Lorelei – Happy 24th Birthday!

Lorelei,

I love the originality of you..

Your willingness

To stand out from the crowd.

Your unique Perspective

On what’s happening in your world

 

I love the wisdom of you…

The way you trust your intuition…

Your unfailing commitment

To doing the right thing

 

And most of all,

I love your heart…

The genuine compassion, empathy,

And friendship you offer,

To everyone you know

 

You have made me a better person,

And I’m grateful everyday you’re in my life.

 

I love you,

 

Dad

 

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=kat+wiedenmann

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Sabrina – Post Birthday Brunch

Sabrina looms large in the phicklephilly universe. She first appeared two years ago as part of the Sun Stories series when I was moonlighting at the tanning salon. I met her through one of the other clients named Jill who was one of our regulars.

I haven’t seen or really spoken to Sabrina in a while. We cross paths on social media but that’s about it. She’s been a huge fan of phicklephilly for years, and for that I’m grateful. I remember she once said, “I love all the stories about all of these crazy women in your blog. I read them and pretend it’s me that’s doing all of these crazy antics.” I love that! It’s so nice to have people out there that love what I do. It keeps me going to write more content. It’s been hard the last few months, because there’s been literally nothing happening. I’ve been in quarantine for the last five months!

About a week or so ago, I liked something she posted on social media and she thanked me. Now I remember! She re-posted a pic of me standing in front of a poster of the cover of my last book, Angel with a Broken Wing. The caption said: Buy this book! Of course I loved that. But then she texted this, “Hey, me and Jill are going to dinner at Parc on Sunday. What are you up to?”

“When will you be there? Maybe I could swing by and say, hello!”

“5:30. Swing by. We’d love to see you.”

“Same! I’m gonna put that in my calendar!”

“Yay, I’ll tell Jill.”

I was excited. I need to start getting out more and creating new stories after all of this time in quarantine. So, on the day we were supposed to meet I sent her a text. “Are you still meeting with Jill at Parc today at 5:30?”

“Hey. No. Look what she sent me this morning.” (She enclosed a screenshot from her convo with Jill) It read: “Good morning. My dear friend please have patience with me. I can’t go to dinner today because I’m still broken, but the good news is I’m working on it. I’ve only had one therapy session, so it’s going  to probably take a few more before I can start becoming normal. I love you and miss you.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I know. I hope she gets better.”

“Yes. The important thing is she’s trying. That’s a lot. I was looking forward to seeing you.”

“I know, Me too! I’m in DC this week for work but I’m around Friday if you want to do lunch or dinner just you and I.”

“That would be awesome. Do you like Korean barbecue?”

“Yes!”

“I have just the place. I can do Friday around dinner time.”

Okay that works. What’s your usual work schedule?”

“I’ve been furloughed since March.”

“Oh, okay. Good for you for taking this time to write your blog and your books.”

“Exactly! It’s been a creative explosion for my daughter and me.”

So that’s bad news about Jill. If you want to learn about the full Jill saga, you can simply put her name in the Search bar on the homepage and you’ll find her history on here. It’s quite the story. Jill is a lovely, hard working woman who has a charming personality. But we all have our demons. For some it’s harder to spank them and make them pay.

So Friday rolls around, and I’m pumped to see Sabrina for some delicious dinner at my new hangout, Southgate.

Then I get this text: “Good morning! I am still in DC today for work so I’ll have to re-schedule our dinner. Could you do Sunday?”

“Sure. See you then.”

Then Sunday rolls around, (My birthday. We all know how that went. See: Iris – Happy Birthday Papa Squirrel)

I get this text: “Charlie, I hate to ask for another re-schedule but I have no car today due to check engine light coming on. If you’re open to one last change tomorrow at 5pm I’ll be so happy. I’m in the office tomorrow on Columbus Blvd. and can just Uber to location.”

“Okay.”

“Tomorrow at 5pm? Oh, you know what place I drove past the other day? Misconduct. Can we go there or are you set on the Korean BBQ? I am trying not to eat meat.”

“Misconduct at 18th and JFK is fine.”

“Yay, see you there at 5pm. Can’t wait to hear all about your life.”

“Yours too!”

So, Monday rolls around and I get this text: “Hey, can you meet sooner, like 3pm?”

An hour later I awaken from my nap and respond.

“Sure. See you then.”

“Okay, great let’s do 3:30pm. My meeting is still going on and will end at 3pm. See you there then. Sorry, last time change.”

“Okay, 3:30pm.”

So, I pull myself together, and spritz myself with cologne. I put on a clean shirt, and suit up to go meet with Sabrina after not seeing her lovely face for over two years.

I make the seven block walk up 18th street through Rittenhouse. I think back to when I first met Sabrina. She and Jill were both sharing some struggles in their lives. I remember when she said her boss where she was working had cut her hours. She was very upset and I told her to meet me at Misconduct, and I’d bring a big list of all of my business contacts, and we were going to find her a job. That day everything changed for her, she updated her resume and sent it out. Several businesses got back to her and she got a great job with a real estate development firm. She loves her job, and is still there today. That’s why she had to go to DC last week. I’m really proud of her and all of her accomplishments. She thanks for my faith, assistance and good energy, but it was Sabrina that made it all happen.

I get to JFK blvd. and head up the steps to Misconduct. One of the girls meets me and I think it’s either the hostess or my server or both. It turns out to be both and her name is Danessa. It’s funny now, I have to gauge peoples emotions by their eyes because everyone’s wearing a mask. She’s very sweet and shows me how to do the bar code thing with my phone but I’m already wise to that thanks to my birthday brunch with Iris.  I like that I’m a little early for my 3:30 meeting with Sabrina. Gives me a chance to get settled and order a drink. I order my signature Manhattan, because I know they’re good here.

The pictures don’t lie…

The dining room is obviously closed to the public but they have plenty of seats on the front deck. I love Misconduct. There are two of them, and this is their second location. I like this one the best. I have so many great memories from this location. I used to come here for lunch when I worked in advertising at Philly Weekly. It was a favorite of mine and my associate Rocco. We were the two old guys in the company. This is the place where I first met and fell in love with my muse for this blog, Maria. She was the inspiration for phicklephilly. She has a pretty long series. You can check out the first post here and decide if you want to go on.

Maria – Chapter 1 – Amor en Vano – Part I

I used to have all my meetings here at table 12. That was MY table. My friend Mary used to work here as a hostess. She’s got to be at least 75 years old now. She no longer works here. I should text her to make sure she hasn’t been taken by the Covid!

I brought my girlfriend Cherie here for her birthday a couple of years ago. Hell… that was the Fall of 2016! Time sure flies. You can check that out right here:

Cherie – Chapter 9 – Misconduct on your Birthday

So many good memories. I’m sitting there listening to some rock on my phone through my earbuds when a woman dressed in black wearing a mask approaches me. Oh my god, It’s Sabrina! She takes a seat and looks amazing. An ageless beauty! She orders a Cosmo and we catch up. She’s doing so well at her job. “I got my house, my kids, and this great job. Everything’s going so well.”

“I’m so proud of you, Sabrina. I knew you’d be a shining star. So, Danessa brings her a drink and off we go down memory lane. We ordered some delicious food. She went with the mac ‘n cheese, (Two different women over the last two days both ordered mac n’ cheese! Kismet!) I went with my favorite thing on the menu, the chicken tenders. (w/barbecue, honey mustard and buffalo dipping sauce!) Misconduct has the best chicken tenders in the city, They make then from scratch, Never frozen!

I hope phicklephilly isn’t turning into a food blog after all of this time in quarantine! It’s been a while for me, so for now, it’s all food and no romance for me yet!

We had a lovely couple of hours eating, chatting and sipping our delicious cocktails. It was a lovely post birthday brunch! This Leo is really feeling like a king this year. First James at the Drive In, then Iris at Lou Birds, now Sabrina at Misconduct! Too good for a man my age, but I feel great! I feel better and younger than I did in my thirties!

I was so happy to see Sabrina that I had to give her something. When we were finished brunch I handed her an envelope. I think she knew what was inside, based on the size and weight.

If anybody deserves a free copy from the author, Sabrina does. She’s been a friend and fan since 2017! She was really happy about getting a copy of Angel.

“Do you want me to sign it?”

“Yes!”

Of course I whipped out my black sharpie that I always carry for such events. I wrote her a nice little note and autographed the book. It felt really good to sign my work and give it to a friend who really cares, and will read it. The pleasure was all mine!

When the server Danessa came by, Sabrina held up the book to her. “Look at this. My friend Charles here wrote this book. He’s a writer!”

“Wow. That’s awesome!”

(I have to admit, I totally loved that moment. I felt like Hank Moody.)

The check came, and she wouldn’t even let me kick in.

“No. It’s your birthday, I got this!”

“Well, I can’t argue with that.”

We gathered our things and I walked her to her car. To my surprise it was a midnight blue Cadillac. Wow, our girl Sabrina is really doing well for herself. She gave me a hug, (masks on!) and she got in her car. She said she’d like to get together for lunch soon. I told her I’d be happy to travel down to the waterfront and dine with her anytime.

Well, it looks like phicklephilly is back in full force on the social scene and I couldn’t be happier! This has been a helluva great birthday thanks to all of the wonderful people in my life!

Thank you one and all! You’re keeping me young!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Iris – Happy Birthday, Papa Squirrel

You can read Tuesday’s post about Iris here:

https://phicklephilly.com/?p=65472

I woke up on Sunday. It was my 58th birthday. I was alone.

I knew I’d be alone, because I was supposed to have dinner with my friend Sabrina but she was having car troubles and couldn’t get down here. I’ll be writing about her in an upcoming post. Sabrina has several chapters from a couple of years ago. You can search for her in the Search bar and you can read them all. Interesting stuff. But we’ll get to her next week.

My daughter had left me a card in a sealed envelope and a candle before she left for the weekend to go to a music festival with her boyfriend. She left the envelope on Thursday night before she left and I told her I wouldn’t open it until Sunday. I did wait and there was a lovely gift and sentiment from her. I’m surprised and grateful! Thank you Lorelei!

Before she left, she said that Iris had left something here and that she may swing by over the weekend to pick it up. She told me she had given my cell to Iris and I may be getting a call or a text, if or when she was going to come get the article.

“I told Iris I was leaving Friday to go away with Neil, so she knows that if she didn’t come early I’d be gone and she could maybe get it this weekend from you.”

“I’ll be here. I’m not going anywhere.”

I went to my favorite breakfast spot and picked up my bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and headed back home. I just figured I’d spend another quiet day at home working on my next book, Below the Wheel.

Frankly, I was amazed at the outpouring of love in the form of texts and messages on social media. Family, friends, former band mates from two different bands, former co-workers… it was amazing. You know, you get older and are locked up for four months and you think you’re basically forgotten by everyone. But apparently not yet. I’m really grateful for all the birthday wishes I got from so many. Thank you! I was trying to write a piece about a bar band I loved as a teen and was interrupted so many times from well wishers I simply gave up writing it. (If you’re reading this, it’s already been published and it kicks ass!)

The Dead End Kids

At some point early in the afternoon I was doing what I do everyday. Typing away. It’s a grind, but these books aren’t going to write themselves. I got a text on Instagram from Iris. “I’m coming to Philly today. I left my wax there, so I might stop by to pick it up and say hello to my Faja!!”

“Please do. Lorelei told me she gave you my cell and that you may be swinging by.”

“Yay!”

There was some more chatter and somehow the subject of fruit came up. She went on to explain to me that banana flavoring is lost to world now. “The original bananas grown back in the day taste totally different than the GMO produced now.”

“Really? Like real bananas don’t taste like the bananas from 40 years ago?”

“We used to get our bananas from Central America and South America but there’s a certain type of disease that prevented them from shipping successfully so they grew something called a Cavendish which is a type of banana strain resistant to the Panama disease.”

“Mind. Blown.”

“When I learned this, my heart broke. All faith in humanity disappeared.”

“I love bananas, but now it’s got me thinking. Anyway, how are you getting to Philly?”

“I’m going to Uber. I got some credits.”

Wanna go somewhere and get food?”

“Yea!! I can just Uber to you and have my friend pick me up after you and I eat! She’s cleaning her place and whatnot since her man child left for a week to go to Texas for some stupid social media influencer garbage lol.”

“Okay. Sounds good. When are you coming?”

I’m ordering an Uber now!”

So some time later Iris arrives at the Squirrel House as planned. She got stuck outside at first because in the hot weather the front door swells and is hard to open. I run downstairs and let her in. I’m happy to see her.

When we get up to the apartment she drops the bag she packed, because I’m assuming she’s staying over at her friend Allie’s house for the next couple of days. We get ready and head out. Since it’s my birthday, I’m happy I have someone to celebrate it with. The last good birthday I had was when two of my friends set up a little party for me at the Ritz Carlton a few years ago.

Since this was our very first outing together I wanted it to be special, so I suggested we go to Parc for brunch. It’s one of the nicest restaurants in the city and everybody goes there to see and be seen. We get there and I ask the hostess what the wait is. They tell me an hour and a half. Screw that. I hate Parc anyway and all the people who go there. Iris heard some older woman make some sort of a sugar daddy comment. I didn’t hear it, But Iris told me. As we walked away from the place I told her about how Parc, Devon and especially Rouge, (Three restaurants in a row on Rittenhouse square) are all notorious for sugar babies and pros. I told her how an any given night you can see a guy 10 to 20 years older than me sitting at one of the outside tables with someone he obviously paid for. It’s kind of pathetic. Men with real game don’t need to pay for companionship. Companions find them and want their presence. (Thank you, father.)

We’re walking and I’m doing my nervous talking things and telling her some story about wherever we are. I think it was about on of my ex-girlfriends, Annabelle. We happened to be walking by what was once the bar where she worked and where I had met her. But I digress…

I suggest my new hangout, Lou Birds. Iris is down for that and off we go. We walk through the park and it’s a lovely day to be out. I’m happy my birthday has taken this unexpected yet pleasant turn.

We get there and there’s plenty of tables. She lets me pick and I go for the one all the way down on the end in the shade. Incidentally, it’s the table I sat at alone when I finished writing Angel with a Broken Wing. I had my celebratory Manhattan at that very table for the very first time after two and a half months of quarantine.

Our girl Jade the server swings by, (I guess Sarah had the day off) and brings to cups and a big bottle of water. I love that. Gotta stay hydrated on a hot day in August especially when you’re going to have a drink or two. She offers us a choice of several beverages but mentions they have a couple of frozen specials, so Iris goes with the Froze’ (Think, Rose’ wine slurpee) and I go with the lemon and vodka frozen drink.

A cool thing that has risen out of the pandemic is the elimination of paper menus. There is a barcode thingee stuck to the corner of the tabletop. Iris instructs me on how to simply open the camera on my phone, and hold it over the thing. The menu appears in my phone like magic! I think that’s so cool! Technology!

I haven’t had a burger in over five months, so I go with a bacon cheeseburger with fries. They even put an onion ring on that bad boy! Iris went with the lobster mac ‘n cheese. Good call, lady!

Delish! She let me try a spoonful of her mac and of course I let her take a queen sized bite out of my burger. The food’s great! That’s the first time I’ve ever eaten there. Well done, Lou Bird’s! Iris took all the food porn photos and a few selfies to document the event.

We loved our brunch and the conversation was lively. You never know how these things will go, but it was a lovely afternoon. We even ordered another round, and she tried the lemon vodka thing I had and she loved it!

So despite the warnings from my comrades who aren’t parents, I was right along. Something is only weird or wrong in the minds of others. I’ve never let other people’s hangups or fear direct my will. Why change now? If you’re not doing anything wrong and your heart’s pure, you have nothing to worry about. If somebody doesn’t like it or thinks it’s wrong, that’s their trip, not mine. I knew everything would be fine with me spending time with my adopted squirrel!

Iris is a lovely young woman and full of life. She has a great mind and a razor sharp sense of humor. I can see why my daughter loves her. Simply put… Iris rocks.

I paid the bill and was happy to do so. (She kicked in for the tip!) I was honored that Iris chose to spend the afternoon with me.

We headed back to the house and she got her stuff together. We just chilled for a bit to cool off in the A/C but she had to get going and meet with her friend, who was probably waiting for her.

I bid this fair maiden farewell and wished her safe passage on her next adventure. She made my birthday extra special and perfect. What began as a quiet day alone became an afternoon of fun, frolic and frivolity!

Thank you Iris for making my birthday great! See you soon.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

James – At The Drive In

A few days before my birthday, I get a text from James. “What are you doing tomorrow at 6pm?”

Of course I’m doing nothing but working on my new book, Below the Wheel. Just like everyday. “I’m free, dude. What’s going on?”

“Just be ready.”

I think I know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I’m super excited.

It was the Thursday before my birthday. James rolls up to my house at 6pm. I hop in the car and we’re off to parts unknown. (Known!) He drives his Kia Soul over the Walt Whitman bridge over to Jersey. Traffic is light and we’re making great time. It’s another rare, cool night during this heatwave. We drive down to Vineland, NJ. He’s got his navigation on and we get to our destination in no time. Plus, we’re always chatting up a storm so time flies by.  We’re both hungry and we decide to stop at a Wawa that’s nearby. We ordered some sandwiches, snacks and drinks and were back in the car in no time. We head down a long road and come upon this.

The Delsea Drive In is still a thing! OMG! I haven’t been to a drive in movie in 35 years!

https://www.delseadrive-in.com/

James had gone online, found the place, bought tickets, and a food pass. If you buy a food pass that gives you the right to bring in your own food from outside. Back in the 80’s when I used to go to the drive in in Rio Grande, NJ we never brought our own food in, but we certainly brought beer in! Like myself, James is a great planner. Behind my seat in the car is a cooler loaded with beer and spiked seltzers. (Yes!) I didn’t know what to expect but we pulled in and handed the necessary paperwork to the nice lady manning the ticket booth, and we drove on in.

It was early, and the show wouldn’t start until it got dark. We had some time to get parked in a good spot and get the lay of the land. It’s a great drive in movie theater. There are two screens playing different movies. Screen 1 is movies geared to grown ups and screen 2 is for families and kids. Which is great because then you know going into it, all of the noisy kids would be a hundred yards away at a different park facing the other way.

We devour our sandwiches, and are happy to have arrived safely without incident. There were a few vehicles around but they weren’t near us. Of course there were a lot of rules. Everybody must wear masks, if you want anything from the snack bar you have to order it online using your phone, and then go get in line to pick it up. Also, if you brought beach chairs you have to set them up in front of your vehicle, not next to your vehicle. Social distancing, people!

I tell James that I brought a small flask of bourbon and some party favors. (weed) Neither of us drank any whiskey or smoked pot deciding we weren’t there to get messed up. Especially since he was driving. I just brought it in case he wanted a little nip or a puff or two just to enhance the experience. But we decided against it. Didn’t need it. My daughter Lorelei had rolled a custom fatty for him, and I ended up giving it to him as a gift at the end of the night for…later!

I noticed that most of the vehicles that were there were sport utility vehicles. I forgot how popular they were. There are more sedans in the city, but in rural Jersey, it seems like everybody drives SUVs. I also noticed that most people backed their SUV’s or pick up trucks into their spots. They’d open the back hatch and sit on the edge of the bed, or sit in the bed of their pick up trucks. It was mostly groups of young people, couples, or parents with teenage kids.

Things haven’t changed much in regard to the drive in movie experience. The metal poles are still in the ground that once held the little drive in movie speakers you’d affix to your car window to hear the film’s audio track. The old metal weather resistant speakers are long gone. Now the metal poles only serve as markers as to where to park in this elegant anachronism.

Baby Boomer Memory Lane: Those Drive-In Movie Speakers

You now tune your FM radio to 90.5 and the sound comes through that way. It’s actually so much better because James has a thunderous sound system in his car. Thank you technology!

Darkness began to descend on the drive in. I was excited to feel what I once felt as a youth at the drive in. It was a cool night, so we sat with the windows down. There were happily no bugs. Mosquitoes can ruin any night out in the country. But as i sat there in his car I let myself lean into the experience. It was quiet. People were chill and the place wasn’t that crowded. More vehicles entered the park as showtime approached.

It was exhilarating to sit comfortably in the safety of my friend’s car. The place is surrounded by woods, so all you can see is night sky and trees all around you. Living in the city I am surrounded by glass, stone and steel all the time. Everyday I am surrounded by the city’s sounds and presence. But here was so different, especially after being locked in quarantine for four months. Now I was parked quietly in a park surrounded by nature. All I could hear were the sound of crickets, then the chirp of frogs and the occasional call of a bird. It was lovely and peaceful.

When the movie started, James handed me a cold one from the cooler. As I sipped my beer and puffed on my Juul, I felt a sense of bliss wash over me. That feeling is rare, but I love that feeling. I think we all do. When you’re someplace different, but you feel safe, with your friend and a movie about to start on a giant screen in the woods. It’s a wonderful feeling. Bliss.

It didn’t even matter at this point what movie was playing. Oh, drive in movies always show double features which I dig. I feel like I’m getting more of the thing I love. I wanted to get some bad drive in movie food, but the idea of ordering online and having to stand in line outside to wait for it just didn’t seem like a good idea to me. Besides, my belly was full from our Wawa dinner.

The first film was called The Rental, and was typical drive in movie trash. The second one was called, She Dies Tomorrow, which felt like a student art film. Both trash, but that’s what’s expected at the Drive in. I want bad cinema. Something light, scary and fun. It’s easy to follow and it’s all part of the experience. There’s even an intermission between each picture so you can get out, stretch your legs and hit the head. It brought back so many great memories from my past adventures. But I was so happy to be making new ones with my friend, James. Someone who would appreciate the drive in experience and enjoy it as much as me.

Snack bar and projection booth on the second floor.

Playing on the other screen was Shrek and the new Doctor Doolittle, starring Robert Downey Jr. James saw it before and he told me it is unwatchable! Ha ha.

It was a great night and brought back so many great memories. It wasn’t my actual birthday yet, but it certainly felt like it. I’m so grateful to have James in my life. He’s a good friend and knows what i like. I’m so glad I could revisit this lost piece of Americana with him. I get the memories and he gets a new experience that we got to build together.

Thank you James! You made my birthday awesome!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

My new book, Angel with a Broken Wing is now for sale on Amazon!

 

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Truth of Dare

I was over at Vicki Yamamato’s parents’ house on my 21st birthday in her room watching TV and she says to me “Babe you wanna play truth or dare?” I said: “What are you 14?” She replied “No! I think you’re just chicken.” Now I couldn’t just let her win so I said: “Sure, come on let’s play.”

It started off with just a few simple questions because we both did truths like do you love me and little things like that. I started getting bored with it and said dare. I should have never said it. She sat and thought about it and with an evil little grin she said: “okay my parents are not home so I got a great dare for you.”

So my mind went straight to the gutter, I mean what guys mind wouldn’t right? I said: “What’s this big bad dare you got in your pretty little mind?” She looked me dead in my eye and said: “You gotta run around the entire house naked!”

I thought okay that’s easy, I mean her parents had a huge house, but it wouldn’t take long to run around inside. And the worst that could happen is that her parents show up and then I gotta explain we were just playing truth or dare.

So I said: “Alright the basement too?” She smiled again and said: “no.” Then she laughed and I asked what was funny? She said: “The entire outside of the house!” I told myself don’t be a sissy just do it. So I said: “Okay I’ll do it.”

I got naked went outside and darted around the entire house as quick as I could, but as I opened the front door to get in there stood half of Vicki’s family standing in the living room. I ran upstairs and got dressed as quick as I could. She had really got me, when I came down she was holding a cake smiling and the cake read “Happy 21st, DON’T END UP IN YOUR B-DAY SUIT”

I had never been that embarrassed or pranked that bad in my whole life.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Cherie – Chapter 52 – Happy Birthday

Life has it’s ups and downs. I know Cherie has been struggling with paying for school. But for the most part, I think everything will work out. I know she felt bad about asking me for money but I think that’s behind us now.

I mean, how bad is my life? I like to work. I like being busy and get bored when I’m idle. I enjoy my alone time. But I have an active social life.

All of my past relationships follow a similar path. A traditional path and they all failed in the same way. There was a pattern I was following and it always led to the same failure. So this time I’m doing something different and it’s working perfectly for my mind and lifestyle.

Cherie meets all of the criteria to be in a successful relationship with me. I think I’ve finally found the Rosetta Stone to a happy life with a woman for me.

  1. She’s on the right side of 30. We all know by now I love youth and beauty. I don’t care what anybody thinks about that. If you had the chance to drive an old Subaru or a new Maserati, which would be the obvious choice?
  2. She lives 40 miles away. There’ll be no swinging by, or stopping in. I live in the city and have no reason to own an automobile anymore. So I can’t really get out there to see her. I mean, I could, but where do I stay? She lives with her parents and she has a 6 year old son. Her sister lives there too, and I know there’s a couple of other little ones living there. She can’t bring me into that mix. At least not yet, and I’m fine with that.
  3. I only see her once or twice a month. That’s plenty for me. She’s so busy with work and school and son, there’s very little time to get down here to see me. I don’t need tons of girlfriend time. It’s too emotionally draining for me. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I really appreciate our limited time together. I’m not one of these men that needs a woman in his life all of the time. It’s just annoying.
  4. She’s a certified nymphomaniac. What guy doesn’t want this? A hot, young, fit babe that is deadly in the sack. She’s so orgasmic that you always feel like a virile beast when you’re making love to her. I’m not getting any younger and am a former hypersexual myself, so at my age I’m truly blessed to have a young lady who is always horny for me.
  5. She doesn’t want any more children. Okay, this is huge. This has been the deal breaker in my last THREE relationships. Cherie has been a parent for six years. You grow up fast when you have a baby or a small child counting on you for everything and not much assistance. I don’t want any more children, and this could end up being the ideal arrangement for me at last. All of these chicks I’ve been with have been in the same age range and they are still trying to figure out who they are. It’s sad that there’s this ridiculous extended adolescence in this country. But it’s almost always the same model. They go out and party, go out to dinner, go on trips and buy a bunch of designer shit in their twenties all while burning through a string of dudes. Then they finally attach themselves to some sap and marry him. His income helps neutralize and pay down her revolving debt. They get a house, a dog and then kids start happening. In 10 years they’ve either become roommates or divorced and he pays thousands of dollars in child support to her. Hopefully he doesn’t repeat the mistake again. Or… they live happily ever after!

Cherie is the perfect blend of the ingredients that make the perfect romantic cocktail to compliment my lifestyle. I just hope we can maintain this level. After college she’ll have to go to medical school, so for now… there’s no end in sight!

Anyway, I was sitting in Cavanaugh’s last Monday and thankfully realized that Cherie’s birthday was on Friday.

It has been a year since we had her birthday lunch at Misconduct Tavern. Back then I gave her a $20 gift card to Starbucks and some Godiva chocolates. I had only been dating her a month and didn’t want to set the bar too high. I remember her saying all she wanted for her birthday was to have sex with me. A week later we were holed up at the Club Quarters for 24 hours just banging away for the very first time. Man, that was an incredible day. We fucked like rabbits!

So I went to ProFlowers and ordered a dozen long stem roses in a pretty vase and a little box of chocolates for my love. They were delivered to her home and I’m positive she wasn’t expecting them.  So she squealed with delight.

Now I’m the one who owes her some birthday sex!

She’s 28 years old now! Let’s keep this relationship going, Cherie!

 

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Cherie – Chapter 9 – Misconduct on your Birthday

“You’re hot like coffee, but sweet like chocolate”

The Wednesday before her 27th birthday arrives. The day before I had called my friend Keila, who is great at all things party and presents. I tell her my dilemma in regard to what I could get Cherie for her birthday. She offers some good suggestions.

I head to Starbucks. I get in line and ask the guy behind me what’s a good dollar amount for a gift card. He says go with $20 because Starbucks is expensive coffee. I get the card and then head to my next destination.  I walk into the shops at Liberty Place. I know Cherie likes milk chocolate so I scope out a little something of that variety. The girl working is very nice and guides me to a little box of six different kinds of truffles. Looks perfect and I know Cherie will love it. Cherie isn’t expecting anything so it’ll make it even better when I surprise her. I ask the girl if she can wrap it up and she says she can put some fancy birthday ribbon on it. I pay for it and she puts it in a fancy Godiva gift bag with some nice tissue paper around it. She asks me if I want a little card and I agree. It’s blank, which I like. I always have to put my words in cards, none of that store-bought nonsense.

I move out to the center of the mall and sit at a quiet table. I have about 30 minutes to kill so I can get things set up. I write a little witty prose in the card and put her name on the envelope. I slide the Starbucks gift card under the ribbon. Now I’ve got a great little gift for my lady.

I head over to Misconduct restaurant at 18th and JFK Blvd. I’m early, and my favorite hostess is there. (See: Mary – Unexpected Table for Two) I tell her what I’m up to and she’s down. She says she’ll hold the gift under the hostess stand next to her purse and we’ll use a code phrase when I want her to bring it to the table. She also reserves my favorite table, #12.

Cherie is texting me that she’s leaving Temple University. I know it’s going to be a nightmare for her to get down here and park. Septa has recently gone on strike again, and that always causes a great deal of major problems for the city and it’s commuters. There’ll be heavier traffic, little parking on the streets, and full parking lots. I recently spoke with an UBER driver, assuming they would be killing it during the strike, but he said no. There are so many more cars on the streets because everybody has to drive in to the city, that they aren’t getting enough fares fast enough to break even. So even the alternative taxi services are screwed when Septa strikes.

Lunch is at 12:30 but I know that Cherie won’t make it until after 1:00pm with all of this nonsense going on. I’m sitting at my table, sipping my water, looking at my phone, and chatting with the staff. I have my little surprise gift hidden and I don’t care how long it takes her to get down here, I’m just happy I’m going to see her.

She’s texting me and getting frustrated. She doesn’t want to be late, but I assure her I understand and to just be safe. She finally finds parking and says she’ll be there shortly. The server jokes that she thinks I’ve been stood up, or this is all just a lie so I could come in and chat with her and the hostess.

“You work for tips, right?”

She laughs.

Cherie arrives. She looks lovely. Custom fit black leather jacket over what appears to be a burgundy top that is low-cut in the front. As she approaches the table, I stand. Her skirt is short and grey. She is wearing black leather ankle boots. That combination showcases her shapely legs. We hug, but avoid the PDA. (Public Display of Affection) She apologizes for being late and compliments me on my patience as always. I really don’t mind waiting for her. I know she comes from a great distance most of the time. Septa has screwed up the city, and finding parking in center city is brutal. It’s not that she’s recklessly late every time. There are just extenuating circumstances that she’s constantly up against to see me.

So baby gets a pass.

She orders some crazy Cowboy Burger that I’ve never ordered and I get my usual Chicken tenders and a little bowl of mac and cheese to share.

Lunch is lovely, and the conversation and laughter are lively. The staff is on point, and the food is great as always. We get the check, and I give them my card. When the server brings it back for me to sign, I give them the code phrase. “Can you tell me when tea time is?” I didn’t come up with this line, the hostess did. She comes over and places the Godiva bag down on the table. Cherie seems really surprised.

“Happy Birthday, Cher. I know you said you didn’t want anything but me for your birthday, but I had to get you a little something.”

“What’s this? You’re so sweet!” She exclaims.  She’s looking at the candy and Starbucks card, but then goes for the little card with her name on it. Opening it quickly she reads it, and starts smiling. It reads:

“Cherie, You’re hot like coffee, but sweet like chocolate” Love, Me XO”

“Thank you so much. You didn’t have to do this.” She’s holding the little card. “I like this…”

We leave the restaurant. We’ve been there for about two hours. Her car is parked all the way down at 20th and Bainbridge. A little bit of a hike from Misconduct. She made better time than I thought. We get to the Saab and hop in. Her skirt is riding up a little. Her thighs are tantalizing. Some kissing ensues. But like I said, it’s still light out, and people are walking by, some with strollers. Her window is open, so if I’m smooching her, and I see someone with kids or a stroller approaching in the rearview mirror, I start talking about church or some bible reference. Hoping they see that we are just good christians having a heartfelt conversation about God. But once they are past, I’m back at her.

We both realize, this whole making out in the car is an invitation to the C-Blockers. We know where this relationship is heading like a speeding train. It’s inevitable. Then I get an idea. I tell her to drive. We go a few blocks east and I have her hang a left.

“When you see a parking spot anywhere up here just hop in it.” We find one right in front of a restaurant. Perfect.

“Where are we going?”

“You’ll see. Trust me. You’ll like it.”

It’s getting dark now. I take her to the tanning salon. We walk up the stairs, but instead of going in, we throw a left and open a door to the space in the front of the building that’s unlocked and un-rented This is the spot where Achilles and I were going to open our spin bike gym. It should have been open for three months by now, but the owner decided to sell the building. That put everything on hold. Sadly, the space still remains empty. The one whole wall is glass from floor to ceiling. Great view of the night street below. People are bustling by and the street is filled with angry motorists, blowing their horns and gridlocked because of the Septa strike. The space is quiet and if feels safe above the street. I kill the ceiling fans, and throw the switch to turn off the overhead lights. Now the space is dark. There’s a leather love seat by the window. I push it across the hardwood floor to the back corner. There’s no way anyone can see us from the street. I text my co-worker and friend, Trish, (See: Trish – The She Wolf) who is next door working at the salon that I am in the empty space out front. I decide it’s better if I stop over with Cherie, and make an appearance.

We go next door. Trish is happy to see us. I introduce Cherie to Trish, and I can see they are hitting it off. I tell Trish that we don’t want to sit in a bar somewhere, so we’re just going to be next door enjoying the view and chilling. We go back to our leather love seat next door. I lock the door behind us. So no one can see us coming to the salon and no one can see us from the street.

The romance ensues. It’s such a great space. if someone said to me a year ago, that I’d be not only working at this salon, but I’d be next door in the space where I was supposed to open a spin bike gym, making out with a beautiful young woman, I’d think they were nuts. But here we were. It all felt so illicit. I knew we weren’t doing anything wrong. The space is empty, it’s 7pm at night, no one can see us, and my buddy Trish knows we’re there.

I have vowed to try to keep these stories PG-13, but the limits are slowly being pushed into R rated territory. I don’t know how I can continue to write this story about Cherie, without including some sort of 18+ warning. But maybe I can share a few things that were said over the next hour or so. (Or I will at least embellish so you get it.)

Cherie: “I like your new jeans. Have you tested the zipper enough?”

Me: What? Ohhhhh…. Who are you, Monica Lewinski?

Me: “Okay, so the top you’re wearing is just a one piece jumpsuit? Do you have to take the whole thing down to use the restroom?”

Cherie: “No. There are two snaps right here at the bottom, see?” *Snap! *Snap!

Me: “So from the eyebrows down…no hair?”

Cherie: “Oh my God… You’re incredible. That feels amazing!

You get the picture. It was just a little preview for the coming days, so to speak. It was like we had been shopping for a car for the last few dates. We took a couple out for a little test drive that night, and were ready to make a purchase the next time we we’re together. It was simply inevitable. We literally couldn’t take it anymore. The great thing was. She’s not much of a drinker, so after all of our dates, I have never had one drop of alcohol or smoked a cigarette around her. I don’t mind, because when I’m with Cherie, I want for nothing but her and her alone. It feels great.

So after that bit of third base activity, we decide to get out of there. I walk her to her car and kiss her goodnight. I’m only a few blocks from my house so I head home. It feels nice to walk in the cool October night and reflect on our passion. Cherie said she wants me for her birthday and I want to grant her wish. I just need to figure where and how I can make that happen.

Cherie and I have reached critical mass and something has to be done.

 

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Sun Stories -Achilles – 50th Birthday

What do you buy for the man who has everything and wants for nothing?

Achilles 50th birthday was happening. What do you get a guy that doesn’t want anything? Let’s review. He owns a tanning salon. He’s super fit and works out 6 days a week, and we’re opening our own fitness center. He has a cool sports car. He has a brand new motorcycle. He has a nice house. He has a truck. He hardly ever goes out to eat and when he does he likes chain restaurants. He also has a hot young fiancée.

That’s a dude that’s hard to shop for. At Christmas Trish and I got him a card and a gift card to GNC Vitamin Store and another one for Red Lobster. Perfect for the man who has everything.

But this is his 50th birthday! That’s a milestone in a man’s life. What can I get him? I have to get him something! I wrack my brain for weeks leading up to the day. He likes to eat and enjoys the occasional sweet. What if I get him a little birthday cake? No.

I can’t do the gift cards again, that’s too impersonal. I need to really think hard about this.

And then it hits me. He loves all kinds of health and muscle building supplements. I remember him scooping out some of that stuff out of a plastic container and putting it in his morning oatmeal. I think back to a brief exchange we had some time ago.

“It’s a sad day, W”. (That’s what he calls me)

“Why is it a sad day?”

“Cause I’m nearly out of this stuff and I love it. I eat it every day.”

I had nearly forgotten this exchange until I really started thinking about his birthday and what the man who is impossible to buy for would like.

I tried to remember what the product was and where I could get it. Then I remember he used to go to the GNC on the corner of 17th and Chestnut. I decided to start there. I went in and talked to one of the clerks. I explained my plight and he asked me if I had Achilles phone number.

“We’re not gonna call him!”

“No. We’ll look him up in the system and see what he’s purchased in the past.”

“Genius. Yes!”

He looks it up and sure enough we see a photo of the exact product he likes. I make sure we get him the vanilla flavor because that’s his favorite.

A drum of that stuff costs $50! That’s some expensive protein powder. I thank the clerk profusely and off I go to the Rite Aid across the street. I pick out a funny 50th birthday card that plays music. He’ll get a kick out of it. I grab a big red gift bag and some red and white tissue paper.

I head over to the hotel Sofitel, because there’s space where I can put my present together.

I’m so excited!

I walk through the lobby and go towards the back where there are a couple soft chairs. I put the gift in the bag and then stuff all the tissue paper in and around it and over it. I sign the birthday card and that goes in too.

I’m all set.

I head for the salon to work my shift. I know Achilles has been watching his diet and working out really hard leading up to this birthday. But I know he loves soft pretzels so I make a pit stop at Philly Soft Pretzels and buy a bag.

When I get to the salon I leave the bag just outside the door.

“Hey Achilles, what’s with the bag in the hallway?”

He gets up and walks to the entrance.

“I don’t know anything about a bag in the hallway.”

He looks at it and I’m pretty sure he knows I put it there. I pick it up and bring it in.

“Happy Birthday!”

He sits down and starts pulling out the tissue paper. He gets to the bag of pretzels first.

“What did you get me? ten pounds of pretzels?”

He pulls them out and then finds the card. It’s noisy in the salon so he can’t hear the little song that’s playing. I tell him he can check it out later and keep digging to get his gift.

Then he pulls it out.

“Aww W! You da man!!! This is perfect. It’s really the only thing I wanted for my birthday! Sharon (fiancée) asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday and I told her protein powder! And she was like, I know but what ELSE do you want?”

I was so happy. You really can’t do anything for this man. But I found the exact thing he really wanted for his birthday and I didn’t have to ask a single question. This proves I truly know Achilles.

“Now I’ll have one at home and one for work!”

I can actually say I don’t think I’ve seen him this happy ever before. So remember folks, when trying to figure out what to get a person as a present, think about what they’re into, and go big on that. Like, if somebody handed me a bottle of vodka I’d be delighted.

It’s that simple.

 

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My Family – Lorelei – 1996 to Present – 21st Birthday

“I’ve been waiting so long to meet you.”

Normally Friday belong to Tales of Rock, but this is a special day for a special person in my life, so Tales of Rock will be back next Friday.

I remember the day Lorelei was born like it was yesterday.

Her mother and I were sitting on the sofa and she was complaining of some pain. Possibly contractions. For hours I denied the fact that today, November 17, 1996 would be the day Lorelei would finally come to Earth.

We drove to the hospital and we admitted Lor’s mom. They ran some tests and gave her an epidural. I remember it was by a cool Indian anesthesiologist. He gave her the shot in her spine to numb the pain. He said she would feel a warming sensation in her lower torso. I remember him saying, “You’re going to feel hot buns.” His humor broke the tension and fear. These professionals deal with this stuff on a daily basis and it eased my mind that we were in the hands of consummate professionals.

We found out the umbilical cord was somehow wrapped around Lorelei’s neck so she would have to be born via cesarean section. I remember calming her mother as the doctor made the insicion and  quickly pulled our little baby girl from my then wife’s womb.

As the surgeon went to work sewing her back up, I assured Lor’s mother that our child had ten fingers and ten toes. I followed the doctor over to a little table where they carried Lorelei and started to run the Apgar tests. The Apgar score, the very first test given to a newborn, occurs in the delivery or birthing room right after the baby’s birth. The test was designed to quickly evaluate a newborn’s physical condition and to see if there’s an immediate need for extra medical or emergency care.

Although the Apgar score was developed in 1952 by an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar, you also might hear it referred to as an acronym for: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. (Never knew this until today!)

The Apgar test is usually given to a baby twice: once at 1 minute after birth, and again at 5 minutes after birth. Sometimes, if there are concerns about the baby’s condition or the score at 5 minutes is low, the test may be scored for a third time at 10 minutes after birth.

Five factors are used to evaluate the baby’s condition and each factor is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score:
1.Appearance (skin color)
2.Pulse (heart rate)
3.Grimace response (reflexes)
4.Activity (muscle tone)
5.Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

Doctors, midwives, or nurses combine these five factors for the Apgar score, which will be between 10 and 0 — 10 is the highest score possible, but it’s rarely obtained. But in my mind Lorelei got a 10 because she was MY daughter and we strive for excellence in everything we do. (Lol!)

I know I’ve spent a little too much time on this segment, but I always like to learn new things. I also like my for my readers to learn things from phicklephilly as well. (Even if it’s something I’ve done and now you know not to ever do it!)

I’m looking at my daughter Lorelei for the first time. She’s on her back, looking all red and crying. They’re Apgar testing her and cleaning her off.

She’s beautiful. She already has little blonde ringlets of hair on her sweet little head. (Later as a toddler, she would earn the nickname; Sweet Wheat. I’d say to her, “Why do I call you Sweet Wheat?” And she’d reply, “Cause I’m sweet and my hair’s the color of wheat!”)

I’m reluctant to touch her, but the doctor tells me it’s okay because she says she came from a toxic place. (It’s Lorelei’s day so I’m going to refrain from any negative comments about her mother) I gently touch her and her skin is so soft and new. (Brand new human!)

“I’ve been waiting so long to meet you.”

Those are the first words I ever spoke to my little Lorelei.

She was always good baby and was an absolute pleasure to raise. Here she is now 21 years young!

I remember when I turned 21. It was 1983 and I was living in Los Angeles. My girlfriend Clio and I had tickets to see David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight tour in Anaheim. I remember us driving in my 1969 VW minibus to the show. The van for some reason quit while we were driving there. It just died. The vehicle had never done that before but here we were being gently pushed off the highway by a truck full of kind Mexicans.

I remember Clio being really disappointed. We waited awhile. Back in those days there were obviously no cell phones, and if your car broke down you were pretty much stranded. After awhile I attempted to re-start the van and the engine finally turned over.

We missed the show but who knows, maybe we weren’t supposed to go. I don’t know. To make it up to her, I took Clio to a nice Italian restaurant and I tasted veal for the very first time.

So my 21st was sort of a failure. But I loved Clio and she was a good sport about everything. I had arrived in Los Angeles in 1982 and those were crazy times with me and my band. I’ll be publishing a series entitled; California Dreamin’ in late 2018. Those will be some of the craziest stories ever told in this blog.

Anyway enough about me. Lorelei has lived with me since she turned 18 and she’s been a pleasure to have around. She comes and goes as she pleases. It’s a chill household and we like it that way. She cooks and cleans and takes care of her space. Being vegan she’s always making some interesting concoction in the kitchen.

She works as a food runner at a local restaurant in Rittenhouse. She seems to like it and they like her.

Recently she recorded herself singing and sent the tracks along to a guy that manages musical acts. Originally he thought maybe she could be a singer in a band, but after hearing her four octave voice, he thought maybe she could work as a solo act.

She’s recently created her own line of specialty soaps on Etsy.com. They are zodiac themed and each one has a corresponding crystal inside the soap. What’s cooler than good energy and karma while you’re in the shower?

Tonight she and her friends are going to the Electric Factory. It’s a music venue here in Philly. It’s open to all ages and she’s seen shows there before. But to control the crowds all the alcohol is on the second floor balcony.

They’re going to see Martin Bresso, known by his stage name Tchami. He’s a French producer and DJ from Paris. He’s regarded as a pioneer of the future house subgenre.

Lor is looking forward to finally being able show her ID, get the wristband or stamp that says she’s 21 and head upstairs. For the first time in her life she’ll be able to order a beer unencumbered. Funny how when you turn 18 you can vote, join the military, be in porn, even buy a gun.

But you can’t buy a beer. That’s fucked up.

Anyway, if you’re reading this Lorelei, just know that I love you and that you are the brightest light in my life. You give me hope and I can appreciate life more knowing you are in this world with me.  Please know that you have made me a better person, and you’re the best thing that has ever come into my life.

I love you.

Enjoy this special day!

Let’s go out and grab a drink together sometime soon. I’ll show you all the cool spots.

Cheers!

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish Monday through Friday at 8am EST.

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