Not Practically Perfect In Any Way

 

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So much for movie night at the school.

The kids begged me to go. I said, “you know it’s ‘Mary Poppins,’ right?”

 

Yes yes of course we do.

 

 

 

We get there and the place is already full. Parker insists on bringing a giant stuffed polar bear, which is the size of an actual polar bear, and Zoe wants to find a place for her 3 friends who aren’t there yet.

We find a small spot big enough for them, but not me. I end up in a chair on an aisle close enough for them to yell at me, yet  too far to communicate without bothering everyone in between.

 

Parker and his giant bear refuse to make room and when Zoe attempts to move him, her coke spills all over her pizza.

Parker is up and down, up and down. Popcorn, bathroom (twice), kid in front of him sitting on his knees, blocking the screen. I tell him to get Zoe to handle it, which she does.

I look over and he seems to be content double fisting the two bags of popcorn he bought, and then had equally divided his Kit Kat and licorice Into. I try to watch the movie with one eye and him with the other.

 

Mary Poppins has just finished “spoonful of sugar” (the movie wasn’t even half over) when Parker reappears at my side, telling me he doesn’t want to watch the movie anymore. He wants to go home.

I’m torn between forcing him to sit back down and getting the heck out of there.

Common sense wins out over my sadistic streak. Besides, sitting in that plastic chair with kids coming and going in front of me is not my idea of a good time.

I say “Fine, ask if Zoe can get a ride with Sophie, and grab your shoes, your two bags of popcorn, your sprite and your blanket. Leave the bear, it’s too big to try to drag out through all these people. ”

 

We finally get out of there, almost making it to the cross walk, when Parker looks behind us and lets out a whimper of fear.

 

I turn to see a giant polar bear running at us in the dark on tiny bare feet.

 

Zoe had hauled it out through the crowd and chased us down.

I wait and watch to make sure she doesn’t get kidnapped on her way back into the cafeteria.

 

On the walk home Parker says, “They let us vote on the movie but I didn’t pick Mary Poppins.”

 

I said, “Yeah, but you knew that’s what it was.”

 

“They didn’t tell us.”

 

“Yes they did. It’s on all the movie night posters. And remember the conversation we had tonight where I asked you three times if you really wanted to watch Mary Poppins?”

 

“No. Shhhh. The trees have ears. They’re listening. ”

Mary Poppins  would have strung him up by his toes and dropped him down a chimney, you know.

 

 

 

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Every Breath You Take… Every Move You Make…

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Meet overly attached girlfriend.

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And overly attached boyfriend.

When a relationship ends, it can be tough. This is especially true if you’re still Facebook friends with your ex, and you get to see photos of them, and all the fun they are having (without you) day in and day out. It tends to make some people a little… crazy.

Over the weekend I had on Pandora, as I’m in the process of creating an early 80’s playlist. We had a long drive down to Zoe’s soccer game, so I got a chance to thumbs up and thumbs down several songs.

It’s funny how you can hear songs over and over for many years and never stop to think about what it’s really saying. Then one day, you catch a phrase and say to yourself, “Whoa. Wait… did that just say what I think it said?”

It did.

For some reason I got a string of songs that made me realize, there are a lot of creepy people out there making music. And even more frightening- these songs became POPULAR!

Maybe it was a thing in the 80’s to be open about your stalking. Maybe it was a trend and I just didn’t realize it until now. At least these days most stalking is done online, from the comfort of their living room. They aren’t having to skulk around in their obsession’s back yard.

They can snuggle up on their couch with a blanket and a cup of hot coffee with their laptop in front of them. All that they would need is a nice musical soundtrack for their creepy activities.

So after thinking about it for a couple days, I have compiled my playlist for the creepers and stalkers out there. I’m not saying the songs aren’t catchy.  I know and have been mindlessly singing the lyrics for 30 years. But I’m pretty sure I will never hear them the same way again…

“One Way or another. I’m gonna find ya. I’m gonna getcha getcha getcha…”- Blondie (And One Direction)

“Every breath you take… Every move you make… Every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.”

“I will have you, yes I will have you. I will find a way and I will have you. Like a butterfly, a wild butterfly, I will collect you and capture you.”

“I want you to want me. I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me. I’m begging you to beg me.”

” “Cause I wonder where you are and I wonder what you do…” Bonus points for stalking a blind woman go to Lionel Ritchie.

“Never gonna stop, give it up
Such a dirty mind, always get it up
For the touch of the younger kind”

Eww.

And while we’re on the subject of “the younger kind…”

“I will be your father figure, put your tiny hand in mine. ”

“(You belong to me)
Tell her, tell her you were foolin’
(You belong to me)
You don’t even know her
(You belong to me)
Tell her that I love you
(You belong to me)”

“Stalked in the forest too close to hide
I’ll be upon you by the moonlight side

High blood Drumming on your skin it’s so tight
You feel my heat I’m just a moment behind

In touch with the ground
I’m on the hunt I’m after you
Scent and a sound. I’m lost and I’m found
And I’m hungry like the wolf.
Strut on a line it’s discord and rhyme
I howl and I whine I’m after you
Mouth is alive all running inside
And I’m hungry like the wolf. ”

But it wasn’t limited to the 80’s…

“She’s running out again,
She’s running,
She runs runs runs runs…
Runs…

But I’m a creep,
I’m a weirdo”

And I shall close with the creepiest creeper of all time… Morrissey

“The more you ignore me
The closer I get
You’re wasting your time
The more you ignore me
The closer i get
You’re wasting your time

I will be
In the bar
With my head
On the bar
I am now
A central part
Of your mind’s landscape
Whether you care
Or do not
Yeah, i’ve made up your mind

The more you ignore me
The closer i get
You’re wasting your time
The more you ignore me
The closer i get
You’re wasting your time

Beware !
I bear more grudges
Than lonely high court judges
When you sleep
I will creep
Into your thoughts
Like a bad debt
That you can’t pay
Take the easy way
And give in
Yeah, and let me in
Oh, let me in
Oh let me …
Oh, let me in”

Of course, knowing Morrissey, he was probably singing to himself.

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I Spent Valentine’s Day With Brian McKnight

 

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Caution: If you hate anything that has to do with Valentine’s Day, you’re gonna want to stop reading this post now, because I had a GREAT Valentine’s Day. I spent it with one of my biggest musical crushes- Brian McKnight. Oh, and my husband was there too, don’t worry.

About six weeks ago, I found out that Brian McKnight was coming to Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, WA for a Valentine’s Day concert. While I was excited, I didn’t have high hopes that my husband would go for spending Valentine’s day at an R &B concert in a casino. I underestimated his relief at not having to plan Valentine’s day surpassing his lack of desire to go to this concert.

For those of you unfamiliar with Brian McKnight, his first album came out in 1992. I became obsessed with this CD. I knew every song front to back. My husband and I started dating a few months after it was released, and many of the songs made it onto various “mix tapes” I made for him.

He’s had many hits since his debut album, but it remains my favorite. A song most everyone knows of his is “Back at one.”

This past Christmas a group of us sat around playing a conversation game. One of the questions was “If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be?” My answer, without hesitation: Brian McKnight.

You can imagine how thrilling getting to see him in concert would be for me.

I bought the best tickets still available and made hotel reservations. We didn’t think about making dinner reservations until last Monday. I looked up restaurants near the hotel, and called the one with the best reviews. The woman on the other end of the line laughed condescendingly, and then said, “Oh, honey, no, we’ve been booked up for a while.” I asked her if she had any suggestions, since we were at the hotel next door. She said, “Oh, well we have a relationship with the hotel, so here’s what I will do. Come here at around 5, tell the girl at the desk that you are staying at the hotel, and that you have a concert to get to. We will do our best.”

Not completely reassuring, but better than nothing.

Meanwhile, my husband began making comments about going to a thrift shop to look for a velvet jacket to wear to the concert. I thought he was kidding. I hoped he was kidding. He was not kidding. He said, “I can’t go to a 90’s R &B concert at a casino NOT wearing a velvet jacket.”

My friends were not helpful in supporting me. People begged for pictures and gave suggestions for where he might find a velvet jacket.

While he was at the thrift store, this was our conversation:

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Thankfully he didn’t bring this pelt home.

He began to get discouraged, so he tried a different approach:

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This was the response from my friends:

Bob: I have a black velvet one he can wear and I am coming to the coast

Me:Uh. That’s ok. Really. But thank you.

Bob:  I’m bringing it

Matt:  I cannot believe that you are holding Jeff back from expressing himself

Me:I’m not holding him back. I’m protecting him from himself.

Matt: Do you think Barry Gordy’s wife tried protecting him from starting Motown?

Me: Barry Gordy could get away with a velvet jacket

Lee: It’s such a shame that you can only “like” something once

Lisa: I’m buying a velvet jacket AND a cowbell for Doug and we are going on a double date.

Shannon:  A velvet jacket is nothing compared to red leather pants

Me: God help me if Loverboy comes to town

Shannon: Do I need to overnight the pants? Seriously- they are in my closet from a Cajun.

Me: No. Do not send him red leather pants.

I decided to fight fire with a flame thrower- I made a prayer request at Bible study that he would not be able to locate a velvet jacket. I figured if I got the Big Guy on my side, it would work out okay.

Unfortunately, my group didn’t agree, and refused to pray for that. In fact, I am pretty sure my friend Lisa actually prayed that he WOULD find one. She said, “You’ll thank us some day.” And “I’ll bet there are a number of us who would actually chip in for the jacket. I’m in for $10.”

People began posting links to velvet jackets on my wall, tips for where he might find one on sale, offering to go out looking for him.

Thursday evening he came home from work with a shopping bag.

I said, “Do I want to know?”

He smirked and told me to look inside.

Not only had he found and purchased a velvet jacket, it was paisley. Also, there was a red velvet vest.

“No.”

“Oh yes.”

I posted the update on my Facebook page, and it received 55 likes. I have a bunch of traitors for friends.

Friday (Valentine’s Day) was a bit chaotic. Zoe was upset with me because I had posted the photos of the Valentine’s Day table decorations on Facebook, so she saw them online before she came down in the morning. Parker kept eating chocolate instead of getting breakfast, so by the time I sent him out the door he was in full blown “Parker” mode.

I got showered and dressed in time to get to the school for party number one- in Zoe’s class. After an hour of pink frosting and sprinkles everywhere, I ran home to finish packing up myself and the kids for the night, straightening the house for the party Sydney had announced that morning she was hosting, steamed Jeff’s shirts and ran back out to the school in time for Parker’s party.

After school I threw everything plus Zoe and Parker into the car and drove out to my parents’ house, where the kids would be spending the night. Jeff was already in Seattle, so he headed south to the hotel and got there well before me. I was stuck in pretty bad traffic for over 2 hours. I tried not to stress, and just told myself that if dinner plans didn’t work out, it wasn’t the end of the world.

When I arrived, he had these waiting for me:

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View from the hotel room :

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He had gone to the restaurant at about 430 and put our name on the list. I didn’t get to the hotel until 530. We got to the restaurant and only had to wait a short time, since he’d already been in and called to let them know my progress. Sydney called me and asked where I had put the recipe for the chicken enchiladas she was attempting to make for her friends, and I realized I had forgotten to write it down. Attempting to ignore the glares from across the table, I texted her step by step instructions before finally putting the phone down.

Dinner was ok, not fantastic. The view was amazing though with the moon shining down over the water. Oh, and the view of some of the characters at the restaurant was pretty amazing too. I saw a guy who looked like Bob “happy trees” Ross and a woman wearing the largest, thickest white fur coat I have ever seen. It made her look like a furry linebacker. It’s always stunning to me when I see people wearing real fur anymore. You just don’t see it.

As we left, I attempted to get a picture of Jeff “driving the restaurant” in his black velvet paisley jacket (They had a giant ship’s wheel out front) but he wouldn’t let me. I must admit, he actually pulled it off. He wore it with a black dress shirt, and compared to some of the outfits I saw at the concert, his jacket looked conservative.

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When we got to the venue, parking was crazy, and the valet line was a hundred cars long. We drove around a bit, and then ended up driving up the hill and parking on the street. They had a trolley shuttle picking people up, which was very helpful. As we got off, though, the driver told us that there was no shuttle back up the hill. Good thing I was wearing my 4 inch heels.

We got into the concert arena, got some drinks from the bar, and found our seats. The big screens were advertising upcoming acts, many of which left my husband exclaiming, “They’re still alive?!” The following night was going to be Air Supply, and they showed this photo of them:

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. He leaned over and said, “Oh, did they start a magic act?”

They also posted a disclaimer that made me laugh out loud:

image Who in 2014 still has a pager? Just because Brian McKnight has been around since the 90’s, doesn’t mean all his fans are still living in the 90’s.

I tried to get Jeff to take pics with me, and this was all I could get out of him:

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Since we were in the middle of the row, and there wasn’t a lot of passing room, I decided to hit the bathroom before it filled up and I had to get physically intimate with too many people as I tried to get back to my seat.

On my way back I saw a man walking towards me with his date and I thought, “Wow, he’s extremely attractive.” And then a half second later my brain clicked in and I realized I recognized him.

It was Seattle Seahawk defensive linebacker (and Super Bowl 48 champion 🙂 KJ Wright.

imageWas I lying? Seriously pretty.

I came back to my seat and told my husband and said, “You’ve got to admit he’s really good looking.”

My husband responded, “Yes, he’s the second best looking guy in here.” Meaning he was the first, of course.

I had a clear view of the stage until a couple came in right as the concert was beginning. He hair was teased 5 inches above her head and soon this view:

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Became this view:

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Jeff insisted I trade seats with him, which was very sweet.

I have never before been to a concert where there was no opening act- until this one. Which was totally fine with me.

From the very first note, I was entranced. His voice is simply amazing, and shows no sign of wear from 20 plus years of belting out those notes. There were times I felt my throat get a little hoarse just at the thought of how much strain singing so powerfully must put on his voice. But not a single crack. Not a single missed note.

It was also very entertaining to watch his bass player. Not a small man, he was seriously grooving on that stage. At one point, he started twerking.

image I caught this pic as we waited afterwards. You can see this backside would make for quite the twerk.

At one point Brian McKnight stopped and said that he had been contacted by a young man, and gave his name. The lights came up, and after a few awkward moments, a guy started moving towards the stage with a clearly shell-shocked girl in tow. While we couldn’t hear the words, his intentions became quite clear as he got down on one knee. She nodded her head, and they began kissing to the cheers of the crowd. It was a sweet moment.

A little later, he asked for a single female volunteer to come up on stage. The woman in front of us tried volunteering, much to the chagrin of her husband (her wedding ring was flashing in the stage lights). The woman next to us began jumping up and down waving her arms. I was a little surprised that she was volunteering, as she was at the concert with the guy sitting next to her. He seemed just as excited for her to go, though. Brian picked her and she went up on stage. One of the men up there handed her a bouquet of roses and she was led to a stool in the center. Brian asked her if she had a boyfriend. She said, “No.” I looked at the guy she had come with, and he seemed to be happily recording the whole thing with his phone. I wondered if maybe he wasn’t her boyfriend, but her gay BFF. Brian serenaded her and she played it up for all it was worth. She was a total ham on stage, and in the end, was rewarded with a short peck on the lips. After she got back to her seat, the guy she had come with was hugging her and they were laughing and looking at the video. I was convinced they weren’t a couple, until after the concert I watched them file out, and he had his hands wrapped around her waist. Maybe he’s just a really supportive boyfriend. I’m not sure mine would have been so understanding.

The concert had Brian singing with a microphone, then switching to guitar…

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And then moving on to keyboard. He began singing one of my favorite all time songs, Never felt this way. I’m not sure if I violated any copy write laws by posting this, but it’s just a snippet to show how amazing he is live.

Here is the song in its entirety as it was on his CD:

He’s just a very gifted musician, and I know that in spite of his expectations, Jeff really enjoyed the concert also.

It was quite poignant to listen to Brian McKnight singing the songs live that I had playing on our very first Valentine’s Day together exactly 20 years ago to the day.

Afterwards, we got in the photo line. The people who were in line in front of us were interesting. One of the women liked to talk. A lot. She was telling anyone who would listen about all of the radio contests she’s won, all the meet and greets she has attended. She’s met Alicia Keys- twice. She met “Luda” last summer. I can’t remember all the other names she dropped- there were so many. She actually said, “My 1099 is pretty high, for all the stuff I’ve won.”

As I waited for my opportunity to meet him, I noticed my button on my shirt kept popping open. Jeff said, “I hear that happens a lot when Brian McKnight is around.”

It happened again right before I got to the front of the line, so I just draped the fabric over so it wouldn’t be visible, but in that photo at the top, my shirt is unbuttoned.

I thought about what I might say to him once I actually got up there, but when I was finally there, all words escaped me. I managed to choke out “Could you sign this to my daughter Zoe?” as I handed him the photo.

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I’m pretty sure he thought I was mildly developmentally disabled.

How nice, though, that he would stay afterwards for an hour signing autographs and taking pics with his fans? That’s one of the many reasons I adore him.

It was an amazing Valentine’s Day- one I will never forget.

Oh, and PS…

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I Ain’t The Bees Knees And Other Things I Discovered At A Roaring 20’s Fundraiser

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Ok, maybe I didn’t discover it, so much as confirm it.

When Zoe joined her select soccer team last spring, there was mention of a fundraiser, but it was so far out that I didn’t really give it another thought. As it got closer, we sold the raffle tickets to win cash or a car, and I vaguely paid attention to the emails coming through about the fundraiser party.

Then I became team manager, and I got an email that stated our team had to sell 6 fundraiser event tickets, and we had sold none. No one from our team had purchased tickets or was planning to attend. I told my husband we needed to go, and thankfully we got a new girl on our team, whose parents jumped right in and bought two tickets. One girl’s parents have a son who also plays for the club, so they had bought one ticket and planned on buying another. That left us one short, so I invited my mother.

I went online to buy our three tickets at $65 a piece. That bought us each a drink coupon, some gaming tokens, and “heavy appetizers.” I figured if they wanted to make a lot of money they should have made it one appetizer coupon and heavy drinks, but I needn’t have worried. ( I’ll get to that in a minute.)

I clicked to purchase the tickets, only to be popped back to the order screen. There was no confirmation, so I figured I must have done it wrong. I tried again. Same thing. I tried a third time (Yes, I Know) only to have the same thing happen. Then I realized I might have accidentally purchased many more tickets than I had intended. I went into my email, and there I found three confirmations of three separate purchases of 3 tickets each, for $585. My husband was going to kill me.

I frantically emailed the club to let them know what I had done, and I got a response from the woman running it saying, “I was wondering what was going on!” Thankfully it hadn’t debited yet, and she was able to fix it.

I knew the event was casino themed. Originally I had misread the invite and thought it was AT a casino. I had skimmed the details enough to know the date and time, but didn’t really read much more than that. Friday afternoon when I was leaving the school from picking up Parker (Zoe was excited to be riding a school bus to a friend’s house for a birthday sleepover) I ran into a friend who said, “I’ll see you tonight!”

I said, “Oh, yeah. What are you wearing?”

She said, “I may have to wear this! I’m on the go today, and the flapper dress I ordered isn’t going to work.”

“The what?”

“Flapper dress. You know, it’s roaring 20’s, gangster themed.”

“Are you serious?”

“Yes, but you don’t have to.”

Now, most people would have thrown their hands in the air and said, “Oh well. I didn’t know, no one will blame me for not running out and getting a roaring 20’s costume.”

Of course, most people don’t have not one but TWO flapper dresses, along with accessories, at their house.

I texted my mother to give her the heads up, and she wasn’t thrilled with the short notice either. When I got home, I told my husband who looked at me and said, “I’m not going.”

“Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.”

“I’m not gonna make you dress up. You’ll be fine. Not everyone is dressing up.”

I looked again at the invitation, and saw that it said to come as your favorite gangster (I briefly considered coming as Justin Bieber dressed as Tupac Shakur, but decided that probably wasn’t what they were looking for.)

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I took Nathan to the DMV to get his permit, and the whole time, I was trying to decide if I was going to go in costume or not.

On the one hand, I like dressing up.

On the other hand, these are soccer parents. What were the odds that these sweatsuit wearing, cooler toting people would dress up as gangsters and flappers?

I emailed one of the parents I knew would be there. “Are you dressing up as a flapper?”

I got a one word reply: NO.

When I got home from the DMV I pulled the dresses out, put one on and stared at myself. It wasn’t terrible, although I was pretty sure if I stood in the wrong light, the dress was completely see-through. Also, it was 20 degrees outside.

I pulled on some leggings and a sweater. Jeff came in, took one look at me, said, “Oh,” and walked back out.

I googled 20’s hairstyles and found a messy side bun look with a headband that I thought I might be able to pull off.

When I was finished, Jeff returned to the bathroom. I said, “Does this look stupid?”

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He said, “It is what it is,” and walked back out.

Apparently, this is NOT what I looked like:

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When we finally got to the event, after dropping Parker off with my Dapper (According to a 20’s website I looked at, dapper means a flapper’s father) and picking up my mother (no term found for mother), it was nearly 30 minutes in.

I anxiously looked around, and other than a couple strands of pearls, I saw NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON dressed in any 20’s attire. Not even the women working the check-in desk.

My husband started chuckling, and found it difficult to stop. He was loving this.

I kept my coat buttoned, but fringe kept making its way out. Besides, hard to miss the sequin headband in my hair.

We peeked in the first room, and located our table number. There was no one in there yet, and since there were desserts lined up along the counter, I assumed this was where the live auction would take place.

We headed upstairs, where I ran into my friend, not dressed up. I said, “NO ONE is dressed up! No one!”

She said, “I think I saw one or two.”

I said, “I feel like an idiot.”

She said, “It’s not so bad. You can barely tell you’re dressed like a flapper.”

I used my drink ticket and started chugging wine.

We went into the silent auction area, and I have to say, I was very impressed. There were a lot of items, and pretty much every item was a great one. There was autographed sport memorabilia, wine tasting events, vacation condos, entertainment baskets, private coaching. If I had to guess, there were at least 200 items.

We checked everything out, and decided to bid on a few things. We made our way back out and went through the food line, settling in to a side table. The first round of appetizers were good, but definitely light. I was a little concerned about my food to alcohol ratio, as I had skipped lunch and tend to be a lightweight anyways. I started planning which drive-through I was going to make him go to on the way home after the event.

I spent some time talking to friends before they called us all downstairs for the live auction to begin. I had counted one other flapper with a feather coming out of her head, and a woman in a black dress and pearls. No gangsters, only one guy with a bowtie. Thankfully, our table was in the back. They had placed us with Zoe’s two coaches and their wives. I’ve socialized with a lot of the team parents, but never with the coaches, so it was a bit awkward for all of us.

The first part of the auction was the dessert dash. We didn’t really know what we were doing, so we found the paper on the table and entered “25.00” on the sheet. Right away someone came and took the form. They began calling out table numbers, to indicate who was the highest dessert bidder. As the tables were called out, they would send one person up to grab a dessert to share with the whole table. Apparently 25.00 wasn’t a lot for a cake, because we were one of the last tables called. I grabbed a dark chocolate ganache cake. My husband said, “There wasn’t any cheesecake?” (FYI he hasn’t dropped the conversation of the cheesecake yet. Every night since he’s brought up how he really wishes we had cheesecake, and he doesn’t understand why we still don’t have any.)

Then the live auction began. The items were amazing- 4 hour boat rentals, guided fishing trips, a condo In Mazatlan. The starting prices were high and went even higher. In between items, they would auction off rounds of shots in rave glasses

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or Jell-O shots

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Some of these lots were going for more than $10 per shot, with 10-20 shots in each lot. At one point the guy who made the shots came by and handed me one. I took it, and then realized I probably should have asked first what I owed him. Thankfully he was just being nice.

The shots helped loosen the bidding even more. Two different people paid $275 each to get a karaoke party with one of the coaches.

By the time they got around to the big item- the mansion in Kona for 10 days, people were sufficiently boozed up and the item went for well over 8k.

After the live auction was over, we headed back upstairs to pay for the silent auction items we’d won, if any. When we got up there, we discovered that a second round of appetizers had come out, and these were even better than the first. Gorgonzola chicken salad on a puff, Blt’s on mini croissants, pulled pork sliders on sweet rolls with coleslaw. I grabbed a plate and a slider, and went to get in line.

Dang, was that a good slider. One of my favorite food combos in the world is spicy BBQ with fresh coleslaw on a sweet roll.

As I was enjoying this blissful creation, my husband came up to me and asked me a question. I began to answer, but instead, inhaled a chunk of coleslaw straight into my lungs. I started choking and coughing. My husband started laughing. My eyes began watering, tears streaming down my face. He patted me on the back. (Has that EVER worked? Ever?)

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He asked if I wanted water, but since the problem was cabbage in my lung, I didn’t think it would help, and all I could do was nod or shake my head and managed to say “won’t help.” He continued laughing. He made all sorts of comments about not being able to take me anywhere, and “You sure did a number on that slider!” “You must have really liked that slider!”

The man in front of me, also trying not to laugh because Jeff was laughing so hard, kept watching me to see if I was going to completely keel over. He left and came back with water. I accepted it and choked out a “Thank you” and a glare at my husband.

He said, “You said it wouldn’t help!”

At this point I’m trying to salvage what’s left of my dignity. It was bad enough that I was overdressed in the strongest sense of the word, now I’ve coughed, choked and cried in front of a couple hundred people. Oh, and I am pretty sure I spewed food as well.

Question- what happens to coleslaw once it enters your lungs? Can you die from it?

For the rest of the time we were there, the man who had brought me water seemed to be watching me, as if waiting for me to do something else embarrassing/entertaining.

By the time I got to the front of the line, I was able to talk again. They looked up my information and found that we had only won one item- a behind the scenes tour at a Seattle Sounders training practice. I knew Zoe would love it. My mother had won some strange sand-like substance. Two boxes, actually.

living sand

The event wasn’t over- the gaming tables had just opened. However, I was done. We loaded our stuff in the car, dropped my mother off, picked up Parker and headed home.

As I got ready for bed, I looked in the bathroom mirror.

“Um, at what point did my mascara make its way significantly below my eyelashes?” I called into the bedroom.

He responded, “I didn’t notice it pre-slider incident, but I did notice it post-slider incident.”

Wonderful.

Truth is, not only wasn’t I the bees knees, I wasn’t the kitten’s ankles, the monkey’s eyebrows or the Goat’s whiskers.

So instead of ending the evening like this:

The demure flapper

I looked more like this:

zombie flapper

If anyone asks, I’ll tell them I meant to look like a zombie flapper.

 

 

 

IIIIIII Love A Parade! (Sort Of)

parade 9

It was the best of times… it was the worst of times.

Ok, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that was the phrase that kept echoing through my mind yesterday as I stood in downtown Seattle along with my two youngest children and about 700,000 other people in the bitter cold to celebrate our Seahawks winning the Super Bowl.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me the same question- was it worth it?

It’s one of those questions that’s not a simple yes or no. But if I had to pick one, I’d say yes. It’s a lot easier to say that while I am currently indoors with the heat blasting, but I will tell you, I know the exact moment when I realized that yes, it was all worth it. And I was still a human popsicle at the time.

Let me back up a bit, first.

OH MY GOSH THE SEAHAWKS WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s still a little surreal. Every once in a while I have to repeat that and pinch myself to believe it.

As I said in my post http://kbjackson.com/what-danny-bonaduce-guinness-and-colin-kaepernicks-eyebrow-all-have-in-common/ I have been a football fan pretty much my entire life. I became a Seahawks fan shortly after moving to Washington State in the late 70’s. I attended games in the Kingdome with my family. I cheered on Jim Zorn and Steve Largent, Dave Krieg and Kenny Easley. I watched my Hawks get into the playoffs many times in the early 80’s and lose to Oakland or Denver. It seemed we just were never quite good enough to take it all the way. Mostly, we were perpetual losers.

And then came 1996. The owner at the time moved my beloved team to Los Angeles. I’d like to go on record as saying that while I believe in general a business owner has every right to move his business elsewhere, it’s a nasty, awful thing to take a sports team away from its fans. We’ve had it done not once, but twice.

 

hawksmovehawksmove2Fans attempted to blockade the moving trucks with the Seahawks’ gear and equipment.images7T5OFS49david stern

Thankfully, that nasty old earthquake death trap Kingdome had an iron-clad lease that prevented the move from happening. Local Microsoft billionaire and homegrown boy Paul Allen bought the team, invested in the team, and is a huge reason why the Lombardi trophy is in Seattle.

We had a close one in 2005. We here in Seattle don’t like to talk about that Super Bowl.

So when the parade to celebrate this city and this team was announced, I knew I had to be there.

With a parade start time of 11am, I began to calculate the time we would have to leave home to get there. Turned out that was at nofreakingwaycouldIleavethatearly o’clock.

Plan B: rent a hotel room in Seattle.

I went online and rooms were booking fast. At one point, Expedia said “1143 people are also currently looking at this hotel.” Many of the reasonable, close hotels were booked. I switched to Priceline. They had an express deal they were calling “Downtown Seattle-Pike Place” 3 star for $99. I jumped on it.

Funny thing, though, apparently Priceline considers Capitol Hill Downtown/Pike Place. No matter that it’s nearly a mile and a half straight downhill to get to the market, and nearly a mile and a half straight uphill on one of the steepest grades in the city of Seattle to get back.

I got onto Priceline chat and the person I chatted with told me in no uncertain terms I was locked in. I said, “Have you heard of Sir Mix-a-lot? When he sings about his posse being on Broadway… THIS is the area he’s talking about. Capitol Hill is NOT downtown/Pike Place.”

She was not swayed.

Turned out the hotel itself is nice, and that area of Capitol Hill is a lot safer than I had remembered from my college days. It’s right across from Seattle University and Swedish hospital. Other than an empty bottle of vodka sitting on a wall that Zoe “accidentally knocked over,” it was pretty clean.

On our way down into Seattle, I looked up at the sky and as I looked at the clouds, I thought I saw an image. I snapped a quick picture.

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When I posted and tweeted it, I didn’t suggest what I thought it looked like. I only said I saw something interesting. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who saw it, because soon the picture went viral.

image

I’m not sure if it’s visible, but as of this morning, the posting on the local news station’s website has over 3500 likes on the photo and over 2200 shares.

If you can’t see it, look at this, and then look at the cloud pic again.

seahawklogo

Like someone said, maybe you have to be a Hawks fan to see it. It doesn’t bother me if people think it’s a stretch. I thought some comments were unnecessarily rude. And it did make me realize that anonymity is a beautiful thing. With my name on the photo and people making not always positive comments, I felt a little bit like I had a target on my back. Turns out my skin is pretty thin. I may have to work on that.

Anyways, we checked into the hotel and then made our way down to the restaurant for dinner. Other than Zoe accidentally ending up in the men’s room, it was pretty uneventful. We went to the pool for a bit, met other fans who were there for the parade, and then headed back up to go to bed. Zoe passed out first, and Parker ended up discovering the movie “Spaceballs.” All day yesterday he kept saying, “Yogurt! I hate Yogurt! Even with strawberries!”

The alarm went off at 7am with “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore playing. Seemed an appropriate start to the day.

parade12wearing their championship shirts before covering them up in 4 layers

The kids were moving in slow motion, and by the time we got downstairs it was 8 o’clock. I saw a group of people sitting in the lobby in Seahawks gear. I said, “Is this the waiting area for the shuttle?”

They said, “Oh no. We aren’t waiting for the shuttle. It’s full until 9. We’re gonna walk.”

They gave us directions on how to get downtown.

I looked at my kids and said, “Well, it’s looks like we’re walking.”

We started heading down Broadway towards James. (I later found out we could have taken Madison and saved us a lot of time and energy) There was a homeless man walking across the street in front of us. Coming from the opposite direction was a tall black kid, maybe about 19 years old, carrying a backpack. As he passed the man, he held out some money, no words other than a “thank you” were said. I looked at Zoe and said, “That was beautiful.” She smiled and nodded her head.

Parker dawdled most of the way downtown.

parade110 He’s like my own Marshawn Lynch, only instead of Beats by Dre, he has on gingerbread man earmuffs

My thought was that once we got to 4th Ave and scoped out the crowd, we would find a place to get coffee and something to eat. I was not prepared for lines at the three coffee places in the center we went into to each have lines that rival Disneyland. Starbucks had like 75 people in line. The other two, maybe 30 each. I picked a bakery and got in line. I overheard one of the girls who was working there say “This morning we’ve already gone through as much coffee as we normally do in a week.” It was 9am.

I waited for about 30 minutes before getting my turn to order. They were already out of milk chocolate, so the only cocoas they were selling were white chocolate. I ordered a drip coffee for myself, plus two bacon and egg sandwiches and some oatmeal. Another 30 minutes later, and the food was ready. I found out at that point that the coffee was self serve and I could have gotten it right away. About 10 minutes later, the white hot chocolates came up. Both of my kids took one sip and grimaced.

We would never survive an apocalypse.

We found a spot that I considered primo- it was a fenced off area in front of a closed restaurant. It looked like the kind of area where they set tables out on warm summer evenings. I liked it because there was a permanent separation from the passing crowd, and if I needed to put Parker on my shoulders, I wouldn’t be blocking anyone.

Zoe wasn’t having it.

We walked closer to the start of the parade route, only to find the crowd thickening. I convinced her to turn back and go further south. Eventually we found a spot that was right behind two rows of chairs. People had been camping out all night for curbside seats. I put a blanket down on the ground, and stood behind the kids. They bundled up close and tried to keep warm in the 26 degree temps with a 19 degree wind chill. We stood there for a bit before three women and a boy showed up. They started moving in between me and the kids to get to a sport further up. I said, “You’re not really going to go in front of us are you?” Apparently they were surprised that I would actually comment. One of the girls stood with the boy in front of me, and another said, we just want to make sure he can see.”

I was trying not to be a bitch, but I wasn’t happy.

One of the women assured me they would make a spot for Zoe and Parker when the time came.

Then the rest of their group showed up. They began pushing in front of me also.

I said, “How many of your group are planning on getting in front of me?”

They looked stunned that I said anything. The guy said, “We just want to make sure he sees, I don’t really care.”

I said, “I get that. But we were here first and now all of you are trying to get in front, and it’s a little frustrating.”

Meanwhile, one of the girls, maybe 13 or 14, who was seated in the front row chairs, had taken it upon herself to start taking care of Zoe and Parker. I looked down and said, “Whose blanket is that?”

parade7

Zoe said, “It’s hers. She put it over us.” Throughout the morning, I saw the girl continually adjusting the blanket to make sure the kids were covered and warm. Faith in humanity restored.

 

Soon, a group of teenage boys were crawling past us, going onto the street. The people who had been there all night were getting upset because the police were not making everyone stay on the sidewalk, and crowds were filling in in front of their chairs. I watched several women kicking newcomers out of the area. Some moved on, some didn’t care what they said. They had shown up at the last minute and were going to get a good spot, regardless. It was starting to make me anxious.

I looked across the way at the courthouse building where I could see people looking out floor to ceiling windows. I contemplated getting myself arrested just to be able to watch the parade from indoors.

It was noon and the parade, which was supposed to start at 11, had still not arrived. My kids were miserable and cold. I made a decision.

“We’re going north. We’re going to try to find a spot as close to the start of the parade, so we can see it, be done, and go get warm somewhere.”

Parker stayed bundled in the blanket, and we started our journey. The crowds were like nothing I had ever seen before.

parade5Seattle City Hall

At 12:12, by the Governor’s decree, a moment of loudness commenced.

We were like salmon swimming upstream in a marijuana-infused stream. There were, as I heard someone say, a lot of people “smoking the state flower.”

At a certain point, though, everything came to a halt. There was no movement. I was getting pushed from behind, but there was a wall of people in front of me. Zoe was bumping into Parker, who in turn began punching her and elbowing her. I tried explaining that she wasn’t pushing him on purpose, but he was getting pretty angry. There was a lot of yelling, a lot of swearing, a lot of pushing. Eventually someone went hulk and made a path. We got pushed through and up onto a side street. There were hundreds of people on that street, trying to look onto 4th to see the parade.

I said, “I’m done fighting.”

Parker said, “I wanna go home.”

Zoe said, “I can’t see! Did we really do all this not to see the parade?”

I looked at her and I said, “Take your brother. Wiggle yourselves into a place where you can see.”

They made their way through the crowd to the intersection. I said a prayer that I would find them again.

Finally, the parade began.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfCifEpVx98

The first part of the parade was the team buses with no one inside them. After they passed by, I saw Zoe and Parker running towards me through the crowd.

“We got up front! We saw the parade!”

I said, “That wasn’t the parade. That was just the beginning. Get back in there!”

They ran back through the crowd.

Just as Marshawn Lynch made his way to our intersection, throwing skittles at the crowd, my phone died. I couldn’t believe it. I still had 30% battery life, and my phone shut down and said it needed to be connected to a battery.

Later I found out that this happened to several people I know. I have heard many explanations, such as overloading of the towers, cold temperatures affecting battery life, the 911 system not working properly so callers were being asked to limit calls.

None of these explanations satisfy me. It was 26 degrees, and if phone batteries shut down when it’s 26 degrees, does that mean no one in the Midwest or east coast has been able to use their phones all winter?

I wasn’t making phones calls, or on Facebook. I wasn’t even sending texts. All I was doing was taking pictures. I wasn’t zapping cell strength or tower strength.

And shutting down the phones wouldn’t help the 911 problem, it would create a new one- people unable to call 911 because their phones weren’t working.

I plan on getting to the bottom of this, you have my word on it.

So I didn’t get pictures of the actual parade. I got pre-parade pictures.

parade 10parade8

parade6

The good news is that a lot of my friends got great shots, including my friend Gretta Kosanovich who got these shots of the actual parade:

parade2

parade3

But the best part was the look on Zoe and Parker’s faces when they came back in excitement to tell me about seeing Marshawn Lynch throwing skittles at them, Richard Sherman, “the coach” and everyone.

That’s what made it ALL worth it.

We walked with the crowds until we got to the street that we had come down in the morning. It loomed steeply before us, but we just started hiking.

Halfway up the street, we came across a rat. A squashed rat.

Parker insisted I take a picture, and I told him my phone had died. I pulled it out, attempted to turn it on, and well, whatta ya know? It turned on with 27% battery life left. Totally suspicious.

image I think in Parker’s eyes, this rivals seeing Marshawn Lynch. boys.

It took us an hour to get out of Seattle yesterday afternoon. We were starving so we stopped off at a Red Robin- 45 minute wait.

I piled them back into the car, but by then we were all craving Red Robin. Next mall closer to our house? 45- an hour wait. At 330 on a Wednesday!

I hear that in Seattle alone, 13000 students and over 500 teachers were absent yesterday. No count yet on the outlying districts, or the amount of people who skipped work. A woman next to me said to her boyfriend, “My boss said not to come in if I don’t feel good. And I don’t feel good- I feel great!” Over 700,000 people were at the parade yesterday, and only 650,000 live in the city. No one was arrested and people remained mostly in good spirits.

We were surrounded by people of all ethnic, racial, religious and political backgrounds, cheering together, united. This place is special, and I’m glad we were a part of it.

It was a long day. It was cold. It was frustrating at times. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it again if I had it to do over, but I’m glad I don’t have to do it over again.

It really was ONCE in a lifetime.

Go Hawks!

parade4parade14