Tag Archives: Atlanta

Nice to meet you. Where’s your bathroom?

31 Mar

Last post about my trip to Atlanta, I swear.

The weather was gorgeous while I was in Atlanta, so Liz and I took a few long (five mile?) walks. Liz is in fantastic shape, so I’ve always found it hard to keep up with her when we walk. She’s an arm-pumping kind of walker. I’m more of a stroller. As a result, I’m usually winded, so my strategy is to lob questions at her so she’ll do most of the talking.

This time, when I saw her loading up Jackson in his stroller, I was excited because I thought it meant we’d be going at a leisurely pace. Silly me! She walks just as fast with a stroller – even going up hills and across rocky paths. She’s like a human tank that only weighs 100 lbs. It’s truly impressive.

So we ventured out for a long hustle, and about halfway through my stomach seized up. “Liz,” I asked nervously. “Is there a bathroom anywhere around here?” (We were on a pretty busy road lined by office buildings, but I wasn’t seeing anything that would be open on a weekend.)

“There’s a Starbucks up ahead of us, maybe a half mile,” she said. Then she looked at my face and said, “Oh. Do you think you can make it?”

“I sure as hell hope so,” I told her. “Or else this visit is going to live in infamy.”

I won’t keep you in suspense: I made it to Starbucks just in the nick of time. And I’ll no longer complain about the cost of a cup of coffee there. I now understand their cost structure: that seemingly huge profit margin actually goes toward toilet paper and janitorial services for random people who stop in to use the facilities.

Because we were a good 2.5 miles away from home, I was nervous about the return walk, so I pulled off about two feet of toilet paper and carefully folded it around my hand. Then, because I didn’t have any pockets, I tucked it into my sports bra.

Feeling very much the Boy Scout for my worst-case planning efforts, I met back up with Liz outside and we continued our walk. When we were about a mile from her home, she saw some of her friends out on their deck, so we waved and walked over.

We chatted with them for ten minutes or so, politely establishing how we all knew each other, where we work, etc.

As we walked away, I told Liz, “They seem really nice.” Then I looked down because something caught my eye. I stopped. “Liz! Look at me.” She looked and started cracking up. “Was this hanging out the entire time we were talking with them?” About eight inches of toilet paper was hanging out of the neck of my shirt, as if I were a walking dispenser.

Liz nodded. “I even noticed it,” she said, “but I just thought, ‘Oh yeah – there’s Alison’s toilet paper,’ like it was a normal thing for you to have hanging out of your shirt.” Which, given the weekend we had, probably makes sense.

Let’s agree: I certainly know how to make an impression.

Apparently, I roll like a celebrity.

That’s ok – you guys can do the parenting.

30 Mar

Anyone who knows me, knows that kids are not part of my life plan. Friends used to doubt me, admonishing, “You’ll change your mind! Just wait…” as I shook my head with certainty.

In recent years, however, they’ve started hold back those comments. I would blame their shift on my nearing approach to 40, but I actually think it probably has more to do with Alan practically handing out business cards for the doctor who performed his vasectomy.

Whatever the case, I’m glad people no longer try to talk me into a baby. They’re just not my thing. (I know. This probably means I have no soul. But I do have grown-up meals, a clean house, a travel budget and the ability to soak in the bathtub with a good book whenever I want. I’ll take the trade-off.)

That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy other people’s kids – at least in small doses. Take last weekend…

In Atlanta, I got some quality bonding time with Liz’s son Jackson, who is two. He was friendly and snuggly and adorable. And also generally half-naked, wearing only a shirt, in a style known (for obvious reasons) as Porky Piggin’.

The naked bit is because he’s potty training and Liz is having to get creative about learning his signals. Apparently when he wears a diaper, he doesn’t think about what he’s doing and just fills it. But if he doesn’t have pants on, he has just enough awareness to shout “Go pee pee!” before running at full tilt toward the bathroom.

So I was sprawled on Liz’s couch Sunday morning, drinking my coffee, when all of a sudden we heard Jackson come tear-assing down the hallway toward us from the bathroom, clapping wildly and yelling, “Yay Jackson! Jackson go potty!”

Liz, eager to reward him for using the toilet, quickly grabbed a sticker for his chart and said, “Good job! Show me!” and started to follow him back down the hall. From the couch I heard her excitement quickly morph into horror.

“Oh no! Jackson! What happened?!” she implored. Then, “Alison! Do not come out here!”

Of course those are just the words to make me scramble to my feet with curiosity, so I trotted through the kitchen in a flash. And found myself staring down a long hallway dotted with turds.

Apparently Jackson had been so excited to have used the toilet that as soon as he finished peeing, he jumped up and ran to tell us about it – forgetting that he had more business to attend to – and took a running dump the entire length of the 20′ long hallway.

Liz looked at me and shook her head, starting to laugh. “I don’t even know where to begin!”

When we had the situation under control, I sent Alan a text. “Never a dull moment. My Sunday morning started by helping Liz clean up poop in the the hallway. How’s YOUR day going?”

His response?  “My day is great – I almost never poop in the hallway!” Amen.

Exactly how old am I? Twenty?

26 Mar

I’ve long suspected I’m not Junior League material, but this past weekend, I confirmed it.  I was in Atlanta, visiting my friend Liz. Friday we went out for dinner, hit an art opening, then people watched at the bar of the St. Regis. It was a nice, chill evening, with only one problem: the drinks.

We had a mojito with dinner, then wine at the art opening. Then, at the St. Regis, we ordered a glass of wine and the bartender presented us with some kind of coffee drink with whipped cream vodka. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an evening that involves anything more than splitting a bottle of wine, and I can’t remember when I last drank liquor, so this definitely constituted a wild night.

And man was I feeling it the next morning when we pulled out of Liz’s driveway, heading out on a home tour organized by the Junior League of Atlanta. I slumped in the passenger seat, wearing sunglasses and pounding water. On our way to pick up her friend Erin, who was joining us for the tour, Liz pointed to a garbage can on the sidewalk in Buckhead and said, “See that? That’s where Erin threw up last year before the house tour.”

I sized it up. “Maybe I should do the same thing,” I told her. “Then when we grab her, you can introduce me as someone who has something unique in common with her.” I was only half-joking.

But then as we drove the tour route, the roads turned twisty and hilly, a combination that would induce car-sickness on a good day. Definitely not what you want to combine with a hangover.

Outside each home, perfectly made-up southern girls sat at a table, smiling as they checked our tickets and gave us blue booties to slip over our shoes so we wouldn’t scuff the floor. “Y’all enjoy yourselves,” they’d urge and I’d wince.

Inside the second house, staring at the kitchen’s flawless marble counters and admiring its chilled under-counter beverage drawer, I felt a wave of nausea wash over me. I looked around in a slight panic, wondering if anyone had ever soiled a home on the tour.

It has been years since I’ve thrown up for any reason, but when my mouth started salivating as I left the home, I knew what was coming. Without missing a beat, I walked down the driveway, crossed the street into a small park next to a set of occupied tennis courts, and knelt – Tebow-style – before silently barfing in a cluster of liriope.

To anyone watching, it would’ve looked like I was simply tying my shoe. Until you noticed I was wearing flipflops.

Liz and Erin had wisely hung back on the sidewalk, and questioningly flashed me thumbs-ups as I walked back to them. I simply nodded, trying to be discreet as I passed a woman walking two small white dogs past me into the park.

As we climbed into the car, Erin piped up from the backseat. “Gee Liz – we’re going 2/2 on this home tour. Guess next year it will be your turn!”  We both shuddered; Liz, undoubtedly at the thought of being the one to toss her cookies in public.

And me? Well, I’d just seen the two white dogs discover their next meal.

You say goodbye. I say hello.

10 Sep

Liz and Holly came over Wednesday for a major milestone: OUR LAST WINE NIGHT.

No, we’re not all suddenly jumping on the wagon (though that might not be a bad idea)… rather, Liz is moving to Atlanta on Tuesday.

Gasp! I know, right? We’ve had almost a decade of regular late nights, swilling and sharing stories.

I first met Liz in 1999, when I moved into her group house on N Street NW in DC. One of my favorite memories of our time living there together is when she came home from a night out and remembered that she was supposed to make brownies to take to work the next day.

Tired (and probably a little drunk), she mixed up a batch, put them in the oven, and — fell asleep on the couch, only to awake hours later in a smoke-filled living room! Never a quitter, she turned the contents of that pan out into our yard, and made another batch for her co-workers. When we moved out months later, that black brick of brownies was still in our yard. Not even the rats could eat it.

Shortly after we vacated the N Street house, Liz moved to London for a six month assignment with Accenture. It was at her going away party (at The Big Hunt? Lucky Bar?) that I met Holly. While Liz was in London, Holly and I started hanging out regularly, and when Liz returned (in 2001), we had our first three-person wine night and a tradition was formed.

During the past decade we’ve witnessed a lot: there have been boyfriends and break-ups, new jobs and promotions, long distance relationships, sisters moving and marrying, shared vacations, law school,  a proposal, a wedding, a pregnancy and a baby.

I’m definitely going to miss Liz and miss wine nights. But I have to remind myself: had she not moved to London, we wouldn’t have even had wine nights. So maybe her move to Atlanta, instead of marking the end to a tradition, is only the beginning of a new one.