Friday, October 19, 2012

Doesn't Everyone Hang Out With Vince Lombardi?

I was thinking I was pretty much the most awesome girl on the planet because I was all hey, honey, guess what? We're going to go see Vince Lombardi tomorrow night! And Big V was all who? And I was all duh, Vince. Lombardi: coach of the famous GREEN BAY PACKERS, yo! And he was all you do realize he died before we were even born, right? And that's when I explained that we were actually going to go to see a guy pretend to be Coach Lombardi on stage at Young Auditorium in Whitewater (which, by now all my faithful readers realize is my most favorite place in the world, second to Starbucks) in a one man show called: Vince - The Life and Times of Vince Lombardi, starring John Pinero.

The seats were AWESOME and I was getting giddier by the second. Big V loves - and I mean LOVES! all things Green Bay Packers. However, this obsession is nothing to be concerned of since we do live in Wisconsin and the majority of the people here suffer from the same obsession, including, but not limited to, my place of employment. I submit the following as evidence:

These framed pictures can be found in various public meeting rooms throughout the building.

Monday Night Madness
(Coincidentally, most meetings occur on Monday Nights.)

What the hell is going on out there?
(Coinicidentally, this question is asked during and throughout most meetings.)

But I digress.

We're at the theatre, waiting in our awesome seats, when it hits me:

Me: [whispering] oh my god. V! Switch places with me.

V: What? [totally NOT whispering]

Me: [still whispering] You have to switch places with me.

V: Why? [still NOT whispering; what is wrong with him?!]

Me: [whispering] She smells.

V: Who smells? [ Why the hell can't he figure out how to whisper?! When someone whispers to you the correct and appropriate response is to whisper in reply. Everybody knows this! Why doesn't he know this?!]

Me: [straightening in my seat, pretending to read the program]

V: Who smells? I don't smell anything. [he's still NOT WHISPERING! I could kill him. Seriously, I could reach out my hands and strangle the voice out of his voice box. He's an idiot.]

Me: [glaring. but still whispering.] Shut. Up.

V: Well, you're the one going on about having to switch seats because someone stinks ---

Me: [grabbing his arm and whispering as meanly and as quickly as humanly possible] Seriously?! The lady next to me reeks of tomatoes and it's making me sick and I'm going to vomit now so shut the hell up. Please.

Then the show started so we couldn't move so I was forced to sit next to the stinky tomato lady. And then I thought that maybe since Big V couldn't smell anything maybe my sense of smell was heightened because I was pregnant but didn't know it yet so I spent the next seven minutes praying to God to please let me not be pregnant and I'd promise to be nicer to people, starting with the tomato woman.

Apparently, Vince Lombardi needed a translator, or at least I did, because I couldn't understand half of what he said. He spoke incredibly fast and with an Italian accent. If I had enough brain cells I'd totally make an App to close caption theatre performances. Except I'd have to find a way to get past that whole Please Turn Your Cell Phone Off thing.

Not only was Big V in Packer heaven, he was getting a fat head because every two seconds I had to ask him what was going on. (I quickly learned following football is not my forte.)

At intermission I leaned over to the college kids on the other side of Big V and asked what they thought of the show so far. The one kid glared at me with so much contempt I almost stopped pestering them. But then I remembered that making people feel uncomfortable is what I do best so I continued to drill them. Turns out the other kid is from Green Bay and his mother grew up on the same street as Lombardi. "I grew up with all these stories," he smiled. I asked if the actor was portraying Lombardi's speech accurately (lord knows he totally looked the part!) and he said as far as he knew, yeah, it was pretty dead on. I admitted I was having trouble following along and just wanted to see what other people thought. Uncommunicative Glaring Boy spoke up and deadpanned, "we just had to watch a play with no plot so this is pretty good." Well, okay, then.

Tomato Woman was super nice, even if she did smell a little saucy; and I didn't forget my earlier promise to God so I obliged in small talk. She asked me if I ever watched Days of Our Lives which was the most out of left field question ever, except I had to say yes because of course everybody has watched Days of Our Lives, including me, and I couldn't lie to an elder. Turns out that according to the actor's bio he had a recurring role on Days of Our Lives and she asked if I knew who he played. (I still can't figure out who he played. Readers: commence google search actor "John Pinero" now.)

She was an older woman out with her older women friends and I could totally picture myself being her thirty years from now. She told me that she grew up "following the football" and that her husband would never have missed the Green Bay Packers playing. I didn't ask, but I got the feeling her husband had passed.

See, that's another cool thing about theatre: it can take you back to a time before. A time of remembering. A time of youth. A place of fond remembrance.

Overall, Big V liked the show and was glad he came, although he was kind of hoping it would've been more like a coach talking to his players, hyping them up, and we'd all be the players. I propbably wouldn't go see it again unless I studied up on Italian accents and brought a clothespin for my nose.

Oh. Big V also liked the car. A lot.

I told him no.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Felix Baumgartner: Insanity Never Looked So Good

Sometimes, something happens, and then I want to talk about it, but there's no one to talk to about it, so I just spend days thinking about it, but feel like that's not enough, so then I decide I have to write about it. And that's where you come in. Because today, I'm gonna talk about Felix. Felix Baumgartner.

Top Gun flashbacks, right?

You're welcome.

See, this daredevil? Waaayyy sexier than Steve-O.
Just sayin'.

Now, Felix has been around for a LONG time. He's spent the past 10 years jumping illegally off of all sorts of buildings around the world... but until he jumped out of space no one really knew him. Or how hot he is.

See, the man jumped out of space. For the past five years he's been practicing and planning and keeping this secret that he was going to jump out of space and come hurtling to the earth at ridiculous speeds.

The first thing that bugs me is how few people in my circle of acquaintances watched the live jump. My whole family sat glued to the tv all Sunday afternoon as he climbed into this tiny, claustrophobically small capsule and ascended slowly --- and I mean slowly --- to a point that was so high above the earth's atmosphere there were no air molecules. Let me say that again: no air molecules.

I sat silent as my 11-year old asked why he was doing this. How the hell did I know? The man was obviously delusional and had a death wish, I wanted to say. But really, I knew that wasn't it. This man felt a purpose. A dream. A vision he had but one life to achieve and, by God, he was going to do it.

My heart ached as the camera cut to his mother, stoically watching from her seat in the command center. As a mother, who would want a first row seat to their son's possible death?

My breathing stopped - literally stopped - when Colonel Kittinger talked Felix through the checklist: Unhook the oxygen. No response. Unhook the oxygen, Felix. Still nothing. Was he panicking? Felix, I need you to unhook the oxygen now. NO! Don't do it! Tell them you changed your mind! Tell them you just want to come back down slowly to earth!

But then he did it. He unhooked the oxygen.

And he slowly slid out to the edge of the capsule. And he placed his feet on a step that's the size of a skateboard and all I could think of was what if he slips in those huge moon boots he's wearing? Why didn't they make the step wider?

And as he stepped off that little ledge I covered my daughter's eyes because I didn't want her to be traumatized when this man vaporized on live tv - because do you know what happens to your blood when it's exposed to temperatures of 70-degrees below zero? It vaporizes. What if that stupid suit rips? I'm not sure I wanted to watch that on tv. And don't think it couldn't have ripped, because I'm sure Joe Kittinger didn't think his suit was going to malfunction, either.

Luckily, the camera feed cut away and we were left with two nervous news anchors... and the whole world waited.

I kept thinking about his mom. When she watched him toddling around, jumping off the couch cushions, did she really understand the depth of her proclamation that he's such a daredevil? I've always said I want my children to do anything their hearts lead them to do... could I encourage my son to realize his dream of falling at a rate of speed completely incomprehensible to my feeble mind? Or would I try to talk him into doing something more logical? More reasonable? What about working as a luggage carrier? You like airplanes; they're union.

One of the news anchors stated that at first she thought he was just crazy, but as she watched him stand outside the capsule, facing his dream, she thought him nothing but courageous. How many of us don't have even the courage to dream that big?

A couple thoughts though:

#1:  How on earth did cameras capture him free falling? Big V said they were on nearby satellites. But I can't believe Big V because he also said there's no way a human being could go that fast without exploding. To which we had to discuss (1) the importance of the pressurized spacesuit and (2) the fact that the atmosphere is so thin you can't actually "feel" yourself falling. You're just there. Chilling. Watching the earth come to you. But then once you hit all those air molecules that are closer together you (a) start slowing down and (b) start feeling things. Yes, without the helmet your face would probably rip off.

#2:  Felix landed about 40 miles away from where he left. They said they had helicopters out that would pick him up and, as we've seen with the constant footage streaming across the world, there really was a helicopter right there when he landed. How did he not get stuck in their propellers?

#3:  How freaking cool would it be to work for Red Bull? We were talking about this last night at a volleyball game and my friend turned to me and said her cousin works for Red Bull, and actually on this project. I'm going to update my resume now.

photo credits: google images. There were so many I almost couldn't tear my eyes away!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Birthday! Here, have a tetanus shot!

Years from now, my children will sit across from their therapists and sob about the fact they never experienced a childhood birthday party in their honor because their mother was too full of anxiety and ridiculous fears to ever have one for them.

(I.e., "No, we cannot have a birthday party because the dog might rip someone's face off." "But we don't HAVE a dog!" "Well, one might get loose in the neighborhood and attack someone coming to the party."
"No, we cannot have a birthday party because someone might jump off a swing and impale their foot with a nail." "But we don't HAVE a swingset!" "Well, it could happen if they just jumped high enough and everyone knows how impossible it is to control the jumping of children!")

My fears are absolutely justifiable since birthday parties have always been a quite traumatizing occasion for the McCarthy Children. Or perhaps just for me.

Case in Point:
At my 10th Birthday Party I jumped off the swing and impaled my bare foot on a large, rusty nail. I had to then wait until all my party guest friends were picked up so my Mom could haul my bleeding body into the Doctor's office for an emergency tetanus shot. Happy freaking birthday to me.

Second Case in Point:
At my brother's 10th Birthday Party our dog mauled the face off one of the party guests. It was awful to the umpteenth degree to the point that the only way I'll ever have a dog in my house around my children is if all its teeth are pulled and its nails and also if it never wears a leash or a chain because that can get tangled up around the neck of a small boy until their blue and unconscious. Ask my mother. She knows.

Maybe it's just 10th birthdays, but I'm not gambling on that. No parties here folks.

Actually, I did have a party for my now Teen Bean. It was the summer she turned 5 (or was it 6?) and I hosted this little mini-sized surprise birthday party for her. It was awesome. All these little midgets hid behind furniture and jumped out when she arrived... kids hide way better than grown-ups. And my hip, cool teen cousin was there to help out and entertain and run games and everyone absolutely loved her. Being the awesome Mom that I was back then, (and this was way before Pinterest so I had this idea all on my very own) I took pictures of my kid with each one of her guests to be used as a photo on the Thank You card she'd be sending out. I felt awesome!

And then it happened.

The drama.

Did I mention these were first graders? So why the hell was I suddenly dealing with a snotty brat who was all upset because my kid had her picture taken with the "cute boy" that only she could like and no one else was allowed to? Swear I just watched him picking his nose but apparently he was some sort of amazing catch that (because her mommy made her sit next to him for a full seven seconds while she snapped a photo for the stupid Thank You cards) resulted in tears and accusations and finger pointing against my daughter at her very own birthday party. I hate you! screamed from the top of this brat's lungs as my daughter spent the next hour trying to figure out what the hell happened and why everyone was awkwardly eating their cake in silence, God bless her soul.

Truth be told, I hate hosting parties for children because I hate not knowing how to handle the drama of other people's children. When my own kids start being idiots and causing drama I tell them to shut up and knock it off. I can point out that they're acting bizarre and the general public frowns on the bizarre but I can't say that to someone else's kid. If I could I'd tell that snotty kid that six is far too young to be that obsessive and jealous over a boy who clearly doesn't know you exist since now he's over by the tree belching the alphabet. I'd tell her that she's never going to have any true friends, just a whole lot of people scared to death she'll dump bleach all over them in a fit of rage.

But society expects the hosting parent to be all PC and calm and understanding and not scream at their bratty kid. And also we have to provide state-of-the-art goodie bags for all the attendees. What is with that? I'd like to meet the first person who decided we needed to reward guests for attending the party we invited them to. Your reward is being allowed at the party, nitwit! There's no goodie bags in baseball...uh, I mean, in birthdays.

Now, before you go all judgey-judgey, rest assured that I do, in fact, celebrate my children's birthdays. The first thing we do is have dinner as a family in the place of their choice and they open gifts from their siblings. So far I've been lucky and no one has asked to eat in Paris or Monaco, though I suspect the Teen will catch on shortly.

The next thing I do is plan a day where it's just me and the Birthday Kid. It's a requirement that they don a handmade shirt that I usually stayed up until midnight the night before making. I've tried purchasing a ready-made birthday shirt and it was hated. The rule, apparently, is that the shirt must be drawn by my own hands:

It should be noted, however, that the Teen did NOT want a birthday shirt for her 16th or 17th birthday. It hurt. 

The shirt is worn, enjoyed, and signed by friends, teachers and, surprisingly, a whole lot of strangers throughout the day. Then I wrap up clues that give hints about what we might be doing.

Clue #3:
"Here a piggy, there a piggy all line up and ready to go!"

Can you guess where we went and what we did?

I realize now I've totally created an expensive problem....
Yes, it was Dotter's birthday this past weekend. And her day was filled with such amazing things like getting a much desired $4 Gatorade water bottle (just like the college gymnasts use and the NFL players), enjoying a pedicure, and going to the mall to purchase a sweatshirt that will fit her during the upcoming cool weather. We even went and saw the movie Hotel Transylvania in 3D - which was totally fun and we ate way too much extra buttered popcorn which made me an incredibly happy woman.

They're not wild and crazy birthday celebrations, but it's one day - one full day - where it's just me and my kid. Talking, laughing, enjoying... just being. Personally, I think I'm the one who comes out on top each and every time. And the best part? No one gets a nail through their foot or their face ripped off.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Please don't eat the broccoli

The perky dietician looked down at her scribbled notes, diligently scrawled on the pad of paper clipped to her neon green plastic clipboard. "Well,  now. You've given me a good example of what you normally eat. But, uh, well, I don't see any fruits or vegetables?" She sounded confused.

"Oh. I don't eat them," I answered plainly.

"You don't eat fruits or vegetables?" Now she looked confused.

"No." I answered matter of factly.

She uncrossed her leg. Then crossed it again. "Well, why not?"

"I don't like them." I became keenly aware that I was coming off like an obstitante child. Although I didn't have the whine.

"You don't like any fruits? What about bananas?"

"No, they taste like sickness."

Her eyes widened. "I'm sorry?"

"I don't know, like, maybe once I got sick after eating a bunch of bananas and now I associate bananas with being sick. Like I do 7-Up. Just a sip of 7-Up and I'll start to feel queezy. Same thing with a banana."

"Oh. Well, what about apples?"

"I can do Granny Smith. But not the other kinds."

"What's wrong with other kinds of apples?"

"They're too soft. I only like crispy apples. Like Granny Smith. Oh! And Honey Crisp apples. I can do those, too. But only if I cut them up. I don't like to bite into things. I only like food if I can touch it with my back molars first."

".....ohhkaaaayyyyy...." she quickly caught her unprofessionalism and shook her head. "Well, now, so, uh, what about grapes?"

"Too squishy. Same with peaches or plums. Or anything described as fleshy. It needs to have substance to it. But maybe if I froze them. I suppose it would be okay to freeze grapes so they're hard and then I could eat them. But not peaches or plums."

"Why don't you like peaches or plums?"

"It's what I imagine biting into a baby's plump leg would feel like. But instead of blood it'd be all  that juice dripping down my chin. Also, I can't help but think that if I accidently stepped on a peach it would feel just like the time I stepped on a mouse. You don't ever forget that feeling once it happens."

She sat staring at me. So I did what I always do when there's awkward silence. I filled it. "Not that I would ever bite into a child's leg. I don't even think about it that much. Or at all, I mean. It's just one of those things that popped in my head when I was younger, eating a peach, and just that thought - 'oh, this is what biting into a kid's leg feels like' - rendered it inedible to me until the end of time."

She looked down at her clipboard. Praying, I suppose. "Okay. So you like crunchy foods! What about celery?"

"Too stringy. I feel like it could choke me."

"You're afraid you'll choke on celery?"

"Not like choke and die. More like those long strings will get stuck along my throat - like when you have a hair stuck on your tongue and you can feel it but can't get it off no matter how many times you swipe your tongue with your sleeve and then you start gagging. I'm afraid the strings will get stuck in my throat and then gag me." I awkwardly chuckled, "haha! You probably think I'm nuts!"

Too quickly she answered, "NO! No! Uh, no, not at all. So what are some other vegetables you might be willing to add to your diet? Corn? Peas? Beans?"

"Corn, yes. I eat a lot of corn. Peas: only if they were frozen. I like them to still be intact before I eat them. I can't do canned peas because they're too mushy and not symmetrical at all, which I only realized at this second that it's very important that my food have symmetry. And I can eat beans if  they've also been frozen."

"Have you, uh, ever talked to someone about your food rules? You know, a lot of people are very particular about the textures of their foods. Sometimes it can be very helpful to talk to someone about this...."

And she handed me a card with a name on it...

The One in which I take my Father for his Covid Vaccine

I got a voicemail the other day from the hospital saying ‘since you’re the contact on record we just want you to know your Dad can get a Cov...