Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Next time, I think I will pass on the larvae shower...

Oh, the vacation was amazing.....we are sun-kissed, relaxed and had some of the best food and wine.

'I am so happy our fabulous vacation is over' is a statement made by not one person. Ever. We swam, snorkeled, played and had an amazing time with my brother. We did have one teeny tiny mishap though.

We chartered a boat and went off the coast on a perfect, gorgeous day. At one point, two sea lions swam by us and then literally, popped up out of the water and making expressive noises, they then appreared to kiss. It was so memorable that MiniMac wrote about it for one of his homework assignments (oh Kindergarten is tough, you go on vacation and take a stack of work with you.)

My favorite part of said homework assignment? The picture he drew of the sea lions kissing. And when I asked which one is the female, he said, "The one with eyelashes like you." Love!

But at our snorkel location, I assure you there were no sea lions kissing. About 1 minute in, MiniMac and I see several Angel Fish and Clown Fish. Through his snorkel, he attempts to exclaim, "NEMO!" which you know, comes out more like mmmmmmmmmmmMMMMMM. 5 minutes into the trip, MiniMac starts yelping. He wont remove his snorkel so we can't determine the issue. 2 seconds later I say in my inner monologue, what the H is that??? as I am stung multiple times on my arm. MiniMac is now crying full on with a face full of snorkel and mask. We are only about 50-75 feet from the boat, so I basically grab the back of his life jacket and began propelling him through the water in front of me. Have you pushed a crying 5 year old through the water before while wearing your own snorkel, mask and fins and basically swimming with one arm?  It doesn't look like Le Reve, let me promise you. His cries are not simmering to a whimper either, he is full throttle crying which we see about once per year.

The crew yanks him out of the water and he cant even tell me before I see that what ever has stung me on my arm, has also attacked the top of his leg and his foot. In the past he has had allergic reactions to bugs to my first reaction "Baby, I am right here to help you." My second thought was, "OH F_____." It looked like a hundred little jelly fish bites. The captain told us they were sea fleas. Really? What is THAT?" I googled it and learned one version is they are jelly fish larvae but since they are found no where near actual jelly fish, people don't expect them. That is the power of the ocean and how a tin can in the water off Seattle can end up in San Diego. The captain quickly says he has a remedy on board. Since I have been stung by a jelly fish before, I learned the 'remedy' is urine. Oh, I dont even want my own urine on my arm, so PLEASE do not come back with a sprayer full of someone else's urine to compensate for the welt and the pain. He returns with a can of Coke. I begin to douse MiniMac's leg. Finally, he calms down. We wait several minutes and then I decide, the best way to overcome the situation since we know how much he loves the water, is to get right back in.
He says, "No thank you." Daddy and Uncle Hi Pie stay on the boat so I get back in with one of the crew and we hope that MiniMac will see it is fine and decide to get back in momentarily. He opts out.

Now, believe me. I am not Chuck Norris so the creatures of the sea aren't going to run away in fright. And in fact, my arm hurts like a firecracker blew up my skin so I am wary of additional dancing with sea fleas, but I go. And thankfully I did. We end of swimming with a school of hundreds of Angel Fish. Deep breath. Get over your fears. And swim. It was beautiful.

I am going to contact a marine biologist I know and get to the bottom of the sea fleas. And next time I will pass on the larvae shower.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Johnte's Inferno (subtitle: How much does that burn?)

Buenos dias chicos y chicas!

I am on the beach in gorgeous Cabo San Lucas.  JMac squared + MiniMac rolled in Saturday am with my little brother, HP.  This grandiose trip has been planned for over a year and oh, my, I do love a sandy beach and a delicious cocktail.  By the way, I am not a day-drinker so I am fine with one single delicious cocktail during daylight hours.

In planning for the trip, JMac has secured a gorgeous multi-bedroom penthouse for our crowd. LOVE IT. We had the best time here last trip and of course, a few stories resurfaced.  Long ago I told a story of my fabulous husband and his cross-up with fire. Here to delight you is a recap:

Last trip to Cabo, our posse of five rolls into a truly authentic Tortilleria on old San Jose del Cabo. So authentic in fact, our college sophomore level of Spanish doesn't get us past pollo, bisteca, and camaron. The entire place is inhabited by only locals except for us. We love authentic cuisine and sought out a place recommended to us and when we came across this joint, oh, even better. Since we were going to end up with who knows what on plates, I did seek the help of two American ex-pats and we end up ordering some of the best food we ate in Mexico.

All great, right?

With the fifteen plates brought to our tables (those boys were hun-gry) came a bowl of peppers. You don't need to be fluent in la lingua to know peppers are peppers. That is what your vision is supposed to help you with. If those peppers have been soaking in some Mexican au jus, you better proceed with caution. We love the spicy, so no one is afraid to test the waters.

Now, JohnnyMac already had a bit of dispute with a pepper on a previous night, and sweat was almost coming out of his eyeballs. I have a fantastic threshold for the spicy so I dig in and am not affected a bit.  JMac prepares to play pepper roulette from the bowl of jalapenos, cayennes, serranos, and a few mystery peppers.

First pick, probably a serrano which you may know has significantly more capsaicin than your average jalapeno. So on the "Oooooo that's hot" scale (aka Scoville), Serrano will hurt your feelings if you try to be too sassy. And even if you are the world's best pepper eater, and you love spicy food, and you can eat anything, careful, these peppers are not comparable to what you might purchase at your local Publix grocery.

With a few burning, stinging tongues, we enjoy our meal and as JohnnyMac dips back in the bowl of fire, I remind him that no part of his fingers shall touch our precious child's face, arms, legs, or hands. I say this because our son wants nothing more than to sit on Daddy's lap. JMac mildly scoffs at me as if I need a reminder he didn't just become a Daddy on the way to the Tortilleria.

We are wrapping up, and JohnnyMac goes to take a restroom break but first hits the wash basin sitting on the side of the restaurant. Ahhh, in Mexico when devouring peppers, wash hands FIRST before going to the lav. So smart, Senor!

JohnnyMac returns and we are all midway through some funny story when he blushes ( I think...I wasn't entirely sure but his face got RED). He then excuses himself. When he returns, he painfully admits that he apparently transferred some of that capsaicin from his hand onto his organ. What? I am sorry, what did you do? You got hot pepper on your business?

Later when I told a friend this story (over guffaws after guffaw) she asked me if perchance JMac had been drinking all day? No. Confused? No.

Thorough with his hand-washing? Another NO.

So we watch as JMac turns multiple shades of I-yi-yi-yi-yi because he has peppered up his peeper. My oh MY, the jokes we launched at him couldn't come fast enough. His poor midsection was contorting like a Mexican version of Cirque du Ole' and once I knew it wouldn't fall off, I could do nothing more than laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh.

We got in the car and heading back, after laughing some more, basically in his face and at his expense, I asked if there was anything I could do to help.

He replied from a still contorted position, "I need to return to our place and place my _______ in a bucket of ice." 

Now that, is some holy pepper. Pay heed all who follow in these footsteps. Now, an hour later or so I knew he had fully, ahem, recovered when he turned to me and said, "You have my permission to blog about this."

Oh honey, I had half of it written in my head in the first 10 minutes. This gives "en fuego" a whole new meaning.

Watch yourselves and have a gorgeous week. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Failure to maintain lane

Recently I had the opportunity to interact with the City of Atlanta Police Department. I did not request this opportunity and I certainly did not enjoy the opportunity when it was pressed upon me. I received not one but two tickets. Ticket 1: Crossing the gore. Do you know the gore? Of course you don't. The only gore you know is Al because thanks to him, we have the internet. The gore is the triangle formation when one lane merges into another OR the triangle area when you move from one lane into a turning lane. Because I did put my wheels in the triangle, I crossed the gore. I also received a ticket for failure to maintain lane because I was in the triangle. So if you put your wheels into the triangle shape, you are out of your lane. This will cause you to pay an additional 350.00 and then question the officer silently are you &$%#((@^!!!! kidding me?

But failure to maintain lane might be an opportunity to make lemonade of lemons. Let me explain.
When I run with MiniMac, MiniMac likes to run in a straight line as quickly as his little body can move. Until he starts to run diagonally. My commentary to him during his cut and weave which usually puts him directly in my line, "maintain your lane, buddy." When MiniMac played football, he and his teammates would run drills. Sometimes those lines were straight and sometimes they would dive bomb in front of one another causing confusion and sometimes crashing bodies. My commentary during football drills turned toddler mosh pit, "maintain your lane!"

But 'maintain your lane' is applicable to a much wider audience than 5 year old kids at football or drivers. It actually applies to many other people. People you know who fall into a special category. Do you know what that category is? The category of Busy Bodies. I believe this expression was popular in the 70's but wow, it is still applicable today. The BB's are that officious intermeddler who isn't actually present to help. BBs get in the way because they come in your lane. We had a BB in our neighborhood years ago nicknamed "Mrs. Roper" because she was a yapper, a gossip and a busybody. I think we are all confident that you would prefer the nickname "Porkchop" over the nickname "Mrs. Roper." Our Mrs. Roper didn't like to maintain her lane. She liked everyone's lane but her own.

I think maintaining your lane is a wise idea. I did not want to maintain my lane yesterday when in the elevator at the hotel I stay at in NYC almost every week, a woman was irate at the front desk clerk because he "lied to her and told her she had to pay for wi-fi" even though TA DA she clearly had wi-fi on her phone. She was going off about this from Lobby level to floor 44 where I got out. I wanted to say, "He didn't lie ding-dong, your iPhone picks up the signal for wi-fi but you have to PAY to access it." Did I say this? NO. It might have helped but I doubt it. That's maintaining your lane.

Personal exposure to failure to maintain lane:

1. Woman in the bathroom at the airport in St. Maarten who told me I wasnt drying my hands properly under the hand dryer. Really? Are there 20 options and I have chosen the weakest, most inefficient method? NO. Unless you saw me vigorously rubbing my hands under that heat wave while simultaneously pouring water on them, I think I have it covered. Now, maintain your lane.

2. Lady in Starbucks who told me I 'should not make my son grow up an only child'.  WOW. Thanks for helping me make a decision about having another baby. JMac and I are not sure. Oh, what's your name again lady? I forgot we were close friends. Oh, and you know who doesn't agree with the "only child is lonely child" philosophy? All of your siblings who probably wanted to vote you off the island at one point. Please maintain your lane.

3. The woman in Macy's who told the customer service clerk her hair color was "too dark for her skin tone." The girl could not respond to the customer because she works there and sassing back is probably verbotten in the company handbook. Therefore, I will say it for her:  Thanks for the coiffure tips Frederic Fekkai, might a friendly helper let you know that you are outside your lane? Oh, and your rude. Oh, and your lipstick is BRIGHT tangerine and the only girls pulling that off are super gorgeous ones.  Back in your lane and zip it when you get there.

4. And the other Mom of an elementary school child, I appreciate your helpful insight. MiniMac has started kindergarten. After school, his former private school picks him up for after-care. We went to school to watch the transition from classroom to holding area to private school van pick up. We stepped into the hallway and of course, MiniMac was super excited to see us. The other Mom, standing on the sidewalk motions us to come back outside. Are we old friends? Is my tag out? Let me go see. She wanted to let me know that I didnt need to be inside. She too was "once where we are" and had a child start school. She "knows it is very hard" but you can not "smother your child" in the process. She wanted me to know that I am not to "interfere" with the "bell to bell instruction" and that we need to "let our son learn to take instruction from other people."

After all that, I smiled at her, patted her on the arm (hoping to transfer condescension in the process) and said, "We just went in to get out of the rain." I turned on my kitten heel, and went back inside. It turns out the teachers who monitor this process are the teachers who run the Accelerated Learning. My favorite part of this story is the ending, in two parts:
a. One of the teachers of the Accelerated Learning program said MiniMac would be a good candidate and asked me to attend a meeting.
b. I apologized to the teachers because clearly, I was infiltrating the sanctity of their domain and usurping their authority. I didnt add those bit but I did apologize. He said, "Don't be silly." So I let him know Helpful Henrietta outside let me in on the deal. He laughed, said, "Ignore her. She's a busybody."  LOVE IT.  The old school reference to people who fail to maintain their lane.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Going to the chapel

JMac and I celebrated our wedding anniversary over waverunners, great wine and outdoor concerts last weekend.  We opted to take MiniMac because he is one of the greatest gifts we have ever received. And well, now we know a five year old contributes in a very different way to a celebration weekend than say, oh, a fabulous bottle of red wine. We had a great, great time together as a family. But as soon as we got home my husband planned a trip to Vegas for us. Apparently, we will have an adult-only weekend-long no-pants party after all. 

For this weekend, JMac once again had some other surprises up his sleeve. His sleeve is notorious for holding great surprises. I love his sleeve. This time, a free pass to the jeweler who custom designed my wedding rings. WOW. I am going to need time to prepare for that...

I think back on our wedding day. It is absolutely amazing to have so many people we love in one place at one time. We were so lucky. 

When planning the wedding, I initially had a guest list over 300 people. JMac stated, "This isn't a tailgate party." Of course it isn't silly, I could not imagine a wedding with canned beer and buffalo chicken dip! But I got his point. So we worked that list down for nine months until it was 100 guests. And that group of people are some of the most amazing people we know.

It is moving to know that for most of us, at the core of who we are, we do believe in love. We want to be seized up, fluttery. We want to be involved and evolved. We want to be part of something larger than the space we alone consume. 

We wrote our own vows. I promised that when I look at him, I will look to see him clearly. And that I will never assume I know everything about him. I also promised to spend my life participating in this relationship. And to treat his love and presence in my life as a gift.
But let's be candid. Marriage is hard. There are days we are completely in sync. There have been days one or both of us have wondered 'who IS this person'.
To be patient when you want to be impatient. To be silent when you feel insistent you are right, or your point is more valid. It is hard, and it is easy. It is raw at certain crossroads. At times, it is holding a mirror to yourself. And at other times, it is shows you what you are missing, and makes you a better person. It is honest. And sometimes it is overwhelming. And surely, I have done all of these things well and I have done all of them poorly. But it is by far the most complicated and rewarding relationship you ever have because it is the one you picked. 

Love is a gift. And I hope I am fully living my promises. Sam Keen said Love isn't about finding the perfect person. Its about seeing the imperfect person perfectly. 

And so, in the minutes I may not be living my promises, when I feel that distractions, or other priorities are valid excuses for making my marriage second tier, I want to keep in mind: that both of us, with our imperfections, are better as a team than we could ever be as individual. 

And now, as we are raising a son, a little man who is proof that goodness that is pure and true exists, what we strive for as his parents is that everything good about him is not only a reflection on us, but a reflection of us. And this is another really great goal to have.

Sometimes love misses it mark, but not the day we got married. It is late on Friday afternoon. I know I should be working and planning for my crazy travel week next week. Apparently, I would rather write about love. 

Happy Anniversary JMac. I am celebrating all we have done and all still in store for us.