Archive for the ‘Family’ Tag

I Love Camping….Psych!

First of all, sorry for the “psych!” I was just reading something about bad trends from the 90s, and while it talked about stuff like Jnco Jeans and tribal tattoos, I’m remembering all the really bad slang from that era.  Booyah!

Okay, so we went camping last weekend.  Actually, technically, it was a float trip, but there was camping involved.  And I’m fine with the floating part, but it’s the camping that I’m not quite as much in love with.  It totally bums me out too, because I like to think that I’m comfortable wherever I am – in the city, country, suburbs, the ghetto, the backwoods of Missouri – wherever.  But the truth is, I’m not.  I’m definitely not comfortable sleeping in a tent in the backwoods of Missouri (cue banjo music from Deliverance).  And if I’m going to be totally honest, I’m probably not super comfortable in the ghetto either.  Just saying.

Anyway.

We camped.  We canoed.  I survived.  Barely.

Rather than give y’all a run-through of the whole weekend, I’m just going to highlight a few adventures and happenings from the trip.

1. The Bathrooms

Unfortunately, this picture doesn’t really do the bathroom justice.  I couldn’t get a good angle for the photo, plus I was sort of scared to go in any farther.  What you can see, though, is the moldy shower curtain that served as a door on the stall.  Behind that moldy curtain was a teeny, tiny space with a toilet, an empty toilet paper roll, and a whole bunch of grody (90s slang alert!) bugs.  Oh, and these instructions:

The fact that they find it necessary to tell people to do something as basic as flush the toilet says a lot, I think. 

2.  The Accommodations

This really wasn’t that bad, as far as tents go.  Not that I’ve stayed in a lot of tents, but it was pretty comfortable.  There was plenty of space, and once I got past the heat and humidity inside the thing, not to mention the rank odor of 4 unshowered people, it wasn’t THAT bad.

3. The Food.

This was my second favorite part of the whole trip.  Why?  Because it involved s’mores and campfire pies.  Duh.

Here’s a s’more:

And here is Trent transcending reality and going to an otherworldly place where only chocolate and marshmallows and joy exist:

Oh s’mores….how I love you. 

My dad, who organized the whole trip, also introduced me to campfire pies.  I have no idea if this is what they’re actually called, but it fits.  You take two buttered pieces of bread, put them in the two halves of a pie iron (butter side out), sprinkle both pieces with cinnamon and sugar, top one slice with pie filling, then put them together and stick ’em in the fire.  And then magic happens.

Buttery and crunchy on the outside, and warm pie filling on the inside.  Oh mama.  By the end of the weekend, I think I put away a record number of s’mores and campfire pies.  I also cried when I got on the scale after we got back.

4. Ricky Danny

This is my dad, Dan.  After driving like a maniac throughout the Missouri hills this weekend, he’s now known around these parts as Ricky Danny.  Never in my life have I felt as car sick as I felt driving through the Ozarks with this man.  Even 3 pregnancies with weeks of nonstop nausea had nothing on this ride with Ricky Danny.

5. The Canoeing

This was….interesting.  There were some definite good parts, but there were some definite bad parts too.  Here’s some of the good stuff:

There was tons of natural beauty here.  People can make all the jokes they want about the Ozarks and the hillbillies that live there, but maybe they’re onto something.  When you look around and all you can see for miles are trees, mountains, caves, rivers, lakes, and about a million stars at night, it sort of makes all the ugly things in the world disappear.  It puts you in a state of bliss.

And then, while you’re riding peacefully in your canoe in that state of bliss, overcome with the beauty of the scenery, your husband suddenly steers you into an overturned tree at the edge of the river and your peaceful world comes crashing down because spiders fill your canoe, sending you into an absolute shrieking panic that nearly overturns the boat, and then said husband yells at you to “calm the f**k down!” and then you get pissed at being told to calm down when clearly the situation calls for mayhem, and becoming completely freaking unglued is the only logical response.  Whew. 

So that was the bad part of canoeing.

Obviously, I didn’t get any pictures of the spiders or of that particular moment because I was too busy screaming and trying to eviscerate the icky spiders with my oar.  Please accept my apologies.

6.  Going Home

My favorite part of the whole trip.

The Best Double Date EVER

So a couple months ago, Groupon had this deal for 2-for-1 tickets to the Kansas City Ghosts and Gangsters tour, and any time I see the words “ghost” and “tour” in the same sentence, I freak out and buy it or sign up for it or do whatever it takes to be involved in it.  I love love LOVE ghost stuff….stories, tours, ghost hunts, whatever, I’m down for it.  Unfortunately, Trent doesn’t feel the same way…..but too bad for him. 

So I called up my sister-in-law to see if she wanted in on this sweet Groupon deal.  This is her, by the way:

Look at Miss Thang.  She ain’t afraid of no ghosts.

So anyway, I called her up.  It went like this:

Me: “OMG, OMG, guess what’s on Groupon?!?!?”
Her: “Weeee!!!! What?!”
Me: “Tickets to the KC Ghosts and Gangsters Tour! Wanna go?!?!”
Her: “Weeee!!!!”

Okay, that’s not exactly how it went, but you get the gist.  There was a lot of excited squealing from both of us because we were envisioning a night out without kids, alcoholic beverages, and spooky stories.  It’s like the perfect storm.

So after waiting for two long, long months, the day of the tour finally arrived.  Naturally, a huge storm had knocked out our power and it was like 200 degrees outside, so I looked a hot mess by that evening when we were supposed to head out.  Thank God for borrowed showers and my 13-year old nephew’s AXE body wash….and that’s all I’ll say on that topic.

Anyway…..

We headed down to Ponak’s, this fun little Mexican place on Southwest Boulevard.  If you haven’t gone there, put it on your to-do list.  The food is great, the drinks are strong, and the people are super friendly.   I would’ve taken pictures of our food, but then I would’ve gotten way off topic and gone off on a tamale and enchilada tangent, and this post would be like 9,000 words long.  And we just don’t need that.  So just go to Ponak’s and get your own enchiladas and tamales, okay?

After stuffing ourselves to the point that one of us who shall remain unnamed seriously considered unbuttoning her jeans, we headed down to the tour’s starting point….the Edge of Hell (please read that in a dark and ominous voice followed by evil laughter), now known as the Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe.  Okay, does anyone else thinks this sounds way less scary?  The Chambers of Edgar Allen Poe?  Really?  Why not just call it the Bedroom of a Well-Known Poet?  Or the Stomping Grounds of an Alcoholic Who Married his Teenage Cousin?  I mean, the Edge of Hell is way cooler.  But whatever.  This is what happens when I’m not in charge.  MISTAKE.

So we pull up, and here’s our mode of transportation for the evening:

Imagine my complete excitement upon seeing this.  Now imagine Trent’s complete non-excitement.

While Trent does appear to be slightly smiling in this picture, he’s really smirking at the completely outlandish idea of him climbing aboard that absurd bus.  In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s reaching for something to smack me with for forcing him to take part in this tour.  Brett, meanwhile, can only cover his face in shame.

Anyway, once inside the Edge of Edgar Allen’s Bedroom or whatever it’s called, there were lots of interesting people.  I really liked this guy:

And Trent thought this man was very intriguing on account of his freakishly long arm that could rotate and twist in a very unnatural manner:

We never could get Tracey to come inside and meet these folks, though.  The bus just held too much fascination for her.

Finally, much to Tracey’s delight, they let us on the bus.  I should probably mention that there were a whopping 12 people, including us, on this tour.  I think it’s a pretty popular event.  I honestly don’t know why more people aren’t interested in this stuff, especially when you have folks like this running the show:

Please take a close look at the guy on the right.  Please look beyond his white body paint, slouchy hat, and unkempt shoulder-length gray hair, and observe his eyes. 

Yes, they are are all white, and yes, they creeped me out, and yes, I stared at them until Trent elbowed and stage whispered, “Stop!”  I kind of have a staring problem.

So, after turning on some spooky mood lighting and talking about something for a really long time, the guide finally got started.  I was on the edge of my seat.  Trent was not.

One of the first stops was St. Mary’s Church where the ghost of Father Jardine still makes his presence known.  Mr. Scary White Eyes told us that Father Jardine’s ghost hangs around because he’s trying to clear his good name.  Apparently, his death was ruled a suicide, which is a pretty big no-no for church people, and Father J was not happy with that determination.  So he’s lettin’ us all know.  I have proof, too; check out this picture of him:

There.  Can you see him in the upper left corner of the photo?  He clearly decided to come out and convince the non-believers of the group (i.e., Trent and the other guy whose girlfriend dragged him along too) that ghosts do exist.

Trent was not convinced, nor was he impressed with my orb photo.  Whatever.

At least SOME people were into it:

We made a lot more stops along the way, including some historic cemeteries, the Savoy Hotel, the Lyric Theater, and then………wait for it……..the Sauer Castle.

EEEEEKKKKKK!!!!

I get all tingly and shrieky just thinking about this place.  Let me give you a little background about this extremely creepy-ass place.  First, a picture:

Okay, first of all, if this doesn’t look scary to you, then you’re not normal.  You’re probably not even human.  Second, clearly I did not take this picture, as our tour took place at night and it was completely dark when we saw the castle and I couldn’t get a good photo.  I will say, however, that this is one of the spookiest places in KC, day or night.  I’ve been here a few times before, and every time I get a mad case of the heebie-jeebies.  Seriously, you could not pay me to spend the night in that house.  Well….maybe you could.  If the price was right.  And I had 1,000 watt light bulbs on all night long.  And about 20 other people (preferably male, preferably muscular and attractive) stayed the night with me.  Oh, and I’d need a couple dogs or cats, too.  Animals are very sensitive to paranormal activities and would be able to alert me if an entity was in the room.

Anyway.

CREEPY place.  So we pull up, and by now it’s probably around 11 p.m.  Our guide warns us that this is not a place you’d ever want to be caught trespassing on, as a psychotic madman (not really….well, maybe) serves as the caretaker and keeps watch of the premises.  In addition to an array of weapons that he apparently wields, he also has several large and aggressive dogs that know exactly what “eat that person alive” means.

Right as we’re about to exit the bus for a photo op, we hear BAM! BAM! BAM!

Gunshots, rang out like a bell, I grabbed my nine all I heard was shells….

Whoa.  Yes, I really just rapped some Ice, Ice Baby lyrics.  You just got Vanilla Iced.  Please forgive me.

There really were gunshots though.  And they were very, very close to our bus.  Suddenly, a spotlight shined on the bus, and it was coming from the caretaker’s house.  ‘Oh shit,’ I thought, ‘If that guy comes on here with a machete, Trent’s really going to be unhappy with this tour……Oh well!  Better go get some pictures!’  and I nearly leapt off the bus in my haste to be closer to the scary place.

Unfortunately, none of my Sauer Castle pictures turned out, but we did have some excitement once we got back on the bus.  The crazed, crotchety caretaker (ah…alliteration) climbed aboard to tell us that what we heard were just 9 mm shots, and we shouldn’t be concerned.

Gee.  Thanks for clearing that up.

Brett was not happy about nearly being shot at; Trent was not happy about me running off the bus for pictures; I had not a care in the world and was just excited to be in the vicinity of a supernatural hotspot; and Tracey was just all weeeee!!!!!!

And thus concluded our tour.

All in all….it was fun.  I would recommend it to anyone who has interest in that subject matter.  Yes, there were parts that were maybe a little hokey, but overall it was fun, different, and it got me out of the house for the night to hang out with some good friends.  And we kind of sort of almost not really got shot at. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

Whack-a-Bee

So Trent came up with this new workout that is not only fun, it’s also useful and even has an element of danger about it.  It’s a cross between tennis, dodge ball, and baseball (because there is a lot of boring downtime when you’re just sitting there waiting for something to happen).  The only equipment necessary is a tennis racket, a nest of carpenter bees, a set of adequately-sized cajones, and sheer determination.  Here’s how you do it:

Get your tennis racket.  Any kind will do.

Find an active carpenter bee nest.  Check under eaves, looking for small round holes about the size of a dime.  (Hint: A good indication of a nest is the lovely spray of poop that is underneath their entryway.) This hole had already been filled when I took the photo, but you can see the vague outline of it directly above the poop spray.

Next prepare for your impending work out.  You may want to do a few practice swings, jumps, and lunges to loosen up.  Maybe practice sprinting inside the house a few times too, because that could be in your near future.

Now you wait for the bees to come.  Go ahead and grab a beer and make yourself comfortable on a pink child-sized lawn chair, if you like.  You could be here awhile.

Wait some more while giving your spouse a look that says, “Really?”

Decide that waiting sucks and fill the bee holes with caulk, because that really pisses them off and makes them come out and participate in Whack-a-Bee.

When the bees show up and realize that their homes have been barricaded with caulk, they will start to hover underneath, growing more and more incensed. 

This is when you strike, swinging your tennis racket wildly and with no coordination whatsoever in a vain attempt to hit a bee.  Miss several times while bees angrily swarm you, continue swinging frantically, scream, and run into the house.  Wait, that only applies to me.  If you’re a normal person like Trent, swing your racket with force and grace, connecting solidly with a bee and sending it plummeting to the ground. 

WHOOSH!

SWOOOOSH!

BAM!!!

Now it gets really ugly.  The bee, because it’s the size of a small car, will likely still be alive, no matter how hard you hit it.  It will probably be crawling on the ground, thinking “wtf just happened here.”  Because you’re a good person and feel that no living things should suffer, smush the bee with the tennis racket until it stops moving.  Then smush it some more just to make sure.  (Note: I don’t typically like killing things, but when they eat my garage, I feel like they’ve brought it onto themselves.)

(The picture of the bee being smushed is much to gruesome to post.)

Congratulations, you just finished Round 1 of Whack-a-Bee while simultaneously working your biceps, triceps, lats, shoulders, quads, and more depending on many times you swung, missed, had to swing again, and eventually ran away.  Me, I had a very good work out.  Trent?  He didn’t break a sweat.

P.S. Carpenter bees live in nests of something like 54,873,390 bees, so there is potential for this activity to take many, many rounds.  You may just want to get some bee killer unless you’re a really dedicated individual, such as myself.

Weekend Debauchery

I was really bad this weekend.  Really, really, REALLY bad.  I’m still feeling the effects of it actually.  I’m tired, sluggish, and…….blah.  BLAH.  BLECK.  BLUGH.  And it’s all because the following foods/drinks/people/items/activities were included in the last 48 hours.

  • Pizza
  • A tropical, pina colada, and grape flavored snow cone
  • Roller coasters
  • Pinot noir
  • Pinot grigio
  • Bagel Bites
  • Champagne
  • Beer
  • A policeman stripper performer named Cody
  • A wad of one dollar bills
  • A funnel cake (O. M. G. I love funnel cakes.)
  • Dippin’ Dots (O. M. F. G. I love Dippin’ Dots.)
  • Bacon
  • Mini corn dogs
  • A $50 cab ride with an Ethiopian named Sagay
  • A chicken sandwich off the dollar menu
  • Numerous other unmentionable….stuff

That made me even more tired just typing all that.  But seriously….to the 4 people who read this and know what I’m talking about….thank you.  That was a wonderfully fun, exciting, somewhat embarrassing, hilarious, raunchy, delicious, grease-filled time, and I had so much fun.

Six-Year Old Boy + Hillbilly Teeth = I Don’t Even Know

The other night at dinner, my boy found a set of these in the silverware drawer. (And no, I do not know why they were in the silverware drawer.  I also do not know why Hot Wheels cars are in my toilet sometimes.  Pretty mysterious, huh?) 

Anyway, aren’t they attractive?

Of course, these were much more exciting than my dinner of chicken, green beans, and sweet taters.  (Ha!…taters…get it? Taters…hillbillies…fine, I’ll stop now.)  Plus, they’re HILARIOUS.  Right?  RIGHT? 

Well, this kid thinks they are.

Go ahead and take a guess at how much time was spent putting dinner in his mouth versus time spent putting hillbilly teeth in his mouth.

Let’s just say I had a request for a pb&j at 8:30 that night.

The teeth have since been confiscated.  I needed them for something else anyway.