Only here…

  • . . . are motorized wheelchairs street legal and often seen riding to WalMart.
  • . . . do chihuahuas ride in the front baskets of those wheelchairs while the confederate flag flies proudly in the back.
  • . . . do ram lambs develop personality disorders after spending too much of their young lives in the same pen with the goats.
  • . . . do most of your classmates consider cowboy boots to be formal attire.
  • . . . do we have a school phantom, with his own twitter account and youtube channel.
  • . . . is it a popular pastime to count the camouflage hats in the cafeteria.
  • . . . is, “sorry professor, I was herding the goats” an acceptable excuse for tardiness.
  • . . . do calves get named after the ex-wives of ‘90s boy band stars.
  • . . . can you pretty much tell time by which residence hall’s fire alarm is going off.
  • . . . do fully-grown deer commit suicide by climbing the UC outer stairs and then jumping from the second story.
  • . . . do you see tractors that could run over small houses in the festival parade.
  • . . . do squirrels take aim and fire with very high accuracy.
  • . . . do we take an entire week to celebrate a tiny, tasteless bean with concerts and overpriced fairway booths.
  • . . . do we avoid potholes that could swallow a semi on the campus farm road.
  • . . . does the golf team practice by shooting balls into the cow pastures. . . with the cows.
  • . . . do rejected suitors sell the engagement ring in the school paper.
  • . . . is it expected that a young man’s arms will look like they are bolted into his body during the summer.
  • . . . do we have a paranormal activity group that routinely scans the campus buildings for signs of disgruntled afterlife.
  • . . . do we have buildings where you can enter the same door three times and somehow seem to end up in three different hallways.
  • . . . do the local disaster response teams conduct full-scale drills for the benefit of a student journalism competition.
  • . . . can we truthfully say we listen to the Best College Radio Station in the Nation.
  • . . . can you greet the Dean of Academic Affairs in the hallway and he stops to ask about your day.
  • . . . is it not unusual to see professors eating with students in the cafeteria discussing novels, movies and local restaurants.
  • . . . is it not unusual to see those same professors come back tomorrow to discuss philosophy, religion, politics and classic literature.
  • . . . do we have a “House Band” made up of English, history and philosophy professors who rock out at the local coffee shop and advertise their concerts in class.
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Judge Not…

Raymond Baron (Everybody Loves Raymond) is an idiot.

            So are Doug (King of Queens), Leonard (Big Bang Theory, although not literally, since he’s a science genius) and George (Seinfeld).

            My husband, however, is not; thus my recently frantic scrambles for column material. But I suppose I should be grateful for this, as there are many wives out there who could write six columns a day on the hilarious, moronic and/or destructive antics of their misters.

            The husband and I seem to be a perfectly normal college-aged married couple, which is reassuring in many ways but doesn’t always provide for the most entertaining blog posts. Our neighbors, on the other hand, seem to have a variety of issues that would make perfectly interesting column material; so this week’s entry is about them. We’ll call them “the F2 Family.”

There are so many people that come and go from that apartment on a regular basis that the mister and I really aren’t sure who are the residents and who are the visitors. What we do know is that the adults (at least 2, potentially 6) all spend their days sitting in the central stairwell smoking and playing on their iPads while the children (at least 3, potentially 15) live free-range lives at top volume.

            The F2 Family seems to consist of early risers, as the adults can often be heard hacking up a lung as early at 6:30 a.m. At least one of the adults, however, is a night owl and enjoys screaming obscenities at the rampaging children as they thunder past our bedroom windows long past 10:30 p.m.

            The adults—at least the ones we think live there full-time—seem like perfectly nice people when they’ve spoken to the mister and I. They ask how our day has been, comment on the weather and the building maintenance and seem sincere when they tell us to let them know if the children become a nuisance.

             This is the most annoying part of it all though, since it’s hard to want to report them for noise violations at 11 p.m. when they’ve been friendly that morning. It also confuses me, since I don’t understand how a person can truly want to keep the children from bothering the neighbors and then spend the afternoon screaming at the hooligans, littering the stairway area with cigarette butts and slamming the front door every 5 minutes. It’s nice to want to be considerate, but maybe you should lump more actions into that category?

            Perhaps I am too harsh with them. It’s true that I don’t have any idea what sort of situation this family may be in or what background they may come from. They may be keeping all those children as foster parents and helping them go to school and have normal lives while their own parents sober up. Evidence seems to point to the contrary, but it could always be possible.

            Perhaps, and this is a more likely theory, the F2 Family was put across the stairs from us to teach the mister and I to not be quick to judge others for their unusual situations (and to tune out those inevitable apartment noises). One day our children may be the terror of the neighborhood.

            If that day ever comes I will not hesitate to beat the snot out of the little curtain climbers, but it could come.

            Moral of the story: “Judge not, that ye not be judged.” Or, perhaps more aptly phrased: “Judge not, that ye not be cursed with hooligans of your own.”

That’s a lot of beans…

“I don’t want you to think I don’t love it, because I do. It’s just that it’s a lot of beans and my stomach starts to ask ‘What were you smoking?’”
This is what I heard behind me as I defrosted leftover taco bean soup for dinner last night. I almost died laughing.
The mister does a very good job eating my cooking, which I have to gloat isn’t half bad. I’ve become a much more comfortable cook since I got married and someone besides me started to rely on my ramen-heating skills.
I’ve even gotten to the point that I don’t measure everything! (I just heard my mother and my college roommates faint in shock.) But it’s true. I still measure major ingredients, but a lot of spices and other smaller components just get dumped into the pot in what I feel are appropriate amounts. I even alter recipes to suit our tastes. (Breathe, Mom. Just breathe.)
However, even the greatest of cooks can’t make what her family enjoys if the eaters take everything without comment and refuse to say, “Hey honey, maybe you shouldn’t make that anymore.”
Hence, the chicken pot pie discussion.
I love chicken pot pie. I have loved it as far back as I can remember and was so pleased when I learned to make it for the mister a while back. But something just didn’t seem right. There wasn’t the usual chorus of “this is really good honey!”
After being assured several times that the meal was “just fine,” I let the subject drop. But days later, at my parents’ house, the real truth finally came out.
“I don’t like things that trap in the vegetables and make me eat them with everything else.” Ok… so this would include pot pie. And almost all casseroles. And soups. And chili…
The exact conversation has been lost in time, but I remember both my parents rolling on the floor in fits of giggles as I listed things that, by the “trapped vegetables” definition, I could no longer cook, and the mister desperately tried to back-track to safer ground.
I believe the ending point of the discussion was that, if the vegetables cannot be separated from the meal at the eater’s desire, it is a less-desirable (but, I am assured, still wonderful) dish. So in other words, foods should not touch. Ever. Except in cases where it would upset me for the mister to point out the error.
And, apparently, in the case of Shepherd’s Pie, which has a whole bag of vegetables inseparable from the beef and potatoes and should therefore fall into the previous rule, yet somehow gets inhaled from plate to stomach. (I’m been told as I type that layers count as separate pieces.[??])
So I have come to the conclusion that the mister really doesn’t know what he wants, and as long as I make his favorite things now and again, the vegetable-separation rule can be ignored without much complaint.
But I don’t make chicken pot pie anymore, because Heaven forbid anything green be trapped beneath a flaky crust.

End Zone Recovery

The opposing offense was on the four-yard line with thirty seconds left in the half. The ball was snapped, the quarterback drove into the end zone, fumbled AND SKYHAWKS RECOVERED!

The most amazing part of those few sentences is not only that I understand them, but that I said them, of my own free thinking, to another friend (a football fan) and HE UNDERSTOOD IT TOO!

You have to understand my football-related background to fully appreciate the gravity of this event.

I have never (stress NEVER) understood football. I was occasionally forced to attend games where my brother played in the high school band, and would spend the entire game staring blankly at the field trying to figure out why the players were chasing each other.

And it’s not for anyone’s lack of trying. My dad, my grandfather, several friends and two boyfriends have tried desperately to break the game into the smallest pieces possible… but I could never get it.

The ideas of “downs,” “sacks,” “fair catches” and “flags” were completely foreign to me. It’s almost as if those well-meaning friends and family members had suddenly started speaking Bulgarian and sprouted four heads.

But somehow, gradually, the light has dawned. And my husband, bless his patient heart, is singing the hallelujah chorus.

I don’t know why it all started to stick. Maybe it’s the fact that I actually enjoy going to Skyhawk football games. Maybe it’s my extreme dislike of being lost in anything.

Or it might just be the fact that I am now eternally bound to a football fan (and former player), so I might as well familiarize myself with enemy territory.

It’s gotten to the point that I can actually sit and halfway watch a football game with the mister. I’m not yelling at the screen and hanging on the announcer’s every word, but I am at least aware of the action and following the general progression of the game.

It’s likely that I’m reading, doing homework or something else at the same time, but I think it still counts that I’m sitting there and at least know who’s playing.

I will never understand why Green Bay fans wear giant cheese wedges on their heads, but then again, I don’t think anyone will ever know that.

The Mrs.’s Wonderful List of Football Terms and What They Mean:

  • Line of scrimmage: The imaginary line where all the players line up and face each other
  • Downs: The four chances you get to move ten yards from the original line of scrimmage. But you can have more than 10 yards to go if you have to move backwards.
  • Fumble: When the receiver catches the ball and drops it.
  • Incomplete pass: When the receiver doesn’t catch the ball at all.
  • Interception: When someone from the other team catches the ball.
  • Fair catch: When the player catches the ball and goes down on one knee. This means he can’t be tackled, which I think is a wimpy way to catch.
  • Sack: When the quarterback gets tackled. You get points for this.
  • Safety: I don’t know this one yet.
  • End zone dance: When the players jump around and chest-bump each other after scoring a touchdown. Taken to be a sign of surging testosterone.

**I am trying to get back on my Monday afternoon posting schedule. Please continue to be patient with me.

My Un-countdown

As the Keith Urban song so accurately says, “Days go by, I can feel ‘em flying’ like a hand out the window in the wind.”

Most days, this just feels like any other semester. Another class schedule, another set of professors, another list of assignments. At least once a week, someone will ask me about life after graduation and we discuss the possibility of school in the Caribbean. This seems like endless years into the future.

But every other week or so, someone will specifically mention graduation. I always have to stop and consider the question for a moment.

“When do I graduate?”

It’s not just a matter of what year or what semester anymore. It’s a matter of what month. What day. How many weeks left of life as I know it.

The night before I graduated from high school, I had a panic attack. I was sitting in the stands of a friend’s graduation, at exactly the same time as mine would be the following night, and “Pomp and Circumstance” began to play. I glanced at my watch and the reality hit me: In exactly twelve hours, I would be down on that floor preparing to cross the stage into a completely unknown phase of my life.

Until that moment, I could have told you the weeks, days and probably the hours until graduation. But I had never considered the great weight I would be taking on when that countdown was over.

In college, I watched my best friend count the days until graduation, and now I think she may have been happier if she had stayed. I have finally learned not to wish away the days. Now, I am determined to enjoy every day (or at least try) until I am made to cross that stage in December.

While I am proud to be graduating with my husband and excited to receive my degrees (yes, that’s plural), the voice in my head will still be screaming in protest.

I suppose the lesson of this long, somewhat philosophical rant is to remember to value the time that you have. Don’t keep countdowns.

Don’t look around at your little apartment and count the months until your husband will be able to afford a real house (you think). Don’t count the days until you can get a different job. Don’t wish the years away until you can have children, buy a pet or afford “nicer” things.

Just go out every day and try to learn something useful from your situation, whatever that situation may be. Appreciate the sunshine, but learn to dance in the rain. And when that song, “you’re gonna miss this,” comes on the radio, take it to heart.

 

“You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast. These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” (Trace Adkins)