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Britt’s big day is almost here!

I am now less than five days away from attending what will be, at least for me, my biggest social event to date in this millennium.

My dear friend Brittany Davidson and the love of her life, Zachery Morgan, marry Saturday in St. Joseph. Their reception follows at 7 p.m. at a downtown ballroom.

I cannot and will not miss it. Brittany has been one of the best things to happen to me, at the very least since moving to Kansas ten years ago. I have to argue she ranks above almost everyone else right now, only trailing my family, Peggy Cox and a select few others as to people who are of utmost importance into my life. As far as Buffalo Wild Wings goes, she’s 1A right now with Liz, but she’ll move to 1 alone when Liz leaves for Colorado Springs very soon. If Zach won her heart for life, he is a hell of a man. I’m honored they would want me to share in their big day.

That’s about all I could think about during my long and arduous travels through Nebraska and back into Kansas last Friday. I enjoyed the pictures at the former Rosenblatt Stadium, T.D. Ameritrade, the Cornhuskers’ Memorial Stadium and the Nebraska capitol, but the countdown to the big day for Brittany and Zach is really gnawing at me. In a very good way.

Brittany has told me time and again she wants me there. She does have some concern that I will lose my cool and melt down as I have in the past, but those fears aren’t as bad as they might have been before I started therapy with Crista.

I’m sure a lot of my friends at Buffalo Wild Wings, especially Alex, Tori, Raymie and the recently departed Lisa, will also be sad if I din’t make it. Don’t want to let them down.

Crista has really helped me put my life together. I still have my flaws and my concerns, but who doesn’t?

I have only been to two weddings in my life. The first was in July 1997 at a small chapel on the LSU campus between Adam Young, a former colleague of mine in the LSU sports information office, and former LSU volleyball player Luciana Santana, who came to LSU from Sao Paulo and ended up staying, much to the benefit of everyone at LSU. They now make their home in Bossier City in northwest Louisiana. I was not going to go at first, but Michael Bonnette, who was a groosman, convinced me to go. He and Robin (who was six months pregnant with their first son, Peyton) was there, as was Lee Feinswog and Brenda LeBlanc, who had been married less than a year at that time.

The second wedding was the Saturday before Thanksgiving 1999, when Bill Franques married Yvette Lemoine in Bunkie, her hometown. My father has nothing but bad memories of Bunkie; it was in the Avoyelles Parish town where a large rock casued a huge crack in the windshield of the family’s Oldsmobile station wagon during our June 1986 trip to Russell. Fortunately for my dad, (a) we sold the station wagon one month later to purchase my mother’s new Oldsmobile Delta 88; and (b) he only had to drive through Bunkie one more time, since Interstate 49 was completed to bypass Bunkie by 1990.

Bill and Yvette met at Michael’s July 1995 wedding in Opelousas. Yvette and Robin Arnaud were best friends at Bunkie High, and they took turns standing in each other’s wedding, although Michael did not attend Bill’s because he was on LSU business with the women’s basketball team in California. Bill and Yvette dated for four years before getting married, and some of us associated with LSU’s baseball team, led by Bill’s close friend, Dan Canevari, and equipment manager Mike “Bones’ Boniol, teased him mercilessly about Yvette. I joined in sometimes with trainer Shawn Eddy and assistant coach Bill Dailey.

Yvette was not a frequent topic of conversation at the Ivar’s sessions with Bill and Jim Schwanke. We had other things to worry about.

I was not in any mood to drive from Baton Rouge to Bunkie that day. I had been sick most of the week week with diarrhea and vomiting; it sometimes came out simultaneously at both ends. I won’t go into any more detail. The night before the wedding, I covered a high school football game between Eunice and Capitol at Baton Rouge’s Memorial Stadium (Capitol 9, Eunice 0) and ended up going out to eat with some peple thereafter, not returning to my apartment in southeast Baton Rouge until after 1 a.m.

The next morning, I was groggy and still not 100 percent, but I got dressed and made the drive northwest. I got to the church in Bunkie at 11:30 for the 1 p.m. ceremony. Bill and I actually talked for a few minutes before the church opened.

The reception was in Cottonport, another small town in Avoyelles Parish. I lasted 20 minutes. I decided to get back to Baton Rouge before dark.

No such worries this time. I’m staying in St. Joseph. I’ll be well-rested. And I don’t want to leave my friends too early.

I got back to Russell just before 7 pm.. Friday–in time to watch a Shark Tank rerun. I have not left 1224 North Brooks since.

Team Brittany

My dear friend Brittany Davidson will be marrying her sweetheart Zack July 11 in St. Joseph.

Their dream honeymoon? It isn’t Aruba. It isn’t Cancun. It isn’t Waikiki Beach. It isn’t even Paris.

It’s Cincinnati.

As in home of the 2015 Major League Baseball All-Star game.

Brittany is the biggest Kansas City Royals fan I know. It figures, since she has spent most of her life in western Missouri, either in St. Joseph at Central High or Missouri Western, or Kansas City.

She and Zack would love to be at Great American Ballpark July 14 for the All-Star Game, where it looks like at least six members of the starting lineups will be members of Ned Yost’s club.

Please follow this link to vote for Brittany and help send the happy couple to the Queen City!

Thank you!

Two days of heartache

These have been two of the strangest days I’ve been through in 2015. 

Yesterday I was dressed and ready to go before 9 a.m. On Good Friday. Why the hell would I get up that early on a day when I had absolutely nothing to do? 

My car needed me to be up that early. My oil ilife montior on my Impala was telling me it was time to change my oil. The oil life was down to ZERO. As in get it done now. 

I did just that. Got to Morse-McCarthy Chevrolet on Metcalf Avenue just after 9. I had to wait a little longer than usual for an oil change and tire rotation, but that was to be expected, since it was Good Friday and a lot of people took their day off to get their cars serviced. The good news? It was free due to my loyalty to Morse-McCarthy. 

I didn’t get to Buffalo Wild Wings until 2. Lisa was bartending, and she was on pins and needles, because the regional manager, Tory, was there, which marked the fifth time he had been there in the past three weeks. Brittany and Tori took over for Lisa at 5, but I didn’t stay that long. 

Dawn and her husband came in for happy hour. I didn’t play trivia against them, but I didn’t leave, either. Then came two of my favorites (not), DIGDUG and RONDO. Time to get the hell out of dodge. 

Not only did I leave, I did so in tears. I was still very upset over what had happened with Liz the previous night, and I wasn’t up to dealing with certain people. In fact, it was RONDO playing trivia against me which caused me to snap the day I almost hit that guy in the Buffalo Wild Wings dining room three months ago. 

I didn’t stop crying until I finally got back to the Marriott. I stopped at Dunkin Donuts at 75th and Metcalf for an iced coffee, went to Hy-Vee for a few things, and then picked up dinner at Outback at Oak Park Mall. Three lobster tails. Outstanding. 

Then I did something I almost never do, especially if I am staying in Overland Park–I went back to Buffalo Wild Wings. I’m glad I went back.

First and foremost, I got to see Dan and Pam and their kids, Emily and Parker. I had not seen them since New Year’s Night. I had missed them four times in the past three weeks, and each time I got frustrated at missing them. But this time I didn’t miss, and it made me feel much better to see them.

I’m glad I came back to see Liz. She had a rough day, and it only compounded her problems. Not only is her mother back in the hospital, but her grandmother and Aunt Loretta, who lives in MIchigan, are also in the hospital. I hate to see anyone going through that, especially someone who is 21 years old and someone I love so dearly like Liz. I’m going to be 39 in October, and both of my parents and my paternal grandfather are still living. I feel guilty about that sometimes. 

I had a horrendous time getting up today. I kept falling asleep and falling asleep. At one point, I dozed off in the chair at the desk and had a really weird dream. 

I didn’t fully wake up until 5, and it was time for the Michigan State-Duke game in the Final Four to tip off. I got in the shower and then went out, going back to Dunkin Donuts and Outback, with a stop at Walgreen’s across the street from Dunkin to pick up insulin. 

I felt really awful as I ate my T-bone and coconut shrimp. I felt like I had left my friends, especailly Liz and Brittany, in the lurch by not showing up to watch the Final Four games. I felt like I had been a bad friend. 

I didn’t leave the hotel room until 8:40 to head north. Stopped at Dunkin on 87th Street in Lenexa for another iced coffee, then made my way into Missouri. I got to Buffalo Wild Wings at 10, but at first, I couldn’t bring myself to go in.  Finally, Liz brought me in. 

I still have a little guilt. I shouldn’t. I would have been intimidated by the large crowds. 

I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going back to Russell tomorrow to eat steak with my parents. Part of me says no way. The other says I don’t want to let them down. Decisions, decisions. 

Departure upcoming

My time in Kansas City, at least for this trip, is down to no more than 12 hours. I’m going to leave Buffalo Wild Wings, where I’ve been since 3 p.m., and go back to the hotel in a few minutes. I’m hoping to pick up my parents and be on the road back to Russell no later than 10 a.m., hopefully earlier.

Liz and Brittany are working tonight at Buffalo Wild Wings. I knew Brittany was because she told me Tuesday, but I didn’t know about Lisa. This is Lisa’s last Thursday night. She’s going to be working mornings and afternoons before she starts her job with the state of Kansas later this year.

I don’t know when I’m getting back. I’m hoping it will be for Super Bowl Sunday, but my long trip to Oberlin Saturday plus the iffy weather may not make that possible. Besides, the crowd will be quite large. I only have one open weekend in February, and that’s Valentine’s Day, a day I might be better off spending away from crowds. I know I will probably be in Beloit for basketball Friday the 13th. The last time I drove straight from Beloit to Kansas City, I was very fortunate not to strike a deer which crossed I-70 between Chapman and Junction City.

The only other out I can see is coming in on Monday and leaving Tuesday at noon to go to my basketball game. I’ll have to figure it out. In either case, Salina will do just fine in a pinch.

Right now, I can’t worry about that. I’ve got to get my parents home and get myself to Norton so I can get a good night’s sleep tomorrow. First, I have to sleep tonight.

Time wasting Tuesday

Nearly six and a half hours later, I am still at Buffalo Wild Wings. I’ve just shifted locations from the bar, where I kept Lisa company through her entire shift, to the dining room, where Rue will now be taking care of me until at least 8:30.

Poor Lisa had hardly any customers for the entire day, save for a salesman from Chicago who came for a little over an hour around noon. We discussed Chicago’s sports teams, mostly the Bears and their hiring of John Fox as coach.

When the salesman left, it was pretty much me and only a customer here and there, save for a rude couple who came in at 4.

I gave Lisa a little extra in my tip. She was appreciative.

Brittany came in at 4:30. I was overjoyed.

If my father were not in the hospital, I probably would be getting ready for Russell High’s basketball doubleheader at home vs. Hoisington. But since I’m not, I get a very rare January Tuesday in Kansas City. I cannot remember the last time I was here on a night where there were basketball games.

Haven’t heard from my parents recently. Hope everything is okay.

First Friday of 2015–last free one for a whille

The lines at the Hy-Vee at 95th and Antioch were long at 1:15 p.m. Guess everyone is out doing their weekly shopping, or in some cases, stocking up for the winter storm which is supposed to hit tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t, although if it does, I’m in a nice hotel with a full-service restaurant. Plus, I bought some sushi just in case I am stuck. I’ve got enough pop to make it through the week.

I’m going to have to horde some sushi before I go back to Russell. I doubt Dillon’s in Salina has it (the Dillon’s at 21st and Central in Wichita does), but it wouldn’t hurt to look.

I made it back to Buffalo Wild Wings a few minutes before 2. I sat in a booth in the dining room so Lisa could serve me. I was dozing off in the booth, which was very comfortable in comparison to the hard barstool I’ve been sitting on the last two days. Lisa didn’t get off until 12:30 this morning, and now will be working doubles back-to-back days. Plus, she’s battling a cough. Feel for her.

Well, I’m back on a barstool with Tori and Brittany behind the bar. I was so glad to see Alexandra Mullinax, whom I had not seen here in over two months, although I did see her for a minute when I visited in early December.

I’m going to watch Kansas State in the Alamo Bowl vs. UCLA, but after that, I probably had better cut out, because there could be freezing rain overnight, which could glaze the roads.

Tennessee is beating the pee out of Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl, formerly the Gator Bowl. A 6-6 beating a 7-5. WHOOOPEEE. Same thing earlier today, where 7-5 Houston beat 6-6 Pitt in the Armed Forces Bowl. In fact, of the four bowl games today, only K-State-UCLA is the only one where the teams don’t have at least five losses (both are 9-3).

Just another Thursday

New Year’s Day has basically been just like another Thursday when I’m in Kansas City. Not a bad thing.

After packing up my room at the Courtyard Marriott, I headed south to spend a couple of hours with Tori at the bar, but didn’t order food. Wasn’t feeling up to it.

Left a little after 1 for the Overland Park Marriott. I actually took a short nap in my car before going to check in, thinking my room would not be ready. However, the ladies at the front desk were waiting for me with my keys.

Spent almost an hour in the room, getting things set up and checking on a few things on the computer.

Took US 71 north from I-435 to I-29 for the trip back to Buffalo Wild Wings. The way I figure, I’ll spend enough time on I-635 going back and forth, and with today being a good day to drive, why not take the more scenic route?

I’ve been at the bar ever since arriving. Tori was still working until Brittany got there at 4. Lisa arrived at 4:30, immediately churning my stomach and getting me quite nervous. She is working in the dining room tonight, a departure for her, because she usually works the tables in the bar area, or more recently, as bartender.

Liz got there at 5 and immediately brightened my mood. I let her see her birthday present, Ralph Lauren Romance perfume. She loved it. Last week, she told me she didn’t have any perfume. Now, she not only has the birthday gift, but the Big Pony I gave her for Christmas.

I stlll haven’t eaten. I guess I’m going to have to soon. Brittany is swamped, but I figured she would be. The poor guy next to me tried to order takeout, but THREE TIMES, they brought it to him as if he was going to eat it here.

Ending well

At least the last day of 2014 has been far better than the previous three days. No crying, no raised voice, and a therapeutic post which has things back on track with one of my closest friends.

I came to Buffalo Wild Wings just after opening today. Tori Weber was behind the bar, and was ecstatic I showed up. My food bill was less than $8, but I let her keep the rest of the $20 I gave her.

I left for a little while to pick up Liz’s birthday gift from Dillard’s at Zona Rosa. I also made a stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond and bought Brittany’s fiance, Zach, a Royals Tervis Tumbler, since she was trying to use the Mizzou tumbler I bought her Monday. I also felt guilty I hadn’t gotten him anything for Christmas. He’s a good guy. He and Brittany are very happy together and will be for a very long time.

I wrote something to Liz on Facebook this evening. I told her she was one of the best friends I have ever had, one of the best friends anyone can ever ask for, and apologized for not trusting her, not believing much of the time that she wasn’t my friend, and assuming she didn’t have my back when she really did. She told me that we’ll be friends until we’re walking around with canes.

Made me feel much better. She’s made my life much better over the 18 months I’ve known her, and apparently, I’ve had the same effect on her. i never would have dreamed someone 17 years younger than me and living four hours away would have that kind of impact, but the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Brittany came in at 5. She was excited about the tumbler for Zach. She had her hair done for a New Year’s Eve party she and Zach were going to. It looked great.

I wrote something to Lisa on Facebook. It was a lot of the same things I wrote to Liz, only longer. I hope it works out. I would hate to see it end. However, if it does, I have nobody to blame but myself.

Brittany read it and loved it. She told me I’m always welcome and I need to keep coming back, because she loves it when I’m here. Very touching.

I was originally planning to leave at 8:30. I still might, but I might stay with Brittany until she gets off, just to be a good friend.

Tomorrow morning I have a decision to make: stay at the Courtyard and check out and stay at Overland Park for the remainder? I think the latter is the option, since it’s oly going to be $10 more per night. That, and I really want to try the Japanese steakhouse at the OP Marriott.

Maybe I’m not that bad

Nobody is harder on me than me. I wish it weren’t that way, but if you’ve known me for quite some time, you’ve probably seen it.

It happened again last night at Buffalo Wild Wings. I was really upset seeing couples all around the restaurant, especially one couple who was sitting at the bar only a couple of stools down from me with their hands all over one another.

Made me wonder about why I bother going on sometimes. Those who know me are well aware of my trouble relating to people, my loneliness and my overwhelming desire to find a special someone. I’m almost to the point of giving up. I’m going to be 40 in less than two years, and the pool of 40-year old singles, especially in a rural area far away from a city of any size, is very shallow. I’ve been more than willing, and still am, to travel all the time and not make anyone see Russell unless they want to, but that’s not happening, either.

After leaving for a few minutes to check in at the Courtyard on Tiffany Springs and make a quick run into Hy-Vee, I returned to Buffalo Wild Wings. I was down. Way down. Brittany got on me for being so grumpy. She tried to cheer me up by telling me the couple who had their hands all over each other were a couple of jerks, but there was a part of me who wished I were a big jerk. I probably would be with someone. Then again, maybe not.

Liz sat down with me a few minutes later. She tried convincing me I was wonderful as I was and that she didn’t want me any other way. She used her mother, Nadine (who also works at Buffalo Wild Wings) as an example of not needing a significant other to be happy. Liz told me we probably wouldn’t be friends if I wasn’t like I was.

I’ve never had someone tell me they liked me for me. If I did, it was probably a very long time ago that I don’t remember. It made me feel good to know that someone out there accepts me for me, flaws and all.

I went down to Overland Park to Lukas Liquors this morning to buy some Abita beer for my three dear friends. Liz is turning 21 next week, so I hope she enjoys what I get her. I’m back at Buffalo Wild Wings, back at the bar with Brittany. One of my trivia buddies, Larry, is here with his girlfriend, so it’s making for a lively scene. I’ll be here most of the day, waiting at least until the night shift comes on at 5.

Kansas City, here I am

I left Norton at 9:30 this morning and drove straight back to Russell, choosing to bypass Hays.

The McDonald’s in Norton closed earlier this year, leaving no Golden Arches along US 36 from at least the Colorado state line–probably farther–to Seneca. The only Mickey D’s on 36 in Kansas are in Seneca and Hiawatha. At least Norton still has a Dairy Queen, as does Belleville, while Marysville has Hardee’s, Sonic and Taco Bell.

Got back home by 11:20, visited with my parents for half an hour, and got back on the road. I would have driven straight from Norton to Kansas City had I not forgotten my insulin pen at my house yesterday. However, you don’t gain any time going 36, because the speed limit is slower (65 vs. 75 on I-70) and there are stops in the small towns along the way–Phillipsburg, Smith Center, Belleville, Seneca, Hiawatha, et. al–that makes it slower than just speeding along the interstate.

I found myself locked out of my office today. I wanted to pick up something inside, but it turns out there was a new lock placed on the outer door. I decided I would live. I’ll get a key from Frank when I get back to town.

I got to Kansas City in record time, all because I wanted to see Brittany Davidson before she ended her shift as the bartender at Buffalo Wild Wings. Mission accomplished. She was ecstatic to see me, as were a few more people who had not seen in at least a month and a half, including Shannon Swanson, who encouraged me to get help for my depression.

Lisa and Liz are working tonight, and they’re very happy to see me too. I also saw two of my trivia buddies, Jane and Mark, and gave them one of my many $5 discount coupons. I also saw Rondo, who was playing when I got there. I was surprised the 12,989 I posted on Dec. 4 held up as the high score for the month until Rondo hit 13,000+ twice today. I just posted 13,286.

This keyboard for my iPhone has everyone jealous. Larry Bernard was the first to notice Thursday at the wrestling meet in Lincoln, Peggy Cox, Mason Buckmaster and Taylor Zabel all noticed last night at basketball, and now I’ve gotten raves from Liz, Lisa and Chris Smith at Buffalo Wild Wings. Sounds like a great gift idea. The best thing about the keybaord is I don’t have to lug my 30-pound laptop everywhere if I want to work. The only time I now really need the laptop is to download things from the Main Street Media FTP site. I have Word on here, so I can write the articles, save them to my Sky Drive, then transfer them to Quark when I get the computer set up.

Lisa was so nice to get me a stool with a back to sit down. I really feel welcome when she’s my server. But I’m very happy to hear both she and her man, Jeff Daniels, recently got new jobs. I know as a young couple they’re probably struggling a bit, and this is good news.