Legos: Just Like Herpes Only More Expensive

My fridge is having a Lego outbreak apparently.

Last week, I opened up the refrigerator, moved a jar of pickles, and found a Lego. A friggin’ Lego. IN MY FRIDGE. Is no place in my home immune to Legos? I questioned the males who cohabitate with me and not one of them had a clue as to how said Lego came to reside in the fridge. Apparently it grew legs and opposable thumbs, opened the door, and walked in there itself. Why not? It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility when you consider the insidious fashion in which Legos have infiltrated our home.

It’s honestly bad enough that I’ve come to think about Legos as a disease similar to herpes. (Yes. I know. I once referred to glitter as sparkly herpes. Apparently, a lot of things remind me of herpes.) But, Legos are just like herpes, only they’re more expensive. Explore this with me, please.

Children aren’t born with Legos. They catch Legos from a “friend” who shares them without full disclosure about how this one fun encounter will forever change your child’s life. This is when the primary infection starts. The next thing you know, the Legos begin to spread. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pieces of Danish plastic insinuate themselves into your home. This week, for example, in addition to the find in my refrigerator, I’ve found pieces in the living room, the family room, the dining room, the kitchen, the basement, in two of our three bathrooms, in my car, and on the front porch. The poor dog has ingested and subsequently yakked up two Lego pieces in five days. (I’m sure she’s pooped some out too, but I’m not going looking for those so my sons will just have to consider those a lost cause.) The other night, I got into bed, rolled over, and freaked out when I felt something on my leg. Turns out it was a Lego. Lego Jedi Shaak Ti was in my bed. I’m telling you, we’re in the midst of a full-on outbreak in our house.

Occasionally, the infection seems to dissipate because the virus goes dormant. The kids are outside more or become temporarily engrossed in other toys, like the Wii. I no longer find semi-permanent indentations in my bare feet from Lego pieces that have embedded themselves in my flesh. My house isn’t overflowing with Lego cities and vehicles and action characters. I start to think maybe we’re past this. Perhaps it was all simply a bad dream. Then, out of nowhere, there’s a recurrence. Crap.

In the three years since Luke contracted Legos, I’ve learned that there’s no sense denying them or pretending they don’t exist. This is a serious infection. It’s not going to go away miraculously and, quite unfortunately, there is no cure. All we can do is manage the disease. So, we try to do that. We’ve bought him two large plastic buckets to try to contain his thousands of pieces. We’ve talked to him about preventing the spread of Legos. We’ve cautioned other parents about the disease as well. We’re learning to live with it as best we can.

Yep. Legos are a lot like herpes. Perhaps the only difference I can see is that with herpes simplex the primary infection and all subsequent outbreaks come to you free of charge. These small, plastic Danish herpes are costly at the onset and for the entire future of the disease. If I could get back every dollar that has been spent on my son’s extensive Lego virus…um, I mean, collection…I’m certain I could have vacationed in Hawaii twice by now. I find it a bit ironic that if I’d only have gotten lei’d, perhaps none of this would have happened.

Everything Including The Kitchen Sink…Just Not The Stove

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As I was writing my blog yesterday, I forgot one important component of the planning, packing, and loading aspect of camping. I am not the only adult in our house participating in these activities the day we leave. This morning as we were preparing to head out, I quickly remembered how having a second set of hands is both a blessing and a curse.

As the clock ticked ever closer to our prospective departure time, it seemed we (and by “we” I mean Steve) kept finding more stuff we needed to bring with us. Now, don’t get me wrong. I adore my husband. He is probably the most honest and genuine person I have ever known. But, he is cautious and protective. He loves gear and gadgets meant to make life easier and more enjoyable, but when it comes time to leave he can’t necessarily recall what he has or where it is. Consequently we have approximately 5,000 bottles of sunscreen and insect repellant…all of which I’m sure are in either the car or the camper right now.

In the chaos of trying to get out of the house, with two people trying to collect necessities, we’ve in the past forgotten important items. I’m currently wondering if this will be the case today because as we’re in the car and driving now, we just had this conversation.

“Do we have enough propane canisters?” Hubby inquires.

“I believe we have about six canisters in various stages of emptiness. That should be plenty,” I reply. Then a thought occurs to me. “Did you pack the camp stove?”

His vacant stare is my answer.

“Isn’t it in the camper?” he asks, his tone dripping with desperation.

“I don’t know. Since we didn’t open it, I am not sure. It wasn’t in the garage?”

“I didn’t look for it,” came the answer.

In trying to keep with my “what’s the worst that can happen” mindset, I made the conscious decision not to fret about it. We may or may not have the camp stove, which we will need to heat the foods I prepared in advance because of the fire ban and the fact that the propane canister on our camper has been empty for years. (Do not get me started on that topic.) Either way, I am sure that our weekend will be fine. We will merely be eating a lot of cold sandwiches rather than hot food. We’re not going to starve. It’s just a small hiccup in what will otherwise be a great weekend. At least, that’s what I am telling myself as I recall the large bottle of sweet tea vodka I do remember packing before we left.

Confession…Sometimes I Too Hate Cyclists Even Though I Am One

Whenever I tell someone I am a “cyclist” (I have to put that word in quotes because I’m less of a die-hard cyclist and more of a person who rides a bike occasionally for exercise), I get the same reaction. There is a pause followed by this statement: “You know what I hate about cyclists?” As soon as this statement is uttered, I know the rest of the information that will follow. They don’t need to say a word. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The things you hate about cyclists are the same things other cyclists despise about cyclists. True story.

While out riding today, the first day of the Colorado MS 150, I am absolutely certain I witnessed first hand the myriad things you despise about cyclists. There are the cyclists who think it’s perfectly acceptable to ride 4 abreast, encroaching upon one entire car lane in the process. There are the cyclists who don’t obey traffic laws, perhaps refusing to stop for traffic lights or stop signs. There are the cyclists who while passing another cyclist or a pedestrian fail to announce their presence with a simple, courteous “passing on your left.” Certainly, there are other complaints, but those are the top three I hear.

I can assure you I saw every one of those cycling infractions played out during our ride today. Multiple times, even. Every time it happened, I shook my head and muttered a choice expletive. Cyclists who ride without obeying the rules of the road and using proper cycling etiquette are more a threat to my safety than passing cars. Negligent cyclists on the road frighten me more than semi trucks doing 60.

I would love it if I could change these cyclists’ behavior. It would make my biking experiences far more enjoyable. Truth is, though, I can’t rein them in anymore than you can convince the mouthy guy at the football game not to drop the F-bomb repeatedly in front of your kids. I don’t know why some cyclists behave like a**hats. I wish I did. Is it that American attitude of entitlement that makes them feel they are above the law? Are they simply ignorant? Maybe it all boils down to a personality defect? I’m not sure, but please know that if I could fix it to increase my safety I would do it.

Not all cyclists ride with their heads stuck up their butt. Most cyclists are cautious and decent. But, it’s the misguided antics of a small percentage that stand out. Come on. You know that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, right? So before you unload your grievances on the next cyclist you meet, remind yourself that not every cyclist is a bad one. Try to cut us some slack. We know some other riders are idiots. We are just trying really hard to forget it.

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The Night Red Cups Stopped Reminding Me Of Beer Pong

Red cups will never be the same for me.

(Author’s Note: The following is a true and cautionary tale. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. Sorry, Hon.)

My husband is in all ways decent man. He has nary a character flaw to whine about, unless you count his nearly constant worry about his family. I’m blessed to have such a wonderfully good-natured spouse. I truly am. Let’s face it. He’d have to be to remain married to me for nearly 17 years. Still, there have been times that I have to wonder what in the holy hell is in his head.

I met my friend Lisa at Starbucks for coffee at 7 p.m. I didn’t get home until 10:10 because we’d lost track of the time. I pulled into the garage, exited my SUV, and walked up to the door. I turned the knob and realized hubby had locked the door.

Steve often locks the door from the house to the garage. It’s a pet peeve of mine. We have a home security system that we set religiously and a fearful dog with sharpish and pointed teeth and the will to use them. Beyond that, we have relatively little in our house that’s nice enough to be worth stealing. I know he’s just being cautious and protecting his family, but when he knows I’ll be home soon why on earth does he feel compelled to lock the door? Does he think someone’s going to come and abduct him? Sometimes I think it’s some sort of subconscious, passive-aggressive tactic to aggravate me since he’s normally so mild-mannered and accepting of my copious flaws. I have to wonder.

Anyway, I dig through my purse looking for my keys only to remember that I’ve left them on the kitchen counter because everyone was home for the evening and I wasn’t going to be out late. Crap. So, I knock on the door several times and wait for him to do what he usually does…approach to unlock it, uttering an apology I can hear through the door. I wait. I wait. No one is coming. He must be upstairs with the boys. So, I escalate my knocking by kicking the door very hard several times. I leave marks with my shoes. Certainly he will hear that, right? Nope. Are you kidding me? I open the garage door again figuring that he must be upstairs in the boys’ room, which is why he can’t hear me. I ring the doorbell on the front porch. Repeatedly. About a million times until I’m going to short the stupid thing out and start a fire. That will get their attention. Still, no one comes.

It’s at this point that I begin to realize that they’re probably asleep. It’s not unusual for Steve to go hang out in the boys’ room while they’re falling asleep. I figure the only chance I have of them hearing me is if I go around to the back of the house and call up to their open window. So, I do that. Not a peep. No lights turn on. No reply at all. I can’t yell for long because I’m trying not to let the neighbors know that my crazy husband has locked me out. From 10:10 to 11:10, fueled by annoyance, I knock, ring the doorbell, kick the doors, honk the car horn, try to open windows I can reach, yell up to the open window, and even throw rocks at it trying to get someone’s attention. Apparently, I’m invisible. A light bulb clicks in my brain. The fan must be on. When our whole house fan is on you couldn’t hear a 747 land in the bedroom. I’m screwed.

Finally, I go back to my car, close the garage door in resignation, and decide I might as well try to fall asleep in my car. What I discover is that a luxury SUV is not particularly luxurious when employed as a sleeping compartment. Around 1:30 a.m. I am still awake, sitting in my car, livid. I’ve had to pee three times, courtesy of a decaf grande skinny vanilla latte and a bottle of water I wished I had not ingested. That unladylike scenario involved a red Solo cup and a skill I learned very well while pregnant. Nothing like peeing in your own garage to make you feel like the family dog. Wait. The family dog was asleep inside the house while I was locked in the garage. Curious.

I considered going to a hotel, but knew that when hubby finally awoke he would probably notify the National Guard that I was missing. Besides, I had faith that sooner or later he would wake up and notice I was gone, right? He did not. Joe did. Joe woke up, walked into our bedroom to have me tuck him back into bed, noticed I was missing, and told his dad. Around 3:30 a.m. I heard the lock on the door to the garage unlock and saw the door open. Steve noticed my car was there and started to close the door again, presumably comforted because clearly I was home. I opened the car door and yelled to get his attention.

He looked like Bigfoot in headlights. He was in serious trouble. He appeared to be contemplating slamming and locking the door again to avoid the ugly situation. He apologized profusely, but I did not care. I was exhausted. I was angry. I was temporarily not speaking to him. I’d had to pee in a red cup. Beer pong was forever ruined for me.

Facebook Is Simply Show-And-Tell For Grown Ups

One of my Facebook profile photos. What does it tell you about me?I don’t know and I don’t really care. I just like it.

I was thinking today that Facebook is the ultimate exercise in show-and-tell. Remember that from kindergarten? Stand up there, show off something you like or care about, and tell people all about it. And, I think that if you treat Facebook (or any social media) that way, it’s a fairly innocuous thing. But, if you find you’re concerned about the number of replies you get to a post or if you’re using your posts to validate your decisions or any other aspect of your life, it might be time to take a step back.

I’ve got 288 Facebook “friends.” The “friends” is in quotes for a reason. All that word means in Facebookland is that I have viewing rights to 288 other people’s lives. I joined Facebook in 2008, so I’ve had years to study the way people use it. Some use it as a soapbox. Others use it for braggadocio. Some, quite sadly, use it to pump up their self-esteem. Some use it to avoid loneliness. Everyone gets something different from it, which is why it fascinates me. But, it all comes back to the notion that we all like to talk about ourselves. With Facebook, we can do it all day and all night and our spewing about ourselves ad nauseam is never considered narcissistic or obnoxious. It’s par for the course. It’s genius, really. Everyone is the center of their Facebook universe. How appropriately human.

I’ve always liked this quote: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” I more or less live by this notion. I learned early on that I am not for everyone, which is just fine with me because there are oodles of people I can do without as well. It’s nice to be liked, but if I’m not it doesn’t affect how I feel about myself. I’m here to find my own way. I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I was living someone else’s. Still, it’s easy to get sucked into caring too much what others think of you, especially when you throw yourself onto a social media site and pay too close attention to the responses you get. When you live that way, though, you’re not being authentic. I’ve seen my fair share of folks who clearly use Facebook for personal validation. I know, on occasion, I have been guilty of it too. But, what other people think of you is none of your business. It doesn’t matter. When it’s all said and done, the only person whose opinion about you should matter is your own. So, the next time you post something and no one seems to notice or care, throw yourself a dozen or so mental thumbs up Likes and move on. Facebook is show-and-tell. That’s all it is. Letting it be more than that is a waste of your precious energy on this planet.