Daiquiris & A Fond Farewell to Wanda the Honda

Daiquiris:

I didn’t actually know what a daiquiri was other than some kind of cocktail. Turns out, there are New Orleans daiquiris, and there’s a daiquiri you could get at an expensive bar that would be totally different. In New Orleans, you go to a daiquiri barn. You can drive through and get a daiquiri to go, or you can go in and order your daiquiri through metal bars and bullet-proof glass, much like those places that cash checks in the ghetto. Despite the bars and glass, the employee’s knew most of the customers and they joked back and forth in between orders.

Through the bars, you can see slushy machines churning like you would find at 7/11 gas station. Styrofoam cups with “Fat Tuesday” printed on them are filled with your desired poison in a 12, 20, or 32 oz size. I apprehensively ordered a 12oz of something blue with Everclear in it and after making sure I knew what size that was, the daiquiri tender had to go fish the weenie cups out of the back for me. Turns out it’s not “in” to order anything under a 20oz at a daiquiri barn. Let it be a lesson to us all.

Wanda the Honda:

My license plates were set to expire the month we moved to New Orleans. After a little research, I discovered registering my car in Louisiana and getting insurance for this swampland of a state was going to cost me as much as my rent. This led to the decision to sell my car and carry on our travels with just Tony’s Suburban.

I dragged the vacuum outside hooked to an extension cord and sucked up all the road trip crumbs and bobby pins, scrubbed out the coffee stains and put it on craigslist where it promptly sold to a sweet, school teacher who didn’t get her car to high ground in time during the last rainfall.

And thus ends the seven-year-saga of me and “Wanda the Honda.” The money from Wanda I used to pay off a credit card from school and now happily, instead of rocketing insurance and licensing fee’s along with a credit card bill, I am saving money.

This little Honda was my first car and I never planned on selling it. Funny how things can change so quickly but if there’s one thing I’m learning it is to roll with the punches. If you’re willing to do that you can always figure it out.

To Be Continued…

Daiquiris:

I didn’t actually know what a daiquiri was other than some kind of cocktail. Turns out, there are New Orleans daiquiris, and there’s a daiquiri you could get at an expensive bar that would be totally different. In New Orleans, you go to a daiquiri barn. You can drive through and get a daiquiri to go, or you can go in and order your daiquiri through metal bars and bullet-proof glass, much like those places that cash checks in the ghetto. Despite the bars and glass, the employee’s knew most of the customers and they joked back and forth in between orders.

Through the bars, you can see slushy machines churning like you would find at 7/11 gas station. Styrofoam cups with “Fat Tuesday” printed on them are filled with your desired poison in a 12, 20, or 32 oz size. I apprehensively ordered a 12oz of something blue with Everclear in it and after making sure I knew what size that was, the daiquiri tender had to go fish the weenie cups out of the back for me. Turns out it’s not “in” to order anything under a 20oz at a daiquiri barn. Let it be a lesson to us all.

Wanda the Honda:

My license plates were set to expire the month we moved to New Orleans. After a little research, I discovered registering my car in Louisiana and getting insurance for this swampland of a state was going to cost me as much as my rent. This led to the decision to sell my car and carry on our travels with just Tony’s Suburban.

I dragged the vacuum outside hooked to an extension cord and sucked up all the road trip crumbs and bobby pins, scrubbed out the coffee stains and put it on craigslist where it promptly sold to a sweet, school teacher who didn’t get her car to high ground in time during the last rainfall.

And thus ends the seven-year-saga of me and “Wanda the Honda.” The money from Wanda I used to pay off a credit card from school and now happily, instead of rocketing insurance and licensing fee’s along with a credit card bill, I am saving money.

This little Honda was my first car and I never planned on selling it. Funny how things can change so quickly but if there’s one thing I’m learning it is to roll with the punches. If you’re willing to do that you can always figure it out.

To Be Continued…

Floods & Job Interviews

August 5, 2017

The first week was spent unpacking and getting settled in. I had an interview with District Donuts, Sliders and Brews which went very well and turned into a second interview, then a working interview along with two phone interviews they had held before the move.

The working interview was a two-hour session scheduled at 6 pm. It began to rain heavily early in the day and our landlords called to tell us we should pull our cars onto the sidewalk. I left for the interview at 5:30, with an estimated 11 minute drive time. The roads out of our neighborhood were flooded down to one lane and I followed traffic towards the highway, where the water had covered half of the “on-ramp.” A minivan had tried unsuccessfully to get on through the flood water, I assume in an effort to get home to his stick-figure family. The fire department was there and was rerouting traffic back the way we had come.

I turned around and searched for alternate routes to the donut shop. Eventually, I ended up driving through flooded, back roads following a car about my size.

We went slowly, skirting smaller stalled cars and guessing whether or not we’d make it to the next cross street. The roads here are full of potholes, dips and jagged fissures in the pavement. Once everything is under water, you basically have to cross your fingers that your front wheel doesn’t find one of those holes. At one point I could feel my back wheels spinning in the water which propelled me forward and I felt like I was in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

However, instead of taking flight during the deepest section, my car started shaking violently, then the battery and engine light came on and it died. I cranked the key and revved it hard willing it to start. By some miracle, it did and proceeded to shake and squeak for the next few blocks where, fortunately, the ground was higher and the water had resided. I arrived at the shop at 6:02 pm, pulling my car up onto the huge medians in the middle of the road. I now know these are called “neutral ground” and were built for that very purpose.
Photo by Walter Jacobsen Taken during the flood of August 5th, 2017 Read more about this kayaker here.

I worked my two hours watching out the foggy glass windows as a man kayaked down his flooded subdivision, although not quite as rugged as the gentleman in the picture. I drank coffee, fetched donuts and left at the end of the shift to be completely soaked on my walk back to the car, by an inattentive truck driver speeding through a puddle. But the car started and the water had receded enough that I made it home without incident, feeling very much like I was now a part of New Orleans.

Fortunately, after all the mundane, corporate procedures and the flood, District offered me a job. I took it being pleased with the prospect of no longer being on the job hunt.

To Be Continued…

August 5, 2017

The first week was spent unpacking and getting settled in. I had an interview with District Donuts, Sliders and Brews which went very well and turned into a second interview, then a working interview along with two phone interviews they had held before the move.

The working interview was a two-hour session scheduled at 6 pm. It began to rain heavily early in the day and our landlords called to tell us we should pull our cars onto the sidewalk. I left for the interview at 5:30, with an estimated 11 minute drive time. The roads out of our neighborhood were flooded down to one lane and I followed traffic towards the highway, where the water had covered half of the “on-ramp.” A minivan had tried unsuccessfully to get on through the flood water, I assume in an effort to get home to his stick-figure family. The fire department was there and was rerouting traffic back the way we had come.

I turned around and searched for alternate routes to the donut shop. Eventually, I ended up driving through flooded, back roads following a car about my size.

We went slowly, skirting smaller stalled cars and guessing whether or not we’d make it to the next cross street. The roads here are full of potholes, dips and jagged fissures in the pavement. Once everything is under water, you basically have to cross your fingers that your front wheel doesn’t find one of those holes. At one point I could feel my back wheels spinning in the water which propelled me forward and I felt like I was in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

However, instead of taking flight during the deepest section, my car started shaking violently, then the battery and engine light came on and it died. I cranked the key and revved it hard willing it to start. By some miracle, it did and proceeded to shake and squeak for the next few blocks where, fortunately, the ground was higher and the water had resided. I arrived at the shop at 6:02 pm, pulling my car up onto the huge medians in the middle of the road. I now know these are called “neutral ground” and were built for that very purpose.

Photo by Walter Jacobsen Taken during the flood of August 5th, 2017 Read more about this kayaker here.

I worked my two hours watching out the foggy glass windows as a man kayaked down his flooded subdivision, although not quite as rugged as the gentleman in the picture. I drank coffee, fetched donuts and left at the end of the shift to be completely soaked on my walk back to the car, by an inattentive truck driver speeding through a puddle. But the car started and the water had receded enough that I made it home without incident, feeling very much like I was now a part of New Orleans.

Fortunately, after all the mundane, corporate procedures and the flood, District offered me a job. I took it being pleased with the prospect of no longer being on the job hunt.

To Be Continued…

My First Taste of New Orleans

An image of the front of our house in New Orleans for the First Taste of New Orleans post

August 1, 2017

The first month here has kept me constantly surprised. It has gone quickly as I knew it would, and at the same time, it feels as though more time has passed than 31 days.

We drove in at 5:00 pm on August 1st, we were grungy, tired and hungry for anything besides gas station food. Excited to see our new home we rallied, took a tour and got the car unloaded by 6:00 pm. We then collapsed on the bed and I began scrolling through my phone searching for places to eat. I know you can all relate to that deep level of exhaustion where something as simple as deciding where to eat is suddenly the largest problem in the world. Somewhere with seafood was eventually the consensus and we decided on Peche Seafood Grill

A shower was had and an uber was ordered to take us there. Our Uber drivers name was Larry, a man who looked to be in his 60’s with a thick, accent. He had lived in New Orleans his entire life and after confirming our destination did not look at his phone again, instead taking his own route and recounting his life’s work as a Burger King manager for 17 years.

This was interesting until I discovered he was driving the opposite direction of the restaurant. I politely brought this up and he obligingly turned the car around. 12 minutes and an extra $5 on the meter later, we arrived at 800 Magazine St (Shoutout to Uber for promptly honoring my request to refund the additional charge, which you can do easily through the app on your phone).

Dinner is Served:

Peche was packed for a Tuesday night, the only seats available were at the oyster bar which was alright by me. The restaurant sported huge, oak beams and a rustic but upscale atmosphere. A glimpse back into the kitchen showed an open hearth where steaming dishes of gulf fish came out. The oyster bar where we sat was nonchalant, they shucked and served and we ordered a dozen gulf oysters along with a glass of cava for me, a salad and the baked drum.

I felt as though my life couldn’t be more complete. A month later Peche still holds the number one spot on my list of best food in New Orleans. They’re doing it right.

We arrived home that night to discover the tenants before us had left a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge. Already giddy from the champagne at the restaurant, we popped the bottle and drank it in celebration of a successful move and no more miles of highway before us. Sleep came easy that night.

To Be Continued…

August 1, 2017

The first month here has kept me constantly surprised. It has gone quickly as I knew it would, and at the same time, it feels as though more time has passed than 31 days.

We drove in at 5:00 pm on August 1st, we were grungy, tired and hungry for anything besides gas station food. Excited to see our new home we rallied, took a tour and got the car unloaded by 6:00 pm. We then collapsed on the bed and I began scrolling through my phone searching for places to eat. I know you can all relate to that deep level of exhaustion where something as simple as deciding where to eat is suddenly the largest problem in the world. Somewhere with seafood was eventually the consensus and we decided on Peche Seafood Grill

A shower was had and an uber was ordered to take us there. Our Uber drivers name was Larry, a man who looked to be in his 60’s with a thick, accent. He had lived in New Orleans his entire life and after confirming our destination did not look at his phone again, instead taking his own route and recounting his life’s work as a Burger King manager for 17 years.

This was interesting until I discovered he was driving the opposite direction of the restaurant. I politely brought this up and he obligingly turned the car around. 12 minutes and an extra $5 on the meter later, we arrived at 800 Magazine St (Shoutout to Uber for promptly honoring my request to refund the additional charge, which you can do easily through the app on your phone).

Dinner is Served:

Peche was packed for a Tuesday night, the only seats available were at the oyster bar which was alright by me. The restaurant sported huge, oak beams and a rustic but upscale atmosphere. A glimpse back into the kitchen showed an open hearth where steaming dishes of gulf fish came out. The oyster bar where we sat was nonchalant, they shucked and served and we ordered a dozen gulf oysters along with a glass of cava for me, a salad and the baked drum.

I felt as though my life couldn’t be more complete. A month later Peche still holds the number one spot on my list of best food in New Orleans. They’re doing it right.

We arrived home that night to discover the tenants before us had left a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge. Already giddy from the champagne at the restaurant, we popped the bottle and drank it in celebration of a successful move and no more miles of highway before us. Sleep came easy that night.

To Be Continued…

Moving to New Orleans, LA

July 30, 2017

Looking back on the week of the move there are a few things I would choose to do a little differently:

  1. Do not cancel the trash service the Thursday BEFORE your move. This may seem like common sense to the rest of you but for some reason we got it into our heads that the trash had to be canceled by the time we were gone and moving day we found ourselves with a bunch of leftover boxes and bags of trash with nowhere to put it, the dump being closed on Sundays.
  2. The glamorous, packing tape dispensers are a lie, a cruel joke. The tape sticks to the dispenser and in the process of getting it unstuck, the tape edge disappears like magic and no amount of fingernails and blood will bring it back again. Do yourself a favor and go for the basic roll with teeth.
  3. Sleep for more than three hours before you embark on a 24-hour road trip. If sleep is not an option just know that coffee will not work because you are already insusceptible to it. This leaves you with no other choice, you must adhere strictly to a diet of coca cola and donuts if you wish to stay awake but be warned, this will also give you the runs for at least three days.

The trash was a particular problem because we were moving the same weekend as the entire campus of Colorado State University and the dumpsters and sidewalk corners everywhere were overflowing with trash, old lamps, and couches that smelled like weed. Rumor has it that I could be seen driving towards my old apartment, where the landlord was particularly nasty, at 11 pm with a load of trash. But I couldn’t say for sure.

One thing we did accomplish that I was very proud of was moving Tony’s extremely heavy couch to my sister Tori’s house. The couch was upholstered in red leather and Tony had gotten it used. The leather was cracking in multiple places and sort of jabbed you in the thighs when you sat in certain spots, but it had recliners on both ends. The recliners being the main attribute of this couch (it was quite ugly you see), was enough to tempt Tori. So on moving day, Tony and I woke up and set about transporting the couch. I’ve moved a lot of couches but try moving a couch with two recliners sat on both ends and you’ll understand. It was so heavy, once we got it out the front door I backed the suburban up onto the lawn while Tony lifted one end and then I very carefully maneuvered the car underneath the couch. Solutions are all around.

Despite these encumbrances, the couch was delivered, the house was packed in 18 hours and miraculously, we managed to fit all of our life’s belongings into Tony’s Suburban and my Honda and fall asleep on the mattress for a few, blessed hours.

July 31, 2017

The alarm went off at 4:30 am and we grouchily slipped the mattress inside its plastic cover, strapped it to the top of the suburban, packed up the coffee pot, each taking a Stanley thermos of the life juice, and hit the road.

The sun broke over the eastern skyline and I squinted into it, following Tony as he merged onto the highway leaving Fort Collins behind. 20 minutes later I noticed the plastic cover of the mattress had ripped on one end and was flapping energetically in the wind, the mattress exposed to the elements. I called Tony and we made a detour to the closest Walmart where we bought three rolls of duct tape and firmly, secured the errant mattress cover.

After that we made good time to Denver where we pulled off for Voodoo Donuts – A cash-only establishment with slogans reading “The magic is in the hole,” and cases of sinful-looking, gourmet donuts waiting to be consumed. Voodoo donuts are, to this day, the best donuts I’ve had in my life. My favorite is the simple, chocolate glazed and we purchased enough to feed six people before heading back to the cars.

I arrived at my car to discover I didn’t have my keys. Sleep deprived and my blood sugar low I briefly panicked and went stomping back to the donut shop. I tried to bypass the forming line to the offense of several Denverites, and bless his heart, the cashier with the nose ring had my keys. I’ve never thought a nose ring looked so good on anyone and went happily back to my car where, after several donuts, I felt as though I was a new woman.

After a few hours on the road, Southern Colorado turned into New Mexico and the gas stations stopped serving iced tea without sweetener in it. I switched back to coca cola and forced my eyelids open. A near collision caused by a deer darting across the road kept me awake for the rest of New Mexico.

New Mexico turned into Texas and I settled in.. We had booked a hotel in Terrell Texas (Just past Dallas) with grand plans to drive more than half the trip the first day. We had spent an extra $10 for a room with a jacuzzi in it and I was looking forward to soaking in the warm water.

As the day wore on, I was nearly certain I wasn’t going to make it without a nap. We stopped for gas at a station that connected to a subway and Tony, after listening to my despair, suggested I eat something besides a donut. He was right of course and after some vegetables in a cheap vinaigrette, I perked right up and managed the next few hours with no problems.

We drove through a hefty Texas storm and then the highway became one, long stretch, interrupted only by small towns that contained no more than a liquor store, a church, an occasional auto shop and few trucks selling BBQ.

At this point, the other end of the mattress cover had ripped so we stopped and used the rest of our duct tape to fix the other end. The mattress looked like it had been pulled out of a dumpster and I was sorely tempted to just cut it loose and drive off. Instead, I spent $40 on the first Game of Thrones Audio Book in a desperate attempt to stay awake. I don’t know how Tony managed, I don’t think I could have if I hadn’t been able to switch back and forth between that, Disney hits and the local radio.

We pulled into the hotel at 12:35 am, having been on the road since 5:50 am. We dragged ourselves down the hall and briefly admired the Jacuzzi before both immediately agreeing that we were too tired to use it. A shower and a trip to the vending machine were all that was managed before we fell into a heavy sleep.

August 1, 2017

The next morning we woke feeling human again. We got gas and a very ordinary breakfast sandwich from a Quick Trip and the sun shone golden rays on a Starbucks across from the hotel where we after the first sip I realized that coca cola and donuts the day before had been a mistake. Then onward we went! We crossed into Louisiana and were four hours outside New Orleans when Tony’s AC went out. He kept on like a champion as the humidity intensified.

By 5:00 pm we were pulling into our new neighborhood, sweaty and extremely over driving. We typed in the code to release the key to the front door and stepped inside.

To Be Continued…

July 30, 2017

Looking back on the week of the move there are a few things I would choose to do a little differently:

  1. Do not cancel the trash service the Thursday BEFORE your move. This may seem like common sense to the rest of you but for some reason we got it into our heads that the trash had to be canceled by the time we were gone and moving day we found ourselves with a bunch of leftover boxes and bags of trash with nowhere to put it, the dump being closed on Sundays.
  2. The glamorous, packing tape dispensers are a lie, a cruel joke. The tape sticks to the dispenser and in the process of getting it unstuck, the tape edge disappears like magic and no amount of fingernails and blood will bring it back again. Do yourself a favor and go for the basic roll with teeth.
  3. Sleep for more than three hours before you embark on a 24-hour road trip. If sleep is not an option just know that coffee will not work because you are already insusceptible to it. This leaves you with no other choice, you must adhere strictly to a diet of coca cola and donuts if you wish to stay awake but be warned, this will also give you the runs for at least three days.

The trash was a particular problem because we were moving the same weekend as the entire campus of Colorado State University and the dumpsters and sidewalk corners everywhere were overflowing with trash, old lamps, and couches that smelled like weed. Rumor has it that I could be seen driving towards my old apartment, where the landlord was particularly nasty, at 11 pm with a load of trash. But I couldn’t say for sure.

One thing we did accomplish that I was very proud of was moving Tony’s extremely heavy couch to my sister Tori’s house. The couch was upholstered in red leather and Tony had gotten it used. The leather was cracking in multiple places and sort of jabbed you in the thighs when you sat in certain spots, but it had recliners on both ends. The recliners being the main attribute of this couch (it was quite ugly you see), was enough to tempt Tori. So on moving day, Tony and I woke up and set about transporting the couch. I’ve moved a lot of couches but try moving a couch with two recliners sat on both ends and you’ll understand. It was so heavy, once we got it out the front door I backed the suburban up onto the lawn while Tony lifted one end and then I very carefully maneuvered the car underneath the couch. Solutions are all around.

Despite these encumbrances, the couch was delivered, the house was packed in 18 hours and miraculously, we managed to fit all of our life’s belongings into Tony’s Suburban and my Honda and fall asleep on the mattress for a few, blessed hours.

July 31, 2017

The alarm went off at 4:30 am and we grouchily slipped the mattress inside its plastic cover, strapped it to the top of the suburban, packed up the coffee pot, each taking a Stanley thermos of the life juice, and hit the road.

The sun broke over the eastern skyline and I squinted into it, following Tony as he merged onto the highway leaving Fort Collins behind. 20 minutes later I noticed the plastic cover of the mattress had ripped on one end and was flapping energetically in the wind, the mattress exposed to the elements. I called Tony and we made a detour to the closest Walmart where we bought three rolls of duct tape and firmly, secured the errant mattress cover.

After that we made good time to Denver where we pulled off for Voodoo Donuts – A cash-only establishment with slogans reading “The magic is in the hole,” and cases of sinful-looking, gourmet donuts waiting to be consumed. Voodoo donuts are, to this day, the best donuts I’ve had in my life. My favorite is the simple, chocolate glazed and we purchased enough to feed six people before heading back to the cars.

I arrived at my car to discover I didn’t have my keys. Sleep deprived and my blood sugar low I briefly panicked and went stomping back to the donut shop. I tried to bypass the forming line to the offense of several Denverites, and bless his heart, the cashier with the nose ring had my keys. I’ve never thought a nose ring looked so good on anyone and went happily back to my car where, after several donuts, I felt as though I was a new woman.

After a few hours on the road, Southern Colorado turned into New Mexico and the gas stations stopped serving iced tea without sweetener in it. I switched back to coca cola and forced my eyelids open. A near collision caused by a deer darting across the road kept me awake for the rest of New Mexico.

New Mexico turned into Texas and I settled in.. We had booked a hotel in Terrell Texas (Just past Dallas) with grand plans to drive more than half the trip the first day. We had spent an extra $10 for a room with a jacuzzi in it and I was looking forward to soaking in the warm water.

As the day wore on, I was nearly certain I wasn’t going to make it without a nap. We stopped for gas at a station that connected to a subway and Tony, after listening to my despair, suggested I eat something besides a donut. He was right of course and after some vegetables in a cheap vinaigrette, I perked right up and managed the next few hours with no problems.

We drove through a hefty Texas storm and then the highway became one, long stretch, interrupted only by small towns that contained no more than a liquor store, a church, an occasional auto shop and few trucks selling BBQ.

At this point, the other end of the mattress cover had ripped so we stopped and used the rest of our duct tape to fix the other end. The mattress looked like it had been pulled out of a dumpster and I was sorely tempted to just cut it loose and drive off. Instead, I spent $40 on the first Game of Thrones Audio Book in a desperate attempt to stay awake. I don’t know how Tony managed, I don’t think I could have if I hadn’t been able to switch back and forth between that, Disney hits and the local radio.

We pulled into the hotel at 12:35 am, having been on the road since 5:50 am. We dragged ourselves down the hall and briefly admired the Jacuzzi before both immediately agreeing that we were too tired to use it. A shower and a trip to the vending machine were all that was managed before we fell into a heavy sleep.

August 1, 2017

The next morning we woke feeling human again. We got gas and a very ordinary breakfast sandwich from a Quick Trip and the sun shone golden rays on a Starbucks across from the hotel where we after the first sip I realized that coca cola and donuts the day before had been a mistake. Then onward we went! We crossed into Louisiana and were four hours outside New Orleans when Tony’s AC went out. He kept on like a champion as the humidity intensified.

By 5:00 pm we were pulling into our new neighborhood, sweaty and extremely over driving. We typed in the code to release the key to the front door and stepped inside.

To Be Continued…