Saturday, July 25, 2009

truth comes out

The other day I was Facebook chatting with my old pal and Creightonian (student newspaper) buddy, Brian, aka BNORT.

BNORT too is a city kid. In fact to him, Omaha was small. So when it comes to the country versus city-side of this blog, I guess I figured he was on my side.

I guessed wrong.

BNORT: So? Medora?
Me: yes...
BNORT: excited?
Me: yeah, it's just me and my pal, Cookie. No Cowboy. Sorry if that disappoints. I think he's more popular than I am on that blog.
BNORT: haha, he does add some entertainment value. but i'm sure you going to this medora place will be plenty entertaining.

Great Brian, great. I feel like the last kid picked at the dodge ball game IN MY OWN BACKYARD. So now I'm going to have to borrow a riffle and shoot something, just make you love me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm off to explora the Medora

Had someone grabbed me by the ear junior year and said, if you study journalism you'll spend your vacations doing this, I'd have taken them outside, rammed my fingers in their eyeballs and assaulted them with "Yo mama" jokes.

  • Yo mama so bald you can see whats on her mind
  • Yo mama so old she waitressed at the Last Supper
  • Yo mama so fat she sat on a rainbow and skittles popped out

But just in case, I also would have changed my majors to aquaculture and soil science, naturally.

So when my friend Cookie up and left me for a job in Medora, North Dakota's No. 1 tourist destination, I knew I'd have to visit. So this weekend I am.

The story of the city goes like this: A young entrepreneur named Marquis de Mores founded the town in 1883. He named it Medora, after his new bride, Medora von Hoffman. The tale of their love and the city's foundation is supposed to be one of the most romantic ever told. But how it measures up to "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" remains a mystery.

Frankly, I think it's manure. Quite literally.

See, Mores invested the money of his rich, city-slicker father-in-law into founding the town. He built a mansion for himself as well as stores, hotels and A MEAT PACKING PLANT. The city is still known as a CATTLE TOWN, reminiscent of the Ol' West.

What makes it worse, is this Medora von Hoffman, his wife, loved it there. She loved it so much, she told newspapers she would always remember Medora as home. Even though she was wealthy. And from New York. And should have known better.

So, basically this town is either so radical even city people like it, or Medora von Hoffman got one too many whiffs of methane.

I'll let you know next week.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

It ain't easy eating greens

This winter I signed up for a farm-fresh food delivery program. I had to do it. The weather made me crazy.

The program sounded like a good one.

Every week, a farmer delivers spinach, radishes, carrots, peas and/or other fresh farm produce to the consumer’s (that's me) home or office. The deliveries last throughout the summer and each week’s groceries are portioned for about a family of four.

To eat that much, I’d have to A). pop out a kid or seven or B). increase my stomach’s storage capacity. So each week I split the contents of my home delivery package with my friend and her husband.

The way I figure it, I spend $10 a week for the at-office DELIVERY of lettuce, spinach, radishes, onion and dill, for example. The amount of dill ALONE, had I bought it in the grocery store, is worth more than $10.

The only problem is, I could split my half, in half, and I’d still have cabbage go bad.

See, I’ve come a long way in my vegetable-eating habits.

In my elementary days, the only Vitamin C I ever consumed came from the grape preserves on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I didn’t mind Capri Suns and Kool-Aid, but orange juice made me gag. Corn was OK, but broccoli, cauliflower or coleslaw of any kind induced a stomach reflux rivaling that of a bulimic.

I don't know if that's a city thing, a kid thing, or a Katie thing, but that's just how I rolled, yo.

Since then, I’ve come to admire the taste of a sauteed onion and I don’t even flinch at lettuce on a BLT.

So when I heard about this vegetable venture I figured it was only a natural progression into my life as a country girl... or at least a well-balanced diet. That, and seven months of snow had me craving the outdoors so bad I was willing to stick my fingers in dirt just to feel the fresh air. See what I mean about the crazy? DIRT.

The first delivery was great. Along with the perfectly portioned produce, the farmer sends recipes and detailed lists of exactly what I’m eating and just how many vitamins are in it.

Since I had company coming (i.e. mom, dad and brother), it was perfect timing. Radish dip, anyone? You got it. Spinich-fried rice? Cowboy can whip it up.

But even with all the company and all the recipes and all the food I fed them, a dill-filled Ziploc remained in my freezer. And the beet greens the farmer sent, still there.

The malevolence of the woman, to fill me with lycopene, beta carotene and other nutrients good for my heart... how dare she? She sends so much, it’s like I’m supposed to eat vegetables with every meal or something. Bogus.

I'm pretty sure the only food group I eat with every meal is dessert.

So while I appreciate the recipe for braised beet greens, I’d much prefer the recipe for beet green peanut butter balls.

Today I receive another delivery. I'll likely drown in its contents, but at least I won't die hungry :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

window war

My house faces a four-lane highway. And across the street, I can watch travelers fill their tanks for $2.44 a gallon.

So the other night when Cowboy asked me to close the window, I bawked.

It’s 75 and summer, I said. Perfect window-opening weather.

Didn’t you hear those people out there, he said.

Out where? On a public street?

True. Two innocent path-walkers had sauntered along the sidewalk. And they were... conversing.

Oh my gawd, I said. Call the cops.

Seriously, he said. Doesn’t that noise keep you up at night?

I couldn’t lie. Sometimes the 6 a.m. motorcycle revs or the midnight drunken-gas-station-slushie speak startles my slumber. But it’s not enough to outweigh the benefits of a night of fresh air, free from artificial climate control.

See, where Cowboy comes from, all is silent save for a crowing meadowlark or a closing car door when visitors arrive.

But where I come from, (Kiewit Hall) I could throw a rock onto six lanes of interstate. I could step out my door and into a freshmen’s vomit. And every other Friday, I heard a helicopter lift off and later land, over and over again. The hospital's roof from which it flew, see, served as the city’s trauma unit... you know, for stabbings and stuff.

Well, Cowboy said, can I close it or not?

Keep it open, I said. Or go back to the boonies where you came from.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Parents: part III

The morning of Day 2 began with this text message conversation. I think it epitomizes the entire weekend.

Aunt Melen: R u ok?

Me: So far so good. Boys are golfing. Girls are shopping.

Aunt Melen: U let cb (Cowboy) alone with ur dad??!! i thought u liked him.

Me: Well, if he’s gonna get scared, better now than later right?

Aunt Melen: Good point. is he packing his riffle?

The boys golfed 18 holes that day. My mom and I shopped and drank over-priced coffee. Check that one in the "success" column.

That night however, was probably more scary than the evening an American she-male, dressed in Winne the Pooh pajamas, screamed obscenities. At 4 a.m. In the bunk below me. In an Italian hostel.

Why didn't I blog back then?

Day 2 was the night my family was going to meet his family. See, this wasn’t just a meet the family weekend, this was a family-meet-the-family weekend.

I’d had nightmares all week. Had she been there, I’d have dug my nails into the she-male's nightgown and begged she cradle me to her silicone bosom.

And although the two parental parties seemed to exchange greetings, handshakes and cocktails without any major fist fights or freak outs, I think the biggest indiscretion of the weekend was when Cowboy started talking about kids.

I’d told him: Beware. My mom is hopped up on grandchildren. Don’t feed her habit. DO NOT mention the words “children” “pregnant” or “diaper genie,” lest she be stoned all week and need an intervention to get her back again.

I'd like to note my mother bought me a lot of clothes that weekend. And I'd like her to do it again. I love my mother very much.

But he didn’t listen.

That kid was CUTE he said. And he swam with FLOATIES and I PLAYED CATCH with him and... his words clouding mom's mind like a freshly lit bong.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? my face pleaded. But boys never understand girl-face language.

The whole conversation, my mom’s face reeked of Jane Jr.’s. She’d look at him with a smile so big she'd need a face lift before her lips returned to normal.

And then she’d look at me.

And then him.








So my face spoke back: I swear to god woman, if you mention grandchildren right now, you won't be getting any.

And then her face said: you have some roads to cross before grandchildren, my dear.

So mine said: mention that again and it's SOO going in my blog.

Before long, the weekend ended, the parents left and four Ryans and a Cowboy still breathe. I can't say I have no scars, however, my dad's bad jokes left a rash like a gnarly STD. And Brother, I'll be needing that cocaine back... for the next visit.

Friday, July 17, 2009

country vs. city attire

Since Cowboy’s apartment flooded, he’s moved more than the freshmen skank in college dorms: three times in three months.

In an effort to reduce the plastic tubs, cardboard boxes and garbage bags full of shit valuable possessions, I helped him sort. Two piles, I said, one to keep and one to toss.

For the most part, the work was easy. But one item bore the soul of the devil, it was so hot.

Me: This shirt has holes in it. I’m tossing.


Me: Important shirt?

Him: Yeah, important shirt. Like, I wear it to interviews and stuff.

Me: A shirt with holes? You wear a black, short-sleeve polo with holes in your gut to a job interview?

Him: It’s worked every time... I've gotten every job I've interviewed for in that shirt.

Me: Really? Maybe your employer is just distracted by your fancy-looking suit pants... What do you wear it with?

Him: Jeans.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

All's fair at the fair

You know you’re getting country when you feel for the county fair the way you did for Christina Aguilera's "Back to Basics" concert: stoked to the bone. I feel especially country since I grew up in a county that was so uninterested in fairs that it no longer held one.

Truth is, I’ve attended fairs before. Big and small. If I had a slice of bread for every trip I'm made to the Iowa State Fair, its butter cow would no longer exist. You'd think my fair experiences once or twice a year would wean me from my fear of farm animals. But no.

Farm animals scare me. I don’t care what you say. They’re evil and they hate women with pretty shoes.

I know this because when I lived in Ireland, I visited my Irish roommate's dairy farm. There, some mama cow spotted me and gave me a look that said "Stay the eff of my milking parlour, ya heifer." That cow was a girl, but if I’m not mistaken, her head sprouted horns, just for me. You win! You win! I screamed, sprinting into a closet and NOT EVEN CARING about the manure on my dress flats. I cowered there until Samantha P. assured me the cow was preoccupied with hand cuffs suction cups on her nether regions.

Somehow, I survived. But the trauma of that day has never left me.

So while I anticipate the fair like a little kid counts down the days until Santa, me and the living exhibits aren't exactly Facebook friends.

I take that back. The plants are ok.

But I’m pretty sure the little 4-Hers showing horses, cattle and even rabbits are in more danger than if they hopped on the ferris wheel and didn’t wear a seat belt. I mean, WHERE ARE THEIR PARENTS??

So naturally, since I’d volunteered to cover the fair every day this week, I had to see the livestock. Every animal was caged, roped or bound in some manner, so I thought I’d survive.

I didn’t.

Can't you see how that chicken it trying to bite my head off? I’ve never heard of man-eating chickens, just man eating chickens, but I’m pretty sure this dude wanted pay back.

In fact, they all did. Every time I LOOKED at one of them, they’d bawk or bite or inflate their feathers. One was puffed so big it looked like a marshmallow in a microwave.

I was so disgruntled a ate a hot dog for dinner. That way I could get back at ALL the animals in the same meal.

Revenge (covered in mustard) is sweet.

Parents part II

The first thing my dad said to Cowboy was, “You look thinner in real life.”

It wasn’t like Cowboy had lost 30 pounds or my dad had seen a picture of him. No. Despite my mom wrapping her arms around my ankles and promising to send peanut butter balls every week until I can no longer fit in the shower, I'd refused sending images of any kind. I know what you’re going to do with them, I said to her, you’re going to send them to all your lunch lady friends and frankly, I don’t appreciate you showing them pictures of HIM before you show them pictures of ME.

So when my dad mentioned a photo of Cowboy, he was referring to this:

I won’t divulge the driver’s identity or how genuinely sweet he is except to say the ride was work-related. And no, that's not Cowboy and no, you don't get pictures. Come visit me. You can see the real thing in person. Boo-ya.

Anyways, once the parents arrived I called my insurance company. I didn’t have a claim, aside from insanity, but I had to increase my renter’s insurance coverage. The value of my apartment’s contents doubled once the cardboard boxes filled with homemade salsa, Fijian jewelry and four 12-packs of bottled beer arrived. I’m not sure how the three of them made it up here suffice it to say they drove one car and two Russian space stations.

I’d told Cowboy to bring the photo album I’d made of the flood. (Did I mention he’s homeless?) I knew my mom would want to see it. If nothing else, the album gives us five people something to talk about besides embarrassing stories like when I got my third speeding ticket or the day I puked on the dinner table and my brother announced to the restaurant “Katie’s barfing!”

Soon, my dad made jokes like "So when your house was under water, did you wear your swimming trunks"; my mom was telling Cowboy how lucky he was to flood (cuz that’s how he met me, wink, wink) and my brother was searching through my kitchen cabinets searching for... crackers? mice? cocaine? But, I keep that in the bathroom, silly brother, next to the Cuban cigars and nuclear missiles.

DINNER TIME! I said, happy to get them out of the apartment though unsure about sharing their company in public.

So I took them to the nicest place in town where they could order sautéed shrimp, 32 ounce prime rib or stew made with buffalo. This restaurant wasn’t a Mickey D’s Play Place or something... it’s the kind of establishment where chocolate mints follow every meal and hand towels come in baskets instead of dispensers. Surely, they’ll behave themselves here, I thought.


Mom flashed her camera faster than a drunk girl flashed for Mardi Gras beads. Smile Kate, she said.


Come on, just one.


Just do it, Cowboy said.

But he didn’t understand. He doesn’t realize that with the sound of the click, that photo was shipped to Dubuque, Iowa and back. I have no proof, but I’m positive every living relative and half of the dead ones were e-mailed that picture by now.

But that wasn’t enough. Soon, the waitress was taking our perfect family photo too.

What’s the occasion? she said.

Funny you should ask, I answered. My parents and brother are in town for weekend... no, not for a wedding. Nope, not for the Fourth of July. They're here to meet this boy I’ve been dating... because they’ve never met or even heard of such a boy before. (Did I mention I turn 25 this year?) This is an occasion so rare the mayor should commemorate a day in its honor. I should write a newspaper article ABOUT MYSELF. SO YES, YES PLEASE we need photos.

Uhh... say cheese... she said, the camera catching air as she returned it. And I'm pretty sure I saw her fingers bleed as she scoured them before greeting her next table.

To be continued.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Parents: part I

The weekend came, went and somehow four Ryans and a Cowboy are still breathing.

Friday began the same way I started the morning I took the ACT: anxious, achey and 5 gallons of chai latte.

I had the day off from work, so I had time to prepare. But even though I’d vacuumed, scrubbed, reorganized and sorted through my apartment every day since the weekend before, I kept finding more and more dust, more and more crumbs and more and more projects I should have completed six months ago.

Cowboy didn’t have to work either. (Hey, holiday, hey!) I told him to come over anytime before 3 p.m. a.k.a. Ryan weekend blast-off. But don’t come over too early, I said, or I’ll put you to work.

I don’t mind helping out, he said.

Write that down, I said, in fact, tattoo it to your forehead lest you forget and complain of hand cramps or belly aches. NO ONE STOPS UNTIL THE CARPET SHINES.

So he arrived around 11 after doing some moving, hauling and choring of his own. Apparently, he misunderstood when I said Richard Simmons never worked you like this. Cowboy was ready to lend a hand, but starving... for Internet. I offered sandwiches and sodas but he bypassed the baked goods and made a bee-line for my computer... all in the name of Fantasy Baseball scores.

Fantasy Baseball is like that Giga pet I begged my mom for in seventh grade.

Fantasy Baseball: A virtual team fans update, maintain and study like a calculus exam. Basically, fans design their dream team using the actual players before each upcoming game. Based on the performance of the athletes selected, the fan gets points. The more points, the merrier.

The thing is, the American and National Leagues play, like, every day. And like my Giga pet, how often do you really want to clean the poop of a team that doesn’t even exist?

I have no city-country comparison for this nonsense. I just point it out in protest. How can you make fun of someone who buys $5 coffee when you spend your Saturdays inside with imaginary friends?

Me, I prefer to spend my days off preparing for company, i.e., ironing table linens and vacuuming the oven.

So, since I was so nice, and thankful to have another set of hands as mine were covered in cream cheese frosting, I allowed this. Go ahead, relax, trade Danny Knobler for Roy Halladay. You have 30 seconds before I hand you the list.

The list: A conglomeration of all the things I had to do before my parents arrived and the time in which I allowed myself to do them. And PS: Fantasy Baseball was not on it.

When you're done there, if you’re still wiling to help, I said, I have a man job for you.

A man job? he asked, ears perking. What’s a man job?

Welllllllll, I said, batting my eyes after reapplying lip gloss, see that door trim there with the lock on it? It’s not attached to the wall like it’s supposed to be. I ripped it off its hinges 6 months ago and never replaced it. Think you can handle it?

Maybe, he said. It would have been nice to know this before though. Then I could have brought my tools.

Listen, I said. I have tools. Two of them. What more could you possibly need?

I should have watched Cowboy work my one hammer and single screwdriver so I could learn how to use such devices and bypass the 6-month waiting period the next time, but I was too busy icing my red, white and blueberry cupcakes.

Finished, he said, beating his chest, reaking of Old Spice and shouting “I’m a man, I’m 40!” down the hall. What other man jobs you got, miss?

Well, I’ll let you pick, I said. Left on the list is curl my hair, paint my toes or fix lunch. What do you say, Macho Man?

Soon, Cowboy was peeling carrots, slicing mushrooms and chopping radishes as the melodies of Celine Dion and Kenny G masked the wings of his masculinity flapping away.

And while he cooked, cleaned, and repaired with every request, at only one did he put his boot down and say “Oh no you di-n’t.”

See, where I come from, (i.e. America) boys don’t tuck their polo shirt into their jeans. Especially when not working and ESPECIALLY while wearing flip flops. (Kyle J., I KNOW you agree with me on this one)

Now. I know I don’t know as much about man clothes as I do about women’s. But unless the man’s hair is graying, the shirt belongs OUTSIDE the pants.

Why don’t you leave it untucked today, I said.

No! he said with an astuteness usually reserved for rapists and purse-snatchers. I tuck in my shirt. I’m a Cowboy, he said.

Oh really? I said, covering my smile and pretending my laugh was just the background vocals to Barry Manilow. So why do Cowboys have to tuck in their shirts?

I don’t know, he said, inspecting his muscles and eating raw eggs. So girls can check out our butts.

Interesting, I said. And good luck with that, I said, cuz this one sure isn’t.

Ten minutes later, the parents arrived.

To be continued. Bwa haha.

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