Secretary of Bizarre Cosmic Injuries

I finally have something in common with a President of the United States. No, I have not mastered bodysurfing or started wearing stovepipe hats. Like Joe Biden, I have broken my foot while playing with a dog. (Note: it is NEVER the dog’s fault when this happens. I am confident Joe agrees with me on this.)

I was thrilled to have this in common with the next President, so I texted my kids about it.

Me: JOE BIDEN BROKE HIS FOOT PLAYING WITH HIS DOG

Me: #notjustme

Daughter: I bet he didn’t do it twice *three laughing emojis*

Yes, as my daughter loves to point out, I have two dog related broken foot incidents. Not exactly fun, but I think I can use the experiences to help the Biden administration.

The first one was when my kids were young. I had just put a frozen pizza in the oven. I never preheat for frozen pizza—I just put it in and start the oven. As the oven warmed up, I smelled oven cleaner and realized I must have missed some when cleaning the oven earlier that day. The smell didn’t seem like it would enhance the pizza flavor, (also-would the fumes somehow get in the pizza and poison us?) so I pulled the pizza out and turned off the oven. I wiped the oven out a few more times to be sure to get all the cleaner, then turned it back on, put the pizza in, and restarted the timer.

There were no oven cleaner fumes the second time, but we did smell burned pizza. I had forgotten that the pizza would be thawing while I wiped out the oven, and I hadn’t shortened the cooking time accordingly. Smoke, burnt cheese, black crust, etc.

  The kids were starting to wonder if they’d ever get dinner. To keep them occupied while the second pizza was cooking, we played tag. I chased them to the back of house and tagged them, then turned around and ran to front of house while they chased me. The dog was on both teams, running back and forth with us. On one pass when the kids were “it”, I ran into the dog and fell. Have you ever had the kind of break where it seemed like you heard it from the inside? It was like that. From the pain and the sound, I was pretty sure it was broken. I wanted to yell, but I tried to be as calm as possible so the kids wouldn’t freak out. (The dog was uninjured. Yay!)

I was lying there trying to look like everything was fine when the pizza timer went off again.

“Don’t burn this one too, Mommy” said my daughter, looking down at me.

Sighing at the lack of sympathy, I got up and hobbled to the stove. I cut the pizza into bite size pieces, then sent the kids to their kiddie table with their plates.

By then the foot hurt too much to even limp on it, so I hopped to the couch. I called my mom, then sat there waiting for help to arrive. A few minutes later the kids came to the living room. Clearly their “read the room” skills had not developed yet, because they asked for more pizza.

“I’m sorry. You’ll have to wait for Granny to get here. I can’t get off the couch right now because I hurt my foot.”

“Granny! Yay!” they replied, clearly not the least bit concerned about me.

(This proved to be a trend with my kids. Years later, I fell off the monkey bars. Did they worry? Not at all. My daughter continued swinging across, stopping only to hang over me and ask, “Are you dead down there, Mom?”)

My husband got home soon after and took me to the emergency room. I then got to tell the front desk person, the admitting nurse, the x-ray tech, the doctor, and what seemed like 14 other hospital employees that I had tripped over a dog. Super fun.

I had to wear a walking boot and use crutches for about six weeks. Telling the “tripped over a dog” story for six weeks turned out to be even less fun than telling my mom that I had gotten hurt while running in the house. About three days in I started wishing that I had gone with hang gliding or something cool like that.

Moral of the story:  Cleaning ovens is for suckers. If at all possible, wait until you are moving out of state to clean your oven. Then you will not be the next person to turn it on.

It was twenty years, five houses, and four dogs later the next time I broke my foot, but when I fell, I acted as if I had done it the week before.

“I @&#%ing did it again” I yelled from the living room floor. (Since I no longer had young children, I felt that I was justified in being as dramatic as I wanted to be.)

My daughter ran in and immediately wanted to take me to the emergency room (Compassion! Finally!) but I resisted. After about an hour of pretending to be fine while my foot swelled and turned purple, I finally agreed to let her take me. (The dogs were uninjured. Yay!)

There were no rooms available in the ER so I was assigned to “Hall Four”—literally a bed in the hall, with a large number four painted on the wall behind the bed. By then my foot was so big and so purple that every ER employee who went by stopped to gawk and say something along the lines of, “Whoa! Dude! What’d you do?”  So many people came by that after a while I started to suspect that someone had sent an IM saying “Go check out that foot in Hall Four. Dang!”

Walking boot technology had improved a bit over the years, but my attitude about them had not. I was irrationally crabby about the whole thing. A few days later when I went back to work, I was not in the mood to tell even more people that I had tripped over a dog. Even if most of the people at work had not heard the previous story, I was not doing that again.

So I started telling people it was a meteor strike. Genius idea, right? Who’s going to question a meteor strike? Some people laughed; some people gave me a blank stare. That’s pretty much how my days go anyway, so it worked out well.

Moral of the story:  Blame any embarrassing injuries on a meteor strike. No one believes you, but it doesn’t matter because they don’t mind laughing with you. It makes the situation just a little less aggravating.

Five years later, I still maintain that the second one was a meteor strike. “Prove me wrong” is my attitude about it. And that attitude is exactly what I will use to help President Biden:

Me: JOE BIDEN BROKE HIS FOOT PLAYING WITH HIS DOG

Me: #notjustme

Daughter: I bet he didn’t do it twice *three laughing emojis*

Me: Meteor.strike. Get it right

Me: Hey! There WAS a fireball meteor seen on the East Coast a few weeks ago. Clearly Joe is a victim of a meteor strike as well! No dogs involved at all!

Son: That is hilarious. You should be his cabinet member of “bizarre cosmic injuries”

We laughed at the time, but later I realized that it is another genius idea.

I would be great at this job. If there is ever a dog related incident, I am confident that I will be able to find a meteor shower/eclipse/sunspots/Death Star malfunction/whatever to explain it away. It will exonerate the dog as well as shield the President from having to tell an ER physician that it happened again. To avoid potential conflicts of interest, if I am injured (dog related or otherwise) while Secretary I will not use a space related instance to explain it. I will sacrifice my dignity for my country and for dogs everywhere, and just say that I fell off the monkey bars.

Believable. Unprovable. Win/win.

Since most of the major cabinet positions have been filled now, it is a perfect time for President Biden to think about this.

I can start immediately, Mr. President. Just let me know!

Bingo!

Just for fun, here are the results from this week’s Kick Ass Bingo card:

I got bingo! Yay for me! I kick ass!

Since the week is not technically over I could theoretically get a few more squares, so I left those blank. You never know when one of my dogs will do something totally crazy and/or adorable. And if someone starts a conversation about Doctor Who, I could get the TV quote square and the time travel square at the same time!

The ones with “FAIL” are either the ones that I was unable to avoid, or the ones that I know that I will not accomplish by tonight:

  • Turns out you don’t need a hotkey for an em dash (figuring that out got me the “research anything” square! Yay!) so I won’t be creating one.
  • Write 3000 words is not going to happen even if I include this blog post.
  • Chips for dinner–Note to those worried about my nutrition: the meals were rice, beans, and cheese, but with tortilla chips as the eating utensils–sort of like nachos. I did not have bags of potato chips for dinner (this week).
  • No clod incidents–I failed this one very early in the week when I cut my finger while trying to clean a hand saw. Bummer. But considering all the potential clod incidents—cutting myself with the chainsaw, falling off of the ladder, getting knocked out by a tree branch—a cut from a hand saw is practically a victory for me. Bingo-wise the day was a victory. I didn’t overreact to the injury—just bandaged it up and kept going—and I remembered to put the ladder away. That’s two squares! Woot!

Since I have kicked ass this week, I am now going to reward myself with a movie marathon. No guilt. I deserve it! I hope all of you are also rewarding yourselves accordingly. Feel free to share details in the comments.

Peace and love(and ass-kicking!),

Lori

It’s All About Us

Almost as soon as I posted that “space time continuum” would be on your Lori bingo card (see: “But Is It Really Cool?” blog post), I started thinking about a bingo themed blog post. What else would be on a Lori bingo card? Would other people have a different idea of what should be on it?

I sent family and friends a text asking “what are words/events/things that you associate with me? Just the first things that come to your mind.”

***Note:  Thanks to everyone who replied. I appreciate it!*** 

My original plan was to use the answers to make two bingo cards—one with my entries and one with theirs. Discuss how we see ourselves vs how others see us, etc.

I couldn’t make it work. Because I had not told anyone it was for bingo, many of the replies were not “bingo friendly.” For example,

  • Introspective – How can someone tell if I’m being introspective or just trying to remember the capital of Latvia? (I’m still studying for Jeopardy).
  •  Liquid lasagna -Yes, I once used so much sauce in a lasagna that it came out like tomato noodle soup. I had to serve it in bowls. It’s one of those things people never (let you) forget. Even so, it wouldn’t be good for a bingo square because it will probably never happen again.
  • Intelligent/smart (thanks again, everyone!) – Ok, I’m smart, but is it observable? Maybe, if we’re watching Jeopardy together and I remember that Riga is the capital of Latvia. Otherwise, you’re much more likely to see me lock the gate, close the garage, and only then realize that the ladder is still in the backyard. People rarely ask about random capital cities, but I did the ladder thing just last week.
  • Over-reactive – This is an outrageous lie. Clearly someone is trying to sabotage bingo so no one wins.

Due to the lack of bingo friendly responses I didn’t have enough information to fill out two bingo cards–not even if I relented and included over-reactive. So I set the idea aside for a while, hoping that something would occur to me.

Months later (procrastination should have been on my list) I still had nothing, but I wasn’t ready to give up altogether. People had taken the time to answer my question–it would be rude to not at least try to do something with their answers. Not to mention that by this point those people were probably thinking I’d only been fishing for compliments. I dragged out the lists and tried again.

The two card option was still not going to work, so I thought maybe I could tweak the lists to come up with one card. That sort of worked. I did come up with a card, but it didn’t seem like it would be particularly interesting to anyone. It was barely interesting to me. The only way it might be fun is if A–people followed me around all day, and B– it was turned into a drinking game. “She sneezed! Bingo! You have to do a shot!” 

Yeah, not so much. 

I finally gave up. Nobody would get anything particularly useful out of it, and honestly, it was just too dull. Pointless and dull is a pretty good description of 2020, but who needs more of that? Instead, most of us would probably like some encouragement and fun. So I came up with something else: “Kick Ass Bingo.”

It’s a did it/avoided it/overcame it list crossed with a bingo card. Instead of just checking items off of a list, we mark a square for every item we accomplish.

Items on my “Kick Ass” card for this week:

  • Mow the lawn
  • Text a picture of the dogs
  • Do something  charitable
  • Avoid cooking fiascos – no liquid lasagna, or similar
  • Make someone laugh
  • Take the dogs for a walk
  • Sneeze – my life’s equivalent of  the FREE SPACE
  • Dance
  • Go to bed by midnight  
  • Research anything
  • Avoid overreacting at least once
  • Quote a movie/tv show/book – “Not the droids you’re looking for!”
  • Star gaze
  • Stay up late reading
  • Write 3000 words
  • Equivalent of remembering the ladder before closing the garage
  • Avoid cussing until after ? – (timing to be determined)
  • Have chips for dinner only twice
  • Cry– sad cry, laugh cry, sappy commercial cry, whatever
  • No clod incidents – “I didn’t break anything (or myself) this week!”
  • Prompt a “you’re not from around here, are you?” type comment – this usually involves my supposed accent
  • Procrastinate
  • Mention time travel or the space-time continuum
  • Create a hot key for an em dash
  • Sing at the top of my lungs

You can put some actual goals on your card if you want that motivation factor— I included a few on mine— but the main point of the card is to remind us to celebrate ourselves and the things we do.

You can yell “BINGO!” when you win, but I think it’s much more fun to yell “I KICK ASS!” while doing a victory dance. Your choice.

Once we have kicked ass (and we will!) we get to reward ourselves. Double rewards for getting two lines! After all, not everyone can do what we do.  We kick ass! We are amazing! And that is not an overreaction.     

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

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.