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There once was a time when Will was so amazingly powerful that I never once called on him for help or even thought of him and his strength…  His voice never rang naggingly in my ear or taunted me as I tried to drift off to sleep….  And then I got older, busier, and lazier!  Ugh. 

It’s that time of year when the gym is uncomfortably hot due to the increasing number of newbies showing up to get ready for the summer and the stifling body heat they generate.  You try to take part in a class that is scheduled – sticking to ‘old reliable’ to make you sweat – and you can’t help but clench your teeth and roll your eyes at some new loser who thought they could just stroll on in and take the spot you have held for YEARS!  HHEELLLLOOOO????  There are unspoken rules in an aerobics room there Slick, and you need to scoot your uncoordinated, brand new spandex-wearing self on down the line…  No, that doesn’t mean you can take the bench next to me – you are new, are totally going to suck and stop mid stream dozens of time and screw up my cardio work out, so go stand close to the instructor Einstein….  Of course all of this crazy in my head is rarely verbalized - I do understand how bizarre it sounds, but there are those of you out there who know EXACTLY what I am talking about and have felt the same…  I just grit my teeth, roll my eyes, and add one more reason to the growing list of reasons why I should just skip the gym, which in turn wears down good ole’ Will.  He is still standing, but his knees are beginning to buckle…

And then they buckled, I trampled over the top of him never looking back, and kept right on going with the life and schedule I already had, convincing myself that I didn’t have time and the gym was way too hot and crowded in the afternoons which would ultimately leave me feeling bad and unable to accomplish anything for the rest of the day.  You totally agree with me now, don’tcha?

I hear you shouting your solutions loud and clear – don’t go to the gym, just go outside!  But no, the misery of 80% humidity or higher and a heat index of close to 100 degrees (if not more) is overwhelming and very clearly visible in my mind’s eye.  (If you have ever been through a heat exhaustion, commonly called a heat stroke, you know how easy it is to overheat and how quickly it can affect you with little to no warning.) 

So now your answer is do something – anything is better than nothing – inside…   I love the idea, and even own some equipment, but I told you, I trampled over the top of Will a long time ago and without his power, I can’t tear myself away from the chores, pets, to-do lists, or lay-on-me-now comfy couch equipped with a snuggly throw and remotes to both the t.v. and fan.  How will I ever convince myself to get moving again???  I know I have much less energy now and don’t feel as well as I do when I am exercising, but I also know that to-do list doesn’t check itself off….  And that fabulous couch is lonely all day long, how could I possibly continue to refuse to meet its emotional needs???

All completely logical and rational thoughts, right?  You are totally on board with me and destined to never set foot on an exercise machine of any kind again, aren’t you?

Don’t be…  I will eventually locate Will (hopefully one day very soon) and force him to exert and relinquish his unique power to me FOREVER!! (*roaring applause echoes throughout*)

I will let you know when he and his mind-numbing power are found….

Look at that statement literally and try to apply it to any one fun, extracurricular, or horrible thing you do (want to do) or don’t do…  ‘Why NOT pull that middle-aged woman to the side and tell her she’s not working the shimmering, sleeveless blouse with the zebra-striped peace sign and faded skinny jeans tucked into her thigh-high suede boots quite as well as she thinks?’  Seriously!  She may not know that she just looks like a 40-something year old woman who has spent too much time in the Juniors department and appears that she can’t accept her age, or doesn’t know that she appears to be trying a tad bit too hard.  But then if you flip that statement it could work in her favor – ‘Why dress your age when you don’t act it?’  Well…  I may have meant ‘in her favor’ a little differently than one would have thought… 

Now what if your child said this to you in response to your cry of desperation, “Why would you do such a thing?!”  Actually, you should imagine this coming from an adorable 7 year old girl with her shoulders shrugged up to her ears, head cocked to the side and a slightly confused look on her face, and the exact quote was, ‘Well Mommie, I really wasn’t thinking why, I was thinking why not.  I dunno what makes me think that way, it just happens.’  First, if you think you can stay mad at this point in the conversation and not think, ‘Wow…  How in the world do I respond to that?!’ or not nearly bite the tip of your tongue off trying not to laugh, you have to send me a message and tell me your secret!  This was her response when she was found swinging from a small rope swing onto the trampoline and then trying to jump back onto the swing from the trampoline.  And the swing didn’t even come close to the trampoline, but as she was bouncing 6 feet in the air, it sure did look like it was doable!  The worst part is she had enlisted test dummies in the form of the neighbors children!!

My response to this was of course to never do something like this again followed by she was to be her own test dummy when concocting her brilliant stunts.  If she is too chicken to do it, she better not ever convince someone else to try it first again. 

I am thrilled to now have an answer to all those questions my husband asks that he really doesn’t want an answer to though…  ‘Why were you speeding through there again?’  ‘It really wasn’t about why, it was about why not?  I do it every other day, why not today?’  ‘Why did you buy dog food for that mangy stray dog?’  ‘I buy food for the dogs that are in our house, why not the dogs that come to our porch?’  That sounds way better than me previous answer of, ‘To annoy you, why else would I do it?’

This post applies as well, why not stop now?

Don’t worry, I didn’t overstuff myself and end up not being able to move my legs due to the pressure on my belly for Thanksgiving.  I loved all the spectacular food, but most of all I loved the time with family. 

Which brings me to being trapped in bed.  My nephew, at 5′ 10″ or so and 22 years of age is currently trapped in his bed, but believe it or not, is not complaining much about it.  He was involved in a terrible accident about a month and a half ago and broke everything between his shoulders and hips: both clavicles, all of his ribs, both hips, his pelvis, and his SPINE in two places.  BUT because the spinal cord was not severed, he is NOT paralyzed!  (so insanely thankful!) And that alone keeps his spirits up I believe…  He will continue to be bedridden for well over 2 months from now before hopefully being moved to a wheelchair.  The doctors feel confident that he will walk again, but not before an extremely difficult battle in his current situation first. 

And now for the reality smack…  Before hearing about this accident two weeks ago, I hadn’t spoken to my sister in 4 or 5 years…  And it wasn’t that I was upset or she was upset, just hadn’t called or caught up with her.  Talk about feeling inches tall when you get that kind of call about your nephew…  I had the hugest lump in my throat and I was so panicked about what she must be going through - I had to get a hold of her and I had to make it quick. 

Just as in the past, we picked up right where we left off, starting with her son of course.  I listened to her tell the story of her son being in the hospital for over a month, the first 10 days being ‘touch-and-go’ as he lay lifelessly in ICU, and several other struggles she was still trying to overcome.  But still, she was so thankful and so upbeat for someone who I knew was overwhelmed with stress and concern, but would never let anyone know it.  The mental and emotional strength within her brought me to tears.  To hear her talk as if things were looking up, and how she was looking forward to different stages of my nephew’s recovery, but still know how she was a one-woman army tucking the pain away and footing the bill as much as she was able – it was so hard to know there wasn’t much I could do to free her of all her worries and concerns. 

In the summer of this year, her husband was hit by a drunk driver and is still suffering from a back injury he incurred in that accident.  Unable to work for quite some time, he is now the stay-at-home-caretaker to my nephew who literally cannot get out of bed, change his own clothes, or walk to the bathroom.  But they all smiled all night long Saturday night.  They were so happy to see us and so full of hope, love, and light – looking to the future through very happy eyes.  And my nephew being the polite guy that he is, even worked word puzzles and colored alongside my 7-year-old (his cousin) who he met for the very first time.  She was so sweet and so worried about him, it gave me incredible joy to see the two of them together – her trying to soothe him, and he spending quality time with her.  My nephew was so incredibly accepting of her, even when she was strumming on his guitar with no musical talent whatsoever while he watched tv.  He could have easily told me at any given moment to let him be – I certainly tried to encourage him to rest or not allow her to bother him – but he enjoyed her company and carried on endless conversations with her (many of these one-sided because little girls don’t stay quiet for very long and have SO MUCH to say).  It just smacked me in the face – how much I adore and miss my family, and how important it is for my daughter to know and build a relationship with them, even if there is an age gap.  I also got the smack to the face of how lazy I have been in my attempts to communicated with my family – how I have let them fall by the wayside with my lists of projects I would love to complete but can’t currently afford to.  And that’s the reality that kept me up most of the night Saturday night.  Wanting to have all that time back, wanting to take a week off and go spend it with them to attempt to make up for lost years. 

Unable to imagine the expenses my sister’s family has incurred or how she will provide my nephew with the needed meds and transportation to his doctor’s appointments, I plan to organize a benefit for my nephew in the Houston area.  Not that I have ever done so before, but my sister and her husband are average, ‘blue-collar joes,’ and with the absence of a second income provided by my brother-in-law, I can’t even imagine how defeated she must feel, or how stressed she must stay.  I have to do SOMETHING – she is my family and would stop at nothing if it were my baby and I know that.

So I will go forward from here, a stronger and extremely motivated aunt, who realizes just how much my family truly means to me.

Today is a pretty big day in self discovery.  Not a positive, ‘Woo-hoo!,’ let me stop and pat myself on the back day either.  A disturbing dose of reality as I venture into the whole mental labyrinth of looking inward.  Something I will definitely need to focus on detoxing myself of going forward and am struggling with the idea of putting it out there for all the world to see….  (I know, I know – I am wishing upon a star that ‘all the world’ actually views the mental garbage I spew out on this page…)  What’s even worse is I can’t shake this flaw at the present moment – can’t put it to the side and say I am better than that and move on.  Pathetic – yes; controllable – not presently.  I know I should quit with the build up and move on to what in the world I am talking about, but I am still freaking out a little bit over here.  Still stressin’ out about my probable passing of this gene onto my incredibly independent and already far too outspoken child…  Well, I guess I have to get this over with…  Hello Group.  My name is Brandy and I really, REALLY like to be right.  *sigh of relief and disappointment*  I wish that were all to it, but there is more…  Not only do I really, REALLY like to be right, I really, REALLY like others to know that I was so totally right and they were way WRONG!  Sad, right?  I am that little kid on the Simpsons that follows everything up with, “Hanh-Hanh” in the background, except I will totally do it front and center while pointing and making faces at you.  I am THAT proud of my being right and your being WRONG (did you hear that?  That’s right – you were WRONG as in, Sorry, better luck next time LOSER!).  No, I am not referring to my own opinion being ‘right’ and all others being wrong, so all the fruit loops reading along can go ahead and exhale – you don’t get to jab me repeatedly with comments about my close-mindedness and my being what’s wrong with the world today, blah-blah, save the earth and love all creatures, yada-yada…  Back to the issue at hand…  So at work, this presents a problem, as one could imagine.  Working with women is most often brutal – we are some cut-throat, evil witches when we want to be (and some want to be consistent with that notion just cause misery loves company) - and when you throw in my newly discovered flaw with a hissy, menstruating wench who’s only claim to fame is dishing out what she had never been expected to take, well…  that’s bad.  Combining this miserable experiment gone bad of a human being  with this new-found flaw of mine, as well as my 4500 other flaws to include my insane stubbornness, tendency to run my mouth before registering ruthless words with my brain first, and inability to have patience with stupid people…  well that just makes for a dang-good episode of Jerry Springer by golly!  (For the record I would so go on Jerry Springer long before Dr. Phil – no one really wants me to talk about exactly how or what I am feeling, that’s just going to be painful for the general population, funny to all the sickees that actually get me, and horrifying for the doc himself… LOL!)

So yea, my new task is to defeat my newly-identified flaw, and to attempt to do so without losing my job or surgically sealing my mouth shut (that wouldn’t stop me by the way, I can be just as hateful and jerky – if not more – in an email).  This will be a far more difficult task than it appears on the surface by the way.  I don’t just look for that acknowledgement of, ‘You are exactly right, Brandy.  We will do that going forward.’  I want to be able to pick up the phone and notify the defendant that not only were they WRONG, but I can document 46 different reasons with legitimate evidence  of WHY they were TOTALLY WRONG – like the ‘for-real-real’ WRONG.  (New vocabulary word courtesy of my sweet, sarcastic, adorable, and mouthy little girl.  This would mean one is not kidding, being funny, exaggerating, embellishing, or lying at the moment.)  I am really not liking what this says about my character.  My character being Lucy in the Charlie Brown cartoon, I think.  Wasn’t she the annoying, know-it-all heifer in the blue and black dress that everyone quietly loathed, but feared her enough not to tell her?  Yea, that is so me when it comes to this flaw (yes, I realize that may be me in general, but I am comfortable in my current state of denial).  But in my defense, I do like to take up for the underdog most days too, so do I get some good karma points back for that?  :)

Ugh.  This so means I have become the putrid cuss that my cousin always was growing up.  UGH…  I so hate myself for that – I really can’t stand that hag…  Hmph.  Well, the good news is that makes this particular flaw so much easier to over come because all I have to do is picture who this behavior reminds me of and I can let all my rightness go after I shake off the eebie-jeebies of that mental picture.  WOW!  My VERY FIRST solution discovered via spewing my mental garbage!!  SCORE!!

And then it was blah…

That’s me today.  Blah.  Poo.  Ugh.  Just one of those days.  Something sets you back and you can’t shake off the funk.  I feel stupid for not being able to shake it off because it’s not within my control, I know it’s not, and I have tried giving myself one of the most amazing pep talks one has ever heard, but nope.  Still blah. 

Tuesday afternoon, still have 3 more stinking days of work this week, not having a good day and think I will just sit and pout about it now.  Yep, that’s what I should do.  Plop down on a stool that is entirely to small for my extra-gigantic rumpus with my knees even with my chin, hands on my face, hair a muss, exhaling as if it were all over and I am doomed.  Woe is me…

And now the pathetic self-made avatar slumped on a stool in my head is just annoying me – get over it already titty-baby!  JEEZ.  It could always be worse and when I stop to think of that statement, it ain’t all that bad really.  I am such a whiner – need to work on that…

This is just one of those days that I question everything, much like most of my blah days.  I question my every move and every word, every individual I come across, and even why I got out of bed or why the sun is visible.  One of those brutal days of self-reflection where you think, ‘what in the hell am I doing??!  This isn’t the script I wrote for myself at all!!  What jackass approved these revisions??!!’  Don’t know what my big deal is lately, lots of looking inward, trying to figure myself out or something I guess.  Why I can hear my mother screaming, ‘what in the world were you thinking Brandy Nicole?!’ is beyond me, but I am fairly certain it can’t be good.  What’s funny is I have figured me out, I was just taking a brief hiatus to bury my head in the sand somewhere, but now I gotta figure out how to keep from returning to my flock on a beach in Florida.  How do I keep from reverting back to old habits and taking the easy way out?  (In reality that route isn’t ‘easy’; it’s just the usual, so it’s more comfy.)  Instead of opening the curtains to see the sun like they do in the Maxwell House commercials, I would really like to rip the whole dang set-up off the friggin’ wall and start over.  Stupid curtains never matched much anyway!  (No seriously, they don’t, just  match the cool color of paint on the walls that my girlfriend picked out for a ‘calming’ atmosphere in the bedroom.)  UGH!  You think Thomas Kinkaid ever just all of the sudden scribbled as hard as he could until he broke through the canvas to the other side?  The Mini-Me does that A LOT with her handwriting homework…  For me it’s when I am told to write a note about something I have been told about 14 other times in the past 30 minutes and already set an alarm for in my phone.  Those are never pretty notes.  LOL! 

I hear you loud and clear – why so angry?  Don’t ask, don’t tell is the policy I am going with for this one.  I am just in a funk and with that funk comes a little aggression (just a smidgen).  A bad day usually also entails some kind of verbal confrontation that is never resolved and it’s hard not to be angry when you don’t win!  (Yes, I really did reference ‘winning’ a spat as if there were a score…)  No one likes to lose arguments.  There are those that avoid the argument altogether, those who immediately accept defeat and do as their told, those that pretend not to be aware of the world around them, and then there is me…  The one who will die fighting on a hill all alone to stand up for what they believe to be right.  *Picture a soldier on a hill, American flag waving in the wind, rifle over my shoulder…*  And then there is the me who is in a blah mood, doesn’t want to be jacked with, and is determined to teach the rest of the world a lesson through the first person who ruffles my feathers.  I know, growed ups shouldn’t act this way, but I do what I want (I have my hands on my hips and I am telling you off even if you can’t see me – ha!).

So I think I will take my stubborn will and go for now!  :)

The crazies with their obnoxious, sugar-indulgent children are what makes a craft show entertaining. Those that never dress their age, those that never dress their size, and then some that just refuse to get dressed altogether. They are usually attracted by the advertisement of free food and kids activities. And when did matching your spouse become appropriate or cool? Especially when its loud and worn by someone who needed no assistance in drawing attention to themselves. And when the whole family matches – that’s just hysterical! You are in public, not a family portrait, and you are cruising around a small community craft show in loud matching shirts with your last name strewn across as if it were a popular brand..? LOL! I think some people bring their kids just for the sole purpose of having a ‘babysitter.’. Or maybe its social hour for some of the soccer moms and the kids spending time together acting like heathens is labeled as a playdate? Either way, you learn that the majority of the population does not discipline or even acknowledge the existence or their children. In some cases this even leads to the total destruction of displays without any consequence! Comical and disgusting to witness all at the same time (unless of course it is your display that is destroyed). Sadly the parents usually find it comical and entertaining as well… They usually have their hair spray-painted to match their kids too so you aren’t shocked when you find the adult responsible.

But there are those attendees that make your day as well. So adorable and sweet, holding hands and enjoying the beautiful weather. And when you find those wonderful people to also be a vendor, they usually have handmade, durable, one-of-a-kind items available for purchase. Like handquilted casserole covers or personal artistic creations with intricate frames. The kinds of things you find impressive because of the work they personally put into it. Those people are who keep such events successful.

New is often not good.  You have that whole wedding superstitious saying that I don’t get that a bride is supposed to have, ‘Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,’ but that’s not actually what I am talking about.  (Why blue?  Why not red, the color associated with love?  Blue is sad, right?  Why do I have to borrow something from somebody else?  What if their marriage is absolute torture but they never tell you?  Does that mean you will be tortured?)

Moving right along.  New is sometimes fresh, sometimes fun, sometimes expensive, sometimes a fad, sometimes impulsive and careless, but it is ALWAYS different.  Different means change and everyone says ‘change is good,’ but it’s usually the person who is not going through any changes that thinks it’s so grand.  Change makes me nervous a lot of times, especially when it is planned.  If it’s fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants change, I tend to roll with it (I never got that saying either, by the way).  I don’t have time to stress over it because BAM! Something is changing…  But I am a bit of an anxious person so almost all change that is ‘upcoming’ makes me nutzo!  Not only does it make me nutzo, but I love to procrastinate when change is coming so I tend to make others nutzo as well.  All that means of course is that the Earth is still rotating the proper direction because if I wasn’t jacking up some plans for someone or procrastinating to the point of total chaos, well we would all be off-balance or something.  Nights would come before days (which already kind of happens in a sense) and we would be rotating the opposite direction…  Wonder if that would make us walk backwards..?  No, maybe not…  I think that would happen if we had a rewind button for our day though…

So you need a coping mechanism because change ‘is what it is’ and frankly that saying (and the reality of it) totally sucks.  I would make for a fabulous alcoholic if I were independently wealthy due to some winery I lived on and didn’t have this lousy, broken liver, but I don’t get to be I guess.  Smokers lose a lot of their sense of smell and I am all about some smells so I can’t fly that route either….  Let’s see…  what else could I do to cope with the stress…  I already enjoy exercising and being outdoors, so that’s not helping me there.  Books are out when I am taking college hours (couldn’t hate them more when I have a class going on) and cooking makes me eat and the whole broken liver thing comes back into play followed by 10 extra pounds of caboose….  SO I guess I just get to suck it up and deal with it (what an absurd concept, right?).  So yes, change still blows. 

It can be major or minute, but change sucks.  Change that affects other people’s lives – SERIOUSLY stressful, especially when it’s your baby.  Who knew parenting could be doubly miserable because not only does your baby hurt, but you hurt for your baby..?  Weird.  I mean I know it’s supposed to be that way, but no one tells you how tears from your child who really did just smash a window or paint a wall with shoe polish will make your heart hurt as you do everything you can not to scream obscenities at them…  There’s no brochure to refer to when you hate yourself for losing your temper, grit your teeth to keep from spanking them senseless, or when the tears well up in your eyes as you dish out a well deserved punishment.  So what do you do to keep from showing those tears and be sure you stick to your guns?  Don’t tell me count to ten because 1462 doesn’t even work for me – total crap theory there. 

So you just hunker down and weather the storm right?  (Wow I am coming up with nothing but clichés today!)  What about initiating the chaos?  You know something has to give, but you don’t have patience to wait for it, don’t want to deal with the drama of the change, or suffer the consequences of hurting someone you care for - what do you do then?  Too many unknown variables, right?  X + Y = Y + X.  Well no sh*t stupid, now give me something I can work with!

Here’s another thing to ponder: have you ever been truly happy?  IF you have, what changed to get you there?  (You weren’t born that way, don’t give me that line of crap!)  And I don’t mean fine or good, not okay or gettin’ by, but HAPPY.  Like you honestly enjoy someone or something to your core and even when something doesn’t go right, you still know where you want to be, you still know what you want.  When it ISN’T a gravy train and you’re mad, disappointed, and hurt you are still able to put someone who makes you happy before yourself.  It’s really an unspeakable feeling within.  It grabs you by the throat, kicks you in the gut, and shakes you senseless but I promise you will beg to feel it again.  *Sidenote: For all of those saying they make a decision everyday to be happy, don’t bother responding, you are full of crap and you, me, and the rest of the pessimists in the world all know it.  You can whistle and skip along claiming to be this rainbow loving, peachy individual who just wants to see the rest of the population in love and smiling but deep down you know you are miserable in some form or fashion and if you don’t, well the population won’t get to know you during your stay in the padded cell, so it won’t matter anyway.*  Take a step back and look in on yourself though, seriously….  Do you like what you see?  Is it okay or fine with you, or do you get giddy when you think of your life and you absolutely cannot stand yourself because you are just sick with excitement?  Do you feel accomplished and worthy?  When you don’t feel those things is when you need a change.  Granted you still probably won’t want it, misery is still comfy when it’s part of your routine, but life isn’t near long enough to hang out and sulk in your own misery.  If you croaked tomorrow (knock on wood all you crazies who just read that) would your list of desires be longer than your list of accomplishments?  Change can be good when you want it bad enough, when you need it, or when you just finally accept it and run with it.  When happy feels weird and foreign and your determined that there is something to it that will ultimately lead to your demise, it’s time to accept that you are wrong and let it go already!  Stubbornness doesn’t pay off nearly as much as you would like to think.

Just Stuff on a Friday

Random Friday thoughtin’…  Sometimes you come up with great plans and projects to accomplish over the weekend, setting goals for yourself and standing in your superman stance with a bright lights glowing around you and ‘dunt-da-dauh’ blasting in the background as you stare up at in the sky in thought and congratulate yourself on a thought well thoughted.  Sometimes on Friday its a massive 15-way train wreck just trying to happen in my head, ideas darting and pushing around, grocery list items faintly shimmering in the background, laundry cascading down from the hamper onto the floor, and clouds of pillows illuminated by soft, angelic light.  And then sometimes the sugar in the Friday donuts runs out and my eyelids are drooping lower and lower while anything thought-worthy takes a detour, disappearing into nothingness.  That’s today.  I think.  I have a clouds of pillows floating through there as well, but mostly its my focusing on mentally communicating with my optic nerve (just a heads up, the optic nerve apparently has no means of receiving communications).

And sometimes you crash-land in the middle of Saturday having never finished your Friday thoughts…  That’s me today, but I can happily look to sky with pride like Linda Carter did as SuperWoman because I accomplished a lot this morning!  Yep, I sure did.  Did the Saturday cleaning for about 4 hours this morning and am crashing and burning now as I contemplate taking a late afternoon nap.  I want one, but then again I don’t.  I would prefer to be more productive, but my smushy pillow I snuggle with is whispering to me, ‘Brandy…..  Brraaaanndddyyyy….  You know you want me to snuggle you….’  Pathetic, I know – The voices in my head were failing miserably so some of my favorite possessions are now taking over. 

103 degrees with 100%  humidity in Texas is never motivating.  You have to suck down gallons of water and try to muscle through, but either way you end up totally drained by the end of the afternoon.  And things like going to the movies are a great idea, except that hundreds of other sweaty parents with their screaming infants and sneaky tweens thought of that long before you did.  Translation = 60% humidity in an 80 degree movie theater with too many kids and severe oversale of sugary items (a.k.a., hell on earth). 

I am sure you are all screaming at the screen to pack up and take my lazy butt to the pool.  Genius idea, right?  Wrong!  My neighborhood has 2 different pools and both are warmer than the baby pool that all the kids love to potty in…  Been there, tried that.  Even keeping your body completely submerged doesn’t keep you cool.  I think I remember my parents complaining about that a time or two when I was a kid, and my thinking they were crazy, but now that I am a parent and a little more sensitive to heat I know exactly what they were talking about!

So we are indoors for the day – 2 girls are in the back bedroom playing with makeup and dress up while a nephew plays Wii.  We tried the swing set outside, but the girls could only last about 30 minutes before panting heavier than the dogs.  With a few loads of laundry left I should be motivated to just get it done, but I think my smushy pillow may have talked me into a nap fer now!

Really bad…  Like bad-bad, not funny-ha, ha bad, the real-deal bad…  I think it’s easier to do because there aren’t any crowds during a work day and you can lolly-gag while you browse – and when I say browse, I mean look, touch, hold every single item, glance at the price tag and ponder if it’s worth it….  Mmmm….  That’s how I like to shop.  I shop so that when I come home I can already explain why any items purchased were necessity and not some silly impulse buy that we will never use.  The kind of shopping where you can stand in the middle of the store and call your credit card company to check the balance without being in someone’s way or having them stalk you for the only size 10 on the clearance rack that you happen to be clutching.  And you even have time to pause and double-check the bank account balance by phone to be sure you can’t sneak a clearance pair of shoes under the radar.  That for me is shopping love…  And probably the only way or time I ever enjoy shopping.  Yep, that’s right, not a big fan of the shopping sprees.  1st because I am crazy when it comes to my savings account and 2nd because I really don’t like interacting with large groups of stupid people.  I would break my definition of ‘stupid’ down for you, but I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings because my definition today could be drastically different from the definition of stupid for tomorrow or next week.  I know, you think I need to be consistent with that, so I will tell you I consistently don’t like to involve myself with large groups of stupid people.  Moving on…

What was I talking about?  Oh, right… Careless shopping during a workday.  It’s such a fabulous feeling until you realize you are approaching your credit limit!  Kind of a thrill too because it’s like you are being bad…  You didn’t go to work and you are sneaking into stores and quietly buying things while your hubby is at work – so cool.  He calls to ask what you are up to and without even stuttering you reply instantly with, ‘Just hanging out, what about you?’  Then he gets focused on his story and forgets all about asking you WHERE you are hanging out – hee, hee.  Plus, I typically buy for other people…  Other people’s children really, so it’s like I am doing a good deed instead of mindlessly spending money.  My charitable contributions come in the form of clearance merchandise, so I am stimulating the economy AND giving back to those in need!  WOO-HOO!  (Here the definition of ‘in need’ varies about as drastically as the definition of ‘stupid.’)  And a number of retailers are putting their summer stuff on clearance already to make room for the long-sleeved, warm attire we rarely even use in Texas.  Seriously – having anything made of wool or with long sleeves on shelves in Texas before October is just stupid (see, yet another variation of the definition)!  That aggravates the heck out of me too – looking for a nice blouse to go with some slacks and the only you can find on shelves in September (still in the upper 90′s here) is a turtleneck!!???  What sense does that make??  So being off in August and September during the day probably won’t be horrible for my checkbook…  Unless I find some leftover summer clearance… I should just plan on going to work everyday.  Ugh.

I don’t just do shoe and clothes shopping either.  I am a shopping camelion when I want to be and can shift gears right into something hubby had talked about months ago.  (For those who have to be sneaky – good purchases for hubby also mask the new shoe boxes in the closet.)  He randomly mentions some crazy tool (or toy) he wanted to look at or buy and I commit it to memory for use in my shopping future.  I spent a couple hundred on new stuff for the mini-me and the nieces and nephews, BUT remember that shelving you loved at Lowe’s?  Can you help me unload that stuff Sweetie?  (*batting eyelashes*)  And then WAH-LA!  The bags from Dillard’s and Kohl’s have magically vanished.  If you see he hesitates, follow-up with a, ‘Did you want me to help you get that up tomorrow Sweetie?  Or should I just pick up a case of beer and some brats for you and your buddy to have while you’re working?’  And just when he is trying to figure out why you bought those shelves for him, his attention is totally diverted to the beer and garbage food like a bloodhound on a scent – completely unaware of the surroundings.  Time in garage, with buddies and beer?!!  He is already on his man-date in his mind, planning out what funny things to say or do.  Lol!

For the next pay period you wipe out the house bills first and throw $50 at your credit card even though the statement hasn’t come out yet – slightly minimizes the blowout later.  Ha!

For those of you that know me, this isn’t going to be a rant about how old and tired I am considering I am the youngest of all my friends and I don’t want the harassment on how I have no idea what old is…  This is me poking fun at myself and how I have come to realize that I AM getting older.

Memorial Day Weekend was a HUGE event when I was younger, the ‘official’ beginning of summer - friends of every size, age, county and psych ward would come together for a weekend of fun in the sun on the lake.  We would kick every morning off on the boat while the lake was still and the drunks hadn’t made it out of bed yet, only to become beached drunks by lunch time, playing volleyball in the water to prevent a high number of injuries.  After breaks of cheese dip and chips with gallons of water, we were gone on the boats and waverunners again, looking for a party on the water or thinking of new stupid stunts to try (like jumping off of cliffs that also served as golf course greens).  We were literally in the water or on the boat from sun up to sun down, then showered up and carried on with our mayhem into the wee hours of the morning only to crash and start all over the next morning.  It was a blast!  If you felt like hammered poop the next morning, just have a shot or two with your cheesy eggs and bacon slabs and you were back in bidness (and possibly still tipsy).  Don’t get me wrong – we weren’t a bunch of raging drunks terrorizing families with tubing children all summer long – we kept our wits about us on the lake and annoyed the neighbors with our music and partying on the pier and in the water (stationery).  We maintained this craziness for several years, with our most entertaining weekends being Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends (the ‘official’ end of summer).  And then we grew up… sort of…

For most of us, marriage and children took us away from our wild summer weekends, that or physical injuries that could no longer be nursed with liquor or beer, and we began to see each other less and less.  It’s been several summers now since I last got the volleyball net out or hauled a stereo down to the pier atop a cooler full of beer, but this past weekend I thought it was time to relive some of the fun had in our ‘water sports’ and climbed onto a tube that was being pulled by a pontoon boat… 

This is actually already laughable because in years past we had ski boats and waverunners to drag us around the lake, but due to the weekend goal being shifted to relaxation instead of extreme water sports (or punishment for some), I was now hoping that a pontune boat could drag my much heavier body around on the lake.  My daughter thought she was ready to give it a try (and refused to go solo of course), but after less than 5 minutes of the especially choppy water (thanks to the Memorial Day crowd) she was over it and ready to join the grandparents in the boat.  I swam us back to the boat (I don’t remember my legs ever burning when swimming the length of a ski rope before…?) and one of my closest friends whom I had grown up with on the water strapped on a life vest and plopped onto the tube beside me.  We were so excited to tear up the water again for the first time in who knows how long, giggling the whole time the boat was pulling slack out of the ski rope.  (Keep in mind that we originally started doing this stuff together 20+ years ago and neither of us is ‘petite’ – me being 6′ while she is somewhere in the range of 5’9″ – 5’10″.)

As the boat takes off we realize it will take some maneuvering to help get this tube on top of the water (the first sign we are getting too old for this) and grunt and groan as we pull ourselves forward to the front of the tube, coaching each other so we don’t flip over the front and suffer from severe rope burn.  Sadly, I was tossed off within the first 5 minutes of this slower, larger boat dragging us around.  It was pretty choppy and I think I caught a wave wrong, similar to what happens when someone steals your bounce on a trampoline, or at least that’s the story I am sticking to for now.  My counterpart gave me crap while the boat brought the tube back around (we still have the pact of ‘if I fall, you fall’) and then we attempted our tube mount without the boat to stabilize us.  Surprisingly enough, we were successful, but not without plenty of grunts, strains, and elbow grease to get us on the tube and stable.  (Funny, yet a little sad…?)

Our second go of it lasted longer and was twice as painful.  I hung on even after my muscles caught on fire, burned out, and went numb – I was determined to last longer than before, regardless of how many times my Dad slung us outside of the wake and sent us crashing into the waves of other boats.  I even knew enough about how to keep us from flipping over that when he sling shotted us across the wake to the other side, I basically threw my body into the water, leaving only my hands and fiery forearms on the tube to get myself back on.  (Brilliant idea to keep us from rolling over in the creepy area we called ‘Alligator Cove’ growing up, but my daredevil counterpart had to assist in my sad effort to once again claim position on the tube…)

I’m not sure if we actually made a full five minutes on the second go-round, but I was sure that the aches, pains, and old people bruises I had collected were proof enough of the fun we had.  (You know what I mean when I say old people bruises – looks bloody just beneath the skin, is multiple shades of purple and blue, and looks far more painful and ugly than your typical bump or bruise..?)  We vowed to spend weeks in the gym working out our arms before attempting this again next year, and whimpered when my Dad suggested that the ladder may not work and we would need to pull ourselves into the boat (ha, ha Dad!).  My husband, parents, and daughter giggled, chuckled, and flat-out belly laughed for at least 20 minutes, and then told the story repeatedly to neighbors, friends, family members, and probably any random stranger they have encountered in the grocery store this week.  I keep telling myself that they are just jealous because they couldn’t (or didn’t) try it, but somehow that doesn’t necessarily sound right…  

The drive home was absolutely hysterical as I cracked myself up thinking of how ridiculous I am sure we looked and how I thought I was owning that tube for the brief 4 to 6 minutes I managed to stay on it.  I remember my brother intentionally trying to launch me 10-15 feet in the air when we were younger, dragging me behind a ski boat, and me wearing gloves and refusing to let go just to prove to him I could outlast his erratic driving and run the boat smooth out of gas before he could ever toss me.  The number of bruises determined the amount of fun you had – the more the better – and the gloves only came in after I had bloodied my knuckles a time or two from not letting go.  And even though as I read it I cringe in pain, it truthfully made up some of the best summers ever.  We marveled at each other’s bruises and hit it even harder the next day, seeking revenge or just a good laugh as our bodies flailed through the air and we crashed into waves…  I am actually kind of determined to enjoy this family sport once again and challenge my brother to a duel, but will have to put some money in savings for the physical therapy later.  LOL!

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