How I ended up in the worst neighborhood in Orlando

It had been a busy week of anxiety and blog conference nonsense. Work was stressing me out to the max. I was in the middle of a month of travel (15 out of 26 days, to be exact), having returned from Vegas two days prior to my Orlando departure, and the exhaustion was starting to wear on me. But I was finally having a magical night thanks to some friends and a fabulous twinkle skirt. We were closing down the BlogHer dance party, and some of those friends got together at the end of the evening and said, “You know what, gang? This just isn’t doing it for us. Let’s get outta here and do something crazy!”

I believe it was Mary who suggested we hit up a local private-room karaoke bar that she had googled. It was only a 5-minute Uber from the hotel we were staying at. I hemmed and hawed something about needing to wake up for an early morning press trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but in the end, I decided that I needed a “Yes!” moment. And so I said yes. I went up to change out of my now sweaty AF skirt and finish packing for my flight the next day.

We met down in the lobby a half hour later, and I hailed the car that would take Mary, Kristen, Lea, Brea, and me on quite the adventure.

We had been driving for about 7 minutes when I looked at the map on my Uber app. “Hey uhh, guys…I don’t think this is quite as close as we think it is. We’re still about 35 minutes out…”

It was at this point that we thought it might be best to ask the driver about our destination, an address on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

“Is the area we’re going to an okay part of the city?”

The driver gave a vague answer, at best, but he was hinting that it wasn’t really the best area for a group of women set to arrive just before 11 pm. We kept probing, spending the next half hour debating whether to turn around and find a different bar to spend the evening. By the time we arrived at Q Karaoke, we noticed the area was definitely the type of place we wouldn’t want to find ourselves stranded on a rainy night. Very desolate, few businesses open, and the ones that were closed were barred up. The bar itself was in the middle of an empty-looking strip mall with the neon lights of an exotic clothing store at the helm. The driver offered to take us back to our hotel, but we persevered.

one-way street sign

We decided to scope the place out. A few of us went inside, asked about prices and took note of the surroundings. It seemed innocuous enough, and so we opted to stay…until 1:30 in the morning. As shady as it seemed, we had A BLAST. Our little gang of singers had an unbelievable time busting out some of the most ridiculous and amazing karaoke tunes that we could muster. If you’ve never tried private-room karaoke, I highly recommend it. The lights flashing and the room jiving was everything. If my twinkle skirt didn’t make me feel alive this adventure sure did.

As we called our next Uber for the ride home, we were flying high on adrenaline and friendship. A night that surely wouldn’t be forgotten. When our driver arrived to pick us up, he seemed surprised to be collecting 5 30-something-year-old women, and we, of course, asked him about our location. He pointed out a few things that we had missed on our way in (a woman who was likely a prostitute, different establishments, etc) and told us that they called this stretch of road the OBT, known for the violence and crime rates. He even mentioned a recent murder that had occurred.

Welp. We survived that one, guys. 

We made our way safely back to the Hilton and hugged goodbye to each other until our next adventure. I proceeded to ask my next two Uber drivers about the OBT, and both were as surprised as anyone that we were hanging out down there. My driver on the way to the airport just shook his head and smirked like I was crazy.

I love saying yes to adventure.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

That One Time My Life Was Like Breaking Bad

You guys. You will not BELIEVE what happened. I FINALLY got permission to write about this little sitch-something about statute of limitations or something?

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So, a friend of mine owns a rental condo. A sweet little condo in a quiet little suburb. And the most recent tenants left in quite a hurry. We’re talking furniture, clothes, garbage all up in that place. It was a disaster. Broke their lease and rolled the fuck out. Leaving a few new additions to the place as well (read: almost all of their earthly possessions were left behind)…including a wall safe, a full-on security system, an extra fan in the kitchen, and a gun locker.

Drugs. Definitely drugs.

Of course this was just a little bit of educated guessing…

Well, my brother and I helped with the final clear out after our pal had spent hours and hours cleaning this place up. All that remained by the time we showed up were a few pieces of furniture and the gun locker.

Somehow, this large gun safe made it to the outside of my family’s home (and by somehow, I mean we loaded it in a truck and carted it to my parents’ place)…because, you know…visions of random DIY shit danced in my head…until I noticed that the gun locker had a key broken off inside of it.

Someone broke that key off on purpose.

Curiosity, it appears, runs in my family. Little Brother decided that it was absolutely necessary to get this locker opened. So he grabbed a hammer and a flathead screwdriver and went to work.

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Of course, at this point, my dad came out and saw what was going down…he looked at my brother’s efforts, and his response was something along the lines of a laugh and, “No, son, you’re doing it wrong.”

Dad walked to the garage and grabbed a crowbar. I didn’t even know we HAD a crowbar. I almost thought for a second that he was going to go in for the kill, but then he handed the crowbar off to my brother in some primitive man-to-son thing. My brother got back to work while the fam looked on in wonder? Curiosity? Fear? Excitement? One of these, I’m sure of it.

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And within minutes, we’d broken into the gun locker. Recap: if you want to break into a gun locker, lay it on its side, get a crowbar and pop that bitch open.

Inside the abandoned gun locker with a key broken off in the lock we found all sorts of crazy shit.

Aside from the visible golf tees(someone explain this to me. Is this a drug thing? My only real experience with the drugs was with The Drug Addict. Googlepedia only told me that drug addicts play golf), most of it was packed into grocery bags. Some of us less-than-wisely decided to reach in and see what was in the bags…

Of course, being a gun safe, there was all sorts of ammo for Winchester rifles and God only knows what else inside, including a giant fucking bullet or shell or whatever you call it…

Inside some of the bags, on first look, was garbage…but upon further investigation, we discovered used(?) hypodermic needles and melted/burned/cut-in-half pop cans (apparently, this is common drug paraphernalia for crack cocaine? Thanks, Google) and a bottle of methadone (cooking crystal meth, were they?).

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At this point, we called our friend to explain that we had popped the safe open, discovered a world of not-so-awesome shit and maybe we should call the police. Our buddy came over, assessed the situation, took the gun case back to the condo…and tossed it in the dumpster near the unit.

Terrifying visions of retaliation from crazy drug lords danced in our heads…getting rid of it in the quickest and dirtiest way seemed like the least likely route to get killed.

For the record, the police WERE notified…and while my friend offered to show them the dumpster full of used drug paraphernalia and ammo, they said it was no big deal. This is not the outcome any of us expected, but when the popo say it’s all good, it’s all good, amiright?

Blog Friends, what’s the craziest thing that’s randomly happened to you? What would you have done in this sitch?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!