The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Love, Unedited.

valentines day 2014

I really wanted to prove with this picture I don’t have to have girls to have super cute Valentines outfits and family photos, but I’m pretty sure all I proved was that no one enjoys having his picture taken before 7am. Also that I really don’t know how to use Photoshop. Like I don’t even understand the tool that’s called ‘Red Eye Tool’, which seems like it should be pretty self-explanatory and user-friendly. And I sincerely don’t know how to fix greasy bangs or a red nose from excessive nose-blowing.

So… Happy Valentines Day from The Newlins.

(Additionally, in an unrelated manner:

Dear Dude Who Keeps Contacting Me About My BFF’s Mom,

I feel really bad that I can’t help you, but she is not the lady you’re looking for. She is from Illinois, but she’s about 10 years older than the person you’re looking for. Additionally, the name of your long lost love is her married name, not her maiden name, like the chick you were dating back then. Also, like I mentioned above, she’s not my mom, she’s my friend’s mom, so any resemblance you see in me of this person is inaccurate.

I can’t decide if it’s sweet or kind of creepy that you’re still harboring feelings for this woman after so many years, but you seem to just genuinely regret ditching her to sow your wild oats when you were 16, so we’ll go with sweet (unless you don’t take this hint and quit emailing). Don’t beat yourself up. None of us was really who we are at 16. Your lady-friend could potentially be the adorable and wonderful 60 year old version of the girl you remember, but she’s just as likely to be a 300 pound bingo addict who hoards precious moments figurines and beanie babies and works at the DMV.

Several years ago we were stuck in Illinois overnight due to a missed flight connection snafu and I decided to take the opportunity to drive past the horse farm my family lived on when I was between the ages 3 and 5. My earliest memories are of this house. I learned to ride a bike on the gravel road (and obliterated my knees when I fell). We picked raspberries on a neighboring property. On Halloween we only trick or treated to the one house on the other side of the woods because there was no one else even close who had kids or would have purchased candy. My Papa let us ride in the bucket of the tractor they used to shovel horse manure (I’m not sure why this was a treat). 

The point is, when I tracked down this house, in a tiny (TINY) suburb (Wikipedia is actually calling it a ‘village’) called Big Rock and dragged my husband and children to the house, *SPOILER ALERT*, it wasn’t how I remembered. Everything was smaller and closer together. Some neighboring dude had an epic collection of hubcaps out front of his house. The lady who lived there thought I was a fucking weirdo when I rang the doorbell and asked if I could go look at the horse barn. It was a bummer.

The worst part is that now when I remember those years living in that house in Big Rock, the actual version seen by my adult eyes is there too, marring my memories. I’m pretty sorry I went.

I’m just saying, maybe it’s better your Jackie Disbrow lives in your head, lovely, flawless, 16 forever.

That said, if I haven’t convinced you, have you tried Facebook? Seems like that would be the way to go.

Sincerely,

Your unromantic blogger friend with greasy bangs and a cold)

 

 

 

Modern Feminism. Or something… It’s confusing.

Me: So, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things…

You: Oh yeah, like what?

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Me: Well, like the objectification of women and gender roles in our society.

You: Have you, now?

Me: Yes. And I’m just really confused and a little upset.

You: OK…

Me: This girl I went to high school with posted a story on Facebook early this morning about an incident she had at work. She’s apparently a waitress in a bar in Hollywood where the uniform is short-shorts and fishnets.

You: Hot.

Me: Right, and she’s totally a hottie. So I guess she was waiting on this table of guys who were hitting on her all night…

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Me: …and when the bar was closing and they turned on the overhead florescent lighting, the guys made some loud, obnoxious remarks about how she didn’t look as good with the lights on.

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You: Ooo, what dicks.

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Me: Totally. She was kind of horrified and embarrassed, but tried to just keep her cool and let it roll off her back.

You: As I suppose you would, as a mature human being in the presence of drunk imbeciles.

Me: Agreed. But then she was in the car on the way home and got to thinking that she should have stood up for herself to those guys and let them know she was strong and beautiful, inside and out. To sort of let them know it’s not ok to do that to any woman.

You: Or any person, for that matter.

Me: Yes. So this story led me down two roads -

1. Holy shit. She’s super hot! And like exactly my age. Plus she hasn’t even had kids or anything. So if she’s getting heckled for being old under the bright lights of reality, why should I even bother attempting to look presentable? I’m clearly so far past my prime I should just give up and let myself dry out and blow away into the wind like dust. I’m going to go put on sweatpants and eat the rest of the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

You: Of course you went there. I should have known this wasn’t a Gloria Steinem think-piece.

Me: And 2. Those douche-canoes treated her like a thing. At first she was a ‘pretty thing’, a thing they wanted to have, and then, when they couldn’t have her, they discussed her ‘flaws’ in front of her and discarded her, like a thing. She was just an object to them. I think I finally understand this whole ‘objectification’ concept.

You: …welcome to the latter half of the twentieth century?

Me: No, but really, I think I always just thought it was a kind of meaningless feminist term thrown around to make men feel like assholes for checking out T&A. I sort of felt like, So what if they (we) look at pretty things and enjoy them for being pretty? Women wear hot outfits to look hot. Men do the same thing. Objectify me, please, if it just means you think I’m cute!

You:

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Me: I see now, that it becomes problematic because the objectifier only sees the object for its beauty. You stop being a human being who means anything besides how tight your top is. This makes you expendable. You can just be discarded when a shinier (newer) model comes out. You’re just a thing.

You: Mmhmm…

Me: I don’t want to be a thing! I want to be loved for who I am, whether I look fantastic, or like roadkill. And I bet my Facebook high school friend does too!

You: I’m sure.

Me: So then I got to wondering, maybe these establishments that have their waitresses wear shit like that are really contributing to the objectification of women everywhere. It seems like they’re kind of saying to men-

You: People…

Me: People, it’s ok to look at women-

You: People…

Me: People like nothing but sexy pieces of sculpture that will bring you drinks and potentially satisfy you sexually, but if they don’t look how you want them to or perform correctly, you can just get rid of them.

You: Well, I mean, yes, that’s the theory behind the entire 1970s wave of feminist logic, but-

Me: And maybe all those articles I thought were ridiculous that I’ve read lately about how grooming your pubic hair means you’re not a feminist are actually right! Although I still don’t see how it’s radically different from shaving my legs, so maybe I should stop doing that, too…

You: OK, now, wait, we’ve made quite a leap in logic here-

Me: And I watched this French short film the other day that portrayed a world of gender role reversal where this poor guy is sexually harassed and assaulted and his wife is totally a dick, and it made me wonder if that’s really what life is like for a lot of women. Which is such bullshit and it makes me want to burn a goddamn bra right now. Additionally, it made me wonder if women would actually want to go running topless, because I think, in general, it would be uncomfortable.

You: No, seriously, that’s fairly unrealistic. Don’t burn your running bra.

Me: I also read another article about a study attempting to show gender equality in a marriage means a less satisfying (or at least less frequent) sex life. And while that neither seems true, nor makes any sense to me, I’m not sure I would trade inequality for sad, infrequent sex. Does that make me a bad feminist, too? This is all so confusing.

You: Oh… my god. First of all, the dickheads at your friend’s bar were just dickheads. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, where she’s working, or even what gender she or they are, people who treat other people with that lack of consideration and respect for his or her feelings are piles of shit. That’s really all there is to it. Objectification isn’t a condition unique to women. Humans need to work harder at treating each other like humans.

It sounds, however, like she has a fairly decent handle on her own self-worth and who she is as a person, so she’ll live to tend bar another day, hopefully without a thought to them.

Secondly, do whatever you want with your pubic hair and please stop discussing it on the internet. No one cares and it means nothing about any of your beliefs. Unless, I guess, you wax it into the shape of an O to show your support for Obama. Even then, the people you show it to are going to mistake it for your support of the other Big O.

Lastly, you really, really, need to stop getting all of your news from Jezebel. You’re getting a little brainwashed and obsessed.

Me: Ok, I can see that. It’s probably a valid point.

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Things That Make Me Irrationally Angry

If we’re going to be friends, it seems only fair to warn you about my buttons, so you know what not to push. I’m not talking about stuff like genocide, bullies and when Shannen Doherty left 90210. These are things that legitimately make everyone with a soul rage-filled. No, I’m talking about my own personal anger issues. If you and I are going to maintain a symbiotic relationship, I think it’s important for you be aware of this stuff so I don’t accidentally run you over with my car on purpose.

Things that make me irrationally angry:

1. Loud, unexpected sounds – You want to see me lose my shit? Open that can of pre-made biscuits without warning me first. Or run that coffee bean grinder first thing on Saturday morning when I’m still half asleep. That is why Jason has a scar on his forehead right above his left eye. I missed.

2. Gnats – What purpose do they have on Earth but to commit ritual suicide by flying into my facial orifices? Fuck you, gnats. Just fuck you.

3. Audible swallowing – When my kids get home from school at the exact moment I am in the middle of something that requires my full attention and I ask them to please (please) be quiet and leave me be for 10 more minutes so I can just finish this thing, and they go to the fridge, pour themselves a large glass of milk and spend the next 45 seconds audibly gulping it down? This is the definition of rage. White, hot, blinding rage.

4. Pseudo-science – I know I should just feel sorry for the people who believe in pretend science, but I don’t. I feel angry with them for being stupid. [Examples that will do nothing but heartily offend at least 7 people I'm close friends with and/or related to redacted.] I realize it’s intolerant of me.

5. Nude pantyhose – First of all, the word ‘pantyhose’ is disgusting and offensive for 45 reasons. Secondly: You there, you person wearing them… are you 8? Is it 1985? Are you going to church? No? Then there is something wrong with you. And it makes me angry, so stop it.

6. People who drive the speed limit when there’s no traffic blocking them or police cars in the vicinity – I’m pretty sure this needs no explanation (fuckyoufuckyoufuckyousomuch).

7. When someone tries to get my attention or communicate with me while I am on the phone – I DON’T KNOW WHY YOU THINK I CAN CLONE MYSELF INTERNALLY AND BOTH LISTEN TO MY PHONE CONVERSATION AND UNDERSTAND AND COMMUNICATE WITH YOU BUT YOU HAVE GROSSLY OVERESTIMATED MY TALENTS. IF YOU KEEP TRYING TO FORCE ME TO PROVE THIS I WILL STAB YOU.

8. People who pronounce it ‘real-i-tor’ – So let’s say you look like Ryan Reynolds, Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. or Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park. Or even Olivia Munn. And you and I are the last people on Earth. And it’s cold and we’re lonely and we each need human comfort. And you say to me, “What did you do before the apocalypse that destroyed all other life on Earth and left us alone, clinging to each other, here in this beautiful seaside wasteland that can only inspire passion and romance?” And I reply, “I sold residential homes in Arizona, once upon a time…” And then you say, “Oh? You were a real-i-tor?” I would not have sex with you. I would walk you to the edge of the ocean and hold your head under water until I was alone in this world.

9. Zippers that refuse to line up correctly so I can zip up a jacket – Dear Zippers, do you know what’s going to happen now? Now, I’m going to take scissors and cut you up so you can never join your mate again. You think you’ll have the last laugh because I’ll be cold? The fabric won’t come together and I’ll get a chill? Nope. Because: duct tape. Also? This is Arizona. FUCK YOU as much as gnats and ‘careful’ drivers.

10. The question, “What are we having for dinner?” – When my children ask me this question, generally between 3 and 8 times a day, I know their reaction to whatever I reply will be “Oh…” *sad face*, because I’m not going to answer, Candy and bacon! I’m not sure where the possibility I might respond in this manner came from as I have literally never answered that we are having candy and bacon for dinner, but they seem to have an unending well of hope within them that this will someday be my response. Which means multiple times a day I have to dash this hope with my answers of chicken and green bean stir fry or butternut squash risotto (the latter reliably soliciting both a *sad face* and a *holding back vomit grimace*). Over the years I’ve developed a pavlovian response to the question that causes my blood to boil even before it is finished being asked. I’ve decided the only appropriate answers are, Something you will hate, and Why did I have children?

I think that’s mostly it. Now you go.

The Five Stages of Sick

Stage 1 – Denial:

Hrm… my throat hurts a little bit. It’s probably just from the dry air, though. Or maybe I was snoring extra aggressively last night. Also I’m feeling kind of achey, but I’m sure that’s from working out. It’s definitely not because I’m getting sick. I haven’t been sick in forever. I exercise and eat sort of healthy and shit. And my kids aren’t tiny germ factories who go around relating to the world by tasting it anymore. Plus I definitely drink enough wine to kill all the germs that could have potentially gotten near my body. I don’t fit the profile for a person who gets sick. I’m absolutely, without a doubt, unsick. 

Stage 2 – Anger:

OK, now… WHAT IS THIS BULLSHIT? Now I have chills? Chills, body aches, sore throat, fever… FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCK!! I bet this is Jason’s fault, he was sort of sick last week. Goddamn it. Why is he so selfish with his getting sick and bringing it home?! Or maybe it was that stupid, hippie Acro-yoga class I took! That was totally it. There was all that touching of strangers and I didn’t even use any hand sanitizer before I got home! One of those weirdos totally gave me the plague. How sharing of them. Motherfucker.

Stage 3 – Bargaining:

I really do not have time for this sickness. It just won’t fit into my life right now. How about if I’m not sick right now and we talk about it in a couple of weeks? I could maybe schedule it in early March? No? OK, but if I have to be sick, I’m gonna need the kids not to get it. Universe, are you listening to me? I’ll take one for the team this time, but having them home from school and miserable too, is just going to kill my productivity for the entire month. Please??

At the very least can I lose three pounds? I just need to get something out of this.

Stage 4 – Depression: 

Everything hurts. It hurts to stand up, it hurts to sit down. It hurts to open the can of refried beans I’m going to make my kids eat for dinner directly from the can with a spoon. It hurts to shiver, which I am, even though I have on long-sleeves, pants, socks and 3 blankets. It hurts to have to pee. It hurts to look in the mirror when I eventually get up to go pee, although this is more of the existential pain that greasy hair, disheveled clothing and a make-up-free face brings on. I’m probably going to die like this. Miserable, hideous, pathetic. Oh sweet blackness of death, I welcome your warm embrace. 

Stage 5 – Acceptance: 

Me: Jason, I need you to get me some of that Aleve 12-hour cold and flu stuff.

Jason: Really? That bad?

Me: Yep. I give up. I’d rather be moderately stoned for 12-hours straight than feel like this any longer.

Jason: That is some good shit.

Goals (TL;DR)

I woke up this morning (late, reluctantly) and had a long internal dialog with myself about whether or not I should go for the 3 mile run I had planned. My sister talked me into joining another Ragnar team last minute and I’ve been increasing my milage the last few weeks so I’m prepared. Yesterday I did my long run of the week (6 miles) in the morning and then went to circus class like usual in the afternoon. Consequently, I fell into bed exhausted last night and woke up this morning with a full body of complaints.

My quads and my hip-flexors ached from the run, my back, abs and biceps groaned from the pull-ups on the trapeze and the backs of my knees and my shins were bruised from the tricks we learned. It’s too much, I told myself. I can’t run this morning and I definitely can’t do a yoga workout at noon. I need a day off. My body needs to heal. 

But taking today off would throw off my entire schedule for the week. If I want to keep up with the running AND the ballet AND the circus and continue to build all of the muscles I need to be good at all of these things I need to keep training. Plus, the entire point of Ragnar is running when you haven’t fully rested or let your body heal from the last run. I know it can be done and I will survive because I’ve done it before. I’ve done lots of things that push me past what feels like are my physical boundaries. It turns out these ‘limits’ are really just imaginary self-imposed restrictions. I haven’t yet reached the ones that aren’t only in my head. I’m sure they exist, but it turns out they’re far beyond what I often try to tell myself is the end of my ability.

So I got up and headed out on my 3 mile run. Quickly my legs loosened up and I started to feel better. I took my normal 4 mile route but with a couple of abbreviations to cut it down for a shorter ‘recovery’ run. As I was running I got lost in my own head and the music on Pandora and I forgot to take the shortcuts I planned. It’s just habit to turn left instead of going straight and I was already another quarter mile down before I realized my mistake. But it was fine. I ran faster than I have recently and I felt good. I could have kept going.

One of my lifelong goals has been to write long-form fiction. It’s probably my ultimate goal. I love writing this blog and I feel proud of my work on it and what it has both brought me and taught me, but it’s definitely not the end-goal. The end-goal is books, maybe a screenplay. Something bigger, longer, a greater work.

But I haven’t started it yet. I haven’t even taken the first step down the path of writing something longer. I’m intimidated for 600 reasons. Writing anything long will take a considerable amount of time. If I pick the wrong topic I’m stuck with it for months, maybe years, and if it turns out shitty, all that time is wasted. Plus I don’t have any extra time. I have to write my blog and take care of the kids and sell real estate. There’s just not the time. I don’t know how to construct a long narrative. I don’t know what voice to use. It needs to be perfect. It has to be the best. I’m not ready.

I’ve decided this is the year I’m really going to do it. I know it can be done. I completed NaNoWriMo a few years ago. I can string together 50,000 words on one topic. I can do this. It is possible. I know I need to stop thinking about it as if it will be THE story; my life’s work, in one novel, my greatest accomplishment. Nothing works like that. I’ve written hundreds of posts for this blog (this is the 714th, to be exact). Some are stupid and pointless. Some are funny. Some I love. Some I hate. Some got thousands of reads and some I’m pretty sure only my dad read. If I want to write long-form fiction, it needs to be the same. No one writes one fantastic book, nothing before, nothing after. No one steps onto the board the first time and perfectly surfs an amazing wave. No one wins the first marathon they run.

So I’ve pep-talked myself this far. I’m ready to take up the metaphorical pen.

But maybe it’s too much writing? Maybe I can’t both think about what to write on this blog a few times a week and daily writing on the book? Possibly I should set aside the blog for awhile and force myself to focus on the book?

Ah, but what did I learn this morning?

It’s not too much. It’s only too much if it kills me. It’s actually just more training to build those muscles I need to reach my goal.

Habits take my brain out of the equation. If I don’t have to fight that Me who is convinced it’s all too hard and I can’t do it I have more energy to devote to actually accomplishing my goals.

So here I go. Running runs that both are slow and suck and are swift and feel good. Taking ballet classes where I’m the worst and ones that make me feel beautiful. Going to circus when I’m already drained and when I’m strong and can do amazing things. Writing blog posts that are too long and not funny and not particularly interesting and ones that get shared and liked 1200 times. Writing a story that’s long; not THE story, just A story. Because then I’ll write another. And another after that.

Literarily Constipated

I’ve been feeling all writer’s-blocky this week, which always leads me down a nothing-else-funny-or-interesting-exists-in-the-universe misery spiral. It’s neither funny nor interesting.

I know the quickest way out of this cycle is to just write something, ANYTHING. So… you know, here goes.

I’m heading to pointe class for the first time in a couple of weeks in a few minutes and I know it’s going to be horrifying. I keep thinking this is something I should be adept at because I’ve been taking ballet for a few years and I’m usually pretty decent at dancey/acrobaticish/body contortion-type stuff. Plus those ballerina chicks make it look so easy! They’re these little wispy things and they just sort of float over their toes. I mean really, they must have had 2 pieces of celery and half a lemon to eat in the last 3 days, how can what they do really require much effort?

But it turns out this logic is enormously flawed. Dancing on pointe is almost nothing like normal ballet at all! The moves all have the same names, but you have to completely reteach your body how to perform them. Getting (and staying) up there on top of your shoes requires all these insane muscles that run the length of your entire body I wasn’t even aware existed. Furthermore, every time I go from flat to up on my toes, it’s a leap of faith. I’m never sure it’s not going to be the time I don’t make it all the way up, overshoot or my ankle just breaks in half and I end up on my face or my ass. Class is basically 45 minutes of terror.

After class when I sit down to remove my shoes I always suspect they'll be filled with blood.

After class when I sit down to remove my shoes I always suspect they’ll be filled with blood.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop going. I do enjoy a challenge, after all. I’m just saying, that shit is harder than it looks. And I wouldn’t want to meet a ballerina in a back alley. Those bitches are hungry AND strong.

My mom got me this cute necklace I really like except 75% of the time when I’m wearing it I feel like it’s that moment before you get choked out. Not that I’ve ever actually been choked out. But I imagine this is what it would feel like right before if I ever was grabbed and held hostage.

Cute, in an 'I'm about to die, right?' sort of way.

Cute, in an ‘I’m about to die’ sort of way.

So…

….um…

….the stuff that….

…and now I’m writer’s blocked on my writer’s block post. Mother fucker. I’m going to go hang myself by my murdery necklace. (I’ll try harder tomorrow.)

Reading. And Desperation.

Please tell me this is how you taught your kid to read, too…

Me Out Loud: OK, now it’s your turn to read. Start here.

Gray: Curtis stopped and gapped-

Me Out Loud: Gaped.

Gray: Gaped. *continues reading*

Me Internal Dialog: Is that my phone buzzing? Fuck, I totally I think I just heard my phone buzz. I wonder if it’s that agent calling about the roof issue… or maybe it’s the roofer I called twice who didn’t call me back. I need to remember to take him off my referral list. What if it’s something urgent? Ignore it, ignore it… first of all it’s probably just Facebook. Secondly, anything it is can wait until I’m done. I don’t want him to think I’m not paying attention. Wait, what did he just say?

Gray: …the first tree of the… bouflerzelsly?

Me Out Loud: Boundary.

Gray: Boundary. *continues reading*

Me Internal Dialog: Bouflerzelsy?? Seriously? Z and L are not letters that exist in the word ‘boundary’. Is he even trying? Or is he just screwing with me? We’ve been over the concept of ‘sounding out’ the word roughly 800 billion times. If he’s just going to look at the first letter and the last letter and guess a random configuration of sounds, what the fuck am I supposed to do? Maybe I should ground him. Or maybe I should make him repeat the word back to me while looking at it like 10 times. That could help, right? Jesus, who am I, Mommy Dearest? It’s possible I’m being too hard on the kid. How do the teachers do this? How do you know the difference between when he really should just be trying harder and when you’re acting like a psychotic dictator?

Me Out Loud: Um, you’re doing great! Keep going.

Me Internal Dialog: See, I can be supportive- FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST WHAT IS THAT SOUND?! Is that Jonas in the back yard? It sounds like he’s throwing rocks against the side of the house! That little shithead! Oh I am going to-

Me Out Loud: Hold on just a second, sweetie. JONAS FINN NEWLIN!!!

Jonas: What?

Me Out Loud: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

Jonas: …Nothing!

Me Out Loud: I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING BUT IF YOU DON’T STOP IT RIGHT THIS SECOND I’M GOING TO BURY YOUR KINDLE FIRE IN THE BACK YARD AND YOU’LL NEVER PLAY MINECRAFT AGAIN. I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING.

Jonas: OK! Sorry!

Me Out Loud: Sorry, dear, continue.

Gray: This is a really long chapter.

Me Out Loud: I know… there’s only three pages left. And look, one even has a picture!

Gray: I’m really tired.

Me Out Loud: I am too, but we just need to get through this. We can do this. We can push through. We just need to work together and put our heads down and muscle through. It’s only three more pages and then we’re done for the rest of the day! The rest of the whole day! We can go jump on the trampoline!

Gray: Will you jump with me? You didn’t jump with me yesterday.

Me Out Loud: Yes. Probably. I’m going to try. I just have things I need to do.

Me Internal Dialog: MY FUCKING PHONE IS BUZZING AGAIN. What if someone needs to see a house? What if someone tagged me on something really funny? AUGH.

Me Out Loud: You’re changing the subject. WE HAVE TO GET THROUGH THIS. Please just keep reading? Please? Right here, start right here.

Me Internal Dialog: OhmygodIjustreallyneedaglassofwine.

Gray: The gralp began to gerfzly slop and she was gaspering speed-

Me Internal Dialog: He is DEFINITELY fucking with me! He can see the weakness on my face. He knows I’m just too emotionally drained to get through this. He knows he has me beat. I give up. I can’t do it anymore. I’m just going to hire a reader to walk around with him for the rest of his life. It will be less torturous than this.

Me Out Loud: That was actually, ‘The ground began to gently slope and she was gathering speed’. Let’s just pick this back up tomorrow. Go jump on the trampoline.

Gray: Yay! Are you coming?

Me Out Loud: Right after I check my phone.

Me Internal Dialog: And eat peanut butter straight from the jar while I cry for awhile.

This Weekend We Pretended We’re Super Rich and Fancy

You: So how was your weekend?

Me: It was fantastic! Saturday we did this crazy Rabbit Island Brunch thing where we flew to a tiny island in Roosevelt Lake, landed in the water and then they served us this amazing meal and poured wine down our throats until we couldn’t see straight.

You: Oh I bet they had to work really hard to get you to drink that amount of wine.

Me: It was practically a requirement of the experience. It wasn’t even my idea.

And then Sunday I was going to do the No Pants Light Rail Ride thing, but I had circus class at the exact same time and I really didn’t want to miss it. Plus I don’t think I actually have any underwear that would be suitable to wear in public. In circus class we ended up learning partnering stuff, which was awesome, painful and hardcore, so I was really glad I went. Oh, and Jason and I got up early and he added more blue to my hair for me that morning. But apparently I didn’t rinse it properly this time, so now my body is stained blue in random places. It’s tough to tell where the dye ends and the circus bruises begin. 

This is when I pause to consider if I’ve crossed the line from ‘Quirky and Fun’ to ‘Unrelatable Weirdo’… whatever, I’m going with ‘Lucky’. I’m a lucky weirdo to have had such a fun weekend.

But back to the Rabbit Island Brunch. I feel the need to convey its sheer awesomeness as an activity simply to help get the word out so more people can partake in it. Apparently it doesn’t always sell out, WHICH I THINK IS CAPSLOCK-LEVEL INSANITY, and can only be because not everyone knows it exists.

I know, I know, But like, what IS it? you’re asking.

It’s basically a partnership between Desert Splash Adventures (a little plane tour company that runs out of Scottsdale Airpark) and FNB Restaurant. You buy a ticket to a brunch they hold once a month on a Saturday or Sunday. You show up at Scottsdale Airpark in the morning and they put you on a little seaplane and take you on a tour over Fountain Hills and the McDowell Mountains over to Roosevelt Lake where they land in the water next to a tiny little island called Rabbit Island. Nothing exists on this island but a flat plateau-ish area at the top, some island-ish bushes and white clamshells along the beach.

Once you land, they escort you off the plane, hand you a wine glass and proceed to feed and wine you for two hours or so at a long table covered in a simple white table cloth, surrounded by nothing but a 360 degree view of  desert mountains and Lake Roosevelt. They also invite local food and wine businesses to come speak about their craft. We got Melinda Petznick of Stage Stop Vineyards accompanied by her chef, Eden Sierra.

When Jason and I were introduced to Melinda, we told her we were celebrating our 12 year anniversary. Later, after several glasses of wine, we were discussing our children and she said, “Oh I just did the math. You’re celebrating your 12 year anniversary and you have a 13 year old son…” and giggled. It’s something I often see on people’s faces, but I don’t know that anyone’s ever actually said the words to me before. That’s when I stopped worrying about being the most obnoxious person there and wondered if I made her my new best friend I’d get really great free wine.

We flew past some dam thing and the pilot pointed it out. So it was educational, too!

We flew past some dam thing and the pilot pointed it out. So it was educational, too!

As we were coming in to land we flew past this and I thought maybe it was the island we were shooting for. It wasn't. Which is probably good because I don't know how you'd set up a table on a tiny boob. Also how would you not refer to it as Tiny Boob Island the entire time?

As we were coming in to land we flew past this and I thought maybe it was the island we were shooting for. It wasn’t. Which is probably good because I don’t know how you’d set up a table on a tiny boob. Also how would you not refer to it as Tiny Boob Island the entire time?

This is when we were pretending we're really rich and we own the plane and the island. Plus there's a unicorn on it, it's just not in the picture.

This is when we were pretending we’re really rich and we own the plane and the island. Plus there’s a unicorn on it, it’s just not in the picture.

This was the real island! Totally un-boob-like.

This was the real island! Totally un-boob-like.

This is when I was taking pictures of every single thing we encountered and all the other people in attendance were rolling their eyes all, 'Oh great, she's one of those.'

This is when I was taking pictures of every single thing we encountered and all the other people in attendance were rolling their eyes all, Oh great, she’s one of those.

This was the potty tent. It had a camping toilet which I found moderately confusing. But I was like 3 glasses in, so it probably wasn't actually.

This was the potty tent. It had a camping toilet which I found moderately confusing. But I was like 3 glasses in, so it probably wasn’t actually.

Stupidly delicious food that sounded super weird until we put it in our mouths. And then we were like, 'Why wouldn't we think of putting crushed cashews and cumin on oranges? DUH.'

Stupidly delicious food that sounded super weird until we put it in our mouths. And then we were like, Why wouldn’t we think of putting crushed cashews and cumin on oranges? DUH.

Pavle, the co-owner of FNB telling us all about the process of making and bottling his own wine. (He called himself a 'pinotfile' and Melinda and I both snorted.)

Pavle, the co-owner of FNB telling us all about the process of making and bottling his own wine. (He called himself a ‘pinotfile’ in his thick accent and Melinda and I both snorted.)

The bottle of Pavle's wine (the LAST of it that he isn't saving specifically for his daughter, who it's named after) he gave us at the end of the meal.

The bottle of Pavle’s wine (the LAST of it that he isn’t saving specifically for his daughter, who it’s named after) he gave us at the end of the meal.

On the return trip home we flew past the fountain in Fountain Hills and it was on! And I got a little teary-eyed because it was so perfect. And because I was wasted.

On the return trip home we flew past the fountain in Fountain Hills and it was on! And I got a little teary-eyed because it was so perfect. And because I was wasted.

Melinda autographing a bottle of her wine for us too! I'm gonna have to go visit that chick in Verde Valley at her vineyard.

Melinda autographing a bottle of her wine for us too! I’m gonna have to go visit that chick in Verde Valley at her vineyard.

I’m so glad we did it. I hope they do it for years and someday after I get on Survivor and win a million dollars we can take our whole family. And we’ll bring the unicorn too.

My Survivor Audition Video

Who’s still watching Survivor? Anyone? Just me?

Right. Just me.

OK, so on the finale of the last season (right before Christmas) they brought back Cochran, the super pale, sunken-chested, but brilliant winner of the last season and gave us an update on his life. It turns out, directly after the finale of the season he won, where he mentioned he’d like to go into writing, he was offered a sweet gig writing for a new network primetime comedy starring Will Arnet.

While watching, I thought to myself: Wait, what?! You can get your dream writing job just by sleeping in the jungle, lying to a bunch of other idiots and finding out what your natural eyebrows look like for 40 days? I am SO IN. I’ve watched almost every goddamn episode of this show! Well, except for the seasons where no one did any backstabbing or switched alliances or said they were a CIA agent even though they were clearly just crazy people. Those seasons were terrible. 

I could totally do this. Sure, I’m afraid of spiders and most other bugs, plus swimming in open water makes me have a panic attack, and whenever I skip lunch I become irrationally enraged, but beyond that, I bet I would be awesome at it! I’m friendly… and I’d be decent at challenges… well, at least the ones that don’t involve eating gross things or puzzles. I’m no good at thinking fast when I’m on the spot. Also I’d probably get really bored during the endurance ones. And I’d constantly be offering to take my clothes off for Jeff in exchange for any kind of food. He’d probably get annoyed with me pretty fast. ‘Keep your clothes on, Newlin. No one wants to see that.’ But whatever. I could do the whole Survivor thing. Especially if it could help me get a book deal! Of course that would mean I’d have to stop fucking around and actually write a book. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. First step: Get on Survivor! 

And that’s why this weekend I talked my family into helping me film a 3 minute video to submit to the Survivor casting website. It wasn’t until it was finished that I remembered I’m so much better on paper than on video. I tend to speak like a high-pitched, affected weirdo when I’m being filmed.

Ben (after he watched it with me): Well… that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Me: That’s a glowing endorsement.

Ben: No… it wasn’t THAT bad. I mean I really expected it to be so cheesy and terrible.

Me: Thanks.

Ben: So did you submit it?

Me: I did.

Ben: Mom, DON’T GO AWAY FOR 40 DAYS! Please!

Me: Sweetheart, you just saw the video, I don’t think there’s anything to be worried about.

Ben: OK, good.

But hey, at least I can post it here to entertain anyone with three minutes of time to kill at work!

After we finished it I watched some of the other audition videos on the website that were successful. None of them went with reverse psychology. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t bode well for my chances. Oh well, at least we learned how to use the video setting on our nice camera!

It’s Probably an Intervention.

3 Weeks Before Christmas - 

Jason’s text to me: Have you talked to your mom today?

Me to Jason: Um… no. Why?

Several long minutes pass before he replies, during which I have the time for the following inner dialog: Why would he want to know if I’ve talked to my mom? Has he talked to my mom? Why would he have talked to my mom? Is something wrong with her??! Did she get into a car accident?! Does she have CANCER?! WHY WOULDN’T THEY CALL ME FIRST???!!! Wait, that doesn’t make a ton of sense. Is she mad at me? She’s mad at me, isn’t she? Shit. What did I do? Hm… it must be really bad if she called Jason to tell him she’s mad at me… 

Jason to me: Do you have time to talk?

More inner dialog: Oh fuck. She’s definitely mad at me! Is it because I didn’t call her after she texted me a couple of days ago? Or Jason’s leaving me and he told her first? That would be weird. Maybe it’s my dad? Oh god, if my dad is sick, I don’t know if I can deal. I feel nauseous. OR, maybe they’re all ganging up on me! That’s probably it. This is an intervention, isn’t it? Christ. Well… it was bound to happen sooner or later. 

Me to Jason: Sure. Call me.

Jason: Hey. So your mom bought a Christmas present for you and the kids and it’s being delivered early.

Me: WHAT?! This is about Christmas presents????

Jason: Yes…

Me: Oh for fuck’s sake. Can you please NOT text me things like ‘Have you talked to your mom today?’ if no one’s dying, mad at me or staging an intervention? Like can we make that a rule of our marriage going forward? Because you’re THE WORST.

Jason: What are you talking about?

Me: I thought something happened! You were being so ominous. Do you have time to talk? Don’t say that! It means terrible things.

Jason: …OK… noted. Anyway. Your mom bought a Christmas present and it’s being delivered early-

Me: Is it a trampoline?

Jason: Yes. So are you going to be home tomorrow?

Me: I think so. I don’t have any appointments yet. So do you really know what it is?

Jason: …it’s really a trampoline.

Me: WHAT?!!!! No it’s not.

Jason: Yes it is. Did she tell you that?

Me: NO! I was just thinking about good Christmas presents for the kids and about that one Christmas when me and my sister and brother saw my parents measuring the backyard and became convinced they were buying us a trampoline but it ended up being a ping pong table… which probably would have been fine if we hadn’t thought it was going to be a trampoline. So it was kind of terrible.

Jason: Well now you’re finally getting a trampoline.

Me: NO LIKE FOR REALS? Because if you’re fucking with me I’m going to cry and you’re not going to get laid any time soon.

Jason: For reals.

Me: THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER. I have the best mom of anyone who ever lived. I can’t believe it. Do we have to wait until Christmas to put it together?

Jason: Yes.

Me: I don’t know if I can wait! This is going to be so awesome. I’m so happy.

So we got a trampoline for Christmas. And it’s THE RADDEST. Suffice it to say, Plan: Turn the Family Into a Traveling Circus is moving forward nicely. Thanks, Mom!