Al Capone damn near gave me an STD.

My family surprised my sister, Jenna, for her 30th birthday last night. We took her on a wild adventure through downtown Kansas City. Jenna’s closest friends and family raised a glass or two or ten in honor of Jenna’s 30 years of life.

One of the stops on our bar-hopping agenda was Manifesto.

Manifesto is a cocktail bar in the basement of the former hotel, The Rieger. Today, The Rieger is a popular restaurant in Kansas City. Condos make up the upper floors.

The Rieger was built in 1915. It was owned by Alexander Rieger. Alexander’s father founded J. Rieger and Co. Whiskey in 1887. It was one of the largest whiskey empires in the country. Prohibition shut the hotel down in 1919.

It wasn’t a secret what ties the hotel had with whiskey. After all, the hotel sat in the middle of what was once called “the wettest block in the world.” Its close proximity to Kansas City’s Union Station made it appealing to traveling salesmen, railroad workers and visitors. But those weren’t the only people staying at The Rieger. The basement of The Rieger operated as a speakeasy during the Prohibition. Today, Manifesto’s entrance is not marked. It still sits hidden in the basement of The Rieger.

The walls of Manifesto heard the infamous voices that made up the prohibition era. The voices of cash deals and corrupted governments. The voices belonging to the black and white photos of the men in the history books with their fedoras, pin-striped suits, and machine guns. Those voices, slurred by whiskey perhaps – were from the mouths of Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, Tom Pendergast, and Al Capone.

As a born-Kansas Citian, I am a whiskey lover. I have an appreciation for a cocktail made with whiskey. Whiskey is not easily hidden like vodka. It has a distinct taste. A taste that dates back to the Prohibition.

Whiskey also makes you pee a lot – not to say vodka or tequila won’t.

Whiskey made Al Capone pee. The Chicago-based mob boss, nicknamed Scarface, pissed at Manifesto in Kansas City. I stood where Al Capone stood. I imagined Al Capone relieving himself so many years before me.

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A historic moment in time. Al Capone pissed here.

I broke all barriers and went into the men’s restroom at Manifesto. I took a chance at getting kicked out. A woman where only a man should be. A woman at a urinal. A urinal that’s still in use by the men of Kansas City.

A urinal that saw the genitalia of the organized crime boss and brains behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago – Mr. Al Capone.

How did Al Capone leave this earth? It wasn’t in Kansas City. It wasn’t at Alcatraz either. It was in Florida. He didn’t die from a machine gun. He died from cardiac arrest on January 21, 1947. His mental capacity was that of a 12-year-old boy because he suffered from paresis, a mental disorder, caused by late stage syphilis. 

Syphilis is a sexual transmitted infection. It’s passed by the genitals.

Al Capone essentially died from syphilis and gonorrhea.

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Al Capone damn near gave me an STD.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

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Swipe up.

Swipe right.

You’re good-looking.

Swipe left. 

You’re not good-looking.

The terms swipe right and swipe left are terms from the dating app, Tinder.

I am married. I have two daughters, two dogs, a cat, a beautiful home, and my iPhone stores my credit card number for me.

I swipe up. 

I swipe up on Instagram stories. I swipe up all the time. I swipe up when Scott’s asleep next to me. I swipe up in front of his face as he’s talking to me. School car line? Swipe up. Grocery store line? Swipe up! Sitting in the parking lot of the gym? Fling! 

If you’re wondering, “Julie, what the hell are you talking about.”

I’ll tell you what I’m talking about. THE FASHION BLOGGERS ARE RUINING MY LIFE. Ok, my life isn’t ruined. I have a lovely life. But now I’m buying their life and damn, I am rocking this casually draped jacket over my shoulders on this humid 85-degree day.

Cody’s probably going to kill me for posting this but it’s really highlighting my susceptible tendencies, not hers.

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I swipe up.

I can’t stop watching fashion bloggers’ Instagram accounts. It’s like a fashion magazine come to life. I get excited when I see their perfect faces pop up in my feed because it’s like turning a new page. The babies never cry. The toddlers never have meltdowns. The husbands are silent props. The inside of their houses are white. White, you guys. Who has white interior? Fashion bloggers living in a fantasy world. It’s a world where I’m an outsider, looking in. My face is pressed against the window and staring.

Do I want a perfect life? Yes, who wouldn’t. I swipe up for sweaters. Pants. Shoes. Rugs. New restaurants I need to try out. Makeup. Even fresh flowers sitting in my kitchen sink for no reason. Did you know certain nail polish colors trend? They do and I have them.

And do you know what else happens when I swipe up?

I’ll tell you what happens – Scott finds out.

Scott: Hey! What’s this charge? Did you buy something for $89?

Me: What? Oh. What did I buy? It might be the joggers I accidentally bought. Such a good deal for under $50.

Scott: Wait, what did you buy?

Me: $89. I don’t really remember. That might be a rug runner too.

Scott: Ok, well I was just making sure our credit card wasn’t stolen.

Me: Scott, I’m buying Becky’s life. I need help, I think.

Scott: What? Who’s Becky?

Me: Me. I’m Becky. My whole outfit – Becky. Our house decor – Becky. She’s like my own stylist or something. Here, look. She’s a fashion blogger. Her blog’s name is Cella Jane but her real name is Becky. And actually, she lives in Kansas City. Look, she has these swipe ups on her Instagram stories and this is how I shop now.

Scott: Tell Becky Swipe Up that she’s draining our bank account.

Me: I don’t know her personally. But…

Scott: What did you do?

Me: Nothing. I did nothing. It’s just…she works out at Fusion and I haven’t seen her yet. I just want to see her look like crap after a workout. No one escapes Fusion without looking like a drowned rat. I need to see the perfection fall a little bit.

Scott: You are out of control.

Me: Sometimes I see her chipped nail polish in her stories. It makes me feel normal.

Do I know, deep down, every fashion blogger rips ass under the sheets at night? Of course I do.

Being a social influencer is a job. It is a full-time job to appear magazine-perfect through special cameras and photo editing. Ripping ass and waving the sheets towards their husbands’ faces is the behind-the-scenes we’ll never see. Their babies cry. Their toddlers have meltdowns. All couples argue, even on date nights. No one is perfect. I know that.

Do I think Becky Swipe Up will read these words? I’d say the chances are high. Our town is big but not that big. I’m ok with being the woman that looks like a drowned rat and rips ass under the sheets. That’s who I am.

I am a humor writer, not a lifestyle blogger.

But it doesn’t stop me from swiping up. And the rug wasn’t an accident.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

I dumped Scott for Cody.

I know many of you have been reading my blog for years now.

You’re probably not shocked at the title “I dumped Scott for Cody” because you know I’m scheming you with my words.

You are correct. The title is not what it appears.

Cody is a girl.

I dumped Scott for Cody. The statement is still true.

No, I’m not a lesbian. 

I dumped my old workout partner – Scott – for a new workout partner – Cody.

I do not sugar coat blog posts. We’re all friends here and by friends, I mean real friends. Not some Facebook friend that has OMG. Best. Husband. Ever. Or an Instagram friend with smiling kids at the park, because it’s a good day with good friends! Friends also don’t let friends post videos of feet climbing a stair stepper. We get it. You’re working out.

I mean, it’s totally cool if you scrapbook your life on social media. You’re proud. We all are.

But I don’t scrapbook.

I’m a storyteller. If my husband gives me a present for no reason – he did something awful and he feels guilty. If I go to the park with my kids and friends – you won’t know about it unless something monumental happened, like the time 4-year-old Emma dropped her pants, squatted, and peed in the splash park. And as far as working out – again, you won’t know about it unless I dump Scott for Cody.

Fitness is not new to me. I’ve had a gym card since college and I use it a lot. I’ve worked out with Scott at a gym for the past 15 years. I’ve trained like an elk hunter. I’ve trained for a 5K with my friend, Heather. My new neighbors dragged me to a mud race.

I’m not athletic. I never played sports. I guess the only reason I’ve worked out for so many years is habit. And I train my body to handle something specific – reeling in a marlin, skiing in the mountains, running a 5K or a mud race. As Scott’s wife, my lifestyle is an active one.

Cody is drowning me facedown in my own puddle of boob sweat at Fusion.

Fusion

There are three locations in the area but one concept – you sign up for a class at any of the locations. You show up, take the hour-long class taught by an instructor, and you leave. It’s not an open gym; it’s classes only. And if you miss the class you signed up for, you’re charged. This forces you to not be a quitter. This is good for me because I have no problem quitting free of charge.

And now I can’t quit. I’m a hostage.

That came out wrong. Let me try that again – I dread walking into the building.

Fusion’s tagline is “shock your body.” It’s printed on the door and it makes me feel like I’m going to get electrocuted if I touch the door handle. But that’s ridiculous. Electrocution.

They shock your body during class instead.

Things I’ve learned the past few weeks at Fusion:

  1. I’m the stumbling baby giraffe everyone watched on the Internet and I swear everyone is watching me. Not only am I tall and lanky but I can’t tell my left side from my right side. The mirror confuses me. Cody reminded me that everyone is lost when they first start Fusion. She gave me helpful words of encouragement like “find a spot so you can shadow the instructor” and “your days of not washing your hair are gone” and “don’t bring a tiny washcloth as your sweat rag. You might need a beach towel at first.”
  2. Barre is not pronounced “bear” as in “the bear is trying to kill me.” It’s pronounced “bar” as in “the workout is on the ballerina bar” or “I swear to God, if I make it out alive, I’m going straight to the bar after this.” Ballerinas make me cry.
  3. Cardio Sweat Lab should be called Class Swamp Ass. I asked Google if excessive sweating is a health condition. Google said I might die. I apply deodorant on my crotch now. I say this like I’m joking but, in fact, I am not.
  4. Bikini Boot Camp is not taught in bikinis. So don’t ask, guys. Bikini Boot Camp refers to kicks, jabs, jumps, and uppercuts for the next time you ask if this class is taught in bikinis.
  5. I don’t understand why we have eyebrows anymore. The sweat, you guys. The sweat. Isn’t the point of eyebrows to stop sweat from dripping and burning saltwater into your eyes? I peel off my workout clothes when I get home because they’re stuck to my skin. And then I go straight to the shower because Cody brought me to a new level of boob sweat Scott has never given me. I’m still not a lesbian.
  6. The burpees at Fusion make me see the Devil himself. Did you know burpees are a workout developed by Satan? It’s true. I saw him. Here’s what you do: Stand, drop to a squat, jump your feet back to a plank position, jump your feet to a squat again, and jump up to a standing position. Repeat. The stars come out and meet my friend, Lucifer.
  7. Everyone at Fusion has favorite instructors. I haven’t found my favorites. Each one has a special way of making me wring my sweaty hair all over my mat at the end of class. I’ve determined Satan must be a woman with a rocking six-pack body.
  8. No one will call you out if you show up with your workout pants inside out. I had two choices once I realized what my dumbass did: 1. Grab the instructor’s microphone and announce that I know my pants are inside out, please don’t judge me. Or 2. Text Cody what I did and tell her I must walk out of the building backwards, reading “Shock your body” as the door closes in front of me. I went with option 2.

I don’t sugar coat my blog posts. Fusion takes me through a workout I’ve never experienced before. When I’m done with a class, I get in the car and sign up for another one.

Because I dumped Scott for Cody.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

Date your spouse.

This post is sponsored post by Fyllan and Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Date your spouse.

It’s marriage advice. You’ll hear it at weddings. You might even hear it repeated at a baby shower. It’s advice for empty nesters or retirees too, although that’s a guess. I haven’t reached that point in life.

The fact that it is a piece of advice will tell you it’s hard. Dating your spouse is hard.

Babies are good at putting out a rockstar couple’s fire. Really good, like rolling in on a firetruck with a water hose. But I’m not here to tell you that. You know. You also know it’s not always the kids. It’s stress too – the adult kind of stress that no one sees coming. A job loss. A breast cancer diagnosis. Losing a baby. Caring for aging parents. Life will throw something at you.

Even the day-to-day repetition can turn a marriage from for better into for worse. This isn’t a sad post. It’s a real one.

Date your spouse.

What kind of date? Well, that’s up to you.

I’ll tell you one of my favorite dates – feed me and take my dirty dishes away. 

For better is red lipstick. It’s watching Scott knot a tie even though he changed his mind later and went with a cowboy shirt instead. It’s curling my big hair. Scott trims his beard. He won’t shave it all because he knows I love his beard. For better is when Scott kisses my hand in the car on the way to our dinner date. I’m driving, of course, because I wear the pants in the relationship. That was a terrible joke, Scott. I’m sorry. For better is a dress and high heels. The heels that are just high enough to put me face-to-face with Scott. I love being his equal. He opens the restaurant doors for me and lets me walk in first.

For worse is putting in our name and waiting. It’s staring at other couples waiting. Everyone is on their phones.

For worse is making a mental note who was waiting before you. It’s our night, not theirs.

For worse is knowing you’re paying a babysitter to watch the kids while you stare at a hostess. You question if you remembered to give her your name after asking how long the wait is. Yes, I have done this before and Scott will never let me live it down.

Romance shouldn’t come with a wait.

Fyllan (pronounced “fill-in”) is a new restaurant app for your android or iPhone. I got to try out the app on Friday. We never waited for a table at Rozzelle Court Restaurant in the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City. Scott and I checked in by showing the app code and we were ushered directly to our table.

The app works in real time so you never have to call or book a reservation days in advance. The app is free to download.

The app is easy to use. We picked a restaurant from the map.

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We wanted a restaurant with ambience. Oh, I don’t know, maybe a 15th-century Italian courtyard ambience. And live music! Sold.

Rozzelle Court Restaurant at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

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We booked two guests for a 7 pm dinner time on July July 21, 2017.

Each restaurant will display a price to book. The price is determined by the restaurant according to the average ticket cost. This cost, paid on your credit card at time of booking, is used as a credit towards your final bill. The credit will also cover gratuity. Restaurants may list specials or additional options such as “meet the chef.” Fyllan charges 10% of your final bill for its service. Fyllan will make sure you’re dating – not waiting.

And rest of your night is yours.

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Thank you Rozzelle Court Restaurant and the Nelson-Atkins Museum. I am not a food blogger or even a foodie but you sure do make me look good on a Friday night.

And Fyllan – thank you for giving us a date night without the wait.

Scott still knows how to make me laugh for the better.

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Links: 

Fyllan app

Rozzelle Court Restaurant

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

Shiplap lover.

What makes something funny?

I don’t have an answer for you and I consider myself a humor writer. I can tell you humor is an art. There are different styles of humor – parody, satire, slapstick, irony, sarcasm, puns, spoofs, dark humor, the unexpected. Any stand-up comedian will tell you timing plays a role in humor. My parents will tell you humor is genetic.

But recognizing when you’re a dumbass and telling the world takes a certain skill. I once told Scott that people only think I’m funny because I’m good at making fun of myself.

It’s called the dumbass humor.

I was in the bathtub when I realized – holy shit, I might be the dumbest person I know. And I know a lot of dumbasses.

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What is this empty tub you see?

That’s the after.

Before I get to my story, let’s talk about my house. If Scott got his way, our house would look similar to a mountain lodge. Towering windows, ceilings that can easily fit a 15-foot Christmas tree, wood beams, a statement shed chandelier. Animal fur rugs under your feet and big game animals staring at you as you drink your hot cocoa with a splash of whiskey.

I mean, I don’t have anything against mountain lodges. They’re beautiful. They have a charm about them that makes you go straight for the red wine, the stout beer, the whiskey, and the medium rare steak. It’s hearty, warm, and full bodied. It’s man versus the wild – even if the eyes of the wild are made from glass.

We live at an elevation of 1,040 feet above sea level. We live in Kansas. We do not have majestic views of mountains but one time Scott saw our next door neighbor topless, popping a zit on her face in the mirror. Stop. It wasn’t at this house. Scott closed our blinds at our old house one night and there she was, really digging in with her nails. And Scott isn’t a peeping tom if he called me to watch too. That’s as far as we get for views of majestic – fine – full but a little saggy mountains.

In order to make our house a normal looking Kansas home, I need to balance the man vs. wild on our walls. I try to soften our home with flowers and white knit blankets. I weave my love of script and words with Scott’s fur and glass eyes staring at us. I think I do a good job. I am always looking for ways to mix our own version of the outdoors into our home.

The first weekend of the month, thousands of people head to the historic West Bottoms of Kansas City. You will find stores filled with antiques, one-of-a-kind vintage finds, thrifty picks, other people’s junk, whatever. It’s an interior designer’s dream. I went down to the West Bottoms this past weekend with two girlfriends. We wandered into store after store, each talking about our homes and our personal styles.

I found a perfect piece.

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Shiplap lover.

Me: Oh! This is cute. I have a whole fishing theme going on in our bathroom. Shiplap lover. Sounds sexy.

Cody: Oh, you should get it then.

Me: Yeah, I think I will. I’ll get it to decorate the shelf by our tub. It’s perfect.

Kathy: What’d you get?

Me: Isn’t this cute? I have a fishing theme in our master bath.

Kathy: Oh. Yeah. Get it.

It was perfect. There’s something about the master bathroom, especially the bathtub, that can be intimate without mushy. Shiplap lover is sexy. If there’s one thing Scott and I love with a passion, it’s fishing. You will see that love in our personal spaces.

Scott: What did you buy with Cody and Kathy?

Me: This. This. Isn’t this cute? Oh, and this too! For the tub.

Scott: What’s a shiplap?

Me: Oh, you know. Like lovers on a ship. It’s like us and fishing!

Scott: I’ve never heard of that.

Me: You’re not romantic. It’s a thing. It’s cute.

Scott: Oh.

Sunday night. I put my new decor pieces out. I filled the tub with epsom salts and oils. I applied a facial mask to my face. I poured a glass of wine, grabbed a book, and my phone. I sank into the tub and looked over at the words shiplap lover.

What is a shiplap anyway? I better make sure it’s not like the bottom deck with the rats or something gross.

Google search: shiplap

Um, what the hell is HGTV’s Fixer Upper? Who is Joanna Gaines and what the hell did I tell everyone I was buying?

Shiplap refers to a style of building material made of wood boards that overlap each other. No, not in the form of making a ship but in the form of wood pieces being nailed up on a wall like a barn. Go ahead – Pinterest search: shiplap. It’s bringing the look of a barn indoors. Some woman named Joanna Gaines from a show called Fixer Upper made it popular.

Shiplap has nothing to do with ships or fishing or getting drunk on the high seas with a lover. Nope. Any reference to fishing and shiplap makes zero sense to anyone that is not a dumbass. I don’t have one wall in my house that is shiplap. How can I be a shiplap lover if I don’t have shiplap? I love fishing and Scott not Joanna Gaines and Fixer Upper what the hell? Is that what I’m declaring now? My love for a television show that made shiplap popular?

Not only did my girlfriends probably think to themselves, what the hell was Julie talking about? But Scott called me out on it too. The employee at the store in the West Bottoms probably thought, this dumbass is buying a turquoise starfish with a shiplap sign. Every person I have ever fished with is sitting on their phone and laughing at my anchor, a turquoise starfish and shiplap lover. HGTV viewers, Joanna Gaines and interior designers everywhere are thinking, but those are rocks on her wall. Where’s the shiplap?

What makes something funny?

My dumbass.

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The letter F.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader?

Scott’s not.

The letter F.

Fifth grade.

This isn’t a post about Emma’s 5th grade homework. But it is about Scott failing.

After school today, Emma told me they had a meteorologist from Kansas City’s KSHB 41 Action News talk to her class. The fifth grade is finishing up their weather unit.

Emma: And guess what? She said Gary Lezak works with her. He is the chief meteorologist. When she asked the class for questions, I told her that you interviewed Gary Lezak for your magazine!

Me: You did?! What did she say?

Emma: She asked which magazine and I told her Simply KC. And you’re a writer. She said that is cool.

Me: Aw, that’s fun! Hey Scott! Emma said that female meteorologist from Channel 41 came to their school. Emma told her I interviewed Gary. Isn’t that funny?

Scott: Which meteorologist?

Me: I assume that morning one. Really pretty. Hey, Emma! Did she say what time she wakes up in the morning?

Emma: She wakes up at 1:30 in the morning.

Me: Oh, yeah. It was her then.

Scott: Lindsey Anderson?!

Me: How do you remember her name?

Scott: Emma, is she really tall?

Me: How do you know she’s tall?

Scott: Here, I’ll pull up a picture. I don’t know. She seems like she would be tall.

Scott smiled at his phone.

Me: Hm, I never notice people’s height, I guess. Tall?

Scott: Here. Is this her, Emma? Daddy’s favorite forecast lady? The one I watch first thing in the morning? Sometimes twice.

Me: WHAT.

Scott: Here, look. Lindsey Anderson.

Emma: Yeah, that’s her.

Scott: Yeah, my favorite. I wish I would have known that. I would have taken you lunch. See, look how much taller she is than everyone else standing with her. I knew it. She’s tall.

Me:

Emma: She’s really nice.

Scott: She seems like it.

Me: Give me your phone.

Scott: No.

Me: Give it to me.

Scott: No. Why didn’t you tell me Emma was having a guest speaker today?

Me: I didn’t know that. I hear you watch the weather every morning but I didn’t know that you’re watching Lindsey Anderson.

Scott: I know when she repeats her outfits now.

Me: WHAT! Are you giddy?

Scott: She’s my new crush.

Fifth grade.

I’m married to a fifth grade boy.

And I’m tall too, Scott.

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F

The letter A.

The letter A.

Stop. It’s not the scarlet letter A. Or A-hole A. Or Sesame Street’s, “brought to you by the letter A.”

It’s “what the hell did I sign up for” A. 

I’m didn’t think this over. It’s how I make decisions.

Would you like to buy my Girl Scout cookies? Delicious. Here’s some cash.

Do you want me to cut your hair, like, more than a trim? Does that mean you think I should? It’s getting too big isn’t it? Yes, do it.

Do you want to participate in the A – Z writing challenge for the month of April? You must write every day using a different letter of the alphabet. Sounds fun! Sign me up.

What am I doing? It’s 9:51 Central Standard Time on Day 1. Day A.

I’ve written 30 days in a row before. Last November I participated in Nano Poblano. I loved it. There are some great posts from that challenge. I know they’re great because I read them months later. They’re good. I laughed.

That’s the thing with writing. I can’t tell if I’m writing shit or not. Like, right now. Is this shit? I don’t know. I’ll be able to tell in a few months, long after I forget about this post. I’ll be able to tell if I keep your attention because you’ll come back tomorrow.

Here we go.

The letter A.

Awe: an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear produced by that which is grand, sublime, extremely powerful or the like.

That was me this week. I was in awe. Mouth-dropping awe. The I-can’t-believe-that-just-happened kind of awe.

There’s a blurred line between writing for a Kansas City magazine and writing about my personal life on this blog. I have my own column in the magazine. It’s about my personal life. But I don’t write my “professional life” articles on this “personal life” blog.

I live many lives.

A Kansas City magazine is for Kansas City. For me, Kansas City is home. I was born here, raised here, married here, and we’re raising our kids here. My extended family lives here too. In fact, if you live anywhere in the Kansas City metro, you probably know one of my cousins. I have over 100 cousins and second cousins. They’re multiplying as I type. I don’t know what to say other than my mom’s side is Mexican and my dad’s side is Catholic. Hey, it’s not stereotyping if it’s true. 

Kansas City doesn’t have beaches or mountains. We’re probably the furthest you can get from both. The best part about Kansas City is the people. I mean, sure, we’ve all flipped off one another on I-35 but for the most part we’re good people.

Kansas City is known for barbecue and jazz. Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse in Kansas City. Ernest Hemingway wrote for the Kansas City Star. We breed funny people such as Eric Stonestreet, Rob Riggle, Paul Rudd, and Jason Sedeikis. Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, is from Kansas City. And that cute Kate Spade clutch you’ve been eyeing? Oh, yes. My daughter, Kate, isn’t the only Kate from Kansas City. Hallmark cards, Garmin, and Sprint are headquartered here. But like I said, the best part of Kansas City is the people. Superman said it best, “I’m from Kansas. I’m about as American as it gets.”

If you look at a map – you’ll find Kansas City is actually two cities. Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. I live on the Kansas side. I’m Team Superman.

If I’m going to show off Kansas City to you, I’m going to take you to Kansas City, Missouri.

My first stop – Union Station. Union Station is Kansas City’s train station. It’s the train station of the past but also the train station of the present. It’s been called “Kansas City’s castle” and “Kansas City’s front porch.” A 850,000 square foot building, opened in 1914, is bound to pick up a few nicknames.

Union Station can show you the best of Kansas City without leaving on an Amtrak train. I can take you to a live theatre or a movie theatre. We can wine and dine at one of Kansas City’s best restaurants or we can grab a coffee to go. We can check out the latest traveling museum exhibit or look at the stars on a sunny day in the Planetarium. Science City is here and it’s exactly what the name implies. It’s a kid’s dream – not to mention a teacher’s dream too.

I forgot to mention – Union Station is drop dead gorgeous.

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Sit in awe. It’s ok, people do it all the time.

At her peak, she was a train station that saw over a million passengers during World War 2. Her main hall can hold 10,000 people. “Meet me under the clock” only meant one clock.

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95-foot ceilings, three 3,500 pound chandeliers, a six-foot wide clock. She is grand. When you’re drop dead gorgeous, pictures never do you justice. Forget a world stopped still in black and white. She’s always had color. When I say you can sit in awe, you can sit in awe of the soldiers boarding for World War 1. Or maybe that man in a fedora has a flask of whiskey hidden in his suit because it’s the Prohibition. You might even see Walt Disney carrying sketches of a mouse. He’s taking a gamble by leaving for California. You can see what it was like arriving in Kansas City for the first or maybe last time. The walls of Union Station holds most of Kansas City’s history of hellos and goodbyes.

I went somewhere else inside Union Station. It’s a place those millions of people have never seen.

I went to the attic.

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I didn’t meet anyone under that clock. I stood 95 feet above it. The clock is still wound by hand.

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And those 3,500 pound chandeliers? They’re originals.

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I stood above those too.

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They can still be raised and lowered but the crank to do so sits untouched.

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There are not many Kansas Citians that can say they’ve been in Union Station’s attic. There’s office space that surrounds the building, some of it forgotten.

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There’s graffiti on the walls showing teenagers being teenagers. I’m looking at you, Eileen Glynn of July 11, 1975.

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The walls upstairs were never meant for show. A 1910 construction worker probably never considered there might be a 35-year-old woman calling out his sloppy mortar job in 2017. But it’s still beautiful. 

My job is to write stories for Kansas City. I like doing it. I love it, really. I love showing off my hometown. Union Station is the queen of stories only most of them will never be told.

I’m sitting in Kansas at 12:16 a.m., writing a story on Union Station and I’m still in awe.

The letter A kind of awe.

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The Trojan horse shot my Achilles heel.

Hi. Welcome to 2017.

I’m in bed, introverting.

If you look up “introvert” in a dictionary, you will learn that an “introvert” is a noun – a person. Sometimes it’s an adjective – such as, Julie is introverted.

“Introvert” is also a verb. Julie needed to go home after chaperoning the school field trip because she needed to introvert.

It’s my blog and I can write new grammar rules if I want.

Extroverts gain energy by being around other people. Introverts gain energy by being alone. That’s it. That’s the difference.

This doesn’t mean that an extrovert is friendlier than an introvert. Or extroverts are the only ones that stand up for themselves. Rosa Parks was totally an introvert. Jim Carrey, Drew Carey, Audrey Hepburn, Ellen DeGeneres, Conan O’Brian, David Letterman, JK Rowling, Albert Einstein, and Beyonce – oh girl. They’re all introverts. Introverts can make you laugh, make you think, make you dance, make you proud. They can entertain you. And they most likely like you.

And, like me and Beyonce, we need to re-charge alone. We need to introvert.

The in-law family Christmas rolled into town two weeks ago. They came from all over – Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Florida, Washington (state), Tennessee, and California. Kansas City became home for the holidays.

A Trojan horse showed up in my house and all 30 of them busted out in front of me. And you know what they did? They took over. 30 people need to, like, eat. Scott’s family eats. Oh, do they eat. We observed “Christmas dinner” for seven nights in a row. Seven Christmas dinners. The big meal of the year, times seven. I mean, they rolled out pre-appetizers, appetizers, first course salads, main courses, sides, and desserts. And this wasn’t a scoop out of the ice cream container for dessert. Pies. Scott’s grandma baked pies. And homemade fudge. And breads. Plates of sin offered every night for seven nights.

Traditional. That’s the word. Scott’s family is traditional. They even say things like, “good grief.” And if they’re really shocked – like watching me down two bottles of wine only to make a George Michael video for Instagram – they’ll exclaim, “did she really? GOOD NIGHT!” and they’ll fall over in laughter. Scott’s family is a Peanuts comic strip. It comes out adorable and funny when you try to explain them.

“We’re normal.”

“Knock it off, Scott. I’m half Mexican. Throwing an enchilada and couple tamales on a plate is my normal.”

I’m sorry, I got off topic. The food distracted me. The Trojan horse rolled into my house, aimed and fired at my Achilles heel and now I’m dead. I totally screwed up that metaphor, didn’t I? 

The reason I’m starting off 2017 introverting in bed is because people, so many people. I’m re-charging. I’m trying to get back to normal, my normal with a freezer full of tamales from my mom. I’m trying to find my creative rhythm, my focus.

No, I didn’t start yoga.

Although, I should get my ass in the gym because that was a lot of food.

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My date with Amy Schumer.

** Warning: This post is rated R. I’m not a G-rated writer by any means but Scott’s grandma reads this and I felt I should post a warning. It’s Amy Schumer, come on. **

I am not a lesbian.

Amy Schumer is not a lesbian either.

But that’s not going to stop me from calling Amy Schumer my date because my go-to male date was crushing on a male deer from a treestand.

Amy did everything right. She told me to put away my cell phone. She never picked up hers. She talked. I listened. She had the wit and delivery to send my ab muscles into spasms. I left wanting more.

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Amy Schumer has no idea who I am. I went on a couples date but it wasn’t that kind of date. I picked up an extra 4th ticket from a neighbor when she realized she had to miss Amy Schumer’s performance in Kansas City last night.

Things I learned on my date with Amy Schumer:

  1. Be brave. But if the media or your partner tells you “you’re brave” for showing your body, you have every right to kick their ass with your brave self.
  2. Some – but not all – mothers of sons can’t let their sons go on a date because they want to have sex with their sons themselves. I’ve said this for years, Amy. Mothers of sons are far more intimidating than fathers of daughters. Someone write a sad country song about that.
  3. The sex talk with daughters should also include the vagina smell discussion. Soup. It smells like soup. And that’s ok.
  4. It really isn’t fair to be a woman. Women care too much about what others think. We need to start thinking like a man. Let things go. Don’t let body image bother you. When was the last time you heard a man ask you if he tasted ok? Never, Amy. Never.
  5. Then again, it really isn’t fair to be a man either. You need to get hard. Stay hard. And do all the physical work of moving back and forth, front and back, in and out.  Women get the luxury of just laying there if they want to.
  6. If you want your relationship with your partner to grow closer, travel out of the country together and hope for food poisoning. One of you can shoot military-style -MC16 bullets mixed with a gallon of shit water out of your ass. And the other can push you off the toilet so he can put his face in the porcelain bowl of death. Scott and I went to Mexico once and we can confirm it brought us closer.
  7. We’re all the same stories during a drunken black out in our 20s. Or 30s. No one blacks out and wakes up in their bed next to a yoga mat and a cleaned house. No. You wake up on the floor and you can feel the hate for you radiating from your partner’s sleeping body. When he wakes up, he will tell you everything you did the night before because you don’t remember. Like how you ate a whole package of the “special gummies” even though you were told to only eat one. Then you decided to eat two sleeves of Ritz Crackers dipped in guacamole, only the “guacamole” was butter. Or baking two pizzas and slapping them together to make a sandwich. These are totally Amy’s stories, Scott’s grandma. Not mine, so not mine.
  8. Amy Schumer doesn’t like the Cleveland Indians because the word “Indians” insults the Native Americans. Amy Schumer respects the Kansas City Royals for not being offensive. I didn’t mention during my date that Kansas City’s football team is the Kansas City Chiefs and they play in a stadium named Arrowhead.

Some things are better left unsaid on a first date.

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1985.

Scott: Wake up! Why do you keep falling asleep!

Me: Huh. What. Did they win?

Scott: IT’S GONE. IT’S GONE! BALL GAME.

Me: What happened.

Scott: Royals won. Go back to sleep.

Me: Ok, good. Good night.

 

1985.

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” was released.

Back to the Future was showing in theaters.

Growing Pains and The Golden Girls made their TV debut.

Microsoft introduced Windows 1.0.

The Nintendo Entertainment System appeared on shelves in the U.S.

The Titanic was found on the bottom of the Atlantic.

My mom was pregnant with my brother.

I was 4 years old.

My sister had a case of the terrible twos.

My other sister didn’t exist. She was like the picture of Marty McFly’s sister on Back to the Future.

1985 was the last year the Kansas City Royals were in the playoffs.

In 1985, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series. They defeated the St. Louis Cardinals.

I don’t remember any of it.

Childhood amnesia blocked out the years 1981-1985. The only thing I remember about my life is in photographs. I don’t remember feeling my mom’s stomach kick. I don’t remember my sister’s terrible two meltdowns. I don’t remember moving into a new house that year. I don’t remember standing in a crowd of legs at the Royals World Series parade in Kansas City. I don’t remember blue confetti falling in my dark hair. I don’t remember.

But if I open the window on a cool fall night and turn the baseball announcers’ voices on low volume, I can relax. If I lay my head in a lap and that person runs their fingers through my hair – I will fall asleep. It’s like a drug.

The only thing missing is the pregnant belly near my head but everything else is the same.

That I do remember.

 

Are you just as shocked that the Kansas City Royals are in the playoffs? Do you think they will make it to the World Series? What is one of your earliest childhood memories involving professional sports? Does anyone have Royals tickets Scott and I can buy from you? I promise I won’t fall asleep at a live game.

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