Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘basketball’

Emily and How to Love Middle School

I am way ahead of the sun this morning.  I woke up even earlier than usual.  My heart is full.  I have to write.  Not writing this morning would be like waking up with a terrible thirst, and not taking a drink.  Unnatural.

Yesterday was Olivia’s 8th grade promotion.  I had a pretty decent headache yesterday evening.  I think my head hurt,  because my heart couldn’t hold all my feelings.  Some of my feelings landed in my head.  Yesterday was a great day.  A wonderful day.  A tearful day.

I didn’t shed tears because Olivia is going to high school.  I shed tears because of Olivia’s friend, Emily.  Emily and Olivia have been very good friends since 4th grade.  Emily is funny.  She has a quiet voice. When you listen closely, you hear Emily’s witty remarks. Emily loves her dogs. She loves her family, and Emily REALLY loves sports.  I’ve tried talking to Emily during a football game. That’s a one way deal. Emily didn’t hear me. She was completely engrossed in the game. Emily is a loyal friend.   Emily has Noonan Syndrome.

Emily is in 8th grade.  Over the years, Emily has had many serious surgeries.  Last year, Emily had heart surgery.  This year, Emily was experiencing almost constant pain.  The Doctors told Emily that they could help eliminate some of her pain by fusing two parts of her spine.  That’s what they did.

Emily’s surgery was the day before 8th grade promotion.  Olivia and I were feeling some grief about Emily missing this milestone.  I do not know what it’s like to have a daughter with Noonan Syndrome. I can’t.  I do know how it feels to be a parent watching your child’s friends enjoy life, passing through joyous milestones, and feeling like your child is forgotten and left behind.

Eddie spent about 80 percent of his elementary and middle school years at home.  While his friends were on field trips and playing baseball, Eddie was probably at another doctor’s appointment, or curled in the fetal position, waiting for a break from his pain.  I’m not feeling sad about this now.  We have had so much sympathy from kind people over the years.  Really.  More sympathy than anyone deserves.  I know you’re a big softy, but please don’t be tempted to feel sorry for us now.  Eddie is feeling GREAT.

I’m just recalling this memory,  because our experiences have made our family unable to NOT share the grief of another family walking through something similar.  Our own story is why every time I felt love and happiness for all the sweet 8th grade kids promoting to 9th grade yesterday, I simultaneously fought back tears for Emily.  While all those precious soon-to-be-ninth graders were celebrating their success, Emily was attempting to raise her head 60 percent, and  successfully dangle her feet off the side of the hospital bed. Accomplishing this was going to be Emily’s reason to celebrate.

Emily’s Mom, Traci, Olivia and I wanted Emily to participate in 8th grade promotion.  We came up with a good idea:

emily grad 4

Traci told us Emily wasn’t up to watching the video yet, but Traci said watching it brought joy to Traci’s heart.  Oh man, now I’m being a big baby, and crying again. I’m feeling grateful God gave me exactly what I asked him for this time.

After graduation, I was taking Olivia and some of her friends somewhere.  The girls were laughing and being funny.  I liked listening to them talk.  Some of the girls said they cried when they hugged their teachers goodbye.  They were sad to say goodbye to these teacher-friends, and to all their happy memories. I was feeling soft and gushy about Emily, and now this.  My heart was overwhelmed with gratitude.  My daughter actually loved middle school.  I know middle school can go so wrong, and that’s why I’m humbled with the emotion of it all.

When my kids were in grade school, I heard some terrifying stories about middle school.  Those stories had me seriously contemplate home school.  I remember one woman telling me about her middle school aged granddaughter who was cornered in the hallway by some girls. The girls smeared katsup all over this woman’s granddaughter, because the girls were mad at her.  This woman also told me that another mean bully took a scissors, and cut a chunk of her granddaughter’s hair.  See?  I wasn’t lying.  These stories are actually nightmares happening in real life.

Our boys got to middle school, and things were fine for them.   I would usually drop the boys off first in the morning,  and then take Olivia to the elementary school.  I remember Olivia taking a look at the “big” middle schoolers milling around the front door in the morning, and she said, “I don’t EVER want to be in middle school.  Those kids look scary.”

I worried for Olivia.

Eventually, there was no changing it.  It was Olivia’s turn for middle school.  The whole thing just went down great.  Really, I’m overcome with it.  I was trying to break it all down in my mind.  I want to know what made the middle school experience such a happy one for Olivia.  If I could do that, then maybe I could share that information with some other young ones approaching the middle school gauntlet; they also might survive with great memories and no scars.  I want that for everyone.

I’ll try.

Here is an incomplete list of how to love middle school, based on the opinions of a mom blogger. Take these tips for what they’re worth:

1. Shun popularity.  When Olivia was in grade school, I remember talking with a mom of one of Olivia’s friends.  The Mom innocently talked about the “popular girls” in Olivia’s class.  I so rarely find a reason to disagree with anyone.  So rarely, that I remember the times it has happened.  I (hope) kindly told this mom that I didn’t think using the word “popular” with kids was super healthy.   I told her that I thought even one moment invested in evaluating who was popular and who wasn’t, was one moment too many.

Lucky for me, Olivia feared “popularity”.  What she saw of it on Disney and in her own world looked exhausting to her.  She wasn’t at all interested in managing it.

2. Participate.  Try everything that interests you. Olivia tried, band, choir, student council, track, cross country, basketball, volleyball, dance and piano.  She would have liked to try more, but a girls gotta sleep.

3. Embrace Disappointment.   This is the thing.  This is the thing that makes me want to hug my daughter tightly, and tell her how much I like her.  Olivia ran to be an officer for Student Council. She didn’t make it.  Olivia didn’t make the “A” team in volleyball or basketball in 6th grade, 7th grade or 8th grade.  Olivia tried out for every solo in every choir concert, for 3 years.  She never got one.  Olivia made it as an “alternate” for one concert.  She memorized the song, and practiced it many times.  Just in case.

Olivia made it into the talent show in 6th and 8th grade, but she  didn’t make it in 7th grade. That year, her teacher told her she could be a narrator for the talent show instead.  Olivia said yes to that.  Olivia spent many hours learning her narrator part. We thought she rocked it.

Olivia never won a race in track.  Olivia stayed organized, studied and did her homework. Olivia never got straight “A’s”.

I think Olivia is a talented and smart young girl.  I think perseverance and optimism are two of her finest attributes.  A few middle school kids are going to excel at almost everything they try.  Those kind of kids amaze me.  Most of us aren’t like that.

Middle school kids should walk into middle school understanding that it is the trying that is the point.  It is the trying that makes us stronger, smarter, more resilient and better for the next time.  Not being the best should NEVER be a reason to not try again.I don’t ever remember telling Olivia this before middle school. Some how she learned it on her own. Then she taught me.

4. Be a good friend.  Friendship is key.  Really.  Not just in middle school.  The best way to attract high quality friends, is to be a high quality friend.  High quality friends are good listeners.  They root for you, and build you up. High quality friends admit when they’re wrong.  They aren’t afraid to apologize, and they’re quick to forgive.   High quality friends make you feel comfortable and accepted.  Olivia had high quality friends.

5. Like who you are.  You are precious. Be excited about who you are and what interests you.  You’re not an accident. You’re here for a purpose, and to make a difference. Finding your purpose can be your own fun adventure.

6. Faith helps.  Olivia went to youth group, and attended many fun youth group activies.  At youth group Olivia connected with other kids and adults who were excited about their faith.  These faith-filled people built into Olivia’s life, and encouraged her to embrace her own relationship with Faith. Olivia chose to believe God loves her, and He cares about what’s happening in her day.  Faith helps middle schoolers.

I have more tips in me, but I’ve already kept you too long.  Plus, my attention span is shorter than a middle schooler’s.  I stopped listening to myself  after the video.

I don’t know if these tips will help.  I know sometimes the best laid plans can’t overcome a down trodden school system, mean spirited bullies or addiction.  But we can keep trying, right?  Because sometimes trying IS the point.


My Montage and Onion Bag Basketball

I wish someone would make a montage of my life.  Let’s get real with each other.  Who WOULDN’T want to do that for me?  I can only think of like maybe one person. Tops.

I’d like to look at video clips of all the good parts of my life set to sentimental music. You know, like they do in movies?  I asked for a label maker for my birthday.  Maybe next year I’ll ask for a montage.

Things are happening right now that I want to stop and think about.  I want to take a moment and just say, “Wow.  I totally love this.”  But, people don’t really get to do that, do they?  People just have to keep going and keep making new things happen, making it hard to remember the old stuff that happened. I don’t want to forget the old stuff.

The wrestling season is in full swing.  I love it.  I love it so much.  In previous years, the wrestling season has been bittersweet. Super fun to watch my sons do what they like doing, but super hard to watch Eddie struggle through at half-strength.  We aren’t doing that this year.  I know I told you this before, but Eddie is doing great.

Scott told me this week that he forgot what it’s like to be in the middle of the wrestling season without that clenching grip around his heart.  I told Scott that was a pretty good way to describe how sadness feels.

I know just what Scott means.  I hope I’m clear when I say I know there is no end to trouble in this life. Troubles are unavoidable, and, really, troubles should be embraced.  Blah, blah, blah.  I know it. Whoever said that can just beat it.

I also know my family is not done with trouble.  I guess that might be why I want to just slow things down and make sure I’m acknowledging and appreciating every single moment of this reprieve.

I had a great talk with Eddie recently about how it feels to be hopeless.  He said he really understands how a guy could feel hopeless.  And then he said he thinks giving up hope is one of the WORST things we can do.  You know what people without hope do?  Nothing.  They don’t do anything to help themselves, because they just don’t see the point.  People who don’t do anything to help themselves, won’t improve their situation.  People who’s situation never improves, feel hopeless.  It’s easy to see what a vicious and useless cycle trouble can become.

If you are experiencing trouble, I want you to know there is ALWAYS hope!!!  Please do NOT stop hoping!

eddie with hope

One fantastic part of this wrestling season is getting to hang out with our wrestling friends.  Those are some ridiculously cool people. We also get to see family members who come to watch our boys.  I was so happy Scott parents came to the meet the other night.  I’ve said this before, but those two in-laws of mine…I don’t know.  You just have to meet them to know what I mean.  They’re just lovable.


Scott and his siblings are all funny and humble.   Really.  Four out of four.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  Scott’s Mom, Gail, tells the BEST stories.  I’ve heard many of these stories over and over, I know many of these stories by heart.  For some reason, I never get sick of hearing Gail tell a story.

Wait a minute.  Did I just have a moment of self revelation via my blog?  I’m a story teller too.  I also tell the same stories over and over.  Did Scott marry his Mother?  I’m sorry.  I’m going to have to digest that privately.

When Gail and Marc were raising their offspring, money was tight.  Marc and Gail were honest, blue collar, hard-working, no-nonsense parents.  Thanks to them, I’m skeptical that it’s possible to raise hard-nosed, unspoiled, athletic kids without their magic formula.  I wonder if my own kids have a slight disadvantage in life, just because Scott and I live a bit more comfortably than both our parents did.  That might sound a little crazy, but still, sometimes I wonder.

One of my favorite stories from Scott’s childhood is about Scott’s gym bag.  When he was younger, Scott remembers standing in line for gym class.  He went to a private Catholic school.  Most of his classmates could afford private school, so they were not without means.  Scott can recall that all the other kids in line had their gym clothes inside their sporty duffel bags.  Scott had his gym clothes in a bag too.  A bread bag. His Mom told him that the bread bag would work perfectly to carry his gym clothes.  It’s not like the bread bag was from some cheap, generic bread.  It was a “Wonder” bread bag, which is basically like designer bread. I don’t know what Scott was complaining about.

Scott has lots of stories like that, and they’re all my favorite.

Last week Marc and Gail (Scott’s parents) came for a short visit after the boys’ meet.  We’ve made some nice upgrades to our house since the Smith’s last visit. The thing that impressed Gail the most was the basketball hoop in our kitchen.  She couldn’t get over how nice it looked, and wanted to know where it came from.  I told her we bought it in the toy aisle, and that the kids fixed it up with duct tape. That hoop is always hanging in the kitchen.  I don’t even see it any more.


Then, Gail told me that when her kids were young they had a hoop up all the time too.  She said her kids’ hoop was an old onion bag.  She told us that she would get sick of the onion bag always hanging there, and take it down.  But, before she knew it, the kids would replace it with a new onion bag.  Seems like a waste of some perfectly good onion bags to me.

See what I mean?  How could Scott and his siblings possibly be so awesome, if they would have owned fancy duffel bags and real basketball hoops when they were little?  What would there be to laugh about now, if they had?

Thanksgiving Rehash and Scott’s Singing Career

How was your Thanksgiving? We enjoyed ours.  I can’t really remember what we did, but I definitely remember there was something fun about it.

Thanksgiving is a lot about food.  I remember when I was a stay-at-home mom.  I was so much better at food then.  I had actual recipes with fairly long lists of ingredients I liked to make.  I remember a pumpkin torte that involved multiple layers.  I also made this fruit salad that Scott liked.  The fruit was covered in a homemade custard sauce that involved tempering egg yolks.   I tempered eggs?  I did. Or, maybe that was just a dream.

This year, I worked late the night before Thanksgiving.  Scott came through for me, and bought a cheese tray, hard salami and a veggie platter for his side of the family’s celebration.  I did manage to make some cookies Thanksgiving morning, but that’s it.  That’s all I got.

For my side of the family, I brought nothing.  You’re welcome guys.  Hope you liked it.

Olivia had her heart set on Black Friday shopping this year.  My mom and two sisters and niece and I all decided we’d spend a few hours joining the fun on Friday morning.  And, it definitely was fun.  Especially, if you think fun is like jumping off the high dive into a pool of sharp knives.  It was definitely THAT kind of fun.

I don’t know why people do it.

I felt so overwhelmed.  I just kept giving myself small goals.  Like,  looking for the closest open chair.  One time I just sat right down on the carpeting while Olivia sorted through a giant trash heap of items on sale.  Another time, I sat on a pile of jeans.

My mom wandered off on her own. She told us she got side tracked picking up after a tornado that must have gone through the Boston Store’s shoe department.  She couldn’t help herself.  It looked like those workers needed some disaster relief volunteers.   My mom also found an empty beer bottle in one of the dressing rooms, among all the other wrappers, discarded clothing and empty soda cups.  Black Friday is just a classy thing.

Olivia found a couple of good deals during our shopping trip, and she probably could have shopped all day, but she knew the rest of us were getting weak.  We lasted until lunch.

black friday

Eddie, Zeke and their cousin, Caleb, went out for Black Friday shopping on Thursday night.  Caleb asked my boys to do this with him. Caleb thought it might be fun.  I told Caleb his cousins are really bad shoppers, and I couldn’t really remember Eddie ever shopping on purpose before.  Caleb had confidence they would have fun. So, I believed him.  I gave my boys money, and I told them to pick up some Christmas presents.

They didn’t.

Their first stop was McDonald’s.  Eddie asked the McDonald’s employee if they had any Black Friday specials on chicken.  The guy said he was sorry, but everything was just regularly priced.  He did offer Eddie this special grocery bag.  So, that’s really nice.

blackfriday bag

Here’s a Black Friday Special…Sorry, Eddie got to it first.

Friday night, the cousins played “Pit”.  Do you remember that game?  We used to love playing it when I was a teenager, now my kids do too. “3,3,3”, “2,2,2”!!!


Saturday, Zeke and Eddie and the other wrestlers on their team, scrimmaged some other wrestling teams.  Some of us parents went and watched, because we’re sick like that.  Zeke, Eddie and Scott are all on the same team now. This has never happened before. I’m excited to watch these boys I love do what they love this winter.

After the scrimmage, we went to see a dog at the humane society. This dog was a precious little thing that someone posted a picture of on my Facebook timeline.  We loved this dog right away.  We’ve never been to the humane society.  Olivia, Zeke and I were super excited to go, because we just love dogs about more than anything else I can think of.  But, guess what?  The humane society isn’t a happy place.  We couldn’t get the dog we saw, because Reggie needs to be neutered.  I know. I know.  You’re going to tell me we should have done that already.  Let’s talk about that later.

Right now, I want to tell you that if you think going to the humane society sounds like a neat thing to do some time, you need to know it isn’t.  I’m not sure why I didn’t know that.  The humane society, by definition, is a place for dogs without homes.  Each dog is contained in a little pen, and they bark and bark and bark.  Olivia and I made the mistake of going back and seeing these dogs.  We couldn’t talk for an hour after we saw these dogs.  We were both so sad.

Olivia’s channeling her sadness by making plans for a her future.  She’s going to start her own shelter where the dogs have much more comfortable accommodations.  She said she is going to also provide care and activities for kids with special needs to interact with these dogs.  She seems really passionate and certain.  I asked her if I could come work for her, and she said she was already planning on it.  Maybe that trip to the humane society wasn’t wasted after all.

Saturday night, the boys were gone, and Scott built a fire for Olivia and me.  Do you know how lazy I am in the evenings?  Really, really lazy.  I have a lot of friends who get very productive in the late evenings.  I don’t.

We sat by the fire and watched, “Nebraska”.  Have you seen that movie?  The whole thing is in black and white.  I thought it would annoy me, but it didn’t.  We really liked this movie.  Even Scott said it was very good.  I don’t remember the last time Scott gave a movie a favorable review.  The main character in “Nebraska” was a nice guy, and he did nice things without expecting anything nice in return.  What’s not to like about that?  It was really nice.

I was thinking that after the movie I should probably try to be productive, but then I decided I’d better lay on the couch some more.  I read my book, and I watched Olivia and Scott perform.  They were dancing to, and singing “Fancy”, by Ziggy Azalea.  They wouldn’t stop, even when I asked them to, and that’s why I think they deserve to have me post part of their performance. I wish you could have seen the whole thing.

I know you’re going to tell me you didn’t know Scott was such a good singer.  Well, he is. He’s thought about pursuing a singing career.  It’s just that we kind of need his insurance.

Sunday we went to church, watched Olivia play basketball, and Zeke and Olivia decorated the tree.  Eddie and Scott are the world’s worst at celebrating holidays.  I don’t know how to make them care, because the really just don’t.  I’m not sure if that’s something they can take medicine for, or if they just are going to live the rest of their lives like that, but they seem happy enough.


So, I guess that’s that.  You know Christmas is coming at us like a freakin’ freight train.   I think someone should embroider THAT saying on a holiday pillow.  I’d totally buy one of those.

Vacation in Galena and a History Lesson

I can’t remember if I told you how much I love Scott’s family.  Did I do that?  I meant to.  Scott has jolly parents, two brothers and a sister.  Scott is the oldest child.

In the family I grew up in, we are all huggy, and I love you and let’s talk this thing out.  Scott’s family is not like that.  Scott’s family is all let’s show up for each other, like all the same things,  and  have a great laugh.  Both kinds of families make me happy.

We just had our 16th annual Smith Family Summer Vacation.  Wow. What a wild party.  And by wild I mean most of the guests were 7 and under.

Scott's family

We went to Galena, IL.  Galena is a beautiful place.  Rolling farmland and a quaint and historic downtown area.  Scott and I went to Galena for a romantic getaway when Eddie was a baby, 16 years ago.  That was the first time we left Eddie over night.

Galena 2

Scott’s parents watched Eddie.  I remember that leaving our baby over night was very, very hard for me.  I was nervous and scared.

As we were driving away from Scott’s parent’s house, Scott reminded me that he was pretty sure his parents knew how to take care of a baby.  They’d done so successfully four times.  I wasn’t easily convinced.  I mean, let’s be honest.  Scott has issues.

Scott’s parents still have the double-sided, single spaced, hour by hour instructions I typed up for them before we left their house on that first trip to Galena.   For some reason, that  precious piece of memorabilia is still alive today. Maybe to  keep me humble.

At this very moment that piece of paper is lying  between the pages of my in-law’s 10 pound Catholic Bible.  The Bible sits on a special chair in my in-law’s formal dining room. I’m not exactly sure how my instructions ended up there, or how they survived all these years, but they have.

Maybe Scott’s parents  shut the door behind my young mom self and thought to themselves, “We got this, little lady. We respect your wishes.  To show you just how much, we’re going to place this lengthy list of instructions in the Bible.  Just don’t expect us to follow all of them. Or, read them.”

Who knows for sure?

When Scott and I went to Galena as young parents, we took a tour of the home of Ulysses S. Grant.  Grant used to live in Galena with his family. Just a little history lesson for you.  I’m surprised you didn’t know that.  I’m a bit of a history buff.  So,  that’s not really fair to you.

You and I are friends, so I can tell you the truth. I’m not actually very smart.  Maybe you have suspected that about me.  You are right.  You would totally slay me in a game of trivial pursuit.

I might not be that smart, but I sort of  do like going to museums. I am mildly interested in history and what not.  I just think I would appreciate a condensed version of most museums better than the full version.

When I visit museums, I don’t   hold on to what I have learned much beyond the time it takes me to walk to the car.  So that kind of stinks. I want my kids to be better.

Scott and I had pleasant memories of our Grant Home Tour.  We wanted to do it again with the kids. Our family was the first of the Smith clan to arrive in Galena,   we decided to take the kids to see Grant’s home..

I wish I could tell you that our kids were like, “Wow.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  You’re so cool the way you always give us opportunities for cultural enrichment!”  I wish I could say that.

Our kids actually asked us if we were kidding.  They totally didn’t believe us when we told them we were going on a historical tour.

Our kids are used to us playing basketball, ping pong and bad mitten with them.  Museums, theater and opera have been off our radar.  And, I think we all know we can blame Scott for that.  Mostly, because he doesn’t read my blog, and can’t defend himself.

Our kids’  upbringing has been kind of lopsided; more physical and  less cerebral.   But, don’t you think I should at least get a few points for using the word cerebral?

I assured the kids that learning something new would be fun.  I said, I remembered enjoying the tour when their Dad and I visited the first time.  I didn’t tell the kids that I actually couldn’t remember one single thing I was told on the first tour.  (Really, what IS the point?  We should just play bad mitten.)

Scott made me stuff this in my purse before we went into the home for our tour.  You know, just in case.

Grant 4

If there’s one thing the State of Illinois Historical Society encourages, it’s throwing a football through their 160-year-old, priceless, perfectly preserved museum.  They’d be silly not to, really.

I asked my family to show some class.  Stand by this picture of Ulysses and Julia Grant, and act like you appreciate their hospitality!

Grant 2

I’m sorry for my family, Ulysses and Julia.


You can see the disgust written all over Ulysses and Julia’s faces.  It’s this generation, Mr. and Mrs. Grant.  You just can’t do anything with them.

On this visit, I promised myself I’d remember some stuff:

1. Ulysses and Julia held hands, and were affectionate in public.  This was uncommon for that time period.

2. Julia’s feet were size four.

3. Women in that time had to wear black for two years after their husband died.  The black clothes would often dye the women’s skin black.  Meanwhile, men only had to wear a black band around their arm.  The main reason for that is because men back then were stupid.   It’s true.  Look it up.

That’s all I got.

I know there was something else in there about presidents and wars and blah, blah, blah.  I just remember the interesting stuff.

How I Like to Party

It occurred to me that I could write up a decent list of things I have learned about raising a chronically ill child. On the list would be this, “Don’t feel guilty that you don’t have a social life. Don’t feel guilty that you don’t want one.”

When your sick child is home, missing out on fun and not being a part of typical rights of passage, the thought of leaving him so you can hang out with other adults for the purpose of having a good time is appalling. Over the years I may have dabbled in some guilt over not having an impressive social life. Like when I go outside at night and realize I have forgotten what stars look like; I’m rarely out past dark. I don’t feel guilty for long. When I break it down in my head, I realize 100 times out of 100, most moms and dads will choose their suffering child over fun.

Let’s examine the silver lining here. If my life had taken a different path, it’s likely I would have put my husband through all sorts of social anxiety inducing parties and get togethers he would not have chosen on his own. We both like people a lot. I just happen to enjoy them in much larger doses. Instead, we live pretty quietly. Turns out I like this too.

Just a few times a year though I get a little antsy for something fun. Coincidentally, that urge usually hits me around my birthday. Two years ago, when I turned 40, I emailed Scott an invitation to send to some of our friends. It was an invitation to my Birthday Party. I thought it may be more socially acceptable to make it look like the invite came from him. You know, so maybe someone would think he planned the party.

It didn’t work. Our friends know Scott a little too well. I did have fun dramatizing my surprised and bewildered response to all the fuss everyone put in to the party I planned for myself. I still can’t believe they went to all that trouble. I just don’t know what got into them.

I got another goofy idea in my head this year for my 42nd Birthday. When I first conceived the idea to have fun, I knew I just wanted to laugh and be silly. The most fun thing I could think of was having a big dance party. Dancing to “Can’t Touch This” with my husband and friends sounds SO AWESOME!!!! I don’t want to brag, but I have mastered some pretty classic 80’s dance moves. It’s a shame I don’t have more opportunities to bust these out. And frankly, a real loss for those who don’t get to see them.

Can you believe that not very many people in their 40’s think that a dance party sounds fun? What’s wrong with them? I Googled, “40 something-year-old dance clubs”. I got nothing. I know. It’s crazy. That’s a million dollar idea right there. If you run with it, I expect to get a cut.

So, scratch the dance party. What else is fun? Scott and I have never claimed to be very sophisticated. I remember going on a trip with Scott to the Caribbean. It was a trip I earned. We were with hundreds of other couples who were with the same company. That’s the week that something became clear to me. After a week of hanging out with sophisticated couples who were sipping fancy umbrella drinks, lounging for hours by the pool and attending black tie only cocktail hours, I told Scott, “Can we just be honest about something? I think we both know that we’re just pretending to be adults.”

We spent our week in the Caribbean figuring out how to make the best use of the free continental breakfast (you can actually get two meals out of that deal), playing ping pong, tennis and racing each other in the pool. It was a slice of heaven.

I knew for my party, sitting around drinking cocktails could not be the main event. So I picked something almost as glamorous, mini golf. It was a competition. Because if it wasn’t, can you tell me what would be the point? We split up into teams. We played mini golf, shot hoops and played trivia at dinner for the final round. Scott and I were a team. We didn’t win, and that still hurts. I can’t talk about it right now. Just give me some time.

Here’s what a group of good sports looks like. I really need a new camera:

golf group

These guys were too good at this game. I’m not inviting them next time:


We ended the evening at a restaurant. I was excited to eat out, because it happens infrequently. The waiter was a super nice young man. He was also funny, but maybe he didn’t mean to be? He spilled water all over our table, but didn’t come back to clean it up. Scott and two other people in our group ordered hamburgers. They looked so delicious on the menu. When they were delivered they resembled ashes on a bun. I noticed the woman in our group who ordered the burger immediately and nicely asked to have it returned and replaced with something that was edible. Scott and the other guy who ordered the burger must have silently decided to celebrate guy code. They didn’t return their burgers. They toughed it out. I think they thought it would be okay if they just drowned it in enough ketchup. That might have worked, except for some reason the ketchup tasted exactly like a strong glass of Merlot.

I really can’t recall a time that Scott has ever complained about his food in a restaurant. That’s usually my deal. But, that Merlot flavored ketchup really threw him. He hasn’t had a sip of alcohol in 20 years, that’s not the way he wanted to break his streak.

When we were leaving, the waiter handed Scott the black leather thing they give you with your receipt and change. He looked Scott in the eye and said, “Here you go. Here’s your change. It’s 26 dollars.” He said it slowly and clearly. It seemed unusual that he was making such a point of it, especially since there was only 21 dollars inside.

The waiter bid us good bye. He said, “Be careful folks. It’s really getting shi**y out there.” I was surprised. I like to keep my eye on the forecast. I thought the weather was supposed to be fine. When we went outside the weather was calm; just the way we left it. It made me wonder if we weren’t on a hidden camera show while we were eating.

That waiter was a nice kid. I’m not complaining. I actually should thank him, because sometimes I run out of things to blog about.

The night was a success. My fun cup is full now. I’m probably good for another 10 – 12 months. I did think about something when we were playing mini golf. I wondered if Scott and I will ever officially grow up. It feels like I’m always going to like playing more than doing grown up things like going to cocktail parties and talking about property taxes and riding lawn mowers. I didn’t see any elderly couples at the mini golf course though, so I’m not sure if this is done. Maybe I just have to get to a certain age before the “likes boring stuff” gene activates. I’ll let you know.

mini golf

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