Sunday, August 29, 2010

And there it was.....

As Jayson's deployment date has grown closer and closer, I have heard more and more of this:

"Oh my gosh!  A whole year??  Will you be ok?"

"That's such a long time.  How are you holding up?"

"Are you guys gonna be ok?"

"Aren't you scared for him to be over there?"

"Oh my God!  What are you gonna do?  How will you survive an entire year of him being gone?"

"I feel so sorry for you."

"Our family will keep you all in our prayers."

"Please let us know what we can do to help.  Call us anytime."

Over and over and over again.....from family, friends, clients, and strangers.

I try not to sound rude or arrogant when I respond and say, "I'll be fine!  The kids may spend much of their time being grounded to their rooms, but......we'll be fine!  This is something that we've spent 13 years waiting for.  THIS is why people join the military.  It's exciting, it's challenging, and it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Jayson.  He will grow from it, and, at the same time, the 3 of us here at the house will grow from it, as well.  There is NOTHING WE CAN DO about Jayson leaving, so why stress about it...why worry about it...and why not make the best of it???"

Don't get me wrong, I didn't just come to the conclusion that "we will be fine" at the blink of an eye.  I thought long and hard about the certain challenges that lay ahead for our family.  But no matter how much time I spent searching, I couldn't come up with that "thing" that could make my life truly miserable for the next year.

And then I met Tawnya Farwell.

Tawnya's husband, Chief Warrant Officer Gary Marc Farwell, was killed in February of this year when his UH-60 Blackhawk crashed in Germany during a routine training mission.  Once Tawnya and her 3 children returned from Germany, I had the privilege of helping her with the purchase of a new home.

I knew who she was and what she had been going thru when I signed with her, but I didn't tell her that.  I could see the pure and utter sadness in her eyes, in the way she held her head, and in the way she moved with no hurry.  She was a shell of her former self...having been hollowed-out by the grief and burden that had consumed her for months.  The only thing that glimmered were the tears in her eyes that threatened to spill over. 

This home purchase was bitter-sweet for her.  It was her future.  It would be a great place for her and her three kids.  But it was a future without her husband.  Even the normal, everyday things made this obvious.  Like, how she only has one car now, but the home has parking for several cars.  What will she do with all of that space?  And then there's the process of moving - she has people lined out to help her.  I can't even imagine moving without Jayson, not to mention having no choice but to rely on others to get it done.  Tawnya's life has forever changed.

Shortly after closing for Tawnya, Jayson and I ran the Ogden Marathon.  When looking at the results, I saw a familiar name - Tawnya Farwell.  Small world, huh?

Of course, I analyzed all of the reasons why she ran. (That's what I do -- I analyze things.)  Was running something that she did before her husband died?  Or was running a new thing that was helping her cope?  Did she run because her husband used to run?  Or was running simply more painful than the grief?  Did running help her?

I actually considered getting in touch with her.  But, in the end, I decided that no matter what her reasons for running were, they were certainly none of my business.

Fast forward 3 months...

Last week, Tawnya came into my office for a Notary on some documents.  I knew right away who she was - I remembered her eyes.  After I mentioned the Ogden Marathon, we started talking about running, and I asked her if she was running Pocatello next weekend.  No, Ogden was her last for a while.  It didn't do for her what she had hoped it would.  In fact, she said she was even more depressed after the race than she was before the race.  Wanna know why?

She couldn't call her husband.  She couldn't call and tell him how she had just ran an incredible race.  She couldn't share this with the one person she wanted to share it with. 

And there it was.  I had just discovered the one thing that could make my life truly miserable for the next year.

I certainly understand that my situation is nothing compared to Tawnya's, and I don't ever want to be in her shoes.  However, I completely understood what she was talking about.  It instantly hit home.

I got tears in my eyes and told her that she was making me cry.  She apologized.  (SHE apologized!  Why should SHE apologize??!!)  And we continued to talk, with me pinching my thigh under my desk to keep from bawling like a baby.

Tawnya still runs, but not for races.  She only runs to stay in shape.  We shared stories about how scary road running can be, especially with those little, old ladies who have a death grip on the steering wheel and refuse to move over.  And both of us wonder how long it will be before someone's side mirror takes us out.

There must be a part of Tawnya that knows running would be good for her soul.  She says she'll consider running another full marathon one day.  She just has to make sure she does it for the right reason.  And, for her sake, I hope she finds that "reason" because it's obviously a huge part of the healing process for her.

THANK YOU, Tawnya, for making me discover that one thing that could break me during the next year.  Discovery is the first step, right?  Maybe now I can begin to figure out a way to lessen the pain of not being able to share my life with Jayson.  I will make adjustments and find ways to get around this hurdle.  And, I will thank my lucky stars everyday that it's simply a 1-year hurdle....and not a lifetime.

I love you, Jayson.  Prepare yourself for a year of reading and videos and pictures.  Because I cannot go a whole year without sharing my life with you.

Happy Traks (to you, Tawnya)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

If You Ever Need Your Sheep Herded, Just Let Me Know

THIS is Copper. Remember her? She's the dog that I DID NOT WANT. EVER. In fact, it wasn't just her that I didn't was every dog that came before Copper, too. I hate dogs. They are loud, hyper, dirty, smelly, bossy, slobbery, and they don't stay out of my personal space. (Kinda sounds like I'm describing MEN, doesn't it?)

Anyway....I hate dogs. I always have.

But, after my family stopped speaking to me for 3 days, we wound-up with an 8-week old Miniature Australian Sheppard known as Copper. How could I say no to a boy whose dad was being deployed? How could I say no when the kids promised to do every single thing that had to do with DOG? How could I deny my children the opportunity to have a new friend who would give them unconditional love??

Bullshit. I was hosed. That was all a crock of shit.

Jaycob pays the least bit of attention to the dog and gets annoyed with her on a daily basis. My yard is littered with doggie landmines and shredded tumbleweeds. And guess who Copper's target is for her unconditional love......Yes, me. She LOVES me. She lies at my feet and begs me to rub her belly. I can't even tell you how many times I've been tripped by her - she's like an upside down speed bump. She follows me around the house until I tell her hello. She sits on her little red rug in the kitchen and gives me that look....the look that says, "If you will just give me a handful of ice, I will never poop in your yard again." But, best of all, she can't lie next to me - she has to lie on top of me. That's right. On top of me. Back legs straddling my stomach. Front legs planted firmly on Boob Left and Boob Right. And her nose touching mine. Gross. Dog snot.

And then there's the "herding". OH. MY. FREAKING. GOD. If it moves, she herds it. Leaves, bugs, tumbleweeds, trash, people, footballs, soccer balls, 4-wheelers, and dirt bikes (just to name a few). And running in circles is simply not enough - she has to bark, too. My neighbor had a good idea today. He said I should get her some sheep. I chuckled. But, now.....I'm actually considering it. There has to be something that will keep her occupied. Maybe small children would do the trick. (They would need to be old enough to run, but not old enough to get away.) Anything would be better than when Jaycob ran over her with his dirt bike. And not with just one tire. He managed to run her over with both tires!



He throws down his dirt bike, drops to his knees, and cries to the heavens about how he has just killed his dog. All of this while Copper has recovered and is now barking frantically at the downed dirt bike. She would like for it to continue moving, thank you very much. Then it's more fun to herd.

When it comes to listening and following directions, Copper is a real A+ student. If you tell her to get in her bed, she does. And then proceeds to creep out until only the longest toenail on her longest hind leg is touching the very outside of the cushion. When you tell her to sit, she gets so excited about WHY (Walk?! Treat?! Car?! Treat?!) you're telling her to sit that she actually cannot sit. It becomes physically impossible. She wags her tail (she doesn't have a tail) so hard that her entire body becomes one, giant, moving S. It's like telling a hummingbird to quit moving. Not. Gonna. Happen.

But.....even with all of this, yes, I'll admit it - I kinda like the little turd.

Ok, FINE! I love her. She is a wonderful dog and has been a great addition to our family. Our already hectic lives needed a little more spice, didn't they? (The word "spice" sounds rather similar to the word "stress", doesn't it? Hmmmmm...Must be coincidence.)

Sooooooooo....Copper is staying. Although I had seriously contemplated shipping her off to South Carolina as soon as Jayson left (You know the story - Moving Family/Needs a Pet/Leaving NOW/Dog Goes With/Dog is Happy with New Family on Other Side of Country/No Time for Goodbye's), I think I'll hang onto her for a little longer. I think she eats spiders and other creepy-crawlies and THAT could come in handy.

Happy Traks!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Three Whole Days

Jayson left on Saturday morning.
Jaycob started crying on Monday night.
Three whole days is all it took for the sadness to set in.  I really thought it would take longer.  I mean, Jayson has been gone from us for months at a time before.  I guess Jaycob has already realized that, this time, things will be different.
Monday night was awful.  I had no idea what to do.  I didn't know how to comfort him or take away the hurt.  He tried so hard to hide it, but one second of eye contact with me was all that was needed for the dam to break.  He sobbed and told me how much he missed Dad.  I got tears in my eyes and told him that he's not alone - we all miss Dad.  Our night ended in silence and we all went to bed.
But here's the kicker.......I don't have the slightest clue what to do.  How do you make a kid feel better when they're sad about something that has no solution?  I'm a "fixer" - if there's a problem, I find a solution (it might not be the best solution) and fix the problem.
Our next year, however, is a different kind of "problem" that I can't "fix".  (Thank goodness Jaycob isn't old enough to drink, or I might have offered the poor boy a beer on Monday night.)  I'm an adult.  I can say, "Let's make the best of it."  But what the fuck does that do for my 10 and 11 year old kids? 
So, I guess I need to figure something out.  I need to find a way to keep my children happy for the next 400 days.  I will make that my job.  I will learn from my mistakes ("Buck-up, Soldier" doesn't work so well.) and I will get creative ("Go build a snowman in the yard that looks like your dad, tattoos and all.  Oh, and stand behind it and cuss at the neighbor's dogs.")  I will be honest when we talk and I will tell my kids that I MISS HIM, TOO.  And I will cry.  Because seeing my kids in so much pain is not something that I know how to fix.
Happy Traks (with tears in my eyes)!!

What ARE They?????

Tootsie Rolls.....
What are they, anyway??!!

Have you ever thought about that when you're eating one?

Sometimes I wonder if they're made out of the wrapper that they come in. 

Let's be honest, both the candy and the wrapper feel pretty similiar to one another.

Friday's Food for Thought.

Happy Traks!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Could You Take a Shower Backwards?

Could you???

Could you start at the very end of your shower...and work your way back to the beginning?

Could you take a shower backwards?

- Friday's Food for Thought -

Happy Traks!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ever Talk to Your Cabbie?

How many times have you ridden in a cab? Or on a bus? Or a trolley? Too many to count, right?

How many of those times have you actually talked to your driver?? Have you ever had an actual conversation with one of those people who take you from Point A to Point B? Have you ever asked questions about their life, their family, their dreams? Or have you simply told them where you want to go and how excited you are to get there?

On our last trip to Vegas this past July, I decided that I wanted to meet our drivers. So, that's exactly what I did. And, THAT is how I met Moswegi.

Moswegi picked us up at New York New York. His cab was clean, and he didn't drive like a lunatic. He was dark skinned, timid, and courteous. And he didn't speak unless spoken to. Sooooo.....I talked, and asked, and listened, and this is what I learned.

Moswegi was born in South Africa and grew up as an orphan. At the age of 18, he became a soldier. And a soldier was what he was until "the church" came for him 10 years later. He, and 9 other orphan soldiers, were brought to the US and sent to various cities around the country. Places like New York and Chicago and Vegas - big cities that could provide job opportunities for people like Moswegi. Vegas became Home for Moswegi and he became a cab driver.

Four years into his new life, and Moswegi is still driving. He works 12 hour shifts with no vacation and takes-on extra hours whenever possible. When I asked him what he does for fun, he looked at me like the word "fun" wasn't an English word he knew yet. And then I asked him if he was married..............

His answer: "Oh, no! Not yet. Not enough money."

And this is why:

Moswegi isn't saving for a fancy car, or an ivy league college, or a big wedding. He is saving every penny he earns for a FAMILY. A wonderful wife and lots of children is the focus of his short and long term financial planning. In Moswegi's world, a man does not even start looking for a woman until he is financially set for LIFE. That ideal, alone, is amazing to me. But, how did Moswegi learn this, believe it, and trust it enough to make it his life focus?? This man who spent the first 18 years of his life as an orphan and then the next 10 as an African soldier somehow managed to embrace this wonderful ideal and run with it.

I wish I had a picture of Moswegi to share with you. I wish you could see the pure joy on his face when he talks about his future. It is absolutely breathtaking. His eyes twinkle and the corner of his lips tremble. I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like what I see in this man's face. I have never seen joy and excitement like his.

Someday, Moswegi will have a very lucky wife and 8, 10, maybe even 12 kids who couldn't ask for a better father.

Happy Traks, Moswegi!

I Win! Neener-Neener-Ha-Ha!

I've always thought of myself as independent and self-sufficient. I don't rely on others if I don't have to, and I finish what I start. I love to cheer for people, but I don't need people cheering for me. Or so I thought. Until I ran the Rock Roll & Run Half Marathon in Idaho Falls on August 8, 2009.

Jayson was off in the desert blowing things up. And the kids were at home sleeping. I was on my own. And THAT was kind of liberating. I had never before gone solo to a race. I had always had someone there in the past - either Jayson running with me, or him and the kids as my support vehicle. But, not this day. On this day, it was just me and a half marathon course that I had never ran before.

To make a long, boring story much shorter.....By Mile 4, I knew things were going to get ugly. I couldn't see anyone in front of me, and there was nobody behind me. I was all alone, running between a horizon of corn on my left and a sea of grain on my right. As the miles wore on, the only thing I had to keep me company were my labored breathing and the dozens of dead, squished birds that I had to play hopscotch with.

By Mile 11, I...was...done. I actually walked. I cried a little. I cussed a lot. But I still walked. I friggin' walked for almost a mile, while I felt sorry for my lonesome self and swore to never run another race without support from someone.

I finished that damn race, and promised my pride that I would never run that course again. The thought of crossing the finish line while the event organizers were packing up the finish line, was not something I ever wanted to experience again.

But.....I lied to my pride. I ran that course again.

And I killed it! On August 7th of this year, I ran the same race with Jayson & Sydni cheering me on. I was determined to not let the course win again. So, I gave it all I had. I picked out people in front of me to pass. I kept my head down on the hill climbs, and sprinted it out on the downhills. And, when I got to Mile Marker 11, I gave it the bird.

End Result: I finished at 2 hours and 2 minutes (30 minutes faster than last year). I was 26th place out of 70 runners. And I had a smile on my face the entire time. Screw you, dead birds and sea of grain.........

I WIN! Neener-Neener-Ha-Ha.

Happy Traks!

Monday, August 9, 2010

What's in YOUR Kitchen Trash??

This was our kitchen trash on Saturday night.

Bloody Papertowels...check!

Empty Bud Light cans...check!

Toilet Paper Packaging...check!

Blow Dryer...check!

All of the above has an explanation. However, not all of them tie together.

Here's the story on the blow dryer...

While getting ready to go to dinner, we all kept getting a whiff of something burning. Electric? Hair? Skin? Couldn't quite tell. Until we opened the bathroom door and discovered that Sydni should have thrown this blow dryer away years ago! The room is slightly smoky, the stench is almost unbearable, and Sydni has new "layers" on the top of her head. :-) How did she not notice the flames shooting out of the dryer? Really?? Come on. I'm gonna make an executive decision and file this thing the trash.

Onto the empty toilet paper packaging...

Wellllllll................... It's trash. Plain and simple. You didn't really think I'd have a story about an empty toilet paper package, did you???? Please say no.

The Empty Bud Light Cans...

There's a good possibility that what was in these cans may have contributed to what caused those towels to wind up with blood on them. I'm just guessing.

And, the bloody paper towels...

We've spent the evening riding around in a limo and eating dinner at Sandpiper. Jayson and I have had a few drinks, but someone else (we'll call her Shanequa) has had a whole bottle of champagne and who knows what else. While Jayson and the kids and I rescue missing neighborhood dogs and return them to their owners, Shanequa heads inside. Once we get in the house, this is what we find:

Shanequa. Standing alone in the kitchen. Holding a very bloody finger above her other hand, which is only there to catch the blood dripping from above. There is a trail of blood that leads us back to the scene of the crime - a partially opened can of Havana Honey Cigars and a bloody steak knife. Hmmmmmm.....wonder what happened. This is a tough one.

But, before we spend too much time investigating the crime, I have to convince Shanequa to NOT tilt her puddle-hand towards me to show me how much blood there is. PLEASE NO!!!! Let's keep the blood right there. Here's a lifetime supply of papertowels - use them. And then you can spend the rest of the weekend with your finger in a homemade Cottonball/Band-Aid/Medical Tape cast. Fun, huh?

P.S. No worries....Shanequa still got to smoke her Havana Honey.

Happy Traks!

Maybe She Didn't Know That Water & Paddles Were Part of the Deal???

First of all....THANK YOU to Valerie for taking us whitewater rafting. It was freaking awesome!!! However, I must say that WE made it awesome (with the help of the other idiots on the raft). This is how the day went:

Neither kid can find their water shoes. So, they are instructed by Jayson to wear their old running shoes. (Did you catch the word "old"?) We drive to Jackson, get checked in for the float trip, and Sydni has a meltdown. Her "old" running shoes won't even go on her feet. And, that, of course, starts a fight between her and Jayson. A fifteen minute fight that ends in her being mad at him and him being mad at her and me begging both of them to just get along...just for today...just for me. It worked. Sydni rented water booties, and Jayson helped her zip them up. All was right in the world again. (Now that I think about it, though, I'm pretty sure those running shoes came home with us and are now back in Sydni's closet. Uhhhhhhh.....aren't they too small???)

Next up - The guided raft trip. Since this wasn't a private float, we are on a 14-person raft with 9 people who are complete strangers to us. After our guide (Katie) gives us our PFD Briefing (Personal Flotation Device....why can't we just call it a Life Jacket??), her next question is, "Who here cannot paddle?". Keep in mind, when she asks this, she is looking straight at my children, who are both saying, "I wanna paddle! I wanna paddle!" But, before Katie (our guide) can even go down that road with them, a blue-haired woman in her early 60's pipes-up and says, "My husband and I will NOT be paddling." Well, alrighty then. Thanks for coming.

Let's head to the boat.

Who wants to be in the back with the guide? ME! ME! ME! And Valerie.

Which two people here are strong and have good listening skills? Monte doesn't work out much, but he says he has good listening skills. Jayson appears to be strong, but we all know that he has NO listening skills. So....Jayson and Monte, head to the front! You'll make a great team.

As for the rest of you, carefully climb in the boat and choose a spot.

Once 2 out of the 3 seats directly in front of me are full, I yell out to Sydni on the shore and ask if she'll be sitting there. (You know, since she's my 10-year old daughter...and we're on a family vacation...and I'm her mother.) That's when Jenny-the-Old-Hag (the one who refused to paddle) plops her happy ass down and says, "Oh, no. I will be sitting here so that I can stay the most dry."

Uh-oh. Smoke and flames. Coming out of my ears and eyes. Lightening bolts of death are hitting her between the shoulder blades. But, apparently, when you have reached her level of bitchiness, all death attempts are deflected. Maybe water will work. Witches melt, right? I will have plenty of opportunities downriver to accidentally hit her with a rogue paddle splash. Just biding my time.....

In the meantime, Valerie and I are going to make this float group a little less boring and lot more offended. :-) We spend a solid hour making our tour guide laugh until she cries. We distract her with our dirty jokes and innuendos to the point that she forgets to call out commands to Monte and Jayson up front. We fill her in on our plan to raid the nearby raft and steal their cooler full of Budlight Lime, but we tell the Boring Bettys up front that we are searching for CapriSun and Lemon Lime Shasta. When Katie says her ass hurts, Valerie tells her it's probably an ingrown hair and that waxing can prevent that. That's when we learn that Katie DOES NOT wax her ass. So, we decide that her ass probably hurt from not using toilet paper. I mean, hello, she is a Whitewater Guide, and that makes her "all natural", right? No-go. She assured us that tissue paper is her friend and she uses deodorant, too.

The majority of the strangers on our raft were what we would call "people-of-size". And our guide certainly wasn't blind to it. When your job is to steer a raft of 14 people, it's kind of hard to keep your trap shut when it comes to weight. I swear, Katie made reference to the "weight of the boat" no less than 15 times. And it was funny as hell to me every single time. Laugh outloud funny. Couldn't really help myself.

On the rare occassion when Katie wasn't laughing and was actually able to call out commands to all of us, whitewater rafting seemed quite basic. You take your little yellow paddle, listen for Katie, and stay in sync with the paddle in front of you...."All Forward" "All Back" "Take a Break" No explanantion needed, right?


Valerie described her side of the raft as looking like a bowl of spaghetti. My side looked more like a sword fight with Sumo Wrestlers. And, God forbid the "adventurists" in front of me had to paddle more than 2 strokes....THAT was simply not happening. Don't worry, we'll keep you afloat, people. We'll get you thru Big Kahuna, Lunch Counter, and Champagne. However, if you fall out, I'm not saving your ass. Because THAT will be when I stop paddling. See how that works?

By now, we're almost done with our trip. I've missed all opportunities to get Jenny-the-Old-Hag drenched and am thoroughly disappointed in myself. But, then I realize something....That old hag just spent over an hour... on a raft... with me sitting directly behind her. I'm guessing that my offensive language, Valerie's evil laugh, and our never-ending raunchy joke fest was probably worse than any amount of water I could have gotten in Ole Jenny's blue hair.

I'm gonna chalk this one up as a win...For me. Take that, ya' old hag.

P.S. Next time you decide to go on a Whitewater Rafting trip, you should probably plan on some water and paddling. With the possibility of both of those affecting you at the very same time. I'm just sayin'.

Happy Traks!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Only PRETEND to Know How to Do Everything

Let me start by saying this: Jayson's deployment has not snuck up on me. We've known for almost a year that he would be leaving this Fall. That, however, doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of things that I just plain DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO.

Let's start with the Theater Room. I don't know how to use it. (Ok, I guess that's not entirely true...I DO know how to turn on the lights.) What I don't know how to use, though, is the TV, the sound system, the BluRay player, the gaming system, and the two remote controls. I can't even turn the TV on. For the next year, (unless one of the kids is home) I will be confined to the main floor TV and the old trusty DVD player. That will certainly be easier than learning how to operate the Edwards Cinema downstairs.

I'm not allowed to use the WeedEater. I refuse to wear closed-toe shoes, jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, and protective eyewear when doing any sort of yardwork. Therefore, Jayson forbids me from using the edger because "safety precautions are a must". And, because I'm not allowed to use the machine, I've never learned how. Convenient, huh? :-) So, I will either have to hire someone to trim my edges (Get your mind out of the gutter, Sicko.) or Jayson will be coming home next Fall to some interesting landscaping. Can you picture it? I can, and I'm laughing inside.

The 4-wheeler by itself is a mystery to me. But, when you add the front-mounted snowplow to the mix.......oh geez! I don't know how to start the 4-wheeler, not to mention shift it, and I sure as hell don't know how to plow snow! I will be the only one in the neighborhood with a plow sitting in my garage....and a shovel in my hand. :-) Either that, or I'll give the plow a chance and call YOU to come dig me out of the field when I overshoot the road. Please have your phone on.

The sprinkler system has always been self-sufficient. It runs in the middle of the night and keeps our grass green. The drip lines never break and always distribute the correct amount of water depending on the season and rainfall amounts. The heads are indestructible and never need to be changed. So, it won't matter that I don't know how to use the watering system, right?

Jayson taught the kids how to mow this summer, and that is wonderful! (Except for them fighting so much over who-gets-to-mow-what that we end up with grass mohawks.) The problem, however, is not the mowing - I am perfectly capable of that. Just stick a drink in the cup holder, give me some sunscreen, and I'm off! Nooooo....the problem is with starting the mower. We have to jumpstart it. We're talking jumper cables, Jayson's truck, and a kid holding the mower seat up. Oh, and me dancing around the driveway scared to death that I am about to be blown up. Maybe this is a good thing....if I can't mow the grass, then the untrimmed edges won't look so bad. Perfect.

I don't know how to change the air filter in the furnace. I don't know how to fix a running toilet. I don't know what to do if a smoke alarm starts beeping. I don't know how to chop veggies without cutting myself. I don't know how to put the RocketBox on my truck (and I don't know how to take it off). I don't know how to change the florescent lights in the garage. I don't know how to cut the hair (yes, it's mine) out of the vacuum motor. I don't know how to change out the propane tank on the grill. I don't know how to make the dog listen. I don't know how to make the kids listen. I don't know how to put gas in my truck. I don't know what all of our light switches do. I don't know how to fix the brakes on Jaycob's bike. I don't know how to start a fire in the firepit. I don't know how to take the trampoline apart (or put it back together). I don't know how to make our bed. I don't know how to use the DVR. I don't know how to get my kayak off of the garage ceiling. And I don't know how to back a trailer up.

So....if you would like to block my phone number, I don't blame you one bit. Just don't answer your door for the next year.

P.S. I DO know how to put gas in my truck, and I DO know how to make our bed. I just don't LIKE to.

Happy Traks!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I See at the Waterpark

As part of our “getting-ready-for-Jayson-to-leave” agenda, the four of us are spending the day at the waterpark together. Lava Hot Springs, Idaho to be exact. Look it up – it’s massive. :-)


Here we are. After an hour and a half of sliding, jumping, and swimming, the little guy (Jayson) is all tuckered out and has fallen asleep in the shade. Sydni is laying here next to me, wrapped up in a towel like a burrito because she’s “cold” (it’s like 90 degrees out here) and telling me over and over again that the train going by is THE longest she has ever seen. “Seriously, Mom! THE LONGEST!” Jaycob has consumed half a bag of chips and disappeared into the wild blue yonder. We may never see him again. Me?? I’m sitting here glaring at my laptop screen, dripping sweat, and considering a quick dip in the pool. (Shocking, I know, since I’m not a fan of public pools.)

For the record, I am not working. I know that I don’t have the best track record when it comes to "not working” while on vacation. But, this time, I’m really not working – unless you consider Analyzing People a job……

So, this is what I see:

A man in a Speedo. He came in, layed down in the sun for 20 minutes and then left. I think he just wanted me to see the Speedo and take his picture (which I did).

A woman whom, I can only assume, has never heard of the notion that shaving ones bikini line is perfectly acceptable. Either that, or she’s a big fan of au natural. Just in case she wants to know what it looks like from my perspective, I took a picture.

A rather large girl (think Eddie Murphy in the Nutty Professor) who hasn’t stopped eating watermelon since we got here. She has an entire pile of rinds and is still asking her dad for more. Her less large sister just asked Dad if they breed their melons without the black seeds. Breed, eh?

A whole lot of really colorful umbrellas. It’s actually quite beautiful. There are rainbow stripes, dark green solids, red ones, Pepsi ones, and even one that looks like a blue flower – petals and all.

The rather large girl and her less large sister, whom I mentioned above, have moved on from the watermelon (it must be gone) and are now drinking potato chips out of a can. (Yes, I said drinking.) And, as if things weren’t bad enough for these two princesses, the chip crumbs are now sticking to their chests. Do you know why??? Watermelon juice.

People with no respect for others’ things or space. I can’t even count the number of times that my towel has been walked adults. And, since when did the human race forget about the “bubble concept” AKA "personal space"? You know what that is, right? The idea that, if there's room, you don’t park your happy ass within spitting distance of your neighbor. I’m tempted to ask the guy next to me if I should move my laptop from my lap so that he can sit there instead.

A boy with inside out nipples. I’ll try to get a picture of that one. Do I ask him to stop walking long enough so that the photo doesn’t turn out blurry?

Sleeping bags. I’ve seen more than one. Why would you bring sleeping bags to a waterpark?

Ants. So many ants. What are ants good for? I know that bees pollinate and birds spread seeds, but what do ants do??

A butt crack. Or maybe it’s back fat?? I actually can’t tell. If it IS his butt crack, then I must say that the man has a really long crack. But, if it’s NOT his butt crack, then that only leaves one other option – back fat that is being strangled by the man’s shorts and made to look like an ass crack. I really can’t decide which option to go with.

The longest nipples I have ever seen on a man. I am mesmerized by them. (This man happens to be the father of the Watermelon Sisters.) And they never change. They don’t shrink. They don’t lay down. They just spend hours trying to poke peoples’ eyes out. I had to put my camera in front of my face just to keep from losing an eyeball. I went ahead and took a picture, too. You’re welcome.

Enough used Band Aids to tile my kitchen floor with. Do they have special pool drains to accommodate the millions of Band Aids that must wind up in that pool yearly? I am gagging while typing this. Let’s move on.

Beanies. I know this is Idaho and we do have our share of cold weather, but COME ON!!! Really? Beanies? It’s over 90 degrees out here. Maybe that’s why some of these teenage boys act the way they do – their brains are boiled.

Every single boy who walks past the girls’ bathroom looks in. The poor guys. I actually feel sorry for them. I really think they can’t help themselves. You can see the battle raging – they don’t WANT to look, but they just HAVE to. It’s 2nd nature.

A whole lot of happy people (including everyone mentioned above). It’s nice. Fat, thin, tall, short, dark, light, young, and old. Everyone is getting along. And everyone is happy. (Except for the baby a few yards down who DID NOT plan on spending a whole day wearing a really ugly bonnet tied to her chin that Mom thinks is oh-so-precious.) Moms are relaxing. Dads are acting like kids. And the kids are amazed that Mom knows how to relax and that Dad can do a perfect one-and-half off of the 1st platform. See? It’s the perfect recipe for happiness.

Happy Traks!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's That Time Again...Football!!!

Jaycob's football practice started last night, and I couldn't be more excited!

I used to HATE (notice the all caps??) football - watching it, listening to it, talking about it, thinking about it, imagining other people thinking about it....

I HATED (there are those caps again) everything about football. It wasn't quite as bad as baseball, but it was definitely a close 2nd.

But NOW?????

I LOVE FOOTBALL!!! I love to watch Jaycob practice. I love to watch him play. I love to see the determination on his face and even the frustration when things don't go just right.

I love to watch Jaycob help the newer players and make them look better in the eyes of their coaches. I love to watch him on the line and see a bit of Jayson in him. I love the feeling of being able to breathe again when Jaycob gets up after a hard hit and keeps on hitting.

I can't help but run up and down the sidelines, cheering and screaming and taking pictures while the other parents hold their little kids close and look at me like I should be medicated. Where is their motivation, anyway???

I look forward to wearing my #48 Maroon Hoodie at the cold games and tracking my son's cleat-prints in the snow.

I'm excited to yell at the refs and refer to them as douchebags, eventhough I don't have the slightest clue what the rules are. All I know during a game is:
- which way our team needs to run to score a touchdown.
- whether Jaycob is on Offensive, Defense, or Special Teams.
- grabbing a facemask is illegal.
- when a center lineman runs the ball down for a touchdown, it's legal, but it sure pisses the other team off.

I'm already so excited for football this year, that I'm considering wearing a tutu and buying some pompoms.

So, in case I've confused you, here's the bottom line:
I. LOVE. FOOTBALL.'s here!

P.S. THIS year, we're going for NO BROKEN LEGS. I should probably turn that into some sort of cheer...

Happy Traks!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Babe, I've got this."

When your husband says, "Babe, I've got this.", that means that he doesn't.

Let me explain...

This past Saturday was Jayson's Deployment Party at our house. Here's what we had:

- 42 bags of ice (for the "beer pool")
- 100 feet of plastic sheeting AKA giant Slip-N-Slide
- 4 inner tubes
- 2 bottles of dish soap (for the giant Slip-N-Slide, of course)
- 6-person beer bong AKA Bongzilla
- 18 beach towels (for the soapy Slip-N-Sliders)
- 10 bags of chips
- 3 pizzas
- 1 sake bomb kit

After a few hours of Jayson utilizing all of the above, he turns to me and says, "Babe, I've got this."

Uh-oh. Not a good sign.

Here's what he THOUGHT he meant....."Babe, I've been drinking tons of water - not beer. Based on past parties, you know I can be trusted. I am the most mature, responsible person here. I have all of my friends under control and will clean up the small mess that they make. And, at the end of the night, I will say goodbye to everyone before they leave and thank them for coming. Then, we will clean up the kitchen together and head to bed."

Here's what he ACTUALLY meant....."Babe, I've been beer-bonging for hours and the only water I've touched has been the soapy mixture on the Slip-N-Slide. Based on past parties (where I've ridden a bike down 3 sets of stairs in my underwear, invented "fire surfing", stolen street signs using an ax, and toilet-papered the neighbors' house), you know I can't be trusted. I am the least mature, responsible person here because to act any other way would be boring. I have none of my friends under control and will not clean up the large mess that they make. And, at the end of the night, I won't be able to say goodbye to anyone before they leave because I will

a.) have fallen asleep on our bedroom floor.
b.) decided that the grass out front felt good against my face.
c.) gone for a barefoot run around the neighborhood.
d.) passed out on the living room floor.
e.) have been doing at least one of the above depending on what time each person left.

Then, while I snore on the living room floor, you will clean up the backyard, the patio, the bathroom, and the kitchen and then head to bed by yourself."

Let this be a learning experience for everyone.

If your husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/Jayson turns to you during a party and says, "Babe, I've got this.", just remember what that REALLY means.

Happy Traks!