Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Worst Mother's Day Ever

Hello! Sorry I've been away so long. There have been things going on in my life that have taken my attention away from you. Non-Funny-Blog things. I didn't forget you though. You were always in my thoughts. If I could find a device that would transcribe my mental blogging onto the computer I would blog every day. Until that day comes, you are stuck with a procrastinating blog writer.

Happy Mother's Day! Yes. It was Mother's Day recently. I do realize that by recently I really mean two weeks ago and I was going to write about this the day after, but you see, other non-funny-blog things took over and here we are. Two weeks later. Better late than never, right? First, I want to wish all the mama's out there a late Happy Mother's Day. Did you have a good one? I did. Kids gave me presents and husband sent me flowers. Saw my mom. Saw husband's mom. It was pretty good. Wait a minute, you might be saying. What about the Worst Mother's Day Ever? This took place 18 years ago. Let me tell you about it.

To properly tell this story, I must give you a little back information. Picture it. I was 18. Senior year of high school. Desperately in-crush with a boy who I was friends with. Wanting to propel myself from friend status to girlfriend status I took the situation by the reins and actually asked him out. I know, I know. Pretty gutsy, huh? And I didn't ask him on any old regular date. I asked him to go with me to my Senior Dinner Dance. And he said yes. I was elated. Ecstatic. Exuberant. It was probably the best moment of my then 18-year-old life. My mom and I went dress shopping. Made appointments to get my hair done. Sounds like everything went great, right? Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Three days before the dance he called me (very upset actually) and said he could not go with me. His uncle had flown into town and had planned a spur of the moment wedding and this so-called uncle had asked his mom if he would be the best man at the wedding. Guess when the wedding was? The exact same date and time as the dance.

Hello deep dark hole of teenage hopelessness. Let me jump down into you right now.

Being that the dance was only three days away I didn't really see any other options in who to ask. And I really only wanted to go with him. So I moped and brooded around the house for the next two days. Until the day of the dance. I was going to do something. I was going to be reckless. I was going to throw caution to the wind. I decided that that night, instead of going to the dance, I was going to get a tattoo.

I had been thinking of getting a tattoo for awhile. Ever since I had seen a show about tattoos on MTV it had been rolling around in my head. A decidedly empty head because I was actually watching MTV. I wanted to do something to make me different. I grew up in a rather homogenous society. We were all white. We all went to the same school. We all drove up the street together and went to the same church. Shopped at the same store. Wore the same clothes. I was longing to break free and show the world that I WAS DIFFERENT!! I wanted to seem dangerous without really having to be dangerous. And how better to go about that than getting a tattoo?

I looked in the phone book (this was before the Internet) and found a licensed tattoo parlor downtown. Enlisted my friend Marci to go with me. And it was on. While all my friends were eating steak and chicken and dancing to Alphaville's Forever Young at the dinner dance, I was having ink injected under the skin of my left ankle in the shape of a red rose.

Now it just happened to be a Saturday night when I did this. And the next day was what? Mother's Day. I woke early that day and was making breakfast in the kitchen for my mom when she came down. After hugs and kisses my mom sat at the table reading the paper while I stirred something. I decided that I had to take the bull by the horns (I now had a tattoo after all) and show my mom what I had done. I lifted the leg of my pajamas and uttered the sentence that was heard around the world.

"Mom. I got a tattoo last night."

My mom paused in mid-juice sip and narrowed her eyes at my ankle. She walked over and inspected my ankle. And then, I kid you not, she licked her thumb and tried to rub it off. That of course brought a little scream of pain from me because tattoo's hurt. She then sucked all the oxygen out of the room with one big inhale and in a sonic boom voice said, "You mean that thing is real?!"

Maybe I thought my mom was cooler than she really was because I was kind of thinking she would be okay with this. She was a hip mom. But apparently not as hip as I thought. She then stood there for what seemed like two hours but was probably more like five minutes and just stared at me. Mouth silently working. Eyes wide. Staring. In absolute disbelief. She then turned around and walked out of the room. Uh-oh. Every kid knows that when a parent who normally screams a little when you're naughty goes absolutely silent, you are in BIG trouble.

I sat in the living room and waited. About ten minutes later my brothers came running up and were all excited. "We heard you got a tattoo! Where is it? Did it hurt? Show us! Show us! Show us!" My mom then came downstairs and silently began eating her Mother's Day breakfast.

Through out the day my mom was pretty quiet. Every now and then it would seem she would remember the tattoo and just stare at me with that non-believing look on her face. It was like I had taken her real daughter and I was a replacement because her real daughter would never do anything like what I had done and go and get a tattoo. It was my own personal Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers. Except I was apparently the one who had been snatched.

This day began what I like to call The Great Silent Treatment Of 1993. My mom didn't talk to me for two weeks. I mean it. Nothing. Every now and then I would get "The Stare" where she would be in the fog of disbelief and just glare at me. I didn't like it.

Well, she couldn't ignore me forever. And after two weeks it seemed that somewhere in her mind she had found a place where she could deal with the fact that her daughter was now tattooed. She even took me on a vacation just the two of us to Carmel, California and rented a red convertible Mustang for graduation. For doing this I found a way to forgive her for not talking to me for two weeks. 

My tattoo didn't go over very big on the home front, but at school? It rocketed me to instant popularity. In middle school I was tormented. In high school? Basically ignored and I was okay with that because being ignored was a lot better than being tormented. But that last month of school where I had a tattoo? I ruled that school. My lunch table was always full. The football team gathered around me in my English class full of questions and in absolute awe of what I had done. The cheerleaders all whispered and pointed at me and said "There is the girl with the tattoo." Crowds parted when I walked through them. People may not have known me before, but you can bet, they knew me now.  It was one of the best months of my life.

Six months passed and my mom asked my brother who was turning 17 what he wanted for his birthday. My brother was a devout Grateful Dead fan and all he wanted was a Jerry Bear tattooed on his shoulder. You will never guess what my mom did. Okay, I bet you can guess. She took him to get his tattoo. When they came home from the tattoo parlor I was enraged.

Me - "You actually take him to get his and PAY for it and when I got mine you don't even talk to me for two weeks?!?!?!?" Emphasis on the enraged part.
My Mom - "Yeah. And?" 

She just turned and walked away. Now it was my turn to stand there. Mouth silently working and staring in disbelief. Are the words no fair running through your head? They should be.

Fast forward 18 years. The story of the Mother's Day tattoo is told at family parties with much laughing and rehashing of my mom trying to rub my tattoo off with her spit. I am now a mom myself. An upstanding member of the community. I am in the PTA. I taught children's classes at our local church. And, I have a tattoo. I actually forget that it's there a lot of times. And without fail every spring when the boots and socks and long pants are put away and the sandals and capris are brought out, someone I have known for years will remark, "Hey! I didn't know you had a tattoo! When did you get that?" And I will explain that I got it when I was 18 and everything else. And some people will even say, "You have a tattoo? So do I! But mine is hidden!" You wouldn't believe how many people upon seeing my tattoo come up and tell me about theirs. But they swear me to secrecy. "I don't want it to get out that I have a tattoo!" They will whisper behind their hand. "Don't worry," I tell them. "Your secret is safe with me."

Tattoos are yours forever. Or until you can afford the very expensive and very painful laser removal.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Responsible For Global Warming And Riding A Horse

Hello Friends. How are you today? Me? I'm good. Now that we've got the pleasantries out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about my recent trip to Northern California.

Me, my Dad, and my four kids went to Sacramento to visit my brother, my grandma, and my aunt, uncle and cousin. It's so nice that they all decided to live by each other because it makes it so much more convenient for me. Thank you family.

It started out easy enough. Kids- lots of snacks, videos, video games, books and music listening devices. It was a whole lot of stuff. When my family drove to California when I was little, there was no TV in the car. There were no hand held video gaming machines. No iPods. No wonder my parents always drove at night. So we would sleep the whole way. Anyway, kids were happy and we were on our way. After about an hour on the road we were half way between Salt Lake City and a little gambling hamlet on the Nevada border called Wendover. Side note - we always called it Wendover Bendover. Why? I don't know. Probably because it rhymed. We were half way there when I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet fully stocked with credit and debit cards on the back bumper of my car. As this sudden realization hits me I start yelling "Oh! Oh! Oh!" and slamming on the brakes. My Dad starts asking "What's wrong? What's wrong?" I just keep screaming "Oh! Oh!" Because if I say it out loud, it will become real. As the car comes screeching to a halt I jump out before it is even fully stopped. I stand on the side of the car. I can't breathe. I can't feel my toes. I think I'm going to pass out. I walk to the back of the car and... it is still sitting on my bumper. My little black wallet is still right where I left it when I filled up the tank earlier that morning. I touch it and honestly, I think my mind is playing tricks on me. I pick it up and feel it. Smell it. Taste it. Okay, I didn't taste it, it had after all been sitting on the bumper of my car for 60 miles while I was going around 80 miles per hour. But this just goes to show you. My wallet is Blonde Proof. I leave it on the bumper, but it hangs on. It says 'oh no, you ain't leavin' without me!' Thank you wallet for having more sense than I do.

After that, we had a great trip. We stayed with my brother Craig. See cheesy picture below.

We did the San Francisco thing. It can be 75 degrees and sunny in Sacramento, but San Francisco is always 55 degrees, cloudy, and windy. Always. I love the T-shirt I saw when I went there for my senior trip that said "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."  We saw the Golden Gate Bridge. It was basically the same as the last time I saw it.

My kids wanted to know why it was called the Golden Gate Bridge when it was really more of an orangey-red color. They were very disappointed that it wasn't really gold. As I remarked to the kids about the engineering that went into designing and building the bridge, all Alexander could say was, "Next." I guess he wasn't impressed.

We ventured into the city. That place is crazy. It is always rush hour in San Francisco. Always. 3:00 pm? Rush hour. 2:00 am? Rush hour. And there are people everywhere. Running in the street. Running in front of your car. Pushing you off the curb while you wait to cross. Can you say rude? I don't think the city of San Francisco liked me very much. For one, I drive a Big Sport Utility Vehicle that uses lots and lots of gas. Here in Utah, everybody has one. And I do mean everybody. In San Francisco? Not so much. Every time I went to park I got glares from everybody looking at me trying to cram my huge car (with Utah plates to just add to the disgrace of it all) into these teeny-tiny parking spots. There in S.F. they all walk, or ride bikes or drive an environmentally responsible Prius. I was getting looks like I was personally responsible for the Deep Horizon blowout. I finally started glaring back. I wanted to shout "Yeah buddy, whatcha lookin' at? Yeah, I know it uses lots of gas! In fact, if I haven't driven a lot in a day, I just let it sit and idle!" I didn't though. But I thought it.

Finally after a day of getting dirty looks and getting shoved around, I had had enough. On our trip we had caravanned with two other cars and I was always at the end. I was getting left at red lights and missing freeway exits and all sorts of other crap. Towards the end of the day when my Dad and brother zoomed through a yellow light I gunned it and went for it. Totally ran a red light. So red, that the opposing traffic had started to move into the intersection. I wanted to yell out "What do you expect?! I drive a SUV with Utah plates!" Well, we survived the rocket launch through the intersection and I even learned something. Getting flipped off in Chinatown by a Chinese woman means the same thing as getting flipped off by the guy down the street. The international language of being pissed off. Made my heart smile. Just a little bit. 

Another fun thing we did was ride horses with my brother's friend Rachele. She took us to an equine center that she used to work at to let us ride and care for horses. It was a lot of fun Thanks again Rachele! But horses require work. A lot of work. You have to brush them. And clean them. And feed them. And water them. And put the saddle on. And put the bit in. And scrape the mud and horse poo out of their hooves. And, and, and. Made me realize that owning a horse isn't for the faint of heart. Or lazy of heart like me.

Finally, after all the necessary dirty work, we were ready to ride. The kids loved it! Rachele gave all my kids an impromptu riding lesson. Taught them to guide the horse, prod the horse. To say 'whoa!' to slow and stop the horse. It was truly wonderful. Then she asked if I wanted to ride. "Why the heck not?" I answered. So I got on.

Rachele mostly laughed at me the whole time because I couldn't stop looking down at the horse. She kept telling me, "Look where you want to go. You don't look at your dashboard while you drive. You look out the windshield."  I just couldn't help myself.

If you think I look a little nervous up there, that's because I was. Horses are tall. A lot taller than you realize. But after awhile I loosened up. It was pretty fun. In mid-ride Rachele called out to my kids, "Hey kids! Look! The horse is pooping! Your Mom made the horse poop while she was riding it!"  They thought this was hysterical. When I got off I asked my kids if the horse looked tired while I rode it. They answered no and I said, "Well, that's funny because I rode the crap out of it." 

All in all it was a great time. Visited with my Dad. Visited with my little brother. Spent time with my 94 year old grandma who is still holding steady. Had a scrumptious Easter brunch with The Aunt, The Uncle and The Cousin. But what to do about my Chinatown experience? I do admit, I feel a bit sad about being flipped off by a little, old Chinese woman. So I must say this here.

An Open Letter To The Chinese Woman Driving The Black Mercedes in San Francisco on April 22, 2011 at around 5:00 pm-

I am truly sorry for what I did. I did not mean to pull out in front of you. I honestly was just trying to keep up with my speed demon brother who was racing through those tiny streets. Now this is the bad part, I didn't even realize the light was red until you started to pull out. I know, I know. This makes me seem more like an idiot but I just wanted you to know. Please forgive me.

An Open Letter To All The People Of San Francisco-

I am sorry if you think I am an oil glutton. I really don't mean to be. I have to drive something with four-wheel drive on the account that the cheap city I live in doesn't plow my street when it snows. I would be trapped. Alone. In my house for days without that four-wheel drive. As soon as I move from this mountainous valley, I promise I will trade in my gas hog for something more ecologically friendly. I think you have wonderful chocolate (Ghiradelli Square is a must!) and you truly have a beautiful city. Can't we be friends?

An Open Letter To All My Friends -

You see? I tried to make things right. I hope they will accept my apologies. In the end, I guess it really doesn't matter. San Francisco can be as disgusted with me as they want. I can just go back and drive and pollute all over their fair city. What are they going to do? Chase me? On their bikes? In their Prius's? On foot? HA HA HA!! Good luck!
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