I married my Booty Call

BOOTY CALL: A late night summons — often made via telephone — to arrange clandestine sexual liaisons on an ad hoc basis.
*Urban Dictionary

He was supposed to be a booty call. That’s it.

We were both kid-free every other weekend so that’s when we did “our thing.”  That’s what we called it, “our thing.”

“Our thing” would start at 6 p.m. on Friday and end at 6 p.m. on Sunday. “Our thing” was basically tons of uninterrupted sex with Gatorade nearby to hydrate when needed, when we wanted, where we wanted for 48 hours.

Sometimes we ordered pizza. Sometimes we’d actually put clothes on and go out.

When we couldn’t hold out until our next kid-free weekend, we would sneak in a “nooner” during the week.  At first, these sessions took intricate planning on both our parts. Eventually, everything easily fell into place. It was as if the universe wanted us to have sex!

But it wasn’t a relationship. I wasn’t his girlfriend and he wasn’t my boyfriend. In fact, my mom once referred to him as my boyfriend in a casual conversation and I snapped, “Bite your tongue, woman! I don’t have a boyfriend and I don’t want one.”

Four months later, we were exchanging text messages on a Saturday morning when this one hit my phone:

“I am undeniably, head over heels in love with you.”

(Babe, sorry for throwing it out like that, but this is my blog.)

I remember that moment vividly. I was cleaning my bathroom. As the content and context of his text message really hit me, I remember saying, “Oh shit,” almost in slow motion, out loud, to no one.

I remember smiling. A lot. Like an idiot. And I couldn’t stop.

I had no intentions of falling in love with this man. But I did. I had no intentions of marrying this man. But I did. Twice. (So, like, we have two anniversaries, two weeks apart.)

My booty call proved to be my soul mate. The love of my life. Mi corazón, mi alma, mi vida.

He’s an amazing husband, and a loving and caring father to our daughters. All six of them. (His three, my two, and we became legal guardians of another one two months ago.) 

And now the love of my life, mi corazón, has cancer.

To be continued… 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica… in photos

Ahh, Costa Rica… The sand, the sea, the sky, the mountains, the people… We are in love with all of it! So much, we’ve decided to retire there.

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It happened 3 years ago this month. That’s when we first fell in love with Costa Rica. At the time, we had only been dating for six months, but I didn’t care. I had finally found someone to travel with me, someone who was willing to kick the bucket list to the curb and just go!

Three years later (now married), we’ve just returned from our second trip to Costa Rica. I’m gonna shut up now and let the photos speak for themselves.

Wait, just one more note… The first time we visited Costa Rica, we spent 5 days in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast and 5 days in Playa Flamingo on the Pacific coast. The Caribbean coast was by far our favorite — where sand meets jungle. On our recent trip, we spent all 6 days on the Caribbean coast.

Here’s a view of our rental house from the backyard. For rental information, check out http://pedrosplace.com.

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Front view of our rental house, Pedro’s Place:

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You will see some of the most vibrant colors in Costa’s Ricas.

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We had a beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea from our back patio:

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Neighborhood kids playing “futbol” (soccer) on the beach (Playa Negra) behind our rental house:

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Our new friend, Kebin, with a “b,” kept us company while we watched the soccer game:

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Mile-high view from the jungle . It was a bit overcast that day, but that’s the Caribbean Sea out there.

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Another view of Puerto Viejo from a plateau in the jungle:

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On a clear day, you can see more mountains:

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Looking to the south from Playa Negra:

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Some of the most beautiful colors come to light when the sun sets on Playa Negra. Pictured here: father-in-law, husband and mother-in-law.

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For those timid eaters who may not be ready to try the local cuisine, Bread & Chocolate is the perfect place. Eggs, waffles, pastries and really good coffee. Located in Puerto Viejo.

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The fruit in Costa Rica tastes like candy. The sweetest pineapple I’ve ever tasted in my life!

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No caption needed.

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Ditto.

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We spent our last day at Hotel Banana Azul. Highly recommend this hotel for first-timers!

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Driving through the clouds and mountains in the Costa Rican rainforest… Took this photo while we were driving back to the airport. It was a sad day.

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Rainforest and clouds…

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My father-in-law waving good-bye to Costa Rica… for now.

 

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Future residents of Costa Rica… Thanks for reading… Pura Vida!

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*Note: If you’re interested in visiting Puerto Viejo, you should know that it’s a four-hour drive from the airport in San Jose. You can rent a car, take the bus or a cab. Feel free to hit me up with any questions, happy to help!

 

Setting the mood… to feel your boobies

Just relax…

Dim the lights down some… a little more, a little more… that’s it.

Need a glass of wine… Chardonnay? Merlot?

How about some Marvin Gaye?  “Let’s get it on, ah baby, let’s get it on…” 

Feel the coolness of the sheets as the goosebumps rise up along your arms, slowly making their way down to your navel, eventually reaching your thighs as the fresh-scented fabric softly hugs your skin…

Now take your right hand… c’mon, go ahead… and place it over your left breast because you’re about to give yourself a breast exam.

Welcome to Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

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Let’s be honest, giving yourself a breast exam is equivalent to getting to second base with, well, yourself. So maybe we need some motivation to get us in the mood. Lord knows, a little wine and a little Marvin has been helping folks get to second base for decades!

Done feeling up your boobs? Good. Now feel under your arms. When you’re done feeling up your arm pits (sexy, right!), stand in front of a mirror and stare at ’em. That’s right, take a good, hard look at the twins.

Do you see any changes in the size or shape of your breasts?

Is there any swelling, redness or darkening?

Do you see any dimpling or puckering of the skin?

NationalBreastCancer.org: How to do a breast self-exam >>

All of the above should be routine for us, ladies. But shit happens. LIFE happens. Before you know it, another month, another year, another decade has gone by without so much as a self exam let alone a mammogram.

Yet, every October our Facebook feeds are inundated with pink ribbons — aka: pink post-it notes reminding us to get checked. Yet, every October millions of women don’t.

There’s breast tissue where?

I know I’ve already mentioned the arm pits, but DO NOT overlook this area. I’m speaking from experience here. I recently had a mass removed from under my right arm (pit). (It was benign. Whew!)  

According to the doc, mangled among the mess of the mass was some breast tissue. I had questions, starting with, “How the hell did breast tissue get way over there?” But, hey, it happens.

My husband had a different reaction… and a request:

“Hey doc, can you take that breast tissue and move it over to the right boob? You see the left one is just a little bigger than the right one. So just move it over and even them out.”

My doctor just stood there speechless, shoulders slumped, shaking his head as his palm eventually met his face.

His request was denied.

But I digress…

The moral of the story is: It’s October. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Save the tatas and feel your boobies. And look at them, too. And your arm pits. Don’t forget the arm pits!

Babe, did you poop today?

“Babe, did you poop today?”

That’s one of the most frequent questions from my husband lately. Sexy, right!

My response is usually a deep sigh followed by a pathetic, “No.”

Is menopause the cause of the plugged pooper? You can’t blame everything on menopause, according to my lady doc so she’s sending me to a GI doc. Great…

Meanwhile, back at the farm, my husband was getting pretty tired of listening to me bitch about my bowels so he took matters into his own hands. He had a solution, he said. I wanted no part of it… at first.

Then I envisioned the scenario that had become all too familiar lately: Me, heading to the bathroom, little to no confidence of having any success, my husband anxiously awaiting my exit on the other side. Then the evitable question: “Well, did ya?” Me, responding with a pitiful “No,” stomach clenched with both arms, my head hung low as I took my walk out of shame through the doors of our master bedroom.

He finally stopped me in the kitchen…

“I know what you need to do if you would just listen to me.”

I shook my head, still clenching stomach.

“Babe, you’re standing there in pain because your poop chute is all backed up, but I’m telling you THIS will help.”

THIS was a bottle of Milk of Magnesia. I could smell the taste in my head from my childhood. I was ready to make a run for it, but the constipation-induced cramps that I can only compare to the early onset of labor pains convinced me otherwise.

I was OK with taking a swig straight from the blue bottle, but my husband, the level-headed one in the relationship (obviously), poured the proper dose.

  • 2 tablespoons of Milk of Magnesia with a cup of warm water as the chaser

It was, by far, one of the most horrific things I’ve ever tasted in my life! I’m talking about the warm water.

It was disgusting. Maybe it was the fact that he microwaved the water to get it really, really warm that it was almost hot. It was like drinking really warm bathwater.

And then I threw up.

And then I threw up again… and again… and again.

I pulled myself together, cleaned myself up and headed for the living room to see my husband.

“WTF, babe!” is about all I remember saying before making a dash back to the bathroom… where I threw up again.

I felt icky from head and toe so I jumped in the shower… and I threw up again.

Finally out of the shower, I was drained and completely exhausted. I crawled into bed and stared at the ceiling, ready to make a deal with the Gods of the Innards so that I may finally take a shit.

My husband eventually came in to check on me and said some nice things, I’m sure, but I couldn’t hear him because my stomach kept interrupting him with some incoherent gurgling and squeaking.

Finally, around 4 a.m. my stomach started speaking perfect English. Or Spanish, I really don’t remember. It said…

“Girl, you best get your poop-filled ass out of bed and to the toilet right now! You hear me, I said right now!”

I literally pooped for two whole days. I didn’t dare leave the house. We need milk? Sorry, babe, it’s on you.

It took a few days, but I am back on track! Heading to the crapper is no longer a crap shoot. I’m walking in there determined and confident. I’m walking out of there like Sherman Helmsley as George Jefferson (I’m moving on up!) with a little pep in my step.

Babe, did you eat your ovary?

OK, I’m about to get TMI on your asses cuz it’s Friday and… Who am I kidding? I’d TMI you any day of the week. You’ve been warned.

Here’s a glimpse into my morning which started with an 8 a.m. ultrasound on the old (literally) ovaries. Remember the whole menopause thing? No? Then read my blog: https://lareinadavia.wordpress.com/

Anywaaaaay…

I’m on the table like a slab of beef and the radiologist is maneuvering the probe like she’s threading a needle. Yes, I got probed. And I hadn’t even had my coffee yet!

She finds my left ovary and snaps a few pics. Now for the right one… probing, probing… more probing… and then I hear the radiologist whisper “Hmmm…” under her breath.

“Must’ve run away,” I say, jokingly (Haha), only she’s not laughing. Then in all seriousness, she tells me, “Yes, they do run away after they’ve shriveled up a bit.” Shriveled… Up… Did she really have to go there?

Awesome! (Not.) Now, if I didn’t feel old before… THIS makes me feel fucking fantastic!

Still, she had no luck finding my right ovary. Then she says, “Let’s try something else.”

Something else? Where else could she possibly stick that thing? I didn’t like where this was going…  

“Let’s try an abdominal ultrasound.”

Whew!

With the cool gel applied to my belly, the radiologist continued the search for my right ovary. As she maneuvered the wand over my right side — up, down, in tiny circles — I started thinking about my missing ovary.

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Yup, I photoshopped a cartoon ovary on a milk carton.

What if they can’t find it? Do we send in a search party? Does it end up on a milk carton?

“Have you seen this reproductive organ?”

A few tries from the radiologist and then… Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

As she finally gives up, she tells me that my doctor will review the ultrasound and get back to me.  I may now get dressed and take the walk of shame, bypassing a waiting room full of women, as I make my exit. “I bet they have both their ovaries,” I think to myself. I suddenly have a case of OE — Ovary Envy.

I start my car and shoot my husband a quick text that I’m on my way home.

He quickly asks, “What did they say?”  Awww, my love, mi corazon, he cares…

I tell him that I don’t know much, that the doctor will tell me more but that the radiologist couldn’t find my right ovary.

And he responds with this…

“You ate your ovary?”

Actually, it was a text message so it looked like this: “U ate ur ovary?!?!”

After banging my head on the steering wheel a few times, I respond: “Yes, babe, I ate it. That time you didn’t bring home chocolate.”

And that pretty much sums up my day! (So far.) How’s your day?

Hot flashes and no AC in the house. Have I pissed off the Universe?

Question: What’s worse than hot flashes kicking in at the start of summer?

Answer: Your AC going out in your house as your hot flashes kick in… at the start of summer.

Have I pissed off the Universe?

With the temperature in the house quickly climbing to 95 and beyond, we had to take a action. So we packed up the kids (and all of their electronics, and ours) and headed to a hotel… by the beach.

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Although close to the water, it was more of a motel.

After spending the night on a lumpy bed at a hotel motel in a questionable neighborhood, we decided to go back home and gauge the temperature in the house. Maybe we could stick it out. Wrong!

So we packed up the kids again…

We then headed to our favorite coffee shop. And just as we settled our asses in our comfy coffee shop seats, we realized we were hungry. The free breakfast at the motel was… well, it was crap.

So we packed up the kids… again.

As we settled into our booth at a nearby diner, we were confronted with the Devil himself. He was about 6-years-old and he would… just… not… STFU!

He was a whiny, little bastard who — as he tortured his brother by kicking him under the table — would not leave his mother in peace.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy… Mommmmmmm-eeeeeeee!!! Mommmmmmm-eeeeeeee!!! Mommmmmmm-eeeeeeee!!!” (repeat 100x) 

I tried taking a picture with my phone, but just like a vampire, the little shit doesn’t show up in photos. He has no idea how close he came to death today.  We were about to pull straws.  The winner would get to silence him – forever.

Next, it was back to the coffee shop. It’s Monday and I still had full day of work ahead of me plus several conference calls. I tried working from my laptop but the wireless connection was spotty. Our kids did everything they could to keep busy. They read books, they played games, they read a book on the Nook.

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After what seemed like hours (because it was), we decided to squat at Barnes & Noble. After another battle with yet another wireless connection, I shut down the laptop and pulled out the iPad. At least I could check email and use Notes during my conference calls, if needed.

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I can now add “balancing an iPad on my knee while holding a latte on a conference call” to my resume.

I was done the day’s conference calls — and my husband was tired of “babysitting everyone’s shit while they go looking around” — so we headed home. Was the AC fixed? Nope, but it’s summer and that means… sweet, sweet, Florida rain!

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The summer rain brought the temperature down so we decided to go back to the house and check it out. If it was cool enough with the doors and windows open, we’d stick it out. If it was too hot, we’d pack up the kids (again) and head back to a hotel. But a different hotel. A real hotel. In a nice neighborhood… with no lumpy beds.

It’s 8:05 p.m. ET now. So far, so good. The AC guy is supposed to be here at 8:30 a.m. with the new parts. If he’s not here by 8:31 a.m., we’re gonna pull straws.

Menopause… You cruel, cruel bitch

I’m literally squeezing an ice pack under each arm pit as I write this because my body is on fire. OK, not literally on fire, but… Hey, is it hot in here or is it just me?

Is it hot in here? Is anyone else hot? Did someone turn off the AC? These are all questions I find myself asking my husband and kids lately. Their eye-rolling is already in full force and this shit’s just getting started. Buckle up, kids!

Having to go through “the change” is enough punishment. The fact that it kicked in at the start of summer is some major poetic injustice. Mother Nature is fucking with me!

In my 20s, I listened to my mom complain about hot flashes and thought, “What’s the big deal,” never realizing (or not caring) that this would someday be me.

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“So you’re hot,” I’d think to myself. “Eat ice. Think cool. Problem solved.” If someone were to say that to me now, I’d use my hot, sweaty arm pits to choke-hold their sorry ass and then literally bite their head off.

Now that I’m in it – and I mean really fucking in it – PROBLEM NOT SOLVED!

Let’s take a look at my symptoms:

  • Hot flashes
  • Bad eyesight
  • Poor memory
  • Hot flashes

The hot flashes alone are bad enough, trust me. But once an episode is over, my body temperature goes in the opposite direction. An all-out body-shivering, teeth chattering frenzy ensues because I’m suddenly hit with the chills.

And then another hot flash hits…

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Yesterday, my hot flashes were so bad I stood outside in the torrential, Florida rain for 5-10 minutes because I knew that walking back into an air conditioned house would feel sooooooooooooooo fucking good! And it did.

While I’m forgetting everything these days, I can’t forget to mention the memory loss or the “squirrel syndrome” that is, quite frankly, making me feel dumber than shit. It’s taken me days to write this one blog entry!

Two days ago, I thought I had been making great progress on this blog only to find that I had typed the monologue to the Will & Grace rerun on TV.  God forbid my husband walks in to talk to me or ask me a question. I might as well shut the laptop and call it a day.

Look, I know the symptoms could be much worse. I don’t have insomnia, mood swings and I’m not all emo or temperamental. Let’s just disregard the fact that I’m Latina and, well, perhaps I should come with some sort of warning label. (Btw… Hey Donald Trump… ¡Chinga tu madre, cabron!)

As for “medical” remedies, I’m still doing the research and I don’t see my “lady doctor” until next week. In the meantime, here’s how I’m coping:

  • Stick head in freezer
  • Use every ice pack, ice pad, ice cube from the freezer
  • Strategically place above said ice thingies on my body as I lay in an X-formation on my bed under the ceiling fan with the AC set to 60.
  • Eat frozen ice pops. You know the flavors – red, blue, green, orange, yellow.
  • Pour a big glass of ice water then hold glass to face.
  • Hang out in the freezer section at the grocery store (Walk-in freezers = Bae)

Don’t get me started on clothing. Let’s just say the general public is lucky that I work from home. Right now, a casual business outfit might as well be a fur coat.

 

 

Dear Spirit Airlines… WTF!

I wrote the following on my iPad during a recent flight from Fort Lauderdale to Houston on a horrible airline that shall remain nameless (Spirit). This should serve as another reminder that I should listen to my husband (I won’t) and gives him yet another opportunity to say, “I told you so.” (He did.) Keep in mind that I wrote this — all of this — in the moment while on the plane and by reading this you’ll witness me going all Lewis Black at various points throughout this blog entry. And if you don’t know who Lewis Black is, then we can no longer be friends. 

* * * * *

On way to Houston… On Spirit Airlines.

If you’re asking yourself, “Who?” then my response would be, “Exactly!”

But, hey, the sky cap loading the luggage is cuuuuuuuute! Hola, papi….

So we’ve got two flight attendants… That one looks like Roz from Monsters Inc…. The other, hey she’s hot, but she’s not doing shit, just standing there looking pretty…

Flight attendant’s voice is all sexy and raspy… Phone sex operator! That’s her real job!

OK, got my glasses on now… Ohhh… so the other flight attendant isn’t hot. Her eyes are too far apart and she needs to see a dermatologist about that mole… and that’s why she’s a phone sex operator!

What’s that smell? Actually, there are all kinds of smells… The kind that grace your nasal palette at a farmers market…. in a third world country.

Wait… Do I hear a chicken?

It’s like Mumbai up in this bitch. There’s also Mexico. Zimbabwe. China. Trinidad y Tobago… It’s literally, the United Nations… Or the Miss Universe pageant.

First of all, you know there’s a problem when there are no white people on the plane. Wait… There’s one…  Oh goodie, he’s in my row. Aisle seat. I got the window seat, bitches!

The white guy’s hands are shaking as he drinks his Mountain Dew and the look on his face says, “What the fuck did I get myself into?”

This is like “Airplane” the movie…

To my husband… Why didn’t you stop me from getting on this shitty plane? I thought you loved me! (Actually, he told me not to book this flight, but he didn’t physically STOP me.)

To my kids… I love you and if I don’t make it back, well, we all know who to blame.

Oh look, the plane’s moving…  We’re leaving! How do I roll down this window… Bye, papi…

There’s no first class, ala Southwest but at least there are assigned seats.

Wait a minute… The seats don’t even recline!!! There’s no WiFi!!!

WTF, Spirit!

To think I had to pay to carry my own carry on. Forty five fucking dollars! Each way!!!

Let’s see… forty five fucking dollars plus forty five fucking dollars… that comes to ninety fucking dollars!!! NINE-TEEEEEEEEE. FUCK-EEEEEEEEEEN. DOLL-ERRRRZZZZZZ.

I am not the smart. *face palm* 

Flying at night and want to read a book? Too fucking bad. The night lights overhead don’t work.

And OMFG someone is actually eating Fritos and bean dip!

Finally, the beverage cart…

“Would you like a drink for purchase?”

I’ll just take a coke.

“That’ll be five dollars.”

Say what?

She must have misunderstood: Just a Coke or Pepsi.

“That’ll be five dollars.”

No, I said a Coke, not a rum and Coke.

“There are no complimentary beverages.”

FU, Spirit!

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This is a screen shot of Spirit’s website. I found it by doing a Google search after not being able to find it on their site.

OK, so I’m flying the ghetto airlines of the skies…Can I get a 40 in a paper bag?

Why does the plane keep shaking!  It’s like riding in a car with no shocks…

One sec, the pilot is talking… There’s an accent…

“We like to tank juuu for ehh flying “ehh-speer-rrred” today.”

*face palm*

#MarriageGoals: Keep husband off Craigslist

What had happened was… my husband was browsing through the “auto parts” section on Craigslist one Friday night.

Husband: Babe, I found a bed cover for my truck on Craigslist, smokin’ deal!

Me: OK.

Husband: Seriously, same color as my truck y todo!

Me: OK.

Husband: It’s only $100 but… it’s in Fort Myers.

For those unfamiliar with the geography of Florida, the state has its own East Coast-West Coast thing going on. Fort Myers is on the West Coast, we live on the East Coast — it’s about a two and half hour drive.

My husband suggests we make a day of it, see the other side. I enthusiastically reply with, “Road trip!” and immediately smile at the thought of spending some quality time together – alone – and away from the youngest teen daughter who had just told warned me that she would be in full PMS mode by the weekend and “Why aren’t there any chips in this house!” *stomp, stomp, door slam*

So we tell the kids we’re disappearing for the day, put the oldest one in charge and hope for the best.

The two and a half hour drive was looonnngggggg. Don’t get me wrong, the company was great. It’s just that I’ve never seen so many damn cows in my life… and farms… which makes sense because that’s where cows live – duuuhhh!

Obviously, there’s no shortage of cows in Florida, which got me thinking… if there is no shortage of cows in Florida… why does a gallon of milk cost five dollars!!! WTF, Florida!

While we’re on the subject of overpriced grocery items… why does a HALF gallon of orange juice cost five dollars!!! Doesn’t orange juice come FROM Florida! 

Whatever, note to self (we’re out of milk and orange juice), moving on…

I don’t know why, but I was looking forward to seeing the different cities villages in between the two coasts and possibly stopping along the way for lunch.

Husband: Well, this is Okeechobee. Wanna stop?

Me: No fuckin’ way!

Have you ever been to Okeechobee? Google it, I dare you.

As we finally entered Fort Myers city limits, my husband started up the GPS on his phone with the seller’s address… and the address led us straight to a U-Haul storage facility.

Odd… But, hey, maybe he works there. Maybe he stores it there. Maybe he doesn’t want some stranger from Craigslist knowing where he lives.

Wrong, wrong, very wrong.

My husband calls the seller who says we should get back on the main road, head north, and that he’ll meet us in his golf cart because “there’s no street sign ‘round here.”

We follow his instructions and after about a mile, we see him… waiting for us in his golf cart, drinking a beer… with his severely obese elementary school-aged son who I swear is also chugging a beer… It’s 10 a.m.

The seller was right. There is no street sign. BECAUSE THERE IS NO STREET!

It’s a dirt road along a canal… a canal lined with thick brush and trees on both sides.

Husband: You’re the guy selling the bed cover, right?

Craigslist guy: That’d be me.

(He sounds like Billy Bob Thornton’s character, “Karl” on “Sling Blade” and I really want to hear him say, “I like them French fried potaters.”)

Husband: So this is Fort Myers, huh?

Craigslist guy: North Fort Myers. We do things diffurnt up herr.

As soon as we start to follow him down the dirt road with no street name, my husband and I both realize that it doesn’t take long to be completely out of view from the main street and that the only information our kids have about our whereabouts is that we’re somewhere in Fort Myers.

NO ONE KNOWS WHERE WE ARE!

I quickly sent a text to our kids with a photo of the dirt road with the message, “THIS is where your father brought me!” I send the same photo to my mom with some sort of incoherent, rambling text that ends with “I love you, mom!”

My husband then tells me that I may want to take pics of our surroundings, just in case. Waaaayyyy ahead of you, honey!

The golf cart suddenly makes a sharp left into the trees and we were all like, “WTF! He just turned into those trees!”

What we couldn’t see – until we made the same sharp left – is that there was actually a small opening in the trees that led to a small colony of (dilapidated) mobile homes sprawled across a vacant patch of land. It’s as if they walked into the woods together, picked a spot and said, “This is where we’ll park the houses.”

Aside from the trailers, this acre or so of land proudly displayed the worldly belongings of what I’m sure were fine, upstanding citizens – used tires, a mountain of empty beer cartons stacked five feet high, various animal hides, homemade buggy jeep thingies, random satellite dishes (on the ground), tons and tons and tons of scrap metal… and the confederate flag.

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Cue the banjo music…

I don’t know how to aptly describe the residents of this canal-front community, but you know the type. The “my sister is also my mother, you sure got a pretty mouth, I like them French fried potaters” type. These people were clearly living off the mutha fuckin’ grid.

My husband starts to get out of our truck to talk to the Craigslist guy and I start getting really nervous because one of two things is about to happen: I either get out of the truck with him and (gulp) interact with these people or I stay in the truck – alone. I don’t like either of these options, but I go with the latter.

I inform my husband of my decision to stay in the truck and he replies with, “Good call. I don’t think they like your kind” (read = non-white and unrelated).

As my husband and the Craigslist guy start chatting, they start to walk behind one of the trailers and out of site. My heart starts to race a little bit, but then I think to myself, “Hey, if anything happens, I’ll just call my husband on his cell.” Then I look down and see that my husband has left his cell phone on the seat of the truck. WTF, babe!

This, I think to myself, this is where I’m going to die.

My husband suddenly re-appears (Thank you, baby Jesus!) and I immediately rip his ass over leaving his cell phone in the truck. He tells me the bed cover is perfect (well, whipty-freakin-do!) but that we have to drive around to the back to get to it.

We drive from the front of the trailer to the back, passing the most random things along the way – a new Cadillac (but where was the real owner?), several mattresses, a refrigerator, more used tires and scrap metal, and chairs of all shapes and sizes.

Finally, my husband gets back into the truck, turns me to me and says, “Babe… I. Am. So. Sorry. I’m really, really sorry. Now let’s get the fuck out of here!”

Of course I can’t really keep my husband off of Craigslist… but every time he mentions a “smokin’ deal” on a flux capacitor or whatever chingadera he finds on that pinche garage sale website, I just say: Remember Fort Myers? North Fort Myers.

“JimBob” the waitress

Are you for serious right now? Seriously, is this really happening?

First of all, she’s not even our waitress. Still, she’s been at our table for a good 20 minutes.

Our daughter – the second youngest of our five girls, yes, I said FIVE girls – graduated from 8th grade tonight. This is her graduation dinner. OK, so it’s Denny’s. We’re not fancy people, but we do have all of our teeth (which is more than I can say for our real waitress, the one actually taking our order).

You see, for about the last 10 months, we’ve been living on the cusp of the “bible belt” in Florida. To be more accurate, this is where confederate flag-waving, bible thumpers, former and current meth heads, soy latte-ordering blue bloods and the very elderly (or as my husband calls them, “crypt keepers”) cohabitate. Throw in some Cubans who are just north of their comfort zone and us – a bi-racial, desert defecting, blended family from Phoenix – and you’ve got one hell of a battlefield. Errr… I mean community.

THIS is our new hood!

But back to the waitress…

Picture Angelina Jolie. Now picture the exact opposite… the most EXTREME opposite… but with way more tattoos. Got the visual? Now take 5 inches off her height, add in a mullet, put it in a ponytail and you’ve got our guy… uhh, girl.

She looked like a short, husky mechanic named “JimBob” who was “a fixin’” to change the oil in our car. But this “JimBob” had boobs – big, manly, burly boobs. She even folded the cuffs of her Denny’s uniform at the arms (because that’s where she keeps her cigarettes – duh!).

But THIS is what we attract. We attract those previously on the circus circuit… or rehab… or prison… or all three. But ya know what we really, REALLY attract? Oversharers. (No, I’m not making this up, it’s a word. It’s in the (urban) dictionary– look it up!)

These are people who LOVE to tell us their life stories, their trials and tribulations, rehab stints, prison stints. They basically give us a rundown of every time they’ve ever been arrested and are just shy of telling us where the bodies are buried before we make a run for the door.

I know what you’re thinking… “Don’t you want to know where the bodies are buried?” Hell no! We’ve seen enough episodes (literally thousands!) of Law & Order and Criminal Minds, and our motto is “the less you know.”

Aaaannnyyyway…

In this case, the “oversharer” (aka “JimBob” the waitress) stood in front of our table as if she was testing her material for a night at The Improv and we were the focus group.

In between “JimBob’s” oversharing, our real waitress was doing her best not to interrupt “the show” as she slid burgers and chicken fried steak orders around our table. I really wanted more coffee but I was afraid another interruption would have just pissed him, I mean her, off.

She said she was from a small town in the Midwest, population 6,500, where she raised three sons who sometimes needed “a good ass whoopin’.” She said it was the kind of town where the cops wouldn’t stop you from beating your kids rather they’d ask the kid how he fucked up and then get in a lick or two.

Now, we’re not sure if she “ass whooped” them before or after her time in rehab or prison. I’m sure rehab and prison were two different stints, right? Can you do rehab and prison at the same time? Damn, I should’ve asked “JimBob.”

To be honest, I’m not sure how she went from whoopin’ kids’ asses to rehab to old people are bad tippers (she really needs to work on her transitions), but she’s supposedly/allegedly working on her second (second!) bachelor’s degree in… wait for it… Drug and Alcohol Counseling! *rimshot*