Bad Decisions

Look Kids, We’re on Uranus!

My family spent a couple of days in Kansas City for Spring Break. It was wonderful.

We rented bikes to peddle around downtown. The bike path took us one block off of Main Street, so we could still see the sights, but not be in direct competition for the road with drivers who have no time or patience for tourists.

We came to a red light, and I noticed this sign:

 

 

 

 

I yelled, “Hey, guys! We’re on Uranus!” and then laughed hysterically.
They both gave me the stare that kids give when their mothers try to make a dad joke.

 

 

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The “you’re not funny” stare.

They peddled away as I mumbled to myself reassuringly, “It was funny. Uranus – your anus. That’s funny. They’ll get it later.”

 

 

As to date, they haven’t acknowledged that it was a super funny joke, but it has given me a summer project idea. I just need to find a two-mile stretch of road that is safe in Memphis.

 

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Moral of this story: write more and be consistent. 🙂

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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A Weekend to Remember: Part 2

Attention: This the second part of a series. To read the first part of the story, please click here.

Day-after photo

Day-after photo

The day after my car had the unfortunate pleasure of running into a deer, I began the arduous task of dealing with the insurance company and making plans to get back to Tennessee.

 

I called the insurance company, filed a claim, ordered a rental, called the body shop for an estimate, and waited for the inevitable pronouncement of “your car is totaled” from the insurance company.

It all seems so easy, except it wouldn’t be a good story if things went easily.

Rising Action: further complication add to the main character’s struggle 

Our policy only covers $20 a day for a rental car. The agent happily informed me that would cover a Kia Rio, and for $6 a day (out of pocket) I could rent a Nissan Versa. Apparently, they didn’t know that I have was supposed to bring home a 5 foot long picture that my sister bought for me a month ago. It won’t fit in a Rio, nor could we and all our luggage.

For $6 extra, I actually got a sweet little Chrysler 200s that had keyless entry, pushbutton start, and a knob for a gearshift (I nicknamed it Sweet Little Thing). But there was one stipulation: the car was not a one-way rental. It had to be returned to the Nebraska location. This complected matters. If my car was deemed fixable, then I could drive Sweet Little Thing home and then return once my car is fixed. If my car turned out to be a total loss, then I was stuck driving Sweet Little Thing back to Tennessee, only to drive it back to Nebraska once I bought a new car in Tennessee.

The claims agent sent the rental request to Enterprise in Memphis instead of the Norfolk, NE. No wonder no one called me within the hour.

Our insurance carrier doesn’t have an adjuster in Northeast Nebraska, so I was given the task of getting an estimate from a body shop I trusted. Good thing I was in the town I spent the first 40 years of my life in, or that would be a difficult task.

Both Z and I got head colds. Snotty, coughy, droopy headcolds. Yay!

Saturday afternoon we attended my niece’s wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony in a beautiful church on a beautiful summer day. My kids I visited with grown ups and other kids we hadn’t seen for a few years. My sister who I was co-cake cutting with had been smart enough to call and reserve a room a few weeks before I had, and took the kids to The Lodge’s pool to go swimming. Two of my other sister’s and their grandkids joined them later in the evening and had a swimming party until midnight.

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Everyone slept in Sunday morning and then met for an early lunch. It was relaxing and enjoyable 3-hour lunch with lots of sister chatting and smatterings of children interrupting. We left each other after giving hugs, sending our love, and speaking safe travels to each other.

When the kids and I headed back to Uncle Ed’s and Aunt B’s to transfer our belongings from the Scion to the rental. In the middle of doing just that, I sent Effy to the kitchen to get a plastic sack. She came back looking very forlorn and apprehensive.

After a few moments of her insisting that I was going to be mad and me insisting that if she doesn’t just tell me what was wrong or I was most certainly going to be mad, she finally told me what was wrong. Actually, she had to show me. She took me to the Chrysler’s driver’s side windshield, and I looked to where she pointed.  A softball-size spider web of cracks stared back at me. It was smack dab in the middle of the driver’s side with one long crackly leg reaching midway across the windshield.

“What. Did. You. Do?” came out of me in a deep, serious tone. My kids know that the slower (my attempt at self control) and deeper (my overcompensation when trying not to scream) I speak the angrier I am.

Apparently, my ADHD baby saw a bug on the Chrysler’s windshield and decided at that moment it must be erradicated from the earth by slamming it between the windshield and the heel of her hand. Really hard. Twice.

I didn’t know I was the mother of Hulk-tress, but it looks as though I am. Good gracious.

Amidst her insisting I was mad, I continuously repeated, “No I’m not. I’m frustrated. It’s fine” until I got into the house where I burst into tears and cried to my sister, “What else can go wrong?!”

Don’t ever say that. From me to you, you’re just inviting more trouble.

That evening, to give Effy and myself something positive to think about, the three of us went to Jurassic World with Aunt B and Uncle Ed. Nothing like watching an island being ripped apart by wild, angry dinosaurs after having your car torn apart by wild and (assuming) angry monstro-deer, or maybe it was a pterodac-deer – after hitting us, it just flew away. It would explain why it seemed to just disappear.

About 10 a.m. Monday morning, I returned Pretty Little Thing to Enterprise, explained what happened, and exchanged it for another car. I was held responsible for the damage done to Pretty Little Thing. It cost me $185 to replace the windshield, but the good news is the replacement car is a one-way rental.  At this point, I just wanted to be home, so I didn’t argue the fact that the windshield must have been faulty if my 11-year-old daughter could break it – with her hand – and fained a smile and said “great” to being able to drop the car in Memphis if need be. I just didn’t care. They gave me a Ford Focus (which was a wordless scolding equivalent to “you can’t take care of nice things, you won’t be given nice things”), and off I went.

I then called Bob, the body shop owner, to arrange for my car to sit on his lot until the insurance determined it was fixable or totaled. He informed me of the estimated amount it would take to fix the damage, and I really thought it would be totaled. So did Bob.  If it was fixable (which both of us highly doubted), I would return to Tennessee until the repairs were made at which time I would return drive back to Nebraska to collect my Scion. If it was totaled (which both of us thought it was), i would arrange for the insurance company to pick it up there.

With smoke rolling off the engine, I hobbled the Scion to Bob’s and then walked back to my sisters to begin packing the Ford Focus. Halfway through loading the car, I realized that I had left all of our belongings from the Scion in the trunk of Pretty Little Thing which was now tucked away somewhere in the Enterprise parking lot.

Crapolio, I thought. I just want to go home.

Around 1 p.m. on Monday, we finished loading the car and getting our snacks and all the odds and ends into the car and set off to retrieve our belongs from Enterprise. We stuff the extra cargo into the trunk of the Focus, grab a bite to eat at Runza, and head East on Hwy 275. The kids’ conversation quickly turns to debating the pros and cons of driving back to Nebraska to pick up the Scion.

“Only if it’s fixable,” I quickly add. “The insurance company hasn’t called back, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.” I was starting to hope that they would just total the car. That would be the easiest thing to do

The insurance company didn’t call back for another 4 hours. We were just outside of Kansas City, MO (sounds like the beginning of a Western) and had gotten back into our traveling groove – me listening to my Audible book, and the kids playing games and watching shows on their Kindles – when the claims adjuster called. I got this hopeful smile on my face when I heard it was the adjuster with his determination. “After examining the estimate and running the numbers,” my smile got bigger in anticipation to his ending the sentence. “Our preliminary decision is that it is financially feasible to fix your car.” The smile left my face, quickly.

“You’re going to fix it?” This was a question mixed with astonishment, so “fix it” came out about two octaves higher than the first part of the sentence. “Yes, ma’am,” he said. “Your car is fixable.”

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A Weekend to be Remembered: Part 1

The weekend of June 13th, my great-niece married the love of her life, and the kids and I attended the lovely ceremony. It was held on a beautiful summer’s day in a quaint, pre-1900, Catholic church in a tiny town in Northeast Nebraska.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Osmond, NE Photo courtesy of Monica Hessner

St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Osmond, NE
Photo courtesy of Monica Hessner

It was supposed to be a quiet trip, but it wasn’t. Murphy’s Law – or Nincompoopery – ensued shortly after trip planning began. This trip played out in a perfect elemental plot fashion.

Exposition: Introduction of characters, establishing setting, and main problem

In April, my great-niece, Ali, had asked me and one of my sisters to attend the cake table at her wedding. Although I didn’t like the idea of being old enough to be considered the aunt that cuts the cake, I was excited to have family and friends all in the same building, so I could get to visit with everyone at least for a few minutes.

Although I had said yes, I waited until 5 days before the wedding to book the room. This is northeast Nebraska I was travelling to, not Omaha or Lincoln. County fairs are the only major happenings in that part of the state. Those do not begin until late July and are finished by the end of August, so I thought I was pretty safe waiting until a week before the wedding. I wasn’t safe. The Lodge (and all area hotels) was booked solid by the time I tried to make reservations.  The Christian Cross Festival has grown to a two-day, free event that apparently attracts people from afar who inevitably need lodging. Even with ample free tent camping at the lake, every available room was booked. Luckily, I have family in the area that still like me. My kids and I were to bunk at my sisters.

I had downloaded some new books onto my Audible app, and the kids loaded their Kindles with movies, music, and shows. The plan was to leave no later than 10 a.m. Thursday morning. We were an hour and a half late leaving our house in Tennessee, putting our arrival time to my sister’s house at a little past midnight.

Even with the late departure, the trip was going so smoothly: the kids were watching movies on their Kindles, and I was listening to either the radio or to Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle on my Audible app. We were each in our own little worlds and traveling a route we knew like the back of our hands.  It was quite a peaceful seven-hour journey across Missouri.

We were in Omaha by 11 p.m, and once Effy and Z spotted the big train engines at Kenefick Park that welcomes visitors crossing the bridge from Council Bluffs, IA. the kids fell asleep by the time we reach Boys Town.

I had driven another peaceful hour when my travels were rudely interrupted by a deer the size of a horse trying to play chicken with me in the middle of the dark highway. Nebraska deer are so rude! and huge!

In an instant, Monstro-deer (or rhino-deer or Jurassic-deer as my friends have now taken to calling it) was challenging me to a 70 mph, head-on collision: I was going 70 mph; he was standing still, shocked, as if I had been the one to appear out of nowhere.  I slammed on my breaks and yelled, “NO!” hoping that he’d regain his wits and, with a harrowing leap, jump to safety. It wasn’t to be. Instantly after yelling, I felt the deep thud of impact, and my car stopped dead in it’s tracks.

I don’t remember closing my eyes, but I must have because I remember opening them only to see the entire front end of my car smashed in to windshield.

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 Rising Action: Main character battles crisis

Z woke screaming “What did we hit? What did we hit?” which woke Effy, who wondered what we were doing stopped in the middle of the road. She had slept right through the whole thing. Bluntly, I said, “We hit a deer,” and then began to audibly walk myself through the next steps:

“Are there any cars around? Check my mirrors. Look over my shoulder. Nope, no cars.”

“Car is still running. Car is still in gear. Pull it off to the side of the road.”

Pulled car to the shoulder of the road.

“Turn car off.”

Effy begins to ask questions Gatling-gun style.

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I DO NOT KNOOOWAH! I can’t answer any questions right now. Sit there and be quiet, so I can think.”

The car is silent for 15 seconds.

“And I need to think out loud. Who do I call first? 911? Dad? Road-side assistance? Claims?”

“911 and then Road-side assistance.”

While I waited for the deputy sheriff to find me in the dark at a not-so-certain point on Hwy 275, I got out of the car to inspect the damages. It was bad. And the deer ran off.

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I then called Roadside Assistance. The young man on the other end of the line tried to be helpful, but stranded out in the middle of nowhere, the closest tow truck was 45 minutes away, and then I wasn’t guaranteed a place to stay or a replacement car to be able to continue on to my sisters that night. My husband was 10 hours away and asleep in Tennessee, and I couldn’t think of anyone near my wreckage that would be able to tow a car.

While I was talking to Roadside Assistance, the county deputy sheriff arrived. He looked over the car, noted that the deer had run, or limped, off, and that the car was not to be driven. He could have called the tow truck but confirmed that it would take 45 minutes for them to arrive. He did say that he was able to stay with me until someone came to help or until he had another pressing matter.

I decided to call my brother-in-law, who was sound asleep, warm and cozy in his bed an hour away from me. Within the time a tow truck could arrive, so could my brother-in-law with the added bonus of delivering me to my destination. So I called him, and like the good guy he is, he came to our rescue.

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The passenger-side hood shot from above.

The deputy, Ed, and I decided I would hobble my car 8 miles to the gas station in next town. Ed would pick us up there.

Nebraska in June is not the same as Tennessee in June. It is cold and windy in Nebraska. The kids and I were dressed for Tennessee’s hot and muggy. When Ed arrived, I stood out in the cold wind shivering like I hadn’t spent the first 40 years of my life there, trying to assist him with tethering my Scion to the car trailer.

We drove the hour back to his house, unloaded my crumpled car, drug our suitcases into the house, and went to bed.

The next morning I call the insurance company, filed a claim, ordered a rental, called the body shop for an estimate, and waited for the inevitable pronouncement of “totaled” from the insurance company.

It all seems so easy, except it wouldn’t be a good story if things went easily.

To be continued…

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Why Turn Off Apps While on Vacation?

My daughter G and I recently took a mother/daughter vacation to New York City. We tried to take in as many sights as a leisurely week would allow. We had no schedule, no time table, and it was glorious.

One bit of advice I will pass along is to turn off your phone apps before depositing said phone in any pocket. Here’s why:

G and I were walking from Park Ave and 5th to the American Museum of Natural History on 80th and Central Park West. A pretty straight shot, but I used my Google Maps app to help navigate in fear of getting sidetracked talking and ending up at the Hudson River. For easy of retrieving the map, I just left Google Maps on and clicked the screen off before depositing my phone in the back pocket of my mom capris.

I assumed that would work for me because it has worked for everyone else. It could be that I just suppose it works for everyone else when, in fact, there is a step of which I am not aware – or my cellulite has a mind of its own and acts like fingers – because I ended up with a bunch of butt screen shots!

It all started at 11:48 a.m, as you can see, when I thought I had shut the screen off. Instead I somehow hit Google Play Store and found the Google earth App.

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Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Photo Credit: wordpress.com

Photo Credit: wordpress.com

 

Three years ago today, I apprehensively started this blog to prove to myself that I wouldn’t die if people read my writing.
It took a long six months to determine what my purpose for writing would be: bad decision make good stories. My mother passed when G was only two, and she didn’t get to see much of my father. He passed away when Effy was only 8 months old. I guess  I came to the decision to write about the silliness of my childhood so my children would know a little about their grandparents and the family I grew up with.  I wanted my children to understand that they were going to laugh about the bad decisions they made, and the punishment was something they were going to laugh about, too.

Three years later, that seems inadequate. Am I going to while away the hours just informing the world of all the stupid mistakes I’ve made, or is there a greater purpose to all of this (I’m flourishing my hands in an all-encompassing manner for effect)?

At this point, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll continue to post so my children have some written record of how inane their mother really was. Or I’ll continue to write because maybe one day one of my decedents will be interested in what their great-great granny had to say.

Whatever the reason may be, here is to another three years of blogging! cheers leo

Categories: Awards, Bad Decisions, Daily Writing Challenge | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Writing Challenge Day 10: Best Trip of My Life

When I first sat down to pen this post, I couldn’t recall a “best” trip of my life. We traveled every summer of my youth and there are several that stand out to me as remarkable vacations. Since it was too taxing to pinpoint the best, I thought I would tell the tale of the worst trip of my life, which was hands down in 1991 when my father, in a rage, deserted my husband and I, newlyweds, in Nashville, TN to find our own way back to Nebraska with no transportation, two tickets to Opryland, and $300 to our name.

BUT! As luck would have it, while refreshing my memory concerning the finer points of Mark Edmundson’s essay “Pink Floyd Night School” in order to teach my students narrative writing,  I remembered that I had, in fact, had a “best trip of my life.” Edmundson, in hopes to persuade his students to “take it slow” after graduation and enjoy life, tells a story about his being a stage hand for a Pink Floyd concert, and had he went straight into grad school, he would have missed this particular life event.

Edmundson’s essay reminded me of my very first concert and the very, very bad decision that ends up being one of my best stories.

My folks didn’t allow any of my siblings and I to go to rock concerts while we were in school, not even during the summer.  While my friends were taking off to Omaha and Lincoln to see Van Halen,  cassette playerRUSH, Foreigner, KISS, Aerosmith and the like, I was left at home pretending to be at the concerts, but listening to my brother’s cassettes on my dad’s mono-speaker cassette player that I had to sneak into my room.

The summer between my Junior and Senior years in high school, my boyfriend bought 4 tickets to the Iowa Jam in Des Moine, IA, two for him and me and two more for whomever I wanted to include.  By some stroke of luck, my parents were planning a trip to Indiana that week to see my grandparents, and I somehow talked my way out of going.

My boyfriend didn’t have a valid driver’s license (loser) and neither Amy, Lori or I had a car, so we put our heads together and decided that since it was only an overnight trip we would take (steal really because my parents had no idea what was happening) whichever vehicle the parents didn’t take to Indiana. My dad had a ’76 brown, 3-speed AMC Gremlin that was his pride and joy at that time – the Lord only knows why – and a Chevy station wagon. We ended up taking the station wagon. All I can say is it was a smooth ride to Des Moines that Monday in late May.

We started the 3 hour drive early Monday morning and were easily at the Iowa State Fair Grounds before the concert started at noon. We listened to some unknown garage bands before the big boys took the stage: Motley Crue, Areosmith, Ted Nugent, Scorpions, and Ozzy.  The Scorpions, my favorite of all favorite bands (because 1. I’m a scorpio; 2. They’re German; and 3. I love their music (it doesn’t hurt that I thought Klaus was cute.) were right in the middle of the line up. right at that the point where day is kissing night goodbye, it began to mist a little and Rudolf Schenker (lead guitarist) begins the desperately lonesome intro to Still Loving You, but the drum kit wasn’t set up and Klaus Meine, the lead singer, wasn’t on stage.  I’m thinking, “This is my favorite song. Where is he?” After Steven Tyler was booed for forgetting the words to one of his songs earlier in the day, I prepared myself for another let down.

Klaus Meine, Scorpions' lead singer

Klaus Meine, Scorpions’ lead singer

Then I heard Klaus’s unmistakable vocals, gritty and consuming, accompanied only by the forlorn guitar. He started to quietly plead, “Time… it needs time, to win back your love again… I will be there… I will be there.”  The crowd started screaming and I frantically searched the stage for Klaus. He wasn’t there.  Then I heard the drawn out “Love…” only the ‘o’ sounds like ‘au’ in “caught,” because, you know, he’s German. “Love… only love, can bring back your love again… I will be there… I will be there.” Although, he still wasn’t there. There was only Rudolph, playing his heart-aching solo that dripped with despair.

With the stretched whine of the ending cord, there was Kaus, in the air, descending from the rafters upside down from the drum cage.

The pounding of the drums boosted the lyrics from desperate pleading to resolute determination as Klaus sang, “Fight…babe, I’ll fight… to win back your love again” Oh my god! I swore he was singing to me!

I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. The drum kit lowered into place, and while he was singing to save our love, Klaus climbed off of the cage, walked to center stage, and, I swear, sang the rest of that song to me while I was standing in the rain. With each word, I felt how badly he didn’t want the relationship to end.

At the of the song when he belted out “I’m still loving yooooooooou,” I swear my underwear fell off.

Listen to it here (the song, not my underwear falling off): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqCKvUSik-I

What a glorious night that was. I don’t remember who played after the Scorpions, and I don’t even care. The image of Klaus through the misty night air hanging upside down as the drum cage floated down from the heavens will be etched into my memory forever. A memory I wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for one very bad decision.

I recently reconnected with Amy and asked if she remembered that venture. She sure did, and we both at how easy-going her mother was about the whole scam. That woman kept a lot of secrets for me. Amy and I both agreed that we would probably kill our kids if they tried to do something like that.

Those were the good ol’ days – bad decision galore.

Like I told my students, if you are going to make a bad decision, you better make sure you make it memorable.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Bad Decisions, Daily Writing Challenge, Parenting, Vacation | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nincompoopery at the Dentist

I went to the dentist a few days back to have a crown put in and a cavity filled.

I thought I was okay.

What I found out was that dentistry has changed since the last time I had a procedure. They place this large rubbery doohicky in your mouth that has a suction tube attached to it, so the dentist wastes no time removing his hands in order to allow the hygienist to suction out the water and saliva. The dentist can work to completion virtually uninterrupted.

An idea that is really good on paper, but horrible in reality.

They told me to breathe through my nose, and normally I do; however, at the moment that breathing through my nose turned into my only option, it stopped being a sufficient way of getting air to my lungs. Thoughts of suffocation started rolling around in my head. I started to question the design of the human form: how on earth can two small holes deliver enough oxygen to my lungs to sustain life? It seemed logical to me that the gaping hole that the dentist was now blocking with his rubbery suction tube and his hands was the only way to retrieve enough air to stay alive.

To top it off, I don’t know if it was me or if he had given me so much Novocaine that my uvula was numb. The more I breathed through my nose, the more it felt like my sinuses were draining and welling up in the back of my throat making it impossible for me to breathe. I knew I was going to die in the dentist’s chair from suffocation by mucus blockage.

I motioned for the dentist stop, so I could spit out the wad of mucus piling up in the back of my throat.  He told me to wait a minute.

Wait a minute? Wait a minute?! I could be dead in a minute. Honestly, couldn’t he see the ginormous snot ball blocking my airway. For Pete’s sake, he had a better view than I did!

He finally stopped and I spit. There was only saliva. No suffocant.

I apologized sheepishly and laid back in the chair. I did tell him that I didn’t like the rubber suction thingy and asked if there was any other way of propping my mouth open. He kind of huffed and put a huge metal clamp in my mouth. The dentist went back to work, and the hygienist went back to tapping my nose with her pinky finger and telling me to breathe through my nose.

Almost instantaneously, I felt the wad of mucus return to the back of my throat.  I chanted, “It’s not real. I’m okay. It’s not real. I’m okay,” over and over in my head.

That didn’t work either. I swear I heard myself gurgle, and all the thoughts of suffocation came racing back.

The second time I made him stop, he asked in a slightly perturbed way if I needed to have gas.

Sure, why not. Let’s do that.

Out comes the gas doohicky. They presented the mask before I had completely calmed download
down. The hygienist placed it on my face and I immediately said, “Yeah, I can’t do this either,” and placed it on my forehead.  She sighed and started messing with the dental instruments on the counter behind me.

When my blood pressure returned to 120/80, I put the mask over my nose and started to inhale with a fervor, pulling the nitrous oxide deep into my toes. After filling my lungs past capacity five or six times, I started to relax.

Then I started to get paranoid. “Oh dear God,” I silently pleaded. “Please don’t let my heart rate slow down so much that I die at the dentist. Please, God. Please, God. Please, God.”  I started crying inside my head.

I couldn’t ask him to stop a third time. I was frightened of what the dentist would do, so I started chanting to myself again. “Just relax. Float on the cloud. Just relax. Float on the cloud,” I told myself.  Soon I was slowly chanting, “Float on the cloud. The cloud is good.” And then, “Stay here. Here is good. So very good.”  I chanted so long that the voice inside my head started to sound like a stoner. I was okay with that.

Before I knew it, the dentist announced that he was finished and the hygienist put on the finishing touches, including adding more oxygen to my nitrous oxide. What a total a bummer, dude.

As the effects of the gas wore off, I realized I had acted like such a ridiculous nincompoop during this visit. I was so embarrassed now that it was over.

“So,” I ventured after the hygienist removed the gas mask, “we’re going to use that stuff again when I come back to get the rest of my crowns, right?”

She looked at me, blinked twice, and said dryly, “Yes.”

 

 

Categories: Bad Decisions, Humor | 2 Comments

Negative breeds negative

I have a saying. “Negative breeds negative: positive breeds positive.” I say it to my kids all the time, when they’re misbehaving, making bad decisions, or experiencing one of those Contrary Mary days. (side note: I am fully aware of the shortcomings of such a philosophy; however, I’m dealing with children who are not aware that cracks in philosophical underpinnings exist, so please cut me a break.)

I’ve spouted this little nugget of wisdom enough that they’ve taken to saying it to each other and to their friends.  That’s when I really laugh – when they say it to their friends.

Late yesterday morning, we were piled in the car on our way to Memphis when I asked Z if he knew how to do an evil laugh. He of course looked confused and answered, “No,” in a way that intimated that he thought it was a stupid question to begin with, so I asked F.  She answered the same way but added that maybe if a person did their laugh a tad higher in pitch than they usually laugh, that might do the trick.

While I was getting her to demonstrate an evil laugh for me, Z asked me if my interest in evil laughing had anything to do with the auditions for the Wicked Witch in the community theater’s production of the Wizard of Oz (he didn’t say it quite that intellectually. He is only 8).  I confirmed his thought and was starting to explain that I thought it would be fun, but I didn’t know how to do an evil laugh when I saw flashing blue lights in my rear-view mirror.

I looked at the speedometer and sure enough I was doing 47 in a 35.

Poop. I started looking for a place to pull over. The road I was on was curvy with no shoulder, so I started to look for a side road or parking lot to pull off.

I came around the corner, and there was the Munford Funeral Home’s parking lot. I pulled in far enough to allow the police officer to pull in behind. I thought by being courteous he may go easy on me.

After I had given him the requisite documentation, I leaned over to the passenger seat to put my billfold back in my purse when I notice about twenty people staring back at me from the other side of the parking lot.

Oh, crap. This isn’t the parking lot.

I had pulled into the mortuary’s back lot where cars were being queued behind the hearse for the funeral procession that was getting ready to leave.

Oh, dear God, please let the officer be quick about giving me the ticket I so deserve.  

I fully expected that by admitting my guilt and how I deserved the worst punishment, God would turn the heart of the police officer to 1) notice time was of the essence since there was a funeral procession lining up and we were in the way, and 2) have grace upon the cotton-headed ninny-muggins who turned into the lot.

Neither happened.

By the time he finished writing my ticket and telling me to slow down, more cars were queued and I had to maneuver around them (going the opposite direction of the queue, of course, which added that much more humiliation to that which I was already experiencing).

Each time I passed a car, I raised my hand in apology and said “Sorry” as if it was a magical word that adequately explained the entire circumstance and that I wasn’t just some inconsiderate, unfeeling nincompoop.

It didn’t work.

Grieving people can give very nasty looks.

A minute or two down the road, Z pipes up from the back seat and says, ” You know how you always tell us that negative produces negative? Well, maybe if you hadn’t been talking about evil laughs, none of that would have happened.”

Well, thank you for that tidbit, my little putter together of all thoughts.

It is such a joy to have one’s children uses one’s words against oneself.  Wouldn’t you agree?

 

 

 

Categories: Bad Decisions, Family, Humor, Parenting | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Two thoughts about Coulter’s disdain for soccer

I don’t read Ann Coulter on a regular basis. I find her too far into right field to be able to have any meaningful conversation with her. Most people who can’t, or won’t, entertain differing points of view, even to the smallest degree, are not good with discussion. What they are good at is shutting down a conversation. I find Coulter to be one of these people.  (Oh, and bee tee dubs, I feel the same way about left-wingers, too.)

For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts after reading Coulter’s June 25th blog post, “America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer.” 

1. I don’t think she was seriously trying to say that our countries moral decay can be proven by it’s present fascination with soccer. I do believe it was her attempt at using hyperbole and sarcasm to create satire, but it backfired miserably. Why? It backfired because people are not used to her trying to be funny in order to say she’s bored with soccer, much like Johnathan Swift and “A Modest Proposal.”  (Ya can’t shift like that, Ann, without giving fair warning. Now if you were known as a political humorist, that would be one thing. But you’re not.)

2. If I am wrong and Coulter wasn’t trying to be humorous, then I’m going to be forced to join those who are offended by her sexist, racist, and highly fallacious statements (this is an example of why I think she was not speaking truth. No one – NO ONE – can be that stupid. And as I write this I can’t help but think of a few of my students who would fit that bill).

There are a few statements I must address if her tirade is indeed factual:

 a. “One group of sports fans with whom soccer is not ‘catching on’ at all, is African-Americans.”

          My African-American son loves soccer, and it’s not because of the juice boxes.  He loves soccer precisely because it is an extreme challenge to make a goal. It takes intelligence (reading the players, calculating angles, and having precise timing) as well as superior athletic ability (the miles of running in one soccer game alone would kill most American football players).   When we lived in an apartment, it was our downstairs neighbor, also an African-American, who ignited the flame of passion my son now has for soccer.

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Wee Beastie playing the game he loves!

b. “One can only hope that, in addition to learning English, these new Americans will drop their soccer fetish with time.”

           Most of my international and immigrant friends and students speak better English than those born within the hallowed boundaries of this great land. Ann, if you are going to hold immigrants to the standard of learning English, you should probably hold those born here to the same standard. Have you ever watched Swamp People?

c. “No serious sport is co-ed, even at the kindergarten level.”

           I know some high school female football players, as well as some wrestlers and rugby players, who would heartily disagree with that statement – and their Republican moms and dads, too.

Hannah and me after her last game her senior year. She was awesome!

Hannah and I after her last football game of her senior year. She was awesome!

I have said my fair share.

That is all.

Good day, Ms. Coulter, and better days to you.

 

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