JackRocks

I’m off to New York on Tuesday to go see Hamilton. Yes. Hamilton. I am very excited. But! There is another performance that I am very excited about and it is Jack’s public debut on the piano at a local celebration called ArtRocks.

Without further ado:

I know. Hamilton has some big shoes to fill.

There Are Lots of Things to Do During a 36-Hour Stay in Ohio

Continuing our Team Stimey tradition of splitting into various non-total family groups for vacations, Katie and I headed to Ohio last weekend. We left on Friday afternoon and returned on Sunday morning. It takes 6-7 hours to drive each way. Do that math. Still. We had all kinds of fun. Plus, I had Katie trapped in a car with me and my music playlist for multiple hours. Oh, the songs that we sang.

Photo of Katie and I in the car. She is making duck face and putting her fingers in a "v."

Do they teach this pose in homeroom on the first day of high school? Seriously. ALL teenagers do it.

The reason we went is because Katie’s girlfriend lives there (stupid internet, allowing people from far away to meet) and they wanted to go to an anime convention together. So that’s what they did all day Saturday, leaving me all kinds of Stimey-alone-in-Ohio time, which I took full advantage of, doing many fun things, including napping. But napping wasn’t the only great thing we did. There were many other things.

We stayed in a hotel a half hour away from both Kat’s friend and the anime convention.

We decided to go less than a week before we went. It turns out that all the cheap hotels nearby were filled up by better planners than us. At first, I was all, why the fuck is everyone in the world staying in this tiny Ohio town this weekend? When I woke up on Saturday and looked outside my window to see a school bus with an “ANIME CONVENTION SHUTTLE” sign on it, I realized why. It turns out that Katie and friend were not the only people attending the convention. I know. Weird.

We didn’t cosplay.

I mean, I didn’t go to the convention, but Katie didn’t dress up. She did not get her shit together quickly enough to cosplay for the convention. (She is bad and should feel bad.)

Katie looking cute.

She looked super cute though and the blue hair helped her fit in.

We arrived way early and found fun things to stand next to.

Kat’s friend was late or we were early and either way we had some time to hang out and do fun things.

Giant lion statue head. I am standing next to it looking delighted.

Presented without comment. Okay, one comment: How awesome is this? I wanted to hug it. But that would have been weird.

I was THAT mom.

Photo of me and Katie standing next to the lion.

“KAT! KAAAAAAAAT!!!! COME STAND NEXT TO THIS LION WITH ME!”

I am so goddamn embarrassing.

Kat with her hand over half her face in a "you're so embarrassing" way.

Picture Kat making this face a lot.

In my defense, I asked her several times if she wanted me to leave her alone to wait and she said no.

Katie leaning against a smaller lion statue.

You feel for her, don’t you? I am the WORST.

There were two of these lions. I leaned on one of them and it moved, which either means that I am waaaay heavier than I thought I was or they weren’t attached to the ground. Assuming the latter, I hatched a plan to come back in the dead of night to stuff them into my car and then post them on either side of the end of my driveway to create a sort of regal, Welcome to Stimeyland feel to my house. Said plan didn’t come to fruition. I am bad at follow through.

We people watched cosplayers. (They are good and should feel good.)

Seriously. These people. They gave me life. It is so damn cool when people are passionate about something. It is doubly cool when they are among their people and are clearly happy and free. People are so creative.

Katie sat picturesquely on a rock.

Katie sitting on a rock.

I think I stopped taking photos after this. Well, after the photo I took immediately after this one in which she was sticking out her tongue at me.

Then I was abandoned.

Kat’s girlfriend showed up and I walked over to say hi to her mom and the two of them ran into the convention without even saying goodbye. I didn’t even get a chance to yell any of my favorite parting lines like, “Don’t get kidnapped!” or “Don’t take drugs!

So I went running.

I had the rest of my day to fill so I did what I do when I have lots of hours: I went running. That morning I had found an app that showed me local trails. This was great because I was able to run on a wooded bike/running path instead of 7-1/2 miles down a sidewalk and then back on the other side of the street, which was what I assumed I would have to do.

I planned to run 15 miles, but only ran about 12-1/2 because it turned out that the trail wasn’t quite as long as it claimed. It was also really, really hot and big chunks of the trail had no tree cover.

It was really pretty though and I got to run over bridges and past a river…and under a freeway overpass. All very scenic.

Selfie during my run overlooking a river.

This super long bridge (I’m standing on it and you can see it in the background) was said to be the “highlight” of the trail. I think they were right. I don’t know why it is fun to run over bridges, but it is. My route had four or five of them.

I rued my lack of planning.

I forgot sunscreen on my run. I regretted this almost instantly. I was maybe a mile in when I realized what a terrible mistake this would be. I didn’t know what effect the sunglasses would have on the overall effect though.

Me with a red sunburned face and light circles around my eyes.

Look! I’m a reverse raccoon/trash panda.

Then I napped. And ate. And consumed media. And generally slugged about.

I also almost got run over on my way across the street to get to a Chipotle. Some guy had pulled out too far into the intersection, but didn’t make it across when the light turned red. He SAW me and didn’t back up his car. Then I walked behind his car and he immediately started backing up. I jumped out of the way. Some guy in a different car laughed really hard.

I realized how old and feeble I am.

Do you know what happens at one in the morning? I do now because that’s how late I had to stay up to chaperone Kat and friend. ONE IN THE A. M. Seriously. I’m 43, people. I don’t do 1 a.m. anymore and I don’t even feel bad saying that.

Kat ate all the food and I felt grateful for my cool kid.

Our hotel was right next door to a Denny’s. We headed over there before we set off back home. I hadn’t been to a Denny’s in years. It turns out that they’ve been keeping all of the food there!

Photo of Kat behind two plates of food and a plastic cup shaped like voltron.

They also had kids’ cups that look like Voltron, who, I am led to believe, is an anime character. Naturally, we insisted on purchasing one.

The trip was a little bit of a hassle what with all the driving and almost getting run over and stuff, but I am so glad that I could do it for Kat. And I am especially glad that she wanted to do it with me—that she talked to me in the car and sang the entire soundtrack to Hamilton (once each direction) and gave me hugs and was grateful and didn’t even spend the whole time texting with her friends. She’s the best.

The Hunchnail of Notre Jean

I am about to talk a lot about my toenails. Consider this your trigger warning.

I ran a marathon last January. It was really hard, but my recovery wasn’t too bad. My muscles were sore and one of my ankles temporarily came up with a weird new ache, but altogether, things were all right.

Then, three days after the race, the base of my big toenails started to hurt. Like a lot. And it was weird because that’s not a place I’ve ever associated with pain before. The toes themselves didn’t hurt, just the base of the nail beds.

Soon the pain ebbed and blackness started to creep up. Very clearly there was a bruise/blood under the nails and it was starting a whole thing. Said “whole thing” turned out to be two entirely black toenails.

Up until this time, I’d always felt kind of awesome for never having had a black toenail. I was pretty sure this was because of my virtuous use of shoes that had toeboxes big enough for my ginormous feet. Honestly, I felt pretty superior about the whole thing.

Evidently when you run for six hours all in a row, however, big toeboxes do not the difference make.

I have spent the past four and a half months watching the progression of my diseased toenails and freaking the fuck out of whatever member of my family was dumb enough to look at my toes. Occasionally, I’d text photos of my toes to people so they would have to discuss them with me. Because watching my toes was, like, 80 percent of my mental life and only, like, one percent of my verbal life.

I noticed at some point that each big toenail had grown a little ridge near the bottom. Every once in a while I would stub my toe and the nail would noticeably shift and I would spend a week or so convinced that it was going to fall off at any second and trying to show my toes to anyone who would look.

“Anyone who would look” in this case means “any poor sucker who let me shove my toe into their line of sight before they had a chance to look away,” i.e. mostly my family.

Just last week Alex ran over my left toe with a Home Depot flatbed cart carrying 150 pounds of shelving. The toenail survived and I decided that if that wasn’t the end, then I should probably admire its fortitude and just stop whining about it already.

Two days ago, because I am clumsy, I stubbed my toe again and there was a crack and half of my toenail lifted up, attached only by a flap of skin on the left side. I reacted the way pretty much anyone would: I texted a photo of what was under my toenail to Alex, freaked out my kids, then slapped shoes and socks on and went running in hopes that repeated footfalls would take care of the problem.

It did not. I had to detach the nail myself. Goddamn roomy toebox.

Interestingly, the toenail that was run over is still hanging in there, but now I know it has a lifespan because clearly the other one did as well.

I’m fighting every inclination I have to post a photo of my toe and nail in various states of detachment, because of course I created a photo journal of its journey, but I texted photos to three different people about the separation of me from my nail with funny captions like, “A photo of my toenail. Foot not included,” and the response was mostly, “OH GOD NO” and “I want a divorce.” Then, because I am a human capable of learning, I did not text a photo to two more people and then they asked for one because they know what is interesting in life and are reasonable people and good friends.

People are confusing and I am evidently not good at reading them.

My kids reacted in ways that are uniquely them. Katie nearly started crying and was upset that I’d even mentioned such a heinous thing to her. I think she has blocked the entire incident from memory.

Jack investigated it with his eyes and his fingers and then told me, “I think you might need surgery,” and asked me, “are you scared about this?” (Answers: Probably not and YES, YES I AM I AM FREAKED OUT ENTIRELY BY THIS.) Jack is clearly my favorite and also maybe a little bit of a weirdo.

Quinn has started walking into rooms with his eyes closed and his head turned away until I can convince him that I’m wearing shoes.

Alex says that we had a good run and that he will miss me but no one ever agreed to be married to a monster with nine toenails.

I’m curious if it will grow back enough to be damaged anew by my October marathon. And if this happens again, I wonder how many new toenails can grow? Is it like a salamander tail that will continue to regenerate? Is it like shark teeth, with additional but finite replacements? Or is it like the elephant tooth that wears away and then causes the animal to starve to death/not be able to paint her toes?

For now, I miss pedicures, because it seems cruel to make a stranger touch the foot that my family doesn’t even want to look at—even if I am an extraordinarily good pedicure tipper what with the rest of my running feet issues. I am also going to miss wearing sandals this summer. But I do get to look forward to losing the other injured toenail when it finally suffers enough trauma to decide to say au revoir to my foot. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the lucky one to get a text on that occasion.