I agreed to be a chaperon for Sassy’s 4th grade field trip to a bowling alley. In case you don’t remember, 4th graders are 10 years old. Ten year-old girls are highly emotional people. It’s just as they get to the cusp of teenagers – those deadly tween years. I don’t remember being this emotional when I was ten, but what the hell do I know. That was 34 years ago.
I have no idea how anything in my life can be 34 years ago, but there you have it. I had the same realization last week in California when I realized I hadn’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm since I went for my 8th grade graduation. That was 30 years ago. Holy shit, I’m old. And my feet hurt. And I had to get reading glasses this year. It’s only a matter of time before I’m complaining about bursitis or gout and yelling for kids to get off my lawn. Well, at kids besides my own.
A N Y W A Y. My age issues are not the point of this blog.
I arrived at the school with the rest of the kids and we promptly climbed aboard the school bus bound for the bowling alley. Just so you know, school buses smell exactly the way you remember them. Like feet and smelly boys. So you’re thrilled to get off the bus at your destination and gasp fresh air only to walk inside the bowling alley to a worse stench. Older feet and smellier boys. And other people’s shoes. And burnt coffee. That lovely potpourri does not encourage you to breath deeply, I assure you.
Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with the children, there was a guy there with three women’s names tattooed on his neck. When I texted this to Ava she told me not to judge – they were very likely his wife and two daughters. That could have been true, except two of the three names were crossed out. I swear to Zeus.
We eventually got all the kids in rented shoes. It took awhile because there was not a single child with us who knew what size shoes they wore. Then all the
kids made little teams of themselves and we got them signed into the scoring computers. Then I got to sit back and watch the show like Marlin Perkins on Wild Kingdom.
Every time one of the girls would knock down a pin, all the rest of the girls would squeal and there be a 12 minute hugging session reminiscent of the Academy Awards. As you can imagine very little bowling was actually accomplished until they got that out of their systems. Fairly early on, the alley people put up the gutter bumpers. If they hadn’t, I can assure you there would have been NO pins knocked down. As it was, it was more like watching an enormous pinball game than bowling.
The child would pick up the world lightest bowling ball – weighing in somewhere between lint and yarn – and hold it in front of her. Then she’d run full tilt up the lane only to come to a complete stop at the line, pause, then fling the ball down the lane with zero finesse. The ball would pinball in the vaguest direction of the pins, bouncing off the gutters as many as five times, careening back and forth, before it would gently tap a pin.
There was a brief moment of epic drama when one of the girls thought the other girls were talking about her behind her back. Copious tears and wailing and then, just as quickly, everyone was back to hugging.
It made my head spin.
All that aside, it was better than being at work.
Next week I agreed to go with The Bandit on their bowling field trip.
That should be truly outstanding with blog fodder. I anticipate less drama and more shenanigans. Stay tuned.
I took Ava with me to see my foot doctor today. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not that Ava would team up with the doctor to yell at me.
What the hell?
Maybe I was secretly hoping that he’d want to give me another cortisone shot cause that would totally freak her out.
But no, there was actual yelling. And ganging up on me.
The doctor even told her to come back with me when I see him in a month so she can report whether or not I wore my tennis shoes EVERY WAKING MINUTE OF MY LIFE. Do you really think she’ll tattle on me? You bet your life she will.
She’s evil like that. If you see her out and about, do me a favor and squint at her very hard in a threatening manner.
I spent Mother’s Day yelling at my kids from the front seat of the car as we barreled down the highway from Anaheim.
I’m kidding. Sorta.
We actually had a really great time while we were away. The Bandit was hardly ever surly, and Sassy managed to keep the eye-rolling in check – most of
the time. We got to ride everything in the new Cars Land – which were awesome to a one. The Pirates of the Caribbean were as rowdy as always. They added stuff to It’s a Small World. If you’re forced to ride, at least there’s new stuff to look for. I will share with you that Captain EO, the Michael Jackson 3D thing-y, did not stand the test of time. I’ll admit to inappropriate laughing through out. Space Mountain was open which was unexpected as there had been some trouble with it in the very recent past.
I will share with you that my foot is in agony. I’m certain this is an overshare, but I don’t care. It’s swollen all the way up my calf and vaguely discolored. I can’t wait to see my doctor tomorrow. I’m certain he’ll lecture me but I did all the things the told me to do including ice it down every single night and damn near overdosing on anti-inflammatories.
When I got home it was bliss. I cuddled my kitty cat – who has definitely gained weight – and read five days of newspaper. After that, I turned on the DVR and got to dive into Big Bang Theory, Elementary, Da Vinci’s Demons and Game of Thrones.
Bliss I tell you.
Hey! I did an interview over at Much Cheaper Than Therapy today. I wrote a little piece on family history. Remember I wrote it so it’s not like it’s a Hallmark card or anything.
Pop over and have a read. You’ll have fun. Leave a comment and you’ll secure your place in Heaven. Or if not Heaven, then Starbucks.
If you want to feel really, really old, try to explain to your 10 year old daughter why seeing the footprints in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater si cool. They have no idea whatsoever who Clark Gable and Humphrey Bogart are. That saddens me and now I’m going to make them watch Gone with the Wind and The Maltese Falcon. It’s five hours of TV I’ll love and they’ll be completely bored by. I’m totally looking forward to it.
The trip to Hollywood is like 20 miles from our hotel at Disneyland and it took approximately 75 hours in the car. LA traffic is not sane. We asked Siri to give us directions but we kept going rogue and at one point she got so disgusted with us she stopped talking to us at all, but not before she told us, “Fine. You think you know what you’re doing? Good luck.” And then she pouted.
One of the funniest things ever was Sassy surveying the graffiti all over the freeway. She had lots of comments about how stupid she thought it was. “And look at that guy. Some jerk named John wants us to know he was there at 3:16. How stupid is that?” It took me a beat before I realized she was seeing the bible verse. Then of course, we saw it everywhere.
All in all it was a great day. We’re exhausted. Tomorrow is a HUGE Disney day.
I’ll have you know that we made it to Disneyland in one piece. Or five pieces as the case may be since there are five of us. We left the house at 3:20 in the morning. Or the evening. I’m not even sure what to call that time of darkness. I don’t really consider it the next day until there is sun to confirm it.
Even though we packed last night, everyone seems to have arrived with the requisite amount of stuff. Since we drove that means WAY. TOO. MUCH. STUFF. We were indiscriminate. Sassy brought one bag entirely of shoes. That’s how I know for sure she’s my kid.
I brought two pairs of shoes. The tennis shoes my foot doctor insisted on with the $800 prescription orthotics and my Birkenstock’s that he frowns on. After six hours my feet HURT. They really hurt and I wore his shoe selection today. When I get back I’m going to clock my dear old podiatrist right in the nose. Don’t worry though, I’ll power through with the assistance of powerful anti-inflammatory drugs and chocolate.
And maybe wine and whine.
Also, just as an aside. Our hotel has a bus stop in front of it – directly in front of the entrance to Disneyland. I’m telling you this is the best bus stop in the entire world for people watching. There are the most outrageous characters making that bus stop their home. If it wasn’t completely inappropriate, I’d include pictures but that’s mean spirited and I AM at the happiest place on earth so you’ll just have to trust me on this.
Amylynn decided she was going to take her family to Disneyland for Sassy and the Bandit’s birthdays. I hate when Amy goes away. No, not because I’ll miss her (though I will) but because she has no freakin’ idea how to prepare and pack for any type of trip what-so-ever.
Packing needs to be taken seriously.
You should start planning not less than 30 days prior to the trip. You need to think about where you’re going and what you are going to wear once you get there. Lists need to be made and index cards for each day for each family member need to be completed. This will tell you what you have and what you need to buy for the vacation. Anything you don’t already have on the index cards goes on a shopping list. As you get things together, place them in your guestroom and threaten your family with death if they go in there and wear any of it. A few days before your departure, put it all in suitcases – by day and complete outfit with each index card.
There you go, a completely stress free vacation. You’re welcome.
By the way – don’t get too specific on the shopping list because Amy might snatch it away from you and screech in the middle of Macy’s “Where the hell do you think we’re going to find a greenish khaki jacket, but not too green, hip length with a floppy zip collar in a medium thick fabric?” or “No one makes a coated white linen structured bag with a detachable shoulder strap and silver hardware. We looked for that ALL last summer!!”
But I digress. Amy gets nothing ready until the night before. NOTHING. She takes great pleasure in torturing me with this.
30 days out:
Me: Did you start packing yet?
Her: Nope. (evil sneer)
15 days out:
Me: Did you start packing yet?
Her: Nope. (evil sneer)
5 days out:
Me: Did you start packing yet?
Her: Nope. (evil sneer)
Her: I think I’ll pack. (evil sneer)
What kind of person waits to pack for an entire family vacation the night before they are leaving??? What kind of person does that??? Amylynn – that’s who!!! I need to go lie down now.
We’re going to Disneyland this week – the week between Sassy’s and The Bandit’s birthdays. We told the kids there wouldn’t be birthday parties this year because of the expense of the trip. Instead, we’d agreed that the boy could invite a friend to spend the night and we’d take them to see Iron Man 3 since it came out on his birthday.
“A friend” turned into two friends and a nephew. Counting his sister, My Honey and I took five kids to Peter Piper Pizza and the movies.
Really it was more like taking a frat house on a tour of a holy museum.
Eight year old boys are insane. They are teeth gnashing, screaming, amok running lunatics. We let them run wild in the pizza place – it’s not like anyone would notice that they were any more out of control than any other random kid there. We left for the movies early because we knew there’d be a line at the theater even though I had bought the tickets earlier in the day. Only a couple of hours in and My Honey and I were already exhausted. We finally made them sit on the floor in the lobby. I’m sure all the other patrons were happy they weren’t swinging from the light fixtures anymore.
It’s like they feed off the energy of exhausted parents.
They all sat rapt in the movie – as did I. I loved the film. Or maybe I loved Robert Downey, Jr. It’s really hard to separate the two. Either way, my crush is firmly fixed.
We got home and had cake and ice cream.
The party got more and more like a scene from Animal House. There were boys everywhere in their underwear. Boys climbing on furniture. Boys running around the house making gun noises. Confusingly, bean bags were flying around the house. Even the girl was caught up in the action. The most confusing development was that even though chaos reigned, they were the politest bunch of heathens you’ve ever met. When we told them to get off the shed roof, they said, “Yes, ma’am.” When asked not to chase the cat, they responded, “Yes, ma’am.” It was very disconcerting.
At midnight I made them all get in bed and turn out the light. I told them they didn’t have to sleep, but they couldn’t run up and down the hall anymore. Mere minutes later, I was still in the living room writing and heard the tell tale **pop fizz** of a soda can being opened. I found four pajama clad boys sitting in the dark, each poised with Sprite cans to their lips. In my head, I could see the few short years till I catch them with beers.
On Saturday morning I had to work. I’ve never been happier to go to that hell hole in my life.
These are the texts I got from My Honey:
MH – Can I come to work with you? I’m going to kill some kids! Where are they f****** mothers!
ME – They’ll be there soon. Hang tough.
MH – I think they’re in Mexico. I would be.
ME – Hahahahahahahaha (I laugh helpfully mostly because I’m safe at work)
MH – I keep hearing Louie Louie in my head! It’s Delta House over here.
ME – Food fight!!!!!!
MH – One down two to go
ME – It’s getting quieter!
MH – No.
ME – Impossible!
Eventually all the kids left. When I got home, the frat house was mostly cleaned up. My Honey had marginally less hair.
The girl gets to do it in 2 weeks for her birthday. I can hardly wait.
Summer’s here. We know you people in other parts of the world are furrowing your brows and looking at us in confusion, but here in the desert, we’ve got summer. It’s undeniable. Our state capital already experienced a 100 degree day. The air conditioning is already running and our kids have been swimming at their grandmother’s for several weeks. The Sisters don’t swim. That’s not to say if we fell off a cruise ship that we’d drown. We CAN swim we just don’t because that involves swimming suits and nobody needs to see that. What we do instead is sit under an umbrella with a margarita and read. Onward summer! Here’s some funnies this week.
1. Mary the AutoReader. In the continuing saga of Democrats and Republicans refusing to get along or accomplish absolutely ANYTHING, the Dems of the Florida state legislature have required that all the bills be read a loud. That’s a LOT of reading. Hours and hours of it. So the Floridians bought Mary for $45.00. She sat in a closet, waiting to be necessary for years. Now that she’s out of the closet, so to speak, she’s a busy little “lady”. She can read a page in 45 seconds. It’s funny – and it serves them all right to have to sit and listen to that for 8 hours a day. If you’re interested Mary has now got a Twitter account because there are enough people out there just like us who can’t leave things well enough alone.
2. Iron Man 3. We love Robert Downey, Jr. We also love Iron Man. Snarky, egotistical and funny is a heady mix. We can’t wait to see this movie and have been looking forward to it ever since the The Avengers came out. We spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about Bob. He asked us to call him Bob on the restraining order.
3. Our new look. Wow, oh Wow, do we love our new look. We’re so delighted that it really reflects our personalities. We love the cute little girls in the car above. Ava thought it was funny how Amylynn insisted, INSISTED, that the original cartoon be changed to reflect that Amylynn was driving. She refused to allow the world as a whole to think for even one minute that Ava has ever driven anywhere if there was the possibility that someone else would do it for her. It certainly never would happen on a potential road trip as described in the cartoon. Ava will be wholly in charge of folding that road map we mentioned.
4.8 year-old boys. The Bandit is eight years old today. Honest to Zeus, no one can believe he’s made it this far. The Bandit is the most aptly nicknamed child ever. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble for more than ten minutes at a time unless he’s asleep and even then, usually there are candy wrappers and his father’s flashlight in there with him, too. He’s in after-school detention next week for calling his adorable 2nd grade teacher stupid and telling her she sucks. He hides chocolate syrup in the closet and strawberry heads behind the couch. He can eat an entire box of ice cream sandwiches in one day – and has on a number of occasions. He hides people’s electronics and has never voluntarily picked up a toy in his life. But, he’s absurdly funny and charming when he wants to be – like all the best sociopaths. Hopefully he makes it to nine.
5. Jamie the manager. Ava and her husband went to a national restaurant chain for dinner the other night. There was an egregious health issue during dinner, one that Ava wasn’t nearly as concerned about as The Claim Jumper, but they had no idea that Ava is not a litigious person. There was a chunk of glass in her iced tea. She didn’t swallow it. She wasn’t harmed, but the restaurant manager did a really excellent job of customer service. How rare is that? Their dinner and drinks were comped and the manager practically lay prostrate on the floor. Is it bad that we like a little panicky suffering once in a while?