Thursday, February 15, 2007


Yesterday at 5:00 WRFD 880 am announced that Karmen and Monte were the winners of the best worst disaster date story. It was great since Monte was home (snowed in) to hear it with us and also because it was Valentine's Day. The host announced that they would be opening the lines for people to wish their significant other a Happy Valentine's Day so Monte called. They made a big deal about him being a "celebrity" and wanted to know how the marriage was going since that disaster date happened so early in. It was weird listening to his voice in the living room and hearing his footsteps pacing upstairs. He wished the girls a Happy Valentine's Day and mentioned them by name. They felt famous! It was a great highlight to a day where I felt sick, Monte got the car stuck in the driveway and me in my feverish fog, put the car in 2nd instead of reverse and slammed on the the accelerator. Thank God in heaven that the car was REALLY stuck or I would've taken Monte out (who was in front of the car pushing). His eyes got really wide when he saw the direction the wheels were turning. Happy Valentine's Day, honey! There is never a dull moment at the Hartranft house!

Monday, February 12, 2007



I was listening to talk radio the other night when I heard an advertisement for a contest describing a disastrous date. The winners will receive various books and flowers hoping to help the unlucky couple have better dates in the future. Immediately I had a date in mind. I went to the computer and found the radio's web site and banged out my calamitous story. While trying to submit it I got an error message that said no more than 600 characters were allowed. Not 600 words (which I was WAY over). 600 characters! It took me 2 days of editing and frankly, the scaled down version just wasn't funny anymore. I need background, build-up and characters--lots and lots of characters! So, I need to tell this story in its entirety--I REALLY, REALLY do. No limitations, no counting.

Monte and I had been married less than two months when he turned the big 3-0. I really wanted to do something special for the first birthday as man and wife. With all the expense of the wedding and honeymoon and apartment in Buckhead (Atlanta), money was tight. I turned to the big fat entertainment coupon book that Monte's brother had given us as a wedding present. Sneaking it to work with me in my brief case, I felt it was the ticket to a fabulous, albeit affordable evening out.

Flipping through its pages, I found coupons for a small theater in mid-town not far from my office. I found the theater's schedule online and perused the options. I found a play title that struck me: P.S. Your Cat Is Dead. Now that sounded interesting. The summary explained it was about a man that on New Year's Eve gets dumped by his girlfriend, his apartment is burglarized and his cat dies. It was a comedy. I immediately booked the tickets--I got a two-for-one deal with my handy coupon and was on to the dinner portion of the entertainment book.

Monte loves seafood. But how was I going to satisfy his lobster taste with a burger budget? A half-off coupon for a seafood restaurant downtown! And it wasn't far from the theater. The night was shaping up quite nicely.

The evening of his birthday I drove a surprised Monte into the parking lot of what looked like a small abandoned warehouse. Artsy, I thought to myself staying positive. We walked into the small lobby and decided to stop off at the restrooms before finding our seats. Oddly, their was a long line outside of the men's restroom yet I walked right in the women's. After primping a little, I found Monte STILL in line for the restroom. Shooting looks of "what's up with this?" back and forth between us, I pushed back any thoughts that the night would be less than magical.

The theater had a small stage with seats around three sides only four rows deep. We were thrilled to find our spot on the second row, right smack dab in front of the stage. Monte was impressed, I was elated and thanked God for giving Monte's brother the brilliant idea of gifting us that entertainment book.

We flipped open our programs and Monte pointed to a warning that there would be nudity in the play. WHAT?! That was not on the coupon in the entertainment book, the tickets or the website summary of the play! "What should we do?" I asked as the theater darkened and the play began. I guessed we were staying.

The play was funny with well delivered lines by a decent lead actor. I almost completely forgot all about that nudity warning when I was reminded in a BIG way. A-6"5"-drag-queen-wearing-little-more-than-a-leather-thong-bright-red-lipstick-and-false-eyelashes-way. He had a similarly dressed posse with him that grabbed the lead character, tied him up and promptly removed his pants. Remember: we were on the 2nd row and could see all too well what was unfolding on stage. Jaw droppingly aghast, I turned to Monte to find him anxiously scratching his chest and arm pits with both hands (we later discovered he had broken out in nervous hives).

Hastily, we left the theater exiting out a side door which dumped us out onto a VERY busy street. With no sidewalk, no shoulder and no real option of re-entering that theater in our lifetimes, we had to carefully scoot along a tiny curb with our backs and arms tightly pressed against the building wall to get to the parking lot. I had on a wide-legged pant suit and as each car zoomed by, my pant legs blew around wildly.

Monte itched like a mad man until we got to the restaurant. I was desperate to salvage the evening.

I had to sweet talk the maitre'd (is that how you spell it??) into seating us well before our much later reservation. We were appointed a lovely little man named Lamar as our waiter--very soft-spoken and attentive. Monte enjoyed my dining choice and devoured a 2-pound lobster (thank goodness for that half-off coupon!). Considering the nice ending to a disastrous beginning, I was about to sigh in relief for a pleasing birthday…when…Lamar brought out a complimentary cake complete with a lighted candle for Monte. He got the attention of everyone in the restaurant (surprising for such a slight little guy) and began singing a rendition of Happy Birthday that could only be described as breathy and suggestive. Think Marilyn Monroe's version to President Kennedy but with clapping. All eyes were on Monte, still wearing his plastic lobster bib, melted butter dripping from his dropped chin.

Needless to say, Monte itched uncontrollably the entire way home and I NEVER used that entertainment book again.

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

If I could, I wouldn't be so surprised when crazy things happen. And they do. All the time. Much to my surprise. We went o...