Tag Archives: growing up

Skipping Town


Now, where was I? On August twelfth, 2014, my life began to change (FOREVER, DUN DUN DUN) for real this time. Having cleared everything up with the landlord – and having vouched for a good room mate who could watch the house while I was gone – all there was left to do was wait for my girlfriend to get into town. Of course, there were still things to be done around the house – plumbing, electric, rodent extermination, and mattress burning – but that could all wait a couple of days.

She arrived that day, with a troupe of dirty, dog-toting, fiendishly smelly and good looking kids who did not hesitate to inhabit the house. Ten fucking lovely travelers and nine dogs later, we still hadn’t seen the end of the adventure. For a week, our house TRULY transformed into a punk house, despite several layers of paint saying otherwise. Every dirty kid and his mom showed up at least briefly to drink warm beer, smoke cheap cigarettes, experiment with psychedelics, and have a safe place to crash.

The smell in the house transformed from ‘fresh paint’ to ‘dirty underoos’ in about a day and a half, but no one was complaining. These dirty kids sure knew how to drink and they were a wonder to be seen pass-out drunk over a plate of burrito fixings in the kitchen at three in the morning. On top of the competitive drinking, they were actually helpful in fixing up the remainder of the house. With gasoline, hatchets, and matches as equipment, many of us gathered in the back yard to burn chairs, a dirty old mattress, and a couch. The neighbors borrowed us their hose to keep it under control. Flames reached shocking heights. The evidence was disposed of.

I mean…

Next was the beehive(s). Up on the roof, bees had infiltrated the ventilation system and needed to be dealt with. The tools for this job were

– One can of Ant Raid

– One large wrench

– Five gallons of water

– A video-camera

Climbing out onto the roof in a sports bra and a pair of dirty shorts, I was the second person to approach the bee situation. Lots of pointless wrench-banging, a few beers, and, surprisingly, NO bee-stings later, I had successfully outlawed the bees.

All while my drunk girlfriend laughed from the yard below. It was a good time in that final week of the house. Video games were played, work was done, songs were sung, signs were flown, tits were shown…it was all fine and well and dandy right up until the part where we were packing and leaving, which was more sad than anything else.

Diablo and I both got our bags fully packed on August 17th. The dirty kids that had assembled had begun dispersing, and we were down to the core group of friends and travelers. The ones we had to say goodbye to as we said hello to a new lifestyle with a bunch of tramps (oh, tramp is someone who travels all homeless-like without picking up work along the way. That’s the separation between tramp and hobo).

We had our final beers, did our final house painting, and left the house for good on the morning of August eighteenth. With my dog at my side, a backpack chilling on my shoulders, and four road dogs to kick it with, I was feeling pretty okay. It was, however, a long trip to the hop out, with way too many stops along the way, and by the time we got to where we were trying to go, we had one more road dog (and his puppy), no cigarettes, and not much beer.

There started my life of traveling. Migrating under a train bridge, we waited. We learned about trains and what rides were, well, ride able. We learned the names of the train units, the train companies, and rail safety. We learned what a ‘fire drill’ was and to ALWAYS keep your shit on hand when waiting for a train. It was train-riding 101, and we were drunkenly learning the ropes.

On August nineteenth, a train going our direction stopped, and my girlfriend and I ran alongside it for a few minutes before finding a ride. We had gotten my dog and both of our packs on the train when it started airing up (the brakes of a train work on a tension system where air is what pushes the brakes UP so that the train can start moving). We knew we didn’t have much time. Tiddly (the girlfriend at the time) hurried to lift her eighty plus pound dog on the train but to no avail. The harness slipped off of her body and she dropped to the ground as the train started moving too fast to hop off. We watched Girl (the dog) run alongside the train as it sped up and then we lost sight of her.

Cue horror movie sad music, lots of crying and puking, and two VERY sad people. We wondered what the hell was going to happen to Girl and what the hell would happen to us when our other road dogs found out. There is a code for hopping trains: Dog, Pack, You. That’s the order in which you get on the train. In the rush and excitement of taking her girlfriend on her first train, Tiddly had forgotten.

Luckily, the train slowed and came to a stop in Northeast Minneapolis. As we were rolling to a stop, my phone started ringing. It was one of the people we were planning on hopping out with and he was screaming that he found Girl and that she was torn up as fuck and that we needed to get our asses off of the train.

Thinking the worst, Tiddly panicked. I started making phone calls. Twenty minutes later, my dear friend Morgan was picking us up and driving us to where all of the other kids were. Talk about friends having your back in an emergency. We approached a seemingly dire situation. Girl was laid out on the ground and everyone was sitting around her. Approaching, we found that she had been clipped by a part of the train – probably a ladder – and she had a huge gash on her side.

We did all we could. Poured hydrogen peroxide on it and then bandaged it up – it was too late at night to head to a vet. We could only hope she would be fine.

We moved to a different hop-out spot that night, went to sleep, and woke up early in the morning. After refilling our water, making sure Girl was okay, and collecting our wits, we started waiting on trains again. The day was August Twentieth, and it was about two pm when our train finally rolled in.

A big, hulking, mass of steel and energy, the Inter-modal Train that rolled to a stop right in front of us was a beauty. Carted by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), this massive cargo hold was our land-ship, and we did not hesitate to take our chances with her.

We found a ride where all of us fit and could stay hidden and then the train took off, only to slow down and roll to a stop directly in the middle of the train yard. For two hours, we waited. Voices hushed, fingers quietly rolling cigarettes that we couldn’t smoke, we all sat in tension, hoping that we wouldn’t get pulled off of our ride. Voices approached and footsteps sounded against ballast rocks, but no one came, and finally – FINALLY – we were on our way.

We were heading west, into a metaphorical sunset. Embarking on a journey that could result in our doom. In train riding culture, ‘catching the westbound’ is a term for dying, and I do not deny the fact that there, on my first freight train, parts of me were heading west for good.

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The Angry Landlord and the Quick Save


I think it’s time to talk about the owner of the house I was living in at the time, because this is a very important part of the story, and an inspiring one. Diablo’s cousin, who owned the house, had let him rent it for 300 a month with the agreement that he would fix a couple of little things to make the entire house sellable.

Now, I love my dear Diablo, but he is irresponsible to an extreme, and he managed to pull me into that irresponsibility. When I arrived at the house for the first party, it was in kind of bad shape. The carpet in the living room had been ripped out, revealing ugly, damaged floorboards. The living room walls were covered in various colors of paint and small amounts of graffiti. The carpets upstairs had been slightly tarnished. There was a room specifically for trash that smelled like, well, the inside of a dumpster.

By the time mid-July rolled around, we had only damaged the house more. The shower had been broken, the living room walls were covered in sharpie – hundreds of phone numbers, drawings, and tags that gave the HoG its appeal. For us, it was beautiful. An entire room filled with stunning imagery and contact information from some of the most creative, wonderful people we had ever met. A wall dedicated to a dramatic day-by-day, play-by-play of the house. The tags had started to spread into the kitchen. The trash room was overflowing. The upstairs carpets were done for. The walls that hadn’t been tarnished by sharpie had been marked by dirty, oily hands and blood.

Blood – the entry way to the stairs leading to the bedrooms had been tagged with someone’s blood at a party that got a little too out of hand. ‘Fuck life’ was smeared across the previously untouched wall in an angsty scrawl. Outside, there were couches, chairs, and a mattress soiling the lawn. The vines had overgrown, the grass had been torn up by the feet of hundreds of little punks, and the flowerbeds were in a state of weedy disrepair.

Screens had been busted out of windows, the electricity had gone out in one upstairs room, muddy boot-steps led out a window and onto the roof.

Beer cans and cigarette butts lay strewn as far as the eye could see, piled creatively in flower pots and stacked in pyramids wherever there was free space. Broken bottles lay scattered on the overgrown back walk, the roof was covered in an assortment of used condoms, random snacks, blankets, and other waste products. A doggie chew-toy hung over the stoop from a gutter, and the front door no longer possessed a door handle.

We had become the true epitome of punk house. Warm, flat beer, people who smelled bad, and blood-smeared walls. Our stink defined the neighborhood, put a new spin on ‘you smell good’ and invited trouble we could not have imagined when we first started. We saw it all as a creative mess, a natural disaster, the perfect aesthetic. The landlord saw it a little differently. Phrases that come to mind immediately are ‘terrible’, ‘oh my god what happened to my house’ and ‘oh no no no no no no no NO’.

This incredible woman who had been so kind to let Diablo stay in that house was in the business of flipping properties and using the money to build schools. By trashing the house, we were, effectively, stealing opportunities for education from young minds. I had no idea, and neither did she. We had lived by the subconscious vibe of ‘what we don’t know won’t hurt us’, but upon her arrival, we changed our tune to ‘what have we done, we’ve made fools of everyone’.

We had only gotten the opportunity to screw things up so royally because she had been gone for a couple of months and wasn’t regularly checking up on the house. She had no idea anything had happened and she was under the impression that only Diablo lived there. She was in for a surprise. At the time she returned, Diablo had adopted not one but two room mates that were not paying rent and effectively draining the pockets of society.

She would not come to know this. Her arrival at the house was a dramatic one. As I washed dishes and Diablo played Super Smash, we heard a knock on the door. Dun dun dun, our doom was fast approaching. Diablo stood and went to check who it was, immediately freezing up and freaking out.

“Do not tell her you live here. Say you’re visiting.” He hurriedly whispered as a sense of dread fell over the entire house and at least three nearby neighborhoods.

A quick salute, a calming breath, and the sound of a door opening later, we were in big trouble. Tears filled her eyes as she got a first-hand look at what atrocities teenagers given responsibility were capable of. She toured the house and then took a moment to compose herself before expressing her anger, disappointment, and worry to Diablo. She was tempted to kick him out on the spot, black-list him to the rest of his family, even have his car sold to pay for damages.

He was incapable of defending himself or calming her down. it was time for someone to step in.

“Hey, I know you have no idea who I am, but I’m a close friend of Diablo’s, and I came over to help him out cleaning up. I have to take some responsibility for the mess in the first place, but trust me when I say that I have been over here a lot helping to reign the dear boy in. I have come to see this house as a safe place, and many others have, too, so I am willing to put in work to make you happy and allow him to keep the house.”

Her face relaxed slightly. I went on to tell her that my father had trained me to be a house painter, that there were many people who cared about the house, and that we would invest time and effort into making it sellable once again. The guarded look on her face and her hesitation to trust a stranger were overcome by a realization of how deep of a hole she would be in if she didn’t accept a little bit of help.

She decided to give HoG a chance. She decided to give me a chance. She knew Diablo would be going out of town that weekend and she asked if I could house-sit for a few days, which would give me more time to help clean up. I accepted, and we were off on the biggest cleaning mission I had ever agreed to – and the cleaning of my childhood room was no joke.

I had a week to prove to her that I could make the house a good place again. Just one week to make a drastic change that would determine the fate of the House of God.

I was ready.

The Story of How Diablo Got a Little Too Involved


Midway through July, I got the news that my girlfriend would be back by the fifth, my birthday. Imagine the excitement that burst from my womb like a laughing, blood-covered baby when I heard that my girlfriend would be in St Paul for my birthday. Also imagine the sadness as I finally realized that the House of God would be coming to an end in short order. I promptly logged onto my Facebook page and began furiously typing.

Twenty minutes later, I had composed the very last event invite for the very last rager at HoG. It would be a birthday slash going-away party, and it was time to confront Diablo about the entire situation.

Having lost his job and started considering a career traveling with the Renaissance Faire, I was hesitating to tell Diablo that he had literally no future in the Renaissance because he had literally no applicable skills. I had to sit him down and talk to him about a very important matter.

A little background about Diablo before we begin. I met him through my best friend, who ended up dating him. My very first conversation with him happened while I was still living in small town Wisconsin and it happened in a very strange, marijuana-induced phone call. Alice, who had met Diablo at an Anime Convention (I think) had been strangely attracted to someone who was only described to me as ‘a small, very excitable, Mexican boy’.

I introduced myself as God. The next five or six conversations I had with him were also over the phone, and I was always God. It was, to this day, one of the least funny running jokes I have ever had with anyone in my entire life. It wasn’t until the summer after our first phone call that I was introduced to the boy (and he WAS a boy).

Diablo, Diablo, Diablo. The shortest boy over the age of eighteen I had ever met. The bounciest, fiercest little man anyone could imagine, the…naked drunk?

The very first time I met Diablo, it was late August and I was at the first Anime Convention I had ever attended. It was getting pretty late on the second night of the Con and everyone (except for me, apparently) had already started to make their fair share of regrettable decisions. I was ushered into a bad decision when I was told where to go find a nice, cold beer.

Knocking on the door, I had no idea what was in store for me. Behind that door stood only one thing I knew of for sure: some kind of shitty beer that had been purchased for a bunch of under-aged kids at an Anime Convention. Yes, that is an interesting enough thing to be behind door number one, but wait…there was more.

The door flung open. Scene: A totally naked Alice stands petrified (or drunk, one of the two) as she tries to focus on the person who is looked at her wide-eyed. Next, a shocked Telea is asking if Diablo is naked in there, too. Alice finds herself responding that yes, he is, but he is covered in blankets and passed out, so it doesn’t matter.

How many spoiler alerts and foreshadowings does one blog need? Diablo was, indeed, totally naked, but he was not, in fact, covered in blankets. My first glimps of Diablo was a totally nude image. A drunken artist’s sloppy portrayal of ‘paint me like one of your french girls’.

It was horrifying, to say the least. I’m not going to say much more but…a penis that big on a guy that small is blasphemy. He proceeded to awaken from his coma, run to the toilet to puke, and then slap a now-crying Alice in the face. A year later, this would be one of my best friends. In that moment, I swear I hated him.

Now I was living in his house, while he struggled to keep the house without a job, and he was trying to figure out what the hell he was going to do. Furthermore, his cousin (who owned the house) had dropped by that week and cried over the state of it. What Diablo had failed to tell anyone was that he was supposed to be fixing the house. We had, effectively, ruined it. But that is a story for later.

I sat the dear boy down and opened with a simple conversation about the day he found out who God was. I made a clever segway into following the lord, and finally told him he should go on the road with me. We’re going to say that’s what happened in any future conversation about those moments. I was clever, mature, and collected. Now, here’s the real story.

I ate a lot of shrooms and told him he was a worthless pile of shit if he didn’t go on the road with me, mostly because he had nothing at all in his entire life going for him. To which he responded: I’ll pack a bag. Diablo was now guest number two on a reckless journey into the abyss that is the train-riding culture.

If I could paint any picture to describe what we looked like, I would paint a picture of one of those motorcycles with a fancy little side-car. My dog would be driving, my girlfriend would be a translucent head in the sky calling out to us like Jesus, I would be in the sidecar, and Diablo would be pushing the entire contraption, which I just now decided to mention was made entirely out of a refrigerator box. Actually, could someone draw that for me?

In other words, what kind of fucking mess did I get myself into?

Explanations and ‘The House of God’


So there I was, living in a party house in St Paul that got more and more popular by the day. I was receiving Facebook messages from friends of friends of friends asking if they could attend one of my parties. Finally, the hopes and dreams of fifteen year-old Telea had been accomplished. I was the host and resident of one of the most popular party houses in the Twin Cities, and I was gaining rapport by hour.

Now, time for an explanation:

When I initially became homeless on June 2nd, I had a cute, short,  train-hopping girlfriend who I had last seen about a week and a half before I was kicked out. As soon as I got kicked out, I asked her if she would come back to the Twin Cities to take me train hopping. Her response was awesome, to say the least. She got so incredibly excited, and promised to be back by the start of July.

So, my stay at Diablo’s house was, indeed, just supposed to be a very short while. We initially settled on three weeks, but when my girlfriend kept getting delayed, it became an open-ended departure from the house. Basically: “Stay as long as you want, don’t break much, and throw good parties.”

I was pretty sure I could handle that. In our first 30 days of solid parties, we threw FOUR big parties, (and 26 parties of varying sizes), once every weekend up to the weekend of July 6th. The first one was a spur-of-the-moment decision that just so happened to work out well. The second was scheduled over Pride Weekend, the third was basically a Pride Afterparty (as in ‘The-Weekend-After-Pride-Party) and the fourth was a party celebrating 30 days of Partying.

On Pride weekend, my friends Alice and Xaundra went with me to the festival before the big party showdown. On our way to Loring Park, we ran into a handsome Dirty Kid sitting shirtless on Nicollet Ave, playing a banjo. We decided to say hello, and found out his name was Joe and that he was working in Wisconsin on an organic farm for the summer. He told us he usually rubber tramped it around the country in a big old van. We parted ways, hoping to see him again at Pride.

The second we walked into the park, it started pouring rain. Just a violent downpour that soaked us to the bone in 0.5 seconds. We took cover under the nearest tree, and so did our dirty friend Joe. He noticed that I had a Ukulele, and I played him a song. After a couple more minutes, Xaundra and Alice decided to go back to the house early instead of braving the rain, and we promptly invited Joe to come to the party, giving him two phone numbers to contact should he decide to make an appearance. Spoiler alert: he did (which is why that story was important at all).

Alice and Xaundra headed home, taking my Ukulele with them, and I continued through the pouring rain of Pride to meet some cute people and hang out. Within fifteen minutes, the rain had subsided, and while the park was soaked (and partially flooded), the sun AND the people came back out to celebrate.

Joe (later renamed James Franco to avoid confusion with the fifty thousand other Joe’s I know – and because he resembled a young, dirty James Franco) was not the only one who got adopted by the house from Pride. With the weather putting a damper on Pride Weekend, our party got bumped to five pm instead of ten pm. At five pm, I was arriving at the house with about five people I knew and thirty people I had found at Pride.

This party was one that went down in the history of the house. Over two hundred people showed up. There was glitter, laughter, and alcohol EVERYWHERE. It was the party where I discovered that my Ukulele had been left at a bus stop in pouring rain confusion. It was the party where everyone came together in a community like one we hadn’t seen before. It was the first party I stayed totally sober for because of the overwhelming number of people showing up, marking the weekend before as the last party I got drunk at – for the rest of the summer. But most importantly of all, this was the party that gave our house its name.

The House of God.

Explanation time:

At previous slightly-rowdy parties, we told party-goers that when they went outside to smoke a cigarette, they should always yell ‘Glory Hallelujah’ or ‘Amen’ so that the neighbors wouldn’t suspect a party. Rather, they would think it was a rowdy religious gathering. This joke, thought up because we lived across the street from a church and a sober house, ended up giving our house its name that night.

Furthermore, the previous weekend, someone had spray-painted ‘House of Gold’ right over our doorway.

The kind people at the church, Kandra and Rob, a beautiful couple who were planning to get married that October, LOVED us. Rob was the pastor of the church, and Kandra was the super-sweet, wonderful Fiance. Diablo and I made a habit of visiting the church for the good company and the good acoustics (and the semi-exclusive ‘Breakfast in the Basement’ every Tuesday morning – House of God and Church only). They walked into the party FEARLESSLY while it was in full swing to bring all of the party-goers bread, hummus, fresh fruits and veggies, and a huge bowl of delicious pasta salad.

A drunken person, hearing about this, exclaimed that it really WAS a house of god, having not seen that extra letter ‘L’ in the tag job. It was perfect. With sharpies in hand, we promptly fixed what we later called ‘the biggest spelling error of the month’ and named our house ‘House of God’, later to be fondly referred to as the ‘HoG’.

What was even more amazing was that Church (previously known as Kandra and Rob) loved the name. They saw us as a form of missionaries. We were giving all we had to the people, letting people crash at our house, and providing a safe spot for people to be any hour of the day, any day of the week. Regardless of the fact that we allowed alcohol, drugs, and sex to happen in the house on a regular basis, we were thought of by Church as true followers of the lord. They claimed Jesus would be proud to walk with us, and promptly started referring to our house as the House of God to anyone who brought us up.

We were a growing fashion statement. Weekdays were filled with people asking to come over, cigarettes and beer being bought for us as tributes, and plenty of memories. Weekends were even crazier, with people streaming into the house by nine pm for festivities, live music being played, and suddenly being hailed as ‘The Party Gods’.  Waiting for my girlfriend to take me on the road was becoming more and more fun, which, later, left me more and more screwed.

Playing Catch-Up


The last anyone heard from our young protagonist, she was sitting in a McDonalds try to figure out what to do with her life. That was seven or eight months ago, and the story has completely changed.

Though she doubts many of her loyal followers stuck it out after a hiatus as that had started to seem like a page from the Sherlock debauchery, she would like to begin sharing the stories from the past several months, so strap in, because juicy new details on the life of a girl with an over-inflated ego and a dangerous sense of adventure will be rapid-firing at you at the pace of a turtle waking up from a nap.

You all know me. Reliable for a week and then gone again. But it is time to start telling my story, and this familiar and nostalgic layout from my high school days seemed like a decent enough forum to do that on.

I will hopefully be publishing a short, badly versed blog post every few days, in an attempt to finally write down the details of the most interesting, life-changing year of my life.

Stay tuned.

From Home Bum to Homeless Bum


Well, it has been a rough few days. I found out only today that it is June now and I am so stunned and taken aback that I’m not sure how to express my feelings on the matter.

The other night, my friend Meg and I hung out with a guy named Charlie and we made beautiful music and chain-smoked and ran around in the rain. We also hung out at Hard Times and drank coffee and made more music and had a generally great time. We stayed up until five am and then slept in and drank coffee and then returned to the Hard Times for lunch and board games.

It was a good day. After that I traveled by bus to Northtown to pick up a backpack for my homeless adventures and hang out with some lovely people and a cute baby and a REALLY cute dog named Ghost. I was gifted sour gummy candy and got to sit around without having to put much effort into interaction, which can also be nice sometimes.

Today is my first official day of homelessness. Isley came over last night and helped me clean my room and throw most of my things away and now I am sitting at a McDonald’s with my whole life in a backpack. I am drinking really shitty coffee and spending too long on the wifi and waiting for something good to happen because I’m really exhausted and tired of trying to make good things happen just this second.

I feel lucky through all of this that I have amazing friends who meet me at pizza shops and give me bus money. I feel lucky I have amazing friends who buy me cheap cell phones so they have a way of making sure I’m safe. As unlucky as my life is right now, I feel so lucky I have friends who are worrying about me and listening to me and doing what they can to give me happiness.

I only hope I am doing as much for them. As sad as I feel right now – because the first week of losing everything is always the worst – I have so much hope for the future. And even if the future doesn’t turn out, I have enough love and support to be okay.

I hope you can say the same. Always sending all of my love to all of you,

Telea

The Park Gathering and the Constant 90’s Vibes


Last night I just wanted to have fun. To go out with my friends. So, much like Simple Plan, I did something about it. I did not, however, steal a car and crash it. What I did do was message my friend Isley (the actual love of my life) and tell her we should make like 90’s kids and hang around in the park after dark.

Which is exactly what we did. The street lamps flickered over the old park equipment and water fountains. From the distance, someone could be heard strumming a guitar as dogs barked. A group of five people sat in the sand of the playground, thinking they were a really great punk rock band but really just being a group of people who were getting eaten by mosquitos.

Of course, everyone was cute. How can you be a 90’s TV Show Protagonist Group without being hella cute? We sat on the swings, we made music with a guitar, a ukulele, and a harmonica, and we talked about things that probably won’t be relevant at all by 2020. 

We stayed out until two in the morning and then walked home. Isley and I both got home safely on our block, but barely for Isley, who got to her house just in time to see someone get jumped right by her. I feel lucky she’s alright and that our hugs last for a long time, otherwise she wouldn’t be.

Overall, it was a beautiful night with a small group of lovely people that I feel so blessed to have as friends. And we all live in the 90’s despite it being 2014.

Today is a day of goodbyes. I am packing up my room and washing clothes in preparation for the official move-out on Sunday. I have two nights left here. How insane is that? This month has been so topsy-turvy up and down that I don’t even know what to think. In one month, I got to say hello and goodbye to my first house away from my parents, to the garden I planted, to the people on my block.

I kiss goodbye to my old blanket, which is finally seeing the end of its days after at least six years of keeping me warm. Covered in sharpie and holes, she doesn’t do her job anymore, and she smells like bum sweat, but I will miss her. I say goodbye to my books and my futon, to my fedora collection and most of my shoes. I say goodbye for now to my art, my letters of accomplishment, and my fish.

Yes, my friends, it will be a bittersweet weekend indeed, but I take solace in the fact that I tried my hardest and sometimes your hardest just isn’t good enough. Onward I move to dirtier and grungier things…but you’ll get the whole speech when its truly time.

For now, I must continue throwing the material objects of my life away. As always, I wish all of you the very best.