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I work at Walmart.I am the “People Lead” there. Admittedly “people lead” is the weirdest title ever created. By any company. Ever.As a “people lead,” I always feel like I should have a marching band and a baton. Perhaps some candy to toss out.In actuality, it is nothing quite that exotic. What a “People Lead” does is hire & onboard associates. I write a schedule for 300 people each week. I perform our basic HR tasks, create all our store’s social media posts, AND try to stir up a little break room fun. You know…like Wacky Wednesday.Or National Eat Your Jello Day. I have lobbied for a margarita machine in the lounge for years, but my manager keeps denying my request. Something about “drinking on the job.” I keep pointing out that a little tequila would go a long way in boosting associate engagement & morale. You know what else…

Remember card clubs? And family reunions? How about a time when people actually talked rather than texting their friends sitting next to them? The Dark Ages. I know. Tonight the Iowa Roadie was reminded of those simpler times. When personal connections did not rely on the latest technology update or social media application. When people were just people. And sat around and visited. Via verbal conversation. No data plan required. My dad passed away in January. He was 73. He suffered from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP). It is a rare degenerative disease that combines the very worst elements of Parkinsons and Alzhiemers. Horrible Stuff. For the last two years of his life, my dad was bed bound. His life was reduced to tv westerns, Andy Griffith, and constant care by my mom & his incredible Hospice team. When my dad passed away, he was a shell of the man he…

Let’s begin this Iowa Roadie adventure with a quick game of Family Feud.Top 5 answers are on the board. Here is the question…Things you pack when going on a fishing trip.Top 5 answers…You likely answered a fishing pole or bait. Perhaps even a tackle box.All respectable answers. But not the #1 answer.THAT slot goes to…Alcohol.(You’re kicking yourself for missing that one, aren’t you?)There are two reasons that alcohol is required for a fishing trip.1. You just want to kick back and enjoy the beauty of nature and the camaraderie of your buddies while drinking a cold one. 2. OR…(and this is the more acceptable rationale)…Alcohol numbs the frustration caused by fishing.I know this second statement to be a fact. Because the Iowa Roadie & husband just returned from a week-long fishing trip to Mercer, Wisconsin. Let’s just say the fishing gods were not on our side. ALSO… while I was…

I should have been a traveling salesman.For alcohol.Forget encyclopedias or vacuum cleaners. Liquor peddled straight to your door. Now THERE’S a pyramid scheme I’d be happy to invest in. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for recommending spirits to fellow supermarket customers who are stuck in a cocktail rut.For example…Take Joe and Tracy. A nice couple from Des Moines passing through Mason City last summer. They happened to be browsing HyVee’s rum selection at the same time as the Iowa Roadie. One hour later, they left with FOUR bottles of alcohol they had never heard of.(You’re welcome HyVee. I am still waiting for that commission check.)Now…in a normal situation, the Iowa Roadie’s random encounter with Joe & Tracy would have ended there. The couple would have left in agreement to NEVER talk to strangers again…while still enjoying the Little Beers I suggested.Take Away #1…Never underestimate the Iowa Roadie and…

When my kids were little, this is what Christmas involved…• Barbies• Toys requiring LOTS of AA batteries…and noise-canceling headphones• A reciprocating saw or some other Very Sharp cutting device which is used to extract the toys from their Fort Knox-like packaging. • AlcoholNow that my kids are in their 20s, this is what Christmas involves…•Alcohol.It is with great relief that the Iowa Roadie’s family holiday has evolved from the commercial trappings of Nintendo, Talking Elmo and Taylor Swift to focus on drinking games and group shots. Before proceeding, I’d like to point out that holiday drinking has very deep-seated roots. For example, in the classic movie “A Christmas Story,” have you noticed that the parents are enjoying a glass of wine as they watch their children open presents in the wee morning hours?We typically wait until after the Christmas Eve service to begin drinking.This year, our 24-year-old daughter brought home…

The Iowa Roadie & husband recently had CoVid.I have to admit that this has been an atrocious experience. I equate it to a Mack truck parking itself on our chests…for two weeks.During this time, we alternated between coughing, sleeping and watching an endless stream of horrible television shows.We hardly ate. (Perhaps the ONLY positive in the situation.)Most horrific… we have not had an alcoholic drink in three weeks. My liver is in shock from the sudden detox.Kidding aside, the virus hit us both hard.Super hard.At one point, I pondered what would happen if we didn’t recover. What would our legacy be?Fortunately we ARE recovering, and will see the day where we enjoy another cocktail and platter of cheese balls.But is THAT our legacy? Fried food & cheap drinks?Perhaps not the worst way to be memorialized…But hopefully we can do better. I want to be remembered for the WAY I live…which…

Last week the Iowa Roadie turned 50.My special day was heralded with some well-meaning birthday cards…and a membership solicitation from the AARP. The day also came with the realization that if asked for my ID, the server would not be verifying that I was legal to drink…but instead checking to see if I qualify for the senior citizen discount. Happy birthday to me! In any case, a birthday–especially one of this magnitude–requires a celebration. So the Iowa Roadie’s husband not only planned a long weekend trip to the Eau Claire/ Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin area BUT presented me with a birthday crown and sash. As I had never known the joy of being crowned Homecoming Queen (or even the Pork Queen at the county fair), this was my first time feeling the rush that comes with a make believe tiara.You know what else comes with wearing a cheap crown and sash?Free…

Who else thinks that life can really stink sometimes?Admit it. We’ve all been there. Struggling finances. Lousy relationships. And–GASP–flat beer. But a group in northeast Iowa has found a way to celebrate “Stinky Things” and make them…Well, not so stinky. A few years ago, Jeff Simon and his buddy Ed were sitting in a basement bragging about who could make the better deviled eggs. And chili. And Bloody Marys.You know…The Stinky Stuff.Four years later, that cellar bravado has raised nearly $6000 for the Children’s Hospital in Iowa City…all under the guise of Stinkfest, a competition featuring–you smelled it–deviled eggs, chili, and Bloody Marys.This was the third year for the competition, so the Iowa Roadie was beyond flattered when organizer Jeff invited her to attend. Here was an event that involved drinking for charity.Let me say…It’s so much easier to give back to the community when alcohol is involved.However, I felt…

Who likes road trips?If we were all sitting in a classroom together–or even connected via a ridiculous CoVid-era zoom meeting–I believe we would see everyone’s hand shoot to the sky and frantically wave, “Pick Me! Pick Me!” Perhaps we can even add some gorilla “ooh ooh” sound effects to increase the intensity of the answer. (“Ooh Ooh! Pick Me! Ooh Ooh! Pick Me!”)So I repeat my question…Who likes road trips?Ooh Ooh! Pick Me! I know the answer to this one. Ooh Ooh!The answer is WE ALL DO….or at least dive bar-seeking Iowa Roadie readers do. (All two or three of you.)So when loyal Iowa Roadie reader Joel recommended I take a trip across the border to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin…AND provided me three pages of dive bar notes…I felt it my DUTY to follow his suggestion. It’s all about making connections with readers. And if we had some Spotted Cow…

Can you keep a secret?The Iowa Roadie can’t. Forget any pinkie swears or “cross my heart” promises. Simply put, no secret is safe with me. So I apologize in advance for spilling the beans about the Cottontail, whose sign proclaims it Urbandale’s “best kept secret.”To put the situation in context…The Iowa Roadie & husband had just finished a morning of furniture shopping. Tell me…is there an occasion that screams “I need a drink” more than selecting a couch within one’s color scene AND price range? So when we drove past a sign for “The Cottontail,” we did not hesitate to pull our beat-up plow truck and dented trailer (carrying our new couch in a lovely neutral shade of gray) into its spacious parking lot. (Admittedly the ample parking space was part of this establishment’s initial lure. Try parallel parking a snowplow in downtown Des Moines’ East Village.)Time for a little…

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