Friday, October 28, 2011

Anthony Bourdain vs. Eric Ripert

For some unexplained reason, I have a crush on Anthony Bourdain.  In my book, anybody who can use snark so effectively AND get paid for it, is a genius.  Plus, he's survived eating warthog anus in Namibia, so he's obviously tough as nails (surprisingly, since his spindly frame makes him look as frail as a 96 year old great-grandmother navigating the freshly waxed halls of her rest home with her tennis ball tipped walker).   He came to speak in Durham a few years back and J forgot to get tickets (I know--doghouse for a loooong time over that one).  When my fabulous friend Lisa told me Bourdain, along with his friend Eric Ripert, were coming to Charlotte, it was mandatory that we attend.  Either that, or J would have to build a much larger doghouse.

Tickets acquired, we parked half a mile away with about 10 minutes to spare.  J sprinted to the place like he was a fat kid running to the last call at the Golden Corral buffet.  I had on my fabulous red patent leather heels and tried to keep up with him.  I even debated taking them off and going barefoot, but the ick factor was too much--I'd rather look like a baby giraffe having seizures while on ice skates than succumb to some feet entering parasitic worms.

The Blumenthal Center is massively massive.  Turns our out seats were so far away, I think we sat on the top of the parking garage from where we'd just sprinted.  Perhaps my favorite part were the boxes on the sides:
Brought back memories of Statler & Waldorf from The Muppet Show

The first half of the show was good.  Anthony asking Eric questions in the hot seat and vice versa.

Looks like our seats weren't too bad from this pic.  Here's the pic without the mega zoom.

See how tiny they are there?  That's how far away we were.  For the record, that's Anthony standing and Eric sitting.  At least I think it is.  They could be stagehands dressed accordingly, or even puppets (as far as I could tell).  In case you don't know what they look like in person, I snapped a pic of the program.

If my Picnik editing skills were any better, I'd put these heads onto those stick figures on the stage, but they stink, so we're just left to imagine what they looked like close up.

The Q&A session was funny and very entertaining.  These two play very well off each other.  I dare say that Ripert stole the spotlight from Bourdain with his charming accent and impeccable timing.  I'm not officially going on record as saying that because Tony probably has his minions and they know people, know what I'm saying?

Unlike sports, where the first half is played just to get to the second half, Good Vs. Evil was better with just the first half.  After the questions on the hot seat, they settled into two cushy looking chairs, popped open drinks and forgot they were there to entertain us.  I think they discussed things as sustainability and farm to table, but I zoned out.  As J put it, yes, these are topics which need discussion, but not in that arena.  We paid to be entertained and to badly quote Nirvana--here we are now, entertain us!  We paid $90 for those stinking seats.  If we want to hear those debates, we can listen to Lynn Rosetto Casper and the Splendid Table for free on NPR!

Luckily Lulu must have felt that I needed entertaining, as she started sending me texts.  She had pulled a tooth and her fish died.  At least it kept me from going to sleep.  Once the questions from the audience started (which, should have been more appropriately called "fan gushing"), we beat a hasty retreat.  After all, we had to hurry home to perform a burial at sea and ensure that all things were set to go for the arrival of the Tooth Fairy.

I'm very glad that I finally got to see Tony.  At least what I think might have been him.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wrecked 'Em? I Darned Near Killed 'Em!

I visit the Cakewrecks blog on a daily basis (except for the time when I was on medication that made me crave cupcakes--no sense in adding fuel to that fire).  For those of you who haven't checked it out, Cakewrecks is all about professionally decorated cakes that have gone horribly awry.  While I realize that it sounds sophomoric to make fun of other people's endeavors, the truth of the matter is they are professionals trying to make people pay for crap and need to be called out on it.   When I saw that the Cakewrecks girl was coming to Concord Mills for a book signing, I knew I had to go.  I also enlisted my trusty best friend and sidekick, Mary Margaret.

We knew we just couldn't merely show up, sit the middle, listen to what she had to say & then drive back home for tea and finger sandwiches. Heck no! We are more beer and burgers kinda gals--go big or go home!    For this opportunity, we were pulling out all the stops.  Not only were we going to show up, we were going to sit on the front row AND we were going to enter a cupcake in the Wreckerating contest, whereby contestants recreated one of the wrecks on the blog in cupcake form.  That was going to be the hard part--choosing which one of the myriad of wrecks to recreate in miniature, or so I thought.  Then I came across this gem:

Yes, a badly done and decapitated Dora the Explorer.  Then I realized that I had the perfect homage to my best friend, Mary Margaret.  See, her turd of an ex-husband brought their marriage to an early end by running around with a Mexican (sorry, Dominican).  What other better gift could I give to her than a figurative Mexican (sorry, Dominican) head in a box?  So the Sound and Fury and I got busy making our own badly done Dora.  I threw in a reference to Steel Magnolias and made it out of red velvet cake, just for added  ickiness.
Mary Margaret brought along her cheesy version--mice and poop clamoring over "cheese"

The great irony of this is that she made pretty much the same cake for her sister in law's birthday back in February.  The leftover sprinkles and gummy mice from that cake came in handy!

We showed up, claimed our front row seat (and then ran off to eat some really bad Chinese food) and then settled in to let the festivities begin.  The slide show and talk by Jen were funny--I cracked up at the "you're tolerable" writing on a cake.  I think that may be my new motto--I'm tolerable.  Then the judging began.  To my surprise, my pitiful looking Dora was the first one called up.  I was up there with a girl who had painstakingly recreated a pregnant torso cake in fondant (which must have taken her hours) and a lady who made the un-iced wedding cake (which must have taken her seconds).  Due to my begging, pleading and groveling I was voted the winner and undisputed champeen of the badly decorated cupcakes! I brought home bragging rights, a Cakewrecks apron and a carrot jockey necklace.

Plus, I had Jen sign my book:

And to celebrate, we did what every grown woman would--we went to Dave & Buster's and acted like 12 year olds, provided that 12 year olds could drink beer.

We spent a whole $5 to get our card and ended up winning enough tickets to earn a Laffy Taffy.  Just one.  Yeah, we're that good.

For Mary Margaret's take on the evening, see her blog post here.  She has a real job and therefore doesn't have the unemployed leisure time that I do, so she keeps her posts succinct and zingy.  Whereas, I like to pretend I'm a professional writer and get paid by the word.  Think of hers as the Cliff Notes version!

Cakewrecks Blog

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Avast matey!

My kids are constantly leaving me surprises around the house.  Kinda like cats, only the surprises aren't dead mice.

Here's what I walked into our nautical themed half bath to see:

What's that?  You don't get it?  Our quintet of seafarers have turned into sailors on shore leave.  Look closely:

These two look like they are conducting a nefarious deal on the corner.

While these two look like they've had a wee bit too much grog and are relieving themselves in a dark alley.

Good thing I didn't have any Barbies in there too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You'll Put Your Eye Out

Here's what I have to contend with.

Scene:  Kitchen.  Late afternoon.  Mom just beginning to cook the evening meal.

Enter:  Lulu, obviously in pain

Lulu:  Ow, my eye!  It burns!  It buuuurrrnnnnsss!!!!!!

Me (nonplussed--accustomed to theatrics):  What happened?

Lulu:  I got soap in it!!!!!

Me (ready to get back to cooking dinner): Put a wet washcloth on it.

Enter:  Little sister

Pey (smug and feeling highly superior to her sister and tattles in a sing song manner):  Lulu was putting magic marker on her eyes.

Me:  Why on earth would you put magic marker on your eyes??

Lulu:  It's ok! It's the washable magic markers.

Me:  Once again, with a drawer full of Sephora makeup, why on earth would you put magic marker on your eyes???

Lulu (shrugging):  Not sure.  I had some time to kill.

And.  Scene.

Ace Denver

One of J's biggest clients is Ace Hardware.  You know, the place with the "helpful hardware man".  The great irony of Ace is that even though they have established themselves as the cute little neighborhood hardware store, they are indeed a leviathan in the hammer arena.  Twice a year they hold trade shows for all of their cute little stores to attend and see all the lines which sell to Ace.  Thousands upon thousands of people attend these shows and the trade floor is MASSIVE.  Usually these shows are held in interesting spots that I've never been to and I beg to tag along.  I ain't too proud to beg, especially when a trip is on the line.

Ace is the place with the helpful hardware frog.

J still owed me big time from missing our anniversary while he was on a business trip to China, plus he amassed a truckload of frequent flier miles on that trip.  I did what every good wife would do--I whined and begged and pleaded my case until he finally caved and traded in some of those frequent fliers.  I got my mom & grandma on board to come keep the Sound & the Fury for the extended weekend.  I left a long and detailed list as to which girl was supposed to be delivered where and when, threw my toothbrush in a bag, filled my Kindle and took off with J to the Mile High City.

The first day J had to set up the booth, so Spotty & I went to help him (what--who's Spotty?  Only the Godwin family froggy mascot and world traveler extraordinare).  I snuck in on a badge that said "Wes" and although I'm pretty sure I don't look like a "Wesley", nobody paid me any attention. I'm not sure how much help I was, but I at least wore my glasses and tried to look busy.  The plan-o-gram schematic that shows product placement was way too small to read so I just color coordinated the toilet chemicals.  We got it knocked out in about an hour and decided to go tour the city.

His webbed feet were a hindrance when it came to putting the pegs in the peg board.
We decided on a Grayline tour of Denver.  It sounded great--3 hours of a guided tour and they came to pick you up from your hotel.  Sadly, the hotel pickup was the highlight of the tour.  Our tourguide turned out to be a pompous blowhard, who instead of merely informing us about the history, he smugly asked a question and then when we wouldn't answer would reply in the same condescending tone usually reserved for kindergarten playgrounds and accompanied by "neener, neener, neener".  I was surprised he didn't stick his tongue out for emphasis.  Of course we didn't know the answers--we were paying him $35 a pop to enlighten us! Come to NC, buddy--I'll show you who knows history!  It wouldn't have been so bad if he had actually been correct in his browbeating us.  I'm pretty sure that when he said Pope Paul, he actually meant Pope John Paul II, when referring to the pope who visited Denver in the 90's.  I highly doubt Denver was even on the map back when Pope Paul reigned in the 700's.  Be the tour bleak as it was, at least Spotty got some good shots.

On the bus, ready to roll.

The sundial at Cranmer Park.
Denver skyline in the background.
Denver Natural History Museum
State Capitol

We happened to arrive in Denver at the same time the Occupy Denver movement was going strong.  The first two days they were relegated to the area in front of the capital.  Once the police started to disband the movement, the movement moved down to march on 16th and 17th street.  J worked Saturday and I was out and about on my own (shipping car wax back home via UPS--hey, it was free and who can't use some wax?; deciding where to spend J's money and thinking of where I was going to eat lunch).  I ducked into a cute Italian place and had perhaps the best bolognese I've ever had here in the US.  When the cappucino came, so did the crowd of protesters.  I'm from small town NC & have never seen the likes of such.  To be honest, I have never seen police in full riot gear and it was very unsettling.  Not scary, just unsettling.  I was about the only customer in the place at that time, so I took my coffee up front and watched alongside the waitstaff.    

Courtesy of

Perhaps had the protest not been going on or perhaps had the tour left us with a feel for the place, I would have been sorrier to go back home.  I found that I missed the Sound & the Fury.  I was glad to get away, but I was even happier to return.  I'm not saying that I wouldn't try a Mulligan trip--a literal do over.  I just have to beg J for more frequent fliers and like I said, I ain't above doing that!

Some good points--wonderful Italian food at Panzano and really cute earrings!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Taking the Zoo to the Zoo

I have done my good deed for the day.  Week.  Month, even.  Heck, I may have very well done the last good deed I'll ever do.  So don't ask me for anything else.  Ever.

Pey's class was supposed to take a field trip to the zoo this past Thursday when I was in Denver, but with rain threatening, they postponed it until today.  Yesterday the doofus in me took over and made me sign the sheet saying that I was free to come along.  Maybe it was jetlag.  Maybe it was the high altitude in Denver that deprived my brain cells of oxygen.  Maybe I was still in shock from almost being run over by the occupy Denver protest.  Not sure.  What I am sure of is that I got more than I had bargained for.

My day started off on the wrong foot when I realized that even though we are card carrying members of the NC Zoological Society, our card had been carried to Portland, OR with J.  Not that I'm cheap, but I really didn't want to have to pay $10 to get inside, just to herd kids around.  As far as I'm concerned, they should be paying me to do that.  I remembered to use all my Southern charm and manners and thankfully the lady at the gate let me in.  I say it was my charm and manners, but in reality, she could have just wanted our loud group of kids to go away and would do anything to expedite her return to quiet.

I had chaperoned previously with Lulu's second grade class--two other girls beside Lulu. It was literally a walk in the park.  They were nice and calm and quiet.  We held hands and skipped. No, not really, but in hazy retrospect it feels like it.  Today my Group #3 was comprised of four kids--two boys and two girls. Not just any two boys--two boys who are repeat behavioral offenders.   Their little good behavior bees have been known to buzz out of the happy behavior hive (or so I'm informed by Pey).  I was worried when the teacher gave one of them a pep talk to behave for me.  From the second their teacher threw up her hands in defeat and told us to meet at the lunch shelter at noon, my Group #3 was off.  Free range kids, given free range over the zoo's two continents--North America and Africa.  I was scared worse than the proverbial deer in the headlights.  Let's face it, I'm not Kate Gosselin nor Octomom.  The two kids I carried for a total of 18 months and that  put every stretch mark and most of the gray hair on me, are more than I can handle--even on a good day.  Here I was faced with FOUR kids that somebody stupidly entrusted me to not lose.

Today I was faced with twice as much work.  I can usually keep one eye on each of my own personal kids (yeah, I'm kinda chamelon-esque in that regard).  I had twice as many kids so I was going cross eyed at times.  I could have used three extra sets of eyes and a tape recorder to record me saying over and over the following including, but not limited to:

  • "Walk!"
  •  "No running!"
  • "Don't get so far ahead!"
  • "Stay with me!"
  •  "Yes, we have to walk and are NOT taking the tram"
  •  "No, I don't have your lunch with me"
  • "No, I don't have a quarter for the viewmaster"
  •  "Stop crawling on the ground"
  • "Put that rock down"
  • "Stop saying 'poop'."
  • "Yes, I see that the baboons have red butts".  

I couldn't believe all the whining, "I'm hot", "I'm tired", "I'm hungry"--and that was just from me!  I am accustomed to being responsible for my two and only my two kids.  They know better than to run far ahead.  They know better than to climb up on everything.  They know not to push the whining button.  They KNOW!

Thankfully the zoo has water fountains everywhere and they were the only things that made the kids stop long enough for me to catch my breath.  Actually, they stopped at every fountain.  If they ever switch to harder drinks, there is a lot of AA in the future. I was shocked and slightly embarrassed when one of the kids in the group said an ugly word to the kind, retired lady who was trying to explain that a rhino's horn is made up of lots of hairs fused together.  Hopefully she took it as a sign of how shocked and amazed he was at learning that interesting fact.  Maybe in his culture, that's how they react to all great facts learned.  Who am I to question other cultures?

Another thing I learned was that these kids are natural hams.  Every time I tried to get a pic of Pey, they'd jump in there too, along with the good old bunny ears move.

The school has stringent rules about publishing pics.  Since I'm too lazy to get in touch with the other parents for permission, the kids are pixalated and cartooned.
Thankfully noon came and we met back at the picnic shelter for lunch.  I had squeezed every second out of the two hours I was allotted.  Those kids weren't going to complain that I didn't let them see things.  They came to see animals and by golly, I made them see animals!!  We missed some good chunks of the zoo (such as the gorillas and thankfully the snakes), but I did what I could with those two hours.  I was able to sign Pey out and we went to Chic Fil A.  I had earned it.  A mere peanut butter sandwich wasn't going to cut it.  I needed diet lemonade and lots of it!

Next time I volunteer, it will be for a trip where the kids are on leashes.  And muzzled.

My favorite part--the ride home from Chic Fil A!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hot Stuff

We suffer from the 4th of July curse.  Our house punishes us for leaving it and rebels against us.  Not sure why, because it's not like we treat the house like a temple or talk in quiet, reverent tones when we're here.  At any rate, rather than enjoying the quiet, the appliances get together to plot their revenge.  Over the course of the last five years we have returned home to discover that the water heater, dishwasher, a/c unit and siding decided to draw straws and take turns dying off to give us a warm "welcome home"--particularly warm when the a/c died.  This year we thought that the curse was merely going to effect the Expedition, which died on the road to the beach.  Nope.  Apparently the appliances weren't going to be upstaged by a vehicle and they were determined to keep on dying off at their yearly rate.  This time the stove drew the short straw and went belly up.

Personally, I wasn't too broken up.  After working at the chocolate shop for four years and spending the majority of my time in front of a stove, I now hate to cook.  As far as I was concerned, the stove was giving me a free pass to avoid cooking.  Granted, I did miss the occasional frozen pizza, but I quickly learned how to cut it up & cook it in the toaster oven.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, or in this case desperately measuring half of a pizza to lop off to cook.

My mom and grandmother will be coming up to stay with the Gruesome Twosome while I venture out with J to Denver.  My grandmother is a cooking fiend and we knew that she is way too classy to cook anything with a mere microwave and a toaster oven.  J was far more excited about the prospect of a new stove than I was, so he put himself to the task of researching and reading reviews.  Unless the stove came with a personal cook, my only request was that it be white to match the new kitchen.  I can get excited about lipstick and read reviews until the cows come home, but I just can't muster up that level of enthusiasm for an appliance (unless we're talking about a coffee maker and in that case, there isn't enough bandwidth for me to read all the reviews).

Like everything else we encounter, the new stove gave us a hard time.  Our previous stove was a built in cabinet model, in wonderful 1985 almond tones (note the sarcasm on the "wonderful" part).  I didn't get a true "before" pic of the old stove, but here is one that appeared in an AOL pictoral a few years back about regular folks & their kitchens.
Looking stupid forever in the annals of AOL.
For starters, the plug box-y thing didn't have a plug.  We had to get an electrician out to fix the box-y thing.
Yeah, that box thing.
Not only was the box-y thing not compatible, neither was our counter.  The opening was 29" and the stove was 30".  I guess even stoves have put on a little weight over the past few years.  We called my father in law out and for the next hour or so, J & he measured & cut.

It didn't go smoothly.  The counter was so hard that one of the blades created so much friction that it scorched the wood.  The whole house smelled like s'mores, so that was a bonus. I may or may not have heard an invective or two tossed around in there, but I was goofing off on the internet, so I wasn't paying too close of attention.   Even after all their hard work, the stove still wouldn't fit all the way back into the opening--so much for our cabinets being square.  We have a carpenter coming out after the flooring is laid to do new counter tops and backsplash, so he'll get it flush with the wall.  Until then, there is a 4" gap between the wall and the stove.  Which totally agrees with me--it gives me a good excuse to not cook!  Can't run the risk of having stuff fall back there--right? Right??

Somebody needs to tell J my theory.  He is actually excited about the new stove & broke it in by cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Showoff.

I'll be more excited when this project is done:

41 boxes of flooring

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Carolina History & Haunts Tour

When I booked our babysitter for last night, I had thought we'd be going to see Irma Vep at the Triad Stage.  We drug our feet too long and by the time we went to buy tickets on Friday (yes, the night before the show-I know. I know), they had sold out.  J found another playhouse in Greensboro with an awesome sounding play (4 people playing 150 characters--at first glance, it sounds like a really bad version of Sybil without her meds, but hey, I wanted to see how they'd pull it off).  Once again, sold out.  Since we didn't want to waste a prime opportunity to sneak away from the Sound and Fury, J was challenged to find something to do, other than the typical dinner and movie.  He came across the Carolina History & Haunts walking tour of downtown Greensboro.  We have done ghost tours in almost every town we visit, mainly to get the stories, not because we are honest to goodness believers and being in our backyard, it sounded like a winner.  However, they only had one spot left.  He called & promised the guy I'd be on my best behavior, so they let me sneak in.

Since we had been winging our Saturday night out, we decided to continue on and wing it for dinner before the tour.  We went to Natty Greene's, but it was too long a wait.  Undaunted, we headed to Liberty Oak Tavern.  We were seated immediately.  Five minutes pass--no waitress.  Ten minutes pass--no waitress, plus the nattily dressed couple behind us were complaining to other servers about how they had placed their order over 40 minutes ago & still didn't have even their appetizer.  If they were going to ignore that super sharp couple, the Godwin trainwreck didn't stand a chance.  We walked off after fifteen minutes of being ignored.  Other waitresses were waiting on tables around us (even those seated after us) and we spoke in the loudest manner--by taking our bucks elsewhere.  Bad show Liberty Oak.  We headed to our trusty stand by, Opa.  You might call us unorganized, but we prefer to call it "living dangerously" (cut us some slack--we're middle aged, middle class--not having reservations IS dangerous to our kind).

After dinner, we walked to meet up with the tour group at the Municipal Center.  We'd driven past this place gazillions of times and never gave it a second glance.  Our tour group was lead by Topher, who looked curiously like John Popper, only without the bandoleer of harmonicas.

Seriously, I kept expecting to hear him break out into a chorus of "Runaround"
The tour lasted for a little over an hour and half.  We walked to Blandwood Mansion (cool, other than for the association with John Motley Morehead and his unfortunate association with UNC) and to a few other areas in downtown, including M'Couls and the Biltmore Hotel.  Even though I have lived in this area for 15 years, I know virtually nothing about the history of  it (other than my mother went to undergrad at UNCG and hated it).  The "history" part of the tour was worth the $13 a person.  I feel thoughly elucidated and highly educated now.  Go ahead--ask me a question!  I didn't see any "haunts" and I forgot to take my camera to snap pics to see if any orbs materialized (I firmly believe orbs are just dust specs and in that case we live in a veritable haunted house).

It was very fun, even if the scariest part of the night was our experience at Liberty Oak Tavern.  The weather was beautiful and John Popper  Topher was a very entertaining guide.  We had 35 in the group (yeah, I guess I wasn't the only one they allow to slip by) and he managed to herd us around AND educate us.

Bonus score--we ran by Krispy Kreme afterwards.  Hey, we had a babysitter--we were living it up!  In a middle age, middle class kinda way.

Carolina History & Haunts Tour

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Appetite for Destruction

I have found my calling in life.  Working to cure cancer?  Too much science involved--plus you have to pay attention and document stuff.  Writing the next great American novel?  It's all I can do to stay semi-coherent in my blog posts--creating a theme and following through is too much for my short attention span.  Being the next Martha Stewart?  Hahahahah--I'm laughing too hard at that to even type.  I have found something I'm both good at AND enjoy.  I have discovered this morning that I absolutely ROCK at destroying things!

Every day during my unemployment leisure time, I set one goal of the day for myself.  That way I feel like I'm doing something productive.  Granted, I may be doing it in my sweats but the point is I'm accomplishing something while wearing sweats.  Today my goal was to rip up the parquet flooring in the foyer so that we can get ready to lay the new flooring J ordered yesterday.

Here is what I was faced with:
About 7'x4' of glorious 80's style wooden parquet flooring.  It didn't bother me.  It didn't excite me either. It was just there.   Plus, it was too high over the plywood to lay the new floor so it had to go.

J borrowed a crow bar from my father in law (who, incidentally, has enough tools to make Norm Abram jealous) last month & hid it from me.  I guess he was scared of the havoc I could wreak, but given his propensity for mayhem here recently, he relented and told me where it was (under the passenger seat in his old Chevy blazer--where he has hidden Christmas presents only to resurface two years after he bought them to give).  I couldn't find any safety goggles so I used my Ralph Lauren sunglasses.  Not ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Stylish AND practical.

Thankfully the builders of our house were as lazy as I am & didn't use much glue.  For the most part, the tiles popped right up, which is a good thing as I remembered about halfway in that I haven't had a tetnus shot since I was in 7th grade.  The last thing I needed was to prick my finger on a rusty nail and have a bad Sleeping Beauty experience.  After being so precise and neat with all the painting, it was exhilarating to be able to go at it with reckless abandon.  I was digging all the snapping and popping sounds and the wooden splinters flying in the air (thank heavens for my Ralph Lauren's).  I was amazed at all the dirt that had seeped under the tiles.  I know I'm a lousy housekeeper, but still, it was very dirty.  Then I remembered that the house had two other sets of owners before us and therefore it had to be their dirt.  In addition to destruction I'm also well versed in another "d"--denial.

In less than 40 minutes, I had it all ripped up, bagged and the area swept.  I have started a new love affair with the crowbar.  I may even use it in the mornings to get the Gruesome Twosome out of bed!

Best of all, I get to use my newly acquired skill of tearing things apart to rip up carpet and possibly linoleum in the kitchen!  Where will my new found love take me?  What else needs destruction and dismantling?  How do I get onto an episode of Mythbusters where they blow things up???

Monday, October 3, 2011

Commotion at the Ocean

I'm just not feeling very witty this morning.  It's Monday.  It's cold.  I spent the morning at the dentist.  Short of somebody switching out my regular coffee for decaf, it's about as bleak a Monday as they come.  Cranky, I have in spades.  Funny and entertaining, not so much.  The bon mots and witty repartee aren't coming to my rescue (although, there are some who would question if they have ever come to my rescue).   However, I recognize that I am also old and if I don't go ahead and write about our adventures from this weekend, they will be as lost as our missing can of Ruby red paint.

Before heading out to Wilmington for the UNCW "Commotion at the Ocean" annual swim meet, we decided to watch Pey's soccer game.  Instead of cold and rainy this time, we were treated to cold and windy.  I was miserable and ready to head for the car five minutes into the first quarter.  Pey entertained herself on the sideline by hanging upside down from the bench.  Silly, yes, but far more entertaining that the action on the field.
Really.  I don't make this stuff up.

After a mere 3 hours (or thereabouts-- I may have taken some artistic license here), the last quarter came and I started planning on where we could grab dinner on the road.  But wait--what's going on?  The coach has Pey in the goalie penny?  Huh?  My kid, playing goalie?  The same girl who chases grasshoppers and does pirouettes on the field was going to be in goal?  She is my child--NO attention span whatsoever.  How was she going to pay attention 10 whole minutes and keep the balls out of the goal?  I was planning on how to slink off that field to avoid the boos and water bottles thrown at us, for bringing such a space cadet into the world.  Surely she'd wander off and leave the goal wide open.  Hockey with the goalie pulled, wide open.

It was the longest 10 minutes of my life.  Every time the ball came to our end of the field, I crossed my fingers.  I would have closed my eyes, but I had to take pictures (although some of my frames looked like they'd been snapped blind).   Must have worked--she shut them out!  Nobody scored on her!  I couldn't believe it.  Butter my biscuit and call me Francis--the kid was good!  She stayed on with my inlaws & played again Saturday.  Same thing--no goals allowed.  Even the opposing team's coach came to hug her after the game.  Whoda thunk it?

The rest of us non soccer players ventured on to Wilmington.  For some reason, the UNCW meet always gets romanticized and glossy when looking back upon it.  Perhaps it is the fact that we are close to the beach and get to eat in cool restaurants we don't have here that makes the meet look so warm and cuddly.   In reality, it is the worst swim meet for parents to attend.  You have to walk up two flights of steps, to be crammed in, sardine style--provided the sardines in the can were slowly roasted in a 90 degree can--in the darkest corner of the Trask Center. It is reminiscent of dungeons--dank, hot, smelly, loud--only you didn't have to climb two stories to a dungeon.  Plus, the acoustics are horrible.  Every whistle, shout, buzzer gets magnified to ear splitting levels.  In the past, I have had the excuse of Pey getting restless so I've been able to walk around the campus with her.  Didn't have that luxury this time--she was too busy playing soccer star.

Like sardines, I tell you!
I also have the knack for getting the most irritating person at the swim meet to sit right beside me.  It's a skill, I'm sure.  The first day I had to listen to some shrill harpy go on for ten minutes about how she couldn't believe the audacity of people who leave towels down to hold seats.  Never mind that J & I had consolidated and squished even closer together to allow her to sit beside me.  Never mind that I am extremely claustrophobic and having her up under me was putting me on the verge of a full blown panic attack.  Never mind that she fit nicely in the spot and had no literal or figurative skin off her nose.  She didn't even take the hint when I put my earbuds in and kept right on complaining.  Even Metallica couldn't drown her out.  I got the last laugh when she asked me to watch her bag when she went to the bathroom and I threw her credit cards in the pool.  Not really, but the devious thought crossed my mind.

Thrilled, I say!
The second day found me beside the archetypical helicopter mother.  Whereas, the rest of the swimmers were situated on pool deck, she made her kids come back to sit with her.  She kept pummeling them which questions "do you really want to swim breaststroke?", "do you have your goggles?", "do you need to potty?", to the point I wanted to take off her wedge flip flops and pummel her.  I am of a mindset that you need to let kids figure their way around the world, in order to gain a sense of independence and confidence (not talking about playing with rusty tin cans with no tetnus shot or anything dangerous, just figuring out how to independently assess and process situations).  I truly believe that if your kid is 10+ and at a swim meet, they should be fully aware if they need to go to the bathroom.  I sat beside that train wreck for four whole hours.  And no, I didn't complain when she decided to brush her daughter's wet hair and got me & my Kindle soaking wet.

Even the kids are packed sardine style.  I highlighted "Waldo" for you.

If only I could put a red homing beacon on her cap in real life.  They all look alike in the water.

Lulu swam well and ribboned in the 100 breast.  And I finished 3 books on the Kindle  And we got to eat at Fat Tony's downtown.  And we had both ice cream and yogurt in the span of two days.  See--there were some bright points!

Another bright point from this morning--our new dental insurance has me listed as J's daughter.  I told you I was much younger than he is :)