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, a grandson, a granddaughter, 3 dogs, 2 rabbits, 2 dwarf frogs, an unfortunate number of tadpoles, and a whole lot of love.




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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Take Me Out To The Fall-Game

Be forewarned that just because it's been 3 months since my last post, doesn't mean I don't have a lot of ridiculousness to catch you up on, so be prepared for more frequent posts in the near future. I'll just go ahead and apologize right now.

Someone (probably Zac, because most of our family events originate with him), found a special deal being offered by the Columbus Clippers baseball organization. For $25, you and your party of 10 or more could enjoy all you can eat sliders, hot dogs, popcorn, chips, and cookies, on a private balcony, while watching a Clippers game. How could we not? So we gathered our family of 10, invited Kearstin's boyfriend and his brother to join us, starved ourselves for a day, and headed off to spend an evening of eating. Um, I mean, watching a baseball game.

We found our way to our 3rd floor balcony where food was laid out buffet-style.

Let me just take a minute to clear something up. We don't go to these events looking for trouble, and to be fair, a lot of what happened there that night was unavoidable.
1. We can't control wind. Please.
2. We didn't design the table and chairs to be up against the edge of the railing overlooking right field. Come on.
3. Plates, napkins, and cardboard boxes of popcorn? What were they thinking.
4. Positioning a security guard directly below our balcony was nothing short of entrapment.

Right away, one of our tickets went flying over the edge onto the field and landed beside a player from the visiting team who looked up at me and then slid it into his back pocket. Fine. Keep our ticket and nobody get mad. (Refer back to #1 of things outside of our control.)

So we filled our plates, sat down in our seats, and focused on eating while they played their little baseball game...or whatever. That's when Ron's full box of popcorn fell over the edge of the balcony onto right field. Now, anyone who knows my husband, knows he doesn't go around throwing perfectly good food over the sides of balconies willy nilly. Popcorn weighs like nothing, and refer back to #'s 1-3 of things that weren't our choice. Actually, go ahead and include #4, because that's when Security made us a little visit to let us know that things from our balcony have been falling onto the field.
Dude. We know. We were there.

Before he arrived back to his post below us, Kearstin's plate and Barbara's napkin landed on the field. (Numbers 1-4, people. I can't keep reminding you this wasn't our fault.)


But for the rest of the game, we managed to keep our food and accessories off the field. That is, until 8th Inning when my granddaughter threw her Na Na over the side of the balcony and onto the field. To clarify: A Na Na is a pacifier and it was thrown. Not blown. Thrown.

So bye bye Na Na, right? Wrong. Not only does she love her Na Na, but that Na Na came from Nick's mom's house and she'd specifically told them to return that Na Na...the one currently laying in right field directly below Security...back to Granna's.

As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. So being the good Chuckles that he is, Ron looked up the right fielder's name and began repeatedly yelling at him. "MARK! GET GRANNA'S NA NA!" Of all the things Mark's ever heard yelled at him from the stands, I'm willing to bet this one was the hardest to ignore. But ignore he did, because Mark isn't going to throw away his shot at the big leagues someday to satisfy his curiosity of what a Granna or a Na Na might be.

If right-field-Mark wouldn't get Granna's Na Na, surely the bat boy would. It's like his job. So Aubrey and Nick found their way to the seats behind the bat boy and began nicely asking for this one teeny tiny little favor...pretty please and thank you, walk out onto right field and save Granna's Na Na!
And he did!











Right-field-Mark could really take a lesson on priorities from the true team player.

It's rare that any of my posts end with an 'And they lived happily ever after' moment, yet here we are.
As for the Clippers baseball organization and their security team...well, they might wanna know that Ron's department decided to host their annual picnic there for their employees. And their family. This Saturday.
We're coming for you, Mark.
And we're bringing our Na Nas.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Zip-Whining

Sometimes an activity gets planned and I think, Oh, this will be a blog, but then everything's going along so smoothly, and I think, well, this might not be entertaining after all. But then, outta nowhere, it happens. Something huge. Often tragic. And almost always involving Ron. At my expense.

Two weeks ago, we went zip lining at Mega Caverns in Louisville with a group of friends, and as it so happened, it was over the weekend that marked the anniversary of our first blind date 17 years ago. We call it Shon Day. (Our names. Shari + Ron. Combined. Please don't make me explain everything to you.)

Anyhoo, 4 fun couples zip lining through caves in Kentucky. How could this not get ridiculous, right? Don't get me wrong, we had a total blast, but nothing crazy-blog-worthy, although considering we're talking dangling from a wire hundreds of feet in the air with our lives literally in the hands of 2 teenaged employees responsible for clipping us safely to the lines and then stopping us from careening into the cave walls at each end, I should probably be more grateful. But the writer in me had hopes for some excitement to report. Granted, one of us got car sick on the way down, and some loser chick line-jumped her into the bathroom stall at a gas station, but it didn't escalate to a fight or anything, so you know it wasn't me. I don't choose many battles with strangers, but line jumping me to pee would definitely be one of them.


Later, BFF Lissa and I decided to sneak a selfie during the probably-really-important instructional lecture on how to put our harnesses on...and then we needed help putting our harnesses on. But still. I needed more.

Things did get stupid at the halfway point when we had to cross what was basically a swinging rope bridge with our partner. Ron forgot he's the one afraid of heights and started jumping around in the middle of the bridge to mess with me and ended up traumatizing us both in the process. Had that gone any more wrong, I wouldn't be around to write it anyway. And when one of our trusted teenaged guides pretended to slip off the edge of the platform, I stopped looking for blog material and snapped into survival mode.

The final ride consisted of side-by-side lines where we were required to climb onto a small wooden platform across from our partner and race them to the bottom. One guide stayed at the top to get us hooked up. The other guide waited at the bottom to catch one of us. The husbands. She caught the husbands. The wives were responsible for spotting and grabbing a single rope hanging at the end of our line while everyone gathered at the bottom who'd gone before you screams "CATCH THE ROPE!" as you fly by, just in case you're feeling rebellious and deciding that not catching the rope would be the ultimate finger to the man. And assuming you do actually catch the rope, then you have to hold on for dear life to avoid sliding back over the abyss until the guide is finished making sure your husband is totally safe. How 'bout we just put all the forks in the spoon slot while we're at it.

I'm not a feminist. I do not claim to be able to do all that men can do. So give them the damn rope to grab because I prefer the 90lb teenaged girl safely catching me at the bottom, thanks anyway.

We'd planned on doing their ropes course afterward, but when we stood looking at a Chuckie Cheese version of a ropes course and our group of 8 large adults were scheduled to go behind 2 birthday parties of 7 year olds, we gave our non-refundable wrist bands away and spared ourselves a shred of dignity. Obviously, disgracing ourselves on an amateur ropes course designed for children could've very well ended up being the blog, but not worth it.

So we left, nothing really to report, except a fun relatively smooth adventure with friends as we headed to the hotel...with our cake.

Despite Ron going to the added effort of trying to have the Walmart bakery write 'Happy Shon Day'...which after 4 failed attempts later, she still got it wrong, and it ended up saying, 'Happy Birthday Shon Day'...the cake really had nothing to do with our anniversary or even the adventure with friends. We just take a cake to every hotel. And then we split it down the middle and eat it with forks straight off the little cardboard saucer till it's gone, as seen in this picture from Hilton Head. We do it every time. It's like our thang. The only difference this time was that we'd share it with our friends...and cut it into individual pieces and eat it from plates like civilized human beings, because, you know, witnesses. And since I don't allow myself sweets at home, our hotel cake is a big deal. Like, huge. Don't screw with that.

So we arrived at the hotel. Ron carried our luggage and I carried the cake. I stepped into the elevator uneventfully, because I'm 45 and this ain't my first rodeo. Ron stepped one foot across the threshold and WHAM. He got smashed by the elevator door and thrown up against the side. Okay. I was there. I saw the whole thing. Ron doesn't move fast, but that door was comin' in hot, and it's been my experience that elevator doors closed a little less violently than that, but apparently, Kentucky Drury Inn's think their elevator users have had it far too easy for far too long with, like, having time to get both feet inside. Time to start cracking the whip.

Later that evening, Ron ran up to our room to get the cake. Then he waited for the elevator to bring it back down. See where this is going yet? Now, having been just recently rammed by that very elevator, one would think that'd be fresh on his mind, and maybe, oh, I don't know, NOT balance the cake on one hand like a waiter or at the very least, pick up the pace when it came time to climb inside. But no. And WHAM went the door into his arm and SLAM went the cake onto the floor.

Man buys wife cake.
Man takes wife to hotel with cake.
Man destroys cake when he gets crushed by the hotel elevator. Twice.
*Cue music*...Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme...

The good  news: It didn't say 'Happy Birthday Shon Day' on it anymore. Funny how that minor
mishap pissed me off just 24 hours previously.
The bad news: It didn't say anything on it anymore, because the icing was thrown off the top of the cake and squished down the side.
In more bad news, and this will probably surprise you: I don't have a great track record with my emotions when it comes to food crisis and my responses should never be witnessed, much less videoed. (ie; the Mrs.Grass's Soup Incident of 2016...and now the Hotel Cake Catastrophe of 2017.)

After the meltdown lasting roughly 4 minutes, I pried off the lid and verge-of-tearsed the pile of icing across the cake in what ended up looking like a mix of frothy poop laced with blood. A few people actually accepted a piece, certainly not because it looked good, or even to be polite, but in an attempt to get Ron's head off the chopping block. Then we sat there looking at the mess on our plates until Andy broke the silence with a line from Clark Griswold in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation..."If this tastes half as good as it looks, we're all in for a real treat."

And a blog was born. See? As promised. Huge, tragic, involving Ron, and at my expense. Voila.
Everyone needs a group of hilarious friends to make memories with, who make you laugh till you cry, willing to share your nasty elevator floor cake, and witness your meltdowns but love you anyway. If you don't have some, get some.

It needs to be said that Ron redeemed himself this past weekend at a Drury Inn we stayed at in Ohio. His elevator entrances and exits were clean and well executed and the cake never touched the floor...of course he was forbidden to carry it, so there's that.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Roast Ghost

I've written about our dogs before. Not exactly warm fuzzy stories, but then again, 'warm and fuzzy' doesn't exactly describe anything about our family. You might remember the infamous dog fight/missing eye story featuring our dog, Summer, in Fright Night, and who could forget the notorious poison control/vomiting inducing trauma with all of our dogs in Dog Days. (Sadly, Tia was hit and killed by a semi in front of our house later that year.)

We've since added Bam Bam to the mix. His full name used to be Bam Bam Brown Bear, after the Alaskan Bush People, but Caymen changed it to Bamberly James because she doesn't share my borderline obsessive infatuation with the Alaskan Bush People. He's a mix of Chinese Crusted Powder Puff and Frat Boy Asshole, so I guess his new name suits him. A few months ago, we called him '30-Turds' for a week when he went completely insane one night and pooped a landmine of individual piles of dung all over our rec room. Bam's loads of fun.

But a story you may not remember from years ago was tacked onto the end of  Piece, Bye Peace, which referenced our dog Quincy and her nasty habit of sneaking pieces of dead animal carcasses into our house. I wouldn't bring it up again, except it's a detail that explains a part of what happened here on Monday. And trust me when I say, that's the only thing explainable about what happened here on Monday.

That's the day I have both grandbabies. That being said, on Mondays, there's a baby gate blocking the top of our stairs. I honestly thought the worst thing that happened this past Monday was Summer and Bam Bam suddenly losing their freakin' minds and digging up the carpet on the bottom stair. Because, seriously, what else could they do in one day?

Don't ever ask that. Because late that afternoon, I found Quincy, sitting on the top step, just on the other side of the baby gate, holding a giant piece of dark brown something in her mouth. Oh lawd, not today. Nobody else was home, my grandson was playing downstairs and I'd just laid our granddaughter down for her nap, yet none of that stopped me from screaming, because I know a scream-worthy situation when I see one.

I jumped the gate, opened the door to the garage, and began yelling, "Get out! Get out! Get out!" So she dropped her treasure on the top step and ran out the door. So then I started yelling, "Pick it up!! Pick it up!! Pick it up!!" which is obviously a command we need to work on because she stood in the garage with a look that said, I don't know what you want from me. But Summer knew, because she bolted to the top of the stairs and grabbed it, which caused Quincy to run back inside to defend her goods.

*Insert dog fight and more screaming*
Sassy really knows how to entertain babies.

The whatever it was began shredding apart before my eyes until I finally got them off of it and back outside. Accepting the fact that my overactive gag reflex was about to get a thorough workout, I slowly moved toward the mess on the stairs, and then the smell hit me...beef? I bent down to see a perfectly seasoned freshly cooked roast ripped into large chunks all over our stairs and my mouth started watering. (Hey, better than gagging.)

The obvious question. Where in the crap did Quincy get a roast?
It boiled down to 2 choices, because we only have 2 neighbors. One next door and one across the street. Nobody's gonna throw away a whole roast, and seeing as Quincy knows how to nudge a screen door open, she'd obviously just stolen somebody's dinner.

So I packed all the roast pieces in a Walmart bag and hid it in the outside trash can under all the dirty diapers, as you do. Then I waited guiltily inside for the angry text, call, and or knock on the door that was surely gonna come. I mean, meat was stolen. I wouldn't let that slide.

When Tuesday morning rolled around and I hadn't heard from anyone, I assumed somebody must not have had their heart set on roast and moved on with their lives. Then Tuesday afternoon, a knock on the door.

I opened it to find a man standing beside a large white van with the dogs barking at his feet.

He said, "Are these your dogs?"

Crap.
I said, "Yes."

Please don't say roast. Please don't say roast...

He said, "I almost hit them with my van."
I said, "Why?"

Please don't say roast. Please don't say roast...

He said, "Because they were in the road."

Huge sigh, thank you, Lord.

As I was talking to him, the neighbor came hurrying from her house across the road.
She said, "Is this about your dogs?"

Sh*t.
I said, "Yes."

Here it comes. Roast, roast, roast, roast...

She said, "They've been crossing the street and going way back in the fields over there."

Sigh of relief, I can't live like this.

I thanked them for watching out for our dogs while carefully avoiding blurting out the word roast, and closed the door having just dodged 2 bullets.

Then I went to Zumba and found out that bullets travel in 3's.

As I was getting out of my van, my next door neighbor was arriving for class and approached me in the parking lot and began catching me up on what's been going on with her, when she suddenly said, "Oh my gosh, and THEN on Monday, I cooked a big dinner and we never even got to eat it."

You know that special effect they do in movies where the person listening, like, blacks out inside their head, and the person talking starts to sound all muffled in the background. Turns out, that's really a thing.

When I finally came to, I asked, "What'd you cook?" because that seemed like a more casual follow-up question than, Did my dog steal it.

She paused and said, "Grilled chicken."

How have I not had a heart attack yet?

So the mystery of the roast lives on.

Of course I'm not happy that our dog stole someone's dinner, but I'm relieved it wasn't any of our neighbor's...and let's be honest, if she's gonna drag a dead animal into the house, it's a refreshing change to have it already prepped and cooked.










Monday, January 30, 2017

24 and counting...

Writing our stories was always intended for my kids and grandkids to have a small piece of our family history to share forever. To pass on funny memories and maybe even some life lessons from my perspective along the way. It had nothing to do with followers, much less a career, although I'm grateful for both. But this particular entry is more so for my family. I'm sharing it in honor of our son and daughter-in-law, who chose to elope 3 years ago. I'm sharing it in honor of our daughter and son-in-law, who opted for an Ohio State themed wedding, where the women went barefoot and the men wore baseball caps. And I'm sharing it in honor of our 2 daughters still at home, to reinforce the message we've always taught our kids:
Don't just think outside of the box. Destroy the box.

God might use this in some way for you, too. That'd be great. It's also possible this might cause you to look at me differently or judge me for it, but I basically roll that dice every time I sit down at my computer, so here we go.

Our wedding anniversary is today.
24 years ago, Ron and I had a wedding.

I treasure it as the day I legally married my best friend, and we celebrate it accordingly, but we all know the wedding anniversary symbolizes the wedding and that's the part I could've done without.

As is probably the case with most weddings, everyone had opinions, all of which were openly shared with the 2 young (or as many would've said, "too young") delusional engaged people who obviously had no idea what was "proper."

You see, we were the couple who wanted to elope, but that wasn't an option, (what would people think?) anymore than Ron wearing his baseball cap at our wedding was an option. (in a church? never!)

A few of our other controversial preferences were to have only one bridesmaid and one groomsman, (rude!), black for our wedding color (insert all the "symbolic" jokes here), we wanted our pictures taken before the wedding (yes, he saw me in my dress before I walked down the isle, *gasp!*), chose our favorite song by heavy metal band 'Firehouse' to play after our vows (scandalous!), and wanted dancing at our reception. (Sweet mother, nooo...*thunk*) Thank goodness I didn't start drinking until I was 40, because I feel like I would've lost the margarita battle of 1993.

As it turns out, all of those things are now totally Pinterest Wedding Approved. See? We were just ahead of our time.

But let's be perfectly honest here. Judgment of our wedding choices was simply a symptom of deeper issues. The bottom line was, there were people who didn't approve of circumstances surrounding our marriage and tensions were running at an all-time high. Therefore, our wedding is forever tainted by the memories of disapproval of others. Not exactly a feel-good anniversary story to publicly share, right? And that's why I haven't.

So when I read a blog entry by Beth Moore last month and hers was laced with the same undercurrent, I was shocked. Beth Moore? Thee Beth Moore had people throwing shade at her wedding? Maybe there's more of us out there than we think.

I mean, I get it. We were seemingly the most mismatched couple in the history of ever. Totally non-traditional. Unconventional. Many would argue, rebellious. Solely focused on loving life and loving each other. Everything was laughable. To heck with what people thought. Clearly in denial of the trials that awaited us. All of which was chalked up to the naivety of being 21 and carelessly in love. Even God must've cringed when our worlds collided, right?

Or is it possible, God brought 2 broken pieces together to make a whole?

My strengths where he's weak. His strengths to carry me in my weaknesses. Both of our strengths to stand against outside forces that continually try to divide us.

And God is the cord that ties the whole thing together where we're both weak, pretty much suck, and without Him, would've shredded each other a long time ago.

God was there when we met on a blind date. He created the magnetic force that wouldn't allow us to remain apart when Ron left for the military. He didn't walk away or turn His back on us when we chose to go against His perfect plan by moving in together a month before our wedding, and He not only forgave us, but blessed us. He was there when I walked down the isle in a white wedding gown and He looked at me with love instead of judgment and disdain. He was there when my cousin Susan, dressed in black, stood by my side as my only bridesmaid that day, as He knew she'd be the one who'd always remain there. He was there when my heart thumped to the beat of a 90's love song as it filled the sanctuary after Ron and I said our vows, and He was watching when, more often than not, we were the only ones dancing at our reception.

Then in 1998, He took us by the hand and led us to our church family, who opened their arms unconditionally to a couple of misfits like us, who to this day can still be found sitting in the front row center, my husband raising his hands in worship, with a ball cap on his head.
"...The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
~1 Samuel 16:7~

24 years later, 4 kids, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and 2 grandkids so far.
Started with a mismatched couple. Grew into a family. Non-traditional. Unconventional. Many might argue rebellious. Focused on loving life and loving each other. Everything is laughable. To heck with what people think. Possibly in denial of the trials that await us, which some might chalk up to the naivety of being 45 and still carelessly in love.

If anyone disapproves of us at this stage of the game, I've got good news for everyone.
The part about "for better or for worse till death do us part" doesn't apply to you.
Raise your margaritas. Cheers all around.

God is here. Every single day, every single moment, every failure, choice, regret, and success.
He is here. Always has been. Always will be.

Thousands of things I'd change if I could.
A million things I wouldn't.
I'm sure the same will be said over the next 24 years.
Welcome to life.

But today isn't about regrets. It's about celebrating a love that beat the odds, a lifetime of both good and bad choices that God is using to mold us into who He desires us to be, a determination to keep submitting to Him, always trying to do better, and looking ahead to another year of loving each other even more fiercely than the last.

Now if you'll excuse us, we've got a song to dance to...and I've got a killer air guitar solo that I held back at the wedding, speaking of regrets.

video
A big THANK YOU to Zac for putting the song from our wedding to our picture dancing at Aubrey's.





Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Dread-room Makeover

Do any of you wives out there ever feel like you share a room with a messy dorm mate rather than a husband? Or is that basically the same thing?

According to talk show segments everywhere, our bedroom is supposed to be a "sanctuary." A "getaway." An "escape." Well, that pretty much described every other room in our house except our bedroom. This is what I'm talking about...



Guess which side of the room is whose. Granted, it could've been much worse, and 10 minutes before I straightened it up to take pictures, it was. But the clutter, piles, and disorganization, not to mention the mosh tosh of mismatched furniture didn't feel like a sanctuary to me...maybe more of an asylum.

So I did what women with zero design talent do. I turned to Pinterest. And it didn't take long to find a bedroom that looked like actual grown-ups lived there and I thought that'd be pretty cool.

So it was off to choose furniture and match the paint color, which turned out to be called Ground Nutmeg and that felt very grown-up when I proudly handed the sample cards to the paint desk guy..."As you can see, we opted for the ground nutmeg motif with Chantilly lace trim." I sounded more mature already.

Well, once you have the furniture and paint, it makes no difference that it's 8 days before Christmas and your house is in full on holiday upheaval. You start rippin' sh*t up and by 7pm on Friday evening, we were elbow deep and fully committed, like it or not.
And Ron decided he did not.

I was in charge of painting the white crown molding trim...sorry, Chantilly lace...and by crown molding trim, I mean the old brown chair rail we removed and raised 3 feet. Voila. Crown molding trim.

Hey, part of maturity is deciding we ain't goin' into debt over this crap. So I was lathering Chantilly lace over top of the original stained chair rail trying to decide the line between tastefully-distressed and got-tired-of-putting-coats-of-white-paint-over-brown-stain, when I glanced back to see how Ron was doing with the ground nutmeg and found him sitting on our bed trying to get a treat out of a dog kong. This picture was taken at the 8 minute mark. It went on for 3 more minutes after that.
But he got the treat out, so check that off his bucket list.

He finally started painting and announced, "It looks like poop."

No it doesn't. You just need to put it on thicker.

Off to Walmart he went to buy a paint sprayer, accidentally held it backward, and painted his chest. He looked down at himself and said, "It still looks like poop."

No it doesn't, because Pinterest wouldn't do that to me. Now put it on the walls and stop screwin' around.

By the end of the weekend, our walls were done, most of our furniture was put together, and we were down to the bed. But when the box springs wouldn't fit into the frames, he admitted that he actually bought 2 single frames with the idea to design his own super tall mega bed. Soooo...2 single bed frames and countless stacks of boards and screws later, our bed is almost as tall as our bedside lamps, my feet can almost reach the top of my hutch, and the dogs are forever banished to the floor because they can't jump that high. Hell, I can barely climb up there. And thankfully we removed our ceiling fan last summer or decapitation during sex would become a probable threat.


But the bedroom is done. Maybe not exactly Pinterest worthy, but it certainly meets my amateur standards and I'm quite happy with our little getaway.


I don't even care that I thought Summer's tail was covered in dried diarrhea before realizing she'd rubbed up against the wet paint on our walls.
I mean, so what if our sanctuary is done in shades of poop and white...
if Pinterest says it's on-trend, IT'S ON-TREND, DAMMIT.