Monday, August 31, 2009

State Fair Soliloquy

My New Year's resolution is to blog on a more frequent, regular basis. Lucky for me, I have a few months before New Year's. In my defense I have been very busy with things like winning awards, GUEST BLOGGING, and posting llama porn on the internet.

So anyway, this post is about 2 weeks overdue but it's not New Year's yet so it's totally fine. But here goes.

In our house, we have countdowns for the following events: Christmas, birthdays, and the IOWA STATE FAIR. We love it that much. For those of you from Iowa, you probably understand or at least know of others like us, and for those of you not from around here our state fair is the BEST. It's internationally known and on all kinds of lists such as "Places for Summer Fun in America" and many others. Please add attending it to your bucket list immediately, mmkay..thanks.

There are many things that we love about our State Fair. The food, the livestock, the music, the people watching, the food, just to name a few. We usually attend at least twice, sometimes more. It's addicting and only lasts a mere 10 days a year so we have to get our fix while we can. This year my sister Heidi, her husband, and my niece Savannah came up to go to the fair with us on the first Saturday. As a sidenote, Heidi is about 7 months pregnant.

Here are a few highlights from our experience at the fair this year.

*The man in the SHORT cutoff jean shorts, the shirt that said "I LOVE MULLETS" and who was actually sporting a full on mullet. I had to take a double take as I thought for a moment it was Billy Ray Cyrus, but then I realized it wasn't 1992 and Billy Ray didn't have the mullet anymore. Then there was the 400 pound mama in the midriff halter top. Just kinda makes you wonder whatever happened to looking in the mirror before you leave the house. Ahhh people watching at the just never know what you're gonna get.

This is basically what I saw, minus the Achy Breaky Heart.
*Shopping, I mean LOOKING in the livestock barns. Most people when walking through the livestock barns are just looking. Not me, I've got a notepad and pen, writing down names and numbers to be called post fair for possible additions to the zoo. It's pretty much a business meeting for me. Now if only I were making money from my collection of animals. Hmmm...

*The food, oh my the food. I'm sorry but corn dogs from a box in the freezer section of the grocery store just aren't the same as the corn dogs at the fair. The same goes for the turkey legs, fried pickles, cheese curds, cotton candy, and ok I'm going to stop now so i'll be able to survive the next year until the next fair. It's tough going cold turkey, pun intended.

*Cashing in our retirement funds to let the kids ride a few rides on the Midway. Let it be known that I don't trust carney rides AT ALL. I love amusement parks and rides (except for my ferris wheel phobia) but I just don't trust carney rides. Say what you will but as the kids each picked out the rides they were going to do I gave them the warning, "Well that one doesn't look too bad but you still might die on it. Are you REALLY sure you want to ride it?" They just rolled their eyes and dared to ride the ride and SURVIVED, thankfully. Not me, I watched anxiously on the sidelines. No way was I getting on one of those things. Not to mention we could've spent a week at Disney World for what it costs to ride a few rides at the fair. Rip off.

But the price of the monkey tails (bananas dipped in chocolate) totally worth it just for this picture. They came up with this pose all on their own.
*When my niece Savannah decided mid way thru the pedaled tractor race that she was bored and hopped off, leaving my very pregnant sister to push the tractor the rest of the way around the track. I could've left my comfortable post on the bench towards the end of the track and helped her, but instead I did what any loving sister would do...stayed right where I was, watching her and laughing hysterically. If only everyone could have a sister as awesome as me.
*The look on the peoples' faces at the booth selling lotions and other products made from emu oil, when the kids informed them that we had emus. I don't think they believed them at first because they just did that polite smile and nod, probably while thinking "yeah right, sure you do kids." Until GI Joe and I confirmed their story and then I added that they are strictly for petting, there will be no lotions made out of Elvis and Priscilla. Apparently, even amongst the Emu Association, emus aren't kept for pets. Weird. I did catch GI Joe picking up brochures and talking to the guy about getting into the "emu business" which involves selling any emu chicks we have to a "processing plant" in MO and how that works. Ummm excuse me what? That directly violates the Koons Zoo policy. There WILL be further discussion on this.
*The mini reunions. Since over a million people attend the fair each year, you're bound to see someone you know. Nothing beats running into someone you haven't seen in years while holding a fried food item in each hand. And then having the whole, "Oh thanks, you look great too. Yeah just trying to watch what we eat, we're really into eating healthy and working out." AHAHAHAHAHA....I can't even type that with a straight face. So you know those words have never come out of my mouth.

*Watching the city folks, watch the birth of pigs, cows, sheep, and goats in the Nursery Center. Having been a city girl once myself I understand the look of horror and shock as an arm is wedged into a cow to help deliver a calf but now that I'm a converted country girl, I'm completely fascinated with the whole farm animal birthing thing and can't wait to have more babies (of the animal species) on our farm. The funny part was as some of the city folk parents were covering their children's eyes to shield them from the gore of animal birth, our hillbilly children didn't even bat an eye. After all, they know how it all happened, someone showed that mama "who's boss."

*Lastly, when I came face to face with my destiny, my future, my dream.

THIS shall be a future addition to the Koons Zoo and shall be named Honky Tonk Zedonk a Donk. (I'd take the camel in the background too.) Don't you think we NEED one of these? Please comment and cast your vote. I have yet to convince GI Joe of it's necessity so maybe the petition format is the way to go. I need your support. Thank you.

Kind of a Big Deal

Ever since I won the award for my Bootylicious Buffalo Chicken Dip, my phone has been ringing off the hook and my mailbox overflowing with requests for guest appearances, publicity stops, interviews, etc. It's not easy being an award winning chef. I've been very selective on which offers I accept as I'm not quite ready to leave the farm for a whirlwind publicity tour, quit my day job, and hire a nanny. Well, maybe the nanny part wouldn't be all that bad. But I digress.
With ALL of the offers I've had, I only accepted one, for my friend Jessie at And actually I offered my services to her, because she's awesome and she just gave birth to a 10 pound baby....NO DRUGS. I think that deserves a minimum of a casserole and a guest post on one's blog.
I'm sure you all already read Jessie's blog because she is, after all my blogging mentor and her blog is way better than this low budget thing but in case you don't, be sure to check it out today for the guest post by yours truly ( It's a dream come true and one of my proudest accomplishments to date, right up there with helping name her son.
I'm really digging this guest blogging stuff. Maybe I'll have Jessie do a guest spot here and give us all some tips on how to deliver a 10 pound baby no drugs. Sorry I keep mentioning that but she's kind of my hero for that. I mean really, I delivered Dakota who weighed a measly 7 lbs. 3 ozs. without drugs (not by choice by circumstance) and I still use that as my "I'm tough" trump card. But maybe Jessie would rather entertain us with a story from her zoo, minus the animals. Stay tuned, you just never know what might happen. Us 3 Kid Moms are a crazy, unpredictable bunch. But while you wait, go ahead and make the Post Partum Pot Pizza and feel free to rename it if you haven't recently had a baby. Just use alliteration, it's the way it should be.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Brokeback Llamas

Warning: This post contains graphic content of a sexual nature, animal that is. Rated PG-13.

Meet Carter (white face) and Cash (black face).

Have I ever told you about our llamas, Carter and Cash? I think we’re close enough now that I can tell you the dirty little secret of the Koons Zoo.

Our llamas are gay.

There I said it, I feel better now that that’s out in the open. I’ve never outed a llama before.

Here’s the proof.

I’m sorry you had to witness that but just be glad you didn’t get to hear the “noise” that goes along with it. It’s disturbing. In fact, that noise is what beckoned me out of the house to take the picture. I thought it was the cry of a dying animal but instead it was the cry of a llama being violated by his “partner”. I feel like we are running some kind of prison ‘round here as I’m not certain that the receiver was a willing participant, at first anyway.

Needless to say they were pretty stoked when the gay marriage passed in Iowa. Imagine how befuddled we become trying to explain why 2 boy llamas act like one is a girl. We’ve convinced the kids that animals do that to show dominance or who’s boss, which they do just not quite to this level and frequency, but those are minor details that the kids can work thru in the mandatory therapy they’ll likely be sent to after showing the bully on the playground at school “who’s boss”. Have mercy.

We bought these llamas together a few years ago. They’d been raised together and were “guard llamas” that protect sheep and goats. That’s why we got them, well that and I love llamas. What’s not to love about an animal that walks around with it’s nose up in the air like it’s some kind of royalty and spits if it gets mad enough? They are just entertaining and that coyotes and other predators are terrified of them is an added bonus. The llamas we had before we got these 2 were very tame and we’d take them for walks down our country road, because yes, we are THAT redneck. Sadly, Carter and Cash are not those kind of llamas. Instead, they provide hours of entertainment and open up the door to many a talks about the birds and the bees with the kids with their R rated antics. We just can’t pet them, they only have eyes for each other. Gag me.

WANTED: One very attractive female llama. Must be outspoken, strong willed, and able to turn two male llamas straight. Must be a believer in polygamy as will be paired with not one, but TWO male llamas. Top hay, benefits, and 401k provided.

We’re currently on the hunt for the perfect female llama, in hopes that she will provide a “distraction” and by an act of God, turn these llamas straight. I know I’m dipping in dicey water here but one can hope right? Besides that I’d like to have a baby llama and clearly that is NOT going to happen given the current conditions. I realize that bringing a female llama into the equation at this point, opens another Pandora’s box of awkward explanations to the kids, ESPECIALLY if the plan fails and the boy llamas continue in their current “lifestyle”. Oi vey, this could get ugly. Suggestions appreciated.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On a Steel Horse He Rides

Last night as I was cleaning up the remains of Typhoon Koons also known as Dinner, I heard the roar of a 4 wheeler engine. GI Joe had gone outside to do farmer stuff like mend the fence, clean out the chicken coop, and other such activities. As I looked out my kitchen window, I saw him on the 4 wheeler tearing around the back pasture. Not so out of the ordinary, looked like a typical joyride. A few minutes later I went outside to have him take me for a spin since it looked like fun. That's when I got a better look.
He wasn't joyriding after all. Instead, he was on a very serious quest. Pegasus, the mini horse, had escaped out of the barnyard into the pasture. So GI Joe did what any cowboy would do. He hopped on his four wheeler, lasso in hand, and chased him all over 40 acres, attempting to lasso him.
Some fun facts about this adventure:
*Akala, the Great Dane, is NOT a herding dog, even though she thinks she is. When she ran up to Pegasus and barked at him, it had just the opposite effect of herding. Pegasus took off in the other direction. That helped a lot, thanks Akala.

*It takes great coordination to drive a four wheeler with one hand and throw a lasso with the other. Sometimes something has to give. As GI Joe was attempting a sharp turn the steering hand slipped off and the 4wheeler flipped over. No worries, he jumped off so he wasn't hurt and more importantly (according to him), neither was the 4 wheeler.
*Our other, normal sized, horses do NOT enjoy the company of their miniature counterpart. They were "helping" GI Joe lead Pegasus back to his area by chasing him and attempting to bite him. Poor Pegasus. We need to get him a mini horse mate so he's not so alone in the world.
I watched in awe for a few minutes, amazed by just how hillbilly we are, when it dawned on me this was definitely something I needed to share with my blog readers, and went inside to get my camera. By the time I came back out, GI Joe had successfully lassoed Pegasus and led him back to the barnyard. But if you picture this scenario in your head and it looks utterly ridiculous and hilarious, that's exactly how it looked in person. Pegasus is only slightly traumatized. I think with some therapy, some extra sweet oats, and maybe a girlfriend he'll recover.
Don't worry, the cowboy will ride again. Next up to be lassoed and corralled into submission....the llamas. And I will definitely have my camera ready. Photo ops guaranteed.

Friday, August 21, 2009

If I Don't Blog I'll Cry (Or Drink Heavily)

(Editor's note: This was supposed to be posted last night but as was par for the course last night, it didn't cooperate.)

As I left work this evening, I had grand visions of a relaxing evening, sitting around the table, holding hands and the kids each waiting patiently for their turn to tell me about their first day of school. I think given my history, you know that's nothing close to what happened. You know it's bad when I am about to chug the 2 bottles in my cupboard that say "Red Cooking Wine" and "White Cooking Wine", hoping that someone somewhere accidentally forgot to take the alcohol out of them. Just kidding Dad....kind of.

For starters, as I got in my Princess Mobile I noticed standing water on my seat, the console, and various other places in the front part of the car. Then I looked up and saw that I had left the sunroof wide open. When I came back from lunch it was a perfect, sunny, 73 degree day. Why wouldn't I have left my sunroof open, I mean I don't live in Iowa or anything, where the weather changes on a minute to minute basis? Leaving it open would've been fine, if we hadn't had not ONE, but TWO torrential downpours during the course of the afternoon. Of course, of all the things that are littering my truck, a towel or napkin wasn't one of them. So as I sat down my badonkadonk absorbed the moisture and I resembled a toddler during potty training gone wrong. Awesome.

I had to stop at the gas station, wet pants and all, because that annoying light was on and had been for awhile. As I walked into the gas station to get myself a refreshing treat, my high heel hit a wet spot on the floor. I'm not flexible nor a gymnast but the construction crew just getting off work, picking up their 6 packs, sure thought I was by the half splits I did right there in the middle of Kum n Go. Pretty sure I pulled a groin muscle. Do girls have groin muscle? If not, I pulled something in that neighborhood. Darn cute high heels.

Next stop was my Wal-Mart (yes MY) to pick up dog food for the hungry beasts at home. It was smooth sailing as I parked w/out bumping anyone or anything, went in without doing the half splits, and got my items. All was well and good until I went to reach into my purse for my wallet to pay the cashier and it wasn't there. I trucked it back out to the PMobile, groin throbbing, high heels pinching, and thankfully it was there. I wouldn't have been surprised if it wasn't but I was glad it was. Luckily, the cashier was understanding and sweet so I didn't have a complete meltdown...yet.

Finally, it was time to go home where I was determined to do nothing but hug my kids, kick off my heels, ignore the laundry and dust bunnies, and watch Paula Deen reruns. I made it home without incident and decided we needed to make a trip to the library so I'd have some new reading material to cozy up with should Paula be ones I've already seen or recipes featuring peas. I plugged my cell phone into the wall charger because it was dead (as usual) and figured I wouldn't need it for the quick trip to the library. We set out on our literary quest, cranking up my new Michael Jackson "One's" CD that had come in the mail today (the one bright spot). The kids and I were jamming out and all was happy and bright in the world. Until the PMobile started to feel funny. I'm no mechanic but it just didn't seem normal. I turned down the tunes so I could listen for weird noises. No noises but something was definitely wrong. I pulled over onto the shoulder of the highway and got out to look for something amiss. Even with my lack of mechanical aptitude it didn't take me long to spot the blown out tire on the back driver's side and to smell the burnt rubber. I stood there looking at it, kicking myself for not bringing my cell phone. Cars kept passing by and not one stopped. The kids started clamoring for a look at the tire. After viewing the tire and remembering that I didn't have my phone they promptly concocted a plan. While I was trying to guesstimate how far it was to town, they were in the car making a PLEASE HELP sign and holding it out the window. I had them get out of the car and told them we were going to have to walk to town, approximately 2 miles away. They moaned and groaned and begged me to let them continue holding their PLEASE HELP by the road. As cute as Blade looked standing there holding the sign out for every passing motorist to see, still no one stopped so we began the trek. Just as I was beginning to lose all faith in mankind, a lovely woman pulled over and asked if we needed a ride to town. I asked if she had a cell phone I could use to call 1-800-GI-JOE and/or the in-laws to come pick us up. Of course the ONE person who stopped is also the ONE person in the tri-state area without a cell phone, but she was gracious enough to give us a ride to the library. Once at the library, I called my mother in law and asked her to come pick us up. GI Joe was at an appointment about 20 minutes away and by this time I just wanted to go home IMMEDIATELY.

Mother in law aka Rescuer came and took us home where I called GI Joe, gave him the low down, and then looked forward to drowning my troubles in a big dish of pasta with chicken. This morning I had put frozen chicken in the microwave to thaw. (I realize that some may think this unsanitary and unhealthy, but to date neither I nor my family have died from salmonella.) When I went to retrieve the chicken out of the microwave it had disappeared. All except for the Styrofoam packaging laying at my feet on the floor. I'm not naming names here but certain young 'uns had removed the chicken to cook something in the microwave and forgot to put it back in. Never one to miss a meal, Moose had chicken for dinner, and I had to resort to plan z.

While I was cooking Plan Z, GI Joe called and said that the sheriff's office had just called him to tell him that the PMObile was being towed to impound because it was parked in a hazardous location along the highway. I. NEARLY.BLEW.A.GASKET. I went off on a rampage about how that was the dumbest thing I'd ever heard and it wasn't like I had CHOSEN that spot to blow out a tire, etc, etc. Just as I was ready to break into the cooking wine and drunk dial the sheriff's office to tell them what's what, the doorbell rang. There stood my father in law. He told me GI Joe had called him to tell him about the impound. I ranted and raved to him as well, until he said something like "I thought if I got over there quick enough they wouldn't tow it. But it's in impound now....IN YOUR DRIVEWAY!" And then he started laughing hysterically. GI Joe had drive to where the PMobile was, changed the tire, and asked his parents to come and get it and bring it home because he had to get to another appointment. That was really sweet and all UNTIL HE RUINED IT BY MESSING WITH ME!! Do you see what I have to deal with here people? Who could blame me if I took up drinking...or crack...or adultery? :)

There the evening took a slight turn for the better until the kids and I sat down for dinner, where Blade puked and Ryder fell right off of his counter height chair and landed flat on his back. Maybe they got into my cooking wine too, hard to say.

And with that, I think the safest place for me to be right now is snug in my bed, with a Reese's pumpkin, and my remote.

Thank you for listening, I feel better already. Could just be the wine talking.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I am working on some very inspiring, witty (not really it's still the same blog) posts but until they're ready here's some random thoughts and happenings. Bear with me.
*New Yorkers, how in the world do you take your Congressman seriously when his last name is WEINER? Like Oscar Meyer. Seriously, call me a 6th grader but I just couldn't do it. :)
*Annette and I went to see "Julie and Julia" (or is it Julia and Julie?), last night. Whatever it's called, we called it great! It was interesting, endearing, funny, and best of all had some delicious looking food. One thing you should know is when the French cooking school lady kept talking to Julia Child about "boning a duck", I was flabbergasted as duck sounded like something else to me. I couldn't figure out why they would be talking about their sexual encounters in cooking school?!? It wasn't until about 45 minutes later when they showed "boning a duck" in the cookbook on screen that the light bulb went off and I had to admit to Annette what I thought they'd been saying the whole time. We are now inspired to become French chefs who wear pearls in the kitchen (hint to our husbands). We've already mastered standard cooking (obviously), but I don't think Bootylicious Buffalo Chicken Dip is a recipe that made it into Julia Child's repertoire, shocking I know.
*We took the kids to "Back to School Night" last night. Imagine my dismay when we walked into Blade's classroom and sitting there putting her son's stuff away was THAT Mom, Bobette*. You know the one from the Barbed Wire incident? ( Blade and her son, Bob*, had been in the same kindergarten together but not 1st grade (relief), and I had hoped that they might possibly go the next 10 years of their scholastic career without being in the same class. Plan failed. It was pretty apparent she was less than thrilled to see us walk in as well. The bad news is she probably already told Blade's teacher that I was an imbecile who injured herself on barbed wire fences with a messy house that smelled like puke. On the bright side, more fodder for the blog this year. (*Names have been changed to protect the innocent..ME)
*Speaking of back to school, I've thoroughly enjoyed the scavenger hunt otherwise known as school supply shopping. And by thoroughly enjoyed I mean LOATHED. Seriously, it's pretty awesome when there are things on the list that a) I can't even imagine if and when it will be used in the classroom setting and b) are only available on the black market that can only be accessed if you have a cousin named Guido who knows somebody and so on. School supply lists are shady, can I get an amen? And I'm sure my inability to locate some of the items on the list had NOTHING to do with my procrastination. I'm also quite certain that my children will likely fail this year in school since I have not provided them with the proper resources. Add it to my Worst Mom application. Thanks.
*I recently discovered that on the back window of my Princess Mobile someone had written an in depth ad for the Koons Zoo and the blog. It said things like "Follow me to see the emus" and "Come see us" and "Read the blog" (complete with the blog address). I'm all about self promotion but who needs to do that when you have an entrepeneur for a daughter? This is the same girl who set up the milk stand in our driveway (5 miles out in the country) when she was in first grade. When asked why she didn't sell lemonade, she said "Because everyone sells lemonade and also because we only had milk in the fridge."
*Speaking of my strange yet brilliant daughter, GI Joe took her and her brothers to see "GI Joe" with him on Friday night. Not him but the MOVIE GI Joe. Can you believe it? They made a movie about him and he wouldn't even pose in front of the movie poster for me? Spoil sport. They all really enjoyed the movie. On Sunday, Dakota found a metallic jacket while school shopping, swiped a non-broken pair of my sunglasses and declared herself Scarlet from GI Joe. I told her she looked more like Hannah Montana to me but she showed me the National Guard tattoo on her hand that she'd gotten at the fair, and informed me she was National Guard Agent Scarlett. Then she wanted me to take her picture. You decide....

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ryder bo Byder

This post is almost a week overdue but I've been in denial. My baby, Ryder turned 6 on Tuesday. I'm not coping with the aging process of our youngest very well. Last year his birthday cake read "Happy Last Birthday Ryder" as we kept telling him that 5 was his last birthday, he was going to be 5 forever because we weren't going to let him get older. Plan failed as here we are a year later celebrating (mourning) again. So in honor of this special (heartbreaking) day, let me tell you a little bit about Ryder.

After we had Blade and had our perfect, one boy, one girl, even-numbered family, we kinda decided we were done having babies. I say kinda because Mr. I Only Want 2 Kids suddenly turned into Mr. Maybe I Want 3 Kids while Mrs. I Want 3 Kids turned into Mrs. No Really I'm Good With 2 Kids. After much discussion we decided that we were going to do something ahem...permanent to prevent having any more kids. Our doctor went thru the whole spiel about how no doctor would want to perform such an irreversible surgery when we were so young and only had 2 kids as many people change their minds and later regret their decision. I assured him that we were not one of those couples and we had a 2 Kid Plan and we were going to stick with it. He gave us some pamphlets and other information to read and said to call him back after we'd read everything and really thought about our decision. Well, I called him back alright. About 2 weeks later when I realized I WAS PREGNANT! Blade was not even a year old yet and Miss Type A Planner that I am, was stunned that our "plan" had been thrown for a loop. That loop is Ryder and I can't imagine life without him now, although sometimes I try when the fighting and whining gets really bad. Just kidding! Also, I'm sorry if that's way more than you ever wanted to know about our reproductive history. Just keepin' it real.

Ryder not only taught us a lesson in plans that are bigger than us, but he got us our membership to the exclusive 3 Kid Club. It's a pretty cool club...usually.

In honor of my surfer hillbilly boy here are 6 things we love about him:

*His eyes, his ocean eyes. Are they blue or are they green? Just depends, but they are gorgeous and I have no idea where he got them from (Schwan's man? Jordan Knight is brown eyed so it's not him...the mystery remains) I pity the girls he directs these bad boys at, they'll be putty in his hands. Not that that type of nonsense works on me, ever.

This was last year but I love how it shows off the eyes

*His sweet, shy side. He makes everyone (except us) work for his attention and affection. And because he's so darn cute, people do it. The "hard to get" thing totally works for him. The thought of him as a sixteen year old terrifies me because you know how girls go for that sort of game playing. He's already got it mastered, he's the only 6 year old I know who has girls ages 5 thru 29 (don't worry it's not creepy, it's just Cheri) in love with him. We're in for it.

*He's a goofball. He gets the giggles from the most ridiculous things and once he's got them, forget about maintaining any semblance of order.

*He's our very own Jack Jack (The Incredibles). Remember how I said he had a sweet, shy side? Well, he does but he can go from that nice little boy to a head spinning terror in .2 seconds. Once you get over the inital reaction of wanting to hold an exorcism, it's sort of endearing, because you can't help but laugh at the instant, yet drastic transformation that he undergoes. It's tamed down (a little) as he's gotten older but I'll still think deep down, he's always got the head spinner on standby, should it come to that, and he's not afraid to use it.

*He loves to do anything with GI Joe or I. There is nothing better in the world than seeing him hammering alongside his Daddy wearing his plastic kids toolset safety goggles or when he pulls up a stool to help me cook dinner or wants his toes polished when I'm doing mine (oh oops, I don't think GI Joe wanted that to get out, only "boy" colors I promise!) Those times MORE than make up for the head spinnning.

*Ummm he's my baby. Need I say more? He still gives me hugs and kisses (willingly) and has to sit on my lap to read a bed time story. Actually, I'm beginning to think he does these just to tighten the hold on me around his little finger but what's a mom to do?. When I tell him I don't want him to grow up he says, "but I'll always be your baby and I'll still give you hugs." You better believe I'll be holding him to that one. Although, I may give a little on him sitting on my lap for bedtime stories, that might be a little weird when he's a strapping teenager. He also LOVES my cooking. I mean obviously, I'm award winning and all, so that's not that big of a stretch but when he says stuff like, "If my wife can't make cheesy potatoes as good as you I'll just come over to your house," I melt. Wife? I don't think so. We just have a special bond and I'll treasure that forever.

And NO he's not my favorite, but IF I did have a favorite kid, he'd definitely be in the running.

Happy Belated Birthday Buddy! We love you, head spinning, Mickey Mouse voice, and all!

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I have been hesitant to tell you about the 13 weeks of insanity we recently experienced at work while a coworker was out on maternity leave. That was until my boss (who reads this blog..Hi Boss!) and I were talking one day about the blog and I told her I'd had requests to blog about our "Temp" experience but wasn't sure if that was a good idea. We talked a little while longer about it and by the end of the conversation she said "It would be really funny and you do protect identities so go ahead, oh and don't forget the part about how she creeped me out every time I walked by." Ummm have I ever told you that my boss rocks? Yeah she does...totally.
So about this Prior to her going on maternity leave my coworker whom we'll call Mrs. Pickle and I met her the day she came in for fingerprinting and she seemed a little strange but nice, based on the approximately 4 minutes we spent with her. And really since all we needed was someone who would show up every day and be able to answer the phone, she'd be fine.
The plan was that Temp would start a week or so before Mrs. Pickle went out on maternity leave so Mrs. Pickle could train her and show her the ropes, etc. As you may know, babies do what they want and wouldn't you know it, Mrs. Pickle's baby came early foiling the plan. She's such a cute baby we couldn't hold it against her. The following week Temp reported for duty, clueless as to what her responsibilities were and how to do them. Turns out the clueless thing wasn't just first day jitters. So yours truly got to step in and get her acclimated with her systems and duties, which trust me were very minimal. It was about an hour into Day 1 that I realized it was going to be a LONG 13 weeks. Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought that as all throughout our office you could hear the ding of Instant messenger saying things like "is this lady for real?" or "where did they find her?" or "did you hear that?". Oh just kidding about that Instant Messenger in our workplace is STRICTLY use for business purposes only. Since I'm becoming quite the experienced bloggist I knew that first day that this was going to make blog material some day so I started a list at my desk. But by the end of the 2nd day it became quite clear that since I already had a full time job I gave up on the list. Oh but the memories remain.
First let me start by showing you a picture of the Temp......
Seriously, the only difference is Temp wore glasses and didn't wear a cape. From here on out we shall call Temp, Grandpa Munster. No disrespect obviously it's just an observation.
So here are a few items as they were written on the notepad in my office from her first several days of employment:
"Bowing"-On her first day, she was having issues getting logged on to her computer. Her boss came out of his office and took the CAPS Lock off and viola! she was able to log in. That happens to the best of us sometimes, no big deal. But then when he went back into his office and she logged on, she walked to his office door and BOWED to him saying "Thank you thank you kind sir." I don't know about your workplace but bowing isn't a typical way to show appreciation where I work, you know given that we aren't located in, oh I don't know, China or something.

"Man Among Men"-She was having trouble operating the fax machine one afternoon when the Technology guy happened to be nearby and helped her out. She said loud enough for the whole office to hear "Jim, you are a MAN AMONG MEN." I think a simple thank you would've sufficed given the look on Jim's face.

"Pink"-This may come as a surprise to you but I have a fair amount of pink in my office. I know shocking right? So she walks in, looks around and says, "You like pink." I nodded my head and politely said, "Yes, yes I do." And then she said, "And do you know how I know you like pink? Because you have that pink thing and that pink thing and that pink thing (as she points out various objects in my office)....." Wow, thank you Mrs. Obvious, that was very observant of you. But really I like purple I was just trying to throw you off with the pink thing.

"Hooah"-The same day as the "Pink" visit she walked in again later and noticed a picture of GI Joe and I from the military banquet and said, "OHHHHH...your husband is in the military?"
"Yes, yes he is," I replied thinking to myself (what gave it away the haircut or the uniform?). She asked what branch and what he did, etc. I told her and then she said, "Give him a big HOOAH for me!" I looked at her, slightly puzzled and said, "Ummm I think that's a Marine thing, he's Army." And I'll be darned if she didn't stand there and give me a 7 minute argument about how the term Hooah was universal to all branches of service and EVEN SPELLED IT OUT FOR ME ON A SHEET OF PAPER. I asked her if she'd ever been in the military and she said, "No, I worked with the Red Cross but we worked very closely with the the military men." Wait a minute...the Red Cross? Oh yeah I remember how the Red Cross "works" with the military (see here:, No wonder we weren't headed for a life long friendship. So here was Miss I Worked for the Red Cross trying to tell Mrs. Army Wife of 12 years what's what in the military. You'd be proud because I exercised great self control and let her continue "hooah'ing" right on out of my office and for the rest of the day every time I walked past her desk. Then I picked up the phone and called GI Joe who confirmed what I knew all along, that it's a Marine thing and that Army really doesn't love the whole Hooah thing.

Aloha-Her main purpose for the 13 weeks was to answer the phone for a gentleman in our office, Mr. Pill, who is kind of a big deal within the company and has even bigger deals calling him constantly. That was her MAIN responsibility people...answering the phone, everything else had been delegated out or put on hold til Mrs. Pickle returned. Shortly after she started Mr. Pill went on a long vacation to Hawaii. (Coincidence? I think not!) I wish I were kidding when I tell you that pretty much every time she answered his phone during that two weeks, this is the greeting she used, "ALOHA!! Mr. Pill's office!" I can only imagine what the big wigs on the other end of that line were thinking, probably thinking they could really use a fruity drink w/ an umbrella in it right about then.

That is just a sampling from my notepad but there are other examples of the craziness. Let me tell you, Mrs. Pickle received numerous texts throughout her maternity leave that said things like "Are you sure you need 13 weeks? Just bring baby in, we'll set up a playpen." or "We miss you, we REALLY, REALLY miss you." She was amused and felt sorry for us but still insisted on taking her full 13 weeks...whatever Mrs Pickle. :)

Remember how my boss reminded me to tell how she got creeped out every time she walked by Grandpa Munster's desk? Let me tell you about that. There are 2 doors into our area, one right behind my office that goes out into a hallway, and one that requires you walk the length of the department, past some desks and the Munster Mansion to get out. By the door farthest from my boss and I (the one that you have to walk by Grandpa Munster) is our coffee bar. Every time my boss, Sharon, would make the trek to the Coffee Bar, Grandpa Munster who would be sitting at her computer with her back to where Sharon was walking, would spin around in her chair, and just stare at Sharon as she walked by. EVERY. TIME. If you ever meet my boss ask her to demonstrate this to you. She's demonstrated numerous times to Mrs. Pickle since she's returned along with telling her, "Don't do this to me (demonstrates chair spinning) or I'll have to fire you!" It got to the point where Sharon was so creeped out by Grandpa Munster's chair spinning/stalking that she began taking the outside hallway route just to avoid walking past her office.

If you read the Monkey Madness post ( then you know that we go all out for birthdays at work. One guy in our area, Jeb, who we have nicknamed the Chicken Farmer, celebrated a birthday. Because we are 10, we decorated his entire desk and space with chickens and plastic eggs hanging from the ceiling. Grandpa Munster was oblivious as to why we had chosen that decor for Jeb but that didn't stop her from saying things like, "This SHELL be a day he'll never forget" or "Have an EGGCELLENT day." Seriously.

One day Mrs. Pickle and her husband who also works with us, brought Baby Pickle in. Grandpa Munster acted as if she'd known the Pickle family forever and talked about the baby as if she'd endured the previous 9 months of Mrs. PIckle's pregnancy with the rest of us. Odd. As we oohed and ahhed over the baby I noticed Grandpa taking all kinds of pictures. I thought perhaps Mrs. Pickle had given her the job of photographing Baby Pickle's first visit to work. Imagine how baffled I was when a few days later a 4 x6 glossy print of me holding Baby Pickle appeared on my desk. I called Mr. Pickle and thanked him for the picture to which he responded, "Uh that wasn't from me, I think Grandpa Munster did that, I got one too." That was borderline Hand that Rocks the Cradle. I bet she's got a framed picture of Baby Pickle proudly displayed in the castle somewhere.

Back to Grandpa Munster's stellar phone skills. Given that answering Mr. Pill's phone was her main priority and really the reason for her existence at our workplace she took it very seriously (and loudly). One day Mr. Pill had gone to lunch with a vendor when his boss called. Instead of just taking a message or advising him to try Mr. Pill on his cell phone Grandpa said, "Hold on one second, I know he'll want to speak to you, let me just call the restaurant where he went to lunch," and promptly put Mr. Important on hold. I could NOT believe my ears when she dialed the restaurant and said, "Yes, I'm looking for my boss who I believe is dining there, his name is Mr. Pill. Oh no one's there right now? Hmmmm...wonder where he snuck off to then?" Just about then Mr. HIll walked in the door and took the call, oblivious to the fact that the restaurant he'd just left had been questioned about his whereabouts. Speaking of tracking Mr. Pill down she stopped at nothing (besides calling his cell phone which apparently was foreign to her) to find him. One day Mr. Important called and wanted to speak with Mr. Pill right away. Grandpa Munster started traversing the entire building looking for him. She caught McDreamy coming out of the men's bathroom and asked him to go back in and see if Mr. Pill was in there and if he was to please send him out because he had a call from Mr. Important. I can only imagine the look on McDreamy's face, I'm sure it was less than dreamy, and his response. Needless to say, McDreamy did not locate Mr. Pill for her.

I've barely scratched the surface of the insanity we experienced for a 13 weeks but I think you get the picture...Grandpa was C-R-A-Z-Y. On her final day of employment she came into my office to thank me for all of my help (I really was nice to her, well except for writing this entire post about her, but I'm calling that therapy), and as she left she said, "Goodbye Pink Princess, goodbye," and then BOWED. I have no words.

I'm not a real touchy feely type person especially in the work place but don't think I didn't do cartwheels all the way down to Mrs. Pickle's office and give her a big ol' hug on her first day back, cuz I did and I'm not ashamed to admit it. You would've too if you'd just survived the longest 13 weeks known to man. We even had a treat day to celebrate. I think it made Mrs. Pickle feel good that she was so missed. We told her we were totally fine with her bawling at her desk all day from having to leave her baby and that she was free to yell at us and be mean if she wanted, as long as she didn't start bowing and saying Aloha.

To Mrs. Pickle-Welcome back and please, we beg of you, don't ever leave us again!!!

To Grandpa Munster-Thanks for the blog material and best of luck in your next gig. Universal Studios may have some openings for a Grandpa Munster stand in. Hooah!

To the Monkeys In Support Group-We made it and we lived to blog about it. Now we'll have to find alternate entertainment such as baking cakes in the microwave and celebrating made up holidays like Jeffukah.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Exclusive Press Release & Recipe

AP: Usually I’m pretty good at staying humble (ahahaha get it? Sorry couldn’t help myself), but I just HAVE to tell you of my most recent and perhaps, proudest accomplishment.
Ahem ahem…It is with great excitement that I announce to you that I am now officially an AWARD WINNING chef! I know, I know it’s breaking news, remember you heard it here first. It’s something I’ve worked towards all my life and finally my ambitions were realized on Wednesday when I was crowned 1st Place Blue Ribbon winner in the Appetizer category in the 2009 ____________Fair Cook Off. I can’t release the name of the company sponsoring the fair, as it may or may not be the one I work for and I don’t want to be like that dooce ( girl and get fired for blogging about work. Before you go all negative on me like my beloved middle sister Debbie Downer aka Heidi did, saying things like, “you’re insane” or “oh big deal it was just a work thing it wasn’t a REAL fair” or “you’re only a chef if you have a degree in culinary arts”, I think you should know there were other entries in the Appetizer category, like 10 of them to be exact, and my entry was in fact delicious. Not to brag of course. Just stating the facts as evidenced by the Blue Ribbon I now have hanging in my kitchen. It’s been quite the media frenzy since the awards ceremony, what with the interviews, recipe requests, press inquiries and guest appearances and all. Imagine my family’s excitement when I went home last night and informed them (repeatedly) that they had an award winning chef preparing their supper for them. They were so proud and clamored for a view to watch a master at work…..or not.

Because you’ve been with me from the beginning I’m going to provide you with the award winning recipe before the rest of the world gets its hands on it and before I publish it in the Prairie Princess cookbook.

Bootylicious Buffalo Chicken Dip (based loosely on the recipe found at

20 oz. boneless, skinless, chicken breasts or tenders or in a pinch 2 (10 oz.) cans chunk chicken 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 c. Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing (Ranch is what was in the award winning one)
1 c. Frank’s hot sauce (more or less to taste, some like it hot)
1 ½ c. shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
Celery & Chicken in a Biskit or other crackers for serving
Fill saucepan with water, a pinch seasoning salt and a pinch of garlic powder, and chicken breasts. Boil until chicken is done. Drain, allow to cool, and then shred with forks. After shredded, return to pan and add in hot sauce. (You can substitute canned chicken instead but I’m not guaranteeing it will be [‘s bootylicious.) Heat over medium heat until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the cheddar cheese. **Very important step: You must now sample it to make sure it’s got enough buffalo kick, add more hot sauce as needed. Transfer to a crockpot. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on Low until hot and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks and crackers.

Now I'm off to do stuff that award winning chefs do, like load the dishwasher, fold some laundry, and eat a fudgesicle. I had envisioned it being slightly more glamorous.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sweet Corn Stardom

Do you know what Saturday was? It was the epitome of summer in small town Iowa...Sweet Corn Festival. It's held in a town neighboring ours and it's our tradition to go every year, watch the parade, then sit on the curb around the square and gorge ourselves on FREE locally grown, Iowa sweet corn. It's a grand time. For those of you not from these parts and that may have never experienced farm grown Iowa sweet corn, I'm sorry. Please add that to your bucket list immediately. You'll thank me.

Saturday was the big day or as GI Joe's brofriend John, ( calls it..."his favorite holiday." This is no small affair people. SEVEN TONS of sweet corn are shucked by volunteers the night before who work strictly for the free beer (nothing motivates like beer right?), and then the following day people line up for blocks to get their share starting at 11am, when the corn starts rolling off the trucks on conveyor belts, run thru boiling water and then served up hot and fresh to the hungry crowd. But before I tell you about that, I have to tell you about the parade.

If you've ever been to a small town parade you know that anyone representing anything can be in it, you don't even have to have an actual float. There's no registration process, you just show up at the start place, line up, and go. As long as you are throwing candy you'll be waved at and accepted by the people. In the Sweet Corn parade there were people on horseback, a few actual, honest to goodness floats, people on lawn tractors and four wheelers, and then the really boring ones like our church's who just had GI Joe and John in the church van throwing out candy. Next year we're going to kick things up a notch. For starters, I think there's going to be a Koons Zoo/Hillbilly Hilarity float. Picture with me if you will, a float all decked out in pink (obviously) with me sitting on a hay bale in the center wearing a tiara (duh), surrounded by emus, a peacock and some pigs perhaps, with the kids riding behind the float on horseback. And then my Marketing team (yes, I have a Marketing team you know who you are) will be wearing pink shirts that say "Hooked on Hillbilly Hilarity" (thanks Trisha for the catchy slogan, you know I'm a sucker for alliteration) and handing out something unforgettable with my blog URL on it. What do you think? Too over the top for just this teeny, tiny, little, old blog? Definitely, but that's what makes it awesome. New readers would be nice, the more the merrier, but it's not like I'm going to quit my day job to become a professional blogger, so the real reason for such marketing tactics is pure and simple...more blog material!!! Can you imagine the blog post about the blog float? It's shaping up to be my most anticipated holiday of 2010.

Speaking of new floats, while GI Joe and John were working the parade route from the church van, they came up with an idea for the church float for next year's parade that would certainly catch people's attention. They are going to put up a sign on the van that says "Go HERE (arrow towards the church name on the van) or GO HERE (arrow pointing to the float being pulled behind). And on the float would be Hell. Yes that's right..hell. They envision all kinds of pyrotechnics, a devil poking at people with a pitchfork, people crying and screaming, you know real warm fuzzy stuff. Then as if that wouldn't be a prize winner alone, they would hand out Codemnmints (get it?) and instead of the Mardi Gra beads that are typical parade fare, they would throw out pendants...REPENDANTS. (Insert eye roll here.) This is what happens when they are given sugar, corn, and too much time together in one day. And to think they are deacons at our church. Help us all.

After the enjoyable, yet mundane parade (at least for one more year), we beat the crowd and got our sweet corn right away. We buttered, salted, and found a shaded courtyard tucked away from the rest of the madness. When you get your corn you tell them how many ears you want and they give it to you, barely batting an eye if you happen to say 4 or 5 or 9. Yes, 9. And this my friends, is why John calls it his favorite holiday and takes the Monday after off to recover.

In his prime, John put away 14 ears of Sweet Corn fest sweet corn in one sitting. This year either due to his advancing age or the amount of candy he and GI Joe consumed while IN the parade, he maxed out at 9 ears. Better luck next year John. Maybe you should train a little harder next year or maybe dodging the rocks and tomatoes people will be throwing at you while pulling the Hell Float will cause you to work up more of an appetite so you can get back up to your peak performance. You're a legend round these parts.

And to those of you think of Iowa as nothing but hillbillies and corn, I don't think I'm in any position to disagree.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Baseball, Black Eye, & the Bathroom

This weekend I rediscovered my disinterest in baseball. I scored free tickets to the Iowa Cubs game on Friday night so GI Joe and I coerced our friends, Jerry, Annette, Doug, and McDreamy to go with us. I strictly go to baseball games for the hot dogs and I got my hot dog, Chicago style, and it was magnificent. Wish I could say the same for the game. It was dreadfully boring and the fact that the stadium was really full and we actually had to sit in our crowded row of seats which inhibited our normal tomfoolery, picture taking, and conversation didn't help matters. I would've thought with our celebrity status and such that we would've had a press box or something. But NOOOO, we had to sit in box seats with everyone else. It totally cramped our style. (Sidenote: apparently being a blogger with 5 followers doesn't make one a celebrity, I thought that's how I got the tickets?!? Whatever.) We bailed after the 7th inning. Of course, as in everything there were a few highlights. They were as follows:

*My wonderful Chicago style hot dog. Oh did I mention that already? It was THAT good.

*When I told everyone that maybe we could go out on the field and take some pictures during halftime. Apparently, baseball doesn't have halftime. Whatever. They need to, a little half time show would've done the game good, maybe add some excitement..heaven forbid.

*When we yelled "fore!" for a foul ball headed our way and "Touchdown!" for a hit and the looks we received from doing so. C'mon someone had to liven up that joint. The soundbooth sure wasn't doing it with their elevator music. Ever heard of Jock Jams people? Let me burn you a copy.

*When Jerry gave me a black eye because I remained sitting when a foul ball came our way and he got a little excited and started throwing elbows everywhere, namely towards my eye. He nearly broke my sunglasses and we all know how low on sunglasses I'm running these days. ( From then on, everytime there was a foul ball I got in tornado position, arms protecting my head. By the way, he didn't get the ball but he did give me a concussion. Thanks Jer.

*When our friend Jeremy ( snuck away from his wife (Hi Signe!) and friends to come chat with us for an inning or so. I did introductions that went a little something like, "This is Annette, you probably know her from the blog." and "This is Jeremy, our high school friend, he and his wife were featured in the blog once." Thanks blog for making introductions easy.

*When Annette and I got excited because the announcers kept talking about "Gucci". Unfortunately, they weren't shooting Gucci product out of the hot dog gun but instead were talking about some I Cubs player named Taguchi. Why must they tease us like that?

*When I was scoping out women for McDreamy in the ladies bathroom. Do you see a problem with that? I don't. I was in the bathroom before the game and this cute girl (within the appropriate age range for McDreamy) in a Hawkeye hat (as an alumni he LOVES his Hawkeyes) was washing her hands (good personal hygiene...yes!) and was NOT wearing a wedding ring (great! she's available). But here was my dilemma. How do I approach a girl in the bathroom alone for my single male friends without a) looking like a freak b) looking like a freak? Hmmm. Haven't figured this one out. Suggestions welcome. Maybe Annette & I could hang out in the bathroom and hand out paper towels and lotion like they do in fancy restaurants and hotels, and as they reached for a paper towel, we'd check their left hand for a ring, and if it was bare we'd hand them a paper towel with Doug & McDreamy's picture on it and a questionnaire on it. If interested they'll be instructed to call us. And by us, I mean Annette and I. You didn't think we'd really let our friends go out with just anybody did you? We'd have to screen them first obviously. Hard to believe their both single with friends like us. Weird huh? To the Hawkeye Hat Girl from the Bathroom-If you're reading this, and I'm sure you are, call me. I have someone I want you to meet. Judging by the way you washed your hands and looked at yourself in the mirror, I think the two of you would really hit it off. He washes his hands too! What are the odds?!? It's a match made in heaven.(McDreamy-Are you happy now that you got some blog exposure? And again my apologies for failing you as wingwoman. That could've been the future Mrs. McDreamy and yet I just let her dry her hands and walk away. I'll do better next time, there are more bathrooms out there.)

Here's a picture from the evening.

I didn't say it was us. But it was taken at the I Cubs game and looks like they're having fun so you get the idea. Anyone know these people? I see some potential Doug/McDreamy matches. Call me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Poolside Psychology

Being the cool mom that I am, I recently set aside my dignity and pride for the day and took my kids to the public aquatic center. Actually, besides the fact that it requires wearing a bathing suit in front of the general public, I love going to the aquatic center. I love the lazy river, the slides and the fact that I can relax on my chair and listen to the 90’s music piped through the speakers while my kids are in eyesight in a pool that’s just the right depth for them. Perfection. An added bonus of the public pool (besides the REO Speedwagon they played), is the study that can be done on the human psyche while soaking up the rays.

Here are a few things I gleaned about the human race from our afternoon at the pool:

*If you want to see the future models and heartthrobs of America , go to the pool and check out the lifeguards. Be discreet though you don’t want them to think you’re a pedophile. They make young moms like myself, still clinging to our youth feel frumpy and old, thanks aquatic center we needed that.

*Many 10-12 year old boys are punks. I was waiting with Ryder in line for one of the slides and there were 2 tween boys in front of us. Another kid walked by and the 2 boys in front of us started ridiculing him and picking a fight with him. The line moved up but they were too busy being mean to the kid passing by to notice so being the softspoken, shy, demure person that I am gently said to them, “So are you going to move up or are you going to fight with that poor kid all day?” I may have given them the “you’re pushing the limits and you don’t want to mess with me because I wrestle goats” look because they looked terrified and immediately moved up and left the kid alone, either that or I just look THAT bad in my bathing suit. I thought about making them run laps as punishment but figured since they weren’t my kids I should probably just leave it alone. Trust me, a few laps would’ve done them some good. Also, I’m pretty sure I made the victim’s day as he walked away with a big ol’ grin on his face. I don’t like punks. Of course my perfect little angels, Blade and Ryder will NEVER act like that..right? RIGHT? Right.

*A fun game to play when at a public pool is “who’s had work done?”, especially in the affluent neighborhood where this particular aquatic center is located. At every pool there are several types of ladies: 1) the ones that have kids but are desperately trying to look like they haven’t and are going to extreme measures such as implants, tummy tucks, etc to do so. These stick out like a sore thumb and can typically be found not moving from their chaise lounger and certainly not getting wet. 2) The teenage girls who flit around in their teeny tiny bikinis thinking to themselves “I’ll never look like those women, even if I have kids and am old, like 30, I’ll still look like this.” Ahahahahahahaha….dream on girls, dream on. P.S. Here’s a towel, cover yourself up. 3) The women with serious body image issues. These women are distinguished by the full on armor they wear OVER their swimsuit IN THE POOL to include but not limited to sweatpants and turtlenecks. Seriously ladies you’re not fooling anybody. And as long as you’re not trying to squeeze into a size 2 bikini no one’s going to judge you so really just wear your swimsuit minus the sweatsuit. Your tan lines won’t be as weird that way. 4) Then there are the ones like myself that are simply just there to catch some rays and have fun with their kids. They aren’t concerned with winning the hearts of the handsome, albeit 18 year old lifeguards. We realize we won’t be gracing the cover of the Swimsuit issue anytime soon but realistically those bikinis are not good for chasing your kids around and going down slides in anyway. Stuff falls out and nobody needs to see that.

*Speaking of stuff falling out let me tell you about a little memory from the pool that I’ve been working to repress but since I have no self respect or dignity left, I’ll just tell you. The slides at the aquatic center we frequent are awesome. After watching the kids go down them about 300 times I decided it was my turn. They tried to convince me to go down the one that goes straight down but I KNOW what happens to tankinis on those kind of slides so I decided to play it safe and go down the twisty one. It seemed tame enough. I had butterflies in my stomach as I climbed the stairs and waited for the 16 year old lifeguard to give me the “nod” to go down. (It’s a very important job the top of the slide lifeguards have you know, watching people go down and giving the nod.) Finally, I got the nod and away I went. Turns out the heavier you are the faster you go down, so I was sliding at the speed of light, screaming like a little girl because I was sure I was going to go right up over the edge of the slide and land on the concrete below. My life flashed before my eyes and I started thinking things like “GI Joe had better wait at least 2 years before he remarries and whoever she is had better not be mean to my babies” and “what happens to your facebook status when you die? Does someone go in and update it to say “Holly is deceased?” and also “crap, the house isn’t clean enough for all those people to bring casseroles over after the funeral”. Obviously, I was too busy planning my funeral, to properly prepare for the dismount from the slide into the pool at the end. Ideally, you gracefully shoot off of the slide into the water, land on your feet, and don’t even get your head wet. As if. Oh no, not me, I've never been accused of being graceful. Instead I twisted, thrashed,flipped and flopped off the slide like a beached seal into the pool. Sadly, my modest boyshort tankini bottoms couldn’t keep up. I take that back, they kept up, way UP, if you know what I’m saying and I went face first into the water so the world got an eyeful of boyshorts gone thong, I mean wrong. Help us all. Imagine my humiliation when I surfaced, sputtering water, and between the straggly wet hair hanging in my face* saw, the young Brad Pitt lookalike lifeguard standing right in front of me. (**Sidenote: why is it that those swimsuit models come out of the water with their hair out of their face, flowing smoothly down their back and when I come out of the water my hair is all over the place looking like it just rained on a hay bale? I deep condition too!! I don’t get it.) Young Brad Pitt handed me my sunglasses (yes, THOSE sunglasses,I thought I’d be cool and wear down the slide because again, it was bright out and I was going to gracefully enter the pool from the slide and not even get my head wet so it would be totally fine…uh huh sure) and said “I think these are yours,” all while avoiding eye contact. Who could blame him? The poor kid was traumatized. I thought I was going to have to avoid the slide area for the rest of the day for fear of facing him again, but oddly enough he disappeared shortly after that, never to be seen again. He probably had to take a mental health day. I wonder if pools offer workman’s comp for such things as vision loss, emotional scarring, etc? They should, they really should. Maybe the sweatpants over the swimsuit isn’t such a bad idea after all. You be the judge. Here's the post water slide picture.

I blame the Reese's.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dental Health Poster Child

Brush much?

Meet Joe. Joe knows plaque.

This has been a public service announcement, now feel free to go brush your teeth and throw in a little floss just for kicks.

At the Drive Thru

Scene: A sunny, bright day at the Taco John's drive thru

Characters: A blonde wearing wonky sunglasses because she broke them when she pulled them out of her purse but it was so bright out and she wanted to protect her eyes since they are her window to the world, that she wore them anyway, and who loves her some Tex Mex. Mmmm mmm good. Oh wait wrong franchise, my bad Campbell's. (My apologies for that ridiculous run on sentence, I just had a lot to say.)

For the sake of the story, we'll "pretend' that the above character is yours truly. Work with me here.

I ordered my food and pulled around to the window. Keep in mind the PMobile is rather giant and I'm rather inept at making sharp turns or fitting into narrow spaces with it. The Taco John's drive thru required both of the above. I pulled around at a rather cockeyed angle and stretched the approximate 10 feet from my car window to the cashier at the window to pay. The cashier was kind of looking at me strangely but I just chalked it up to my stellar driving/parking skills. I paid with exact change and then put my wait time to good use. I'm nothing if not a multi-tasker. I was very busy doing important things like responding to a message on facebook, applying lip gloss, reading the back cover of a book, addressing an envelope, etc. After awhile, I happened to look up and caught a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror and noticed my crazy sunglasses. I came to the realization that they were probably the reason for the strange looks from the cashier.

Then the thought crossed my mind, "Wow, wonder what's taking my food so long, I'm starving." As I looked up to adjust my sunglasses again since they wouldn't stay on straight (hmm wonder why?), I happened to notice the Taco John's employee at the next window sticking his head out, obviously looking for the customer who had gotten lost between the Pay Window and the Pick Up window. And that's when it hit me...."Oh my goodness, I FORGOT to pull up!!! I'm still at the Pay Window. Duh!!!!" By this time at least 5 minutes had gone by since I had paid. I considered peeling out and speeding past the window so as not to have to face the TJ employee who just witnessed me having a big, bad, blonde moment OR did I sacrifice my dignity, face my embarrassment, and most importantly get my food? I think we all know what I did right? I'm a growing (in waist size) girl who happens to be cheap and since I'd already paid there was no way I was leaving without my food. I pulled up, giggling, and told the kid, "I'm so sorry I was just having a blonde moment. Tee hee hee." To which he laughed and said, "That's ok I just didn't know what you were doing, I hope your food isn't cold." Always one to offer constructive criticism I told him, "You know the girl at the Pay Window really should've said something to me. Why would she just let me sit there? I mean really." He just looked at me, handed me my food, and turned around. I'm pretty sure he was going to find his manager immediately to implement my suggestion into the Taco John's drive thru window training manual. Either that or he couldn't take one more second of looking at me in my crooked, wacky glasses because yes, I still had them on. Hey it was really bright out! And at this point, I had no self respect left so why not just leave them on? And then take a horrible picture of me wearing them 2 days later solely for the purpose of this blog? I have no shame.

Dear Taco John's-I hope a lesson has been learned here and that appropriate changes will be made so that no other persons have to suffer the same mortification and cold food that I did. I'll be back to do a secret shopper type investigation. I'll notify you of the results. If this improper customer treatment continues I may have to drive the extra few miles to Taco Bell. They have a whole lotta Mexican going on too, just not as many drive thru windows. Also, you're welcome for the Break Room entertainment I provided, I do what I can. And yes, I am a natural blonde.