The Summer of Hot Dogs…

Sometimes being an adult is hard.

It means you have to make your own meals. You have to physically walk into a grocery store, think about what you’re going to buy, put those items into a basket and buy them, with the money you should be making because you have a job now because you’re an adult.

That’s why when I lived in Vegas, the easiest thing for me to think about making was hot dogs.

I am confessing RIGHT NOW I ate so many hot dogs in Vegas.

For the record, I lived in a bedroom in an old Jewish woman’s home.  The room did not have a kitchen, only a kitchenette. I didn’t even have a coffee machine or a hot plate.

I microwaved hot dogs and put them in buns.

My heart and arteries hated me a little more each day.

Living on your own in a new place is an adventure. At least that’s what I told myself.

In Las Vegas, I made my home base, the newsroom. The gym was second home base and then I slept in “The Room with the bed.”

That’s what I called the place on the corner of East Charleston and 15th street. I was in the bad part of #dtlv and I knew it. Everyone in the newsroom knew it, too. If only one hobo said hi to me as I walked down that street, it was going to be a good day.

The “Room with the bed” was an Airbnb. The old woman I lived with was named Michelle. She wasn’t so bad. Her dog’s name was Buba. When her home wasn’t under construction, Michelle always found a reason to yell into her Bluetooth headset.

I hated that thing… until I got my own and then I realized how nifty those things were. (Hands free? Why would anyone ever want to hold a phone again?)

The walls were thin in that place, so I was pretty sure she could make out all my conversations, too.

Sometimes, after an argument with a friend or boyfriend, she’d come by and give me a piece of advice about why I maybe should “Relax my Spanish blood.”

Whatever that meant.

I’d smile and keep walking.

Michelle’s cooking made my mouth water. I never got to see what it was, but I always wanted it. I lived in the corner bedroom of the house. There were two other Airbnb bedrooms in her house. Mine had a private entrance and was not connected to her house. The others were connected, so I wondered if the other guests did get to enjoy the food.

I settled.

For hot dogs in the microwave, a Shiner and Doritos.

A month in and hot dogs, chips and anything deli meat made me want to curl into a ball and retch.

What was happening to my body?

I stopped eating. Food got gross.

Fast food even grosser.

Sometimes, the newsroom would have items on the free table. If it was a salad or a veggie option, I was in heaven.

Vegetables and fruits became a luxury for me.

Obviously, I could have just driven to the grocery store and purchased them myself, but reread exhibit A – lead sentence.

Besides work was keeping me busy.

Things were getting pretty juicy. Safety infractions. Health districts and health departments. Heimlichs. Fun stuff. Food could wait.

Then I just went crazy over the summer. I started working out like a monster. Three to four times a week and on the weekends.

The room with the bed was getting to me. It was claustrophobic. The food was awful. And Las Vegas was hot. Above 100 degrees hot. Shoes melting hot. Why did I put makeup on if it’s just going to smear off when I touch my face hot.

I needed to keep moving. I needed to be active.

Those hotdogs weighed me down. They made sick.

Gym time was me time. I ran a few miles on the treadmill.

Then I did more cardio on the stair master. Then I killed my legs. Then finished with abs. Every day I left the gym, I felt stronger and stronger.

Stronger to take on anything.

And that’s how I left Las Vegas.

Proud and full of hope.

My newsroom had my back. They were proud of me. They saw greatness in me.

I love those people. Those editors, those reporters, those friends. I miss that newsroom in Las Vegas. That one random bar we all gathered at after a long day of reporting.

I wish I could bring that newsroom with me wherever I go.

But I want to keep going. And I want to keep pushing myself.

Past my limits. The summer of hot dogs was just one step in my journey to wherever it is I’m going.

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