Friday, June 1, 2007

The Three Amigas -or- How We Eluded a Serial Killer

I was chatting briefly on the phone last night with my sister-in-law and learned she's been faithfully reading my blog. I guess that means I can't really say anything bad about the family. Not that I'd want to, Kath! Really!

Kathy, Lisa, and I have been friends just about as long as I've known my husband. Kathy and Lisa met while attending dental assisting school, and one day, Kathy brought Lisa along to a party at the beach, where Lisa met Terry, and the rest is history. Lisa and Terry have been honorary members of the family for a long time now, so the three of us have spent a great deal of time together over the years. Of course, had that serial killer gotten us, it would all have turned out differently.

Sometime back in the early 80s, the three of us gals hatched a plan to go away for the weekend, leaving the guys at home to tend to my first born and play poker. Lisa wanted to see a show at the MGM Grand in Reno and made all the arrangements--tickets for the show and a room at the hotel. The plan was to go up to Reno for a Friday night show, spend the night there, and travel back down to my in-laws' vacation cabin in the Nevada City area on Saturday. There we would relax, paint each others toenails, and hit the small town of Nevada City for a rip-roaring Saturday night. On Sunday, after a suitable hangover recovery period, we would drive home.

Shortly after work that Friday, the three of us hopped into Lisa's red BMW and got on the road for the 4-hour or so drive to Reno. We checked into the hotel, got ourselves gussied up, and went to see the show. Afterward, we hit the tables and gambled until the crack of dawn when we realized two things: (1) it was much too late to even try to get any sleep, and (2) we had gambled away a good portion of the money we had brought with us. After a short consultation, we decided it was time to pack up for the next leg of our journey and grab some breakfast in the casino restaurant. The thought was that once we reached the cabin, we could relax and get a little sleep before painting our toenails and going out on the town.

With this plan in mind, on the way out of the casino, we stopped in the gift shop and bought a box of No-Doz which we promptly divided between the three of us before starting the nearly 2 hour drive to the cabin. Looking back, it was the weirdest drive I can remember. By the time we were half way to the cabin, we had come to the conclusion that we were invisible. I can't even recall the number of times we were nearly hit head on by cars passing one another traveling in the opposite direction. When you're operating on little sleep and a third of a box of No-Doz, it can be a little disconcerting, I'll tell ya! Of course, not only did we not sleep at all Friday night, but I'd be willing to bet that each of us stayed up late Thursday night, trying on and discarding clothes and packing everything we could possibly need for the trip.

Eventually, around late morning on Saturday, we arrived at the cabin. Let me take a second here to set the scene for you. As you arrive in the little town of Nevada City, you turn away from the town and head up a narrow road, driving about a half hour into the mountains, until you reach a small residential/vacation community situated near a lake. Each lot is about a quarter acre, and the homes are, for the most part, screened from one another by trees. The road up the hill is much better and a bit faster now, but back then, it was barely wide enough for two cars to pass, and occasionally you'd come across short stretches that weren't even paved. On that particular weekend, we arrived at the cabin and noticed that there were very few weekend occupants in the development--unusual since the weather was nice.

After unloading our things and getting everything put away, the three of us chatted for a bit and then settled down for a nap. About an hour into our slumbers, there was a loud knock at the door that woke us up. Now, in the several years I had been going up to the cabin, I had never had any contact with the security patrol until that day, when some eager but bored security guard decided to investigate the red BMW parked in front of the cabin.

After proving to the security guard's satisfaction that we were who we said we were and that we had every right to be in the cabin, we got rid of him and settled back down to nap for another two or three hours before one of us woke up and decided it was time to start thinking about taking showers and getting ready to go out for something to eat and a night of revelry on the town.

It must have been sometime in the autumn of the year, because I remember it became dark early that evening. As we got ready, the three of us talked about what a weird weekend it had been so far, and somehow that led to a discussion about the remoteness of our surroundings. Here we were, three defenseless girls up in the woods where anything could happen. Suddenly the lights went out! With visions of someone outside cutting the electrical lines, the three of us scurried around the cabin, securing all the doors and windows, upstairs and down. I can't remember whether it was Kathy or Lisa who first noticed that there were lights on in a house some distance away, but it certainly sent a chill of fear through us and confirmed our belief that the power had been deliberately cut. Surely it was just a matter of time before our throats were slit by some mad serial killer!

I can just picture my father-in-law when he got off the phone with Kathy, turning to my mother-in-law, shaking his head and chuckling over those crazy girls up at the cabin who had worked themselves up into a state of panic. No, he had no really helpful advice to offer, other than to remind us that the power goes out every so often up there and that the year-round residents down the street were probably running a generator. Just lock up the house, he advised, light some candles, and find something to do until the lights come back on.

Well, that was all well and good until we started to hear noises outside. We kept looking at each other, reassuring one another that it was probably just a raccoon or a deer, right? But why take chances? Wouldn't it be best if we just packed our stuff up and went down into town for dinner? We could then decide whether to come back up and spend the night or head home.

At this point in the story, I think I need to tell you that back in those days, I was a bit vain. There was absolutely no way in hell I was going to go to town on a Saturday night without looking my absolute best, particularly since I was a little low on money and might need someone else to buy me a drink or two. Kathy and Lisa were packed and ready to abandon the cabin while I was still putting on my make up and fixing my hair. Geez were they annoying! Who can rush beauty? And do you remember big hair? Blow dryers and curling irons were my best friends, but they weren't helping a whole lot that night since we had no power! Eventually, though, I was ready to go and we headed toward the door.

Now I'm not quite sure how it came about, but I have a vague recollection of Lisa telling us to stay inside the cabin door. Before I could ask why, I saw her bobbing and weaving toward the car and emerging with a gun that she had retrieved from the glove compartment; she told us she would "cover" us while we loaded the luggage and ourselves into the car. Wait a minute! What?! A friggin GUN?! Lisa's carrying a GUN for Pete's sake?! Now I really was in a hurry, and not from the thought of a crazed serial killer either. The sooner I got my butt seated in that car, the sooner Lisa was going to put that gun away!

As Lisa stood at the top of the stairs leading down from the porch, ready to shoot anything that moved, I stepped out of the door with Kathy close behind. Suddenly I was jerked back--the handle of my luggage had caught on the screen door knob. Then, when it released, I was propelled forward toward the steps. All that commotion threw Lisa into a bit of a panic, and she wasn't sure whether to keep pointing that gun toward the yard or back toward us. I have to tell you that I'm not sure whether I actually fell down the stairs or was diving for cover, but you really can't manage either very well wearing blue platform shoes with 5" heels. Damn!

I don't remember a lot of the details that followed, but eventually we made it down off that mountain, and the first order of business was to find a mini mart that carried hydrogen peroxide and bandages to administer a little first aid--my precipitous journey down the stairs had resulted in a bloody, scraped up leg and torn nylons. We never did enjoy a night out on the town that night. With all that blood, torn nylons, and adrenaline coursing through our bodies with no where to go, we finally settled for dinner at Denny's.

The whole story is much longer and involves a search for a motel room for the night (one place said they had a room available but it was about 20 miles back into the mountains--NO THANKS!), a drive across a bit of the grounds of a cemetary (narrow, dead-end road and wide U-turn), and an argument on the telephone between Lisa and her ever patient, always reasonable husband back at home (with the other drunken poker-playing guys in the background; apparently they all thought the idea of driving three hours to rescue us in the middle of the night was pretty darn hilarious).

Let's just say that Lisa, Kathy, and I survived the ordeal all in one piece, except for my battered, bandaged leg. But you know what? I really didn't mind being scraped up, because it meant I got a bed to myself, while Kathy and Lisa had to share. And Kath? Sorry about this, but I just have to finish the story. After not having slept much in a couple days, Kathy dreamed about snakes all night long and kept kicking Lisa in her sleep!

Dang those were good times! I'm sure that had Starbucks and cell phones been around in those days, our weekend of female bonding wouldn't have turned out quite the same. We never did get to paint each others toenails, but that's probably just as well. Lisa's youngest kid graduated from high school this week, and we're going to a party at their house tomorrow. Kath will be there too. Want to come? I think we'll have some fun!


Happy Valley Quilter said...

You had me on pins and needles! Glad you all survived! lol! What did we ever do before cell phones?! Got one yet?

Anonymous said...

Never know what is going to come in your blogs. What a tale but sounds like you had a load of fun. Hope those drunken poler playing guys were taking good care of your baby. Eileen

Michelle said...

OMG I was crying I was laughing so hard. That is an absolutely hysterical story. Friends like that with memories like that are wonderful things. Have a great time tomorrow!

sharon said...

I'm telling you, YOU KILL ME!!! I can count on your for laughs everytime.

Tazzie said...

Ohhh my goodness, that was just hilarious! I definitely want to come to the party wit you!!

Vicky said...

Oh, geez, this time I laughed so hard I almost -- well, never mind! What a hoot!

Gran said...

OMG - you were funny even back then!