Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Birthday Treats

My son’s birthday is coming up so I went to the grocery store to get him treats for his class at school. I ended up picking some individually wrapped Twizzlers. When I got home he informed me that he doesn't like that kind of licorice, but that it was OK because the rest of the class might.

I told him I wanted him to have something that he liked too, since it was for his birthday. He replied, "It's OK Mom. I don't have to have a treat. I don't mind."

Even though he didn't mind, I did. So I ended up taking the licorice back and getting little individual packs of play-doh.  He was thrilled.

That night I was talking to my husband. I remarked that there was no way either of our parents would've gotten something that nice for our class birthday treats. He agreed completely; noting that he never had any kind of birthday treat at school.

It hit me that the reason I went to so much trouble was because of a single troubling birthday memory.

I was probably in 4th grade. Mom purchased my birthday treats, from those huge candy bins at the back of the store, that I assume are stocked once when the store has its grand opening and finally emptied when it closes down a hundred years later. Mom dropped the treats off at the school for me. I opened up the bag to discover 15 butterscotch hard candies and 15 of what I thought were chocolate hard candies.

First of all, it's classic that Mom counted out the exact number of what was probably the cheapest candies in
the store. Second of all, she didn't read the label on the "chocolate" candy or she would have discovered they were actually "coffee" candy.

Since we lived in Bountiful, Utah, a predominantly LDS community I was mortified. Everyone knew it was against our religion to drink or eat anything with coffee in it.

So there I was standing in the front of everyone by myself as the rest of the class sat staring at me while I passed out my birthday treats. I started out going around the room asking which kind the kids wanted, only I said, "chocolate or butterscotch". It didn't take long, though before shouts of, "Ewww this isn't chocolate. It's coffee flavor" were heard throughout the room.

I remember begging kids at each table to take the "chocolate" while hurrying as fast as I could around the other tables so that more and more kids wouldn't catch on.

I started with, "I promise it's chocolate.  The other kids are lying. It's good. It's my favorite." Finally I resulted to, "It's just flavoring. It's not real coffee."

Not only was I passing out coffee, but I was lying about it and encouraging the other kids to take it too. At least the one kid in there that didn't share my faith was happy about the coffee candy. He ended up with ten times the amount of treats as everyone else and I gained a new friend. I guess it wasn't all bad.

Friday, May 10, 2013


I overheard a girl talking about running the Ragnar relay. I have done it three times. I use to run quite a bit, but I don't do it much anymore because I decided I still want to have knees when I'm older.

People have asked me if they should do Ragnar and if it's fun. My answer is Yes, it's fun if you love the people in your car. The second part of the answer is, No. Because periodically you have to get out of the car and run.

The first run of the day is great. It's still early enough that it's not too hot and if you enjoy running then a nice run outside is what you're into anyway. It doesn't hurt to have people cheering for you either.

The second leg of the race is usually not awesome. You start to realize after the second run that it's not smelling super great in the van. I still remember going to one of the venues to get some eats and trying to stand in line and I felt like I was pregnant again. After trying not to gag for about five minutes, from the smell of the B.O. mixed with the dozens of overflowing honeypots, I decided to get the heck out of there. I returned to the van with a sandwich and a need for a nap. To my dismay, I discovered however that my pillow was missing. I was sitting in the middle of the van with my sister-in-law. My cousin was in the back. He was asleep. After looking for sometime for my pillow, I peered over the backseat. My cousin was using both my pillow and his. He had just finished his second leg of the journey, in the same running outfit, in 95 degree heat and down a dusty trail. He was using his pillow for his head. He had my pillow between his knees. Not only was there the smell, but there was the disturbingly close proximity to genitalia. A line was crossed and he knew it. Even he hadn't used his own pillow for his knees. This is where it comes in handy to love the people in your car.

He offered the pillow back to me, but I declined. I was accustomed to spraying my pillow with lavender at night to calm my inner soul. No amount of washing that pillow would ever bring balance back to my chakras.

By the third and final run, you realize that running in the middle of the night is the dumbest idea ever. I had the 3 am run. My family didn't even bother driving beside me this time. Instead they stayed and slept on a hard floor in a high school gym. I ran with a head light and tripped over my feet at least a dozen times. I don't know who at Ragnar came up with the bright idea for people to run in the middle of the night, in a remote area, all alone, but I'm pretty sure that person is a rapist. In that case it makes sense.

By the next morning you want to die. The good news is you still have like six more house to go and then you get to wait in the hot sun at a finish line for the next van to get there. Then you get to drive home. There was only one out of the three years when our driver didn't fall asleep at the wheel at least once on the way home.

Good times.  

So here is the deal. Yes it sucks. Plan and simple. Having said that. It was fun too. We still laugh at the funny things that happened all along the way. . . except for the pillow incident. That's not funny.