Our grand adventure

Our epic adventure started innocently enough.

Months ago I received a Facebook event invitation for a family reunion in August for my mom’s side of the family. My cousins try to do a camping trip every year to the town where my mom and her siblings grew up. I click “Maybe” as my response because life happens and really, I’ve clicked maybe pretty much every year but something always comes up and I’m unable to make it. The last time I went MiniMe was 3. It’s been 10 years.

This has been a whirlwind year for us. With Beauty’s health problems then Mom passing away in May. Huge change in my job which meant full-time hours, a promotion and a pay raise. Yay me! A month after mom passed I put Beauty on a bus.  Mostly because of mom’s passing and my need to see my girl, I decided that I really needed to go the reunion this year. My cousins were there for my siblings and I in our time of crisis and I wanted to be able to spend time with them for a non-sad reason.

I’ve never driven to the area where the reunion would be held by myself so planned my route out and MiniMe made scores of lists of the things we needed to bring. She wanted to pack her bags 3 weeks prior to our departure! Well, 4 days before our departure date there was a mudslide on the highway I was planning to take. This particular highway would put me about an hour from my destination. Plan B: take the other route that would add a couple hours to my trip. Given that they weren’t able to clear a path the way I wanted to go before our we left I decided to go with Plan B.

We had the van loaded with our stuff for a weekend of camping. It was really full. Tents, bedding, bags, food, coolers, everything we would need for 3 days of camping with family. We left town about 10:00 a.m. expecting to arrive at our destination in about 6ish hours.

Or not…

Three hours into our trip, after crossing a mountain pass on which they were blasting so traffic was slow going, we made it to the town of Leavenworth, WA. Please don’t get me wrong. This is a very cool town. But this trip my plan was that it would a “top off the gas tank, grab a quick bite to eat and get back on the road” kind of town.

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

MiniMe took a couple of cool pictures while I was driving

Going up the mountain pass

Going up the mountain pass

White Water!

White Water!

Unfortunately my vehicle had a different plan. You see, even tho I had checked all the fluids in my van prior to our trip like I’ve always been taught, my van decided to blow through 6 1/2 quarts of transmission fluid going over that mountain pass. It didn’t really want to move from the gas pump.

The gas station of doom!

The gas station of doom!

Our home away from home

Our home away from home

After lots of tears (I cried. I cried a lot!) and phone calls…

We will be rescued!

We will be rescued!

My brother and another family member made a plan. I had called my nephew and he graciously agreed to let me borrow his car so we could make the rest of our trip! Ginormously HUGE thank you to Timber and Georgia! We love you guys so much!!! The only problem was that we needed to wait. We had to wait for my nephew to get home from work with said car so my brother could go load it on the car trailer to bring to me. We also had the 3 hours of driving time it would take them to get to us. I’ve never spent any time in this little town we were in and it was a Friday evening so my brother suggested we go check it out. Luckily we were only a block from all the very cool little shops and the park.

We found cool stuff like this

We found cool stuff like this

And this! It's purple!!!

And this! It’s purple!!!

It was also VERY HOT!!!  We weren’t really prepared to be walking around town in 97 degree weather! o.O

We found a very cool hat shop

We found a very cool hat shop

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

I liked this one best! We even found flamingo sunglasses!

We found a t-shirt shop that had this in the window

So true!

So true!

After waiting…and waiting…and waiting…

The cavalry arrived!!!

Do you see how little that car is? I drive a minivan. Remember me telling you that we were going camping for 3 days and had it totally packed? Would you believe that we fit everything in this little car??? Well, my brother didn’t think we would either but we did! So after unloading the car from the trailer, moving all the stuff from my van to the car then loading the van on the trailer, we were ready to go again! I still had another 3 plus hours to drive. MiniMe ended up falling asleep and totally slept through me singing to keep myself awake for the last hour. We got into the little town where my mom grew up and I had to make an executive decision to turn either right or turn left. (My phone was dead, no working cigarette lighters in the borrowed car so I couldn’t use my GPS) My navigator (MiniMe with the map) was mostly asleep. I turned right. Because I didn’t think it looked right (remember, it’s been 10 years since I’ve been there and THAT time it was daylight!) I pulled over. Turns out I pulled over IN FRONT OF THE BAR! Ok, in my defense, the bar was closed! Anyway, I pull over, turn on the dome light and look at the directions.

Let me set the scene for you a little better.

It’s about 2:15 a.m. I’m pretty much lost. There is absolutely nothing moving in this little town. Not even the trees!!! I’m in a borrowed car that is packed to within an inch of it’s life with our stuff. It’s me and my 13-year-old daughter. All caught up now? Good… lets get back to the story.

As I’m looking at the directions trying to figure out what to do next, a car pulls up behind me. Huh, that’s interesting. Next thing I know…

Of course!

Of course!

All I could do was laugh. Because seriously???

So the cop walks up to my side and the first thing he says is “Ma’am, I have to tell you that you’re being recorded.” OF COURSE I am! I have to tell you, it took every ounce  of self control I have not to ask if it was for Candid Camera! All I could do was laugh. Apparently when I pulled over at 2:00 in the morning in a totally dead town with not another car anywhere in sight I forgot to use my blinker.

So he asks me for my license and registration. Ummm… I hand him my license no problem and begin frantically searching for the registration for a car THAT ISN’T MINE!!! Awesome!

As I’m searching I’m pretty much babbling saying “This is my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow because mine broke down and we just spent 8 hours  waiting for my brother to bring me my NEPHEW’S CAR that he’s letting me borrow and they brought it to me on the trailer and my van is on it’s way home but my NEPHEW let me borrow his car so I can go to my family reunion and this is my NEPHEW’S CAR. I think I must have mentioned that this was my nephew’s car about 17 times. He apparently thought I was a psycho lunatic because he called for back-up! MiniMe looked out her window and there was another cop on her side of the car!!! Really dude???

Anyway, he let me go with a warning and told me how to get to the resort where Beauty and my niece and the rest of my cousins were waiting.

I just love her!

I just love her!

My aunt who lives there came to the reunion on Saturday afternoon. One of my cousins was talking with her and I hear from across the camp “Hey! You’re famous! You made the news!”

I’m thinking, “Awesome! Which part of my crazy adventure made the news?”

Turns out my aunt was up listening to the scanner and when the cop ran my information she heard it. **sigh**

We ended up having a great time and I got to spend time with my cousins and talk with my mom’s 2 sisters and visit with my remaining uncle.

We had water balloons

We had water balloons

And a bouncy house!

And a bouncy house!

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

MiniMe, Beauty and Me

The coolest dog ever!

The coolest dog ever!

The whole motley crew

The whole motley crew

I think she misses her sissy

I think she misses her sissy

All in all, it was a great time and I’m so glad we went. I’m hoping to be able to go again next year but with a little less adventure getting there.

As my aunt was preparing to leave we were saying our goodbyes and she says to me “Your birthday is on the 28th, right?” I replied, “No, my birthday is in December.” She looked up at me and said “Oh, that’s right! I heard that on the scanner!” **sigh**

Now they call me “The Fugitive”

Mooooooommmmm….

I’m going to change my name. I’ve decided. I can’t tell you what it will be because one of you will tell my kids then I’ll be screwed.

7195 days ago I became a mother. I suppose you could add 9 months to that if you wanted to get technical about it but I think that number is overwhelming enough as it is. Little did I know that I was about to embark on the most difficult, sometimes heartbreaking, often terrifying, frequently enjoyable, always rewarding adventures of my life! Almost from the beginning I was mostly a single mom. When she was 3 months old, I became a really real single mom. Thankfully I had MY mom to help me. Those early days were tough as we learned about each other and got to know one another. My baby Beauty was my first true love. She taught me things about myself that I never knew. I didn’t know you could function on so little sleep for extended periods of time. Not function very well but still able to be semi-coherent. She opened my eyes to the little things I had never noticed. She was excited about pretty much everything and learning to see the world through the eyes of a child is an amazing experience. For the first 6 years of her life we were a team. It was her and I against the world. 5019 days ago her sister was born. Beauty was such a great help when I was pregnant with MiniMe. She loved to cuddle with me on the couch and lay her head on my baby bump. 2 weeks before MiniMe was born we moved into the hotel I worked at and were living in a room there. 3 days before MiniMe was born my parents arrived and stayed in a room across the hall. Because of complications during childbirth (I almost died! For real!) I had to stay in the hospital for a few days. Poor Beauty had never really been away from me for that long and wasn’t happy about it. That first night she decided she was going to sleep in my bed since she couldn’t be with me. Grandma couldn’t get her to change her mind for anything. MiniMe brought many changes to our lives. Beauty was the very best big sister around. Right up until her baby started getting into her stuff and trying to eat everything. Then the days (and nights) were filled with “Mooooommmm she has my…” or “Moooooooommmm she wants my…” That never really changed even as they got a little bigger. Except instead of only 1 of them saying it now I had 2.

MiniMe was my “no leg baby”. Not literally of course but the kid seriously had the shortest little legs it was crazy! Beauty was 7lbs 6oz and 21 1/2 inches long at birth. Long and skinny. MiniMe was 7lbs 15.5 oz and 19 inches long. She was the Gerber Baby. Most of that 19 inches was her torso. She didn’t even hit the charts for height until she was almost 4! Beauty was off the charts from the beginning and finally stopped at 5’9″. She didn’t get that from me! MiniMe is now 13 and a couple of weeks ago we measured her and she’s 5’1″. Yep, that’s my girl!

The other day I was making dinner and MiniMe just randomly yelled “Moooooommmm”. I’m pretty sure it was just to see if I’d react. That’s when I told her I’m changing my name and I’m not telling her what it is. She didn’t find the humor in the situation.  Right now Beauty is taking some time away and visiting family and working on herself. The last year has been a rollercoaster and she needed to get off the ride for a while. MiniMe is keeping me on my toes this summer. We now have a kitten so she’s been busy with that. Horse Camp Season will be ending soon and it will be time to go back to school and get our routine back. She is definitely a creature of habit and not having anything to really do during the day is driving her a little crazy.

10 days from now we will be at our family reunion with my aunts and uncle and cousins on my mom’s side. The day we get there will mark the 3 month anniversary of mom passing away. I’m glad I’ll get to be with my extended family on that day. But I guarantee I’ll still get to hear one or hopefully both of my children call me Moooooommmm… And ya know what? I’m gonna enjoy every single minute of it!

Summer fun!

When I was little we lived in a little tiny town. Just outside of town there was a pond where we could go swimming. When I was really little my sister and brother used to take me there. Nothing like being a teenager and having to take your baby sister with you everywhere. When I got old enough my parents finally let me ride my bike to the “second dock” to go swimming with my friends. It was maybe a mile. That was all well and good until you hit the gravel road. Or heaven forbid you got to close to the edge and got sucked into the deep gravel.

I have great memories of swimming there when I was little. There was a little sandy beach we could play on and a diving stand you could climb up if you were brave enough (I wasn’t). I didn’t really know how to swim very well so I never got very far away from the dock where I couldn’t touch. There were drop-offs too. My niece almost drowned because of one of those.

One specific memory I have was when I was a little older. Pretty sure I was 13 when this happened. I was staying with my sister and helping take care of her and my nephew while she was pregnant with my niece and on bed rest for 6 months. It was a nice summer day we went to the pond and had a picnic with a bunch of her friends. While we were there my ex-boyfriend showed up. For some reason I didn’t have a swimming suit so my sister gave me a tube top to wear swimming. I was pretty proud of myself that I had learned how to swim under water and decided to show off a little. Unfortunately when I stood up my top came down and I flashed not only my ex-boyfriend but his brother and a bunch of his friends. It was mortifying. And there’s nothing worse than trying to get that stupid roll of fabric to un-roll in a hurry!

When MiniMe was a baby we went to visit my parents and went out to that same pond and she got to put her feet in the water just like my sister used to do with me. A couple of years ago we were on vacation at my sister’s house and the girls along with their friends we brought with us spent the day at that very same pond jumping off the very same dock I used to. The diving stand is no longer there but the little baby fishes still like to nibble on your toes if you stand still.

Growing up in the dark ages (i.e. before internet and cable) had its perks. We really did use the sun (or our stomachs) as our clock so we’d know when to come home. We didn’t have cliques or anything. There weren’t many kids in town so everybody just played together. Getting to ride your bike to the pond was a right of passage that we all went through. And jumping off the dock was the highlight of every summer.

Image

I’m such a follower

I’ve been following a couple of blogs for a while and they have inspired me to step it up. Thanks Lily and Tim!

The writing prompt this time is sleepovers. I actually have a really good one for this!

When I was 13 my mom decided to throw me a big “friends” party. When you have a December birthday that doesn’t usually happen. But my dad had died a few months earlier and my mom wanted to do something fun. Plus my sister had done something similar for my niece 6 months earlier. Huh, mom was a follower too!

Anyway, I got to invite 4 friends over and we had a DIAPER PARTY. It’s not as kinky as it sounds, I promise!

It was a way to say goodbye to childhood and hello to being a teenager. My mom searched the city and found the old-fashioned diaper pins. You know, the ones with the little bunnies and ducky’s on them? Yeah, those ones. She also found receiving blankets to use as cloth diapers. Imagine 5 giggly tween girls all dressed up in diapers and t-shirts. My mom was a brave woman!

Everyone received a 4 oz. baby bottle when they got there and all liquids had to be drank from that. Carbonated soda in a baby bottle was a lot of fun. For games we played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and this one where you were blindfolded and had a big bowl of cotton balls and a spoon and had to transfer the cotton balls into a smaller container. Mom made up a bunch of finger foods and we watched little kids movies. Well, we watch The Care Bears Movie and one that was recommended by the movie store clerk called Zapped! Mom wasn’t overly impressed with that one! We also got to eat Pudding Pops! We didn’t sleep much but had a blast and all in all, it was the best birthday I ever had!

Best childhood treat EVER!

Best childhood treat EVER!

How about you? Do you have any sleepover memories?

Zebra Garden

Life in a small town

When I was little my family lived in a little teeny tiny town. I’m not even kidding when I tell you how small it was. The entire town is 4 blocks long and 6 blocks wide. We didn’t have all of the gadgets kids do today. Nobody had cable TV. We had 3 or 4 channels that we got with rabbit ears and they were all a little fuzzy. It didn’t matter much because the only time we really wanted to watch TV was early on Saturday mornings to catch our favorite cartoons. Well, I watched Captain Kangaroo in the mornings before school until they cancelled him and put The Great Space Coaster on in his place. I really hated that show. In the summer we were outside shortly after waking up and didn’t come home until it was time to eat. There is a little pond just outside of town that when I got a little older my parents would let me ride my bike to go swimming. What freedom that was! We would wave to the log truck drivers as they went through town and they would always honk at us making us laugh like crazy people. It never got old. When I was really little, my parents owned one of the 2 restaurants in town. Half of the building was a restaurant and the other half was a bar. I don’t remember much about when my parents owned it but I remember when my cousins bought it and my cousin Andy and I used to get quarters from them and swing dance on the stage. Not sure if there’s video anywhere (this was the 70’s after all) but I remember we were really good and did an awesome jitterbug! And for the record, I’m positive we danced JUST like that! Hahahahaha

It was a very sad day when the building burned down. They eventually re-built it (my daddy even helped!) but it just wasn’t the same. The new building has changed hands a few times, it’s still half restaurant and half bar. When we go visit we always stop and get a burger there. Even though it’s been owned by different people over the years they have kept one thing on the menu. The DJ burger! This was something my parents made up and named (each of their initials) when they owned the restaurant in the 70’s and the last time I was there, it was still on the menu 40 years later! It’s awesome. There’s just nothing like getting a burger at a small town joint. Trust me, if you ever get the chance to find one of those hole in the wall places, you totally won’t regret it.

Right before my 7th birthday (I’m a December baby) my friend Tina and I decided to go sledding on the hill by the school. They had put in a sidewalk and it was perfect for sledding. I had a plastic toboggan and she had a fancy sled with metal runners. I’d never used one of those before so when she offered to let me try it I was a little nervous but mostly excited. She made it look easy! Well, it totally wasn’t! I’m pretty sure I broke the speed of sound going down that hill and I had no idea how to turn or stop or anything. Yeah, I could have just rolled off or something but I didn’t think of that. All I could think was that I was going way fast and headed for the highway. I did the only thing I could think of to stop myself…ran into the telephone pole face first. 😦 I hit the pole, fell off the sled, and layed there. Lucky for me one of my brothers friends saw me and came and helped me up and to my house across the street. I was bloody and crying. I’m positive he was horrified! I’m friends with him on Facebook now, I wonder if he remembers?

We had an awesome sledding hill right in front of our house (NOT the sidewalk with the telephone pole at the bottom!). I remember one year we had a HUGE sledding party and I’m sure pretty much everyone in town under the age of 30 was there. Trudging back up the hill kinda sucked but man, it was so worth it coming down that hill! And the best part was that my house was at the bottom so I could totally go in and warm up and drink hot chocolate before heading back up the hill.

We ALWAYS got lots of snow. The most I remember was about 6 feet when we lived there. More recently (5 or 6 years ago) they had 10 feet that fell! O.O Yeah, where I live now, we get a few inches and the whole town freaks out and pretty much raids the stores. In Podunk? The power goes out (heavy snow takes out power lines) but it’s ok because pretty much everyone has a wood stove for heat and cooking and kerosene lanterns and candles for light. Snow and power outages never meant school cancellations for us. Heck, we usually WANTED to go to school since at least they had a generator so there was real light and all of our friends!

My girls would never survive. And for that matter, now that I’m older and have lived in a much bigger town for the last 30 years, I don’t think I would either. I love to visit and just relax but I’ve found that I really don’t like the snow anymore. I’m ok with it for a day or 2 but then it just needs to be gone. When I went to visit last month they still had snow on the ground. And it snowed when I was there! Yeah, I’m not ok with that. I also appreciate the convinces we have here. Like gas stations and grocery stores.  I like the fact that if I am in the middle of cooking and run out of something, it’s just a quick trip to the store to grab what I need. Not a 3 hour tour. And no, I’m really not kidding.

In retrospect, I’m glad that I grew up in my little Podunk town. There was a sense of community that you just don’t see these days. As kids, we didn’t really do stupid stuff because even if our own parents didn’t see it happen, likely someone else did and would call mom and dad before we could even get home. There was a real sense of innocence that has been lost in today’s youth. With the technology available to even the youngest of our children, it’s no wonder that some of these kids make the choices they do. I’m not saying that all technology is bad, I have a droid phone myself that is totally my lifeline. I just think that our youth today have been desensitized to violence, profanity, nudity and drug use. Now, even my little tiny town has cable and the internet and there really aren’t any kids left.

Phone-a-friend

My cell phone is my link to the outside world. I would be lost without it. I know that sounds silly to some but it’s the truth. I use it to stay in touch with my sister who lives in another state. I use it for my internet about 70% of the time. I use it to text when I can’t make a call. It’s my camera, my phone book, my eReader, my calender and my alarm clock. I use it to communicate with doctors and the care facility where my parents live. Without it I would be lost. I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a landline phone.

We have become so dependant on technology. I remember when Beauty was 2 and a friend came over carrying a briefcase. We thought that was weird because he was totally not the briefcase type. It was actually his “cell phone” and the battery was so big it had its own luggage. At the time we all thought he was weird because we used CB radios to contact people we couldn’t reach on the phone. I realize I totally just dated myself but it really wasn’t as long ago as you think. Less than 20 years ago actually. I remember my brother had one of the first truly “mobile” phones. It was the size of a brick!

Try fitting that in your pocket!

Try fitting that in your pocket!

My cross country trip

When Beauty was 9 months old we made a trip to see her spermdonor father in Delaware. I live on the west coast. Pretty much as far west as you can go and not be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Are you aware of where exactly Delaware is located? Clear across the freaking country!!! 3000 miles across the country actually! I made the trip once before on the train with my ex and the in-laws. The train was actually pretty cool. The in-laws had a sleeper car and they slept during the day so the ex and I slept at night. It worked out perfect! We could get up and walk around which made 3 days go a heck of a lot faster than one would think. The one scary thing about that trip was when we got to Chicago and the ex and I decided to go outside to get some fresh air (isn’t that a myth in Chicago?) and were approached by a man in a trench coat with his hands in his pockets. I was so scared all I could do was hang on to the ex for dear life and hope my in-laws would be able to identify the body. Turns out he wanted to sell us some cheap jewelery. o.O

Anyway, my second time making that same trip was on the Greyhound Bus with a 9-month-old who was teething and learning to crawl. 4 days, 3 nights. On a bus. With a baby. By myself. In August. I’m from Podunk, Nowhereville and I was 21. Getting the picture here? My luggage consisted of Beauty, a diaper bag full of clothes, formula, food, diapers and wipes. I also had another bag full of more diapers, clothes and wipes, a small insulated bag with ice packs cold water to make her bottles since she would only drink them if they were really really cold, a big suitcase with the rest of our clothes and more diapers and formula, a stroller and a heavy leather jacket. Yes, I brought a heavy leather jacket with me on a cross-country trip to the east coast where I’m pretty sure the temp never dropped below 100.  Don’t judge!

So we made it there ok, a little wilted and a lot tired of sitting but we made it. We spent 10 days in Delaware mostly hanging out in the air-conditioned house. The first time I was there it was winter. I think it was the worst winter New York had seen in something like 30 years. My second trip was obviously nothing like that. We did take the stroller to the park one day but after about 20 minutes thought we were going to die of heat stroke so went back to the in-laws. I did get to see lightning bugs for the first and only time in my life! That was pretty cool! The night before we left I didn’t get any sleep because Beauty wasn’t feeling good and I was trying to make sure I got all of our stuff packed and we had to be at the bus station at 4:00 in the morning. Yep, that’s right. I prepared for a 4-day/3-night bus ride across country by staying up for 24 hours. Brilliant, I know. We made it to the bus station at oh-dark o’clock and loaded the bus for our adventure home.

First stop…NYC! I had never been to New York before. I was hoping to be able to see something recognizable like the Statue of Liberty or something. Well, we may have been in the area where I could have seen Lady Liberty…if I had been awake! Beauty woke me up just as we started to pull into the bus station. We got into the terminal and tried to find a place to wait for our next bus… for 7 hours! Yes, you read that right. We had to be at the bus station in the middle of the night to catch a bus to take us to NYC so we could wait for 7 freaking hours at one of the scariest places I’ve ever been in my entire life. I was a smoker and wanted to go outside. I had to go up 3 flights of stairs to get outside. One of the very nice security people talked to the ticket agent people and let me leave my stuff with them so I wouldn’t have to carry it all up and down the stairs. So we made it up the stairs and outside. I don’t know even know what part of town the Greyhound station is in but to this 21 year-old mom from Podunk, Nowhereville it was truly frightening. XXX shops and stripper bars everywhere. There was a homeless man (I’m guessing here) that kept walking back and forth in front of the doors, stopping at each end to check the garbage cans for treasures, yelling at the top of his lungs “THE WORLD…IS GOING TO END…TOMORROW!!!” The security guy that was working at the street level was also amazing in that he came over and took one look at me and said “Honey, you’re not from around here, are you?” I said in a teeny squeaky voice “no”. He radioed for another security officer to come up get me and he also talked to the ticket agents and informed them that I was NOT going to be going upstairs again and that if I promised to stand right by the door where the buses pull in I could stand there and smoke.

After what felt like forever we finally were able to get on the bus and head for home. I don’t remember our exact route (it’s been almost 20 years, give me a break!) but I remember that I met some pretty amazing people on that bus ride home. This was in the days before cell phones so it’s not like I could keep in contact with anyone or play video games or something. All the smokers congregated to the back of the bus. Because I had the baby I was able to sit all the way in the back by the bathroom for most of the trip. You know, the one where there are 3 seats? Yeah, it was next to the bathroom which sucked and it was right on top of the engine which sucked even more but at least I didn’t have to hold the baby the whole time. We had one bus driver that just so happened to be a smoker too. There weren’t very many people on the bus and most of us smoked so he would call over the intercom “Hey! You guys in the back! Is it getting a little bumpy back there? See, they have to log every stop so he was logging the extra stops at rest areas as “tire checks”. That was also the bus that the air-conditioning broke. That SUCKED a really lot! Going through the mid-west, in late August, on a bus, with no air conditioning    o.O  The driver was nice enough to open the escape hatch on the roof so we could at least have some air but it was like sitting in front of a furnace blowing hot air at you. Not really helpful. Our next big stop we were able to transfer to a different but with working A/C which made things 1000% better.

Most of us riding through the midwest were headed for somewhere on the west coast so we ended up together for a long time. We kind of became like a little family. I remember one lady that was probably in her late 60’s/early 70’s that just fell in love with Beauty. If Beauty was sleeping during one of the “tire check” stops she would go sit with her so I could go outside. Of course I always stayed right by the bus door but it was really nice to be able to step away for a minute. There was also a very cool black lady that almost killed a man because he tried to sit on the Baby Beauty! We made a stop in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere and this drunk guy got on and he came all the way to the back of the bus thinking he would just sit back there. We had tied a trash bag to the bathroom door and it had some cans in it and he bumped the bag when he was trying to sit on Beauty and it woke everyone up. The lady (I’ll call her J, mostly because I don’t remember her name!) woke up screaming at Big Drunk Guy and getting all up in his business! BDG ended up going into the bathroom and lighting up a joint. Needless to say, he didn’t last long. He was kicked off the bus at the next stop. If you’re reading this BDG… Sorry dude, hope you were able to find a ride at 2 in the morning from a closed up station in the middle of nowhere!

I think the worst was when they would stop at some scary station at 3 in the morning and make everyone get off the bus so they could clean it. Do you people know what it’s like to wake up a 9-month-old at 3 in the morning and take her into a brightly lit new place and expect her to go back to sleep??? Not gonna happen! We did finally make it home safely and lived to tell the story. Beauty likes to tell people she’s been to NYC. She just leaves out the part that she was a baby…

 

 

Of Mice and Me

My biggest fear, other than something happening to one of my children, is mice. I don’t care how many people tell me “They’re more afraid of you then you are of them!” LIES! I think it goes clear back to when I was a child and my parents and I used to live out in the woods in our camper for the entire summer. My dad was a real cowboy. He worked for a man who had cattle all over the countryside and his job was to round them up, count them and move them to different areas to graze. I had a horse named Midge that I would ride and help him. I was maybe 7 years old. This was in the days before cell phones and Ipods and video games. We actually lived in a camper. Not a big fancy 40′ motor home either. Just a little cab-over camper that my dad and uncle built onto a flat-bed truck. We bathed in the creek upstream from the cows. We cooked over the fire. We didn’t even have a bathroom, just a hole that my dad dug and put a wooden box over with a toilet seat on it. My city kids would never survive!Anyway, in our camper there was a drawer below the fridge. One day my mom and I were fixing lunch and when my mom pulled out that drawer a rodent jumped out and tried to kill us scared us. It was probably Chip or Dale (Please tell me you know what I’m talking about?!?!) but I didn’t stick around to make friends. My mom screamed, I screamed, I’m pretty sure my horse even screamed!

That was the beginning of my completely rational fear of rodents.

I had a cat as a teenager and she loved to bring me presents. One time she came in the back door and when I saw what she had in her mouth I screamed, she dropped it, and it ran straight for me. It was still alive! I ran outside and refused to go back in until they found it and disposed of it. When Beauty was a baby I climbed over a bar to get to the phone to call my neighbor to come dispose of another of those “gifts”. When I was pregnant with MiniMe my roommate decided it would be a good idea to breed hamsters. Seriously??? And when MiniMe was born my sister-in-law decided that Beauty needed a pet. Wanna guess what it was? I’ll give you a clue. It wasn’t the puppy she had asked Santa for!

When MiniMe was about 6 months old we moved into a mobile home located near a big field. One evening after MiniMe was in bed and 6 year-old Beauty was in the bath, I was in the living room when I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a GINORMOUS mouse run across the floor and go behind the shoe box by the front door. I immediately started hyperventilating and tried to figure out how I was going to get myself out of this. Remember, 6 month-old MiniMe asleep for the night, 6 year-old Beauty in the tub? That’s important. So I very very carefully crawled over furniture to get to my phone to call my friend. The hamster breeder roommate I mentioned? Yeah, that’s who I was calling. She convinced me that all I needed to do was get a big bowl from the kitchen and move the box the nasty creature was hiding behind, throw the bowl on top, trapping him underneath. Want to guess how well that worked? I moved the box, the mouse ran, I screamed, threw the bowl and ran out the front door pulling it shut behind me. Now I’m standing on my front porch, in shorts and a tank top, no shoes, pouring down rain, holding the phone and listening to my so-called friends hysterical laughter. Some friend, right? So while I’m standing outside getting drenched, I hear Beauty yelling for me. I refused to go back in the house. In fact, I believe my exact words were “I am NOT going back in there, EVER!” Of course, my friend reminded me that my children were in there and I had to go back inside. My response? “Sorry, they’re on their own!” Yep, I was totally willing to leave my 6 month-old and my 6 year-old to fend for themselves as long as it ment I wouldn’t have to go back inside with the mouse that tried to kill me. After some coaxing, I finally agreed to go back inside and gather up the kids and clothes and head to the friend’s house. It was midnite by the time I got there. It’s not like we were neighbors. She lived a good 40 minutes away. I didn’t care. I wasn’t staying there! So the next day I got some traps and set them and promptly left the premises again. Well, we got that sucker but then I had to figure out how to get rid of the evidence. I mean sure, it was dead now but that doesn’t mean that my completely rational fear was any less! I wasn’t able to do it. I tried but as soon as it wiggled I screamed (do you see a pattern here?) and ran back outside. Lucky for me, Beauty came to the rescue. Yep, my 6 year-old daughter had to dispose of the mouse because her mother couldn’t do it. That was only the first of many times that Beauty saved the day. I had a mouse commit suicide in my bathtub. She had to get rid of that one too. Then there was the time about 5 years ago that she chased me to the neighbors driveway holding a dead mouse with my salad tongs! Yeah, those ended up in the trash.

I don’t care what anyone says. My fear of mice is completely rational and holding them and playing with them to “get over it” is NEVER going to happen!

Are you kidding me?

I just found this on the Police Daily Activity log for my city….
“Officer responded to burglary report.  Marijuana plants stolen from subjects lawn.”

There’s a video going around Facebook right now about “Donna the Deer Lady” <~~that’s a link to the original radio station blog post. Basically this woman calls in saying they we need to move the Deer Crossing signs to a safer area for the deer to cross. She’s pretty sure we are “encouraging” the deer by having the signs there and they should be moved to safer locations…like school zone crossings. There’s a follow-up call in which she tries to explain herself. But seriously??? When my oldest was about 4 she would see those signs and say “Look Mommy, a deer crossed there!” So yeah…except she was 4 YEARS OLD!!!

On a serious note, my thoughts and prayers are with everyone being affected by Hurricane Sandy!

 

Sleep Deprivation

A few years ago, my mom had her 3rd open heart surgery. The morning of the surgery came at about o’dark-thirty. None of us had gotten any much sleep the night before. Imagine 11 people sprawled in chairs in a hospital waiting room yawning big enough to make you think of the Grand Canyon. We had probably gotten about 20 minutes an hour of sleep collectively. A bunch of them decided to go to the cafeteria to get coffee and food. My sister and I decided to stay in case someone came out to talk to us. We were sitting on one of the little couches together. I looked at her and said “I think my consciousness level has hit a wall.” What she heard was “I think I have walnuts in my crotch.” Ummm… Seriously, we laughed all day about it!