Reinventing Summer

Awwww, summer. It’s finally arrived. An image of me bikini clad—lounging on a wicker recliner next to an infinity pool sipping an umbrella drink—comes to mind. There’s a floppy hat. Large sunglasses are involved. I’m on an extended vacation from work. A small stack of light reading material wobbles on the edge of the cocktail table to my right. I’m alone. No screaming children. No husband asking me for an egg salad sandwich. My pale skin is starting to give way to something less offensive. Pink, I guess. Somewhere in the distance, I can hear the groundskeeper mowing the lawn. I can smell freshly cut grass dancing through the air as I doze in and out of lazy summer-induced sleep. Music notes swirl around like smoke inside my head, thanks to my recent iTunes play list. Life, summer style, is perfect.

Suddenly, I’m smacked into the present by an ice cold Super Soaker shot to the gut. There’s laughing, then little footsteps slapping against wet pavement as they soon disappear. I sit up stunned as I blink away water and blue and red spots from where the sun pressed into my eyelids as I slept.

As it turns out, there is no bikini or an infinity pool. There’s no music. No floppy hat. There’s only me in my XL house shirt, fat pants, and a garden hose. The neighbor’s dog is barking incessantly as he digs a hole under my fence. I’m sweaty and burnt. It seems I had dozed off during a break from pulling weeds. Today is Sunday and like many of you, tomorrow is the start of my work week. Unfortunately, I don’t get a summer vacation.

Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? Those were the days when the only questions people asked you were related to your age, height or number of teeth missing from your mouth. When summer came, there was only one additional question, “What are your plans for summer?” I usually responded with one apathetic shrug and went back to picking my nose, which was permanently slick with SPF 50.

This got me thinking:  what if we reinvented summer? I’m not talking about fancy vacations or trips across the pond. I’m talking about a summer day camp for us girls. I’m talking about reviving our childhood summer goals, ladies. Reawakening our inner child! We’d drop off our munchkins at their summer camp, shove the husbands off to work, and have ourselves a grand ole time! *Throws confetti in the air*

Day Camp Pic

Before hitting send on your RSVP, check out further details below:

1 – We’ll lounge around like lazy house pets free of kids or husbands or significant others. No being shouted at from one room over, “Mom! I’m hungry! Mom! I’m bored! Mom, wipe me! Mom, there’s poop on my knee!”

2 – Our biggest challenge of the day will be entirely inconsequential: should we mix up another batch of peach bellinis or how about a blender full of watermelon and vodka? I say both.

3 – Bestie selfies all day long. You know how they say the camera adds ten pounds? Well, I hear there’s an app for that and smoothing out wrinkles! Photo editing apps for the win!

4 – Slink down the Slip ‘n Silde or run through the sprinklers. No one has to know.

5 – Arts and crafts, YouTube worm-holes and (insert yoga pose here).

6 – Lunch you ask? The Thai place down the street delivers. Done.

So, what do you say? Are you in? The answer is obvious: it’s like explaining Dewey Decimals to a math genius. I have to say, of all of the things I thought I’d be in life, Camp Director isn’t one of them. But this is just fabulous.

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Man vs. Toddler – Why My Kid Wins Every Time

I’m certain that there isn’t a concept more categorically hated than that of children in restaurants. Since becoming a parent, dining out with my best little pal has become, well, an annoyance. The number of times I get stink-eye, side-eye, or a collective eye roll from patrons when we are seated next to them is uncanny. My kid hasn’t even had a chance to prove he’s well-behaved before the huffing and puffing begins. The interwebs are filled with angry rants from childless diners making a stance, and some restaurant owners have even thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to offering a kid-free dining experience.

It must be said that they aren’t all wrong: Sometimes, a lot of times, kids are jerks. It’s true. I see it. The shrieking little monster blowing snot bubbles out of his nose, the pint-sized villain descaling the bottom of his shoe into his sister’s pasta while singing That’s Amore, the flinging of wet straw wrappers into patrons’ ears, and the community bottle of ketchup that is now half saliva. In which case, get your shit together, parents.

Yes, kids at restaurants can be a nightmare, but sometimes adults are boneheads, too. I have witnessed some pretty nasty behavior recently proving once again that Adult Toddler Syndrome actually exists. At least kids have an excuse for acting like kids, what’s yours?

So, let me throw my toddler’s sippy cup into the ring and let you decide who should be banned. Read on for my list of top 6 obnoxious behaviors by (cough) grown-ups:

1 – “That’s not what I ordered,” spat the guy wearing the ‘I Heart Fried Beef’ t-shirt at the table near us. Pushing an already devoured entrée away from him in disgust he said, “Bring me a new one to go – for free!” Newsflash: Actually, you did order that – my toddler and I heard you from two tables over.

2 – The wasted college girls at the bar seating insisted on splitting the bills 7 ways. When the server explained he could only run a maximum of 4 cards, the mouthy brunette hollered after him, “There goes your tip!” Ladies, you’re right: Your server didn’t deserve a tip. He deserved your entire month’s salary. Basically, you’re a bunch of entitled jerks who overstayed your welcome with cheap drinks and free chips.

3 – Then there was the creepy, middle-aged trio of guys in the corner booth who clearly thought their adorable waitress was there to be sexually harassed, Bill Cosby style. Hey, creepy dudes, go home to your wives. You’re drunk.

4 – How about the woman at breakfast last weekend who demanded to see a manager when the “egg whites only” omelet she ordered and agreed to pay an extra buck for appeared on her bill? At first she seemed sweet but determined. But nope, she was just a big donkey who promised all within earshot she’d Yelp about her “horrible $1 experience.”

5 – Or there was the guy a few weeks back who yelled at me when my kid’s drink inadvertently spilled, flowing onto “his” side of the table. Five minutes later, he knocked his beer over into his pizza. Karma.

6 – And don’t you love the dudes who come in 8 minutes before closing, and stay for 2 hours? Boom. Done. Enough said.

Get it together, guys. Because what’s sexier than a man with BBQ sauce in his beard screaming about his baby back ribs? Everything, actually.

Stuffed Like Pillows

“Oh, wow!” I whispered, exaggerating the “ow” to show exactly how impressed I was. Brooke held up a knitted baby blanket in the palest pink I’d ever seen. All the girls went nuts, roaring and clapping in delight. Her soft, dainty hands were perfect with a porcelain finish. Her newly minted gel nails twirled and flipped like they were a commercial for a beauty salon. Brooke’s baby bump was smaller around than my actual thigh. I kinda wanted to borrow some of that shiny, gorgeous mermaid hair to cover my worsening hormonal bald spot – not even gonna lie. I sat holding a polystyrene plate of pasta, four deviled eggs, and something fried with a curly lemon rind on top. I wasn’t even done with my food yet, but I was already eyeballing seconds. My swollen feet were stuffed like pillows into brand new shoes; the soles of my feet were on fire. I was pretty sure my right pinky toe was gangrene. But at least the XXL tent dress I wore was comfortable and semi-adorable.

Brooke made 8 months of pregnancy look like a cake walk with frosting on top. I made 8 months of pregnancy look like a barnyard explosion. It’s like I woke up pregnant one day and the universe was like, “You got punked.”

Being pregnant was the worst. It sucked hard. I’ve only been pregnant once, but I swear to God, it was for like 2 years. Okay, relax Michelle Duggar, I’m not baby shaming, blah blah, I’m talking about the physical atrocity that happens to your body and mind when you’re preggers.

In no particular order, here is my list that should serve as birth control for the millennials:

1 – Everyone you know smells like chicken. And cheese. It’ll make you vomit. Don’t be fooled: morning sickness is a lie pregnant women made up so you don’t feel bad about yourself. Because seriously, you smell like chicken.

2 – The only three shirts that still fit have to be dry cleaned all. the. time. Dry cleaning is absurd. It’s like the clothes are charging you for wearing them.

3 – Epic meltdowns in the paint aisle at Home Depot are real. Get ready to ride high on the struggle bus of lady emotion.

4 – Welcome to a lifetime of previously unknown heartburn. It would feel better to swallow a ball of cat hair tossed with cinnamon.

5 – Forget about your engagement ring. Remember how when you first got engaged, you’d start all your conversations with a subtle touch to the face, a giggle, and flip of the hair as your hand caught the sunlight coming through the window? Just throw the ring away because it will never fit again.

6 – You’ll still go to bars with your friends, only you’ll order off the kids’ drink menu. Since being an adult sometimes includes alcoholic drinks, you’ll panic and order a virgin piña colada at 10am on a rainy day. You’ll have brain freeze for 9 months.

Except for Brooke, none of these things happened to her.

Anything But Dances with Wolves

“Is this your card?” I said holding out a tattered ace of spades.

“It is,” he nodded with one-hundred percent, absolute certainty. Actually, dad had no idea what his card was; he was a good fake. I could see the reflection of the bonfire on the surface of his moist eyes, his expression shadowed by a week’s worth of facial hair. Smoke from burning marshmallows clung to my sweatshirt; dried dirt caked under my nails made my fingertips feel tight – swollen, almost.

Our days at camp were filled with hikes through the woods, three-legged races, mud pie fights, corn hole matches, death by Cheese Puffs tournaments, and a tent vs. tent ultimate kick the stick championship. Also, get ready to be impressed: I hold the record for Twizzler jump rope in two categories – innovative connectedness and most jumps in under one minute. I owe this mostly to an unfair genetic advantage of nubby, strong fingers and stumpy yet extremely dexterous legs. Holler y’alls, but don’t hate.

At night, we usually sat circled around roaring camp fires, just us girls and our hero dads. I vividly remember shouting the lyrics to Tiffany’s version of I Think We’re Alone Now while Kimmy Keaner caked my eyes in black eyeliner and ratted my bangs into an impressive wall of hair spray and split ends. Our dads, who were merely children themselves at the time, drank beer out of cans, drawled on about sports, and shared amongst themselves booze laden stories that were wrapped in the collective nostalgia of their glory days. I was 12, and this was my third year at Camp Y Indian Princess Adventure. And as an honest broker of reality, I have to tell you I really hated it.

If you’re at all familiar with the now defunct Y Indian Princesses (apparently, they finally figured out the word “Indian” is less than apropos), you know it was a program for dads and their daughters to do all the cool stuff Girl Scouts got to do with their moms, except it was less cool. With my dad’s signature blend of “We’re NOT lost in the woods,” and providing cold hot dogs for dinner each night, this sausage-fest left me all but confident we would make it out of camp alive. It was like our dads were living proof that Adult Toddler Syndrome really existed. Is anyone as shocked as I am that our moms actually encouraged us to go? And let’s cut to the chase, I just wanted to wear that adorable green A-line Girl Scout smock, the matching sash, and a beret that would make a French man weep green tears of envy. It was so unfair.

While I slept under the stars on the cold, hard ground in a Strawberry Shortcake sleeping bag better suited for a six-year-old child, I thought about my Girl Scout counterparts. I thought about how they must be sitting in Chelsea’s living room at that very moment, braiding each others’ hair, eating cookie dough. I was sure they were also practicing their knitting skills, and learning how to remove debris from their eyeballs with one very skillful sweep of an eyelid. And I was positive they were wearing those adorable A-line smocks while I sat there in the wet, muddy jeans my mom got on sale at Miller’s Outpost. While they were painting pet rocks and coming up with charming names for them, I sat there shivering next to a poorly lit Coleman lantern and a dirty canteen, and Kimmy Keaner snored like a hibernating bear.

I wanted to be this:

Girl Scout Pic 2 blog

(Photo credit: Girls Scouts of America)

But instead I was this:

Y Indian Pic 1 Blog

(Photo credit: Google Images)

I finally decided to bid farewell to the Y Indian Princesses my fourth year when Kimmy Keaner’s dad proudly announced at camp breakfast he was changing his Indian name from Running Wolf to Dances with Wolves. The Kevin Costner reference… I just couldn’t. Still, to this day, I regret never being able to participate in the Girl Scouts. On the bright side, I found this really cute Halloween costume for this coming year. What do you think?

Katy My Lady

Girl Scout Pic 3 Blog

(Photo credit: MTV)

That New Car Smell, Kinda

One week ago today, I got my car detailed. You know that outrageously overpriced, 100% completely necessary service where you can get your car washed, waxed, wiped up, wiped down, shampooed, bedazzled, pimped and pressed, all for like two-hundred bucks? The service even comes with an air freshener of your choice: Cherries Jubilee, Ocean Mist, Spring Meadow or my personal favorite, New Car Smell. I waited, with gas station brand diet soda in hand, while Stewie got the royal treatment. As Stewie took his turn in line on the scary conveyor belt thing, I looked through the little window all, “Wow, these dudes are crazy serious about car washing.” Afterward, a team of like five guys whipping around dirty rags like they were girls’ panties all Magic Mike style, began to hand wax Stewie until he gleamed like the damn gem that he is. What!? I’m being totally serious. When they were done, I walked over with exactly three dollars and sixty-four cents, BECAUSE IT’S 2013 AND WHO CARRIES CASH ANYMORE for their tip jar, and I was all, “Thanks bro, thanks.” As a side note, this bad tipping problem is the same exact thing I remember my gramma doing, you know, just before she started wearing those elastic-waisted sweatpants and stopped shaving her mustache.

Fast forward to today. That New Car Smell air freshener has faded; trust me, this is the least of my troubles. Stewie looks like he was under attack by angry raccoons or maybe even, like, grizzly bears. You know those murderous, oddly human animals that break into mountain cabins and ransack everything just to find some food? And when they don’t find any food they trash the place and urinate everywhere just because they’re freaking pissed? So basically, that’s what Stewie looks like today.

Here’s how it went down. I was looking for a shoe in the back seat when I pulled out two empty grocery bags, six used napkins (ketchup anyone?), a role of toilet paper, at least eight sticks of gum still wrapped but no container in sight, three socks, a jacket, a Taco Bell hot sauce packet that was all, “Ahhhh… we meet again!”, a glass plate, shreds of wrapping paper, a head of a stuffed monkey, a Big Gulp cup, several straws, paper clips, a leaf, an expired debit card of a girl I haven’t seen in a year, exactly three Twizzlers coated in dirt, a brochure on trains, a half eaten muffin, some damp crackers, a book about grizzly bears, a spoon, a horseshoe, an unidentifiable brown substance smashed into the carpet fibers of the floor mat, and a toy wheel. And yes, finally the shoe I had been searching for. Had a BOMB exploded in my car? ­­­­­­I think yes. Either that or it would be totally reasonable to assume that my car had been occupied by A) a homeless person or the aforementioned grizzly bear, B) a drug addict or, (dun dun dunnnnn) C) a two and a half year old and his friends.

I should be ashamed, terribly, awfully ashamed, since it’s only been one week since Stewie’s two-hundred dollar date at the car wash. But I’m not. Not even a little.