***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.)

So, in the summer when the heat index is over 100 degrees, the only option to keep cool is to go to the pool.

Recently, I planned a girls’ day at the pool.  I packed my beach bag with pool necessities (trashy gossip magazines and iced beverages) and headed to the pool.

I was the first one there, so I jumped in the pool 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?”

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.

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.

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.

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…


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

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.

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.

SMACKDOWNI am a library fanatic.  I love to read and I love getting things for free, so the library is my happy place, as it is a marriage of those two things.

I am at the library several days a week, which probably means I’m pathetic, but anyone who reads my blog already knows that’s true.  The fact that I hide Snickers bars in my closet only makes it worse.

I usually request books from the library via the internet, as I am lazy and like to let my fingers do the work while my mouth munches on a snack.

When my requested item is ready, the library sends me a notice via email.  I then jump for joy and head down to the library to pick up the item.

I get unreasonably excited when I get a notice that a book is ready, which again, is more than a little sad.

So the other day when I received an email from the library, I opened it immediately to see what gem was ready to be picked up. I was hoping it was a notice that the newest best seller was ready for me in large print.

dog reading bookYes, I prefer to read large print.  I’m an 80 year old woman at heart…and in eyesight.

I received a notice that I had an overdue book on CD.  I was immediately shocked, as I returned that CD weeks ago when I exchanged it for Tori Spelling’s newest attempt at a book.

She failed miserably, but I enjoyed making fun of her and her horse teeth.  I decided I would take care of this in person.

I threw on a bra, as I wanted to look professional, and headed down to my local branch.  When I arrived I found an employee who weighed about 90 pounds and was swimming in her “I heart horses” t-shirt. I found this ironic as part of my reason for the visit was good ole horse-teeth.

girl holding bookShe greeted me with a half-smile, and judging by her teeth, I discovered the library doesn’t have a good dental plan.  I advised her of my receipt of an email saying I hadn’t returned Five Families.

It’s a mafia book.  Don’t judge.  Since The Sopranos is over I have to get my mafia fix somewhere and this is cheaper than a trip to Jersey.

I told her I returned the CD a few weeks ago, so I felt the email was in error.  She looked at me as if I was lying to her face and told me she would look into it.

She then proceeded to check the computer, and confirmed that it said I still had it checked out.  I reassured her I had returned it, all the while wondering why I was so worried about what this librarian thought of me.

She then told me to “stay put” while she checked the stacks…as if I was going to grab a bunch of FREE books and run out of the FREE library.  As I don’t like being told what to do, I didn’t stay put, but wandered over to the movie section.

She did NOT look this nice when she checked the computer.  Or ever.

She did NOT look this nice when she checked the computer. Or ever.

I’m such a rebel.

She returned and said the CD wasn’t on the shelf so clearly I still had it.  I reminded her that I had returned it.  What incentive did I have to keep a book on CD that was old and smelled like a combination of fried calamari and urine?

I may have contributed to the fried calamari smell, but the urine smell was NOT mine.

She told me I probably had it in my car.  I reminded her that since I didn’t come the distance to the library on my skateboard, I had my car, and I checked again before I came in to complain.

Clearly she didn’t believe me.

She told me in a very stern voice that she would put a note in my file that said I claimed I returned it, but that it would stay on my record until the CD was found…as if that blemish was going to keep me from voting in the next election.

I told her I could live with the consequences.  I couldn’t believe how difficult she was being and why she wouldn’t take the word of a thirty year old woman in shorts and a t-shirt that said “T-shirt time.  It’s T-shirt time.”

boy hiding

This kid is creepy, but secretive.

Didn’t she notice I put on a bra?

I walked to the car, irritated with her accusations, most likely while she was inside the library printing off my photo and placing it on a bulletin board to warn others of my shady behavior and attempts to steal free items.

I drove home in silence, and was so annoyed by the time I got home that I dropped my keys on the ground as I got out of the car.  I bent over to pick them up and noticed something under the seat.

As I looked closer I saw a photo of the bloody body of Paul Castellano and knew I was staring at the CD of Five Families.

I have yet to devise a plan on how to return the CD to the library without the horse-loving librarian seeing me smuggle the contraband into the building.

I would rather listen to another CD recording of Tori Spelling attempting to read a book than admit I found the CD exactly where she said it would be.

Perhaps I will bake a cake and put it inside the cake, or maybe I will just return it to the shelf when she’s not looking.

Either way, I will be writing a check to the library to make up for the overdue fine I would have incurred had I looked a little harder in my car.

Anyone want to go to the library with me?  You will need to bring a big purse…

Last night my husband and I tried to figure out what we wanted to do for the evening, vowing not to spend another Saturday night at our house reading books and watching True TV (nerd alert!). It was a nice night, and we felt like getting out of the house, but knew we weren’t cool enough to fit in at a trendy night club, nor were we inclined to change out of our pajamas.  We decided taking the dogs on a walk was a good way to do something that didn’t involve socializing with others…and only involved minimal socializing with each other.

We grabbed the leashes, which led to a ridiculous amount of barking from all three dogs.  We walk our dogs every day, and every day when we get out the leashes, it’s as if it’s the first time they have ever seen them.  They jump and run around the house in excitement, doing celebratory dances and throwing their toys in the air, which I assume is the canine equivalent of a fist pump or a high five. 

After getting all three dogs leashed up, we descended upon the neighborhood.  We walked for a good half hour until it began getting dark and Matt and I began dreaming of frosty beverages, our reward for our hard work walking the dogs.  As we headed back home, we came upon several flying insects in a band (not a musical band, although that would have been far more entertaining to see insects playing the banjo and the guitar.  But rather, they were in a large group). 

Before I could identify what the insects were, or thrust my loving husband into the swarm first as a pawn, I felt a sharp pain in my left thigh.  It wasn’t so much a sting as a burning sensation that penetrated deep into what should have been leg muscle.  Since I am not in shape and pretty sure I have no upper thigh muscles, the burning went deep into the fat deposits on my leg which are a result from a combination of ice cream, pizza and Mike and Ike’s.  (Had I kept up with P90x, perhaps the sting would have only hit muscle and not fat, and it wouldn’t have been so painful, but Tony Horton’s cheesy one-liners on the videos were equally as painful as the throbbing from the sting, so I figured it was an even trade off).

Fortunately we were close to home, because with each step, the burning in my leg continued.  We arrived home, removed the leashes from the dogs, and sent them to the water bowl for hydration (the dogs, not the leashes).  I then removed my lounge pants to see the damage.  What I found was a large, red area that was raised and painful to the touch.  I realized that I must have gotten stung by a hornet or a wasp, as the sting was far worse than any normal bee sting.  I applied ice to the site and figured it would be better in the morning.

When I awoke this morning I got out of bed and made a bee line (no pun intended) to the kitchen for a heaping bowl of Cocoa Pebbles.  Instead of being greeted with the chocolaty goodness that only the Flintstones can offer, I was immediately greeted with a sharp, stabbing pain in my left thigh. With every step, the pain in my thigh intensified and I realized it was the hornet sting that was the culprit.  I looked down at the sting site and discovered that it tripled in size during the night and it was now a large red area the size of my hand.  It also had a fever (and I’m pretty sure the prescription was not more cowbell, although I suppose I should have tried that).

I used to have allergic reactions to bug bites when I was a kid, and back then I would put meat tenderizer on it to get the swelling and fever to go down. (I’m not sure if this was an effective remedy, or if my mother just enjoyed seeing what she could get me to do with meat tenderizer, but I figured it was worth a shot).  So, I hobbled to the kitchen, dragging my swollen leg behind me, looking like a war veteran with a bullet wound.  I located the meat tenderizer and went to work creating a paste, which I subsequently slathered onto my left thigh. 

I then spent the rest of the morning reapplying the paste, all the while smelling like a butcher shop, and craving a fillet Mignon.  My husband spent the day theorizing on whether I was morphing into a super hero, and whether my new identity as a super hero would be good or bad.  He seemed to think I would be a villain, but that was probably based upon the death stares I was throwing his way.  He frequently checked my back throughout the day to ensure I hadn’t sprouted wings (the first sign of a metamorphosis, according to him).

So far the swelling and fever on my thigh have not subsided, nor has the stabbing pain, and my dogs are following me around the house, most likely convinced I’m hiding a tasty treat since I smell like a meat bone.  Hopefully the symptoms will subside soon.  If not, I’m going to start paying closer attention to my senses to see if I may actually be morphing into a super hero.

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.

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.