May 2009


I love my whistle. I still like to have it with me on my key chain, just in case. Just in case what? Just in case I see a kid running barefoot on wet cement near a pool? Just in case someone dives into a puddle near me? Just in case I fancy a lariat twirl? Just in case I need to warn people of some impending disaster involving electric shock or spinal injuries?

Perhaps. It’s my safety blanket, in a way. I can close my eyes and think back to my deliciously smooth, tan legs soaking up more rays while I rested my deliciously tan arms on the hot metal arm-rests of the lifeguard stand, twirling the whistle chord around my index finger. Wrap around, unwrap around… over and over… Scan the pool… count the kids… all over again. It was beautiful, repetitive and fulfilling.

And oh! My whistle-blowing skills! They were unparalleled. We had some sort of signalling system in place involving long whistle blows and short whistle blows, but I can’t remember it all now… but I could really get those short whistle blows. I think I learned how to properly use a whistle by coaching a swim team. You really had to emphasize that short, loud, startling whistle involving some fancy tongue work.

I can still hear (and cringe at the remembrance) a few of my fellow guards who hadn’t mastered their whistle work. They’d just put the whistle in their mouth and blow. Effective, but not very elegant. These tweets would start off slowly and quietly, rumble into full blast, and then fade away as their breath strength failed them. Not so, with my whistling. I’d hold my tongue over the whistle opening until my cheeks were full of air, start to blow, then remove my tongue for that sharp blast that so inspired fear in the pool-rat children. I’d just as quickly cover the opening again with my tongue before my whistle faded away. It was crisp. It was authoritative. It was downright frightening.

I find that it wasn’t nearly as awe-inspiring when I attempted it as a teacher. These are the lifeguard chronicles, not the high school math teacher chronicles, but suffice it to say, the whistle in the classroom inspired about as much laughter as it had fear in my lifeguarding days. Those days in the lifeguard stand were some of the only ones where I could truly epitomize that Disney-made saying, “Whistle While You Work.”

Coming from a background in life guarding, I have a deep, deep love for summer rainstorms, particularly the ones that drum up a little thunder action. The best possible time for these bursts to occur is between 2:30pm and 4:00pm. They need to last at least half an hour to convince those twelve year-olds with no patience to ditch the pool instead of attempting to wait out the storm. The more menacing the clouds, the better. Visible lightening strikes enhance the storm’s ability to drive the kids away. Each lightening strike adds thirty minutes to the “no swimming” clock… every thunder rumble adds twenty. At least, I think I’m remembering that correctly… these rules tend to change depending on who happens to be present at the pool during a storm.

If a member of the pool board is on location with their twitty children, you do whatever they say. They write your pay checks. Now, this is not really good lifeguard ethics. I believe fully in the killing power of electricity combined with large masses of water. Not a good combo. In my lifeguard classes, we were told horror stories of lightening that struck a pool and broke all of the cement surrounding the pool, leaving the deck looking remarkably like the set of a Will Smith disaster movie. Of course this may have been an urban legend of sorts… I can’t say either way.

There was an occasion of a late afternoon thunder shower where I flatly refused to watch the pool after a board member insisted that there was no danger from the “heat lightening” and all of the fifty kids at the pool could get back in and risk their lives for a little fun. I, as the professional in charge of these lives, said “Nope. Not on my watch.”

I left the very sweet and eager to please manager to take over my shift on the stand since she was the one who agreed to let the kids back in the pool. But of course, I sat in a chair and did my duties all the same… I mean, it wasn’t the kids’ faults! And I’d prefer for them not to drown while they were dodging lightening bolts. But I resented the heck out of that board member for compromising my ethics and putting us all in imminent danger.

I maintain that this was a stupid thing to do, though everyone made it through the evening unscathed. I lifeguarded for four summers and never once saw a bolt of lightening strike a pool… but still. Fortunately, most afternoons, the pool board members were still at their jobs and their twitty kids were under my care. And I was boss. ::::two short tweets with the whistle:::: “Everybody Out! Lightening!”

This has been a week of perpetual annoyance for me. My cell phone (and at least 1/4 of my life) went MIA on Sunday and didn’t turn up again until Wednesday morning. Wednesday afternoon, my internet (and the other 3/4 of my life) went out. It’s not scheduled to be back in action until Monday morning. This lapse in internet service springs from a miscommunication between my husband (who pays the bills) and AT&T… It seems Hubby thought AT&T was taking payments directly from our checking account. AT&T thought we were negligent flunkies with no intention of ever paying them for the services they provided. AT&T obviously has the power in this situation, so they shut off our internet connection, disabled our DSL and canceled our phone line (which technically wasn’t a real phone line, it was just used for the DSL connection). Actually, we called and paid the difference as soon as we discovered our error before any of the disabling and disconnecting ever happened. But AT&T decided it would be cool to shut everything off anyway, and then take four days to reconnect it. And Dad, no, they’ve not reported this to the credit bureau or whatever. We asked.

And now I’m sitting in a coffee shop writing this post for my adoring readers so they won’t think I’ve fallen off the face of the planet. I’ve got a few errands to run this afternoon but may pop back into the coffee shop this evening to schedule a few more posts to keep you guys happy.

And I’ll leave you with one final annoyance: there is a fly in this coffee shop that is making me want to become a homicidal maniac. Toodles!

(PS – this blog spellchecker doesn’t recognize the word blog, nor the word internet. Seriously.)

With a new selling season gearing up, I’ve been receiving a TON of boxes. And I’m probably not that far off if you were to weigh them all together… there’s at least 2000 lbs of catalogs and books in the entryway of my home… ugh. And then another 2000 back in my office waiting to be taken to the recycler or given away to accounts… ugh ugh ugh. So much annoying manual labor goes along with this job. It’s unfortunate to the highest degree.

I haven’t opened but two of the at least 30 boxes in my entryway because I’ve got to process the unused catalogs in my office first. Since I have apparently lost my cell phone (UGH), I suppose I’ve got some time to spare…. so off to work I go… and I guess I’d whistle while I worked if I’d ever learned how!

I just realized I’ve lived in this house for nearly two full years. That’s a first in my married life – we usually move every 12 to 18 months. I know our parents and my sister and whoever she’s currently dating appreciate that we’ve stayed put for awhile… but I’m not so thrilled. This house is very cute, don’t get me wrong. It suits our needs quite well – perfectly, one might say. Well, one might say that if it were clean, if we didn’t have three litter boxes in our guest bathroom, and if the guest bedroom and office were usable. But technically speaking, the bare bones of the house fulfill our needs just fine.

So why do I want to pack up and move somewhere else? I tend to have a burst of energy after moving into a new place that allows me to arrange furniture and our multitudes of stuff and get everything where I want it to be, and things start clean. I’ve lost all motivation in this house. Only with my Mary Poppins-like Sista’s help do I feel like the job is within my abilities. Otherwise, I’m beginning to feel a bit hopeless. Especially since it’s been six months since Sista came to help me clean… and there have only been spurts and fits of cleanliness between then and now. I need a new space, to start over fresh.

Too bad the housing market sucks and I doubt anyone wants to help me move for the… let’s see… sixth time since I got married! Sigh. I guess I’ll just have to pretend like this is a new house (this shouldn’t be too hard since I still have boxes to unpack in the guest bedroom…) and maybe that will help me out of this funk!

Warning: my parents are not going to like this post.

Now, with that settled, allow me to illustrate the afternoon/evening where I got the most intoxicated I’ve ever been – off of three (sort of largish) glasses of red wine. This photo is of me looking for sticks in the woods to feed our fire with. I apparently wandered rather farther from camp than I intended but I don’t think DF and FF would have let me do anything too badly stupid. Also, I think I was dancing in this photo:

Liz in the Woods

Liz in the Woods

We’d gone hiking earlier in the afternoon (perhaps another post to come on this…perhaps not, we’ll see) and had settled around our rather pathetic fire playing a card game (phase 10, for those who are interested in the details) which I was winning rather handily (if I do say so myself…) until we uncorked a bottle of wine. I don’t love red wine but it does tend to affect me really strongly, so I stopped caring about the icky taste after about three sips. At which point I got overly interested in our meagre little fire, absolutely determined to make it a roaring fire like I was sure any guy could do without even trying. Girl Power!

It was at this time that the picture above was taken (and I think I’d consumed at least a full glass of wine at this point, too). I also think FF walked up to the bathrooms at some point and I managed to get completely covered in ash poking around in the fire while closely observed by DF (a nurse on the burn unit, so I felt quite safe). I never quite succeeded in getting the fire stoked to a level that would have made a caveman proud, but I hear that (before it started raining for the second night in a row) it eventually got going quite well. I don’t remember. I was drunk.

I would like to disclaim here that I have never really been drunk before. [UPDATE: I have been reminded that this is not exactly my first drunken experience. I stand by my statement that I’ve not been this drunk before, but perhaps I have had a run in with a screwdriver or two in the past… oops…] Being that I am 26 and I only just got drunk for the first time (and I might say the last time, but I seriously doubt it is… my friends all really like red wine… I don’t get it), I’m in pretty good shape. The reason I add this here is because I get a lot stupider in this post going forward. Somehow, I had two more glasses of wine…

I think at some point before dinner we finished Phase 10 (I lost, imagine that), so while FF (at least I remember it mostly being her) cooked our steaks for our dinner (which should have tasted MUCH better considering how much I paid for them… but I wasn’t exactly in a state of mind to appreciate the fine flavors of beef at that moment anyway) I rolled around in the dirt. Yes, that’s right. I rolled around outside of our tent because I actually couldn’t stand up anymore. How pathetic! Three glasses of wine and I’m a blithering idiot. 

The girls propped me up on a log and handed me my steak, which they’d kindly cut in half for me. I decided that there was no need to dirty anymore silverware, so I ate my steak with my hands. Now I was beginning to make the cavemen proud. Especially when I dropped part of the steak on the ground, picked it up, was too blurry-eyed to see any dirt on it, and ate it anyway.

Then it started raining – God’s way of sobering me up. I don’t remember exactly how we got all of our stuff inside our cars or the tent, but we managed it, and I felt a LOT better once we turned in for the evening. In fact, I think I was the last one to fall asleep out of the three of us. But it was pretty good fun (though I am fairly certain I apologized to DF and FF no less than a hundred times each, during and after my intoxication) and thankfully they only took a couple of really incriminating photos of me. Those are some good friends, those girls!

Sometimes I wish I had fun hallucinations. I don’t wish this enough to take hallucinatory drugs, mind you, but TV is starting to make it look really interesting. Izzie, House, and Booth, some of the most fascinating and/or attractive characters on television have all been having hallucinations this season, which I can’t help thinking is an abnormally large number of characters to hallucinate for one season of television. Are all of the writers on hallucinogens? Is it the goal of the media to make people want to hallucinate? It’s working. Apparently I’m incredibly susceptible to the subliminal messages sent through my television (or in my case, my computer screen).

The problem is that I still am intrigued by hallucinations even though each of these characters has been revealed to have some sort of life threatening illness. I mean thank goodness the writers are at least trying to make hallucinations seem less exciting and desirable. I’m fairly certain House is going to be fine. For goodness sake, he IS that show – they wouldn’t have renewed for another season if he was gonna go completely crazy. And I’m still working through the end of Grey’s so don’t tell me, but the show would go on if Izzie’s tiny hallucinatory tumor kills her I wouldn’t really be that surprised, and the show would go on. You just don’t piss off the writers’ like Katherine Heigl did last summer. Bad choice on her part. I’d be completely convinced Izzie was going to make it if Katherine Heigl hadn’t run her mouth about the writers not giving her Emmy-worthy material to work with. But back to the point. Booth from Bones is going to be fine even if he can’t remember anybody. So I’m still pretty convinced that hallucinating would be sort of cool.

I wonder who or what I would hallucinate about? I don’t have any dead friends or old boyfriends to haunt me, so that’s out. Booth hallucinated cartoon characters, so that’s a possibility apparently… how about Abu (Aladdin’s cute monkey friend)? Or Daisy Duck (I was always a little annoyed by Minnie Mouse’s voice)? That might be fun.  But I am certain that hallucinations are supposed to serve a purpose in revealing more of my character (as shown by the above TV examples), so I can’t imagine what Abu and Daisy Duck could reveal about me. Perhaps I could hallucinate my unborn (nay, unconceived) children! That might be exciting… and perhaps the only opportunity I’ll ever have to meet them! Oooh here’s a good one… I’ll hallucinate that my house is clean! Yep, that’s what I’m gonna do. Now, how does one go about getting a non-life-threatening tumor on one’s brain?

[And for the record, I’m attempting satire here. I’m not sure how well I succeeded… but I thought I should calm everyone down. And again, for the record, I don’t need nor want nor have access to any hallucinogens. Peace out!]

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