photo credit: Caden Crawford via photopin cc

photo credit: Caden Crawford via photopin cc

It may be hard to believe, but I’m actually a pretty good cook.  You don’t get thighs and a stomach like mine without knowing your way around a kitchen!

So on the eve of a three day weekend, I hit up the grocery store to fully stock up.

I worked from home before I went, which basically means I worked in my pajamas, wore my glasses, and didn’t bother to put on a bra or brush my teeth.  I know, I live a glamorous life.

About mid-afternoon I decided to hit up the grocery store instead of waiting until after work hours when the lines would be longer and I would be irritable and far more likely to trip someone in the canned foods aisle.  Since I shop at a hoosier grocery store that requires you to bag your own groceries, I wasn’t too concerned about my appearance.

photo credit: Mista Yuck via photopin cc

photo credit: Mista Yuck via photopin cc

I was wore a pair of men’s sweat shorts that were 3 sizes too big and an oversized t-shirt.  I looked like the winner of The Biggest Loser only I didn’t have the stretch marks or the Type II Diabetes to show for it.

I arrived at the grocery store and out of my air conditioned car.  At that moment the heat from the day actually turned into a fist and punched me in the face harder than the hit Snookie took in Season Two of The Jersey Shore (only I didn’t whine like a baby afterward).

I then walked from the parking lot to the store in the scorching heat. By the time I reached the door I was drenched in sweat, and pretty sure at least two patrons were convinced I was going to have a heart attack.  (I may or may not have been one of the two patrons).

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

photo credit: Robert S. Donovan via photopin cc

I looked for the cart that had the least amount of grime on the handle, and began my trip throughout the store.  Since I had only eaten a small amount of expired leftovers from my fridge for lunch, my stomach was growling with hunger, or I was in the beginning stages of food poisoning…either one were viable options.

Either way, being in a store filled with food wasn’t helping.  I felt like…well…I felt like me in a grocery store filled with food.  I tried to avoid temptation by rushing through the aisles, picking up the items I needed and a few that I didn’t.

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

photo credit: kevin dooley via photopin cc

I managed to fill my cart with all the necessary items I needed (yes, grape flavored vodka is a necessity), and I headed to the checkout.  There were only two checkers working, and they both had lines several people deep.

Normally I wouldn’t mind the line and usually would stand and read the trashy magazines about how everyone hates The Bachelorette,

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

but since I have a subscription to many of these magazines, I knew I would only be cheating myself.

I proceeded to the self checkout lane, which this store cleverly called “The Fast Lane.”  It looked like a spaceship, and I was feeling futuristic and up for the challenge.

I began taking items out of my cart and putting them on the miniature conveyor belt in rapid speed, as I felt I needed to stay true to the “Fast Lane” mantra. Before I could scan any of my items, the computer asked me what language I wanted to use.

Naturally, I chose Spanish.

photo credit: hfabulous via photopin cc

photo credit: hfabulous via photopin cc

I scanned my first two items without incident. After all, I was a star grocery checker back in my high school days when I worked at a grocery store.  (Okay, so I wasn’t so much their star checker, but that’s because they didn’t understand my sarcasm.  Standing all day in the same spot was hard work and I needed breaks so every shift I told my male boss I had my period and had to go to the bathroom where I would sit on the toilet, clothed, and read Elle Magazine).

The scanning was going along great until the machine began beeping and a woman’s voice from the machine said “Quitar elemento y colocarlo en la bolsa.”  What?!

I did remove the item and place it in the bag!!!  I was staring at the item in the bag.

What was wrong with this woman, and how did she know anything about the location of my items?  I sought the assistance of the rebellious teenager working the futuristic machine and she reset it for me.  I was back on track!

photo credit: pin add via photopin cc

photo credit: pin add via photopin cc

I scanned again and it started beeping at me again, but this time my Spanish wasn’t as great as I had remembered, and I had no clue what was going one.  (Perhaps I should have paid better attention in Spanish 5 instead of using it as my “siesta” time.)

The teenager with the bad case of acne working “The Fast Lane” was now growing irritated with me, most likely because I was slowing it down to more of the “Regular Paced Lane.”

She walked over to me looking annoyed.  I thought about telling her my period trick so she could have a break, but thought better of it.  She fixed the machine and I once again began scanning.

Just about the time the bitter teenager returned to her station, the machine beeped again, and I swear the woman’s voice in the machine became more hostile.

The teenager returned for the third time, and I felt like a kindergartner who was called to the principal’s office for eating her friend’s boogers.  The checker was not

photo credit: Mike_tn via photopin cc

photo credit: Mike_tn via photopin cc

happy with me.

She asked what I did to the machine to make it continually beep, and when I opened my mouth to proclaim my innocence, I realized that I forgot to brush my teeth, and the smell of last night’s Mexican food filled the air.

While overpowering my urge to grab a bag of chips and salsa for the road, the teenager reset the machine for me one last time and stomped away.

I finished scanning my items, saying a silent prayer the machine wouldn’t call me out once again on my incompetence.  I completed my purchase and left the store, my head hung in shame.

I was just thankful I had purchased enough grape vodka to ease my sorrows from such a stressful trip to the store.

For any of you that know me, even in a cursory way, you know I love Chipotle.  I’m convinced that Chipotle salsa may actually be running through my veins.

I know the majority of people’s bodies are made up of 70% water, but I’m sure that at least 30% of that number on me is comprised of their delicious and perfectly seasoned rice.

Fortunately, I have a job that allows me to frequently eat the deliciousness that is Chipotle for lunch, and also allows me to expense it while I’m out of town.

When the perfect storm arises where I can get a free lunch of Chipotle, I am overwhelmed with happiness, as this combines two of my favorite things: saving money and guacamole.

photo credit: Ѕolo via photopin cc

photo credit: Ѕolo via photopin cc

Naturally, I was excited today when I was in Columbia, Missouri and I felt the familiar hunger pangs that could only be cured with a heaping bowl of Chipotle, where I’m fairly confident they know me by name.

I stood in the long line that wrapped around the store, deeply inhaling the smell of avocados and tomatoes and trying to contain my excitement.

I’m pretty sure the patron behind me was concerned I was in the beginning stages of a seizure because of my deep breathing, but I didn’t care.

She kept a safe distance from me, most likely to ensure she wouldn’t be collateral damage when I fell to the floor from whatever apparent ailment was affecting me.  With each step forward my anticipation grew and I began salivating worse than Pavlov’s dog, or R. Kelly at a junior high school dance.

photo credit: msTiNG via photopin cc

photo credit: msTiNG via photopin cc

The awaited moment finally arrived and I was asked what I wanted. Chipotle has several people working on an assembly line, as if they were assembling my burrito bowl the way they assemble a Ford Focus.

Normally I would find this type of procedure repulsive, but the end result is so fantastic, that who am I to argue with their protocol?

I advised the gentleman at the beginning of the line that I wanted a bowl, which he began preparing, and moved it to the next guy in the line.

This is where the system seemed to fall apart, and disaster struck.

The second gentleman in the assembly line of goodness, who I will refer to as “guy number 2”, was wrapping up a burrito for the guy in front of me when the tortilla ripped.

photo credit: David Salafia via photopin cc

photo credit: David Salafia via photopin cc

He then screamed at the top of his lungs “broken tortilla!!!“, as if we were in a Trauma I emergency room and someone was flat lining.

Surely the 10-minute employee training had prepared him for such a disaster.  Apparently not.  He turned to the workers in the kitchen, who had not yet received the promotion to the assembly line, and demanded a new tortilla immediately.

Once he was given the new tortilla, he begrudgingly threw it on the counter and transferred the burrito contents from the broken tortilla to the new one.  He did so with such anger and fury that I was convinced the cost of the broken tortilla was going to come out of his hourly wages.

He pushed the new burrito down the line to the next person and then glared at me asking me what I needed on my bowl.

photo credit: Burger Baroness via photopin cc

photo credit: Burger Baroness via photopin cc

At first I was taken aback because I’m on a first name basis with several Chipotle employees and am convinced I’m on the verge of being invited to the baptism of the manager’s child based solely upon the number of Chipotle purchases I make in a week.

As a result, I was surprised “guy number 2” didn’t know what I wanted.  However, I was feeling quite charitable and advised him of my order.

“Guy number 2” was clearly angered about the severed tortilla debacle and began throwing the different kinds of salsa into my bowl.  (Hey, if a girl can have more than one kind of salsa without being charged extra, this girl is going to do so).

We then came to the end of the assembly line, but the next worker had abandoned his post, so “guy number 2” was required to complete my order.

This made him visibly upset, as if he was asked to deliver a baby on that shiny metal surface, instead of just throw a few toppings on my bowl.  (okay, it was more than a few, but whatever).

He inquired as to what else I would like, and I advised I wanted guacamole.  Quite honestly, the guacamole is the best part of the meal and if I could have it served in a cup I would drink it with a straw as my beverage of choice.

However, I knew this activity would be frowned upon and I didn’t want to ruin my chances of the invite to the baptism, so I asked for the guacamole on top of the bowl.  Although this sounds like a simple task, it was more than “guy number 2” could handle.

photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

Instead of providing me with a heaping scoop of guacamole, he placed a heaping scoop of lettuce on my bowl instead.  He then immediately left his station, most likely to go to the kitchen to see where the breakdown occurred with the defective burrito.

As he was exiting, I was tempted to ask him what about me suggested I wanted lettuce in my bowl.  One look at my flabby arms as they shook when I pointed to the condiments should have suggested I wanted nothing to do with lettuce.

In fact, it blows my mind they have lettuce at Chipotle, as it seems like such a waste.  If I wanted a salad, I wouldn’t have come to Chipotle.  But then again, if I wanted a salad more often, perhaps my bulging stomach wouldn’t have been smashed up against the counter as I paid for my burrito.

I advised the cashier that I wanted guacamole.  “Guy number 2” then returned to the line where he was advised of my desire for guacamole.

This new information clearly sent “guy number 2” over the edge, and I was tempted to reach over and grab my bowl before his head exploded all over it.

He then grabbed the spoon and plopped the guac into the side of bowl, where it practically had no use.

Seriously?! After I paid, I sat down to eat the delicious goodness, but much of the guacamole stuck to the bowl.  I forged ahead and ate the contents of the bowl anyway, practically licking it clean.

Certainly, my bad experience with “guy number 2” will not keep me from returning, but it definitely put a damper on the experience today.  I’m sure Chipotle will make it up to me sooner rather than later.

After all, I still don’t know what to have for dinner…

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

Now that I am regularly writing this blog, (which I realize is most likely only being followed by my mom, and even then, only sporadically) my husband decided that I needed a comfortable place to sit and type.

I found his concern for my comfort a little strange considering he never seems too concerned about my comfort at 2:00 in the morning when he manages to successfully commandeer the last blanket from me and I am left to freeze to death in our marital bed.

But, I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth (unless that gift horse’s mouth was filled with candy…or pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal).

I was agreeable to the idea of something new (who wouldn’t be?).

He suggested an over sized chair for my new work space, which I wasn’t sure was a serious recommendation or a subliminal suggestion that my ever-growing backside should get back on the treadmill.

Both were probably accurate assessments, but I decided to take a cue from Cindy Anthony and be blissfully ignorant about my loved one’s intentions.

We began the process of looking for a chair, which wasn’t easy because I knew exactly what I wanted, and was pretty sure they didn’t make a leather chair with a wine refrigerator hidden in the side.

photo credit: The Lone Beader via photopin cc

photo credit: The Lone Beader via photopin cc

We found a good fit when we found a comfortable black leather chair and ottoman.  I was especially happy because the ottoman had storage space, which I immediately envisioned using for hiding cookies and other snacks.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have a way to transport the chair, so we knew were going to have to either purchase a new SUV to get the chair home, or we were going to have to seriously bribe someone.  We figured it would be cheaper to do the latter.

We knew that aside from politicians, college kids were the easiest people to bribe and had the cheapest demands, so we called Matt’s brother to see if he could assist us with transporting our new purchase.

Before we could even throw out our opening offer of a six pack of Natty Light and a package of Ramen noodles, his brother agreed to help.  (Had he known, his brother could have held out for a few Party Pizzas and some mac and cheese…after all, we were prepared to pay up to $5.00 for this bribe.)   His loss.

We brought the chair home and placed it in the corner of my husband’s office, where our three dogs proceeded to sniff it profusely.  After getting the go-ahead from the dogs that the chair posed no immediate danger, I snuggled in to draft my first post in the new chair….and here it is.

Not too bad, huh?  I mean, aside from the framed poster of Taxi Driver on the wall, I don’t think the chair looks half bad.

But since I don’t let Matt have movie paraphernalia anywhere else in the house except his office, I figured I could deal with lounging next to a poster about an unstable Vietnam war veteran who works as a nighttime cab driver.

It certainly makes me feel better about my level of mental stability…

photo credit: tom.arthur via photopin cc

photo credit: tom.arthur via photopin cc

I worked a shift at the dog shelter last night, and while getting a dog out of her apartment, received an inadvertent paw to the left eye.

I tried to explain to this particular dog that although hi-paws were acceptable instead of hi-fives, it was generally frowned upon to give them in the eye.  She seemed unaware of her faux pas. (Or should I say faux paws?)

I completed the shift and went home with a sore eye but thought nothing of it.  This morning I awoke only to discover my left eye was red and splotchy.  It looked like that side of my face enjoyed a hard night of partying and was suffering from a mean hangover.

photo credit: chrismar via photopin cc

photo credit: chrismar via photopin cc

I tried to put in my contacts but was deterred by the burning in my eye that had to be similar to the burning one experiences from an STD.  (I wouldn’t know.  Seriously.  I wouldn’t.)

I wore my glasses the last few days and couldn’t bear the thought of another day of viewing the world through my Bebe frames, fabulous though they are.  So I decided I would go without contacts for the day.

I just discussed this with a friend of mine, who does this quite frequently, and refers to it as “soft focus” vision.  I’m all about softening the focus of the pools of urination I see every day in the parking garage, so I thought I would give it a whirl.

I contemplated putting a contact in my right eye, but that usually makes me dizzy.  I’m currently dealing with an inner ear infection (me, and five years olds at swimming lessons everywhere), so I decided I didn’t want to be doubly dizzy.

photo credit: colemama via photopin cc

photo credit: colemama via photopin cc

I scratched the one contact idea immediately, although now that I think about it, I wonder if the two dizzinesses (is that a word?) would cancel each other out.

The day did not go well.  I drove to work in a bit of a blur, with my eye red and my vision blurry.  I couldn’t tell if people in their cars were waving at me or flipping me the bird, so I alternated responses between flipping them off and waving hello in return, calculating that I had a fifty percent chance of giving the proper response (math has never been my strongest subject, but I was confident I calculated the odds correctly).

Most of the time I kept my red eye closed, but then it just watered and I looked like I just watched the end of an episode of Grey’s Anatomy with the musical montage (which invariably includes a song by “The Fray”).

Fortunately, by noon my eye had recovered and I was no longer looking online for fashionable eye patches to match my outfits, which is a good thing, because I don’t think I would make a very believable pirate.

Arggggg!

Every now and again, that dreaded moment arrives in every American home; the time you realize you need something that can’t be purchased at Target, and the only answer is to go to the one place no one wants to go.  It’s the place with websites dedicated to making fun of its patrons.

That dreaded place is Walmart.

Tonight was such a night for the Newlin household.  The dogs needed food.  They’re so needy and demanding sometimes, aren’t they?  Normally, we purchase dog food at Target, but Purina tortures us with each bag we purchase by including a coupon to Walmart for $5 off the next bag.  I think it’s corporate America’s attempt to keep us coming back for more.

photo credit: Chapendra via photopin cc

photo credit: Chapendra via photopin cc

Unfortunately it works because this girl loves a deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an extreme couponer, but with three dogs in the house, things get pricey.  And smelly.  Things also get smelly.

We knew we needed sustenance to sustain ourselves as we braved the freakshows of Wally World.  We decided on a hearty meal at Subway, where we noshed on five dollar foot longs.  Didn’t I say I loved a deal?

After filling our bellies and refilling our to-go cups, we headed to the car to begin the task of mentally preparing for our trip.

My husband always likes to psych us up before we go into Walmart.  I’ve never been in the military, but I think his preparations are akin to warriors going into battle.

photo credit: _Untitled-1 via photopin cc

photo credit: _Untitled-1 via photopin cc

We discussed strategy and the lay of the store, and mapped out the most efficient way to get our items while limiting our exposure to the freakshows that are Walmart’s patrons.  I wish I was even remotely exaggerating this part of the story, but I couldn’t be more serious.

We also strategically planned the best time to go, and we decided 9:00 p.m. on a Sunday night would be a quieter time, when the regular patrons were at home in their trailers watching Dog the Bounty Hunter.

I was recording it at home on DVR, so no worries there.

We approached the store together, unified as one front.  We went straight for the carts and began our pre-determined route.  As we continued on our path, our self-loathing consuming us, we couldn’t help but notice all the amazing things the store had to offer.

Granted, I discovered mascara in the refrigerator where I retrieved my milk, and a bag of Depends in the dog food aisle, but I was embarrassed to admit I found great things at reasonable prices.

As we headed toward the checkout lane, our heads hung in shame, we noticed the highlight of our trip; a man who was nearly bald but still rocking a rat tail several inches in length.  I tried my best paparazzi moves to snag a picture of his hair, but was unsuccessful (TMZ would be so disappointed).

Two hundred and eighty dollars later we headed out the door, where we observed a meth head sucking down her cigarette before going inside to purchase copious amounts of Sudafed.

We drove home in silence, too embarrassed to admit where we were and what we had done.  This was our ‘Nam and we won’t discuss it…until the dogs need food again, and we repeat the torturous trip.

Until then, I will return to my beloved Target, where I might pay a little more for toothpaste, but at least I won’t be bombarded by the smell of B.O. at the checkout (assuming I wore deodorant that day).

After much prodding from my husband and friends (usually while under the influence of a few “adult beverages”), I have decided to take their advice, and start my own blog.  Who will want to read my blog?  Honestly, I can’t imagine that anyone would, as I don’t have cute kids to post about, nor do I have a glamorous job that allows me to travel to amazing places.  It will most likely be my random observations and complaints, intermingled with discussions about food and dogs.  Wait, based on that description, I don’t even want to read this blog…
I have no idea if this will work, as I am not the most creative person in the world.  I try to be creative but the result is always the same: I end up covered in glue and glitter with my hand inadvertently stuck to something.  Assuming this is like my attempt at pottery when I was 18, this blog will most likely be a complete disaster.  But at least my pottery attempt resulted in a somewhat identifiable sculpture of a foot, which I now use as a pencil holder, although a pencil holder is about as obsolete as the paper phone book that is currently being used as a door stop to my office. 
So, please bear with me and my lack of creativity.  Also, I am not what one would call “tech savvy.”  If I had it my way, I would still be typing commands into a DOS setting.  I know the IT people at my job cringe when they see me calling to ask them to fix something as simple as the font size on my email, but they put up with me nonetheless, most likely because I buy them nice Christmas gifts in an attempt at bribery.
I will do my best not to constantly talk about my love of dogs and food (please note these two topics are exclusive of each other and not at all related…).  However, I make no promises, as those are the things that seem to fill up my day and make me happy.  I haven’t decided if I will use the actual names of my friends, or whether I will give them fantastic superhero names.  I suppose I will let them decide…assuming I still have friends after my pathetic attempt at a blog.
So cheers to this new adventure and to hoping I don’t get smacked with a lawsuit too early in my career for incessantly ripping on Ashley the Bachelorette, with her bad hair extensions and lack of personality.  Please go easy on me if you choose to comment, as my ego is fragile…or if you want to trash talk, let me know ahead of time so I can numb myself the old fashion way…with vodka.  Here goes nothing….

Peer pressure at the pool

Summer is almost over and I couldn’t be more sad about it. But to cheer me up (and hopefully you), I’m republishing one of my favorite pool stories from 2013. Enjoy!

***DISCLAIMER:  Sadly, this entire story is true, and has not been altered.  I wish it had been.***

I live in the Midwest, which means extreme temperatures for each season.  We don’t just have winter, we have winter that freezes the snot as soon as it comes out of your nose.  And we don’t just have summer, we have summer that scorches and boils the snot as it comes out of your nose.

Apparently in the Midwest we also have some serious sinus problems and constant nose drainage.

When the heat index is over 100 degrees in the Midwest, the only option to keep cool is to go to the pool.

Recently, I went for a relaxing afternoon, armed with my beach bag of pool necessities including trashy gossip magazines and iced beverages.

When I arrived, I jumped in the pool immediately to cool off.  As I doggy paddled gracefully in the shallow end, a boy came splashed over, looked me straight in the eye and said “Are you Jason’s mom?”

photo credit: R.O Mania♥ via photopin cc

photo credit: R.O Mania♥ via photopin cc

My body isn’t “swimsuit ready” which is why I rock the one piece with a cute little skirt.  This swimsuit was definitely a “mom” suit, so I took no offense to his question.

I advised the boy that I didn’t know Jason, nor was I his mother.

I would have thought that ended the communication, but he was persistent.

My goggles broke.  Can you fix them?”

At this point I felt a little sorry for Jason’s mom. Did she always have to deal with these random repairs?

The strap wasn’t attached to the goggles, so I reattached it.  I asked him if the repair was to his liking.

Instead of giving a polite answer, he held his pointer finger up in the universal “one moment” gesture, and went under water to test my handy work.

I hoped he wasn’t taking a closer look at my bathing suit.  If he did he would see the remnants of my lunch on it.  He didn’t notice but came up and said the fix was to his liking.  Considering he was quite picky, I was relieved.

Once again, I thought this would be the end of our interaction, but he stayed and stared.  In an effort at chit-chat, the seven year old told me his name was J.T. and it was his second day going off the diving board.  He said it with such pride it was as if he had just solved the oil crisis instead of simply jumping off a metal board.

photo credit: Yatmandu via photopin cc

photo credit: Yatmandu via photopin cc

I told him I was impressed because I was scared of the diving board.

He looked at me with a serious face, and asked: “Is it because you’re afraid the board will break if you get on it?”

Um….seriously kid?!  I realize I may have gained some weight, but did he think I was so large the diving board couldn’t support me?

After I caught my breath from the shock of his question, I responded.  “No, I’m just scared of falling.”

This answer was ridiculous to him, as the whole point of the diving board was to fall. He then became intent on getting me to jump.

He recruited his friend Jayden, who was sporting a mean mohawk.  Jayden said it was his first day going off the diving board and it was easy.

photo credit: melissaclark via photopin cc

photo credit: melissaclark via photopin cc

Any kid who could successfully pull off a mohawk was more brave than I was, so his diving board skills didn’t shock me.

J.T. thought about it for a second, and in an effort to coax me into jumping he said “I bet if you did a cannon ball off the diving board, it would make a huge splash.”

This kid was going to get cut if he kept referencing my weight.  I get it….I’m big.  Get over it.  I told him I wasn’t interested in jumping.

J.T. and Jayden then took things to a new level…a level I wasn’t expecting.  Without any hesitation, J.T. said “What are you, a scaredy cat?”  Jayden then began chiming in with his sing songy voice “Scaredy cat, scaredy cat.”

I may be fat, and I may look like Jason’s mom, but I am not a scaredy cat.  There was no way I was going to allow such accusations to fly.

photo credit: Carplips via photopin cc

photo credit: Carplips via photopin cc

I told the little terrors I wasn’t a scaredy cat.  Why did these kids care if I jumped?  Did they get a kickback from the pool?

In an effort to fully convince me, Jayden and J.T. said they would jump off and show me how to do it.  Grateful to have them leave the pool, I agreed to the plan.

They trotted over to the diving board, revealing their Spider Man and Cars swimming trunks, and proceeded to gracefully jump off the diving board.  As soon as J.T. emerged from the water post-jump, he pointed to me, and then pointed to the diving board.

It was time to pay the piper.

I hoisted myself out of the water.  As I stood in line, my heart started beating faster and I tried to keep my breathing steady.  There was no way I could back out now.  My pride was on the line, and I had to prove I wasn’t a scaredy cat…

BECAUSE I WASN’T!

Are you scared?” He asked, staring me in the eye.

photo credit: Neil Krug via photopin cc

photo credit: Neil Krug via photopin cc

Yes.” I responded to this devil child.

Is it because you’re a girl?”  This kid was clearly a masochist with his high pressure tactics and I suspect he’ll be selling timeshares in Nebraska in a few years.

No, it’s not because I’m a girl.”  I retorted.  “Are you saying girls aren’t as brave as boys?”

Not to be outdone, J.T. responded without missing a beat, and pointed to Jayden and said “No.  That’s what he said.”

Jayden was not happy about being thrown under the bus, but he didn’t refute it.  I’m not sure if it’s because he was deathly afraid of J.T. (who wouldn’t be?) or because the allegations were true.  Either way, he let it go.

It was my turn on the boards and I had a decision to make.  I could walk away and endure endless taunting for the rest of the summer, or I could buck up, pray the board held my weight, and make a huge splash.

I summoned my inner child and knew I couldn’t let these bullies get away with calling me a scaredy cat.

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

photo credit: Josh Kenzer via photopin cc

I took to the board, my legs shaky.  I knew if I looked down I would chicken out, so I just began running.  I ran with all of my might (which is pretty pathetic considering the diving board is only a few feet long).

I felt like I was running in slow motion (I probably was), and I swear I heard the song Chariots of Fire as I sprinted down the board.  Instead of jumping off I just continued to run until I no longer had footing under me.

I felt like Road Runner just moments after he realizes there’s no more road under his feet, assuming Road Runner wears a bathing suit akin to Jason’s mom’s.

I landed, most likely with a huge splash.  I emerged with a huge smile and laughing.  I couldn’t believe I was bulled by second graders.  The allegations of a scaredy cat still affected me in my 30s.

I swam to the edge and saw J.T. and Jayden cheering me on with a thumbs up.  I’m not so sure if they were happy I jumped or if they were reeling from the gigantic splash I made.  I decided not to ask.

I returned to my chair with a sense of accomplishment.  I hadn’t hiked to the top of a mountain or conquered my fear of snakes, but I mastered my diving board fear, thanks to two pushy second graders.

I was just hoped they stayed away from me for good, as I didn’t want them to discover my other fears.  They’d have me charming snakes in no time.

photo credit: Daniele Zedda via photopin cc

photo credit: Daniele Zedda via photopin cc