Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It Was So Hot I Even Heard Satan Crying

Sometimes when we don't have a lot going for us we have to accentuate the positive and focus on our best features.  Like Kate Middleton is to the Royal Family, the Outback's bloomin' onion is to the vegetarian, and the Grand Canyon is to Arizona.  There's always a silver lining.  Speaking of Arizona, I just spent the weekend there but I wasn't visiting the Grand Canyon so I had to search for other redeeming qualities in the area.  I've decided to sum up my brief jaunt into three categories:  1) Things I cannot explain, 2) Things I don't need to explain and, 3)  Things that are hard to explain but worth trying.


1.  115 degrees
2.  The 4 women in the airport who wore matching shirts and mini trolls glued onto their shoulder. 
3.  Did you hear me?  I said ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN DEGREES.
4.  The other woman in the airport who traced through security with me wearing a backless dress that revealed a tattoo covering her entire back.  The tattoo was a picture OF HERSELF.  I was tempted to slip the phone number of a photographer into her bag with a message on the back reading, “There’s an easier way.”
5.  Seriously, we actually said the words “It’s too hot to go swimming.”


1.  Nielsen’s frozen custard


1.  We went to see The Help.  Having read and fallen in love with the book I had high expectations which were surprisingly met.  I was so happy that it fell in line with everything I had envisioned in my head when I read the book!  The tension and violence of that time and place in history was felt but not overdone.  The blind ignorance of characters such as Hilly Holbrook was blatant and frustrating yet disturbingly believable, while the actors who brought Aibileen and Minny to life felt like my good friends by the time the movie was over.  “You is smart.  You is kind.  You is important.”  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  I want to marry it.
2.  Featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, we headed over to Joe’s Farm Grill for lunch one afternoon.  I had the Fontina Burger, sweet potato fries and a dark chocolate shake, which is to say I forgave Arizona for being so hot that my spleen was asking to borrow my anti perspirant.
3.  I tried to teach my 4-year-old nephew about jaundice in regards to his Grinch stuffed animal with yellow eyes.  I think he gets it now.

I know a lot of you who read my blog here at RITH call the Grand Canyon State your home, and I’m happy for you.  However, in the future I think I’ll restrict my visits to fall between November and February.  It’s better that way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Big Sky Country

Last year something bad happened when Drew's best friend and one of my best friends, Jill moved away.  They traded their easy access to Costco and restaurants that stay open past 6pm for open skies, neighbors with goats, and an elementary school that raised their own chickens.  It wasn't an easy transition for any of us, so when Drew's birthday approached this year I decided that instead of throwing him a traditional birthday party where dozens of boys would come over and spray an inordinate amount of testosterone around my house, I would fly him to Montana to see Ben.  And since it would be incredibly irresponsible for me to send him alone, I would graciously accompany him.

When we landed in the Missoula airport we were greeted by many friends.  This group seemed particularly enthused:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

He Is

The house was quiet, most of the lights were turned off, all signs pointing to the fact that the day was supposed to be over.  I shuffled near the kitchen table picking up the remains of the day and after tucking away the final glue stick into its place in the drawer, I looked up and took note of the scene taking place under the only lights still on in the house.  There they sat, father and daughter huddled side by side poring over a set of algebra problems. 

It’s moments like this that I want to snicker at the nay-sayers who mock Accountants -  they have obviously never had a teenager with Honors Algebra and seen the benefits first hand.  The little girl sitting there is concentrating as deeply as one can who has already fit in an hour of Seminary, 8 hours of school, 2 hours of cross country practice, and an hour of youth group.  Her hand is planted firmly on her forehead, and as small pieces of her bangs poke through her fingers she checks her answer with the man sitting next to her. 

He is her Dad.
He is my Husband.
He is an Accountant who remembers Math who, as far as I’m concerned, carries more power in that mechanical pencil than I could ever hope for in a superhero’s cape.  He was concentrating too, as much as any man can who has already fit in the morning Seminary drop-off, eleven hours of work, an hour of basketball with his son, and two hours of extra meetings to cover his church responsibilities. 

He is her Dad.
He is my Husband.
He really is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So Random

It’s a bad combination when you’re experiencing the highest temperatures of the season and you’re A/C goes out at the precise time your doctor tells you to stop wearing deodorant, but that’s what happened.  Everything is okay now – the A/C got fixed yesterday, my underarm rash is fading, and we’ll finish the week out in the 90’s. 
Also a bad combination – going on a run after a dentist appointment and trying to hock a loogie while half of your face is still numb.  This particular appointment had required more than one shot of Novocain and left me unable to press my lips evenly together as I left.  I felt like a carp that had been tagged with a hook through my upper lip.  It’s almost worth getting a shot of Novocain and trying it yourself to see what it really feels like.
I sent my youngest off to middle school like a lamb to the slaughter yesterday.  I resisted the urge to walk him all the way to the bus stop, but I didn’t resist the urge to spy on him from the corner behind my neighbor’s bush.  Baby steps.
My facebook buddy J.L. changed my life and posted this link to a recipe for frozen hot chocolate.  I’ll tell you the same thing I told him after making it – I know this drink is true with every fiber of my being. 
I still have so much to tell you about my summer!  Pictures of bears, presidents, funny quotes, and fun memories.  Like the time Samantha and I left the house dressed the same and when I noticed I asked her, “You’re not embarrassed by looking like me are you?”  Silence.  Drew chimed in, “Oooooh!!!  Mom, the silence is NOT a good sign.”  There’s more to come – in the meantime, do yourself a favor and whip up a little frozen hot chocolate.  Ironic, yes.  But delicious?  Also, yes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


When a dude named Byron showed up at my door today to diagnose the trouble with my air conditioning, I was expecting him to find some inane problem that reflects mine and Cory's incompetence.  (I was also expecting him to pull out some sort of monogrammed towel or something as he set to work.  I don't care if you're a service tech or a butler, if your name is Byron you need to embrace the monogram.)  Something along the lines of, "Well ma'am, if you want your A/C to work you should try plugging it in," or "See this button here on your thermostat?  The snowflake button makes it cold, cold, cold.But no.  After some time in the basement and another 20 minutes outside with hoses and such hooked up to our unit, he began to explain, "The coolant...blah blah blah...extension valve...blah blah blah...refrigerant...yadda yadda..." and as I tried to understand it all I found myself wishing for a mime to help translate.  [The mime begins with his hands together - the hands separate dramatically, the mime's eyes get big, and he gestures a silent "kaboom!"  THAT I can understand.]  Instead I think I stared at the technician like this:

I tried to reiterate so as to confirm the diagnosis, but ended up looking more like this:

Incidentally, also the face I make when trying to grasp the point of thongs and tongue rings.  Good ol' Byron could see the look on my face but he kept trying, bless his heart.  I think the reason he kept trying so hard was because he wanted to avoid disclosing the dollar amount of this catastrophe, and he wanted me to be able to justify the cost with his explanation.  I'm sure just one day Byron dreams of having a customer say, "Well, of course!  If it's the extension valve that has to be fixed then naturally you need to charge me ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS."  Byron didn't get his wish, but he got a nice dose of this action:


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It's An Honor Just To Be Nominated

Last night during an effort to clean up my neglected, post-vacation email Inbox I came across a message announcing that someone had nominated me for the "Funniest Mom Blog" over at the Parents.com website.  What a nice way to come back, don't you think?  I don't know who nominated me but obviously she reads my blog so hey, whoever you are, will you let me know so I can pay you that money I owe you? 

I gotta be honest, I'm really flattered.  I'm trying not to be but YOU GUYS!  I already have SIX votes!  Six people totally like me, which means I'm already more popular than broccoli and snakes.  Drew passed by the office as I read the email and I said, "Hey Drew, my blog was nominated on a national website," to which he asked, "Do we get a prize?  Like a Toyota?"  Silly Brett.  Still, I think it would be awesome to get more votes because winning is fun, and it rarely happens to me.  Aside from being Tetherball champion in 2nd grade, scoring a box of chocolates and a gift certificate to Applebee's from a radio contest, and winning Cory's love I have always been more on the "loser" side of things.  So, if you want to help me turn things around click on that hot pink button at the top of my sidebar over there and cast a vote my way, will ya?  Please?  Do it for the children.

Return To...Which Mountain?

Hi.  Remember me?  Pink Snuggie, no uterus, made a Jehovah’s witness sing Happy Birthday, gave bacon to my Jewish neighbors, caught with bourbon in my purse at church?  Good grief, who HAVEN'T I offended?  Any Catholics out there that I missed?  I was just trying to make sure you knew it was really me but now all I can think of is how I should hurry up and rescue some orphaned AIDS babies before my earthly stint here is through to balance out my resume.  
I can hear St. Peter now, "I don't know Vern, it says here that you had some liquor in your purse..."
"Right, but if you jump down to line #87 you'll see that I once donated six dollars to the March of Dimes..."
"...and then you swore in front of your children during an unfortunate water incident..."
"They were brand new hardwood floors!  *sigh*  If you keep reading you'll see I've also written checks to the Food Bank of the Rockies..."
"Uh, my shirt, you see, it was a gift."
"And how did you handle the potty training mishap with your child on the marble steps of the Denver Capitol Building?"
"Boy oh boy, can you get a load of the acoustics in that place?"
"Mm hmm."
[awkward silence]
"I walked out of a dirty movie once."

What I'm trying to say is, after a summer spent frolicking through the mountains of Montana, the beaches of California, the hills of South Dakota, and the Rockies of Colorado, (more to come on all of that later!) I'm back.  I've missed writing, I've missed reading, and if I don't do something with my Google Reader Inbox I fear its contents will spew right through the monitor.  I look forward to catching up.  Oh, and if you happen to know any orphaned AIDS babies....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Queen of Denial

Last night on the phone my friend asked, “So, how are you doing with the whole school starting and Drew beginning Jr. High thing?”  I responded maturely by essentially jamming my fingers in my ears and yelling, “LA LA LA!”  For now, and for the next 3 weeks until my glorious summer comes to a bitter halt, denial is my friend.  Hey, it worked for OJ.

The unfortunate part where denial goes in the crapper is when you’re sitting in the DMV and they call off your daughter’s name to get her picture taken for her permit.  I was like, “What?  I thought this was the line for Panda Express.  My bad.”  I should have remembered that Panda Express doesn’t require a copy of your birth certificate.  A few minutes later I got confused again when a dude on his cell phone started cussing as if representing both sides of an argument between two Jersey Shore cast members.  I couldn’t decide if I was being Punk’d or had been transported into an episode of “COPS”, but the guy was seriously out of control.  Cory told him to watch his language or take his call outside and that’s when everyone else began protesting and he was quickly kicked out.  Welcome to the DMV!  “Samantha?” the lady behind the desk called out.  It was finally her turn to pose in front of the blue tarp – she proceeded to snap the cutest picture to ever grace a government issued ID and we handed her the keys to drive home.  That’s when Denial got up out of its chair and said, “It’s been nice knowing you” and I gripped the armrests for the next 7 miles. 

Denial betrayed me once again earlier this morning.  I had just come home from taking Samantha to cross country practice and I peeked in to check on Drew, still asleep.  As I poked my head around the corner and surveyed the scene, I had to blink a few extra times to focus.  The boy in this bed wasn’t mine – his legs nearly extended to the footboard, his torso curved around the middle, and with an arm dangling over the side and his head propped in blissful rest, this boy’s body filled up that entire space.  He couldn’t possibly be mine.

My boy is growing.
My girl is driving. 
My head is spinning.

Three weeks left.