I want to kill sausage gravy.
NewWifey(tm) and I just got back from Nashville after 6 grueling days of catering to a sea of florid 60 year old women all of whom were intent on stabbing each other in the throat with a knitting needle in order to get that absolutely adorable! scissor fob first.
I tell ya, if you want to defeat ISIS just tell your kindly, pie-baking old grandmother that they’re hoarding a stash of unreleased kitten-themed samplers in their underground bunkers. Then stand back. Within a week the American flag will be flying atop every flagpole from Aleppo to Kabul. Granted, there’ll be a lot more bloodshed that way than if we just carpet bombed the place, but hey….
Might as well give a quick recap before I go any further, as it’s now more than a few days removed from my last post: NewWifey(tm) is an Olympic caliber needle arts chick, and recently turned her mania…er, passion…into a small business. She started out designing typical cross-stitching charts of things like kittens and Ye Olde Timey alphabets, but that drove her stir crazy after a while so she branched out into things like stitching on eggs:
and trays of stuff:
and some weird pincushion thing that opens up to reveal a fuzzy bumblebee:
and – of course – booze:
(OK, I think that’s enough product whoring for one post, Honey. You can stop looking over my shoulder now.)
Anyway, last week was the big industry shindig in Nashville where designers show off their wares to shop owners looking to stock their shelves for the 2017 season. All the designers, NewWifey(tm) included, debuted new products and highlighted perennial favorites. This was all held at an Embassy Suites hotel, which has an indoor courtyard ringed by 8 floors of rooms rising up on all sides. The vendors took up 6 full floors, with a couple of hundred shop owners wandering around trying to decide on inventory.
This year, for the first time, I attended. (Some may recall an entry I did a year or so ago about accompanying NewWifey(tm) to a 2-day event in New Hampshire, but that was a retail show and a completely different animal.)
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Gosh Dangerspouse, what took you so long? You LOVE looking at cross stitched alphabets and fat women.‘
Strangely enough, that’s not entirely accurate. In fact, it might be more in line with the truth to say, ‘Gosh Danger, how the hell did you get corralled into this? You’d rather have someone insert a glass rod up your urethra and shatter it into a thousand pieces with a hammer than look at 6 floors of kitten samplers and scissor fobs for a week.’
And indeed I would.
But let me remind you here of the power of a good blow job to persuade.
I went to the kitten-and-scissor fest.
I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow (the other kind) of the event, mostly because I’d fall asleep trying to describe it, just like you would trying to read it. Suffice it to say, chintz features large in my memory, as does the smell of Ensure with undertones of Depends. A “Lucky Star” cosplay event this was not. And so. many. beehive. hairdo’s.
There was one funny thing I’ll mention, though. NewWifey(tm) has been locked in mortal prank combat with a pair of designer sisters who show up at every event. Ever since they met at one of these shows probably three years ago, each has made it their mission to somehow, some way, slip a metaphorical whoopee cushion under the other in order to get bragging rights that carry over to the next show, when the contest starts again. For the most part it’s harmless little old lady stuff, like once the sisters taped blown-up pictures of themselves to the outside of NewWifey’s front windows, so that’s all NewWifey(tm) saw when she cracked the shades the next morning. Or NewWifey(tm) retaliating by wirelessly hacking into their insulin pumps and changing their dosages. That kind of thing.
But this year NewWifey(tm) pulled a prank that will probably never be topped. Unless she gets an insulin pump.
Fifteen minutes before the show started NewWifey(tm) had me dress up really nice (which in that neck of the woods just means a shirt with buttons on it, and shoes). Then she handed me a clipboard and an official looking ID in a lanyard to wear around my neck (my work ID badge, with picture). Then she went up to the sisters’ room, giving me instructions to follow in 10 minutes.
So ten minutes later, clipboard in hand and shirt buttoned all the way up, I knocked on their door and entered. The ladies were sitting on a couch chatting with NewWifey(tm), who played as if she’d never seen me before.
Once inside I announced, “Good afternoon ladies. I’m D. Spouse, the county Fire Department code enforcement officer. I’m inspecting rooms to make sure there are no violations, like open candle flames or blocked exits. Do you mind if I look around?”
Nods from both.
I walked around their room, asking if they had open candle flames or blocked exits. “No.” “No.” I nodded. “Looks good” I said, but then stopped and pointed to the cloth table covering they’d built their entire display on. “Do you have a certificate of flame retardance for this?”
The sisters looked at each other. “Well…no. We just assumed it was treated before we bought it.”
“I’m sorry, but in public venues you must have a certificate of flame retardance even for items sold as such. I’m sure the event organizers made that information available to you when you signed up. I’m afraid I’m going to have to shut down your booth until you produce proof of compliance.”
The sisters looked up at me, mouths open.
I smelled Depends.
Looking at my watch I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll be checking the other booths for probably another half hour before I leave. If you can supply a certificate while I’m still here by contacting the fire department and having them run one over, I’ll let you open up. You can call me at this number.” I scribbled on my clipboard, folded the paper and handed it to them.
When they unfolded it they saw, “HA – GOT YA, SUCKERS! LOVE, NOTEWORTHY NEEDLE.”
It was the best prank NewWifey(tm) and I have ever pulled off as man and wife together. I thought they were gonna beat us with their cans of Ensure.
So that was the highlight of my week.
Now granted I may be a former chef and a current internet food genius, but when I’m away on business, my standards are a lot lower. In fact, they’re almost zero. Basically, as long as I get enough nutrients to stave off rickets and alopecia, I don’t complain about taste. My main focus is on business. Everything else is secondary.
This trip did not meet even that standard.
I tell ya, by the third day I would have killed the Pope for a sprig of parsley. Anything edible and green, other than green M&M’s, was apparently an abstract principle to these people. Everything at the free breakfast and dinner buffet was either pork, or beige. Just starch, starch, starch, pig, starch, other pig, starch, starch, ham, starch. And all of it – all of it – was covered with sausage gravy. Starchy, pasty, snot-textured beige swill, flavored with pork products. They put it on everything. Biscuits. Pork. Potatoes. Rice. Cereal. Yogurt. Ice cream. Toothpicks. Even sausage gravy. “Would you like sausage gravy on your sausage gravy?” the cafeteria lady would ask. No. No I would not. Unless there’s parsley under it.
Did you ever see the TV series “My 600 Pound Life”? It was filmed at that Embassy Suites, I’m sure.
There was no getting away from it, either. We were confined to the hotel for the duration of the event. You know how bad it got? By the fourth day we didn’t even want to fuck. In a hotel! With a king size bed! THAT’S bad. I’d rather have the rickets.
However, and it feels really bizarre to be writing this, there actually was one mitigating factor.
Know what it was?
There was a WallyWorld SuperCenter down the road, and during a lull in the action on the afternoon of the fifth day I actually went AWOL and sprinted down the shoulder of the interstate to see if they didn’t have something, anything, that wasn’t beige or swine.
And can you believe it – they did! LOTS of did!
I’ve never been in a WM SuperCenter before, but I’ll certainly stop in if I ever see one again. That place had everything. Or so it seemed to my 7 Years A Castaway eyes. There was fresh fruit! Vegetables! Roast meats that weren’t pig! A freakin’ Asian section with even Vietnamese summer rolls!!
I didn’t want to leave.
But of course I had to. I mean, if NewWifey(tm) discovered I’d deserted my post, she might take off and leave me there in that vast, nutrient deficient wasteland. So I grabbed a couple of bagged salads, some fruit and berry assortments, a rotisserie chicken, some green M&M’s (what the heck), and a big honkin’ bunch of parsley. I intended to wave that in the face of the lunch lady next time I saw her.
Oh yeah, I also managed to pull off my Awkward Moment of the Year in the short time I was shoveling vegetable matter into my cart. I was in the beverage aisle scouting out bottled water – only Coke and Sausage Gravy Shakes back at the hotel – when a nice looking lady probably in her early 30’s tapped me on the arm and said, “Excuse me, could you grab me two of those 2-liter Coke bottles off the top shelf?”
Now normally this would engender an unthinking “sure” from me, immediately followed by said Coke grab. But this time I hesitated for just a second, because I recently had that elbow reconstruction surgery and reaching out and lifting 2-liter soda bottles was one of the tasks I was specifically warned not to engage in. However the hesitation didn’t last more than that second, because it had been a while since I last heard that admonishment. Plus, it struck me that if she couldn’t perform the same task perhaps she had just had the same operation, and was still in the acute phase. I felt an immediate bonding.
“Did you just have elbow reconstruction surgery?” I asked.
“No” she said, lowering her eyes to the floor. “A double mastectomy.” It was almost inaudible.
I reached for the bottles and silently handed them to her. She kept her eyes on the floor as she turned and carried them back to her cart.
I should have told her not to worry, I’m an ass man anyway.
Back with my own (double breasted) woman, the tone got much cheerier once I deposited my vitamin laden haul on the bed. We both bounded up onto the comforter and dove into the pile on our haunches, face down, butt up, like foraging rabbits. My head felt light from the sudden influx of chlorophyll, and for the first time in almost a week I felt like pooping was not going to cause a rectal prolapse from the strain.
Oh – and we also felt like fucking again. So we did. Right there on the mound, Tom Jones style (although to be fair to Fielding, Tom was fucking his mother. I’m desperate, but not that desperate. Plus, she’s dead.)
So that was my memory of “Nashville Wholesale Needleworks Expo and Sausage Gravy Fest 2017”. Bad food, beehive hairdos, and the Walmart that saved my life.
Just one more memory, that of the trip home.
We broke the drive up into two days, stopping overnight in Lexington, Virginia. While it’s not exactly the halfway point, NewWifey(tm) wanted to stay at the historic Col Alto estate hotel, (now run by the Hilton group). It’s a beautiful Georgian structure with a wing of rooms added on, but if you pay a little extra you can stay in one of the original manor rooms.
We paid a little extra.
Wanna see the room we soiled? It’s this one.
NewWifey(tm) and I stayed in that very room, Room #1, the “McDowell Room”. We fucked in the same bed those lumpy tourists did! I pooped in the very same toilet that retarded kid probably fell into! It was awesome. I got to wear a nice thick robe with the Col Alto crest stitched on the lapel (surprised the other guests on line at the buffet with that one) and NewWifey(tm) had fun doing a pole dance on one of those bed posts. Worth every penny just to see that. Oh, and because this was Virginia, they preserved the slave quarters. For all I know they may still be operational, too. Stars and bars, yo.
Ok, gotta wrap this up and go make some dinner. We’re having baby bok choy steamed with ginger and baby shrimp. With sausage gravy. Stuff’s addictive.