Thursday, July 15, 2010
When we awoke from our well deserved nap, we joined my family upstairs (my Mom works swing shift and gets off at 11:30pm) for spaghetti and softball sized meatballs. Those made amazing meatball subs the next day, lemme tell ya. We were still pretty tired, even after a six hour nap, so crashed in the wee hours, along with the rest of the household.

The family cat had kittens in late April, so we enjoyed those for a bit before bed. My hairy, rock star of a Boyfriend playing with kittens is a precious sight. When we woke after another ten hours of sleep (so, so nice) we went upstairs into the main house for breakfast, thankfully spared from a ginormous feast. Instead, we had cereal and toast. My father is Italian, and my mother is Irish. So feeding house guests is one of their hobbies. Seriously. Every friend I've ever had, even if they're only friendly acquaintances, knows that Lori's parents will always feed you, insist on a second helping, and send you home with leftovers. I warned my parents a week before we flew out there (when they called and asked me to email a list of the meals we wanted during the visit) that we'd need to slowly stretch our stomachs back out, especially so soon after tour. When we stopped there for two nights (right after Easter) I was sure our stomachs were going to burst. A la pigeons and alka seltzer. Luckily, the 'rents took it easy on us for this most recent Tulsa trip.

Sunday we spent as nerds. We sat in my parents' basement, drank a 12 pack of Mountain Dew White Out, and played video games (Boyfriend breaking in his brand new PS3, and I reunited with my beloved Sims 3).

Monday we went down to the tattoo parlor and got corresponding/matching tattoos. Neither of us are newcomers to the ink world; this was his fourth and my fifth. When I got my most recent tattoo (about two weeks after we became a couple) we both lamented that we wanted more tattoos. I suggested that we go down and get tattooed together, on the same day. All but one of my tattoos were group outings. The idea sounds a bit trivial, but I think it's a fun way to bond with people. The idea stuck. A few weeks later, as we were discussing what we wanted for our next tattoos, I suggested corresponding tattoos. Personally, I think it's bad luck to get a lover's name or likeness inked. It's a jinx. In fact, Boyfriend has Crazy Ex #1's name on his upper arm inside a heart. GAG. My suggestion was to get art we already wanted individually in the same session. I've been wanting a black bird or an owl for quite a while now, and Boyfriend's always been a huge fan of the coelacanth. (He's a weird one. That's why I love him.) And I've always loved that old saying, 'If a bird and a fish fell in love, where would they make their home?' It rang especially true as our unrequited love become requited after five long years, when we lived 2,000 miles apart. When I posed this idea to Boyfriend, he said, "Who knew the answer would be, 'In a van'?"

So in April when we passed through Tulsa briefly, we decided we go down and make an appointment with an artist. Two days before we were set to do so, Boyfriend and I were discussing it and he said, "You know, I've been thinking about getting a dime tattooed someday."

The few of you that know us both really well and/or had to suffer through the aforementioned five years of unrequited love/torture, know the significance of the dime. My parents said at our wedding they're not going to throw rice or confetti, they're going to throw dimes. I told them that would really hurt and be a waste of $100. Long story short (and perhaps I'll blog about this later on), dimes have been a running joke between Boyfriend and I since the Great Dime Diving Night in December of 2004.

Boyfriend's been reading The Golden Bough for a while now (he's almost done!), and oak trees have taken on significance for him. So he decided that he wanted the tails side of the dime. I, of course, immediately thought, 'We haven't decided on what kind of design we want for our bird/fish tattoos, so I'll just get heads.'

And that is how we came to have 4" dimes on our sides.

The rest of our time in Tulsa was spent with The Bestest and my family, going on outings, having great family dinners, playing board games until the wee hours of the morning, watching movies, smoking hookah (No pot ever! Ew! Gross! Ick!), visiting my favorite bars and restaurants and putting off packing. Oh, and video games. Did I mention that Boyfriend and I killed five 12 packs of Mountain Dew White Out while he played Grand Theft Auto IV and I played The Sims 3? Yeah. We're a match made in nerd heaven.

When the big day came and it was finally time for us to load up my car, I quickly packed the piles of belongings into boxes (we'd take breaks from video games to stretch and sort a few things) while Boyfriend used his developed car packing talent (from years of loading and unloading musical equipment into cars of various sizes) to expertly put all of my things in my little baby SUV. We said goodbye to my mom and The Bestest (the brothers and Dad were out buying my youngest brother's first car.) I congratulated myself on not crying as we drove away.

It really was the best way for me to move out. Two week visits punctuated the six months we were forced to have a long distance relationship. Then we had tour, so I was on a BO scented musical adventure. Even with tour, I got to visit my family. So it was like weaning myself off of my very close knit family. It helped both me and the parental unit, I think.

We got a much later start than we had originally intended, partly because I put off serious packing until my last day (still though, it only took twenty minutes), and partly because I was dreading the moment I said my final goodbyes to the Fam, but mostly because Boyfriend and I decided we wanted to get a good night's sleep before we drove 2,000 miles in 3 days.

We stopped at Spangles (one of the regional highlights of tour) for dinner, even though we had originally intended it to be breakfast. After an uneventful, mostly dark drive, we arrived in Denver a little after 2:00am, and met up with one of my oldest friends to stay at his place. (On a side note, isn't it crazy how friends and family are scattered as we grow older?) We slept on his floor for four hours, then woke up to share a French Press worth of coffee and giant muffin with him before he had to leave for rugby practice and we had to hit the road again.

(This is me using my blog to abuse parenthesis.)

We planned to stop in Cheyenne for lunch, but the interstate only had fast food to offer, and we were craving Chinese something fierce.So we continued on through the bottom of Wyoming (a truly, painfully boring drive) until we hit Laramie. We saw a billboard advertising a Thai place, and decided to stop there. Unfortunately, we both neglected to remember the exit number. And Laramie has like, two exits, five miles apart. That's only a tiny exaggeration. We decided to pull off the highway for gas, and let the google search on my phone find enough of signal to function. As luck would have it, there was a Chinese Buffet across the street from the gas station. Unfortunately for me, there was absolutely nothing green on the buffet line that wasn't battered and deep friend. I'd had my heart set on some beef and broccoli... but alas. At least their wrapped chicken was so tasty it made up for the lack of vegetables.

Later we stopped at some of the weirdest little gas stations and truck stops we've ever been to. (And we've been to a lot.) One was in a tiny place called Point of Rocks where we got or giant sodas for free. I don't know if it's because we were probably the only tattooed and long haired people she'd ever seen, or if it was because she knew how horribly mixed their soda fountain was. We weren't able to drink the soda (almost entirely syrup and flat), but threw them out at another little truck stop that used propaganda type ads as advertising. A weird little place called Little America. It was like a tiny, manufactured city of a truck stop. They did, however, have the cleanest, nicest bathroom I've ever seen on the side of an interstate. Leather sofas in the waiting area of the womens restroom, floor to ceiling walls and doors on every (very spacious) toilet stall. It was a little oasis of cleanliness, which was much appreciated, even as Stepford-creepy as it was.

We drove on again, pushing ourselves to make it to Salt Lake City before nightfall, wanting to hit a Golden Corral (Boyfriend had never been, and it's one of those hokey things I simply adore) before we turned in for the night. Make up for our deep fried Chinese lunch with a salad and plate of vegetables.

Just as we thought we were going to go crazy from the boring, beige scenery that is Wyoming (Seriously, it's worse than Kansas and both Dakotas.), we crossed the state line. Almost instantly, there were trees, and green things, and real mountains. It was like Utah had given the corner of the land it didn't want to Wyoming. We were weaving through gorgeous mountain valleys that looked like something from a model train layout.

The hotel we splurged on that night was not anything to write home about. In fact, it's long hallways and single painting made it a bit creepy. There was a frame every ten or so feet, but they each had the exact same print in them. A lonely looking pink and gold chair sitting in a sea of white negative space. We decided (after a shower) that we'd hit a Golden Corral in Idaho on the way back home, and we'd just eat in the restaurant in the lobby. The thing that really stood out about this hotel, and made it a super enjoyable stay for us, was the bed. For once, I'm not being pervy. It was honestly the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in. It was a California King, which at 5'11" and 6'3" we appreciate more than short people will ever understand. We fell asleep after watching a movie. I woke four hours later, certain I'd slept through our alarm because I was so rested. I've never been happier to fall back asleep.

The drive from Salt Lake City to Seattle is 14 hours. We stopped at a Golden Corral in Boise, and stuffed ourselves. Boyfriend mostly on barbecue, and I mostly on Caesar salad and macaroni and cheese. We tried not to fall asleep as we drove through beautiful parts of Oregon. They were so picturesque it made me long for my camera, which was securely tucked away in the back. Unfortunately.

We stopped in Washington at the first open gas station. Oregon is one of two states that does not have self service gas stations. You are not allowed to pump your own gas. You have to stay in the car, while some junkie or redneck collects your payment and does it for you. The problem with this is not so much the inconvenience of not being self sufficient, but being nocturnal, or being stuck in Oregon at night when no gas stations are open. Grateful to finally be in our home state, we happily gassed up the car, got ourselves the biggest cups of coffee they had, and those little 5 Hour Energy shots. (Which are essentially vitamin B overdoses.)

It was a long trek, and by the time we got to the prettiest parts of Washington (the mountain passes between the eastern side of the state and the sound) it was pitch black, and raining. I was wired on energy drinks, desperately needed to pee, and became convinced that one of the truckers that kept speeding past me or riding up on my tail was actually trying to kill me. Seriously. Why else would someone who drives professionally be going 90mph on a winding mountain pass at 3:00am in the rain? Homicide seemed logical at the time.

We finally rolled back into our own driveway about 3:30am (unmurdered by crazy truckers), went promptly to our room, and collapsed into sleep.


Unknown said...

Does the head on your coin tattoo say, "In Love We Love?" Because that's totally what it looks like.

Ah, Golden Corral. I wouldn't call it hokey as much as very Texan. That was one of my absolute favorite places to go with friends while I was away at school in East Texas. The big three were Golden Corral, a Chinese Buffet with the best crab rangoon wontons, and Mercado Mexican Restaurant that served awesome Mexican food including Sopapillas--little rolls with a puff of air in the middle that could then be pierced and filled with butter and honey. That was the big dessert item there.

Point being that outside of Texas I think Golden Corral restaurants seem hokey or somehow just a little out of place. But they totally fit in the atmosphere of Texas.

Lori said...

Oh god, do I miss Sopapillas!!! Real ones. Not those flat, airless, greasy ones covered in powdered sugar that you get in states that DON'T border Mexico.

You're half right with what it says... it's just a poor quality, cell phone camera. It says, "In Love We Trust" and 2009, the year we finally got our act together. =)

We figured it was a great couple tattoo to get, because should we ever split up (which I don't think will happen, we're 99% decided on a date and are already saving money for the big day) we wouldn't have to explain the tats to a new lover. You could just say, "Oh, it's an inside joke between me and an old friend."

And we're probably the only two people on the face of the planet with giant dimes on our rib cages. LOL

Sara Louise said...

I want to hear more about the dimes...

Unknown said...

I didn't realize you had Sopapillas too--the real ones. Aren't those AWESOME??!!! I didn't realize you too were a fan.


I thought it might be a distortion. I was hoping it said "In Love We Trust" or something like that. "In Love We Love" sounded odd and redundant. *LOL*

I totally agree with Sara Louise. I would love to hear the story of the dimes.

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During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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