Annapalooza

In Da Club (with apologies to 50 Cent) November 27, 2017

At about 9:15 p.m. there’s a knock on my hotel room door. I open it up, only to find two helpless twenty-one -year-olds holding dress shirts and pants. They give me their best sheepish looks.

Millennials don’t iron.

I sigh dramatically and tell my stepson Chase and his best friend Ben to come on in, I’ll iron their clothes. Besides, I can’t have them embarrassing themselves and looking all wrinkly while I rock out my Halston Heritage dress with side cut-outs and super high-but-amazing Diane Von Furstenburg strappy heels.

We’re going to THE CLUB.

We’re on a Vegas trip for Chase’s belated twenty-first birthday, and not only are we going to one of Vegas’ hottest clubs, but we’ll get to see Calvin Harris DJ. I’ve been hyping the whole Vegas club scene to Chase for months. And as much as I hate to admit it…tick-tock… it will only be a matter of a few years before I start getting strange looks from the other patrons in such establishments. You know the look, a.k.a. what the hell are you doing here old lady? Besides, I tell Chase and Ben that even though I’m old, it will be easier for them to get in the club quickly since they have a female with them. I know how the bouncers like the keep the male-female ratio in check, otherwise things could turn into one big sausage party pretty quickly.

Around 10:30 p.m. we arrive at THE CLUB, where I effortlessly pass through security. Chase, on the other hand, has his ID checked about twenty different times from twenty different serious-looking dudes, in addition to some serious patting down. You know that rubber stamp you get for admittance? His arm basically looked like a tattoo sleeve by the time he got inside.

We first check out the multi-level main club area where Calvin Harris will eventually be performing. There’s a “warm-up” DJ first, so the area isn’t crowded at all. We’re told that a lot of people first head to the terrace, then migrate inside as the night progresses. This seems like a good idea to us; the terrace is beautiful and overlooks the Vegas strip. We hunker down and I tell Chase to get us some drinks as payment for my ironing services. I say I want a glass of champagne; it can be the cheapest champagne they have, it doesn’t matter, I say.

About ten minutes later he returns with my champagne, a rum and Coke for himself and a small bottled water for Ben.  He looks like a deer in headlights as he tells us the drinks cost seventy-five dollars.

Yup, you read that right. What the ham and cheese is wrong with you, Omnia Nightclub? (Yup, you are no longer THE CLUB, I am calling you out by name.) I wasn’t that naïve to know that Vegas drink prices were high, but seventy-five bucks? I apologized profusely to Chase and told him I would make it up to him since I had no idea the drinks contained pure gold. In talking to other patrons, it sounded like this was par for the course; the two girls next to us paid $95 for whatever they were drinking. (If your mouth isn’t hanging open in shock and disgust by now, you must be a Kardashian or a Disick, because this was most definitely NOT what I came for, Calvin Harris. See what I did there?) So, in summary, no, 50 Cent, we can’t go up in da club with a bottle of bub because we can’t f*cking afford one.

The night only got worse from there. For one, my beautiful shoes turned out to be devil shoes from hell, as every step I took resulted in shooting pain. The little rubber things I put inside the shoe to help cushion my foot? As useless as a ten-dollar bill at Omnia night club. (Seriously, I will NEVER let the whole drink thing go.)

Eventually Chase and Ben did meet a group of girls (good luck getting them to pay for drinks, ladies) so I slowly drifted away, not wanting to be the creepy older woman hanging around people half my age. (Or younger. Yikes.) I decided to just do some laps around the club, hoping that maybe somebody would talk to me. (Spoiler alert: nobody did.) Since I was wearing Satan’s Sandals this just made my entire loser trek even more miserable. Plus, I couldn’t get back into the main club area anymore; every time I walked by, a bouncer was there saying no more people could be admitted. What? How could it have filled up that quickly? How were we ever going to see Calvin Harris?

After a few more laps and growing frustration, I had had it. I told the boys I was leaving, and then it promptly started to rain, even though we were in the desert and it was August. Everyone on the terrace made a beeline to the ONE exit (again, really Omnia? Isn’t that a safety concern?) and as soon as I saw any exit door, I took it. I was promptly deposited outside Caesar’s Palace on the sidewalk.

I scooted inside where I saw the (still) impossibly long line for the club, then changed into my flats. I had never been so happy to see a pair of crappy ballerina slippers in my life. I then walked across the street to The Flamingo where my husband was playing poker. Sensing my irritation (and probably because I was soaked wet at this point), he gathered up his chips.

“Come on, honey,” I said. “Let’s go eat.”

None of us ever did see Calvin Harris, as apparently there was no room in the main club? (#Omniaisatotalscam)

So much for sippin’ Bacardi like it was my birthday.

And that is how I found myself eating a hot dog and tater tots at 12:30 a.m. in Vegas. I was a bit overdressed for the Haute Doggery, but whatever…it was a fancy hot dog place, okay?

 

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Exciting Announcement! November 20, 2017

Hello faithful Annapalooza readers!! As always, thank you for reading, even though I know my posts have been few and far between lately. However, I do some have exciting news to share with you all. I am currently working on my very first book, scheduled to be published on Amazon (in digital and in print) in January, 2018! If you like the style of my blog then I think you’ll like my book (yes, it too contains very candid tales with a side of snark and way too many pop culture references).

They say the best way to meet your goals is to make them public, so I’m doing just that. (Besides, I just finished binge-watching Stranger Things 2, so there are no more excuses. Curse you Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Now! Note to self: I may have gotten a bit carried away with online viewing options.)

Stay tuned for further updates and a few more blog posts in 2017!

Xxoo

Anne

LPK

Little Polish Kids

A Memoir by Anne Niederkorn

Coming to Amazon in digital and print in January, 2018!! 

 

p.s. I just got my first internet troll a few months ago. Does that mean I’m making progress?

p.p.s. Yes, I am the fat baby in this picture. I had to be put on a diet. I’m not kidding.

 

Here’s What Makes Me Cry (And It’s Kind of Embarrassing) August 14, 2017

Filed under: Humor,Uncategorized — aniederkorn @ 10:18 pm
Tags: , , ,

The other day a friend texted me:

I was at a meeting today where someone I’ve known for years told us she has breast cancer. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I still feel like I could burst into tears – what is wrong with me? It’s not like we are close, just mommy friends…our sons are the same age. I don’t know…one of my worst fears I guess.

I texted back right away:

There is nothing wrong with you; that is heartbreaking news. And it shows you have a big heart. Hell I cry at the drop of a hat nowadays.

And this is true. There’s something about the past few years (hormones maybe?) that have made me much more susceptible to crying, even when it’s totally unexpected. I’ve basically turned into my mother, crying when I see a First Communion.

I think in some cases my tears are fully justified. For example, the other day the verdict came out on the “suicide texting” case. If you’re not familiar with the case, a teenage girl basically texted her boyfriend that he should kill himself. He was already seriously contemplating it, and she sent him several texts encouraging himself to do it already. And he did.

The entire case garnered a lot of national attention, and now here she was on live television, about to get sentenced. As I sat and watched the closing comments of her lawyers and then the sentencing, I couldn’t help myself. I just cried. The entire situation was just so horrible and sad; the girl looked like a complete zombie, her eyes barely fluttering to stay open. I couldn’t help but cry for everyone involved.

But then we move on to two other situations where my tears just flowed from out of the blue:

Scenario One:

Last fall I participated in running a relay marathon. (And when I say “running”, I really mean slowly jogging and wishing it all would end.) My part of the relay was just 5 miles, as opposed to all the folks running 26.2. After my relay group had finished, had a snack, took some pictures and patted ourselves on the back, we started walking back to the car (well, actually to the bar, if truth be told). On the way there we continued to watch all the marathoners finishing the race. Now by this point we were down to the slower people, but by all means I’m not judging…because they just ran 26.2 miles. I don’t care how slow you are, you had the discipline to do it, and that’s about 21 more miles than I ever care to run.

So as I’m watching the runners, all of a sudden I see an acquaintance, someone I used to work with. He was clearly suffering; every step he took looked painful, and he could not be any more drenched in sweat. At this point it was all he could do to finish the race. Man, this guy needed as much encouragement as possible, which lead me to scream out his name and keep shouting, “Good job! Keep it up! Keep going! Woo hoo!!”

Except I just barely got the words out. Because I was crying.

My husband looked at my oddly.

“Honey, are you crying?”

I looked away, slightly embarrassed.

“Well, yeah…”I started. “It’s just that he did it but it looked so painful…but he did it…” I drifted off. I couldn’t explain it. I was just so proud of this guy because I knew he wasn’t a typical runner; he just happened to have this goal and he trained for it and accomplished it. What could I say? I was verklempt.

But perhaps the most embarrassing of my sobbing happens at other happy times. Nope, I’m not talking about graduations or wedding speeches or gender reveal parties.

I’m talking about The Price is Right.

First of all, you can’t help but get happy when you watch The Price is Right. Having a crappy day? Life got you down? Trust me: Turn on this show and you will immediately be cheered up. No wonder so many unemployed people watch this show! (I’m guessing) And did you know they have a guy model on there too? Yes, a male Barker’s Beauty! (Insert purring noise here.)

Everyone on the show is just so freaking excited to be there, you’d think they’d all won a million dollars, whether they were sitting in the audience or had just won a brand new car. You seriously can’t tell the difference between the two.

But most of all I just plain love it when people win. You can tell that these people don’t have a whole lot happening in their lives, and being on The Price is Right will probably be the best thing to happen to them. So they just completely lose their shit whenever any prize (no matter how small) is announced. Years’ supply of Rice o’Roni? Hell yes, somersaults! Some jet ski that costs more than their double wide? Bring it on!

Spinning one dollar on the big wheel seems to give the biggest reaction, even though it’s only a thousand bucks. But to most of these people, that is a huge deal. And so I cry. And one time I saw the historic occasion when all three people spun $1.00 on the wheel. That was a veritable sob fest for me, not just because I was witnessing game show history and everyone was freaking out, but everyone was just so happy for each other. Even when only one person could eventually move on to the Showcase Showdown, the two losers were still hugging and rejoicing and congratulating, just so excited for the winner. (Basically if you want to see good sportsmanship, all you have to do is watch The Price is Right. Sure, the people on Wheel of Fortune are clapping for the other contestants, but if you look closely, they’re cursing under their breaths when the dumb-as-rocks person ends up winning because everyone else landed on Bankrupt.)

And don’t even get me started when Drew asks everyone to spay and neuter their pet.

But…he’s carrying on Bob Barker’s legacy with such class.

SOB.

 

Here’s What Happens When Your College Kid Comes Home for the Summer July 7, 2017

Filed under: Humor,Uncategorized — aniederkorn @ 8:23 pm
Tags: ,

Maybe he grew a beard. Maybe she got a beer gut. Or maybe you hardly recognize this stranger in your house who apparently didn’t do any laundry the last month of school. But they’re home. They’ll probably challenge your boundaries and drive you crazy, but gosh darn it they’re your kids. And when they aren’t doubting your advice and your overall awesomeness as a parent, they can be pretty cool.

But let’s not kid ourselves; our normal household routine is definitely disrupted when the kid(s) come home from college. In the grand scheme of things, these things don’t annoy me as much as they kind of fascinate me, and they boil down to three things:

Odd Hours

I came home from a party one Saturday night around 11:30 (yes, p.m.) to find my husband playing poker with my twenty-one-year-old son and his friends. (No, there was no drinking involved since some of them were underage.) After a few minutes the game wrapped up, and everyone under age 49 decided they were going to go work out. Huh? Of course… because that’s totally reasonable. It’s not like they were getting off 3rd shift at the mill and this was part of their regular schedule; they just consciously chose to go work out around midnight on a Saturday. On one hand I’m impressed how they don’t let anything dictate their schedule; on the other hand, I’m wondering how they ever got to sleep that night. It truly boggles this lady’s mind.

Mysterious clothing

It’s inevitable that strange clothing will appear in my son’s laundry after I haven’t seen him in a while. A shirt with bananas on it? Where did that come from? Does he really like it, or is he just trying to be funny and ironic? And good grief, these are the towels that he used all semester? Those rags look like I should have been doing a welfare check on him. And then there’s all the friends’ clothing that make it into our house. On any given day there will be three pairs of friends’ shoes at our doorway (or maybe even some shorts and tee shirts) that seem to rotate among four of them, depending on who needs what when and where they’re going. Forget Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants; it’s more like Brotherhood of the Traveling Shorts at my house.

Hungry friends

Speaking of friends…even though they forget their clothing, personal identification and even their keys at my house, they never ever forget to eat at my house. My son’s friends have been known to come by for their “second supper”. (We caught on to that trick pretty quickly.) Sometimes they call around and do a comparison before deciding where they’re going to eat. (Wait – wasn’t that an episode of Leave it to Beaver?) But in any case, I’m still surprised at how quickly our food disappears. That movie theater candy I got on special at Walgreens? Gone. The expensive Bai 5 drinks I got at Costco? Drank like they were overflowing fountains of water. (Note to self: Must hide Bai 5.) The empty wrappers and containers lying around my living room? A downright paradise for Templeton the rat.

 

 

Seven more weeks until school, folks!

 

 

 

Does My Bluetooth Discriminate? May 29, 2017

About 18 months ago I got a brand new car. This whole new car gig opened me up to an entirely new world: dual heated seats, a heated steering wheel, Sirius XM radio, keyless start, a camera for backing up (and a beep to tell me when I’m too close to something), and a whole bunch more bells and whistles I never even knew existed. I could finally be as cool as those people on TV who receive texts and phone calls right through their car. (What is this, The Jetsons?! Craziness!) I finally knew what I had been missing out on and now there was no going back. (I realize some of you may have been luxuriating in this technology for the past 10 years, and I just sounded a lot like Romy in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion when she busted out her HUGE portable phone and asked if anyone needed to make a call… BUT… in the meantime my mortgage is paid off, so there’s that.)

So I am loving the Bluetooth, but there’s a slight problem.

Me: (pressing phone call button and trying to call my husband) Call Dan Mobile One.

Bluetooth Voice: Do you want to call an ambulance?

Me: (panicking) NO!

Bluetooth Voice: Okay, say the name of the contact you wish you call.

Me: (annunciating profusely – and sweating profusely as well) Call DAN MOBILE ONE.

Bluetooth Voice: Do you want to call an ambulance?

Me: Gah! NO!!

Bluetooth Voice: Okay, let’s try this again.

After several near-misses with reporting a false emergency, along with some serious reflection on my Wisconsin accent, I finally figured out the trick. Apparently the Bluetooth lady only recognizes ‘Dan’ when I pronounce it with a slight English accent mixed with major nasal congestion. It ends up being much closer to ‘Don’ than ‘Dan’, plus I wind up feeling and sounding like a pretentious a**hole when I say it.

So I couldn’t help but wonder: What kinds of accents does the Bluetooth lady actually recognize? Do people in other parts of the country with other accents also struggle with this problem? And would it just be easier to use an entirely different accent overall when trying to use Bluetooth? (Hmmm now that could be fun. But also very confusing/annoying to my passengers.)

I did a very quick experiment for myself, and here were the results:

Southern Accent: Even with my deepest, twangy-ist Southern accent impersonation, the Bluetooth still recognized that I wanted to call Dan. Huh. I would have thought the Southern version of Dan would have triggered an ambulance more than anything, but no dice. This might keep me awake at night.

English Accent: Not surprisingly, this worked like a charm. No issues.

Irish Accent: This one worked too, even though I sounded exactly like Mrs. Doubtfire.

Indian Accent: This one was a fail. The Bluetooth lady kept telling me, “I didn’t understand what you said,” and eventually she just went ahead and dialed my last incoming call.

Butthead: (yes, of Beavis and…) Even when I added a little obnoxious Butthead laugh in front of my request, the Bluetooth STILL recognized it.

Since I can’t really do any more accents, and I wasn’t even sure how well I did the ones I tried, I stopped there. I mean if you wanted me to yell at the Bluetooth in a Russian accent and say, “He beat me! Straight up!” a la John Malkovich in Rounders, I could do that. But ask me to say anything else in a Russian accent and I’d fail miserably.

So what did I conclude?

We’ve still got a long way to go, Bluetooth. I mean it kind of concerns me that you could understand my Butthead voice but not my normal voice. What does that say about your quality control? But I’m going to keep trying. We’ll see how Amazon’s Echo fairs when I start speaking to it. If it can understand me when I say flag and bag, then we’ve got a winner.

Stay tuned.

 

When Cheeseheads Travel South April 24, 2017

The road trip seemed like a good idea at the time.

“It’s only the panhandle…it’s not like we’re driving to Miami,” I reasoned. “Besides, all the flights are astronomically expensive during spring break.”

About twelve hours into the trip we ended up cursing ourselves for being such cheap-asses. On the other hand, it only took me about five hours to realize that even Sirius XM plays the same damn songs over and over again. (The top 50 songs from 1983 again, Alan Hunter?) And while we are certainly nostalgic, eventually we grew tired of Nina Blackwood’s “I just swallowed broken glass” voice and ended up on the ONEderland station. There we were promptly treated to the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song. Baby, if you ever wondered…wondered how long it would take for my husband to get tired of me singing that song? I’d say twenty minutes. Twenty minutes tops.

Thankfully the long trip was broken up a bit by a stop in Nashville. We jumped on a trolley tour and endured all the historical narration and the American Pickers store until we could hop off and zoom in on what really mattered. That’s right, I’m talking about hot chicken. We waited an hour and twenty minutes for Hattie B’s famous hot chicken, and yes, it was worth it. Waiting was not easy, especially since we were surrounded by about a bazillion twenty-something hipster dudes. Ladies, quit hooting and hollering on those pedal-bars and come and eat some chicken for God’s sake! A person can only listen to so many dive bar adventures and references to PBR.

After a late afternoon nap (because eating hot chicken and mac and cheese makes one very tired), we headed back out to Broadway, home to much honkin’ as well as much tonkin’. When I heard a band playing some very good Chuck Berry, we decided to make our way inside. After securing our beverages and a place up front, things took a bit of a turn for me. The band stopped the Chuck Berry and suddenly started playing Country. No Western, just Country. Had it been Kenny or Dolly or Loretta or Johnny or any of the Statlers I would have been fine, but this was new country. As in the music I have to tolerate before Monday Night Football begins. But apparently EVERYONE (including my husband – oh, the horror…) knew all the words to every song, leaving me to awkwardly clutch my Michelob Ultra and mumble over and over, “All I know is Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee.”[1] I felt like I had been transported to some sort of parallel pop culture universe where I was completely out of the loop… kind of like when I lived overseas in 1994 and then came home to find everyone drinking Zima. That is, it made me deeply concerned for human kind’s sense of judgment and overall taste level.

But I digress.

The next day we hit the back roads of Alabama. This is where we came across my favorite name for a restaurant ever, the “It Don’t Matter Family Restaurant” in Highland Heights. Unfortunately it was closed, but my disappointment was short-lived as we came to a convenience (?) store whose sign read: Hot dogs, wine, chainsaws and jewelry all in one stop.

I’m not really sure what more a person could ask for, but judging by all the rusty items sitting out front, an updated tetanus shot would be a good guess. And now I know what the Oily Bohunk’s dad’s new business venture is. (Besides video game arcades, laundry, cigarette machines, and trucking. Oh, and the little bit of dabbling in personal loans and politics.)[2]

Stay tuned for next time when the Cheeseheads continue their Southern adventure…

 

[1] How do I know even this much? Because years ago some commercial for NOW That’s Country! was played constantly, and some blond guy with a mustache and cut-off t-shirt kept singing that line in the commercial. I now know that guy’s name was Alan Jackson.

[2] Kudos if you caught my reference to Sixteen Candles. You can sit with us. On Wednesdays we wear pink. (I’ve never seen a footnote to a footnote, but if there were such a thing, there would be a footnote here referencing Mean Girls. I really must stop living my life through movie quotes, but why stop now?)

 

Things I’m Supposed to Like February 21, 2017

Attention, marketers: I’m not picking up what you’re laying down, so you can take your Chicos fashions and move right along: I’m not buying it. Along with the rest of these things that 43-year-old women are supposed to like.

Paint Your Own Picture or Paint Your Own Pottery

I know I will probably offend some of my friends when I say this, but I have no desire to go to a studio and drink wine while we all paint the same picture and then pose with our artwork in a proud group photo, undoubtedly comparing our skills to each other. Not gonna do it. And to be honest, the fact that so many ladies do this makes me not want to do it even more. (I know, that makes me a total badass.)

Jennifer Aniston Movies

Mother’s Day? Really? Blech. Drivel.

Bath and Body Works

Do I want a basket to help me shop? No, I don’t. Ever.

Fifty Shades of Grey

This is our modern day idea of romance? That is seriously screwed up. Give me Daniel Day Lewis removing Michelle Pfeiffer’s glove in The Age of Innocence. Or Lloyd Dobbler watching over Diane Court at the senior party.

Victoria’s Secret

Don’t get me wrong – I love me some nice lingerie. It’s just that I don’t think Victoria’s Secret is all that great. And yet thongs – I mean throngs – of women flock to it as if it’s the Holy Grail of lingerie. Stop buying that overpriced crap, people! I’m also a bit disturbed that the company is marketing the Pink brand to pre-teens and teenagers so they can feel “sexy”.

P.S. I may still feel some resentment and/or creepiness over trying to order several catalog items from them years ago. A man took my order and proceeded to giggle at everything I said, including the fact that I was from Wisconsin. Like it was that odd that someone from Wisconsin would actually be ordering sexy underwear. It turned out every single thing I tried to order was mysteriously out of stock, so he then tried to sell me a Dream Bra (like a Miracle Bra) right over the phone. Needless to say, I never called them again.

Leonardo Dicaprio

Please tell me I’m not the only woman who doesn’t find him attractive. Even in his Titanic days he had the body of a little boy. I’m not into that. I’m also not into self-righteous movie stars who only date supermodels.

Brad Pitt

Okay I do feel a bit bad for him because Angelina is truly batshit crazy; she seems like one of those moms who lets the kids run rampant and then gets upset when Brad tries to step in and say, “No, Pax, you can’t do whatever the f*ck you want, because you are a CHILD.” But that aside, it seems like he doesn’t shower enough.

Coldplay and Adele

Yeah, I know…I lost my white person card right there. It’s not that I hate them, it’s just that I am so freaking sick of them. I never saw what was so great about Coldplay, and Chris Martin lost even more points when he married Gwyneth Paltrow. Adele is obviously very talented, I get it. But if I hear Hello one more time I might set fire to the…never mind.

Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend

Sigh. I know everyone is having this giant love affair with this beautiful couple and their beautiful child, but I’m over it. I think it started recently when they decided to sit down on the red carpet in the middle of the Golden Globes. Hmmm…not enough attention is being paid to us, so what to do, what to do…Oh! I know! Let’s sit down on the red carpet!

The sad part is, this shit made headlines.

And lastly…

Apple Products

Sorry, Apple, but I will not get sucked into your cult! Again, I find it disturbing that people wait in line for hours for a new (super expensive) phone that is basically 99% similar to their previous phone. If people are really honest with themselves, it’s not because of the new “features”; it’s so they can brag to their friends that they have the latest phone. Oh and it’s also because all the cute phone cases are only made for the latest iPhones. Seriously, have you ever tried to find a hip phone case for a Samsung Galaxy S5? It doesn’t exist.

Bonus reason: I don’t even think Apple products are that easy to use. ITunes? Disaster. Personally I like how I can go to Amazon Music, buy or download a song from Prime, and then automagically all my music is on my phone. It’s brilliant and cheaper and I love it.