Wednesday, November 30, 2011

At least it didn't have chunks

“Hands down, nastiest thing I ever saw.”

My husband’s voice echoed through the phone as he drove down the highway a day after Thanksgiving.

Considering what he’d just told me, I was more than a little surprised he was so calm about the matter.

Me? I’d be losing the contents of my own Thanksgiving dinner right about now.

“Let me get this straight,” I said, “you were passing a car on the highway and...uh....”

My voice drifted off as my brain had trouble connecting the image in my head with my tongue in order to form the words out loud.

In any case, it was the answer to the age-old question mystics have been asking for generations: What happens when puke hits the windshield of a car traveling at 75 mph?

OK, it’s not the meaning of life...but still...it’s something one might have to ponder on a road trip from hell.

And now my husband is one of the unlucky few who unfortunately knows the answer.

While driving down the highway at a respectable speed, he moved over into the left lane to pass a slower-moving sedan. Just as he pulled even with the other car, a guy popped up from its back seat, rolled down the rear seat window on the driver’s side and yakked his guts out.

Seriously.

Now, let’s take a moment to think about this because...really...the physics of such a thing happening must be astronomical.

Taking into consideration the speeds of both vehicles, the timing and angle of the projectile vomiting, the force behind it, the air resistance between the cars, the alignment of the planets and the rotation of the Earth, it really was a miracle of timing on the puker’s part that his...uh...stomach contents even reached my husband’s vehicle at all.

But they did.

All.
Over.
The windshield. 

That’s just physics with an attitude, my friend. Where the universe reaches out and gives you a wedgie just because it can.

“What the hell is that?!” my husband yelled as the gruesome load splattered in front of his face.

His brother, the unlucky one sitting in the passenger seat where the brunt of the hit streamed across his field of vision, leaned forward, cocked his head and answered, “I believe that’s puke.”

“Seriously?!” my husband asked in disbelief.

“Seriously,” his brother answered. “Hey, I can’t see,” he then complained, pointing at the puke-laden windshield. “How ‘bout some wiper action here.”

My husband grimaced, wondering what smeared puke would look like across the windshield of his new SUV, but took the chance anyway.

Surprisingly, it didn’t make too much of a mess. Considering it really couldn’t get much more gross, that is.

Perspective. It’s a good thing.

“At least there wasn’t any chunks in it,” my husband laughed, trying to keep his sense of humor through it all.

But by the time he relayed the incident to me, he had overcome his shock and was quickly moving from “s*** happens” into a huffy “I am man, hear me roar” mode.

I tried to be supportive.

Really. I did.

“Well,” I said, “you’d think a person in a luxury sedan like that would have better manners. That’s something you do to a foreign car or one of those plug-in-your-garage kinda vehicles that top out at 20 mph after you use a wind-up key to start it. Not a Grade A, 100 percent, All-American SUV built to invade a Third World Country.”

I paused. “That’s just un-American...and it’s Thanksgiving too!” I added.

“I know!” my husband retorted. “I outta call the highway patrol and tell them what happened.”
He paused, “Maybe they could track down the car, make them send me a note of apology.”

I bit back a snort, “Yeah, good luck with that. It’s a holiday weekend. I’m sure they’ve got better things to do than scour the countryside looking for your hit-and-run puker.”

Perspective. It’s a really good thing to have.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The not-so-wonderful toy



“Uh, I really have no explanation other than the Internet is an evil place.”

My husband looked at the gnarled mess of metal coils hanging from my fingertips, pointed and said, “You just killed the slinky.” 

Oh, well. There’s a first time for everything.

***

Twenty minutes earlier our six-year-old son had asked a simple question, “What kind of tricks can you do with a slinky, Mom?” He bounced the retro toy between his hands, making the slink-slink sound that has delighted easy-to-please children for generations.

An XBox can’t do everything, you know.

I beamed, “I can make the slinky go down the stairs.” 

“Big deal,” he shrugged in disinterest, “everyone can do that.”

OK. That punctured my pride a bit. It stung, but I shook it off. “I can make it flip from one hand back to the other.”

And...nothing. Tough crowd.

“But what kind of REAL tricks can you do?” he asked in despair, looking down at the slinky in his hands as if waiting for divine inspiration to radiate from within.

Oh, so sad.

So I uttered the shameful words that would later prove fatalistic in my quest to bring happiness to my son’s world.

“Let’s go check the Internet,” I offered and patted him on the back. “I bet we can find all kinds of neat tricks on there.”

***

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

Mr. Wet Blanket (my husband) never appreciates a good time.

Go ahead. Ask anyone.

There he stood on the driveway, hands on hips, looking down his nose in disdain at the view before him.

I admit it looked a little strange, and the neighbors were throwing looks as they drove by. But that’s nothing new.

At least no one was naked this time.

Anyway...there I stood, clutching one end of the slinky while our son stood about 10 feet away with the other end.

“Go ahead,” I instructed him, “just walk backwards and stretch it out as far as you can.”

Our son looked over at his dad, who chuckled, “You’re gonna regret this.”

“Quiet,” I snapped. “This is an experiment. Besides, the Internet said it was OK.”

He shook his head and answered, “No, what the guy actually posted was do the trick ‘and see what happens next.’ That’s the part that concerns me.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Don’t worry,” I called out to my son, who was looking at my husband, his big eyes rounded in fear, apparently beginning to question his mom’s sanity.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

I hurried to calm his fears, “We’re just like astronauts and explorers, all those brave souls who dare to go places and do things everyone else is too scared to do.”

That got my son’s attention. He perked up and asked, “We’re like Indiana Jones?”

And I knew I had him. Like a puppet on a string.

“Darn right, we’re like Indiana Jones,” I assured him, shaking the slinky in my fist, which made metal waves echo down the line.

“OK,” he hollered, “Let’s do this!”

That’s my boy, I thought, proud of his can-do spirit that built this great country of ours.
He’s so gonna win a Nobel Prize someday.

Or, at the very least, own a Taco Bell franchise.

A mom can dream.

“Remember,” I cautioned, “on the count of three, toss the slinky high into the air, and we’ll see what happens.”

He nodded his little blonde head with supreme confidence, braced his legs, screwed his face into a look of determination and stared so hard at the slinky I thought it’d burst into flames.

“One,” I hollered, “two...and THREE!”

And so we launched the slinky high into the air where it arched like a beautiful, metal rainbow, freezing in time for an instant before both ends snapped back together then shot off in different directions. Then it dropped into a heap on the driveway and gently rolled to a stop.

I’d like to report the experiment was a success.

And it was. If you consider it a good thing to twist a slinky into so many different directions there was no force great enough to make it right again.

Who knew?

....well, apparently the wisecrack who posted it on the Internet in the first place.

That dude owes me a slinky.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My little Top Gun



My little Picasso created this masterpiece for me yesterday in honor of my favorite movie.

Yes. "Top Gun."

Go ahead.

Judge me.

I really don't care.

We don't all have to be "Citizen Kane" or "The Godfather" lovers. Sure, they made cinematic history but neither one included a kick-ass volleyball scene.

Just sayin.'

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't skate me 'cuz I'm beautiful

Rule #1: Never let a girl ride your skateboard.

Rule #2: Never let your old man ride it either.

Rule #3: Mom is always right. Even if she is a girl.

***

“I wanna learn how to ride a skateboard,” my 6-year-old son announced.

I laughed, “You already do. I just watched you tear down the driveway on it.”

He did it sideways, somehow breaking all laws of physics and reaching the end without falling off the board or breaking an arm.

I don’t I understand it. But I won’t argue with it either.

Plus, he WAS wearing a helmet. I’m not a complete moron of a mom. No matter what anyone (my husband) says in public.

But I digress....

My son sighed and said, “But I wanna learn how to ride it for real. Do tricks and stuff, you know?”

I shook my head, “Oh, I don’t think so. Why don’t you try something a little safer? Like skydiving. Sticking your finger in a light socket. Or running with scissors.”

He scowled, “But I didn’t think I was allowed to do those things.”

I nodded as if taken by surprise, “Well, how about that?” I paused. “I guess you will NOT be doing any of those things.” I not-so-sincerely patted him on the back and added, “Why don’t you run into the house and sit quietly in a chair?”

And...if a 6-year-old knew anything about flipping the bird, one would have been flying in my direction right about now. 

Instead, he grabbed his board and did what any fast-thinking first grader would do.

He ran for Dad.

***

“I’m 47 years old,” my husband moaned as he limped carefully into the kitchen, “and I’m too old for this skateboarding $h**.”

A good wife would have immediately jumped to his aid, grabbed ice bags and a bottle of aspirin and had him sit on the couch. Soothe his brow, make him a nice lunch and let him watch football and drink beer for the rest of the day.

(pause)

I think we all know there’s a better chance of monkeys flying outta my rear before that happens.

I snorted and said, “Let me guess. You were riding his skateboard. And fell.”

He grimaced and rubbed his not-so-very-derriere. “Right on my ---,” he whined. 

I’d like to say I was above gloating, better than saying “I told you so.” But, alas.

I. Am. Not.

“Told you so,” I said.

And his response?

Apparently a 47-year-old has no problem flipping the bird.

***

My son ran into the house, breathless with excitement after his very first skateboarding lesson.

OK. 

I had folded like cheap origami on the whole skateboard lessons thing.

So we found a nice skateboarding college student who could teach him a little better than my husband had the (lack of) ability to do.

I laughed at the enthusiasm our son usually reserved for “Star Wars” and SpongeBob and asked him, “Was it fun?”

He nodded hard enough to send his little blonde head into orbit, “It was awesome!”

I looked at my husband. He was smirking at me. 

That’s never a good thing.

He smiled in a Cheshire Cat/you’re screwed kinda way and told our son, “Tell Mom what the first lesson of skateboarding is.”

Our son immediately snapped to attention ala “An Officer and a Gentleman” style and recited as if presenting orals for a postgraduate degree, “Never let a girl ride your skateboard.”

Seriously? Sexism? In skateboarding?

That’s soooooo not fair.

I immediately put on my huffy pants and said, “What kind of nonsense is that? I want my money back.”

My son shook his head sadly and answered, “That’s just the way it is, Mom.”

He ran from the room, leaving my husband to explain, “Apparently his teacher’s girlfriend took his board for a ride and chipped it. He jokingly told him that if he wanted to keep his board in good shape, he’d keep girls away from it.”

Some lessons are priceless.

Others apparently cost $10.

In either case, I just got ripped off.