Oh so I forgot that in 2003, we also took a road trip to Boston and Salem. I’ll put it here because that 2003 post is waaay too long.
Around my birthday/Halloween, we wanted to have a party but my sister’s friend would not allow it under any circumstances. I know right? Who’re you? (Things had begun devolving at an alarming pace.) So we decided to take a trip to Boston and Salem. We’d already all been to Boston before but none of us had ever gone to Salem. So we spent a couple of days tooling around Boston and having a generally great time. I remember having a Guinness in an Irish pub and I think the barkeep either made a heart or a shamrock in the foam. I know it’s supposed to be a shamrock but for some reason I’m thinking “heart”. Whatever.
We took a little drive up to Salem and went to every single museum and or exhibit about Tituba that exists. I have pictures of this jaunt somewhere but not on me so whatever. It was so cute up there! We loved it! There was a brewery called Beer Works that we were dying to have dinner at. They had the most awesome blueberry beer that they put a zillion actual blueberries in! We had our meal and it was delish and then me and Amanda ordered this Apple Crumble Ice Cream Parfait that we’d been eyeing on the menu. It came to us and we were like so excited we high-fived and even jumped up and bounced chests. We were screaming with delight when Amanda gagged. Alarmed, we asked what was wrong. Amanda hacked something onto her shaking paw. It was brown lump of meat gristle. Apparently the “Apple Crumble Station” is a wee bit to close to the “Meat we don’t want station” and forces collided to create Beer Works’ first Apple Crumble Ice Cream Gristle Parfait. (At least I hope it was their first.) They were hella nice about it and I think took some duckets off our bill. Thanks Beer Works for the laugh and the monies!
Natch when we came home, our house was in shambles due to the PARTY that our roommate had thrown while we were away. B*tch.
But THAT was okay because in 2004, we started the year off with a trip to Philly and DC for Kristyn’s birthday. This would be the start of an annual pilgrimage we’d make to DC for one reason or another every year on Kristyn’s birthday which is January 22nd (Coming up! She accepts presents large and small!). First we stopped off in Philly. We did some shopping on South Street (so awesome), had some Cheesesteaks (I know, I never learn) and visited the Mutter Museum.
While shopping, we wandered into this awesome store filled with all Mexican Day of the Dead and Friday Kahlo-inspired art. It was around this time that me and Kristyn were just getting obsessed with Frida so our eyes were agog. We couldn’t afford to buy anything so we just gawked and I’ve never been back since. (Damn you Coleen!)
The Philly Cheesesteak-having was another experience in and of itself. After narrowing down our (plentiful) options, we decided picked a popular-looking place. The line was out the door and onto the street.
We finally got inside and were faced with a Cheesesteak line that was so militarized that it was akin to Soup Nazi territory. You were not given a second’s time to think about what it is you wanted or to look at a menu. You were expected to have considered it on the way or while waiting on line. As this was our first experience, we were totally caught off guard. If you missed the small window that you were to give a response by a fraction of a second, they moved onto the guy behind you and you missed out. It was that intense. But if I were stading over a steaming two foot high PILE of burning meat, I might have a temper too.
They say, “ROLL!” and if you don’t select a bread, they give you whatever they want and you like it. They say, “CHEESE!” and if you don’t say yes or no, they don’t give you any. They say “ONIONS AND PEPPERS!” and if you hesitate, you get dry meat on a dry roll. After many apologies (on our parts) and rolled eyes (on their parts), our trays were literally SHOVED at us and we were sent away. Looking around, there was no where at ALL to sit. An worker goes, “GO UPSTAIRS!” So we walked down this weird like storage hallways with our trays and are met with a stairwell. Uncertain, we climb the stairs and walk in on total pandemonium. It’s a tiny room and it is filled to capacity. There literally no seats or surfaces available and to the right there are a bunch of aggrivated people standing with their trays. Their food is sitting untouched and steaming on their plates. We notice quickly that it is every man for himself up in this bitch. When you see someone lift their asscheek to fart, it is up to you to pre-emptively run up behind them and loom over them willing them to get the hell up already so you can sit down and eat a hot meal. We finally got seats (not all together) and were forced to eat with a quickness. People were literally standing over us sighing heavily and shifting their weight as we rapidly fed meats and cheeses into our mouth holes. Overwhelmed and full, we staggered out of the restaurant, actually GLAD to be in 20 degree whipping winds.
We were really into the L Word at this point so, one night, we went to this bar that was supposed to be showing the premiere. Walking from our hotel in China Town, we meet his guy. He is scary. I am polite to him because we don’t want to get knifed. His nose is running profusely and he asks for a light. Amanda gives him her lighter and tells him to go ahead and keep it. He tells us that we shouldn’t be out walking in this neighborhood because it’s not safe. When I ask why he tells me that there are all kinds of drug dealers and junkies in the area. I asked him how he knew and he said, “Why do you think I’m here?” and leaves. But ya know what? He actually walked us to the bar to make sure we got there safely because after he left us, he crossed the street and walked back the way we’d just came…Nice junkie.
On this trip, we also paid a visit to the Mutter Museum. In case you don’t know what that is, it is a museum about how modern medicine came into being starting with the Lewis and Clark Expedition and ending with a bunch of mangled skeletons and a decayed woman. It was so gross, so weird and so interesting. It’s an absolute must see if you are ever in Philly. Even if you’re squeamish, go check this out. The reason they have weird stuff there is because they show how the study of medical oddities actually advances modern medicine because it outlines “normalities” vs. “abnormalities”. So interesting.
But then it was time to go to DC. We’d never been to DC before and it was a huge shock. I mean it is one thing to see the White House and the Lincoln Memorial on TV or in a picture and it is another thing entirely to see them in person. It was almost dizzying. We were dumbfounded, almost like starstruck. Being there, you really are hyper aware of how grateful we really ought to be to live in this country. At least I was. I’d never given it much thought. But the monuments, the memorials and the buildings remind you that that this country is not just running on steam. It’s running on the hard work of people who are fighting for human rights all over the globe. It really IS the center of the universe there or at least it feels like it. IDK, I am a dissenter with the best of’m but to me, I can’t get enough of visiting DC and I’m never not impressed whenever I go. One of the things I miss about home is being able to visit there whenever I want. Ah well.
Anyway, if it was cold in Philly, it was MIND-WARPINGLY frigid in DC. On the day that we visited the monuments, it was so cold that we were almost crying. We couldn’t hail a cab to get back home for the life of us and we were stuck down by the Lincoln Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. It was President’s Day weekend as well and I just think that either cabs weren’t running as frequently or everyone had’m booked. We eventually got in one though thank GAWD.
We also visited the Smithsonian. I absolutely insisted on visiting the National Museum of American History because I NEEDED to see Archie and Edith’s chairs. We also had some delicious Pakoras in a food court there.
We also fell in love with Abe Lincoln on this trip. I think the love affair started at the Memorial and intensified the further into the trip we got. We visited Ford’s Theater and that pretty much solidified it. I mean they had so MUCH interesting memoribilia…They had the suit he’d been wearing when he was shot…a bloody pillow he laid his head on…a gun that was exactly like the one that shot him…pictures, letters, factoids, everything. SO interesting. And across the street, there is another, lesser-known museum. It is the house where Lincoln actually died. After he was shot, he was carried out of the theater and a person living across the street told them to bring him inside. They lay him on a bed and nine hours later he died. You actually get to go into the room where Abe Lincoln died. It was sobering as hell. Amanda couldn’t take it and literally FLED the house. We had to run after her hahaha…
Another awesome place we went to while we were there was the Black Cat. We just went to check it out and have a coupla drinks but who the hell did we find? David Cross. At the time, we didn’t watch Arrested Development and only knew him from Mr. Show and Scary Movie 2. We were all (especially Kristyn and Amanda) obsessed with Scary Movie 2 and swarmed in on him. Kristyn and Amanda kept muttering stuff about a “strong hand” to him because that was their favorite part (even though that had nothing to do with him). He was very nice but kind of nonplussed to be being fawned over right now because he was just chilling with a coupla friends. But at the time we were obnoxious and invasive and insisted on a picture, *sigh*. Idiots. Still, awesome picture.
The rest of this year was sort of a festive, violent blur. We went to Aldo’s a lot and to the Loop Lounge a lot. I got heavily into painting old furniture and recovering old chairs (to extremely varied results). A bitter war erupted that lasted the rest of our tenure in this apartment and it was pure undiluted hell living there, omg.
When we were moving out, we locked Mitten up in my sister and other roommate’s room because they’d already moved out and it was the only room that was empty while we moved our furniture out. We just didn’t want the cat to get out. While we were at our new place unloading stuff, my cat must have taken a dump. My roommate’s boyfriend decided to take the cat shit out of the litter box and put it all into a bag of clothes we’d left behind. We didn’t notice anything weird for a long time because that was a bag of clothes we were donating. Don’t worry, sweet revenge happens.
In the middle of all of this, we actually had tickets to go see Bjork play at Coney Island. We are huge Bjork fans and had never seen her live before. It was an open-air concert at a ball field. The beach was right behind the stage. The concert was amazing and finished with fireworks that were timed to the music. It was incredible.
We moved into our next apartment that was pretty much a total dump. BUT it was in our price range and across the street from Kristyn’s parents. Kristyn’s father insisted we take the apartment and loaned us the security deposit (thank you!). It was a tiny, one bedroom cute little apartment in a two story walk-up apartment building. Everything in it was old as hell though and the landlords, though seemingly nice, were stingy as hell with fixing anything. Any time the shower broke, the landlord would come upstairs and regale us with irrelevant stories for hours (much like I’m doing to you right now). Then at one point he’d accuse us of taking up his time, slip off to the bathroom, shut the door behind him and come out five minutes later telling us that the shower was broken, nothing he can do about it now, see you later. Later, it’d be fixed but we’d find that he put a device in the shower to lower the water pressure drastically since they paid heat and hot water. Also, that winter was BITTERLY cold because since they paid for heat and hot water, they wouldn’t provide us with any. Sweet people.
That fall, George W. Bush was elected to a second term in the White House. John Kerry, a promising candidate, royally f’d up his run and let the Swift Boat Veterans concoct a bullshit story tearing town his Purple Heart in Vietnam. I mean seriously? I was working at a Printing Company in Lyndhurst and scoured the Newspapers daily waiting for his rebuttal that never came. When GWB was re-elected, me and Kristyn were filled with a fury that could have set the entire White House ablaze (again).
Also during this time, was when we got sweet revenge on our roommate’s boyfriend. We’d gone to a bar in Newark and were feeling rowdy as hell. On our way out of the bar, some guys started calling me and Amanda fat in Spanish. There was a hot dog truck right there and they were all eating hot dogs. Me and Amanda basically told them to screw off but KRISTYN…Hahaha…KRISTYN walks right up to them and goes, “Fat? Who’s fat?” and SLAPS the hot dog right out of one of those dudes hands! Haha…They were just kind of like “OH SN-AP!” and we congratulated ourselves all the way to the diner where we wanted to eat like pigs, haha. So we enter the Lyndhurst Diner and are enjoying our meal when guess who walks through the door…It’s my ex-roommate, her boyfriend and some other people I won’t name to protect the (somewhat) innocent. They sit at a table across the room and straight off the bat, douchebag starts giving us the finger and making faces at us and mouthing cursewords at us. Alright, have it your way.
So what we did was order two large Cokes, no ice before we left. We were seated by the door and they were seated further into the restaurant. Amanda got the car and pulled it up to the door as a getaway car. We walked the long way around so we could approach him from behind. The people on the other side of the table saw us coming but didn’t think much of it since we don’t have beef with those mothers. I don’t remember who did it first but all I remember is seeing my arm through tunnel vision taking that large glass of Coke no ice and pouring that shit right over his head. Seperately we each took our glasses and poured them over his head. It splattered all over our ex-roommate and everyone at the table was stunned. We like flat RAN out to the car before anyone could stop us, jostling into Guidos and Guidettes as we ran. We got threatened a lot but didn’t care. I know that sounds mean but I don’t give a shit. That was the hands-down best revenge either of us has ever gotten in our lives. And you know what? He didn’t do crap about it because he knew he had it coming. This was a guy who, before the cat shit, we’d both really liked. He was a lot of house parties I threw, he was there at that fateful New Year’s Eve 1999-2000. He even cleaned the champagne off the floors, ceiling and walls. I guess, in his fervor to impress my roommate, he’d gotten a little carried away and taken it to a level. Before we poured Cokes no ice over his head, he’d started calling us on a regular basis and leaving voicemails threatening us and calling us dykes. Why? I have no idea. We weren’t doing shit to him or his girlfriend, he just wanted to be a jerk. So this is what happened. Guess who never got a filthy voicemail again? Oh they’re married now too. Bookends.
Anyway, when we were in our other apartment, on the day of the Friends finale (which according to Wikipedia was May 6, 2004), we decided out of the blue to go and buy us a bunny rabbit. We trucked it on over to the pet store and picked out the first “dwarf rabbit” who caught our eyeballs. His name started out as “Stephanie” (because the words “Mr. and Mrs. Stephanockanoodle” sent us into gales of hysterical laughter at the time, don’t ask). When his testicles descended, we realized that Stephanie was a bro but naming him Stephen was out of the question due to a biker we all knew who had the same name. This assmunch had literally 21 shirts that he’d had made that ALL read “Blow Me” on the front and “Then Leave” on the back. It wasn’t our idea that we knew this man and I won’t reveal his identity to protect the (somewhat) innocent. But anyway, it was beyond out of the question, let’s leave it at that.
But our boy rabbit turned out to be the farthest thing away from a “dwarf rabbit” that one can actually be. He was behemoth. But he was a total delight. He was like a little puppy. So full of energy, so happy. So much fun that I whined until we got another one. Big fn mistake. My bad.
Knowing that the pet store we bought Biggie at were full of liars, we marched right back there and did the whole thing all over again. Just like last time we were feverishly reassured that this was a girl, this time we were feverishly reassured that we were buying a boy. We named our new little boy “Little” because again, he was a “dwarf rabbit”. (And I WONDER why my mother is forever saying to me, “COLEEN, the definition of insanity is doing the same exact thing over and over again and expecting different results…”) So we bring Little home and he is just such a little charmer. So sweet. So meek. Loves to be held. We fell in love.
Before long, we heard weird squealing noises coming from Little. Suddenly Little did not want to be picked up. Suddenly Little started putting on weight.
It was December 4, 2004 and I will never forget that date so long as I live. It was a Saturday and we’d been out dancing until all hours the night before. I woke up in a haze to go to the bathroom and noticed that something was haywire in the kitchen (where we kept Little). There was white puffs of hair everywhere and upon further inspection, streaks of blood all over the floor. Now fully awake, I became terrified and started trying to find Little. I found her and she was okay, not a scratch on her. Biggie was okay too so what was the problem? I looked to my right and saw a wriggling, hairless organ. BABIES. Little was a SHE and SHE’D had babies…four of them. Oh my god they were DISGUSTING. I have never seen newborn puppies or kittens or bunnies before in my life and to me these looked like little evil hairless aliens or organs. Dry-heaving, I scream and run into the bedroom waking Kristyn up. She runs in and we are stunned.
I guess you can imagine that up until this exact point, we have no idea what we are doing. We haven’t researched what it is to own a rabbit, not really. We know how to feed one but we have no idea how to tell the gender of a rabbit, how to tell if one is pregnant, how to handle babies, gestation cycle, NOTHING. I remember going to Willowbrook Mall that day because I had to absolutely get the hell out of the house. I kept getting all grossed out that those guys were wriggling on my kitchen floor. Thankfully, we looked up The House Rabbit Society and found a ton of information. We needed to get a box and cut a hole out of the side of it leaving a like four inch wall so Little can get out but the babies can’t. We had to gather up all of the fur she’d shed and put it in the box. We learned that when rabbits are about to give birth, they rip out their own hair with their teeth to make a bed for their babies so it was important to put it in the box and make a nest. We learned that we WERE allowed to touch them and she wouldn’t shun them afterward. We had to put them in the box and literally bury them in the fur so they can stay warm like an incubator. We also learned that rabbits will not go near their babies during daylight hours to minimize threats from predators. You won’t see them approach the babies or feed them because in the wild, if the mother does approach the babies, a predator could be watching and she could inadvertantly lead him straight to them. Instead, the mother waits until dawn and stands over the babies who suckle from her.
Christmas that year was adorable. They grew fast and sprouted fur quickly. They followed each other like a row of ducklings all over the house. I distinctly remember them marching in a line out of the kitchen and into the living room in front of the tree. It was a lot of fun. And then they grew up, more on that mess later.
Below is a picture of me and Mitten. We’d brought Mitten to Florida and she actually ended up staying there when we came home to NJ. We didn’t have a place for her to live here so Karen continued to watch her while we got on our feet. Karen and her boyfriend came to visit during the brief four month period that we lived in that one purple-bedroomed apartment and brought Mitten back with her. Mitten was PIIIIIIIISSED at me…Man of La Mancha. She was happy to see me but full of hatred too. Like I could see it in her eyes that the following emotions were warring in her person: Oh thank God it’s you…AND…BITCH you done left me in Florida for most of a year and I hate you for it!
But she got over it eventually and moved with us to the haunted house and then onto our new apartment full of rabbits. Mitten had always been a standoffish cat that was better suited to go about her own bidness. She’d always loved me though and we were like Siamese twins. I’d gotten her when I was in the second grade and we’d grown up together.
She’d recently gotten a wound that wouldn’t heal and her abdomen kept swelling up for some reason. I took her to the doctor and found out she had intestinal cancer. She was eighteen years old at this point. I was told that so long as she was eating and happy to let her live out the rest of her life in peace. Give her all of her favorite things and let her sleep in all of her favorite places. Test her health based on the things she stops responding to. As you cross the things off the list, you know her time is coming to a close. So that’s what I did.
She was actually very happy and content during this time. Over the past few years, she’d grown from an extremely cautious and standoffish cat to one that was really comfortable in her skin, happy and relaxed. She was really happy at this apartment, just relaxing with Kristyn and I.
Here we are chilling in my bedroom:
SO, that was 2004. It was a lot of fun and it was a lot of unneccessary drama.
2005 is kind of a mess* though so hold onto your seats.
*By “a mess”, I mean: RADICAL.