I Can See Clearly Now… Except When I Can’t

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So this happened a couple weeks ago.

I got glasses.

Do I look smarter?

My husband keeps saying things like, “You look so smart,” and “I would have believed you knew what you were talking about if you had your glasses on when you said it.” “Now you look as smart as you always think you are.”

He says I used to be a Candy Crush addict, but with my glasses, I’m now the Dr. of Candy Crush.

He loves to tell people, “Now she can see how bad she parks!”

Last night I asked him a question and he responded, “Why are you asking me? You’re the oracle!”

This morning as I was brushing my teeth he looked over at me and said, “You’re a wizard, Harry!”

I, of course, feel that I have now fully transitioned physically into the person I always felt I was on the inside.

For the majority of my life, I was a blonde-haired big-boobed  girl who was constantly trying to prove that I was a brain not a bimbo. Now I’m a brunette with glasses, and as Parker keeps pointing out, I “look like a nerd, from the nerd herd.”

I don’t have the inclination to try to figure out why people with glasses are considered to be smarter-looking, but it is what it is.

While in many ways I feel that my look represents me better, I have actually been having a bit of an identity crisis, truth be told. I had PERFECT vision. During those elementary school tests in the nurse’s office I was always told I had 20/20 vision.

When Sydney came home and said she couldn’t read the board at school or street signs as she drove, I was convinced she had diabetes because “We don’t have vision issues in this family.” (In my defense, she also ate like a horse, gained no weight and was always cold.)

Turns out, she was blind as a bat, and did NOT have diabetes.

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But still adorable in glasses

Here’s the funny thing about poor vision- until you can see clearly, you have no idea how bad it is. (Boy if that’s not a true statement literally AND metaphorically, I don’t know what is… )

A few weeks back, I was looking for a movie on Netflix. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to watch, it was late and I was tired, but not quite ready to go to sleep. I was sitting with my head propped up on my pillows and scrolling through the titles, but having a difficult time reading them. They were so small and across the room, I was having to squint to see them.

I moved closer to the TV to finish looking, but the next day I woke up with a terrible headache, and I was convinced it was from squinting so long the night before.

The day after my bad headache I went to breakfast at the local coffee shop with my friend Lisa. We like to order their specialty oatmeal (fresh fruit- no raisins), but as I looked at the menu board, I realized I could see there were two types of oatmeal, but couldn’t read the difference between the two.

Why did they make the writing so small??

A couple days after that I was in line at a large store (that everyone hates that shall remain nameless). I, of course, picked the slowest line with the cashier who appeared to be in a race for slowest cashier. She was winning. I glanced over at the optical department, looked at  the time, and realized I might be able to sneak in a vision check.

My thought was, I’m probably getting old, and now I need glasses. It was depressing, but I figured I might as well deal with it head on.

I filled out the paperwork and handed it back to the assistant. She asked about my insurance and if I had a previous prescription.

“Oh no. I think it’s just that I need reading glasses because I’m getting old. Although, my husband is convinced it’s all the time I spend on Facebook. I’ve always had perfect vision.”

The assistant laughed and assured me it was NOT Facebook-related.

When the doctor called me back, he sat me in the chair and I repeated my assertions of previous perfect vision that is degenerating because of my age.

He looked at my first eye and said, “Whoa!”

“Whoa?!?” My first thought- it’s a tumor.

“You have astigmatism.”

“What? What is that? What does that mean?”

“It means, good news- you’re not losing vision because you’re getting old.  It’s the shape of your corneas. They’re angled like this *insert awkwardly angled juxtaposed hands* and have been your whole life.”

“But… How can that be?!”

“You must have had some very generous DMV testers over the years.”

“I’ve never had vision problems. I mean, when I was younger some eye doctor said I had some weird depth perception issue that could be addressed with eye exercises, but other than that I have never had a problem.”

“Well, you have. You just didn’t realize it. When you’re younger, your eyes are more pliable and can compensate. The older you get, the more tired your eyes get, the less you are able to compensate. Didn’t you ever notice that the corners of your eyes are blurry? That you can’t read the bottom lines on the eye chart?”

“I always thought those were for people with extra good vision.”

Like who? Superman?

It’s true. I thought far away signs were blurry because they were… far away.

The day I picked up my glasses the girl who gave them to me warned me about breaking my eyes in, getting used to them.

As I drove home I decided while stopped at a stop sign to try them out, see how well I could see with them.

It was crazy.

I got home and said, “Everything looks 3-D.”

Jeff said, “Yes. The world is 3-D. It always has been. ”

What I found so amazing was that I could now see edge definition I had never realized was possible, causing trees to look separate from each other, instead of blending in. It reminded me of seeing a diorama.

However, it wasn’t like my vision was instantly great. I found myself high stepping everywhere I went because the ground looked way closer to me than it actually was. I fell off of a few curbs and stumbled around a bit because my depth perception was askew.

I’m sure there were people convinced I was showing up to school pick-up drunk.

I tried hitting a button on my car dash, only to discover the reason it wasn’t working was because I was about a centimeter off.

There are other things that people who don’t have glasses don’t realize about life WITH glasses.

#THESTRUGGLEISREAL Y’ALL

1. Sun

When it’s sunny, I wear sunglasses. I get headaches if it’s too bright. I wear sunglasses every day that it’s sunny, especially when I’m driving. Even when it’s not sunny, a lot of times there’s a glare. But when I’m driving is when I really need my glasses so that I can see street signs. Unless I buy an extra set of prescription sunglasses, I’ve got Sophie’s choice happening.

I don’t want to buy those clip-on shades to go over, I’ll feel like:

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There’s always transitions, but those always remind me of those poor kids who always had wonky yearbook photos because the flash darkened the glasses.

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Young George Clooney anyone?

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2.Rain.

I live in Seattle. We happened to have had the driest summer pretty much in the history of Seattle this year. Now it’s October and the rain has come. It’s not even so much the rain. When it rains, I use an umbrella. It’s the mist and the drizzle. I feel like someone needs to buy me a set of these:

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3. Smudges

The first day I had my glasses everything was clear as a bell. Now, much of my day looks like this:

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This is the same view I have when I drink my steaming coffee, open the oven, or breathe when it’s cold out.

I cannot seem to get these things clean. I bought wipes, spray, fancy silk cloths- everything is streaky, leaves spots, or lasts all of five minutes before I catch a glimpse of some smear in the corner.

4. Knowing when to take them off

I like to watch TV before I go to sleep. I actually like to fall asleep watching TV. If, however, I do fall asleep…

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Also- kissing. ‘Nuff said.

5. Once you go glass, you never go back.

I’m not sure if the glasses are affecting my vision, or if my vision really has been this bad and I’m only now realizing it, but when I take my glasses off, I can’t see. Everything is blurry. It used to be that I could read things close up just fine, it was just far away stuff,  but now I have to have my glasses on to read anything.

6. The comparisons.

Hipsters like to wear non-prescription glasses because they like the “serious look” of them. I have yet to figure out my “look.”

Initially, I received the “naughty librarian/nurse/teacher” references- even from Zoe ( “I know this is creepy because you’re my mom but you look like a sexy teacher” ) which has left me wondering how my 10 year old even knows about this concept.

One person said I look like Alex from “Orange is the New Black”

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I’ve never watched that show, so I don’t know if it’s a compliment or an insult, but she looks a little mean. And a little like she belongs in “50 Shades Of Grey.”

 

Someone said I looked like Wonder Woman’s alter-ego Diana Prince

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Which made me very happy. I wanted to BE Wonder Woman as a kid, so if I’m giving off a Wonder Woman/Diana Prince vibe I can totally live with that.

And then this conversation happened:

Nathan came in the kitchen, stared at me for a minute and then said, “You look like that Canadian lady from Alaska who tried to run for president. ”
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“Are you talking about Sarah Palin?”
“Yes. That’s it.”
“She’s not Canadian.”
“I said Alaska.”

Thus proving once and for all that glasses don’t always make a person look smart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying To Find The Words

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Photo courtesy Aimee Carr

I’m a writer. I’m a talker. It’s what I do.

But there are times when the words don’t come easily, and this is definitely one of those times.

For days my hands have hovered over the keyboard as I attempt to communicate my heart, but every spoken word, every written word feels inadequate.

On Friday around noon, My friend Paula went to Heaven to be with Jesus.

I know people like to use the phrase “went to Heaven” as a euphemism for death, but in this case, I have no doubt in my mind there is a Heaven, and Paula is there.

I met Paula shortly after we moved to Utah in early 1999. We began attending a tiny little church that had recently moved from the lead pastor’s basement into some office space.

Paula’s husband Shawn played guitar and sang on the worship team, a set-up that, between guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, speakers and mixing board, and three singers on mics, took up most of the room.

Oh and Shawn’s hair took up the rest.

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Shawn and Paula circa awesome hair band days

My first impression of Paula was that she was the perfect yin to Shawn’s stage-ready yang. He was the performer, she was his grounding.

We started attending a small group evening Bible study together along with the worship pastor and his wife, some of Shawn and Paula’s friends who had recently begun attending our church after leaving their previous faith, and some other couples from church.

When we would all get together, you could feel that something special was happening; the result being huge spiritual growth in all of us, and a bonding that took place.

Paula would listen more than she would talk, and then she would say something so profound that I would sit in awe of her. She had a quiet, gentle way of cutting through BS to the truth that was inspiring and sobering.

Paula was a Proverbs 31 woman- faithful, steadfast, giving, charitable, loving. She didn’t have an easy path, which made her cling to the promises of God all the more. And she was silly. She found humor and delight everywhere she went.

One of the things I loved and admired Paula for was her constant state of gratitude. Even before she got sick, I knew that here was a woman who took nothing for granted: not her marriage, not her children, not her friends, and definitely not her faith.

Last summer Paula was diagnosed with cancer. She was supposed to beat it. In fact, she did beat it. Just a little over a year after her diagnosis, she rang the bell signaling the end of that journey.

She found herself in a strange place emotionally a couple weeks later as she contemplated life going back to normal. She lamented the return to ordinary after her extraordinary year.

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What happens when someone is facing a diagnosis like cancer, is that often life becomes significantly more intentional. The opportunities to give and receive love are clearer, the desire to make the moments matter is stronger, the things that are insignificant are revealed for what they are in light of what truly counts in this life.

Just a couple of days after writing that blog, a mere three weeks after being declared cancer-free, Paula and her family learned that her cancer had returned with a vengeance.

My first indication that something was wrong was a post made by her newly-married daughter that was quickly deleted. My heart sunk.

In the spring, I seriously considered making a trip out to Utah to visit my friends, particularly Paula and Shawn. As her treatment came to an end, though, I breathed a sigh of relief and the urgency slipped away. It had been years since I had seen her, but now that she was going to be okay, waiting another year or two (or three) didn’t seem like such a big deal. After all, we kept up on Facebook, and that’s sort of the same thing, right?

And then came the word from Shawn:

The LORD is SOVEREIGN
He said NO…
PAULA ‘s Lymphoma is back, all throughout her lungs, and is terminal.
We have ‘weeks’
Thank you for your love and prayers. This last year was a gift, but now He is calling her home

 

And I fell to my knees sobbing.

My first thought was I need to get there, to be there. I irrationally and immediately booked a flight to Salt Lake.

But friends had gifted Paula and Shawn with a vacation to the Oregon coast and they were headed this way. I cancelled my flight and told them wherever I needed to go to see them, to hug them, I would go.

We made plans to meet up in Portland on their way to the coast. Paula may or may not have also procured cannabis oil from a hipster on a bicycle in a park, but I can neither confirm or deny that. (Bucket list- √)

We went to dinner and then back to Shawn’s sister’s house to hang out before I had to drive back home. We caught up on things the way we would have under any other circumstances.

We watched the country music awards and made jokes about what we were seeing.

We talked about old times, and about times I missed since moving away 10 years ago. Shawn plucked on the guitar as we talked and threatened to make me sing with him. Paula told me about how they nearly adopted children who had escaped polygamy, but in the end, another family from our church was a better fit.

Shawn would say something that annoyed her, and she’d say, “Shawn…” with a disapproving tone. I loved that they were still them.

And I loved that as he talked about his wife and their tough journey of the past year, his admiration and love was shining from his face. Whatever the year’s long battle had taken from them, it had failed to temper their beautiful relationship.

As the evening wore on, Paula became more tired. She crawled up on the couch next to her mom and laid her head on her shoulder. Her mom stroked her head as Paula lay there with her eyes closed. It was a beautiful heartbreaking sight, one I will never forget.

Soon she said it was time for her to go to bed. I hugged her and we said, “I love you my friend.” But we didn’t say goodbye. We said goodnight.

On Friday, while her family sang praises and prayers over her, Paula went to be with Jesus.

If I had it to do over again, knowing it was the last time I would see her, I don’t think I would change a thing.

“I love you my friend.” What else is there to say?

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Theoretical park where we might have possibly maybe obtained medicinal cannabis oil

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 Say a prayer if you could, for Shawn, Hollee, Heather, Andrew, Grace and Paula’s mom LuAnn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Think I’ve Just Unlocked The Secret To Success On Social Media

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Do you see that?

No, not the three adorable girls (Zoe and two of her friends). I’m talking about the numbers at the bottom of the photo.

689. 1075.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter, let me explain.

What appears to be a recycle sign is the number of times this photo tweet has been re-tweeted. The star represents the number of times it has been favorited. (Similar to “liking” something on Facebook.)

Last Wednesday night, instead of a  party for her 11th birthday in October, I took Zoe and two of her friends to the Washington State Fair for a concert featuring:

Coco Jones

http://video.disney.com/watch/coco-jones-holla-at-the-dj-4d0c46218ce6badccb6f952c

 

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MKTO

 And Cody Simpson


Once we got seated we noticed that on the big screen they were showing tweets from the audience with the hashtag #WAfairlive. They announced that one of those tweets would win upgraded seats to the second row.

About 20 minutes before the concert began I tweeted the above picture of the girls with the required hashtag, and tagged Cody Simpson in the tweet as well.

Not too long after, the picture came up on the big screen and the girls squealed at the decibel and frequency reserved solely for hyped up preteen girls.

“Do it again!” They said excitedly.

So I tweeted another picture, and once again it made it up on the big screen. Once again they shrieked and giggled.

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“Please upgrade our seats!”

But this time I noticed something. The original tweet was getting favorited and re-tweeted surprisingly fast. I wondered briefly if people at the concert were re-tweeting everything with the hashtag.

As the numbers began to tick up, I thought maybe it was like all of my fake spam subscribers; While I wish it were legitimate, there’s no way 2700 real people subscribe to my blog, and real people certainly don’t leave comments like “If you bring into play them, be specified not to get too hot them. Particular you build this tool in a poorly lit spot for your dog’s comfort.”

I figured my tweet had some trigger phrase that set all the spammer twitter accounts off.

Then I started realizing that most of the people re-tweeting had Twitter handles like “Mrs.CodySimpson2002” or “JustinBieberpleasefollowme.”

The Cody Simpson Fan Club had come across my tweet somehow and it was going nuts.

For perspective, my previous most successful tweet was a photo I took on my way down to the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship parade that bore a moderate resemblance (if you’re drunk and squinting) to the Seahawks logo.

49 re-tweets, 60 favorites. And a few mean spirited haters.

Other than that, my  re-tweet/favorite average is… zero. Most things I tweet go out into the social media netherworld, never to be spoken of again.

I spend a few hours a week writing my blog. Some weeks more, some less. But I usually put time, thought and effort into writing. After a year and a half of posting this blog on various social media outlets, I have 392 likes on my Facebook page with an average of 25 subscribers actually seeing my posts. Prior to the “Tweet heard round the tween world,” I had about 400 Twitter followers. Now I have 454. 54 in a week may not sound like a lot, until you consider that the 400 had been accumulated over the course of 5 years!

In addition, I am embarrassed to admit, my (self-named) job title for my husband’s company is Social Media Director. (I made myself a director because I felt like it and no one was going to challenge me. “Facebook Addict” didn’t seem quite professional enough for my business cards.) This is my job, and until last week, I couldn’t figure out how to get any traction.

When I got home after the concert, I discovered what had set off the frenzy. In my email inbox:

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and:

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Take a gander at the number at the bottom of the email. He re-tweeted that photo to his nearly 7 million followers.

Now I’m no dummy. When I see something’s working, even unintentionally, I’m going to pay attention and see if I can replicate it. I’m still trying to figure out how to make this social media thing work for me , and this experience has taught me a couple really valuable lessons. (If you are using number of minor twitter followers as a benchmark of value)

And now I shall pass my newfound wisdom on to you. You’re welcome.

Here, in no particular order, is a primer for what I have determined are the keys to Twitter success in 5 easy steps:

1. Scope out the celebrities that have millions of followers who are so obsessed with them that they are willing to re-tweet anything re-tweeted by the celebrity. Even if it’s in Chinese. Even if it’s as simple as “Hi.”

2. Look for stars who have yet to get too big for their proverbial britches (I say proverbial, because with the saggy pants that are popular these days, the only way they’ll get too big for their literal britches is if they up their daily caloric content by 2000%.) If they appreciate their fans, they are more likely to re-tweet anything complimentary or positive.

3. Tag at least one of these people in EVERY single tweet you make. Tweeting about the pot roast you had last night?

“That was some great pot roast I had last night. @Mileycyrus #MileyCyrusisbetterthanpotroast.”

4. Download the concert schedule of the acts most popular with the Disney set. Tweet with hashtags that give the impression you are actually attending the concert.

Example:

“Looking forward to seeing @_________________ in concert tonight at ______________. He/She is my favorite! #ILOVEYOU #PLEASEFOLLOWME”

Of course, it must be in 140 characters or less. I’m too lazy to count it out.

5. Sit back and wait for the tweeny-bopper followers to come flooding in.

Of course, once you have thousands of 6th graders following you, you’ll have to adjust all of your tweets going forward. No more mention of global events or political intrigue. No using words like “inflation” “amalgam” or “pandemic.”

I would also recommend using a peace sign and a duck face in every photo you tweet out.

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May this information be as helpful to you, as it has been for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

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Do you hear that? No?

That’s because there’s no sound. Not a peep. Not a whine. Not a fuss.

Everyone has gone back to school and I hear nothing but the sound of my fingers on the keyboard.

It’s blissful.

Yesterday after all the kids were safely in their classes, a group of moms met at someone’s house to have brunch, pineapple mimosas and vodka lemonade. “Brunch” went from 930am until after noon.

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I laughed until I nearly cried as one mom told of how she had realized the night before that her son, who attends private school, had missed the first day of school when she received an email talking about how nice it was to see all the smiling faces back in the classroom. She didn’t tell him when she took him on the second day that he had missed the first day, and pantomimed to his teacher “He thinks today is the first day of school.”

Today I met another 3 moms for a fun, leisurely lunch. Life is good.

It’s been a bit since I last wrote, but I know you’ll forgive me once you hear of the craziness of the past few weeks.

First, a quick update.

walletgate

For those of you who have been following along, my husband lost his wallet following a late-night trip to the Dairy Queen on July 26. After his initial attempts to locate it came up empty, he eventually ordered a new ID and credit cards. Over the past 6 weeks he has occasionally asked, “Find my wallet yet?” as if I might have come across it and failed to mention it to him.

Last night, while he was out on a motorcycle ride around the block, I went into the garage to get down the hotdog buns from the top of the refrigerator for dinner. As I pulled the bag towards me, a small brown item appeared at the edge. I reached my hand up and grabbed it. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

As I held the wallet in my hand (and was disappointed to discover there was no cash inside) I began to formulate all the ways I could reveal this discovery to him.

I walked back into the house and held it out to show Zoe. I went into the living room where Parker and Nathan were inexplicably rolling around on the floor and silently held it up.

I said, “No one tells him I found this. You’ve got to give me a chance to mess with him first.”

I heard the rumble of the bike as he drove it up the driveway and into the garage. I was giddy with excitement and anticipation, and, knowing my terrible poker face, wondered how long I could keep a straight expression.

He walked into the kitchen and before I could say a word, Parker runs in and yells, “I know where your wallet is!”

My eyes got wide and I said, “Parker!”

Did that stop him? Nope.

“I found your wallet!” He said excitedly.

“Where?” Jeff asked casually. (Casually!)

“Parker! What are you doing?!”

“I found it on top of the fridge.”

I stood there, knife in hand (I was chopping fruit), mouth agape.

“I can’t believe you just did that.”

He giggled and ran out of the room.

Jeff walked over and I handed him the wallet.

“There’s no cash in it.”

“There wasn’t.”

“Sure.”

“I can’t believe he just ruined that. What a twerp. I was going to mess with you. Why do you seem so blasé about me finding this after all this time?”

“Eh. I always lose stuff, so I’m always finding stuff. It’s not that uncommon for me to find things months later.”

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Also, to update his sleeping issues, they have determined that he does have a slight case of sleep apnea which they feel is best treated by him using what he refuses to stop  calling a “C-pap smear” in spite of my repeated corrections.

 

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Summer ended with a trip for Zoe and Parker with two of their cousins and their Grandma Toni to Yellowstone. We haven’t been since we lived in Utah about 12 years ago, and Zoe and Parker have never been.

They left early on a Monday morning and I didn’t hear from them until around 8 that evening. My mother-in-law texted me, “Made it safe and sound. Got a warning about bears and don’t leave food out at night when we checked in. Then Zoe said THERE’S A BEAR! and now Parker is terrified. All is well.”

My response:

“Oh Zoe!! Poor guy. Spray water on him and tell him it’s bear repellant.”

I didn’t hear from them again until Friday, when I received a few photos in my email. I know a lot of parents might worry that, for example, their child might have actually been eaten by a bear, but when my kids are with their grandma I know she’s likely taking better care of them than I do.

I opened the picture attachment in the email and could see it was a photo of all of them riding horses. I zoomed in to the photo and began scanning from right to left. When I got to Parker on the far left side of the photo, I nearly choked on my own spit.

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If you zoom in on the picture, you can see that he has a bandana covering the majority of his face. I was unsure if he was going for the outlaw look or ninja. My money is on the very likely possibility that he was envisioning himself on a “WANTED” poster.

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After they got home from their trip they regaled us with stories of animals and thunderstorms, their trip to Silverwood and river rafting.

This morning I opened the envelope of rafting photos and was thoroughly entertained.

Here’s a fun little game- “Where’s Parker?” Sort of like “Where’s Waldo?” only Waldo always has the same bland expression on his face, while Parker does not.

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In this photo, Parker is peeking out from behind his cousin. image

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This expression in particular is one of my favorites

Then suddenly…

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Whoa. Check out the rafting guide. How did I not notice HIM earlier in the series of pictures?!

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I had envisioned the time the younger two were out of town in grand fashion; Lunch dates, masses, facials, mani-pedis, date night out. Oh, and writing a blog or two.

Unfortunately that plan got derailed by the carnival coming into town.

Technically, it wasn’t just the carnival coming into town, but the opening of the State Fair.

My husband owns a marketing company, and one of the things we do is provide registration kiosks for large local events. We not only provide the equipment, we set up, tear down and staff the event from start to finish.

I knew he was super stressed about the fair opening because, as with any and all events, particularly those with any ties to governmental regulations and bureaucracy, things don’t always go quite as planned, nor do they go at the expected and desired pace. We were down to the wire for opening day and a lot of things still needed to happen.

One of the things I admire about my husband is his ability to handle stress, and usually by the time I notice he’s under any, it’s at the levels that would make an average person buckle.

I sensed he was getting to that point, and I knew I had two choices: go about my week as if he weren’t under extreme duress or give up my pampered child-free time for the greater good of our business and my husband’s sanity. I chose the latter. It’s difficult to enjoy that stuff knowing you could be helping out your spouse.

I spent quite a bit of time helping with the setup before the event. The morning the fair was to open, we were up at 6am because the head honcho  had informed us the carnival was unhappy with the location of our front gate kiosks, and we had to move everything- canopy, tables,10 touchscreen computers, wires, cables- about 15 feet closer to the entrance.

After moving the registration booth, employees began to show up, many of whom had never worked for us before and had been brought in just to work this event. Jeff had said, “We’ll only stay for an hour or so, and then we will go.”

We didn’t get out of there until after 5pm.

We bought 2 dozen raspberry scones for the morning shift. We walked the entire length of the fair, moving from one gate to our booth to the back gate multiple times.

At about 1 we decided to take a break and eat some of the fair food that had been tempting us every time we passed by. I went for the Walla Walla onion burger and Jeff chose the BBQ beef sandwich. Halfway through we both looked at each other with regret.

That regret was not enough to prevent me from leaving that evening with an elephant ear. (From previous blogs you know I have a fondness for those.)

The good news is that I got all of the desire to eat fair food out of my system by the second day, when 10 minutes after the opening bell I consumed a peach cobbler from the scone stand and immediately spilled peach syrup and whipped cream down the front of my shirt.

The fair is by far the best place in the world to people watch. At one point I passed by a woman in a full dashiki and a moment later a man in head-to-toe studded motorcycle leathers.  I saw odd couples, the American obesity epidemic in full display, cowgirls, women in leopard dresses and heels, and rednecks in full camouflage (I was able to spot them because the fabric wasn’t made of overpriced unwinnable carnie games or giant Rasta bananas)

Speaking of giant Rasta bananas, I was able to navigate Parker through the fair this year without leaving with a replacement for the one he won last year that “mysteriously” disappeared.

We did, however, come home with yet another carnival goldfish, because, apparently, I have a sadistic streak.

( See http://kbjackson.com/the-carnival-goldfish-has-a-case-of-the-dropsies/)

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Part of my back-to-school ritual is to try and get my house organized following a summer of chaos.

I started cleaning out my refrigerator and, after wiping down all the surfaces, cleaning out the produce drawers (gross) and reorganizing what wasn’t expired, I made a discovery.

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I have an unreasonable amount of horseradish.

I have no idea why I have 3 jars of horseradish.

The only thing I ever consume with horseradish is prime rib, which I typically serve no more than 2-3 times a year.

It reminded me of the time I unpacked my canned foods following our move to Southern California when I came across a can of bean with bacon soup. I had no idea why I would have bean with bacon soup, seeing as how I couldn’t remember ever buying bean with bacon soup, much less eating it.

It was at that moment that I spotted the expiration date…

1994.

I wish I was joking.

That can of soup had survived 6 moves in 11 years.

It was the same age as my eldest daughter.

It almost seemed a travesty to throw it away, seeing as how it had been with us for longer than most people’s family pets. Almost.

So summer is gone; it feels like it passed quickly. Backpacks were filled and hanging by the front door Tuesday night, similar to stockings by the fire on Christmas Eve. The first day of school often feels like Christmas morning to  parents.

I found myself waking up yesterday morning with a desire to tell from the rooftops, “we made it!”

 

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I’m sure you can sense how cooperative Parker was in these photos.

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Nathan’s first day of school photo this year is very similar to his first day of school photo as last year. 645 is really early.