Monthly Archives: August 2007

Hell on Wheels

If you can believe Wikipedia, the term “Hell on Wheels” was “…used to describe the itinerant collection of flimsily assembled gambling houses, dance halls, saloons, and brothels that sprung up as Union Pacific railroad workers… constructed the American transcontinental railroad back in the 1860s.”  I am not sure I believe this.  I think the term was coined by a mother like me who got roped into chaperoning a preschool class on a trip to a roller skating rink. 

And take my advice, if you too get roped into something like this, by all means bring your video camera.  I wish I had remembered to bring mine.

I could have, and probably should have, driven my son to the roller rink myself, in my own car and with relative peace and quiet, but it turned out that one of the preschool vans (we needed three vans to transport all of the children) had an extra seat available and my son wanted us to “ride with his friends.”  The extra seat turned out to be the one spot where only an adult could sit because the teachers couldn’t put a booster seat there as the seatbelt in that spot was broken.  And that wouldn’t be safe for a child, but the teachers thought it was perfectly fine for a grown up like me.  Although my son was certain we should ride in the van he wasn’t entirely convinced of the safety of me being without a seatbelt and insisted on holding my hand the entire way there.  If we crashed, he was going to hold me in place.  I imagine his reasoning was not unlike that of my mother’s long ago and how she used to throw her arm out across my chest when she was driving and had to slam on the brakes.  When I was a kid, mothers’ arms were the precursor to today’s air bags and my mom’s right arm kept me, (yes I was sitting in the front seat, but hey, we didn’t know any better back then) from hitting the windshield when she had to brake suddenly.  Or at least it did most of the time.  And so I found myself relying upon my son to keep me secure and in place if the van crashed and rolled.  But luckily, it didn’t.

Have you ever ridden in a van with 13 five year olds?  Thirteen 5 year olds who won’t shut up?  (“Awwww,” I can hear my son saying. “You said shut up.  That’s a bad word…”)

Preschool has a system for this.  The kids in the van are allowed to talk for five minutes to get the talking “out of their system,” then the teacher (in this case, Ms. K!) who is driving the van, turns on the radio.  When the music plays, the kids are supposed to “make a bubble” which is code for “shut your mouth.”  Only on this particular day, the kids weren’t exactly following this rule, and the teacher wasn’t exactly enforcing it.  And I didn’t have any Tylenol or earplugs with me.

If you haven’t enjoyed suffered the privilege of riding in a van with 13 children at once, I will tell you it was like traveling back in time to witness a dozen times over the bickering of my brother and I in our youth as we sat fought in the back seat of the car for 17 hours straight on our summer vacations to Florida. 

Conversations in the van swirled in the air like smoky complaints and accusations (because they were) and they sounded like this:

“Ms. K! Derek touched me!”
“I did not!” 
“Yes you did!”
“Ms. K!  Victoria is looking out the back window!  She’s not looking forward!”
“Stop!”
“No, you stop!”
“Hey Snags’ Mom! Josh stuck his tongue out at me!”
“I said stop it!”
“Ms. K! Jenny is looking at me!”
“Snags’ Mom!  Paul put his shoe on me!”
“Ouch!”
“Ms. K! Victoria poked me!”
“Did not!  Did so!”
“Ow! Stop!”
“Stop touching me!”

But unlike my parents all those years ago, Ms. K! did not threaten to turn the van around and go back home.  She just kept sighing and driving while I sat hostage in the broken seat belt spot half hoping the van would roll so I could be thrown out a window to somewhere quiet.

Eventually, even the children got tired of their bickering and they decided to play a rousing game called “Yellow Car” of which the sole object was to scream “YELLOW CAR!” any time they spotted a yellow car.  And here I’d just like to say “Thank you, Jesus!” and “Praise the Lord!” to all of the car makers who rightly decided yellow wasn’t that great a color for cars and for only making a few of them at best.  But woe to you Ford with your Mustangs…  This could be worse, I kept telling myself.  We could be playing “blue car” or “red car” or simply “CAR!”

Somewhere in the middle of Yellow Car the children got bored and decided the road was hilly enough to remind them of roller coasters and all at once (as a collective!) they all threw their hands into the air and yelled “Hands Up!” before leaning rapidly and swaying violently from side to side, as if attempting to tip the van.  Then, as the road began a descent they’d scream, “Hands Down!” and put their hands down.  Only this, in my mind, was reverse of what you might actually do on a roller coaster. I thought anyone who’d actually been on a roller coaster would keep their hands up on the descent, because that’s where the thrill is.  But I didn’t argue the point because I was starting to feel a bit sick from the small space and the yelling and the hands flying everywhere. 

After what seemed like years off my life, but was probably only 30 minutes or so, we arrived at the skating rink.

As we entered the building each child was handed a little blue ticket, the kind of ticket you might be given at a carnival and that you’d turn over to the ride attendant as you got on the tilt-a-whirl, perhaps.  Immediately, the teacher took the tickets from the children and traded them (the tickets, not the children, but imagine how different this story would be if that were the case…) in for pairs of roller skates at the rental desk.  I stayed with the children and helped them put on their skates and tie their laces. 

Tying laces… whoever planned this field trip must have forgotten that five year olds today don’t know how to tie laces because they don’t wear shoes that have laces.  Their shoes have Velcro.  But roller skates don’t have Velcro.  They have laces.  And I had to tie them.  All um… let’s see… 3 vans with 13 kids each… that’s yes, 39 pairs of skates or 78 individual roller skates (one for each foot) to tie…  Make that 76.  Sydney brought her own skates.  She could work them herself, because they didn’t have laces.  They had buckles.

I went down the row and tied the laces.  And then the children stood up.

And then they fell down.

And then they stood up again and somehow maneuvered their way onto the rink.  Where they fell down…. again. SPLAT!  SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!

It was surreal.  If I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn there was a sniper hiding behind one of the trashcans in the snack bar.  A sniper with rubber bullets, taking out each child, one by one as soon as they stepped off the carpeting and onto the smooth polished floor of the rink.  Because they ALL WENT DOWN.  Each and every one of them.  Except Sydney.  Her skates, the ones with the buckles, also had wheels that could be locked in one direction.  She could only march forward, but that was good because she didn’t fall.  It was like watching cartoon characters slip on a banana peel, over and over and over and over again. And again.

At one point I surveyed the rink and saw a sea of splayed bodies down for the count.  A few lone survivors, mostly teachers, myself, and Sydney, were left skating around the fallen.

Whose idea was this?  I wondered.  And why isn’t anybody filming this?  I should have brought my video camera.  At the very least, this scene, this giant accident of roller skating crashes needed to be investigated by Eye Team on our News at Eleven.  They needed to uncover the truth behind the trip.  Who was responsible? Shouldn’t someone have inquired if the children knew how to skate before turning them loose on a slippery floor without proper medical supervision?

But we were lucky.  There were a few scrapes, a few bruises, a few kisses and band aids needed, but nothing broken.  It could have been worse. I could have been on this trip with the senior citizens from the retirement home down the street.  There would have been broken hips with that crowd for sure.

But the preschoolers, they were pretty game.  They fell down or got knocked down or skated down and they got back up again and again.  It was like hanging out with Chumbawamba, except the only thing around to drink was bottled water.

And then there was my son. He, along with one or two other children, found it much easier to simply crawl around the rink on their hands and knees.  My son chased after Sydney this way.  It was pathetic. It was like watching a legless stalker drag himself thru the weeds after a pretty woman walking a dog.  “Get up!”  I told him whenever I skated past.  But he would have none of it.

After a time, Sydney took pity on him.  She offered to teach him how to skate.  And somehow she’d managed to retain her blue ticket, probably because she brought her own skates.  She told my son if he did as she instructed and learned to skate, she’d give him the blue ticket.  She convinced him the ticket had value.  It was, she told him, a ticket that would enable him to play the video games in the rink’s arcade.  And ALL the children wanted to play the video games.  Only none of them had quarters.  Many of them took to moping and frowning.  They couldn’t skate well, and now they couldn’t play video games either.  But for Snags, there was the promise of Sydney and that blue ticket…

So my son bravely stood up and readied himself for Sydney’s skating lessons.  From what I could tell, the lessons required that Snags follow Sydney around the carpeted area that surrounded the rink floor and then across the slick divide of linoleum by the snack bar before the carpeting began again. 

“Help me, mom!” Snags cried.  “Sydney said I have to do this FIVE times before she’ll give me the ticket. I’m tired!” 

“So stop,” I said.

“Can’t.  Must. Have. That. Ticket!” he spluttered, somewhat out of breath as he desperately tried to keep up with his instructor.

I tried to convince him that he didn’t need the ticket, that it was not the key to the video games, and that he needed quarters for those, but he wouldn’t listen.

After their third time around like this, Sydney marched up to me and announced, pointedly, “He’s a Level One!” and then, over her shoulder to Snags she demanded, “Come ON!”

Another child on the field trip thought it important to come and tell me whenever a song had a dirty word in it.  Hollaback Girl he told me, had a “bad word with the letter H in it.”  He claimed to know all of the bad words in each song that played through the rink’s sound system, but he said he wasn’t going to tell me what they were.  I guess he didn’t want to get in trouble.  “Sometimes they beep the word out,” he explained.  “And sometimes,” he continued “my dad sings the bad words in the car when they play the songs on the radio.  That’s how I know what all the bad words are.”

We spent four hours at the rink during which time I too learned all the songs that had bad words in them.  Those words came in handy later because I needed something to mutter under my breath when nearly all 39 children decided they needed to use the bathroom.  Have you ever helped a child who cannot skate, no let me clarify that, who cannot even stand on skates, make their way to the bathroom while they (and you) are wearing skates?  It’s not an easy task, and it’s not a pretty sight.  Especially the puddle of pee that covered the floor inside one stall of the ladies room.  I’m not sure how it got there.  But boys were using the ladies room too, so that might explain it.  I imagine more than a few of them rolled backwards while urinating.  I don’t really know.  I also don’t know why we didn’t think to have them remove their skates before using the bathroom.  Probably we didn’t want their socks to get wet with pee. 

What I do know is once the kids made their way out of the stalls I had to hold their hands and help them skate to the sinks and OMG! YUCK! YUCK! YUCK! I was touching hands of children who had just used the bathroom and most likely had peed upon themselves.  And it turned out there wasn’t any soap.  And only one sink worked, and on that, only the HOT water worked.  So the children cried about the hot water.  And then there weren’t any paper towels.  So I had dirty hot little wet pee germy hands on roller skates gripping my highly superior germ phobic hands as I helped navigate them out of the bathroom and back onto the carpeted floor so they could go back out onto the rink and fall down again.

In the end, Snags got that blue ticket.  He managed to complete his “skating lessons” per Sydney’s approval and she did as she had promised: she gave him the coveted ticket. It was wrinkled and wet and she handed it over along with a broken rubber band that I fear she might have found on the floor of the bathroom.  I shuddered to think that’s why the ticket was wet.  I have to say though, Snags was very proud of himself as he climbed into the van for the ride back to preschool.  And my hands were itching furiously with some kind of skating rink dirty bathroom germs.  But the return trip was quiet.  All 13 children fell blessedly asleep.  Until the van pulled into the preschool’s parking lot…   
 

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Filed under germ phobia, humor, life, preschooler's, roller skating

Where Superheroes Deign to Dine

How is YOUR eyesight?  Do you see with perfect 20/20 clarity?  Is that corrected or uncorrected?  Do you wear contacts or glasses?

Me?  I wear contacts, sometimes glasses.  But if you’ve read this then you already know that.  Without glasses my vision is something like 20/bringthatahellofalotcloserifyouexpectmetoseeit.  With contacts, I’ve got 20/20 vision.

That’s what my eye doctor’s records say anyway.  The truth… the truth is something they can’t record on paper because well, that would give me away and then when the government needs my extraordinary skills I’d be called up and put to work when all I really want is to be left alone to live my life in peace and sandwiches.  Subs, to be exact.

Because you see (no pun intended) I have Superhero X-ray eyes!  No, I can’t see through walls (unless they’re made of glass).  I can’t see through clothes (but if I could I’d hang around a bunch of good looking muscled firemen).  And I can’t see through skin (and who would want to look at skeletons all day anyway?  Well, okay, maybe a radiologist).  However, I CAN see through paper.  A very special kind of paper, the kind that Subway uses to wrap their subs in! 

“Bah!”  You say.  “Who cares?”  You ask. 

Well, it’s a VERY important and most useful ability.  In fact, I didn’t even know I had this ability until a few weeks ago.  But I’m honing it now, oh yes I am!

You see (there I go again, and really I don’t mean to rub it in), I went to Subway recently to get a sub for lunch.  This particular Subway draws a fairly large lunch crowd.  Often, the line snakes out the door and onto the sidewalk beyond.  Once inside, while still in line mind you, you shout your order to the sandwich maker guy (you know he’s the one because he’s got the letters S and M on the front of his shirt) and he gets the basics of bread and meat together.  Then you move up a bit and shout out the toppings you want, be it vegetables or condiments, and a lady with a hair net does your bidding.  Then the sandwiches are wrapped in the special sandwich wrap and shoved on down the counter near the register.

This is where it gets hairy and my Superhero X-ray vision must be activated.  The cash register lady doesn’t even look up at you.  Seriously, I could be Jared standing in front of her and she wouldn’t even notice.  She wouldn’t say “Jared! What a treat to have you here at my Subway franchise.  I see you’ve kept the weight off!  Do you want a Veggie sub?”  Oh, no she would not because, as I said, she doesn’t look at you.  Instead she points to a wrapped sub and asks in a bored monotone “What sandwich is this?” Seriously, that’s her job.  She stands there and repeats “What sandwich is this?  What sandwich is this?  What sandwich is this?” Until the last lunch buying person hands over their money and the crowd is gone. 

The first time she asked me this I was just about to say “How the hell should I know?  Do you think I can see through the wrapper? I don’t know what THAT sandwich is but I ordered an Italian Club…”  Only I didn’t actually say that.  I simply responded, “Italian Club” and it turned out I was right!  And that’s how I realized I had this fantabulous gift!  It’s funny in a way because I don’t even realize I’m doing it.  I don’t have a sudden vision or anything.  It’s not like I see the bread layered with meat and cheese and lettuce and tomatoes and mayonnaise and hots (that’s how I like my subs by the way, just in case you ever wanted to buy me lunch).  It’s more like a simple knowledge.  But really, how else could I have that knowledge unless I was actually looking through the wrapper?  And the cash register lady knows this!  She expects me to be able to see through the wrapper and give her an answer.  And so, when it’s my turn and I am asked “What sandwich is this?” that is exactly what I do.  I summon up my Superhero X-ray vision, look through the wrapper, and tell her what sandwich it is so she can enter the price accordingly. 

Also, I am not the only one with this incredible ability. Most of the people who come to this particular Subway have the same skill!  I think we all go there because it’s “just” a sandwich shop.  Villains wouldn’t expect to find us there, would they?  They probably assume (and you know what happens when you assume, right?) that because we are Superheroes that we’d be eating somewhere fancy.  Somewhere with sparkling silver, and clinking crystal, and linen napkins.  We should.  With powers like these we deserve to.  But we don’t.  We just grab a sandwich and pretend we’re normal folk.

Really though, at this particular Subway it’s like a lunchtime Superhero convention; it is!  Except when it’s not.  Because sometimes NORMAL people come in and get a sandwich. I know they are mere mortals with eyes that can’t see beyond what’s in front of them because they pay for their sandwich and leave only to return 5 minutes later complaining: “This is the WRONG sandwich!” because they ordered the Subway Tuna Club but got a Subway Roast Beef Club instead.  And that’s their own fault.  If they could see through the paper like I can, then that wouldn’t have happened.  Honestly, I don’t know why when asked “What sandwich is this?” they don’t just admit “Uh, I don’t know.  I can’t see through the wrapper.”  I guess they want to appear cool like the rest of us there, but the jig is totally up when they come back for an exchange. I mean, how embarrassing is that?  “Duh, I got the wrong sandwich. Duh…”  They could have saved themselves both time and trouble though if they’d just told the truth.  Obviously, I would have offered my services.  All they’d have to do is tell the truth, ask for my help, and buy me lunch.

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Filed under eyesight, humor, lunch, Subway, Superheroes

Slipping Away

There was a time, as recently as 2 months ago, when summer fun here meant shooting each other with water guns, and for my son Snags the water guns were simply a toy, a cool way to get each other wet.  He was never one of those children to bite his toast into the shape of a gun or cock his fingers into one while shouting “Bang! Bang!”  He had a cowboy hat and a sheriff’s badge but he rarely played with them.  When he did, he never bothered about a gun.   And unlike so many of his preschool friends, he wasn’t into acting out Power Rangers on the playground and didn’t watch them on T.V.  He didn’t really understand fighting, didn’t understand much about good versus evil.  Because at the age of five there just wasn’t that much evil to have to understand; the world was basically good.  But above all, he certainly didn’t know about igniters or bombs, explosions or lasers.

In fact, until just recently my son was into Disney movies, particularly animated ones where there was a sleeping princess somewhere needing to be saved and he could pretend he was the prince responsible for the saving.

I understood him then.  I understood that language.  I am a girl, after all.  I know about princesses and frilly dresses and pretty shoes and sparkling jewelry and prince charming and all that.  And while I may not be a princess, I can certainly play one on TV.  You know, like if you video tape me pretending to be a princess while playing with my son who has his favorite blanket safety pinned to his shoulders so it resembles a prince’s cape trailing behind him.

Now, I admit, I like these games best when I can be Sleeping Beauty after touching the spinning wheel or Snow White after biting the poison apple so I can just lie on the sofa and hope that maybe Snags will get bored after a time and start watching something on Nick Jr.  Because maybe then I can get a nap.  But it rarely works out that way.  Often I’m Belle and he’s the Beast, stomping through our castle and leaving messes in his wake, or worse, he’s Gaston, ripping the book I’m trying to read right out of my hand, knocking it into a puddle, and demanding that I pay attention only to him.

These games I knew.  I understood my role.  I could play them.  And later, after we’d played, I could follow his never ending commentary about them and participate in conversations with Snags who, firmly ensconced in his booster seat in the back of the car, would question me as I drove him to preschool:

“Are we in the same forest as yesterday?” he’d inquire.  “Because I don’t remember those trees being there yesterday.  I think this forest is growing!” he’d proclaim. 

“Oh no!”  I’d retort.  “We might have trouble finding the castle.  I hope we don’t run into that old hag with the apples again.” 

And because I could, and because even if I didn’t he would continue the game without me, I’d play along for the duration of our little trip.

But now… well, now it seems as if this magical innocence of the very young, the world of fairytale princes and happy endings, is slipping away. My prince charming has been lured away from me.  Another woman has captured his attention and his heart and helped to fill his mind with bigger, more sinister things like lasers guns and explosions and violence and heavy breathing.  The kind of heavy breathing that announces “Luke!  I am your father!” And the woman who has done all of this is Princess Leia.  To my chagrin, but to my husband’s utter delight, my five year old has discovered Star Wars.  I neither understand nor speak the language, Star Wars.  This is not my native tongue. 

It started out simply enough when Snags came upon my husband playing the Lego Star Wars game on his Xbox.  He sat down to join him and before long, the game was second nature to him.  Somewhere along the way Snags found the original Star Wars movie in our video collection and one Friday night he and his father sat down to watch it.

It might have ended there.  We might have returned to a world of princesses and castles and magical fairies but we didn’t.  We had to attend a wedding and while my husband and I were busy eating and dancing and looking for my grandmother’s hearing aid, my son was being entertained by his Uncle Darth Mikey.  Darth Mikey also likes Star Wars, and he was content to watch the movie with Snags again and again before taking him to a nearby field and teaching him all about model rocketry, something Darth Mikey has held an interest in since he was a mere child himself.

So when we went to retrieve Snags and relieve Uncle Darth Mikey on that fateful evening, the first thing Snags did when he saw us was to scream in the excited voice of Luke Skywalker, “GUESS WHAT!?  WE WATCHED STAR WARS AGAIN AND WE LAUNCHED ROCKETS AND UNCLE MIKEY GAVE ME MY OWN ROCKET AND WE JUST NEED TO GET SOME MORE ROCKET ENGINES AND IGNITERS AND THEN BOOM!  THE ROCKET WILL EXPLODE UP INTO THE AIR…”   

And that’s how quickly Snag’s innocence began slipping away.  He has been officially indoctrinated into the more violent world of boy things. 

Now he prefers to play Star Wars in the back yard using sticks for light sabers shooting out deadly laser beams.  The water guns are stand-ins for whatever kind of guns they use in the movie.  Soccer balls represent bombs that some character named Greedo can throw.  When I’m enlisted in the game, I’m assigned to play the part of Princess Leia, although I don’t care for her hairstyle or the jobs I’m given – mostly pulling invisible levers to open invisible doors while the boys do all the fighting, occasionally hitting me with their light sabers. 

I’ve found, in all of this, one small ray of hope left as far as innocence is concerned.  I’m clinging to it tightly, but I fear it’s a silken thread that will be easily broken.  Right now you see, my son refers to Darth Vader as “Dark Vater” and as we drive toward preschool he explains to me how Dark Vater kills people with his “life saver.”  I’m not eager to correct him.  These small inaccuracies show me that regardless of how much he talks of lasers and ignitors, bombs, “life savers” and recovery wadding, there is still some five year old left inside him.  Still a tiny bit of innocence that has yet to slip away. 

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Filed under boys, growing up, imagination, Star Wars

More Breaking News

Ingenious Rose has bestowed upon me The Inspirational Blogger Award (see it over there on my sidebar?).  According to the Writer’s Reviews, it’s an award that is given to those who, among other things, “inspire through their words and actions.”  I’m not sure about my words, but if Ingenious Rose was thinking of my actions, like my running, as inspirational, then she and you should know that while it’s true I ran 12 miles last Sunday, and another 9 miles just yesterday, I very nearly did nothing at all on all the days in between.  I did take a 15 mile bike ride one evening, I think it was Wednesday, but it was only on a stationary bike.  So when I was finished I was still in my basement, having actually gone nowhere at all.

That’s convenient, because I like to be home. One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, wrote about me writers in Bird by Bird “… you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere.”  She said that “…writers, who tend to be shy, get to stay home and still be public.”  She goes on to explain that  “There are many obvious advantages to this.  You don’t have to dress up, for instance, and you can’t hear them boo you right away.” 

Of course, here in cyberspace you can hear them boo you right away, or very nearly right away.  But that’s sort of the trade off, isn’t it?  Be “published” immediately on a webpage, or stack all your writings up in your word processor and print them out and shop them around and around until someone thinks they’re worth binding and selling for you.

I’d like to do that, be published, have my books appear on the New York Time’s Best Seller List, or um, in Oprah’s Book Club, but I’m struggling with laziness and impatience at the same time.  And that, like the stationary bike, leaves me here, in my basement.  Someday in the future I might get a laptop for home, and then while I imagine I’ll still be too lazy to do all that’s required to publish a real book, at least I’ll be able to go somewhere.  Like upstairs.  Or outside.  I just hope I won’t have to dress up for it.

And I hope you won’t mind that I’m still in my basement and haven’t properly dressed to hand out the following awards:

The Creative Blogger Award to Mitra for her funny cartoons that always make me laugh.

The Courageous Blogger Award to Gunfighter at The View From Here for his position as a tactical firearms instructor and for teaching me that a knight’s suit of armor is not a good choice of a hiding place and probably won’t for protect me if someone pulls out a gun and starts shooting in a museum.

The Thoughtful Blogger Award to Jen at A Snowball’s Chance In… Even though she’s already been awarded one of these, she deserves another!  And another!  So maybe she can paste the second award below the first, or put a little “x2!” or add some hatch marks on her sidebar.   I’m also awarding her The Creative Blogger Award because not only does she post pictures at her site, she recently added her voice to her profile and since she’s in radio far way, those of us wondering what she sounds like don’t have to drive all the way down south just to find out. 

The Inspirational Blogger Award goes to Absolutely Bananas. She beat me to the punch on posting about dying fish, but she has inspired me to get myself a better body through Photoshop.  It sounds a lot easier than what I’ve been doing, running and all that…

Finally, I’m not sure if she’ll accept this or not, but The Creative Blogger Award to abarclay12 at The Leaky Brain.  I’m thinking of suing her to recoup the cost of the pain medicine I need because I seem to have cracked all of my ribs from falling off my chair laughing so hard while reading her site.  Check her out.

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Filed under blogging awards, writing

Breaking News

This just in… Luke Skywalker, of Star Wars fame, was injured in a Y-Wing crash yesterday.  R2D2 immediately responded by turning himself into a medical droid and attempting to shock Luke Skywalker back to health.  The “shocking procedure” is quite shocking in nature as it entailed R2D2 straddling Luke’s face as Luke lay prone on the bed.  As promising as this procedure looked, it failed to revive Luke and so he was transported to the hospital, where a bed was constructed for him out of Kleenex.  Luke was left there to recover. 

The crash is still under investigation but it appears that it was not caused by Darth Vader’s use of the Force.  An anonymous witness to the crash stated that Luke “couldn’t steer because too much wind blew back his hand” and Darth Vader was observed trying to stop the oncoming crash by taking the Y-Wing to the battle station.  Because he was unsuccessful, a crash recovery team will be tasked with transporting the Y-Wing back to the battle station for repair.

Darth Vader, in what appears to be a change of heart spent the afternoon at the injured Luke’s side, taking care of him.  Princess Leia, Luke’s sister and one of the seven faces of Belle, was surprised at the news of her father’s actions.  “But I thought he was a bad guy!” she said.

A different unnamed witness came forth and reported that after the crash a “strange character” had been spotted in the vicinity.  The character at first appeared to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  That information could not be verified because the witness admitted that the strange character’s face could not be seen. However, it has been confirmed that the character was wearing all of Belle’s clothing at once.  The character reportedly floated in the air and said “Hello!” to the real Belle who happened to be passing by on her way to the refrigerator to grab a can of Diet Coke.  The real Belle commented that “You look very warm in all of those clothes with that coat on” and the figure responded, “There’s nobody here, I’m just a bunch of scary dresses!”  The real Belle screamed in terror and ran away.

The distraught Belle was later reached by telephone where an accusing voice cried “Where did you put the Storm Trooper’s bodies?  They were in your bed!”  Not wanting to be caught in any kind of infidelity, Belle at first tried the Iran Contra defense where she stated that she couldn’t “recall” a situation where Storm Troopers had shared her bed.  Later though, when it was, in fact, revealed that the Storm Troopers had been found under Belle’s nightgown, she resorted to using the Shaggy defense and claimed “It wasn’t me!”

Further confusing the investigation is a somewhat recovered Luke Skywalker who is now claiming that he was not the one flying the Y-Wing at the time of its crash.  He has denied his involvement and claimed “The ‘LEGO guy’ was flying the ship.”  Additionally, he claims that he is “Luke from a different movie.”

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming where I admit that I was playing with the LEGOs I spoke of here.  But only for a little while.  It turns out that when a company prints on the box that a toy is for children ages 8 and up, you really ought to heed their warning.  Otherwise, you’ll find yourself having to assemble the toy yourself because your five year old is unable to do so.

Then shortly afterward, your son will drop the Y-Wing you so lovingly spent four hours assembling for him, and one million of the 17 trillion pieces will shear off upon impact and scatter all over your kitchen.  Some will land in the dog’s water bowl, some will slip under the refrigerator, and some more will slide under the door to the basement and fall down the steps where you won’t find them again until you step on them with your bare foot.  This will leave a LEGO impression on your foot that stays for a full 36 hours.

At that point you will be forced to consider whether or not you repaired the Y-Wing adequately after its initial crash.  Perhaps if you had actually moved the refrigerator to get at the “unrecoverable” pieces, the craft might have been more stable.  Perhaps a more stable aircraft would have spared Luke Skywalker from such severe injuries.

You can choose to debate this.  You can write both NASA and the NTSB to get their ruling on the incident.  Or, you could resort to your original premise that the “witness” to the crash is simply crazy.  Especially since he is claiming HE is the REAL Luke Skywalker, and it was “the LEGO guy” that crashed the plane.  Also, because he is five, and makes “scary dresses” talk.

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Filed under Beauty and the Beast, breaking news, humor, insanity, LEGOs, Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, toys, Y-Wing

Eight

I was tagged by Ingenious Rose to tell you eight random things about myself.  At first I was going to politely decline because it didn’t seem like the kind of thing I do here (whatever that is), but then I remembered I had once started an essay about things you don’t know about me, only it morphed into my confession about my lip balm addiction and so I decided what the heck, who can I embarrass but myself?  And so I pulled out my list of random facts about me, cut it all into little strips of paper, placed them all into wire bingo ball cage from my old bingo game, and gave it crank.

I pulled out eight slips of paper and then realized we had a slight problem.  They weren’t numbered one through eight at all.  They had numbers like 54 and 27 and 17 and 3.  So after giving it some thought, I decided to simply renumber them, rather like the Pennsylvania road exits. Because I recently visited Philadelphia, and noticed as we were driving there, that each exit had a number and then another old number, like so:  Exit 7 (old Exit 12).  So now each random thing about me has two numbers.  One old and one new.  I’ll put the new number 1st and the old number in parentheses and hope you don’t get lost trying to follow along.

1 (17)  I have beautiful white teeth.  I’d like to tell you it’s because of how my mother used to make my brother and I brush our teeth with Ajax powder right before we went to visit the dentist when we were young, but I don’t think that’s it.  Even though the dentist remarked to my mother how nice and clean our teeth were, I think he suspected the truth.  Certainly the hygienist wrote something about all the grit she was flossing out of our teeth before he looked into our mouths?  And he must have seen the scour lines, don’t you think?  At any rate, I’ve never had a cavity, not one.  And now that I’m adult, I bleach my teeth the proper way, with bleaching solution I buy from my dentist.  It’s not gritty at all.

2 (54)  I was in my mid-twenties before I realized that Mr. Rogers was the voice of all the characters who inhabited the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.  I have to say I count it as one of the biggest shocks and disappointments of my life.

3 (3)  My cell phone plays Flight of the Valkyrie when my husband calls me.  I programmed it that way because that is the Star Wars theme song, only my husband claims it’s not.  Even if he is right, which I suspect he is, don’t tell me.  I like to be the one who’s right.

4 (27)  I have stolen two things in my life.  One was a bookmark from a classmate when I was in the 3rd grade and in Catholic School, and the other was a rubber grape from a fake fruit display in a grocery store.  In my defense, I needed the bookmark because it was very cool, a painting of a dog on velum of some sort, and I needed the grape because I’d lost the rubber ball on my squirt ring and the grape was the perfect size to replace it.  I suspect I might be sent to Hell for these offenses.

5 (32)  When I was a Junior in high school I traveled to Europe where I spent two weeks seeing the sites of Italy and Greece.  And by sites I also mean sights and the cute boys there.  And I kissed one!  Outside, on an Italian street!  And my friends photographed this!  And when I came home, I went to pick up my photos with my boyfriend.  Only the girl who worked at the photo store had been on the trip with me and wanted to see my photos.  So we looked at them, my traveling companion, my boyfriend and I, and then we came upon the kissing photo…

6 (71) I have these tenuous connections to famous people: I attended middle school with Patrick Swayze’s cousin (or so she claimed); I once worked with Courtney Thorne-Smith’s sister-in-law; and I swiped a Coke can that Paul Newman was drinking out of at a car race in West Virginia, took it to school, and made a Coke can lamp out of it in shop class.

7 (11) As a child, I misunderstood the words to the Hail Mary prayer and forever wondered WHY they would put a curse word at the very start of a prayer.  I was in my late teens before I saw a written text of the prayer and everything made a lot more sense.  And if you’re not getting this one, the curse word is the place I’m going to in number 4 (27) above.

8 (69) I cannot whistle.  And that’s a crying shame because I have really big boobs.  I would whistle at myself in the mirror all the time if only I could.

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Filed under meme

Please Check Your Calendars

Please check your calendar.  Somebody, no… EVERYBODY, please check your calendars.

Can you confirm to me that today’s date is, in fact, August 8, 2007?

And that means it is still summer, right?  At least, technically? 

I mean, I seem to recall that the official start of summer falls somewhere around June 21st on what’s known as the summer solstice.  And then fall doesn’t officially start until September 23rd or so, the date of the autumnal equinox.  And all the days in between… summer.  Summer, summer, summer.  At least, that’s the way it is here in the Northern Hemisphere. 

More so than the dates on the calendar, I have this other evidence to present in the hopes of proving it is still summer…

It’s 100 degrees outside.  It feels, when you walk out the door, like that Jaws ride at Universal Studios in Florida where you’re in the boat and there’s a big fiery explosion and the searing heat is more than a touch alarming and you check to see if your skin might be blistering before your eyes.  In the end, it’s really not, it’s just hotHOT LIKE FIRE.

Also, there’s baseball.  As far as I know, the major leagues are still in action. Then again, baseball season is so damn long that it might not be an actual indicator of anything anymore.  Still, I’m claiming it.  Baseball equals summer.

School hasn’t started yet either.  It’s still, for better or worse, summer vacation.  At least for a few more weeks.  And I know this counts because there’s that song with the lyrics, “School’s out for the summer!”  I think Alice Cooper sang it.  And I think, if it’s in a song, then it must be true.

So to recap the evidence:

a. the calendar says it’s August and August equals summer
b. It’s hot out, and HOT LIKE FIRE usually only happens in the summer (well, unless there’s an actual fire)
c. Baseball equals summer
d. Alice Cooper said so

So, if all evidence points to the fact that it’s still summer, then WHY, pray tell, is my local grocery store already pushing HALLOWEEN CANDY?

Why did I get this fall catalog in the mail today?

And most worrisome of all, why today when I bought some LEGOs for my son from Target, did the cashier put them in this large CHRISTMAS bag?

O Holy Night!

Give me some time to buy school supplies first, won’t you?

I don’t know.  Maybe the cashier thought I was buying the LEGOs as a Christmas gift since I was shopping alone and when she asked, I told her that I didn’t need a gift slip for them.  That must mean I’m keeping them, right?  But I’m a grown woman, and grown women don’t usually play with Star Wars LEGO sets, ergo, Christmas gift!

When she handed over my bags, all of my other purchases, like disposable razors and shampoo and Burt’s Beeswax (incredible deal on a 3-pack!) and gauze for wrapping up my husband’s mangled foot, were in regular Target bags.  You know, the white ones with the red Target symbol on them?  She handed over the LEGOs and said “And here is your toy.”  And she kind of winked and nodded at the bag which was not see through.  So I think she was suggesting that the LEGOs should be a Christmas gift and that I shouldn’t hand them over to Snags to play with the moment I walk through my front door.  Perhaps she thinks that giving children toys for no reason, in the middle of summer no less, is akin to spoiling them.

But I like to think I’m fostering his creativity because he got a mini-set of LEGOs and has been spending hours upon hours making things with them and entertaining himself for hours more.  And I was thinking that more LEGOs would allow him to make more things and be more creative and entertain himself for even MORE hours.  And more is better, right?  When you are talking about five year olds playing quietly with LEGOs for hours, more is better.  Just… trust me on this.

But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  I’m used to seeing Christmas stuff go up early.  It takes a lot of time to set up 20 trees with ornaments and lights and tinsel.  I start the day after Thanksgiving at my house, and I only put up one tree, some stockings, and a wreath.  So stores, with all their twinkling lights and snow globes and dancing Santa’s have to start early.

And then there’s the whole thing where they start selling bathing suits in January.  Now that totally pisses me off because if I wait the 6 months it will take me to lose enough weight to look good so people won’t vomit when they see me in a bathing suit, it would be June before I could buy one.  Only by then there won’t be any bathing suits left except for those on clearance, and those are all in a size 2 and I couldn’t pull one of those up past my ankles even with a weight loss.

But really, I don’t recall seeing Halloween Candy out THIS early before.  I’m especially perturbed at this because it means I have two additional months where I can stock up for trick-or-treaters only to say “Oh, what the hell, just one piece” and then before you know it, I’ve not only opened the bag, I’ve eaten the entire contents, all 240 pieces.  And then I have to go buy MORE.  This is bad enough when I do it through the entire month of October, because after that, I’ve still got Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies I can’t keep myself away from.  So come January and bathing suit sales, I’m in trouble.  Only now I’ve got August and September stretching before me with Halloween candy on the shelves, and with those two extra months, I can do some serious damage.  I might have to tape 20 large Target Christmas bags together just to make myself a bathing suit come January.

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Filed under Bathing Suits, Calendars, Candy, Christmas, Halloween, humor, LEGOs, life, Weight Loss