Die, Die My Darling

While boating the other day, I told my dad we were trying to kill him. An hour later my husband and dad almost killed me. Karma sometimes acts pretty quickly. Seriously karma, I was just kidding! Not that my husband trying to kill me is anything new. In fact, I’m pretty sure he has been working on a plan since the day we were married based on the amount of “accidents” I have had in the last 16 years. I am going to ignore the fact that I am accident prone here.

Let me start by saying that my kid and I are daredevils. When it comes to dangerous activities, we are all in. So needless to say, when we go rafting, we are the ones screaming “faster” as we bounce along the water. Saturday was no exception. My dad spent the better part of his afternoon pulling me and mini me around the lake on a raft. My mom spent the better part of her afternoon having a panic attack and covering her eyes. At one point we were almost completely sideways on the raft. I looked down and I was literally on top of my kid as we bounced over a wave. On the same trip around the lake my dad nearly plowed us into a family of ducks as he turned and we flew out to the side of the boat. Luckily it was not a family of swans or they would have popped our raft and pecked our faces off.

After an hour of my mom glaring at my dad he took her to shore. The thrill seekers were still up for more rafting so we took one of the wave runners out dragging the little two person bouncer behind. Everyone took a turn riding and driving. I didn’t drive since I drive one speed no matter if I am alone or dragging bodies behind me. I have been told that 55 is too fast for rafting. But I learned that you can injure yourself at any speed. My husband was going only 9 mph when he almost killed me. After the old man and mini me took a trip around the water she decided she wanted me back there with her so my dad took over the spotter duty while my husband drove. We were just getting ready to head back in when the men decided it would be fun to whip us around in a circle so my husband proceeded to spin around at single digit speeds while we circled. We had gone around twice when all of a sudden we were air born. A wave came out of nowhere and we hit it like a ski jump.

Both passengers were able to hold on with one hand, but we came down fast and hard. I landed on my side and was immediately pummeled in my ribs. I was clinging to the raft wondering who threw a bowling ball at me when I heard crying from above. My daughter was sitting on my rib cage right under my armpit holding her mouth and crying. She had apparently bitten her tongue. I eased her off me and tried to see inside her mouth while not moving. I felt like a baby holding it’s breath right before an enormous scream comes out, but no scream came, just small gasps. When we finally got back to shore, I slid off the raft and walked onto the beach still gasping for breath. I have had the wind knocked out of me on many occasions so I knew it would take a minute or two to catch my breath, but when five minutes went by and I still couldn’t suck in any substantial amount of air I was getting a little nervous. It didn’t help that three people were in my face asking if I was okay. I couldn’t get enough air to talk which was the scariest part. Not being able to talk for 10 seconds is torture for me. I would rather be water boarded than not be able to spew every thought in my head for five minutes. Since I couldn’t argue, being unable to speak and all, I was at the mercy of my family when they insisted that I go to urgent care to get an X-ray.

Luckily, I managed to worm my way out of actually seeing a doctor. One urgent care was closed and the other one didn’t have an X-ray machine (seriously!) so we headed home where I splayed my body on the couch with a bell while my family waited on me. I argued that even if I had fractured ribs there was nothing they could do anyway. I guess my husband figured if I was well enough to argue with him, I was well enough to carry on. I’m guessing I’ll discover some abnormality six months from now while getting a massage, which is the same way I found out I had a rib in my back that managed to flip over the wrong way and stick out under my arm. Until then, as long as I can get enough breath to keep ordering my family around, all is well.

**I wrote this while listening to the Beastie Boys takeover of XMU which is the best station to have on while driving around to urgent care centers!

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Queenie

We cut our cable a few years ago and haven’t really missed it. Well, the adults in the household haven’t missed it. Our 8 year old thinks we are torturing her by depriving her of 30 channels of cartoons. Nevermind that we have a hard drive connected to our television so she can watch one of 500 movies and television shows at any time. The only time the cable ban really becomes an issue is when a new movie is released on the Disney channel, which is exactly what happened last week.

When I picture myself in prison (thanks to Orange is the New Black) it’s usually for murder or drug smuggling, not pirating movies on the internet or stealing cable. Needless to say, last weekend we figured out a legal way to watch the movie mini-me wanted to see without the FBI showing up on our porch. We spent Friday night at my parents’ lake house and watched the movie there. They, of course, keep the cable on at the house they spend less than 40 days a year at. This is one of the many reasons we love going there. We lounge, eat junk food and stay up late watching all of the television shows we have missed since 2016. Plus, it’s a lake house, so the views out the window next to the TV are pretty spectacular too.

My parents decided that they would watch the movie with us, so instead of it being just the three of us lounging in our pajamas, five of us lounged and stuffed ourselves with popcorn and candy. Every get together is an event for my mom and a family movie is not an exception. Her coffee table looked like the candy counter at MJR complete with little buckets of popcorn. I am still working off the 40 lbs. of raisinets I consumed and picking the popcorn out of my teeth the water pick didn’t wash away. Disney does their best to capitalize on a new movie so they played in back to back to back that night – just in case any seven year olds were ready to watch it at midnight. Our little one fell asleep halfway through the second viewing after a massive swedish fish induced sugar crash.

In the morning my parents came back out to do some work around the yard. The joy of owning two houses is getting to work all day every day on one of the houses. Did I mention my parents are insane? Every week my dad goes down to the beach and rakes up the seaweed. He and my husband were also going to till the beach to make the sand nice and soft. As my dad was walking back to get a rake he said to my daughter “come help us rake up the seaweed.” As she lounged in her giant swing she looked at him with her big doe eyes and said “I didn’t come out here to work. I came out her to watch a movie!” She was clearly offended that he would ask her to work.

My husband was standing by the hammock I was lounging in so I shooed him down to the beach telling my kiddo to go help him. I mean come on, I didn’t come out there to work. I came out there to lounge around in a hammock reading a book! I was hoping my daughter would acquire my husband’s work ethic, but alas, she is not cut out for manual labor. At least the hammock fits two people comfortably and we had a great view to supervise the workers on the beach.Share this post...

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Keeping up with the Amish

At the beginning of the summer I had all kinds of plans for my child. Some of the plans were just for fun, like spend a day at the zoo and check out the zip lining place that we’ve been meaning to check out for two summers. Other plans were more practical, like teach my kid how to tie her damn shoes already. Sometimes I am amazed at my laziness as a parent when it comes to the little things. My husband likes to remind me that our child has been cooking since she was four and reading a year later. But I still cringe when I think about the things she can’t do, like tie her shoes, ride a bike unassisted or roller skate.

As part of some unseen action plan, my dad took mini-me out to buy a bike last weekend. I’m pretty sure this is his way of telling me I am slacking as a parent. He bought her a baseball glove last year and a scooter the year before. This is also coming from the man who put a fur hat on me as a helmet when I was a toddler and padded me up to shoot hockey pucks at me when I could hardly walk, so I’m not going to read too much into it. She got a pretty little white Trek with lime green flowers on it. Her last bike was also white and looked as new the day we got rid of it as the day we bought it. She walked it around the block on occasion and spent many hours packing and unpacking the cute little purse on the handlebars, but even with the training wheels on it, she was terrified to ride. When we forced her to go for a trip around the block she stopped at every corner dismounting her bike to turn it. She was afraid turning the handlebars more than a millimeter would topple the whole package and she didn’t want to get run over by her own bike.

She is behaving much the same with her new, bigger bike. She sits in the driveway ringing the bell and walks it up and down the sidewalk. At least now she actually straddles the bike while walking it instead of standing next to it like it’s a puppy she’s taking for a stroll. Her dad had to cover the pedals with washcloths and duct tape to prevent them from scratching her legs. I’m not entirely convinced she will ride the bike even after seeing her balance on it while coasting for about 50 feet. All I can picture is the episode of Friends where Phoebe is finally learning to ride a bike as a 30 year old.

My child can be great at 100 things but the 3 things she can’t do will take a sledge hammer to my self-esteem. I feel like I am a total failure as a mother when my kid can’t get the little bunny to go through the hole with her shoe laces. Or maybe the bunny is supposed to go around a tree. Or maybe it’s just bunny ears that are supposed to be tied together. I’m not even sure, which is probably part of the problem. Regardless, my kid might still be wearing Minnie Mouse velcro shoes in high school if I don’t get it together and teach this kid how to loop, swoop and pull. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night and keeps my therapist in business.

After realizing summer is already half over, I have been attacking my to do list like a sniper in a bell tower mowing down college students. I have been knocking off trips to the zoo and the movies while reading multiplication tables out loud and picking up books from the library. We spent the morning at our local historical museum where we walked from building to building with no indoor plumbing or electricity and antiques like chamber pots and looms. In a log cabin a woman dressed as a pilgrim demonstrated a toy that essentially taught children the motion to milk a cow. It was a little monkey that climbed two ropes when you pulled them. As my daughter struggled to get the monkey all the way to the top all I could picture was myself lounging on a hay-stuffed couch crying to a pioneer therapist about how my family would probably starve because my daughter was never going to master her milking skills. Luckily there were no sheep shaving games or carrot harvesting challenges or we probably would have been asked to leave due to gross incompetence. We would never have survived as settlers.

I have decided that I need to put a few things on my own to-do list and the first thing is quit freaking out about insignificant shit that I won’t remember worrying about five years from now. I like to put things in perspective by thinking about how I will look back on them in a year or five years. It helps me realize what is worth focusing my attention on. Instead of wasting my time worrying about how I am going to find shoes for my daughter to wear to gym next year, I’ll daydream about her attending Harvard or Yale. Of course she will be wearing her velcro Hello Kitty sneakers as she pushes her bike to class, but she won’t starve!

 

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Mother Mary

The other night I told my daughter we were going to church in the morning because it was a holy day of obligation. When she argued that it was a weekday and not a church day I told her we were going to celebrate the virgin Mary. I explained that we have all kinds of celebrations for Jesus but just this one day for his mother who was so important. She asked “will there be cake?” I guess it’s not a proper celebration without cake in her mind. I almost lied just to get her to comply, but I knew that would somehow lead to me actually purchasing a cake, so I stuck with the truth.

When I shared this story with my husband his reaction was “I’ll go to church with you if there’s cake!” Now he is sending me photos of cake ideas. He’s going to be really surprised when he comes home to find 24 cupcakes with rosaries on them. He forgets it is summer and I am home with a small child all day – we have nothing but time. So for anyone who didn’t celebrate the Assumption with a little cake after mass – you are doing it wrong.

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Lake Life

The view is worth the work

My parents bought a house on a lake seven years ago. Each year we seem to spend a little more time out there and each year my dad somehow acquires more toys for the water. He started out with a couple of wave runners and started adding rafts he could pull behind the wave runners as my daughter got a little older. Then he finally bought himself a boat. And of course he had to buy a bigger raft to pull behind the boat. My mom acquires her own water toys yearly, mostly of the floating pineapple and alligator variety. It now takes about three hours to get all of the water toys ready for us to use for an hour. My dad actually pulls a cart behind his riding lawnmower stacked 6′ high with every type of flotation device imaginable. But we love it.

My dad and the seven year old are the only ones who drive the boat. My dad is the only one who parks the boat because getting it pulled onto the boat lift can be challenging. Sometimes it takes my dad a few efforts to get there. Because of this he usually loads up the boat with enough people and provisions to stay out on the lake for awhile.

The other day my parents had a party for the Fourth of July. All of my cousins and their kids were there and most of them wanted to go rafting. We jumped in the boat and took a bunch of the littles for a ride around the lake. We went around and around, trading places on the four person bouncing couch until I had a permanent kink in my neck and the youngest was ready to head to shore. When we pulled back in we pulled the boat up onto the lift but didn’t raise it, since we would be heading back out. It had been hard to push the boat off and the front end was far enough out of the water that it wasn’t going anywhere. Or so we thought… 

My dad and husband headed into the house for some food as all of the other adults hung around on the deck and in the yard. The kids all took off to play some lawn games and take a rest from being in the water. Ten minutes later I heard someone yelling “you’re losing your boat! Your boat is floating away!” I looked down to the water to see my dad’s boat bobbing in the water about fifteen feet from the dock. It was in between two docks headed right for a bunch of women and children floating around on their little blow up unicorns and flamingos. Luckily my parents’ neighbor and one of his friends were right there and were quickly pushing my dad’s boat back toward the lift. On a side note – I’m fairly convinced that my parents’ neighbor likes our family so much because we are always ready to turn him into the hero of the day. He is fairly consistently bailing us out of some lake dilemma.

Of course this happened when the two people who would know what to do were nowhere to be found. All of the other guys were not even wearing bathing suits and nobody who was outside could be of much help. So, it was apparently going to be up to me to get the boat back with the help of the neighbors. I ran into the water and started pulling the front of the boat onto the lift as the neighbor pushed from the back. Luckily the boat had just started floating away when they caught it so there wasn’t far to go, but we still had to get it back onto the lift.

Luckily the big guns were there. My family has been calling me “the big guns” for a year. I got the name when three guys were trying to push the boat onto the lift last year with little luck. I walked up and said “get out of the way and let the big guns get it” as they all laughed at me. They shut up a minute later when I successfully pulled the boat onto the lift from the front. Truth be told, my ass did most of the work. I pulled on the front of the boat while sitting down into the water. It just sounds a lot better to be called “big guns” than “big ass”.

On this day, we were pretty much in the same position as the day I got my nickname. And I got myself in the same position as before and pulled as I sat back into the water. My ass once again did the work and my arms got the credit. Sorry ass, that’s the way it goes. I was at the tail end of pulling the boat onto the lift when my dad walked out onto the dock after someone had told him what was going on outside. He got in the boat after we had it in position and raised it out of the water a little bit so it would stay secured.

When the littles came running back to the beach to go for another ride my dad suggested we take the wave runners and pull the smaller rafts. I thought it was a pretty good idea considering my guns were done for the day. The kids like the small rafts even more anyway since they fly all over the place and fall off. I opted not to drive for this round of rafting since I had already run into the neighbors’ dock the day before after not being able to find reverse. I have very much secured my position of brawn and not brains in this operation.

You would think that after seven years of part-time lake living we would all be a little better at it. To date we have almost sunk a boat, almost lost a boat, got a boat stuck on the lift, been unable to get a boat on the lift and I have crashed into two docks and run over my dad with a wave runner. Every time I am at the lake I feel a little bit like Eva Gabor in Green Acres, but somehow that water keeps luring me back.

In honor of my big Irish Catholic family I of course wrote this while listening to Dropkick Murphys

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