Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What "No Fear" Really Means

I have finally done the one thing I have always wanted to do. For YEARS I've watched people skydive over my parent's house and we used to think they had lost their fucking minds. But today? I jumped.

And obviously survived.

My cousin Rhonda and I waiting to suit up.
I'm not going to lie- I was pretty nervous. I've gone para sailing, which is not anywhere close to this, and I don't have a fear of heights. Actually- I don't know what I really fear aside from bugs and animals. And pedophiles. And Ke$ha. And Mormons. And Catholic Priests. But other than that- I'm not really scared of anything.

We had a "lesson" which basically consisted of us laying on our stomachs and pretending. Which, guess what? Is nothing like it is when you're flying through the air. SHOCKER. We watch a video that reinstates all of the paperwork we had to sign basically saying we could get seriously injured and/or killed but hey--- neither we nor our heirs can sue because we know that going in. Yeah- that kind of scares people going in.

We get to watch a group jump before us so that was good. It was good to see how they actually land close up because I've never seen that and I like to know fully what I'm about to do BEFORE I do it. Then we're told that we can't go up in the plane together. We were going to jump tandem with an instructor/professional but there was only one on hand that day, so yeah. I decided that I would go first because I know that if I didn't- there was a good chance I would pussy out. So I was going to go first and Rhonda would watch me not die, and then she would go. So I got all suited up.
And I felt like Amelia Earhart- no joke. I pretty much felt like pissing my pants. Thankfully, I peed and shit before I got there and I had no food all day so I was hoping I was pretty well cleaned out. But then my plan was to wear a pad, just in case, but guess what? I forgot that. Whoopsy.

So we (me and my tandem instructor guy, Dean) get into a very tiny plane with two other jumpers (solo) and the pilot. To say that I was crammed into a very small space is an understatement. I could barely breathe. We had to climb up to 11,500 feet altitude and I wish I could have taken pictures of what the ground looked like. It was absolutely amazing. Everything looks so tiny and insignificant.

And at some point, I got harnessed to Dean and that's when I thought I was going to lose it- but it's not like I had a choice. Like the only way you are going to get to the ground is to jump out of the damn plane. So all of a sudden Dean's saying "waddle waddle" which means he's getting me to the door and I hear him telling me to put my foot on the ledge....which is outside of the plane. I'm freaking out and before I could even protest, dude has thrown me out. Like we do the tumble dive out of the plane and I had to close my eyes. I have no idea what the initial 10 seconds looked like because I thought I was going to puke, my eyes were closed, my face was freezing and I had to struggle to breathe. When I finally did open my eyes it was so fucking awesome to basically feel like you are falling to your death. We did a free fall for about 30-40 seconds at 120 mph before the parachute goes out, and then we float. It is such a peaceful feeling. It looks fast when you are on the ground but it feels like forever. I think in total I was in the sky for about 7 minutes.

So I'm the little white parachute dot in the bottom left of the picture:
And here's me when I'm a little bit closer to the ground.
And the landing was a lot easier than I thought. I had visions that I would just fall on my ass. But I didn't- I landed on my feet and walked it out.
 And here's me when I walked back towards my mom, Matt, my kids, and Rhonda:
Seriously- it's something I never thought I'd have the guts to actually do it. I'm glad I did it, I'm glad I survived it, I'm not happy about my ears still being so plugged that I can't hear anything. It was such an amazing experience- I would recommend anyone to do it. Seriously- it wasn't NEARLY as bad as everyone hyped it to be. The initial 10 seconds are the worst because you feel like you are going to vomit and like you are plunging to your death. But it's weird because as I was in the plane I kept thinking about that. Like, what if I did die? Would I be ok with that? And I think I would be. I would be alright with that. Obviously I would like to do more in my life but if I end up dying doing something I've always wanted to do....then I can't think of a better way to go.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Book Reviews! These are good for singles. Or people who aren't having sex.

Well I had some VERY good reads this week. Seriously- I'm going to start us out with a shitty one, and then end it with a GREAT one. Lambwhore/goatslut honor.

No One Belongs Here More Than You: Stories
I can't lie, I bought this solely because of the title and the cover. OK, and it was on clearance at Barnes & Noble for $5.98. And this was a mistake. I will say that I only made it through the third short story and maybe the book got better- but I just wasn't feeling it. If a book can't grab me right away- then I'm done. And a book that is a collection of short stories better grab me by the first one otherwise anything beyond that is me reading because I have nothing else and desperate measures have begun.

But seriously- one of the stories is (I think) about a guy who apparently is attracted to children, or at least pre-teen girls, but ends up sleeping with a man. I don't know- it was really weird and turned me off.

I pretty much don't recommend it.

Defeat the Darkness (Paladins of Darkness)OK- so this is part of a series and I obviously missed the first few books, but it didn't matter. I'm finding myself more and more into the weird paranormal/sci-fi romance. I don't know- first it was vampires and now we are onto Paladins and shit. I can't explain it and I don't understand it, but if a book makes my girly parts happy- I DON'T CARE WHAT I'M READING. Bottom line.

So our chick is a little tea shop owner who ends up falling, albeit reluctantly, for our hero- a damaged Paladin, which is kind of the equivalent of falling in love with a disabled soldier who's sent home because whoopsy- he got hurt. So yeah. The obviously DRAMA ensues but certainly not before some hot, angry, and confusing sex. Whatever.

But it was a good read, and basically what you expect from a romance novel. Sex, drama, hero. Yay. But the author was good at bringing thing whole thing home AND successfully got me interested in the other parts of the series.

Dangerous Games
Ladies. (And men.) All I can really say without ruining the GREATNESS that is this book is that you absolutely MUST have a towel handy. I am not even kidding you.

This was my first read by Lora Leigh but if her other works are anything like this she has now got herself a new, dedicated reader. I'm going to backstep just a minute before I talk about this book though. I love Linda Howard's romance novels. Even though most of the stories are cheesy and predictable, every once in awhile she NAILS a love scene. NAILS it. Nails it so well that I re-read the pages several times. I have several of her books but my two favorite, go-to Linda Howard books are Cry No More and All The Queen's Men. Both of these books have the ideal man for me- strong, in charge, brooding, violent streak, fabulous in bed, and ultimately- uncontrollably and undeniably in love with the lead chick. ATQM is my ultimate fav because hey- it has a black ops agent named John Medina. Yum. So I apparently like military. Unfortunately, Matt is mostly none of these things (there is one he is take your guess ;) ) so I have to live vicariously through books.

Which brings me back to this one. The lead male? Navy SEAL. Hot. Muscular (even though that's not a huge turn on for me, for reading purposes I'm all about this guy), dominant, sexual, volatile, etc. YUM. This also is part of a series and I have to pick up the first one, but this?? Was fabulous. I can't even tell you how great this book is. The story line was good and the bonus is that I had NO CLUE what was going on. I'm still kind of in the dark because there's another story after this one.

The sex in this book is absolutely incredible. It is described so well that the things you play out in your head are better than any porno could ever be. The characters are all so well developed that you like them, even their faults are appealing. I have never in my life read a romance novel that made me want to jump my husband immediately. Unfortunately, I'm reading while he's sleeping and waking him up makes him crabby. Plus I'm totally mingling with Aunt Flo this week and yeah. It's just not a good plan.

I very highly recommend this book if you like sex, or if you like romance novels. Or if you're currently not having sex and would like to- GREAT starter. I'm just saying.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Six Years. And nobody has turned into an alcoholic.

So today is my six year wedding anniversary. Six years ago at this very hour, Matt and I were whooping it up at our wedding reception at a casino. Lots of people were drunk already, some were having sex in the bathroom, and I was a dancing fool. (fun fact: click play on the playlist to hear our first dance) (also fun fact: lots of compliments on our music since I had pretty much picked out everything that was to be played and in what order. Why we paid for a DJ I will never know since I did 90% of the work for him.)

Here's us literally after we got married. We were waiting for the photographer to set up. Can we say "boobies"??

And during our photos I could not stop laughing. Which is the customary thing when I get put on the spot. I think Matt was embarrassed. Whatevs.

But our six years hasn't always been fabulous. Actually we have been together for eight years and I will say maybe only half of those years, if that, have been good. But we started strong so I think that's something to remember. When we first started dating we had both had some baggage but it didn't seem to matter. We loved each other almost right away and we were a super cute couple. Obviously.
And we knew right away we were going to get married. We started dating in January, moved into our apartment in July and were engaged in October of 2002. It was a busy year.

And we got married June 12, 2004.
We don't do anything on a slow pace so in December of 2004 I got pregnant, we bought a house five months later and four months after that we had Olivia. Which was the turning point in our marriage. Everything was fine and happy up until then. I had post partum depression and honestly? I don't think either of us have ever reconciled what that did to our marriage.

We have had good times but lots of bad times. There have been times where I feel like walking out of the door. There are times where I am sure he's questioned my sanity and whether he made the right decision. There have been plenty of days where I wish I could just go back and do everything over because I think I'd do it differently.

While I have stayed true to all of the vows I pledged, he has not. While my love for him has wavered, his for me has not. And I think that is what keeps us together. I think at the end of the day, we know we're young. We know that we did everything too quickly. All of our adult milestones we have done together.
And I know we both love each other. Every time I question whether or not I should just say fuck it and leave I remember our vows. And I believe there is a reason vows say "for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, for good times and bad, in good health and in sickness, in happiness and sorrow." I can honestly say that in the six years we have been married we have gone through each of those things. We have been so broke that splitting a can of spaghetti o's over two dinners was a luxury. We knew eventually things had to get better we just weren't sure how that was going to happen. We've had to go through bankruptcy. But we did it together. We have all of our good memories from our road trips we used to take and just all the time we used to talk together. He handled me like a pro during pregnancy and never batted an eye when I came up with a new demand. At 2 a.m. In a blizzard. He helped me tremendously when I felt like killing myself after Olivia. I hated every minute of mommyhood and he did the best he could. When he has had some mental health issues I have done everything I could to help him through them. I know he struggles every day and every day I wish I could do more. But I'm here and I think that's all I can do.

And no matter how bad it gets, something always happens and turns it around. I can't lie and say I have no regrets, because I have plenty. There are things I wish I didn't do and things I wish I never said but I can't change that. And neither can he. We try very hard and marriage is a job. I never realized how much work was necessary for our marriage until I quit my job. And now I see what all of the drama and stress did to me and in turn, did to our marriage. No amount of money is worth the sadness I would feel if I didn't have Matt with me.

But, being real, there are days I wish I could smother him with a pillow. There are days where I wish I could run away from it all and start all over. A brand new person in a place where nobody knows me. The happiness and freedom would only be temporary but I do think about it. This feeling might change if he stopped snoring so loud neighbors across the street can hear him. I'll keep you updated. I think we're both surprised that he's not only lived to tell the tale, but also that I'm not an alcoholic by now. If that isn't a miracle I dare you to show me one.

So with that, Happy Anniversary, Matt. I love you as much as I did on our wedding day. Thank you for dealing with me and my crazy because nobody else could do it better than you. I hope we make it another 6. You know I'm all about even numbers and such. :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

16 hours in a minivan = Tennessee & Kentucky vacation. Oh- and moonpies.

We did it. People thought we were crazy (and by "we" I mean me) but we did it. We drove 16 mother fucking hours in a mini-van, together, to see my cousin Rhonda graduate high school. In Tennessee. FYI folks- we live in Wisconsin.

I was worried. No lie. I thought that several things could happen- the worst being that I would kill Matt. A close second is that my iPod would break. Third being that I would die from exhaustion.

Fun fact- I love, love, love road trips. I do amazingly well when I want to and yeah. I wanted to. So we left our house at 4:32 in the morning. But here I am, at some dive of a gas station in southern Wisconsin:
Here's a southern Wisconsin fun fact for you. If you haven't paid the $80 to get updated maps for your GPS then your GPS will look like this beginning from Eau Claire until um...the fucking border of Wisconsin. GPS FAIL.
Thankfully, my dad is an over the road truck driver and can give you driving directions (including correct exit numbers, which lane to be in when you get off the exit, which gas stations are good/bad and which truck stops have buffet) at the drop of a dime. Without a map. I love my dad- his directions saved our ass when the GPS failed us.
I forgot where in Illinois we decided that we were going to stop for lunch. But I remember coming off the exit and having to decide between McDonald's and some joint named Delaney's. Let me tell you that Delaney's was a bad choice. Having the urge to shit for 3 hours after eating McDonald's would have been a lot better. First off, I knew walking in that a place that offers meatloaf and "special sauce" as all you can eat buffet probably isn't the best choice. BUT...we were here and hungry. So our waitress comes who is easily 250 pounds, cross eyed and can't read (couldn't read the specials on the board) and couldn't write (got our order wrong). I mean, I'm all for hiring with disabilities but come on. You just expect a waitress to look at you when you order. Not to mention my "hamburger" was not beef. I don't know what the fuck I was eating, but it wasn't beef. The kids didn't even eat their corndog. Olivia said it "felt weird". Now when a 4 year old tells you that a corndog feels weird- something is up.
Then I had to pee. Badly. So I decided to go into the Delaney's bathroom. One word: SCARY. First off, all but one light was burned out. And that one is flickering. I got into the lone stall and yeah- someone shit right on the floor. Left the toilet paper on there. Disgusting. I got a picture on my phone but of course you can't tell what it is because it's so dark. Gross. AND there was no soap. Or towels. I'm surprised the water even turned on. Disgusting. Matt and I had some serious stomach issues for the rest of the day- we didn't even eat dinner for fear that Delaney's would make a grand reappearance.
Then we made it to Crawford, Indiana. Let me tell you about Indiana: most unorganized road construction EVER. Fuck. You see signs for 5 miles telling you the left lane is closed. So we all merge only to find it's actually the right lane that's closed and we all veer to the left in order to avoid a collision with some giant hole. Nice. That happened three times. But once we got to Crawford (home of Ben Hur, yall) it made sense. Obviously the education budget has been eliminated. McDonald's can't even spell "Reeses". And I was on the phone with my brother while enjoying an afternoon snack and I said to my bro I have no idea where I am but I have entered hickville USA and this kid with NO teeth but a new Apple laptop comes to me, stinking like a fucking dairy farm and is like, "Yur n Crawfurd lady". Ugh- thanks fucktard. Back away from my small children who have never had a serious illness. Ick.
This was Jackson after we left that McDonald's and we told the kids we still had a ton of driving left: (You'll notice he resorted to playing with his striped socks)
And Olivia was chilling in the way back telling me she's fine. No problems.
OH! And we saw a TON of signs for sex shops. Seriously. Midwest America is not wholesome. Jesus. It does not beat the sign for the 4D theatre experience at a sex shop encountered in the butt crack of Wisconsin during the Chicago trip. BUT yeah. Lots of sex shops.
OK- so we left at 4am and arrived in Franklin, Kentucky, where we would be staying at the hotel my uncle manages at approximately 8:30 pm. Not bad for tons of road construction, stopping for pee breaks every two hours, and hitting rain on the last two hours.
The next day was Friday. We decided to have lunch just the four of us and we went to Cracker Barrel. Across the street. I had never been to a Cracker Barrel but have wanted to and I was not disappointed. First off we had a waitress who tells us she's about a week pregnant. Hankering for a tip, eh? Then the food the first time around was ok. Not great, nothing to really rave about, but it was good. But on the way out my heart stopped.
I found me some fucking moon pies. Not just banana (grossest flavor EVER) but chocolate and vanilla. Not just sold individually. But in BOXES. And they were on sale. You know what I had to do.
But while in checkout I saw they had Sugar Suckers. That's what I call them. Basically they are suckers that are huge and like a giant Smartie. You know what Smarties are, right? BEST CANDY EVER. I am notorious for buying jumbo bags of Smarties and eating them all. In one sitting. So I bought just a few suckers, and had my kids try them. It's a Southern thing. I must corrupt my kids now. But it was super windy- so I had to do my gratuitous licking shot in the van. Suckish.
And then we got a group shot on the bench in front of the hotel. If you look closely- my van is the silver one to the left. :) You'll notice Olivia is learning how to be a lady from her mama. Thankfully, she was totally wearing panties.
The kids agreed they were awesome. On our last night there, I told Matt to go back and get me a box of Goo-Goo's (peanut kind) and more suckers. He came back with $31 worth of suckers which means he bought them out. A good guy I have there. Good and smart. AND he got me the LAST box of peanut goo-goos.
So Friday night Rhonda was graduating but because it started at 7 (bedtime for kiddos) they couldn't come. And Matt stayed with them. Which is good and you'll know why soon. But before I left I had to get ready and the kids did their makeup too:
Before graduation I went to dinner with my grandparents, uncle, misty, some of their friends to Cracker Barrel. This time I got the southern fish fry with cornbread. DELICIOUS. OK- so I went to graduation. Which ended up being in a church because they thought it would rain (it would have been outdoors) and it was CROWDED in there. I felt like I was at a black baptist revival church. Seriously. It was easily 90 degrees plus people all breathing and touching you. There were no seats left so someone went into the closet and started pulling out folding chairs and we set up shop in the aisle. Some lady behind us (maybe in her 70's) was like, "This is a crying fire hazard! You cannot be in the aisles!" You know what I had to do. I turned around, flashed my perky smile and replied, "Listen lady. I drove 16 hours to see my cousin graduate and I will not stand outside and miss it. Cramming 1500+ people into a venue meant for 800 is a fire hazard. I doubt a folding chair will stop you from knocking people over in the event of a fire." The guy next to me then became my friend. I heard all about his grandchild and nephew graduating (think about THAT for awhile) and how he has 4 graduating next year all on the same day in different towns and how he's making them compete to see which one he goes to. Oh and he has a hang nail on his finger and do I think it's infected? *sigh* I attract weirdos. What can you do?
My grandpa missed the whole thing. He couldn't handle the heat which tells you something because he can't be in anything under 70 because he feels like he's turning into a popsicle. If even HE couldn't handle it, being from Florida and the hotter the better, that is awful. Thank god Matt didn't go. He would have never made it more than 10 minutes. 12 tops.
The graduation was pretty standard. There was a local broadcaster (sports) who spoke. He would not shut up. After 23 minutes I really had to hold myself back from saying something like "BRING IT HOME" because his story about a stock car race and deciding which tires to use was lame. And had nothing to do with graduation. But the guy wanted to be a pastor I think and kept talking about Jesus helping him with tires. Or something. It was lame.

But Rhonda graduated! I had to crawl on the floor to get this picture.
And then after the fastest reading of 100 or so names (small class compared to my almost 600) we did pictures outside. Obvi.

Rhonda and her mom, Denise.
Rhonda and her step mom, Misty.
Rhonda and my grandparents from Florida. SO glad we got to see them!
Me and Rhonda!
OK- so after that I drove with Rhonda to Lewisburg (graduation was in White House, TN) to drop her mom off and so I got back really late.
The next day was the party but in the morning we went swimming in the pool. We have done this a few times, but really? My kids can't swim. And after this experience I need to put Olivia through classes. She was TERRIFIED even with her floaty vest thing and clinging to our necks until our faces were purple. So she sat on the edge. Look how happy she looks.
OK so after that, we were going to the party. But I have to mention the gigantic freak of a beetle the kids wanted to keep as a pet.
Seriously- they stared at it and followed it for 45 minutes. Loved the beetle. And out of nowhere- Jackson stands up, smashes the beetle with his foot. Olivia cries. I laugh. Jackson claps. *sigh* What do you do?
But here is the best picture. This is of Jackson (obviously) AFTER the grad party on Saturday. Turn your heads because Blogger is being a bitch. He's totally passed out with his beloved Dog and Duck who are never far from his side. Sleeping like an angel. Adorable.

Overall- the trip was FANTASTIC. I loved the area, I want to go back. Soon. The drive was not nearly as bad as I thought. Nobody cried, nobody complained about being bored, I didn't even bring extra activities. We brought the laptop for movies but only used it once when we had the last two hours and that was to keep Olivia awake so she'd sleep decent that night. Not one complaint. It was so nice to be with family, and we miss them a ton already.
Soon. We'll be back soon.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A May Graduation Party. We're doing this shit backwards.

So about a week ago the fam and I took a 16 hour road trip (one way-- this bitch is hard core) to Tennessee to see my cousin Rhonda graduate. Now there are a TON of pictures for this but I'm going to start with the graduation party that was on the day after Rhonda graduated. Coincidentally- it was also the last full day we were there.
So the party was being held at Rhonda's grandma and grandpa's house (Misty- her step mom-'s parents house). They are super fabulous people. Loved them. And their house. And their yard. And their really super fun washer game I'm making Matt recreate.
There were horses at the edge of their yard and here's Matt trying to be the horse whisperer. While my Uncle Ron picks grass to feed these horses because they looked frisky.
And then Matt, my Grandpa (left) and Uncle Ron smoked. This is after Matt saved the day at my Uncle's hotel when the satellite was down and Grandpa threatened to walk across the street to that hotel to watch TV.
Jackson and Rhonda are now dating. FYI. He wowed everyone with his charm and digger trucks.
And then there was a ton of food. Super awesome BBQ. I love, love, love BBQ's and ate way more than I should have. But I obviously had to have cake. Olivia actually "helped" Rhonda cut the cake but here's Rhonda pre-er....cake fight. :)
Matt and I. This is a great picture because without his sunglasses, all pictures of Matt and I are crappy. I'm all adorable and perky and he will either look asleep or drunk. But yay! Good picture of us!
Jackson eating cake. Is he throwing signs??
So then two of Rhonda's friends attacked her with cake and yah. It was hilarious but she got cake in her nose and ears. :) So here is Misty (left) and her daughter, Autumn (right) helping Rhonda clean up.
Jackson really loved my Uncle Ron. Here they are, deep in conversation. When I came over Ron tells me Jackson is "working" and "pooping". Hilarious.
After the party Rhonda REALLY wanted to take the kids to a carnival that was pretty close. Seeing how my kids had never been to a carnival, I thought it'd be fun. I knew going in that Olivia SAYS she wants to do something but will either chicken out or cry through it because she is scared of everything.
This was no exception.
Poor Rhonda took her on everything she agreed to go on. First off, it had rained and so the ground was a giant mud pit. There was hay on the ground but honestly? It did nothing. You are literally walking in mud ankle deep. Super gross. Anyways. So the first ride was the spinning dragon thing. Rhonda and Olivia's dragon was the only one not spinning. This is the only shot of Olivia where she doesn't look like she's going to puke or cry.
This was the only white trash I encountered. Vacation FAIL.
This was probably the funniest. So this is one of those big climb up forever then slide down thing. OK, so Olivia was fine for maybe 20 feet and then made Rhonda carry all 29 pounds of her. It looked like an endurance test. :) LOL!! So Rhonda gets to the top and Olivia won't even slide down. Olivia also does this thing when things are loud or when she's scared that she covers her ears. Poor Rhonda. :)
Jackson loved to drive this rickety boat thing.
We also took the kids on the Ferris Wheel. I sat with Olivia, and then Jackson went with Rhonda and Autumn. He apparently did really well, no crying, and only squeezed Rhonda's hand when he got to the top. No big. Olivia tells me about 3 seconds in that she thinks she might puke. I obviously don't do well with puke and I tell her if she pukes I'm taking Barbies away. And I'm serious- I would have been pissed. Who pukes on a Ferris Wheel?! So yeah- she was terrified and I had to talk about her babies at home so she wouldn't freak out or puke. LONGEST RIDE EVER.
But then at the end I had to say goodbye to Rhonda. Her and Autumn were going to stay there for a bit and we had to get the kids to bed and our van packed for the 16 hour car ride home. Sad.
BUT...she is coming to our house at the end of June/beginning of July. It's going to be super fun. Why? Well besides the fact that we are both related and therefore AWESOME....we're going sky diving.
Ah yes....and you thought the 30/30 list was dead. Silly bitches---it's still ON.