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New Orleans Part I

19 Oct

So I went to New Orleans this past weekend.

I’m going to break it up into shorter posts, because I’d rather you focus on one thing at a time.

I knew all along that I was going to New Orleans. Ever since I bought a ticket. But it didn’t seem real to me until I realized that once I walked onto that blue and orange plane over there, I would step off of it.

In New Orleans.

Where Brian would be waiting in his golden chariot to escort me to his palace. And oh how we’d laugh and laugh and laugh and shrug our shoulders and sip warm drinks and go “mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm” or any drink for that matter (margaritas, it turned out). And we’d hold hands and skip and also fall and sing and dance and make late night mistakes. Whoops.

And that’s exactly what happened except when I walked off the plane, I was punched in the smile maker by the moldy smell that means “You’re about to be really really really happy for a few days and hopefully remember why later.”

I felt like I was home again. Felt very relaxed immediately. Felt like I’d been gone a month, not over a year. Felt like I needed to lock it up so I could spend more time awake, up, and about enjoying this amazing city rather than vomming during the day. Felt like I should be be eating more and drunk shopping less. Felt like I should start pounding bourbon and ginger ales and Abita Ambers and Purple Hazes and blueberry mojitos and vodka and any wine, white even! Felt like taking my pants off and running through the ghettos! (I have a rule to never take my top off, but pants are okay). Felt like I would soon wake up in a sea of empty bottles, cigarette butts, crack pipes, and to-go cups.

There’s something about being at Monkey Hill that makes me become the poster child for ‘Oops.’  Nope. Scratch that. Not just Monkey Hill. Any bar in New Orleans.

At one point, I tried to say that I talk a lot. Instead, I said “I’ve never been the kinda girl who’s kept her mouth not open.” Because that’s the best way I could think of saying that?

My friend Matt heard through a friend that I was in town and currently at Monkey Hill. It didn’t take him long to find me because when he walked in the door I was the only person standing on the bar. Dancing to a song that I hardly even knew.

Most people recognized me but my hair being a different color really threw some people off.

My friend who got married’s father definitely knows me. I lived with his daughter for 3 years and spent time in his home. I walked up excitedly to him and his wife to say hello after the ceremony, and as his wife is like “Heeyyy!!!!” he’s like “Oh hiii there..?”

So had to do what I hate most, which is say, Hi it’s me Kate. Remember??

Then obviously his eyes widen as he realizes who I am, and exclaims,

“Wow! Kate?! Kate! You look just fantastic! Did you lose weight? Wow, what like 20, 30 pounds?!”

To which his wife responds, “No! She dyed her hair!”

Men.

Naturally as the night progressed and story was added to, it became 50, 75, 100, 150 pounds and I became the mopey roommate who blossomed after college, leaving her overweight life behind and learning all the splendors there are in life when you’re thin. (Note: I’ve never been overweight, except when I was in 5th grade and hit rock bottom as a juiceaholic and butter eater. And once my mom called me blown up like Jessica Simpson. But that’s it.)

To be continued…

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I Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans…

12 Feb

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I’ve been missing New Orleans a lot lately. Whether its watching a show that I used to watch on my comfy floral couch, chatting on Facebook with friends I used to work with, drinking at a New Orleans themed bar on Hollywood Blvd. with friends from New Orleans, and every single time I remember I can’t get a to-go cup for my alcohol…

I want to walk into Monkey Hill, say hey to all my friends, get a fattening delicious chocolate raspberry martini made by Angela for like, $3 or free probably, while Lauren, Shelly, Austin, Carlos, Mike, and many more are next to me taking shots of GrandMa and tipping everyone too much because that’s just what we do; hang out for hours, and end up at Ms. Maes on accident (as usual) until 7:30am.

I want to go running in Audubon Park on the outside dirt path and run especially fast only along Magazine Street so all the cars in traffic think I’m fast. I want to go to the Bulldog with Shannon and Jahzy and Trish and get Abita Purple Haze on draft from all the bartenders that know me and then go across the street to Balcony Bar to see if there are any decent guys there (usually not, usually nowhere).

I want to go shopping on Magazine Street. I want to go to the French Quarter and see all my darlings at UAL that I miss so much and acquire some fantastic garments that I’ll have no reason to wear while having witty banter nonstop with my old coworkers-turned-friends, followed by craft night at Kayla’s.

I want to go to the Marigny and pop in and out of music clubs on Frenchmen St.

I want to be able to get home from work, take a nap, watch a movie, have dinner, shower, and then leave my house around midnight to meet friends for drinks on a Friday night, knowing we’ll be able to stay out as long as we want-no time limits, no last call…

I want to enter the Dana Center and get a steaming hot Gingerbread Latte from CC’s, the best coffee in the planet, and see Jahzy, Claire, and gaggles of DG’s between classes.

To all my loves in New Orleans, I miss you and everything we used to do together! I can’t wait until Shannon’s wedding in October, I will be spending plenty of time there and want to hug you all!

Arachnophobia 2

19 Dec

United Apparel Liquidators. The coolest store in New Orleans. Where you can get designer and couture clothing and accessories at a tiny fraction of the retail price. New, unworn, but not necessarily undamaged sometimes. Either way, if you want Stella McCartney, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Valentino, LnA, and Velvet, to name a few, this place will rock your world.  I was the Assistant Manager there for a year.

One day, three of my coworkers rushed up to me with wide eyes.

There was a huge banana spider on the ceiling of one of the dressing rooms.

Have you ever seen a banana spider?

I hadn’t until that day.

OH. MY. GOD.

If you grew up in Florida you may be used to them and know what they are and where they come from and maybe what they like to eat and if they bite.  I did not grow up near these monsters and know nothing about them.  They are terrifying. It seemed like the perfect opening to Arachnophobia 2.  And I’m pretty sure that my extensive amount of viewing Arachnophobia exponentially increased my fear and knowledge of what might happen, were this arachnid to reproduce profusely in the back room of the store, which, if you’ve seen the back room, is highly likely.

It’s a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, and we have a human flesh eating monster on the ceiling above unsuspecting, innocent shoppers, who just want to save a million dollars on an awesomely weird pair of pants.

So my darling coworkers rush to their manager with wide eyes, screaming: what do we do!? Abby runs across the street to grab the hunky valet guy across the street, who knew we all thought he was bangin’ and would love to show off his manliess.

During the 30 minutes before the attack, a family entered the store. Much like everyone else who enters the store for the first time, they were really pumped to have stumbled into heaven. The two daughters, aged approximately 25 years, pulled several items each and started to try them on. The mother and father excitedly ran around and handed their daughters more and more awesome things to try. All of us employees were instantly smitten with the father, not because he was a George Clooney or a Denzel Washington, but because he truly was excited about his daughters finding something they loved.

“Oh hon, this is so cute, you need to try this dress on” as he hands one daughter a $300 designer dress.

We all have fathers who hate the fact that the women in their family’s shop. This guy was all for it and actively helping. When one daughter would try something great on, he was the first to praise how great she looked.

So as they’re wrapping up, the 8-legged creature descended upon UAL. Before the valet hunk could even enter the building, SuperDad had ascended the huge orange ladder in the rear of the store and was all John Goodman on that spider. I wish I could say that there was an epic battle and the spider lurched at SuperDad and he fell off the ladder and when the spider hit the floor, it erupted and thousands of baby monsters exploded out of its womb and attacked the customers and bubbling sores appeared all over them and then they turned green and slowly died as the spiders ran rampant and then attacked the whole city of New Orleans (great movie, BTW) but none of that happened. He took a paper towel and stereotypically murdered the damn thing and flushed it down the toilet.

The family approached the cash wrap, paid for their awesome shit, and left.

We ignored the other customers for a while as we argued over who loved SuperDad more, with stars in our eyes and heavily beating hearts. About 5 minutes into this adorable moment, a woman popped her head in the door.

“Excuse me, this is going to sound really… weird… but my daughter and I were just in here and were trying clothes on in that back fitting room, and, well… Sorry this is so weird, but she had a pet spider we just got her in a little cage, and it’s not in her cage anymore… Have you by chance seen a big, brown spider anywhere?”

I looked at my girls, and each and every single one of us had our hands over our mouths with huge, wide eyes.

OMG we killed the little girl’s pet spider. What. The. Hell.

That’s when SuperDad popped his head around the door:

“Gotcha!!”

And we were even deeper in love…

How My Family Starts to Learn That I Don’t Have Much of A Filter… But I Do Have A Blog.

16 Dec

My father had three sons until one at a time, each one started wearing dresses to school when they turned 12. We grew up playing soccer, wearing Adidas sambas, and male Umbro athletic shorts.  We spent our afterschool hours in the forests and creeks behind the various houses we lived in growing up. We used hot dogs, wire hangers, and what we’d later learn were red keg cups, to catch crawdads, tadpoles, and other various wildlife one might be able to keep in a plastic kiddie pool-turned-pond on our deck in the backyard.  We sang the entire Alanis Morrisette tape, Jagged Little Pill, from memory until the sun started setting and then we would finally return back with our catches. We watched Star Trek with our dad and took turns playing Wolfenstein 3-D around the computer.

One by one it became impossible to avoid the obvious: we weren’t going to be tomboys forever.

We moved to Portland from San Luis Obispo when Nancy and I were in middle school. I lost my baby fat and grew some of the biggest boobs around (B cup) and Nancy made girly friends for the first time.

Once we started high school it’s safe to say we were pretty damn into looking hot.

I think is when my dad began to imagine horrible things happening, and since we didn’t really tell him what we were doing, I’m pretty sure his poor imagination went wild.

I’ll never forget what he said to me when I was on my way out the door for my Freshman year homecoming dance.

“Uh. Make sure you wear protection.”

Nancy’s response:

“Don’t worry dad! I let her borrow my wrist guards and a helmet!”

We couldn’t help it.

As we all know, Facebook has become mainstream for everyone nowadays.

I’ve never been one to hide much about my life from my family or anyone else for that matter. I’ve always felt pretty well behaved for a human in this day and age.  I am very open. I think the biggest reason I have no problem doing comedy or stand up is because I’ve been openly making fun of myself and my family for so long that it doesn’t feel weird.

My family is just now starting to realize that along with me becoming a comedian (or trying to at least) is that they will become the subject of everyone else’s laughs. They are going to see/read things about me that they may never have thought I would be okay with the whole world knowing. Don’t get me wrong, I know where to draw the line. I won’t publish something unless I’ve asked permission if I think it’s a subject that may be a little too touchy. If it’s about me, whatever.

Rikki called me the other night right after Nancy had walked in the front door. I put her on speakerphone and she started telling us about how our dad called her the other day in a panic.

“Rikki! Someone hacked into your facebook account!”

“What?! What do you mean? What happened?!”

“Someone wrote something… about… well… uhm…. about a… about a penis.” Very uncomfortable for him to say….

Rikki instantly knows what this is about.

I love penis in and around my mouth.

A classic quote from Superbad.

Rikki left her Facebook account up and her male friend had written a nice little status update for her. This has happened to all of us and anyone can recognize a friend-hack when they see one. My dad on the other hand is new to Facebook and certain types of my generation’s humor. You can’t be mad at the guy, it’s kind of sweet. He really is panicked that one day one of his daughters is just going to go penis crazy and public about it or something.

My dad called Nancy a few days ago to discuss two pressing matters.

1. Rikki loves penis in and around her mouth.

2. Kate spends the night with way older men with kids and tells everyone on her blog.

Nancy, like Rikki did, explained that friends do these things to each other on Facebook. She explained how Preston frequently updates her status for her.

My roommates are the best. I’m even starting to like my sister.
My roommate rocks. Not my sister/the squatter…. but PRESTON.
My roommate rocks, once again. He’s gonna be on NBC dancing with Craig T Nelson. He’s so amazing, I just can’t stop raving about him. My sister’s just ok.
I take back everything i’ve been posting. KATE is in fact the most amazing roommate possible and the most precious sister anyone could hope for.
Yes. I am definitely more in love with my sister than ever before. Its Preston now who I’m starting to question now… I do like his new carnimals sweatshirt though.
My roommate Preston is the coolest, most talented, ingenius person I know. Check out his fantastic website. www.preston-thestylejunkie.com. If he weren’t gay, we’d have beautiful mixed babies. I love asianssss!!

“Ugh this yeast infection is getting really itchy.”

“Just had the biggest poop, but it felt great to get it out.”

If you read these things on Facebook, you know it’s a prank.

One day I received a call from my dad when I was still living in New Orleans. He had seen a Craigslist Missed Connection that I had posted on Rikki’s wall.

“Rikki- I just wanted to let you know that I had the greatest sex ever with you when you were in New Orleans and I just wanted to say that I’m glad you loved my dick.” (Short version, but you get it…)

Naturally my dad reads this, doesn’t question the legitimacy of it, and shoots me a call. Poor thing. Can you imagine what horrible things must have exploded in his mind after reading something so gross about his daughter?!

I explained to him what Missed Connections are and that obviously it isn’t about his daughter. If it was, it most likely wouldn’t be posted on her Facebook page from her older, wiser, funnier sister, advertising it to the world, but in fact is funny because it just so happens to be a post to a ‘Rikki.’

So now my dad is going to have to get used to the fact that he has three grown, adult daughters, one of which has no filter and a blog.

Hey Dad, all you need to know is that you have three very responsible children and that even though I’m broadcasting my personal life (and yours and mom’s and everyone else’s) on the internet, it could be worse!  I’m writing for giggles, not having sex for money. Yet.

Is this a bad place to tell you that I’m pregnant and have a meth problem and need $20,000 to pay off a gambling debt?

Just kidding.

I’m just sitting in an office surrounded by people in suits and heels and complaining about the diet I put myself on while trimming my miniature rose bush plant that I got at the 99 Cent Store… I crochet sweaters… I work on an ice skating show… I’m lame.

My dad is just a moral, conservative person (I think) and doesn’t want the world to think we’re prostitutes. I totally get it.

Dating. UGHHHH.

15 Dec

Why is it so hard to date these days?  I’m thankful for the horrible relationship experiences I’ve had in the past, as the best thing that came out of them was insight, balls, and some attitude.

Usually the timid, everything’s great type person, I have grown a small super cute pink sparkly pair of balls. Where I used to just let guys run all over me in the hopes that they’ll realize how great I am one day, I now know how to whip out a pair, and stand my ground.

I used to fantasize that the guy I’m dating will date me just long enough to where one day, a light goes on in their immature, idiotic brains and they think, “Oh. This girl I’m dating is pretty damn awesome. I should fully commit to her and treat her like a princess.”

INSTEAD, they see that I’m so down to earth, chill, and whatever about most things, they go wild with no restraints. Because of this, I’ve been cheated on on my 21st birthday with a ‘friend’ of mine, I’ve been the secret other woman in which I didn’t even know I was the secret other woman, and my high school sweetheart secretly dated my college best friend in front of my face yet completely behind my back (after months of me rejecting his come-ons– sloppy (embarrassing for her/soul-less) seconds, anyone?) after I told him it was fine with me that he had a crush on her, but BEWARE, she is the meanest person I know.

This is when you think, nice girls finish last? Why do the bitches get boyfriends?

In New Orleans, I started becoming sick of unattractive older guys hitting on me in bars.  Note- Unattractive. I did not get sick of attractive, rich older men hitting on me in bars.  So I had a brilliant idea. I would tell them that I had children at home that I needed to tuck in, thinking this would be the best way to scare them off.  I could combine several of my favorite things in this charade.

1. Improv.

2. Lying.

3. Pretending I have children at home I need to tuck in.

What I didn’t know was how many men out there have children, and responded, “Me too! How old are yours?!”

Fail. There goes my ‘out.’

Remember that blue mouthwash guy? Yeah. Very recently after I met him I went on a 30 minute blabberfest (I have those a lot…) where I explained my newfound hilarious yet worst way ever to get rid of guys. Which was telling them I had kids, hoping they’d be scared and go away. He sat there silently while I rambled on for too long. After he left, I got a phone call saying “BTW, he has 2 kids.”

Oops.

I just had ANOTHER mini-relationship with a guy here in L.A.

He flirted with me, he came onto me, he asked me out on nice dates, he picked me up, wined me and dined me, whispered sweet nothings into my ears, texted me all day long, called me all the time.  My sister, Preston, and I joked about how quickly this thing was going and how I was concerned at the pace and needed to slow it down but didn’t want to hurt his feelings.  Then I started to really like this guy.  I got excited that maybe, just maybe, a nice guy finally found me. Psych. He dropped the bomb on me one night that he felt like I was taking things too quickly and he wasn’t ready for a relationship because he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. POW. WTF. Way to turn the tables, dude! I’m going to set the pace at ‘too fast’ and then blame you for it! yaaaaayyyy. The good thing about this guy, though, is that he was honest with me most of the time and one day if he ever gets over his ex, we’ll see if it could go somewhere…

This is why I cannot take anyone seriously. This is why I cannot trust men. They all act great and then quickly go to shit. I mean, what the hell.

The good news, is that this time around, although I liked the guy and he still wanted to find someway to make it work, and I said no way, Jose.  I’ve already gone on emotional rollercoasters through hell with guys trying to figure out who they are and what they want. I want a guy who knows who he is and what he wants. I mean, I’m almost 40. Been there, done that. This isn’t Eat, Pray, Love. And if it was, you better believe I’d never let James Franco go…

I’ve had serious drunken conversations with older women about our commonalities about sperm shopping and raising kids without a father. At some point they realize that they’re conversing with a 23 year old and are probably a little weirded out. You can see the light go on in their eyes when they jerk back to reality where they’re connecting with a juvenile about parenting.

Most people my age dream about meeting the perfect guy, falling in love, getting married, and having a family.

I am so much more excited about getting pregnant and having babies. I forget to realize that a man at some point will be involved in the conception of a child, but have never met anyone worth having children with and spending my whole life being around. I get REALLY annoyed with the guys I’ve dated thus far after a certain point and cannot imagine spending the rest of my life having to deal with their bullshit.  I tell my mom this casually while driving and she instantly goes on a 20 minute rant on how unfair it is to my children to not have a father and I can’t do that to them and they don’t deserve that life and they need a male influence blah blah blah. By the end of the conversation I really thought I had kids from the way she was talking about ‘them.’

Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to find the perfect guy and have the perfect family.  I’ve just not experienced anything as of yet to make me visualize this actually happening with a real person.

So what is a 23 year old girl supposed to do when she feels almost 40, can’t find anyone near worthy of procreating with, and has strong urges to be pregnant, yet not right now and not necessarily soon, but soon? Soon as in 5-7 years.

The answer is awfullllllll.

Because it involves being patient and ‘putting myself out there.’ UGHHHHH. I am the most impatient person I’ve ever met. I can’t even get take out food because I WILL pull over and eat it in the car on the way home, no matter how close I am.

Maybe I need to pull out the big guns. And by big guns I mean show some cleave.

Now that I’m on my detox thing and dieting and physically miserable I can lose some poundage and start slutting around town. You’re all laughing now, I can hear you, but with the right low cut top and my mother around to make sure I don’t wear grandpa sweaters over oversized shirts over baggy harem pants, I might be able to look sexy once or twice. Who knows, maybe I’ll even buy a padded bra and not wear lipstick that scares people!

But that’s no fun… I want a guy who doesn’t think I look like a clown, which is what every single boyfriend I’ve ever had has told me about the lipstick I wear.

Here’s the list of questions I need to ask guys when I meet them, in order of relevance:

1. Does my lipstick scare you?

2. Are you over the age of 35 mentally?

3. Are you over the age of 27 biologically?

4. Are you ruined from a previous relationship that you for some reason cannot get over even though it happened years ago?

5. Does the thought of a committed relationship scare you?

6. Are you going to seem great at first and then end up being a crazy fucking freak?

7. How soon do you want 4 or 5 children?

8. Can you sustain 6 people on your salary?

9. Is it okay with you that I hate cooking and cleaning?

10. Are you okay with your personal life being broadcast to anyone who will listen?

Important things I need to know.

The list could go on, but I’ll stop. For now I’d settle on getting drunk and making out in bars. Get ready, Portland! The Thornton sisters are about to descend for Winter 2010! New Years… Oh New Years… Don’t fail me now!

Oh God Jesus Ouch

10 Dec

The last 6 months I lived in New Orleans, I had about 5 moles removed.

I finally got health insurance for myself and hadn’t been checked out at the dermatologist since I was in high school.

The gorgeous dermatologist walks in, we introduce ourselves, she explains what she’s about to do and we get started.

She parts my hair and starts instructing her assistant to record a mole. Parts my hair again and has her assistant record another mole. Slowly she inspects every crevice of my body and informs me that my moles all just look weird or there’s problems.

Yayyyy.

So she makes a short list of all of the moles she wants to be removed. The plan was to remove one, test it, see the results, and if there’s a problem go for the next one.

We started with the mole that disturbed her the most.

So once I month I went to her office. She checked me out and her husband cut.

I am very silly when it comes to needles and skin cutting and bleeding. I’m a baby.  It all grosses me out.  When it comes down to it, I man up and do what I gotta do. But after its over I fall apart.

The first mole I had removed went a little something like this:

Doctor: Kate, are you a religious person?

Me: No…

D: Do you mind if I pray?

Me: Nope.

D: Ok great. Dear Lord. Please Almighty God in heaven, bless this girl. Please make each cut I make as painless as possible and that nothing be wrong with her mole and that she have a speedy recovery. Amen.

….

Alright.

So then the horrible parts happen. I’m laying face down on my stomach, as the mole is on my lower back. He injects me with anesthesia.

JESUS OUCH. That’s when I started “praying.”

So he numbs me up, cuts out the mole, stitches me back up.

A couple weeks later I go back in so they could check my progress. The nurse is like, “Okay Kate. We are just going to have Patricia here take off your old bandage, clean it up a little, and then put another bandage back on. Okay? Okay, Patricia, what you are gonna wanna do is peel off her old bandage, wipe off her scar or cut or whatever condition it’s in now and then use this glue and these scissors to cut a new bandage and then brush the glue over the bandage and hold it there. Okay?”

Not good. I don’t want to know what you’re doing back there. Or do I want to know everything?!

I sit down on the doctor bed thing while this nurse, on her first day on the job, handles my wound that I can’t see. I can’t see what she’s doing. Oh my god, what is she doing back there. Why is it taking so long. Oh god. I feel sick. Can I have some water? I’m going to faint. Oh my god you’re still touching it. Stop touching it. Why are you still touching it. Why is it taking so long. Oh you’re going to lay me down and tip the chair upside down? Fine. Do it. More water.

I’m weird.

So it was more difficult for me to get my bandage removed than to get the damn thing cut out.

The next time I went in it was for a mole on my ear. So I was lucky enough not only to have another mole removed, but to be able to hear it up close and personal as loud as possible. I could hear the doctor slicing my skin open. I could hear him grating the skin off slowly with a scalpel. And I could definitely hear it when he was cauterizing my skin. Love the sound of burning skin.

But do you know what I love more than the sounds of sliced, burning skin? The SMELL!

The last mole that I got taken off was underneath my left nostril.

You’re probably trying to think back to what mole on her nose?

It was a small little skin colored bump, hardly noticeable. But possibly a problem…

So anyways, this is my last mole that was getting removed so I was pretty pumped and kind of used to the whole process at this point.

I walk in, I lay down on the chair, chit chat with the nurse, she preps me.

This was my favorite prep.

They take the iodine and sanitize the area that will be cut. Do you know what iodine looks like? It looks like you put too much fake tanner on. It is bright orange.

So I’m laying down as she’s wiping my face down and she giggles.

Naturally I’m like, please can I see?

Grab the mirror. I nod in acceptance. “I finally have some color in my face!” As I see that iodine is splotchily applied and centered around my nose and left side of my face only, leaving one to believe that I attempted, and horribly failed at applying fake tanner.

The nurse cracked up as the doctor walked in. So you know how during surgery they put that blue tarp over you with a hole cut out around where they’re going to be cutting? My doctor puts one of those over my face, except the hole in the blue thing was the size of my face. It was so dumb.

“What is the point of this blue thing if its not covering anything? You can take it off if you want to…”

Doctor: “No well, it needs to be there in case you bleed a lot, so that it doesn’t get in your hair.”

“Oh.”

So I’m laying there with my face in the hole of a blue tarp, laying on my back, pretty relaxed. As the doctor is coming towards my face with a needle, he quickly says,

“Oh by the way, this is going to hurt a lot more than the other ones…”

BOOM.

The only reaction I could come up with was quick panic followed by:

“OH MY GOD! THE PAIN! THE PAIN! THIS HURTS SO MUCH. SO MUCH. OH MY GOD THIS HURTS SO MUCH THE PAINNNN!” for a solid minute as he’s oh so slowly injecting the anesthesia into my skull. He knew when it was good enough when the needle broke through my nostril and a mixture of anesthesia and blood flash flooded down my nasal passages, in my mouth, and down my throat. The poor people in the waiting room must have been terrified.

When it was over I sat up with water just pouring down my face from the ambush.  Whew! The bad part was over! Sort of.

45 MINUTES LATER my doctor finally decides to waltz back in to cut my face open. I’m thinking, I can feel my nose again. But I’d rather get my face cut open and feel it then get a needle in the nose again. So I don’t say anything.

“Dear Father in Heaven oh Lord. Please watch over and protect Kate from the cutting I’m about to perform. Please let this go smoothly and make sure that nothing be wrong and that its just a mole. Dear Lord in Heaven Father Jesus Christ Spirit of Holiness. Ok Kate, I’m ready.”

Jesus, so am I…

So the blue tarp goes back on. The cuts are made. Once again I am getting cut on or near a main part of the sensory experience of a human body. He starts explaining to me that the root (GAGGGGG!!! Knowing that a mole has a fucking root makes me absolutely sick, FYI. When I learned that such a thing existed, I googled it for way too long and found nothing near as repulsive as I expected to see, but only because there weren’t really any pictures of mole roots. Except for the little underground critters and the roots they live amongst…) So anyways, he’s explaining to me that my root is a lot bigger than he thought, UGH, and is literally slowly scraping away at it. It sounded like he was cheese-grating a radish. VOM. So I’m hardly making it through this part which seemed to take 100 minutes. At one point during a scrape, I flinched, giving away my secret that I can pretty much feel what he’s doing.

“Wait, can you feel this?!”

“Yes…? It’s OK though! It’s much better than having a needle in my brain again… :/”

Convincing me that it won’t be nearly as bad because I’ve already been mostly numbed, I agree to let him re-attack my face. It’s not that bad.

Eventually he finally finishes grating my face and I’m so relieved. I relax my toes, my fingers, my body. Until he whips out the cauterizing gun. Then I get to lay there while he burns my skin… under my nose. That smell will forever be with me.

5 Year Anniversary.

29 Aug

Today is the 5 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and subsequently, the 5 year marking of when I moved to New Orleans.  Four days after I moved into my dorm room at Loyola University, I left.  Thankfully my sister’s friend, Trish, was a New Orleans veteran and invited me to evacuate with her. I threw a bathing suit, my laptop, and a pair of underwear into my purse and hoped in her car wearing a tank top, shorts, and flip flops.  We drove to Houston and it unbearably took 9 hours (instead of 6) to get there thanks to my constant need to visit the bathroom due to my first night ever drinking at a bar…  I’ll never forget pounding rum and cokes at Friar Tucks, age 18, watching my very first hurricane wind its way toward me on the radar map on TV. My friends and I were loving it. ‘Can you believe it! We live in NEW ORLEANS now! Hurricanes threaten us here! So crazy cool!’ Not so crazy cool at 9am the next morning, getting woken up by my new BFF telling me that that awesome hurricane we saw on TV last night was getting huge and there was a voluntary evacuation.  This was Saturday.

Flash forward to Houston Saturday night.  At one point, there were almost 30 people staying in one amazing family’s home. This family was amazing as well as their friends and neighbors. Every mealtime someone would come knocking on the door with a casserole, pizza, beer, and other forms of sustenance to keep us refugees as content as one could be.  I was the only freshman in a group of all seniors and juniors. I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t all bad. They taught me what Hurrication was.  We woke up at 10 am and started hitting the Bud Lights while lounging around the pool in the backyard, which beautifully backed up to a golf course.  Trish and I hit up the mall and Starbucks and began our very own friendship. No longer was I ‘Nancy’s Sister,’ we were friends.

The party ended very quickly when the status of Katrina was upgraded to a Category 5, the worst a hurricane can get.  I had only been in New Orleans for a few days yet it had very quickly become a part of me.  The people I was with had been there anywhere from a couple years to their whole lives. There’s something about New Orleans, though. Whether you’ve grown up there or only called it home for 2 weeks, it gets to you.

When the hurricane hit on Monday it was clear we weren’t going back. My mom booked Trish and I flights back home to Portland. While I was on the plane and traveling back to my parents home, the levees failed.  My mom pulled up to the house and I ran downstairs and turned on the TV and watched, like I’d been doing in Houston for the previous 3 days.  I cried. I cried for the people who stayed. The people who thought they could ride it out in their homes and when the water came in under the door, they went upstairs. Nothing like this had ever happened before, so it seemed okay to go to higher ground. No one could have imagined how high the water was going to get. I cried for the families who drowned in their homes. This will never fail to bring tears to my eyes and unbelievable pain to  my heart. Never had I experienced such devastating sadness.

I went back in October, one month later. Flying over I saw hundreds of houses covered in blue tarp and hardly any cars on the freeways. I could already feel that it was a ghost town.  Loyola was the headquarters for the National Guard and they looked like they hadn’t seen a woman in ten years. Every home had a ten foot pile of debris and a refrigerator out front. Hundreds of cardboard signs littered the streetcar tracks, letting whoever was around know what numbers to call for mold removal, pitting, electrical service, etc. The girl I was with and I went into several friends apartments to retrieve certain items. One obviously hadn’t had her refrigerator taken care of yet. Curious, we opened it. Rotten meat, vegetables, rodents, bugs and the worst smell I’ve ever inhaled gushed out.  We grabbed her stuff and bolted.  That night we hit up Bourbon Street and other local bars. National Guard littered the streets and only several dozen people were around. Years later I was still learning where I went that night. I’d walk into a bar and would be instantly hit with the memory of that night. I’d been here in another lifetime.

In January, school started again. Almost every friend I’d made those first few days came back. You’ve never seen a more proud, excited bunch than my freshman class. We were there to stay. At my graduation four years later, the governor pointed out how proud he was that we came back. We came back to a city that had been destroyed and drowned. And we were there to make sure it didn’t stay that way.

The recovery process was so gradual that it was hard to describe to anyone who wasn’t there what it was like.  My family didn’t understand why I went back, and I suppose in a way it called to me. How could I not go back? It never entered my mind. Where else would I go?!

The five years that I spent in New Orleans had an enormous impact in who I am. That city will forever be a home to me.  From the destruction, to the rebuilding, to the renewal, to the Saints finally winning games, to the Saints WINNING THE SUPER BOWL, and back down to the oil spill, I was there.  All of that is a part of me and I wouldn’t change any of it.

5 years…

Top Ten Places I’ll Miss in NOLA

17 Jul

1. Monkey Hill Bar: Okay so I worked there.  Not only do I love every single person I worked with, but I also drank at really awesome prices… I really lucked out not only being lucky enough to getting a job there but also to love it and the people around me. Miss you Lauren H., Angela, Mandy, Carlos, Shelly, Austen, Ashley, Lauren L., Jen, Constance, Mike B., Mike V., Rudy, Josh, and Tracy!

2. U.A.L:  Couture and designer clothing at unbelievable prices!! Ecclectic, funky, and actually exciting shopping. Another place I have worked at and loved! A must see for shopping and located in the heart of the French Quarter on Chartres St. Go see my friends Erica, Brian, Amanda, Lauren, and Sasha!!

3. The French Quarter:  I somehow managed to work almost every job I had in college on the same three blocks in the FQ.  Some days I would stroll around on my lunch break and think, “I live in New Orleans. I work in the French Quarter. This is my home!?” and feel very lucky and proud that I’d be able to tell my children and grandchildren of my life here.

4.  Magazine Street : Fun, affordable shopping with not a mall in sight! Coffee shops, boutiques, amazing restaurants, and great New Orleans architecture.  You’ll need a car though… the street is a total of 6 miles long! Starting (or ending, depending on which way you’re going) at the French Quarter and ending at Audubon Park and the Zoo (and Monkey Hill Bar :).

5. Community Coffee: Some might say this is the Starbucks of the South, but I wouldn’t be so rude as to say that. I think Starbucks tastes like water.  CC’s saved me almost every morning, thank goodness there happened to be one across the street or around the corner of every job I ever had there, not to mention the one inside my college.  Yummy yummy coffee!

6. Audubon Park:  Imagine jogging on a paved loop around a golf course, ponds, artwork, gazebos and children playing on jungle gyms while their parents barbeque nearby.  Before you know it you’ve run 2 miles!  A gorgeous park located between Magazine Street and Loyola University on St. Charles Avenue.

7. The Bulldog:  I spent approximately 3 years here at least every other day, if not more…  There’s something about the seemingly unlimited draft options of ice cold, frothy beer that really made me happy.  Plus, its located on Magazine Street, and we’ve already covered that…

8. The Marigny: A lovely, offset neighborhood right next to the French Quarter, home to Frenchman St.  I’ve had many a night here, dancing, drinking, listening to music and wandering from bar to bar to restaurant.  I bought a huge sugar cookie from a man with a table set up on Fat Tuesday this year that I’ll never forget.

9. Pat O’Briens: Pretty much the only place in the French Quarter, other than Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shoppe (Special Shoutout!) that I’ll go to… Piano bar, patio seating, and 4 other bars within the compound that is Pat O’s, this is the best place to go for any special occasion!!

10. The Goldmine: I know, I know. You either love it or you hate it. But… I loved it.  I admit it.  Always a crazy time. Drinks in the cab on the way to Pat O’s and then a couple hurricanes in you stumble into this dark cave for some sweaty dancing and Dr. Pepper shots that, at this point, are quite easy to take!