Saturday, October 4, 2014

Planes, Trains, Automobiles........and a Funeral.

I haven’t traveled by plane for quite a long time; I think this may be my first trip somewhere since 2003.  I was fortunate enough to have someone make all the arrangements for my trip to Milwaukee to attend my friend Dave's Funeral.   All I had to do was get on the plane.   Just before I got to San Diego Airport I get a call from my friend Paul advising me of some issues at the airport in Chicago.  Well, I'm not a seasoned traveller, so I checked my bag curbside and asked the man about the issues in Chicago.  He said we were not aware of any issues yet; everything should be "OK” I thought well, ill go to the ticket counter inside and ask them.
Ummmmmmmm yeah, that line was a 1/4 mile long.  So I proceeded to the gate,  Now I hate to generalize or enforce stereotypes, but the GAYEST crewmember was at the gate, so I asked him about the situation.  He said, "oh dear, everything should be fine by the time you arrive in Detroit."
Flaming and dumb are now my least favorite personality traits.

I get on a plane, and I fall asleep for a couple of hours only to wake up to an email from Delta letting me know my flight from Detroit to Chicago had been cancelled..  FUUUUUUUUUCKK
I check online, and there are no flights available from Detroit to Milwaukee.

But, of course, by that time my friend Paul had handled the situation....  Much better than I would have, he had already booked me a ticket on Amtrak. Business class of course.    At one point, I was seriously considering turning around and going right back home.  YES, I had a panic attack.  But this is for a funeral; this isn't about me, or how cute I would have looked in the new outfit I bought or if I was gonna look cute for the men of Milwaulkee when we hit the town.  It's about Dave and his family and Paul and us being together. Yes, of course, I almost lost my shit, but good friends came together and got me grounded.  After calling my friend Steve and also talking to Paul, I realized that leaving would have been a very selfish thing to do.  Paul has put so much work into organizing a beautiful funeral for Dave.  I had spoken with Dave's father yesterday, and we had a nice talk about our feelings about the weekend to come.  

My luggage was...somewhere that they can't get to at the moment.  There were nearly 2000 flights cancelled today in Chicago, lots of luggage to deal with going to places all over the world.  I only had the clothes on my back; the train wouldn't get into Chicago until  after 11PM, and then we had to drive to Milwaukee, and the funeral is at 10AM the next morning.  So, of course, my lovely friend Paul went clothes  shopping for me.  WOW, talk about feeling loved.  Then I had another disastrous thought hit me.  My medication is in my suitcase.  Well, luckily for me I have another great friend.  Franko from Walgreen’s Community Pharmacy that has arranged for me to get a small supply of my medication at a 24-hour Walgreen’s pharmacy in Milwaukee very close to my hotel.

As soon as they do get my luggage they will bring it to my hotel, but they also asked for my home address because who the hell knows how long all this will take.

The cab ride from Detroit Airport to the train station was fairly long, most expensive cab ride I have ever had.  I tried Lyft and Uber, but no luck.  I arrived at the train station a couple of hours early and the man at the counter told me about a nice little hole in the wall bar with a “good kitchen” named Z’s Kitchen. It was tiny, and there were mostly regulars but the food was very good and lord knows I needed a cocktail or two.  After a little chat with some locals, I headed back to the train station.  The business class car in this neck of the woods is completely different than what we have in California.  I had to go up and get my own shit from the café car!!  Can you imagine? 

I was just starting to get my groove on writing this story, so I wanted a glass of wine… NOPE!! No more wine.  OK, by now I’ve about had it.  SO it was on!!  I’ll have a double Jack & Coke, please.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and I realized as we were approaching Kalamazoo that Cheri could have picked me up from the airpor,t and we would have been able to spend some time together before jumping the train in Kalamazoo.

My first time in Detroit

Nice Buildings across from Detroit train station
Oh well, I was almost to Chicago, But then they announced a slight delay due to track signals being down, so we were traveling about 15-20 miles per hour for awhile, so that meant it was going to be closer to midnight or a little after until I reached Chicago. Paul was there waiting for me when I arrived; we went directly to Milwaukee, hit the drug store, then I was all settled in the hotel around 1AM.  It took me a little while to decompress from all of that;  I had been awake almost 24 hours, except for that brief nap on the plane.  Once again Paul saved the day with stocking the mini fridge with wine and some snacks.  Asleep by 2:15, then awake at 7AM to try on the clothes that were laid out so beautifully for me.

Funeral at 10AM set up at 9AM so no mimosa brunch for me..  Coffee and a bagel was plenty.

I had said good-bye to Dave in so many ways so many times, but this was it, our final goodbye until we meet again somewhere after I am gone from this earth.  Dave’s dad wanted the full ceremony and Paul went above and beyond Dan’s expectations.  We had a violinist and a cellist.  The minister was visibly emotional, and to me that told me she really cared about what she was doing, this wasn’t just another appointment in her book of funerals and wedding for the weekend.

We each said a few words about Dave, his father commenting on how both of his sons, his only children had both gone before him, and that wasn’t how it was supposed to be.  The Urn containing Dave’s cremains were placed into the ground, and Dan placed the first amount of dirt into the ground.  I being the dramatic queen that I am sobbed as I scattered rose petals into the ground on top of Dave.  In the back of my mind I heard Dave saying FAG!!   That made me feel better; it made me feel close to him.

We left the cemetery for a beautiful luncheon that Paul had pre arranged at the Milwaukee Museum of Art.  There we beautiful books placed at the table for us.  One was all about the museum, the other a book about Andy Warhol’s art in the last ten years of his life.  Paul thought of everything.  After lunch, a glass of champagne and a glass of wine, I was ready for a nap…. A 5-hour nap.  

Walking up to the Museum

The ceiling above us at the museum 

View walking next to the Museum on Lake Michigan

Paul scooped me up and took me to dinner at a Tapas restaurant that was AMAZING!  He knows the Chef, and she went out of her way to make sure we enjoyed the experience.  If you are ever in Milwaukee make sure you visit Ginger its in the Fifth Ward on 2nd street.  There were quite a few newer establishments that were filled with laughter and music.   This is also the street that a bar named 219 was.  Now vacant it used to be a very jumping gay bar, it also happened to be where Jeffrey Dahmer used to meet some of the young men he preyed upon.  I have a fascination with serial killers, and seeing this place was just beyond any expectations I had for this trip.  We all have quirky things we like.  I have seen every film and documentary about Dahmer, and when I posted the photo to Facebook I got some very mixed comments, some of which were very strongly against this idea that I thought seeing this place was “cool”.   I get it serial killers are not everyone’s cup of tea.

Club 219

We visited a few gay bars that night; very neighborhood type bars that I liked very much, but at that time they weren’t very busy, so we headed to a drag show at a club names La Cage.   Now I must admit I am a drag snob, I’ve seen shows all over the country I’ve seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst.  This was somewhere right in between.   The first queen came out in a FLAWLESS black foxtail full-length coat.   I could hear the first few notes of one of my all time top 5 favorite songs.  The Glamorous Life By Sheila E.  awwwwwwww fuck, bitch didn’t know the words.  The reveal hidden under the coat of her very tiny costume and rather large titties were lost on me.   Don’t come to me not knowing the words to the song.

Then 2 songs later a girl that looked like she got her gown at a bridal shop did the very same song, just by a different singer???  Ummmmmm OK?   Another queen did a mash up of that Anaconda Nicki Minaj song.  She was wearing green sequin short shorts, and when she turned around she had ZERO BOOTAY.  Pad that ass bitch; you’re putting on a show here!  Then that bridal dress girl came out again in a dress she looked like she picked up at Forever 21 and stoned it with plastic beads from Michael’s Craft Store.  Oh and then there was another girl doing that Anaconda song…  REHEARSAL ANYONE?   Shit..  the place was very nice, great stage, good looking men, great bar.  So not all was lost..  I just saved a few bucks by not feeling impressed by some queen coming out in a big afro performing to Pride, A Deeper Love from 1991….  YAWN!!!!
So after not meeting Mr right now, it was time to head back to the hotel.

A decent nights sleep, woke up had some hotel room coffee, then took a walk to Starbucks and by Lake Michigan, which I could see from my hotel room.    I wish I had more time to spend in Milwaukee and maybe even some time in Chicago, but the fact that it took me about 7.5 hours more traveling time, kind of set our schedule off for the majority of the weekend.  

But I was there for a purpose, and that was to say a final good-bye to David Zabludowski.  Spend time with his family and my new friend Paul, who was friends with Dave since high school.  It was a fast trip, but I felt like a VIP thanks to Paul.  I enjoy Dave’s father Dan and his stepmother Joyce.  I have no grandparents left to call and send cards to, so I’ve kind of adopted them as mine.

So all in all the trip was fast and furious.  But we did it!  Mission Accomplished. 

Good bye my dear friend Dave!   I miss you greatly!

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