Monthly Archives: July 2010

It was nothing like that Marilyn Monroe scene

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I read something on twitter a couple of days ago and it brought to mind an incident that I had clearly repressed because it’s too damned embarrassing to remember.

It was about 11 years ago, and I had to visit our company’s main office in Maryland for a meeting. As it turned out, there was a celebratory lunch the day I was visiting, so I joined the office waking to a local restaurant.

Being the 90s, I was wearing a long, flowy flowered dress. And also being the 90s, there were no such thing as Spanx. You may not know this, but I invented Spanx. See, back in the day, when I wanted to suck it in a little, I would wear control top pantyhose. but if it was summer and I didn’t want hose on, I would cut the legs to accommodate my clothes – at the thigh for short skirts, near the knee for longer dresses, etc. So this day, since I was wearing a long dress, underneath I had on a pair of ratty black control top hose, sloppily cut off at the knee.

As we left the building to walk to the restaurant, we broke off into little groups. I was walking with some coworkers near the front and most of the office was behind me. And directly behind me was the owner of the company and all the other top brass.

About a block from the office, we walked over a grate and – you guessed it – the metro went by at just that moment, blowing my long skirt up. And not up in a cute, sexy, Marilyn kind of way, but up as in OVER MY HEAD. And then, to make matters even worse, one of the buttons got caught in my hair, meaning that it took me two million years to get my damned skirt down. Or something like that. It might have only been one million years but it seemed like two million.

My bosses and coworkers were kind enough to pretend like they hadn’t seen anything, but I could see that their eyeballs were all bleeding.

And then I died of embarrassment. And then since that wasn’t enough to cover it, I came back to life so I could die of embarrassment again. The end.

Vacation

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The drive down > the drive home. In fact, the square root of the drive down > the drive home times infinity squared. This is for one reason – going down, we drove overnight and we came home in the day. Night driving is essential to my sanity because people sleep at night – the kids & mr b all go to sleep and I have the whole night to drive and listen to whatever I want and no one is fighting or whining or asking me how much longer or being a general jackass or needing to pee or driving like a complete asshole who thinks everyone else is an asshole. Plus on the way home, we got stuck in hellacious traffic due to a motor home fire. It was insane.

The cabin was amazing. Since we drove overnight, we got there well before our check-in time. We decided to do a drive-by to check the cabin out and then head out to sightsee for the day. Only there was no such thing as “drive-by” for this place. It was on an unpaved, private road that wound up into the mountain. From the outside, it looked like a tiny place, but in actuality, it was 3 floors and slept 10 easily. The hot tub was my favorite early morning thing to do, and sitting on the deck looking at the view was so relaxing.

The view from the main deck:

One of the cool things about the place was the wildlife – we saw deer and flying squirrels and bald eagles (no bears, surprisingly, given my aforementioned deliciousness). There were the strangest looking moths I have ever seen – some that looked exactly like a fallen leaf, some that were beautiful, and some that were just plain weird. And they were all HUGE:

Not cool at all? The spiders. And by “spiders,” I mean SPIDERS! I seriously wanted to take some photos to freak out Twitter (like someone who shall remain nameless coughburghbabycough) but I was too terrified to get anywhere near them. And I think I felt like there would be some bad horror movie juju involved in photographing them. They were that evil. I am not kidding when I say that they were giant, man-eating, horrible monsters who had obviously heard about my deliciousness from the bears.

It seems we picked a good week to get out of the burgh since apparently it was a million degrees here. It was hot down there, but being in the mountains meant it was much cooler, especially in the mornings and evenings.

We were only a few minutes from Nantahala Gorge and the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which was a fantastic place – places to eat, good beer, shop, trails and hot hippie guys – perfect! We spent a lot of time there during the week. The only bad experience I had there was…are you ready for this?

I got CARDED. No, really – carded. Now, I know you are thinking, but Gina, that’s a compliment, no?

No – it’s not. And I’ll tell you why: 1) I haven’t even been in my late twenties for more than a decade, so please spare me. It might have been a compliment if I didn’t know that I looked every bit of my 41 years, but since I do, it was just WTF?? 2) Someone told me later that they have to card everyone, regardless of how old they look (because they have a very precarious license in an otherwise dry county), and that would make me feel better about things, except that the girl doing the carding didn‘t card anyone else in the group (all male…hmmm), and 3) If it were at all possible that she really believed I was under 21, it would have made me feel good a little while, but I’ll take a beer buzz any day.

Nantahala Outdoor Center:





















There were so many things to do in the area– rafting, canoeing, kayaking, tubing. Surprisingly, of all those activities, the one I managed to injure myself on was the calm, serene tube-float down the Little Tennessee River. That would be because instead of sitting in the tube like I should have been, I got into the tube and let my lags dangle in the water. And when we suddenly went from a depth of I-Can’t-Touch to Holy-Crap-Rocks-Hurt!, my knees, shins and ankles suffered for it. I actually have a tiny little bone chip moving around in my knee now. That’s not fatal, is it?

Just as surprising as the DangerTubing is the fact that I went whitewater rafting and stayed in the raft the entire time. I thought for sure I would end up going in. And what was worrying me the most about that? Not the danger of drowning, or busting open my head on the racks. No, I was worried that of I went in, I would be mortified that my raft-mates would have to haul my fat ass back in the raft. I really think if I had gone in, I would have been all, “Oh, don’t worry about me – just go one ahead, I’ll hang out here.” This is the same reason I didn’t jump in the water and swim with the boy during one of the calm areas.

The boy was the only one not afraid to swim there (other than me), because everyone was crying the while time about how cold the water was. Now don’t get me wrong, it WAS cold – about 50 – 55 degrees. But somehow it felt good to me. Maybe because it was so hot that day. Or because it wasn’t too much colder than swimming in the Yough, which is pretty damned cold, too. But I decided to tell myself that doing the Polar Bear Plunge has turned me into a badass cold water rock star. Now that is cold water.

When we were getting suited up for our rafting trip, I put on a PFT (life vest, but I like saying PFT like I’m down with the lingo), and I could barely breathe what with the boob-squeezing. Four male guides checked me and said it fit perfectly, until a similarly-boobed female guide came over, rolled her eyes at the men and helped me adjust. Then we got our training and I did my very best not to strangle the kid behind me who made the training take 10 minutes longer with his inane questions (Um…what…um…about that…um…water position if …you know…um…you…uh…go over the falls? Do you have to do a back flip?), and finally we were off. We all got on the bus and the guides got on last. One guide sat next to me on the bus wearing nothing but a speedo. I was hoping we didn’t get him as our guide, because all I could think about was that if we flipped over, I was probably going to get balls on me in the process. Luckily we didn’t – we got an awesome guide who was informative and fun and kindly kept his genitals hidden from view.

Rafting:

We also went gem-mining, which the kids loved. And The Girl made me proud by sharing her big gems with the other kids. And the boy made me proud by using his own money to buy another bucket for them all to share:

One day we went to Dollywod. Dollywood is a great park – small, pretty, but still fun. But despite the fun, it was slightly less pleasant than the last few times we’ve been there. For one thing, it was HOT. I mean – while the mountains stay cooler, somehow it’s not really the case at Dollywood. And then we went in a large group and I really, really hate going to amusement parks with a group (too much waiting and whining and dicking around). And The Girl got crabby a few times about some imaginary crap. And we were with folks who kept failing to wait for the group before getting in line and then expecting us to cut and catch up, which I will absolutely NEVER do (it’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people do that).

They have some good rides there, though. The Girl loved the Raging Rapids-type ride. The first time we rode it, I got splashed. The second time we rode it – just before leaving the park – I got SOAKED:

But she hated the Mountain Slidewinder (which is an AWESOME waterslide where you sit in a foam “log” and slide down the mountain), although she was ready to go on it again a short time later:

Also, mr b spent 50 cents on a game and won the girl a guitar (not a little toy piece of crap, either, but a real, working guitar. And then this happened:

And there’s nothing else to say after that.

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Did Good

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As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to participate in Do Good Day on Wednesday. And as awesome as I expected it would be, it turned out to be even better.

I’m a little late in writing this, so by now, you’ve probably already read what she or she or she or she or she or she had to say about it, so it’s pretty much all been said. But hey – that never stopped me before, so damn it, I will talk about it too.

We met up at the Carnegie Science Center, to find that 77 Kids was already there with a cart filled with cool toys and goodies and – best of all on a sweltering day – freeze pops. The kids heading to the Science Center were very excited to see it loaded down with Silly Bandz, along with the other assorted treats. We couldn’t wait to set up and get started spreading some of our own good.

When we were planning the day (77 kids awesomely gave us the means, but left it up to us what we wanted to do), we decided that we didn’t just want to surprise people with a gift or treat, we wanted to do something that would be appreciated by the recipient, but also something that would encourage them to pay it forward and do something nice for someone else.

What we ended up with was colorful backpacks filled with school supplies and other fun stuff. But the best part was that each backpack contained a colorful little envelope with the words “Your Mission” on the outside. Inside the envelope was a mission for the child to do – a good deed that they could do for someone else. Some were given a bag of Silly Bandz and told to make a new friend and share them, others were given an addressed, stamped envelope to send a picture or letter to a nursing home or to a soldier or veteran. I really hope that the kids were inspired to complete their missions.

It was an amazing, fun day. The kids were absolutely thrilled to get something. The parents were a little wary. And don’t get me wrong – I get it. It’s not often that you get something for free. A lot of them probably suspected they’d end up having to pay for something.

In addition to the money 77 Kids gave us to buy our supplies, they also provided each blogger with a box of goodies to give out – stickers, trinkets, candy, coupons and – get this – 77 dollar bills. We clipped each dollar to a coupon, note card and a little paper telling them how they could do a good deed with the dollar (or for free). And I swear there were more than 77 dollars in each of those boxes. We clipped and folded and sorted until, we boiled ourselves in the sun, but they never seemed to end. Ginny, in particular, was feeling the curse of the multiplying dollars and coupons.

But once we were done, we set out to spread some more good. We walked along the river walkway and gave dollar packets to everyone we saw. Or rather we tried to give them to everyone we saw. Unfortunately, we live in an cynical, suspicious society where instead of seeing someone giving you free money as a good thing, it is seen as OMG WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME CRAZY PEOPLE ARRGGH GET AWAY KEEP YOUR MONEY BACK OFF GET AWAY FROM MY CHILDREN HELP!!!!!

I am totally not kidding. We had reaction ranging from the mildly suspicious ignore-and-walk-faster maneuver, to the misogynistic “I don’t take money from women!” to the jackass who needs to prove something “Give it to someone who needs it – not me!” to the downright hostile group of moms that told me that under no circumstances was I to hand out anything to any of the children in their general area. Meanwhile the kids were all WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! YAAAAAAYYYY!!!!!! MORE!!!!

The kids were the best.

But instead of worrying about the cynical society, I am going to try to do my best to keep spreading kindness. If we all do it, maybe someday the cynical society might become less cynical and more like those kids. Everyone now: WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

All in all, it was a great day spent with some really amazing, kind, giving, funny women and some of their awesome kids. The girl always loves spending time with the actual Burgh Baby, and an added bonus this time around was Ginny’s son, who she deemed “cuuuuute” (she tried to charm him with her burping skills – she’s a delicate flower, that one). Despite the heat and the cynicism, we still had a really nice time.

Thanks to 77 Kids and The Motherhood for putting it all together.

Fine print: I am being compensated for participating in Do Good Day, but they were in no way involved in the content of this post. I am entirely serious when I say that 77 Kids is a great company who cares about the community. And if you visit their store, you’ll see how much thought they have put into creating a great shopping experience for moms shopping with kids (also known as “Hell: Living”).

Do Good

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While we were on vacation last week, we decided to spend the day at Dollywood. It’s a nice little park and we hoped to have a good time. But getting ready and getting out of the cabin can be a pain with a when there’s a bunch of people, and we got a late start, putting me in a bit of a mood. Then we got to the park and it was eleventy-seven-hundred degrees out, which didn’t help anyone’s disposition. Then the girl got crabby over fries (as you do), then it got hotter. A couple of us went on a raft ride and left all of our stuff with the non-riders, so it wouldn’t get wet. And then the non-riders lost their ever-loving minds and took off, leaving us with no phones, cameras, money, or any idea how to find them. By this time, I was in a bad, BAD mood.


We decided to hit the “county fair” section of the park where a lot of kid-friendly rides are located while my nephew set off in the blazing heat to find everyone. I spent the next hour or so alternating between trying to enjoy the rides with the girl and muttering terrible things under my breath about every person in the entire park (I get crazy when it’s that hot).

Finally, my nephew came back with our gear and we set of to meet up with everyone. I was still a bit crabby and hot and miserable, but I tried to get past it. But then we hit another “let’s stop and stand around looking stupid and decide what to do next” moment (I hate amusement parks with a crowd of people – too much waiting around) and I thought I would lose my mind – we were all crabby and hot and tired. And then suddenly, a little girl about six years old walked up to us, stopped right in front of us and seemed to be sizing us up.

Then she pulled out a huge stack of tissue paper butterflies and went around the group passing them out, “Let’s see…you need pink, and you need green, and I think you should have blue…”, until every one of us was holding a butterfly. I’m not sure where she got them, or why she felt the need to pass them out, but something about that little girl simply being kind was enough to turn my mood around.

Good deeds come in all kinds of packages. We help a neighbor carry groceries in the house, we donate books to a classroom in need, we walk to raise money for a charity. And sometimes, we simply hand out a small token to an unsuspecting passerby and it can really turn their day around.


Tomorrow, I am participating in Do Good Day, sponsored by 77 Kids and The Motherhood. These amazing folks have come up with a plan to Do Good across the country. Seven bloggers in eleven cities (7 x11 = 77, of course) will be hitting the streets to put smiles on as many faces as we can.

Our plan is to pass out some goodies and fun stuff to folks passing by. But that wasn’t enough for us – we set it up so as we surprise them with something nice, they can in turn surprise someone else. And hopefully the Doing Good will be catchy and those folks will pass it on. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. Sometimes a smile or a kind word can turn a person’s day completely around. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

But what may be surprising is you don’t have to be the person receiving the good deed for it to make a difference. I think that being the person who is giving the kindness is even more rewarding. Getting a treat is great, for sure. But giving one (or a whole bunch) is amazing. And I can’t wait to be amazed.

[Disclosure – bloggers will be compensated for their participation in Do Good Day, but that in no way diminishes the awesomeness of 77 Kids or The Motherhood, who put this all together]