Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Manfriend's Mancation

I am dating a "do-er."  Manfriend does things.  You want an example?  Here's an example for you.  Manfriend decided that he needed to do something in his backyard so he built a garden box.  He planted cucumbers, jalapenos, and tomatoes.  The other day Manfriend picked three cucumbers and decided that was not enough do-ing.  He took his three, count them, three whole cucumbers and pickled them.  Who pickles only three cucumbers?  Manfriend does, that's who.  (Even though I scoffed at the pickling of three cucumbers, that jar of pickles was one of the best darn jars of pickles I have ever sampled.) 

When I think of a vacation, the words "restful" and "relaxation" come to mind.  Naturally, being a do-er, when Manfriend thinks of a vacation, descriptions such as "active" and "adventure" are ones he will likely use.  Even with these different perspectives on vacations, Manfriend and I were equally ecstatic when we were invited on a Colorado rafting trip with his best friend from high school, his wife, and another couple.  I had been tubing on the Niobrara with my girlfriends before.  We floated leisurely down the river, cool drinks in hand, catching up on each other's lives.  And Colorado!  What's more relaxing and restful than beautiful, scenic, natural Colorado?  Answer: Not going to Colorado with Manfriend and his merry band of do-ery friends. 

When we first arrived at our condo, the guys decided that they were going to golf.  Having been hiding my white, pale body in work clothes for the past ten months, I decided that I was going to transform my fair complexion to a more sun kissed look.  Fortunately for me, our condo had an outdoor pool and my new friends, the wives, agreed with me that the pool sounded like a fine time. 

I spent a blissful 45 minutes floating on a reflective pool of water, in the mountains, literally inches from the sun.  During this short period of time, I managed to scorch my skin to the point where I was no longer recognizable. The best part about my third degree burn was that it was only in some spots.  An even burn would have been too much to ask.  Apparently, the sunscreen was effective at battling the sun's harmful rays, however, for it to completely protect one it must be applied with great care and not sprayed willy nilly in one's general direction. 

Correct Application of Sunscreen

One should use about a shot glass of SPF 15 or higher.  Apply by patting the sunblock into the skin approximately 30 minutes before exposing your white body to the flesh burning sun rays.  Reapply every couple hours.   

Sunscreen Sprayed Willy Nilly = Wrong

This will not protect you from the sun's deathly rays.  You will most certainly get cancer and premature wrinkles.  
After the guys golfed and we invited cancerous rays to burn our flesh, we decided that it would be a grand adventure to go mountain biking.  How fun!  I love biking.  I have a bike at home.  His name is Matt. 

We rented bikes from the local bike shop, got fitted for helmets and rode the enclosed ski lifts up the mountain.  Manfriend is wise so he asked the ski lift operator which trails we should go down. 

Apparently Manfriend thinks that while in Colorado, he should say "Dude" and "Man."  I don't really think "Dude" is appropriate in any location, but whatever, Manfriend.  You just say Dude if you're so inclined.  
Manfriend came back and told us we should take the Black Mamba because the ski lift operator said it was the easiest.  Here is a YouTube clip from the trail.  This is not us, but perhaps it will give you an idea of the peril that Manfriend likes to put me in.

Okay, let's refresh.  This is what the ski lift operator said.

And this is what Manfriend heard. 

And most importantly, this is what the ski lift operator actually meant. 

The trail was called the Black Mamba.  In case you are not aware a Black Mamba is the most deadly snake in the world.  Relaxing beginner trails are not named after the deadliest snake in the world. They would have names such as the Fluffy Bunny or something.  Black Mamba, psthhh.

When I wasn't coming down the mountain, Manfriend knew something was wrong.

When he saw me coming his fears were confirmed. 

Fortunately, one of my new friends recognized that the tear trail down my dusty cheeks was a sign that I would not enjoy continuing to fly down the mountain upon a bicycle by way of the Black Mamba.  Who does that anyway?!?  Hey guys, let's rent these bikes and hurl our fragile bodies down this ginormous mountain made of jagged rocks and sharp, pokey trees at 100 miles per hour!  I suppose someone who says "Dude" would.  Someone who says dude or maybe a do-er.  Manfriend and friends were both.  Thankfully, New Friend volunteered to change routes and accompany me down the mountain.  We took the Fuzzy Caterpillar down the rest of the way and it was truly beautiful.  I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

When it was time to turn in the bikes, Manfriend was absent.  Manfriend's high school buddy informed us that Manfriend popped a tire upon one of those life threatening jagged rocks and was carrying his bike down the mountain.  When High School Buddy volunteered to walk with him, Manfriend turned him away.  Manfriend is very manly like that.

The grand finale of our relaxing Colorado trip was, of course, a white water rafting excursion.

I managed to not get trapped under anything until I couldn't breath.  My lungs did not fill with water.  Definite plus.  In fact, after all of these life threatening activities, when our guide asked us if anyone wanted to jump off a giant cliff into the rapids below, I had officially lost my mind and raised my hand in the air, volunteering like a loon with no sense of self preservation.  My capacity for rational thought had long ago expired. Manfriend was proud.

It is a miracle that I did not return from Colorado horribly disabled.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Notes to My Former Self

Dear younger erica,

Here are some helpful tips to set you up for success.  Well, maybe not exactly success, but perhaps the following will make your life a bit more enjoyable.

Don't name your doll Vaseline.  That is strange.

When you forget where your car is in the parking lot--and you will--do not press the panic button on your keys to find it.  The honking from your car will cause many car alarms to go off.  These car alarms will spread all throughout the large parking lot.  It won't point you in the direction of your car.  Others will not be amused.

Jumping out from behind the door with peacock feathers when your brother gets out of the shower isn't a great idea.  Yes, you will scare him.  Congratulations.  However, no matter how you pictured it in your mind, he doesn't get out of the shower immediately wrapped in a towel.  You will both require counseling.

Don't bite your blind folded peers while playing Marco Polo.  People will stop playing with you.

Sprinkling salt in some one's hair while standing in line for popcorn at the movies will cause them to look up and see what is falling in their hair.  This is another good way to get people to stop hanging out with you.

When entering a new vehicle, driven by friends you have just made, make sure you take note of how many doors the vehicle has.  Count them twice if needed.  You will be embarrassed in front of said new friends when you try to squeeze your body behind the front seat of a four door car so you can sit in the backseat.  Yes, I know you may have mistaken the four door car for a two door, but this isn't a mistake that is made by normal people.  Count the doors and then enter the car the proper way.

Speaking of cars, don't speed through the neighboring town in your little blue Pontiac, even if you suspect that a truck full of men is following.  They aren't.  There is a strong chance that when you ramp the railroad tracks going 90 miles an hour, you will rip your oil pan off the bottom of your little car and have to ask the gentlemen you suspected of being rapists for a ride back to your home town.

Don't buy a dip at the grocery store, put it in a container from home and try to pass it off as your own recipe at your future Manfriend's family Christmas.  They will ask you for the recipe.  Your potential in-laws may tend to question your honesty when, after a google search of the ingredients, you tell them that you made the dip with maltodextrin, artificial color, xanthan gum and sodium phosphate.

While running, look forward, especially when you are door knob height.

When you spend the night at a friend's house and you wake up wearing different pajamas than you went to bed in, do not be alarmed.  In fact, don't even ask why you're wearing different pajamas. You will be embarrassed when you find out that you didn't remember that you had an accident in the night, woke up your friend's parents and they had to change you, wash your bedding and clothes, and give you a snack because you were hungry.

Don't drink the punch at that frat party, no matter how much it tastes like Kool-Aid.  Certainly don't drink it out of the ladle.  That's just impolite.

There will be a period of a few years when your body will violently reject dairy products.  Stop telling yourself that this blizzard from Dairy Queen will be different.

And last, but not least, don't teach Manfriend's daughter to bark out of the car windows when they are rolled down or to vocalize the word "Nom" while she is eating food at the dinner table. It eventually stops being cute and funny. 

Love Always-
Older, wiser and less awkward looking erica
(those braces helped)

*Note:  Sorry about my absence.  I have heard several requests for a post, so here is one sans artwork.  I'm working on one with my usual illustration about how I spent my summer vacation.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Things Father Didn't Think About

On a recent birthday, my parents visited with my favorite cupcakes (white cake, white frosting...also my dad's favorite) and my baby book.  There are certain people who make you feel like you are really, truly special and my parents are definitely those people.  While looking through my baby book, we found a card that Father had sent me, along with flowers on the day of my birth.  It read, "Erica, I wanted to be the first gentleman in your life to give you flowers.  Love, Dad"  It makes me melt into sniffles every time I think about it.  Father also sent flowers and a card to Mother, but it wasn't near as touching because he spelled her name incorrectly. 

I am obviously not a father (or mother), so I don't know this for a fact, but I imagine when a man is preparing for the birth of a child, he has certain ideas of what his life is going to be like with that child.  He  imagines all the wonderful times they will have together, throwing the old ball around, working outside together, watching sporting events and enjoying each other's company.  His child is going to share his interests and be just like him.  He probably doesn't think about the possibility that his spirited child will act naughty or embarrassing.  Most likely he doesn't think about the times that he may have to discipline that child. 
Let me tell you what that gentleman who gave me flowers 29 years ago didn't think about. 

He didn't think that his child would not share his interests. 

My Father was a teacher of Agriculture Education who worked 12 months a year while I was growing up.  This meant that summer break was spent tagging along with Father while he worked.  I am sure that my Father thought that my brother and I would enjoy coming along with him because we would be spending quality time together and we would get the opportunity to learn about all the subjects that were of interest to him.  He was very passionate about what he taught.   

No, Brother could not find the keys.  Neither could Father when he returned to the truck  He spent the remainder of the week in the field with a metal detector.  Apparently this was a big deal because the school keys were also on that key chain.  Had I known that, I probably wouldn't have thrown them so far.  Obviously it was not my fault that Brother was poor at retrieving.  

He didn't think about how hard it is to teach your own child something, even if you are a teacher.

Father and Mother both loved sports and being active.  They couldn't wait to present me with my first ball glove and get me signed up for t-ball, which Father was going to coach.

See, not my fault.  Also, I don't know why I can't call it a ball mitten.  Isn't mitt short for mitten?

I grew up in a small county which offered driving exams only on Tuesdays.  My sixteenth birthday fell on a Friday, so naturally, I wasn't about to wait to get my license after the weekend.  Father offered to go with me to take the exam in the next county over, in a town of one way streets and parallel parking. 

On the way to the exam, Father decided that I should probably drive so I could get some practice. He also decided that while we were practicing, it would be an excellent opportunity to deliver The Advisor, his student newsletter. Against all postal service regulations, Father liked to drop his newsletters off in the mailboxes of his students. It was a tedious and somewhat dangerous task as I often had to go along to run newsletters up to houses, many times beating off scary large farm dogs who were chasing me. 

Not. My. Fault.

I did get my license that day, thank you very much.
He thought his child would be well behaved and respectful. 

It isn't easy to be the child of a teacher, but I believe that it may have been more difficult, at times, to be a teacher and the father of the student who was sitting in office detention after school.  Daily.  For the majority of her her senior year.  (Also not my fault.)

Whee!  School is over!  We are free for the day!  Freedom!  Sweet Freedom!

Shoot.  Not so fast.  

I would like to make it known that we were unaware that was what we were doing.  

However, whatever we were doing was worth doing to hear our principle say "Grab Ass."

Our principle was not pleased with our very obvious amusement at his choice of words and, as a result, we were forced to sit, facing each other, in the office every day after school for 30 minutes until we could make it through the half hour detention without giggling.  It was damn near impossible.  Since it was so difficult, I couldn't help the fact that the office was going to be my second home. 

Once Father realized that his one and only daughter was going to remain in after school detention for the rest of her life, he became very good at avoiding the office.

He assumed his daughter would date intelligent young men.

I think Father envisioned me dating fine young men, men of upstanding moral character whose company Father would enjoy.

Father's Vision


His hopes were briefly dashed when I brought home Fratastic.  Fratastic was a member of a fraternity at my college and loved to party.  He made sure that was well known, often wowing my family members with tales of how much he had drank the night before.  Believe me, they were impressed.  He had awesome facial hair and two pierced ears in which dangled gold hoops.  His letters were branded across his chest.  My family could hardly wait for us to get married and have kids. 

My parents did make an effort.  They worried that we just might end up together and if that was the case, they didn't want me to know that Fratastic wasn't exactly what they had pictured for their little girl.  (Helloooo, parents!  Tell me these things...this relationship was also so not my fault.)

We went shopping during Christmas break with my parents.  While Mother and I were picking out gifts for family members, Father took Fratastic to the sporting goods store.  Fratastic decided he wanted to look at guns. Directly beside a large sign that said "Do not point guns out the window," Fratastic picked out a giant gun and pointed it into the large Christmas crowd of shoppers.  Chaos ensued.  Being the highly intelligent man that Father is, he acted like he had never met Fratastic in his life.

Fortunately for everyone involved, things soon ended with Fratastic. Only a few bad relationship choices later, Father finally got to meet a fine young man whose company Father does enjoy.  Father and Manfriend have quite a bit in common and actually the first time they met, they were dressed like long lost twins. much to my great delight.  I assist both of them in their shopping choices, so it really should have come as no great surprise.

Yes, when a father is expecting his first child, there is a lot he probably doesn't consider.  I know there was a lot of fun, exciting events that my Father didn't anticipate.  Thank you, Father, for putting up with me (and spelling my name correctly on my birth day card). Oh, and Dad?  I probably do owe you an apology for giving you that Ziplock bag full of Lucee's loose hair for Father's Day.  That one might have been my fault.  Love you lots!