We’re at the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock tonight for Carly Rae Jepsen and Katy Perry; it’s a new experience being the average age in a crowd of concert-goers. We’re usually the youngest people, like at Peter Frampton.
Y’all. This place is full of adult couples. And older adult couples. And families with kids. And packs of teenage girls chaperoned by the unluckiest mom on the block.
The couple in the seats in front of us have just arrived; it’s forty-five minutes to showtime. I feel so grown up and got-my-shit-together looking at them. Their iPhones are our iPhones’ great-great-grandparents.
And they just asked us to take a picture of them so I cannot possibly talk shit about them. They’re too cute. She has a darling ribbon rosette jacket over a black and white dress. He has a man bun, black plastic-framed glasses, and a neatly trimmed stage between five o’clock shadow and actual beard.
The couple behind us is supposed to be seated on our row, but they’re old and are still learning how to work smartphones. Someone will figure it out eventually.
There are so many blinking purple and red kitty cat ears in the audience. It’s going to be awesome when they turn the lights down.I have never seen such generous portions of chicken strips at a concessions stand. And funnel cakes that look like pies.
A girl two rows down has no qualms about showing all of us behind her nudes as she scrolls through her photos.
Thirty minutes to showtime. I am so stoked for all the little girls here that are so excited they’re about to burst.
I just photobombed the cute couple in front of us. It was an accident. We all laughed about it.
I’ll let you know how the concert is.
Our room had a lot of mirrors.
Yesterday we got up and dressed and ate kolaches from downstairs before heading to the museum. We spent almost four hours there. I had no idea that The Two Fridas was so big, nearly six feet by six feet.
On the way home we stopped for lunch at Golden Chick because we’d never heard of it, and they turned out to have amazing yeast rolls, so we brought two dozen home with us. It was a good decision; they went over well at dinner.
The table in our hotel room in North Little Rock had a fish.
Sunday morning I woke up earlier than I had to. I dilly-dallied in bed as long as I could, playing on my phone and reading on my Kindle, but I finally got up and dressed and made up, packing my makeup away as I went.
I am a clumsy type of person, so obviously I dropped a thing or two in the bathroom and woke Ian up. Sorry, fam.
We had brunch planned at eleven with some friends from out-of-town, then loading up the car and leaving for Little Rock.
Brunch was lovely, a good hour and a bit of catching up and laughing about how nearly every time we make plans one of us takes a trip to the hospital instead: like when I got my stent, or he got an infection and needed a PICC line for antibiotics. Ah, good times.
We came home and loaded the car up and said goodbye to all the kitties, swearing that we would return safely and not to worry too much, and then we were off.
We are the type of people who like to stop at roadside porn extravaganzas. Just FYI. We did this a few times. And one place had a video poker type of thing where instead of cash you win store credit.
He drove all the way to our hotel, next door to a Hooters. There was no art on the walls in this room, which I found odd. There was, however, a fairly decent recliner. And a king size bed, which I feel I did not appreciate nearly enough (Foreshadowing!).
We ordered Jimmy John’s for dinner before the concert, because they were on the other side of Hooters. Then got an Uber to the Verizon Arena. Our driver was a lovely old man who cursed like a sailor, swerved madly, and carried a gun in his armrest. We liked him immensely, and hoped that he would still be in the neighborhood when the concert let out.
We picked up a t-shirt for my father-in-law, got some drinks, and found our seats. The seats were very high, and the arena seemed much steeper than our own. A woman in the row ahead of us sat turned away, her husband shielding her from the view of the floor, for a long time before she grew acclimated.She seemed fine after that.
Joe Walsh opened, and we enjoyed it. But while I like Joe Walsh, I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan. I was there for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Kind of like the Aerosmith concert I went to for Stone Temple Pilots. I always forget I’ve seen Aerosmith, and I had floor tickets for that one.
Tom Petty was awesome. They played for nearly three hours. I don’t know if anyone else there had a better time than the two frat boys in front of and just to the left of us, though. They wanted to stand up and scream for every song, and by the middle of the concert, had almost a dozen people screaming at them. As in it was this close to a brawl in our section, all because of these two kids. Crazy. Finally, one of them got too tired or drunk to keep standing up, and the other agreed to go stand on the stairs for the songs he just couldn’t keep his seat for. It all worked out.
When it was over, the Uber surge pricing went crazy. We paid nearly three times as much for the ride home, and in a smaller car. When we got back to our room, I went and picked up McDonald’s from around the corner, we ate, and went to bed.
I woke up super early after a night of not-the-best sleep, but was able to get back to sleep here and there until it was nearly a reasonable hour. Our neighbors’ early departure in a loud company truck did not help the situation.
We checked out and went to a nearby Big Lots, since we’d forgotten pillows, and nobody can sleep on hotel pillows for a week. I got a pair of sunglasses and he got two pillows.
We hit the road, and he drove to Memphis. We had planned to have lunch at Gus’s Fried Chicken, and we stopped there and put our name on the list to be seated and told the girl that we’d be outside since the doorway was packed. We went back inside and found out we’d been skipped twice because a different girl had the list now. Even after we pointed out that we were already on her list, and the first girl told her that we were next, she skipped us again and argued that the people who just walked in were there before us even though they were further down the list. How would our name get higher on a list if we weren’t here already? She then got pissy and argued, so we said screw it and left.
We got back on the interstate, and he was happy to see a sign for Back Yard Burgers after just a few minutes. We used to have one here, but they closed years ago, and now there are only four left in the country, two in Tennessee. So we stopped there, I had a pimiento cheese bacon burger, he had a burger and cobbler, and things were much better.
When we left, I drove for a bit, until I got too sleepy and somebody didn’t feel safe with me behind the wheel. He took us the rest of the way in, through Nashville and to a smaller town on the north side where our hotel was.
He’d requested a first floor room, but we got upstairs, which was fine. All they had was queen beds, which was also tolerable. But jeez, we had no carpet, no tissues, and no toiletries. Savages.
But we were exhausted, so we went to bed early af.
I had an alarm set for eight for our watercolor class at nine, but we were both up well before then. This bed seriously sucked. I drove to Warner Park Nature Center and we learned and painted and I’m sorry to say, he did not have nearly the fun I did. I produced possibly my best painting ever, but he’s not an artist.
I had a great time, and if I lived there, I would definitely join the Tennessee Watercolor Society. And visit Warner Parks often.
It was pretty cool watching them make posters and look at their giant collection of letters and images, even if they were all shelved. I assure you, it was masses of stuff.
We didn’t get ticket to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but I’m sure we heard just about everything a tour guide there would have told us between all the other places we toured.
We went and picked up our car and drove around for something to do next. We found Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which is freaking delicious. I had a scoop each of Supermoon and Osmanthus & Blackberry Crackle, and he had a scoop each of Milkiest Chocolate and Moonshine with Corn Syrup Custard. If you’re ever near a Jeni’s, go.
Then we waited an hour for Prince’s Hot Chicken. I ordered hot, and the girl at the counter asked me if I’ve ever had the hot, because their medium is hot. I changed my order to medium. I’m glad. He got light mild.
On Wednesday we started with breakfast at Shoney’s–another place that ours closed years ago. Then we went to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. They had three exhibitions then: Secrets of Buddhist Art: Tibet, Japan, and Korea, Claire Morgan: Stop Me Feeling, and Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty. The Buddhist exhibit has a sand mandala that they’ll be destroying this weekend.
Upstairs was also a hands-on art area. We made our own prints with styrofoam and a printing press, sixteen-frame stop motion films, and mandalas. And there were no field trips while we were there, so we had the place pretty much to ourselves, which made it even better.
After the Frist, we went to The Gulch, which is where Antique Archaeology has their Nashville store. We saw the wolf boy, which we also happened to see on American Pickers that night, back in our hotel room. The candy store next door was closed, which had a cool name that I don’t remember right now. We looked around the Jack Daniels store and then took a seat to discuss what we were going to do next.
We ended up going to Peg Leg Porker for dinner, which was some really good barbecue. I love nachos, so I had to try theirs. So hecking good. Definitely a winner. And we got there early enough that the dinner crowd was just showing up when we left.
And now I’m craving barbecue nachos.
We went to Ben & Jerry’s and learned that it’s better in a pint from the grocery store. And on our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Kmart a block away because ours closed last year. I got a pack of socks on clearance.
Since we wanted to see so many things at the Opry Mills Mall, we dedicated a whole day to just the mall, without scheduling anything else. That was probably for the best; we spent over seven hours there.
We walked and we shopped, and we had lunch. The woman at the counter didn’t understand Ian when he said “y’all.” They say “you all” there. We bought souvenirs for a few people.
And we went to Madame Tussaud’s. Neither of us had ever been to a wax museum before, and I loved it while he was a little creeped out. We bought all the souvenir photos of us with silly hats and a guitar, on a record cover and a VIP pass. And I sat with Bruce Springsteen.
And then we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner, on my assistant manager’s recommendation, where we accidentally skipped the line and were immediately seated. Which was fine with us, although we got some dirty looks. The food was good, and our server was absolutely amazing.
For dessert we were going to go back to Jeni’s for some more ice cream, but we went to Five Daughters Bakery instead, which was an excellent decision. I ordered a vanilla doughnut, and Ian got a hopscotch. The doughnuts have 144 layers and take three days to make. Also worth it.
We’d already decided before we left home that on Friday we were going to Kentucky and Indiana, because it was supposed to be storming like crazy. It didn’t, but we went.
We hit the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, had lunch at Aladdin’s in Indiana, and then did the tram tour of the Louisville Mega Cavern. All around awesome time. I posted a few pictures the other day here, so that’ll save a little space.
We wanted to stop and check out Dinosaur World and Funtown, which we’d seen on the way in, but Dinosaur World was closed for the day and Funtown was closed forever.
We stopped in Bowling Green for dinner and ate at Montana Grille, no relation to Ted’s Montana Grill, where we’d had lunch on Tuesday. He had a steak and I had a pork chop, and they were both very good. We briefly considered returning for our anniversary dinner the next day.
Our tenth anniversary!
We started the day with kolaches at Yeast Nashville; we loved the food and the place. It was in a small shopping center called Eastside Station, so after we ate we visited Nashville Sweets and bought two cupcakes for later. Then we browsed Harlan Ruby Gift Shop, which was lovely, and the proprietor even said “y’all.”
After leaving Eastside Station, we returned to Jeni’s for a second and final time. This time he had two scoops of salted caramel, while I had a scoop of Cocoa Curry Coco and a scoop of Savannah Buttermint, which, when eaten together, tasted like eating a piece of gum off the bottom of your shoe after a long day of walking on asphalt, but in a good way.
We went back to Five Daughters and got a dozen doughnuts to bring home, one of each flavor and two of hopscotch, just for Ian.
Then we wandered around Five Points, eating a hot dog at I Dream of Weenie, stopping in several stores, and then going to The IDEA Hatchery to have a look around. I got a bar of soap and he got an unfinished magic wand, so now he has a Louisville Slugger and a magic wand to finish.
We went to 21st Street to check out Hey Rooster, but they were out of the honey Ian wanted, so we left empty handed. To make up for it, we snagged a 4/20 poster that was pasted to a trash can. We drove past the rich people’s mall, but didn’t go in.
After a few phone calls and false starts, we ended up going back to Ted’s Montana Grill for our anniversary dinner–that’s the one in Nashville, not Bowling Green, if you’re not keeping track. We had their homemade potato chips and dip as an appetizer, and we’ve already made a copycat dip recipe since we’ve been home. It’s great on cucumbers. I’ll be sure to ask Ian where he found it so I can tell you, if you’re interested.
We went back to our room for the last night and sorted souvenirs and scrapbook items and ate our Nashville Sweet cupcakes. They were not the best cupcakes we’ve ever had.
Sunday morning we got up sad, because we had to come home. On the plus side, Ian had already talked to a Walmart on the way that said they had Princess Zelda amiibos in stock. He’s been scammed on Amazon a couple times trying to order one.
When we got to said Walmart, eleven miles out of the way, Kevin denied talking to Ian, and all ten of the amiibos were still in stock in the computer, but missing from the store. The manager was offended when Ian offered the idea that an employee stole them. We left, but stopped at the GameStop across the street on the off chance that they had one, or a Guardian amiibo. The manager there said not today, but he should be getting some in the next day because someone had called to see how much he could get. Ian gave a description of Kevin and the GameStop manager was nearly as upset as we were when he heard the story, and promised to call Walmart if it turned out to be Kevin.
So hopefully Kevin’s shady ass got in trouble this week.
At least we only had to drive through maybe thirty minutes of the bad weather between Nashville and home.
And here we are now, back to the grind tonight because my manager was nice enough to give me Monday off too, since that would have been my only day on the last schedule, and Tuesday and Wednesday are my regular days off.
P.S. I hope all the links are right. It’s a lot of links up there.