Country Miles

People don’t go running in the country.  Ever.
I mean it.
But I live in the country. And I go running. So now there is one person that goes running in the country– if you can call what I did tonight running.
There is a recent rash of people I know joining Couch to 5K programs. There are websites and podcasts and probably many other instructional forums that teach a person how to go from slug to sleek. I don’t seem to know where any of these instructions are. I thought about asking my neighbors for advice, but again–they don’t go running. So I was forced this week to come up with my own program for couch to 5K.

Day One: Get off the couch and go to bed. I did that one on Monday.
Day Two: Get off the couch and think very hard about exercising. Then eat Cheetos. I did that one on Tuesday.
Day Three: Stay on the couch and plan the exercises you will do on Day 4. That was yesterday for me. It went well.
Day Four: Get off the couch and do the exercise you planned yesterday. This was today. I ran–hobbled, really–to the Shell station down the road. It is exactly one mile from my house. So if I hobble there and back, I have hobbled 2 miles.

It was 6 o’clock tonight when this plan came together and there was no more avoiding the 5K portion of the Couch to 5K program. It was time. I put on actual running clothes and actual running shoes and I headed out the door with money in my pocket. If I was going to end up at the Shell station, I didn’t want to be limited by being broke. I was thinking I would reward myself with a cold bottle of water.

In my mind, I could envision myself completing this mission. I would be agile. Nimble. Impressive. Not at all winded. And as I started down my driveway, this was the picture in my head that i carried with me. Out on the main road, I shook my head to catch the wind in my hair. I actually had the “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” thing rolling through my mind. There were a couple of problems with making that whole nimble thing happen: (1) I was running on a busy, busy road without much shoulder. This meant that most of my run was cross-country, in a sloping ditch. In the country, there are a lot of ant beds. Jumping over these ant beds on the side of the road was nimble one time. 500 times, not so much. Don’t even ask me about the incline.  (2) I haven’t gone running in 6 months. Maybe STARTING nimble was too lofty a goal. Let’s back it up to: Don’t throw up within sight of a passing monster truck.

I discovered a heavily guarded section of road as I lumbered along. It surprised me, too. I didn’t see that one coming. Perhaps the volume of my huffing and puffing kept me from hearing the bounding and barking of the largest german shepherd I’ve ever seen. When I did spot him, it was a “Whoa, nellie” moment and I immediately crossed the road to the other side. But as I did so, I got hit with a two-dog combo unit. A chihuahua and a rotweiler team. GET OUT, was the message. Go home, sweaty girl. People don’t run here. Clearly. These dogs were fenced, so don’t be alarmed. But I wasn’t totally convinced the fences would hold them. They did not like me being there.

I finally made it to the Shell station. I only stopped to double over and pant like 13 times. I retrieved a bottle of water as my reward and then began to think about lunches for tomorrow. We needed Ritz crackers. You know how convenience stores sell those, right? You get one sleeve of Ritz, boxed neatly inside a very expensive Ritz package. It’s like $11 for one sleeve of crackers. Still, I was there. And I needed them. And it was cheaper than the kids buying school lunches. So I took my bottle of water and my skinny little Ritz box up to the counter and smiled at the scruffy fella behind the counter. I decided not to shrink back from people, in spite of my smell and appearance. There are a lot of sweaty people in country stores. Many of them do not even have shirts, so I was way ahead of that game.

He rung me up and I handed him my five dollar bill. He handed me my change and slid my water and my crackers back across the counter to me. What? No bag? I guess this looks like a very simple and portable purchase. I, however, still had that final mile to run. I decided to take what he had given me and not ask for a bag. After all, a bag couldn’t help me now anyway. So, because the first leg of this journey had gone so well, I decided to add an awkward and delicate item to each hand for the journey home.

And off I went, with a half-empty sloshing bottle of water in one had and a sleeve of Ritz crackers in the other.
This was not in my Couch to 5K plan and this is not done in the country. People walk home carrying 12-packs of Miller Lite. They do not run home with Ritz crackers.

There is a reason people coined the phrase, “country mile.” It’s because one mile feels really, REALLY far. There is not a phrase, “country mile with crackers.” Well, maybe there is. But it means something entirely different.

 

Observations from a mostly country life

This morning I was set to hold a garage sale at my old house to sell off what we didn’t take with us. Instead of staying at the old house till all hours like I would normally have done, I came home–home–and went to sleep. I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m. to get up and get back over there for an early set up. I never sleep well with looming deadlines. I sat up in the night no less than 4 times, absolutely certain that I had overslept, only to discover it was 4:38, or 5:05, or two other non-5:45 numbers.

When it was actually 5:45, I got up and gathered my stuff. I needed my shoes on the back porch, so I went out there for them. That’s when I discovered a new level of carnage. Small-disgusting-creature-in-the-trash carnage. We’ve had many, many racoons in our trash over the last 3 weeks. We’ve even housed a possum in one of the trash cans.  But today was different. Walking out onto the porch in the dark minutes of pre-dawn, I felt like I had interrupted a profane feast. The trash can was on its side below the deck and pieces of the trash were everywhere. Some of it had been dragged up onto the deck where, if I squinted just right, I could see the slight outline of a furry butt print. Had that bottom been there just moments before? I couldn’t stay to find out. Todd got a rude surprise when he went out on that deck after the sun was up. Sorry, dear. I had to just walk away from that one.

After a long, strange day of very formal occasions and play dates, I picked all of the kids back up and went to pick up Todd for a dinner at Buddy Freddy’s. Yes. Buddy Freddy’s. Because we live in the country now. It’s just what you do. Mama’s Boy ate 63 pounds of food. It’s really astonishing to watch him. How he isn’t 6 feet tall OR wide is amazing. Yet, he is actually quite tiny.

The most interesting sighting of the day came at dusk after the very pleasant dinner at Buddy Freddy’s. We were on our way back home. The light was soft and hemming every leaf and every blade of grass with a deep, blooming green. I was drinking it in.

And that’s when I saw him.
The guy.
Sitting by the side of the road, at the end of his country driveway.
He was in a metal folding chair that was positioned there as if it were the most normal place for a chair in the world. Out there. At the edge of a busy road. On his feet were cowboy boots that came to his hairy bare shins and the rest of him wore jean shorts and a turquoise tank top. At the top of this mysterious figure was a light gray cowboy hat that was pushed down over a whole bunch of white hair.

Todd saw him too at the  precise moment I did. This old timer with the long hair and long, white beard was leaning over a styrofoam cup with the straw in his mouth like he was sucking down the very source of life.
He never looked up.
He just kept drinking.

“Whoa,” Todd commented.
“I know,” I replied. “What do you think that was about?”

I have no answer.

We’re in the country now.

I do have to wonder what was in that cup…

Universally awkward forms of expression

Have you ever stopped for just 15 seconds to consider just how terribly awkward winking is? Stop right now and think about it. No one pulls it off successfully. Men in their 30s and 40s try it and come off looking like creepy stalkers. Toddlers try it and look like their face is spasming. We laugh at them squeezing not one eye shut, but two. No one — and I mean NO ONE — can pull off the perfect wink.

No one.

And yet, I’ve taken up the habit. I was never a winker as a younger person. I don’t know when, how, or why this occurred, but it seems to have had something to do with turning 40. Though the number 40 doesn’t bother me, it hasn’t been graceful. I’ve been packing pounds on like I’m storing nuts for a 6 year winter and my face now flinches at men, women, and children as I attempt to convince them this this is all perfectly natural.

But it isn’t.

I think it started with winking at my kids when I would deliver information that I knew they weren’t going to accept with joy. Hey kids, when we get home I’m going to scour your hands with a fingernail brush, ok? Wink, wink. Kids, we’re headed to the doctor for your booster shots. There will be about 10 minutes of searing pain when the medicine goes in. It’ll be great. Wink, wink, wink. Hey, everybody, today is cleaning day! You get to scrape toothpaste off your counters! ANDDDD, wink.

Somehow I have become convinced that the wink takes the edge off when it fact it adds a whole new edge that’s a whole lot worse than the original edgy edge. Now, not only have I hit them with bad news of some sort, I am creeping them out with facial tics.

But the biggest problem of all is this: once you start winking, you can’t stop. You’ll end up winking at the sacker in Publix, the little old man building your chicken coop, and maybe even your mother-in-law.

See ya at home, Mother-in-Law.
Wink.
Wow, that was awkward.

So with this one blog and the 17 people that will see it, I am issuing a formal and sober declaration to put an end to winking. Let there be no discrimination. Young or old. Mexican-American, Norwegian, or Pakistagliafghanisargan. Guy with hook for hand. Lady who needs to pluck her upper lip. NO MORE WINKING.

I’ll do my part. If I wink at you, feel free to react with utter disdain. Or smack me. Maybe that would break the cycle…

Wink, wink.

Bizarro Day on Facebook

Facebook is an unusual animal. If you can tame the beast and teach it to do your bidding, it is undoubtedly one of the best networking tools in the world. In 5 minutes, you can find out any piece of information, survey all of your friends, or arrange a social engagement from start to finish. I found a bike seat on Facebook. I find recipes on Facebook. I stalk people on Facebook.

But you have to be careful that the beast does not tame you and teach you to do its own bidding. It is easy to sit down for 5 minutes and then look up two hours later, having no idea that you’ve been sitting there so long. Doing nothing. Really.

Last night I became friends with a dog on Facebook. I just hardly even know what to say about this. There it was: a Friend Request. In my Friend Request section. Lucy Pug, the dog of my best friend in my childhood neighborhood, was there in my box requesting me as a friend on Facebook. I stared at that request for a couple of minutes while my finger wavered on the mouse button. Finally, I selected Yes. Sure, Lucy Pug. I’ll be your friend. Far be it from me to be the lady who won’t be her friend’s dog’s friend on Facebook. It’s a mouthful, I know. Two minutes later, a message came up. It said simply: Lucy Pug has accepted your friend request.

Wait a second. What?
She accepted MY friend request?
Apparently I hadn’t been asked to be her friend. She had suggested that I ask her. And I never saw it coming.
And I requested that a dog become my friend.

But at least she said yes.
At least there’s that.
If that dog had turned me down, this would be a whole different blog.

Go home, Barter Broads. This isn’t 1882.

At the last garage sale I ran, there was a neighborhood “shopper” who I highlighted in the Garage Sale Aftermath blog. We called him Mr. Ferris. Mr. Ferris has descended from thieves and neer-do-wells and has learned the lifestyle well. He tried to steal my ipod, which was right next to my chair, pinned under my personal, a-little-green-at-the-top, perfect banana. He knew better. We all know that he knew better. He knows he knew better.

But because garage sales in my tiny town seem to share the same 12 people at every one, I knew I’d see Mr. Ferris again. That’s how these things work. Today was another garage sale.  I have, over the last few months, thought through appropriate things to say to him. I wanted to make my message clear while still presenting a Christlike mindset. But even Jesus wasn’t fond of thieves. But I guess the Temple is also different from the random garage. Either way, I had planned on writing him a little note and setting some really strict ground rules. He was not going to be given free reign, like he apparently had during the last go-round. But there are a lot of things to be done in order to pull off a reasonably successful garage sale, so my personal correspondence to Mr. Ferris did not happen. Even so, my mind was set.

The sale started at 8.  The vultures began swirling at 7:30. The non-English speaking vultures were swirling by 7:45 and we were completely annoyed by 7:46. By 7:50, there were fist o’ cuffs and by 7:54, the police had arrived on the scene. And the sale wasn’t even officially open yet.

I’m just kidding about the fist o’ cuffs and the police. Not that this would have been unjustified, I can assure you.

The non-English speakers looked to be sisters in their early 70s. Let’s call them Contigi and Consuela. They wanted to buy some things. To pay for these items, they wanted to offer us acorns out of our own yard. But I had a secret weapon to combat their foreign thievery. I had Spemma (Spanish Emma). Spemma can old her own with old Spanish ladies. Within moments, there was a conversation going on, thick with numbers and “No, Cinco.” About this time, a truck full of bi-lingual fellas showed up who, after shopping and paying REAL MONEY for merchandise, got involved in trying to make Contigi and Consuela see the error of their ways.

To this moment, I don’t know if they were primarily cheap (to a FAULT), unintelligent, uncultured in the rules of garage sales, or dishonest. It may have been a combination of some of the above. What I do know is they were a problem. A HUGE problem. And it was amusing for about 14 seconds. Actually more like 4.

You know what I really hate at garage sales? I hate it when someone just picks and picks and picks at you over 75 cents and when you finally agree to ridiculous terms, they hand you a twenty.  Well, now. Looks like you could have afforded my original price, doesn’t it?

While Spemma was trying to secure some funds from this very terrible transaction, Mr. Ferris walked up. Awesome timing. As is his custom, he walked up all friendly like and started making friendly banter. I was emotionally ready for this one. I simply looked him in the eye and said, with a smile on my face,

“You tried to steal my iPod. Do you remember?  I remember,” I said and I motioned to the merchandise and finished it off with, “Everything here is full price for you.” He had a stunned look on his face. Was he stunned that a regular person of  non-CIA parentage could see straight through his super sneaky schemes? Or was he stunned that anyone would think him a cheat? He started to back away, obviously wounded, and said, “Well, that’s not a very good way to start out.”

And he left.

And I don’t regret anything I said or his leaving.

A garage sale is not an excuse for poor behavior or business tactics.

Contigi and Consuela were back 30 minutes later.  They wanted to make a return.  Did you catch that? They wanted to return a one dollar, working, lantern-style flashlight. I have several responses to this. They are as follows:

  • No.
  • No. If you want to return merchandise, shop at Target.
  • Actually, shop at Target no matter what.
  • Go away. We were tired of you 2 hours ago.
  • We do not accept returns.
  • No returno. No exchango.

She tried then to go find a little dish of some sort. She walked it up to us and said, “Este para eso?” which meant “This for that?” Apparently, she didn’t understand the “no returno, no exchango” policy.

“No.” (She had opened her mouth to speak again.)

“No.” Just no. No. I know you understand this. Latin, Italian, Spanish, and English. No. NO. We are done with you. Finito. Be gone.

They left. We sold. We chilled a little.

And then up walked Dirty Old Man. My local friends reading this blog will know who I mean. If you’ve been to a garage sale in this little town, you may have shopped alongside this creepy fella. But if you have hosted a garage sale, you have definitely met him. He comes to every garage sale. Every single one. And he shuffles up in his 86-yr-old pair of slippers and asks if we have any dresses in his size. Then he pulls out the fake one million dollar bill. Then he tells the dirty triplets joke. Blah, blah, blah. He doesn’t buy anything. He’s just looking for friends. Bide your time. Try not to vomit right in front of him.

Today he left out the three standard jokes that he usually tells (he has new material now!) and went straight for Spemma. He asked her to marry him. But just for the weekend. I think I could have had him arrested for this. I couldn’t worry about arresting him. I had to go get a vomit bucket for Spemma. I wasn’t sure which she’d do first, throw up or come back out dressed as a nun. Being a non-Catholic threw a wrench into the nun thing, so we revisited having him arrested.

He had a cold sore.

Gross.

Creepy and gross.

Noon arrived and we were totally shot and ready to close up shop. So that’s precisely what we were doing. And up walks Contigo and Consuela. Again. We just were not going to have any more of this. So we pushed Spemma out in front to spew the following phrases over and over and over again. “No mas. No mas. Finito. No mas.” That means, “No more. Finished. No more.”

We will not sell you anything. Nothing.

So you know what they did? They sat down on the couch we were about to move back into the garage and watched us pack up. Ten minutes they sat there. And they remained there until we started to pick up the couch on which they were sitting.

So we locked them in the garage.

They are still there.

That’ll teach em.

A Letter from the Edge of Somewhere

So, I was sitting at my desk tonight…11:30…about to reach a good stopping point for the night. Actually, Todd would tell you I’m sitting at HIS desk, but it’s only his because he stole it from me exactly one year ago. I have been unable to create a strategy to take it back. My only successes are when he is out of town or when I mess it up so badly that he will not sit down at it. The mess thing I just figured out tonight. It’s kind of like Kryptonite. I’m going to try again tomorrow and maybe I’ll have a desk better than my dining room table.

But I digress.

I was closing up shop when I decided to check my email one last time. Would there be a Groupon for a monkey sanctuary? Would there be a note from a rich man in Tanzania who wants me to be his heir?

Better than Tanzania. Better than monkey sanctuaries. There was this. I got permission to post it, but I have to be honest: I was thinking of posting it whether permission was granted or not. Meet Mrs. Wheatfield. She lives in the middle of Nowhere, skis like fiend, cooks like a prison chef, and manages farm animals, domestic animals, and kid animals out in the middle of, well, nowhere. She needs her own blog. Trust me. She does. But since she won’t ever do that, I’ll share mine for tonight! This is a day in the life of a crazy farm wife.
_______________________________________________________

Dear [It was written to me, but Insert Your Own Name for a More Personal Feel]:

If you were here right now, it would give you SO MUCH creative energy. I say that because when you live in a place that is nearly uninhabitable for 9 months of the year, spring time is an electrifying, pushy and beautiful experience. Cranes, bald eagles, frogs, little bouncing lambylambs, ticks galore, teensy little calves with eartags bigger than their heads, deer everywhere. Trees are exploding with neon leaves like a long forgotten promises finally fulfilled. Magical.
Have you ever wondered what squirrel shooting in one’s pajamas, a pig in a hole, and setting live traps for your own darn pets have in common? I’ll tell you. They all took place in my newly minted farm life on Sunday. The whole family went on an early morning squirrel shoot in our pjs and mud boots. Very enjoyable, though deflating. I like to think of myself as a much better shot than I am. Then we attended a post graduation party in the afternoon. The graduates and various members of their clan drove up, climbed out of their various pickups, grabbed shovels and picks and things, and went over to a smoking pit and pulled lunch out of the ground. Have you ever seen O Brother Where Art Thou when they eat that nasty gopher rodent on a skewer? Same idea, just ever so much larger, and thus, grosser. No gloves. No meat thermometer. Just slabbed up that underdone looking porker and slapped it on a platter. I reverted to claiming vegetarian inclinations on the spot, and did so for my whole family. We don’t eat pork. Only vegEtables. Sorry. And after wrongly assuming we had two male kittens, we made a vet appt for the male and the pregnant female to both become a little less so on Monday. The vet told us we had to catch them on Sunday. No problemo. After all, they are our cats, and we are their people. 3 days and a live trap later, we finally got both adjusted. Very cool, a live trap. That and the shock collar made short work of some serious animal problems we had going on. I think we’ll keep both for potential teen problems later.
HEY! I am the new owner of a kelty. A just right Kelty. A $50 Kelty that I saw in the paper and only had to drive over 2 hours to get it home. Hope you appreciate your Craig’s List!
P.S. This is Missy again. I just want to assure you that I didn’t make any of this up. Sometimes the squirrel-shootin’ truth is stranger than fiction.
P.P.S. What’s a Kelty?

In the Land of the Whirling Dervish

Five minutes has gone by since I typed that subject line. In trying to decide what I would title my summation of yesterday, I thought up that particular subject. And then, in a stroke of genius, I thought I would begin the post with a very official definition of the term “whirling dervish,” which I was 100% convinced was a fancy, technical term for “Tasmanian devil.” This is a true story. I thought, “whirling dervish” = “Tasmanian devil.” Am I the only 40-yr-old human under this particular rock?

I am so shocked to find that a whirling dervish is a crazed, dancing, Muslim monk.

From Dictionary.com
–noun
“A member of any of various Muslim ascetic orders, as the  Sufis, some of which carry on ecstatic observances, such as energetic dancing and whirling or vociferous chanting or shouting.”
I mean, I am totally shocked. Totally.
Really shocked.
They don’t just engage in whirley dances. They do vociferous chanting. Vociferous, people.
This is what I thought a whirling dervish was.
And this is what one actually is.
I guess you can learn new fun facts at any age. I’ll be more careful how I describe my children in the future. The former clip really describes my household more accurately.
Especially yesterday.
Especially after 2:30.
Up until school got out, I was sluggish and struggling to keep up with my duties for the day. I was scheduled to pick up two extra kids from school, so I did that. I gave everyone an ice cream snack, because nothing says ‘calm household’ like 6 kids full of chocolate. We got homework done.  And from that moment on, it’s like I was surrounded by Tasmanian dervishes. Or whirling monks.
There’s so much to tell that I think I will have to just hit the highlights.
I have a new buddy. Javaris. He’s in AG’s class. He’s a really sweet kid and everyone in the family likes having him around. This is good, since he’s always around. Now he even eats with us. And his cousin does, too. But back to that in a moment. Javaris was over. And Darius. And everyone seemed to be interested in the hamsters. This must have been shocking for the poor little beasts, because they’d enjoyed a period of peaceful waning interest lately and hadn’t had to fight off the grubby, fat paws of my children. SnuggleMonkey was a bit of a hazard with the hamsters and had one of them in the orange ball, chasing it all over the downstairs. So our very beloved house guest, we’ll call her Blemma (man, that’s a good name), rescued the hamster and put her back in the box. And then Blemma and I proceeded to chat in the doorway to the kitchen. Over Blemma’s shoulder I could see a flash of movement from the hamster, which is not unusual after a child  has driven her crazy. So I kept talking. But that flash of activity turned into a flurry of very uncommon behavior. And that’s when I noticed it.
Both hamsters were in the same box.
Maybe you don’t know that hamsters are not social creatures. Unless you consider instant mating or death a social behavior. I suppose you could make a strong argument for one of those. But our hamsters are sisters and sisters don’t socialize.
They were fighting.
And if we hadn’t interrupted them, we’d have a very dead Olive on our hands.
Since I don’t deal well with such urgent matters, I immediately began to scream in nonsensical words. “Ohhhhhhh, hey….guys…..help…arrrrrrrr……pggggggggg.” I finally managed to screech out, “Help! The hamsters are together!” Then I ran into the dining room, where most domestic rodents are stationed, and placed the top of the box vertically down into the box to separate the hamsters. Then AG and Javaris picked up the little underdog to inspect her.
She was wounded.
Bloody paws. Cuts on her side. No other damage.  I made a joke about neosporin and then went to Google what I should do to help this hamster.  It said to clean the wound with water, peroxide, and apply neosporin.
And that’s what we did.
The 3-yr-old wandered in to ask, very indignantly, how the hamsters had ended up in the same box. We decided as a group to blame her, the 3-yr-old. It just seemed like what needed to happen. No, we didn’t. We just pretended not to hear her.  Just kidding again. I think I just feigned confusion and walked on. Except I really was confused.
About this time, the potatoes needed to be browning in a skillet. So I started this process. My phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize and I was expecting an important call, so I took it. The potatoes were moved off the heat, I removed myself to the porch, and the whirling, dancing monks carried on with their vociferous chanting inside.
Twenty minutes passed. A very critical twenty minutes, if you have 7 kids in the house and a 6:30 cub scout meeting to attend. There was no skipping that meeting. He was getting his Bear rank, his pinewood derby medal, and some belt loops.
Somehow, in the midst of all of that, we sat down to eat. And Javaris and Darius sat down, too. On the fly. We prayed. We ate. We laughed. We destroyed the kitchen. Only two of us made it to the cub scout meeting and even then, they were 30 minutes late for it.
After AG and his dad left for the meeting, and Darius and Javaris went home, I was alone in a kitchen that looked like a band of 14-year-old boys had tried to cook a Thanksgiving feast in it using materials from 1812. I hardly knew where to start. But I loaded the dishwasher. I washed the remaining dishes by hand. And then I decided to mop. While the mop water was filling the sink, I figured I would use my time to vacuum the rest of the downstairs.
Sorta forgot about that mopping business. When I remembered, I had this to contend with.
The picture doesn’t do justice to the 1/8th of an inch left before the Red Sea spilled over onto my dirty kitchen floor. I guess that wouldn’t be the worst thing, but it’s also not the most efficient way to mop.
And then I threw the gyrating monks into their beds and asked them to chant less vociferously.
That’s the last thing I remember. The rest is fuzzy.
All I know for sure is I went biking tonight in my pajamas and I’m pretty sure that’s not  okay.

Shudder

Let’s make this short, so as not to traumatize anyone.

Last night I needed diapers. Well, I did not need the diapers. Some certain bladder-control-challenged short members of my family needed the diapers. What I needed was exercise, so I decided to combine my need with the need of the short incontinent people. (Is that the right word? Doesn’t look right somehow. As I stare at it now, it looks like a person without a continent. Like…a person caught in the air between Africa and Australia. OK. Moving on.) I got on my bike. My bike has been somewhat neglected, as we don’t have a garage. So I tried to WD40 the pedals and wheels and chain. And I took off.

I even grabbed my son’s Hot Wheels bike lock.

Awesome. The wind in my hair. Sleek. Zipping in and out of traffic.

Grabbed that bike lock. Grabbed a back pack for the diapers.

Did not grab my wallet.

Back home again, sleek and zipping, wind in hair. ANNNND, we’re off a second time. Less sleek. Less zippy. Still got the wind in the hair.

Whatever. I managed to cram two packs of diapers into that backpack and started back home.

I didn’t smell so good when I got here. But I needed to mop. So I did that whole thing, to get just a tiny bit more smelly and sweaty. And then I showered.

I was clean. And feeling groovy.

Until I felt a bug in my hair. On my scalp. Setting up shop. Having a carnival.

There are several things that are efficient solutions to having a bug in your hair. Meticulously and calmly removing it. Asking someone with more sanity and presence of mind for some help. What I do NOT recommend is thrashing like a woman possessed to the point that you will feel as if all of your ribs are broken when you awaken the following morning. Yes, all ribs broken. Somehow. Maybe that’s from the sleek zipping on the bicycle. I rather think it’s from the bug thrashing.

I immediately thrashed until I thought I was going to knock the pictures off the wall, all while yelling and frothing at the mouth. Then, I immediately (Can you immediately do something twice in a row. Do you feel the urgency here?) turned the shower back on, full blast, as hot as I could stand it, and immersed my buggy head. I washed every strand of every crazy clump of hair on my head. Perhaps that also could account for this morning’s broken ribs. As I was washing manically, I was thinking, “How’d he get in there? What was he thinking as he set up shop? Was he trying to escape or is he now heartbroken to have been discovered? What happens if I don’t get him out? How will I live, sharing my very large head with a bug?” Blah. Blah. Blah. And then, 45 minutes later (not really), I raised my head up from the shower head and I saw him. A very traumatized, very dead bug.

Shudder.

I thought I was going to have to shave my head. If I’d done that, this would be altogether a different kind of post. Still thinking about doing it, but I’d like to combine that move with the purchase of a convertible.

Must go. Everything takes longer when your ribs are broken, and I have to get two boys off to school.

Somebody got his number

I am sitting here in my brown chair lamenting the fact that I am awake, since I spent much of last night holding a throw up bowl under Mamasboy’s chin. However, I am not lamenting the REASON I am still up. I am waiting to hear what the President has to say about the fact that Osama bin Laden has been killed. We all remember where we were when this whole terror thing started. I was in my beloved Honda CRV on the way to Ben’s 2nd birthday party. My oldest and only child, AG, was rear facing in an infant car seat. He was 4 months old.

I couldn’t find a song on any radio station because the news people just kept talking. I didn’t know what they were talking about. It was the worst thing they’d seen in 30 years of their journalism careers. What? What’s the worst thing? I had a cell phone. I called home. My husband and parents-in-law were dolling themselves up for the same birthday party, but hadn’t left home yet.

“Turn on the TV,” I said to Todd. “Something huge has happened. Tell me what it is.”

And that’s when the sick feeling set in and the news unfolded. The three still at home sat there in horror and watched the second plane hit and the towers collapse. I listened to things on a loud speaker in the lobby of the clubhouse where the party was held. I couldn’t help but note the contrast that day. Inside, there were Oreo sundaes and gifts and drooling babies running around. Outside in the lobby, there was speculation that a war had begun. And the bad news just kept coming. I walked back into that party room and looked at my tiny son, still strapped in his carrier. He was wearing blue keds and a party hat that dwarfed his tiny bald head. What kind of world are you going to grow up in? I had to ask myself. When I had awakened that morning, this question had clear answers. Now, the game was changing.

Ten years later, it is May 1 and I am watching the news report that they have killed the man that started this whole mess. And oddly enough, I am watching this with my husband and parents-in-law. I hope the game is changing again. I hope there will be less terror and more peace. I hope the President will come out and say something before I pass out. I hope.

Snappshots First Annual CONE OFF at the Park

Weird food competitions at the park seem to be the new Friday tradition. Last Friday, you might have observed my attempt at eating a tomato. Contrary to popular hypothesis, I did not actually throw up that tomato. I gagged. A lot. And I would have thrown up if I had continued. Instead, I spat it out and chucked it. And that was that.

Today was a McDonalds vanilla cone eat-off with Erin the Organizer and Jessie the Icecreamater. In the video, I referred to Erin as the Devourer. (I cannot say that out loud. I tried three times and bungled it every time.) But Erin the Organizer stands, because she strategically planned out her cone eating agenda. Top, top, side, side, bottom, bottom.

Watch. And be amazed. Be very amazed.

I laugh every time I watch this for a few reasons:

  • Jessie is adorable. I got beat by a 7 year old.
  • Erin is FIERCE. I had no idea what I was dealing with. You can tell that by my passive Mary Poppins around-the-cone eating pattern that I chose. What was I thinking. She was T-Rex eating rabbit whole. You can almost hear the bones crunching.
  • Things are popping out all over on Erin’s face due to the intense focus. It’s intense. Watch it more than once.
  • I went on with my Mary Poppins thing long after she had won. Dummy.
  • My son, Mamasboy, is loitering in the background. What must  he think of me and of his upbringing? I should ask him. Except I’m afraid of what he’ll say.
  • The Informinator was betting on Erin. Traitor.
  • Two others were rooting for Jessie. Whatever.

Same time next Friday for a Food Off.