October 29, 2010

the winter of our discount tent . . . my own Shakespearean tragedy in six acts

We used to have this little, gray two-and-a-half person tent. We might still have it. Somewhere. The point is, we used to sleep in it. No, the point is, we used to lie down in it and wish we could sleep. The other point is, it reminded me of the following:

To pee or not to pee
That is the question. Many, many moons ago I tagged along on an overnight retreat to this island in the middle of the lake, armed with nothing but a few coolers, fewer tents, and a fishing boat. I knew what the sleeping arrangements were, but it never occurred to me to ask what the facilities arrangements were. Turns out, the facilities arrangements were not. We were completely sans potty, not even a respectable wooden outhouse. So, "to pee or not to pee?" The answer is no. Not to pee. Not once. I managed to "hold it" for 36 hours. Yes, I did. Might be my greatest accomplishment to date.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks
I needed sleep. I was 7 months pregnant with my firstborn and this was critical stretch-mark timing. I did not want to be tossing and turning and straining . . . and stretch-marking. We camped on the beach with our sweet friends, Shawn and Pam on our way to The End of the Road in Homer, Alaska. Pam and I got the tent. I don't know where the boys slept, but, in retrospect, I suspect they shared a king-sized air mattress under the stars, while Pam and I were left to sleep on rocks. Not sand. Not dirt. Rocks. And while there were no resulting stretch marks, the pitting from 7 hours on the rocks lasted a good week. I'm just sayin'.

To sleep, perchance to dream
Two years after "tent on the rocks", I spent a couple of weeks at summer camp as the activities director. Kacey was two and tagged along easily, as 50% of this camp was comprised of teenage girls who refused to let her walk. One night, at 7, Kacey fell sound asleep during the hour-long devotional time. When we got to the tent around 9, mommy was sleepy, as I had been awake since 4:30 a.m., but Kacey was WIDE awake. Anyway, being the good mommy that I am, I couldn't just go to sleep until she did. So I rocked her and scratched her little back and sang her songs. Lots of songs. Repetitive songs. Annoying songs. Old MacDonald's Farm turned into a zoo, Found a Peanut took me from "It was rotten" all the way to playing a harp in hell, dear Liza nagged on and on about The Hole in her Bucket, and The Wheels on the Bus went round and round and round and round and . . .

Sweets to the Sweet
I want to preface the rest of this story by saying we opted NOT to give our children sugar, in any form, for as long as we could manage it. And we had managed it to this point. No soft drinks, no cookies, no M&M's, just a healthy little girl who was very happy to eat fruit and veggies. So, the Wheels on the Bus went round and round and round and mommy fell asleep . . . and woke the next morning to find my daughter face down on the floor of the tent, deep in a self-induced sugar coma, her little body encircled by a rainbow of wrappers from eating an entire BAG of Starburst she found in the suitcase. An ENTIRE bag. She liked sugar.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and your washer
In 1993, we went to Gatlinburg on the absolute cheapest vacation we could plan. Well, maybe not THE cheapest, because we could have gone to visit my parents, who would have fed us and babied us and entertained the kids, but we wanted an adventure. We planned to tent-camp, fish, cook our own meals and sleep in the two-and-a-half-person tent . . . all four of us. It was the cheapest vacation we could plan . . . because we had no money. I mean, we had NO money. If we had, you KNOW I would have been tracking down the nearest Hyatt Place, but there was NO wiggle room in the travel budget.

The cowboy didn't want to make reservations. After all, we were just tent-camping, we would just "wing it" and camp when we found a place that suited us. The internal organizer in me tried to protest. She screamed inside my head, "NO!!! We have children and I'm a bit neurotic about spontaneity if it's not scheduled in advance! But I decided to play along. We went in June. I mentioned Gatlinburg, right? In June? And the fact that we had no reservations? Well, I had reservations alright, but not the kind that held a place for us to pitch our tent. So at 5 p.m. we started looking for a place to camp . . . and finally found ONE open site just after 11 p.m.

Out, Out Danged Spot!
The spot we got was on the trail to the bathhouse, so every person who walked by us woke Kevin up and Kevin, being only WEEKS old, only knew how to do one thing when he woke up: scream. Which he did. Continuously. All night. And Kacey, age 6, was forced to sleep at a 90-degree angle with her head above ours and her feet in my kidneys. Did I mention Kacey is a kicker? The next night, our car broke down, and I was left on the side of the road for 2 hours with two hungry kids, Kevin being the only one able to use me as a vending machine, while Gregory dealt with mechanics and tow-trucks. Paying to get the car fixed meant the travel budget was now seriously overdrawn. We caught no fish. Kacey got a tick the size of Luxembourg embedded in her skull. By the time we left our spot and headed home, we didn't even have enough money to do our laundry. So when we hit Nashville, instead of taking I-40 home to Jackson, we took I-24 straight to Mom & Dad's house. When we arrived, I put my son, still in his carseat, on the front porch with a note that said, "My family is destitute. Will you please take us in, feed us, and let us wash our dirty laundry?" I did a "Ding Dong Ditch" and ran back to the car.

By the time we went home the next day, we were frustrated, broke, and Kacey had a lymphatic infection. But our clothes were spotless.

October 23, 2010


As I sat in the Tennessee Miller Coliseum this weekend, about as interested in the Saddle Boy Competition as a toddler is in church, I learned that I was the only person in the 3,000-seat arena playing Sudoku on an iPod instead of watching the events. I also learned THIS . . .

Fifteen Reasons I Can Never Be a Cowgirl:
1. I do not have a cowboy, or in my case, a cowgirl hat.
2. I do not wear boots, well not cowboy boots.
(Pretty sure those thigh-high red leather boots in the back of my closet don't count.)
3. The only cow I care to ever rope better be served medium rare with a baked potato.
4. My jeans are flared, not boot cut, and with these hips I don't need a belt, making it impossible to display a belt buckle the size of Rhode Island.
5. I have never seen National Velvet, My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion, or even Disney's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
6. I do not wear flannel . . . except for my footie pajamas.
7. I was disappointed to discover that burros are not deep-fried, chocolate-dipped burrito/churro combinations.
8. I do not walk outside, breathe deeply and say,
"I love the smell of horse manure in the morning!"
9. I do not have visible studs or rhinestones on any of my clothing. Visible.
10. I don't smoke. That's not to say, however, that I'm not smokin'.
11. I never wanted a pony as a child, not even for my Barbies. All I wanted was a blond, tan Ken doll (the one in the Hawaiian shirt) and the Barbie Winnebago.
12. Salad dressing is the only ranch I am interested in. And even then I prefer a nice raspberry vinagrette.
13. I'm deathly allergic to country-western music. Seriously. I hear it and my ears start to bleed.
14. I have no idea what cantering is. However, if it has anything to do with people bringing me hors d'oeuvres, I like it . . . oh wait, that's not cantering, that's catering. Never mind.
15. Based on the fact that my vehicle was the ONLY mini-van in the Coliseum's four enormous parking lots here at the Saddle Boy Competition, I have to assume it is illegal to pull a stock trailer with a Honda Odyssey.

I also learned that cowgirls get a bit testy when you ask them why they aren't more appropriately called horsegirls. And I learned when wishing a cowperson "Good Luck", you should never, ever say, "Break a Leg!"

October 18, 2010

i'll be right back . . . not

I do NOT love horror movies. I do not care to watch throats slit or axes through the chest or decapitated heads rolling around or bowels spilling out onto the ground. But, when I was in high school, well, let's just say that Freddie and Jason and Michael Myers (the one who chased Jamie Lee Curtis, not the one that says "Groovy, baby" with a British accent) were must-see-horror-viewing. Poltergeist, The Shining, When a Stranger Calls, The Amityville Horror, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and my personal favorite, Friday the 13th.

It could be my favorite because it starred a very young Kevin Bacon at the beginning of his career. Or it could be because it takes place at a summer camp in 1980 - and who doesn't have amazing memories of summer camp 1980? Or it could be because the scary Crystal Lake forest noises sound a bit like Lamaze breathing.

Whatever the reason, this little slash-and-stalk flick has a kitschy quality for me. It has great heckling properties. The acting is atrocious. The dozen not-too-bright camp counselors spend their pre-death scenes running around in their underwear, alone in a midnight thunderstorm just begging to be killed. The dialogue consists of each character, in turn, saying, "I'll be right back", which of course, turns out to never be true. And, as is the case with most horror movies, the dumber and sluttier you are, the sooner you come to a quick and violent and bloody demise. Much too much for me to stomach nowadays.

Tonight, while flipping channels during the Yankees/Rangers game because the score had been 2-0 since the first inning, I ran across "Friday the 13th" on AMC. AMC? You know what that means? That means the boobies and blood have been edited out. YES! Score! I can watch this little gem without averting my eyes or losing my turkey sandwich! So, that's what I do. I watch.

But watch what? Turns out, there is no story line in this 90-minute screamer. "Friday the 13th", when you edit out all the nudity and violence and sex and gore, is just 12 minutes of a bunch of dumb people walking around in the dark.

October 16, 2010

big blog trouble

I keep running out of blog ideas. Yesterday I googled "Fun Things to Blog" and got page after page about how to do product reviews and interviews and political rants and household tips and all I could think was "WHO WANTS TO READ ABOUT THAT???" Actually, I guess a lot of people do, but they aren't the people reading my blog. Of course, if I blogged about those things, maybe they WOULD be the people reading my blog.

I could write about my current life's excitement, but last night I watched "Assault of the Sasquatch" on Chiller, and it was so bad I couldn't even heckle it, so I spent 2 hours stalking people on Facebook instead. This morning, I am sitting on the couch watching another movie and using a pile of unfolded laundry as a blanket because my hair is wet and I'm freezing and I don't want to get up and get dressed because I might miss the part where Stanley Tucci sucks his housekeeper's toes. It's quite disturbing. Using the laundry as a blanket, I mean. Stanley Tucci sucking on toes is a riot. (If you share my sense of humor, the movie "Big Trouble" is a must-see. Mike, this does not apply you.)

What I really should do, according to my mother, is write a book. At least 3 of you keep telling me I'm Erma Bombeck-ie, who was quite the best-seller back in the 70's. The rest of you, of course, have no idea who Erma Bombeck is, but she was hysterical, and wrote newspaper columns and multiple books ("If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?" and "I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression") She shared the difficulties of being a stay-at-home mother and housewife. I, however, haven't been a stay-at-home mom in nearly 7 years, and my only difficulty as a housewife is figuring out how I'm going to afford a maid to clean my house once my son goes to college next year and I can't use him as free slave labor.

I'm now to the part of the movie where the guy who plays Kronk is running naked through the airport, Tim the Tool-Man Taylor is attempting to throw a nuclear bomb off a charter plane to the Bahamas, and the spirit of Martha Stewart is barking "Arugula!". In the meantime, though my toes are warm under the pile of towels, my wet hair has turned into icy dreadlocks.

Seriously, I have nothing to blog about.

October 14, 2010

a love letter

I am completely in love with you
you have stolen this heart of mine
with your cute little dent and your sweet face
with your precious toes
with the noises you make when I kiss you
with the way you smell
I want to bury my face in your neck and breathe you in
and I would be perfectly happy
if I could just hold you forever

October 06, 2010

Not THAT kind of action movie

I have always been a moderately-picky mom when it comes to movie "appropriateness" (LOOK IT UP. It's Scrabble-acceptable.) Just because a movie is rated "PG" does NOT mean I would allow it, nor does an "R" rating mean it is automatically banned. I am much more apt to allow violence than I am sex, more apt to allow language if it is in context and not superfluous. Anyway . . .

I was telling my husband the other day about an "action/adventure" movie my mom suggested for us to watch when Kacey was about 12. We rented this movie based on her recommendation, and it turned out to be on the verge of pornographic . . . seems my mom only managed to see the "adventure" part of this movie and had slept through the 20 minutes of "action". Anyway . . .

As I was telling him about it, I was describing how this was back when we were first beginning to branch out into "adult-themed" movies. Then, feeling the need to clarify what could be misconstrued, I said, "Not as in 'ADULT, adult-themed, just that she was 12 and we were coming right out of watching movies like 'Free Willy'."

"Well," he replied, "Isn't THAT adult-themed???"