That Time I Tried to Be Normal

My kids say we’re crazy, “but in a good way.” It’s fine. It’s a family trait, like having a cute nose, or being loud. Our lives are not non-stop, call-the-cops insanity. We just think a little silliness makes life fun.

Dancing was always part of that fun. We cranked up the radio and surfed with the Beach Boys. Ray Charles led us through “Shake A Tail Feather.” There were victory dances practically every day. Got a turkey in bowling? Victory dance! Poured the milk without spilling? Victory dance! (That one’s for me. I lack pouring skills).

Another silly favorite was the cutout in the kitchen wall. It was originally intended for handing food through to the dining room. But since we used the dining room as a family room, the cutout was pretty much pointless. Not to the kids, though. They renamed it the “pizza window,” and could not get enough of it. They’d “order” their food at the window, and then go eat in front of the TV. It was the best restaurant ever, as far as they were concerned.

The family room also functioned as a campground. We built tents out of chairs and sheets, and the kids would live in them for entire weekends. One summer, they convinced me to leave the tent up for a week. I was invited in for games, snacks, and TV. Even the dog would hang out in the tent. In the manner of our family tradition, she was a bit weird, too.* Her favorite snack was crickets. Obviously, this campground didn’t (usually) have crickets, but she considered sharing the kids’ chips an acceptable alternative.

Though the kids were perfectly fine with silliness at home, they weren’t always quite as chill about public displays of weirdness. My demonstrations of different ways to jay-walk (jay-skipping, jay-twirling, etc.) were usually met with “Maaaaahmmmm. Stop.” There were also minor protests over my “Meanest Mom Ever” Halloween costume. Even so, most goofy behavior was met with a shrug and “Whatever.”

(Or so I thought. When I mentioned putting the jay-skipping in this blog, my daughter said, “Oh man. Wow. I had totally forgotten about that,” and hid her face in her hands. I’m sure she’s fine.)

They’re adults now, but so far none of us has grown out of being a little crazy. This past winter, my son convinced us to create a multiple snowman display in the front yard. Just this week, my daughter and I did a “the Wi-Fi works” dance. So yeah, we’re still one with the weird.

I did try to be boring once. The kids saw something about a “normal” family on TV, and it somehow led to me trying to prove I could be normal, too. Of course, I couldn’t just stop dancing and making jokes. There’d be no fun in that. I decided to be “ultra-normal” and started acting like a proper, boring mom like the one on TV.

“What would you like for lunch, children?”

“Grilled cheese sandwiches, please.”

“Excellent choice. I shall get started right away.” Giggles from the kids.

After about ten minutes my son started getting worried, and the conversation changed a bit.

“What pleasant weather we’re having.”

“Ok, Mom. You can go back to being your normal self.”

“This is my new normal self. Your lunch will be ready presently. Would you like to eat at the table like a normal person, or do you prefer to eat in front of the television like crazy people?

“Mom, please go back to being regular.”

Looking back, I realize he might have been a bit freaked out to see his mom change personalities so dramatically. (Maybe I really was the Meanest Mom Ever.) On the other hand, it might have been that he just didn’t like the idea of eating lunch at the table. Either way, he was done with the normal experiment.

“Mom. Just be the regular you.”

“Whatever do you mean, children?” I replied in my posh voice. But as I flipped the grilled cheese, I couldn’t resist a quiet cheer and a tiny “didn’t set it on fire” victory dance. (Gas burners. It’s happened.)

Unfortunately for the normal experiment, I hadn’t noticed that my daughter had come up to the pizza window to see if the sandwiches were ready. Busted! She giggled at my little dance but didn’t say anything, so I broke into the “Monkey” for a super victory dance.

Before I could come up with another boring comment about the weather, my son also got up to check on lunch. He spotted me and yelled, “I KNEW IT! I SEE YOU DANCING IN THERE! DOING THE “MONKEY” IS NOT NORMAL!”

Experiment over. I failed the normal test. We laughed and did the “Monkey” for a minute, then I handed them their lunches through the pizza window.

As my son was taking his plate he said, “I’m glad you’re not normal.”

I figured he was really saying “I’m glad you’re not being normal anymore, and went back to being our regular fun mom.” After all, I was handing him food through the wall. But I asked anyway, just to see what else he had to say.

“Why?”

“Because you suck at it”.

A normal, boring mom would have grounded him. But we’re crazy in the good way, so we just laughed and made it a family legend.

The Cricket Patrol
The Snow Squad saluting me as I drove by

*See previous blog posts about the other crazy dogs in our lives

Waiting rooms vs. Bars

I had a doctor appointment this week.  As I was scoping out the waiting room for a seat away from the crowd, it hit me: waiting rooms and bars have a lot in common.

  • You have to show ID or it’s no admittance, no matter how long you stood in line or how old you look
  • You have to wait quite a while  before the person at the bar/counter will help you
  • You are crowded in with people that you normally wouldn’t get too close to-you never know what you might catch from those people
  • There are “interesting” stains on the floor – is that blood? You’re better off not thinking about it too much
  • That one couple yelling so that EVERYONE can hear their opinions on Game of Thrones/Stanley Cup Playoffs/their current medical conditions/whatever
  • No outside food or drinks
  • Inadequate bathroom facilities for the number of people present
  • The smell – not the same smell, obviously, but a distinctive one for each. For bars, it’s sweat, too much perfume, and the ghosts of a thousand spilled beers. For waiting rooms, it’s sweat, too much ointment, and lots and lots of carpet freshener (seriously, what is that stain on the floor?)

I entertained myself with this list for a few minutes, then opened up the book I had brought with me. As I sat there trying to read, I realized I had not taken into account a big difference-the one thing that makes bars so much better than waiting rooms. In bars, the TVs on the walls are muted.   Paradise!

Adventures with crazy dogs

Z and G

Took the dogs for a walk. When we got back, I opened the truck to get the garage door opener.

Z hates car rides, so as soon as I opened the truck door she started trying to back out of her harness and get far away from the vehicle. I had to drop the leash so she wouldn’t end up running through the neighborhood naked.


Z trying to escape

While I was paying attention to Z, G-who obviously likes to go for rides-took the opportunity to jump in the truck. I could not convince him to get out.

Meanwhile, Z was in the front yard enjoying her freedom. I shut the door to the truck, got Z out of the front yard and put her in the house. Came right back out to get G. When I opened the door he moved over to the passenger seat, presumably to give me room to drive him somewhere.

I went around to the other side and wrestled him out (they’re good dogs, but cars make them crazy) Just as I got him to the ground a fire truck went by and I glanced up. G immediately took advantage of the distraction. He jumped back up in the truck and moved over to the driver’s seat.

REALLY? I think he was laughing at me

By this time, the fire truck had turned around at the end of the street and was coming back by. I waved casually as if nothing was going on. “Hi firefighters. Nothing unusual here. Perfectly normal for me to be standing next to the truck while the dog is in the driver’s seat. By the way, I don’t look familiar at all and am completely unrelated to any of your coworkers.” They waved and kept driving. I didn’t recognize any of them, so maybe I got lucky and was able to remain incognito.

After the fire truck went by, I finally got G out of the truck and onto the driveway. As soon as I shut the truck door, he turned back into a good boy and walked into the house without even being asked.

Never dull around here.