Mega Bus Memoirs

Once upon a time, October 2012,  I was invited by one of my closest friends to visit her in Nashville. We had a girls trip planned and I was really looking forward to it. This would be my first trip to the city and I quickly looked into travel arrangements.  Well I searched online for airplane tickets and even tried to map out the drive from Indiana to Nashville but I decided that trying a new means of transportation would be an incredible journey! … boy was I wrong.

It all started one day at work when I was trying to book travel information for my sales guy to go up to Chicago for the weekend. He said “Oh just reserve the MegaBus” and I was all “Whaddaheck is the MegasBus?” He was throwing around words like fancy, double decker, luxury, bus and the fact that it has stations all over the USA including from Indianapolis to Chicago, Cincinnati, and a few other spots. He promised that he had never had a bad experience and since he didn’t have to worry about travel inconveniences while he rode, he could plug his laptop into the bus outlet, sign onto the free Wi-Fi and be in Chicago before he knew it.

I was intrigued.

So while I was trying to figure out the most cost effective way to get 5 hours southeast, I looked at their website. They had a line from Indy to Nashville! And only $28 each way! Booked!

I was very excited and had been reassured multiple times that everything would work out great. So I packed my suitcase and brought my laptop to watch a few movies and I figured I would be all set…

Well, come Friday, B thankfully offered to wait with me at the ‘bus stop’ (really just a random MegasBus sign in the middle of the street) so I wouldn’t have to leave my car downtown while I was away. The bus was supposed to come at 5:30ish. But there was no sign of anything for close to 3 hours. 3. Blake had to go to the meter at least five times to put more change in. We kill time as it drags on.

Finally, the luxurious bus rolls up close to 9pm and by this time I have already made friends with a woman who was waiting. She has a boyfriend in Nashville and takes the bus at least twice a month. She swore she only had one other bad experience. Unbeknownst to her, this adventure would top it.

This bus rolls up. Not even a double decker. Top of line bus system you say? More like busted up Greyhound. This bus was like if the worst of the Greyhound fleet mated with the metro that Jerry Seinfeld took to Coney Island in that one episode… completely wretched.

At this point I am already thinking I should turn back. Don’t get on the bus, my conscious says, you’ll be murdered at the gas station in Louisville. But I want to see my friends so badly that I walk past the obvious drug deal near the luggage rack and stagger all the way to the back of the bus. But, unless I want to sit next to the 300lb cousin of the main character from Slumdog Millionaire who is humming some incomprehensible tune, I turn around and head back up to the front begging my new friend to let me scrunch in next to her. Before the bus even makes it to the highway I am choking back tears, praying that I will have the courage to ask the bus driver to drop me off at the closest McD’s so B can pick me up.

Here are some of the luxuries I was ‘accommodated’ with on this bus trip:

  1. No working electrical outlets
  2. Broken Wi-Fi
  3. Heat stuck on 90 degrees
  4. 3 week old baby in the front seat
  5. Mother breast feeding said baby in the front seat (no problem with that) but the nipple makes an appearance
  6.  A screensaver sexy selfie, radiating off of this person’s computer in the pitch dark
  7. Stopping at THEE sketchiest gas station for a half hour pit stop
  8. No music because my phone was almost dead and no way to charge it
  9. And the constant worry of where the heck this Hell Bus was going to drop my pitiful butt off in downtown Nashville.
Basically any girl’s worst nightmare.
3 Days Later

I have an awesome time in Nashville, trip of a lifetime with my best friends, but I am absolutely dreading my return home. I almost consider just buying a plane ticket in order to avoid the inevitable. I even cancel my original departure date because I am too gun-shy to get back on that bus. But I suck it up and get to the bus stop and guess what is waiting there already? The conveniently advertised double decker luxury bus. It was like the bus right out of heaven’s gate. I couldn’t believe my eyes! And it was a Monday so it wasn’t very full. I went right up to the top deck and had a whole row to myself. I could look out the plexi-glass roof and plug my computer in. It was a miracle.


So I enjoyed the ride to the pitstop with playlist making and then I was able to rent a redbox at the McDonald’s to watch the entire length of the trip home. Blissful.

I’m not sure what advice to give you on this bipolar mode of transportation. Just be prepared for anything and come with a fully charged phone.

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No ‘Poo? No Problem.

A few years ago when I was getting my Masters, I had some extra time on my hands. I was Pinteresting, Stumbling Upon, and blogging my life away when I came across a few articles that inspired me. The subject: ditching shampoo. I was so skeptical and frankly grossed out. Thinking about not washing my hair seemed pretty unfamiliar since it was something I had been doing it everyday since birth (basically). But I was curious and had all the perfect factors to dive into this experiment head on *wink.

The first few weeks were a trying time. Your scalp almost goes into this shock and craves the chemicals it has become to used to and produces an ungodly amount of oils. Just straight up greaseball central. So if you are thinking of trying out this method, consider contemplating if you have these going for you:

  1. No life– preferably you should be in a long distance relationship and live with your grandmother & her shitzu.
  2. No job– Okay, well, no full time job at least. You can work 4 hours a week at your neighborhood golf course.
  3. Live in Arizona –The dry heat really does wonders in zapping out grease, but don’t stay out in the heat for more than an hour for fear of sweating.
  4. Live 30 minutes away from friends –this really locks in any need to consider maintaining a social life and will ensure Friday nights home with your own bottle of wine.
  5. Ignore the haters– Haters gonna hate, okay? We all know this. But even some of your closest friends will turn on you and your new lifestyle. Be prepared to defend your beliefs! Also, when you do see your boyfriend once a month, he may think you are a little stinky… but don’t let that deter you from your mission!So there are you 5 easy steps. ((also you need long wavy hair & naturally not very much grease))

All you do is ditch the shampoo, wet your hair and massage it like you would if you were shampooing it (but you AREN’T!), put some conditioner on the ends, and boom! You’re ready for the world, or the couch… whatever, I’m not one to judge.

Really, that’s all there is to it! Your hair may be a little greasy around your face but there are many different remedies for that, many include baking soda. I would just suds up some of my bar of soap and rub that around my hairline.

My hair developed what I like to call a ‘grunge’ feel. Once you get used to it, your hair will be so manageable (no more stray strands falling into your face!) and it will have so much natural volume. You won’t even need hairspray to keep it in place.

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Survive the Indy500

The month of May in Indiana is relative to eating your first fried Oreo at the Indiana State Fair… complete bliss. The sun glows brightly and shines longer throughout the day, the communities come out from hibernation and embrace the downtown attractions, and race day is just around the corner. Then this bliss is brought to a screeching halt when the Indy500 rolls into town. Holy Moses.

When I decided that I would attend this hallowed event, I knew I was going to have to bite my tongue the entire day… Because, y’all, I STRUGGLE with early mornings, miserably hot weather, and people who don’t understand Situational Awareness. And let me tell you something, race day is full of those things, full of ’em.

So I have prepared a list of things to expect, not do, or definitely do for the big day:

  1. There is no such thing as heading out TOO early
  2. Sunscreen is a must but so is shade! Grab a tent or umbrella
  3. There will be more people trying to look like rednecks than actual rednecks
  4. Wear as much USA as possible, to blend in of course
  5. SnakePit – it’s a gamble and a crapshot, take your chances or don’t
  6. Ear plugs are more than necessary
  7. Hydrate
  8. You might see a pair of boobs or two but definitely lots of butts
  9. Bring high protein snacks and energy drinks to keep up with the chaos
  10. NO Styrofoam coolers – big fail
  11. Park next to a bachelor party for free drink opportunities
  12. Bring a blanket to pass out on
  13. Cooler with wheels is the best way to travel
  14. Instantly forget there is even a car race happening literally all around you
  15. Lug all your crap home and then watch the race on TV because why? You couldn’t when you were IN THE FREAKING MIDDLE OF THE RACETRACK

That’s all you need you to know. That is, if you are planning on hanging out in the middle of the track. There are, you know, seats. But that’s a little luxurious. You want to be in the literal heart of the action and get lost in the random rave happening in the Snake Pit, right? 

There is also the opportunity to spend the night before and after the race right nearby. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are vibrantly in your early twenties and can sleep through a parking lot party. B experienced a (luckily false alarm) bomb threat before he stayed the night. Delightful. 

You’ve been warned. 

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Bacon & Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Ever since moving to the Midwest a few years ago, I’ve found one side dish to be particularly popular… the deviled egg. Deviled eggs are a staple for Easter across the country, but that was the last I thought about them. And it took me many years to develop the courage to even try one. All that yolk? Ick.

But out here, they are a side dish for everything. From mid-year potlucks to Thanksgiving dinner, deviled eggs are a big favorite on the dinner tables of mid-westerners. And now on mine too!

Although, what’s not to love about anything covered in bacon bits and cheddar cheese? Nothing. I found this recipe on the web a while ago but have modified it to appeal to B and his no-mustard philosophy. So my version is essentially eggs, mayo, cheddar, mustard powder and bacon. He never notices the powdered version with all that bacon distraction. Easy peasy.

Bacon & Cheddar Deviled Eggs - https://wiredforstruggle.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/bacon-cheddar-deviled-eggs/

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup of finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon mustard powder
  • 6 slices of crispy bacon
  • salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Lay out bacon on a foiled lined tray and place in oven for 15-20 minutes
  3. Crumble bacon once cooked and cooled
  4. Hard boil eggs (I have no advice on this because it only works 50% of the time for me…)
  5. Cool eggs and peel
  6. Slice in half length wise and remove yolk into large bowl
  7. Mix yolk with mayo, 1/2 cup cheese, about 3 slices of the crumbled bacon, and mustard powder
  8. Add salt and pepper to your preference and stir until smooth
  9. Scoop (I use a cookie dough scoop) one dollop per each egg add extra cheese and bacon on top and VOILÁ!

Every time I make these they are a favorite and definitely (probably) not heart-attack inducing (at least immediately).

Bacon & Cheddar Deviled Eggs - https://wiredforstruggle.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/bacon-cheddar-deviled-eggs/

How amazing does that look? Hella amazing.

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Almost Losing the Presidency

Spit freeSince the debates for the next President of the USA have recently been all over the news, I am reminded of a time when I once held office… in high school. That’s right, I was elected Student Body/ Senior Class President the end of my junior year.

I was gunning for this election in particular because it was the first time in 3 years my family wasn’t moving over summer break. I was ready, I had ideas, and my senior class of 27 students wasn’t going to know what hit them. I was a force, all right. But what my peers and I didn’t know was that my presidency would ultimately be compromised. One fateful day on a bus trip back from an amusement park, I was going to have to fight to maintain my presidency!

It was May 2005 and the pollen levels were a little too high. The last day of school was on the horizon but first, Lagoon Day. The whole school took buses to our local version of a Six Flags or Kings Dominion but Lagoon was a mormon owned theme park with a few good roller coasters, a cross-park gondola, and refreshing Lagoon-A-Beach (get it?). And I loved that place. Actually it was where B, the combination of 3 brothers, and I spent the majority of our summer days. So of course I already had a season pass. We could drive, we had Nokia cell phones, and we especially went on Sundays because… you know… the mormons. They were all in church so the place was empty!

We didn’t have to wear our school uniforms for this field trip so I was looking fresh in my new jean skort and argyle polo. It was beautiful afternoon with non-stop activity… that quickly turned eventful on the way home. Now, I like to blame my father for this next part:

When I was growing up I would see my dad spit all the time. When he was running, mowing the lawn, in the parking lot, everywhere. Well, not really everywhere, or all the time, but it was enough to leave an impression on me that this was not a ‘repulsive’ act. And since I’ve had miserable allergies my entire life, there might have been a time or two when I had to hock a loogie of my own… innocently.

Soooooo I don’t know how it started (blame it on the pollen), really I don’t (definitely the pollen), but I ended up spitting out of the bus window while on the interstate and the loogie immediately flew right back into the bus about 3 seats behind me, hitting some kid the face. Whoops. Now, I can’t truly remember, but I’m sure I continued participating in this dreadful act all the way back to the parking lot of the school. A couple of the other kids had joined in too, but, as per usual, I was the only one spotted. Supposedly some of the parents picking up the younger children caught a glimpse and, per their detailed description, this was a horrific scandal. So utterly appalling (to them) that my mother received a call from the principle that evening and I earned in-school-suspension the next day. I had to prepare a statement to the whole student body apologizing for all my wrong doing. Was I truly wrong? No, obviously not. I was dealing with a bunch of amateurs.

But there I was crying in a windowless room for the entire school day while forming this ridiculous letter of apology that I sincerely did not give two craps about. The only reason I endured this harassment was because I knew I was future president of this establishment. This act would not stand in my way and I had to repent (literally, it was Christian school) for fear of losing the one thing I had wanted quite badly for a long time. So you better believe that was the most sincere apology speech I had ever given to the whole of the student body (…about 200 kids from 8th-12th grade) ((it was a small school)). And they all ate it up, practically asked for seconds! I was wrong, I admitted to it, and I apologized. That was all it took, the letter was my ticket to freedom. And I tore the stub right off that ticket and headed straight into my senior year. Spit free.

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