Topless burgers and 20 years

burger

In the 20 years we’ve been married my husband and I have enjoyed some unique experiences while dining out.  Well, let me rephrase that, dining out with my husband can be a unique experience.  It all started shortly after we were married.  We took a little weekend get-away to the Mammoth Cave area and at one point during the trip we went to Bowling Green.  We stopped at a Ponderosa to eat, now I know what you’re probably thinking, but keep in mind it was 20 years ago, we were young and mostly broke.  And of course, Ponderosa advertised an “All You Can Eat” steak special which attracts my husband like a moth to a flame.  So one steak down and another on his plate he started steak number two and after one bite his face said it all…. Something was really wrong.  He started desperately searching for his napkin and I’m pretty sure he was turning green.  He spit what was in his mouth into the napkin and reached for his drink that the waitress had just taken away for a refill.  He sprinted to the bathroom.  When he returned he stated his steak was rancid and we were leaving.  I think he told the waitress something was wrong and she offered to bring him a new one but he declined.  After shoving the remainder of my salad into my mouth (I skipped the all you can eat steak) and we left, the entire rancid all you can eat steak still sitting on the plate.

That was where it started.  Prior to that I can’t remember any “gee you should write this down” moments in a restaurant with him.

There have been several since.  Most of which have made it to this blog.  Including most notably the day he took me to lunch at the sushi place.  But there are a few undocumented ones as well, for instance did you know that Bob Evans doesn’t serve corn?  Nope no corn on the menu at Bob Evans.  He’ll tell you the story every time you pass a Bob Evans and sometimes you don’t even have to be near one for him to bring it up.  Or better yet, 20 years later, we still re-live the Ponderosa story at least once a year if we pass a sign for one.

So it should’ve come as no surprise to me when for lunch on our 20th Anniversary get away weekend we had yet another of our somewhat infamous restaurant incidents.  We were just a little hungry, so I suggested a small little sandwich shop since we were going to have a big dinner later that evening.  The sandwich shop is in the basement of a larger restaurant…. I didn’t really think that option through very well.  We were 2nd in line for a table behind “Carmel Dad” and his wife and daughter.  Yes I nicknamed him almost immediately, also probably an indication that this was not going to go well.  Carmel Dad was irritated and wasn’t shy about letting anyone know.  I’m not sure how long he had been waiting but a quick scan of the restaurant and there were a few empty tables, and a few that needed dishes cleared away.  So, I started watching the scene unfolding, there were about 4 waitresses, but not one came over to seat anyone and an older gentleman clearing tables.  Then a line started to form at the cash register.  One of the waitresses came over and asked if the first lady was paying by cash or card, the lady offered her bill and a credit card and the waitress announced she could do that but not cash because her dad had the register key.  Before she could swipe the card, the guy clearing tables swooped in and started checking everyone out.  Apparently that was dad and he had the key.

After making his way through the line of people cashing out, he looked at Carmel Dad and asked how many.  “Still three.”  Was Carmel Dad’s answer.  So instead of taking them to one of the tables he had just cleared, the guy went to another table and cleared it, and then another.  At this point I’m pretty sure I should have found a new place to eat, but neither of us were starving and it was kind of starting to become fun to watch.  PS “Carmel Dad” is a totally unfair stereotypical name based on his daughters Guerin Catholic sweatshirt and his head to toe Callaway attire.  He came back and sat Carmel Dad’s family and then the line picked up at the cash register again so I knew despite the now six cleaned off tables we weren’t going to sit down anytime soon.  Oddly the daughter came over and asked if there was just two of us and we said yes and she took us to a table.

Things were starting to look up.  The menu was mostly sandwiches and burgers, but also had breakfast served all day.  We each teeter tottered between breakfast or burgers, I’m not sure why but the sandwiches didn’t sound great.  We both picked cheeseburgers and potato rounds.  Then my husband decided to go to the bathroom.  This is when it started.  When he returned he informed me that to get to the bathroom you have to go out the back door and up 9 stairs, I wasn’t tracking what his point was because I was pretty sure we had to go down 9 stairs to get to the front door when we came in.  That’s when he told me if something happened, like a kitchen fire, our only means of egress was the getting up those 9 stairs, either in the front or the back.

exit signs

I smiled.  Maybe I sighed.  Despite the flashbacks of the “gas leak” at the sushi place that were flooding my brain I managed to take a quick scan of the surroundings and lay out my plan for escape to satisfy him.  More than likely I would head for the back stairs because they were closer even though they were also closer to the kitchen and the likely source of the “fire.”  And to be quite honest there was only a table of older ladies and a mom with her six-year-old between me and the stairs and I was fairly certain I could beat them all to the back steps.  I know that’s awful, right?  I’m sure I would assist them all before making my way up the stairs.  It didn’t dawn on me at the time because it was a bright sunshiny day, but I should have pointed out we were in the safest place possible for severe weather.

Did I mention that I spent the entire week before our trip in Emergency Management and Planning classes?  I think I was just on emergency situation overload so mostly my plan for lunch was just … lunch and not Escape Planning 101.  I diverted his attention by having him watch the owner go back and forth between clearing tables and cashing people out and decorations which were all IU.  Mostly Bobby Knight, it was a Bobby Knight shrine actually.  Then he got distracted by Super Loud Guy who was talking a lot and loud enough for everyone to hear.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining either, I was actually enjoying myself.  There was a couple of times I had to stop myself from laughing because I knew if I started it would be that uncontrollable laughter with tears and shaking and snorting.  Super Loud Guy was commenting about his food, Carmel Dad was still grouchy despite having his food, and our waitress kept telling everyone that her dad would check them out at the register because he had the key, which is when my emergency skills kicked in (finally) because I wanted to tell her to stop saying that because if anyone wanted to rob them they would know exactly who has the cash register key.  And this is what it’s like to eat with the Baughn’s.

So with no robbery or fire on the horizon (don’t you feel sorry for our kids?) our food came and the burgers looked good, because we could see them because there was no top bun.  Odd.  Maybe the top bun is under the burger.  Nope… no top bun there.  Neither of us really said anything for about a minute as we were both thinking the same thing and searching under the potatoes for the top bun.

“So, are there no top buns?” he asked.

“Doesn’t look that way does it?  Did they say they were open-faced sandwiches?”

“No.  Well, great I wanted a topless burger for lunch…. Guess we’re low carbing.”

“Um… at least your cheese is normal.”

“True.”

Let me tell you about the cheese.  I ordered hot pepper cheese with the assumption it was just another term for pepper jack.  You know the nice sliced Monterey Jack with a few red and green peppers tossed in?  Nope my burger was topped with half melted shredded cheddar cheese with diced jalapeno.  Which I could clearly see because it was topless.  I wondered if they just ran out of buns, my husband wondered where all the bun tops were.

We ate our burgers which were good, and for me a lot more spicy than planned.  I mean I can’t complain about the food, just a little shocked at their definition of hot pepper cheese and still curious about the buns.  We looked around at the Bobby Knight shrine and when we were done we went to the register, to pay our waitresses dad, because he had the key to the register.  And we made it up the nine stairs to street level to finish our day.

It has been an amazing and adventurous 20 years!  And I’m still not looking for the exit!

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Dear Mrs. Beauregarde

RFD-trophies

Dear Mrs. Beauregarde,

I don’t know you’re real name but I give nicknames to people who I “people watch” and you earned the nickname Mrs. Beauregarde.  Mrs. Beauregarde is the all-or-nothing; “keep your eye on the prize” mother of Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  The new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp not the Willy Wonka movie with Gene Hackman, I have to clarify because my husband likes the original and my daughter likes the new one.  I was a geek and read the actual book.

Mrs. Beauregard, you caught my attention at what is hopefully my very last ever soccer tournament.  You weren’t a parent on my field you were on a field behind me, and technically two fields away but I could hear you.  What caught my attention, and several other people’s attention, was your screaming at the top of your lungs “Get Open! Get Open! Don’t let her push you like that!  Push Back! OH MY GAWD, follow your shot… FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!” When I turned around I expected to see a USWNT World Cup qualifying match.  But what I saw was little girls – like I would have said they were eight year old little girls, but my son informed me that the tournament was U11 and up.  So ten-year old little girls, I was off a bit.  For fun, and because it was halftime, I actually turned my chair around and started watching you.

You were sitting near the 15 yard line (yes there are yard lines in soccer – they aren’t marked but they are there) and every time your child’s team got near the goal you were out of your seat yelling.  You would scream all sorts of directions to poor little Violet, telling her to use her left foot, dribble more, dribble less, and for God’s sake FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!  Um…. She’s ten.  If she can use her left foot to shoot she’s probably already got coaches lining up to sign her because even my left-handed 18-year-old son struggles with shooting left footed.  And the whole follow your shot thing, it’s a great idea, but again she’s ten and is probably tired and knows she now has to run back to play defense.

In all fairness, Mrs. Beauregarde, it’s all about perspective.  You are at the beginning of your child’s soccer “career” and this is quite possibly even your first season.  I am at the end, or at least the end of travel soccer and I have a lot of experiences to reflect back on.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never yelled at a soccer game because I have, but usually I’m yelling things like “Watch your mouth! Was that yellow card really worth it? Retaliation always gets the foul.” and again “Watch your mouth!”  And truth be told I don’t usually yell, I wait until he’s near me on the field so I can say it at a reasonable volume.  Mostly because I know that screaming at the very top of my lungs means that everyone within three fields of me is turning around to see who that parent is.

I hope your daughter loves playing soccer.  I hope she loves it enough to want to keep doing it in spite of the fact that she has that parent on the sideline yelling and screaming at her every time she has the ball.  I’ve seen that nearly ruin a soccer player.  I mean how embarrassing must it be for a child to have to tell their parent to stop yelling during a game?  I’ve seen that happen.  Of course there’s the chance that your daughter is learning from you and acts just like you.  And eventually will start yelling at her teammates in the same condescending manner you yell at her.  That doesn’t end well either – in case you’re wondering – and yes I’ve seen that happen too.

Currently you are on a crash course to being the parent everyone avoids at the games.  And unfortunately for your daughter the parent that the coaches avoid at all costs.  Like fake-a-seizure-so-I-don’t-have-to-talk-to-that-parent kind of avoidance.  The kids pick up on it too and will probably start teasing her.  Yes, I’ve seen that happen too – it’s not pretty.  Again, I hope she loves soccer so much that all of these things won’t matter to her because if she doesn’t in a few years she will hate soccer.

I don’t know what your motivation is for acting that way.  There are all the cliché reasons like you didn’t get to play soccer, got cut from a team, never realized your full potential, or you were great a soccer player back in the day and want your kids to be like you.  Maybe it’s because soccer is expensive and you expect more for your money (PS if this is your reason you should quit now).  Or you just expect perfection from everyone, or hell, maybe you just like to scream at the top of your lungs.  It doesn’t really matter why you do it, you just need to stop.  For your daughter’s sake, or if nothing else so you don’t have to pay for therapy when she’s 16.

In closing, Mrs. Beauregarde, please know that it’s just one game.  You will have hundreds more in your future and Violet will make mistakes and she will make awesome plays too.  There will terrible calls from the officials that can’t be reversed.  There will be wins and losses.  There will be good coaches and bad coaches and sometimes she may not get to play the position she wants to play.  If you can’t accept all of this you need to quit now because it’s going to get a lot harder as she gets older.

Remember, “Keep your eye on the prize!”  Just realize the prize isn’t always winning.

Alphabet Vacation

 

A – is for Anita.  Anita is the manager at the Hampton Inn in Prattville, Alabama.  Anita and I had a few conversations on this trip because the Hampton Inn placed holds for over $400 on my checking account for the majority of the trip because they charged me for one room three times at three different rates.  Anita insisted on blaming Amanda for the mess up, but I reminded her that as the manager she is ultimately responsible.  (PS I got the room free of charge using my charm and exceptional people skills … ok maybe I yelled… a little…twice).

 

B – is for Beach.  This is why we went.  Teagan’s B word is #basic which she uses to describe the several groups of Spring Break teenage girls lining up taking photos on the beach, daily.  In their bikinis.  Some parents should really think twice about the bikinis their daughters wear, jus sayin’.

 

C – is for Catching good waves.  Teagan was trying really hard to boogie board and caught a few waves but then got flipped over by some boy who jumped in her way “btw…not cute!”

 

D – is for Dizzy Whizz and Deez Butts BBQ.  These are billboards you see in Louisville, KY.  They are really easy to see when you are travelling at a blistering 3 mph.  Dizzy Whizz is an Old Louisville tradition that is home of the Whizz Burger since 1947.  Deez Butts is actually a food truck that serves butts, chicken and brisket by the pound.

whizzburger<——- Whizzburger

 

E – is for Elephant, the mascot of the University of Alabama.  Next to the dreaded Hampton Inn in Prattville there is a store called Bama Fever Tiger Pride.  Some family members chose dreadful shirts and hats with “A’s” and elephants and I got the coolest shirt ever which has the silhouette of the War Eagle filled in with tiger stripes.  #Auburn.  E is also for Elmo, the little red jeep renegade that isn’t quite large enough for a 12 hour trip.

 

F – is for Friends who do things together, U is for you and me, N is for anywhere and anytime at all down here in the deep blue sea.  Sorry … but once the SpongeBob song got stuck in our heads that’s all we could think of for F. But then we remembered F is also for Fire – the coffee pot in our condo caught on fire one morning.  Good thing I travel with a firefighter.

 

G – is for Grumpy Gill.  Every trip has a Grumpy Gill jar where you are allowed to write down a complaint that is read at the end of the trip.  There was only one written this trip.  It was written on the Hampton Inn stationary – by Dawson, not me.

 

H – is for Henna tattoo.  Teagan got a beautiful mandala henna tattoo.

 

I – is for Icy water.  The ocean and pool were about 70 degrees on a good day.  The kids swam in both, the parents did not.  But the temperature outside was nice enough that you could go sit at the beach without needing a shade umbrella.

 

J – is for Jellyfish.  There were a lot of jellyfish including one that washed up on shore which one lady insisted was a Portuguese man o war – pretty sure it wasn’t but she had an audience and sounded really smart so I just smiled and waved.

jellyfish-marine-sanctuary-140617

K – is for Kitchen.  There was supposed to be a “fully equipped” kitchen in our condo, however there was one small 6 inch skillet, no spatulas and one small saucepan, and a cookie sheet from 1959.  It’s hard to cook bacon – well anything – in a 6 inch skillet.

 

L – is for Long Walks on the beach.  We took several because of where our condo was located it was easier to walk most places than drive.

 

M – is for Mouse.  Specifically the Alabama Beach Mouse which is a federally endangered species that lives along the Alabama coast in the sand dunes.  We found a sign about this at the Gulf Shores Fishing Pier – which freaked out at least one kid who insisted every 5 minutes there was a mouse in the sand.

 

N – is for No Alcohol.  When I stopped at the condo office to get the keys I had to sign a No Alcohol on the beach policy.  It was a new thing this year specifically for Spring Break.  Dawson has a cool picture of two people getting arrested by beach patrol for having alcohol on the beach.

 

O – is for the Orange Beach store.  I had seen people wearing these really cool shirts with an orange that said beach in the middle.  So we drove to the Orange Beach store.   And they had the really cool shirts and they were really proud of them as the prices were a bit much for tees.  I didn’t buy one.

 

P – is for Pancakes.  Before we left we read that Bill’s By the Beach served an awesome brunch including Nutella pancakes.  Teagan was super excited about the Nutella pancakes.  We found out on Monday that Bill’s by the Beach only serves brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  I made Nutella pancakes when we got home.

 

Q – is for Quote of the Day.  One of the quotes I wrote down from dinner was, “Do you think she knows that’s a beach cover and not a dress?”  My guess is that she did not know that it was a beach cover since she was wearing it with wedge heels and jewelry.

 

R – is for the Random girl who yelled “Hi Dawson!” on the beach one day.  There was a group of girls from his school vacationing close by but he didn’t think she was one of them.  And the girls he knew from school were staying several miles down the beach.

 

S – is for Salt Life.  I wanted a Salt Life sticker.  Here’s the Urban Dictionary explanation of why I don’t have one:  Originally a sticker on the back of cars used to denote a surfer, bodyboarder, or general beach bum whose life centered around the ocean or beach.  Unfortunately the trend spread to senior citizens, wanna be hipsters, soccer moms, and other persons wishing to inform the world that yes, they too have visited the beach at some point in life and they have the sticker to prove it

salt life

T – is for Tattoo.  Dawson was determined to get a tattoo on vacation.  He did not get a tattoo however as the tattoo shop recommended by the lady that did Teagan’s henna tattoo was super busy and never called back.  All he wants is roman numerals:   III-XX-MMXV …. It can’t be that hard.

 

U – is for Unsupervised Children.  While eating lunch out on the deck of Sea n Suds we were treated to a group of ladies who apparently forgot they had small children.  While waiting for their food the ladies all drank cocktails and chatted while the kids were getting up walking around and playing monkey in the middle with a stuffed animal.  Then after lunch the kids started running around the deck mostly out of sight of the moms.  The oldest was maybe 7 or 8 and her arm was in a cast – shocker! 

 

V – is for Volleyball.  My kids play soccer on the beach but others play volleyball.  Teagan reminded me of the creepy old guy watching a group of girls play volleyball on the beach – which again leads me to remind parents to think twice about your daughter’s bikini.

 

W – is for People Watching.  My family tends to people watch a little too much on vacation.  It’s just so easy at the beach! Oh yeah and Whataburger… the only place that serves a side of toast with everything.

 

X – is for X-ray.  Luckily Princess didn’t require X-rays or stitches and they were able to glue her wound shut.  She got a few nights of extra love by the kennel staff and some needed break time from her brothers.

 

Y – is for Yellowfin which is a type of tuna.  At Tacky Jacks I got smoked tuna dip and Dave surprised me by eating it with me since he normally doesn’t eat seafood.  I have no idea if it was Yellowfin tuna or not but I needed a Y and T was already taken.

Z – is for Zzzz.  There wasn’t a lot of sleep on this trip because the mattress we had at the condo was made with bricks.  Uneven bricks – because when you would lie down in the bed your feet were higher than your head.  Luckily there were extra pillows in Dawson’s room so I stole several and made my own “pillow top.”

 

Scratchy blankets and getting sick on orange juice

I always say I love to travel.  I have a fuzzy memory of what was likely my first vacation.  I was about 4 or 5 years old and we took a train to Florida.  It may have even been to Walt Disney World, but I don’t remember anything about it except:  I got sick on orange juice on the train and the blanket I had was scratchy.  I think that explains a lot about me – I was destined to write about the calamities of travel.

I thought long and hard about how to document the latest travel adventure and I even tried writing a few times while still on vacation.  I’m going to start on day one, but in reverse order:

1:45 AM Prattville, AL

We are all exhausted and finally tucked in our cozy beds at the Hampton Inn so you would think all you would hear is “zzzzz” – however what you heard was Dave laughing hysterically.  Like uncontrollable hysterical laughter which triggered all of us to start laughing.  When he could finally talk and explain what had got him started laughing it was an earlier conversation about a fart – not even a recent fart or even a fart that occurred on this trip.  I vaguely remember Teagan saying something about “smells like regret and shame,” before I fell asleep.

1:01 AM Prattville, AL

Finally arrived at the Hampton Inn – the one that I chose ahead of time so that we would avoid not being able to find a hotel due to a convention, or sporting event, or that fact that it’s Spring Break and thousands of people are travelling.  The sliding doors are locked, not a good sign.  Ring the bell.  Someone lets me in.  The first sign that there was a problem should have been the stacks of paper lining the welcome desk.  Amanda (she had a name tag) looked nervous, second sign of a looming problem.  Good news – she did see our reservation.  Bad news – she had one computer tied up running some report and the other was doing a virus scan.  There was a lot of scurrying between computers, a lot of lamenting because she was new and by herself and unsure what to do with the computer.  I have since figured out what the problem was, she had already counted us as a “no show” and the computer had cancelled our room.  She did call someone to help her and somehow she got us our room back (fast forward:  she did not – she just booked and charged us for another room).  Another gentleman came in he smelled like alcohol or maybe he just recently sprayed AXE cologne, not sure. He looked familiar-ish.  As she was waiting for the computer to perform some miracle to get me my room she helped him on the other computer and in 2 minutes he had a room.  He recognized our car from travelling (Elmo stands out a bit), he was from Indiana too and we both commented on the terrible traffic in Kentucky.  I think I went to high school with him, his name was unique and I went to high school with someone with that name.  He went out got his kids and suitcases and went to his room.  I’m still standing at the desk.  I looked him up on Facebook while I waited, still not sure if it’s the guy I went to high school with.  Back to Amanda and the check-in debacle.  Before the maybe my high school alum came in I had swiped my credit card.  She then explained it didn’t go though and she had to run it again.  NEVER let anyone at a hotel convince you to do this.  She ran it again and explained the rate was wrong; $25 higher than the room I booked but she was leaving a post it note for the manager to change the rate in the morning before we checked out.  Great …. At this point I’m about to scoot two of the breakfast area chairs together to make a bed, can I please have a room key?  I was nice.  Don’t laugh …. I was.  Frankly I was too exhausted to be anything but nice.  Although my son insists you can see the complete level of irritation by my facial expression.  And it’s not my fault that Amanda was a nervous wreck before I walked in the door, I’m guessing she had done several other things wrong that night – I mean there was a ream of paper in 4 or 5 alternating stacks with post it notes everywhere all over the front desk.  Yay!  Keys to room #208… Success and it only took 34 minutes.

Midnight-ish, Clanton, AL

Stopped to get gas….. Again.  $20 fill ups – yay!  12.7 gallon gas tank – not so yay!  We pulled into a Chevron, because it was the easiest access off the interstate.  There was a guy in a tan colored SUV sort of blocking the front door.  The BMW guy next to us seemed to be having some issues and started to walk toward the door; about that time Dave swiped his credit card to get gas.  The guy in the tan colored SUV in some form of a security guard uniform stopped the BMW guy from going inside and told him the pumps are down and the store is closed.  So … maybe block the entrance to the gas station and stop people before they swipe their card.  Helpful Hank did direct us to the Love’s truck stop on the other side of the overpass where we met up with BMW guy again.  But because Dave’s card was still “open” on the other gas pump when he tried to get gas at this pump it locked his card.  Yay, we can’t fix that until Monday.  We took a trip back to the Chevron to make sure that the pump wasn’t still “open” – Helpful Hank was gone though.  I mean who else would stop to get gas after midnight in middle of nowhere Alabama?

Unknown Time – Nashville, TN

Traffic was ok, but you still have to pay attention to the signs because in Nashville you can take 5 different interstates in 5 different directions and you really have to pay attention to stay on I65 southbound.

Unknown Time – Bowling Green, KY

We gained an hour as we crossed into Central Standard Time.  Oddly it doesn’t seem like it helped us!  We hit stop and go traffic all the way to Bowling Green, after Bowling Green the highway split into two divided lanes and we got behind someone who thought 50 mph was a great speed.

6:42 pm – Lebanon Junction, KY

Traffic had started to pick up but then stalled again.  We opted to get off and go to the best truck stop McDonalds ever.  No, that’s not sarcastic, it’s a great McDonalds.  At this point I realized that it was too late to call the pre-determined hotel in Alabama and cancel because it’s after 6pm.  We were still 6 hours away.  The time change didn’t factor into my brain at that time.

6:08 pm – Louisville, just north of the airport

Ring – Ring, hi it’s the kennel (aka all-inclusive puppy dog spa and resort) and Princess has cut her foot and will probably need stitches.  OK.  I knew I checked the health care insurance box for a reason.  They texted me pictures, we decided to bandage her up and wait until the morning to avoid the after hour vet fees.

4:48 pm – Indiana/Kentucky state line

Rush hour in Louisville.  There are no words.  Two lane bumper to bumper traffic, then on the other side of the bridge three lane bumper to bumper traffic.  There was the option of the 264/265 circle around the city but it was backed up too because it’s the way to go around the new Toll bridge.  We were going 2 mph. 

2:48 pm – Plainfield, IN

We’re on the road!  Finally!  Only 2 hours and 18 minutes behind schedule.

2:30 pm – Plainfield, IN

Return from the kennel in Snowbelle and she is completely overheated and leaking antifreeze.  Sigh.  Park her in the garage and deal with it when we get back.

1:15pm – Plainfield, IN

Pack 3 dogs in Snowbelle and pick a child to assist you in taking them to the kennel.  Dawson got the short end of the stick.  At the kennel, I gave him Bam and Pickles and they ran him into a post.  Bam snapped at the girl trying to put his ID tag on.  Not sure why she works at a kennel because she’s not a dog person and turned into a complete bitch and made me put his ID tag on and made Dawson take him back and put him in the kennel and made the other girl that was working do all our paperwork.  He only snaps at mean people he doesn’t like…. OK he just doesn’t like people and snaps at pretty much everyone. Snaps not bites. Pickles escaped briefly but he was contained.  I hesitated, but decided to check the box to agree to pay an extra $10 per dog for insurance in case one of them got injured or sick.

12:30 pm – Plainfield, IN

Elmo’s new roof rack and super expensive luggage cross bars are installed and ready to pack.  Start loading suitcases, and bags and snacks.  All packed up and…. Oh yeah there are three dogs staring at us wondering where they are going to ride.  Crap.

12:00 pm – Plainfield, IN

Officially clocked out and ready to go.  Elmo’s new roof rack was not.  It’s complicated.

10:30 am – Plainfield, IN

Dave went to Westgate Jeep/Chrysler to purchase super expensive Jeep brand luggage rack cross bars that fit Elmo because he’s a Jeep…. And they’re unique.  Of course.

9:30 am – Plainfield, IN

The luggage cross bars that Dave has been struggling with since 8:30 will not fit Elmo.  Begin search to find ones that will fit.  Of course the only thing that fit’s is specially made by Jeep.  Translation $$$$$.

8:00 am – Plainfield, IN

Clock in for 4 hours of work.  Dave purchasing cross bars and roof rack to put on top of Elmo.  And Mickey D’s coffee.  He loves me.

7:30 am – Plainfield, IN

Wake up.  Happy day we’re leaving for vacation!!  Plan for the morning:  Dave is going to purchase and install the cross bars and roof rack needed so we can put luggage on top of Elmo, then take the dogs to the kennel (aka all-inclusive puppy dog resort and spa) in Snowbelle (Dawson renamed her but I don’t remember the name he picked – neither does he).  Pack up and be on the road at 12:30pm and drive 8 hours to Prattville, AL.

 

Here’s to scratchy blankets and getting sick on orange juice.  I love to travel.  I’m almost sure I do.

When you find your old travel journal

Today while looking for a file folder I found my old travel journal.  This was pre-blogging when you actually wrote stuff down on paper with a pen.  It was fun to look back, but luckily my writing skills have improved over the years.  So here is the first entry – the first ever family vacation to Gulf Shores Alabama.  It’s funny how many things don’t change over the years!  I did add a few comments as I was copying the text – they are in orange italics.

travel journal

Friday June 11th, 2004

Packing everyone was entertaining.  Dave had to fix the “turtle” (as we have so affectionately named the car carrier) with 100 mph tape so Kimmie’s undies don’t get wet.  See that sounds weird but there was an earlier trip where the “waterproof” car carrier got soaked along with the suitcase on top which was Kimmies. We all collectively decided that Mom was going down to stay and retire based on the number of clothes and size of the suitcase she packed.  We finally got going abound 5pm and made it to Bowling Green KY around 9:30.  Unfortunately for us, there was a classic car show in town and the NASCAR Busch race was in Nashville, TN.  The first hotel we went to was booked and the desk clerk told us there was only one hotel with rooms left.  But he gave us the wrong directions to it.   Pre-navigation software.  In frustration and hunger we went to the Econolodge, now known as the Grungeolodge.  But adjacent there was a Denny’s, now known as the Angry Denny’s and we went there for dinner. Pancakes good – Service bad!

Saturday June 12th 2004

After very quick showers at the Grungeolodge (if I recall there were bugs in the shower) we were on the road. I started the day off with a head cold and sore throat (before the trip I had just finished antibiotics for strep throat).  We made up a bigger story about mom’s plans for going to Alabama, that she had met a man on the internet named Hans who she was meeting down there.  Later Hans turned into a sheriff.  The tale grew bigger as the state of Alabama grew longer and longer.  But we finally made it to the Gulf Shores!  As everyone was unpacking mom took me to the “ER.”  It says it’s an Emergency Room but it was more like an Immediate Care.  After an hour and a half I was finally triaged.  After 3 hours I was leaving with a prescription and strep throat diagnosis.  While we were gone everyone else discovered our condo was across the street from Hooters.  Yay for Dave and Dawson.  There is a picture of Dawson when he was about 18 months old with a Hooters girl at the Original Hooters in Clearwater Beach Florida which has been the subject of much conversation over the years.

Sunday June 13th, 2004

Everyone got up early (except me) and went for a walk on the beach.  Kim won the “beach walker marathon” award because she went several miles down the beach.  We made a trip to Wal-Mart and I filled my prescription.  Then we went to the beach.  Teagan was not too crazy about the ocean – this didn’t change until 2012 when we went to Pensacola and now she loves the ocean.  She did enjoy playing in the sand, sort of, and we nicknamed her “Sandy” because she had it everywhere.  Everyone else played beach baseball with Dawson – watch 3rd base it’s a doozy!!  Someone had dug one of those massive holes and if you rounded third base too fast you fell in the hole.  Even mom played – see the video!  There was a video?  I need to find that!!  Later that night Teagan got her toenails painted for the first time!  We went to dinner and I got a drink called an Amaretto Orange Blossom – Yummy!  The place we went to dinner that night was destroyed in Hurricane Ivan and no one can ever remember its name. It’s been replaced by the Hangout.

Monday June 14th, 2004

Rain, rain – GO AWAY!!

It rained all morning long.  So we decided to go shopping at the outlet mall in Foley.  Very dangerous …. Lots of $$$ spent!  Some of the greatest purchases were Dave’s Wasabi Peas and Mom’s olive tamponade and raspberry sticks from Harry & David, our Livestrong bracelets for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Pirates of the Caribbean movie, B’s clothes to wear to Hoosier Girls State and my jammie pants.  We shopped until we DROPPED!!  Then we ate Godfather’s Pizza and went back to the condo and watched Pirates of the Caribbean.  Dawsie – it’s funny we called him that back then, now we just tease him with it quotes of the day:  “Mom, do you want me to drown in the ocean without my floaty?”  “The dolphins are being rude!”  and “You can’t take a dolphin for a walk.”

Tuesday June 15th, 2004

RAIN, RAIN – GO AWAY!!

I got caught in a torrential downpour trying to take pictures of the large waves from the storm.  That caused a new “party foul” rule that if you walk by yourself on the beach you have to take a cell phone.  I did get some awesome pictures in black and white, the difference between now and 2004 is that they are on film and I would have to dig through stacks of pictures to find them to post them.  FINALLY the rain went away, largely due to Dora the Explorer singing “rain, rain go away” on the TV all morning.  We all went to the beach and tried body surfing which due to the storm and super waves turned into body slamming.  Even Momma JR body surfed, although it wasn’t on purpose, a wave just overtook her and I while standing at the shore.  The beach was too rough so we went to the pool, then found out later we were all baked like lobsters.  Dave took Dawsie – ha ha ha – and Sara go karting and everyone else went to Sea n’ Suds for dinner.  We did some souvenir shopping but Mom saw her that her legs were swelling from her sunburn so we went back to the condo where we all made fun of Dave for the faces he made while we put the sunburn ointment on his back.  Kim, Jacque, Dave and I went on a drinking excursion to the Gulf Island Grill – Dave tried a martini and it didn’t go over well.  He pooped out after the martini and us girls went to the Pink Pony Pub.  WOW!  What a place – it was like Red’s (in Bargersville) but on the beach.  We drank out of plastic Dixie cups.  There was a pretty cool band playing.  We watched a lady pass out at the bar, then again on the dance floor, and again on a table.  One family brought their 83ish year old grandma with them and she was so cute with her white polyester Capri pants and a little white handbag we all said we wanted to be her when we were 83 – now known as squad goals.  We literally crawled home on the beach – it was only about 1/8 of a mile but it seemed longer at the time!

Wednesday June 16th, 2004

A sunny day!

After tending to a mild hangover … we all ate breakfast.  Jacque is the ultimate “camp chef” because she has fixed everyone bacon, eggs, sausage and biscuits and gravy almost every morning.  Well her and B.  Everyone but Mom, Dave and Jacque went for an afternoon swim.  After the swim Dave, Kim, Sara, Dawson and I went to Fort Morgan.  It was an interesting Civil War fort that hasn’t been used since World War I.  Dave enjoyed the fort but it was really hot and humid.  Driving back to Gulf Shores from Fort Morgan we saw our first ever off shore oil rig.  Jacque and B made hamburgers, French fries and macaroni and cheese for dinner.  Yummy!

Thursday June 17th, 2004

Kim and Sara went to Denny’s for breakfast and everyone else went to Hazel’s breakfast bar.  It was good food – Teagan was grumpy.  At least once on every vacation I have documented that Teagan was grumpy.  Later, after Dave and Teagan’s marathon nap, we went to Lambert’s Café, the home of the “throwed rolls.”  This place has a line, and you stand in line, first come first serve style no matter how many people are in your group.  I was standing in line, while the majority of the family was either sitting on a bench nearby or in the bathroom.  As we were about to be seated the crabby old hag behind me told us that we had “cut” in front of her.  She was a complete bitch but when the hostess came back to take us to our seats I insisted she seat the lady behind us first.  She told the hostess we had cut in front of her in line – I think her husband wanted to die of embarrassment.  We saw them when we sat down but oddly they got up and left abruptly before they were served.  We decided she owed us all a quarter each for a vacation foul.  We stopped for ice cream on the way back.  We took the kids for a “night” swim in the pool, it was really just dusk.  But Dave got itchy in the pool from his sunburn so we left.  Then we all watched 50 First Dates and had popcorn.

Friday June 18th, 2004

Mom, Kim, B and Sara left for home today! L

So let’s do a side by side comparison of 2004 vacation vs family vacations since:

Epic weather event – check.  Andi gets into a confrontation with rude person – check.  Hotel disaster on the way down – check.  Everyone gets horrible sunburn – check.  Group movie watching – check.  Dawson makes a statement about dolphins – check.  Teagan is grumpy at least one day – check.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear New Soccer Mom

soccer net

Dear New Soccer Mom,

 

In all fairness you’re probably not a “new” soccer mom but you are either new to club soccer or new to high school age club soccer.  I crossed paths with you on Saturday but I’m sure you didn’t notice me.  Actually you may have noticed me because I saw you glance my way before asking another mom where she got her “super cute” stadium blanket with her team’s logo.  I’m guessing the reason you were asking about the blanket it because you were absolutely freezing.

 

I figure you are “new” because you truly didn’t dress appropriately for spending 90 minutes in 30 degree weather with 15-20 mile per hour winds.  Oh don’t get me wrong, your outfit was totes adorbs!!  The stylish flared grey plaid pea coat and trendy black leggings with the Tommy Hilfiger riding boots was quite an outfit.  And the knitted headband with the bow and Michael Kors bag just tied the look together.  But I noticed you were missing gloves.  I’m not really a fashionista so I’m not sure if gloves would have been appropriate with the outfit.

 

What I do know, is that you were freezing.  You had to be.  Because I was cold – very cold.  And I had on jeans, a tee-shirt, a sweatshirt, a coat that is made for skiing and I was wrapped in a sleeping bag that guarantees it keeps you warm even when the weather is 30 degrees.  Oh yes, and I had on gloves.  Gloves that are also supposed to keep you warm when the temperature is below freezing, although I’m seriously questioning their claim after this past weekend. I also had my Under Armor ear warmer, also made for skiing.  I did forget my boots, not chic mid-calf boots or Uggs but actual winter snow boots.  Which was awful because my feet froze.  That was my fault for not just wearing them but they are a little clunky and hard to drive with so my plan was to change when I got to the soccer field but I left them sitting on the table at home.  I still make mistakes.

 

I will give you props because I watched – you were on the field south of me – and you lasted until half-time before disappearing, I’m guessing to the car with the heater going full blast.  You need to know you have reached a new level of soccer and weather that isn’t always favorable to being fashionable.  Soccer that starts as early as the last weekend in February and can last until nearly Thanksgiving.  Given that we live in the Midwest the best I can tell you is to plan for any and all kinds of weather because unless there is lightning you will be playing. 

 

I have survived the last five years by understanding that you should always plan for it to be cold – even in the summer.  There are levels of cold too.  There is sunny and cold which is the best you can hope for in February, March, October and November.  Then there is cold and rainy, cold and sleeting, cold and snowing, and cold with a wind chill making it feel like 25 degrees.  For spring and early fall there is also the consideration that there will be rain – think monsoon.  Rain is hard to plan attire for though, other than an umbrella but an umbrella is no help when it’s raining sideways.  I’ve seen parents in motorcycle rain gear on the sideline though and considered purchasing some.

 

Also the stadium blanket you were asking about – skip it.  I mean you can buy one if you need to show support for your club or whatever, but if you are interested in actually keeping warm you need to purchase a cold weather sleeping bag.  Why a sleeping bag?  Because you can sit in it and are protected from all sides.  I have tried all different types of blankets and trust me, you want a sleeping bag.  Mine is an old one that we’ve had since we got married, but if I had a few more soccer years to go I’d buy a new one that is rated for weather 24 degrees and below.

 

I’m just offering advice.  Like I said your outfit was swanky.  It would have been nice if you were going shopping or to a brunch date.  If I could pull off an outfit like that I would, but I’m not a very girly girl.  If you take nothing else away from this, please buy a ski coat and gloves!  I know mine is basic black and no frills, but trust me there are stylish ski coats out there.  I used to have a few that were more colorful.  And I know you won’t, but buy it one size too big.  This way you can layer a bulky sweater or sweatshirt underneath it and still be comfortable.  You’ll appreciate it when it’s sleeting.   Yes your child will play when it’s sleeting.   

 

If it helps, on Sunday I overheard another group of mom’s who also shared your sense of style.  It was warmer Sunday so the leggings/riding boots brigade was out in full force. One mom who had a big and bulky coat was telling all her co-soccer moms she went shopping during the break between games and she had to explain to the clerk at Charlotte Russe she was only wearing it because of soccer and they had a laugh.  See it’s easy to explain why some weekends you look like you’re wearing enough cold weather gear to climb Mt. Everest.  There is a Pinterest page dedicated to Soccer Mom Fashion – see below.  Sigh – Sometimes I really wish I was making these things up.

 

Remember you can always show off your chic suburban mom look in May or August – when you have 50/50 shot of it being 72 and sunny or 90 with a heat index of next to the sun.

soccer mom style 2

 

Participant: Life

I’m going to dust off my soap-box… did people really stand on soap-boxes to make speeches?

Not my normal soap-box involving the severe lack of research and support for childhood cancer, but something totally off the wall for me.

Can we please…… please, please, please stop blaming giving out trophies to all kids who participate in a sport or extra-curricular activity for … well just about everything?

I know it’s not really a soap-box worthy topic, but gimmie a minute and it might be.  I tend to be a social media voyeur, I know that sounds weird but I don’t know what else you would call it.  I have, as you know if you’re reading this, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.  But I don’t post a whole lot of things.  Maybe a “share” here or there, way too many pictures of my dogs and food and a lot of pictures by the beach when I’m on vacation.  But I’m on social media almost all day long, scrolling and watching.  Partially because I tend to find out quickly about emergencies or weather events I may or may not need to be aware of for my job, but partially just because I find it really interesting to watch.  I watch band-wagons and trends.  I resist the sometimes uncontrollable urge to reply to certain posts – thus giving away my political or religious opinions which I believe everyone SHOULD KEEP TO THEMSELVES!

But there has been a growing trend, more so recently in the last few months, of people blaming younger people’s (ok Millennials) attitudes, opinions, actions etc. on the fact that they all got trophies for just “showing up.”  My first problem with this is that Millennials are only grouped together by a common time frame when they were born.  Just like Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers.  All it’s supposed to mean is that we are a generation of people exposed to the same time frame while growing up.  It doesn’t mean that this general category of people all possess the same attitudes, opinions, actions – those things are formed by the person’s life experiences.

My second problem with this is that nobody even thought to question the practice of giving out trophies to everyone until after the “Meet the Focker’s” movie.

“Yep they give out ribbons all the way through 10th place!”

There is not one article – psychology paper, general social media rant – nothing before 2010 that brings up the concept that giving everyone a trophy is causing the basic moral decay of humanity.  Yes I researched it.  Before I was a mere blogger I had aspirations of a journalism career, where I learned to research stuff before I put it print.  Because if I don’t – you will.  That is one concept that apparently has been skipped in Journalism 101 for several years now (another soapbox, another day).

So I’m not sure where this trend started but please make it stop!  If you’re still standing around my soap-box I’ll now explain why giving out trophies to all kids isn’t a “thing.”  At least not a “thing” to use as some general explanation of why someone did something you don’t understand or agree with.  When my son was three years old he started playing soccer.  By “playing” soccer, I mean he showed up every Saturday for 6 weeks or so and kicked a ball around with about 15 other kids for an hour and got a juice box and cookie at the end.  At the end of the 6 weeks everyone got a little medal with a soccer ball on it.  That seems fair don’t you think?  Not every kid in our neighborhood got up at 8 AM on Saturday and went to play on a team and learn some social and athletic skills.  It wasn’t competitive.  It wasn’t supposed to be!  My son, at 3 didn’t understand that it wasn’t competitive and I had to repeatedly apologize to parents for his actions which looking back should have been a good indication of why sometimes I have to sit very far away from the opposing teams parents now….., but that’s another story for another day.

By the time we got to PeeWee baseball trust me competitive kicked in – more so in the parents than the kids – but it was a “sport” now.  There were trophies for first, second and third place – and a World Series tournament at the end, winner-take all.  In the Minor League (age 7-9) and Major League (10-12) in addition to the World Series there was a Homerun Derby and a Pitching contest.  Trust me everyone didn’t get a ribbon for that.  Yes everyone who participated in the league got something, sometimes a small plaque or a baseball but it was very clear who the winners were.

Same thing with soccer, I remember when my son was 12, the Optimist Soccer program participated in a county-wide league for more competitive play which culminated in a huge tournament at the end of the season.  His last year to play in this league his team fought tooth and nail to “win” third place – and I’m not exaggerating.  I’ve seen World Cup games that don’t compare to the intensity that I saw that day.  And he got a third place trophy – AND HE DESERVED IT!  In years past his team was in that “also-ran” category: 6th place and 4th place, and they got medals (I think – it’s been awhile – it might have been a ribbon) just like the teams that got 9th and 10th.  And that just fueled their passion to get that trophy and they wanted 1st place, but they celebrated 3rd place like it was the final round of the World Cup.

So please…. Stop telling kids they don’t deserve that Participation ribbon.  They most certainly do – because they did do something.  Maybe they weren’t the best but trust me they know who won or who was better than they were.  And they will use that information for one of two things, to find something they are the best at or to work harder to be the best; even at the tender age of 6 or 7, if not then definitely by age 10 or 11.

And stop blaming everyone getting a trophy for “what’s wrong” with the Millennial generation.  The only thing that’s “wrong” with their generation is that they are young, and still learning their way in the World.  Just like the Gen X’er’s before them and the Boomers before them.  Show of hands, who made perfect choices in their 20’s?

In case I haven’t convinced you I will leave you with one last thought.  If the Millennial generation has really suffered so much from this horrible practice of giving out participation awards how do you explain the 2016 Rio Olympics?  The average age of the US Olympic Athlete is 27 years old and the youngest athlete is 16 (PS – that makes her an i-Gen not a Millennial). In case you missed it this summer the United States topped the total medal count with 121 – including 4 Gold and 1 Silver won by 19 year old Stanford student Katie Ledecky. So when you rant on social media that all college students are “snowflakes” and “entitled” do you realize who you are including?  If those statistics don’t convince you I don’t know what else will.

Soapbox tucked away…. for now.

And yes at the turn of the 20th century people really did make public speeches while standing on turned over wooden crates that were used to ship soap.

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