Friday, May 23, 2008

Who has two thumbs and wants to win a Wii?

Some recent blog-stalking turned up an enticing opportunity: write about your most embarrassing fitness story and you could win a Nintendo Wii with a Wii Fit game and balance board. Wow! Thanks, CityMama!

At first, I thought this would be a walk in the park. I'm not at all athletic yet have never let my lack of ability stop me from trying. I embarrass myself all the time. The trouble would be choosing the most embarrassing moment.

Would I write about my freshman year of high school when I fell backwards down a beginner ski slope and had to have my poles, goggles, and dignity retrieved by 6 year olds as they effortlessly whooshed down the hill? No. I hurt myself pretty bad so the embarrassment I would have felt was out shadowed by actual physical pain.

What about the time I was playing third base in a softball game against our biggest rival and instead of covering my base when the runner tried to steal third I chased down and retrieved her helmet that flew off her head as she sprinted toward me? Nah. I'm not very competitive so that didn't bother me nearly as much as it did my mom (I think she was already wearing a "Katie's Mom" shirt by then. And, no, my name is not Katie.).

Oh! What about the time I was doing a Pilates work out video at home and the stretchy rubber resistance band that was keeping me held in a less than recognizable V-shape slipped off my feet and slapped me clean in the face? No, I think there has to be a witness for you to actually feel embarrassed. Otherwise, my years of at-home work outs spanning from Sweating to the Oldies as a chubby 5th grader to Yoga Bootie Ballet as a grown but still clumsy thanks to post-pardum baby weight work-out dork would have provided more than enough material.

Unfortunately, the most embarrassed I have ever felt in the name of fitness is something I've already written about. Actually, since the contest deadline is rapidly approaching and we are *still* having computer problems (grrr), that is probably a good thing. Here it is, edited slightly for effect...

The summer after I graduated from high school, my younger sister Molly and I drove to Oregon to stay with my perfect cousin and her equally perfect family at a fancy resort outside of Portland. It was our first road trip without parents and we took full advantage by leaving in the middle of the night, driving fast, listening to loud music, and eating nothing but junk food and coffee.

We arrived in the heat of the day and immediately went for a bike ride with my cousin's perfect husband. We started off nice and slow but soon their competitive streaks kicked in and they really took off. It didn't take long before they were completely out of sight. I kept up my snail's pace and hoped the trail would end soon. Well, before that could happen, I started to see stars. My ears were ringing as I tried to recall what I had eaten that day. Cinnamon bears. Orange slices. Was there a Pop Tart in there somewhere? Before I could figure it out, I completely blacked out. On the trail. Alone. I had no water, no cell phone and no idea where I was. I was dry heaving and cold sweating and trying really hard not to cry. Every time I tried to get up, my legs would buckle and I'd start to black out again. So I just sat there with my head between my knees and waited.

When they finally found me, they weren't exactly sure what to do with me. We had three bikes but only two potential riders. My sister stayed with me while my cousin sped off to find a way to get his Jeep onto the bike path. First she helped me crawl over to the creek so she could put some water on my head and face. Then, when she thought it was taking him too long to get back, she decided she'd get me out of there herself. She was 13 at the time and a full 6 inches shorter than me. How she came up with this idea, I will never know. As I lay sprawled out on the trail, she jumped on her bike and rode it toward the end of the trail as far as she could without losing sight of me. Then she ran (RAN!) back to where I was, slung all 5'8" of me onto her back and ran back to where she left her bike. She layed me on the trail, ran to get my bike, rode it past me and her bike and then ran back to me to start the whole process again. She did this over and over again until my cousin showed up to get us.

All that running and bike riding and carrying ME and she didn't pass out once! And, yes, she too had been up since 3 am drinking coffee and eating candy. We returned to a house of suntanned athletes where she impressed them all with her heroism and I nursed my bruised ego and overall weakness on the couch in the other room.

If I had a Wii of my own, passing out on the couch would have made a lot more sense. You know, since it goes so well with alcohol.

Due the the technical difficulties I mentioned earlier, this is the fanciest link I can provide to CityMama's blog.

Check it out! Her blog is great as are some of the other embarrassing fitness stories. Wii!

Go ahead, make my day.

Look what I got from my friend Courtney over at Digging to China:

It's a major award! I think in blog world it might be called a tag. I'm still not totally up on all the blogging vernacular, but yet, I won a prize!

Being told by someone you totally look up to and admire that you make their day is kind of insane. This girl is amazing. I make her day? C'mon.

I first met Courtney a few years ago and right away we jumped into the *when are you going to start a family?* conversation. Bill and I had just started throwing the idea around in a very casual, not ready to decide something so huge sort of way. If it happens, it happens was the closest we could get to forging an opinion. When I asked her what they were thinking, she told me in such a grown-up and responsible way that they had decided it was the right time to start a family. I felt like a child, like I probably shouldn't have even been thinking about such important things. From the look of it, I was decidedly NOT ready.

The next time we spoke, I was pregnant and they had decided to adopt.

At first, I was a little embarrassed about the way things worked out. I kept thinking about that night in her living room when she was so confident about wanting to start a family and I was so cavalier. Now here I was, about to have a baby and I still hadn't made the big decision. Was I ready to be a parent? I had no idea. My growing belly made it clear that I was going to be a parent but I hadn't quite tackled the idea of if I was ready or not. I'm not sure I believed I could do it until I was doing it and too sleep deprived to notice.

As I watched Courtney and her husband go through the adoption process, I often wondered, if the tables had been turned, would we have been able to adopt? Adoption is HUGE. It's like Starting a Family 2.0. I was pregnant and still couldn't quite wrap my mind around it. Not only are you kinda sorta ready to entertain the idea of having a baby and hey! if it happens, it happens, you're like really, really ready. I watched in awe as they signed paper work (lots and lots of paper work) stating over and over again how ready they were. They KNEW this was something they wanted to do. They made the big decision and were going to be parents.

Even now, as a stay-at-home-mom for more than two years (and a truly exceptional one if I do say so myself!), I'm not sure I could sign my name to that.

Courtney not only makes my day, she provides me with constant inspiration. On days when I feel overwhelmed or irritated or like lying on the couch with a magazine while Liam watches Blue's Clues for the fourth time in a row, I often think about her and the amazing journey she has already taken as a mother. If she can travel half way across the world to bring her daughter home after patiently waiting for what seems like an eternity, surely I can drag myself off the couch and build a block tower.

If you want to have your day made a little brighter, check out her blog. She is a truly magical mama.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fried mice.

You may remember a while back, I mentioned we had a problem with mice. Had, as in last year, as in before we spent many long days patching up holes with steel wool and caulk and deep cleaning the heck out of all our cabinets and drawers. Well. The problem came back.

The first time it happened this year, I knew immediately what it was. The sound of a mouse doing the uneven parallel bars in your oven is unlike anything else I've heard and I'd recognize it anywhere. Last year, when we had the problem, I was the one at home who heard the sound several times a week. Once, on a particularly brave day, I actually opened the oven. The sight of a mouse dangling from the rack I cook pizza on is something I only had to see once. Never again did I have to open the oven to know exactly what was going on.

No matter how many times I heard it, Bill never quite believed me. "How did they get in the oven?" he'd ask skeptically, like I was the one opening the door and setting out cheese.

His role in the ordeal was to rush home from work anytime I saw the cat run down the hall with a tail sticking out of his mouth. I could trap the cat in a room but I could not clean up decapitated mouse parts. He also set the live traps and emptied them whenever we were lucky enough to catch anything. I can see now that rescuing the pests we were trying to get rid of and humanely dropping them onto our back lawn where they would land with a slight thud and then run into our basement and back up the walls into our kitchen may have been part of our problem. Hindsight is always 20/20.

This year, we were both in the kitchen when I heard the unmistakable ting, ting, ting. "There's a mouse in the oven," I told him plainly. No need to panic, I was standing well on the other side of the island. He gave me the look and then, without hesitation, HE OPENED THE OVEN! "What are you doing?!" I screeched, and ducked behind my two year old son. Bill slammed the oven and looked at me in complete shock, "There really is a mouse in there."

The next time he heard a mouse, I was lucky enough to be in another room. Since he didn't need to open the oven to prove what was inside, he did the next most logical thing: cranked it up to broil and gassed the mouse. When he ran down the hall to tell me the news, I gave him the look and said something like, "Well, whatever you have to do to get rid of them." Gassed the mouse? Come on. I may not know much about ovens but I am pretty sure that's not the way they work. If you could kill something simply by turning a knob, surely we would all be dead by now. No matter how skeptical I was, Bill was certain he heard ting, ting, ting followed by a loud whoosh! of gas followed by silence. Agree to disagree.

Fast forward a couple of months longer than I'm comfortable admitting...

A friend of Bill's comes over to help finish the front porch project but things get delayed because of the rain. To kill time, they decide to open up the oven to see if they can figure out why it's not working right. See, a little while back (like, say, the moment after Bill gassed a mouse in the oven), the oven started to act up. Every time we'd turn it on, the house would fill with gas and it would take ages to heat up. I suppose this was about the same time we stopped spotting mice. Out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Again with the hindsight.

A quick inspection of the oven settled the score once and for all. The little mouse gymnast not only got gassed, it also got charred. To a crisp. In our oven.

If rodents like to gossip, our house will live on as the ultimate cautionary tale. I doubt we'll ever have a problem again.

On another note...

I discovered some more loot from the in-laws today - 7 pounds of birdseed and a torso-sized jug of vinegar. We are so loved!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My in-laws are better than your in-laws.

I don't have much time before my mother-in-law wakes up (I'm in the room with her!) or my father-in-law tires of the Weather Channel and comes to see if I'm off the computer yet (give me a minute, Pops!). I just wanted to take a second to make it clear that, although I would love some privacy and a computer of my own, (ooh! he just came in but I managed to look busy on e-mail and he left! 5 more minutes!!!) I really like having Bill's parents here. It's like I'm on vacation or something. Fancy Pants stays busy pretty much all day with laundry and deep cleaning (she says she loves it - who am I to stop her?) but will still make us fried chicken for dinner if we ask her to. Patches and Bill have thrown themselves into a renovation project of our front porch and I'm crossing my fingers (very tightly!) that by the time they leave town, we will have a swanky new place to hang out and drink cocktails. It shouldn't be a problem. 2 weeks is plenty of time for a project like that. Yes, you heard me, they will be here for 2 weeks. I'm either going to have to learn to write faster or get used to posting random snippets, run-on sentences and incomplete thoughts. The editor in me is dying!