Big life changes – its about time


Ohhhhhh 2014…

(Hey there, btw. I realize I have been slacking on this whole writing in this blog that I love and miss and think about all the time but have been a little busy for. Never fear. I’m back, bitchezzz..)

OK so in 2014, a few major things happened.

Numero uno: I turned 30

Dos: I bought a friggin’ condo.

Three: I got myself a puppy.

WHAT???!?!?!

Yeah it was a bit of a busy year. So busy, in fact, that I still haven’t gotten curtains for my living room. But, the blog’s higher on the priority list right now. I can live without curtains a little longer. I’m almost never naked in my living room.

ANYWAY. Focus.

Today we’re gonna talk about home ownership. Because I know about it now. (No worries, the next entry will have the puppy pics…I know my audience).

So about this time last year I started making serious efforts to get out of the parents’ basement. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to live with them or because they did anything to make me want to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t want roommates or free Showtime… 

A personal goal I set was to not be 30 and living in the basement of my parents’ house. If my birthday came and went and I was still there, it better only be because I was waiting on closing on my new place.

And wouldn’t ya know it, third time is the charm. The third time looking for a place to live, I mean.

A family friend from church was my realtor and had been looking off and on for places for me the year I lived with my parents. My ignorant-of-real-estate self only wanted a townhouse for a long time. And I came awfully close to getting one. But then the owner wouldn’t come down on the price and then wanted me to decide on it within like two days or else he’d rent it to someone and I can’t make decisions that fast that involve that much money.

The house-hunting process itself wasn’t too eventful, really, just nothing that I really liked for a while and one townhouse that had concrete floors on the main floor and I’m pretty sure there was a seance room upstairs.

A few years ago I looked at places and fell in love with one. And then I couldn’t afford it and figured I’d never find a place I liked that much again because I am a fatalist.

But then I saw the place I’m in now. Out the window went all my thoughts about only wanting a townhouse. My condo looks and feels like a house, and did from the first second I walked into it.

I was sold pretty close to immediately and made an offer, and wouldn’t ya know it, I could afford it. I could afford one I liked, a lot. Take that, pessimism.

I’ll not bore you with the rest of the process but I will say my hand felt broken from signing my name so many times and it’s really annoying to deal with mortgage companies because they want copies of every time you’ve ever used money, basically.

It’s still a work in progress to some extent to make it completely mine, but since I moved in May 10, it’s felt like home. We’ve already repainted two rooms and I’m planning on some flooring changes and more painting in the next couple of months. But for now, check out my crib (imagine the pictures with awesome zooming effects and maybe listen to your favorite rap song while you look at them so it’s just like MTV).

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Bourbon Boys Part Two

I refuse to acknowledge anything Christmas-related until after my Thanksgiving meal is fully digested. That said, since it’s past that self-imposed deadline, I present to you the earliest of Christmas presents because I know it’s what you want.

YUP. BOURBON BOYS PART II. You’re welcome already. And just in case you’re new – read part one first.

You know the drill though. Here’s a timeline of my day, or as close to one I can get. Only this time the times really might be wrong because there was a lot more drinking involved (on their part, not mine), therefore I had to do a bit more paying attention as well as keep on queueing up “Shots” by LMFAO so they knew it was time to take their next shot.

Anyways, here we go…

7:15 a.m. I wake up. On a Saturday. Am I really doing this again? Do I have time to stop on the way over there and get some caffeine?

7:45 a.m. I leave my apartment to meet up with the guys at Mom and Dad’s. Dad said to be there before 8 a.m. or he’d get anxious.

7:59 a.m. I arrive at their house. I am nothing if not efficient.

8:03 a.m. Rachel hears there are doughnuts outside and decides to investigate.

8:05 a.m. Uncle Chuck, who has brought a cooler full of Jell-O shots this time around, hands Rachel a few of them to “save for later.”

8:07 a.m. I silently make a note of how full that cooler is now and bet that it will be empty by 3 p.m.

8:09 a.m. I remind them that I don’t carry Ibuprofen and all of them either pull a bottle of it out of their pocket or tell me it’s somewhere in the van already.

8:12 a.m. Everbody’s at the house and accounted for, except for Ethan and Uncle Garr who we have to pick up on the way.

8:14 a.m. I am a pro at backing this van out of driveways and parking spaces.

8:21 a.m. I am not yet a pro at pulling into parking spaces. My parking job at the Kroger where we pick the rest of the guys up ain’t great.

8:24 a.m. Uncle Tony and Uncle Chuck go into Kroger to buy Bloody Mary mix. We have no vodka. They just wanna drink it by itself. Isn’t it just V8 then?

8:25 a.m. Oh they’re also using it to make “Red Beer” which makes me scared.

8:27 a.m. I notice the last remaining pay phone in the world to my right. Seriously, I didn’t think those existed anymore. How much do they cost these days?

8:28 a.m. Aaaaaaaaaand someone’s making it a call on it. What?!?

8:34 a.m. Everyone’s got their drinks made and a Jell-O shot in hand. They have been warned that they have to do a shot before we leave the parking lot.

8:35 a.m. They’re trying to figure out their seats and I’ve got a new co-pilot this time around – Uncle Garr – which is good because maybe I’ll hear him talk this time. (SPOILER ALERT: He talked. A lot.)

8:40 a.m. “Should we count off?” “Yeah.” “One.” “No, Garr’s one.” “Oh, one.” “Two, three, four….” Silence. “Oh, eight!” “Wait a minute..six.” “Five.” “Seven.” “Eight.”

8:41 a.m. Shots shots shots shots shots shots shots! One down. Well, eight, technically. Some Jell-O shots, some bourbon. Look out.

8:43 a.m. Here we go.

8:46 a.m. I turn on my new favorite song.

9:04 a.m. Another shot. Yep. It’s gonna be that kind of day.

9:23 a.m. We get to Jim Beam. “Should we take another shot?” “Yeah. Put the song on.”

9:24 a.m. Shots shots shots shots shots shots!

9:26 a.m. As they’re getting out of the car, Uncle Donnie says to be careful on the van step, it’s greasy or something like it’s got Armorall on it.

9:27 a.m. Uncle Tony gets out of the van and says “Whoa, be careful on that step, it’s greasy. It must have Armorall on it or something.” Because he did not notice that Uncle Donnie had said it, one minute and two feet in front of him. He and Dad have the same brain.

9:28 a.m. A couple of them have beers to finish before we go in and they discuss the joys of beer drinking. Chuck: “Everything is good with beer. Hell, a bowl of ice cream is good with a beer.”

9:29 a.m. Somebody pours out the rest of what’s in their cup and Ethan yells about it. Ethan is now the Pour Patrol.

9:31 a.m. We go in to get signed up for the tour. The girls at the check-in desk are grumbling because they actually have to do work. SORRY I’M NOT SORRY YOU HAVE TO DO YOUR JOB.

9:34 a.m. Everybody’s passport is stamped and we’re joining up with a group of people and going into an old house. In the process of the stamping, Chuckie tells the girls that we already hit the other three distilleries we got stamps from this morning.

9:37 a.m. We get a chance to look around before the movie starts. There’s always a movie.

9:39 a.m. Over here there’s the world’s smallest working distillery. It was out the World’s Fair and if turned on and running can make a gallon of moonshine. Seriously. Matt takes a look and contemplates how he can build one in his garage kitchen.

9:42 a.m. Eth and I read about what the distillery was like in the 30s and before and after prohibition. If I could go back in any time to live, it’d be then. I’d want to be a mob wife. Ethan: “Me too.” Me: “You’d want to be a mob wife?” Him: “Yep.”

9:45 a.m. We see this ridiculously large pipe. Eth looks at it and says “Why is the shaft so long?” Me: “Seriously? That’s what she said.”

9:50 a.m. Damn this tour guide is peppy. Too peppy. It’s early. Calm it down.

9:55 a.m. She explains why all the trees around are black – because of the vapors the bourbon gives off. The eight amateur horticulturists I brought with me are glad that mystery has been solved. Not what they thought.

10 a.m. Most of this tour is outside. What’s that about? It’s November. Also, she keeps pointing out things that will be finished and be better next year. Dammit. We came a year too early.

10:04 a.m. She’s making a lot of corny jokes. I have not laughed yet. But I’m also not three shots in like the rest of my group.

10:07 a.m. I laugh, because they’re talking about bungs again.

10:13 a.m. A lady from Michigan asks if we get snow here. Is she serious? No, you’re the only state that gets snow. Here it’s just like Florida.

10:17 a.m. We do the tasting, I don’t partake until I hear there’s one that tastes like black cherry.

10:20 a.m. What she neglected to say was yes it tastes like black cherry for about 3 seconds. Then it tastes like the cough syrup I take when I have bronchitis.

10:35 a.m. We’re back in the van.

10:36 a.m. Shot shots shots shots shots shots!

10:39 a.m. We start our drive to Maker’s Mark. The playlist I made is a success. They hear Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” for the first time and immediately become fans.

10:43 a.m. We’ve listened to just about every song on the playlist, there’s only 11, so I’m not sure what we’re going to do when it’s over.

10:50 a.m. I put Uncle Garr in charge of the music. He plays “Single Ladies.”

10:53 a.m. Uncle Garr is no longer in charge of music.

11:04 a.m. WHERE IN THE BLOODY HELL ARE WE? This road keeps getting smaller and smaller, but oh, wait, there’s a sign for a wedding, made on cardboard with white spray paint. It says “Weddin.” No “g.” We are in BFE.

11:05 a.m. We contemplate becoming wedding crashers. I need a drink.

11:07 a.m. We realize we’ve passed our turn and we were supposed to turn by the wedding sign..we’re probably gonna be wedding crashers after all.

11:11 a.m. We are at a stop sign and pretty sure the wedding is to the right. Because there’s another sign. It says “Wedding.” And we are now putting the van in park because there is a cemetery to our right as well. And all the headstones in there say Hagan. WHAT THE HELL??

11:14 a.m. The Hagan boys get their picture taken in the cemetery. Well. It’s like the annex of the cemetery. And they wonder why the Hagans have been sequestered to this part of the grounds when everyone else is over there. Also, several of them have to pee.

11:16 a.m. Uncle Chuck, Uncle Garr and Ethan work on securing their spot on the bus to hell and go pee over by the graveyard. And they’re doing so under a statue of the Virgin Mary they don’t notice until it’s too late. Uncle Donnie doesn’t want to walk that far, so he just pees behind the van. A car might come by. Might, but probably won’t, seriously we could be in another state.

11:18 a.m. A cup falls out of the car while they’re all getting back in. Uncle Tony: “Oh. My Yellow Solo Cup.”

11:19 a.m. “Watch out for that step, it’s got Armorall on it or somethin’.”

11:24 a.m. We finally see Maker’s. I was getting worried.

11:25 a.m. Uncle Garr reminds me that he’s my godfather. I tell him I’ll get him a poster from the movie.

11:27 a.m. I take three Jell-O shots in the parking lot. Just doing what I was told.

11:28 a.m. Uncle Garr is telling Ethan “Look, trees!”

11:29 a.m. Even though he peed like 10 minutes ago, Ethan finds a tree by the parking lot and pees again. A drunk Garr stands a few feet away and talks some more about trees.

11:30 a.m. This chick is taking pictures of her boyfriend in front of this old fire truck. Uncle Chuck decides to get in on that.

11:32 a.m. We learn Chuck’s new friend is named Elan.

11:33 a.m. Yep, still in their pictures.

11:35 a.m. I tell the guys to go up there and I’ll take their pictures. This happens.

11:38 a.m. “Guys? I’m this way.” “Oh.” They all turn around and we get this.

11:39 a.m. A limo pulls up. Uncle Chuck: “Is this the weddin’?”

11:40 a.m. We go in the main house at Maker’s and apparently everyone gets their passports stamped, except me. Since I couldn’t pee outside like everyone else, I had to use indoor plumbing.

11:44 a.m. We meet Aggie, our tour guide for Maker’s. Uncle Chuck is asking her lots of questions and she’s putting up with him. Bless her.

11:45 a.m. Aggie asks where we’re from. We all say Louisville and Chuck says “Wyoming.”

11:47 a.m. ARTSY and whatnot. Kind of.

11:50 a.m. Matt knows the answers to all the questions she’s asking about the distilling process. He’s the MVP of the day.

11:57 a.m. We get to see the vats again. You know, the ones we wanted to spit in last time? Guess what we get to do?

11:59 a.m. Yep. Maker’s wins. They let us stick our fingers in the mash stuff.

12:06 p.m. Tour’s done and now we get to taste stuff. Aggie tells everybody to get ready. Glass in the right hand and glass in the left. Donnie: “That’s the way I usually drink.”

12:07 p.m. This is what I’m doing while they’re drinking. Taking pictures of empty glasses.

12:09 p.m. Everybody seems to be feeling alright, considering how much they’ve already had. It’s lunchtime. But we’ve got dipping to do.

12:11 p.m. Dad SUITS UP.

12:13 p.m. Re-thinking his dipping method.

12:15 p.m. Matt’s up. He’s taking this seriously too. That’s Dad’s bottle on the left, by the way.

12:18 p.m. Eth’s up. And I’m pretty sure this old lady was hitting on him.

12:20 p.m. Success. (With the bottle, not with the old lady.)

12:24 p.m. Time to get back in the van.

12:25 p.m. “Watch out for that step, it’s got some greasy shit on it. Maybe Armorall.”

12:29 p.m. Uncle Tony’s playlist will get us to lunch while my phone charges. Uncle Tony has a lot of Black-Eyed Peas on his iPod.

12:31 p.m. Shots shots shots shots shots shots!

12:33 p.m. Seriously where in the hell are we?

12:38 p.m. There is talk of abandoning lunch until after Heaven Hill. Half the van is in favor, the other half is hungry. All eight are drunk.

12:42 p.m. I pull the van over until they decide what they want to do.

12:50 p.m. Stopping for lunch finally wins. We’re going to go to one of those hole-in-the-wall places we passed on our seemingly 10-hour journey from our first to second stop.

12:55 p.m. Hawk’s Place Family Steakhouse? We’re sold.

12:57 p.m. We park. The sign says ‘Welcome tourist.’ Just one, apparently.

12:58 p.m. We get inside and though they’re open, the owner is annoyed he has customers. Why? Owner (possibly Hawk?): “Well we ain’t got no goddamn cooks. They don’t come in ’til three. I can make you a drink though.”

12:59 p.m. Uncle Chuck volunteers to cook but we decide we’ll check out Cozy’s Cafe across the street. Hopefully they’ve got some GD cooks.

1 p.m. Cozy’s has cooks. We’ve found a place to get lunch.

1:12 p.m. We count off to make sure everyone’s in there. Chuck counts everyone’s number with them and for them in some instances so it really serves no purpose.

1:15 p.m. Uncle Chuck enters to win a gift card to Cozy’s. I don’t think a single one of us could find that place again if our lives depended on it. He’ll probably win.

1:25 p.m. I have a beer. It is delicious.

1:26 p.m. Uncle Chuck and I smoke a cigarette. Meaning he smokes one and the smoke all comes my direction.

1:28 p.m. Uncle Chuck is convinced I smoke all the time, I just hide it.

1:35 p.m. I attempt, for the millionth time during the day to send a text or Tweet. We have no service because we have gone back to the 1800s. That’s what it looks like ’round these parts.

1:40 p.m. We all order. Half the table orders a Cozy Melt. I order a turkey sandwich. Eth orders a Deluxe Burger or something like that. And proceeds to ask for it without pretty much everything that makes it a deluxe. Chuck calls him a pussy.

1:45 p.m. Everyone is either talking or watching the U of L game on the big screen TV. I am starting to get tired on account of the waking up at 7:15 a.m. and try not to think about what my bed feels like.

2:04 p.m. I go to the bathroom at Cozy’s and find out that none of the stalls in the women’s room have doors. I tell Eth about this later and he says “That’s how they are in the men’s.” My reply: “Yeah, well, you don’t pee facing the door.”

2:20 p.m. We’re done with lunch and it’s back to the van for…you guessed it…another shot. But first, we’ve got to figure out where we’re going.

2:40 p.m. Dad says “OK so which way do we need to be going to get to Heaven Hill. It’s closer to Bardstown.” Uncle Garr: “Well, there’s the sun, motherfucker.” And that’s all he needs to say. We decide to go towards the sun.

2:41 p.m. Chuck, as everyone’s getting back in the van: “Watch out, that step’s got Armorall or some shit on it. It’s slick.”

2:54 p.m. Eth starts to worry people are going to get tired. Chuckie: “Nobody goes to sleep or we pour bourbon in their mouth.”

2:58 p.m. Shots shots shots shots shots shots!

3:05 p.m. Uncle Chuck starts talking about the bunghole process they went over again at Maker’s. He says “I want to be a bunghole specialist.”

3:06 p.m. I turn the music up louder so I can’t hear anything else.

3:17 p.m. For every turn I need to take or ramp or whatever, I have 8 dads back there telling me what to do. At one point I had to say “You know, this ain’t my first rodeo.”

3:25 p.m. We’re at Heaven Hill and everybody is either at the peak of their drunk-ness or just past it.

3:27 p.m. I take a Jell-O shot as we pull in. Illegal? Yes. Needed? Yes.

3:33 p.m. The younger contingent of this tour is beat.

3:50 p.m. Our last tour starts with a video, imagine that, in a dark room that reminds me of a planetarium. I fell asleep in the planetarium every time I went in there in college. I subsequently got a C in astronomy.

3:52 p.m. I just about fall asleep during the video. Chuckie and Dad do for real.

3:58 p.m. Time for the walking part of the tour. I just wanna stay in this room and nap.

3:59 p.m. Uncle Tony, Uncle Donnie, Chuckie and Eth get on a trolley. We did not sign up for the trolley tour.

4 p.m. They all get off the trolley.

4:05 p.m. We see a bull made out of barrels, similar to the turkey at Wild Turkey. No one attempts to ride it.

4:08 p.m. Uncle Chuck also tries to convince this tour guide he’s from Wyoming. She believes him. Because she is dumb.

4:13 p.m. Every time the guide finishes she asks if anyone has questions. Before anyone can even attempt to ask, Chuck says “NOPE.” He just wants to get to the tasting.

4:17 p.m. Tour Guide Lady: “We make 83 different bourbons here.” Uncle Chuck: “Do we get to try all 83?”

4:19 p.m. Trivia time. What can you put in barrels to stop a leak? Guesses thrown out (mainly from our group) include: “Maple syrup. Algae. Grass. Duct tape.”

4:20 p.m. The answer is cattails.

4:46 p.m. We are ready for the tasting. I can already tell you what Heaven Hill anything tastes like. Drinking nail polish remover.

4:49 p.m. Chuckie figures out there are weird acoustics in the tasting room, which is a giant barrel. Starts playing games with his voice and trying to freak out the other half of our group, who is sitting on the other side of the room. Proceeds to work successfully about six times.

4:51 p.m. Dad: “Take another picture of me as the Most Interesting Man in the World.”

4:53 p.m. She asks what we taste in the bourbon we just tried. Chuckie: “Vanilla, caramel, wood.” Tour Guide Lady: “Good! You’re right!” Dad, to me: “He’s full of shit, he’s just saying what we know it’s supposed to taste like.” Yep. Chuckie is no bourbon connoisseur. None of our group is.

4:56 p.m. “What about this one, what do you taste in there?” Chuckie: “Tiger lily, dandelion..”

4:59 p.m. Other lady asks if all of us are from here and the lady says “Yeah, but he’s from Wyoming” and points at Uncle Chuck. Since, ya know, he sounds so much like he’s from Wyoming.

5:02 p.m. As we’re leaving, Chuck says “Actually I’m Australian, mate” and attempts an Australian accent.

5:05 p.m. Chuck is still trying the accent which sounds nothing like Australian. It’s more of a mix between a pirate and a Londoner and a Kentucky boy.

5:08 p.m. Last stop, time to get a picture.

5:09 p.m. They’re really particular. Dad wants a warehouse in the background. Chuckie wants to look like Justin Bieber with his hoodie.

5:10 p.m. Pictures are done, let’s go home.

5:13 p.m. Six stamps equals FREE T-SHIRTS, BITCHEZZZZZZZ.

5:16 p.m. Shots shots shots shots shots shots!

5:19 p.m. Guys prepare their drinks for the ride home.

5:20 p.m. They get in the van. Chuck: “Watch out for that Armorall shit all over the step.”

5:24 p.m. Someone says they’re ready to fall asleep. Chuck: “Fall asleep and I’ll beat your ass.”

5:29 p.m. Ethan asks for a beer and is pissed because there are none left in the cooler. Chuck asks for a beer and it magically appears. Ethan is confused.

5:55 p.m. We’re back in the Kroger parking lot, dropping off half our troops. Several are really drunk, the rest I make sure are OK to drive. Drunk Ethan grabs a bag of chips, his go to after excessive amounts of alcohol. That half full bag of chips will be gone in a few.

5:56 p.m. Donnie gets resourceful and grabs a shopping cart to get his stuff back to his car.

6:03 p.m. Uncle Chuck gives me money for putting up with everyone all day while I was the only sober one.

6:05 p.m. I’m handed $5.

6:07 p.m. Garr, Chuck, Donnie and Ethan are headed home on their own. The rest of us take the van back to where we started.

6:25 p.m. We’re done. I am DD no more. Except, wait, they think they want to do another trip of some sort. Maybe Buffalo Trace?

6:26 p.m. They owe me.

T minus 4 days

Y’all, it’s almost here. Part 2. Bourbon Boys reunite. I’ll be bringing you (as much of the) play-by-play as I can over on the Twitter thing and all the photos and as much detail as I can remember a few days (or a week, I make no promises) after the event.

For now though, to get you in the mindset, I present to you our playlist for the day. Listen to these songs and then you’ll KIND OF have an idea of what I’m ’bout to deal with. Cheers to the designated driver!

Before you watch this next one, can I just note that Jamie Foxx tried to make this a story. One in which Ron Howard, of all people, will be out drinkin’ at the club. Yep, he’s in there. Just wait for it.

Yeah, it’s the Glee version. And so’s the next one. So what? I’m the driver. I should get something.

In honor of my Halloween costume:

My favorite song when I was nine (no joke):

And for when it’s all over:

Four days, people. Get ready to live.

Bourbon Boys: Part One

About a month ago, I got a text from my uncle, Tony, asking me if I was available to chauffeur the Bourbon Tour.

What Bourbon Tour? First I’d heard about it. Then he said it was scheduled for “24 Sept.” Because he’s apparently from another country.

Or he was drunk because when I said I was free that day he said “We could get polluted.”

Polluted.

Oh and then I learn that not only will I be chauffeuring, I will be doing so in a bus.

Maybe not a bus, but that sucker was large and in charge. You guys, it beeped when it backed up. Like a moving truck.

So cut to 24 Sept. where me and the boys – the boys being my dad, four uncles, Chuckie, Bean, Eth and Matt – meet up at 8:30 a.m. ON A SATURDAY to start our adventure.

The following is a chronological order of events as best I can describe them. Driving that van was nerve-wracking so forgive me if times aren’t approximate.

8:35 a.m. Everyone’s at the rendezvous point – my parents’ house – and ready to go.

8:36 a.m. Donnie asks for antacids.

8:45 a.m. I have to climb the five feet to the cab of the van from the ground and panic as I back out. The van is beeping. And I basically have five dads that will tell me how to drive.

8:56 a.m. I decide it’s time for them to do their first shot – on the hour. We have two bottles of bourbon in the car tank bus van.

8:57 a.m. I wonder what people are thinking as they pass us on the road – am I taking them to jail? The mental hospital? Church?

8:59 a.m. DJ Swarleees (Chuckie) puts on LMFAO’s “Shots” to put them in the right mindset.

9 a.m. The first shot. I forget what the toast was to, but I decide they need to take another one in 20 minutes. Some grumble and I wonder if we should have brought a puke bucket.

9:01 a.m. I start to worry about how I will park this damn thing.

9:10 a.m. I assign them all numbers so that we can count off and make sure no one is missing when we leave anywhere. I’m efficient like that.

9:10 a.m. They count off, 1 through 9.

9:20 a.m. Time for the second shot. I am not even usually up by this time on a Saturday but I am directing 9 guys to take shots of straight bourbon. Good morning.

9:25 a.m. I say they should take another one before we get to Four Roses, our first stop. They all wuss out. They are not taking full advantage of having a designated driver for the day.

9:30 a.m. We get off the exit in Frankfort and I have horrible flashbacks to working in Owenton.

9:40 a.m. We get to Four Roses. I park the van LIKE A BOSS and we go inside to get our “passports,” so we can be all official and shit.

9:42 a.m. Brothers picture!

10 a.m. We watch a video before the tour starts giving us the quick description of the bourbon process (SPOILER ALERT: By the end of the day, we could probably make our own, no problem.)

10:01 a.m. The guys are ready to learn.

10:05 a.m. Caleb is our tour guide. You won’t forget his name either, because it’s on a gold plate on his belt.

10:08 a.m. We are in the place where “the magic happens.” Some of it, anyway. The stuff kind of looks like vomit though.

10:15 a.m. I decide that this place looks like where every bad guy fights with the main character in action movies. I ask if anyone will let me pretend to throw them over the side. No takers.

10:25 a.m. We see a big vat of the mash stuff they use. We are all short.

10:30 a.m. We get a better view of some of the vats and decide it’s kind of tempting to want to spit into them, but decide against actually doing it.

10:35 a.m. Uncle Tony is too short. Needs a small ladder to see what’s going on.

10:40 a.m. I make sure there is photographic proof of our first official stop. But for some unknown reason, it does not upload to the blog. Wamp wamp.

10:50 a.m. Time for tastings. Eth smells it, like that can prepare you for when you drink it and it burns all the way down.

10:51 a.m. Everyone gets two shots each. Allegedly you are supposed to sip. Total shot count for the day so far: four each. It’s not even lunchtime.

10:59 a.m. Speaking of food, it’s time to open up the snacks in the back, because even though they opened up a pack of muffins that basically served as chasers to the first shot, they are hungry.

11 a.m. Uncle Chuck has bought something and doesn’t want to carry the bag. Complains about being the Bag Bitch. He tries to get me to take it and I say that’s not what I’m there for, he can be his own Bag Bitch.

11:01 a.m. Uncle Chuck explains to Dad about what a bag bitch is: “Hold my bag, bitch.”

11:05 a.m. Tony, who is harming some Cheez-its: “I’m the Box Bitch.”

11:10 a.m. Beanden declares Four Roses “The Redheaded Stepchild of the bourbon industry.”

11:15 a.m. They want to make a run to Walmart before the next stop. We need beer – for the rides between the tours – chips, TUMS and Ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is for Dad. He asked me “What kind of girl are you that you didn’t bring Ibuprofen?” I reply: “The kind you bring on the bourbon tour.”

11:30 a.m. The boys come back to the van after their Walmart shopping excursion with 24 beers, two bags of chips, TUMS and the Ibuprofen. The muffins have been forgotten.

11:40 a.m. Dad: “Play that a-a-a-a-a-alcohol song.”

11:45 a.m. We pass signs for a Civil War re-enactment and contemplate a schedule change.

11:50 a.m. We are at our second stop, Wild Turkey. There is a turkey made out of a barrel. Everyone decides to ride it.

11:51 a.m. Dad channels John Wayne in True Grit and holds the reins in his teeth. Good thing we will have alcohol soon to kill the bacteria he just got in his mouth.

11:57 a.m. Donnie bought a do-rag.

12:01 p.m. Proof we went to Wild Turkey.

12:03 p.m. I try to get all artsy with the iPhone camera.

12:35 p.m. We learn that what they don’t use for the bottled bourbon goes to cows. We immediately picture cows being wasted. We also learn that some people’s job is simply to smell and/or taste the bourbon to make sure it’s good to go.

12:36 p.m. Some people contemplate a career change.

12:40 p.m. We see a dog lying in the grass. Might be dead, might be drunk. Neither was confirmed.

12:45 p.m. Stuffed turkey in the tasting room. The sign says don’t touch.

12:46 p.m. Dad takes a picture of me touching the turkey.

12:51 p.m. Happy boys. And possibly a little drunk. Some more than others.


1:15 p.m. We decide to find lunch and do so at an A&W/Long John Silver’s.

1:18 p.m. After a couple unsuccessful attempts, Chuckie secures a win on the coin drop game, earning himself some free hushpuppies.

1:20 p.m. Chuckie is a pirate.

1:40 p.m. Lunch is over and we’re headed to our final stop, Woodford Reserve. Sidenote: I have been parking like a champ ALL DAY. The guys are impressed.

1:45 p.m. Chuckie decides he wants to open his own distillery and call it “WoodChuck.”

1:50 p.m. We get to Woodford and immediately see where the tiny bottles are made. Psyche.

1:55 p.m. Free bourbon balls at Woodford. Shit just got real.

1:58 p.m. Me: “Did you get a bourbon ball?” Donnie: “Nah, I ate bourbon balls a million times and never liked them.” Chuck: “Then why’d you keep going back after the first time?”

2 p.m. Tour starts at Woodford. We are sitting in church pews. Watching a video. By now we can pretty much recite the process ourselves.

2:15 p.m. Our tour guide, Jack is talking through a microphone with a hand-held speaker aimed at us. It’s amplifying his voice less than if he just talked normally.

2:25 p.m. We see the warehouse. Smells like wood. And corn.

2:28 p.m. “If you get all the stamps on your passport you get a T-shirt.” Chuck: “Yeah get it all done and get the T-shirt to wipe the puke off your face.”

2:30 p.m. Jack tells us how they smell-test the bourbon and mentions how you “put the cork in the bunghole.” That’s the word they use. Our group laughs. Because we are children.

2:31 p.m. Bunghole. Heh.

2:32 p.m. Jack passes around a glass that he’d had full but had poured out so nobody would drink it when it’s passed around. Uncle Chuck is not happy about that.

2:35 p.m. Jack talks about tastings and how it gets the flavor, since it’s in the charred wood barrels. Chuckie is confused. “How the hell does wood taste like vanilla and apricot?” Uncle Chuck is still pissed bourbon has been poured out.

2:40 p.m. We load the bus back up to head back for the tasting and Jack mentions comment cards he hopes we fill out. Uncle Chuck: “I’m gonna put on that comment card to quit throwing that shit down the drain.”

2:41 p.m. Remember how earlier he said “bunghole?” Heh.

2:45 p.m. Tasting time. Everyone’s taking it slow. Dad is posing as “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” Stay thirsty, my friends.

2:50 p.m. Bourbon’s all done and it’s time to go home. But not before a picture of all of them at probably our favorite stop on the tour. Well it might not be Uncle Chuck’s favorite. He may still be pissed at Jack.

2:53 p.m. Uncle Chuck shows that he’s not to be messed with. Hence the glittery tattoo.

2:55 p.m. The guys are thirsty on the way back to the car, they want their beer and are listing what they have left in there to drink. Tony: “We have chips!”

3:00 p.m. We are all back in the van. I make them yell their numbers out, thinking it will be in order. I hear: “5!3!9!1!4!”

3:05 p.m. The news is broken to Chuckie that WoodChuck Bourbon isn’t possible. Woodchuck already exists and makes alcohol.

3:06 p.m. Chuckie decides his distillery will be “WoodChuckie.” Totally different

3:30 p.m. On the road home. Everyone is quiet. Surprisingly no one has passed out/taken a nap.

3:45 p.m. Heh. Bunghole.

4 p.m. We are home, safely. But the day’s not over. There’s cornhole to be played.

4:03 p.m. The morning’s plan of waiting until the spring to visit the other three distilleries has morphed into “Let’s try to do it one weekend in November.”

They better make sure their driver’s free.

Stay tuned for Part Two, whenever the guys decide they wanna go. And for up-to-the-minute updates on the next event AS IT’S HAPPENING, follow me on the Twitter.

Bourbon Boys Teaser 2

I promise you will see the full story – with photos soon. In fact, I can safely say you’ll see it within the next 24 hours.

But for now, another couple little tidbits to tide you over.

Beanden: Hot and Spicy Cheez-its? We’ll be fartin’ fire and breathin’ whiskey.

Moments earlier: “I’m drinking before Taco Bell is open. That’s not healthy.”

Bourbon Boys Teaser

To get you excited nervous ready to hear about the Bourbon Boys Adventure 2K11, here’s a quote from the day that I will simply attribute to Anonymous. And you’ll see why.

Tour guy: And this is where we bring the barrels next. We call it the Dump Station.
Anonymous gentleman in our group:That’s where I need to go right now is the Dump Station.

Oh you fancy, huh?

Normally I’m not a fan of Mondays. They are not my favorite. In fact, I most often refer to them as my nemesis (nemeses?).

But the Monday I spent in England? Best one I’ve had in as long as I can remember.

Of course, any day immediately increases in potential when it starts with one of these.

Ashley started out with one of those – I had the ‘Afrocat’ as we called it. But this looked too good to skip and we had a long day ahead, so I needed all the caffeine I could handle.

The delicious breakfast we had was at the Wolseley. Which we passed at least three times while trying to find it, and then asked someone at Starbucks who was an asshole, because they were four doors away from the place and just decided to have a little fun with the dumb, lost Americans.

I suggested a Starbucks protest.

Anyway, the Wolesley was next to The Ritz, and around the corner from several places I will never be able to afford.

Case in point:

After not even attempting to enter a single one of those stores – we just took pictures of all of them from the street. Then we headed to one of the only places this nerd wanted to visit in London.

Yep. That’s Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.

SPOILER ALERT: It’s not actually on a platform, it’s outside King’s Cross Station. And unfortunately, you can’t actually run through it to catch the train to Hogwart’s.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.

Next on the list? A jaunt through the park. But what would make the trip better? BIKES.

Yeah. That was a good idea, even though it didn’t seem like it at first. It took us forever to figure out how to pay for the damn things and then when we got them free, Ashley got on hers to find that the seat was up about 10 feet to high.

Geez, you guys. You know how they compare things to bike riding? Like, “It’s just like riding a bike.”

Yeah, they should stop saying that. Because I hadn’t ridden a bike in years. And it showed.

This picture is of me soon after I texted Rachel telling her what we were doing and how I hadn’t ridden a bike in about 40 years.

Oh, and Ashley fixed her seat.

Once we got going, though, things got a little easier. And the view was pretty great.

It was a lot like this, actually.

Only not really. We didn’t sing. Mostly laughed, especially when I not once, not twice, but three times, rode right over signs on the ground that said “No cycling.”

And then we had a stranger that could have easily stolen our cameras take a picture of us in the pretty park.

Matthew had suggested a place to go for dinner and we were almost there when we spotted something we thought was possibly more awesome. A sushi place where everything’s on a conveyor belt.

Yeah. You grab what you want as it comes by and then based on the color of the plate(s) when you’re done that’s how much you pay.

It was yum times 10. And kind of like a game.

After that, it was on to a kind of shady part of town for the Jack The Ripper tour.

Remember how I joked we’d do the Murder Tour of London? OH WE SO DID FOR REAL.

We so excited.

This is Adrian. Our tour guide. He knows everything there is to know about Jack The Ripper.

One of the victims got killed here, I think. I dunno. We went several places and learned a lot, actually. Like that JTR didn’t have 11 victims like many people think. He only had five.

We saw real blood on the street during the tour, too. Shady part of town, I tell ya. Or possibly put there for dramatic affect?

Nah, it was shady.

We finished the evening with a nice walk across London Bridge.

Pretty.

Oh, and then there was some PIMM’S drinking. Duh.

At this point? One day left. Sad. But dammit if we hadn’t gotten pretty much everything we wanted to do, done. We are efficient.

‘I dunno, something about baby prostitutes’ or that day we were zombies

Once upon a time, I thought I could sleep during a plane ride. I had really nothing to go on, because it’s not like I’ve ever slept on one before, not to mention I’ve never been on one long enough to really get any decent sleep.

But, none of this stopped me – or Ashley – from attempting to NOT sleep the night before we left. We’d power nap here and there but for the most part, we’d stay up all night. Why not? It’d make us sleep that much better on the ridiculously long overnight flight to Paris then London.

Sounds good in theory, no?

Then we fell asleep. And then Ashley set alarms to go off every hour so we wouldn’t sleep too long.

Then we get on the plane from Atlanta and here we are wide awake. Partially to blame? The Rabbi sitting next to us.

Now, he probably wasn’t a Rabbi, but he looked like one. He also didn’t speak English, may have made out with a Coke can and put his butt on my shoulder when he was getting stuff out of the overhead bin entirely too many times. Oh, and he sang. At 5 a.m.

Good morning.

They played Jane Eyre as the first of our three movies on the flight over – it wasn’t one of those cool ones where you get to pick your own movies.

I should’ve fallen asleep then, because that movie was boring. Play that one at 2 a.m. when people need to sleep. Not at 10.

I’m fairly certain Ashley and I slept a combined, cumulative total of about 2.5 hours on that plane. Because it’s hard to get comfortable with about a foot of leg room because the old man in front of you is leaning all the way back the entire flight and his wife keeps giving you and your friend the stankeye for some unknown reason every 30 minutes or so.

So we were up at sunrise, which also happened to be as we were beginning our descent into France.

We got to the Paris airport around 6:15 a.m. Around the same time as approximately no one else in the world.

Ashley opted for some caffeine – a Coke – which led us to our first encounter with a Brit that day.

And he was a doozy.

Picture…I don’t even know. Zigler (sp?) from Moulin Rouge only with gray hair. Zigler, if you’ve never seen the movie with one of the best soundtracks ever, is the club owner of the Moulin Rouge in the movie.

So Zigler sits down next to us and tells Ashley she shouldn’t be drinking Coke in the morning, or at all, really, because it’ll “hurt your tum tum.” His words, not ours.

Nevermind the fact that he’s been drinking an equally healthy breakfast of champagne.

Champagne. Breakfast of champions. I’m all for a mimosa but I’m pretty sure this guy was just drinking the stuff straight. Because he tells us:

“Champagne in the morning is like hot, sweaty sex in the afternoon. You have it one time and afterwards, you’re like, ‘Hmm. That was quite nice. I think I’ll do that again.”

Good morning.

He then starts to tell us about his experiences with “The Other Coke.” Yeah. The drug one. The one that, according to him, the should advertise with the disclaimer that it “makes your willy stop working.” Because if they just put that information out there, no men would ever do the stuff.

All this before we’ve even set foot in England.

We get to England and after navigating Heathrow and the seemingly daunting tube system, we’re there.

And all we feel like doing is falling asleep.

But we didn’t! We were advised against it, because though it was 3 a.m. our time and we’d had next to no sleep, if we napped now, we’d be messed up all week. But that couch looked so comfy…

You’ll be happy to know we resisted temptation and after a couple cups of coffee, we headed out for our first day in a completely different country.

On our first day’s itinerary? A bus tour of the city. We’d snap some pictures, see what – if anything – we wanted to go back to.

And nothing wakes you up from a zombie-like state more than 40 mph winds hitting you in the face while you’re on the top, open level of a double decker bus.

We got lots of great shots, only a few of which I’ll share here:

But suffice it to say, we had renewed energy.

Until we got on the tube, which we both fell asleep on but still managed to get off at the right stop.

After some catching up with our hosts and a yummy dinner, we did the best we could to try and stay up until at least 9 p.m. That, they said, would be a good time to go to bed ’cause we’d be able to sleep all night.

I think I made it to 9:01.

And, wouldn’t you know it, 13 HOURS LATER, we were rested and refreshed and ready to go.

More on day 2 another day. I can’t give it to you all at once. If I did you’d have nothing to come back for!

Oh and the name of this post? Apparently that was the subject of a before bed conversation but I couldn’t tell you what was said if I tried.