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

Posts tagged ‘party’

Scott’s Favorite Holiday

NCAA Wrestling: Division 1 Championship

This past weekend was Scott’s favorite Holiday: NCAA Wrestling Championships. When the tournament has been as close as Iowa or Missouri, Scott will take our boys out of school and they go in person. I just know those trips are going to be at the top of our boys’ lists of best childhood memories. I still don’t know exactly why.

Scott is in charge of those trips. I’m not involved. It’s a good way for me to see how things would be run in our family in my absence. Not the way I’d like them to. Let’s get that straight.

Nary a hotel reservation is made, nor a single preemptive thought is given to what will be eaten or worn on these trips. I used to let this lack of preparation worry me, but now I have been forced to admit that sometimes you don’t have to be one bit prepared to have the time of your life.

Scott started going to the NCAA Wrestling Championships with his brothers many years ago, before we had kids. He and his two brothers(and sister) have always been in agreement on a lot of things. One of the things they agree on is that there is rarely a good reason to part with money. Wasting money on a bed, blankets and pillows seemed especially frivolous to those brothers.

The brothers would attend the tournament in Iowa City and just knock on the door of some people they vaguely knew when it was time to catch a few hours sleep. Those stories horrified me.

Scott was telling our kids the other night about the time his brothers and three other guys went to the tournament together. When they decided it was time to get some sleep one of the guys they were with said his friend “Sheila” said they could crash at her place.

They went to the apartment building and knocked on her door. They knocked and knocked. Then they started getting a little annoyed. I mean, she DID offer. Finally, a strange guy, who had obviously been sleeping, came to the door. Oops. Wrong apartment.

They eventually found the right apartment. They knocked again. Another strange guy came to the door. “Sheila’s” friend in the group said to the guy, “Sheila said we could stay here tonight.”

The guy’s like, “Whatever,” and let them in.

The six guys walked in and laid down on the carpeting (which you know for a FACT “Sheila”, the girl who lets large groups of strangers sleep at her house, keeps meticulously clean). They slept until it was time to go watch wrestling again.

I told Scott it’s funny how one person’s nightmare can be what another person considers a good time.

I’d like to post some pictures of these epic trips. Because Scott definitely always remembered a camera. He took a lot of pictures, and developed the pictures right away. The pictures he took look magical they way he displayed them in his scrapbooks. That’s not true. But, you knew that.

Scott’s to do list before these trips did not include remembering the camera. His to do list included one item: watch wrestling. The rest of the details he figured out as he went along.

Now my boys have similar fun NCAA Wrestling Tournament stories to tell. They talk about how hard they laughed, how awesome the wrestling was, and how great it was of their dad to splurge and buy them a piece of gum. To share.

They’re old enough now to be able to tease their dad for his funny ways; I sense that they are also being groomed. I would guess they’re quite likely some day to submit their own children to the same atrocities of cheapness come NCAA tournament time.

This year, the tournament was too far away for Scott and the boys to attend. Instead they hosted an NCAA Wrestling party at our house. Scott said he wanted it to be like the Super Bowl party he had this year. He called me one day in January and said, “I want to have a Super Bowl Party.”

That probably sounds like a normal comment to you. It made me stop what I was doing. I’ve known Scott a really long time. I’ve never heard him suggest having a party. Ever.

I asked, “What did you say? Did you just say you want to have a party? That is awesome. Who are we inviting?”

“Zeke,” he answered.

That’s for real. That conversation happened.

“Zeke? Zeke is the only person on your guest list?” I asked. “What about Eddie? Doesn’t he get to come?”

“He can come. He just doesn’t sit still, and always gets bored after a while.”

So, Eddie’s out. Zeke’s in. And that is what Scott calls a party.

They had their party, and it got a little crazy. I won’t give away all their secrets, but let me just say some some gum was split and some soda was had.

NCAA Party

*Eddie, some wrestlers and a giant chocolate bunny crashed Scott’s party. More proof that the best fun isn’t always planned.

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10 Signs You May be Too Nice:

When I was a teenager a lot of girls liked guys with swagger; guys who always had just the right thing to say at just the right time. I didn’t. I liked the boys who were nice.

One spring weekend before my freshman year of college I was at party with Scott. We were not dating. This party was at a typical, worked over apartment complex designed for poor college kids. We were outside at this party, and there were some little kids running around. These kids must have lived in an apartment somewhere else in this complex. They looked a little down on their luck.

It was evident that this party was not an appropriate place for these kids to play; whoever was in charge of supervising them was doing a poor job. Some of the college kids at the party were annoyed, and started being a little mean to those little kids.

Scott was not annoyed. Scott was so nice to those little kids. I remember watching him as he engaged them in conversation. He asked them about school and what they liked to do. Then the kids asked him to play, which, of course, he did. He ran around with them outside, playing tag and probably giving them the best fun they’d had in a while. Yeah. That is the weekend I decided I might be in love.

One of the biggest reasons I fell for Scott was because he was so nice. I’d like to think he felt the same way about me. We really like nice. But, do you know what can happen when you put nice with nice? You get too nice. Too nice might be better than too mean, but, still, you CAN be too nice.

From experience, I can tell you that there are signs to watch for whether you are being too nice. You can read about these signs below, unless you don’t want to, then, of course, you don’t have to. I wasn’t trying to sound bossy. I’m sorry If I did. You can read whatever you want. I’m not in charge of you. You don’t have to listen to me:

You lie. This is actually more my deal than Scott’s. If he has bad news for you, he’ll avoid saying anything. Not me. I’ll lie. If you just missed every single note in the solo you sang, and you ask me how you did, I will tell you that you sang beautifully. If you have a horrible perm and half your hair fell out, and you ask me how it looks, I will tell you that it looks great. I was thinking about doing the same thing with my hair. If you served me a dinner that tastes like poop casserole, and you ask if I liked it, I will tell you it was delicious. You must give me the recipe. If what you need is the ugly truth, you’d better ask someone else.

You believe lies. Some people don’t just lie to be nice. Some people make up big, strange lies about things that never happened. Or, they do bad things when no one is looking, and then they lie and say they didn’t. Nice people believe those lies. It can take nice people years and years to figure out that someone is lying.

Do you know what a sociopath is? One thing a sociopath does is they tell lies more than they tell the truth. They make up lies for no reason at all, and they believe their own lies. It is proven that sociopaths seek out people who are too nice. It will take a person who is too nice a really long time to figure out that some people just lie for fun.

Your dog is in charge. When I do my Saturday cleaning, I usually mop the kitchen floor and strip the bedding. Except if our dog is taking a nap. If our little dog is lounging comfortably on our bed, or sprawled on the kitchen rug, that’s too bad for me. I wait until he decides to go somewhere else. it seems kind of mean to make such a cute little dog move when all he wants is a nap, doesn’t it?

cavalier

You eat cold food, or bad food, or raw food. This one goes in Scott’s corner. If you are a server at a restaurant and you serve Scott a cold hamburger or hot lemonade, he won’t complain; he won’t ask you to take it back; he’ll leave you a big tip.

You buy a time share condo. Almost. We go to Branson, Missouri on spring break most years with my parents. Every year, my parents take one for the team. They subject themselves to a time share sales pitch to earn our family free tickets to this awesome amusement park. Scott and I didn’t think that was fair of us to make them do that every year. Last year we said we would go instead. My parents were adamantly against this idea, especially my Dad. He told us we didn’t know what we were getting into, and that, frankly, we were just too nice to make it out alive.

Well, he was almost right. Scott and I went into this thing looking like baby kittens to a hungry pack of wolves. We started out with this giant group of people. Almost all of them were released eventually, except us.

We own a small home, we have had a lot of doctor bills, and we have absolutely NO business even talking about buying a time share. But these guys really wanted us to buy one. So, it’s worth considering, right? Plus, they could make a nice commission, and that would be good for their families. They told us that if we really valued family time, a time-share was in our children’s best interest. See how they care about us?

The whole thing was ugly. Scott and I would take turns playing good cop, bad cop. But, in reality, what you had was good cop, good cop, and those guys knew it. We wasted most of the day there. We told them that we really appreciated all their time and hard work, but we never make quick decisions. When they finally realized they weren’t getting our money, they told us to leave. I’m so glad we didn’t buy a condominium just to be nice.

time share

You want everyone in the world to be happy. If they are not, you are sure that is on you. If someone seems quiet, or grouchy, you rack your brain trying to think about what you may have done to offend this person. True, you don’t know them. True, you’ve never spoken with them. But there most be something, or they wouldn’t be acting that way.

You feel sorry for the bad guy. Sure. You always feel sorry for the main character. You want to the main character to be saved, and the bad guy to get caught and be punished. Until he is. Then, you start feeling a little sorry for the bad guy. Because he’s being punished. Just like he deserves. It’s hard to live like this.

You put your life in danger to avoid the risk of being rude. In my career, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with people from other countries. I love it. One time I was working with this joyful, generous and intelligent little man from very far away. I drove him around one day and we took care of various tasks related to his citizenship here. The next time we met he said, “This time, I drive. I practice. You see, I very good.”

He was good. He was very good at driving in to oncoming traffic, ignoring stop signs, and driving dangerously beyond the speed limit. I tried instructing him, but the language barrier was a problem. Especially, since in my intense state of terror I was just blurting out nonsense, in a language he didn’t understand. I guess it wasn’t my time to go.

It was so scary that once we ran our errand, I got back in the passenger’s seat and let him drive me home. I thought if he didn’t think I felt safe, that might hurt his feelings.

You won’t end a conversation. This one goes to Scott. I am perfectly capable of saying, “Well, I’d better go, I have to get dinner started, the kids need my help with homework, or the house is on fire.”

Scott can’t do that. If he is outside and our elderly neighbors are bending his ear, he will let that house burn. While he is talking he will break in to a cold sweat thinking about all the things that he should be doing, and he will let the children play with knives. What Scott won’t do, is tell that nice neighbor that he’d better be on his way. That wouldn’t be very nice.

Little old lady (1)

You have the smartest come backs. In bed at night. When it’s too late. Remember those sociopaths we were talking about? When I worked for a different company one of my biggest clients was a sociopath. That’s fun. He was an awful human being, and I don’t mind saying it. Can you just let me get out some of the frustration now that I couldn’t release then? Thanks. Here it goes: He was cruel to the people who worked for him. He lied more than he told the truth. He was unfaithful to his family. He was completely and totally inappropriate to women. He was disgusting.

I would lie in bed at night thinking of the most clever, witty and even scathing ways to put him in his place. Then I’d see him, and not say anything at all.

This therapy session feels good. Let me tell you more. I will tell you that this guy grossly abused drugs, alcohol and food. I might have felt sorry for him, except he was just so mean. I will also tell you about the times I had to sit with him while he drew out our meetings much longer than necessary. Instead of getting to the point and taking care of the business I had with him, he’d sit on his cell phone, screaming at people on the other end while I watched. He liked an audience.

All the while he was screaming he would be jamming huge handfuls of Lucky Charms in to his mouth, so many Lucky Charms that crumbs would be all over his face, and many of them would land on his big, huge belly. It was a horror show.

Can’t you think of just a hundred clever things to say to this guy right now? Like, I should have said, “Treating people poorly will not help you in life. It will hurt you. You’re focusing on all the wrong things, and your letting your family down. Plus, you’re making very irresponsible nutritional choices, and it sure wouldn’t hurt to consider starting some kind of fitness program!”

He would have felt THAT right between the jelly rolls. Check…and mate, fine sir. You just got served.

Wow. That just got a little real. I’m sorry if that made you uncomfortable.

See how bad I am?

Being nice is awesome. I love it when people are nice. But, you really can be too nice. I see little flashes of too much niceness in my kids sometimes. I want them to recognize it early, so maybe they can know when a backbone is required. Once they do, I hope they teach their parents.

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:

bball

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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