Perpetual Plan B

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Duck Incident

After typing this title, I realized that I've had a lot of "incidents" in my life.

You can rest assured that not all of these were caused by me. In fact I've been an innocent victim in at least one or two of them. Here is one:

It was 1988 or 89, I'm not exactly sure which, but I do remember where I was when "it" happened. My roommates at Cambridge Court Apartments and I were minding our own business watching t.v. one night in our living room. I do remember that it was a Sunday.

All of a sudden the front door flew open and a duck was thrown into our apartment. I know it was thrown because I saw hands throwing it in. I wish we had seen who the hands belonged to, though I do have my suspicions. (Ok, so maybe this incident WAS provoked by a practical joke or two that we'd pulled on other people who lived in our complex. Most of them were done to cute boys. Some were done to the roommates of the cute boys.)

One thing I could testify to in a court of law is that when ducks get scared they, um, poop. A lot. We literally had poop flying from one end of the room to the other, along with the duck. I don't think anything or anyone was spared.

It took us a minute to get our wits about us and then we did what girls do in an emergency. We called the cute guys in another apartment to come rescue us. I think we tried a few different ones before we found someone that was available.

This is Dave. He was cute, available and willing to help. I had actually dated Dave a couple of times. (He was a few years older than me, maybe four or five, so he made me nervous though I don't know why. He was a great guy and always a perfect gentleman, which is more than I can say about some of the other guys I dated back then. I think anyone much older than me made me nervous. I'm funny that way. I'm not sure if I've grown out of it or not.) Coincidentally (or not), Dave didn't call me again after this incident. Maybe he likes girls who aren't afraid of ducks in their apartments. (I really do look like a pansy here, don't I? I think I'm actually standing on the furniture.)

After Dave left, we got to work cleaning up all the trails of wet duck poop. Then we all fought over who got to take the first shower.

I hope we remembered to bake Dave some cookies or something. It would be the least we could do. I never did think to ask what he did with the duck. I hope he, along with Dave, had a nice life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Family Photo

Here is a copy of what may possibly be the only professional family photo in existence with everyone in my family in it. It was taken around 1985.

It was taken a few months before my older brother, Russ, left for a mission to England. I think I was in 11th grade.

I'm the one wearing the dorky sailor dress. (A little trivia, I've always been partial to sailor dresses and have owned at least five different ones since high school. I also used to buy sailor dresses for my girls when they were little. Now that they are older, they refuse to wear sailor-looking clothes. I'm waiting patiently for granddaughters - maybe in about 10 years, I hope.)

We've had other family photos taken, but Brett hadn't been born yet in most of them. We did have another one since Brett was born but my dad didn't get home from chores in time to be in it (or maybe he forgot) so it is just of my mom and us kids.

I like this picture because we all look so clean-cut and happy. After this, most of my brothers grew their hair down way past their shoulders. That is another post for another day, but just to let you know, if any of my brothers had some extra cash lying around, I'm sure I'd try to use some of my old photos to blackmail them.

We've also had other photos taken since we've all grown up, but they have had various ex-sisters-in-law in them so we can't display them any more. This is a bummer because I really miss one of my ex-sisters-in-law and one of the other photos is actually a good picture of me. Oh well.

I keep trying to get a family photo with just my brothers and me (with or without my parents) and for some reason it just hasn't happened. I think they think it may end up on the internet or something. (Really now, only one of them is still in the Witness Protection Program as far as I know. I don't know what the big deal is!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Regrets, I've had a few......

Do you ever wonder why people do the things they do? I sure do. I also wish that sometimes I could go back and explain to people why I did some of the dumb things I did when I was younger.

I've done some stupid things that turned out to be really mean, though I wasn't trying to be mean at the time. I was just trying to do what I thought was the right thing for the situation. It makes me wonder how many "mean" people are really just misunderstood.

Here are a couple of examples:

When I moved to Utah from Nebraska I was lucky enough to have a cousin my age. That is a great thing for a girl in late elementary school to already have a friend in her class. I'm one of those people who is painfully shy at first and then will shock you when you get to know me because I'm really not quiet at all, just self conscious until I feel comfortable with the situation.

I happened to move in right before Valentine's Day so I was expected to send a Valentine to EVERYONE, even though I didn't know them and they certainly didn't know me. My aunt dutifully bought me a box of valentines (my mom and some of my brothers had stayed behind to sell our house, so my dad and brother and I lived with my aunt and uncle for a few months). Unfortunately I didn't like the valentines at all, I thought they were dumb and babyish.

As my cousin, Jolene, and I sat down to write the names on our valentines, I started to feel worse and worse. A lot of them said the usual things, like "I like you" and "I want you to be my Valentine". Sounds pretty harmless, right? Well, not when you're a 10 year old girl. I was so afraid that the boys in the class would take what the cards said literally (you know, it made perfect sense at the time) that I came up with what I thought was a great solution.

I re-wrote the sentiments on all the cards for the boys. By adding the simple word "don't", I solved the problem. "I don't like you" and "I don't want you to be my Valentine" ended up on every single card for every single boy.

I have to admit that there was one nice, soft spoken boy named Darin that I did feel a little worried about doing this to. I thought about it for just a minute before deciding that I needed to let him know too, right up front, that I didn't have any charitable feelings toward ANY boys.

Now, I hadn't really thought about this for years, but my sister-in-law said something the other day that made me remember what I had done. And I feel just sick about it. I have a little boy with tender feelings who would be just crushed to get such a mean message from a bratty girl like me. I wonder what their mothers must have thought.

I wish there were some way to get in touch with every boy from that class and just send a message saying, "I didn't really mean it. It wasn't you, it was me", etc. I wonder how many boys I scarred for life. (I wonder how many boys even remember? - I'm sure their mothers do, I know I would remember.)

By the way, I'm sure I was a barrel of laughs to be with at the little Valentine Tea the PTA puts on every year. I pity the poor boy that had to pull out MY chair and bring me a cookie. I probably ate his too!

(Note: I'm the evil looking one on the second row wearing plaid pants, in-between all the angelic looking little girls in cute little dresses.)

Now on to my next true confession before I lose my nerve. This one goes under the heading "the (stupid) things we do for love".

In sixth grade (yes, I had come a long way since fourth grade) I had a boyfriend. His name was "Randall". It was Halloween and we were all dressed up at school, as they used to let you do back then.

Randall was dressed up in a trench coat, like a spy. Another boy, I'll call him "Brett", had made fun of Randall's costume, or at least that's what someone told me at recess. As a result, I was a little miffed at Brett so I went up to him and slugged him in the stomach, just like that. I had taken care of the situation. End of story, or so I thought. (I'm really not a violent person, I don't think I've ever slugged anyone else in my whole life, I promise!)

Much later, I was sitting at my desk and turned around and saw Brett, doubled over his desk crying. We were old enough that it was not normal for a boy to be crying and he was probably the toughest boy in our whole school. I feel like crying right now writing this, because I feel so terrible about what I did. I've done worse things, but this makes me feel more ashamed of myself than almost any other thing I've done in my whole life. It didn't help when I found out years later that Brett had a tough life at home.

If there is only one person I could go back in time to apologize to, it would be Brett. I've always wondered what happened to him and how much he was affected by what I did that day.

(Addendum: I just found my fourth grade class picture. I am still in touch with at least a couple of these boys via facebook or e-mail from our last class reunion. I think I'll ask them if they remember the valentines. I was very relieved to see that Brett was NOT in my fourth grade class also. I think that would be way too much harrassment from me for one little boy to handle.)

Response number one, just sent to me from one boy in the class:
Yes, I was in that class and yes I do remember. Only because your blog triggered some neuron - haven't thought of it for years and I wouldn't have recalled it was you. It didn't scar me, but I recall thinking it wasn't terribly nice. I don't think I've thought about it since that day...But, it probably is the background reason why I never asked you out in high school :-).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bad Paid for Photos

My daughter Ally, who is in middle school, had her photo taken a couple of weeks ago. She said that the photographer told her friend to say "boys" when he took her picture.

This reminded me so much of the picture I had taken when I was in 3rd grade. The photographer said to me, "Do you like boys?"

At the time I already had four brothers and, though I had no way of knowing this at the time, there would even be another brother on the way a few years later, with no sister in sight. I was up to my ears in boys and not really loving the situation.

So my answer was an emphatic, "NO!!!"

Here is the result (and let's hope that her friend's picture turns out better than mine!) :

(Do you like the groovy shirt? I've never seen anything like it, before or since this photo - and probably for a good reason!)

Well, that's nothing compared to what my poor daughter will have to live with for the rest of her life.

When Ally was six weeks old I took her in to get her picture taken. They told me the camera was broken and I was very annoyed because we had an appointment and it is kind of a big ordeal to get a baby ready for a picture and also drag an older toddler along for the ride.

I made her another appointment for after her well checkup the next week. What I forgot to factor in was the fact that she would be getting shots. She bawled and screamed all the way to JC Penney. They took a couple of photos with her crying and then she promptly fell asleep. We couldn't wake her up for anything. Since they had to take six shots and had only taken two, they had to take four shots of her in the exact same pose, fast asleep. You'd think I'd just give up at that point and call one of those photos good, but not me. I am a picture fanatic when it comes to photos of my babies. I wanted to get one that would match her older sister's so I could put them in a frame together.

I made yet another appointment for a few days later.

We got the pictures taken and one in particular seemed like it might be just what I was hoping for.

Now this was back in the olden days before digital photography so you had to wait six weeks to even see what the photos were going to look like. You had to make another appointment to pick up your photos and then buy whatever you wanted from whatever they would happen to send.

I waited eagerly for the appointment so I could go view the photos of my little darling. I had scheduled one time to see both packets of photos because it was really hard to drag my two little girls out again and hope that they would both be good while I took my time deciding what I wanted to buy.

First they pulled out the crying/sleeping set. I viewed them somewhat quickly, waiting to get to the photos from the other sitting and just hoping against hope that the one shot I was thinking of would turn out. Finally they got to the shot. I smiled happily and breathed a sigh of relief. It would work in the frame and matched Morgan's photo quite well. I bought every single photo they had sent of that particular shot and kept exclaiming happily how much I loved it and it was just what I was hoping for. Looking back I think the girls who were working there must have wondered what kind of a freak I was.

I literally did not notice the problem until someone else pointed it out to me much later.

Here is the shot. Can you tell what is wrong with this picture?

(I'll give you a hint. My mom took a sharpie pen and refused to hang it on her wall until she blacked out the offending appendage.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kindergarten Quotes (So Far)

Our little Austin started kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. Here are a few of the quoteable quotes so far:

As we waited outside the classroom for his turn to be evaluated by his teacher, I read to him from the stack of books that were there. I would read up to a certain point and then wait for him to fill in the blank with the appropriate rhyming word. He was surprisingly good at this.

Until we got to Hop on Pop.

I was on the page that said, "Dad is sad. Very, very sad. He had a _________ "

Austin looked puzzled for a second before he supplied the word, "wife".

Now should I take THAT personally?

(The answer is "bad day" in case you were wondering.)

The week before school started, Austin was concerned about starting school because there had been a mean girl in one of his preschool classes a couple of years ago. He didn't want this mean girl in his class.

I told him there was very little chance of that happening so he shouldn't worry about it.

Well, it happened. She WAS in his class. (He must have my kind of luck.)

I tried to explain to him that she was probably nice now.

He wasn't buying it.

I then tried to tell him that it was so long ago that he knew her that she probably wouldn't even recognize him this year.

The night before school started he came to me and said, "I know, maybe if I wear glasses and a wig (the girl) won't recognize me this year!"

We came to the conclusion that she IS nicer this year, but he still woke me up in the middle of the night last week and begged me to home school him for kindergarten. That is not a good sign. I told him we would do lots of chores AND homework and he hasn't mentioned it again.

And finally, the school is cracking down on weapons. No pretend (or real) weapons of any kind, not even anything that could be mistaken for any kind of weapon.

Well, of course Austin wanted to take his magic wand for show and tell (or whatever educational name they are calling it these days). He still thinks he is Harry Potter and has gone to school with a carefully drawn scar on his forehead, more than once so far. I didn't think taking the wand would be a good idea because it is, after all, long and pointy and could put out a kid's eye.

I tried to tell him gently that he probably shouldn't take it because he might get in trouble because it might be considered a kind of weapon.

He thought for a while before promising, "It's okay mom, I won't do any spells with it."