If I were the type of person to leave the office and get a pedicure in preparation for our Weekend of Gluttony, I’d hope I’d come back and tell you that I also received one of the best foot massages in my life, complete with hot stones and an offer of a sea salt scrub. I might add that the part in the rubdown where the woman beat the hell out of my legs was a definite negative, and probably something I’ll ask to skip next time, but overall? Heaven.

Of course, since I’m not the type to skip out of work and then brag about it to the Internet, I can’t tell you that.

My mind is certainly not on the beach already, enjoying the spouse and the dogs and the breeze and the total absence of phone calls, spreadsheets, and guilt trips from family members.

If I were to talk about work on here, I’d swear that I am absolutely focused on getting these last few reports out, not at all watching the clock and Fast-forwarding in my mind beyond the next few hours, past the massage appointment scheduled this evening, and hitting Play at the moment we look at the clock and realize we can watch another episode of The Dog Whisperer because by golly, we don’t have to get up early tomorrow and go to work.

Since there seems to be an abundance of items I should not discuss, and a big ol’ gaping void where anything else of interest might have been, I’ll just sign off. We’ll be away for 5 days which means I won’t be posting again until Wednesday at the earliest. Have a great long weekend everyone (all 4 of you).


But I'm still a Buffett fan

Far too tired to do a proper post today. Most likely I’m just feeling (still!) the after-effects of the margaritas from hell we consumed on Saturday night. A friend of ours was celebrating her birthday- her husband had planned a party at a local Tex-Mex place with 80 of her closest friends and we were invited along. (Okay, perhaps not 80, but close to that I’m sure.) I spent a few minutes after we'd arrived looking around, thinking how great it would be if someone would throw me a little birthday party, but then realized the guest list would be Monk, and about three others.

Moving on: The Tex-Mex place supposedly had great food (but since my chicken enchilada never arrived, I’ll take everyone else’s word for it), but even more enticing was the promise of CHEAP and STRONG margaritas. Of the 98 people at the party, there were a few not drinking, but plenty of others went for the ‘ritas. And boys and girls? They weren’t kidding. Cheap, indeed. Strong? Holy hell. I don’t think I’m too far off base in my suspicion that the secret ingredient in those babies rhymes with woofies. Nearly passing out in the car as Monk drove home, I let my eyes roll back and hoped like hell he was holding on to his sobriety. The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur. I only know that 'faculties' + 'control' was a foreign concept, and that my sleep was plagued with flashback-y, nightmare-y type stuff that made Sunday’s task of regaining mental and physical equilibrium more awesome than I can possibly describe.

Perhaps I should have eaten something during the day, before leaving for the party. Perhaps I can no longer hold my liquor like the pro I trained to become in college. Perhaps this was just that ol’ bastard Tequila’s reminder that he and I are not friends, and that any hope of reconciliation is a colorful, but asinine, delusion on my side of things.

I assume everyone else had a more positive experience with their cocktails than I did, and hopefully the imbibing didn’t get in the way of settling up the bill after we left. Monk and I totaled our share and threw some money at the host, thinking to ourselves yep, good luck with that. Why you’d have just the one bill for 136 people to split up is beyond me.

And the point? Far too tired to do a proper post today, but apparently talking about alcohol for a few paragraphs is no problem. Well, at least I have my priorities straight. All I know is that my birthday may be spent on the beach with no one but Monk and the dogs to gaze adoringly at me, but I’ll feel just as loved (and wasted) as if I had 163 close friends celebrating with me.

But I do believe good ol' Tequila (that rat bastard) is off the guest list for good.


I wonder if we can afford a landscaper, too.

You know our leak is back, right? The leak we thought we’d taken care of and went back to showering in the closet-ahem-“master” bathroom but someone (*cough* not me) didn’t put the drain cover back on and then someone (*cough* okay, me this time) dropped a cap down there for Clog Into Leakfest Part II?

Just when you get excited about adding more popcorn to the ceiling.

We’ve borrowed a snaking device from the brother-in-law (at what point in this ramble would yelling Snakes in a Drain! be funny?) (no point? Then I’m glad I didn’t risk it), but that will probably end in disaster because it’s commercial-grade or something. Whatever the hell that means. See, here I’m pretending I know what a normal-grade one looks like, and also that I would know what to do with one. These are the only moments in my life that make me wish we were rich (because, you know, all the other moments I’m thinking Money? Ehhh, boring). I’d love to pay someone to come out, rip out the whole bathroom, bulldoze the house and start over, adding more closet space and an Olympic sized swimming pool. Now, that? That would be a spectacular solution to this leak problem.

The plumbing issue has raised other questions too, such as: Why don’t we get someone out here to enlarge the bathroom and fix the pipes while they’re at it? Why don’t we just bite the bullet and sink some money into this place since the housing market seems to be stagnating or worse and anyway, no one’s going to want a house where the master bathroom is so small you can lick the opposite wall while sitting on the toilet (not that I’ve tried this)? While we’re planning the fence replacement out back, why not look into major landscaping and replacing the hot tub with a Jacuzzi of pimp daddy proportions? What is money for, if not for spending, anyway? And why does rainbow sherbet taste so damn good at 6 o’clock in the morning?

I took a good hard look at our cash flow the other day and called Monk up to join me in having a stroke upon realizing our credit card bills for a year add up to what is actually considered a very reasonable salary for an experienced administrative assistant in the Dallas area. I think we’ve set some reasonable boundaries for ourselves now, which should lower our credit card spending to a tolerable level. Closer to what you’d expect to pay a non-English-speaking housekeeper who has yet to remember to show you her proper documentation to work in the U.S., for example.

Anyway, I figure we’ll continue to budget according to the credit card spending of the past, and then have extra cash each month for some major home improvements on our ever-growing list. Home improvements that help us forget we don't live where we want to live, that there is no pool out back, and that the neighbors, in the two years we've lived here, have yet to strike up a conversation. Wow, you say, that is not only brilliant but also very fascinating! Nothing gets me hotter than reading about someone else’s financial decisions!

Watch the sarcasm, buster, or I’ll start detailing our retirement plan.


Four Thoughts

1. I passed a woman entering the restroom as I was leaving it, and couldn’t help but notice that she smelled like a combination of some heavy, flowery perfume and a sack of just-delivered Chinese food. My brain couldn’t seem to decide between having my eyes water from the perfume part of the equation, or to start the drooling process at the idea that an egg roll or two for lunch suddenly seemed like a very good one indeed.

So now I’m sitting here with my stomach growling, but feeling vaguely nauseous.


2. It doesn’t look like the written part of the state exam for my license is going to happen before our upcoming beach trip. I’ve made my peace with it for the most part (really, I have!) except when I think about how many brain cells we intend to kill while we’re down there (if the beer/vodka/tequila “budget” I’ve set for this trip is any indication).


3a. I’ve just realized that this Labor Day escape weekend tradition thing is the one time each year that we are able to get away for a few days and spend those days doing exactly what we want to do, with no obligations to anyone or anything else for the entire trip. I hope that’s enough for you to understand why, every time I’ve thought of this trip in the last month or so, I’ve nearly wept with sweet, aching, anticipated relief from my day-to-day existence.

(Okay, that last bit made me sound ready to be strapped onto a hospital bed while some merciful doctor pumps great vats of Prozac into my veins. Or like I’m ready to be clubbed to death to end my misery. To clarify, my day-to-day existence is actually pretty awesome, if you don’t take into account things like work, a broken house, a trashed yard, the precariously balanced-for-now relationship with Sister, dental angst,* not winning the lottery ever, work, and oh, work.**)

* oh yes, see Number 4
** NOT that I’m talking about work

Unless there’s a lost weekend in there somewhere, I cannot think of one instance in the past four years, besides our trying-to-be-annual beach weekend, in which Monk and I have been on a trip that didn’t revolve around an obligation or five, usually involving family, being stranded without a vehicle, moody friend drama, or some combination of the three.

(I know, I’m hearing violins, too.)

Hell, I think one long weekend of self-indulgent, lazy, anti-social, drunken and depraved behavior is the bare minimum, for everyone, but who the hell cares what I think? I stopped paying attention to this thread a long time ago, what are you still doing here?

3b. So, when Assistant 2.0 (see double asterisk note above), whose husband makes so much money she doesn’t have to work; so much money they’re custom building their new house (down to the voice-activated electronic do-everything system specially designed and installed)… the same Assistant 2.0 who went happily without a job for their first 5 months in Dallas, and has yet to complete her 90-day probationary period here… When this woman complains to me that she needs a vacation, and then later, as I go over my out-of-office dates with her, tells me not to rub it in… [edited: Monk just commented that my post seemed rather dark today, so I've removed the violence and would like to take this opportunity to mention puppies and bubblegum.]

[And rainbows.]


4. Something is wrong with my teeth and it is my parents’ fault. I grew up with regular dental check-ups, fluoride treatments (at least, I think that’s what they were- for all I know, those mouth trays could have contained magic non-boob-growing poison), and the understanding that sugar was forbidden, evil, allowed only on special occasions, if a new moon was at the quarter crescent phase and the church sermon was brought to us by the letter Y, or if I managed to smuggle some candy up to my room. Sugar became the Forbidden Fruit of my young life. Naturally, I went off to college and began my Anything Sugar is Better campaign, which is still active today.

TONS of sugar consumed, YEARS of dentist offices avoided, and now I’m realizing that something might very well be wrong with my teeth. Teeth that used to open beer bottles with ease, that presented a braces-optional issue in my youth (I declined, thinking that imperfections were what makes us unique and special and no one told me what a load that was), teeth that have remained cavity-free in the face of sugar, nicotine, coffee, and non-flossing abuse throughout the years. I think their undefeated reign is over. I think I need to schedule a cleaning and x-rays very soon, but I’m terrified, people. I know this is the moment in my life I’ve been dreading- the moment the dentist tells me your beautiful, zero cavity record has been broken, and most of your teeth must now be pulled and replaced with tiny wooden planks that have not been weather-proofed, and also? your mouth right at this very moment is dissolving and you are going to die. And all because my parents wouldn’t let me have sugar when I was growing up.


Just call me Mary - freakin' - Poppins

I thought about writing a detailed post about our weekend with a 2 year old, but since I’m not a mommy, and this ain’t that kind of blog, I changed my mind at the last minute and opted, instead, to slap a summary blurb up here and call it a Monday.

(Also keeping it short so as not to unleash my big ranty rant about other people’s parenting and teaching bad habits and not setting boundaries and so on, because, since I haven’t actually reproduced, I obviously have no knowledge or experience of children and would probably be burned at the stake for letting a parent/child-related opinion fall out of my mouth.)

The weekend went as well or better than we’d expected. We were able to run a few errands and even the vacuum at one point, as well as get Little Niece to bed at a more reasonable time than she’s used to, so Monk and I could have a beer and a moment to ourselves before we too collapsed each night. We kept everything as calm and familiar for her as possible, while shocking her with a strange parenting method rooted in the following theory: You’re 2: You’re Not Running the Show, We Are. And the taser helped, too.

I’m just kidding about the taser, of course. We shocked the dogs to show her what would happen if she didn’t behave, and she learned from that example real good, y’all. For the rest of the weekend, all we had to do was wave it at her, and she’d go back in the corner where she belonged.

Oh, stop. We don’t own a taser.

And she didn’t spend any time in the corner.

Anyway, it was a little sad when we dropped her at Sister’s friend’s house last night (Sis returns this evening), but the great big cocktail I enjoyed when we came home sure helped ease the pain. When I called Sister’s friend this morning to see how Little Niece was doing, the friend told me “I don’t know what you did this weekend, but” apparently Little Niece miraculously went to bed with no fuss, no muss last night. As it should be, when you've had a weekend of structure, interaction, healthy food, routines and exercise. No worries, though- I'm sure a day of Kool-Aid, no nap, and more sugar will get her back to normal before Sister comes back.

Stay tuned for more interesting news later this week. Or don’t, since we’re still recovering from the weekend and have zero plans besides 1) get up, 2) work, 3) lay around/stuff face, and 4) sleep.

This week rocks.


But what about OUR routine?

Little Niece is coming to stay at our place for the weekend. This severely cuts into the regularly scheduled weekend activities such as Drinking, Doing Nothing, and/or Reading 3 Books in 2 Days. As much as we love the little girl, we also love not having to deal with her tantrums, her refusal to take naps, and the 10 o'clock (but only if someone lays down with her) bedtime. Monk and I have been advised not to spend the weekend trying to change her "routine," since it will be futile and frustrating and ultimately fruitless after her parents return anyway. Which calls to the stage another F-word I can think of, but now is not the time to fall apart.

Sure, I'll be able to escape to my massage appointments tomorrow, and Monk will undoubtedly skate his troubles away sometime Sunday, but overall we will be running around frantically trying to keep Little Niece entertained, rested, clean, happy, dressed, and fed (FED?! You mean she eats more than once a day?! We have to think about things like BREAKFAST and LUNCH and SNACKS?! Where's the tapeworm?!) while our quiet expectations of recovery and recharging for the next workweek are flushed merrily down the toilet.

Good thing Little Niece is unbelievably adorable, clever as hell, and can make us laugh so hard our faces hurt, or I really wouldn't be looking forward to this weekend.

Thank gawd it's only for the weekend.


I'm so special, you're so special

To the huzz:

Happy Anniversary, you sexy beast. May our love always be cheap and delicious.


The more you look at it, the worse it gets

Monk and I went temporarily insane a few weeks ago and decided to commit an ungodly amount of money to a board-and-train program for the foster dog over Labor Day weekend, while we and the other two dogs sit around at the beach and selfishly enjoy some peace and quiet. Annoyingly inquisitive as usual, I fired off a series of emails and received enough information to counteract the can't-be-bothered-to-train-the-dog-ourselves guilt.

(Also guilt-inducing: Frequent fantasies of dropping the foster dog at the training facility, and "forgetting" to pick her up two weeks later.)

(Kind of guilt-inducing: Knowing we'd be all shrugging nonchalantly and "yeah, we taught her all that ourselves, whatever" later.)

(Hey, if you knew how much the board-and-train thing is, you probably wouldn't be advertising your "purchase" either.)

The insanity cloud lifted when I discovered that the board-and-train facility closes on the weekends, and would be closed on Labor Day. The first thing would prevent us from checking out the place before we write that monstrous check, and the second means the foster dog would be shorted a day of training.

Oh, I lamented, if only we could fly Cesar Milan out to Texas, then we'd all live happily ever after. But alas (and alack! Don't know what that word means but I'm feeling a bit dramatic and olden-timey today), Cesar is California's solution to problem behavior, not ours. I did, however, begin to research in-home dog trainers in the area. And, hark! (okay, stopping now) I stumbled across a program that seems promising. It involves a lifetime guarantee, and may even use similar Jedi mind tricks and magic fairy dust like I suspect ol' Cesar uses to turn bad dogs good.

So, we'll see what happens. I'm a little thrown off that I haven't received a return call yet, after I left a message with my information and a summary of our dog issues. Maybe I shouldn't have been so... honest.

But you know what threw me off even more? When I continued my trainer research and found a site that seemed to think putting the following picture up on their page would encourage dog owners' business. For the love of all that is holy and un-planet-of-the-apes-like, what were these people thinking?! I swear, I've never closed a web window so quickly. And now it's your turn.


Not that we're counting

Monk is mad. I can't help but laugh, even though he has a point. Sister called to ask me for a (bazillionth) favor: Her cosmetology class needs a victim-er-model next week on which to perform a whole evening's worth of torture-ahem-pampering. The evening includes a haircut, facial, manicure and pedicure. Considering I told her that, since she's already made my hair as short as I can stand it, if she trims more than a millimeter I will embarrass her in front of her class (...somehow... she embarrasses easily, though, so I'll think of something), and since my fingernails haven't been long or painted since junior high (and even then? not that long), it should be a quick jaunt from the mud mask to cutting her to bits with the calluses on my feet.

I wanted to say no, but for some reason I haven't mastered that ability when it comes to my dealings with that woman. Inside, I'm still the 12-year old little sister trying to get my big sis to like me. This translates into constantly doing favors for Sister and her husband, but never asking for anything in return. Not because we're such good people, mind you, but more because we learned a long time ago that they are not People We Can Count On. We keep telling ourselves that we're building up karma (but for what? And what on earth will we cash it in for?), but this new favor throws a big wrench in the works of our coming week. I'll have massage appointments Tuesday, the Cosmetology Performance Art Project all evening Wednesday, then another 2-hour massage appointment on Thursday... and Friday, instead of going home and having a beer or three with the huzz, I'll be rushing over to pick up our niece to launch what will surely be the eternal babysitting weekend of the resentful mind.

Sister and husband are going (their separate ways) out of town that weekend, and because Sister leaves on Thursday, she won't be able to do Monk the favor of letting the dogs out that afternoon when he'll be working later than usual. Monk said this morning, in a fit of exasperation that at this point, we're not even earning any karma from these favors. The subtext of his rant was that we are up to our ears in karma, that we will never be paid back, never get to cash it in, that we are suckers. And I am the suckerest sucker of the suckers because I cannot stop perpetuating the Great Suckerhood.

I am also, by the way, on my way to being a damned good massage therapist (way to segue, Q!). Last night I worked on someone who had been a repeat client of one of the registered (licensed) therapists. I was a little apprehensive about the switch from a real massage therapist to a fake one, but I put on my game face and brought the guy back to the clinic. And would you believe, he not only tipped me more than half the price of the massage, but told the school administrator that the massage I gave him was better than the ones he'd had previously? From the registered therapist, people. The registered, more experienced massage therapist. Am awesome, and so smug about it that I can hardly bear to be in the same room with myself right now.

That just means that soon, after I've made my millions from massage therapy, Monk won't be allowed to get mad at me for having no willpower when it comes to Sister and these constant favors. He won't be able to afford to be mad. Not when I can buy and sell him, then pound him into submissive jello after I've bought him again, then pay him to do all the favors I've promised Sister while I lay around the pool, protecting my hands, preserving my craft... Victory will be mine. Sucker.


It matches my boyish figure

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but here in these United States, it’s been a little warm outside. Some might call it hot, even. So hot that those of us with stringy, straggly, long-ish hair feel compelled to do things like invite Sister (the cosmetologist-in-training) over and have about four inches hacked off, in a desperate attempt to feel the whisper of a breeze on a long-concealed neck.

I think the style is supposed to be hip, but as I fail miserably at “hip,” it seems to have settled more into the category of “dopey.” Monk, in the quick-thinking spirit of self-preservation, argues otherwise, but I am convinced I look like I belong on a paint can. But oh, the breezes I feel! (And the shampoo I waste, as I try to lather up my phantom locks!)

The weekend was filled with massage appointments, three movie rentals (the only one worth mentioning was Transamerica which was interesting and well done, and which I lukewarmly recommend), the great hair massacre, minor yard work (when you pull a weed that’s closer in size to a raspberry bush, you know you’ve left the weeds too long), and the purchase of a tent/canopy thing to cover our patio which has been resembling an open-air boiler room lately. I’m not convinced the canopy was the best purchase (but maybe it just needs some little patio lights, a picnic table and a family barbecue to really come together?), but at least we’ll have some much-needed shade in our desert-ahem-back yard. We’d just paid for the canopy when the skies opened in a burst of laughter and thunder, and poured down this foreign liquid known to others as rain. We had a mini-encore yesterday, and are expecting another one today. If I had known that buying a huge canopy/tent thing (and dragging it over our patio so it stands on a slant, wedged between the house and the hot tub roof, after Monk spent two hours assembling the damn thing) would end the city’s drought problem, I would have done it ages ago. So, you’re welcome, Dallas.

Besides all that non-excitement, my new hair has not been the most successful distraction from the nagging worry in the back of my mind that, although I applied for the big massage therapy exam last week, I’ve forgotten most of what I learned in class and haven’t even glanced at the material in about 3 weeks. This means that Murphy’s Law will sneak up on me in the form of the application process being cut in half, I’ll have a day or two to cram before the big test, and be a complete mess when I walk in to take it, one step away from a nervous breakdown. Short hair, fatigue and procrastination. Suddenly I find myself back in my freshman year of college.


Hey, sleepyhead

Assistant 2.0 (NOT that I’m talking about work) has two cats, and one in particular is apparently oversized and overweight. I don’t have a problem with her talking about them, more with the fact that I mentally trip over an elephant, and time stands awkwardly still for several looong seconds, when she quite seriously refers to the overweight one as “my big fat pussy.”

(Why must I have more than one apology to the Perverted on this site? In any case, naughty Googlers, sorry for wasting your time.)


The family visit has come to an end, and I think everyone involved let out a sigh of relief yesterday. With the exception of my brother spending the weekend at our house (giving us more time to visit without the parental figures lurking and making mountains out of mole hills), nearly everything turned out anticlimactic, disappointing, or infuriating. How so, you ask? For instance:

~Dinner at Sister’s the first night- she’s making the dinner, we’re rushing over after work, but somehow Monk and I end up at the grocery store to buy half the ingredients for the meal on our way over.

~Friday night we’re supposed to meet over at Sister’s again. Sister calls before I leave work to tell me that- surprise! - everyone’s coming to our place (and we have nothing prepared or even hiding in the freezer).

~Sister’s air conditioning stops working. It is over 100 degrees every day of the visit. My parents are miserable, but (sigh) no, they don’t need to stay with Monk and me, they’ll (sigh) be okay.

~Every time Monk and I rush to meet them somewhere at a pre-arranged time, they are at least 20 minutes late (and never call or acknowledge the tardiness upon arrival). Saturday, Monk and I plan our entire day around the family, then spend about two hours waiting around for my mother and Sister to return from an impromptu shopping trip.

~Massage clinic mistakenly scheduled me on Sunday, when the family is supposed to spend the whole day at the water park. I couldn’t get out of it and, when I express my regret, am told by my mother that “(sigh) it’s okay, (sigh) it’s not like you’re missing a wedding or something important.”

~We order Chinese food for dinner one night. They forget something Sister ordered. She refuses to eat while we wait for the delivery guy to come back with her sauce. We offer to share our food, but (sigh) she’ll just wait for her sauce. 30 minutes later it comes, it’s the wrong sauce, her dinner is ruined but she manages to choke down some of the other food. For sustenance, you understand, it has come to this. Oh, and we only get three fortune cookies for eight people, which, according to my father, is grounds for blacklisting the restaurant from here on out.

(Okay, the fortune cookie thing kind of pissed me off too. Isn’t there an ironclad Chinese Food Rule that there should be at least one fortune cookie per chicken/beef/tofu/shrimp/whatever dinner order? Have the delivery guys been conspiring with certain bread-withholding waiters?)

~No one seems to want to do the activities that are suggested. Unfortunately, no one has any other ideas to offer, either. This means we all force ourselves to go along with the activity, Sister and my parents take turns complaining throughout, and we are left wondering why we even bothered in the first place.

Running from one place to the next, picking Monk up in the driveway after an evening massage appointment so we can swoop over to Sister’s and make the ever-lovin’-most out of the family visit… Haven’t had any real quiet time since last Tuesday (and this brat needs her quiet time), going to bed too late and waking too early (to meet people that can’t seem to get anywhere on time), and work (not that I’m talking about it) has me elbow deep in reports and spreadsheets. Fatigue is pulling at my eyes and expanding the hollows under them, my mind has been in a fog all week, and I’m experiencing a strange throbbing pain on the side of my neck. All I want to do is go home, have a beer, and collapse into bed nice-and-early-like.

Too bad I have to race over to the clinic when I leave the office today: I’m scheduled to give a TWO HOUR massage right after work.


Tales of great bravery, injury and guilt

Hi. I had a whole entry ready to post yesterday and then my computer and Blogger got together and had a feast. As in, my post was eaten. Lost in space. You’ll just have to take my word for it: It was pure brilliance. Every last word. Here’s a sloppy second/lazy recreation of the post that should have appeared on Monday:

Yesterday [Sunday] I raced from a massage appointment to join the family at the local waterpark. Good thing, too, as Texas has been showing off with long stretches of temperatures in the triple digits lately.

(I’d give a big recap of the family visit, complete with whining about juggling parents, work and massage stuff, but hoo boy, I just got it all out of my mind, and am not feeling very Bring-the-Pain right now.)


(And here comes the guilt shaming me for thinking these thoughts and throwing them in the direction of my parents: These are your parents! And they’ll be Old People soon! And then they’ll die! And then how will you feel?!)

(But seriously, if you’re uncomfortable, just SWITCH CHAIRS, FOR THE LOVE OF JESUS!)

Ahem. Yesterday was awesome. Never have you seen such a thrilling show of courage and enthusiasm. After ditching the car in a No Parking zone, and paying the overpriced entry fee, I could have sworn I had stepped into a Hawaiian paradise.

If Hawaii went commercial and crowded, that is.

Honolulu, then.

Monk greeted me at the entrance and persuaded me to start off with the yellow slides of doom. On the long march up to the top of the slide we were entertained by the pre-pubescent boy in front of us, going on and on (and on!) about the (steeper, scarier) slide nearest us being the only option. Only wimps went on the other (less steep, snooze-inducing?) slide. Feeling the sting of such peer pressure (say what you will, but I am no wimp, have you seen my guns?) (No? Me neither, lately. Must get back to the gym), I hesitantly waited my turn for the yellow death slide. And then watched that same loud-mouthed brat walk over to the wimps’ slide and cheerily push off. Too late to change my mind, I shoved myself over the edge, shot down the slide, was promptly skinned alive by the seams in the plastic, and about 5 seconds later I was coasting along at the bottom, marveling at the way my swimsuit had been shoved up my ass and into my throat.
Having survived the initiation with my dignity gathered up and taped back together, Monk and I proceeded to flick Fear in the forehead from a two-seater inner tube atop the park’s "half pipe." I thought it was cute that the lifeguard at the top was harnessed to the railing. Mid-descent, I experienced the warm glow of a “huh so this it, this how I’m going to go” moment. And because being scared out of my mind just once in a day is unacceptable, I later went for seconds with my brother. He made me ride in front that time, which made me scream like a little girl, which made him a little bit deaf.
At the end of the day we decided to try out a classic tube slide, again with the inflatables-built-for-two. This time my traveling companion was my father, who thought it would be fun to team up with Humility and do the very thing I requested NOT be done- lean into the turns so we experienced close calls in the form of almost-capsizing at every twist of the tube. And because that was clearly not enough torture, he managed to thunk me in the temple with his knee cap towards the end of the ride, nearly knocking me out, thoroughly knocking me off my high horse.
And that concluded a day of grand displays of bravery and skill. I slept very well last night, although that could be attributed to the concussion, or to the mental exhaustion that springs from trying to read the minds of my mother and sister all afternoon because HEAVEN FORBID THEY EVER EXPRESS AN OPINION. ANY! OPINION! WILL DO!

(Guilt rounds the corner again: These are your parents! And they’ll be Old People soon! And then they’ll die! And then how will you feel?!)