My Husband is Trying to Kill me

Biking is his Weapon of Choice

husbandkillIt was a bright, sunshiny day. My husband and I planned to enjoy our time together sans daughters because they were spending a few days at their grandparents.

It was a perfect day. The birds were singing while perched atop their favorite branch, as gentle breezes swayed them back and forth. The puffy clouds danced above forming various animal designs.

That’s what I dreamed while gazing out my kitchen window. Then I noticed the temperature gauge and 99 degrees barked in my face. Mother Nature wasn’t messing around.

I’m not sure how I got hoodwinked into taking a bicycle ride at high noon. I didn’t owe my husband anything. My mental capacity wasn’t diminished. But somehow I was persuaded it was a grand idea. Obviously, my husband is trying to kill me.

There was one slight problem. I don’t know how to ride a bike anymore. The idiot who said riding a bike is “just like riding a bike” had obviously never met me.

When I was a child, however, I had my blue bike with a silver-striped banana seat. Every Fourth of July, I would decorate it with streamers and playing cards in the spokes for our annual parade.

I even rode my bike delivering newspapers when I was older. I’m fairly certain it takes balance and skill, so at one time I was adept at pedaling and coasting downhill.

Until I met my husband, I hadn’t thought about owning another bike. Why would I need one of those when I had a car and legs?

I’m a walker. I enjoy watching the scenery as I stroll along. When my friends and I were training for a walking marathon many moons ago, we probably covered every trail in the metro.

Bicyclists would come blazing down the trail from behind and yell out, “On the left!” After jumping out of our skin, we would roll our young eyes and titter about bikers who were whizzing by nature’s beauty.

This was about the time I started dating my husband. While I was training for the marathon, he was training for the Bike MS 150. Apparently, this bike event is a big deal and not just an opportunity to wear tight shiny shorts in public.

So the other day, when wearing some of my husband’s shiny non-breathable clothing and had a strangling helmet strapped on, I realized there was no turning back. A bike ride was in my immediate future because in his own sweet way, my husband was trying to kill me.

Word to the wise: if you are getting basic instructions on operating bike gears before getting on a trailhead, you might not be a biker.

Needless to say, I never got the whole “gear” thing down. There were several times when the chain hopped off the bike to mock me, leaving me at bottoms of hills pedaling slowly to nowhere. I was going downhill quickly on an incline.

That’s when it happened. I decided my husband was plotting to kill me. Shouting ahead, I inquired if he’d made any changes to our life insurance policy. Perhaps he found some woman to raise our children. A younger version of me, but not funny and a bad cook, who loved biking, worked at a bike store so she got a great discount on shiny apparel, and had a bell on her handle bar to warn those pesky walkers.

My impending need to vomit didn’t come from those wild thoughts. Spinning my wheels in the near 100-degree weather was what nearly drove me to the ER. Heat exhaustion is a nasty beast and I strongly advise against it.

Per my request, my loving husband left me alone on a curb to rest and drink water. As he raced home to get the minivan to pick up his red-faced, nauseated wife, I dramatically texted friends to say my goodbyes – just in case I died on the curb.

Thankfully, I was wrong. My husband wasn’t trying to kill me. That gives a lady a boost in confidence! But it will be a long while before I hop on a bike.

If God wanted people to ride bikes, we would have wheels instead of feet.

It’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.

One hot mama

One hot mama

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a biker or Walker/Runner? Or can you be both?

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Summer Mind is a Terrible Thing to Lose

As I open the newspaper each morning, I read about someone who has performed some horrendous crime. Why is it that further into the summer months the offenses become more frequent and irrational?

I’ll tell you why. It’s because everyone is losing their blooming “summer mind.”

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Never heard of summer mind? I know you’ve felt it in suburbia – especially if you have children.

The beginning of summer is brimming with possibilities of sleeping in late, splashing in the pool and relaxing vacations. All the while you never have to harp on your kids about homework or shuttle around vans bursting with cleated-children to their 50 million soccer games.

This is your bliss time.

But then by the middle of summer, something happens. Many vacations are over and by the end of the trip; the entire family is getting on each other’s last nerve.

And the neighborhood pool seems so far away even though it’s within walking distance. How many times do the kids need to go swimming anyway?

“Honey, it’s just too hot to go to the pool. Maybe when it cools down a touch.”

Plus, you could get chiggers or mosquito bites on the walk there, and you don’t want to apply your Coppertone 50 and then bug spray.  DEET is a don’t in the pool, for sure!!

Then you have all those towels to dry again for the 7th time this week. Oh, goody… more laundry!

Well folks, it’s mid-July and the summer honeymoon phase is OVER! Take a leap summer. I’m ready for a crisp October.

So the felons in the news, who maybe don’t have air conditioning or a pool down the street, do you think they were pushed over the brink by the sweltering heat?

They just couldn’t take it anymore, and in a fit of heat stroke, they robbed a Dollar store. Here in Kansas City the other day, someone held up a thrift shop for charity.

Really?

This is the best you can come up with?!

I don’t understand why “dollar-type” stores seem to be frequently robbed. Doesn’t the word “dollar” make one think perhaps that store wouldn’t have a lot of cash inside since they are only selling things FOR ONE DOLLAR?!

Obviously, the people here…have lost their summer minds.

Or maybe the unfortunate people on the news have been locked up all day with their children with no breaks.

The three-month summer break keeps these kids home-locked. If the parent can’t afford daycare or programs for the children to get out of the house, the whines of “I’m bored” or “I’m hungry” or “Get Bobby off my head!” can be overwhelming. There really is so much one parent can take.

Hence, another parent loses their summer mind.

I’m not saying these behaviors are justifiable. As I tell my girls, “Illegal behavior is…illegal.”

But there is a side of me that just nods my head and thinks, “Oh, the Demons of Summer have stolen another parent.”

Luckily, I am fortunate to ship send my girls off to camps, and have relatives who will gladly help out to watch them during the summer so our family can get a break from each other. Just an overnight can make all the difference and help us reboot our emotional summer hard drive.

We only have three more weeks until school starts back up in our neck of the woods.

So I’m going to suck it up, spray on some bug spray for the walk to the pool, paint on my happy face, and splash with my kids in the water.

One thing is for sure…until the temperature drops, I’m keeping my distance from the Dollar and Thrift Stores.

Are you getting to that maxed out feeling? Ready for the kids to go back to school or are you sad that they are leaving you? I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Lost Stuffed Monkey Discovery Prompts Social-media Search for Owner

11709430_10207055599779032_682904509662740112_nGrady Reid of Olathe was driving through the busy intersection of 121st and Blue Valley Parkway on July 4 when he noticed something odd in the opposite lane. He turned his car around, and as if the tides had parted, there were no cars behind him.

He managed to stop, pick up a stuffed monkey and bring it home — beginning his quest to find the toy’s owner.

“He was in rough shape,” said the father of one and television cameraman for a local station. “This belongs to someone, but I didn’t have any grand ideas about how to broadcast it.”

To the rescue: Social media.

“First thing I did was take a picture and put it on my Facebook page. Then I called work, and asked our web producer if they could put it out there. That same day they it was on their station’s Twitter feed,” Reid said.

Within 24 hours, he watched the infectious story grow as nearly 15,000 shares were made on Facebook from the funny half-dozen photos he posted. Reid said he couldn’t figure out how many people saw it on Twitter, but that “it was fun watching it all day retweeting and retweeting.”

Reid empathized with the thought of child missing his or her loved one.

“I have a kid. So as a parent, we’ve all been through that — lost something close to us. My kid left something behind in a restaurant once and we’ve gone back to get it. I think every parent has done that.”

That’s why Reid has not given up the fight. Even though the little chimp still hasn’t found his buddy, there have been several good leads.

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Monkey’s first mugshot

Three days later, a woman contacted Reid saying the photos on Facebook looked like her daughter’s stuffed monkey who had been lost for four years. She claimed their monkey had extra markings where the girl’s grandmother had added extra stitch work.

Reid was on his way home from working a night shift when her text came through.

“I was pulled over in a strip mall at midnight, texting pictures of the monkey’s ear and tail,” he said.

The woman said the grandmother could meet him right then. And since she had done the stitching, the grandmother would recognize it better.

“Now I’m meeting old ladies in parks and looking at stitch work,” Reid said laughing. Alas it was not hers.

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When will my buddy find me?

Manuel Cantu of Olathe also saw the Facebook photo and sent a text to his 12-year-old daughter, joking that the lost monkey online resembled her stuffed pal, George.

Little did he know that George was missing. A few weeks prior, Cantu’s daughter had gone to Worlds of Fun and then over to a friend’s house for a sleepover. Some time in that stretch of time is when she lost it.

“I bought it when she was born,” said Cantu. “It was 2003.”

This was the missing link to squash their hope of reuniting. Reid noticed the date of production on the missing monkey manufactured by Ty, Inc. was 2009. Sadly, there was no way that it could be George.

“Even down to the missing eye,” said Cantu. Both the monkey on the street and Cantu’s daughter’s buddy had lost the same left black-buttoned eye.

So the search for the owner continues.

“If no one comes forward, maybe my daughter could adopt it,” Cantu said.

(by Stacey Hatton, previously published in The Kansas City Star, July 15, 2015)

 

Crazy Family, Bats in the Belfry, and an Endless Supply of Wine

When I was in grade school we lived across the street from a beautiful home, surrounded by a dense wooded area. The owner was an elderly widow; and since her children had grown and flown, she pretty much stayed to herself.

However, once a year she would call my father and ask for help with her home. Just a little task called bat removal.

It didn’t matter my father wasn’t in the extermination field. He was the business manager for a small film company, which I’m sure even back then didn’t qualify him to mess with possibly rabid creatures. He would have been better suited for processing paychecks for the flying creatures, but that wasn’t her request.

“Lovie.” (This was the name she called everyone just in case his or her name slipped her memory.)

“Lovie, I have a little bat problem again. Could you be a dear and help me out with it?” Helping her translated to Dad doing the bat removal part, while she stood in the corner pointing out flight patterns.

Annually my family of four would don parkas with hoods, and trot over our arsenal of weapons: tennis racquets, baseball bats, rakes and whatever had a long handle. After the shrieking, yelling, ducking and laughing died down and the bat was safely in the woods, we would head back to bed, ensuring vivid nightmares.

Without fail, the next day our thankful neighbor would knock on our door and gift us her homemade bread. The poor gal could cook as well as remove flying objects because that bread was as dark as the night and as hard as a baseball bat.

Last week, my family on my husband’s side headed to Colorado to celebrate my in-law’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. We had a large condo for much of the extended family, which included a loft for the kids. They were ecstatic to have their own place, so they immediately morphed the loft into their three-foot high apartment.

The Colorado weather was gorgeous. Every night we would sit out on the deck watching the stars and sipping wine, while the kids played in their “fort.”

The problem with drinking wine and having fifteen people coming in and out of a house is that the actual closing of said door becomes less of a priority as the evening goes on. Actually, it’s an unknown fact that the ratio of frivolity is directly related to proper door closure.

A few bottles later, my husband saw a fluttering of the lights in the living room. It wasn’t the wine. Electrical engineers have a gift for spotting problematic lighting. He casually announced to the family outside that there was a bat in the living room.

As you can imagine, everyone came inside to either solve the problem or remove the kids from danger. The next part is a whirr. Someone yelled that the bat was heading to the loft. A child’s scream directs the men to her aid. Distressed child was removed from the once beloved loft. Then began the male planning phase of bat reassignment.

So how many grown men does it take to remove a bat from the belfry? The answer is none. While some were trying to figure out what to do, another closed the bat between the window screen and the window and when he stepped away to find a tool to push off the screen, the bat escaped into the night air. Easy.

Brushing off their hands, the men went back to the deck, so I searched for those in hiding. Down in the basement bathroom, I found the women perfectly entertained drinking white wine and watching Guns and Roses videos on an I-phone.

Does this kind of crazy happen at all family get-togethers or is it just ours?

Never mind. Sometimes it’s best not to know the answer.

Summer Love had me a blast

SandCastleLove

 

His name was Kevin. Or was it Randy? No, that’s how he made me feel that first summer of vacationing in Colorado with my folks. Summer love, had me a blast…

Money always appeared scarce, so we didn’t take fancy vacations like the ones you hear of today.

When I was in junior high — because that’s what middle school was called in the days before “screen time” — my family, jam-packed liked sardines in the station wagon brimming with food coolers, groceries, suitcases and tackle boxes, headed west toward hills much grander than we could imagine.

My family rented a cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colo.. It had four walls, indoor plumbing, running water, board games, intricate 1,000-piece puzzles and frisky black squirrels running outside. It was a charmed life.

For the first time I experienced hiking, horseback riding on mountain trails and fishing for rainbow trout. Our cabin was just down the road from a large fish hatchery stocked to the gills with trout of every platter size. Since no one in my family was an expert fisherman, we dropped our lines in the no fail zone every few days.

About 30 minutes into our family bonding time, I tired of fishing. But luckily, I met the boy and, oh, was he cute! He looked like a young Donny Osmond in an oversized baseball cap. I was smitten.

No longer did I want to hike or solve puzzles, I wanted to go fishing — for a summer boyfriend.

Traveling many years forward to last summer, my new family traveled to California for a beach vacation.

There were family walks on the beach, body surfing and magnificent sand castles.

Shortly after we arrived, one of my daughters made friends with a young boy about her age. He had sandy, sun-bleached hair, darkly tanned skin and a friendly demeanor.

“Mom, I met this boy and his name is Life!” she beamed.

Oh, boy. We’re not in Kansas anymore.

“Does that boy have family with him?” I asked.

“His dad and some gal are living down there on the beach,” she said as if that were just a normal bit of news. I looked farther down the beach, saw the amount of equipment they had, and I sadly realized my daughter’s new friend and his family were homeless.

The boy ended up joining us on the beach every day. Each morning he was waiting for my daughter and showed her the shells he had found or described the birds he had seen while she was sleeping.

One morning Life ran up with what looked like a small stingray in his hands. It was a sharkfish.

Life dragged that fresh carcass around most of the day to impress my girl. He would prop it up so it could watch them jump in the waves and build castles together. And at the end of the day, before the green flash appeared on the horizon, Life gave my daughter a touching gift… death in the form of bait. She was smitten.

As we were walking up the beach to our hotel, I informed my daughter we would not be keeping the gift. She looked up at me heartbroken and a part of me was crushed, as well.

“Honey, we can’t have that around me. Remember I’m allergic to bait?” I said with a smile.

She slowly lowered it to the ground, gave one final good-bye and said, “Yeah, plus it’s gonna stink in the morning.”

Did you have any awesome summer loves? Have your kids experienced any whoppers? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.