This girl is funny...not skinny.

This girl is funny...not skinny.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

22 hours, 5 states, an over affectionate hockey fan, and finally finding the perfect public restroom.

Hello all!

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week  then Happy Thanksgiving!  

In the US this is the official kick off to the holiday season and we've gotten a bit crazy with the shopping. I mean, Black Friday should mean...you know...FRIDAY.  I give stores that are normally open 24 hours a pass because that's their regular schedule, but for the rest of the stores (I'm looking at YOU, Kohl's) there is no reason to make your employees miss a holiday with their families just so the rest of us can buy a discounted sweater and/or holiday ornament ten hours earlier than we would have anyway.  Black Friday should mean getting up in the dead of night, like 3 AM, grabbing a hot breakfast at your local 24 hour diner, and heading out to the stores around 4 or 5 AM on FRIDAY.  That's the way God intended it.  LOL

As for our family, we just got done last week celebrating my birthday and Skippy's with a quick trip to Detroit to see my beloved Redwings take on his beloved Tampa Bay Lightning at the historic Joe Louis Arena.  (Which they are tearing down at the end of the season.)

It was not going to be a long trip. Hubby and I, being old, planned on driving to the game Tuesday, watching the game Tuesday night, and coming home on Wednesday.  But...then Skippy said this:

"You know, we could just drive home after the game. Then you'd have a whole vacation day off instead of being in the car.  I do that drive all the time. It's a piece of cake."

Now, that might seem like a crazy idea, but after thinking about it and doing the math, we realized that yes, if the game got out at 10:30 Detroit time and we hit the road right away, we'd be home really no later than 4:30 Wisconsin time, allowing for stops and what not.  Skippy could do the bulk of the night driving and I would sleep in the back seat.

With this brilliant plan in place, we left for Detroit.  (Peaches opted to stay home with the cats.)

A rare picture of me...and my two favorite guys.
(I'm in the middle.)
The trip there was uneventful, as expected. We stopped once for food and made it to the Joe without incident. Well, okay, we missed the turn into the parking garage, but other than that, no problem.  We'd driven through part of four states:  Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.  The plan was to take the same route back. It was a route we all know very, very well.

Take that, Avs fans!
Being at the Joe Louis Arena, "The Joe," is a pretty awesome experience. I mean, it's really not that much to look at. It's old.  The seats are not comfortable. There are no cup holders. And there's no leg room.

But then you look up in the rafters, where the championship banners are. There's almost no ceiling space left.  The Redwings have a long and beautiful history of championship wins and retired greats of the game.  

The game itself was a good one.  Maybe not for the guys sitting behind us, who were true Detroit fans in that every word out of their mouths was unrepeatable and they had little good to say about the home team.  Until the home team started winning at the end of the second period.

It was during the second intermission that I decided I should break one of my rules and find a bathroom.  Now, have I mentioned The Joe is old?  how old?  Let's just say that the bathroom facilities for women were not...ample.

I got at the end of a line that stretched a hundred feet into the back end of the other line for the other ladies room.  As I stepped into the line, there was a little tap on my shoulder and a blonde woman with a smoky voice said, "Don't go there, I know a better place."

Now, I realize that this is the start to many different types of fantasies and believe me, I was skeptical.  However, if I stayed in the line I would miss a good portion of the third period and I had not ridden in a car driven by someone else for six hours to stand in a line and not see the game.  So I followed the blonde.  She wove her way through the crowd to a staircase and then she vanished.  I looked at the staircase. Yes, there was a restroom at the top, but in line were probably 200 men.  I saw no women in line.

Wait...

There were no women in line.

For a restroom.  At a sporting even.

I watched as a couple women sprinted up the stairs and vanished through a concrete arch.  What did I have to lose?  So I, well I didn't sprint, but I moved  pretty quickly up the stairs and at the top was a man who pointed me to a door where there were no women...

Inside...

The most glorious of all restrooms!  There were 50 stalls. I know this because they were numbered. They were clean!  The restroom smelled GREAT.  There wasn't a speck of dirt or a drop of water on the floor.  I saw steam rising out of the sinks, the promise of actual hot water!

Friends, most of you know my trials and tribulations when it comes to public restrooms. I'm here to tell you, I've found it!  I've found the absolute MECCA of ladies' rooms. It's the pinnacle of peeing!  I was in and out of there in under five minutes and there was no back up on the stairs, why?  Because there was a second door and stairs to go down.

At the bottom of this second flight of stairs I bumped into the blonde who recognized me (pink hair stands out in most crowds) and she said, "I was right, wasn't I?"  I nodded. I had no words for the magnificent loveliness she'd shared with me.

But back to the game.  

It was a good game, but the Redwings lost.  I was happy for Skippy because his team won. I guess that's all part of being a mom. Anyway, as we walked out of the arena, the guys decided they had to use the facilities. I would have shown the the staircase, but they are men and it would not have been as magical for them.  I told them I would park it next to the pillar next to the statue of Gordy Howe.

And now, for an "It can only happen to Sarah moment":

I stood there smiling, watching fans filter out of the building. I didn't feel crowded at all.  I was happy. This had been a great night!  And, we'd decided to take a short jaunt down to Toledo, OH, and hit a Waffle House on the way home. It wouldn't increase our drive by more than twenty minutes, the guys decided, so why not?

As I was thinking about the Waffle House menu a very, very tall Redwings fan and his buddy walked up to me.  I didn't think much of them, a lot of people brushed past me.  But this guy stopped.  He stopped and he leaned down to my face level.  Which, since he was so tall, meant all of my viewing space was full of him.

He put his arm around me like he was going in for a kiss or something.  Instead, he leaned a bit closer to my ear and said in a tender, moderately inebriated tone,  "We lost.  It's a sad f---ing night."

"We did. But we're going to be okay," I responded.  I mean, what else are you going to say to that?

He seemed satisfied that we'd comforted each other and he and his buddy went on their way.

Okay then.

We drove down to Toledo  (Thereby hitting our fifth state of the day) and had a lovely meal at Waffle house. I had a grits and eggs bowl.  It was fantastic. I have friends who think I'm nuts, but I love Waffle House.  

By this point it was one AM  Eastern Time.  (Game ran long, it had taken longer to walk out of the Joe than expected, and we lounged a bit at Waffle House.)

We did the math. We still thought we'd be home around 5:30 Central time.  Confident the guys had it in hand, I curled up in the back seat and tried to sleep.

And then we hit the death fog.

Death fog like I've never seen it.  We'd drive along for a couple miles at 70 and then BAM.  A while wall of no visibility for several miles.  This went on through half of Ohio and all of Indiana.  We had to stop twice in Indiana  (Once at a gas station that wasn't open, but thanks to some GUY who just happened to be driving around at 3 AM, he informed us the station wasn't open and neither were the pumps, but that if we "drive up the road there a piece" we'd find all manner of open gas stations.)  We did, and by this time I was FREEZING in the back seat. The guys, in an effort to stay awake, had turned off the heat.  We didn't have a blanket in the car.

I'm now the proud owner of one of those silver plastic sheets, the kind they wrap accident victims up in. They sell those for $3.99 at the gas stations in Indiana.  Wrapped up in that I was warmer, and I also resembled a baked potato...or Jiffy Pop Popcorn.

By the time we hit the Illinois border, Skippy was asleep and the sun was starting to come up.  I had to be the co pilot through that last leg home.  

We pulled into our driveway and it was nearly 8 AM Central time.  the guys went directly to bed.  I needed to thaw off my feet, so I took a hot shower, checked in on the conference call at my job, and then hit the couch and spent that whole lovely full vacation day...sleeping.

And so my friends, here ends my story.  The moral of the story is that I'm too old to stay up most of the night and it's going to be a long time before Hubby and I drive across Indiana and Ohio again.

With that, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remember if you are making the dessert for dinner: 

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