Hot Tub from Hades

My hubby and I stole away for a romantic pre-Valentine’s weekend. We had it planned pre-diabetes diagnosis for our seven-year-old, and my wonderful mother agreed to still come and tend all the kids and take on the duties of being a pancreas. She is amazing.

With everything that has been happening, the hubby and I needed to relax, recharge, and rediscover the love that had led to the creation of the crazy fun family from which we were getting a break.

Now, gentle reader, lest you think this post will delve into intimate details, let me reassure you that I will write nothing of the kind. However, if you are adamantly opposed to the idea of a married couple getting into a tub together, skip this post and read another. If, however, you can handle the notion, read on for quite possibly the most unromantic, yet entertaining, hot tub experience that has ever happened in the history of hot tubs.

The bed and breakfast in which we were staying was equipped with a jetted tub for two. Not knowing how long it had been since it had been cleaned, we turned on the jets before getting into the tub ourselves to flush out any impurities.

Impurities we got, in spades. When we had filled the tub up somewhat and turned on the jets, disgusting brown and grey flakes shot out along with the water. I don’t want to speculate on what they were. I prefer to think it was hard water deposits and leave it at that. Otherwise, what happened next is more horrifying than hilarious.

When we saw the flakes come out of the tub, we exclaimed, “Gross!” and attempted to find some sort of cleaning agent we could flush through the system. Nothing was at hand, and while we were searching, the jets really started ramping up their power. What started out as a powerful but tub-bound stream of water soon grew in intensity. It grew so rapidly, we had our own World of Color, right there in our room.
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Jets of water were shooting first four, then six, then eight feet out of the tub. The carpet around the tub was soaked before we even registered what was happening. “Turn it off!” I yelled!
“I’m trying!” my poor husband shot back, “the button is stuck!” And stuck it was. Not just sort of stuck but completely, not-moving-at-all stuck. We could not turn off the jets.

“Quick, get me some towels!” my husband yelled as he attempted to cover the geysers shooting from our tub. While he covered the jets, I turned on the water so the level would eventually cover the jets.

After about five long minutes, the water filled enough to keep the jets from shooting out of the tub. But by that time, the footboard of our bed was soaked, along with the clothes that were hanging off the end of it. The bags we had packed, even though they were zippered shut, got soaked enough that the clothes inside were wet.

You may ask why we didn’t simply call the front desk as soon as we knew the jets were stuck. Good question. Why? My husband had already disrobed. We were, after all, planning on getting in the tub.

Yep. I still have the perfect image of him getting sprayed all over, attempting to hold back the Niagara Falls of jetted tubs with a couple of bath towels. All while wearing only his birthday suit. I had not yet taken off my clothing, but I wish I would have since it got soaked during my failed attempts to help him. A small (OK, more than just a small) part of me wanted to simply get out my phone and snap a pic of the hubs bending over with arms spread wide, towels somewhat effectively pressed on the jets all while naked as the day he was born. I resisted the impulse however.

Hopefully, you weren’t just drinking, or your beverage may have shot out of your nose as powerfully as the jets shot from our tub. Sorry, I won’t be responsible for any damages.

After finding clothing way at the bottom of my bag that was sort of dry, I went down to the front desk to tell them what had happened. The lady was super nice, said she was, “horrified and so sorry” and then proceeded to say she would come up to clean the tub “right then.”

Swallowing the giggle that had momentarily escaped, I told her to let me give my husband some warning, ran upstairs and told him to put on the driest thing he had (a robe and a pair of sweats that came from the depths of his carry-on that were still pretty wet).

The front desk lady came in, proceeded to start cleaning the tub and actually said, in what was an attempt, I’m sure, to lessen the emabarrassment for all of us, “Just pretend I’m not here.”

Hmmm. If she had really thought about that statement, I’m sure she didn’t mean it. After 20 minutes of scrubbing and using W-D-40 to get the jets switch unstuck, she finally left, telling us that the owners wanted to comp us a future stay.

Being the frugal people that we are, we took them up on it. But, I don’t think we’ll be using the tub during our next stay.

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Sharing is Caring

I had a birthday last week. It was a fun day filled with presents and time spent with family. My hubby and I went to go see Mockinjay Part 2, so I wasn’t at home when my wonderful neighbor and her daughter came over and brought me cupcakes and a sweet card.
The cupcakes came in a fun container of six. I was surprised and delighted with the meaningful gesture, just perfect for my family of six. I looked at those cupcakes and smiled, amazed that my kids had managed not to eat them while I was away.
The first words out of four-year-old’s mouth when I got home weren’t happy birthday. They were, “Mommy! Someone brought you cupcakes, and you can share them if you want to!”
I laughed and didn’t give more of a response. Four-year-old persisted, “Do you want to share them, Mommy, or are you going to eat them all by yourself?”
I looked into those sweet eyes and said, “What do you think I should do?”
She turned back, looked at the ground and said, “Well, I guess whatever you want to do.”
Then, I asked, “What do you want me to do?”
Beaming up at me, she jumped in the air and yelled, “Share!”
“Don’t worry, I’m going to share them,” I assured her. Even though they looked delicious, I wasn’t going to eat all of them myself. How could I when four-year-old was so excited, so happy to have me share a cupcake. And really, birthdays are all about sharing joy with those you love. Happy Birthday to me.
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Too Much Studio C?

My hubby and I took our girls to a great musical, White Christmas, at the local high school. My niece is in it, as is one of the neighbor girls whom I have the privilege of working with in my church. It was a visually dazzling production, with great sets and costumes, along with a talented, hard-working cast.
Four-year-old was having a hard time sitting still and paying attention. She did pretty well. She only got her shoe/foot stuck in the folding auditorium seat once (though she loudly proclaimed that fact), and she only asked me when it was going to be finished three times. For a two and a half hour show, that’s pretty great. She really only got bored during the dialogue. When all the songs were going on, she sat up, swayed to the rhythm and even tried her best to sing along. My apologies to the people directly in front and behind us. I did my best to quiet her, but sometimes, I guess, you’ve just got to sing! Even when you don’t know the words. Or the tune. Or the rhythm. Yeah. Sorry.
So, I was rather surprised that she was paying enough attention to know when adorable neighbor girl got stage kissed by her leading man. I was equally surprised that she had a certain Studio C skit memorized. She stood on her seat and yelled out in a perfect Mallory imitation, “Aww Yeah!” The people around us cracked up, at least the Studio C fans did. Luckily, enough other people were whistling and cat calling in the auditorium that her comment wasn’t heard by all.
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Still, maybe it’s time to limit the amount of Studio C watched in our house. Ah, who am I kidding? I love that four-year-old yelled it out. I would have done it myself if adults weren’t expected to have a filter. Check out the hilarious sketch that inspired my four-year-old’s outburst here. And go see White Christmas at local high school. And yell out “Aww Yeah” for me.

Nativity Entertainment

My congregation’s Christmas party was a few weeks ago. It was a fun event with caroling, dinner for over 200 people, and, of course, the obligatory Nativity scene.

My ten-year-old daughter had been asked the day before if she would participate. She eagerly agreed. Her cousin had told her, “Well, it’s not likely you’ll get to be Mary.” But who should she end up as? Mary, of course.

Each of the kids was supposed to freeze in a tableau when the curtains opened. Ten-year-old did a great job of freezing, only I don’t think she thought about the look on her face when she froze. Instead of a small, Madonna and Child kind of smile, she was showing every single one of her teeth. In a bearing them at an enemy look rather than a beatific grin. She was very good at holding still and looked beautiful nonetheless. We were too far back to get a good pic, so you’ll have to imagine it.

But her performance as Mary was nothing like my sister’s. I still remember that church congregation party. I had been deemed too old to be in the nativity that year. And while I outwardly agreed, I inwardly remember being slightly jealous of my sister’s part in the play.

I was even more jealous when she arrived on the scene dressed as Mary, the main role. No sheep or angel for her.

She walked in a very dignified manner across the stage, and then took her seat on the chair.

It was lovely, except for the fact that no one had yet spoken to her about how a lady sits when wearing a dress. Or maybe they had, but it just hadn’t sunk it yet.

There she was, in the blue robe, legs splayed so far apart I was certain she was still in the act of giving birth rather than being done with it when the shepherds came for a visit with their little sheep.

I laugh whenever I think about that moment. But it does nothing to lessen my reverence for the sacred gift that a Father gave to all his children. Take a moment and watch this beautiful depiction of the greatest gift of all time.

Extreme School Spirit

I live in a place where a heated rivalry between two major universities exists. My husband and I happened to have graduated from the school that most other members of our families consider the enemy. This doesn’t bother us, and while we’ve taken some good natured teasing over the years when “our” football team has done poorly, we’ve given just as much back when “their” school has a less than stellar year.

Actually, we hardly even care, but it’s something fun to talk about with relatives that actually have an interest in sports. Neither of us have watched a football or basketball game for at least a decade, but we hear the scores and sort of pay attention to how “our” team and “their” team is faring.

I guess I didn’t realize how loyal some fans really are. While I was with some youth from my church, touring a local spot with plenty of Christmas lights and decorations, a man walked by in the opposite direction.

He looked at me–stared at me–with intense hate in his eyes, actually even grimaced and balled up his fists. I couldn’t understand what I had done to elicit such a strong reaction from a stranger. Even the teenage girl who was walking around with me noticed his behavior and commented.

Then, I noticed his ball cap. It had the “other” team’s logo emblazoned on it. I had forgotten for a moment that I was wearing a winter hat with “my” school’s logo on it. I hadn’t purposefully made the choice. It was just the first hat I grabbed that I knew would keep my ears toasty warm.

He was about as crazy as this guy...

He was about as crazy as this guy…

Judging by his reaction, this stranger probably wanted to tear the hat off my head, throw it on the ground and stomp it to a million pieces. And was having a hard time keeping himself from doing so.

Dude, it’s just a hat. I can’t help it if “my” team is winning more games than “your” team this year. And if you’re that upset over someone stranger’s headwear, you obviously had missed the meaning of the decorations and holiday reminders around you.

So, Mr. Scrooge Fan, settle down, take a deep breath and know that I still have enough holiday cheer in my heart to give you a pass and wish your team success in their bowl game. After all, it is Christmas.

How I (almost) Ran (part of) My First 10K

Happy Thanksgiving! Because the weather was gorgeous, I wanted to use my new sports watch, and I wanted to feel a little less guilty about all the calories I would ingest, I decided to go for a run yesterday.

I went down the trail I normally use. I was a little less than a mile into my run when I came to a road I need to cross. My run had been completely quiet up until that point; I hadn’t met anyone. But, then I saw someone with an orange flag, motioning people. Lots of people. She was motioning hundreds of runners onto the trail I had hoped to use.
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I thought about turning around for a minute. Then, I decided I didn’t really know another route I wanted to run right then, so, I joined in the fray.

About three seconds after I joined in, I was sort of sorry I had. I was getting passed by all sorts of people. I am not the fastest of runners to begin with, and since I had recently been sick with a cough and sore throat, my energy was less than usual. Before I knew it, men with graying hair passed me. A few telling me to keep running. Then, most humiliating of all, a blonde haired boy whom I think is my ten-year-old’s friend (I’m not sure since I only saw the back of his head), passed me up. My short stubby legs kept going, and though my ego was somewhat bruised, I still loved the experience of running with all those people.

They accepted me as one of their own, even though I was in sweat pants that had shrunk and carried pepper spray in one hand. I got quite a few strange looks when people saw the pepper spray. Who runs a race with hundreds of other people and expects to be attacked? To those who gave me the strangest looks I imagined telling them, “Oh, I’m not worried about being attacked. I just really want to win this race! Ha!” as I sprayed them in the eyes. But, I am not that diabolical. And a weird look doesn’t deserve temporary blinding as punishment, most of the time.
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Pretty soon, I came to the end of the trail. Normally, I turn around and go back the way I came. That didn’t seem to be a possibility. I briefly considered still doing that and had an image of myself pushing through all those runners, arms flailing, to go back the way I had come. But although I wanted to yell and divide the runners like Moses parting the Red Sea, I decided to just keep going with them.

I ran up a road and down to the road in front of my kids’ school. I had planned to just keep going down that road, but a lady with a flag told yelled at me as she saw me turning, “You have to cross here!”

“Okay,” I thought, “I guess I have to cross here.” And, being the mostly obedient soul that I am, I crossed with all the runners. By that time my energy was starting to flag a bit, but I was still running. I saw a sign that said mile 3 and smiled. I had only run about 2.5 miles, but I wanted to believe I was already done with 3. Then, the sag support was on the side of the road.

“Water, Gatorade?” they yelled with the drink proffered in an outstretched arm.

“Don’t mind if I do,” I thought as I took the offered water, gulped it and threw it into the gutter with the rest of the hapless paper cups lying there.

Soon, I had a decision to make; the rest of the runners were turning, and since I knew where they were going, I knew it would be too far from home to run back, too. images (2)

The next flag holder yelled at me, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way! You have to turn here!”

Now, I know the perfect ending to this story would be that I kept going and simply ended with all the others at the rec center. And for a brief second, I nearly did that. But my throat was starting to hurt, my energy was gone, and, did I mention I was really kind of still sick? So, I ignored flag boy and kept going on my way to home, a smile on my face, thinking that, for half of my run, I got a chance to feel like I was running a 10K. For free.

“Best” Birthday Wishes

My extraordinarily beautiful, wonderful mother just had a birthday yesterday. She celebrated by seeing two church programs with her grandchildren in them. Then, of course, came the family dinner and present exchange, hosted by my fabulous sister-in-law.
Are all moms hard to buy for? I can never figure out a good gift for mine. If you have any great mom gift suggestions, comment for me and grown children everywhere. Then came dessert, and, as we were just about to leave, we remembered that we hadn’t yet sung to her.
My kids love to sing to relatives on their birthdays. This usually involves a cell phone and some purposefully raucous singing as the listener probably cringes and takes his/her ear away from the phone in order to avoid permanent hearing loss. (If I allow my children to keep it up, maybe I can buy my mom hearing aids next year and my gift woes will be over. Just kidding. ) But my lucky mother got to have her songs in person this year.

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We all started with the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, followed by an add-on chant I’d never heard and can’t remember. Then, the kids sang the version I knew when I grew up: “Happy Birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like and monkey, and you smell like one too.” Maybe not the kindest show of affection from your grandchildren, but taken good naturedly by my mom.

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Then, my sweet niece sang one I haven’t encountered before, and I’m not sure I want to encounter again: “Happy Birthday to you, you just stepped in poo. Don’t waste it, just taste it, Happy Birthday to you.” I’m sure it’s all the rage with the third grade set this year. Being a sixth-grade teacher, my mom also shrugged off this dubious wish from her granddaughter.
And, lucky me, I’ll probably get a reprise of it from my own children when my birthday comes in a few weeks. I’ll have to convince them to use something else since the “Happy Birthday” song is copyrighted, and they don’t want to have to pay royalties. Maybe they can write their own. But I can only imagine what that might turn out to be.
On second thought, I think I’ll stick with the zoo and monkey version. But maybe if they sing the one about a dirty shoe, I won’t have any appetite for my cake and might not get the birthday bulge this year.
Yeah, I’ll just have them sing away.