Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fortune Cookie.

My very good friend is in town with her fiance. They call and invite us to sushi with her sis, also a friend of mine, and hubby. We frantically secure a sitter, wipe the spit up off our bodies, apply cologne to disguise said spit up and we are off for a rare but special treat we like to call "grown up time". Because we are highly intellectual, our grown up time usually consists of drinking, talking over the top of one another and fart jokes. We all meet at a quaint little sushi restaurant close by and proceed to have a lovely meal. We order positively the most ridiculous amount of sashimi and sushi rolls I have ever seen. Did I mention that all of my girlfriends and I can get some eatin' done? We are basically guys with lipstick and bras. So the waiter brings our sushi barge over and eight cement blocks to support the table so it won't collapse under the crushing weight of the 35 fish that died to feed us. We continue on drinking our Sapporo and eating spiced ginger until it is time for the fortune cookies. My friend opened hers which read "You will have many obstacles in your path". Lame. We didn't like it so we read mine "You will live among people with many riches". Well, that is great, so my neighbors will have money. Apparently not my current neighbors, unless people start paying a small fortune for broken appliances, or what is commonly referred to as "yard art" on this block. 

So I turn to the hubs and ask "What does yours say?" .

He responds casually with a shrug "I don't know, I may have eaten it", which makes my friend and I start giggling.

"He would friggin' eat his fortune", I say.

Then I say. 'No really, what does yours say?".

He replies, very casually, "No. I really ate it. I bit into my cookie and sort of just... sucked it down my throat."

Now, I probably don't need to tell you what Wasabi feels like when it comes through your nose. I will say that laughing that hard post-inhalation of sushi is somewhat dangerous.  If you do ever choose to dine with my husband please keep all paper products out of his reach and check for those pesky hidden ones... like those weird little fortunes in the cookies, which are interestingly enough called Fortune Cookies. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Don't Call Me Sugar, Sweetie.

There was a period of my life, around the ages of 17 to 20, where I was all fired up about being an EMPOWERED WOMAN.  I spent hours reading Gloria Steinem and The Golden Notebook.  I was full of passion and energy, otherwise known as piss and vinegar.  I was ready to teach those men a lesson! YEEHAW!

It was during this time one summer that I took a waitressing job at the local Cafe and Supper Club.  It was seven days a week of serving coffee and gossip to farmers, their wives and the "townfolk". All 261 of them.  Like most small towns (or villages, if you will), the majority of the population consists of fairly conservative, even old-fashioned, types.  I had one particular customer who, for all intents and purposes, we will call Joe.  Mainly because Joe was his name.

Every day Joe walked into the cafe, took the same seat at the counter, ordered coffee and a slice of pie, and left a quarter for a tip.  Big spender.  He was somewhere between the age of 60 and 90.  I really couldn't tell you much more than that because having children melted my brain.  Every day, along with his routine, he served up daily doses of pet names to me.  Honey, Sugar, Sweetie and Baby where among my many alias' that summer.  As a young hothead who was exploring feminism to add as one of my multiple personalities, this lack of ability to use my actual name irritated the living crap out of me.

One day I reached my breaking point.  To the amusement of the kitchen staff and other patrons, I proceeded to attempt to teach the old codger a lesson.

The following two minutes went like so,

Joe, "Hey sweetie.  What kind of pie do you have today?"

Me, "What's that? You want sweetener for you coffee?"

Joe, chuckling, "No honey, I asked about the kinds of pie."

Me, "You want me to bring you tea with honey?"

Joe, laughing, "No sugar, I just wondered about the pie!"

Me, indignant, "Joe.  I have a name.  It is not Honey, Sweetie or Sugar.  You can call me Jo, which is the same as your name, so it should be fairly easy to remember."

Joe, chuckling, "Okay Baby, now how about that pie?"

My words were clearly lost on this old coot.  Some people are capable of change and others only carry it in their pocket.  Joe, obviously the latter, doubled my normal tip to 50 cents that day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Things That I Have No Desire To Understand.

1. Peeing in the shower. 

Really?  I do not believe this to be a necessary activity.  Most humans, maybe with the exception of Donald Trump, use bathrooms where the useful items (sink, shower, toilet) are all within a few feet of each other.  I think that most adults do have moderate control of their bladder. Probably enough to get them two steps to the toilet for relief.  But some still insist on urinating in the shower.  Well, unless you are scrubbing that floor when you towel off, you are leaving a fairly disgusting area for those of us who follow you.  There is nothing more satisfying for, let's say, a mom of two small children who gets virtually no alone time, to get her 3 minutes of bathroom privacy in the shower and have to smell the urine of the previous bather.  Ahhhh!  Fresh and Clean!  And super rejuvenating!  I have always dreamt of bathing in a urinal.  I guess dreams really do come true.

2.  Why are you looking for more? You don't believe that using the shower as a toilet is the only thing that annoys me?  You are correct, I have more to add to this list but Thing 2 is awake and  POOF! I am magically Mom again....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I know that I often open my mouth and have inappropriate things fall out. (You should read my blog.) I will not deny this fact. It truly is a skill- a gift if you will. My husband, on the other hand, is far superior to me on this subject. He not only does it more frequently, but with much more precision. Call it a man's gift to pare back his words and cut to the chase.

In one of our rare and precious moments known as "date night", we were preparing to leave for Denver with some friends and were giving the babysitter last minute instructions. My instructions went like so .... "Give him a bath at 7, put him in fresh pj's, read him a book and give him some milk. Bedtime is 7:30". Fairly standard. My husband's instructions went like so... "Help yourself to the beer in the fridge". What? What did he just say? I will admit that my hub and I occasionally have a drink with dinner. We do this when we are the ones caring for the child. We are also A) the parents B) responsible drinkers in our 30's and 40's and C) legal.

We walk out the door and load into the vehicle. This is when I start my rampage. "I cannot believe that you offered our 17 year old, heavily conservative Christian babysitter BEER while she is WATCHING OUR son! Do you THINK MAYBE that is SLIGHTLY INAPPROPRIATE???? What if she gets stinkin' drunk and he wakes up? What if her parents found out? Whaa wha wa wawa....(that is the Charlie Brown droning adult voice)" . My husband lets me finish while he is sipping on a Coca Cola. When he hears the pause in my lecture, it is his cue to talk. He lets out a GIANT belch that would make any child either giggle or tremble with fear and says "Noted Babe."

How does one even respond to that? I need to speak with his mother. I'll do that as soon as I am finished laughing.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Really Good Day So Far

You know it is going to be a good day when you can't even put on your underwear.

 As if feeling like you are 95 when you are supposed to be in your "prime" isn't enough, being greeted (pre-coffee) by a toddler who has apparently been up in the middle of the night watching bootleg copies of melodramatic performances by Barbara Streisand is certain to put you in a fantastic mood.  Every parent is ecstatic to play with Thomas the Train as soon as your foot crosses the threshold of the bedroom door.  What is even better is having a three year old with a head cold hovering in your personal space bubble while you are icing your stupid back, WHINING and fake crying about playing trains with him before the caffeine has even hit your system.  I heart whining.  Who doesn't?  For example, the fact that the red dog can be in the same space with my husband for a full hour in silence, but chooses to begin dancing around me like an epileptic stripper, making monkey noises (her version of whining) while darting her tongue out like a lizard to touch any inch of skin that is exposed makes me feel special and loved- not irritated at all. Now all I need is for the black dog to jam her body under my hand so that I can discover a crusty patch of hair that smells like road kill, because that is precisely what she rolled in when she went out for her morning potty, barking session and car chase.

I watched the movie "Date Night" over the weekend (Hilarious- rent it) where Tina Fey said that she fantasized about being alone in a room, drinking her Diet Sprite in silence.  Although I would choose booze over a soda- that sounds fantastic.  Wait... what's that?  It's Tuesday?  Tuesday?  The glorious day of Preschool?  (Heavenly angels singing through a back light cloud while a flower blooms in my presence)

I suddenly feel like a million bucks.  Weird.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Superman and His Boxer Briefs

early June 2005
Department store in Colorado

My cousin M is getting married and I have already purchased an entire new outfit. I actually like to go to my favorite store, find the perfect dress, gaze at myself in it then give myself a mini aneurysm trying to figure out what event we are going to that will justify yet another new outfit. This was all pre-baby by the way. I would still do the same thing now but I never actually get to leave the house without children. It is common knowledge that shopping with small children is about as much fun as jamming a fork into your thigh. Also, the budget for diapers came right out of my clothing allowance, but I digress. Anyway, this little yellow number will be perfect for my cousin M's wedding! AHA! Now, what is the hub going to wear? If it were up to him it would be jeans, boots and some kind of camo shirt. Well, not when I am looking this slammin'. We go to the "nice" department store at the mall and find some cream linen slacks and a tangerine linen shirt with a bit of embroidery. My man looks HOT in this, and he will keep cool in the sticky Iowa summer weather. Now this brings up the issue of undergarments.  Although it seems to be, let's not say "popular", but "common" to wear one's undergarments for the world to view, that is not the sort of (fashion?) trends to which we subscribe.  My traditional husband only owns boxers, clearly all of the plaid variety, which are not going to work under these pants. So I find him some sleek and sexy boxer briefs, something my gay friends would even approve of, and then I, I mean he, feels satisfied with the ensemble and we head home.

later June 2005
Iowa at my cousin M's wedding

My husband and I meet in the kitchen of my Grandmother's house, ready to leave for the church. Family pictures precede the hour long Catholic ceremony. We soon pull into the parking lot and walk into the church, just as the last family photo has been snapped.  Of course. We are both diseased with Lateness. Is there a pill for that? The wedding starts about an hour or so later. It was beautiful and the best part was that lightening didn't even strike me while inside the church. Well that and the fact that my cousin was now married to the love of his life. Blah, blah, blah.

4 p.m.
We then head out to get drunk, stupid and dance to songs we loathe, or what is commonly called "the reception". A good time was had by all. I don't remember much except that someone (clearly intoxicated) told me that I looked like Jennifer Aniston. She became my new best friend for the next two minutes. I don't actually recall her name or face, but I knew I liked her immediately. ( I look NOTHING like Jennifer Aniston, it had to have been my rockin' yellow dress). As the party was drawing to a close, we were discussing renting a motel room for the night. My favorite aunt and uncle overheard and insisted we crash at their house which was only minutes away. So we loaded our rumpled partied-out selves into our vehicle at 10 pm and headed to their house.

Let me just say that my favorite aunt and uncle are classy, composed people. They know how to have fun while keeping their good manners intact. This is a skill that my husband and I seem to generally lack. We are decent people, it is just that both of us were born without a filter. Filter-schmilter. Some people like their coffee grounds right in the cup! Right? Anyway, we drink some wine and chat for a bit before heading off to bed.  They show us to our boudoir. It is midnight by the time we get to the point of undressing ourselves. I am possibly a bit delirious at this juncture. My head no longer knows how to process all the oxygen that sea level has to offer. I am bent over, slipping off my shoes when I hear "What do you think?". I lift my head from my bent position, which happens to be crotch level, to see my husband standing in front of me like Superman, complete with the hands on hips, chin up and to the side, and the legs out like he just conquered the planet. It is then I notice (because my face is literally RIGHT THERE) that he is wearing his new boxer briefs BACKWARDS. His junk is smashed in there like playdough. I then started the silent, shaking, crying laughter. It soon escalates (did I mention I had been drinking for 8 hours?) into loud gasping and snorting. He looks confused and hurt and I say "did you notice that you have been wearing them backwards for about 12 HOURS?". He then, with a straight face, says "I wondered where the hole was when I was trying to pee.".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mixing Drinks and Friends.

Before kids, my husband and I used to throw a lot of parties. We used to be fun like that.  We also have been in the middle of remodeling our home since the day we moved in. I look back now and am slightly embarrassed at the condition our home was probably in at the time, but with enough liquor, you can convince anyone that wire hanging from a hole in the ceiling is "just a new European design trend". For one of these functions we decided to invite a "blended" group, meaning his friends and mine. A little shaky but we went for it anyway. So my friends (all single, childless, city dwellers or SCCD) and the husband's friends (married with children or MWC) arrive and the party is off with a bang! I then picked up the chunk of drywall from the floor and started making drinks for my guests.

We began inside the house where someone asked what our newest project was. Being the type of person that moves furniture "just to see" on a monthly basis, draws floor plans "just for fun" and redecorates every season "because it just needs to be freshened up", something is always different when my friends visit. Being married to a remodeler who can and will do anything is a recipe for ADD and constant change. We end up in my bedroom (which only contains one exit) where I am showing God knows what to a group of my SCCD girlfriends, and in walks one of Brock's MWC female friends. She is standing in the doorway with a  twinkle in her eye and she starts a very gory diatribe about childbirth. Now this topic is fairly taboo for the SCCD type, and also a lot of times ends up sounding like a horror story rather than a beautiful, natural event. After about 5 minutes of the MWC's story, which she was clearly excited about, myself and my other girlfriends start looking uncomfortable. I feel a sheen of sweat on my brow and am considering running into the closet, where I could bore a hole through to the spare room and escape. I see my friend H shifting uneasily from one foot to another, C is looking at the ceiling fan and A is suddenly absorbed at inspecting a book found on my hub's side of the bed (I guarantee it wasn't interesting, he can't even stay awake to read them) . Finally, a natural pause happens in MWC's story and I say, too loudly "who wants a drink? I'll get one for everyone!!!" and I practically mow her over as I rush out the door. I vowed to myself then and there that I would no longer go into any more rooms that didn't have more than one exit. I convinced my husband to put an escape, I mean a second door, in our bedroom. I also decide that it is time to move the party outside since every room in our house has only one exit. 

By this time, I would think my friends would realize that a party at my house is eventually going to end in the yard, standing around our homemade "fire pit" staring into the flames while holding a beer or a sticky plastic cup. Still, my girlfriends, who even though they were raised in Iowa on farms, hear the word party and put on their party shoes. Inevitably I delve into the mudroom closet, which, upon opening, the pungent smell of horse manure wafts from, and pull out my version of "party shoes". Usually these are an odd assortment of flipflops, lawn mowing and painting sneakers, mud boots and cowboy boots. After tossing a few barn coats (again, not the jcrew barncoat, but a coat that is actually worn IN the barn) their direction, they are all ready to zone out into the mesmerizing flames and absorb some bonfire smoke. Taking a party outside is also a good way to weed out the weakest link. Usually, the conversation that ensues around the pit is not polite, politically correct or even civilized in any form. I can't actually say that is any different than normal, but for some reason the pit makes us all turn up the volume. As the stragglers stand around talking about artificial insemination (my friends, surprisingly enough) I realize that it is no longer a good idea to mix like that. And that was the last time I drank wine and tequila the same night.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fainting. Not as Romantic as One Might Think.....

Apparently I am a fainter. Not a quality I would add to a job resume, but it is part of me nonetheless. I was not a very sturdy kid, but was in a family of all sturdy people. This made the fainting factor just one more reason for them to all roll their eyes at me. The first fainting incident was in grade school when I passed out face first in my lunch tray. That is an awesome way to gain popularity, let me assure you. As it turns out, I had a raging ear infection but no symptoms to even tell me to slow down at recess. In effect, my body decided it had had enough and the blackness settled in in the middle of my corndog and mac and cheese.

The next time I got light headed and lost track of time was in the middle of winter when I was about 9 or 10 years old. A bone chilling cold grey Iowa winter. I was on horseback with the parents and sister, checking flood gaps (fence across the creek for you city folk) on one of our farms. Being the weakest member of the family, and the youngest, apparently meant that I did not deserve warm Carhart overalls like the rest of them. So I am bundled in an assortment of hand-me-downs, with long underwear beneath my jeans. I was not only freezing ( which I repeatedly told them) but also hungry (as usual). It was a couple of hours past lunch. We had a few left to check and I was left holding three horses while my dad and sis walked down through the brush to the creek. All of a sudden I started feeling really weak and foggy. I called out to them and woke up to icy creek water on my face. I just want to note that to this day my fingers and toes go from red to white to purple in the cold. Although they look interesting, it is not good.

Then it was 5th grade. I had begged my mother to let me get my ears pierced and she conceded. I was standing in the bathroom, which opened up to the kitchen (you have to love good design like that). I was removing the gold studs that had been put into my ear by the doctor. My mom was very old fashioned about doing things. Not only did she dress us like we walked off an episode of Little House on the Prairie, she took me to an 85 year old family doctor to get my ears pierced. I still remember his old trembling hand coming at my ear with the gun. I am shocked that my ears are pierced evenly. Anyway, out came the gold stud and down I went, hitting the kitchen carpet, yes I said carpet-who doesn't like carpet in the kitchen?- like a ton of bricks. I was laid out across the floor like a basset hound, when in walks my sister. She proceeds to step over me, pour herself a bowl of cereal, take a bite, then ask "what is wrong with Johi?" Her concern for my well-being is staggering to this day.

It was my senior year of high school. I played basketball and we were in our 4th game of the season. About six minutes into the first quarter I went in for a rebound, tripped over my teammates foot and heard a very load pop. I hit the floor in pain. Leave it to me to do something completely klutzy and hurt myself. My parents wanted to watch the game so they waited until halftime to take me to the ER (which was a 25 minute drive). Umhm. By the time I arrived, one hour after the injury happened, I think my body was in shock. The Dr. pushed, pulled and bent my knee and nothing hurt. The next morning my knee looked like it belonged on an elephant. It was huge. My boyfriend actually had the balls to laugh at me. Don't worry, I removed them later- during the imminent break-up. One MONTH later, when I was finally getting it looked at by a physician, he informed me that I had torn my ACL in half and needed surgery. I really don't know what happened next because I lost consciousness. Another month later, after the surgery, the doc brought a special little treasure on video for me to watch. It was the inside of my knee during the surgery. Awesome. I don't even need to say what happened next. Dude, I couldn't even keep the pain killers down.

The last black out (now of course I am not including alcohol induced situations) happened in the middle of a psychology class of 200 people freshman year of college. I had been running late and skipped breakfast. In class, for some reason, we were watching a film on aging. There were two problems with the film. First, they were showing naked bodies of old people. Eww. Secondly, they were showing what happens inside the body when arteries clog with plaque. Double eww. This was an 8 am class. Well, I lost it and the poor 86 pound girl sitting next to me somehow stopped me from hitting the floor. They stopped the film, flipped on the lights and proceeded to make a three ring circus out of my fainting, The TA ran out of the room and bought me an orange juice, only to then bitch loudly about the fact that it cost him $3.50. The professor even tried to get a wheelchair in the room for me use for an exit, which I protested. Then he dismissed class early. I was mortified. I haven't passed out since. But I do take evasive measures and tell the crotch doctor to NOT use the word "scrape" during my yearly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Before the Garage Sale

Actual real time post!!!!!!  Woohoo!!!

I apologize for my massive walls of text.  If I ever become mildly competent in the using of computers, I intend to insert old photos and maybe even some new drawings.  That way, when your eyes start crossing and you feel drool forming on your mouth, there will be pictures to distract you from your impending text coma.

Today we are preparing for a garage sale that we are "hosting" in the morning.  Being from a family of hoarders, I have never helped with, nor organized a garage sale before.  In the past my sister and I have either traded our shit, dropped it off at Goodwill or run through our parents' house like mental ward escapees, gleefully burning and pitching my mother's saved and cherished items (we are talking boxes and bags here people, we aren't that cruel...yet). Because this is something new to me, I deal with it like anything I am uncomfortable with- through mild to explosive outbursts, inability to sleep and lack of clarity and focus.  Is now the time to inform you of what a treat I am?  My sister and I like to use the term "precious treasure".

So if you are in the greater Northern Colorado area and need something like a washer/dryer or a wooden fish that doubles as a coat hook, come on over to our house tomorrow morning.  If you happen to arrive before 9 am, please don't speak with me- just take the loot and hand me your cash.  Trying to have communication with me before 9 am runs a high risk of complications and negative side effects including but not limited to; headaches from fast moving objects (like frying pans), low self esteem, and bruised egos.  Early birds be warned.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Elevator

April 28, 2009

When I was growing up and felt some sort of illness coming on I would, of course, complain to my mother. Her standard answer was "you feel fine to me". The she would give me some form of a subtle dismissal, like turning all of her attention to the dog. I rustled up no sympathy whatsoever.

Much like a Jedi Warrior, my mother did not "believe" in being sick. I think that because of my lack of receiving illness inspired nurturing from my mother, I now feel the need to really sell my case if I am not feeling well. If I start feeling icky, I talk about it incessantly. I use eye rolls and lazy hand gestures. I slouch a lot. I fear I may even be whiny. This is only one of the many reasons that people feel sorry for my spouse.

On that note, I have been having some feeling of malaise lately and complained so much that my husband insisted I take myself to the doctor. I am pretty sure he just wanted me to stop talking to him for an hour. Of course I payed $55 to weigh myself fully clothed and to have my doctor instruct me to try some over the counter medicine.

As I was leaving the office to drive to SuperTarget and purchase my $55 prescription for  the $14 over the counter meds, I approached the elevator area to see the doors closing. I panicked irrationally, as if this elevator was going to be the only one for the next 40 days, and I cried out "Hold the elevator!". I then started a mini-sprint towards the closing doors. Some helpful petite lady opened them for me. I promptly repaid her kind act by misjudging the speed of my sprint, not allowing for proper braking, and sort of clobbering her.

I had a "stopping spot" all picked out and she stepped into it at the last second. It was an unfortunate combination of a mad chicken attack, a basketball foul, and a sleazy guy grinding on you in a club.

I desperately tried to regain my balance while hovering over this woman like a clammy umbrella. I ended up doing something that resembled a Jack Russell terrier humping his favorite pant leg. She graciously laughed it off and made a joke about running track. Then I proceeded to exuberantly inform her of my glory days of high school sprinting. I was so spastic that I almost invited her over to see my medals on my old letter jacket.

I was mortified that I had accidentally accosted this poor woman who kindly held the door for me so that I wouldn't have to wait the 60 whole seconds for the next elevator. Apparently my mortification of myself was nothing compared to the gentleman that shared the elevator with us. He just stepped back into the corner and gave me the hairy eyeball for the three floors we descended. No smile. No smirk. Only disgust. I then decided I was in the slowest elevator in history and wished I had simply jumped out the third floor window for a quicker, less painful exit. Still, I held myself together all the way out to the vehicle (if you call hurling my sunglasses onto the pavement, talking to myself like Gary Busey and sweating profusely "holding it together"). Times like these I am so thankful for my blond hair, as people tend to wonder less about my special moments that way.

I guess my mother was right, as usual. I should have just told myself that I was fine and saved myself the humiliation that venturing into public normally brings me.

Rembrandt and the Wrist Brace

Summer Camp 1988

I was fortunate enough to go to a wonderful camp for 6 summers of my life. My sister and I met many people and challenges that helped mold us into who we are today. There were a variety of activities that one could sign up for including hiking,backpacking, horseback riding, riflery, archery, and crafts. I was an avid horsewoman and was often found at the barns and on the trail. One lovely July day I was atop of a cute little paint horse named Rembrandt. He was young, but very sweet. He was also very narrow, not the wide quarter horses I was used to. Riding him was similar to straddling a fence rail. I actually referred to him as a "saltine cracker on edge". Along we go, my narrow buddy and me, riding down the winding rocky trail. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a "scary" rock pops up. Anyone who has ridden horses, especially young ones, knows that occasionally random ordinary items take on the significance of a slasher movie. Horses are flight animals, which means their natural tendencies are "Get the hell of of here!!!!". Well, this was apparently a Freddie Krueger rock and Rembrandt was going to have nothing to do with it- so he bolted right and I stayed left. I landed hard on my left hand. All my weight. It hurt. Something was surely messed up.

This is where most people would do something like go to the doctor and get an x-ray. Yeah, well not me. You see, my mother doesn't "believe" in doctors. She would rather look at the injured part and declare that it "looks normal to her". Apparently nothing is an emergency unless there is blood and bone poking through the skin. So, instead of leaving the diagnosis in the hands of a medical professional, she declares that I am fine and delivers a wrist/forearm brace for me to wear on my injured arm. Only problem was, I fell on my left hand. The brace she had (because she wouldn't actually go and BUY me a brace, we were more the thrifty hand-me-down type) was a right hand brace. So in order for me to wear the brace I had to cock my hand to the left and rest my thumb on the part that was straight. This basically made me appear not only physically handicapped, but mentally as well. I did attempt to wear the brace a few times because my arm really hurt and I was seeking relief. However the day the girls from camp loaded up in the buses to go spend a day with the boys from a neighboring camp, the brace had to go. I was already insecure enough, being 13 and all. I certainly didn't need any of the boys wondering if I was the "special" kid that should have ridden in on the short bus. The brace was then stuffed into the bottom of my closet, never to be worn again. My arm seemed to heal fine, regardless of whatever injury I actually had, but I still can't write with my left hand. Thanks Mom.

Siblings. Farm and Fashion Victims.

My sister and I, who are a mere 14 months apart (what was my mother THINKING???), really got along well the majority of our childhood. I think the reason we didn't fight much was the "Get along or you WILL be sleeping together in the hallway tonight, holding hands!" threat from our mother. Two important factors made this a real threat. 1. We were a family that hugged one another just to joyfully observe the annoyed grimace from the recipient or "victim" of the hug. 2.This was not a woman to test. She ALWAYS followed through on what she said. So, by default, we got along as kids.

There are, of course, a few circumstances that I can remember where it wasn't wine and roses. They are not outright fights, but instead passive aggressive forms of sibling abuse that haunt us both to this day. We grew up on a farm in rural Iowa. When I say rural I mean no stoplights in the whole county and there is a pretty good chance your neighbors might be Amish. I am the younger sister and also was a very scrawny kid who fainted easily. My sister was not only older, but matured quickly for her age and was (and still is) unusually strong. Muscles definitely come in handy when you grow up on a farm, fainting....not so much.

So there we are, in a haybarn in the late 80's. We are 13 and 14 years old. My sister is throwing hay down from the loft, yelling "BALE!!!" before each pitch. I am then throwing that hay into the horse trailer where my mom is stacking it. I don't know where dad is... waiting in the truck or holding the gate perhaps? But I digress.... So the process goes along like a well oiled machine until I feel a heavy crushing weight on my head, neck and shoulders just as I hear the word "bale" softly being spoken. Of course the 75 pound weight that was only one of the many reasons my chiropractor now owns my savings account, is the formerly mentioned bale. I looked up at my sister, who was looking down on me with a smug face, and said "What the bleep?", to which she replies flatly "I said bale."

In return for this lovely gesture I decide to hit her where I can. I was always the woman in the family others would come to for fashion advice. I suppose the fact that my mother's closet consisted solely of Wrangler jeans and cowboy boots did not make her an expert in the oh so fabulous world of eighties design. I on the other hand, read Sassy magazine religiously. My sis comes to me one morning before school for a little outfit advice. A big event is happening which requires her to "dress up" for the day. I casually suggest the three tiered ruffle skirt and the red pantyhose. Oh yeah. I know you are wondering why we even had red pantyhose. Well, I really cannot say, but we did, and they were awful. Cyndi Lauper would not even have worn these things. I enthusiastically convince her that she looks TOTALLY AWESOME and off we go to school. Of course I later feel guilty, but much to my chagrin she gets complimented all day. The Aqua Net used to achieve the massive puff and height of eighties bangs had clearly been leaking into these people's heads.

The next farm abuse instance I can remember took place in the 90's when I was home for a weekend from college. My sis and I went over to a farm to feed some horses and move some hay bunks. I did not realize when I signed up for this little excursion that moving the bunks meant actually picking up the 300 pounds of oak roughly the size of a queen sized bed and depositing it in the back of the pick-up truck. When this fact came into sight I protested that I couldn't lift that much. She says "Well, just try and we'll see if we can get it" and I say okay. So we are lifting the bunk about 2 feet off the ground and I feel things in my body tearing and tell her I can't lift anymore. She replies in a very forceful, low, demonic voice, like the girl on The Exorcist, "JUST DO IT!!!!!!". I am so fearful of scary movies and had unfortunately been tricked into watching this particular gem at a slumber party in my youth that I freak out and heave the 300 pounds of wood into the truck. I seriously should have married a chiropractor.

Unfortunately any fashion victimization to follow this event I inflicted upon myself and those that had the misfortune of looking at me.