One in a Million

While in Milwaukee, WI last week for work, I was deemed the ‘star wrangler’ of the day.  As I was getting the talent all situated in his hotel room before a concert, I asked if there was anything else I could get before I headed back to the venue for sound check.

The second the words came out of my mouth, I immediately regretted my offering.  The talent wanted steamed salmon, grilled vegetables, a baked sweet potato and a Heineken.  Typically this request would be no problem but we were at an airport hotel with no room service and I was in a state that I had never before stepped foot. Shit.

I ran downstairs and let the overly friendly front desk clerk (who didn’t know her ass from her elbow) provide suggestions. I was able to score the salmon and grilled veggies in the same restaurant and begged them to prepare it for me before they opened for the day (I can be quite a schmoozer when the situation arises).

The baked sweet potato, however, proved to be the bain of my existence.

As I drove downtown Milwaukee, I was calling, Googling, texting (all the while sweating heavily in my underarm area) trying to locate a sweet baked potato above the Mason Dixon line. I found sweet potato fries, tater tots and chips but nothing baked. F!

I about shit as I walked into the fancy schmancy Harbor House to pick up the talent’s salmon, as I had no company cash on me and I was crossing my fingers my check card would go through.  After picking up the $30 fish and veggies, I continued the search for the baked sweet potato.

After several unsuccessful search calls to local restaurants, I decided to get the Heineken (and possibly shot gun one myself) out-of-the-way.

I wanted to stay all day at this liquor store.

After easily scoring the beer, I decided to buy a sweet potato at a grocery store and cook it in the hotel microwave (I of course had to call a Martha Stewart type in Nashville to get advice on how not to over cook in the quick heating appliance).

I ran into a what looked like a farmer’s market and frantically asked the first woman behind a counter where I could find a sweet potato (by my demeanor, you would have thought I was with a search and rescue team trying to locate a missing child).  The kind woman said “there are baked sweet potatoes at the soup counter.”

You mean already cooked, ready to eat, I can buy and get the hell outta here sweet potatoes? SCORE!  Just as I was approaching the counter, a man tapped me on my shoulder. I was clearly annoyed, sweaty and stressed because I needed to get lunch to the talent that I had left in a hotel room 55 minutes ago.

As I whipped around to let him know that I didn’t want to sample what he was pushing, or buy a flower from his basket or take a tour of the market, or whatever it was that he wanted he said, “You’re our millionth customer!”

My response was, “No shit?” I mean, I’ve never seen anyone be the millionth anything (except on TV or in movies where they win a million dollars. Wait, did I win a million dollars?!)

Turns out in lieu of cash, I won a gift basket with a cooking class certificate (obviously needed), apron (will come in handy while I bake a sweet potato), cook book (hopefully containing instructions on how many minutes to scorch a potato in the microwave) and a $50 gift card to the market.

Milwaukee Public Market loot.  Too bad I live 500 miles away, so I can’t redeem my certificates.

Who, me?! Hurry the F up and take the photo! I have a sweet potato to deliver!!

Instantly relieved with a baked sweet potato in my hand, accompanied by my basket of millionth customer goodies, I raced back to the hotel, and presented the talent his lunch and beer. To which he said, “this is cold.”

He’s one in a million.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks Iowa Style

Road trip!

In celebration of my dad’s 60th birthday, we headed to party in our favorite state with family and friends.

Sick and tired of all of my recent travel, Teddy was bound and determined to make my packing difficult, trying to block the removal of clothes. I almost stuffed him into my suitcase.

Birthday boy all dolled up for his trip.

Look kids, the Arch! A drive by of the landmark in St. Louis.

Quick Trip. “The Mother of all gas stations,” according to the birthday boy. And yes, that’s one classy model a top the trash can.

Passing the nine hour drive with birthday presents every half hour (along with the Luke Bryan song “Country Girl” on repeat for two hours as a sing-a-l0ng. Yes, I’m serious. And yes, I wanted to rip the speakers out of the car).

Upon visiting cold Northern states, you don’t have to fret if you forget your coat. They sell them at gas stations. Phew.

An Iowa astronaut greeted us upon our 2am arrival. My dogphew Gunner.

Unable to resist the best chip dip in the world – Anderson Erickson French Onion – even at 3am.

Beer flight for the birthday boy at Parlor City in Cedar Rapids, IA.

One of the best burgers ever – a Jucy Lucy (American cheese cooked inside a 1/2 lb beef patty. I died of sheer happiness). Accompanied by sweet potato fries and a marshmallow dip. HEAVEN.

Ooey gooey goodness.

60 presents for the 60th birthday boy. We cancelled afternoon plans to fit them all in.

Hitting the Iowa City ped mall with the best jazz hander I know, my college bestie.

Football time! Beautiful stadium, fabulous weather, lousy team.

The Iowa Hawkeye mascot, Herky. My homeboy. More preferably my boyfriend but we can’t get our schedules coordinated.

Game day food – a giant pork tenderloin the size of my head. That I had no trouble stuffing into my face.

Hanging with the Iowa Elvis. Major pompadour competition!

Skinny Pirate party time with Hussy #5!

Whapsatoolie Time. A family tradition of mixing whatever liquor is available and making a shot for the guest of honor. Birthday boy handled with ease.

Disclaimer: Whapsatoolies lead to dance parties.

Birthday party garbage like this makes for a long nine hours home to Nashville.

And one long week ahead of me…

CBXB