March 31, 2021

Tank owes me

Tank cornered me in my study in January. 

Tank: Jay's family invited me to go skiing with them in Colorado. Late February. Please, can I go? I work really hard. I've saved a ton of money. Come on. Max is going too. He went last year not knowing how to ski and he was fine. 

Me:  (groaning) I don't think so. You only skied that one time in Michigan. Colorado is for big-time ski types. People get really hurt skiing. 

Tank then played 'THE' card:  Ya know, I haven't really had a senior year. 

Really? Low blow. 

Me:  You have to ask Daddy.

Tank:  Why? Can't you just decide and then talk to him? You know he's gonna say no.

Coach finished teaching his class and popped into the study. Coach said exactly what I said in Coach lingo:  YOU'LL GET HURT. NO WAY.

Tank was super disappointed. 

I didn't sleep well that night (not because of this). I was up at 3 am sitting in the kitchen on my laptop waiting to go back to sleep. At 4:30 Coach was leaving for work. I'd looked at  flights: 

If we're going to decide to let him go, we better decide soon. Tank could be booked on the same flight as Jay's family for the return. I could get him on an earlier flight on the way there. He'd wait for them to arrive. Flights aren't too pricey. 

Coach shrugged as he walked out the door and gave me his surrender voice, grouchy tone implied:  FINE. GO AHEAD.

I knew he still didn't want Tank to go and honestly neither did I, but the kid is 18. He HAS saved a ton of money (like $12,000 this school year - since August, not including what he made over the summer) and next year he'll be in college making decisions without running it past us. So . . . I booked the flights. 

I slept a bit more and when Tank came downstairs in the morning acting all grumpy, I acted MORE grumpy. I was TIRED. I waved him over and pointed to the email confirmation from Southwest. 

At first he didn't get it. WHAT'S THIS?

Me, doing my best 'I see your grumpy and I raise you a grumpy level':  WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

Tank was overjoyed. He said that when he told his friends they didn't believe him. *His friends are nice kids, but they don't tend to have the same kind of parental supervision that Tank endures is blessed with. 

Weeks go by. Flights are combined so he's on their same flights. I help him pack. Print his confirmation. Drill into him about the easy hills. Made him promise to check in.

After he landed, he texted. I texted back: Be nice to Hailey (Jay's sister who's 8).

Later in the day, Rachel, Jay's mom sent a group text to Max's mom and me: 


I was so confused. Huh? I thought Rachel, the mom, was going. Tank said he was going with Jay's family. Plus Max. This text made it seem like she wasn't there. I had texted 'be nice to Hailey' and he hadn't corrected me to say:


What was going on?

Mini was in the room. I wasn't thinking. I shared the situation. She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I kept telling her to stop laughing, but watching her laugh made me laugh and that was NOT sending the right message to my next-in-line-to-be-a-senior who might take this as a signal that it is OK to push the envelope. 


Mini:  (hiccupping from laughing so hard) THIS IS AWESOME. HILARIOUS! TANK PULLED A FAST ONE ON YOU.

Me:  (more to myself than to Mini) Dear God. Daddy. I convinced him to let Tank go.  

I texted Tank: Call me right away. He texted: OK, AFTER DINNER. 


He called. Oh, hadn't he told me. He thought I knew. Jay's grandpa was with the boys. All was fine. He claimed that he didn't initially know who was going. What's the difference?

I don't know grandpa. Are you guys all partying while grandpa is napping? Is this the 'I'll-buy-the-beer' type of grandpa? 


I told Tank this was NOT what I'd agreed to and that I'd sold it to Daddy, so he better BEHAVE and check in constantly. 

He did check in via text frequently. He later said that the grandpa stayed on the easy slopes with him the whole time. His buddy. 

My kid - far left.
Grandpa, center, or a grandpa they paid to
pose in their photo. Now I'm giving them way too much credit. 

I didn't tell Coach the truth, initially. Once Tank was home and Mini tried to use the info against me:  LET ME HANG WITH MY FRIENDS. I CAN CLEAN MY ROOM LATER. TANK WENT TO COLORADO WITHOUT PARENTS AND DIDN'T GET IN TROUBLE! . . . 

I spilled the beans to Coach. He wasn't happy, but knowing Tank got home safe helped. We were also at his sister's house having an adult beverage. 

How bad does Tank owe me? In my estimation:  more than he knows.

Did you ever pull a fast one on your folks or have your kids convinced you that parents would be there, when they weren't? 

March 29, 2021

March Madness and a mad mama

It's an exciting time of year. March Madness. My people are basketball people. Have I mentioned? They're making up for last year's cancelled tournament by being crazed about this year's games, and their brackets, and upsets, and underdogs, and yadda, yadda, yadda. 

I like basketball too, but I prefer a team that one of my offspring plays on. 

In case you can't tell - Curly makes a 
free throw to tie the game with seconds left. 
We still lost, but it was so exciting.

While they are obsessed about watching b-ball, I am obsessed about getting the house in order. Bad timing:  No one cares about my priorities.  

I emptied the mudroom today. The shoes . . . gowrsh. 

A few weeks ago I gave instructions: park snow boots by basement door. I figured I'd gather them, haul them down to the storage room, and dump them in the appropriate bin. It saved me having to dig boots out of the depths of the mudroom. 

There is a door from the kitchen to the mudroom that can't open or close. Too many shoes are in front of it and behind it. I assume the families I sit for, who enter and exit my house via the disaster-area mudroom, go home and bind their children's feet in hopes they never reach Shenanigan-like gargantuan sizes. 

Tank wears a size 15. Coach and the other 3 boys all wear a size 13. Thankfully both girls are only a 9, like me. 

Side note:  Coach and I don't use the mudroom. 

I walked past the boots that lined the hallway near the basement door for at least a week (I'm busy and they weren't going anywhere) before I decided to delegate the next step. 

Me to Reg:  Bring all of the boots that are on the basement stairs and in this hallway down to the storage room. Put them IN THE BIN FOR BOOTS. Do NOT leave them on the floor of the storage room. 

The other day I found a lone snow boot of Curly's. I handed it to Tank. 

Me to Tank:  Go put this boot in the bin of boots in the storage room. The other boot is probably already there. 

Tank a moment later:  Um, yeah. The boots were just all lined up on the floor OUTSIDE the storage room. They weren't in the bin. I put them all in the bin. You're welcome. And Curly's other boot was down there.

Please note:  Tank, president of the half-ass club, leaves a trail. In order to stand out and shine - well, he'll throw a sib under the proverbial slob bus happily.

I lined up the shoes this afternoon in the kitchen. When the mudroom was clean, I invited kids to put shoes they intend to wear again back under their lockers.


Minus boots, it isn't too bad.

Me:  Lad, please come in here and put the packages of diapers back that you knocked on the floor when I told you to get your cowboy boots out of Ed's locker. (I keep diapers in Ed's locker when he's at school).

Lad did it right away. Major progress from the 'WASN'T ME' crap I got all summer (which is great if we don't focus on how he dumped the diapers on the floor in the first place. Baby steps). 

While he was in the mudroom, I almost gagged. 

Me:  Lad, you smell. BAD. Have you showered today?

Lad:  (taking a whiff of his shirt) I do? Hmm. OK. 

He ran off to shower. Before he did, I handed him a bag of used Tupperware that was in his locker from his lunches:  "Handle it." 

I continued to scurry around putting away stuff from the mudroom. Walking through the kitchen, I stopped. The bad smell that I blamed on my oldest son was RIGHT THERE. On the counter was the bag of used Tupperware. Not handled. 

I deserve a bravery award for smelling it. 

When Lad got out of the shower, I let him know he didn't smell - it was his disgusting, rotting, not-rinsed food containers. This time he handled it. He also lit a candle. I was honestly relieved that he wasn't the source of the smell. If his issues are going to include poor hygiene, life is gonna get really challenging. 

Last weekend, I asked Coach if he could put away the tools that littered one section of our bedroom floor. They weren't in my footpath, but STILL. The tools were there since, brace yourself, the dryer died . . . before Christmas. He used the tools again finally to re-hang the door and rebuild the destroyed door jam about a month ago. I felt like maybe it was time to put the tools AWAY. 

Starting to understand what I'm up against? 

And while the kids have been e-learning, I've become a barmaid. What happened to DON'T EAT IN THERE? 

I hollered one night during an impromptu family meeting:  If you think I'm cleaning up after you all, then you have another thing coming. You're in for a rude awakening.

They were bewildered. Not because I wanted them to clean up after themselves. 


I switched to their native tongue:  


They congratulated me with whoops and laughter:  


They enjoyed my lingo, but missed my point. 

March 24, 2021

sharing my strengths: a catch all, including rocking Hulk's jeans

A few weeks back, I lay half-dead on the couch (tired, not ill. Thankfully). I wanted to go to bed. First, I had to complete my mission:  fold laundry. I called to Reg:  GRAB ME THAT BASKET OF CLEAN LAUNDRY UPSTAIRS IN FRONT OF THE DRYER.  

Reg couldn't find it. I must've moved it. I sent him to my bedroom. On my bed? The floor? Oh, I know - I moved it to the top of the stairs to bring down and fold. 


I was bewildered. There WAS a basket in the family room. Not far from where I lay. Oh, wait a minute. Maybe I already folded it. Yep, that's what happened. I folded a huge load of laundry WITHOUT even realizing it. It's a gift, I've decided. 

I'm counting folding a basket of clothes while on autopilot a strength. Let's combine that with the fact that I'm also able to get BOTH of my socks in the same load of laundry, thereby making sorting a cinch. My children weren't born with this talent. Is it something they will acquire as adults? One can only hope. It continues to baffle me. Where do you put the other sock while you deposit the favored sock in the laundry?

I know that I just managed to escape to Arizona, but as spring break approaches in a few days I WANNA GO SOMEWHERE WARM. 

My next strength is not one that most people would be proud of, but I.Am.A.Pest. 

Coach gave a firm 'NO' when I suggested we drive to Florida, stay somewhere cheap, and hit the beach . . . even for a few days. Despite his 'NO', I spent time searching airbnb and vrbo sites for a cheap place to stay, with a nearby beach . . . or a nice hotel's heated pool that's just begging to be 'borrowed'. Kidding. 

Let's rename this strength:  ability to dream. Preferable to pest.

In my rental search process, I came across some doozies. I almost feel like I SHOULD stay at one of these 'deals' in order to report back. We could call the trip BLOG RESEARCH, right? 

What could be more fun than the 6 of us staying
in a camper? For $50 a night. That can't be beat.
Note:  I hold very little hope of convincing Coach,
thus the title for my saved 'finds':  never gonna happen

I  promise to share updates, but not holding by breath. I think I'm stuck in the chilly Midwest next week.

Becky brought her tots over to play yesterday. It was beautiful out. We hung out on the deck wrangling three 2 yr olds and four almost 1 yr olds. Fashion was not my biggest concern. Mini later told me that she could see me out her bedroom window. She said that she almost hollered out her window:  I LIKE YOUR JEANS. DID THE HULK WEAR THEM BEFORE YOU?

Um, does it sound like it's time for someone to go back to school?

My strength:  taking my teens with a grain of salt. 

I STILL have to write a post about the day Mini helped me clean out my closet. When I pulled out my pile of skinny jeans during the purge, Mini frowned. She said one pair needed to GO. I put a '?' on the tag of the pair that she thought was the culprit. I wouldn't know if this was the bad pair until the next time I wore them. Most of my jeans are JAG jeans, so I wasn't sure which was the offending pair. 

*Yes, the '?' pair is the pair I had on yesterday. 

Technically there is nothing wrong with this particular pair of jeans. They are skinny jeans that just tend to lose their 'skinny' as the day goes along. They get baggy. Real baggy. Especially in the buttocks region. So I look all saggy and loose. Mini likens this to me borrowing jeans from the Hulk. To me, crap jeans are the perfect attire for babysitting. 

I'm also a problem solver. Mini asked if she could e-learn today with her besties. It was the official last day of e-learning. 

*Translation:  my kids are going back to in-person and I'm losing my built in live bodies for when I need to run out during nap time. Seriously, it's gonna be an adjustment. 

The problem? She asked last night just as I was climbing into bed. Bad timing, my mind was already asleep. I had a 2:00 dentist appointment and I needed her to be here to babysit during nap time, so I initially said no. She wasn't happy.

A moment later, I realized:  she could go to her friend's house so long as she was back by 1:40. Only missing the last hour of time with her girls. 

Look at that - my tired, old-person brain figured out a solution. 

Anyone else have a 'strength' that isn't necessarily a strength to the general public? What's your spring break dream? 

March 22, 2021

Unfortunately my vaccine shot wasn't my biggest pain

I attempted a short post, because I love them. I failed. Involved topic. A for effort?

March 13th I got my first vaccine shot. My sis in law, Aunt Leprechaun the doctor, set it up for my brother, Pat (her husband), my sister Marie from Milwaukee, and me. We have asthma. Marie and I were both at 11:30 am. I saw her there. 

I passed Marie's two daughters sitting in her car on my way in. I asked if they wanted to come watch me pass out. I'm the funny aunt, which trust me isn't saying much because Ann and Marie set the bar low. I might out myself as 'aged-before-my-time' when it comes to tech stuff, but lawdy these two . . . Marie is plain old aged. Ann is ultra controlling (remember Dad's 80th gift that I took a pass on being involved in?)

Marie was done before me and texted to say she'd try to swing by my house later. 

It happened to be Mom's 78th b-day. I hoped my siblings (who all live nearby except for Marie) would gather around the same time on our folk's patio to say Happy B-day. I had something to share with them (not as exciting as a move to Hawaii, mind you) and I was hoping to do it once. I didn't want to try to organize it with the 'I have something to talk about' premise because I didn't want them getting worked up. Staggering 'news' leads to head's-up phone calls and side conversations, etc. 

I texted Marie while I waited to be released:  ARE YOU GOING TO MOM'S NOW?


I drove home, and wondered if maybe my sisters were at Mom's. I drove by. Mom lives around the corner from me. No cars. When I got home, I called Mom.



*insert dagger #1  My thoughts: I JUST saw Marie and she didn't invite me to lunch. One of the daughter's she brought is my goddaughter. I would've loved to get caught up


*insert dagger #2 My thoughts:  I'm the only other daughter. If the girls are having dinner with the folks, why not include me? 

Background: My sisters were always grouped together growing up. I was 2.5 yrs younger than Marie, but you'd think it was a decade. My 2 brothers weren't invited. Mom used to host Pat and his kids every Sunday for lunch while Aunt Leprechaun cleaned her house. My rug-rats and I were never invited over just for kicks. In other words, my brothers have their own 'audiences' with the folks. 

I wish it didn't hurt. I DON'T want to care. Really. I'd like to carry on like I GOT MY OWN THING GOING ON AND I DON'T NEED YOU. My sisters annoy me and my folks play favorites, but being excluded sucks.


*silly me, I was still considering sharing my news with them and I wanted them in one place. I figured they weren't as likely to call and leak it to my brothers, but I decided against it. My mood had shifted.

Irrelevant pic. It's a GF cupcake aka a little bit of heaven. A woman I know who has celiac sent two cupcakes home with Tank. Photo taken after I inhaled the first one. He works with her and someone gave her too many for St. Pat's day. I needed this!

Coach was standing there during my phone call. I motioned to him that I had a dagger in my chest. He winced. I couldn't wait to get off the phone so I could cry, but Mom likes to ramble, pretending this is all normal family dynamics: 


I hung up and cried for a long time. The kids who were home came running. They were appalled. Not surprised. Reminded me that I didn't need my sisters/ family, etc. Coach hugged me and told me he wished he knew what to say. 

Later we delivered the warm soda bread. I wanted to see them eating and make them feel like the ass wipes that they are. Curly came. Mini and Tank weren't home. Coach needed to drop Reg off somewhere, so they literally popped in and left. We were masked. Mom, Dad, Ann, Marie, and 2 nieces were not. They were schmoozing with Marie's other kids on a zoom. We stayed 5 minutes. Coach made me promise not to lash out. Who knows how many b-days Mom has left? I decided not to ruin it. 


Curly said about 4 times:  WELL, WE NEED TO GET GOING. WE'RE GOING TO CHURCH. (mass is at 5:30 and it was 5:00. Church is 30 seconds away, but Curly wanted OUT OF THERE - she was being my body guard protective).

Things I wanted to say but didn't:  

My kids would enjoy a steak dinner. Let me know when you'd like us to schedule that. 

Hope you enjoyed your dinner, minus the most interesting person in the family. 

How do you sleep at night?

Kiss my ass.

Marie wanted to stop by my house so I wouldn't find out about the 'gathering'. I'm sure Mom called her at Ann's and told her that she'd 'told me' so Marie stopped texting me to see when she should stop by. 

Not sure which is worse:  

1) Mom acting like their dinner plans made sense, or 

2) Marie trying to keep her lunch and dinner plans a secret. 

I can't help but wonder if some of this stems from Ann's dislike of me, because she can't control me - she'd rather I keep my distance. The family generally tries to keep Ann happy. An impossible task. 

The next day Marie texted to ask how Pat and I felt after our shot. I was tempted to call her up and say:  MY ARM HURT, BUT MY FEELINGS HURT MORE FROM HOW YOU CREEPS BEHAVED. I ALMOST picked up the phone to tell her this. Instead, I just didn't respond.

I've said nothing about the 'incident'. Mom NEVER calls me. As a rule, I think she expects her kids to call her. She called me on Tuesday to say the soda bread was great. Perhaps a twinge of guilt? Or just testing the waters to see if I was ticked? Fortunately, I was busy with the toddlers, so I chatted for less than a minute. 

Where to go from here? Suggestions? 

*Remember that talk with my parents last year when my dad blew off our Yellowstone plans and my folks didn't seem to get it. Maybe they're too old to grow or apologize or be called out for lousy behavior. What excuse does Marie have? I was on a road trip Friday and didn't get to meet with my therapist, so relying on you to sub in for her. So much cheaper than real therapy. Lay the advice on me. 

March 17, 2021

LuLu: captain of the looney bin

Click here for the prequel to this post it popped up yesterday - a day I don't usually post. One of the first times I met Lulu was at the Midwest championships. Curly was probably 7. Lulu and I stood talking, and Lulu bent down to where Curly was sitting on a chair next to me. 

Lulu:  Honey, you have to get your shoes on right now. You dance in a little bit.

I was STANDING RIGHT THERE. Who the heck does this chick think she is? Her 'hurry up' comment sent Curly into panic mode. I reminded Curly that she was one of the last dancers in the rotation. Not to worry. We weren't going to put her shoes on yet. 

*Curly's shoes were a tad small. No dancer wants to buy new, not-broken-in shoes right before a competition. That's like begging for blisters. Curly used to get VERY attached to shoes and hated getting new ones. Her first pair of hard shoes have holes in the bottom. They're on display in the basement by her stage. At this competition, our plan was to wiggle into her shoes and warm up 10 minutes before she danced. When Bossy-Face got up in my kid's business, we had an hour before she danced.  

The lengths I went to convince her to get new shoes.

It was a fad for awhile to cover your kid's dancing shoes in duct tape, to make them appear shiny. Have I mentioned how much I love the world of Irish dancing?

After I calmed Curly down, I turned to Lulu, who I barely knew:  Yeah, this isn't my first rodeo. Don't EVER tell my kid that it's time to get shoes on. I've totally got this. 

A few years go by, and now I know. I steer clear of Crazy-Pants at all cost. She's the type that would drop lame bait into conversation and then wait for me to bite. I wasn't interested in what she was laying down. She had to find another bait-taker. I greeted her from a distance. 

Curly tolerates Lulu's brat kid. Brat-kid might say to Curly:  I DANCED BETTER THAN YOU TODAY. 

I have no patience. Zero. For that crap. Curly has my blessing to tell Brat-kid where to go. So far she hasn't, because she doesn't want to be rude or disappoint Mary. Brat-kid has kicked over her trophy in disappointment, refused to congratulate Curly when Curly beats her, and pouted over a gazillion things. She's an only child and she bosses her conniving mother around. It ain't pretty. 

Little Curly, age 6. Took 17th in an
under 8 Midwest Championships.
Almost 2 years younger than
 some of the competitors. 

One day about 3 years ago, Curly got in the car after class and was unusually quiet. I asked her what was up. She wouldn't say. 

Me:  Well, I'm going to make you tell me when we get home so you'd save a lot of time sharing whatever it is now.

Curly:  Lulu came into the studio for half of class. (so weird, why is she in the class - parents aren't allowed, but Mary doesn't enforce the rule). She kept whispering with Megan (a 20-something teacher who adored Curly but was wildly immature and spoke way too freely with young girls about her love life, etc. A few years ago, Mary got rid of her. Curly was devastated. I saw things clearly, so I wasn't). I felt like Lulu was talking with Megan about the way I dance because she kept looking at me while she was whispering. At the end of class Lulu asked me if I thought Brat-face was improving - she asked if I knew that she was paying for Brat-face to have 2 hour private lessons with Megan.

I drove home with smoke coming out of my ears. God help the person that tries to intimidate my kid. I called Mary. While Mary sees Brat-face and Lulu, she's over the moon about Curly. Mary distributed a notice that all parents had to sign. No parent allowed in the studio. Hooray. 

This helped, but Mary is wishy washy about sticking to her rules. Lulu thinks that she and Mary are besties. She'll use any excuse to weasel her way into the studio. "OH MAR, WHY DON'T I CHANGE THE WINDOW DISPLAY FOR YOU" or "CAN I USE THE RESTROOM?" - she'd then stick around and not leave. 

Occasionally I'd point out to Mary that Lulu was hanging around in the studio AGAIN, and she'd send out a reminder.

Then in the fall of 2020, I waited in my car during Curly's class rather than going home to do a few things before racing back. Curly was late. After over 2 hours in the car, I was done. The more frustrations that life presents, the more short-fused I feel. Laddie's nonsense was at a peak. I got out of my car and peeked inside the door from the sidewalk.

Curly was helping another student learn a step as a favor to Mary. Meanwhile, Lulu was INSDIE the studio. Hello no parents rule PLUS covid. She wasn't supposed to be inside. 

I didn't hold back. I yelled into the door, over the sound of the music:  WHY IS LULU INSIDE? SHE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THERE. I DON'T GET IT.

I walked back to my car. An angry Curly came out a minute later. When she got in the car, I told her that even if I made her mad -I was right. Lulu had no business being in there and I was sick of it. 

As I started to drive away, Lulu left the studio and was walking on the sidewalk to her car. I slowed down (real slow), rolled down my window, and shouted:  


Then I drove away knowing she heard me. Curly was upset with me. My phone rang. It was Mary. The call was on Bluetooth. 

Mary:  I can tell that Curly was upset when she left and I want to tell her don't be mad at your mom. Your mom's right. Lulu doesn't belong in here. She breaks the rules all the time. 

Curly felt better. 

At the next class, Mary had a sandwich board on the sidewalk with a chalk reminder:  IF YOU'RE NOT A STUDENT IN MY CLASS, YOU CANNOT ENTER.

Curly was so happy. She loves that Mary finally posted a sign. As for me, there's nothing like letting off a little steam, taking matters into your own hands, and HOLLERING AT LULU WHO THINKS THE RULES DON'T APPLY TO HER. I promise to record my next encounter with Lulu. 

Mini used to dance. She knows Lulu. Curly busted a gut telling Mini the story. Mini was thrilled. 

Anyone else know a parent or coworker who thinks the rules don't apply to them? 

March 16, 2021

Irish dancing: when it kicks you in the butt, I say kick back

*Please note, this post purposely contains no big, complicated words like 'aisle', which I spelled as 'isle' in my last post. My brain is clearly tired, so I'm trying to save myself the embarrassment of using complex language out of fear of once again looking like a moron.


There's one at every Irish dancing school. A nutty mom. A woman who knows no boundaries. A lady who thinks she knows all there is to know about Irish dancing. A woman who would drive you to drink. Guaranteed. It must be a rule. 

*Insert dramatic pause while I open a Mike's Hard Lemonade at 4:15 pm while a few tots are still here napping. Kidding! I've only been driven to drink in theory.

I especially enjoy newcomers who are first generation 'I SAW LORD OF THE DANCE' types who can't wait to sign a kid up to dance. Mary Ann actually qualifies for this designation. When these people try to instruct me in the ways of Irish dancing - as Mary Ann once did, I get all smirky and wise-ass-y. It can't be helped. I endured 8 years of Irish dancing growing up, then I taught at a dancing school for a few years before I married Coach. None of these I-just-got-here types are going to tell me how it's done. Of course, the fact that I sucked at dancing is irrelevant. I still know my stuff.

Excuse me judge, could you take pity on me
and just award me with something?
It would make the 8 hour drive
 home from Ohio less painful.

It's just my luck that the nut-job mom at my kid's dance school has a daughter who is the same age and competition level as Curly. Our dance school is VERY small. Um, this is our 3rd Irish dancing school, which is a whole long story. 

Switching school fallout summary: Changing dancing schools is very rare. Sometimes a change takes place once in a dancer's career, but most people avoid it like the plague. The powers that be make is super challenging to switch. No competing for 6 months, the kid needs to learn all new steps (not terribly difficult), and then there is usually some kind of ugly backlash from the former dancing teacher. For us it was administered in the form of financial punishment. They claimed I owed them money. I definitely didn't, but that's hard to prove. I wasn't allowed to officially switch to a new school until I essentially paid ransom to our prior school. Criminal. 

We left one school due to blatant favoritism and rude teachers who overcharged at every turn. The next school had a mean teacher. Silly me, I thought we could avoid him. Assumed my kids would never get to the level where he taught. I never intended this to be a 'forever' thing. Have I called myself silly yet? I am, you know, silly. Enter little tiny Curly. Mean-teach saw her dance at age 5 or 6 and dug his talons in. He resorted to verbal abuse to urge his dancers to improve. Yeah, no thanks, you sick bastard. In the book I am writing, ever so slowly, this school is known as the O'Bullys and the first school is the McMoneys. 

'Pay the piper or your kids will never dance again.' This is Irish Dancing's version of Tanya Harding hitting Nancy Kerrigan with a lead pipe so she couldn't skate. It's all going to be detailed in my upcoming book, aptly titled (I don't actually have a title but I joke about it):  THE SHIT BENEATH THE WIG. Details to follow. (I looked up 'aptly' to be sure I used it correctly. I might be slipping, but I'm trying to hang on to my dignity till the very end here in 'what's-that-word' land).

Anyway, at my two prior schools I hung with some really nice moms. I managed to steer clear of the crazies. Sure, I knew who they were but there were enough great moms at the school that the weirdos were easy to avoid. While keeping my distance (long before socially distant was a thing), I often stood wide-eyed with my chin on the floor at their antics that often included some serious kissing of teacher butts. I'm sorry you don't know what Mary Ann looks like, but whatever image you have of her, feel free to conjure up a teacher butt that she is happily kissing. Yep, she's one of 'those'. 

At our first school, one kid with a lunatic mom was a patient of Coach's. The mom was so devastated that her kid couldn't dance for a brief period because of her injured ankle/foot that she struggled to get out of bed in the morning. She'd ask Coach stuff like:  SHE CAN DANCE ONCE WE TRY THIS, RIGHT? He'd made the restrictions ridiculously clear and was downright baffled that she refused to accept the truth. IT NEEDS TIME TO HEAL. NO DANCING FOR X AMOUNT OF TIME.

To be clear the mom friends I've made at our current school are the lifelong type that make me grateful we switched schools. Getting to meet them also makes our dancing commute less awful. If it's OK with you though, I'll probably still complain about our constant driving to dancing loop. It's second nature. I mean good friends are awesome, but driving to a dancing studio 3 or 4 nights a week 25 minutes one way is a time suck that is tough to reconcile. I usually drop her off and then go back and get her a few hours later unless I have nearby errands to run, but on some nights Coach gets her because his clinic is sort of on the way there. Nothing like extending the man's 15 hour day with a drive to dancing.

If you really want to be in dance mode then point your toe and straighten your back.  I'm guessing you're all grateful for your life choices that don't include giving your kids Irish dancing lessons. Now that I've brought you up to speed on school dynamics and the presence of crazy-people, enter Lulu. Her nonsense is hard to stomach, but I think you'll find my approach to her entertaining. Go drink a green beer and get ready, Lulu's story in on the horizon. Tomorrow.  

March 15, 2021

when "Are you using that empty cart?" is hysterical

Ah, welcome to my blog:  the grocery edition. (I almost spelled that 'addition' - just so you know before we get started . . . I'm struggling with the time change and I'm not on my A game.) 

So long as we are talking about my goofs . . . I did realize today that I spelled International Women's Day  in the singular in my last post. I imagine all of you shaking your heads tsk-ing:  SILLY GIRL, THINKING IT'S ALL ABOUT HER, THAT SHE'S THE 'WOMAN' AND THE REST OF US ARE CHOP LIVER. Not the case, I was still intoxicated by fresh zoo air, well it smells more like animal shits, but you get the idea . . . and I wasn't being detail oriented. Back to the grocery theme . . .   

Why on earth, I wondered a month or so ago, would my local grocery store decide to REMODEL THE STORE DURING A PANDEMIC? The floor was torn up, and the shelves were moved around and the bread was NO WHERE NEAR where they usually stock loaves of bread. Nothing was where it belonged and I was completely discombobulated. 

Isn't this the time when we're trying to spend as little time as possible in a grocery store? But, alas, I'm held captive wandering  aimlessly trying to GUESS where everything is. Seeing as no one in this town spends more on food, they should've called me first. 

This is where I felt
like Chicken Little.
I did notice just before the reno that the building was suffering - but the work did nothing to enhance the structure. I mean no one showed me the plans or anything, but I don't think a new roof was part of it. While I was shopping in December, a sizeable chunk of the ceiling fell and almost hit a fellow shopper. I managed not to lose my focus and accidentally switch carts with anyone and send them home with my frozen hashbrowns. I spent a good deal of time feeling alarmed and wondering if we should all evacuate. 

Meanwhile a manager
is thinking of the
 flow of traffic and the aesthesis
and deciding to redo the interior.

On one of my where-the-hell-is-everything grocery trips, I stopped and asked a man stocking shelves where I could find black beans. He needed me to repeat it. Again. And again. I moved my mask down so he could read my lips - from a distance. He motioned into the aisle we were standing in. "Oh, they're right down there." . . . how handy?

Um, they weren't. He must've thought I said green beans. It was so awkward because I was searching high and low and he was still stocking shelves a few feet from me. I thought maybe NOW is when he'll turn around and help me find the cans I was looking for or redirect me. Never.happened. 

I so badly wanted to holler:  HEARING AID FOR THE KIND EMPLOYEE IN AISLE 4, PLEASE. 

My kids have fallen hard for the lime flavored Greek yogurt made by Dannon Light and Fit. It's a new flavor. My store isn't great at stocking any flavors consistently, new flavors - forget it. On the way home from basketball practice with Curly last month, she told me that she thought we had no frosting. She had baked a cake before practice and wanted to frost it. I told her I'd stop and she could run in and get some. Then I was like:  OH, HELL. I'LL PARK AND WE CAN SEE IF THEY HAVE LIME YOGURT IN YET. Then she told me that we were out of feminine products. Well, now we were on a mission. There were purchases that needed to be made and I wanted to get home. 

We memorized the 4 things on the list, because by now I'd added chicken. Pads, lime yogurt, frosting, chicken. Say it ten times fast. Better yet, try to go into the store and only buy those items. I'm here to tell you that's impossible. 

We bravely waved off the cart, because we're dumb strong, able-bodied people. We first hit the jackpot with lime yogurt. I stacked a butt load of them into Curly's arms and she held on to them with the help of her chin. Then we grabbed pads, more than one package. Why not, only 4 items? Then we got to the chicken. I've been having a hard time finding my individually wrapped chicken breasts. They were in stock. Hooray. Oh, wait. No cart. 

Curly was next to my elbow balancing lime treats. I wanted to grab as many chicken bags as possible. That's when I saw the hard of hearing stocker. He was talking to another employee and he was leaning on an empty cart. They were maybe 30 feet away from me. All of a sudden Curly whispers in my ear.


Well, I didn't just laugh - I cackled. The throw-your-head-back-and-let-it-out kind of cackle. Curly begged me to stop, but she was laughing too. 


Yes, I was about to holler to my buddy 'HEY IF YOU'RE DONE WITH THAT CART, WE COULD USE ONE. 

Not that he would've heard me.

We weren't in the clear yet. We still needed frosting. I sent Curly to get a cart with her arms loaded with yogurt and I grabbed as much chicken as I could and told her to meet me in aisle 6 by the frosting. We tossed our pads, lime yogurt, chicken, and frosting in the cart. We were still laughing hysterically. It struck me so funny that my kid knew EXACTLY what I was thinking.

Of course then we stocked up on applesauce. Why not, we had a handy cart now? And a few other things that I was super relieved to have thought of while still in the store. Mini recently shared that one of her friends learned that we eat a ton of applesauce most nights after dinner - hey, it's a crowd pleaser and I legit do offer them a ton to eat but they always want something else. Enter applesauce. Anyway, Mini's friend found it to be the strangest and most entertaining information EVER. 

Do you have a weird item the fam likes to eat EVERY night? Have you juggled a silly amount of groceries after thinking you didn't need a cart? Has your grocery store decided to renovate during a pandemic? 

I have a gut-busting blue tooth story to tell you, unless it was one of those 'guess you had to be there things' and you weren't there, so who knows? Plus I think I should share the Lulu story on Wednesday since it's St. Pat's day and all and she's a wanna-be, over-achiever Irish dancing mom. 

March 11, 2021

celebrating international women's day with the parking lot lady

With temps in the mid 60s, I did what one does in 2021. I made a reservation for the zoo. FIVE days in advance. Who's organized? I reserved two adults, which doesn't cost extra because of my membership. Plus my little guys.

I thought maybe Delilah would join me. When I invited her tried to rope her into being my second set of hands, I reminded her of my NO FLIP FLOPS ALLOWED rule. 

*I can't locate the post about Delilah coming with me to the zoo 2 yrs ago wearing flip flops. Before we left the parking lot one broke. I was like I'M JUGGLING A MILLION KIDS AND THE WORLD'S BIGGEST STROLLER AND YOU CAN'T EVEN WALK INTO THE ZOO? Zoo staff stapled her flip flop. Day saved. I wasn't really angry, it was more of a cry-laughing incident. 

Delilah texted that she hoped to come, but alas that day ended up being too busy for her. 

Let's pretend I'm offering special, front row seats to a fabulous event . . . when in reality we'd chat but it'd be lots of "Do you wanna buckle that kid into the stroller or hold this one up to see the rhino?" Hmm, why don't I have more friends?

Anyway, I needed to be on my A game- my time stamped entry was for 10:40 am. Running late is my special talent. I had to be there on time.

I was shooting for an earlier entry, but even when planning in advance -time slots were taken. I wanted to be back for naps. I have a NO SLEEPING IN MY VAN rule that is fairly hard to enforce from my perch in the front seat. (sleeping in the car can give a toddler a dreaded 2nd wind). Nothing like steering with my toes as I stretch into the back seat to tickle/gently slap/lick kids in the face to keep them awake as I grumble about Delilah's absence under my breath. Kidding. 

Driving with knees is safer than toes, and I'd never grumble about Delilah's real life responsibilities. Oh, and I don't lick the babies . . . duh, covid.

I may've focused more on my rearview mirror than the road driving home as I called to the guys, begging them to stay with me as if they were about to lose consciousness after losing a lot of blood. 

The night before the zoo, I was drafting yesterday's post. I was dissatisfied with it, thus grouchy. It was a hodge podge of stuff I'd written a while ago and never posted. (I am seeing those of you who didn't read it making a mental note not to bother, it's not THAT bad). My hands were tied though. Tank needed me to proof some of his scholarship essays that are due soon. Ed needed me to do something for him via email too. 

So, now that I have a few minutes I'm redeeming myself with my zoo adventure. 

The morning went off without a hitch. I didn't initially plan to attend Mini's college planning zoom at 8:15 am unshowered and sweaty. I rolled with it though, as a tradeoff for squeezing in a workout. Then I fed/bottled a tot and a baby. Hopped up and down off the couch next to Mini as needed to deal with littles, dirty diapers, and listen/give my two cents to her counselor. I put the baby down for a nap, and went out to the garage to load carseats in the Great White. I could write a whole post on these new fangled carseats but I won't - just know that my kids are lucky they didn't later find me tangled up in straps in the very back of my van unable to free myself. 

That's it. It's official. I've turned into my mother incorporating 'new fangled' into my vocab.  

I showered, packed food, diapers, cups, jackets, zoo pass, and started loading tots 15 minutes before go-time. That is my new secret:  load 'em early. 

We arrived at exactly 10:40. I knew they'd have a grace period, but still. Who's proud of me? I unloaded my quadruple beast of a stroller, got three tots and one baby buckled, clipped lunch sacks to the handle, stuffed a bag of diapers in the weak excuse for storage. Tucked extra coats into the huge visor thing. I heard upper 60s but it's hard to convince oneself that it's going to actually BE that warm. 

What I'm saying is, I haven't lost my 'get out and do things' touch.

A woman stopped me before the beast's momentum reached the no-turning back point.

Parking lot lady:  Are you doing this on your own? Wow, you're amazing. 

Me:  (Looking over my shoulder, who me?) Oh, um. Thanks. We won't stay long. (famous last words). The big stroller helps. It's an adventure.

We chatted. She lives near me. Her husband used to teach at my kids' high school. Her house backs up to the golf course where my kids caddy. She wished me luck and started to walk away. Then she came back.

Parking lot lady:  Do you mind if I take your picture? I'd like to put it on my little Facebook group - just my neighborhood friends. I think it's the month of the woman. I want to share you as a strong woman.

Me:  Well, in that case I guess I should flex.

She snapped a photo of me flexing next to my monster stroller and my four littles. Poor Delilah missed a chance to be famous on someone else's FB page. I pointed out to her that the word across my sweatshirt (synonymous with fierce) happens to be my last name. She enjoyed that nugget of info.   

The day continued to be wonderful. A couple asked me if the 3 boys were my triplets. Translation:  they thought I was young enough to have given birth two years ago. Day made. The animals seemed to know we'd arrived, showing us all their special moves. Like the rhino who stood near the edge of his enclosure (such a close view) and chewed on a stick.
This was so cool. Look how close?

I pulled my usual . . . stayed longer than intended because we were having a great time. Pushed the envelope. The dolphins were the last stop and strollers weren't allowed in. I released my guys and held the baby. We waited in line to get in. To innocent bystanders I was a completely sane person who enjoys herding cats. Only we know the truth. 
All my dolphin footage is videos not photos, but you get the idea.

I count having just one guy fall asleep in the car a success. He still napped at home . . . and I laid in the sun for a bit on my deck in shorts and a tank top during nap time.  

What's your recent life-is-good day? Or who's wrestled with a carseat lately? Has anyone randomly asked to post your photo to their FB page? How much better is this post than yesterday's?  

March 10, 2021

Mini braggadocios and other hairy stories

In the fall, I started packing a bag to shower at the club. Once they started requiring a mask while working out - not just when you moved from one area of the club to the other, I ended up working out at home. There's no way I could do cardio while masked. I suck way too much air and I'm unwilling to rely on a mask to let my oxygen flow. No secret death wish by asphyxiation here.  

Opting to shower at home, I often came home all sweaty and gross, BUT I'd often get distracted (telling kids to get their chores done, debating what chores need to be done), pulled in various directions (oh shoot, I need to start the crock-pot or whip up a protein shake), or I was asked to drive someone somewhere. Before I knew it I'd have to announce loudly and make a big stink (well this was easy, because have I mentioned how BADLY I smelled?) - "I'm getting in the shower!"  

While I feel like my people interfere with my showering agenda, I'm quite sure they all celebrate when I stop bossing everyone around and actually get in the shower.

The locker rooms were open at the club in the fall (they might be now, I don't know as I use my FB videos while refraining from waving at my instructor. Progress). For awhile I showered at the club so I could just move forward with the day when I walked in the door. 

At the club, I accidentally wore my mask into the shower. Another time I forgot my deodorant. The club used to have complimentary spray deodorant on the counters, but not during covid. 

Then one day I couldn't find my bottle of Botanical Boost. I feel like I've shared this in a 'my favorite things' type post, but in case I haven't . . . I love what this stuff does for my hair. It's the bomb.  

I didn't see it in my gym bag. I happened to be showering at home. I thought the girls maybe borrowed it. Dripping wet, I called out to them,

Me:  Girls, did one of you borrow my Botanical Boost?

Curly:  No. I looked in your bathroom but I couldn't find it.

Mini:  I don't put product in my hair.  

Well. Is it me, or did that seem like Mini was being braggadocios?  

Aside from the towel turban and her frequent messy buns, her hair is amazing. Naturally curly - not 'Curly- curly', but more manageable and flowing and CRAZY THICK. Yes, I'm jealous.

How totally uncalled for to taunt those of us who can't leave the bathroom without the help of product. Isn't there a saying, THOSE WITH PERFECT HAIR SHOULD NOT THROW BOBBY PINS OR SCISSORS OR FLIP THEIR PERFECT HAIR IN OTHER PEOPLE'S FACES - ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO SUFFER FROM THIN HAR? 

If there isn't, then there should be.

There it was - tucked in my gym bag after all.

Curly's hair is growing in quite nicely after the haircut disaster of May 2019, thanks for asking. I mean technically it still looks like it's growing out and not down. We're begging gravity to get involved here. In the meantime, she still often sports a bun or she tries various combinations of hair products to see what might make it less frizzy and 'free.'

Jumping on friends' trampolines or riding bikes has an interesting 'pump-it-up' impact on her locks. I swear her hair width can be wider than her actual body frame. She's learning to ignore me when I stand behind her and silently motion to Mini about how ding-dang wide this mop can actually become.  

A few weeks back was Ash Wednesday. The pandemic way to handle ashes was to sprinkle the ashes over people's heads to avoid touching parishioner's foreheads while marking it with a cross.

We are expected to make sacrifices during this season of lent. Well, sacrifice I did. I got to look cringy the rest of the night. Those ashes sprinkled on my balding head sat on my scalp, the place where other people have a mass of hair. My very visible ashes screamed LOOK THIS ONE STRUGGLES TO GROW HAIR. Appearing downright dirty is not my preferred personal statement. I've stopped washing my hair daily, and not anticipating this 'blessing' at mass, I washed my hair that morning. 

Thank you Jesus, in advance, for letting a priest make a very large cross on my head next year out of ashes. I'm assuming by then I won't even notice if someone breathes on me or sneezes within 6 feet of me. 

One more: 2nd to last:  Curly's friend's mom texted me after the girls hung out a few weeks ago and said the sister's friend was over the same day and ended up having lice. Wouldn't you think that in a pandemic the lice could all just up and die? Enough ARLEADY. 

Curly never got lice, praise the Lord. Can you even imagine having to comb through that mop? Raking that matted, fist-sized knot out of her hair over the summer is way too fresh. Resident germa-phob, Tank, sat at dinner with a plastic shopping bag on his head the night we got the text. I was like, boys rarely get lice. You don't have enough hair. Still, he decided he couldn't be too careful. 

Tank in lice fighting mode.

Finale:  I took one of the babies on a walk last week. We saw my folks through their patio door. My mom usually wears her hair in the shortest 'pixie' possible. Hair was growing a few inches down her neck. She'd been cutting it herself, not sure when she veered from that plan. 

I was in shock. Not as much shock as the baby who didn't know what to think of the elderly people trying to imitate Donald Duck and making weird faces at her. I informed my kids later that their grandparents have turned a corner. They've aged so dramatically, that they've lost their touch with babies. 

I thought of asking my folks:  GET OUT MUCH? 

Then, I remembered. So, I stood by and watched them frighten the be-Jesus out of this baby in my care. 

Any good lice stories? I realize 'lice' and 'good' should not be used in the same sentence. Or has anyone still not gotten a haircut? Or do you have a family member with flaunty-type great hair? Would someone like to make plans to have dinner with Tank, because you never know what to expect?

No promises, but I'm going to try my DARNDEST to post for tomorrow. Check back. There's so much afoot.

March 8, 2021

sports update with a fav video highlight

My kids are playing sports at the high school again. It's exciting. Well, it's as exciting as it can be when you're watching from a screen at home and you're squinting a lot because you aren't sure which one is your kid. Considering the alternative, I'll take the eye strain.

Reggie is the only freshman that made the sophomore b-ball team. He was pretty pumped. The kid is b-ball obsessed. It's what he does in his spare time. Before the snow, he was on the driveway 24/7- ish. 

Remember when I shared his awesome game on his 14th birthday? I just re-read that post and winced at: I can't wait for him to start high school to make new friends. Ugh. I also mentioned the mean kid in his class in that post who thinks he is hot stuff, guess who is on the freshman team? And that's all I'll say 'bout that.

No one can attend sophomore games. Amusing since typically, when we were all breathing on one another, no one really went to those games anyway. Hardly, pack the place events. It'd be very easy to social distance. They didn't ask me to make the rules though, oddly enough - so bring on the squinting at the screen. 

One thing this pandemic has done is introduce me to the HTMI cord. Look at me, sounding techie and all. I now know how to plug my laptop into my TV to do my FB workouts. We even brought it to Arizona so I could workout, and we watched Netflix movies from my laptop. We're crazy hip. This means we also get to watch their games on our larger TV screen. Still, hardly NBA footage and they look tiny.

Perhaps the athletic department failed to consult me on which games should allow spectators because they've heard of how I've occasionally lost my cool at a ref in a water polo game. Just a theory. 

Let me explain . . . 

Coach insists my photo is hanging in the athletic office of one particular high school in our conference with a warning:  DO NOT ALLOW THIS NUT JOB IN THE BUILDING.

Ed was in the pool that day (so was Lad) in 2016, and I was in the balcony with the other fans. Um, raging. I apologize to those of you who think of me as cool and collected. Not sure I pulled off that persona, but if I did, I just blew my cover. It was a water polo playoff game and the refs didn't know the game. Understatement. Or they knew the game, but wanted us to lose. They kept calling our guys for holding, but the other team was clinging to our guys as if they couldn't swim, and they weren't getting called for it.

Anyway, Ed said afterwards that he was treading water, looking up at me LOSING IT. He says he shook his head, thinking:  SHE'S COMING OVER THAT RAILING. ANY SECOND. SHIT, SHE'S GOING TO JUMP IN THE FREAKING POOL. 

Well, I remained in the balcony, but my voice carried. Coach may or may not have moved to a different row in the bleachers so he wasn't associated with me. 

Holy digression. But seriously, it sucked to be taken out of a playoff game for bad calls. I'm over it moving on . . . (after I share the video below - which is not from the game where I lost my cool).

This is a snippet of the video I made for Lad when he graduated high school. The full length video is full of baby pictures and funny little kid video clips. I thought I'd insert the water polo highlights here. This was such an exciting season. You can see Reg jump up in the stands in front of me to point to Lad when he scores. I no longer have this on my desktop, so I had to video it playing on my TV. Not gonna lie, watching this whole video makes me cry. Beautiful memories from Lad's happy childhood. Simpler times. Well, not totally simple. We were just starting to walk on egg shells, but in these games our guy shined so bright and we enjoyed cheering him on so much. 

Back to present times:  Mini is on the varsity girls' b-ball team. Two family members can attend her home games with fingerprinting, a quick organ donation, a background check, and a special lanyard. Her away games can be viewed online. *She just played in an away game and her team lost by over 50 points. Ouch. 

Tank will play volleyball in the spring. He's missing his time to shine in the stands during varsity boys' b-ball games as the lead heckler spirit guy. It's his thing. The senior class is invited to social distance in the auditorium and watch the games live streamed . . . while the team plays in the big ass gym across the hall. (excuse me while I wipe my tears). 

Remember how they combined sports seasons and it messed Mini up? Big Mama wrote a letter. The theme:  IF EVER THERE WAS A TIME TO MAKE AN EXCEPTION, IT'S NOW. 

It worked. She can play two sports, or can she? She rarely gets to play badminton. B-ball is her #1 priority. After they said, GO AHEAD AND DO BOTH, she skipped a b-ball practice (at her b-ball coach's urging) on a Saturday in order to attend a badminton match. The other team ended up not having many players and Mini never played. Ouch. It was understandable. She hadn't been allowed to practice, so the coach couldn't really play her and sit someone else. (Exhibit A:  I'm not crazy. I understand fairness. She says as she tries to regain her good name with her readers)

So we're back to practices and games and deciding who can drive who to which practice, oh and blocking the sidewalk with one of our 4 cars for a bit while we jog in and out of the house before our next drive. 

Translation:  Officer Friendly still shows up when an ass hole neighbor complains about our sidewalk obstruction -EVEN when there were several feet of snow on said sidewalk and no one was walking on it. Get ready neighbors, I'm gonna put a sign in my yard and invite whoever it is to SHOW THEMSELVES by coming to the door and admitting that they can't walk 2 steps around a parked car in lieu of calling the police. Grow.A.Pair. 

And, Curly has been playing travel ball for awhile now. She usually plays two games on Sundays. She practices on the two nights she doesn't dance, because the gods don't believe that I should ever relax. 

Have you ever lost your cool in response to a bad call? Would you like to help me draft the message for the yard sign geared to the neighbor who keeps calling the po-po? I welcome your suggestions. One idea:  IF YOU DON'T LIKE OUR CAR HERE, CROSS TO MARY ANN'S SIDE OF THE STREET. SHE'S SUPER DELIGHTFUL. PROMISE. 

March 4, 2021

Arizona in adventure mode

While debating changing hotels (which I realize might seem silly to some people, but lounging IN the pool was a big part of my vision for this trip), I was on hold for 30 minutes with Hilton . . . then the call was disconnected. Grr.

Well, this didn't ring true.

On and another thing . . . I called the Home2 Suites in advance of our trip . . . twice to ask what they included in their grab and go breakfasts. My GF butt likes to be prepared. The hard boiled egg and yogurt, that I COULD'VE eaten was not in our breakfast bags as promised. When I pointed this out to the staff, the front desk person said she'd get me the hardboiled egg and yogurt. She informed me:  


I packed my GF oatmeal. I would've eaten a HB egg.
 I packed cereal for Coach too. He would've liked a glass of juice, but I bought some smoothies/protein shake and stocked the fridge which is a whole other interesting story. 

Well. How is this good business sense? Saying it aloud was dumb. Skimping on your guests because you're busier? Step aside, hotel worker, and allow me to show you how to TREAT YOUR GUESTS. Even Coach was like:  YEAH, WHEN WE'RE SUPER BUSY AT MY PT CLINIC ON MONDAYS, WE JUST TELL OUR PATIENTS THAT WE ARE GOING TO WORK WITH THEM LESS. 

To avoid wasting more time on the hotel dilemma, Coach may have acted a tad hasty. He called a 1-800 # Sunday morning and asked about a room. "Too pricey." I was in the background suggesting that spending a bit more would be fine - IT WAS JUST ONE NIGHT, AFTERALL. 

Then the woman on the phone suggested a Holiday Inn Express. It had a heated pool and hot tub. He was like LET'S JUST DO THIS. Later he would realize that he never asked about the workout room. Um, it wasn't open due to covid. So, that sucked.

After we went on a hike Sunday we checked out of the 'no protein for you'  and 'no heat in the pool' hotel. Coach went inside the Holiday Inn Express to see if our room was ready. It was. The staff informed him that the pool was NOT heated, but the hot tub was. We stayed anyway. 

Our room was fine. Not nice, but fine. The place was sort of blah. Apparently emptying the garbage near the pool is not part of anyone's official job description, so they let it overflow. It was windy, on this our chilliest day. So, the garbage just blew into the pool and floated there. I pretended that wasn't happening as I sunk down into the heated hot tub that was surrounded by a wall of rocks which kept the garbage at bay. 

Not sure you can see it in this photo that Coach took. There is a tube of sunscreen. If you look closer to the wall there's all kinds of 'stuff.'

Coach took this photo and he laughed when I pointed out that it looked like I was naked. This was the hot tub at the Holiday Inn Express - note the rock wall that kept the garbage out.

On our last day, it was back in the low 70s and sunny. Perfection. After our morning hike, I took a walk through the La Quinta hotel that was across the parking lot from our dump our latest adventure. The pool was enclosed. As part of my covert mission, I entered the pool area from the 1st floor corridor of rooms. I heard a TV blaring in room 110. I decided if anyone questioned me, I would just say that I was from room 110. 

I may have missed my calling as a criminal.

So, yeah. This is why my blog is anonymous. I do embarrassing shit that I'm not willing to share with the general public who know me by name. (Don't worry, I'm still excited to throw an awesome '51 IS FUN' birthday party to invite all of you to, but we will be focused on drinking cocktails and everyone will sign a waiver agreeing to not judge me). There, now you know. I'm a coward. But not when it comes to hunting down my desired pool experience. 

Faking my status as a guest is not something I do on the regular, but I feel like it is one of my strengths. A strength that I probably won't list on a resume. 

The pool looked good and clean, but I noted there were no lounge chairs. Only regular chairs. Our frigid pool with floating garbage only offered one lounge chair. Don't people in Arizona like to recline when they sun themselves? 

When I turned to leave the pool that I was hoping to 'borrow' a bit later, I realized that I couldn't get back into the corridor I had just come from without a key card. There was no gate to exit the pool area to the parking lot. There was a lady sitting in the courtyard-like grassy area near the pool. I prepared myself to distract her while I rummaged through her bag looking for her key card.

There were double doors leading back into the lobby. I tried one of them. Locked. Just before my mini-panic attack set in, and I had to wave a white flag and ask for someone to release me back into the wild, I pulled the 2nd door handle. It opened and I made my escape. Bullet dodged, or at the very least:  suspicious-hotel-staff-dirty-looks dodged. 

We needed to check out by 1:00, so I got packed up and then laid on the sole lounge chair and focused on my book so I could avoid watching the collection of bobbing garbage. This was a hot day and the hot tub did not appeal. 

Coach joined me pool side, well - he sat in the shade in the corner with his laptop, after he checked out of the hotel. After a few hours in the sun, I was ready to cool off. I told Coach I was going rogue. I hoped he'd join me. Besides, there was no way in hell I was going to change into airplane ready clothes in the restrooms at our Holiday Inn Express. Even without looking, I could only imagine.

I walked through the lobby, of this my 3rd hotel, as a fake guest. I stared intently at my phone trying not to look lost. I got myself set up at a chair and positioned my  book (The Boys in the Boat - highly recommend) near the edge with a few towels. Then I entered the pool from the stairs on the opposite side.

Um, IT WAS BEYOND COLD. There is no way they had the heater on in that pool, even though I'd done my homework and called to ask if it was heated. I thought of all of you, my readers. I could not disappoint. I'd come this far. I crossed that pool prepared to dodge an ice burg. A few high-pitched, squealy sounds escaped me. I propped myself on my elbows at the edge. I read my book till I could take it no more. Coach showed up and enjoyed the shady area. For my last hour, I moved to the hot tub and sat either in it or dangling my feet in it while I read. 

Can you see my shivering? Photo backdrop
 compliments of La Quinta Hotel.

Well worth the adventure. 

As anticipated, the bathrooms were clean. It was like they rolled out the red carpet for their favorite fake guest. We changed, ate an early dinner nearby, and headed to the airport. 

Expect happy highlights of the trip to be sprinkled into my upcoming posts. I still have to write about Lulu, my first bikini wax, the 'oops' moments during Coach's class taught from home, and a collection of chuckle-worthy grocery shopping experiences.

If you were eagerly awaiting the finale of yesterday's post, then I look forward to hearing from you. Maybe you were busy enjoying beautiful spring weather - wherever you are, and whosever pool you needed to sneak into to thoroughly enjoy some sunshine.  ;)  Suz keep an eye out for yours truly. I might just hope the fence one day.

Care to share your worst hotel experience? (I wouldn't call this my worst experience, but it kept things interesting).