Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mice. Why did it have to be mice?

The first thing I did was pour some wine and turn up the Earth, Wind & Fire.

Of course, I'm talking about finding mouse poo in my silverware drawer again. Again again. For the fourth time in 2 months.

My Guy has set traps. I've shoved foil in every crevice of the cabinet boxes and sprayed peppermint oil everywhere. And yet?

And yet. The lure of the tortilla chips in the bread drawer is just too strong. And you can't make a trip to the bread drawer without first shitting all over the silverware drawer. Duh.

I will admit this freely: I got myself good and drunk while tearing my kitchen apart for the fourth time in recent memory. I could try to blame it on fumes from the bleach wipes, but let's be honest: it was the wine, and then the bloody mary. Oh, and the bitterness. Don't forget the bitterness.

My impaired state did give me a special insight, though. It seems so odd that this evil force would continue to rise up again and again. This isn't how the world works at all. I have to believe that good eventually wins out or my little heart will explode.

But ... what if the mice aren't evil? What if our little rodent brethren are ... the good guys?

This would make me the bad guy. The antagonist, if you will. I am the evil doer, the force trying to stop hardworking mice folk who just need a tortilla chip to feed their families. I have no excuse for attempting to hoard all the tortilla chips. None.

It was at this point in my drunken introspection that I realized: I am Hans Gruber.

My house is the set of "Die Hard," and the mouse is Bruce Willis, walking barefoot across broken glass, trying to get to the tortilla chips. That makes me evil Hans Gruber, being all German and bad.

Or maybe the scene playing out is "The Lego Movie," and I'm maniacal President Business. The mouse and his pals are the regular Lego folk, and I'm attempting to squash their dreams. Everything is not awesome!

But no. My house is now "The Sound of Music." The mice are the Von Trapp family, except instead of climbing over the Alps to freedom, they are traversing my kitchen cabinets, looking for freedom in the form of slightly stale tortilla chips. And I'm a Nazi! I'm like Liesl's dirty Nazi boyfriend, Rolfe, standing up for all that is wrong and Fascist and khaki.

I may be slightly overreacting. I'm probably just The Six-Fingered Man from "The Princess Bride," and the 1 lone, poor little mouse is Inigo Montoya. Last fall, I killed his father in a trap, and now he must get vengeance by eating all my tortilla chips and/or giving me the plague by pooping on my cereal spoon. Except that I don't speak mouse and therefore can't decipher it when he's all, "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You kill my father! Prepare to die!" So it kind of loses some of its impact.

Or, maybe my meager kitchen is the site of "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Our little mouse friend is Indiana Jones, trying to keep the tortilla chips out of the wrong hands.

Try not to be jealous of my mad Photoshop skillz.

And yet again, I am a Nazi. Fitting, no? Mouse Indiana gets the tortilla chips, but then I throw away what's left of the bag, and then where is he? Maybe the big garbage can in the garage is my home's equivalent of the gigantic warehouse at the end of the movie, where stuff gets stashed, never to be seen again. And I admit, when I first saw the mouse poo? It did feel like my face was melting.

I would be willing to proclaim myself the bad guy, to own up to being in the wrong if it meant no more mouse poo. Don't get me wrong - I'm mega psyched that Indiana Mouse has finally stopped exploring the dish towel and waxed paper drawers and now focuses solely on the bread and silverware drawers. I'd just appreciate it if he found another movie set to explore.

Otherwise, I might have to channel Drew Barrymore in "Firestarter."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This is 40. Or, how I almost killed myself doing a lazy triathlon.

So, we're at the beach.
This is the beach, yo.
It's lovely. My Guy and I are having a combo celebration covering both our anniversary and my birthday. We like to multitask.

I decided that instead of being depressed about turning the big 4-oh, I would be thankful. So many people don't get this privilege. And, as My Guy and I discussed, we are rich as helllllll. We are happy and healthy and engaged in pursuits that challenge us and bring us joy. We are surrounded by healthy, loving, amazing friends and family. We have the 2 best dogs in the universe. (OK, we have 1 great dog and 1 jerkface dog, but I will fight anyone who says they are less than amazing.)

Life is good.

And so, I decided I wanted to celebrate 40 with feats of strength. I wanted to push myself and prove that I am capable of much more than I realize. My Guy, the jock, was more than willing. And so, my sweet husband created The Lazy Triathlon.

Instead of swim/bike/run, The Lazy Triathlon would include kayaking, riding tourist bikes, and walking on the beach. It all sounded pretty sweet.

First up? Walking on the beach. This is pretty much in my top 5 things to do ever, so easy peasy. One morning, we walked to the end of the beach. 10,000 barefoot steps before 11 a.m.? Don't mind if I do!

We decided to tackle the kayaking and biking back-to-back. First up? Kayaking. So peaceful and amazing. I cannot stress enough the value of a) an athletic husband; and b) a 2-seater kayak. I sat in the front and paddled away, feeling like a total badass. However, if we're honest? My Guy did the heavy lifting here. But we floated past mangroves and watched fish and birds and were totally 1 with nature, bitches.

For those keeping track, I wore my water shoes for the kayaking. Best $11.99 Target purchase ever, because even though I've worn them exactly twice in 8 years, just owning them makes me feel like I might be an athletic person.

After the kayaking, I felt the need for a snack. Also, it was hot. Damn hot. And my shorts were wet from the kayak. I left my shorts to dry on the dash of the rental car and walked into the snack bar wearing my swimsuit. Again, like a real, live athletic person.

The snack bar did not have snacks so much as it had a fryer. I selected french fries to fuel my biking adventure. They truly seemed like the best choice, as the other options all involved meat in casings. I was being an athlete by choosing fries.

Let's overlook the fact that most truly athletic ventures do not include the term "snack bar."

By the time I consumed those bad boy fries, my shorts were dry. I changed into my tennis shoes and realized it was approximately 700 degrees out. No problem - I was wearing a hat, and donning my third footwear choice for this third stage of The Lazy Triathlon.

My Guy and I rented 1-gear bikes. These were bikes that would even make The Golden Girls scoff. But they were our bikes, and off we went.

Full sun. Belly full o' french fries. Using muscles that last saw action during the Reagan administration. Good times.

Well, good times until I realized that fries are salty and I was dehydrated. And in full sun.

About that time, an older couple passed us on bikes. "I thought we were the only crazy ones," the man exclaimed. The woman, with teased hair of a color not found in nature, smiled gamely, but I could see it in her eyes. She was not having fun. She was indoorsy.

I briefly considered grabbing the woman and suggesting that we sit in the shade while the menfolk biked around like damned fools. But then I remembered my desire for kicking ass and taking names via feats of strength. We pedaled on.

To his credit, My Guy fully acknowledged how hot and miserable the entire experience was. His conversation ranged from "We can stop anytime" to "Tredge, tredge, tredge" to "I really doubt we'll actually die out here." And when I told him to shut up? He just laughed.

We biked and biked and biked. And then realized later that we had biked a little beyond the actual endpoint of the official trail. We were champions!

To be honest, the trail was paved and flat. But this was my second time on a bike in 20 years. And the air was like lava, if lava were, you know, air.

But we did it. We completed The Lazy Triathlon. And I didn't even die. I thought I was going to throw up, but I avoided that, too. It was a win all around.
Me, after completing The Lazy Triathlon. I love my husband so much that I cropped him out of this photo because we both look completely insane. Look at those eyes. Those aren't the eyes of a sane person.
We've joked about getting a "TRI" sticker for the my car, but I think it's a bad idea. After all, then people will want to talk to me about my tri experience, and then they'll learn that The Lazy Triathlon was about 2,586% better than their tri, and then they'll just feel bad. And who needs that?

I guess this is the grace that comes with age. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

An open letter to the kids who went to prom in Des Moines on Saturday.

Dear friends,

I had no idea that getting your prom photos taken outside of the Iowa statehouse was a thing.

But it totally makes sense. With its gold dome, the capitol is pretty stunning. I tend to feel sorry for all other state capitols, as they are clearly deficient. As my brother pointed out, this is especially true for Nebraska. He referred to their skyscraper capitol as "The Penis of the Plains."


But anyway. You all looked so lovely in all your prom finery. I realize I'm now an old biddy, because I look at you and think you look to be about 12, and I have old-lady thoughts like, "I'm so glad long dresses are back in style. Nobody needs to see vagina at prom."

But you looked great.

Now, I feel like perhaps I should apologize for what happened on the steps of the statehouse, but then again? Maybe I should just explain.

My incredible family feted me with a surprise early birthday celebration. These amazing people planned many fun surprises, and we had a wonderful time together. Saturday afternoon, we spent 3 hours and $36 playing arcade games and drinking beer. We had no idea my dad was such a pinball whiz, but it's true. You learn new things about the people you love all the time.

I should probably also mention that at this bar/arcade, my mom and I were hit on by 2 very nice gentlemen. They tried to buy her shots and bought me a beer. You're in high school and don't need to drink and probably get hit on 24/7 because you're young, hot, and hormonal, but this was a big deal to us. See, I'm turning 40 next week. And my mom has been married for 46 years. Having these guys hit on us was kind of the highlight of our years.

We were feeling giddy.

And so, when we were walking back to the car, post-arcade? It just made sense that I would run up the steps of the statehouse, a la "Rocky."

At first, we thought all the matching white tuxes meant there was a wedding. But then, we realized that it was prom, and photos were the name of the game. So, we improvised, and decided that instead of running up the steps to the statehouse, I'd just run up the steps leading up to the steps of the statehouse. There are a lot of steps.

I played "Gonna Fly Now" on my phone and ran up the steps while my family cheered and my mom captured the magic on video. I ended jogging at the top, arms raised in triumph.
No, I'm not having a seizure. I'm triumphing over adversity.
Except that the camera didn't work. We had to reenact the magic. No problem. I played "Gonna Fly Now" and ran up the next section of stairs. We got more into it, and my family pretended to be the kids in "Rocky II" who run up the steps with him. We were fucking champions.

But the camera didn't work again. So, we re-re-enacted the moment, looking more ridiculous than ever but having a great time. Pretending to be Rocky without actually getting punched is pretty sweet. I highly recommend it. You're gonna eat lightening and you're gonna crap thunder!
So, my friends? That's why you have a ragtag group of random people running and jumping around in the background of your prom photos. Years from now, when you're showing your prom photos to your kids and grand kids, you can tell them that while getting dressed up and fancy is fun? Acting silly and looking stupid is where the real joy is.

Also? You're gonna regret those white tuxes.