Mud and Glitter

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Yesterday was one of those weird 40-degree and sunny days in January.  Which is awesome … if you don’t own a dog.  Because on those weird 40-degree days in January, all the snow and ice and slush that was in your yard has melted and turned the large dirt spot by your fence into a mud pit worthy of a Monster Truck Jam.  Of course, that was the spot all three dogs ran to first yesterday.  As I was wrestling with a 100 lb. bulldog to clean his feet I noticed I was not only cleaning off chunks of mud and grass but there was glitter sprinkled in.  Then I remembered that my son had made a poster to cheer on his friend at her basketball game and she had specifically requested glitter.  In stead of dusting off the extra glitter into the trash can he decided the snow in the back yard was a good place for the glitter.

muddy-paw-print

The thing is, when I was cleaning mud and glitter off twelve paws I thought that it was a perfect description of so many things in my life.  My personality – Mud and Glitter.  My writing – Mud and Glitter.  My dogs – Mud and Glitter (and Mud).  My kids – Mud and Glitter (you two can fight over who’s glitter and who’s mud).

But it also is a great intro for what my Blog was originally going to be about today.  The original blog started off with the sentence, “If you ever want to see the worst human behavior go to the car wash on a sunny day in January or Costco on a Saturday afternoon.”

The car wash seemed like a good idea until I actually got in line.  I knew it would be busy because the temperature was blistering 32 degrees and it was sunny – I was prepared for busy.  I was not prepared for awful people.  If you haven’t visited a car wash recently there are now four lanes that condense to one.  This alone confuses people; three lanes are for the random sunny day car washers like me (the mud) and then there is an express lane for people who pay a monthly fee for unlimited washes (the glitter).  I chose the shortest of the three lines which I should have known was cosmically stupid.  The person in front of me caused quite a bit of problems and I don’t know why or what the issue was.  But the car wash gal was summoned to the car multiple times and there were receipts flying around – if I had to guess I’d say that they changed their mind about the level of clean they wanted for their truck because in addition to the receipts the car wash gal had to keep soap writing new numbers on the truck.

The back and forth was fine until we got to the front of the line where the parking gate arms allow people in the 4 lines to rotate into one line to go through the car wash.  The gate raised not once but twice while the mind changers were waiting once again for the car wash gal to come back to their car and I assume change the wash type one more time as a new receipt was printed.  I admit, I was irritated.  I watched car after car go into the line and I’m stuck behind the most indecisive person in the world.  It’s not hard, you either want to pay $9 for soap and water or go all out for every type of cleaner and wax known to man for $20.  There’s 2 mid-level choices – I get that, but seriously it should not take 4 times to decide what you want.

Unfortunately, because they waited through two of the gate rotations – it threw the gate rotation into a frenzy.  The gates started getting stuck open or closing too soon.  Then it allowed 4 of the Glitter cars in the Unlimited wash lane go and nobody else.  Finally, the gate raised and the truck in front of me drove through the gate.  Then the gate stuck open.  And the other gates got stuck down.  So unsure what to do I started to proceed through the gate as it slammed down on Elmo’s front bumper and the arm broke completely off.  Luckily Elmo sustained no damage and the employees got the arm off the bumper and waved me on through – mostly because the other lanes were all still stuck down.  Eventually, they had to open all the gates and hope for the best because one indecisive person jammed up the whole works.  I finally made it through the car wash, but I wanted to pull to the side just to double-check that there was no damage from the parking arm coming down.  After double checking I got back into the car and tried to leave, but one of the Unlimited car washers was blocking the exit while going over his freshly washed truck with a chamois.  While waiting in line I saw him pull in, his truck looked like it had just been washed before he got in the line, but whatever if I paid $40 a month I’d wash my truck 3 times a day too.  The thing is I wasn’t irritated that he was detailing his truck, or even that he was blocking the exit – it was that he was totally oblivious to the fact that there were other people waiting for him to move.  Or, maybe he wasn’t oblivious, which means he just thinks his super duty dually extended cab 4×4 is more important than my sporty little Jeep.

He finally moved so I was able to get to the exit only to pull behind a guy driving exactly 8 mph while talking on his phone and the Honda Accord that was about an inch from his bumper with a red angry face and yelling.  Cell phone guy just kept driving at 8 mph… totally unaware that the Honda guy was behind him yelling and I was behind the Honda guy.  He briefly drove into on coming traffic which was fun to watch, then almost hit Honda guy who was trying to pass him on the right, when he attempted to get back in the correct lane.  But the best thing ever was when cell phone guy after cutting off Honda guy cut right in front of me and realized that he was at a stop light that was red and slammed on his brakes.  His brakes worked…. Mine did not.  Well mine did, they just weren’t effective as I was on solid ice.

As I pictured myself slamming into cell phone guy my anti-lock braking system kicked in and for some unknown reason cell phone guy suddenly decided he was turning right and despite the red light turned.  I guess that may have been divine intervention.  I was next to Honda guy, who was still yelling and gesturing at cell phone guy.

Based on this experience I should have said no when my husband wanted to go to Costco, but I relented, and we went.  Every family within a 50-mile radius who has 3-5 children was shopping at Costco.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand you must shop and if you have small children they must go with you.  The first encounter we had was with mom talking on her cell phone in the middle of the aisle, completely stopped, while her three kids kept getting free orange samples.  Like 4 and 5 orange slices a piece to the point where the employee cutting up the oranges had to say, “you need to ask your mom if you can have any more.”  No one else got any orange slices though because the kids kept pushing their way to the front and grabbing more.  The entire time mom was having a very loud and detailed conversation about her plans for the evening that included wearing a super-hot new outfit and getting drunk.

We moved past the fruit to the bakery.  After fighting off two families of five Dave finally got a muffin sample.  It just kept going from sample station to sample station – the mom would approach first followed by the kids and the dad would bring up the rear.  I don’t mind that people brought their kids and were letting their kids get samples, what bothered me was that the parents were being disrespectful of other shoppers.  Sometimes pushing their kids up to the front of the line to get samples of things the kids didn’t even want.  And the sample stations are strategically placed in busy aisles and some of the parents would loiter around the aisle until the next batch of samples were laid out and sent their kids in for seconds.  All of this makes actually shopping very complicated.

I started out accepting it for what it was and laughing it off as much as possible.  We joked about it… commenting on the new trend for parents is to not feed their kids lunch and instead bring them to sample stations at the Costco.  Then I found her.  The one who sent me over the edge.  Her cart parked smack in the middle of a busy main aisle while she walked with her daughter to get a box of 4000 fruit snacks.  I maneuvered around her cart and kept going, then she was behind me.  I stopped to get a box of pretzels and was trying to see the price.  She huffed around me loudly complaining that I had stopped in the middle of the aisle.  That was it, my breaking point.  I said things, things like FUDGE.  Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word! (to borrow from A Christmas Story).  That made this lady cover her daughter’s ears and run away from me in horror (Insert eye roll – like she’s never said it!).  I was the mud…. She was the glitter – at least in her version of the story.

I find more and more that people are either so self-absorbed they don’t notice the other people around them or they just truly feel they are more important than others in general.  I’m not sure which but as I continue to find these people I definitely lose my glitter.

Sparkle on readers… sparkle on!

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From the desk of Mr. Pickles, Esq.

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Bam let me borrow mom’s computer but said I couldn’t tell anybody.  So I found this thing called a blog… I’m not sure what it is but I like to talk about myself so I think this is perfect for me.

Some things you should know about me – I’m a two-year old long-haired miniature dachshund who is most famous for being a “good noodle” around the house.  I also speak with a slight nasal inflection so when you’re reading this keep that in mind.  More important information about me….let’s see ….. for a career I’m currently in training to be a SWAT K9 with my girlfriend, Killer, who is a German Shepherd.  Killer broke up with me earlier this year because mom wouldn’t let me keep the baby bunny I caught and killed to show her.  I told mom it was homework for SWAT dog school, but she still took it away from me.  But I’m so irresistible Killer took me back and she’s my girlfriend again.

For fun I chase tree rats….uh squirrels … in our back yard.  Even Princess can’t catch them so I don’t feel bad that I haven’t caught one yet.  And after the scuffle this summer with the raccoon, Bam no longer assists us in ridding the back yard of wildlife.  The raccoon did scratch his ear and he’s not getting any younger so I totally understand.  I recently took up Yoga – I’m awesome at downward facing dog.

Mom had a list thing that was sitting by her computer and it said “Replace New Years Resolutions With This.”  I think I’m going to take a crack at this, but I don’t know what a Resolution is.  Oh well here we go:

A bad habit I’m going to break.  Hmmmm…. I have no bad habits.  I mean sure I grab the dish towel off the stove and carry it around the house, jump up on the dining room table, growl at mom when she hasn’t fed me in a timely fashion, chew on mom’s house shoes and knock the trash over.  But those things aren’t really habits per se.  Nope I’m good on this one.

A new skill I’m going to learn.  Mixed martial arts or French culinary school.  I’d really like to learn how to make Coquilles Saint-Jacques and Baked Camembert.

A person I hope to be more like.  Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, I mean I’m totally like him now, totally buff and athletic and funny.  I just need to be more famous.  Maybe Justin Timberlake, I’d really like to up my singing game.

A good deed I’m going to do.  This one is tough.  Maybe I’ll help Dawson deliver Meals on Wheels one day.  I think I’d be good at that.  I mean after all what could go wrong with me in a van full of food?

A place I’d like to visit.  I’m really bad with locations but I’d be pretty happy with anyplace that has cookies.  Or maybe Canada because I want to see a Moose.

A book I’d like to read.  Uh… I really can’t read.

A letter I’m going to write.  I’m going to write a love letter to Killer.  And then maybe the Queen of England because I want to talk to her about validating the ESQ after my name (in England it means you’re training to be a Knight).

A new food I’m going to try.  Mom always says I can’t eat chocolate…. So that’s out.  But I’m pretty much willing to eat anything.

I’m going to do better at.  SWAT dog training, I still must make up for the missing bunny homework.  And I’m going to be better boyfriend and spoil Killer.

 

Well that’s all mom had listed for her blog so I guess I’ll sign off.

 

Happy New Year!

Mr. Pickles –  out

Pink Ribbons and Pumpkin Spice

It’s the middle of October.  I realize this is not Earth shattering news, but it’s what got me started thinking about this blog.

pink ribbon pumpkin

When I was a kid I used to love the month of October.  Yes, it was partially due to my birthday being in October, but I also loved so many other things that only are done in October.  I loved visiting orchards and pumpkin patches (which as a kid seemed like two different locations but as an adult I’m thinking it was really just one) and my elementary school had a fall festival.  I would plan very elaborate Halloween costumes which was a) silly because I lived in the country and could only trick or treat at about five houses and b) unrealistic as many of my ideas would have required a Tony award-winning costumer.  When I was five my mom made (as in sewed with a sewing machine) me a pumpkin costume and bought me green tights, when I was six she made (again sewed) a witch costume and made a pointy hat and when I was seven she made a Bugs Bunny costume complete with a faux fur head.

October was the best month ever and it ended with my two favorite holidays – my birthday and Halloween.  As a Queen of course, my birthday is a holiday.

Now October is over run with Pumpkin Spice and Pink ribbons.  The first is just a strategic combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice but the way it’s advertised you would think it’s some miraculous super food that everyone must consume in the Fall.  And I won’t lie, I like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or two when they come out however I refuse to buy Pumpkin Spice cookies and candy and cereal and…. the list goes on.

The second is complicated for me.

Pink is one of my favorite colors (duh, my blog is PINKbookdiary).  And breast cancer has taken more from me than you can possibly imagine.  So, you might imagine I have a lot of pink ribbon adorned stuff but here’s where it gets complicated.  I’m not a big fan of all the pink ribbon adorned stuff you can buy in October and I haven’t been for a while – like ten years to be specific.  It’s like the Pumpkin Spice stuff, it started out as a great coffee drink from Starbucks and then everyone had to jump on the bandwagon.  The pink ribbon started out to promote breast cancer awareness when it was an underfunded type of cancer (PS it was originally Peach).  Now you can buy shoes, socks, shirts, pants, lunch boxes, gloves, hats, appliances, pens, stickers, safety pins… do I really need to keep going?  Go to Amazon and search pink ribbon merchandise, there is 20 pages of stuff.

I saw a Facebook post the other day from a young woman captioned “Breast Cancer is not Pink Ribbons” and she shared a picture of herself topless revealing two horrific mastectomy scars, she was in the middle of chemo so her IV port was accessed and her bald head was covered by a scarf.  She had a point.  Breast Cancer is ugly and the farthest thing away from a pink ribbon as you can get.

But…… the pink ribbon worked.  Breast cancer is the #1 funded and researched cancer (both by government and not for profit organizations) in the United States, twice as much funding as Prostate Cancer which is the 2nd highest.  And yes, Childhood Cancer – which is like 25 cancers rolled into one title – is still at the bottom of the list receiving 4% of the National Cancer Institute Funding.  That’s when my dislike of pink ribbons began.

So, like many things in my life I have a love/hate relationship with pink ribbons.  And Pumpkin Spice.  And I miss my mom and the October’s of my childhood which were filled with pumpkin patches and orchards and festivals and Halloween costumes that were more than just themed lingerie. I really wanted to insert a line from Mean Girls here, but it’s probably not appropriate given the next sentimental and super emotional part of my blog.

Since it is Breast Cancer awareness month I want to share a poem that I found from 2004 that my mom happened to clip out and give to me but I don’t remember why she gave it to me.  Now it’s her:

I find an old photograph

and see your smile.

As I feel your presence anew,

I am filled with warmth

and my heart remembers love.

I read an old card

sent many years ago

during a time of turmoil and confusion.

The soothing words written then

still caress my spirit

and bring me peace.

I remember who you used to be

the laughter we shared

and wonder what you have become.

Where are you now,

Where did you go,

When the body is left behind

and the spirit is released to fly?

Perhaps you are the morning bird

singing joyfully at sunrise,

or the butterfly that dances

so carelessly on the breeze

or the rainbow of colors

that brightens a stormy sky

or the fingers or afternoon mist

delicately reaching over the mountains

or the final few rays of the setting sun

lighting up the skies

edging the clouds with a magical glow.

I miss your being

but I feel your presence,

in whatever form you choose to take,

however you choose to be.

Your spirit has become for me

a guardian angel on high

guiding, advising and watching over me.

I remember you

You are with me

and I am not afraid.

~Kristi A Dyer

OK so now you’re in tears, well I’m in tears, so Mean Girls it is:

 

Topless burgers and 20 years

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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!

Dear Mrs. Beauregarde

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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.