Butterfly kisses, and how I kind of sort of almost died in New Orleans…twice

I love Southwest. Even when I screw up my flight reservation, I can change it lickity split for a few extra bucks, a middle-of-the-night arrival time, and a “happy fun” layover in L.A. I also love that I can stalk their rates obsessively, buy when I think it’s super low, and then change my flight when the price drops even lower. All I have to do is use those remaining funds to fly somewhere else.

Southwest free drink coupons and a bloody Mary

I especially love that Southwest regularly sends me free drink coupons.

So, it was no surprise that when December rolled around, Brian and I had a few Southwest credits that were on the verge of expiration. “Where shall we go?” I probed. I suggested a cozy cabin somewhere in the northeast or a relaxing trip somewhere chill.

“How about New Orleans?” my introverted husband of nearly 3 months suggested. We planned a trip to coincide with our 3-month anniversary (if that were even a real thing) shortly before Christmas for funsies to New Orleans. A quick Friday to Sunday weekend of indulgence. We’d eat too much, drink too much, and come home ready to face the holidays.

Unfortunately, when you live in Chicago, the best-laid winter plans get shot down because Jack Frost is kind of an asshole.


Our flight was canceled early that morning, on account of the projected snowmageddon that never came.
Luckily, we were able to cancel the New Orleans hotel we booked through TripAdvisor. Southwest offered us the opportunity to reschedule our flight anytime in the two weeks that followed our planned trip for no extra cost, and we found a better price for the same hotel the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“Do you want to stay for New Year’s Eve?” the aforementioned introvert suggested…

“You would hate that, Brian. Even I would hate that. I did it once. Never. Again.”

So we planned to leave the Tuesday after Christmas on a 4-hour flight with a Kansas City layover.

Upon our noon-ish arrival, I was riding the Chrissy travel high, and Brian was…well…

Done. Checked out. “Sayonara, wife. You’re on your own.”

We ate some snacks, and then he went to the hotel for the rest of the evening where I’m pretty sure he slept for 18 hours. I wandered. I shopped. I ate more food. I hunted Pokemon.

Chargrilled Oysters

Sweet baby cheeses, these oysters, though.

I almost got abducted and died.

Well. Not really. But when a homeless-ish man walks up near you and yells in an attempt to scare the shit out of you, you feel like you might die. Even if you’re barely 15 feet off the main drag of Bourbon Street, just around the corner from your hotel. I started walking faster, while still trying to find an elusive Pokemon because priorities. I ran my hip right into a bicycle and could hear the man’s laughter echoing after me. I crossed the street, turned around, and walked right back to my hotel room faster than you can say Pikachu. I did not pass go. I did not collect $200.

St. Louis Cathedral from Jackson Square

When I was 19 and insane, I woke up at the crack of dawn and attended mass at the church after being out until 4 am the night before. Now, I’m content to snap a pic from Jackson Square.

The next day, Brian was up for a little bit more adventure. We ate breakfast, took a carriage tour through the French Quarter (which was actually super interesting), wandered the French Market, ate turtle soup and bananas foster at Brennan’s, and created our own special little NOLA bar crawl, eating and drinking from bar to bar to bar.

Brian and Chrissy posing by candlelight

Cozying up in the dark at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, which has no artificial light (except the Christmas twinkle lights, because Christmas).

We made our way from Bourbon Street to Frenchman Street and back again, consuming all the booze.

Drunk Brian holding a cup with his mouth.

I may have gotten Brian a smidge on the drunk side. This is a rare occurrence, so it was worth every second I was alone the next morning. Well…except when the homeless man almost stole my phone.

So when Brian wasn’t down for breakfast the next morning, I didn’t fault him. Again, I made my way out into the city on my own, wandering, eating, shopping, hunting Pokemon, hatching eggs, eating eggs…you know…me time.

I was headed to a restaurant I wanted to try, and as I walked up, the staff was shooing the homeless men away from their opening doors. I walked toward the main entrance just as one of the homeless men reached out to me and slapped my phone so hard, I thought it was a goner. I squealed and ran ahead, clutching my phone tight, the sound of laughter again trailing behind me. My heart was racing as I feared for my safety for only the second time that week. And this time, it was broad daylight in the middle of Jackson Square. Apparently, I’m not so good at traveling on my own.

Breakfast in New Orleans

Two biscuit halves topped with crawfish cakes, poached eggs, and crawfish etoufee…and a side of the cheesiest grits on the planet.

After breakfast, I went back to the hotel room and jumped on the bed to wake Brian up. I brought him a breakfast sandwich and told him it was time for adventure.

He was not in the mood for adventure.

So I took him to the bug museum. And all of a sudden his spirits were sky high. Yes. I did say bug museum. New Orleans, home of the Po’ Boy, Muffaletta, Hurricane, Hand Grenade and the best damn crawfish on the planet, is also home to a rather fancy insectarium where you can sample chocolate chirp cookies for free (Noooo thank you).

Personally, I found it a little disturbing, but I took solace knowing my museum tour would end with a trip through the butterfly garden. Plus, Brian was in heaven.


Two hours later, we finally made it to the butterfly garden, where everything was peaceful and serene until a gaggle of small children hurdled through the room, stepping on butterflies and wreaking havoc. Brian raced to the outer edge of the space, and I found the most interesting thing in the room. A pair of turtles…making sweet sweet love to one another.

I could tell you more about the trip, but nothing we did really tops two turtles banging.

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!

Shave and a Haircut. Two Bits.

So last night I had my first solo experience in the house. I wanted to finish the second coat of paint in one of the rooms, so I had my mom pick me up at the train station near her house and drive me to my house (it’s weird to call it my house, but that’s exactly what it is…). Brian would be meeting me there. Before I got out of the car, though, Mom reminded me to lock the door behind me.

This is the layout of my house, before it was my house. And in the daylight. When it's less scary.

This is the layout of my house, before it was my house. And in the daylight. When it’s less scary.

Random aside: Brian genuinely thought I was walking from our new/future train station, because it’s not very far away. Later, he even asked how my walk was. I Iaughed and responded, “You thought I was actually going to walk…” And then he thought I called a cab. But really, Mama Bear had it handled. Because she’s awesome.

Anyway, so I was alone in the house. It was already dark at not-quite 7 PM. And I started peeling painter’s tape from the kitchen walls.

All of a sudden, I heard a faint knock at the door. I, quite naturally, immediately panicked. I dove further into the kitchen to avoid being seen from the from door window. I stood, cowering beside the refrigerator when the knock was confirmed with a “Shave and a Haircut” knock.

Now, logically, someone who uses that knock probably isn’t going to kill me. But I didn’t know that. And I wasn’t taking chances.

I looked around and realized that there were no window treatments in the kitchen, as we took them down when we painted. So I did what any normal person would do. I dropped to the floor to avoid being seen.

Now our kitchen is in the center of the house and has two doors across from each other. One leads to the front room (and the front door); the other leads to the dining room. So I crawled to the dining room (probably seen), when I heard another knock. I was really regretting that I had turned all the lights on, as the perpetrator could now see pretty perfectly into my whole house.

After another minute, I crawled from the dining room to the family room (which is next to the kitchen and also has a two doors to the dining room and front room). I peaked around the corner and realized I was in plain sight of the door, and sat paralyzed with fear.

I waited another minute and crawled further into the family room. I finally stood up and tried to remember where I left my phone. And started analyzing the situation. If it was a friend, they would have tried to call me, right? And a neighbor wouldn’t come knocking after dark, right? What if it was the mean-ass contractor that I didn’t hire? No, it was a different contractor who used the same knock…I looked at the door and there appeared to be a note on the window.

I saw my phone on the counter between the kitchen and family room, grabbed it and ran to the hallway with no windows by the garage. I called Brian and explained the situation (sort of), and asked him to check the door for the note.

I stood in the hallway for 10 minutes before I finally grabbed my paint supplies, changed my clothes, and ran upstairs to paint.

Brian arrived, and I was perfectly alive. And safe. And crazy. Apparently, it was a delivery service(not UPS or FedEx or USPS). I have no idea what it was they were trying to deliver, but as soon as I find out, I’ll let you know.

Don’t worry. I put the curtains back in the kitchen window pretty soon after. shudder

Blog Friends, what would you have done? Would you have just answered the door or would you have freaked out like me? Have you ever panicked unnecessarily?

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!