Because even I kind of hate the sound of my voice at this point.
My family loves me. My family loves me. My family loves me. My family loves me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a good mom and wife.
I don’t sit like this all day in a comatose state, rocking back and forth, staring out the window with drool coming out of the sides of my mouth.
Only on Tuesdays.
No, I get crap done.
I make sure they get their undies folded, homework checked, cartwheels in gymnastics classes get cheered on, their cheerleading uniforms are always clean, there is always money in their lunch accounts, the driving, the cleaning, the doing, it is all being done, sometimes even with a smile on my face.
At night, I fall into my bed with my weary but amazing husband who never complains about his wife and her smells of ben gay or her lack of oomph and we talk about our days, his long 12-14 hour days at his dealership and we pass out after sometimes even sneaking a kiss or two in.
Yes, I am by all accounts “there” but not really “there”.
Over the past seven years, I have developed a friendship with two high school friends I reconnected with on Facebook: Kari and Vikki.
Actually one of the above friends, I wasn’t actually “friends” within the small town Ohio high school we attended, more like “acquaintances” but we shared a few classes together and so we friended each other like people excitedly do on social media nowadays back in 2008 when Facebook was new to me and then went about my day.
At that time, I had a six-month-old baby and a seven-year-old little girl and I was just so excited to read about other people’s lives.
Especially those who I went to high school with, those who lived far, far away, who could take me to another time and place.
Far from baby bottles, pacifiers, dirty diapers, Hannah Montana and High School Musical please and thank you.
Not that I didn’t love being a mom but when you are in the thick of it, sometimes it’s just too thick if you get my drift.
It was through Facebook and then after I started my blog in 2010, that the three of us grew closer each year.
They would comment on my blog, we would write comments on each other’s pictures, we would send each other funny pictures via email or recipes that we think each other would like.
It was like having pen pals only in the digital age.
Only I knew these pen pals, I felt comfortable with them, I had grown up with them.
It was this incredible story of three girls who had once known each other but grew apart then grew back together again.
We message on Facebook continually and on a text as well, with notifications that I have to mute because they are so ongoing and so continuing that my family literally laughs out loud when it DING DING DING DING’S.
“It’s your KariVikki text going off” ……
They were with me when I went to my oldest daughter’s high school orientation, telling them how unbelievably massive her high school was (THREE FLOORS!!!) because I knew only they would truly understand how little I would feel walking inside of it.
Whenever I typed “OMG” on my iPad, it said “I JUST FARTED”, we laughed so loud and so hard ( I swear I could actually hear them laughing from Ohio through their texts), it woke my youngest daughter who was laying next to me in bed while we were on vacation.
When we are having a bad day, we tell each other sometimes before our loved ones just because it is a nice sounding board before having to tell the world.
We are each other’s cushion in a really un-cushiony world.
There is just something about the people who knew you before the world knew you.
Something about your childhood people.
The people who remember you when you were at your most vulnerable.
When you had zits, had your first really bad perm and wore Garanimals.
So these girls/women but still girls to me at times, have been that for me for a few years now.
A non-judgment zone to make me laugh/cry/laugh again and I love them more than tacos.
Fast forward to this crappy winter of 2015.
They know, as do most of my family, friends and you lovely people here, how icky this winter has been for everyone but for especially me as I have been meandering through this King O’ Pain Tour 2015.
We have talked about it here and there in a text but honestly, I never wanted to dwell on it too much with them not to be a martyr but to literally talk about pain brought me physical pain.
I know, I sound like one of those people.
You know, those people, but it got so bad there at one point that just the word headache made my head literally, well, ache.
But they know it has been hard, they know I have been in tears, a lot.
They know I have been a mess, a hot steaming pile of mess.
So this past weekend, my Ilovethemmorethantacosfriends who both work full-time jobs, have kids and dogs and responsibilities, re-arranged their lives and took vacation days from work and drove seven hours from Ohio with a car full of food to love on me.
Without me knowing.
They had been planning this with another person in my life who also loves on me, my husband, since NOVEMBER, to bring happiness back into my life.
So on a Friday afternoon, they knocked on my garage door and there they were in all their glorious absolute beauty like two angels from Heaven.
Standing in the frigid cold ready to hug me, feed me and love me.
Two angels from Heaven. as clear as day.
This you need to know before I go any further.
That afternoon as they were traveling to Illinois, I sat on my bathroom floor and prayed through tears to God this:
I am absolutely stupid, God.
I need a billboard.
A BIG OLD BILLBOARD.
I am not a subtle sign reader.
Please forgive me for not picking up subtle signs.
I just want to be pain-free and happy.
I am begging you.
I kid you not.
I prayed that exact prayer.
We sat at my dining room table, with the hometown Jones Chips and dip they brought, listening to 80’s music and looked through our old Ohio yearbooks, laughed at popped collars, talked about all the people we had study hall with, had crushes on, we went to reunions with, we laughed until we cried, we ate more chips, we made comments like, WHY IN THE HELL DID WE WEAR OUR HAIR LIKE THAT???, can you believe we are almost 50??? , why don’t we live closer???, did a little 30-year high school reunion planning, should we order Chipotle?? or Big Macs??? helped Ellie with her massive amounts of first-grade makeup homework…back in our day we didn’t have this kind of homework….did we just say “back in our day???”, we stayed up until midnight laughing, talking and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we felt like we were 18 all over again.
It was, in a nutshell, the best Friday night I have had in months.
On Saturday, we had a house full of teenagers, we averted a slow gas leak….long story for another blog post….but let’s just say that prayer up there ^^^ I mentioned earlier??
Thank you, God.
So Kari, Vikki, Ellie and I were pushed out of the house by the teenagers because MOMMMMMM HELLOO WE NEED OUR SPACCCE.
Ellie and I took them to one of our favorite places to eat, Portillo’s (they had never been) and long story short, I had told them on the way down how when I moved here in 1989, I had wooed some of the boys I worked with, with my central Ohio accent.
Wooed isn’t a good word.
They were smitten with my accent.
I was very loyal to my rural Ohio high school sweetheart when I moved here as an innocent 19-year-old.
I never went out with any of the young people I worked with and was even lovingly called “Amish” by some.
Apparently, that was very attractive to the some of the boys that I worked with out here.
Boys like a good chase, it would seem.
They would comment on my accent and it was a selling point if you get my drift.
So while we were at Portillo’s one of the waiter/staff members, named Dominick, who was cleaning up the tables was chatting with my friend, Kari.
They had a lengthy conversation about lots of things and then she happened to mention she was from Ohio and he abruptly said, “Oh” and walked away.
Well, Vikki and I just laughed and laughed when she retold us this after returning to the table.
Then as we were leaving to go to the bathroom, Dominick returned to our table, leaned into Vikki this time and whispered in her ear, “stay beautiful”.
To say we almost peed our pants is an understatement.
And I said to Vikki, “see, the accent still does it”.
On the way home, we went and visited an old friend.
Mr. John Hughes.
This you need to know about my Ohio people, family or friends: they get sh#$ done.
They come into your kitchen and just start cooking.
My mom does this when she comes to visit.
She goes to the grocery store and just starts whipping things up.
I love that.
That makes me very, very happy.
Kari came with cutting boards, knives, pickle juice, every little thing she needed to make me comfort food.
While she was cooking away, we all sat in the kitchen and visited, listened to the Polish Prince (long story) and just loved on each other.
Rebecca stopped over and got to meet these ladies who she has met via Facebook and messaged with over the past year.
It was so cool seeing my two worlds come together; my adult Chicago life and my childhood, over homemade deep dish pizza in my little Illinois kitchen.
It was a moment.
Vikki got the computer ready to do some Internet stalking browsing.
I got to see the homes that Vikki and Kari live in and the roads they live on as if we were right there in Richland County, Ohio.
Even though I lived there for most of my childhood and teenage years, I do forget some of the names of the roads but after talking about them all weekend, they all came back to me like it was 1988 all over again.
We talked about the morning Vikki’s grandma died in a car accident, about the moment she found out.
We talked about how long it takes Kari to get to her parents home from hers.
I soaked it all in.
The voices at the table.
We sang Bobby Vinton around the table, talked about recipes and when could we do this all over again.
And why on EARTH weren’t we close friends in high school??
Kari made homemade deep dish pizza in addition to homemade pierogi pizza.
Absolutely amazing, we could have eaten all night long.
My mission is to find this woman a cooking show of her own.
Blogger friends with pull??
My friend needs her own show, cookbook, SOMETHING.
She told us cooking is her happy place and I get that completely, you can tell.
The food was absolutely amazing because she cooks from her heart.
My mom is the same way.
We planned to do the dance scene at the end of the movie but we didn’t get the movie on until 9:30.
You can figure out if we were able to pull that off.
By the way, someone who will remain nameless COUGH KARI NOT ME KARI COUGH started yelling out gibberish in their sleep in the middle of the movie.
It sounded something like OHHHHHHH KELLY CLARKSON!!!
The next day after an amazing breakfast made by chef Kari…
GET HER A DAMN COOKING SHOW PLEASE.
…….we set out to see the sights of Chicago with a theme: John Hughes movies.
OK, I am announcing it here first: I want a John Hughes museum in Chicago.
I am seriously serious.
I need help.
Please, anyone who reads this, point me in the right direction.
This needs to happen.
HELP ME HELP MYSELF.
I have no connections but I want this so badly that I can taste it.
So if you know people, send me to them.
We need this to be a reality.
I am not just giving this lip service, I have already started a plan in motion but need some famous people and connections to help me back it so PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD IF YOU LOVE JOHN HUGHES MOVIES AND I KNOW YOU DO.
Back to the post…..
First, we picked up my friend Jen (who also knew Kari and Vikki via Facebook messaging ) and we headed to our first of many locations, Jake Ryan’s house in Sixteen Candles.
|courtesy of loroutloud.com|
Tee hee hee.
Anyhoo, we hit several places on our fun day back in time.
|Sorry blurred out my Ellie’s face. It’s not you. It’s the creep who Google’s “seven-year-old little girl” that I am protecting her from.|
|Grandad. Who also looks a ton like Bates from Downton Abbey. Creepy.|
Because real Irish people don’t care if you bring kids into a bar.
The manager was so nice about it, of course, he was Irish and made a comment about bringing his nephews all the time.
|Showing her granddad for the first time. She recognized the name and I wanted to cry.|
|courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org|
If you have a problem with that, leave this blog IMMEDIATELY!