Monday, July 6, 2009

I've corrupted the Yute

I'm a second-generation river rat. My dad went on a Colorado Grand Canyon river trip in his early 20's and was bitten by the river bug so badly that he became a river guide. That is, in fact, where he met my mother, who was a passenger on one of his trips.

In my teens and 20's, he took me and my siblings on many week-long river trips, one of which was Cataract Canyon, a section of the Colorado River that kills a few people every year because it's so big and nasty. On that trip, the boat I was in flipped and we went through two of the biggest rapids in our lifejackets. The boatman cursed, the two other girls in the boat cried, and I laughed like a lunatic that I got to experience being eaten by the biggest whitewater in the U.S. Everybody's got some crazy in them, and this is mine. I LOVE BIG WATER.
(*I do not claim this is my ONLY crazy, smartasses.)

My dad, who I call the Dread Pirate, now lives 10 minutes away from me, and he spends his summers in a blissful gauntlet of one river trip after another. Last summer, he took me, my husband and his best friend Dan on the Clark Fork River in Montana. Here are some highlights.

Dan looks worried. He knows we're a little nuts when it comes to dangerous fun. My husband Barry is the big, white, almost transparent one.

Here we are approaching the rapid called Tumbleweed, aptly named, as it turns out.

Yeah, baby.

The disembodied ghost hand.

And there is my foot, as I was unceremoniously yanked right out of the boat. I was hanging on TIGHT. And the hands of a massage therapist are not weak.

They didn't even realize I was gone. I had to say flatly, from in the water, "I'm out. Of the boat."

That trip last summer was fun.

The Dread Pirate has told my seven-year-old daughter, who keeps asking when she can go rafting, that she is ready for whitewater when he can throw her into any body of water and she comes up laughing. Well, that kid has been in the pool, the lake, and the Spokane River every day since school got out, no matter how cold the water, so last week when we went camping and rafting on the Salmon River, my dad invited her to come with us. The rapids on the Salmon are no joke. At times, her eyes were so big they took up half her face. When we were done, she said, "Again."

Notice her little arms holding onto the boat for dear life. Haha.

Faith's first river trip, thumbs up.

She wanted to try rowing. The Dread Pirate almost burst with joy.

Faith's second trip, the next day. Bigger water, still smiling.

I asked her at one point if she really liked it, and her response was "Har har har! Bring it on!" The corruption of the yute is compete.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Proof I've been completely hillbilly-ized

I ride ATV's in the mountains with a whelp on the back and whoop and holler when I hit the big jumps.

This week, I am going camping on the banks of the Salmon River with my family. My dad, the Dread Pirate Jeffery, will be taking us white water rafting, and my mother will feed us dutch oven delicacies cooked over open flame.

I'm not bringing makeup, or any hair accoutrements except for rubber bands and bandanas. I plan to spend most of my time in a swimsuit. I hope I will not look at road kill and start drooling.

Be back on Saturday!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Gays Are Coming!

Every summer, the town I work in is flooded by professional actors who come to do 4 or 5 shows for Coeur D'Alene Summer Theater. They are vivid and enthusiastic and stunningly talented.

**If you've been with me awhile, you may remember last year when my gay spa friend Eric made me, I mean, ASKED me to come to Sunday night karaoke at the Shore Lounge to sing him a Cher song for his birthday. Well, the room was rotten with summer theater people, as as I sat there, I shrank a bit with each mind-blowing rendition. These people don't sing a song, they perform it. They don't even look at the words, and they can make it funny or sad or quirky. And they are all gorgeous. I was bedraggled from just getting off a seven hour shift, massaging rich people, and I had on wrinkled khaki shorts and a droopy ponytail. I had long since sweated off my makeup. Pathetic as my appearance may have been, I held my own on the singing end, and the gays seemed to approve. Eric told me later that they would have been pretty vocal if they didn't like me. You don't mess with Cher unless you can do it right when the gays are around.

So tomorrow I'm taking my husband to his first musical at the Coeur D' Alene Summer Theater. My husband is not a muscial type of guy, normally. The only reason I know he'll love this one is because it's "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". Joseph is his favorite story from the Bible, plus he's a rabid Elvis fan, and the Pharoah in "Joseph" is, essentially, Elvis.

Then, in about a month, Eric's birthday rolls around again. He's having himself another karaoke birthday party, and he insists that I sing for him, but this time in costume. I promised to do so because I love Eric. But now I really have to get it together. It's one thing to be able to sing just like Cher, it's quite another to have the look and the mannerisms. Eric said he wants at least one hair swing and "ho-o-o-o!" Crap. I have one month. The gays are coming.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lindsey is snarling to herself again

So yesterday my mom, my married sister and I were throwing a Father's Day BBQ for the men. Being only 1/3 of the committee, I was outvoted and the menu was largely ribs and chicken wings, neither of which I eat. (Too much work for too little meat, lots of gristle and fat mixed in...ick.) I volunteered to bring potato wedges and pasta salad, thinking I'd at least have two things to eat, albeit a major carbo load. About two hours before dinner time, my dad calls me up and asks if I can come over early to give him a massage. (That's OK, because it pisses me off if I find out that a family member is in pain and DOESN'T ask me for a massage.) I packed up my carbs and headed over to my parents' house in the mountains.

**Now, just so you have the full picture here, a family get-together in my house consists of my parents, me and my husband and two kids, my unmarried sister Sabina and most likely her boyfriend Chad, my married sister Ashley, her husband Bruce, and their three kids, and, if we're lucky, my neo-hippie brother Jesse. The children are insanely loud and the adults are sasquatches, so it's crowded and aurally painful. There are also some hangers-on who occasionally accompany this crowd of pandemonium. Jesse has a girlfriend, Addy, who is very sweet. They break up every other week. (She has two kids who I hear are super-annoying, but I have never met them. I usually don't like other people's kids.) Chad has a daughter who is 16 and likes to text a lot. He also has a mother who is bi-polar and doesn't like to take her medicine. Oh, and she takes other people's stuff and won't admit it.

As I am working on my dad's seven-mile long back (he's 6'6"), he gets a text message. Chad's mom is coming. My brows lower. I have made a finite amount of potato wedges and pasta salad! I have to hide the fly-fishing bag I use as a purse with the garage sale money in it! How rude of people to throw last minute additions onto a dinner party!
"I'm annoyed," I grumble.
My dad sighs. "Yeah," he agrees. "We'd better let Mom know."
We yell up to her, and she pauses momentarily, then cheerfully bustles about, setting another place. Last minute guests never seem to irritate the crap out of her like it does me, unless her family is coming, and then she's like Mommy Dearest. Those Mormon relatives of hers are like Stepford Wives with their perfection and it sends my mom into a dark place.

Anyway, my mood lasts through the rest of the massage, I get madder when Ashley, who is cooking the wings, shows up late and we have to wait for her to cook her stuff before we can eat. Then my potato wedges start sticking to the pan when I try to flip them, and I growl about the fates aligning against me whenever I try to cook, even if I follow directions to the letter.

But wait! Chad and Sabina show up minus bipolar mom, who has apparently swung to the anti-social end of the spectrum, my potato wedges start cooperating, and I actually try some ribs, which aren't as fatty or gross as I had previously thought. Crisis averted.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Unphotogenic Pictures

I was feeling pretty good about myself. That is, until most of my hair got pulled out and I saw THESE.

This was the game I made up for Dawn's bachelorette party: How many balls can you fit into your mouth? Believe it or not, I only had nine at this point. And I apparently have narcolepsy.

Now, prepare yourselves. This is, by far, the worst picture ever taken of me. I look like "Mask". I debated even putting this up, but why stop now, right? UGH. Shudder.

I hope to all that is good and holy that that heinous stomach roll is just shirt, but I fear it's the Phantom of the Opera trying to burst through into the light.

DARE anyone argue that I am the queen of unphotogenic?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I'm actually SORE

I laughed so hard at this. I LOVE Will Ferrell.

What the fricking-frack? I can't put the actual video on here. Sigh. I know that means no one will go watch this, but, you know what? Whatever. My kid has been yapping in my ear for the last 20 minutes and my brain is about to explode from audio-poison.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm 33 now.

And this is what I did to prove it. Yeah, baby.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Life Lesson

OK, so I'm leaving in less than 48 hours, but I just had to squeeze in one more post, just to pass on the lesson I learned today, in hopes I can spare just one of you from my pain.

NEVER EVER EVER EVER GET YOUR ARMPITS WAXED. I'm not even close to kidding. I thought, "Well, I get waxing done for free at the spa, and I would like pearly, stubble-free, razor-burn-free armpits so that I may do the YMCA dance at the wedding without fear."

First of all, waxing your pits hurts like hellfire. I had to do lamaze breathing, and I am no pansy. I'd rather have my bait shop waxed than my pits.

Second, YOU BLEED. Accprding to the esthetician, everyone bleeds, but I bled more than most. Terrific.

Third, waxing doesn't get all of the hair out. After they've waxed all they can, and you're whimpering in the fetal position for Calgon to take you away, they PLUCK the rest out with tweezers.

I stupidly had this done at the beginning of my shift today, and then I had to do THREE deep tissue massages with armpits that felt like buzzards were ripping strips of flesh off of me.

Learn from my mistake, young ones. A little pit stubble or razor burn ain't gonna kill ya, but waxing those pits just might.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What was I thinking? The day I ran a race.

I ran a race yesterday in Spokane called "Bloomsday". It is seven-point-something miles of torture, because it's not flat ground the whole way (oh, wait, I live in the MOUNTAINS now?) and there are lots of people who do not obey the walk-right-run-left rule. This not only added AT LEAST another half-mile onto my run by having to zig-zag amongst the hand-holding schmoopies dressed in spiderman costumes and some old man carrying an folded-up umbrella that he was swinging so hard I thought he was going to impale someone, but tested my patience. Had I not been gasping for air like Princess Buttercup after emerging from the sand pits in the Fire Swamp, I'd have yelled "RUN LEFT! WALK RIGHT! SO WE ARE NOT HERE ALL NIGHT!!" to everyone breaking the rule. I confess to not running the entire thing due to a ridiculous half-mile-long hill they call Doomsday, and I think I may have permanently damaged vital organs, but I finished and got my t-shirt, which my daughter promptly ran off with when I got home. Now I hurt all over. I tried to get out of bed this morning and my feet snorted derisively and said, "Nice try, moron. You make us run twice the longest distance you've ever run in your life and then expect to put any weight on us the next day? Grab a wheelchair, pal."

I was wearing my shirt, though, Steph, so everyone that looked to see who was sucking wind so loudly saw your blog site. I'd post the picture of me, but I'm too computer-stoopid to get it off my camera and the spouse is in Seattle.

Next year I'm walking that mother.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


In my world, people fall into two categories: photogenic and unphotogenic. I fall into the latter, of course. This curse usually doesn’t strike until you start first grade. Before then, children are immune to bad pictures; even the goofy ones look adorable. But eventually, those doomed to Quasimodo-photo-itis will see their pictures descend into the grotesque. Whether the shots are posed for or candid, they are unbecoming.
In my case, whenever a camera is in evidence, my cheeks inflate to Chevy Astro van airbag size, my eyes disappear into barely visible slits, and my nose casts a massive shadow that covers most of my mouth. My hair will plaster itself to my skull on top and frizz out at the bottom. My body slouches into a scoliosis-like position, and my gums will look about two miles high. I have so many pictures that can be used as blackmail that I have given up trying to burn them all.
Here are some of the worst examples of my curse: When I was 12, my mother was going to bring us kids to the local photographer to get the yearly picture taken. I let my mother convince me to let her do my hair. I was growing out a perm, first of all. Second of all, my mouth had yet to experience any kind of orthodontic help, so my two front teeth looked capable of building a dam across the Mississippi. Third of all, it was the eighties. Have a mental picture yet? My mother, with the help of the mangled, permed hair, managed to construct a gravity-defying sculpture that was a clearly defined “up” arrow. I, having already suffered through a good six years of unphotogenic pictures, thought that maybe she knew better than I did what would look good on film. The result, which hangs on my grandmother’s photo wall, is a disaster of epic proportions. Every new addition to the family, boyfriends, girlfriends, newborn babies, will peruse the photo wall for the first time, stop at that picture, squint at it as if to see if it might be trick photography, then burst into helpless laughter, tears streaming down their faces. It has happened so many times that I have become immune to the ridicule.
Another such example took place when I was 14 and went with my mother, my sister, and some of my mother’s family on a trip to New York State to visit the various landmarks. Besides being unphotogenic, I was fashion-challenged and created some of the most criminal outfits and accessories known to man. By this time, I had braces, but as a result found it very hard to close my mouth over both my teeth and the braces. I could do it, but it took major mouth muscles and my chin would wrinkle from the sheer strain of it. All of the pictures from that trip that include me are foul, but the most heinous is one where all of us stood at the top of a tiered hill that had a statue at the top. There were hedges around every tier, and my uncle stood one tier down and told us all to smile down at him. I don’t know whether I didn’t hear the command or didn’t feel like smiling, but amidst the smiling faces of my family, peering maliciously over the hedge, is a scowling, wrinkle-chinned face, its hair pulled back both by a rubber band and a cloth headband. My sister shows that picture to me at least once a year, before nearly passing out from hysterical giggles.
The last and most complete humiliation happened as a result of my friend Pam’s boyfriend deciding to propose. He devised a plan in which he would dress up as the mall Santa and I would invite Pam on a Christmas shopping trip and suggest that we get my three-month-old daughter’s first picture with Santa taken. The plan came together and Pam’s mother called all of the local newspapers to make sure it was well-documented. Pam had no idea it was her boyfriend Matt underneath the beard and fatsuit as we plopped my drooling baby daughter onto his lap and crouched on either side of his Santa-throne “to make sure the baby didn’t cry”. After the official picture was taken, “Santa” suggested that Pam sit on his lap. I backed up a little, holding my daughter. As Matt brandished the engagement ring, Pam let out a shriek that echoed through every corner of the mall. As I remember it, I let out a musical, feminine chuckle. The newspaper photo that appeared in the next day’s paper told a different story. There was Pam, perched sweetly on her new fiancee’s lap, looking shocked and overjoyed, hands to her face. There was Matt, showing her the ring he spent three months’ salary on. There, in the back and to the left, holding a baby, is a braying elephant seal. Head thrown back, nostrils aflare, mouth the size of a cantaloupe. You can almost hear the earsplitting honk-laugh that accompanied. To make it that much worse, this was not just fodder for my family, this was on display for the entire county. Old schoolmates would see it and shake their heads, saying to each other “That Lindsey hasn’t changed much.” People would cut it out and tack it up on bulletin boards with the header, “When Sea Lions Attack”. I could only hope that time would erase the evidence until Pam’s mother assured me she had multiple copies of the paper and had the article pasted into a scrapbook for Pam.
We of the cursed know we only have one option when faced with having our pictures taken. Drag as many other people into the frame as possible, smile gently with our mouths closed, and fade unnoticeably into the background, blending in with the shadows. Long live the unphotogenic!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Oh, right, bills and housework and...stuff.

So the man of the house has left for Seattle for two weeks of new job training. He gets to stay in a five star hotel room, eat whatever he wants on the company's dime, and has full access to a 24 Hour Fitness right across the street.

I am at home with two allergy-ridden whelps with bad attitudes, who every so often will howl "I miss Daddy!" and flail around like they've just been electrocuted. The house is a mess, complete with a bag of popcorn that was dumped out onto the playroom floor and ground into smithereens by four-year-old feet. I have bills to pay. I have dishes to wash. I have floors to vacuum. I have a diet to stick to, work to go to, a kid to get to school and soccer practice. (Oh, and help do reading, math, spelling, and various other homework. Why the hell does a second-grader have two hours of homework a night?)

I have exercise to do, not only because of the bridesmaid dress sneering at me from inside my closet, but also because I brilliantly signed up to do a SEVEN AND A HALF MILE RUN on Sunday. Am I mental? I've never run more than THREE miles at a time, and nearly died while doing so!

The next two weeks are going to be trying. However, two days after the spouse walks through the door, I leave for Chicago for eight days. I'll chuckle evilly when I hear "I miss Mommy!" being wailed from inside the house as I leave.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Nature Boy

Two of the neighborhood teenyboppers came up to me the other day and said, "Uuuuummm, Wyatt's mom? We just think that you should know that, like, Wyatt has peed in our yard twice in the past two days."

That's my boy, the world is your toilet.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let me school you... stupid piece of crap scale in my bathroom. I eat LESS and exercise MORE, and the number YOU show me in the morning goes DOWN. DOWN, DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?!? NOT UP ALMOST ONE POUND IN 24 FREAKING HOURS! That goes against the laws of PHYSICS! And if I don't get that bridesmaids dress to zip up by May 16th, if I have to duct tape it shut or punch holes in it and thread a shoelace through it, I will go Michael Bolton from Office Space on you. I will beat you like Samir and Michael beat the fax machine in the field. Because it will be YOUR fault, bathroom scale, if I don't lose enough weight in the next month. It will also be that online dress company's fault for not making the dress the right size. I measured right. I know I did.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Salvaged from the old blog: BUGS

I have killed some bugs in my time. Granted, if it’s a spider of any size, I use a wad of paper towels the size of a boxing glove, but the end result of death to the bug is all that matters. That is immediately followed by flinging the wad as far from my person as possible, and doing the obligatory “get it OFF me” seizure, which consists of hopping from foot to foot while turning in a circle, whacking myself with open palms, and emitting a “hoo-hoo-heh-heh-heh” noise. Before you smirk at my cowardice, allow me to regale you with the spider horror story of my youth.
I was sleeping soundly on the top bunk in one of my childhood homes, my sisters snoring away below. Some malicious-bug sense woke me from my slumber. I opened my eyes to behold a spider crouched on my pillow, inches from my face. As I opened my mouth to shriek, the spider launched into action. It scurried towards me, onto my face, into my mouth, out of my mouth, and then I don’t know where it went because I had lost the ability to function as a human being. I thrashed around like a landed fish, fell five feet from the top bunk to the floor and began to beat myself about the head, hoping to dislodge the demon spider in case it was still around. I spoke in tongues as I crawled to the bathroom, dry heaving for a good ten minutes into the toilet bowl.
With this sort of memory lurking in my brain, it is a miracle that I don’t start to gibber and convulse when I see a spider. Spiders, however, are not my only bug enemy. I have, on occasion, come across other aggressive bugs that don’t have the natural fear of humans that the smart bugs do. It creeps me out worse than my imagined angry ghosts at 2am, because I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in bugs. Bugs are EVERYWHERE.
The scariest bug I ever met was on the back deck of my parents’ 7th or 8th house. They were out of town and had asked me to see to things while they were gone. I had taken care of the mail and was sunning myself peacefully next to the pool when I remembered that the flowers needed to be watered. I held my mother’s showerhead watering contraption above each pot for a count of 15, hoping my black thumb disease wouldn’t somehow jump from me to my mother’s Better Homes and Gardens flower-scape. As soon as the water hit the last flowerpot, a humongous, buzzing, hopping creature burst forth, causing me to scream, fling the showerhead into the air, and run for safety. After a few minutes, I peeped my head outside. The creature had disappeared. Heart pounding, I scanned the deck for any sign of it, and all of a sudden, it raised its head above the railing of the deck. It was a praying mantis of gargantuan proportions. It looked just like all the creepy aliens I’d ever seen on the Sci-fi channel, complete with bulging eyes and triangle shaped head. It stared at me and I stared back, trying to recall if I’d ever heard of anyone being killed by a mantis. This was no normal mantis, though, because it had big huge wings. Praying mantises don’t have wings! Do they? Was this a new species of mantis, one that was flesh-eating? I thought I remembered hearing that female mantises ate their husbands. Did the females have wings? Was it going to mistake me for a husband mantis because I had no wings? Seized by this scary thought, I ran to the garage and grabbed the first thing handy, a metal grass rake. I approached the mantis, trembling rake pointed at it. It didn’t move. I slammed the rake head down on the top of the railing, a mere ¼ inch from the monster bug’s sinister alien head. NOTHING. Why wasn‘t this bug afraid?!? It must have known something I didn’t, like maybe it could spit venom into my eyes and blind me! Thoroughly shaken, I thrust the rake forward, bopping the bug off the railing altogether. It buzzing madly away into the neighbor’s yard, and landed on a tree. I tried to lay back down and relax, but my eyes kept wandering over to the tree. What if it was just waiting for me to close my eyes so it could descend onto my body and devour me? That was it. I grabbed my things, went home, and locked myself in my bug-free bedroom.
When my parents returned home, I warned them of the predator mantis, but they just laughed at me. My mother said that it’s the people who are afraid of bugs that attract the bugs TO them. Great. I’m a dead woman. My only hope is to buy one of those biohazard suits that don’t even let germs in. No monster bug is going to feast on MY flesh.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Am I ignoring the signs???

It's broke. Again. The computer is a BROKE DOWN PIECE OF JUNK. Is this a higher power telling me to leave the blogging world? Because I can't take it anymore. It's like I'm in rehab for online addicts and they've made me go cold turkey and I'm having BAD BAD withdrawal symptoms. The only computer action I get is stealing a few moments on the work computer, and most of the time I get kicked off by someone wanting to see what their 5:00 appointment is. I feel defeated.

Monday, April 6, 2009

June Cleaver, I ain't

It was a bright Saturday morning in June, and I was going to make breakfast for my new husband. We had recently returned from our honeymoon, and I was anxious to give him a preview of the delicious meals I’d be providing him with in the blissful years to come.
I didn’t have a lot of cooking experience under my belt. Mac and cheese, Ramen noodles, and sandwiches were about the only dishes I’d mastered up to this point. I once attempted buttermilk biscuits, but I didn’t know there was a difference between baking SODA and baking POWDER and what I pulled out of the oven were hockey pucks not even our dog would eat. This is not my fault. As a kid, our family moved around all the time. I went to a middle school during sixth and seventh grade where the eighth graders had Home Economics. We moved to a new town when I had one month of seventh grade left. In the new middle school, seventh graders took Home Ec. I got one lousy month of cooking grilled cheese sandwiches with a teacher who spent most of her time flirting with the assistant principal. On the first day of school, I actually filled the Home Ec room with black smoke from a charred sandwich. I got a “D“. After my parents divorced when I was 16, my grandmother made attempts to teach me how to cook, but I wasn’t interested in pot roast, I was interested in how to get A.J. Hernandez to realize I was the flat-chested, frizzy-haired woman of his dreams.
I assumed, however, that when I got married, the knowledge of how to cook, clean, sew, and throw dinner parties would just magically come to me, like it’s hidden in a female’s brain until the words “In sickness and in health” pass through her lips. All of a sudden, the secret Domestic Arts brain door would spring open and I’d become June Cleaver!
Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way. I stood in our eight-square-foot apartment kitchen and surveyed our groceries. Scrambled eggs, toast, orange juice, and sausage was surely the perfect breakfast to showcase my new culinary talents. I put the bread in the toaster, scrambled the eggs, and plopped the frozen sausage links into a pan. The toast popped up, I carefully slathered it with butter, and then realized my mistake. Oh, no! I hadn’t timed it right! The toast was done and now getting cold, and the eggs were cooking swiftly in the pan, but the sausage was still frozen! I cranked the heat under the sausage pan up to high. The higher the heat, the faster it cooks, right? The eggs finished cooking, I deposited them onto a plate with the toast and willed the sausage to cook faster. My husband sat politely at the table where I’d directed him, watching me unravel. I peeked in at the sausage. NO! NO! It was burning on the outside! I whisked it off of the stove and rolled the links onto the plate.
I walked to the table, hair awry, panting, and presented my husband with his feast. The poor guy tried. He gave a valiant effort to eat it, but the sausage was frozen in the middle, and the toast and eggs were cold. He assured me everything was delicious, he just had to heat things up in the microwave a little. I dissolved into hysterical tears, feeling the accusatory disappointment of generations of my Polish ancestors shaking their heads at my ineptitude. If I couldn’t do a simple breakfast, how was I going to manage Thanksgiving dinner, when our children and grandchildren sat at my table, anticipating the kind of delicacies my mother and grandmother have provided at every holiday feast for years? I had no business trying to be a housewife! I should release my husband from his vows! He could find himself a new wife, someone who would provide him with omelets and homemade cinnamon rolls in lingerie, instead of charred or frozen food in a ripped T-shirt and old boxer shorts.
My husband, used to dealing with unreasonable females due to the fact that he has half-Irish, half-Polish relatives, put his arms around me and assured me that it would take time to learn everything about cooking and that he wouldn’t trade me for a million other women who could cook omelets. Eventually, I calmed down and told him next time, I’d do better. But my husband is no dumb cluck. We’ve been married for six years now, and he makes his own Saturday morning breakfast as I happily munch away on my cereal. You can’t burn cereal.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Evolution of my Ears

When I was young, I played in my neighborhood with my friends until well after dark, hollering and screaming and making an unearthly racket. When I was young, I listened to music so loud in my car that the windows rattled and I danced and sang along. When I was young, I would make snide comments about old people who wanted it quiet and went to bed at 8pm. Old people who would come out of their musty houses, shaking their fists at us and telling us to shut up.
I know exactly when I made the transition from young to old. It was when I had a baby. Noise became the enemy. That tiny baby girl fought sleep like Rocky Balboa. I spent so much time leaning over the side of her crib to get her to go to sleep that my back became hunched over and it became necessary to hike my pants up to the bottom of my ribcage to keep them from falling off. I sprouted some grey hairs. My eyebrows lowered until they almost obscured my sight. I became permanently grouchy. I was OLD.
Most of my day consisted of “Putting The Baby Down“. Usually, the process would go something like this: I’d lay her down in crib and give her a pacifier. She’d spit it out and pop up to have a look around. I’d lay her head back down, give her the pacifier, and rub her back. She’d raise up, spit the pacifier across the room, and wail at me. This would go on for at least 30 minutes. Finally, her eyes would start to close. I would hold my breath. She’s….ASLEEP! I would tiptoe out of her room, but alas! I forgot about the squeaky patch in the floor! Damn! Her little fuzzy blonde head would pop up and she’d say to me, “Just WHERE do you think YOU’RE going?“ I’d hang my head and skulk back to the side of her crib for another round of pacifier hockey. When she was finally asleep and I had leapt, ninja-like, across her room, avoiding the squeaky patches and closing the door, anything and anyone that made noise above one decibel was in danger of being destroyed by a bloodshot-eyed, sleep-deprived, new mother. The lawncare workers who started mowing at 6am got the scare of their lives when I burst out my front door, howling for them to beat it or I’d suffocate them with their clippings bags. Shouting children on bikes would watch as my curtains were snatched back and my snarling face appeared at the window, daring them to keep it up. My husband knew that even though he needs the TV volume up at unreasonable levels to be able to enjoy his viewing experience, to do so when the baby was asleep would be taking his life in his hands. Any neighbors who had the unmitigated gall to throw a party and play loud music had the cops called on them, even though a year before I’d been one of the loudest guests. I have never claimed to be fair.
Later, when my daughter was 3-½, I had my son. Like his sister before him, he acted like taking him to his crib for a nap was leading him to the guillotine. I was once again the zombie mother, and it didn’t help that four of my friends had babies around my son’s age and ALL of them slept through the night by six weeks old. We had tried to prepare our daughter for the arrival of the new baby, telling her that sometimes, she would have to be quiet. Unfortunately, sometimes turned into all the time, because even if the baby wasn’t asleep, Mommy was cranky and tired and didn’t like loud noises. Our house became a BE QUIET zone. The rule was that you were always quiet unless you were otherwise instructed. My daughter began requesting trips to Nana and Grandpa’s house just so she could bang a few things around.
My son didn’t start sleeping through the night until he was nine months old. I was being punished for all of the laughing I did at old people who just wanted it quiet, for now I was old. I wanted it quiet, I wanted my sleep, and I wanted it starting at exactly 8pm!
“Yeah, well, we want food”, my children said. “And we’re wearing towels like togas because you haven’t done any laundry and we’re bored and one of us is poopy and we’re developing lung disease because the house is so dusty!”
Now I understand why the older people get, the more welcome death is. At least then you can rest in peace and quiet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


I swear, if this happens one more time, I will LOSE. IT. My bowels can't take the stress. A daily occurance:

I walk in to the bathroom and lock the door. I seat myself upon the throne and choose my reading material, even if I'm only going to be "going number one". (Bail now, kids, if this is too much for you.) Suddenly, I hear the distant rumble of whelp feet. They jiggle the door. They stick their faces along the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor to see if my feet are in evidence.

"Mom?" Inhale. Exhale. Random hairs flutter across the tiles with their breaths.

"I'm going to the bathroom, I'll be out in a minute!" I yell back. I return to my reading.

And then my kids prove why they are smarter than monkeys. They go to the OTHER door into the bathroom, that blasted why-the-hell-did-anyone-even-invent-it Jack and Jill door. (Our bathroom, mind you, is little bigger than a linen closet. It does NOT warrant two doors.) The J&J is the door that slides like a sliding glass door into the wall. It has no door knob, just a metal groove with a pitiful clasp that it "supposed" to keep the door shut if you don't want anyone coming in. My kids have figured out how to hitch the clasp up, unlock the J&J door, and slide it open. They enter, smiling in triumph, but, upon seeing my scowl and bared teeth, they change it to an innocent expression.

"I have to go to the bathroom!" they howl suddenly.

"Go downstairs!" I bark back.

"I can't make it in time!"

They do this constantly. They don't like the downstairs bathroom because the idiot who built it put the light switch halfway across the room and it's big and dark and has spiders in the summer. They only use the downstairs bathroom if the light is already on and people are dowstairs to offer spider support.

So now, I have to rush my bowels, wipe like I'm trying to start a fire without matches, and get out of the way before they pee or poop their pants.

I'm sick. and. tired. of. this. crap. Literally, haha. I plan to put buckets in their rooms so that I can finally have a BM in peace.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Start of It All: Confessions of a Hairwrecker

When my friend Sarah and I were fifteen and attending the same church, we hated each other for six months over some tubby kid with red hair and pimples who thought he was Joey Tribiani. When we finally figured out he wasn’t worth it and started hanging out, we realized we were kindred spirits. Sarah and I were both card-carrying Hair Wreckers.
Hair Wreckers are created by their mothers. When a little girl is forced to endure the humiliation of years of bad haircuts and hairstyles, she spends the rest of her life unable to leave her hair alone, striving constantly to achieve Pantene model status, hoping to alleviate the painful childhood hair memories. What she becomes is a Hair Wrecker.
Sarah and I together managed to attain new heights of bad hair that never would have happened alone. For instance, one day when we got tired of putting scotch tape on the bottoms of the paws of Sarah’s mean cat, we decided to dye our hair. I was already in the advanced stages of hag-head, having tried to chemically straighten my permed hair, perms having gone suddenly out of style. The result was that I had some fried, straight hair, some fried, frizzy hair, and some fried, curly hair. Dying it couldn’t make it any worse, I thought to myself. Sarah and I wanted to be cautious, so we chose dye that was only a few shades different than our natural color. We ended up with hair the exact same color we had started out with, just a bit more damaged.
A few years later, bored with our current hairstyles, we decided to get haircuts. I ripped a picture of Jennifer Aniston out of a magazine. This was after she had grown out the “Rachel” cut and had long, sleek layers, but the woman cutting my hair took one look at the picture and exclaimed, “Oh, I JUST learned how to do this at a seminar last weekend!” and took her scissors to my hair. I stared at my reflection when she was done. What stared back was a sad Afghan hound, short layers jutting out crazily. Sarah, two chairs over, had skipped joyfully into the salon with an exact idea in her head. She wanted the “Maddy” haircut, from the now-defunct “Mike and Maddy” talk show. Maddy had a cute, piecy crop of highlighted hair that showcased her big brown eyes. Sarah wanted that hair, and wanted it BAD. The problem is, Sarah’s hair is a separate entity, not subject to the commands of her brain. It is a reddish-brown, coarse, curly mop of stubbornness that no one person has ever been able to subdue. The Maddy cut was no exception. Sarah ended up with a wavy helmet of hair that was more suited to a 55-year-old Disco King. As we sat morosely in my room, we reasoned that maybe our cuts weren’t as bad as we thought they were. To test our theory, we went to Medieval Times, a monthly field trip for us. Every female in our section, including the ones wearing Depends and Polident, got a flower thrown to them except us. We stared at each other in dismay. If the skeezy Medieval Times knights didn’t flirt with us, we MUST be hideous! There was nothing to do but wait for the haircuts to grow out.
The following years were filled with phone calls that went something like this:
“Um…I did something.”
“WHAT. WHAT did you do? Did you wreck your hair again? You did, didn‘t you?”
I have scorched my scalp so badly it felt like a too-small swim cap when I tried to go blonde on my own. Sarah became a hair-double for Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, complete with two poofs of parted bangs because she took advantage of an $8 Bo-rics sale. We eventually started taking pictures so that when we were tempted to mess with our hair, we could look back on past mistakes and abstain. But, alas, Hair Wreckers are like drug addicts. It is a life-long affliction. Sometimes you fall off the wagon. Every time you see someone with great hair totally different from yours, you are overcome with the urge to dye and cut. Just the other day I stood, scissors in hand, ready to make myself some Salma Hayek bangs, but I managed to let the atrophied, common sense part of my brain have its say, and I put the scissors away.
Maybe Sarah and I will start HWA; Hair Wreckers Anonymous. There will be only three steps in our program:
1. Apologize to your hair.
2. Promise your hair that the only things you will do to your hair on your own is wash it and brush it.
3. Promise your hair that when you absolutely MUST do something to it, you will go to a professional who meets the following criteria:
- charges more than $11
- is recommended by at least two people with good hair
- watches other channels besides TV land and the History channel
By doing this, we will make the world a visually better place by averting our self-inflicted hair disasters. Thank you.

Friday, March 20, 2009

SALVAGED: Washington Dogs

It was Sunday night. I was pumped. I was re-motivated to start Operation Blubber-Be-Gone. So motivated that I couldn’t wait for Monday morning to start my exercise and I told my husband I was going on a walk. I hadn’t counted on Washington dogs.
I’m a Chicago suburbs girl. I’ve lived 40 minutes away from the city my entire life until about six months ago, when my husband’s work transferred him to Spokane. I am trying to acclimate to the differences between Illinois and Washington, and I was about to face a new challenge this particular night.
Now, Chicago dogs are straightforward. They see you, they bark. They see a leaf blowing down the street, they bark. They hear an ant trip over a blade of grass, they bark. Washington dogs are different. They are sneaky. They see you and they stare at you. And they wait. You watch them out of the corner of your eye as you walk and think at the dog, Don’t you bark at me, dog. See? I’m walking past. All I want to do is go on my walk. I’m not a burglar or a psycho. Let me pass in peace, dog. As soon you have decided they are going to ignore you, they let loose with a torrent of nerve-jarring barks designed not only to scare the wits out of you, but to warn their raggedy little pals down the street you’re coming. This is bad enough during the day, but sheer terror at night. At night, as on this particular Sunday night, they saw me, but I did not see them. They’d wait for me to come alongside their property and then launch themselves out of the dark at the fence separating us, snarling and barking like Old Yeller, post-rabid wolf bite. I was soon tiptoeing down the street like the doomed victim in a slasher film, hyperventilating and jerking around with every little noise. That was the last time I walked through my new Washington neighborhood at night.
Thinking I had solved the problem, I took my next walk at 7am. It was either too early for most people to have their dogs running around outside, or late enough that the dogs were indoors for the day, because I encountered no canines of any variety. Eureka!
I had been unknowingly lulled into a false sense of security. The next morning, I walked happily along, daydreaming about all of the evil stomach-pooch fat cells being blasted into oblivion. All of a sudden, a booming, crazed bark just inches from my posterior turned my internal organs to stone. The Darth Vader of sneaky Washington dogs was hurling himself at the chain link fence, slobber flying through the air. This dog was especially sneaky because, from a distance, he was a friendly Golden Retriever with a wagging tail and a jaunty kerchief tied around his neck. Upon closer inspection, however, one could see that the flab of his middle-aged dog face had settled into sinister lines. His eyes harbored a maniacal, Cujo-like glint, and his horrible bark promised pain, should the chain link fence ever give way. I had met my arch-nemesis of the canine world.
“Stop it!” I yelled. “Go inside!”
I clapped my hands at him. I tried to glare. He responded with a lunge that made my heart actually leap out of my mouth and flop onto the sidewalk, silent and still. I hustled out of range as fast as I could with my rear end clenched tight enough to crush aluminum cans.
I decided not to let the beast derail my healthy efforts. I still walk every morning, but I walk prepared. No more daydreaming. As I approach the beast’s territory, I steel myself. I scan the entire yard for him. Sometimes he hides under the deck in the shadows and then hurtles across the yard at me. He is cunning, oh yes, he is. But, I vow, never again shall he catch me unaware. I will not be intimidated and defeated by a crusty old dog. Every time I’m tempted to be lazy and skip my walk, I think, That dog WANTS you to be fat.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I'm going to try to moveon. I posted this the day I got deleted.

I actually tie-dyed my shirt blue, but apparently I got some weak dye because it faded. Some of you might consider that to be a good thing. I happen to love me some tie-dye. Everybody has their unfashionable tendencies, right? I happen to have more than normal; holey underwear (ala MOFM), the occasional flannel, moccasins...I'll stop before I lose you all forever.

Anyway, I have decided to do a Where's Waldo, but with my quirky blogger shirt. I'm going to be going a lot of places this summer, and I plan to take my shirt and take pictures of it in various cool places. Because I owe Steph big-time and because I never thanked her for sending me a Christmas card, which made me so happy I almost peed, but I probably had on holey underwear and didn't want to chance a puddle on the kitchen floor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Fist to the Face

So yesterday I triumphantly posted a picture of me wearing Steph's t-shirt. Later that night, I tried to log in. I was denied. I tried again. And again. Finally, after many panicky minutes of trying to get to my blog, sweat beading on my upper lip while I tried to figure out if perhaps I had another personality that I was unaware of, who posted porn on my blog, I found out that my husband told our anti-virus software to go ahead and "take care of" any viruses it found. My blog went with it. Everything. My unphotogenic posts, "Prepare for Pain", everything. I feel, maybe not as if a child had died, but certainly a beloved pet. This sucks GIANT...I don't even have the energy to finish my sentence. I will try to recover what I can. I had to pick a new address and everything.