pump at QuikTrip is not a place to conduct business or gab. If the woman’s conversation was THAT IMPORTANT, she should have parked somewhere else at the station. In her case, it would have been just as rude to take up a parking space for someone who wanted to go into the store, but there was plenty of parking at the back of the site (closest to 435).

Even worse, the woman was blocking a non-ethanol pump. What a rude bitch.

I was so pissed off about this I sent an angry message to QuikTrip through its Facebook page explaining this. I believe the stations which have non-ethanol fuel should post signs for customers who are not purchasing non-ethanol to avoid using those pumps if at all possible, and if not possible, to move immediately following fueling.

I only park my car in front of a pump when I am paying inside the store, and I only do it if there are more than half the pumps open. If it isn’t, I will fuel first, pull up to the front, then go in, or vice versa. Two credit card transactions is not the end of the world.

Then came the second incident I am pissed about.

I went shopping at the beautiful Super Target at 135th and State Line. Nice, big store, wide aisles, good selection. I will shop at Target any day of the week. NEVER WALMART. Lousy motherfuckers.

The shopping part was good. I went to the restroom, since I didn’t go at QuikTrip.

There was a man in the higher urinal, so I had to use the kiddie-sized one. Not a big deal.

But once the man in the other urinal finished, he just walked out WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS.  I’m lucky I didn’t pee all over myself. I was that angry.

I have a hard and fast rule: any time I use a public restroom, I must wash my  hands. I NEVER go without washing my hands in a public restroom. NEVER. That is absolutely disgusting to walk out without washing your hands. I’m wondering if he went home and touched his wife and kids with those nasty hands. Hopefully he isn’t married and doesn’t have kids.

I refuse to use a rest stop restroom on I-70 because they often lack soap to wash hands. I’ve encountered that many times at the one near Ellsworth, and also at the one near Solomon. I don’t use Solomon anymore, because Salina (westbound) and Abilene (eastbound) are close enough. The Ellsworth one is only westbound, and that’s why I try to stop before.

I wish there were a way the restroom door would lock if someone didn’t wash their hands. I would be willing to wait that disgusting piece of shit out until he washed his hands.

After what happened in Target, I was actually happy to sit in traffic on Missouri Highway 150 for a few minutes. I went all the way out to Independence to pick up Outback tonight. Then I had a 40-minute drive back west and north.

I’m going to try to forget about the rude people sitting in front of gas pumps and the disgusting man at Target. But I’m sure I will encounter many more of both types…probably before I leave Kansas City.

 

Persona non grata in Baton Rouge and Ottawa

My 42nd birthday is shaping up to be the worst since I was half that age.

My 21st birthday in 1997 was a horror show. The day before, a Sunday, I got a flat tire driving back from my parents’ home in New Orleans to Baton Rouge to be back at LSU in time for class Monday. My mother had to come rescue me, because my father could not, since he was on company business in Brazil. It happened to be the day after LSU’s football team beat then-number one Florida, a game I didn’t attend because I was suspended from working with LSU’s sports information office because of a resignation letter I wrote the previous Sunday. Herb Vincent reinstated me the day after my birthday, and he should not have. Now that I look back on it, I’m glad I wasn’t at the game. It was a complete drunken madhouse.

The day of my 21st, it poured and it was chilly. My mother and I went to an appointment with the therapist I was seeing at the time (he was no Crista).

My 30th was hell. I covered a state tennis tournament, drove to Abilene for a football game, then back to Russell so I could be in Stockton the next morning for a volleyball tournament. At least I don’t have that to worry about.

My 39th was pretty bad, too. I was still devastated by all that went on in the summer of 2015 (starting July 17, at least) and my financial woes were wearing me way down.

My first hope was to be in Baton Rouge for the LSU-Georgia football game. Michael Bonnette, LSU’s longtime sports publicity director, suggested it to me when I was there in April for baseball. I made reservations for a hotel and a rental car.

That plan went awry in late August. Dan Borne, the public address announcer, said no way to me helping him spot in his booth. Then Michael refused to help me get a credential or even a ticket. Then tickets cost at least $150–and they’re now going for at least $350.

The next idea was to go to Ottawa to watch Caitlyn play volleyball. Peggy seemed open to it last week. Then last night she gave the hint that she did not want me there because an old friend of hers would be there.

Now I was stuck with a hotel room in Lenexa I couldn’t cancel. I booked there because it was much easier to drive from there to Ottawa down Interstate 35 than it was from the area around KCI, which is where I normally stay. I decided to make the trip anyway. Better to wallow alone than in the basement of my house.

When I got to the hotel, my jaw dropped. The area around the hotel looks like Panama City after Hurricane Michael. Construction EVERYWHERE. And the hotel lobby fronts the street, and there is only room for two cars to pull up and unload. Of course, the unloading area was clogged by ride share cars.

The parking area was a garage on the back side of the hotel…with three flights of stairs to descend to get to the back entrance. Holy fucking shit.

Worse, there was only one way to get out of the stupid garage, and you had to turn right and drive away from Interstate 435 before you could U-turn and go in the proper direction.

I was very upset. VERY UPSET. I would never have touched this hotel with a ten-meter pole if I had known. Besides, there is absolutely NOTHING around the hotel, and it would take 20 minutes to drive into Overland Park or Olathe to find something.

I was very, very, very fortunate I was able to cancel the reservation without penalty and book back across the river.

I’m now praying I have leukemia. I want to have leukemia. It would be far better than the shitty life I’m living.