If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Eye Eye, Officer

 Our local lake puts on a huge fireworks display and we have a boat. Does anything more even need to be said? Situations like this is why my blog exists. A boat full of people, 3 dogs, 2 cops, 5 stitches, and an asshole...this story has it all.

It started out uneventfully. Ron, me, Caymen, Kearstin, Kearstin's boyfriend, my son and his family, and my sister and hers, headed out on our boat for an evening of tubing before the fireworks. About an hour in, our 20 year old daughter, our daughter-in-law, and our nephew were on the tube, and were violently thrown off, which is the goal, as if you didn't know.

My daughter-in-law, Barbara yelled, "Kearstin's bleeding!" This was not alarming, because Kearstin gets frequent nosebleeds, so yeah. She got violently thrown from a tube. Of course she's bleeding. Then we looked over the side and saw her face covered in blood that was gushing from a cut above her eye. Gushing.

Everyone's immediate reaction: Daaaaamn.

We pulled her onto the boat and grabbed the first aid kit, that didn't have any butterfly strips, which begged the question, what the crap kind of first aid kit doesn't include butterfly strips??? Barbara (mentioned in my previous blog, who's in school to be a PTA), jumped into action, gave her a 'follow my finger' field test, and made 3 butterfly strips out of tape, because she's our family's MacGyver.
She's MacBarbara.

Between my back and Kear's eye, she's basically earned her degree.

Accepting the fact that even MacBarbara couldn't make this problem go away, we threw the tube on the back deck and sped toward our dock. As we entered the 'No Wake Zone' Ron slowed the boat down...sort of...because we're rule followers like that. That's where we encountered the Police Boat coming toward us in the opposite direction. Good thing we're...sort of...rule followers. Except they made a turn and came toward our boat.

"Can you please get into the boat?"
I turned to see our son, Zac, squatting on the back deck of our boat, where he'd been riding to hold onto the tube. He stood up. Ron quickly explained that our daughter had been hurt and we were headed in to take her to the ER. They looked over at Kearstin and I knew what they were thinking.

Poker faces, gentlemen. Poker faces.

Soooo, we should probably get goin' now.

"Sir. Can you please get into the boat."
I turned to see Zac still standing on the back of the boat. Dude. Seriously? A cop should only have to say that once.

Then he turned to Ron and said, "We'll follow you in and talk when we get to your dock."
Ok. Cool.
*Everybody glare at Zac.*

It has officially gotten real.

So we began the slow, humiliating, police escorted trip back to our dock.
Nothin' to see here, folks. Mind your business.

We began to discuss the situation. Whyyyyy the dramatic police escort back to our dock...besides a guy squatted on the back and blood all over our boat, if we were forced to name the obvious.

Did we exceed our boat's 12 person maximum capacity with 14 people and 3 dogs? Sort of. I mean, we'll probably have to count the 12 year old and the German Shepherd, but the 2 toddlers don't even add up to one whole person, nor do the 2 little dogs. So total number of boat occupants: 12 1/2 people and 1 1/4 dogs. (They're really little dogs.) Plus, we bought the extra floater seat to allow up to 14 people, so Boom. That means we still have room for another 1/4 of a person on our boat. Plenty of room. But having one person riding on the back deck is pretty misleading. *Everybody glare at Zac again.*

Did we exceed the 1,600 pound weight limit? Probably a safe bet.

Ron: "At least we don't have any alcohol on board."

 Me: Welllll...funny story...one of my water bottles is filled with Calico Jack.
Everybody stop glaring at me.

Would it be weird if I started slowly pouring something over the side of the boat right now? Yeah, okay, not a good look.

Ron: "You're going to have to hurry and drink it."
But I'm a total light weight.

By the time we all arrived to our dock, I'd done as I was told. Speaking of our dock. Parking our boat in it requires us to make a couple of sharp turns. Under the best of circumstances, this takes an average of 4 tries and roughly 23 minutes, with everybody sober, and 2 people on the front and back deck corners to keep us from bumping into other boats and/or the metal frame of the dock. That's on a good day. A not good day, involves a cop standing on our dock watching us...and probably counting heads and mentally adding up our poundage while not hiding his look of disdain, as Ron made several 14 point turns in our overloaded Tritoon with none of us on the deck to help, because illegal. Duh. Where've you been?

Meanwhile, my Calico Jack was taking effect and I couldn't stop thinking of the song...It Wasn't Me, by Shaggy. Circling, circling through my brain...It wasn't me...don't sing...It wasn't me...there's a cop...It wasn't me...don't laugh...It wasn't me...Do.Not.Start.Dancing. I had to put a stop to this before something regretful happened. (As if this entire day hadn't already turned regretful.) So I did what drunk me does best. Witty banter. I don't remember anything I said, but I'm sure it wasn't awkward at all and definitely fixed everything.

We make really bad first impressions. It's like our gift.

So Kearstin, her boyfriend, Trevor, and I got out of the boat to take her to the ER while the rest of them stayed behind and tried to explain our festival of terrible choices.

No way this could get worse.
Hold my Calico Jack.

Ron handed me the van keys.
Dude. A DUI might actually make things worse right now. As would the officer seeing the bloody-headed 20 year old take the drivers seat. Sorry, Trevor. That leaves you to drive the mini-van. A dream come true, I'm sure of it. Thank goodness he didn't lose his contacts when he was on the tube, because Kearstin would've been the only one left to drive, and somebody has to be responsible, and then everybody would've had to glare at Trevor.

As we passed the Urgent Care, we realized they were still open for 5 more minutes and it didn't take long for the Physician's Assistant to throw in 5 stitches and send us on our way. Things were finally going in our favor.

Meanwhile, back at the boat...
The officer was explaining to Ron, who was wearing his 'Don't Hassle Me I'm Local' shirt, that a tubing injury is classified as a 'Boat Accident.' That seems dramatic for an UNdramatic family like ourselves. He was asking Ron a million questions, as the dogs whined to get off the boat. So Barbara asked herself, 'What would Shari do?' and proceeded to let them off the boat. Unleashed. And our German Shepherd went after another family's dog.

Nope. Not what Shari would have done, but I appreciated the thought process.

Of course the officer was quick to point out that it was illegal for the dogs to be unleashed and attacking other dogs, willy nilly. Just add that to our All The Laws We're Breaking Tab, thanks. Ron was told to meet him back at the dock on Monday afternoon to finish explaining himself for the "9 separate violations" and wrapping up the "paperwork." Also texting all of our boat guests and asking for their full names and ages for the police report is every boat owner's dream. What, you don't want their weights? Do you even care about the obvious danger we are to society?

We arrived back at the boat dock at 9:40pm. The cop was gone, and if we hurried, we could make it across the lake for the fireworks. (Violation #10)

And if you're thinking we should've just cut our losses and retreated to our homes for the safety of others, I'd kindly ask you to stop making sense. You're wasting everyone's time.

As we sped through the dark, (Violation #11), weaving around other boats (Violation #12), that were anchored by people who more than likely hadn't just spent the evening getting their kid's eye stitched up and hosting a dog fight for the cops who were already questioning every choice they'd ever made. In short, a little grace would've been appreciated. Instead, what we got were angry boat honks and someone called Ron an asshole. (Where's their violation, huh?)

Ask yourself this. If you've never been called an asshole, are you really living your best life?

We parked, anchored, and totally blended in with everyone...meaning, Zac fired up Ron's drone, (Violation #13), which in the dead of night, looked and sounded like a
ticking time bomb. (Violation #14). Then they brought it back down to change the battery, just as the finale started, because of course we missed the finale with the drone.

I felt like I owed my family an explanation for everything that happened. The eye, the cops, the drunkenness, the dogs, the asshole...the 14 violations...You see, I'm writing again. And God is providing all the material I need, because Jesus loves me more than most.

Then we got back to our dock, our dog peed on somebody's bag, (Violation #15), Ron grabbed the hose in a fit of rage to spray him (Violation #16), and ended up spraying me point blank in the face instead. (Violation #17...the most life threatening violation of them all.)

Back the love down just one notch, there Jesus.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Back To Normal

My back hurts. This is nothing new. My back always hurts.
I have 2 chiropractors. One can snap my lower back like a champ, the other is a genius at relocating my ribs. One has daytime hours, the other has evening hours. If they could work at the same place, it'd be a dream realized for all of us, but they don't share my vision. Yet. But for now, the system works. Unless something goes terribly wrong in the middle of the night and I'm left to my own devices. That's when things can take a turn for the worse. And they almost always do.

Which brings us to last Wednesday. I left Zumba feeling a few spasms in the right side of my lower back. Nothing an Icy Hot Medicated Patch won't take care of. (I get absolutely nothing for endorsing them, even though I should.) Before bed, Ron patched me up and rubbed me down with muscle rub cream. Then he put his arm under my pillow to kiss me goodnight, lifted my head about an inch up, and I felt the familiar pop. There goes my rib. And the ability to inhale right along with it.

With no chiropractors to call, we took matters into our own hands.
Will we ever learn not to do that?
No. We will not.

Our attempts at relocating my rib include, but are not limited to, Ron putting me in a bear hug, lifting me off my feet, and shaking me up and down. Me laying on my massage table while he presses on my back with his forearms and/or tennis balls. YouTube videos, because YouTube is like Amazon. It has everything. Maybe it shouldn't.

Basically, our bedroom turned into the DIY-Chiropractor Edition...similar to my DIY-Ear Nose and Throat Edition and my DIY-Gynecology Edition, except significantly less embarrassing to explain to the doctor when you end up there. And you will end up there. 

When he finally resorted to laying all of his dead weight on me because "Your rib will have nowhere to go but back into place" I decided it was time to call in the closest thing I have to a professional at 11pm. My daughter-in-law, who is currently studying to be a PTA. Her first piece of advice, "Don't try to pop it back in." (Maybe we should've called her first.) She told me to lay with my foam roller against my spine and gently roll it back and forth to relax the muscles and then maybe the rib will slide back in on it's own. To her credit, that worked. Unfortunately, the spasms were too far gone for it to make much difference.

Ron wanted to take me to the ER. Hard pass. The last time I let him take me to the ER, I called a teenager names and lost my testimony with pretty much everyone. I was provoked. Not my fault. It rarely is.

Because I also have a history of self-diagnosing myself, I ended up on the couch in the fetal position, WebMD'ing my symptoms. According to my professional medical googling skills, I'd narrowed it down to kidney stones, a UTI, a bladder infection, appendicitis, or cancer, because on WebMD, all roads lead to cancer. And at 2am, you'll leap frog from back spasms to cancer within 5 clicks of a link.

I woke Ron up.
"What if I have appendicitis...or something?"
Ron: "I was thinking it might be a heart attack."
Holy crap. I'm having a heart attack. THIS.IS.NOT.A.DRILL.
Then he told me to wake him up if it gets worse, which I'm pretty sure is not the advice you'd give to someone having a heart attack, so I wandered back to the couch to listen to 'I Can Only Imagine' and cry.

*New Life Rule: Two hypochondriacs are not allowed to talk to each other in the middle of the night.

When Ron woke up at 4am and found me crying in the Rec Room imagining how he'd tell the kids, I caved and let him take me to the ER. On the way out to the van, he said, "This reminds me of when you were in labor with Aubrey." 

Sh*t. That's it. I'm pregnant and didn't know it.
Because at 4am with no sleep, that's a genuine possibility. 
A reality show called 'I didn't know I was pregnant' would support my diagnosis.

While he parked, I checked myself in, telling the lady I was having back spasms, because there's such a thing as a psych ward, and the ramblings of a mystery baby could very well land you there. Then she wrapped my id bracelet tightly around my wrist, thus triggering my claustrophobia, because I'm weird and prefer not to have my circulation cut off. All I could do was stand at her window staring at that super tight band and uselessly bending my wrist back and forth back and forth back and forth...And that's how Ron found me. He immediately knew what was happening because he's witnessed such a meltdown at the town carnival's ride pass window, and he asked the lady if she could please loosen it. She said no. So he ripped it off my wrist and put it loosely back on with what was left of the shred of sticky end. He doesn't like to be told no. 

Back in a room, exhaustion was setting in, but all I could do was sit straight up with a pillow held to my face, because maybe I could trick my body into sleeping vertically. For future reference, my body cannot be tricked into sleeping vertically. Then the nurse came in and explained that they had no record of me ever being in the ER. Not that I blame them for wiping their computer clean of my existence after the outburst of 2017. So I filled her in on my entire surgical history while Ron sat across from me mouthing things and pointing to parts of his own body, as if I'm going to forget to mention my surgical enhancements. Pull yourself together, man. This ain't charades and if I can see you, so can she. 

Then the doctor came in, poked my back, said "You're having back spasms" and asked if I wanted shots or pills. It was crazy. He didn't even google anything.

I chose the shots. And the pills. 

I'm not sure what's in hospital muscle relaxing shots, but I'd equate them with an elephant tranquilizing dart...not that I know anything about those either. Two shots, straight into my a** cheek. She warned me I'd feel a poke and a burn. She was correct. What she failed to mention was that I'd immediately break into a hot sweat and have to throw up. So I told her. I'm gonna throw up. She walked across the room to get a small pink plastic curved vomit pan, which is clearly made for tiny people who must not projectile like us big folks. Then I asked Ron to hand me my bottle of crystal lite. 

The nurse stopped reaching for the little vomit bowl and turned to me and said, 
"I thought you were going to throw up."
I am.
"Then why do you want a drink?"
Maybe because I'm 47 years old and know myself well enough that I'd like a drink of something before I throw up, which is going to happen whether you hand me that vomit cup or not, so maybe we could stop the interrogation. 

And then I miraculously threw up like a normal person, didn't miss the pan, didn't fill up the pan, and managed not to drop the pan out of my sweaty hands. That's a win all around, people.

So let's celebrate that in silence, shall we? But instead, as she sealed my pan in a trash bag, she said "Is that cherry crystal lite? It smells like cherry."
*Heave* There's that projectile vomit we know and love...and they probably deleted me from their records again.

I returned home and was at the mercy of Ron to meet my basic needs, and what I thought I needed was a bath. (The know-it-all nurse would probably tsk tsk such a terrible life choice.) The problem was, the odds of me successfully climbing into and out of our new ginormous bathtub were slim to none. You could stack bodies in that thing. Trust me, getting stuck in there is not an irrational fear. For once. As Ron carefully navigated me over the ledge, Caymen yelled, "She's in!"

1. I didn't realize this was a spectator sport and
2. I don't even wanna know who she was announcing that to.

I laid helpless on my back as the tub filled with water and then he turned on the jets, sending columns of water shooting over my head and face in an obvious attempt to drown me. That's the only plausible explanation. 

No more baths. Obvi.
And I'm perfectly willing to slap the smug I told ya so look straight off that nurse's face right now. Don't test me Janice.

With regular doses of prescription meds, ice massages from my daughter-in-law, and a long weekend of rest, I was able to return to the gym on Monday. My back still hurts, but not, let-my-husband-experiment-with-my-skeletal-structure-hurt, so that's an acceptable normal to me. It was a long 4 days, but I just keep reminding myself that it could've been worse. 

Like, dead worse. Or, even worse worse, had a baby.
I'll take the spasms, thanks.

Friday, June 28, 2019

This Is Me

It's been 5 months since I've posted a blog. Maybe longer, depending on if I actually follow through and post this one. It's not like we suddenly turned normal and now I have nothing to write about. I mean, we're still us. But for some reason, I've been a hot mess this year. Like, hotter than normal mess. Like, basically paralyzed and unable to put myself out there in writing, kind of mess.

Don't get me wrong, there's always been an underlying insecurity when I write. Whether it be this blog, stories for books, or articles for websites, there's a mental back and forth of *sobbing into my pillow* 'What if people don't like it?' to *shaking my fist in the air* 'Screw what people think!' because heaven forbid a middle ground of 'Here I am, I hope you like me, but I'm still totally ok if you don't' can't possibly exist in my world.

Remember that scene in Tangled when Rapunzel realizes she's free from the treehouse and runs around the woods having a mental breakdown of extreme thoughts while Flynn Rider quietly watches from afar? That pretty much encompasses almost any day in our marriage.

I know what you're thinking and I agree...Ron's ridiculous, standing there all quiet and rational while I ramble anxiety ridden thoughts and cry. It's almost like helping.

I'll frequently hear podcasts and sermons that hit me square on the head and I feel God nudge me to get back to writing. Or is that Satan wanting me to make people hate me?
*Cue Rapunzel*
Mind your business, Flynn Rider. I got sh*t to sort.

I've taken every personality test I can find to learn why I am the way I am so I can figure out how to fix me. Depending on which test we're talking about, I'm either a Beaver, which means I have high standards, desire order, put unrealistic expectations on myself, and lack flexibility.

Or I'm an Extroverted Introvert, which basically means I prefer solitude but can manage to function in society without making too much of a mess of myself, albeit barely. But then another test listed me as an Herbivore, indicating I'm extremely sociable and prefer large groups. We're gonna file that test under 'Load of Crap' because how can you label me an Herbivore when I believe salad is of the devil and I answered 'STEAK' to your, 'What would you order at a restaurant' question? Sorry, but the Beaver in me says that doesn't make sense. That test also kept referring to me as a man, so there's that.

The results of my Spiritual Gifts test are Discernment and Exhortation. That basically means, my gifts are the ability to read through bull crap and then tell you how to fix it, which also means my spiritual gifts are the 2 most hated on the list. Kinda lines up with the whole Beaver thing, and why solitude should be my social scene of choice for the safety of everyone.

I already know that someone is going to want to lecture me on what Discernment and Exhortation is supposed to really mean and I'll ask you to kindly save it. I googled it. It's right. I'm simply paraphrasing. Part of my process is learning to use my gifts for good and not evil. Like Batman.

Most recently, I took the Enneagram test. My top 2 personality types are 6 and 4. It says I should read the descriptions for each and choose the one that best fits me. So let me break it down for ya:

Type 6: Devoted, trustworthy, reliable, and great at problem solving, but sometimes they are themselves with worst case scenarios.
Worst case scenarios? Me? Never.

Type 4: Unique, creative, and deep, but they can sometimes be dramatic and get lost in their feelings.
DRAMATIC?!? Lost in my FEELINGS?!? *psh* As.If.

Come on. I'm just trying to figure out who I am and these Google tests screw with me as much as my own thoughts.

So I started seeing a therapist.
That's right. I said what I said.

If I were a Psychiatrist, and let's face it, I should be, then I would appreciate my client saving me an hour trying to explain all the obvious crap. So, the first day, I came right out and told her who I am according to Google, what my issues are, specifically everything in my past that caused them and then my daily mental battle in a nutshell; I'm either not enough or I'm too much.

Therapist: "So. You've done your research."
No need to waste each other's time. Just please fix me.

My whats and my whys don't need to be written here. Maybe some day. But I will tell you what she's told me about myself so far.

1. I'm not crazy. (No, seriously, she said I'm not. She also said I should probably stop referring to myself as a Beaver in general conversation, so I'll consider that, too.)
I'm actually an Empath. Meaning; I walk into a room and pick up on every emotion in that room.

Anger? I feel ya. Anxiety? Oh, please come play in my brain. Disappointment? I'm sorry, whoever you are. I've obviously let you down. Judgement? I know. I deserve it. Hostility? Target: me. Escape, Escape, Escape. Sadness? I'll tear up right now...or worse, desperately attempt to lighten the mood by making you laugh.
You might be surprised how many times that backfires.
*revert back to anger*

So when I'm teaching classes at the gym, I'm riding high on the waves of upbeat music and the intensity of my classes and co-workers energy. I love my fitness people, who have been known to describe me as bubbly, outgoing, enthusiastic, and fun. I hope I am those things.

When I'm doing Massage Therapy, I'm in an environment of peace, surrounded by candlelight and enveloped in instrumental worship music, while I physically absorb everything my client is feeling whether for good or for bad. I love my massage clients, who if I had to guess, might describe me as quiet, introspective, thoughtful, and calm. I hope I am those things.

Both jobs bring me joy.
Both jobs exhaust me physically and emotionally.
I wouldn't trade either one for anything in the world.
But they're on extreme ends of the personality spectrum.
Emotional whiplash.

2. I'm not a mistake and I wasn't made wrong. (Hey, I'm not convinced either...a Beaver person like me never is.)
According to her, God made me this way, with these gifts, so that I'd have the complete set of tools to help other people. The problem is, my whats and my whys from my past have wounded me, caused me to turn those gifts inward, and instead of using those tools to help people, I use them to punish myself.

She said her therapy goal is not to change me. Instead, she's going to remind me who God says I am, help me to trust in who He created me to be, and then teach me to cope in my world of extremes with balance and confidence.

Flynn Rider would probably really appreciate that.

So why am I writing this?

Because last week I read a blog post from a friend who hadn't posted a blog in over a year, and her struggles as to why hit so close to home that I realized, it isn't just me. So I reached out to her and we chatted and she told me about a writer who wrote a book on the writing process and she explained the hardest part of writing is getting your butt in the chair, because that's when all of our neuroses kick in.

Then all writers are borderline psychotic? Because that is possibly the best news I've heard all day. Maybe Ron should start a Spouses of Writers support group...but they'd probably just sit around calmly staring at each other in their world of zero-thoughts-serenity, so what's the point?

Consider this a baby step in stripping away some labels and finding some balance. I'm going to put myself out there and let you see underneath a few of the layers of who I am. Then I'm going to post it. (Maybe. Probably. We'll see.) Then I'm going to walk away and let it be.

So let's just address the things that will wake me up tonight at 3am:
I've offended someone with what I've written.
If that's the case, please forgive me and know it wasn't intentional.

Someone could use my vulnerability against me. 
If that happens, I acknowledge that I have no control over that, and I have a super great therapist if they do, sooo...isss cool.

Someone might change their opinion of me. 
If so, feel free to just not tell me that, k? (For all I know, it might've confirmed things you already suspected.)

Ron says he just wants me to be me. Which is basically the worst thing you can say to a Beaver/Herbivore/6/4/Discerning Exhorter, like myself.

So, with the help of my therapist, I'm on the journey of sifting through the wounds, and the scars, and the lies, to explore the truth of who the real me is:
Me is a child of God. Me is saved by grace. Me has been forgiven. Me is fierce. (In a good way, mostly.) Me is a roller coaster that few can fully understand. Me has a safe place named Ron, who promises to never get off the ride. Me loves her family. Me is thankful. Me was created for a purpose. Me is submitting to the process. Me is finding balance. Me is trying. Most importantly, Jesus loves Me.

Aaaand Me wants to write again.

So. I'm really sorry if you came here to laugh today and this is a downer. I just felt an urging to let you in on the very real struggle that I'm dealing with right now and I'm going to stop being ashamed of it, because for all I know, someone might read this and realize it's ok to need some help.

Unfortunately, this isn't a blog entry that concludes and wraps up in a neat little bow. There might be more parts coming in the future. Or there might not. Admittedly, my journey through therapy might be much less entertaining than my boob job or tummy tuck. Or maybe not. Regardless, I'll be back with something stupid to make you laugh before you know it.

In the meantime, if anything I've said resonates with you and you need someone to talk to, I'm right here. I'm not as scary as the personality tests say I am. Hopefully.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Weight For It

Let me ask you a question.
When you're thinking of getting your spouse a gift, do you
1. Get them something that brings them joy? or
2. Get them something that forces them to confront their biggest fears?

If you're new here, let me introduce myself. I'm Shari. I'm claustrophobic, prone to anxiety attacks stemming from a deep-seated fear of abandonment, and the chance of ever contracting rabies would round out the top 3 things that keep me up at night.

If you're familiar with us at all, you know that my super generous husband lacks a little sense in the gift giving department. The weedwacker he gave me for Mother's Day several years ago would be a prime example, as would the gift certificate for an hour spent floating alone in a coffin size sensory deprivation tank full of water he gave me for my birthday last year. Wait, what?...no wild-eyed raccoon trapped in there with me to complete the experience? Opportunity missed. It's like you don't me at all.

So this year, when he handed me a huge and very heavy box for my birthday, I was scared. (Always trust your instincts.) Inside the box was a 25 lb anxiety blanket. Twenty.Five.Pounds.
My first question. "So you want to lay this on top of me while I sleep?"
His response. "It will help you."
"But I'm claustrophobic."
"But you have anxiety."
"But the thought of sleeping under a 25 lb blanket is giving me anxiety. This feels counter-intuitive."
"Just try it. You'll love it."

The first night was bad. My knee popped every time I tried to roll over, probably because it wasn't expecting a 25 lb push back, not to mention the compression on my chest all night. Did this thing come with small print? Cuz my implants did.

Give it another night, he said. You'll love it, he said.

The second night was better. I started out on my left side and woke up 7 hours later in the exact same position. Unfortunately, I think that had more to do with the muscle relaxer I took before bed to overcome the anxiety of climbing under the blanket. Or my body simply relented, knowing it would lose the fight. Like a bunny being eaten by a boa constrictor, since I know you were hoping for a disturbing analogy.

Sorry, dude. Send it back. Bed is supposed to be my happy place. I can't develop a drug addiction or unleash an onslaught of snake nightmares from a birthday gift.

"Send it back? But it helps with Restless Legs Syndrome."
Which would be amazing if I had Restless Legs Syndrome.

I think Dude's been sneaking my muscle relaxers.

Side note for those who are intrigued by the weighted blanket or who might actually have RLS. Upon further research, I discovered that the recommended blanket weight should be one tenth of the person's body weight.

Now. I'm the first to admit I can't do Math. But I do know my weight on any given day. And on most days, I weigh 160, give or take. A tenth of that would be 16 lbs, yes?

So he either thinks I'm 250 lbs or dude just tried to suffocate me for my birthday. Either way, stop right there and go think about what you've done.

That was last month.
This month, he told me he knew what he was getting me for an early 26th anniversary gift.

Oh lawd, lemme guess. You're gonna leave me alone in the woods all night for a full wilderness survival adventure.

Nope. A giant box arrived and inside was this.
A hover board. 

Hold up. I'm a 47 year old grandmother of 4 who now owns the worlds fastest Gyroor F1 Hover Board, that weighs 40 lbs, and makes racing sounds?

Holy crap. Dude finally nailed it.
Happy 26th Anniversary to my best friend, soul mate, and partner in crime.
May the next 26 be as entertaining as the last.
Or maybe slightly less wouldn't be such a bad thing either.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Traditions, Courter Style

Christmas shouldn't be that complicated. It's literally the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The first, best, and most important of all gifts, to the world, to save the world. It's supposed to be JOYFUL. So in spite of the busyness, chaos, (and let's be honest, stress for the OCD Introverts of the world), that comes with this season, I try to keep the true meaning...and of course a sense of humor...about the whole thing.

Jesus and I share the same birthday month. Another year older. One of my eyes still not working right, gray hairs that pop through my chemically manufactured 'hot chocolate' hair color, and now a shoulder joint that mysteriously dislocates willy nilly. I take Ibuprofin with my protein shakes, have the chiropractor on speed dial, and use an electrode unit on a daily basis. The undeniable aging process. But I'm still dancing for money and now swinging from a bungee in the ceiling in my spare time, so not all hope is lost. Yet.
(Zumba, people. And the bungee blog is coming soon.)
But every year becomes more of a reminder that I won't be around forever, despite my active lifestyle...or maybe that's exactly what will be the thing that kills me. *shrug* I tend to live on the extremes of everything if you're new here.

So this is one of those posts I'm writing with the thought of my kids, grandkids, and maybe even great-grandkids reading someday after I'm gone. If anyone else enjoys it, that's great. But this is for them. Because I can't tell you how many times I wish my own mom or Mamaw Putter had written a blog I could go back to read.

So kids. This is your Sassy speaking. And this is how we do December...

Nearby cities will cram 10,000 people down the sides of each street running through the center of town. Parents will let their heathen children crowd the parade floats screaming for candy and then they'll proceed to dive on said candy before it even hits the street. You probably won't get any parade candy, because our family refuses to behave like animals. It's candy, for crying out loud, and Halloween was literally like a month ago. But we'll go. We'll smile for pictures. And Sassy will announce that she won't go back next year. But I will. Probably.

T'was The Night Before Christmas.

Chuckle's old childhood book that we put out on the toy chest every year and read every day that you're here. And by "read" I mean, I ask you to point out things in the pictures, because none of you want me to read the story and that's ok, because anybody who wrote a children's book with a page saying, "The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave luster of midday to objects below" clearly never meant for children to actually want to sit and listen to it.

Cousin Pictures.
Every year, SheShe and I sneak in a photo shoot of all the cousins together, then the mommies and daddies open a framed 8x10 at Christmas. This photo shoot involves 5 minutes of SheShe videoing on her phone while Sassy runs around putting everyone in various poses and sweating like a dog trying to get everyone to smile. Then SheShe goes through all the footage and takes still shots of anything that might look decent enough to frame as a gift. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't matter. It's all gold to Sassy.

Christmas Lights.
For the 2nd year in a row, Chuckles decorated the outside of our house with pretty white lights. Unlike last year, Sassy stayed inside, so no public fights broke out. I avoided wrecking into any cars in our driveway, so that was also a 2018 win. This year, Chuckles got super motivated and went so far as to line our driveway with lights. It's beautiful...a plane could come landing onto our property at any moment, but it's beautiful, nonetheless.

Santa visits.
Literally. Santa came to us this year. I think because Sassy was such a good girl at the parade and didn't throat punch any of the rude stranger children or their irresponsible parents, a very special Santa rewarded Sassy by coming to her house and not making her deal with the general public Santa, because it's Jesus birthday month and Jesus loves Sassy very much, and He loves you too.

 Sassy's Birthday Party.
Once a year, Sassy allows herself to consume Long John Silvers fish, which isn't technically "fish" but rather deep fried lard drenched in a crispy batter, but once a year, Sassy doesn't even care and eats it anyway. Then we take a big group picture where someone is almost always crying. This year, it was Scar. SheShe is to blame, because we had a really good group picture but then we realized SheShe was in the bathroom. There are 12 of us. Cut us some slack. We can't keep track of everybody.
Uncle Nick's Birthday.
Uncle Nick also shares a birthday month with Jesus and Sassy. This year, his birthday fell on the same day as the HTM Christmas party and we spent a fun day at Dave and Buster's, where Uncle and Sassy took the toddlers on an interactive ride where dinosaurs appeared to chase us and destroy and eat the car we were riding in. It was a poor judgement call on our part. But life is about learning from our mistakes and you'll forget it ever happened. Eventually.

Gingerbread Houses.

Every year, somebody inevitably attempts this atrocity of a tradition. This time, it was SheShe and her boyfriend, Trevor. He brought over a couple of kits and they went to work. I won't mention names, but one of them ended up looking amazing. The other one lost one side of it's roof, a tantrum was thrown, the roof got eaten, and the remainder of the house got trashed. "Somebody" might've inherited her craft skills from Sassy...

Green Christmas Tree Cookies. (aka; Sassy Cookies, which are stocked in my freezer on most days.)
Carried on from my childhood. A simple butter cookie dough, dyed green, and squeezed out of a cookie press in the shape of Christmas trees. OR, if you're me and the cookie press machine hates you and makes you cuss, by the 2nd batch, you end up rolling them into balls and pressing your thumb in the middle. Slightly less festive, but equally as delicious. Take my advice. Jesus wants peace in your heart, so just skip the cookie press profanity contraption.
Each year around this time, we add new features to our home security system. It'd be stupid to post specifics, but I'll just say that sometimes it's the only way I know SheShe leaves the house and Zac uses my system to mock me with Jason Bourne moves when he stops by undetected.

A Christmas Eve EVE Service.
This year, our church offered a Christmas Eve service the day before Christmas Eve, which worked out great because we can never attend the actual Christmas Eve service. I'm sure our church did that just for us...I'm equally sure we could be the reason they might never do it again...4 kids ages 4 and under in the same row during a candlelight service. Let me just offer a blanket apology to pretty much everyone.

Christmas Eve, phases 1-6.
This is the day our family celebrates so as to free up the married kids on Christmas Day to do their own family thing and to spend with their respective in-laws. We vote on the meal. This year was tacos, burritos, chicken enchiladas, nachos, homemade salsa, and spicy sausage with cheese dip. A 'Mexican Feast' Christmas. (Our family doesn't exactly conform to tradition. Shocking, I know.)

Phase I. 
The Decorating Of The Jesus Cookie
(It's His Birthday. He gets a giant cookie.)
This year, we let the toddlers help.
Caymen was beyond thrilled.

Phase II.
 Then we clean up the trash and everyone takes their gifts to neatly stack them in other rooms of the house, because somebody in our family is a little OCD. It might be Sassy. 

Phase III.
We eat!

Phase IV.
Siblings Exchange Gifts.
Then we clean up the trash and everyone takes their gifts to neatly stack them in other rooms of the house, because, you know, OCD.

Phase V.
Outside Gifts.
(Drones, bikes, riding toys, general brouhaha...this is when we do that.)

Phase VI
Family Gifts, including weapons, desserts, games, naps, and general shannanigans late into the night.

Leave a stool unattended and Scar will climb it.
Leave Egg Nog unattended and Hay will drink it.

Leave an umbrella unattended and Chuckles will open it.
For your own safety, wave a white flag before exiting any of these rooms, because...
...these blow darts hurt like a mother.
Rocking chair/Hover board...same same.
Mother/Daughters matching Jesus bracelets.

Christmas Day.
Sassy's sleepin' in, baby...which means like, till 8am, because Sassy's 47 and her bladder wakes her up early. So since I'm the only one up, I go upstairs and eat the leftover pie. And then, since I'm the only one up, and everything's basically over, I go ahead and take down all the Christmas decorations. (Have I ever mentioned my OCD?) Then everybody else starts waking up and inevitably they start asking where the pie is.
Yeah, never mind that missing lit up tree that's been sitting in the corner for 4 weeks. By all means, let's start investigating the damn pie.

From our crazy traditional family to yours...
 We wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!