Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 25-26: Roomies

Date: February 25 1/2 and 26
Friend: Kelly (Milligan) Mayhew
Activity: Chips and queso, Mom visit, lunch, chips and queso, art, hair
Location: Home, Target, Applebee's, Joslyn Art Museum, Becky and Bryan's house
Total $ Spent: $1

About a week ago, one of my best friends from college asked if I had any $1 dates still open. Since she lives in Des Moines (that's in Iowa for those of you don't know these parts), I considered taking a day trip out to visit her and her family. But she was asking because she wanted to come and visit me in Omaha! We determined that Thursday and Friday would work out the best and that our date would be a 2-fer. Around 7:45pm, Kelly drove up to the house fully prepared with chips and queso.
Kelly and I were roommates in college, technically for only 2 years. But with a bond like ours and a school as small as Coe, it wasn't like we were ever far away from each other. We were both theatre majors and desperately loved nacho-flavored Cheez-Its. Aside from her ridiculously luscious hair, I was drawn to her boisterous laugh and outgoing spirit. During our freshman year, Kelly puppeteered for the "The Plant" and I was the "Clock" in the musical Little Shop of Horrors. Before you go making judgements, I can assure you that the Clock is a critically essential role. Remember, there are no small parts. Only small actors with small parts. Anywho, we spent every hour of every day together during those weeks. To this day, we still laugh at inside jokes and sing songs from that show. I even named my cats for characters in the play. Dear Lord, that was 14 years ago. It was a formative year for both of us. I had just ended my relationship with my high-school boyfriend, and she was developing a friendship with the man who would become her husband.

Once she arrived at the house and the queso was heated up, we sat down for a marathon of looking through my college photo albums. I was so good about documenting my life in those years. What happened to me? Oh yeah. I got lazy. And digital pictures took the place of printed photos. This was the first part of our 2-fer $1 date. We are such a good complement to each other's memories. She remembers things that have long since left the filing cabinets of my memory, and I remember details that have faded from her mind. We laughed so hard about the piece of paper that mysteriously appeared in my dress while we watched Oliver in London. "But how did it get there?!" "I have no idea!"

In the years since college, we have visited each other's hometowns, shared holidays with each other's families, and felt guilty for not staying in better touch. Kelly has a 4-year old daughter, and yet I didn't meet her until recently. I will always feel bad for not making more of an effort to meet her little family sooner. But as Kelly and I discussed over breakfast this morning, we have to accept that we can't change the past. She has always been an incredibly supportive and caring friend, especially surrounding the issue of my mom. We were having a fascinating conversation about religion (the details of which I'm saving for another possible blog project....), when the conversation turned toward my mom. She asked me, "what really happened.... when your mom left? Did she just leave?"

Deep breath.

As if on autopilot, I relived November 1992, explaining how it was filled simultaneously with conflict and resolution. I realized that I have no memory of being told my parents were actually getting a divorce or the day my mom moved into my sister's old bedroom. I described the coffee grounds that spilled on the kitchen floor, my parents circled around the mess as if the tiny grains of caffeine were the cause for all of their marital woes. Kelly listened intently, with my cat Audrey softly purring on her lap. "Did you clean up the coffee grounds?" she asked. I admitted that I cleaned up the spill, pretending to be invisible. Within a few weeks, my mom had left. And that was that.

Since this blog isn't the outlet for my traumatized inner child, I will encourage you to visit my article detailing my childhood at if you would like to learn more. But, assuming everyone already knows the story, I will jump ahead to present day. I knew that my mom would totally freak out if she knew Kelly was in town and we didn't make an effort to see her. So the first stop on the second day of my 2-fer $1 date with Kelly was to visit my mom at Target. Since she was painfully specific about her break times, we knew to arrive exactly at 11:45am or we'd risk the bevy of obsessive phone calls. We got there right on time.

My mom came out of the breakroom with no less than 75 things in her hands. She had her lunch bag, her slice of free cake, a muffin in her mouth, an open bottle of juice, her phone, and who knows what else was dripping off her body. Speaking of dripping, she spilled her juice all over each of the aforementioned 75 items. The entire 15 minutes of her break was spent cleaning up her mess, with Kelly talking patiently through it all. Clearly I was far more traumatized than Kelly.

After Target, we went to Applebee's for lunch because Kelly had a $25 gift card! Our server, Anttwjuan (yes, it was really spelled that way) was just about the best darn server in town. He was insistant upon us ordering a mango-strawberry margarita and kept checking on us throughout the meal to make sure we really didn't want to order one. Instead, we went for more chips and queso (there's never too much), I ordered a veggie pizza and Kelly ordered a chicken wrap thing. We had a lovely time, complete with a handful of dance breaks. The bill came to almost exactly $25 so I contributed my $1 toward the tip.

We swung by Warren Buffett's house (because that's what you do when you live in Omaha and a friend comes to visit) and then made our way to Joslyn Art Museum. JOSLYN ART MUSEUM? What?? The very museum at which I used to work but then got laid off and so I started a social experiment in order to not freak out about being laid off and I blog about it everyday and shamelessly plug the link on Facebook? THAT Joslyn? Yes, the very one. I mean, why not? I love art and I'm a member.

Kelly and I visited Joslyn together once before in 1998. This time, we paid special attention to the Michael Foresberg exhibition. If you are a fan of nature and photography, this show will blow your mind ( We could have easily spent all day gazing at each image. I made a point to say hello to some of my former co-workers and even braved walking by my old office. You know what it felt like? Visiting school after you've already graduated. You feel a bittersweet mixture of happy memories and immeasurable stress. And how appropriate that I made this observation with my college roommate.

For the conclusion of our 2-fer $1 date, we got our hair did! Bryan colored my hair - notice I was blonder earlier in the day?? - and gave Kelly a quick trim.

Of course Charlie was there to assist and entertain. It was the first time Kelly has met my sweet nephew and he's at the perfect age to charm her socks off.

Kelly and I would both like to write. Wait, let me clarify. Kelly and I would both like to write and get published. She would like to conquer non-fiction and obviously I enjoy writing about myself. Roommates for life, even if we live in differenct cities.

On deck for day 27: Kevin H. I'll be seeing you.....

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited that you are both writing. Slinga da ink, pusha da pen.