Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Eager Volunteer

It's Summer Vacation!!!!!! I'm pretty happy about it. I joined the Duluth Rowing Club and have been out rowing with the master's rowing team a few times. I was signing my membership form the other day, and there is a line on it that says members are expected to contribute 10 hours of volunteer time to the club sometime throughout the year.

I read that out loud to Mitch and he said, “Well, you may as well just tear it up! They should know YOU are NOT going to do THAT!”

I know what you are saying. You are saying, “God, Sarah, why is he being such a bitch?” Let me explain his position and maybe you will understand.

When the kids were very small and were involved in the city hockey league, I got a call out of the blue from a woman I had never met. I wasn't that crazy about the kids being in organized hockey in the first place because in case you didn't know it, hockey parents in Minnesota tend to lose their minds about hockey. Most of the parents are decent people, but they can't make up for the wackos that constantly screech asinine things from bleachers during games like, “GET THE PUCK!” and “Put it IN THE NET!” (No shit.) Or worse yet, they clang cowbells. These people have shopped for, and remembered to bring COWBELLS to clang nonstop, indoors, amongst crowds of people. Who does that?

Anyway, back to the call from the woman I never met: She left a looooooong, obnoxious message on my voicemail that outlined the many hours I would be volunteering for that WEEK, and where and when I should show up. She didn't ask if I wanted to do it, she didn't even ask me to call her back to talk about volunteering, she just assumed I had nothing better to do than work at a concession stand and sell Ring Pops to kids with snot trails on their faces that they can't even feel because they are so cold, and then just stand there and watch while they eat them. That's torture, not volunteering.

For some reason that phone call flipped a switch of stubbornness in me that even after a decade, I can't switch off, and here's why: Volunteering is optional. It is something one does because they feel compelled to contribute their time to a cause that they feel is worthwhile. Calling someone and TELLING them when they will be volunteering, and assuming they will just do it goes against the very nature of volunteering. So I refused to do it. Did I feel guilty leaving all the burden for rink flooding, locker-room supervising, and concession stand-manning to Mitch? A little, but not enough to give in.

I know what you are thinking, “Hey Sarah, in all the years your kids have been involved in hockey, haven't any parents ever asked where you are and why you aren't volunteering?” Good question. Sure they have, but Mitch tells them, “She didn't pass the background check,” and they drop the subject.

And I'm okay with that.

Now you're saying, “But Sarah, you're a teacher. Of course you've passed a background check!” Well, the hockey parent's haven't put two and two together yet. Big shirts, little hats, apparently.

So now you are wondering if I am going to let the ten hours of “mandatory volunteering” keep me from joining the rowing club. No, I will do it. It's ten hours, not 8 million like the hockey league expects. And it probably won't involve watching kids with blue lips suck on disgusting Ring Pops.   

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Horse Self

TWO YEARS ago, I wrote this post about how Mitch verbally abuses me.  He still brings up the fact that if I was a horse, I would in NO WAY be the horse in the picture I used for the post.  He says I really must think I'm something if I think I would look like that as a horse, because that horse is magnificent.

this horse

Honestly, I just Googled a picture of a brown horse and picked that one because it looked nice.  I didn't really think that I would look like that as a horse because who thinks that?  Who thinks, "I wonder what I would look like if I were a horse?" and then searches for pictures of horses who they think they would look like?  Not me.  I mean, I know if I were a horse, I'd be a brown horse, but that's about it.  I suppose I subconsciously chose a brown horse because I think I'd be a brown horse if I were a horse.  So why wouldn't I choose a magnificent horse???

The other day when Mitch brought it up again ("Remember when you posted that picture of a horse on your blog? I can't believe you think you would look like that if you were a horse,") I gave in and asked him what kind of horse I would be if I were a horse.  He thought about it for a few seconds and then said, "You'd be a pony."  I thought awww sweet, he thinks I'm cute and good with children!  Then he added, "They live forever and are mean the whole time."   Then he said, "Just kidding!" and said I'd be a fjord horse "because they are so friendly." Here's a fjord horse.

WTF, Mitch?
I was instructed that the friendliness was where the comparison ended, and not to focus on the short stumpy legs and thick body.  He was starting to get in pretty deep.

Last night my friend Ann, who has a pony and a horse, posted this great picture on Facebook:

I showed Mitch the picture and asked him which of these two horses I would look like, if I were a horse. He laughed and laughed. It was a nervous laugh. I don't know why. I think it is obvious that I would be the big brown beautiful horse. Not the pudgy pony. It's not a trick question, Mitch. Just tell the truth. Would I be the sleek shiny brown horse, or the pony with a stumpy neck and thunder thighs?  Huh?  Which one?

So I challenged him to find a picture of what he would look like as a horse.  He actually Googled "What would I look like as a horse."  And this is what he swears Google came up with:

Yeah, right.
Today he sent me this in an email that just said, "My horse self"

my husband

So what would you look like if you were a horse?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Belated Easter!

Happy Spring Holiday of Choice, Peeps!

My dad sent my sisturds and me this email about Easters past in the Lindahl family and I thought it was pretty sweet.

Happy Easter Girls:
I was thinking of past Easters when I was a teen this morning. Mom would get us up and ready for church. We would all troop to the little Church of the Redeemer a block away (in my tweed sport jacket and buzz cut haircut-I was so cool then) . I was an acolyte so I carried the cross at the beginning and end of the service and sat in the choir seats during the (I thought overly long) service. After the service we would go home to a meal of elephant ears (pastries) oranges, coffee, and other snacks. Later on we would either go to Gunnie and Louellas or Sarah and Toddy's for Easter dinner or they would come to our house depending on the rotation I suppose. Big meal of ham, potatoes, salads, pies, etc. etc. Then it was just an afternoon of visiting. Easter evening meal was leftovers and that finished the holiday. Seems like a million years ago. I kind of miss some of it but not all of it. Hope you three had a pleasant day. Love you! Dad

My Pops doing his church duty.

My sisters and me with Grandma Lindahl.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

Kira in the Car

Kira:  This water bottle make this water taste soapyyyyyy.

Mitch:  Yuck.  Why do you keep drinking it?

Kira:  It tastes good.

Mitch:  Kira, you shouldn't drink soapy water.  It gives you diarrhea.

Kira:  It doesn't bother me.

Mitch:  You mean soapy water doesn't give you diarrhea? 

Kira:  No.  I don't mind diarrhea.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Review: Divergent (?)

Kira and I went to see the movie Divergent last weekend.  She has read the trilogy, and I chose the first book for my bookclub. Don't spill to the bookclub ladies that I went and saw it. I'm enough of a slacker at bookclub as it is.

The main character is Tris, a teenager living in a post-apocalyptic world where society has been reconfigured into five factions:  Abnegation, Dauntless, Gryffindor, District 12, and the Shire.  When kids are a certain age they take a test to see which of these factions they belong in.  Katniss's test is inconclusive.  She fits into three of the categories, and apparently (?) that is bad (?) for some reason (?). She gets to tell the sorting hat which faction she wants to be in anyway, so I don't really see the big deal about fitting into more than one faction.

She chooses to be in Gryffindor (District 12 (?) Dauntless (?)) and she is chosen to take part in a nasty game of Quidditch that pits teens against teens in a fight to the death.  She goes to a camp for the faction she has chosen so that she can learn to fight. She sucks. The place where they have the camp is not very nice. Cavey. And there is a giant pit and lots of bridges. Lots of kids trip and fall into the pit, or are pushed into the pit, or jump voluntarily into the pit. I think they should just get rid of that pit. They need a place with some natural light and level floors.

Tattoos figure prominently in the movie. And so does Kate Blanchett. (?) No, Kate Winslet. (?) The one who was in the sinking-ship movie, Poseidon (?).  Kate is bad news, but she wears the hell out of a dark blue business suit.   And why is she the boss?  Why does everyone do what she says?  I don't know.  I didn't watch very closely.

I might have to read the book. (?)

Katris and her Mockingjay tats

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aging Gracelessly

I am in my forties and have been waiting to start getting old. I know people in their forties who already are old. They are no fun. They think they know everything. They complain about aches and pains. They think their life is over. They are offended by things that are "inappropriate." I am none of those things. Immaturity has helped keep me young at heart. However, I have lately been made aware of a mannerism I have recently(?) developed that is making me seem old.

Apparently, I have the vocabulary of an eighty-five year old woman. Here is a comment I made on Facebook this morning about a movie my friend Katie posted:

Yes, I did notice it when I wrote it, and thought it seemed a little strange, but I went with it anyway, mostly because I had already pushed enter.

The other day I wanted to convey to Mitch that I have lots of energy lately, however, the words I actually said were, "I have a lot of zip." We laughed and laughed. I heard the ridiculousness of it one millisecond after it left my mouth. Mitch is still making fun of me. The problem is this: ten years ago, I might have thought the words, but then had time to filter them so I didn't actually say them. My filter is slowing down. My filter didn't catch the words until they were already out.

So my aging is taking the form of not being able to filter slang from the 1940s and keep it from making me look foolish. But you know what? I am not going to knock myself out over it because the next time someone calls me on it I'm just going to say, "Listen, Babydoll, don't flip your wing over the way I rap, because I am the bees knees and you are applesauce."  

Friday, March 14, 2014

Another Adult Internet Friend Sending My Daughter Stuff In The Mail

If you work in a school, like I do, you hear lots of well-meaning advice about not giving too much information about yourself and -god forbid- your children out over the internet.  After all, it's a place jammed with predators just waiting for an address to be carelessly shared, or looking at Instagram pictures for a school sign or landmark so they can come and find you and your children and do unspeakable things. Right?

Not so much.

Well, not so far, anyway.

My daughter Kira is practically the star of this blog because she is so weird and funny.  I write about her a lot, and because of this she has some fans and friends who happen to be people she doesn't know who are adults.  Creepy?  Maybe a little.  But sweet all the same.  A few years ago Kira got a package in the mail from a blog follower, Jane.  Jane and Kira are two sides of the same coin.  Kira and I both thought sharing too much information about her was for the best when she got Jane's fake roach in the mail and Kira went on to scare the life out of my sister with it.  Win-win for everyone (except Beth).

Yesterday Kira got another package and a note in the mail from a blog friend.

It's from Kady from A Lady Reveals Nothing.  She remembered a post from last summer about how Kira longs for quality toilet paper and never gets it, and she sent her some (half a roll, but she'll take it where she can get it). Sure, Kady might have the handwriting of a serial killer, but her heart is in the right place.  The note and package made our day.  The fact that she said she's been "saving up" since last summer and "here is half a roll" cracked us all up.  I picture Kady getting a cardboard middle out of some public bathroom garbage can and diligently adding a few squares of Charmin to it every day.  The fact that the notecard has a pedophile van on it, and it says "Thinking of You" is still making me laugh.  (Maybe I shouldn't be a parent), and the fact that Kady has taken on the title of the "Fairy Toilet Paper Mother," made my day.

Thank you, Fairy Toilet Paper Mother, for sending my child a weird package in the mail based on what I overshare on the internet.  You are the BEST!  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kira's Boyfriend

In Kira's social studies class, the kids were assigned to do a project on one aspect of WWII. Kira chose the Holocaust and decided to focus her project on how Hitler tried to eliminate all the Jews. This is a story about how being hyper-focused on a goal can lead to problems.

First of all, she decided that her project would be in the format of a tri-fold posterboard. She likes tri-folds. She does a lot of them. She usually makes them multi-colored or neon on black, but this time the only color board she could get was white. No biggy.

Next, she had some time in the computer lab at school to type up her information and print out pictures. She wanted a picture of Hitler to put on it. She chose a big picture so it would take up lots of space that would otherwise have to be devoted to research and writing. She didn't choose one of the Hitler pictures where he is screaming like a mad dog, she chose one where he looks sort of regal. Whatever. She didn't look very long. She chose the first 8x10 she saw and picked it. She tried to print it, but it wouldn't print. The solution? Keep trying to print. Keep hitting the print button even though nothing was happening. Eventually whatever the printing problem was resolved itself, and about 30 pictures of regal Hitler printed. Kira took all of them, embarrassed, and was planning to secretly recycle them when she got a chance. She put them in her folder.

Later, as she was walking down the crowded middle school hallway, she stumbled and dropped her books. The 30 pictures of regal Hitler scattered. A teacher saw the whole thing happen, picked up one of the pictures and said, "Kira, this is inappropriate," as if Kira was planning on tacking up the pictures of regal Hitler all over the school. Because why else would someone have 30 pictures of regal Hitler, if not to tack them up around school? Inappropriate, Kira.

Later, Kira assembled her board. She made some questionable choices. She had a giant picture of a swastika, a picture of a little kid whose head was being measured with calipers, the Nazi/Eagle/Swastika insignia (two swastikas! Yeah!), and titled her project "Master Race." All on a white board. In her defense, the white board really made the swastikas pop.

When she was done, all she saw was a slapped together, good-enough project that met all the specifications of the assignment. However, Sam and I looked and saw something totally different.

Sam looked for a long time and then asked Kira, "So..... you're FOR Hitler?" She was appalled. "NOOO! Why would you think THAT?" she shrieked. He said, "Um, because of everything: the white board, the title seems like you are FOR a master race, the huge picture of Hitler, the swastikas (plural), the kid getting measured.... everything."

Kira then looked at her project with new eyes and said,


But it was too late to change anything because in true middle school fashion, the project was due tomorrow. It was going to have to go as-is.

Because of this, Kira has had to endure some teasing from Sam (and me. I admit it. How else will she learn? ~ parenting 101) Sam said that if we look in her school notebooks she probably has "Mrs. Kira Hitler" written 100 times. He also was caught quietly singing, "Kira and Hitler sitting in a tree, k-i-l-l-i-n-g," which although inappropriate and mean, is hilarious because if you're going to make a project like that, you deserve some ridicule.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Movie Review: Twelve Years a Slave

I went to the artsy downtown theater to see Twelve Years A Slave yesterday afternoon. Let me tell you something about the artsy downtown theater in the afternoon on a Saturday. It is chock full of senior citizens who operate on a time schedule that is 5 billion times slower than this guy:

I arrived at the ticket counter seconds after a couple of old fuckers who practically ran to make sure they got in front of me in line. Seriously, the only time people over the age of 65 rush is to get ahead of me in lines. I have tons of anecdotal evidence to back me up on that. I don't know why either because when I approach a counter to buy something I am READY. I know exactly what I want and I have my money out. It takes me two seconds. But even old ladies with walkers scurry to jump ahead of me.

Anyway, back to the old fuckers who ran ahead of me to buy tickets. They had to have a long conversation with the movie guy about what movie to see? How much it are tickets? Where was the theater? Can they buy their food there too? What kind of drinks do they have? How big is the popcorn? How much is the popcorn? Oh, all of that is written on the HUMONGOUS board right behind the theater guy? Then they got their reading glasses out and read the board. Slowly. Out loud. And discussed it with each other. When they finally decided what they wanted and sloooooooowly conveyed it to the theater guy, he rung it up and told them their total. It was like a total surprise to the old man fucker that he was going to have to actually get money out to pay for everything he ordered. Then there was another huge production of getting out the wallet and deciding whether to pay cash or charge it. I was so tempted to grab the guy's wallet and take off running. I've never wanted to mug someone before, but I was really really tempted to do it yesterday. He'd never catch me. And by the time they described me to the police, my description could change drastically. I could gain 50 pounds. I could grow my hair out long. I could have a sex change. I could grow old and die.

After I was finally able to buy my own ticket, I walked towards the theater behind two older ladies. They walked three inches into the doorway of the theater and stopped. They stood there and looked around for a place to sit (ANYWHERE) and talked about where they wanted to go. They blocked the doorway and talked about it. What happens to spatial awareness and common courtesy when people age? I just don't get it. I pushed passed the old ladies and sat down.

Ten minutes after the movie started the theater door opened and an old woman and her husband came in. No, that is not accurate. An old woman and her husband opened the door and lingered there for what seemed like an eternity. The man was in a wheelchair and the woman was trying to manage the door, (someone was holding it open for her, but she had her own ideas about how that should happen) and manage the wheelchair (which was only an issue because the old guy in it wouldn't let go of the wheels). They looked around for a place to sit which was pointless because there was only one seat open for someone who wanted to sit next to the empty space left for a wheelchair. What's to discuss? Just go there! So they finally did decide to go there. Unfortunately, it was fairly close to where I was sitting so I got a front row seat while the guy did 11,264 adjustments and tiny turns with his wheelchair before he could back it up into the space, all the while having a loud whispery conversation with his wife about every single move. It was annoying, but what really annoyed me was when he finally got the chair to the spot he wanted and then he STOOD UP and shook his legs out individually to adjust his pants! He was quite spry. He could have just stood up and pushed the chair to the spot instead of the enormous production he did backing it in while sitting in it. THEN he spilled his popcorn all over the floor between where he and I were sitting. It seemed like there was more popcorn on the floor than could possibly fit in the tiny bag he brought it in. Throughout the movie I caught him several times reaching down and grabbing floor-popcorn and eating it.

The movie was excellent. Sad. Acting was great. Michael Fassbender was a fabulous bastard. Chiwetel Ejiofor was marvelous. Brad Pitt was annoying.

When the first credit popped up at the end, I popped up as well so I could get the HELL of the theater before all the slow linger/door-blocking/pointless conversing could begin and trap me in that little room with the indecisive, confused, old bastards for the rest of the day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy Birth, Mitch!

It is Mitch's birthday today!  He is one year younger than he thought he was all year long.  I don't know how that happened since he loves to throw in my face the fact that I am 6 months older than he is, and he knows how old I am, but whatever.  When you're in your forties, I guess the number just doesn't matter that much anymore.  We actually did the math last night when we were out for his birthday dinner at a dive bar with our children.  Apparently parenting-standards don't matter much when you hit your forties either.  The kids loved the dive bar.  Kira has perfected tying cherry stems in knots with her tongue.  Good girl!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nightmare Shitstormpocolypse

A few days ago MPR News posted this as a status update on Facebook:

They weren't kidding.  The next morning I woke up to this...

after our 6 billionth snowstorm of this winter.  Actually, I exaggerate.  There have not been 6 billion snowstorms because snowstorms can only happen if the weather is above absolute zero, and the weather has not been above absolute zero very much since November, but when it IS above absolute zero, we have a snowstorm.

I wouldn't say that I am a winter person, by any means, but I can usually roll with it.  Not this time though.  After the latest shitstorm I felt like I was going to have a panic attack and I just had to GET OUT!  Mitch and the kids and I went and shoveled.  It was really hard, not because the snow is very heavy or anything, but because the banks are so high, it's hard to throw the snow over the top of them.  They are over my head.

This is the path going to the driveway.  When I am standing on the deck, looking to the left, I can't see the cars in the driveway because the snowbanks are so high.  The next picture is the house to driveway view.

The snow is up to the branches on that tree that I have been trying desperately to keep alive for the last several years.  I hope this isn't what finally kills it.  I love that tree.  Can you see the cars?  Me neither.

This is the deck outside the sliding glass door.  The snow is above the railings, as you can see.  The top of those railings are about 5 feet off the ground.

Yesterday Mitch had to go on the roof to shovel the snow off because the chimney was buried and the furnace stopped working because of it.  Awesome!!!  He said it was hard to do because the snow didn't avalanche off like you'd expect.  It was stiff and frozen and every last granule had to be lifted and thrown.   Now the chimney is free but the furnace still isn't working.

I feel like Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I don't think she drank quite as much.  She should have.  The Little House on the Prairie would have been easier to cope with if she had.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy VD everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day!  In honor of this special occasion, I am reposting the story of my worst date ever.  And no, it was not with Mitch.  Mitch is downright debonair compared to this guy.


One time just after high school a boy I liked asked me out and I said yes.  He thought it would be fun to go "bird" hunting.  Okay, whatever.  I wasn't picky.  As long as they bought me food I was game for anything.

I wouldn't exactly call myself an "outdoorsy" person.  I like to go outside when it's between 70 and 85 degrees, with little or no wind, and lots of sun.  That is, of course, unless I'm sunburned from the last time it was 70 to 85, not windy and sunny.  Then I'd rather just sit in the shade and read a book.  I knew this was going to be an outdoor date and in my mind I pictured us walking hand in hand lazily along a nice path in a sun-dappled forest.  I really really hoped no birds would actually get hunted because I like birds and I hate the smell of gun powder.

There was no sun-dappled forest, and no lazy hand-holding walk.  He picked me up in a filthy SUV and he had a gigantic golden retriever with him.  I was a little disappointed to also see a gun.  I was kind of hoping "bird-hunting" was date-code for "going in the woods and making out," but apparently, he really did want to take me to kill animals.  Fun.

I guess I never knew what bird hunting involved.  I always thought it was just walking through the woods looking for partridge and then shooting them.  I never gave much thought to what happens after that.  As far as I knew, they just magically appeared on a platter, cooked to a perfect golden brown, and tasted delicious.  Oh, how wrong I was.

First of all, there was no walking in the woods.  We drove along a rutted dirt road going about 25 miles an hour, and if I knew I was going to have to withstand so much jostling, I would have worn a sports bra, but my date spent all his time with his head out the window and his eyes peeled for birds, oblivious to any jostling-of-boobs or discomfort for his date.  He couldn't hear anything I said with his head out the window either and whenever he saw me talking he would interrupt and say, "Are you looking for birds?!"  No, no I wasn't.   I was mostly holding my boobs and fighting with his dog who was a little put out that I was sitting in his regular spot.  Neither one of us wanted to sit on the garbage on the floor, or on the garbage in the back seat.

Suddenly Mr. Wonderful slammed on the brakes and he and the dog jumped out of the truck and I heard a shot.  I got out to see the dog jump into a ditch flooded with pondy, scummy water, swim across and then race into the woods, coming back with a partridge.  I was proudly shown the dead bird (ew) and then to my horror, my date bent over, stepped on the little birdy's feet, pulled on his wings, and the feet and guts all came out at once.  Oh my god, that was about the most horrifying thing I've ever seen. Five minutes before that little bird was just minding his own business, sitting in a tree, probably thinking about how cool it is to lay eggs, and then boom:  he was shot.  Then a dog got him.  Then his little feet were stepped on and he no longer had guts.  I must have looked as horrified as I felt because Mr. W. said, "Are you okay?  That's how it's done.  I thought everyone knew that."  (I did NOT know that...Did you know that?)  Then he asked me if I wanted to try to shoot one and handed me the stinky gun.  Um... No thanks.

We got back in the truck, and the dog, who was now dripping wet with ditch water sat in my seat before I could get there.  The seat was soaked.  Mr. W. shooed him out of the seat and offered it to me (ah chivalry), and I sat in it for about five seconds and then my pants were soaked, so I kneeled on the garbage with my arms up on the dash instead.  The dog saw that I was not going to be using my seat, so he jumped up from the back seat to reclaim his spot.  Like all dogs, he had to turn around a few times before he could sit, and on one of the passes he stopped with his wet ass by my face and let out a total wind fart.  It just went "hooooooooooooooooooo" with no resistance at all, right on my cheek.  I could actually feel the wind of it.  Mr. W. saw this and laughed so hard I thought he would crash the garbage-mobile.  I told him I wanted to go home, and to his credit, he turned right around and headed home, still laughing.

But wait, we still haven't come to the worst part of the date yet.

He kept his head out the window on the way back, still hunting for birds.  I was watching him and I saw him not-so-secretly pick a huge booger out of his nose and then leave it on his finger in the wind.  He happened to glance at me and saw what I'm sure was a look of absolute disgust and said, "What? I'm letting it dry."

I'm not even kidding.

What was your worst date?