Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Little Red Wagon

For awhile now, Uncle R and I have been the best of friends. We can pretty much talk about anything, that is as long as I agree with his beliefs and don't throw in too many big words when we argue - then everything’s butterflies and gumdrops.

When we were kids, we pretty much despised one another. We took great pride in terrorizing each other and then making "official reports" to our parents in order to narc the other one out. One such “report” involved Uncle R getting caught flipping me the bird during an argument and then me cackling as I watched him eat a mouthful of liquid Dawn dish soap as punishment. Yes, Karma did kick my butt later on because I had been the one to teach him how to display the magical finger (I learned from a third grade playground lesson) and in fact, I was just quick enough that day not to get caught.

Uncle R and I really didn’t live around a lot of kids growing up so it was just him and I for the most part. When new kids did move into the area, Uncle R and I indoctrinated them into our familial gang through lots of play/torture sessions. Once they passed our tests, we swore to have summers full of fun memories and lots of scabs, bruises, and an occasional trip to the ER.

One such indoctrinated member was a girl we’ll call “Miss C.” Miss C was a worldly gal and taught me a ton about cursing and boys. She also taught Uncle R a bunch about huggin’ and smoochin’ but that’s a story I’ve been sworn to secrecy about…

During a summer in the late 1980’s, the coolest play toy we had was our little red wagon. We’d push each other around for hours and when we’d get tired of pushing, we’d tie the wagon handle to the back of someone’s bike and then tow the other person around. It was fun but the temptation of Miss C’s house, which was located high on a hill (and would not require any pushing in order to drive the wagon), was overwhelming. We fought the temptation off for several weeks but then decided to give in. After all, we had a willing victim to try the ride out first, Miss C.

The day of the test ride was a beautiful sunny day and we had spent much of the morning successfully passing Miss C through the laundry chute (and going through a tub of the finest Mazola spread). While we were wiping the chute down, Uncle R and I casually explored the idea of hill riding with Miss C. She was reluctant at first, but we swore to her that we’d be right there at the bottom of the hill, waiting for our turn. We told her how special she was and how much we liked her, therefore we were allowing her the very first, most awesome ride in our fancy wagon. With brown nosing like that, how could she not agree? And she did. We were thrilled (with hidden maniacal laughing included).

Uncle R ran home to our house and returned about 10 minutes later with our red wagon in tow. We positioned the wagon at the top of the driveway, where the gravel was the shallowest and the hill was the steepest. After a few silent prayers and pats on the back, we gave the wagon a push and Miss C flew down the hill. The shrill screams didn't stop until the wagon wheels stopped spinning. Uncle R and I shielded our eyes all the way down the hill; as we ran down to see what sort of destruction had occurred to our wagon and to Miss C. When we got to her, she was grinning ear to ear, and thankfully, our wagon was still in one piece.

Uncle R and I then had a quick meeting while Miss C picked the bugs out of her teeth. Surely, this was not the ride we were looking for. We wanted the wagon ride to produce screams and terror, but what we had just witnessed just didn't have the baddah bing we had expected. We decided then and there, we had to move farther down the hill, where there was no gravel to slow our rubber wheels. After more cajoling and a little schmoozing, Miss C agreed to again be our test pilot and we slowly walked down the hill, scoping out the perfect location.

We found the spot, about 200 yards from our previous location. It was a slick, paved road that looked like a giant cement slip-n-slide. It was perfect.

The brown nosing must have worn out a bit because Miss C was starting to wise up to our game. She was beginning to understand that we were using her as our little guinea pig and that her mortality was at stake. Because of his, I had to promise her my best Sandylion sticker book, complete with the newest chocolate scratch-n-sniff stickers. She ran a hard bargain, but Uncle R and I really wanted to know if this ride would work.

We positioned Miss C at the top of the crest, again saying our silent prayers and holding our rosaries close (OK, no rosaries but we did cross our hearts when we promised to follow her down the hill - does that count?). With a gentle push (trust me, she needed no help with the momentum) she started to roll, actually, fly down the hill.

We heard screams, a couple of "I don't think this was a good ideaaaaaa!!!" and a lot of, "I'm gonna crash, aghhh!!!" and then silence followed by a crash and more screams - different screams on a whole 'nother octave.

We ran down the hill and saw that Miss C had driven into the culvert, as an attempt to prevent driving into the 45 mph road she was speeding towards. Rut roh, we hadn't even put the culvert much less the highway, into our scheme of things. Miss C was OK, although she had received scrapes to her knees, elbows, face, and pretty much any other area that was exposed. She also had tore her acid washed Guess? jeans and scuffed up her LA Gears. And even worse, our little red wagon had sustained several dents and scrapes - unable to be fixed enough to hide from our dad.

We begged and pleaded for Miss C to stop crying as we already knew that she was going to tell on us - we didn't want the neighbors ratting us out as well. Uncle R pulled while I pushed a gimp Miss C to our house. We did our best to clean her up with the garden hose so that our parents wouldn't notice any obvious fresh signs of trauma. There wasn't much we could do for the wagon, so we just hid it in the front yard hoping our parents would discover its war wounds on a later date and contribute its injuries to being exposed to the weather.

In the end, Miss C was fine and my mom gave her a ride home. We all ended up getting into trouble but one good thing did come out of it; we at least discovered that we could safely ride the red wagon down a portion of her hill and that's what we did for the entire summer. No Atari or Nintendo for us; we rode bikes and obliterated that red wagon. We made great, painful memories that summer and in case you were wondering, Miss C grew into a lovely young woman and from what I hear, hangs out with much better people now :-).

Boobie Bonfire

When my Grandma was alive, every year Dad would take care of her fruit orchard, pruning the trees and giving her huge yard a summer makeover. In the process, he'd create a large pile of drying brush that we'd later turn into a huge bonfire on a Sunday morning. As my brother and I got older, we were allowed to be the bonfire "babysitters." This involved us getting short little willow twigs that we'd light and pretend to smoke when Mom and Dad weren't looking. Many a slug and snail were also cooked on these little twigs, much to the dismay our parents who weren't particuarly fond of crispy critters lying around the outskirts of the pile.

When the Sunday morning arrived and it was time to burn up our pile, my brother and I were ready. Unfortunately, the pile wasn't completely dry and Dad was having some trouble getting it started.

I remember Grandma mentioning that she had been cleaning out the attic and had some items we could use to get the fire going. Dad followed Grandma into the house and came back out carrying a large cardboard box. He growled at my brother and I to leave so that he could get the fire going. We protested, reminding him that we were professional fire starters and slug chefs. Our griping just bought us time in the old Chevy while he, my mom, and Grandma worked hard to get the fire lit.

We could see Dad slowly picking up what appeared to be magazines out of the cardboard box. He'd look briefly at each magazine and then toss it into the growing fire. I could have sworn that I sensed hesitation as he threw each magazine in, but I had no clue why he looked sort of sad as the flames ravaged the magazines.

A short time later, after the cardboard box was empty and the fire was raging, we were released from the captivity of the old Chevy and allowed to take our place back by the fire. My brother, who enjoyed the fire much more than I did, began poking the embers with his willow twig. As he did, large pieces of ash began to fly up exposing us to what had been printed on the magazines Dad had thrown in; vintage Playboy.

We saw boobies, butts, and various other body parts, drifting about in the air. My horndog brother would try and blow out the larger pieces of ash so that he could get a better glimpse of the forbidden fruit. Dad eventually took notice of my brother's excitement over the "fire" and had some quick words about leaving the fire alone to do its business. I think Mom just glared through the process and Grandma grinned, happy that she wasn't having to do any explaining.

On a side note, we did get the entire brushpile burned down that day. My poor Dad on the other hand, probably lost a fortune (and I'm sure several fond memories) in those vintage Playboys.

Summer Sweetness

I recently discovered a super easy and delicious cake recipe that is too good not to share. If you love any sort of buttery cake and fruit concoction, this recipe is for you. Don't let the recipe name fool you because it doesn't exactly sound too appetizing (especially if you're around children for any length of time):

Pineapple Dump Cake

1 can of crushed pineapple (16 or 20 oz.)
1 can of cherry pie filling (this stuff is expensive!)
2 cubes of butter (yes, use the real stuff - it tastes so much better)
1 box of yellow cake mix
** You can also add coconut and pecans. My family prefers "girl" cakes so no "nuts" for us :-) **

Grease a 9X13 inch pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Dump in the can of crushed pineapple, including the juice, and spread it evenly over the base of the pan. Then, pour the cherry pie filling over the top of the pineapple, also spreading it around evenly over the pineapple. Next, sprinkle the yellow cake mix over the top of the fruit, making sure to crunch up any big lumps. I guess if you wanted to exert even more energy you could sift it. Then, you'd actually be losing weight by making this recipe. Finally, cut the two cubes of butter into chunks and spread them out evenly over the top of the cake mix. Resist the urge to mix and just pop this lovely concoction into the oven for one hour. After it's done baking, cool and cut into your selective pieces. Remember, this recipe has a great deal of fruit in it, so in theory, it's very healthy and full of vitamins. You should not have too much guilt eating a piece or two, or perhaps even three or four - again, we're talking about healthy fruit here, do not deprive your body of natural goodness.

Texting Nuptials

Once upon a time there was a handsome groom and a beautiful bride who decided to get married and have a gorgeous ceremony. The groom, who loves his cell phone almost as much as he loves life himself, decided to keep his cell phone on and in his pocket during the ceremony. One of the groom's friends, also addicted to technology, decides to text the nervous groom with the words, "RUN!", all the while knowing that the phone would go off. Of course, the unsuspecting groom reaches for his phone but then suddenly realizes the gravity of the moment and silences the phone, later finding the text.

The moral of the story, you ask? Don't invite my brother to your wedding.

You Know You're A Mom...

This is my own personal list. Please feel free to make your own.

1. You seriously contemplate driving four hours to a monster truck rally just to hear your five-year-old scream in joy, "Monstah Jaaaammmm!"

2. At one point in your life, you have told a child (without giving it a second thought), "quit touching the cat's tail with your weiner."

3. You then followed it up with, "I don't care if it tickles; it's just not right." Again, without a second thought.

4. You tell your child they have onion pits. And then you let him/her use your deodorant.

5. You prefer to watch "Chowder" over the nightly news.

6. You know all the names of the characters in "Chowder" and give your child status updates on the episodes they missed.

7. Fancy dining is done at Applebee's - take-out.

8. You automatically whip out the Ranch dressing at dinner time, because ranch goes good with everything.

9. You know what "bustin' a grumpy" and "floatin' an air biscuit" means, and see it practiced daily.

10. You expect a third, fourth, or fifth person in your bed every night. And not in a good way ;-).

11. It's natural to pick other people's noses for them. And eye boogies as well.

12. You own THAT book. You know the one which explains the birds and dah beez. And you dread the day you have to show it.

13. You know where the bathroom is located in every store or eating establishment and you know if it contains a changing table - by memory.

14. You run a nudist colony but don't partake amongst the festivities for fear of being laughed at.

15. On some days, you look forward to going back to work and talking to a grown-up.

16. You can't relate to Martha Stewart.

17. You refuse to give away your eleven year old daughter's baby clothes because it's too final.

18. You have the gag reflex of a sword swallower.

19. The release of a new Pixar/Disney/Nickolodeon movie is exciting to you because you know it buys you at least a two hour sanity break.

20. You have naughty thoughts about Sportacus from Nick Jr.'s "Lazy Town" and wish they'd put out new episodes. It's honestly the second show (see #'s 5 & 6) you don't mind watching with your kiddo.

Ok, I know there are more out there...List away!

School Daze

Everyday when I take my kids to school, I hope and pray we do not get into an accident. Sure, it's mainly because I worry about their health and safety and would die if something ever happened to them. But, there is another reason my quest for a safe departure and return...

I'm a total hag in the morning.

Things I don't do prior to dropping the kids off include but are not limited to the following:

* Brush my teeth
* Comb my hair
* Talk
* Wear a bra
* Change out of my pajamas
* Clean the sleep out of my eyes
* Smile
* Remove yesterday's make-up
* Wipe the drool stain off the side of my face
* Look at myself in any reflective surface

Things I do prior to dropping the kids off include but are not limited to the following:

* Get my coffee
* Put on my Jackie O. sunglasses
* Grumble
* Um, yeah, that's pretty much it.

Can you see why I wouldn't want to get in an accident? I would die just from the embarrassment alone.

What's your morning ritual? Are you a better Mommy than I am? Do you look as pristine as Tammy Faye when you drop off your kidlets?!

Thursday, October 28, 2010