Faceplant

I’m pretty sure I’m just about the best runner in the world.

Do you want to be the best runner in the world too? Well, I am here to help.

Step 1: Run

Bad drawing of me running.

It helps if you run while having a disproportionately tiny head.

Step 2: Run along an extremely busy road.

Sam bad drawing as before, but with cars added on the road.

Please to extrapolate to imagine many more cars on the road.

Step 3: Don’t notice the tripping hazard in front of you.

Drawing of a sidewalk from the POV of a runner looking down. There is a tiny dot a little ways ahead with a label that says, "miniature dust mote." Drawing with same POV as above, but the dot is closer to the shoes now and has the label "still tiny"Step four: Fall spectacularly flat on your face after tripping over essentially nothing.

Two drawings next to each other (1) Me, mid-fall saying "nooooo...." (2) me flat on my face on the sidewalk saying "oof."

It may feel way more slow motion than depicted here though.

Step five: Regardless of how badly you may or may not be hurt, jump up as if nothing at all happened.

Drawing of me standing up with a surprised look on my face.

Bonus points if you can make it look like you did an intentional burpee.

Step six: Recommence running, while mentally assessing injuries.

This is the same drawing as the first showing me running.

Don’t limp. Even if you broke something.

Step seven: Strategically plaster on a self-deprecating grin while shaking your head in amusement at yourself until all the cars that saw you fall drive away.

Drawing of a closeup of my face with a huge grin.

Die a little inside.

Step eight: Run the rest of the way home before you inspect your bloody knees and scraped up palms.

Aaaaaand done! Congratulations! You are also the best runner in the world!

#6

Oy, you guys. I just looked at my blog and realized that I’ve only written five posts in February. I feel a wee bit sub-par about that. This month has gotten away from me. Especially considering in January I told myself, “Self, this year you should try to write at least every other day.”

(Bad Self. Bad, bad Self.)

In an effort to up my number of posts to six this month with the hope that March will bring a whole new renaissance of insightful, funny, and heartwarming writing, I will close up February with a bullet point list of shallow, boring, and not particularly sentimental snippets.

• I am sitting at my desk and there is a cat sleeping next to me. I kind of feel like work cats should come with jobs. Like, at the interview, you’d be all, “So what is the salary and with how many work cats will I be provided?”

Photo of a black cat curled up and asleep on my desk in front of the gerbil tank

There should also be work gerbils.

• Right on time for my 10-mile race this Sunday, my cold arrived yesterday. I am congested, have a sore throat, and am tired. Why? Why every time?

• One of the reasons I haven’t been writing here very much is because I have been co-chairing a big event at Sam’s school, which consisted of a teachers vs. students basketball game (that part I had almost nothing to do with) and a used book sale (this part I had a tremendous amount to do with). I sorted so many books into categories and carted so many boxes of books around that I’m almost ready to never see another book again in my life.

Photo of a school cafeteria filled with about 11 tables crammed full of boxes of books.

So many books.

On the upside, I donated a bunch of books that I didn’t need anymore. On the downside, I brought home two full boxes of new-to-me books. Although I guess the real positive here is raising money for the school and helping provide a fun activity for the school’s families. I suppose.

• Sam got to help me at the book sale by also carting a bazillion boxes of books around and by selling pizza for three hours. It might be harder to get him to volunteer next time.

Sam sitting behind a table with drinks for sale and a stack of cups. He has a neutral expression on his face.

Believe it or not, this was before he started his marathon selling session and was actually still excited to be there.

• When I was looking through my phone for the book sale photos, I had to scroll through approximately eleventy-million photos of the cats that Quinn took yesterday. I also found this one of Magician Ruby that he made me take.

Quinn has Ruby propped in a sitting position with a small black hat in front of her. There is a mouse toy on the rim of the hat. Ruby looks...not entirely happy.

Magician Ruby was pulling mice out of the hat.

Ruby was…not entirely happy about said photo shoot.

• I am hungry, but I can’t decide what I want to eat. That, along with the probability that something I want to eat is not in my refrigerator is leaving me completely immobilized. My life is terribly sad.

• This:

Pile of three gerbils. Two are drinking from the water bottle simultaneously. The white one is on his back and the brown one is coming in from the top.

Must. Drink. At. Exactly. The. Same. Time.

• The fact that it is still snowing today makes me want to cry. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE SPRING?

Photo of a snow-covered hammock.

Ugh. Just fucking ugh.

 

Everything is Awesome, the Dental Version

When you have a slew of kids as I do (in terms of children, three is a lot; trust me), it can be tough to get good alone time with each of them.

There are lots of reasons why alone time is hard to find. Often the three of them are playing together and I am the least interesting one in the house. There are more kids than there are parents, making it hard to divide and conquer, letting each of us take a kid and do something special. And God forbid one of us do something fun with only one kid—then there is hell to pay from the others.

Every once in a while, though, something unexpected provides that elusive quality alone time.

This morning, Jack had a dentist appointment. Something that looked like a chore when I checked my calendar this morning turned into a lovely morning with a kid who is turning into a charming young man.

Jack’s dentist is about 50 minutes away from us, due to our dental hassles from several years ago. Therefore, what to most would be an hour-long visit, for us takes three hours and a lot of gas.

Before we headed off to the dentist, however, Jack and I had to go to our cat-sitting gig, where he lovingly petted the one cat (out of two) that likes us. As the cat rubbed up against him, Jack talked to him, telling him all about our cats and what they had in common with him: “Starfire has a white spot, like you have on your chin. Oreo has patches of black, like you do. Ruby is cunning just like you are.”

It is amazing to hear him talk and see him love and watch his gentleness and care.

Even though I am not a cat, Jack and I chatted for the whole trip to the dentist and back. We spent part of the time with him telling me about Terraria, his new favorite game, and I made a big effort to be interested, even though that game is the most incomprehensible thing ever.

We also talked about school and he spontaneously started telling me about his friends from his classroom: “R is kind and sweet,” “O is a laugh riot,” “Q is smart,” “A plays Terraria just like me,” and so on. We talked about what the rest of the day would be like and what was going to happen at the dentist. We even spent a few minutes on the weather after the radio told us we were under a TORNADO WATCH. In MARYLAND.

(Said tornado watch made me glad I hadn’t let my cat-sat cats out into the outdoors today.)

The dentist was chill too. It was unfortunate that they were so prompt taking us to the back room because Jack only had two or three minutes to play the video games in the waiting room. It was okay though because we had the nicest hygienist and Jack got to watch a movie of his choice (Garfield 2: A Tail of Two Kitties) as he had his teeth checked.

The bummer of the morning: My every-six-months lesson in how I’m not helping Jack floss his teeth or use mouthwash enough. Also, Jack has a baby tooth that is blocking a permanent tooth and there are reasons as to why it needs to be gone.

“Try wiggling that tooth to get it out,” the dentist told Jack before saying to me, “He’s not going to be able to get it out; we’re going to have to extract it.” The extraction is scheduled after his next hockey tournament though so maybe we’ll get lucky and it will get knocked out on the ice. <—(bad) joke

The reason I love this dentist office though is because when I reminded the dentist that the reason we drive all the way out there is because Jack was so completely freaked out about dentists when we first started there that he wouldn’t even let them brush his teeth. After an initial second opinion, our next visit was to sedate Jack to put crowns on four of his teeth. I don’t want to send Jack back into that bad space where he is scared of the dentist.

“We’ll work up to it then,” she told me. “We’ll start with the sealant we have to put on another tooth and then we’ll see if he’ll let us numb his gum and we’ll go slow and if he can’t handle it, we’ll stop.”

That “we’ll stop” is a big deal. Although I hope they don’t have to stop because anesthesia for dental work is very expensive and if we have to do it again, I might just tell them to take out all his teeth and put in a full new titanium set.

Jack headed back out to the waiting room video game and I made his next appointment before we headed out in the now sheeting-down rain to get him lunch from McDonald’s drive-thru so he could eat on the way back to school. (Their Happy Meals have LEGO Movie plastic cups in them right now, which is the best “toy” I think anyone has ever gotten in a Happy Meal.)

We kept talking in the car, with Jack chattering the whole way. Jack used to be so quiet in the car that once I wrote a whole blog post about the fact that he had a couple things to say on one particular car ride. Now he is just as loud and nonstop as everyone else in the car. It’s very cool. He has a lot to say.

I walked him into his school, where he saw his PE teacher in the office as I was signing him in.

“Mr. B! Mr. B!” he called to him. Then he waited until he had the teacher’s full attention and said, “Mr. B, everything is awesome.

“Yes, Jack. Sometimes everything IS awesome. Thank you for our morning together, little friend.

Panic Training

I did a really stupid thing.

Oh, you guys, I was so stupid.

So, I didn’t run much at all in November and December and then in January I didn’t run as much as I meant to and I felt in danger of falling off the running wagon. Being the brilliant person I am, I figured I could jump into action if I had something to, you know, motivate me.

Repeat: Oh good lord am I dumb.

It was the beginning of February when I decided to sign up for the Reston 10-miler which is a 10-mile (duh) race taking place on March 2.

dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb

I mean, on one hand, it’s working. I’ve already run more miles this month that I ran in all of January. On the other hand, I have managed to freak myself out more than was probably necessary by signing myself up for a race I am in no way prepared for.

You know how many times I’ve run 10 miles in a row? Once. Last July.

There is a time limit on this course. I am pretty sure I am going to come crawling in after the course has been closed.

Needless to say, I am panic training. Rather, I am PANIC TRAINING!!!!!!

All the snow that has dropped over the past week hasn’t helped much either. I’m lucky that I have a treadmill at my house, but it’s not the same thing as running outside. If you live in Snowville, next time you’re out and about, look for sidewalks. You won’t find them. You will, however, find people walking in the road because there are no sidewalks not covered by 15 inches of snow.

I’m going to try to go for a long run outside tomorrow, but I’m not going to lie, it’s extremely possible that I will break something on my body while I do it. I was walking—slowly—on a sidewalk this evening when I slipped on ice and fell on both knees and one hand. Good times.

It’s going to be even better when I come crawling in to the finish line after the course is closed with a limp.

If I’m lucky, it will be snowing.

Here’s the thing though: Imma finish this thing. It might take me a loooooong time and I am going to hurt after I cross the finish line, but even if they’ve put the finish gate in a truck and carted it away, I’m going to run until my Garmin says 10 miles.

Oh, this is going to be so hard. So very hard. I am so stupid. So very stupid.

 

Snow Day, Part Seven Million: I’m Trying to Be Positive Here, People.

I’m pretty sure I’m the only person affected by this, but there was a snowstorm in my area of the country today, resulting in the shutting down of everything in the nearby world, but for the flurry of activity inside my house, what with ALL OF US trapped together.

Our being trapped together time, of course, does not include the time Alex and I spent outside shoveling the driveways and various trails to get to important spaces outside our home.

Alex shoveling a snowy driveway. there are a couple trails offootprints going up and down the driveway.

Not shown: the rain that fell for much of our shoveling time.

Those important spaces now accessible by snow trail include the front door (need a second exit in case of fire or zombie apocalypse), the sidewalk (because someone is going to want to run down our street and our house is going to be the best part of their run), the garbage cans (because how are the raccoons going to get over there if we don’t clear a path for them?), and a path to the side door that leads to the driveway (for that all-important first exit). I certainly hope no one needs to get inside the garage before spring though, because those doors are sealed behind several giant piles of snow.

Meanwhile, the kids were all inside watching Spaceballs.

It’s funny, because I grew up in the Rocky Mountains and we had snow all winter every winter and we just dealt with it. I am always amazed at how snow can shut down an area that is not regularly blanketed with it. I’ve come to terms with it though. This particular snow storm is closing schools Thursday and Friday, leaving us with a five-day weekend once you factor in President’s Day on Monday.

I think my kids remember what their teachers look like, but I’m not entirely positive.

My kids love snow days for obvious reasons, although they have their share of frustrations. Like when we told them that if they wanted to play video games they had to go out and build a snowman first—a big snowman. They were outraged, especially considering they had already been outside.

Jack was all, “AAAAARGH! This is my THIRD pair of socks!” (The horror.)

Quinn, on the other hand, evidently decided that the third time into the snow didn’t require socks.

The bottom half of Quinn. One foot is bare. One foot is wearing a Croc. There is melted snow underfoot.

I’m cold just looking at this.

Sockless Joe gave up pretty fast and came back inside to help Ruby experience snow.

Quinn standing next to a cat, on which he has placed some snow.

Ruby was all, “Da fuck?”

Our cats are inside friends, so they only get to experience snow when we bring it inside for them, something that happens more often than you might think.

They do, however, get to experience ice fairly regularly, due to Ruby’s ongoing mission to knock over every cup, bottle, or can that enters her line of vision.

A trio of photos: (1) Ruby sitting next to a green glass of ice water (2) Ruby knocking over the glass of water (3) Ruby staring off into space.

She’s such a jerk.

Just look at her in that first photo, pretending like she’s not interested in that cup at all. She’s a menace.

In case you’re wondering though, Oreo and Starfire are no less destructive.

Two photos: (1) Oreo on the floor in the middle of a pile of ripped up toilet paper (2) Starfire stalking a gerbil who is inside the tank next to her

They have their own ways of causing trouble.

While Quinn was harassing Ruby and Ruby was harassing the humans, Sam was earning video games for everyone by building a snowman.

Sam standing next to a three-ball snowman with stick arms.

I thought he was done at this point.

Sam didn’t half ass his snowman though. He whole assed it, building a four-ball snowman complete with four arms, a sword, hair, and a smirky expression.

Snowman that fits the above description, but without his sword.

I took the photo before Sam added the sword (made from a stick).

Unfortunately, the snowman’s artistry was greater than his structural integrity. Shortly after this photo was taken, when none of us were watching, the snowman crumbled face-down onto the ground. It was tragic.

During all of this, Jack was rolling a snowball into what turned out to be a “snow wall,” according to him.

Two photos: (1) Jack rolling a large snow ball along ground (2) Sam and Jack sitting next to the now-huge ball, building up the sides to make it even bigger.

I’m not sure what the purpose of this snow wall was, but while building it, I overheard Jack say, “I’ve never had so much fun in my life. No, really.” Sooooo, the snow wall is okay by me.

I got a tremendous amount done today, if you count shoveling as getting a lot done. I also ripped up the carpet from our stairs, which is harder than it sounds. There are a phenomenal amount of staples of multiple sizes involved in stairs carpeting. Also the risk of falling down the stairs whilst trying to yank up a particularly obstinate piece of carpeting.

Furthermore, I cleaned out the gerbil tanks, giving all three cats front row seats to their greatest desires. Then I took a nap.

I didn’t get everything on my list done, but except for the fact that we didn’t make it to a sledding hill, I feel like we pulled off a pretty good snow day. And don’t you worry about that sledding. We’ll have plenty of time to do that tomorrow when Team Stimey Junior is off of school again.

That said, the only thing I can think of is how long it is going to take before all this stupid snow melts. Fun and productive or not, I am so over it all.

Can’t Talk. Watching Olympics.

I love the Olympics so much. I know I’m not supposed to love these Olympics because there are lots of concerns about Russia and gay rights and human rights and the killing of stray dogs in the street and I share those concerns, I really, really do.

But then I watch the opening ceremony and I look at every single athlete who marches past the television camera and I think of their love for sport and how it must feel to compete for your country at something that you have given your life and your sweat and your body to and I start cheering like a complete goofball.

I don’t care what the sport is; after I put my kids to bed, I turn on the TV and I sit and marvel at the competitors and also what an expert I have suddenly turned into on any given sport. (“Ooooh, little bit of a bobble on the snowslope rail there.)

I think about what it must feel like to stand at the top of a hill of moguls and look at the bottom and prepare for the 25 seconds that lie between.

I wonder what it was like the first time a now-seasoned skier flew off of a jump. (I stood at the top of an Olympic ski jump in Lake Placid once and it looked scary as hell.)

I imagine how tired a figure skater’s legs must be after a four-minute program that she makes look effortless. I marvel at the athletes who compete in multiple events and imagine how exhausted they must be.

I think about the athletes who know they won’t win anything but who are proud just to be there. (Damn, I would be too.)

I listen to the commentators and how excited they are and think about the fact that there are many experienced judges for every single idiosyncratic event (even curling). I also watch the status of Bob Costas’ eye and wonder when he’s going to appear with an eye patch.

I watch the faces of the athletes who lose the gold medal in speed skating by some infinitesimal amount of time and think about the capriciousness of any given race.

I remember how tired my body is after a five or six or seven mile slow run and wonder what it must be like to be as fit as any one of the athletes who walked in that opening ceremony.

I watch the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat. I chew up the human interest stories that NBC churns out. (Alex hates them so much.) I cheer every athlete and every sport and every event—qualifiers, finals, whatever. I know that sports that seem so simple as I watch them really involve unimagined quantities of focus and strategy and training and strength—physical and mental.

I love every second.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks. I have some cheering to do.

Fuck You, Winter, and the Groundhog You Rode In On.

Quinn in his coat, lying on a pile of snow.

Quinn: “I’m just chilling.”

I think it was still June when I started to get sad because I knew winter was coming. I hate winter so much. I hate the cold. I hate the dry. I hate the salt residue on the cars and the roads and the buildings. I hate the way my hair gets staticky. I hate pretty much everything about it.

I mean, summers in DC aren’t necessarily a picnic, what with the humidity and heat, but I LOVE it. My body regulates itself poorly and I am ALWAYS cold. Quite obviously, winter makes me sad. This winter in particular has been incredibly frustrating. It has been intensely cold. There has been a lot of snow. School seems to be only rarely in session and open on time. And when it is, at least one of my kids always seems to be coming home sick.

(Today it’s Jack.)

Then there was the day my brakes froze up and I rear-ended the car in front of me.

And the morning I hit a deer, which I can only blame on winter in the sense that I was driving to hockey practice and hockey season is in the winter.

There is the fact that about half of the people in my community don’t shovel their sidewalks, making it incredibly difficult to go running without killing myself.

Also, I broke Quinn’s coat by washing it. I know. Evidently zippers aren’t made to be washed or they fall off. This led to a multi-store search through racks of short-sleeved shirts to find one of the three winter coats left on the shelf because it’s February and that means it is swimsuit season. (Bonus! Coat was 80% off, costing me $20. You know, because winter is over.)

I hate having to harass my kids into coats and hats every time we leave the house and that fight to get them to put socks on their feet (under the Crocs that they wear almost everywhere except for school) is never ending.

Quinn sitting in snow with one foot wearing only a sock and holding a Croc full of snow.

Turns out that Crocs are not ideal for playing in piles of snow.

All of which is mostly just a long way of saying, “Waaaaahhhhhhh. Make it stop. Spring. Please. Spring. *incoherent mumbles about scarves and ice and the way I look when I’m wearing a ponytail and a hat*”