An evening to remember

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life65 Comments

The other day I posted about stories that were not mine to tell. Well saddle up, friends, because this one? It’s green lighted and ready to go.

The last time I drank so much that I threw up I was 18 years old.

It was during the early months of my freshman year at the University of Washington. Our dorm floor was having a party one night so I headed into the U District, to the one convenience store that would’ve sold alcohol to middle schoolers in heavy make up. Armed with my fake Alaska state ID, I plunked down a 6-pack of Olde English 800 and Pri Avetti—yes, that was the actual fake name I chose for my ID card—was good to go.

I got ready for the dorm party while listening to Frankie Goes to Hollywood and knocking back one cheap malt liquor after another in between each artfully applied layer of black liquid eye liner. Unfortunately, I passed out before the party even started. If memory serves, the time of the black out was roughly 7:30 p.m. I’m pretty sure my eye liner was, however, to perfection.

I woke up in the middle of the night and crawled across the hallway to the bathroom where I relieved my body of that six pack in a decidedly unceremonious fashion. As I was sitting on the floor catching my breath I noticed that someone had drawn black bats all over my legs and arms with a Sharpie. Yep. I was sitting on the girls’ bathroom floor in my underwear, leaning over the porcelain throne and I was covered with indelible ink.

This is not a funny story, especially not in today’s culture of what happens on college campuses when girls drink to the point of not knowing what is happening. This was a stupid thing done by a college kid who was simply following the herd and trying desperately to fit in and be cool. If anything, it’s a cautionary tale and one I’ve shared a few times with both my kids. Why? To impress upon them how getting hammered can cause problems. I was lucky to emerge with only a hangover and hand-drawn bats.

I swear it was that incident that turned me into a very modest drinker. I’ve never been really good at it and to this day, I stick to wine and avoid all other manner of alcohol because most of it tastes like wound cleaner.

I like to say “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and I’m a f#@%ing idiot,” which brings me to the story at hand.

Now over the years I’ve tied one on more than a few times. Mostly, I have a few glasses of cheap red wine until I feel all warm, lovey and buzzed and then I’m ready for bed. But all that changed last Saturday night as we met up with some of our good friends for what should have been a relaxing and fun dinner out. We decided to use Uber to get us to and from our location, because we’re all responsible adults who don’t drink and drive.

I think that was my first problem.

Have you heard the term pre-game? I’m not trying to sound like an old codger here, but apparently it’s when you drink before you hit the big night out. In college, we called it “saving money.” As an adult, I call it “an introvert loosening up for a night out.” As Dan and I were waiting for our group and our Uber car to arrive, let’s just say we had a bit to drink for the pre-game.

Problem No. 2: I didn’t eat much during the preceding hours.

Problem No. 3: We had to wait a half an hour for our table at my favorite St. Paul restaurant, so we went across the street to the Wild Onion for one more round while we waited.

Problem No. 4: I drank something called a Salted Caramel Roll. It did in fact taste like something salty with caramel, but in an oversized shot glass filled with wound cleaner.

Problem No. 5: I don’t do shots. Like, ever.

Long story short, I got incredibly sick at the restaurant and threw up both in the bathroom and in the parking lot. It was at that time that the ladies in our group hailed another Uber car and ushered me home.

I stumbled up the steps to my house and greeted my bemused teenagers with something to the effect of: drinking is evil and I am an idiot, stay gold, pony boys!

And then I went to bed.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing this story. Part of it is because I wasted a perfectly good evening among friends who I really love seeing. Part of it is because I think I’ve been feeling a little stressed and was trying to escape my life for a few solid hours. Part of it is because I didn’t eat enough and I should never do shots.

Maybe it’s because the next morning, I looked at photos on my iPhone and thought, “When did Dan take his shirt off at the restaurant?”

Maybe it’s because I’m supposed to write about what I know.

How’s this: I shouldn’t be puking my guts out at the ripe old age of nearly 49.

Let’s keep it classy in our middle age, right ladies?



Cathy ZielskeAn evening to remember

65 Comments on “An evening to remember”

  1. #1
    Paul B

    Now who says this isn’t a funny story? Okay it may not seem like it at the moment, so soon after the event. But our mistakes give us our best stories 🙂 I would never advocate that anyone drink like I used to (and I haven’t touched a drop for a decade now) but I do have some great stories to tell from them. Ones that I am horrified at myself by. More interesting than those in my sober years lol. That is a terrible thing to confess. Anyway, what drove me to comment here was none of the above. It’s that in your drunken stupor you referenced The Outsiders!!! I haven’t heard someone do that for donkeys. Do you know how my heart would have swelled if my Mum had done something so cool lol. By all means keep it classy. But you can slip up once in a while. Stay Gold. P xx

    1. #1.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I had recently watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Remember when the guy says that in Greenland? Or Iceland? 😉

    2. #1.2
      Bridget in Minnesota

      Like Paul, I noticed The Outsiders reference. That book is one of two on my all-time-favorites list!

      I have one college drinking game story that my children have heard many times…I stood up to help my roommate and fell straight down…that marked the last time I drank. I like knowing that my legs will work when I need them.

  2. #2

    Don”t ask me why I don’t drink whiskey sours! Reminds me of the time I think I saw a middle-schooler in that bar in northern Wisconsin! But I was 19 and the memory is fuzzy. Except for the whiskey sours. And that memory is older than you, Cathy. (Ali Edwards would probably call this a Yucky Story Spark.)

  3. #3

    Oh, Cathy, I knew you were my spirit animal. I have a similar story, but it involves my 43rd birthday, me getting way more intoxicated than I intended at a family/friend dinner, and having to watch video (and read Twitter) to know what happened the night before. Unfortunately, my nieces still talk about that night. I haven’t touched alcohol since. I didn’t like losing time. Oh, and I wrote a blog post a week ago that mentioned your philosophy of middle age. Thought you might enjoy it.

  4. #5
    Kerri Bradford

    And you didn’t share the pic of Dan with his shirt off? Disappointed Miss Z…disappointed. 😉 If you’re going 30 years between drinking binges, I’m not sure what to think of you doing this at 78.

    hee hee snicker snicker snort.

      1. #5.1.1
        Kerri Bradford

        bah ha ha ha ha ha!
        btw…’Stay gold pony boy’ originates from ‘The Outsiders’.
        My kids just thought it was a funny line in Walter Mitty. 🙂
        (I LOVED Walter Mitty…fyi.)

        1. #
          Cathy Zielske

          Um. HELLO? Of course I know this. I’m old. I loved that they used it in Walter Mitty. Which I did just recently watch for like the third time. 🙂

          1. #…
            Kerri Bradford

            Yeah, I figured you knew…but just had to be sure. 😉

            I’ve been wanting to watch WM again the past few days. Great soundtrack too! (Own both, of course.)

  5. #6

    Really great story and yes, I will sit here and wait and support you when you tie another on at 78. I have to live vicariously through someone I can look up too.

  6. #8

    Hahahaha! I’m so glad to read I’m not the only one who has had this happen recently (at the ripe old age of 45). It’s harder to bounce back from a hangover at this age, too!! 😉

  7. #9
    Mary J

    My hubby and I were in a beachy souvenir shop the other day. This story reminds me of a sign I saw there that said, “Alcohol- because no great story started with someone eating a salad.” hahahaha

    Unfortunately, my last drink until I threw up story came in 2009. I was 48. I had just finished chemo so I hadn’t had a drink in a long time. We went on a cruise and in the hotel casino before the cruise, they told me I had to remove my hat. I was bald. It was the last straw in a really crappy year and this girl tied one on. Not a good idea. I don’t think I’ve had a mojito since. I never drink anything but beer, but they were so good. Not so good later though. 😉

  8. #10
    Lisa Russo

    LOL – I had a similar evening last fall where I made most of the same mistakes, primarily of the ‘not eating before drinking’ and ‘stick to wine, liquor is the devil’ variety. I didn’t lose what I imbibed, which resulted in a 3 day recovery. Oh, and I still don’t remember 88% of the evening, which scared the crap out of me. Lesson learned! ;P

    1. #10.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Lisa! Damn girl. Yes, I neglected to mention that I lost the whole next day. Oh sure, I thought I was feeling okay when I woke up but as the day dragged on… not so good. Same with Dan. We both paid the price for our choices.

      That said, it’s the not remembering that Dan took his shirt off part… it only happened because he took his sweater off and his shirt came with it. Apparently he put it right back on, but the photos don’t lie…

  9. #11

    Remember the hullabaloo a few years back about mommies and their 4pm wine-infused “play date?” Yeah, my only thought at the time was, “if I drink wine at 4 pm, it’s mommy NAPtime!” God, I hate throwing up.

  10. #12

    I’m with you when it comes to the “introvert loosening up” before going out – but then I usually stay in because the wine has put me to sleep 🙂 Thanks for keeping it real CZ. You rock.

  11. #13

    I have one phobia in life and it is puking, hearing puking, seeing puking and because of this it follows me wherever I go! I can’t be around drunk people because of this phobia. In New Orleans on Bourbon street I walked down the middle of the street to avoid being puked on. I leave bars by 10 and always have an escape plan if someone seems intoxicated.
    I am telling you this because my luck would have been to be in that bathroom where you puked.
    Here is to salted caramel LATTES for us over 40 group, it is just safer!!

  12. #14

    You probably wrote this because you were feeling guilty. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all feel like this after going a little too hard. Just be happy it didn’t happen at Thanksgiving in front of your entire extended family. (Waving hi.)

    Shit happens….onward and upward.

  13. #15

    I debate whether or not to inform my kids of my college drinking exploits. They were pretty hairy! My first beer was at a Wisconsin bar where I was still underage (I was 17 and the drinking age was 18 at the time) but got in with a fake ID that one of my new dorm-mates gladly rounded up for me.

    I’d have to follow those stories up with, “do as I say, not as I do.”

  14. #16

    Yep, I think this is probably your last time “tying one on.” If I remember correctly, I was about your age when I had “too much”…and that was a couple decades ago. Eventually, we do come to our senses…
    Hope you’re feeling better.

  15. #17
    Susan Piepol

    My favorite part of the story was reading you went to U-Dub. Did I know this? I lived in Haggett Hall my freshman year. Graduated class of 1986. Seems so long ago! This weekend we have a gin tasting party to go to. Better eat before we go!


    1. #17.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Um, yeah… that’s where I lived for my Freshman year, 1985/1986. Just had to look it up and I remember the whole high rise feel of it, and the sort of bridge deck across to the main entrances. I was in the South building. Good times.

      1. #17.1.1

        McMahon Hall for me. Freshman year 88/89.

        So we were at U-DUB AT THE SAME TIME. WOOHOOOO!

        The last time I drank to excess was after the LA Marathon in 2002. The bartender thought I earned some extra strong Long Island Iced Teas. Nice guy!

  16. #18

    Two things kept me from drinking more than one beer or mixed drink during my high school and college years. Fear of my parents, my dad being a Drill Instructor in the Marine Corps and a mother who only stood at 4’9 but could slap you upside the the head with no problem…and the fear of vomiting. Big fear, avoid it at all costs kind of fear. So….I lived my life like a good little girl and always be the driver, the “sensible one” and therefore the one not having quite as much fun. Fast forward to almost 40 years later and I’m diagnosed with an autoimmune liver disease. Shit…if I had known my liver was going to punk out on me anyway, I would have enjoyed the ride. Sorry you puked, but I’m sure you had a great time up until then.

  17. #20

    Oh forgot one more thing. A friend of mine developed an allergy to hard alcohol when she turned 40, she can drink beer and wine but hard liquor makes her so so sick. She can take a pill her dr gave her before she drinks if she wants but she would rather stick to beer and wine. I have never heard of this but I guess it happened to her mom too.
    Just FYI

  18. #21

    Sorry…but I love this! Great story and the reason I drink at home… the off chance I get a night out I don’t totally let loose (although it’s been known to happen a time or two) and hugging the porcelain god!

  19. #22

    I so adore your honesty! And boy, can I relate to the “introvert loosening up for a night out”, because that is wherein my problem lies. November for me, shots were involved, age: 48. Nuff said. I seem to be a f#@%ing idiot once a year (not throwing up, but overindulging in the spirits of which frees my spirit), to which I always reply: “Oh yeah, now I remember why I don’t like to do this”. At least it’s better than the every weekend partying of my young adult years. Live and learn…and perhaps someday I shall. 😀

  20. #23

    Hahaha reminds me of when _I_ was the one who got sick at my brother’s 21st birthday… he was up and on his way to work the next morning and I threw up in my sister’s bed and lost an entire day to a hangover! Everyone deserves a day to be an idiot at least every 30 years.

  21. #25

    And this is why I love you, Cathy – your story is the truth and nothing but the truth! For me it is lemon drop martinis. Twice in the last 10 years friends have helped me through nights I would rather forget. One of those friends is having a blow-out birthday party this weekend. Thankfully, not a lemon will be in sight. Stay classy, my friend. San Diego still loves you, especially this citizen from it!

  22. #26

    I had my children at age 33 & 36.
    I developed a reaction to alcohol after they were born. I had very limited comsumption. Fast forward to 15 years later. While camping in Eastern Washington. I discovered I could drink champagne. Heat of the summer, floating in a cool lake, and drinking champagne. I did make it back to the trailer and thew up. Then passed out for the rest if the afternoon. Hubby, not thrilled. I have crossed champagne off the drinking list.

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Oh Debby, I’m sorry. This made me giggle. It wasn’t Lake Chelan, by chance, was it? Now THAT is a party memory from my high school years.

  23. #27

    I don’t know which I enjoy more… The story or the comments! How is Dan feeling second day? I’ve gathered it was a fun night for all concerned as clothing was removed and cookies were tossed

    1. #27.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Dan was not feeling too good either. We basically stayed on the couch and lamented our prior evening’s choices. But at least he got to stay out and go dancing.

  24. #28

    I think we all have had one of those evenings in our college years. Mine happened to be at the University of Washington with friends drinking champagne and eating chocolate covered espresso beans and to this day…I can’t drink champagne. We called drinking before pre-function:)

    Rules or lessons I still follow to this day…
    1. Make sure you eat before drinking
    2. Under no circumstances do you mix alcohol…if you start with wine you stick with wine. If you start with vodka you stick with vodka
    3. Now that I am approaching 50…I have to say 2 is my limit on mixed drinks or I just end up wanting to go to sleep.

  25. #29

    I know this wasn’t fun for you BUT the story is hilarious! We’ve all been there. To me, red wine smells and tastes like Robitussin. I’m a Coors Light girl. I can’t get into too much trouble that way.

  26. #30

    I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never done a shot in my life and now in my fifties, don’t intend to. I’d end up sipping it anyway instead of pouring it down in one gulp. Part of getting older is knowing our limitations… a list which keeps growing for me.

  27. #31

    I’ve noticed that the older I get, the worse the hangover and the more that little voice nags ‘Do you really want to spend tomorrow lying on the sofa moaning and praying for death?’

    So if I want to get to that state I’ve got to grit my teeth and get past the alcoholic point of no return before the sensible head kicks in. A couple of martinis and lots of chatting. The talking distracts me from the drinking.

    So my one piece of advice to neophyte drinkers – think about tomorrow before you slam down that last shot of something unpronounceable. Life really is too short for hangovers.

  28. #32

    Been there done that. I have two friends that are the shot queens, and insisted I join in on their fun. I don’t like fruity, or hard liquor, so the choices are pretty slim on what to have. I chose the lemon drop, how bad could that be, except that after four of them, I was sleeping next the toilet all night. Lesson learned. Leave the shots to the queens!

  29. #33

    Oh geez, this is so funny. I have a similar story from NYE 1999 (I was 42).

    But I really want to see the photo of Dan with his shirt off at the restaurant!!

  30. #34

    I had a similar night last summer. Not enough food, too many sugary, alcohol laden drinks. Then I felt the need, in my drunken stupor, to send my old college roomates a facebook message about how we should get together and relive the old days. And then I threw up in my husband’s car. Thanks for giving me the courage to write that one down because maybe in 10 years I’ll laugh about it!

  31. #35

    At my husband’s work party one year I was drinking and while standing around talking in a group I decided to point at each person and say Fun or No Fun. One of the No Fun recipients was his boss. Oops.

  32. #36

    Hysterical! Thanks for sharing. Love the line about what you said to your kids when you walked in the house! Happens to the best of us on occasion;)

  33. #37

    No judgement here and I think it’s a great story to tell….why? Because I think all of us older then traditional college students make that lapse in judgement still…maybe less often and to less of an extreme but it happens. You know what? You get a refresher course in good judgement, have a good giggle and move on.
    Oh, and nothing classy like getting really trashed at your sister’s engagement party. Let’s just say there were some extenuating circumstances and drinking both wine and hard liquor in one night is not a good idea for me. I immediately threw up after the babysitter (who was also my sister’s roommate at the time) left. Oh, and my speech? First of all, I introduced myself twice as the younger sister (I am almost 7 years older). Second of all, I still have no idea what I said but I hear it was really good and I made people cry. I am still embarrassed to this day but as I get older it’s getting a little funnier. Just saying.

  34. #38

    OMG, this is so funny! I don’t have very high tolerance either, so it’s usually just one drink for me. Glad you were with kind friends. 🙂

  35. #39
    Karen Mountcastle

    Similar story circa 1974 – insert Singapore slings for your Olde English – no bat drawings but did discover that night that my boyfriend (now my husband of 41 years) was a true gentleman and held my hair back and held me through an awful night (and morning after). He had driven 6 hours to see me at school – we’d only been dating for a month and I drank on an empty stomach. Oh geez – just remembered that I also threw up in his car and all over his 8 track tapes. No censure, no disgust, just a gentle boy who took care of me. That may have been the night I decided he was a keeper.
    Your stories Cathy touch the humanity in all of us. Thanks.

  36. #40

    I have not met you, Cathy, but I have heard a lot about you from my 15 y.o. daughter Maggie. She sent me a link to this post because she was one of the lucky teenagers to be at your house that night! She told me the story of you telling them about your experience and how you could not go to bed until the spinning stopped. I must say thank you for doing this for our kids so I don’t have to! Maggie thinks you are amazing, btw, and enjoys your bee suit!

  37. #41
    Sherri Ireson

    I think we all have lived this. The worst part is the older you get – the longer the recovery period! And at our age, we hate to lose days!

  38. #42

    I will always think you are one of the neatest, funniest people I have EVER had the pleasure of meeting in person. Now I want a salted caramel boozy drink……

    1. #42.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Aw, thanks. You know, I still remember sharing a cab with you, either to or from the airport, and for the life of me, i can’t remember which CKU it was. 🙂

  39. #43

    This is so not funny but somehow I had to laugh out loud as I read it and thought of my recently turned 44 year old self doing nearly the same thing a few months back, all in the name of a birthday celebration. Oh the horror! it took 2 solid days to fully recover. We can’t afford to throw days away like that!

    1. #43.1

      This. I was even turning 44. I have never been a drinker, even in teen years. lol. Then on my 44th birthday with some well meaning neighbors…l stumbled up the stairs laughing. The next morning my 16 year old daughter said that l was very funny last night. Ugh, years of being ‘good’ and l go and blow it in front of my teenage children. Hopefully as a PSA of what not to do. lol.

      Cathy – you are the best storyteller. Seriously. Thank you for all of the years!

  40. #44

    Several years ago, we were at a family celebration at the Gasthaus in Stillwater. My lovely 48 year old mother in law had so much fun doing the Polka and drinking good German beer, that she was sick for 3 days afterwards. Now, nearly 20 years later, as much as I try to get her to indulge beyond her “one beer limit”, she won’t do it.

    God bless ya, Cathy!

  41. #45

    Yeah, it’s kind of funny, in that I can see myself, sort of way.

    My 74 year old mother, who has only had alcohol a dozen or so times, was quite the life of the party for my 1 year old niece when she accidentally got ripped. Took her a while to see the humor in it all. She ended up passed out in the bathroom. Nice Nana. Nice.

  42. #46
    Denise W

    I’m laughing soooooo hard at this story!!! My son & husband are in a rock band together and they played a show on my (42nd) birthday (a few years back) at a bar. I rarely ever drink becuz I’m so obnoxious, but a few drinks were bought for me and I learned what a Long Island Iced Tea was!!! Very tasty, very lethal. I woke up in the morning and took a look at the pics, and to my horror, the first pic was a pic of my sons friend mooning me at a bonfire, in our back yard. I’m not sure what was more horrifying, the naked a$$ or the fact that I had NO recollection of the bon fire. Every once and a while a girl just needs to cut loose and make some crazy memories, and you should scrapbook them!!!
    I also shared this great story with my daughter, she’s a big fan of The Outsiders!!!

  43. #47

    Decided to limit wine to 1 glass on Saturdays when I re-vamped my eating habits to lose some chub. Lost quite a bit pretty quickly, so wine was definitely packing on the pounds. Weight lost – metabolism up – okay to drink a little more wine — YAY, right? Um, no. Along with the fat, my tolerance for alcohol shot out the window after 2 Cadillac Margaritas one night. We all know how this ends…hope you’re back to normal — cuz that booze can make you its bitch when you’re older (hey, I’m 55, so I can say that :D)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *