Mary – Chapter 3 – New Years Day Brunch – Part Two

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the fourth installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a 4 part series that should be together.

Here’s where we left off yesterday!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. she’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

We step out into the late afternoon December sun onto Broad street. The parade is still going full force. We have to wait between sets to cross the street and head west on South street. I’m pretty sure Mary’s not done yet, and wants another drink. I like that in a woman. Chick’s got stamina. I respect that.

We walk up to 20th and Lombard and we decide to check out the new place called Lou Bird’s. It replaced whatever forgettable restaurant was across from Pub and Kitchen. I’ve never really been a fan of Pub and Kitchen. Not thrilled with the menu and the drinks are expensive. Lou Bird’s is owned by the folks behind Happy Rooster, so that’s a step in the right direction. Inside it is a very cozy bar. Back wall is brick. Only a few people in there, and a family at a back table in the other room. It’s a very comfortable woody bar. The barmaid is attractive and sweet. She is young and seems to lack some knowledge but she’ll do just fine.

Mary orders a stinger. I haven’t heard of that drink in a long time. A real old classic. It’s a pretty simple recipe. Just brandy and white creme de menthe. It can be served on the rocks or up. Mary goes for on the rocks. I have to tell the bartender how to make it. She doesn’t have any brandy so I suggest some the Remy Martin sitting on the shelf behind her. Cognac is brandy. The only way they can call brandy cognac is if it’s distilled in the cognac region of France. (You all knew that, right?)

I go with a simple Manhattan, up. Always a solid choice. It’s a really nice neighborhood bar. I like it here. Small place, all dark wood. Side wall is bare brick. I like that there are windows behind the bar so you can see out. We’re there for a bit, and mary insists on paying. This is always a good thing. I can see she’s got a buzz on. I like her a little tipsy. It’s New Years!

After our drink I tell her I’ll walk her home. We leave, and start walking north up 20th Street. We get to Chestnut street and Mary thinks we should stop in El Rey, for a final. I can’t say no at this point. I’m having such a wonderful fun-filled weekend. Little does Mary know, but I’ll be back at El Rey for happy Hour this week with Clarice.

El Rey is quiet. Mary orders a wine and I get a can of Tecate. I guess this could be considered a nightcap. Once we’re done there, we start to head for her building. At 20th and Market there used to be a vacant lot with an old food cart out front. Now there is a beautiful high-rise with a CVS downstairs. Across the street is a brand new Wawa. How the city has grown and changed over the last ten years since I came here.

Mary is laughing and tells me the food cart isn’t gone, they just moved him to another spot. That’s when I kissed her lips.

She’s drunk. My kiss is welcome.

She locks her arm in mine and I walk her to her building. She’s raving about what a wonderful, perfect day she has had with me. I have to agree with her. I kiss her again. Then she kisses me. She does this a few times. Her lips are soft and a bit more relaxed now. A bit more passion. She likes me. I’m going to see her more in 2017.

We say goodnight, and I wait until she is safely inside before I turn and make the sweet walk back to Rittenhouse on the first day of the new year.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

Mary – Chapter 2 – New Years Day Brunch – Part One

Another tale of one man’s journey navigating his way through the dating scene in Philadelphia.

Normally, a dating post like this one would appear on a Monday. But since I’m publishing three days a week now, to preserve continuity with the events of New Years weekend, this is technically the third installment of the events that occurred over my New Years weekend. Clarice, Carly, and Mary is a trilogy that should be together.

Since our first date Mary and I have met for lunch at Capital Grille and also at Square 1682 again for drinks. We went to Capital Grille because she said she’s known the bartender for fifteen years. She says she gets the hook up. I dig the hook up when I get it so I was down. The lunch was delicious and the company was good. Poor Mary, was having some oral pain for some dental work she needed done, so instead of steak she went with the salmon. But at nearly sixty-nine years of age, she’s hanging tough and looking good doing it. I did the burger to keep the cost down, but in the end we didn’t get any hook up. Good news is, Mary kicked in over forty dollars towards the bill, so Mary is clutch. The moral of this story is, if your name isn’t Phicklephilly or Church, you don’t really get the real hookup.

So this would technically be our fourth date. Mary’s cataract surgery was complete and the vision in her right eye is now clear again. After my date New Years Eve brunch with Clarice, (See: Clarice – 2016 to Present – The CEO – New Years Eve Brunch) and the wedding set up with Carly, (See: Carly – 2014 to Present – New Years Eve) I was ready to spend New Years Day with Mary.

These have been my kind of holidays and I think I finally got it right. In December I saw my family in the middle of the month at our annual holiday party.

Fantastic.

Like I’ve said before I’ve never been a fan of New Years because it’s drunken amateur night. Just can’t do it. So this year, I’ve managed to build these little meetings around the holiday, without actually having to participate in said holiday.

I decided to take Mary to brunch at the City Diner at Broad and South. It was formerly Juniper Commons. A Kevin Spraga restaurant. It was an abject failure. They had eighty different gins. You could pick your club soda from a load of different flavors. It had a diner decor and played 80’s music throughout. I had brunch there when it first opened. I had this magnificent pancake concoction. Best ever. The two times I went back my buddy Church said the burgers were sub par, and another time I had brunch with Trish there, the food outright sucked. Who wants gin, let alone eighty different kinds?

The place went under in less than six months. Bitch, please.

A Greek family came in and turned the place into a twenty-four hour diner. Crushing it. perfect spot and perfect idea. Like my partner Achilles over at the salon, the Greeks just know how to get it done. Wait until some big shot goes in and does the whole build out on the restaurant and wait for it to fail. Then go in and open your restaurant and all of the stuff is already there to make it work.

Genius.

I meet her there and we’re all set. I called a few days before and made a reservation for a window booth on the Broad street side. The mummers parade goes right down Broad street all day on New years. Perfect vantage point to dine while watching the parade go by. Mary is impressed. It’s what I’m good at. Being at the parade can sometimes be a shitshow, but being behind glass and away from the crowd and noise, it’s a delight.

We have a really nice Irish girl who will be our server. It’s about 1:15pm at this point. I order a Yards Pale, and Mary goes with the prosecco. How about that? Two different dates in two days, and they order the same thing. Just goes to show, ladies dig bubbly when it comes to day drinking. Place is swinging. Very busy. Juniper Commons was never like this.

Mary and I are chatting and catching up on what’s been happening in our lives over the holidays. The server comes by and we’re not ready. That always happens. I get chatting with someone and forget to look at the menu. She returns in a bit and we’re ready. Mary goes with the Eggs Benedict with Canadian bacon, and I have the french toast deluxe. Deluxe means they give me a sizable slice of ham, two pieces of bacon and a single sausage. Just a glorious brunch item. Order is in, and now it’s maybe 1:40pm.

We chat away, and order another round. The diner fills and several large parties come in. We’re laughing and talking as the parade rolls by. The people watching alone is almost better than the parade, and we’ve got a court side seat.

Time goes by.

More time goes by.

And even more time goes by.

We’re not starving but it’s been an hour and no food.

An hour!

At a fucking diner!

At Midtown diner they crack that food off to you so fast you barely tell them what you want and it’s in front of you. And Little Pete’s? Lightning. We can’t figure out what’s wrong. The server comes over and apologizes, several times. We’re not angry because we’re enjoying each others company the time sort of just rolls by. But we should be a little cross about this situation. The server tells us it’s the kitchen’s fault. They have had a few large tables come in and they are in the weeds. But that’s not our problem. I understand the challenges of the service industry and so does Mary…first hand.

Once it’s an hour and a half, and we’re about to order our third round, the server returns once again. She apologizes and is really sweet. We tell her it’s not her fault. I suggest that we pay for our drinks, and when our food eventually comes out after two hours, we eat it and tip her up to what the whole meal would cost, but the manager or owner comps our lunch. In theory this seems fair.

But the server tells us that they are Greek. (we know this) Any shortcoming that occur in the diner are the fault of the server. But we tell her she is completely innocent in all of this. She insists they will take it out of her pay and she’ll get in trouble.

Well that sucks. I can’t let that happen. We tell her we’re rescinding the offer and to forget we ever said anything. We express this with great earnest because she’s under enough stress, running around all day serving hungry cranky customers. I drop the idea.

Mary agrees. We’re cool. The server tells us just two more orders ahead of us and they’ll bring us our food. We’re both a little buzzed at this point and are still having a lovely time.

A few minutes later our orders from nearly two hours ago finally arrive. Fresh and hot just as if they were delivered minutes after we ordered. Presentation looks solid, and we’re both satisfied. We tear into our platters like hungry children. (#firstworldproblems) it’s all delish!

The server comes back and tells us if we want another round it’s on them. I think we’re square. It really wasn’t bad sitting there with Mary chatting away on a beautiful day. We’re finishing up and she gets a glass of wine and I go with a cocktail. The Scofflaw. It contains Crown Royal, dry vermouth, grenadine, orange bitters, and an Amarena cherry. Not a bad, spirit forward drink for a diner at 4:30 in the afternoon.

We’ve been here all afternoon!

We enjoy our free drinks and I pay the bill, but I told Mary that since she’s had so many medical woes lately, I wanted to do something for her. She’s been paying dutch normally when we go out, and I appreciate that. It’s New Years day of 2017, and I enjoy her company. I want to do something for her.

Tune in tomorrow to find out where these crazy kids end up next!

 

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Michelle – Chapter 16 – Epilogue – Part 1

“Every man dies. Not every man lives.” – HCW

Michelle and I have kept in touch since she moved to San Francisco to live with Dave. She found a good job and has even been promoted. She’s doing really well in her career. It seems pretty fast paced so she’s a busy lady. I met Michelle when she was 27. She is now 37 years old. We’ve known each other for over a decade now, but somehow it seems a lot longer. I suppose having a rich history together helps.

Michelle and Dave have lived out in San Fran for over three years now. They finally got married in 2016. He still works at the same job, and like I said she’s killing it in her job. We keep in touch through texting and sometimes use face time on our phones. Our friendship has transcended time and space.

They have no children yet, and I don’t know what their plan is in that department. We all know that the deal breaker between Michelle and I was that I didn’t want marriage and kids so she was out. I’m sure like every white couple in their thirties that have known each other for 20 years, they’re “trying.”

I never understand that about people. If you really want kids, throw the switch and make it happen. It’ll all work out. It’s easy. You can’t build a computer in an elevator but you can make a kid! Just get on with it! That’s what you wanted. The American Dream.

I did it and it worked out and I didn’t even want it. I love my Lorelei. She is a shaft of golden light through the darkness of my marriage and my life.

The housing market in San Francisco is some of the most expensive property in the country. Although Michelle and Dave are doing well, they are slowly being priced out of the market due to rising real estate prices and gentrification. So they may have to return to the east coast in the next year or so.

So there’s that little twist to the story. (Stop it. Not going to anything.)

Since she moved out West, Michelle has had to hide her friendship with me from Dave. He wouldn’t approve. I get it. Would I want my wife talking to her ex-boyfriend? Probably not. I’m pretty secure in myself though. It’s not like I’m talking to her to get her back. That’s simply not the case. Michelle and I have been friends longer than we were ever lovers. Our romantic relationship only lasted about two and a half years, but our friendship has lasted ten years! So in reality, she’s just keeping in touch with her friend back in Philly. She does that with all of her other friends back here so I’m just one of them. But I’m sure Dave wouldn’t see it like that, so she keeps me a secret. Dave thinks I’m ancient history for over five years now. (I still love that my pimp hand is strong nationwide. Kidding!)

Michelle lives a pretty clean and healthy life out there in the land of fruits and nuts. But whenever Dave has to go out-of-town she is usually drinking wine, smoking cigarettes and face timing with me. It’s like the kids in catholic school when I was growing up. They are held down so strictly, and when they’d got loose, they’d go crazy. Sometimes I think it’s that way for Michelle. But in the long run, living a healthier life will extend her life and she’ll feel better, and think more clearly. But not being able to be who you really are can create some long-term problems. But people are very adaptable. People evolve and change. A healthy clean life for Michelle may be her simply growing up.

I really believe that.

I’ve gotten the advice from some of my friends that what we’re doing is wrong. But based on what I know about those friends lives, I’d never listen to what they think I should do. They’ve made plenty of bad choices, and I’ll do what I want. It ends when Michelle says so, and not before. She’s the boss of that. No one knows what my life is, or was with Michelle and neither do you.

That belongs to us, and only us.

Michelle makes the final call on us and nobody else.

She’s been back to Philly a few times since she moved out west. Normally she swings by the city around the holidays. In 2014 she was around one evening. It was a lovely but bittersweet encounter. She was overcome with emotion. She had been spending the afternoon with several of her old friends, and I was the last stop. (Deal with it) We went to 1 Tippling Place for a drink before stopping at Crow and the Pitcher for another. She was supposed to go to her friend Gloria’s house and sleep over and then they were to have breakfast, but it didn’t quite play out that way.

She ended up sleeping on my sofa. Nothing happened, but she was pretty hung over the next morning. She got up and took an UBER down to Gloria’s the next morning for breakfast. Gloria was a little miffed, but Michelle’s time was limited. I later met up with her at 30th Street Station. She was going to take the train down to Delaware to see what I’m assuming was her family. She was a nervous wreck. So we sat at the Bridgewater Cafe and threw back a few chardonnays to take the edge off.

I put her on the train and off she went.

In 2015 she visited again around the holidays. She was unsure what time she’d be in the city. I was at McGlinchey’s drinking with Johnny R. She rolled in at one point and we all sat at a table by the door. It was nice. Johnny and I took turns playing songs on the jukebox, and we were all drinking and smoking cigarettes. It was just like old times. I played “Fly Me To The Moon,” and Michelle and I got up and danced in the aisle next to the bar. (Which was a sweet moment I get to wrap myself up in like a warm blanket.) Here we are in the shittiest bar in Philly and we bring the elegance and power just like always.

That was a glorious moment with my love.

Later, Johnny left and I walked down Chestnut Street towards 17th with Michelle. I think she told her people she was staying at her friend Susan’s house. But in reality she had booked a room at the Club Quarters. We took her bags up to the room. She was supposed to meet Susan for dinner, and said if I was around later we could meet up for a drink.

I went to Wawa and got a sandwich. I was starving, because eating anything from McGlinchey’s is always a health risk. I went back to my office at One Penn Center on JFK Boulevard and ate my sandwich and drank some box wine I kept there. (Cheap ass, but Mad Men style!)

She texted me about and hour and a half later. I met her at Club Quarters. She wanted to get a cocktail somewhere. We stopped in AKitchen on 18th Street. We chatted and enjoyed our drinks, just like we always did. Stories were told, memories refreshed, and cigarettes smoked. She said she should probably go back to her room. I walked her to the entrance of the hotel.

“Wanna come up?”

God Damn it.

So I ended up sleeping over that night. There was some playful moments, but I don’t think Michelle knew what she wanted that night. I probably should have gone home. We had planned on meeting for breakfast the next morning. But when the new day dawned she just wanted to go back to her family. She was feeling guilty about spending too much time with me again. So I guess I was dining alone that day.

I walked her to the parking garage and we went to her car. She pulled out of the lot and I got out. We said our goodbyes and I told her not to worry, and that nothing had happened. Just like I always do.

But nothing really happened.

Once again, my former queen disappeared into the morning light.

I ended up dining alone at Rachael’s alone. (Breakfast is always cheap and glorious despite your circumstances)

 

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Kylie – Broken Wing – The Rittenhouse Cocktail & Fashion Event

“I see your screen is cracked. Is that in style now?”

A few years ago, when I sold advertising for a drinking website, I was asked to be a judge for the Rittenhouse Cocktail & Fashion event. It’s actually and event that is impossible to complete. How it works is this; They pick an evening in the Spring where about a dozen of the fashion shops stay open late.  Each one brings in an alcohol brand to make cocktails and serve them to the general public. People can sign up for this event and everybody pays for tickets and gets a little wristband.

The shops are scattered all over a seven square block radius between Broad street out to 20th street, and between Chestnut and Locust street.  Most people who sign up for the event just wander around and stop in places to check out their wares. While there, they can enjoy a nice cocktail made from some big liquor brand.

It’s a fun night if that’s all you planned on doing. Take a date, look at cool fashion, and drink your face off.

Here’s the problem you have when you’re a judge for the event. You show up, and they give you a list of all of the stores with a note pad to write down all of the names of the cocktails. But you also have to write down the ingredients, and then you have to rate the drink.

This would be a fun exercise if I had four hours to do it. But the event only lasts for two hours. I’ve done this event twice, and both times I couldn’t physically get through the event.

But I tried. Lord knows, I tried. Beautifully smashed.

The people working the tables are great. They’re really excited for you to taste their products and are very enthusiastic about discussing them with you. But, you can’t spend a great deal of time with each representative, because you have to get to the next spot. I would like to get the list of places at least a day before hand, and a list of what the brands are and the names of the drinks with their ingredients. Then I could maybe get through the twelve different locations and the drinks. But there is still the timeframe. It is a back-breaking exercise in speed tasting and running around center city. Could me and my ex-girlfriend Michelle (See: Michelle – 2007 to Present – A Brand New Day) pull off an event like that? Sure we could. Would we be destroyed at the end of it?

Damn straight.

So it was my first time as a judge for the event. This was back in 2012. I’m in one of the shops, about a third of the way through the event, when I’m approached by a somewhat cute brunette. She is dressed in a cool leather jacket and tight slacks. She looks very fashionable. Perfect for an event like this. She’s maybe thirty. What struck me most about her was her hair. She wore the rare “stacked bob.” You really don’t see many women rocking this style. Best thing about it is, it’s really unique. People will remember a chick with that cut. She also was carrying a nice camera and taking a lot of photos. She said she was covering the event for Philadelphia Weekly. (A piece of shit print publication, that no one reads anymore. It’s better utilized as a birdcage liner or wrapping your fish up in.)

“You look like you know where you’re going, mind if I tag along?”

I tell her sure, because I could use the company of an attractive photographer and tasting partner. I tell her that I’m a judge for the event. We exchange formalities and get moving. I’ve got the list and she’s helping find each place.

It made it way more fun to have a girl with me on this little journey.

We’re hitting each spot and getting to know each other along the way. The clock is ticking and I’m really trying to get through the whole show. By the end, we were literally running to the last couple of places. It was a fun challenge.

We missed a few along the way but as miracles would have it I actually remember the last cocktail I tasted. So I couldn’t have been that banged up. We were in Nicole Miller in the Bellevue Stratford on Broad street. The drink was a whiskey infused cocktail where the rim of the glass was made of Smores. You could actually bite the edge of the cup and eat it. It was called”Ghost of the Campfire” due to its sweet but smoky taste. To me, it was the clear winner.

Kylie and I had a great time together that night. We ended up walking over to Ocean Prime at 15th and Sansom. We sat at the bar and sipped one final drink. We chatted and exchanged business cards. I remember her phone screen was really cracked, which was the birth of this line, “I see your screen is cracked. Is that in style now?” I see so many busted screens these days.

Why won’t these people purchase cases for their phones? It’s essential for a bit of technology that none of us can no longer live without.

I kind of liked her and thought she was attractive so I was going to try to see her again. I could use some ruse about coming to an event with me. We parted ways and I told her I’d reach out to her in the near future.

I think I did on Facebook or text, but nothing ever came of it. I did see her maybe six months later when I was at an event in Old City. She shared studio space with another photographer down there. But I was inside a building when I saw that familiar stacked bob walking down 2nd street. By the time I would have gotten through the crowd and got outside, she would have been down the end of the block by then.

Little did I know at the time how Kylie would re-enter my life in the near future. I will write about her again, but she won’t make another appearance in this story for a while.

Oh, and she has world-class legs…

 

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Sun Stories – Achilles Heel

Has Sharon finally found Achilles heel?

Achilles has had his share of challenges with his girlfriend Sharon off and on for the last ten years. There were times he wanted to just pack it in and end it. But Sharon has stood the test of time. Achilles’ only weakness.

He finished his shift at the salon, and rode his motorcycle home, just like any other Friday afternoon.

He went home and set the table in the dining room. Then he started cooking up a really nice dinner. He made the salad, grilled the veggies, cooked the steaks to perfection. He’s Greek. They can do everything.

The table was set. Candles glowed in the dimly lit room. Romantic music played softly in the background. Sharon would be home any minute. Achilles gently laid a bouquet of flowers at her place on the table.

She came through the door, to see him standing next to the table smiling. She paused, and then saw the flowers at her place.

“What did you do?” she said accusingly, as if he had done all of this because he done something bad.

Sharon approached the table. Achilles continued to smile. Beyond the flowers was a small black velvet box.

She gasped.

“Open it…” he said calmly.

With trembling hands, Sharon picked up the tiny vessel. Glancing up at him as she slowly opened the box, revealing a beautiful diamond engagement ring.

He proposed.

She said yes.

And they lived happily ever after. (Fingers crossed!)

Yea… Achilles is getting married!

 

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Marigold – 1997 to Present – Good German Stock

I’ve known her since she was 21 and now she’s a mom!

I met Marigold when she was only 21 years old. That was back in 97 when she worked for me as a teller in my bank branch at 10th and Snyder Aves. in South Philly. They would sometimes send her to another branch to help out, so I didn’t see her all of the time. She always seemed smarter and sharper than her peers. I really liked her. (Tall blonde. Good legs.)

We would sometimes go to lunch and it was always nice to spend time with her outside of the bank. Marigold eventually left retail banking for a better job. I remember she always dated high-end wealthy or affluent men. She wasn’t a gold digger or anything like that, just knew how to date a better class of men than most girls her age.

We kept in touch and would occasionally meet up for lunch or drinks to catch up. At one point I was living in New Jersey and she was living in the Fairmount area for Philly. I was married back then. Years later I was working in Philadelphia, and she had moved to New York. So that kept us apart except for the random visit. I later moved to New York for work and she was then living in Newark, NJ with her boyfriend of several years. That was just a few train stops beyond where I was living at the time. So we got to hang out every once in a while.

I remember attending her bachelorette party. I was the only guy invited. Just me surrounded by a bunch of women. It was awesome! She and her fiance married at city hall but then had a big reception down in the Bowery of NYC. I took my then girlfriend Jackie, who was a second generation girl from Haiti. She was a lawyer on Wall Street. She wanted to get married and have children so badly, I think she scared me off. Lorelei was enough kid for one lifetime for me.

I eventually moved back to Philly and took a job at a local digital publication. I didn’t see Marigold as much as I would have liked to, but we always managed to get together at least once or twice a year. Then she moved out to Lexington, Kentucky. Her husband is a professor at the University of Kentucky, so out they went. he’s a great guy. Everybody loves Don.  Men and women alike. He’s so cool that he’s never minded me hanging out with his wife. Cassandra works as a financial broker, so technically she can work anywhere. I have known Marigold twenty years now, and I’m sure hasn’t been a fan of living out in the midwest. She’s a city cat like me and probably misses living in a metropolis. I would bet that at some point they’ll come back.

She has a little son who is now six years old and two daughters that are about two and a half. They are fraternal twins. They all have white blonde hair and look like the perfect little Aryan family. They’re all really cute. I think the son could have used a bit more discipline to keep his behavior in check, but he’s not my child. I know for a while about a year ago, cassandra was losing her shit having three little kids to take care of everyday. That was real challenge for her. I think it aged her.

I was down at our shore house a few years ago to see my father and she visited with her son. She wanted to meet my father that I always spoke of fondly to her. She wanted to see his train collection and also wanted her son to see it. It’s pretty spectacular. I’m glad she finally got to meet my dad. Her life with her father had always been a challenge. I believe he was bi polar and struggled with alcohol. I remember even in her twenties she was taking care of him. Writing out his checks to pay his bills, etc. that must have been a lot for a young girl to bear. I may have fucked up some things in my life, but I was always capable of taking care of my daughter. Girls need strong dads. I may not be the strongest father, but I was consistent with Lorelei. I also wasn’t a crazy asshole like her mother, so that’s part of the reason Lor has decided to live with me.

I am writing this because I am about to go see her and her daughter tonight. She’s visiting Philly for a couple of days to see everybody, and this must be my night.  I will finish this piece upon my return.

I got to their hotel at 5pm. They are staying at the Courtyard at Marriott. It’s a nice hotel right near City Hall. Originally that building was built in 1926 as a government annex to City Hall for over 60 years. In 1990 it was acquired and renovated by Marriott. The marble floors and three chandeliers in the main lobby are all original. It is the largest Courtyard Marriott in the world.

Just thought I’d give you a little Philly history there.

I go up to her room, and her little daughter is on the carpet playing with her maryjane shoes. She’s so cute and social. I know it’s been a stressful drive up from DC today for Marigold. They were down there visiting with Don’s family for the holidays. Marigold is happy that she only has the one child to look after for the next couple of days. She is relieved that her husband and his family will get to spend time with her son and other daughter. Three little kids are a handful, but getting a break and only having to look after one is much needed on her part.

I hand Marigold a skinny joint. She’s delighted. She hardly ever smokes weed so she says she only needs a tiny bit to get lit. She excuses herself and heads to the bathroom to toke up. I’m just chilling on the couch sipping a glass of wine. I tell her to run the fan in the bathroom to draw out the smoke. I hear the fan go on followed by coughing.

Moments later, Marigold reappears, smiling. “Thanks, I needed that. Do my eyes look stoned?”

I assure her she looks fine. We get her little one in the stroller and head downstairs in the elevator. I’ve decided to take them to Zavino at 13th and Sansom. It’s a small place but we’re in a nice little booth in the back. I had called ahead to hold a table and they were very accommodating. They take the stroller and hang it in the back.

We settle into our seats and order some wine. I know they all love pizza and that’s why I brought them here. It’s really good brick oven pie here. They have this location and a bigger one out in University City. Their happy hour is pretty solid. We got two pies (they’re small) eight bucks a piece and the wine was only five bucks a glass. For a nice place like this in midtown village, that’s a good deal.

We had a nice dinner without incident. Her daughter was well-behaved. The food was great and the service on point. I was happy to see Marigold and share this moment of repose with her. When we finished, she insisted on paying the bill. I left the tip. I walked her back to the hotel and we called it a night. It was a great two hours to catch up with my old friend. She said she couldn’t wait to snuggle up with her little one, smoke a little more grass and fall into the arms of Morpheus.

I love Marigold like a sister.

 

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Michelle – Chapter 13 – Domestic Bliss and a Happy New Year

Is that a picture of my ass on that wall?

2008 was an amazing year. Barak Obama was elected President, The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, and Michelle was my girlfriend. That’s a hat trick if there ever was one.

Michelle was one of several people who got laid off while the company we were working for was once again trying to figure out what it wanted to be. (Print going bankrupt again!) I remember the day it happened she went out and bought me an Ipod for my birthday. I was very grateful and it was a wonderful and thoughtful gift. I love music and I couldn’t believe how technology could put a thousand songs into something the size of a pack of gum. It’s pound for pound the best gift anyone has ever given me, and I don’t like presents. I’d always rather give that receive.

Michelle started working as a hostess at a local restaurant. She hated it because now she had to stand there and watch people do the very thing that she and I enjoyed doing. She also took a job at a local retail store here in center city. Looking back on that now, that had to be tough on her. She went from making good money at a dot.com to being on her feet all day and night and doing something she wasn’t even interested in. She did finally get a good gig with a great company. Better than when she worked with me at the publication. It was a non-profit that was at the forefront of organ donation. This job would serve her well and help catapult her into a great career in the future!

She was fed up with her bitch faced, passive aggressive roommate, and I think that chick was leaving when the lease was up anyway. I wanted to move to Philly and get out of living in Pennsauken, NJ. So with us being in love, we decided to get a place together. That normally had been the kiss of death for me, because I like my alone time. But we really got along and I figured we’d be alright.

We got a third floor two bedroom apartment in Graduate Hospital, which is the neighborhood just south of Rittenhouse. Penn Medicine now runs the hospital complex down there now, but people still call the neighborhood by its former name. It was a beautiful apartment. Everything was brand new. The instructions were still in the oven. It had all of the amenities. Michelle picked a two bedroom because my daughter Lorelei stayed with me every other weekend. She did a wonderful job of finding a home for us in Philly and I love her for that. We have so many great memories in that place.

I remember the night she showed me the apartment. The realtor was late. (He is a very powerful real estate mogul in the city today) We ended up going to Ten Stone, (A neighborhood bar at 20th and South) Michelle put it to me… “Are we doing this?”

We split the rent and the bills but eventually I think I paid the utilities and half the rent because I earned more. One thing I never took into account was that the reason we had to pay $1650 a month was for the second bedroom that was for my kid that visited twice a month. In hindsight I should have paid more of the rent back then and all of the utilities. Sadly, back then I was paying $600 a month in child support to the Gorgon sister I call my ex-wife. But Michelle was always on point with pulling her share. But I know I should have always paid more.

We moved all of our stuff from both apartments in one day. It was brutal. My whole body hurt for a week after that massive move. We did it all with a single U-haul van I rented for $100. Her building charged her $100 to use the elevator for the day to move. Fuckin’ exit fees.

We didn’t care. We got plowed at Continental midtown the night before, but we made it work. We got all of our shit moved in and it was in piles of boxes all over the living room. I think we went for pizza at Lorenzo’s that night to celebrate our new life together.

It was fun living together for the most part. The holidays were coming and my daughter Lorelei and I went out and got a tree and set it up in the living room. It was so funny. It was like a Norman Rockwell moment. Michelle was working and we wanted to surprise her. My daughter and I walked from 18th and Kater to 4th and South, (Which is a hike) to pick out a tree. We found a great bushy one and proceeded to carry it by hand all the way home. I only had one pair of gloves so I gave one to baby and I wore the other one. Lorelei carried the top, (Which was lighter) and I carried the trunk. We took breaks because it was heavy, and switched gloves. It smelled so good! Pine Christmas sap! I love that smell! People were coming out of their homes and taking pictures of me and my daughter carrying our christmas tree across the city. They were going mad about our Rockwell moment. I don’t know how Lorelei felt about it but as always, she was a trooper.

We all decorated it and it looked beautiful. Michelle had lots of great ornaments that either she or her mother used to stress about. I don’t remember why. Maybe because there was some holiday history in those ornaments. I remember later she really stressed about those ornaments. I know Michelle didn’t really give a shit because she’s like me, (no pageantry) but her mom did.

One of our favorite things to do was to sit on the loveseat in our living room and watch movies and different TV series on Netflix. Michelle’s mother had bought her a 50″ flat screen for Christmas and it was glorious. We would binge watch on the weekends. Just eat, drink wine and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes Michelle would bring out the inflatable mattress and stretch out on that on the floor. She loved that thing just to rest her beautiful body after a week of work.

Another thing we enjoyed was sitting at the kitchen counter, (resembled a bar) and we would listen to music and just chat and drink. Sometimes we’d bust out Scattergories and play that. Michelle being a former National Champion swimmer, was very competitive and didn’t like to lose. Things could get intense during those board game sessions. I actually remember her getting mad at me if I got a little far ahead. I always liked that about her. She had that champion spirit. I’d be sweet to her, but still liked whipping her ass in the game. But I never wanted girlfriend to be mad at me because I loved her so much.

On any given night you could catch us slow dancing in the living room to the sounds of Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, or Roy Orbison. It was a lovely time.

We were making so much noise one night our crazy neighbors downstairs were throwing pretzel bites over our balcony to get us turn it down! The bites were hitting the sliding glass doors, but I think secretly they wanted us to play more Johnny Mathis!

We didn’t go out and terrorize the city anymore. We watched the entire run of The Sopranos and all of Six Feet Under. I remember us both sobbing at the end of the final episode of Six Feet Under. We were both equally blown away by the show.

We even cried uncontrollably at Marley and Me. I don’t know why but we loved that movie together. (Watch it. Maybe you can explain it to me. We’re not pet owners)

It was New Years Eve, and we were just coming back from brunch, or something, and Michelle wanted to stop in a women’s apparel store called Couer. It’s on 17th around Sansom. We go in, and She’s looking at lingerie and what not and I’m just checking the place out. I get to the counter and they have this huge black and white photo. It’s a huge picture of a woman’s posterior in a thong, holding a fuzzy kitten backwards. So you see this cute cat’s face and her ass. I’m looking at it, and the photo seems familiar. It’s gorgeous and tasteful. Great ass and cute kitty.

Suddenly, I hear Michelle’s voice from behind me. “Is that MY ass?”

“Don’t we have an 8×10 of that photo from your modeling days somewhere in the apartment?”

“Oh my God! That’s me!!!”

“Wait…what?”

We tell the person working there, and we all get a good laugh. We can’t believe that giant photo is there. It’s Michelle’s delicious bum from her days as a Reinhart model. The shoot was discussed, as was the kitten and the photographer.

“He’s still here.”

“Who the photographer?” I say, puzzled.

“No. This guy.” And another lady comes walking out from the back with a big old grumpy Persian cat in her arms.

“Holy crap! That’s the little kitten in the picture?”

“Yep. He’s like ten years old now.”

We were blown away and left laughing and saying how this New Years Eve was already getting crazy. It really seemed that everything we did or touched made something happen. (That’s what happens when two people are in love and the world is open to them)

So we were invited to join a former co-worker of ours to see the fireworks and grab food down at Penn’s Landing for New Years Eve. It was a bitter cold night. (We’re talking teens) It was impossible to get a taxi, and UBER and Lyft did not yet exist in Philadelphia. But I had an idea. We walked out to the corner and were trying to get a taxi, when the idea struck me. We were right near this place we always ordered pizza from. I saw one of the delivery guys and said hello. I told him I’d give him $20 if he’d drive us to Old City.

His response was, “Get in.”

We hop in the back of his pizza delivery car and off we go. He stops at a house nearby and delivers a pizza. It was surreal. Then we’re off again. He gets us to our destination. We thank him and out we go.

I think we were at the Mexican Post in Old City. We had probably been drinking before and we drank more when we got to the restaurant. It was nice to see my friend and his wife, but at that time I didn’t know any of the other people at the party. They were a bunch of IT and tech nerd types.

Just picture the creepy shy girl who looks like she could kill you in your sleep if you ate the last of her Ben & Jerry’s. Or the nerdy guy that has no table manners and chews with his mouth open. That’s just the result of some sort of parental neglect of some kind.

We finish up and head down to Penn’s Landing. It is really cold now on the Delaware River. The fireworks are great but all I can remember is the penetrating bone chilling cold. (And I’m sure Michelle feels the same)

Somehow we got a taxi back to midtown and actually went to the Midtown Diner on 18th Street. It was packed and I think I ate a cheese steak and fries. Michelle told me when she went to use the bathroom there was vomit everywhere so she used the Men’s room instead.

That’s what I hate about New Years and for that matter any other holiday where every swinging dick in the city is out drinking like they’re Duff McKagen in the 80’s. St.Patrick’s Day lasts like three weeks in this city. It makes me just want to leave the city for those  weeks.

So there isn’t much to write here about this time. We were done with going out and getting loaded every night. No more crashed parties, no more crazy events. Even though we could sit down at anytime and reminisce about all of our deviltry, it would be for nostalgia’s sake. I think our domestic time together were some of our best times. We enjoyed each others company and some of our best memories have come from that calm tranquil period in our relationship.

I think Michelle would agree.

Michelle always said: “I have so much fun with you, that when the day is over, I wish we could do it all again.”

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 9am EST.

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