Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Not to Wear - The Kennywood Adventure

I know that I am no Stacy London or Clinton Kelly, but I do know enough to wear clothes that fit, and for God's sake, cover up things that nobody else should have to see.  Last weekend we went to Pittsburgh to an amusement park called Kennywood.  What is it about these places and county fairs that bring out the craziness of people's wardrobes.  Because I can't make this stuff up, and because nobody would believe me if I told them, I took some pictures. Out of the many that I took, I narrowed it down to the best (or should I say worst) three.  I ask you, do these people not have mirrors?  Do they not have loved ones that have the guts to tell them they look ridiculous?   I will apologize in advance because once you see these, the image can not be erased from your minds.  Fair warning, if you are faint of heart, turn back now.  I am saving the best for last.  I promise it will be worth it, and might just give you nightmares for days. 

The problem here is not that this man's shirt is pink, it is that it is mesh.  Yes, I said MESH!  I ask you, where does one buy something like this?  I have never, in all my 41 years, seen a mesh shirt, much less one that had buttons on it.  Here is another problem with mesh shirts in the heat.  If you have deodorant fade out, there is nothing to stop it from being shared with your fellow people in line.  It is even better when you have a 7 year-old with no filter who said "WHAT IS THAT SMELL, IT SMELLS SO BAD, LIKE BAD BBBBBBBBBBBBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OR REALLY STINKY FEET!!!!!!!!!!"  On one hand, it really needed to be said, and I wished I could have said it.    On the other hand, I tried to pretend that he was not my child while simultaneously clamping my hand over his mouth.   My sister Laura and I have decided that they should have deodorant stations and they should be mandatory every hour, or every time you come off a water ride.  It would make this whole experience bearable.  I should be thankful that the next man was not wearing this mesh shirt...

I like to call this a Sasquatch sighting.  This man is extremely hairy.  I am not sure why I felt it necessary to point this out.  Many men suffer from this condition, and since I have not gotten my eyebrows waxed in over a year because it hurts, I do not expect this man to wax his back for my amusement park enjoyment.  I would, however, like to recommend that he wear a collared shirt.  I was longing for the mid 80's when the mock turtleneck was in style. 

Here is the grand finale of this slide show of horror:

First, let me point out that this is her back.  If you suffer from back cleavage, which I have never actually seen before, COVER IT UP.  DO NOT WEAR A SHIRT THAT SHOWCASES THIS FREAK OF NATURE!!!!!!  I would also like to tell you that her earrings say "SEXY".  I assure you that there was nothing sexy about this. This woman had teenage kids.  What person of at least late twenties or early thirties wears plastic earrings that say anything, much less sexy? It was even more horrific in person. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to see these jeans from the front. 

I am not much for roller coasters anymore.  The lines were long and it was hot and crowded.  I am not in any hurry to go again, but the cotton candy was fresh and the people watching was fantastic.  It was a great day spent with my family, and that is really all I can ask for. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Is it Still a Tree House if There is No Tree?

One of the first activities the kids did this summer was to add on to the tree house at my parents house.  About five or six years ago my dad built a tree house for the kids in an old apple tree.  The rule was that you had to be at least five years old to climb into the tree.  It was a platform with some railing, and you had to climb the tree to get in and out.  It is about six feet in the air and was about 5'x10', big enough for the five oldest kids to get in and move around a little bit.  Over the years it gained a tarp roof, and then the tree died and my dad cut it down leaving just enough of the trunk for the kids to still climb in. 

Lauren and William have grown out of it, but Claire, Matthew, Cara and Ryan grew into it, and the kids deemed it too small.  Over the winter, whenever we gathered at my parents house, the kids would go into the basement and plan for the addition.  There were elections to see who would be in charge of the project, and Colin was selected to give "the pitch".  They drew up some plans, and when the time was right, they sent Colin in.

They had two things going for them.  Laura's family was going to be staying at my parents for a few weeks while they were moving, and Colin is irresistible.  It helped that he had the backing of all of the other kids, but mostly, when Colin turns on the charm, you really have very little defense. 

One day when Mom, Laura and I had gone somewhere, Dad took Andrew, Colin, Cara and Ryan to the Home Depot to gather the materials.  The people at Home Depot about had a heart attack when the kids were pulling the wood off the piles.  Colin dropped one of the planks on his toe and it is still damaged two months later.  Dad told them they needed some 2x4's for the deck part and Ryan found some, but they were untreated.  Dad, in his infinite wisdom told him that those wouldn't work because they needed the yellow ones, you know, the ones with poison.  Ryan had a conniption.  POISON, I CAN'T TOUCH THAT, IT HAS POISON!!!!!  NOBODY TOUCH THAT, IT IS POISON.  This went on all day long.  Ryan must have washed his hands about 30 times that day.  Finally, Andrew threatened him with bodily harm if he talked about it once more, and I am pretty sure that he had Dad's approval. 

Once they got through the Home Depot they had to get the stuff home.  While everyone fit into the van comfortably on the way to the store, they didn't anticipate how much space it would take to get it all home.  Colin and Andrew had to double buckle in the front seat.  Just as Colin had finished saying, "I hope we don't see any police", one drove by.  Both of them ducked. 

For the rest of the week, they worked on the tree house.  Ryan continued to worry about the poison wood, although he didn't say anything about it around Andrew.  I think we have since convinced him that it is only poisonous to bugs. 

This is the old side of the treehouse:

This begs the question though, how many of my family members does it take to build a tree house that does not have a tree? 

This is the new tree house.  You can see the old tree stump, and the new addition of the ladder to enter and exit. 

Hours of fun have been had by all, but much to my relief, the sleepover they were planning never took place.  They are still planning on putting on a roof, but time ran out before Laura had to move on to her new house in Philadelphia.  There is always next summer. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Bent, But Still Unbroken

Here I am again.  I would say sorry that it has been so long since I posted, but that would be a lie.  I needed some time to catch my breath since I am now, once again, a stay-at-home mom.  So far this summer we have completed swim season (our third year of being undefeated!), done two sessions of coach pitch baseball (certainly this must be one of the circles of hell) , and survived the eight hottest days of the summer without air conditioning (forget the circle, that was hell).  I have also gone to Philadelphia in the back seat of our Camry with my two blessings from God, aka my kids.  A trip to the chiropractor was needed to make my hip useable again, but it was so worth it to spend two days with Laura and to see her new home. 

I has not been our best summer ever since our style of living to which we have become accustomed has been drastically reduced.  It has been a good summer in that the kids and I have had a summer of endless days stretching out before us with nothing in particular planned, nobody that we need to see, and nothing that absolutely has to be done (short of me finding a new job, of course). 

One of the things that I have done this summer is read.  I have been reading a lot, like about 20 books.  The books have ranged from the compulsory "Fifty Shades of Grey" series (don't waste your time) to the most recent book called "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.   This was just the book I needed right now.  It follows the journey of a man named Louie Zamperini who would have been the first man to run a four-minute mile if it had not been for World War II. He ends up in the Army Air Force where he fights in huge battles in unstable planes, gets lost at sea for over 40 days, then captured to spend almost three years as a POW under horrific conditions. Finally, it covers  how he copes with the aftermath when he eventually gets home. Don't worry, there are no spoilers in that description. 

What this story is really about is how your attitude will make all the difference when life throws you a curve ball.  It is about patriotism, which is especially poignant since we are watching the Olympics.   It is about humanity, and how circumstances can cause people to do ghastly things, and how some people can rise above these same circumstances to maintain their dignity.  In short, this book put my issues back in perspective and reminded me that even though this setback is painful, my family is safe and healthy, and we will stay that way together through the good times and the bad.  This is time that I need to enjoy for what it is, not what it could have been.  That this too, shall pass, and what is on the horizon might be something great.  I just need to take one day at a time and keep my head up.  God will take me where he wants me to go.