No offense to cowboys

breweries copyThere’s a new reality TV show that’s going to be based in my home state of Idaho.

As you can imagine, it’s all about hipsters comparing cruiser bicycle accessories, whining about vinyl becoming too mainstream while sipping cups of free trade pour-over coffee.

Hang on, no. This is Idaho, and the series, focusing on three rival outfitting and guide families, is probably going to have a lot more to do with how to open a beer bottle with a chain saw and lighting farts on fire.

Mike and I have come up with a different idea for a reality TV show, one based upon our reality.

It happened when Mike came in the kitchen the other night and found me rinsing a mountain of plastic containers.

“Hey, thanks for cleaning out the fridge,” he said.

I’m kind of in denial about food waste and am usually overconfident that we will one day eat that leftover chili mac before it morphs into something else. In fact, I’m kind of anti throwing ANYTHING away, so, you know, cleaning the fridge out can be painful. Continue reading

It still might be awkward if you invite a horse

RodeoLiving where we do, it’s odd that I’ve been to so few rodeos.

I remember going to one as a kid. I cried because of the calves being thrown around and because a rodeo clown made fun of an old, swaybacked horse. I guess I was kind of a bummer date.

But I tried it again, when we were camping near Joseph, Oregon. By that time I had kids of my own, who were still really small. The weather was sweltering, and the beer was refreshing, and I was very thirsty.

Later, Mike politely complied when I requested he pull off the highway so I could yell at my shoes. That was followed by the mother of all hangovers, and a hot, sticky day camping with a toddler in training pants and a baby in diapers. Continue reading

Of Machetes and Medications

campYMCA copySunday afternoon I packed the kids’ stuff for camp as I’ve done at the same time every summer for the past five years.

I’m happy they have this opportunity to go every summer, to break up the routine, make a few friends and maybe escape the Sahara Desert heat wave that usually socks us in this time of year.

We’re blessed we don’t need to send them with special accommodations or instructions in order to spend a week away, that they interact well with their peers, that they’re respectful of their counselors, that peanuts won’t make their throats close up.

I mean, Jack’s not supposed to eat wheat, but it’s not life threatening. It’s not even really an allergy. Colin’s allergic to wasps, but that’s not a life threatening issue either.

Not really.

If a wasp stings Colin right on the mouth, or on his throat, he could be in real trouble with the reaction he gets, but what kind of freakish scenario would that be? Continue reading

Camping by the Numbers

lake_titleOne camping trip under our belt so far this year. Just the one.

One 3,783 foot increase in elevation from home to our camp site, 131 miles away.
One 12 degree difference in temperature.
One camp trailer that weighs as much as the Death Star.
One tent in addition to said trailer, because 2 boys will no longer sleep in the same space.
7 hands of poker while waiting for fireworks to start (after 5 hands, both parents are cleaned out and kids are demanding to play with real money).

One moderately smelly outhouse, which forces me to relearn I can’t hold my breath as long as it takes to pee. Continue reading

We’re either instilling financially literacy, or raising embezzlers

money_ipodHey mom, “I just found a ten thousand dollar bill,” Colin said, eyes wide.

“Just kidding,” he added a nanosecond later, knowing how quickly I make plans. He pulled out a laminated bookmark a teacher had given him. “See? It’s a fake. They don’t really make ten thousand dollar bills.”

That’s good information, just in case I was thinking of consolidating all the tips I make pole dancing. I’ll need to think smaller denominations.

Somehow, both boys have amassed wads of cash this summer from chores. They started flashing it at us every once in a while, fanning themselves with hands full of ones and fives … which ended pretty abruptly when I started asking for loans.

We pay our kids for chores. But, when I say “pay” I mean the kids keep running totals of what we owe them on a slip of paper on the fridge. Every once in a while we deduct a few bucks on request and add a video game or a Microsoft points card to our cart before check-out at the grocery store.

It’s a pretty loose system which I don’t monitor like I should. I sometimes worry that instead of teaching financial literacy, I’m encouraging the development of latent embezzlement skills, but at least I’m not one doling out the bills for them to flash like gangsters. Continue reading

Driving each other a little crazy

driving_with_jack_2Jack came home with his learner’s permit last night and drove us to dinner.

That sounds so nonchalant. My kid drove. With all of us in the car. At the same time.

I took a few pictures and then passed the camera to Mike who took one from the front. Then he passed the phone back to me and I hunkered down in the back seat, posting the momentous occasion to social media and distracting myself from the need to pitch in on the instruction. Continue reading

Camp food that won’t kill you

camp_food copySo… Camping this weekend. Fourth of July. Yippee… (fizzy half-firework in the distance … phhttt).

This will be our first camping trip of the season, and thus will have been preceded by at least a full two days of preparation: cleaning the trailer, packing, determining whether the sleeping bags ever got washed at the end of last season, and whether either kid has a decent pair of flip flops for the beach, deciding between mountain bikes, hiking shoes, or fishing gear (then throwing our hands up and agreeing to all three).

Then there’s the camping menu. That’s totally my baby.

As per my meal planning modus operandi, I will come up with half a dozen ideas that are elegant, nutritious, satisfying … and completely impractical for the situation. Continue reading

That’s a long way to run for a poser

realrunnersMike and I are signed up for our next half marathon in two weeks. Then we have another race three weeks after that. Events are a good way for me to keep from flaking out on working out, and make me seem way more badass than I really am.

On Sunday we took our last long run before the event. That’s how this thing works: Train your guts out for months, hope you don’t injure yourself while you build up distance, add in some speed work and hills to make things interesting. Then the last two weeks take things easy, save energy for the event, and pretend you’re all grouchy because you’re consciously avoiding overtaxing yourself.

Since taking up this distance as my thing a few years ago, I’ve found that many of the folks who make up this group are determined, disciplined, sober, and focused. They rarely whine, and never ever smell like body odor, urine, or Bengay.

Then there are those of us outside the pages of Runner’s World. Continue reading

Mommy Wanabees and Monkey Poop

chimp_does_hamlet copyI don’t get a lot of snarky comments on my blog, and for that I’m grateful.

But this showed up the other day:

“To be honest, I didn’t see the Mommy relationship in this blog…”

Huh. Suddenly I’m in English Lit class circa 1990.

The comment was left on a site that compiles a pool of “mommy bloggers,” on which I’ve listed my blog. The site drives a fair amount of traffic my way, assuming I can keep toward the top of the polls. It’s the reason I keep nagging you to click on the button at the bottom of each post.

So I’m a “mommy blogger” specifically in the humor category. There are others blogs here in the contest and giveaway category, stay at home mom category, adoptive parents, special needs parenting, and … you get the picture. Continue reading

Why I don’t cook more

cherries copyWhen my sister in law, Julie, came by, I don’t think I thanked her for the huge bag of cherries she left on my counter.

I was too preoccupied with the fact that a whole bunch of fruit was going to go to waste, while there are kids eating dirt cookies in Africa.

Raw cherries make the insides of my mouth hurt. And for some reason raw fruit of any kind is anathema to half of this family, although Colin will eat fruit that I wash and peel and cut and present to him on a silver platter with a live string quartet playing in the background.

So, basically, the cherries were doomed. Continue reading