The Rock-chettes


"Millie, the name is pronounced Rah-chester. Not Rock-chester."
"No, it isn't. It's Rock-chester."
"There's no K."
"Just because there isn't a K, doesn't mean you don't pronounce it."
"What is wrong with you?" she says.
"There are lots of words like that.".
"Name one."
It was one AM and Giselle, and I were safely back in our hotel room via, the cab and we were having a night cap.
I should have known better than to argue about this with Giselle. She makes her living by correcting the misuse of punctuation and circling misspelled words.
My son is married to Giselle's daughter. They have four children. One being thirteen-year-old, Iris.

Iris happens to be a dancer.
A very good dancer.

And there happened to be a dance competition in Rochester Minnesota.
I have another son and daughter-in-law who happen to reside in Rochester.
So, Giselle and I decided to take a trip to Rochester to catch Iris's dance competition and have a generally good time with our kids.
When Giselle picked me up at 11:00 AM she was frazzled.
"Sorry I'm late."
"You're not late."
"Hang on a minute," she says, still parked in my driveway.
Hunter was staring out the window at us. His ears were standing straight up in hopes that I would be coming back to the house. Sven was off meeting with a client. And Hunter did not approve of the mounting situation.
"I have to call Justin," Giselle said.
She starts punching numbers into her dash and up pops Justin's face on a screen.
"Oh my God. Can he see us?"
"No, that's just his picture."
"Hello," says Justin.
"Hi. I tried it again and it still won't work," she says.
"Do you want me to walk you through it?"
Giselle sighs a large groan.
"Well. Can we just go? Please? I have the directions plugged in the navigational system and Millie has them on her phone and..."
"Yes. You can go, Mom. Just be careful. And keep your eyes on the road."
"Thanks. We'll be careful. Love you."
"Love you too," he said, and his face vanished from the screen.
"What were you guys trying to do?"
"There's some APP that he wanted me to plug in to so that they can tell where we are."
"They were going to track us?"
"Yeah. But I couldn't get the thing to work, so."
I glanced behind me.
"It looks like we should survive the blizzard."
"Oh, I know," she says. "We've got everything. Sleeping bags, blankets, snacks and beer. And besides. It stopped snowing in Rochester last night."
I suppose it was within reason that Giselle's son wanted to keep track of her. The fact of the matter is, I have no sense of direction. Giselle and her navigation system would be in charge. Anything that I might contribute to the conversation regarding, "Which way should we turn?" would not be taken seriously, nor would it even be considered as an option.
We backed up to make the turn to drive down my long driveway.
Hunter, my sweet puppy-dog, watched us as long as he could.
"He is not sweet, and he is not a puppy!" Sven would have said. But Sven was not there.
And then the two of us were off on our adventure.
"Hey," says Giselle. "Will you text Nicolette and let her know that we are FINALLY on the road?"
I dutifully pulled out my glasses and began typing to my daughter-in-law, "We just got on the interstate."
"Oh, crap!" yells Giselle.
"What?" I said hitting send and looking up.
"I went the wrong way."
"But we are going south," I typed.
Giselle was spitting nails.
"Oh my God! I cannot believe I did that! Son of a. Damn. Damn!"
"Don't worry," I say. "I do this shit all the time. This is a typical day for me. Just take the next exit."
"Can you imagine?" she bursts out laughing, "If that tracking device had been on?"
"Shocking!" came the typed response from Nicolette.
I quickly wrote back, "Now we are getting onto another ramp. This one says north."
The trip should take three hours, give or take.
We had plenty of time.
Iris's performance was scheduled for 5:09 PM.
"I'm starving," I said after about an hour without mishap.
Giselle took the next exit, into nothing.
"There must be a café here somewhere."
"Hey! There's a sign in that window," I said, pointing.
"What does it say she says, slowing down and looking at a big blue tin shack.
"It says café."
She went ahead and turned around.
"That is one weird looking café," she said.
"It says, Laughing Larry's Café and Truck Wash," I answered.

Giselle holds her hand out the window and stops a car that just turned onto the road we were stopped on, in front of Laughing Larry's.
"Excuse me," she says to the guy with long hair who stopped abruptly with a look on his face that said, "What the fuck?"
"Do you know anything about this Laughing Larry's Café?"
"What about it?" he says.
"Is it a good place to eat?"
"Sure," he said while the woman in his passenger seat shook her head and stared at Giselle with big eyes.
"Let me rephrase that," says Giselle. "Would this be the kind of a diner that two women such as us, would like to go to?"
"Sure," he says, while the woman continued to shake her head, no, behind him.
"Well, are there any other restaurants around here?" says Giselle.
"Probably in Tomah," he says. "That's not far."
"Okay, thanks," said Giselle. And her power window went up.
For the record, I just looked this place up on the internet. Giselle and I will be going there sometime.
It just wasn't on that Saturday.
Instead, we went to a regular old café.
"We are having lunch," she typed to Nicolette.
"After you have lunch and before you leave the restaurant, call me," typed Nicolette.
"Why do you suppose she wants me to call her?" I heard Giselle say between slurps of chicken noodle soup.
"She is going to give us very specific directions of where must be at a very specific time," I said shoving a French fry into my mouth.
Sure enough.
Nicolette's face was on the dashboard screen.
"Mom, be sure to come to the civic center parking ramp. Put that into your phone. This place is huge. If you park there, you will be near us, and we can find you."
"I have to have an address.
"No, you don't."
"This thing makes me put in an address."
"No, it doesn't."
"Yes, it does."
"No, it doesn't."
"Yes, it does."
In the meantime, I typed Rochester Minnesota civic center parking ramp into my phone.
"I've got it," I said. "It's in my phone."
"See," says Nicolette.
"I'm talking about the car navigational system," says Giselle. "This thing needs an address."
Whatever the case, we were all set and given the green flag to proceed.
We were full and re-energized, and we now had two navigational systems telling us where to go and what to do. They shared the exact same hypnotically, boring, silky voice.
Our brilliant plan was to turn off the car lady and use my phone girl who would take us to the civic center parking ramp, when we got into Rochester.
Soon we were a half an hour from our destination.
"You know," says Giselle, "We are going to get to that dance competition awfully early. Maybe we should go to our hotel first and get checked in."
"That's not a bad idea."
"Let Nicolette know we are going to the hotel first," she says and punches in the pre-programmed hotel address into her dashboard.
"Rodger," I said.
"Hey. Why are there two 40's?" says Giselle looking at the adjacent highway signs, with her blinker on.
"One says 40 and the other says 48," I said.
That is just about the time that the smooth voice said that we should make a legal U-turn as soon as possible.
The boring direction bitch was always covering her ass by using the term, legal.
"What?" says Giselle. "A U-turn?"
The silky voice then said to go one mile and turn on county CR.
And then the silky voice said to make a legal U-turn.
"What?" said Giselle.
"Oh shit!" I said. "We have dueling navigational systems."
The problem was, we couldn't tell them apart.
"Turn yours off," screams Giselle.
I have limited cell phone finesse. I can text. I can take pictures. And I can look at Facebook.
But making a phone call, listening to voicemail and turning off google maps are not part of my repertoire.
"In one point five miles, take a right," says the robot.
"Make a legal U-turn," says the same robot.
I turned off the sound on my phone.
"There," I said.
But she kept on talking.
As Giselle was trying to figure out which exact duplicate voice was telling her how to get to our hotel, I was trying to shut my phone up.
So, I sat on it.
And then she started talking through my butt.
At this point Giselle was doubled over the steering wheel she was supposed to be steering with.
"There's the Americ-inn," I screamed.
We checked in and opened a beer.
It was 3:00 PM.
"I think maybe we should take a cab to the civic center," says Giselle.
"No shit," I said.
We let Nicolette know our plan.
"You should call the cab soon," she says. "That way Marques can have a beer with you before the performance."
"Okay," we said and sat down on our couch.
Twenty minutes later the nice woman at the front desk calls for a cab.
"He should be here in about twenty minutes to a half hour," she says.
Forty minutes later the nice woman at the front desk calls the cab company again.
"Oh. I see," she says. "Thank you."
We are both staring at her with pleading eyes.
"He thought I said the Americ-Inn airport. He has been waiting for you over there."
I pulled out the smelling-salts for Giselle.
"The airport is just around the corner," she says. "He will be here in a couple of minutes."
Meanwhile Nicolette sends a text.
"Meet us at the civic center performing arts. We have to get over there. Now."
When the cab dropped us off in front of glass doors, I heard Marques' booming voice, "Mom! Millie! Over here."
He was standing in front of the other set of glass doors. The set that the taxi driver drove right by.
Due to the very strict dance competition rules, there are no pictures of the actual performance.
That and the fact that my cell phone was DEAD. MORTE. The woman with the silky voice had sucked the life right out of it.
Apparently, she never really did shut up and she had continued at a whisper until she died.
But let me be the first to say that Iris and her dancing crew were absolutely amazing.
Well worth the trip.
And then off she went with her dancing friends.
Off we went to see their Grand Hotel quarters.
The nice thing about their weekend residence was that it was connected to everything by skywalks. That is why Giselle, and I left our coats in their room.
And then we found The Steakhouse and my other son, and his wife and we all had a really nice dinner.
And then we walked, and we walked, and we walked in that maize of skywalks and escalators.
And then we opened a door, and we crossed the frozen street where banks of snow were piled four feet high.
We entered a brewery and we slid into a corner booth and ordered a round.
This is when Nicolette looked at her phone and said, "Marques, we have to get back to the competition pretty soon."
"What?" we said.
"It's for the awards. You guys don't have to come. Unless you want to. But it's pretty chaotic and there are hundreds of awards."
Rene, R.Z., Giselle and I opted, "Nah."
But, what were our children to do with us?
Rene and R.Z. would be going home from the brewery and Giselle and I needed to get back to the Grand Hotel where our jackets were before calling a cab back to our place.
"We can find our way back," I said.
"Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha," was all we heard.
"Okay," Marques says to Rene, "When you guys are ready to go home, take these two," Marques nods at Giselle and I, "back across the street to that bar we passed on our way over here."
Then Marques looks at the two of us.
"And you guys stay there. We'll come back to get you after the awards."
And then Nicolette says, "And don't go anywhere else."
I guess we shouldn't have mentioned that dueling navigator thing to them. They were a little paranoid.
After we finished our beer, Rene and R.Z. dutifully walked us to the destination bar.
"Love you. See you tomorrow," I said.
And there we were, just Millie and Giselle, the Rock-chettes, on our own in Rochester.
What could go wrong?
I don't mean to brag, but Giselle and I have a real knack of making new friends.
We sat down at the bar.
To my right was a gang of kids in their thirties. They were having a raucous good time.
To Giselle's left was a handsome Iranian man.
We were just minding our own business, talking about our day and the dance and our kids.
And then Giselle needed to use the restroom.
The Iranian man gave her directions.
"Why are you here?" I said to Al, after she left.
"To see what is going on," he says. "I have been reading all day long in my room and I wanted to come out to have a drink and to see what is going on."
"Yes, but why are you here?" I said.
I meant, why are you here, at the hotel? What are you doing in Rochester? Are you here for the dance competition?
Al however answered my question three times exactly the same way.
"I have been reading all day long in my room and I wanted to come out and to have a drink and to see what is going on."
And then Giselle returned.
"Giselle, this is Al," I said to her.
"Oh my gosh," she says. "That was crazy in there."
She had the attention of both Al and I.
"There was a really, really, I mean really, messed up girl in the bathroom. She almost fell into my stall. I helped her out of there. She couldn't walk."
And that is when one of the guys to my right came over and said, "Thank you so much," to Giselle. "We didn't realize how bad off she was. Her husband is on his way to get her."
And then he says, "Do you know this guy? This guy is famous."
This guy said, "No, I'm not."
And then the first guy pulls up this guy on the YouTube.
And we watched, The Dare.

Dareian Kujawa - So You Think You Can Dance Wiki - check him out.

For those of you who do not watch, So you think you can Dance, The Dare, came in 14th, a few years back.
"So, can you do the moonwalk?" I asked him.
He sure could.
"Can you teach me how?" I asked.
He sure couldn't.
"That is not the moonwalk," Giselle said over and over as I tried it over and over.
The Dare, was most likely relieved to hear Giselle say, "Uh-oh, here comes our parents."
Damn Sam.
Marques and Nicolette meant business.
"But don't you even want to stay and meet our new friends?" we said.
They didn't.
They wanted to order a pizza for Iris and call a cab for their mothers.
And that is why Giselle, and I were arguing about the pronunciation of Rochester, back in our hotel room, at one AM.
One would think that this would be the end of the story.
But it's not.
You see the next morning Giselle and I were going to stop over at Rene and R.Z.s place before going to Perkins and then heading back home to Lodi.
I typed their address into my freshly charged cell phone, because it is too new for Giselle's car navigational system that needs an update.
We checked out and we stepped out into the brilliant sunlight bouncing off mounds of white snow.
"Okay, let's go," I said sitting in the passenger seat with my belt buckled.
I glanced at my phone. It read, 6.2 miles to your destination.
We were tired.
We were quiet.
We stared ahead at the road.
I looked down at my phone again.
"That is really weird," I announced, breaking the silence.
"What is really weird?"
"Well, my phone used to say that we had 6.2 miles to Rene's place."
"Now it says that it we have 9.3 miles to go."
"What?" she says hitting her brakes.
Just then a very familiar silky voice spoke up, "Make a legal U-turn."
And at the same moment another matching silky voice says, "Turn on 63 south."
"Ahhhhhhhhh!" We both screamed.
"Turn that thing off!" I yelled at Giselle who happened to be doubled over her steering wheel, again.
"She is still taking us to the civic center," she says.
"Make a legal U-turn."
"Who said that?" I said.
"I have no idea!"
Giselle frantically pushed some buttons on her dashboard.
Unfortunately, the girl on my phone, the girl that was trying to take us to Rene's place, happened to be the girl that wanted us to make a legal U-turn.
And so, we did.

You were awesome, Iris.
And just so you know, you have two very proud grandmas.


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