Monday, June 12, 2017

Paul Bunion and the Bush Fluffer

The Mountains!!!
We drive a 12-passenger van…er… umm… I mean we ride in a large carriage with 2 compartments, pulled by 12 white horses. Last week the a/c in the front of the van…umm… I mean front compartment went out. It is due to go in to be fixed this week, however we had already decided it was time for a family adventure this weekend. So, it needed to be close by and much cooler. Of course, the mountains seemed like the perfect option!! A quick Google search informed us that a mere 90 minutes away there was a place that was once covered by the ocean AND we could dig for 300-million-year-old fossils!! Our many archaeologists in training agreed it was the perfect destination. Sunday's forecast called for a high of only 95 degrees here. (we were facing a cold spell after all) We figured if we left early enough the front seat passengers would miss the uncomfortable warmth. As the sun was rising (or at 9:30am but who’s keeping track. I mean if you are fortunate to wake up at 10:00am every day that is pretty close to sunrise as far as I’m concerned) we loaded the car and headed off on our magnificent adventure.  We brought along the lovely lady Sir Lancelot is courting, Countess Anastasia. A few weeks ago, Sir Lancelot was fortunate enough to go on a journey with Countess Anastasia and her mother to the kingdom of New York. They visited family, explored strange places like Coney Island, Brooklyn and Central Park. It seemed fitting that she should accompany us on our journey plus we all really enjoy her company. So, we set off for the mountains. We are cruising along about 1/3 of the way to our destination. Music is playing. Kids are laughing. When without warning the back a/c turns off. The kids all thought we were teasing them. Alas we were not. My Knight in Shining Armour and I debate turning back. After all no one really wants to drive in a car with no a/c.  When the a/c suddenly turns back on. We take a quick vote and decide it’s onward to cooler air and fossils!!! I wore a dress for the drive but had planned on changing once we arrived. However, a gallon of water and 90 minutes later my bladder had other ideas. We set forth into the wilderness.  The gang heads to the site while my Knight and I head downhill towards a grove of bushes away from the masses. Once I emerge I am called by 4 or five people simultaneously,
“Mom, Mom come here!”
“Look what I found!”
Despite my better judgement I head up the mountain in my dress and flip flops.  My kids are all actively engaged in digging. Robin Hood is showing me the exact location that he found his “very first fossil!”  Zombie Baby is crying because in the 10 minutes he’s been looking he hasn't found a fossil and Princess Arya is debating her best course of action for descending the hill. 

Princess Arya, "Prada how'd you get over there?"
Princess Prada, "It's easy. You just kinda scoot on your butt with one leg in front and one underneath you. Then put your feet here (as she points at a flat-ish space) and then grab here (as she points by a root from a nearby tree)              

Princess Arya decided she is going to attempt to reach her sister. As she starts to descend the wind picks up. My dress blows up above my head, revealing my undies to the world. At the same time Zombie Baby (who is also wearing flip flops) slips and starts to slide down the hill. As Arya and Princess Rambo grab Zombie Baby, Arya starts to slide. (Apparently Chuck Taylor's and flip flops aren't exactly mountain climbing shoes. Who Knew?) Just when we think Arya is going to tumble down the mountain, she grabs the tree root, saving herself from certain death!! It was truly a
"movie moment." The next few hours are spent covered in dirt, ooo-ing and aww-ing at the things we find. 
 As the digging expedition starts to wind up it’s time to collect our things and head back to the top of the mountain. Arya and Prada realize getting back up will be a bit more challenging than getting down was. As Arya starts to attempt her climb up, the wind once again picks up, this time blowing her hat off her head. Out of nowhere PJ appears and catches the hat before it hits the ground or blows. Another epic save!! That’s 3 if you’re counting. Arya tries to move but she is frozen. (perhaps it was fear, perhaps it was our laughing at her situation, thus causing her to laugh, but who know) She proceeds to hold onto the tree root for dear life, while laughing hysterically. Princess Rambo swoops in for the save and helps steady her sister as I extend a large stick for her to grab. Once atop the mountain Arya proceeds to hug and kiss the tree, thanking it for saving her life. (My kids are so dramatic. I don’t know where they get that from!)  Everyone is now safely on top of the scary cliff. We proceed down the mountain via a wonderfully maintained path. Maybe we should have stayed on it?? Anyway it’s time to finish the day off with a picnic and then head back to The Valley of the Sun Stroke. The drive home starts out wonderfully. All the carriage windows are open enjoying the 80 degree weather. There is a slight, cool breeze, hardly any traffic and the little boys  have fallen asleep. About halfway home the temp starts to rise and it’s time to roll up the windows. The a/c is still doing its bipolar dance: Front, back, heat. Front, back, heat. Every once in a while, the heat will last a tad longer than necessary. Just when you think you can’t handle it a moment longer, the cool air comes on. Thus continues our a/c dance down the hill. We are about 25 minutes from home.
The outside air temp is 98 degrees when the heater kicks on again. We patiently wait the 30 seconds for it to change. 30 seconds turns into 40 then 60. I can’t stand it. I turn off the a/c and open my window. This of course wakes everyone up, including Robin Hood who tends to get car sick. We try numerous times to turn the a/c back on but to no avail. It appears to be stuck on heat. We open all the windows yet the hot air that blows in does not cool any of us. I pull out a small squirt bottle I keep in my purse for hair emergencies. I dump its contents and fill it with cold ice water from the ice chest and proceed to take turns misting everyone. A few minutes layer Robin Hood starts to feel nauseous. We get a rag and wet it with cold ice water so he can put it on his neck and face at which point Zombie Baby (in his best Banshee impersonation ever) decides he too needs a cold rag or he will “puke too.” 20 minutes from home and EVERYONE wants a mister or a cold rag. I’m trying to get the few rags I brought, to wipe faces and hands, wet so I can disperse them. At which point my Knight in Shining Armour starts doing his best ‘concession stand guy voice’, “Get your cold rags and squirt bottles here! Hill Billy a/c right here!! Get your ice-cold rags here!!” In between fits of laughter Sir Lancelot apologizes to Anastasia that his kingdom isn’t quite as savvy. Everyone is hysterically laughing, (minus the small people who are screaming or crying because they’re hot) tears streaming faces, people are snorting. The last 20 minutes of our drive feel like an eternity. As we turn into our neighborhood I attempt the a/c one last time in hopes of some relief for the last few streets.

Not even the heater. We make the last turn; our home is a mere few hundred feet away.
As we pull into the driveway the a/c turns on, full blast, in the front AND back AT THE SAME TIME!! With utter disgust and hatred for my vehicle we turn off the car, fully expecting it to turn back on and laugh at us! Alas it does not. We unload everything and jump in the pool. Fortunately, the Valley of the Sun Stroke has not robbed us of our cool water…yet. I’m not sure Countess Anastasia plans on attending another road trip with us. At least not in the near future.

P.S. Guess who forgot to put sunscreen on…

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Update: Chapter 35 So You Think You Can Dance Part 2

Zombie Baby loves music. He always has. Princess Arya would play the guitar when he was still in utero and he'd kick up a storm. His current obsession is Panic! At the Disco. Here he is with his rendition of "This Is Gospel" complete with dance moves. Princess Prada on Piano.  Make sure to wait til the end!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Land of the Snowbirds, Home of the Brave

I try to keep politics out of my blog. It’s honestly the only place I keep my opinions quiet (well political ones anyway.) But seriously I can’t contain myself any more. I’m so over the people who continually argue about immigration.  Everyone has a bit of validity to their argument. However, being the awesome person I am, I have figured out a way to make everyone in The Valley of the Sun Stroke, and beyond, come to an understanding and agreement about immigration. Now I’m not talking about Mexican, Cuban or even Syrian immigrants. No No No!!  I am talking about a wave of immigrants so sinister that they cause havoc across most of the southern US. I am talking about those pesky, evil, overtly tan Canadians also referred to as “Snow Birds”!! No one complains about Canadian immigrants. They’re sneaky!! They sweep across our borders in droves!! Disarming us with their smiles and overuse of “eh.” Mostly during the first weeks of October. It’s like a swarm of golden, brown slowly taking over our cities. At first you don’t notice them. You’re on your way to work. It’s a typical Monday. The morning sun seems to have a warmer glow. You’re sipping your coffee, listening to the imaginary traffic reports. (let’s be honest those of us that have lived in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Seattle really understand the havoc of a morning commute) cruising down the I-10 when out of nowhere, from the fast lane, a white sedan cuts in front of you doing 20mph!! You slam on your breaks, spill your coffee all over your new shirt, miss the part of the traffic report that tells you your exit for work is closed for a wrong way driver.....again, violently swerve to avoid running over the IDIOT that just cut you off, narrowly missing the unsuspecting person next to you all while spewing a lineage of cuss words that would put Bette Midler to shame. As a true, Los Angeles worthy pileup, happens behind you, said idiot continues along their merry way none the wiser to the chaos behind them. After you’ve exchanged insurance information with the 20 other people behind you, you continue along to work 2 hours late.  A few days later, same morning routine, only in your rental car. Up ahead you notice a similar white sedan in the fast lane. Being a bit nervous after Monday, you slow down and merge into the slow lane. After all this am you’ve gone to Dutch Brothers and you’re NOT spilling it!! Sure enough the vehicle merges right at 20mph causing another person to endure your Monday morning. Curious as to who this F#@*ing idiot is you follow them for 20 minutes.  2 miles later they abruptly get off at the exit for IHop. You watch them park. They circle the parking lot for 30 minutes looking for a parking spot. Meanwhile you’ve parked, finished your coffee and need to pee. You’ve come up with 100 reasons why they haven’t parked in one of the 15 open parking spots: Maybe they have OCD and it’s imperative to circle the restaurant you want to eat at 40 times before parking. Maybe they can only pull into a parking spot from the left every other day of the week. You’re at a loss. Finally, they park. You anxiously wait for them to emerge from their vehicle. As the door opens you’re blinded by a bright light, thank goodness you have sunglasses on. As your eyes adjust you realize it’s just the sun reflecting off the stark white hair. Your first thought is, “Doesn’t Sun City have an IHop?” You’re second thought is, “How did I end up 3 hours late for work?” You leave work frustrated and head to the store. As you set about collecting  the items on your list you see the same people from this morning in the aisle at the grocery store. They are blocking exactly what you need, loudly comparing the sodium content of potato chips. You politely wait for 3 minutes and decide to skip the chips and head to the deli. There they are!! “How did they move that fast??” Frustrated, you turn to go get apples, only to bump into the SAME PEOPLE!!!  It’s that moment when you realize everyone in the store looks alike!! Tan skin, overly white hair, bright tank top, white shorts, gleaming white teeth. It’s like a bad dream. You run from the store screaming only to have another Stepford Canadian ask, “Sonny are you ok eh?” And thus begins Snowbird season. Wherever you go these people haunt you. Literally from October to May EVERYTHING you do requires an extra few hours. It doesn’t matter where you go or what time of day you go there.  It’s like they have spies with walkie talkies across the city and their only goal is to ruin everyday citizens’ lives. The freeways are clogged with them. Car accident rates increase. Every parking spot at the grocery store is taken. Urgent care??? Unless you’re on the verge of death or have 4 free hours avoid it and don’t even think about getting your prescription that same day. You want to get in a quick 9 holes…..It will take 3 days. Chain restaurants now take reservations 2 weeks in advance and happy hour consists of a free carafe of decaf & pie with every meal. And this brings me full circle to immigration.  Seriously, you can’t tell me you haven’t thought at some point during those 7 months that Snowbirds should not be allowed into this great state or at least regulated. So I propose limits on these “snowbirds.” Maybe we should impose a visa program that allows them a few days to visit and then they need to get out!! We could devise a snowbird exchange program with other southern states. Maybe we should close the borders to Snowbirds all together. Imagine a city free from traffic hassles and pie. Better yet let’s build a wall. If they manage to get over it or tunnel under it they can stay so long as they bring some home brew. At least the home brew will help ease the pain of sharing our freeways.
Let’s make Arizona Great Again, eh!!! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chapter 43- Lions and Tigers and.....Squirrels??

I realized that one of the reasons I don't blog as regularly is because I have this notion that I have to write something long and epic. That's a lot of pressure when I'm scattered. Then I remembered....I'm funny. I have snippets of funny as well.(Hence my Random Ramblings)  So this shall be a look into the chaos and Random Free Association  (RFA) that is my mind!! RFA is basically how things in my mind are linked together, think 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with a lot of OCD and shiny involved. SQUIRREL..... wait... what was I saying??....... Oooohhhhh that reminds me....... Quite a few years ago  (ok it was like 11-ish years ago but it relates I swear) we were at The Royal Retreat. (look for more info on this amazing place in the near future **or a few months based on my blogging history**  It was a beautiful summer day. One of those end of summer days that hold all the promise of summer but you can taste fall on the edges of the breeze. We only had 6 or 7 kids then. Anyway Princess Arya was playing hide-n-seek outside when she felt something crawling up her leg. Being a girl she of course screamed and started to brush the thing off. But it wouldn't budge. When she finally got up the nerve to look at what it was she was shocked to see a baby squirrel. She picked it up and put it on a tree thinking the mommy must be nearby. Not long after the same baby squirrel followed by it's 2 siblings was seen running up to Princess Arya again. By now we are all watching in amazement because every time she'd put them down they would come back to her. So we put them close to a tree a little bit away and decided to research squirrel and human interaction. Now up in the mountains folks allow their dogs to run free. So it was just a few minutes later that one of the friendly neighbor dogs came running over to show the kids his prize.....the mommy squirrel. So while some of us rushed to keep the puppy distracted the rest of us ran to check on the babies. We were going to move them to a safe location until we could figure out what to do with them. However every time anyone but Princess Arya tried to go near them they would hide. So we all stayed back while she retrieved the babies. I of course being somewhat of a psychopathic hypochondriac made her get gloves.
Actual baby squirrel
After all squirrels do carry Bubonic Plague. And while I wear black most of the time I did not wish for my children or myself to in fact die of The Black Death. (insert "Dun Dun Dunnnn" music here)  During my frantic glove search, one of the squirrels succumbed to the circle of life (meaning it was eaten) however we managed to save 2. We then found a wildlife rescue about an hour away that would take them. So we drove them there and they actually were eventually released into the wild. Well so they told us anyway. Keep in mind that around this time UP had just come out. We had some dear friends that said I was a lot like Doug the dog hence the "Squirrel" thing. Talking about squirrels leads me to another story. RAF remember!!! Anyway when we left the Last Frontier and moved back to actual civilization my grandma had passed. After 3 months my grandfather also passed. I'll save you the drama but I didn't see either of them before they died. So one day I decided to go to their grave sites and say my good byes. (cuz well you know... why not)  So I get there and first went to go find a friend. He killed himself when we were 16 and I had not been back to his grave since. After leaving him a note with pics of my kids and the impact he had made on my life when he was alive and in his death I moved on to my Grandparents. I find it best to just catch everyone you need to see when visiting cemeteries. After all they aren't exactly known for good times. Wow this sounds kinda morbid..... but it does involve squirrels. Anyway I find my way to my grandparents' eternal resting place and sit down. Praying, crying. I was actually shocked by the utter sadness that enveloped me. The cemetery there has smaller areas where people are buried so the streets that separate them are only wide enough for 1 vehicle and the grassy areas are close enough that you can hear others talking. I sat there sobbing for a good 15 minutes. Eyes closed, snot running down my face before I was finally able to compose myself.  (The picture of beauty right there!!)  As I dry my eyes and clean up my face I finally look up. The first thing I see......well a squirrel scampering up a nearby tree of course. So what do I do? Well I loudly proclaim "SQUIRREL!!" and proceed to burst into hysterical laughter.  It wasn't until I got into my vehicle that I noticed the very confused and trepidatious look on the face of the lady across the way. I still wonder what she was thinking. Keeping with the family theme, there is an Uncle in our family. He is an amazing man.
He had an illustrious career and would be someone you'd want with you were you hoping to survive the zombie appocolypse. He hikes, is fit, witty, genuinely awesome. Just an all around great guy. There's nothing you would expect him to not be able to do let alone be afraid of.  Well guess what, everyone has an achilles tendon. His happens to be squirrels. Really!! He swears he was attacked by squirrels. Seriously. I always thought it was a joke until one day we were at a park. As you may or may not know squirrels tend to inhabit trees. Trees in cities happen to be in parks.  Forward to a squirrel jumping on the seat of the park bench. Uncle screams, jumps and runs. It was an epic event that can't truly be appreciated unless it was witnessed. I would have won a fortune on America's Funniest Home Videos. But footage.  And thus concludes my RFA for today. This post started out as something completely different but as you can see I lost my train of thought along the way. So tonight before you go to sleep don't forget to think about your squirrel moments. Unless you're scared of them, then think of fuzzy bunnies. Unless you're scared of those then think of teddy bears. Oh speaking of bears..........

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I WILL be back!!!!

OMG the time- space-continuum in my room obviously had me in another realm for Wwwwaaayyyy longer than I realized. Here I am thinking, "Oh, it's been a few months. I should blog!" and when I look at a calendar it's been 19 MONTHS!!!! (provided you discount my rant in March 2016 about my sperm donor) WTF!!!??!!?? I swear it's been like 6 months!! This is seriously getting out of hand!! I may need to call Ghost Busters at this rate!! I wonder if the women will do a better job than the men? (Clearly started this post awhile ago) After all 2016 seems to be the year of the woman……ok…ok…I won’t digress into politics……..yet.  Since I am a tad behind the times with this time-space continuum jet lag and all, I obviously need to do a recap. Jet lag is soooooo hard to overcome!! Especially when Zombie Baby keeps waking me up at 6 am!!! UGH!! Grrrrrrr!!! Sigh.  (It’s probably time to upgrade him from baby to child since he’s 4, but hey I’m always late)  Why is it, that after 23 years and 9 children, I only have 1 on a schedule??  I remember when my MIL, very sweetly, told me to get my one kid on a schedule! How dare SHE tell ME to get MY kid on a schedule!?! I seriously thought she was f*%#ing CraCra!!!  I've got plenty of time!! Princess Avalon....Are you on a schedule yet?? After all, you are 22 and as of this blog have been MARRIED for over 12 months!!!!  HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!! ............... I'm clearly just a slacker.  A SERIOUS slacker!! 

So let's bring y'all up to speed!!

**** I’ll attempt to go in chronological order however I am suffering from space travel sickness (Hey it’s a real epidemic!!) so bear with me if I bounce around****

Princes Arya started her first year of college. (although as of this blog she's well into her second year. Please bear with me) This was truly a monumental event for me. She is the ONLY child that I never put back in school. She did Kindergarten and that was it. I think I was more nervous than she was. Of course she did fabulous, 4.0 both semesters AND an honors scholarship award. To say I was proud is an understatement!!!!! I homeschooled 2 children, BOTH of whom have rocked college life!! 4.0’s every semester for both of them!!
 I BTW, I’m totally taking credit for their achievements because…..
#1. I birthed them!!
#2. I educated them!! (well kinda) 
#3. I’m the mom so I get to toot my own horn!! (what a weird term) 

Princess Avalon and Tio Loco got married in October, 16 days after My Knight in Shining Armour and I celebrated our 22nd Anniversary. It was truly, truly lovely!! Princess Avalon and Tio Loco were fortunate enough to have both Great-grandparents and Grandparents there to witness their vows to one another. The day after their wedding they were leaving on a jet plane to celebrate their marriage with a wonderful honeymoon in Paris and Barcelona. Princess Avalon has adored Paris for many, many years!  She was so excited to finally be able to see this city she's been dreaming of exploring!! Unfortunately, she was less than thrilled with Paris. She felt like it was the Vegas of Europe, very touristy and spread out. Barcelona made up for everything that Paris lacked, all of the architecture, history, the religious influence, the culture, the people mesmerized her. She is currently attempting to convince Tio Loco to move abroad, which would mean we’d see them a tad less often, however the scenery would be amazing!!!

After the hustle and bustle of the wedding we were able to spend some quality time with extended family. My children have been beyond blessed to not only have grandparents but GREAT-Grandparents!!!! Grandpa was 93 years old as of October 2015. He was able to see his first grandchild be born, graduate high school, get married, have a child, making him a great-grandpa, AND witness his    Great –granddaughter  pledge her love and devotion to her spouse.

16 days after their wedding Grandpa finished his journey here on Earth to start a new journey with Our Lord. Grandpa was an amazing man who was more of a grandfather to me than my own. I will never forget the unconditional love he gave all of us. I feel blessed to have known him and even more blessed to know that my children will have such amazing memories of him. While we are sad he’s not here we know he’s still watching over us. This was a truly difficult time for all of us. As we come up on the 1 year anniversary of his passing I know we will be moved to tears and laughter as we celebrate the amazing life he lived!!

About 10 days after grandpa passed, My Knight in Shining Armour and I found out we were expecting baby #10!! While I was not surprised (Hey, I do remember some of my drunken escapades sheesh!! and yes it was my Knight's!!)  I was also less than thrilled. We decided to not tell anyone for the moment. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Sir Lancelot turned 15 ans was accepted into a local conservation,  volunteer program. We moved into December. December was busy. We met some people earlier in the year, who quickly became dear friends. A few days before Grandpa passed, the Matriarch of their family also was called home. We spent 2 long weekends helping them tie up matters and move things back to The Valley of the Sun Stroke. On December 24th I started having issues. On December 31st it was confirmed, via ultrasound, that our baby had no heart beat. Driving home was......I can't describe it. Sorrow, guilt, anger..... too many emotions to deal with.  It was with great trepidation and sorrow that I informed my kids that we were pregnant and the baby was dead. My body was less than efficient, so on January 7th I had D and C. 

  My OB was kind enough to let us know that the local catholic cemetery did free burial for babies born before 22 weeks. So on January 19, 2016, we buried our baby. All of us were pretty sure the baby was a girl so we named her Therese Rose. I'd never experienced miscarriage before. The isolation and devastation left me with such a void. I know many women have gone through this but for my family it truly changed us. It's been a year since we buried her and I still feel a void. 

As we start out 2017 I am optimistic these next 19 months will not be as tumultuous as late 2015 and all of 2016.(if they are I'm pretty sure by 2018 I'll be a permanent resident at Betty Ford!! That will suck because I don't think they will allow all my vodka donations!!)  Princess Avalon will be 23 on Friday!! She is truly an amazing, strong, independent woman!! Princess Arya will be 20 six weeks after that. She is also an amazing, beautiful strong, independent woman!! Being the parent of 2 adult strong-willed women is amazing!! And frustrating!! And beautiful!! And frustrating!! There's nothing worse than arguing with yourself!! How strange it's been to see qualities of myself in both my daughters. While eerily similar to me they are also vastly different!!! And they are different from one another!! Offspring truly are amazing!! Also this year: 

Sir Lancelot will be 17!! 
Princess Prada will be 15 and able to get her driver's permit in September!!
Princess Rambo will be 14!!
Prince Jester will be 12!!
Prince Zilla will be 10!!
Robin Hood will be 8!! AND the crazy thing is 
Zombie Baby will be 5!! 

I've learned a few things over the last 19 months:
1. Moms of only boys are truly headed straight to Heaven!!! 
2. 4 young boys growing up together can cause amazing amounts of     
    destruction to a home. I wasn't aware how many ways holes could be made in       plaster before I had 4 boys in a row!! 
3. Action figures and Ninjas are incredibly violent!!! 
4. Boys can be beating the crap out of one another one minute and then be best 
    friends the next. (unlike girls) 
5. 3 or more boys in a row are a direct cause of a vastly increasing ratio of a 
    moms natural hair color to gray hair color!! 
6. A mom of 3 or more boys will have experienced many heart attacks before      
    they all turn 10. 
7. These last 3 will probably be the death of me!!! 

I hope these last 19 months have found you well!! I hope even more that this year of 2017 will be full of beautiful, breath taking moments for all of you!!! I have had a private session in my home with Rebel Wilson!! I think we have fixed the time-space continuum that has been occurring in my bathroom!!  I'm very excited to be able to update y'all far more frequently than I have the last 19 months. 

Happy New Year!!!! 
Out with the old in with the new!!!
New Year, New Me!! 
and all the other cliche sayings you can think of!!
(yes I know the "e" in cliche has a thingy above it. {that is an official word btw} I can not quite figure out how to do that within this bloggy world I am limited to. I guess I will need to figure it out if I continue to use fancy words!! See you CAN teach a new dog old tricks!!) 

Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. ~Michael Josephson (b.1942),