A Road Trip with Millie and Sven




It’s a shame that I did not write  when I was young.  That way I could have recounted that canoe trip ending with nothing left to eat but deep fried potato chips while dressed in very stylish, extra large garbage bags.  Or the time we hitch hiked back to the car and were picked up by an Indian driving a station wagon so crammed full of his family that a little girl had to be placed on my lap and then he drove straight to a bar, cashed a check and bought us shots of whiskey.  Or that time that a sudden onset of the munchies put Sven and I in a very precarious situation as we came upon a set of number two rapids with our little gas camp stove teetering between us in the canoe, sloshing around a boiling pan of Ramon Noodles.  Or that time we set up camp in complete exhaustion after paddling for hours through Holcum Flowage on a fourth of July weekend where jet boats with matching 250 horse motors, towing water skiers, could not seem to see us.  And then later realizing that our hammock, the one that I was lying in, was strewn across a public hiking trail. So we had to tear the entire place apart, pack up the canoe once again and go back out onto that same lake where people had been trying to kill us all day long.  And then there was the time when Sven tried to kiss me inside an outhouse that reeked of outhouse, but just so happened to be the only dry place our shriveled bodies had been for two super soaker rainy days and nights and I said, "I don't even like you."

That was then.  This is now.

Suny sidwalk

  Today I'm going to tell you about our road trip to sunny, sunny Florida where spring breakers and old people go to have sex on the beach, to party like it will never end and to watch the weather channel. And it all started because of Sven’s ONE AND ONLY FACEBOOK FRIEND. See: Must Be Strong and Must Be Strong II right here on www.millienoe.com  for further explanation as to how someone has just ONE Facebook friend. Hunter & the tree 093 To this point in time, Fred, the one and only Facebook friend and his wife Grace live peacefully in Slidell Louisiana. Sven and Fred became acquainted in the Coast Guard Academy when they were kids and were reunited a year ago, forty years later at a Coast Guard Academy Golf Tournament.   Since that get together Sven has a new found interest in staying in contact with this poor unsuspecting man, Fred and now his innocent bystander of a wife, Grace. Sven and I have been vacationing in really cool, faraway places in recent years. Here is a picture from Jamaica two years ago.  Doesn't this look like fun? Hunter Moves In - Jamacia In order to save money and to take care of much needed house renovations we did not travel anywhere last year.  (The house renovations NEVER took place.) When Sven mentioned something about going on a trip somewhere near Slidell Louisiana, I, me, Millie Noe, did not take kindly to the idea. “What about Puerto Rico or The Dominican or Curacao?  What about those all-inclusive resorts that are right on those blue-green Caribbean waters?” I screamed. After a couple months of  heated debates, spinning of the globe, one of us stomping around the house, a phone call to Fred, searching online for a place to stay, our trip was set.  Destination:  Six nights, Panama City Beach, Florida, one night, Slidell Louisiana. That is called compromise.  Congress should give it a try. At this very moment I am sitting on the beach in front of the Sunbird where we have rented a sweet one bedroom apartment right on the water. Sunbird I cannot believe that tomorrow we will already be leaving these white sands and these blue waters and we will be making our way to Louisiana. Where did the time go?  What did we do? Well, I'll tell you. Our first night on the road I was a bobble head.   I was excited before my alarm went off that morning and all through the hectic work day.  I gobbled down a sandwich at my desk trying to tie up all loose ends which were unraveling as fast as I could tie them,  because that is the way it is just before you go on a vacation. It’s a state law or something.  One must suffer when one shows any sign of life outside of the gray walls and the fluorescent lights.  But I made it through work. I raced home.  Hunter and I sprinted around the trail.  I zipped through the living room with the vacuum. I swooshed the mop around the kitchen. I gave last minute instructions to our house sitting grandson. I kissed him goodbye.  I kissed Hunter goodbye.  I yelled goodbye to Mai Mai, we jumped into the car and we sped away.  Fifteen minutes later I was having trouble holding my head up.  I do remember a guy in Illinois making some wild and undetected by Sven, gestures at Sven and then I woke up in Effingham, Illinois. When in Effingham it is impossible not to call everything, effing.  And everybody effing knows this. We got the last effing room at a Best Western Hotel. The next thing I knew it was Friday, it was cold, it was dark and it was gray, but no matter, we were headed to sunny, sunny Florida to have sex on the beach, to party like it will never end and to watch the weather channel. As we were cruising along in our little KIA, I heard them say something on the radio about it being the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower. Me:  Doesn’t it seem like the Eiffel Tower should be older than 125 years? Sven: That seems like an Eiffel long time to me. Me: Oh my God. It sounds like you’ve been in Eiffing-ham.  You should have your own comedy show on the radio. Sven:  There would be a lot of dead air. Me: But when you are  funny, you are hilarious. Sven: I could call my show, The Monk . Sven was referring to my favorite joke ever. In case you haven’t heard it, here goes. For those of you who know me and this stupid joke you might as well read it.  You know you want to. “You see, at the monastery the monks had taken a vow of silence.  But every year one monk gets to say one sentence.  The first year goes by in complete and utter silence, just working and praying and working and praying and then the day finally arrives where one monk gets to talk. He stands up at the breakfast table and booms out the words, “This oatmeal is too hot.”  The other monks look at each other and all nod in agreement.  Another year goes by and a second monk finally gets to break the silence.  He stands up after breakfast and he declares, “This oatmeal is too cold.” The other monks look at each other and all nod in agreement.  A year later another very lucky monk stands up to speak.  He clears his throat and he says, “I am sick and tired of all the bitching about the oatmeal.” It gets me every effing time. Anyway, road trips can be tough. It’s hard to keep from going crazy while riding shot gun, God forbid the back seat,  through gray, brown, flat terrain, not even a bud on a tree.  So to keep from ending up in a straight jacket,  I began to text, looking at Facebook and emailing on my cell phone. My sister sent me a text that said, CALL ME.  So I tried to call her, but she was already on the phone. “What?” I said. "You called me." "No I didn't." “I’ve been listening to you two for a long time.  I’ve been yelling at you because you called me and I've been trying to get your attention.  Couldn’ t you hear me yelling?” “No,” I said.  “And I didn’t call you.” “Yes, you did." This is when we tried to text each other during our phone call.  “Okay,” I said.  “Wait, I’m sending it right now.  Did you get it?” “No.” It’s too bad that we couldn’t make it work because who wouldn’t want to be talking to someone on the phone and have them say, “Wait a minute, I’m going to text you the next sentence. Did you get it?” After our failed experiment I began to take a series of vacation photos from my view and I sending them to Louisa. Sven Driving Jake lighting cig Sven Driving 2   Do you by any chance remember where this story began? In case you have forgotten, I was sitting in front of the Sunbird, on the beach, soaking up the sun, living the dream and writing this story.  Well, just now, as in this moment, I looked up past my sunburned knees and saw two dolphins playfully swim past. They dove under the water and resurfaced twice.  Nobody else around me seems to have noticed.  This totally makes up for the time that I was on the air boat to the Keys with Sven and my parents and as we made our way slowly through a channel before switching to warp speed, everybody on board AND  on shore were oohhing and aahhing at a bunch of dolphins, except me. No matter how hard all of the people pointed, I could not see them.  By the way if you have ever fantasized about riding on the wing of an airplane instead inside in your crammed seat, I highly suggest you take an air boat to the Keys. Fred, you one and only Facebook friend, you’d better be FUCKING awesome, because tomorrow we are leaving this beautiful place and by no fault of your own, to visit you and your poor, innocent wife. But where was I with the road trip? Oh yeah, Sven and I spent the second night in Dothan Georgia after all day driving and texting and we ordered Mexican takeout and we pretended the food was good. We popped out of bed Saturday morning with less than one hundred miles to Panama City Beach.  After having breakfast with a woman who was on her way to Milwaukee driving a van load of teenagers who'd invented a contraption to open a zipper in fifty eight steps, we got in the car and drove to our destination without a hitch.  And even though all the forecasts on all the weather channels were calling for doom and gloom and rain for Saturday, Sunday, Monday and part of effing Tuesday, the sun was trying to come out when we pulled in. We weren’t supposed to be able to get in to our apartment until 3:00 P.M., but damn it to hell, the very congenial owner called to let us know that we could get in early, just as we’d settled ourselves on the beach where the sun was making a CAMEO appearance. We had to get moving. We had friends from Pensacola coming to stay with us on our first night there and they were in route. We had unpacking to do  and supplies to pick up, quick. So, we dropped off our stuff in the cute fourth floor apartment and made our way to the invisible Super Walmart that was on the other side of the million story hotel  across the street. The woman in the office of the condo said, “You can buy your groceries and walk back here with the cart.   They come over and pick them up every day.” Sven: I think we should just drive over there. I don’t want to push a cart back. Me: No,we should walk. It’s too nice to drive and we won’t need a cart. So, two beach chairs, a couple beach towels, chips, pretzels, salsa, salt, pepper, bacon, eggs, OJ, milk, bread, butter, yogurt, lunch meat, mustard, mayo, and shitload of beer later, we were  pushing our worldly possessions along in front of us on the bumpy sidewalk that you wouldn’t know otherwise, slanted toward the road.   Along with our friends from Pensacola came the rain.  But no worries, we spent the afternoon getting caught up over cocktails and snacks.  Then we drove through windshield wipers for dinner.  Karen pointed at a Saloon and said, “Look there’s Coyote Ugly.  I wonder if that’s the place where they made that movie.” I said, “What movie?” She said, “Coyote Ugly.” I said, "Never heard of it." Dressed in Red, we watched the Wisconsin Badgers get knocked out of the final four in the last seconds, by one effing point on T.V. that night. The next morning after drinking enough coffee to make our teeth float and to pee every ten minutes, we drove to Pier Park where we shopped and then ate seafood at an outside café under an umbrella that kept three out of four of us dry, before Thom who'd picked the wrong chair, and Karen got ready to head back to Pensacola. After that Sven and I then set out barefoot on the beach on that cool, overcast, breezy afternoon where we watched spring breakers drink out of funnels and stagger around in teeny, tiny swimsuits and beads. Spring Breakers A few hours later, we rinsed the salt off our skin, changed into street clothes and went to check things out.  And there it was, Coyote Ugly.  [one_half]I suppose you already laughing.   It is very likely that Sven and I are the only two people in the world who did not know what was about to happen. I mean, how were we supposed to know that those two cute girls tending bar, dressed in cowboy boots, and very minuscule amounts of clothes that were ripped into shreds in very strategic  places, exposing lots of cleavage and tons of skin would one minute be talking to us and then mid-sentence, on cue, look at each other, climb up on the bar and dance P-R-O-V-A-C-A-T-I-V-E-L-Y,  in step with each other and then on their knees right over the top of and right in front of my poor Sven?[/one_half] [one_half_last]Coyote Ugly[/one_half_last]   [one_half]Milli & Sven[/one_half] [one_half_last]The next day was Monday and we woke up to the sound of waves and pouring rain. The kind of rain that wasn’t going to let up and that wasn’t going to leave.  Even watching the weather channel wasn’t any fun.  It only amplified the situation.  So this is when we had sex on the beach and I gotta say it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.  Maybe it’s because I mixed my sex on the beach with a Rum Runner, a Pina-colada, some cute little chiller things in round cans, a few beers, a shot of Jager and then another beer.  This type of behavior must have been the cause of our temporary memory loss because we both completely forgot to eat any left over wings which I found in the microwave in the morning and tossed, which then in turn caused me to toss my cookies, which consisted of the seafood gumbo that I’d had for lunch just before we'd had the sex on the beach.  So, no, I would not recommend sex on the beach.  It sucks.

And remember, always practice safe sex.[/one_half_last]

It also caused the very cool and very effing sunny Tuesday not to be all that enjoyable. Sven went golfing in the morning while Millie went to the beach in a sweatshirt. And then we watched the weather channel and then we walked to a restaurant through gale force winds for dinner and then we went to bed to listen to the waves come crashing in.  We were lights out before the middle aged dancing neighbor guy who lived on the bottom floor, always in shorts, an open shirt, a string of beads, a glass of bourbon in his hand and a sparkle in his eye, was even finished with some kind of a drunken, screaming, rampage.  In the morning we weren’t sure if the yelling ended so suddenly because our eyes slammed shut or if someone just shot him.  But I spotted him two days later.  Same outfit.  Same drink.  No friends.  I felt bad for him. That’s just the way I am. Wednesday morning was beautiful.  Even the flag that had been nothing but red warnings and sticking straight out in the wind since we’d arrived was yellow and it flapped gently in the breeze. Yellow Flag Oh yeah baby, that's what I'm talking about. Sven went golfing and I immediately ran out and got myself a good old fashioned sun burn. Our plan that night was to make a Red Snapper fillet and baked potatoes.  But it was also time for a bit of responsibility.  We had laundry to do.  So, like any self-respecting baby boomers, we did it.  And the only way to do your laundry while on vacation, is with a little help from your friends.  Don’t look at me like that. Anyway, I’m not sure if this is really that great of an idea, no matter how old of an idea it is. After throwing our clothes into the washer it turned the seemingly simple chore into something that was quite complicated.  I ended up writing a note and sticking it on the refrigerator door since I knew we’d be in and out of there. Don't forget the laundry I also very cleverly hung my purse on the door knob so that we couldn’t possibly forget to take the the condo key with us even though we weren’t planning to lock the door.  What we really could have used was a blinking, neon sign inside the elevator.  Do you know that no matter how many trips you take up and down those four floors, someone has to push a button or you ain't going to go anywhere? I'm serious.  The counting out of the quarters is something I cannot possibly recount.   But somehow we got our clothes all dried and back up to the room.  Life was good and then Sven sat down right on top of the pile that I’d just folded. The  Red Snapper and the baked potatoes were out of this world, done to perfection.  Unfortunately we do not remember how we made it. We woke up with another beautiful, warm and sunny day in front of us.  That is today.  I will finish the rest of this story once I know what happens.


Orange Umbrellas It was a rinse and repeat of the day before excluding the laundry but including another red snapper and baked potato which we tried to, but could not duplicate in taste.  We fell asleep one last time to the sound of the ocean and the weather channel. And then it was time to pack up and go to see Sven's one and only Facebook friend. We arrived in Slidell close to 3:00 and were greeted with open arms and cold beers.  As far as first impressions go, you can't  beat that. Grace and I sized each other up while Fred showed Sven his back yard which is on the golf course.  All of the really cool works of art in their seriously beautiful home are originals, by their extremely talented son.  We learned a little bit at a time about each other as we made our way to the effing French Quarters!  Now if you want to make an even better first impression on me than open arms and a cold beer, taking me to the French Quarters will earn you points that cannot be surpassed.  Holy shit.  What a fun afternoon that turned one out to be. [one_half]jake fred & grace[/one_half]     There is so much electricity in the air, urine in the streets and just plain old fucking awesomeness in New Orleans that my heart skips a beat just thinking about it now.  We saw Captain America, a transvestite who was getting a little pissy because Grace couldn't make my camera work for a picture of us together, a kid standing on the corner belting out the blues, a woman wearing nothing more than paint, two guys playing chess on the sidewalk, people selling shit, people walking around with instruments, people drinking, people dining at little tables half in and half out of restaurants spilling on to the sidewalks, the music, the jazz festival, the balconies, the flowers, a tap dancer, signs, signs and more signs and then, THE VOODOO STORE.  
[one_half]Tuba guy[/one_half] [one_half_last]New Orleans Church[/one_half_last] [one_half]Captain America[/one_half] [one_half_last]Blue shutters[/one_half_last] [one_half]painted girl[/one_half] [one_half_last]Monster Man[/one_half_last] [one_half]tap dancer[/one_half] [one_half_last]green shutters[/one_half_last] [one_half]pissy transvestite[/one_half] [one_half_last]Blues Kid[/one_half_last] [one_half]guys playing chess[/one_half] [one_half_last]Millie in mirror[/one_half_last] Now, I'm guessing that in order not to make a weird impression when you barely know somebody you probably should not jump up and down and say, "Oh, A Voodoo Store. Can we go in there?"  Maybe it would be all right if you were into Voodoo and you wanted the other person to know that you were into Voodoo and if perhaps the other person was into Voodoo too.  But if someone doesn't know you from Adam, doesn't even know how you effing landed at their house in the first place and then you blurt out Voodoo shit, I think it could freak them out. But Grace, gracefully ventured in there with me and I scored some excellent research material for my project titled, Johnson Toast, Private Eye.  That is, it's excellent as long as I don't get too scared reading it.  Chapter One, so far is going well. And then it was Oysters on the half shell, a ride back to Slidell and out for dinner where we shared lots of laughs and great food. In the morning Fred and Sven were in a golf tournament.  Sven doesn't like to talk about it because apparently he hit the ball a lot of times.  Well, how else are you going to show your stuff if not by demonstrating it over and over?  Guess he hasn't heard that more is better. And then it was goodbye. Sven and I found ourselves back on the road with a daunting trip in front of us that I was sure would take for-ucking-ever.  But obviously it did not.  Otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here and writing this. By the way, did you know that if you drive 70 mph through Memphis where the posted speed is 70 mph, it is much like the parting of the seas? Parting of the seas Sven & Jake            

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