happy birthday, dad

October 11th, 2013.  Know why this day is a big deal?  Today my Dad turns 50.  I think he is currently suffering from a mild bout of shock over starting another decade, but he should take comfort in the fact that male 50 is female 30 and in 67 days Brad Pitt will also be half a centenarian.  Dad can also take comfort from the following list that took me at least five hours to come up with (no, more like five DAYS).  This is my list of 50 Reasons Why My Dad is So Awesome (not in priority-based order, I’ll leave that up to the reader):

The First:  Over the years it’s been a subject of serious debate between the two of us, but for my 12th birthday (remember, in this story I am a 12-year-old, pre-pubescent GIRL) my Dad bought me a Craftsman toolbox, which was also full of tools.  He claims I asked for it.  I claim I wanted clothes and make-up (complete lie, I wanted the giant Lego pirate ship and 101 Dalmatians with Glenn Close on VHS).  I guess we’ll never know who is right, but the fact remains that I received a full-on, mechanic-worthy, legit toolbox for my 12th birthday.  I still have it and it is in complete working order.

The Second:  During my senior year of college, I was reading through the One Year Bible for the first time.  My Dad had a couple copies of the NIV and let me borrow one for the year (ummm, I still have it).  Toward the end of Winter Quarter, right before I graduated, I found an old note card he had written prayer requests on.  Some were for others in his group, and one for himself.  His request was that he would have the selflessness and patience to pay for my education instead of focusing on his own desires first.  I cried so hard.  But like, in a good way.  Obviously.

The Third:  From 2004 to 2011, on the first Sunday in May each year, my Dad raced me at Bloomsday and beat me at every single one until the last.  In 2010, even though he had the lead, he slowed down toward the last corner and we crossed the finish line together.  He still won that year, technically his time was faster, but those of you around us all those years know how intense the “competition” was and finishing together that year was kind of a big deal I guess.

bestblmsdymediumThe Fourth:  He loves Christmas.  And giving presents.  Every year my sister and I are spoiled beyond reason and every year I LOVE IT.  I would go off on the list of things we’ve received over the years but don’t want to make anyone too jealous.  Instead, the point of this Reason My Dad is So Awesome is that his gifts are always unique to the receiver, full of thought, and TOTALLY AWESOME.  Ok, so this one time I got an iPod before anyone else did.  This other time, I got an electric guitar when I was 5.  By “electric” I mean battery-powered.  This other time I got a MacBook Air, bike trainer, triathlon gear, and a million dollars (that was last Christmas and I didn’t get a million dollars even though I EXPLICITLY ASKED FOR IT).
Addendum to The Fourth:  A couple years ago my friend Ketra printed up adoption papers and filled them out so that Rob would adopt her because she wanted all my Christmas presents.

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The Fifth:  The first time I came home from college for a weekend, the living room was filled with my old friends from high school and my Dad… all sitting on the couch… playing Halo together.  Everyone loves my Dad.

The Sixth:  He builds all my furniture.  My dresser, my desk, the thing my TV sits on, end tables, tree houses, picture frames, a kitchen for my Mom, a bathroom for all of us, a literal roof over our heads, stuff for other people, stores, houses, relationships… oh wait, I got carried away.  When it comes to woodwork, my Dad is an artist.  It’s really helpful.

The Seventh:  He always wants to go clothes shopping with me so he’ll know if he looks good or not.  Then he pretends to model in all the mirrors in the dressing room at H&M.  He’s pretty sad I don’t work at Gap anymore.

The Eighth:  For my 16th birthday I got a driver’s license and was allowed to share my Mom’s car.  For my 17th birthday my Dad found a late 1999 bright red Jetta on eBay that was at a dealership in Missouri, bought it,  flew out there and drove it back as a surprise.  Probably the best part of this story is that he decided to take Grandpa Paul (his Dad) with him and then spent the rest of the trip trying to keep peanut shells out of the new car.  Not really, the best part is where I got my own car.

The Ninth:  When I qualified to Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, my Dad didn’t hesitate to make the trip happen.  He did pay for everything, but he also made the entire trip super fun.  For details, please refer to my previous post.

The Tenth:  He used to drink alcohol, then decided it was a problem and said he wouldn’t drink anymore and he hasn’t.  That was like 25 years ago.  On my 21st birthday he drank an NA.  Mmmm, beer-flavored water.

first beerThe Eleventh:  A few summers ago a stray cat found her way into my parent’s backyard where she had three kittens.  Those three turned into a few more and before we knew it there were 15 cats hanging around.  The neighbor didn’t love it so a few cats were captured and taken “over the river” but for the few that remained my Dad caught and had them fixed.  There are still a couple that come around the house, waiting to be fed every morning.  My Dad saved those cats.

The Twelfth:  My Dad has dressed up as Ozzie Osborne and Homer Simpson at different youth events.

ozziehomerThe Thirteenth:  Having been married very young when money wasn’t handy, my parents had never been on a Honeymoon.  For their 20th anniversary in the weeks leading up to February 16th, my Dad was constantly asking my opinion on different swim suits for my Mom and things to do in Hawaii.  He planned out their entire vacation and even got time off of work for her without her knowing.  At their Men’s Ministry Valentine’s Day dinner that year, Dad had it all planned out so that a trip to Hawaii would be the grand prize and made sure Mom’s name was called.  The next morning they left from SeaTac.  And I got to drive the F150 around Seattle for a week.

The Fourteenth:  He mows the lawn every Thursday.

The Fifteenth:  When I was 9 my parents took out a 15-year mortgage for their house and it was paid off before I was 24.  My Dad also paid for my entire private college education out of pocket without going into debt during that time.  The point of this is not at all that he’s rich, but that there was a lot of self-sacrifice and discipline on his part to make those things happen.

The Sixteenth:  My Dad gets SO EXCITED when I bring friends down to Tri-Cities to visit.  Then he always follows up and asks how they’re doing, even the friends I don’t see often anymore.  This means you, SOS.  Please Facebook Rob because he misses you.

The Seventeenth:  In September 2007 I moved to Spokane after staying a few months post-college with my parents.  The night I left my Dad hugged me and cried, then hugged me harder and didn’t let go for a really long time.  It wasn’t awkward.

The Eighteenth:  A couple months later he emailed me a story about when I was very little, probably four or five, and he had brought me to Spokane with him to run errands and we made a stop at Chuck E Cheese.  I was playing in the ball pit and got stuck, the bigger kids were jumping around and I kept sinking lower and lower and my Dad told me that as he watched he couldn’t help but feel a little panicked and wanted to yell to the other kids to help me out but had to wait until I fought my way out.  He said that’s how he felt again now that I was out of his house and on my own for the first time.  That was such a good email.

The Nineteenth:  He coached my basketball teams in high school.

The Twentieth:  Last year I came home for a visit and when I set my things on the dining room table he yelled “WAIT, DON’T MOVE!” from the other room, then Lady Gaga started blaring and he danced his way out into the dining room in costume.

The Twenty-first:  Our house has had every Nintendo gaming system since it’s inception.  All four years of college any time I would come home, Dad would challenge me to Tetris 2 duels on NES.  Sometimes I let him win.

IMG_1063The Twenty-Second:  He always puts up Christmas lights and promptly takes them down before the new year.

The Twenty-Third:  He’s really good looking and everyone knows it.  Once, in high school (then again a million times after that), I saw a friend at the mall and she asked if he was my brother.  A few years ago when I was working in the back room at Gap one of my co-workers came back to tell me my boyfriend was waiting for me on the main floor.  It was Rob.

Birthday16The Twenty-Fourth:  He loves my Mom.  A lot.

199345_1002153623702_7932_nThe Twenty-Fifth:  He’s co-opening a restaurant with my best friend’s husband.  And I assume I’ll be getting free pizza out of this.

The Twenty-Sixth:  This.

smile 2 001 And this:

horse 001The Twenty-Seventh:  Growing up most nights once we were all in bed, “Hey girls!  Goodniiiiiiiiight!” *While ripping giant farts*

The Twenty-Eighth:  Growing up most mornings while we were all getting ready in the one bathroom we all shared, “Hey girls!  Goodmooooorning!!!” *while ripping giant farts*

The Twenty-Ninth:  When Megan and I were little Dad would tell us bedtime stories he completely made up, that usually involved basketball and three point shots at the buzzer.  My favorites were the ones about the giant Wimplestilt.  I don’t even know.

The Thirtieth:  My freshman year of high school Dad took us all on a tour through the New England states and when we were in NYC he quoted all the lines and did all the dances from “New York, New York” like he was Frank Sinatra or something.

The Thirty-First:  When I was 21 and super distraught over a boy-situation, Dad sat on my bed until 1am talking to me about boys and relationships and dating and life and everything and it was awesome.  It wasn’t really an advice giving situation, just visiting and discussing.

The Thirty-Second:  On a drive home from SPU one year, Dad gave me a three point summary on relationships and what makes them work.  To summarize, it went like this:  “There are three parts to every relationship, the first two are not unimportant but more superficial.  First there is attraction, do you even like each other, do you think each other are good looking, and want to be around each other?  The second is goal-oriented, do you have the same desires and general direction in life?  These two things can change because people change, but the last part, what ultimately holds a relationship together, is your will.  Do you honor the commitment you made to the other person and see things through even though they might change over time, and you might change over time?  Or do you give up?  You do not.  Because you made a promise.”  I’ve never had a real relationship so that might be a wasted sermon, but I still like the way it sounds.

The Thirty-Third:  He has a Traeger.

“Mom, I need 17 more reasons Dad is awesome.”  “I didn’t even know your Dad when he was 17.”  “Not helpful.”

The Thirty-Fourth:  My Dad knows everything about potatoes.  Seriously.  Also, I have a 50lb bag of Baby Bakers sitting in my apartment, do you want some?

The Thirty-Fifth:  Every time I go home for the weekend now my Dad is sitting on the couch watching a Korean soap opera.  My sister lives in Seoul and was the one who introduced him to the dramas, so it probably started as a way to involve himself in Megan’s world, but now it’s just a regular part of his day.

The Thirty-Sixth:  Before Lucy passed away, Dad would always enter the house through the garage singing loudly songs of his own composition to (and about) the dog.  Now he sings them to the cats.

The Thirty-Seventh:  He’s rarely silent.  Sometimes it’s just me and Dad doing things and there is always a conversation happening.  Occasionally it’s an argument but still, communication happens and that is always a good thing.

The Thirty-Eighth:  In middle school when we would go clothes shopping my Dad would buy me whatever I wanted as long as I could calculate the exact price with tax in my head before we got to the register.

The Thirty-Ninth:  The summer after my freshman year of college I drove his ’97 maroon F150 into the mailbox.  By accident.  When I called to tell him what I’d done he just listened, then later that day he made fun of me for being a terrible driver.  Years later its still a big joke to him.  It was only a six-foot long scratch/dent.

The Fortieth:  Earlier this week he texted me to say “Don’t forget to eat right and do your duty today.”

The Forty-First:  When I was in fourth grade, Dad took the whole family to Florida to visit Disney World but mostly to visit NASA.  Right after that the movie Apollo 13 came out in theaters and shortly after that my parents purchased a new washing machine.  Dad turned the box into a lunar module and Megan and I spent MONTHS in that box pretending we were Jim Lovell.

The Forty-Second:  My Dad visits his Dad regularly, and takes him out for lunch.  My Dad visits his Dad’s friends when they’re in the hospital.

The Forty-Third:  My Dad plays basketball regularly, has done P90x and Insanity several times each, and keeps himself healthy.  My Dad made me want to do an Ironman just so I’d have something that made me feel like I was keeping up with him.

rob p90x 2010The Forty-Fourth:  He used to throw me up in the air super high.  If he tried now we’d both pull something.

rochelle flying.jpg 001 The Forty-Fifth:  In fifth grade he built me a treehouse.  It had three levels.  And a rope swing.  Then he built another treehouse at Grandpa Paul’s house for us.  It had a fireman’s escape pole to slide down.

The Forty-Sixth:  He works really hard.

The Forty-Seventh:  He always shows up and I don’t remember any life events where my Dad wasn’t there.

The Forty-Eighth:  A couple weekends ago my best friend said that the difference between my Dad (and Mom) and so many other people his age is that he wants to relate to people younger than him, that he cares and invests in people younger than him. My Dad is separate because he chooses to be different and that makes him awesome.

The Forty-Ninth:  He’s so funny.  You guys… just… so funny.

The Fiftieth:  He’s my Dad.  And I love him.

1010650_10151750820444289_1888702881_nThere are a million other reasons my Dad is awesome, and there are probably quite a few things he’s done I’ll never know because he doesn’t parade around his good deeds like I do.  The point is:  My Dad is awesome.

And… Happy Birthday, ROB!

age group nationals 2013: race report

My family are a bunch of enablers.

A few months ago USAT emailed me to say I’d qualified for Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee on August 10th, and that I should totally come if I felt like it.  I did totally feel like it, but getting all my triathlon stuff out to Medical Lake every couple weeks is hard enough… driving or flying it two thirds of the way across the country and paying for it is another story.  In fact, it’s this story because that is exactly what my super awesome, completely supportive, and full-on enabling parents did for me.

Last February before registration was full, I was having a week or five of feeling sorry for myself.  I think it was a combination of Ironman training and the end of 30 Rock ruining my joy, but that isn’t the point.  The point is that my Dad sort of went nuts with excitement about Nationals and responded to my self-pitying “I can’t afford anything, I’m so tired all the time, triathlons are hard” monologue with his own bullet point list of reasons to go to Milwaukee, including but not limited to, him paying for everything.

I wish there was a way for me to accurately describe exactly what it’s like when my Dad gets giddy about something for the sake of cheering other people up.  Mom does it too, but her style can sometimes come across as a little more patronizing like when she’d make me go scoop up the dog poop in the back yard and then stand at the kitchen window cheering for me with pom-poms.  Anyway, when Dad gets excited about things it involves a lot more songs of his own composition, dance routines, and general goofiness.  I have to say, he’s pretty good at it.  Before our phone conversation that day I was totally feeling sorry for myself, but after I felt a million times better.  Now that I’m thinking about it, my Dad is actually really good at being encouraging.  Awwwww, #sentiment.

Oh no wait, I DO have some video evidence!  Let’s watch it:

A week before the race, Mom and Dad drove up to Spokane to pick up all my gear and head out on their vacation-road-trip.  Because that’s what all parents do for their fully grown children, right?  Schedule their vacations around events said grown-ass kids are participating in?  Just me?  Spoiled?  NOT SORRY.  MY PARENTS ARE AWESOME, EVERYONE KNOWS IT.

Pause.  This is as far as I got typing up this blog post two weeks ago, then I got distracted by starting a new job, finishing an old job, hanging out with awesome people, and was probably watching 30 Rock.  So, I just went to ask Mom what she remembers about the weekend in Milwaukee and Minneapolis to help jog my memory and her only response was, “My flip-flop broke.”  Yes, yes it did.  That was Thursday night between Grumpy’s and Blackforest for dinner, then she had to gimp around until everyone else (sans me, I’m super healthy) was done ordering donuts with bacon on them so we could go home and not wear shoes.  Here’s a picture of that night, Aunt Keen and Mom laughing just to the point of public urination:

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This whole story has run away from me.  What was the point again?  Oh right, Ellen making out with Chrissie Wellington.  Geez Rochelle, spoiler alert!

Thursday before the race I flew into Minneapolis-St.Paul to meet up with my family so we could all drive to Milwaukee together the next day.  Hanging out that night in Minneapolis was awesome as usual.  We went to a Mudpuppy game, ate some foods, drank some Grain Belt Premiums, and stayed up way too late discussing who among us is the funniest.  Friday morning everyone got up at the butt crack of dawn to pack up and head out to Milwaukee.  I slept the entire drive so I have nothing to report on those five hours.

In Milwaukee we parked and found Ellen about an hour before the swim course closed for the day and by the time we had our wetsuits on and finished talking to the Iron Nun, we got about 15 minutes of swimming in.  This is a huge improvement over the zero minutes I got in at Lake Stevens.  Ellen and I probably made it about 200 meters altogether because we were really busy fan-girling over Chrissie Wellington, even while swimming in Lake Michigan.  SIDE NOTE: Just incase you aren’t a triathlete, don’t ever watch NBC’s coverage of the Hawaiian Ironman every year because you have no heart, or have never met me… Chrissie Wellington is a four-time Ironman distance world champion, has won every Ironman distance race she’s participated in (13 for 13), and is a top notch human being with a heart bigger than Santa and the enthusiasm of Richard Simmons.  END SIDE NOTE.

After our swim, Ellen and I proceeded to packet pick-up so I could get checked-in and then go meet Chrissie.  While Ellen and I were off doing triathlon-y things I think Mom, Dad, and Aunt Keen were looking for bathrooms.  I peed in the lake, obviously.  USAT does not skimp on the race swag and I think it’s extra impressive given that the race only cost $150.  We got gear bags, t-shirts with long torsos, tire levers (why? when I get a flat I scream in agony then take my bike to Steve and cry ‘till it gets fixed.  Maybe the levers are for more reasonable people than me), compression socks that mostly fit, that body-tape stuff Kerri Walsh wears all the time, and my favorite… body glide.  Correction:  My favorite thing I never remember to use.  Swag bag in tow, Ellen and I headed over to the expo’s TYR tent to wait in line to meet Chrissie.

While waiting, several people walked by who seemed to have not read any of the USAT emails prior to the race announcing Chrissie’s presence for the event.  Shocking.  Ellen and I waited in line for a little while because each person before us seemed to be telling Chrissie their life story, and she was listening to every one of them!  Normally when I get nervous I talk too much, but this time I was mostly at a loss for words.  When it was my turn to meet her, I stepped up with my book, she took it from me and said, “hello gorgeous,” in her British accent and then I DIED.  Of happiness.  She asked my name and I must’ve answered because it’s spelled right in my copy of her book and in a fit of fan-girling I told her how many times I’d read her book and she said there were probably better things I could be doing.  HA!  Best day ever.  Ellen was right behind me in line, this was her third Chrissie-encounter (first was at Kona in 2011 when Ellen got to help her during T1, what!), and without saying anything Ellen got Chrissie Wellington to sign her Brooks T7 Racers, or as the British call them, “trainers.”

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Walking away and squealing to ourselves over what had just happened, Ellen and I returned to parked cars to stow our treasures before heading out on a short run.  Mom, Dad and Aunt Keen were out trying to find replacement flip-flops for Mom and the bronze statue of Fonzie.  What else is there to do in Milwaukee?  Personally I was hoping to run into the cast of Bridesmaids but apparently the characters from Happy Days have a larger presence in that town.

After our run the family and I left to find our hotel and get cleaned up, then possibly search for dinner.  Fish fry is the right thing to eat the night before a race I’m pretty sure (Michelle [not “Mom,” not “not Mom, friend”] feel free to leave comments and/or concerns below).  As soon as we got back to the hotel Aunt Keen was OUT but I stayed up a while arranging and rearranging my gear and swag so I could post something on Instagram.  I mean, if you’re not in town to win a race you may as well get some good pictures out of the whole thing.

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Saturday morning we were up early again to make it to transition before the cut off time.  Ellen found me at the last minute in transition and very graciously provided some baby powder for my shoes so I could run sockless.  Good thing Ellen was there or I may have ended up with more than two blisters, or just bloody stumps for feet.  We hugged and parted ways, Ellen’s wave started nearly TWO HOURS before mine!

The rest of the morning progressed like this: freaked out a little, swam a little, rode my bike some, went for a run… you know, the usual.  It was madness at the swim start.  The dock we were all waiting next to was huge, and far above the water line.  All the girls were grabbing on waiting for the gun to go off so I joined them and actually had to have a couple fellow swimmers help hoist me up so I could reach the top of the dock, then I burned out my shoulder muscles hanging on for dear life.  It was pretty ridiculous.  All the girls were waiting patiently then there’s me, butt out of water, with everyone else floating gently in the waves.

While we were all floating there the announcers shouted out facts and figures about our group, females 25 to 29.  They started with listing the top contenders in the field and then, in what has to have been one of the biggest clerical errors made this year by USAT, they yelled my name around 10th or 11th.  I laughed so hard that I peed for a fourth time in the water that morning.  Thankfully I had a wetsuit on and even though 2/3rds of my body was out of the water while I was hanging on to the wall, my feet and bottom of the wetsuit were still in the water so I don’t think anyone noticed.  Maybe some of the girls closest noticed the slight temperature change around them.  I don’t know, I didn’t ask.

The swim was tough-ish.  Ironman actually felt easier but I think that’s because I didn’t expect much from this race.  Most of the way out there was a lot of shoving and kicking people around you.  LADIES.  BE NICE.  After the two turn buoys things started to thin out and a couple times I actually got a little concerned I was swimming the wrong way since no one was around me.  Turns out I’m just way faster than everyone else.  NOPE.  I think I was somewhere around 105th out of the water (out of 170 in my age group).  The swim exit was pretty steep but I had about seven volunteers pulling me out of the water at once and didn’t slip at all!  Final swim time was 30:50, about three minutes slower than I had hoped.  Oh well, NEXT YEAR!

Transition went by quickly even though it was a pretty long jog from the water exit to my bike. T1 went by in 2:40 and I was off on the second flattest course I’ve ever ridden.  There are no hills in the Midwest.  The bike was awesome.  For the first time all year I felt competitive on my bike and actually managed to pass a few people which NEVER happens to me.  I’m always getting smoked by grandmas!  Final bike time was 1:11 something, averaged 20.8mph!  WOOO!!

The second transition was just under two minutes.  After the race Mom and Aunt Keen told me I needed to slow it down so they could make it around to see me next time, ha!  Taking off on my run the first mile took me about eight minutes, then I remembered I didn’t need to conserve anything because it’s not an Ironman and each mile got faster and faster.  The last three miles were all sub-7:00.  Barely, but STILL.  Nailed it.  I passed the Iron Nun at mile 5 and she yelled at me to get going.  That crabby old lady makes me laugh!  At the last corner I found Ellen and she high-fived me before the finish chute. Final run time was 45 something, total time was 2:32.  Chrissie Wellington was at the finish line, she told me good job (squeeee!!!!), and then I found my Dad with the video camera:

Even though she was being modest about it, Ellen actually got her finisher’s medal from Chrissie Wellington AND a kiss on the cheek.  I guess they’re pretty much in love by now.  I’d be jealous but I suppose it’s better to be happy for my friend.  Next year though…

Time to wrap this mother up.  After the race the family and I went to this restaurant that’s been featured on Diner’s Drive-in’s and Dive’s.  I guess it was pretty excellent.  Dad and Aunt Keen both had the meatloaf, I think their faces say it all.  The waiter made fun of me for calling Grain Belt “Premium” which I guess is the equivalent of calling PBR “First Place” but I’m okay with it, he gave us free cupcakes because I’m sure he felt bad for making fun of an out of towner.

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Aunt Keen played DJ on the way home and I got several videos of both her and Dad car dancing while Mom and I laughed in the back seat.  I’ll save those for birthday announcements later this year, but let me just say that once I got back to Spokane I had Duran Duran on repeat for a while.  We spent the rest of the weekend in Minneapolis eating awesome food and taking naps.  Because the family that naps together… is creepy.  We were all in separate rooms.

In summary:  CHRISSIE WELLINGTON.

happy birthday mom!

I hope you’re having the best time ever in Minneapolis with Aunt Keen and I’m totes jealous you’re both hanging out without me.  I’d say a lot more but just took half a shot of NyQuil so I’m pretty much done for the next 24 to 36 hours and prone to sentimentality.

Happy Birthday!  I love you the most.

drawlings

Once there was this one time I went home to find my sister at the dining table drawing pictures on her new Bamboo tablet for her friends.  Immediate jealously for lack of new artwork on my apartment walls aside, it was pretty epic to watch my sister be creative.  Until Benny totally showed her up and ruined my standards for all future pieces of art.

Megan’s drawing:

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Benny’s drawing (response):

benny art

 

All photos used without consent or permission because neither can afford to sue me.  Yet.

Cranksgiving

This is how I feel about Thanksgiving this year:

For the first time in four years (but not the first time ever), I’ll be spending Thanksgiving without Aunt Keen.  BOOOOOTRAGEDYBOOOOOOO!!! 

Fifteen thousand years ago when I was young and so naïve (and also kind of a jerk because I made a guy pay $800 for me to come visit him over Thanksgiving), I was on my way to NYC for excellent Thanksgiving celebrations which included the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live and in person, Upright Citizens Brigade, and 30 Rockefeller Plaza.  On the way there and back I had 10-hour layovers in Minneapolis-St.Paul so naturally Aunt Keen came to pick me up and we got to spend a bit of Thanksgiving together.

One year later I was slightly nicer because I had longer hair and felt like a better person because of it.  That year I went straight to Minneapolis with none of the mucking about in New York City because let’s be honest, I have a bit of a one track mind and pretty much the only person I’ve cared to hang around over the last two decades is my Aunt Keen because she’s awesome and awesome.  That Thanksgiving we had TWO dinners, one at the Downey-Sanguinet house, and then one at Timmerman’s house and both were amaze-balls.  Also, all the Minneapolis folk wrote a song for me, then performed it live on Facebook.  WHAT!  Fantastic.

In 2010 we had the best Thanksgiving of all.  JAPANESE THANKSGIVING.  Aunt Keen flew in the night before, Grammy Trissie drove down to Tri-Cities, and the family spent Thanksgiving with ten 18 and 19 year old Japanese kids.  They all behaved like anime cartoons and loved my sister.  “Megan is Number One IPA!”

Last year we all decided to meet in the “middle” and everyone drove to middle of nowhere Montana and we spent a week sitting around, eating, putting puzzles together, watching Harry Potter dubbed, and laughing our faces off.  Hands down those were the best rounds of Catch Phrase I ever played.

This isn’t a complaint about this years Thanksgiving… I’m not trying to make it a NoThanksgiving… but it is unfortunate that Aunt Keen isn’t here!  Also, Megan.  WHAT!  It’s getting weird in here!

Still, I’m gonna go home and hang out with Mom and Dad.  And that makes me feel like this:

my sister is in korea

She’s in the South-ish one.  Not trapped in the North-ish one.

-I’m feeling sentimental.  Prepare yourself.-

The unfulfilled, unreasonable, and completely jealous part of me hates that Megan is so far away getting to experience things I most likely will never do.  The paranoid part of me is also worried she’ll never come back and maybe the only times we’ll see each other for the rest of life are at weddings and funerals.

Megan has always been pretty adventurous though, even as a little kid.  When we were younger Megan would always opt to stay with extended family for more than just the day trip originally planned.  Sometimes she’d go hang out with Aunt Debbie for a weekend, or stay at Grandpa Paul’s for the week without Mom or me there (she also lit the trash can on fire that week, and consequently learned how matches work).  I remember one week when she stayed with Aunt Julie and Uncle Ben on their farm and I went home to Kennewick and spent the whole week worried that she was crying herself to sleep each night because she was away from us.  When Megan got home though, she said it was the best week of her life (she was like 7).  As it turns out, I worried for no reason.

Megan and I got to Skype the night before she started school (night for me, morning for her) and she was telling me about the day Mom and Aunt Keen left to head home while she stayed in Seoul.  I could see her start to get a little emotional about riding the train back to school by herself, but then she started to tell me about meeting a new friend and their conversations and on and on until any sort of homesickness was forgotten.

Even though we really didn’t spend much face to face time together after I graduated high school, and even though I’d throw my shoes at her on school breaks when she’d get mouthy with me, and even though she’s infinitely cooler and smarter than me, she’s still my little sister and still (mostly subconsciously) my best friend.

“I don’t subscribe to this idea that you could only be with one person for your whole life. [But] One of my cousins got married recently, and as she was telling me how she knew she’d found the person she wanted to be with for her whole life-like ‘We’ll grow together, we’ll learn, we’ll have the same goals, the same needs, you can count on me’- I had this really spooky moment, both sad and kind of happy: That’s Tegan (Megan?) for me. Because the relationship transcends any relationship I could have with any other human being. We were conceived in the same womb, and we look the same, and we’ve formed this band together- we have this intrinsic connection. And I will unconditionally love her, and hate her, until the end of time. Maybe I don’t believe in soul mates because I already have one.”  -Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara)

This quote, though not exactly perfect (hello, my parents have been married for 27 years and counting, being with one person is a real thing), is exactly how I feel about my little sister.  We might not be in a band, and we’re not identical twins… but we have the same hands, the same parents, and the same home.

 

booooooooooo, also… lol

My car has been possessed.

Not repossessed, I pay my taxes and debts, but it has been possessed by an unknown entity and I do not appreciate it.

A few months ago one of the belts started squealing every time I’d start up the engine.  Not a huge problem, but something that would eventually need to be taken care of.  Four weeks ago my supportive and infinitely wealthier father took my car in for maintenance and had everything replaced.  By “everything” I mean the belts (alternator, timing, etc.) as well as the water pump, spark plugs, and even put new wipers on!

Three weeks ago I took my car in to Les Schwab to get the tires rotated, and to see if they could find the cause of the “helicopter” noise the car made every time you veered right while driving between 45 and 50mph.  Oh that was just because the last Les Schwab guy had put my brakes and rotors on incorrectly a year previously.  Remember that mishap?  I do because it cost my entire tax return.  Whatever, I got free beef.  Ok, back to the present.  My Mazda also needed a new wheel bearing and alignment check.  Thank you, Spokane potholes.  Its okay, I got to spend most of the day with Lori and learned to make kettle corn at home.  Tastes just like Pig Out in the Park!

Two weeks ago I was on my way to the gym when something popped under the hood and my poor Protege5 refused to idle without acting like it was going to die.  Thankfully I made it to a dealership with an open mechanic shop on the weekend, and they replaced the spark plugs again!  YAY!  Apparently the first ones were too new.  That, or my car is a… female dog (I’m trying to swear less, leave me alone)… and isn’t willing to try new things or branch out of her comfort zone at all.  Dad was able to get a refund on the parts and labor cost from the first shop my car went to, so all is well that ends well, right?

WRONG! 

Last Friday night I was headed to Cheney to pick up my sister so we could head to the Tri-Cities for Easter weekend.  About a mile before the Cheney exit I smelled something weird and immediately checked all the gauges in my dash.  Engine temperature pegged at hot.  YAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!  Instead of letting out some swears, I called my Dad and calmly explained what was happening.  Then I hung up and started screaming prayers like “DEAR GOD LET ME MAKE IT TO MEGAN’S SO I’M NOT STRANDED ON THE HIGHWAY WITH ALL THE CREEPERS!”  Prayer is effective because I made it to Megan’s without being attacked by a stranger on the side of the road next to my dead car.

When I got to Megan’s she opened the door and made to grab her bag but I told her not to bother because my car was dying and we weren’t going to make it to Kennewick that night, to which she replied, “Awww, Jesus Weekend is ruined.”  Then we played Super Mario Brothers on the Wii for three hours.

Saturday morning I checked under the hood in the light of day, because I’m a mechanic and know things about cars so obviously I’d be able to figure out the problem immediately.  AND I’d probably be able to come up with a MacGuiver-esq solution as well.  No, don’t be ridiculous.  My car may as well be a guy for all I know about the subject.  Anyway, I could see that there was antifreeze everywhere and with my massive brain power was able to deduce that antifreeze is typically contained in some sort of tank, not spewed haphazardly around the interior of an engine.  Dad had told me to fill up the thingy that typically holds antifreeze with water and just stop once the car over heats.  It took me over an hour to get from Cheney to my apartment.  15 miles.

After unloading all my crap and letting the car cool down again, I drove it back to the dealership and said, “It’s your problem now, bitches!”  Eff, I’m not supposed to be swearing.  Also, that’s not what I said.  I explained to the guy as best I could what had happened, and he said at first glance something about cooling fans and things not working.  Well… duh.  I left the car there and my fake roommate Michelle came to pick me up.  Then I spent the rest of Saturday riding my bike.

Around 5:45, 15 minutes before closing, the dealer called me and said they still hadn’t figured out the exact problem and would need to do a full diagnostic on Tuesday.  Which is today.  I haven’t heard anything yet.

In the meantime, my fantastic Grandma has been letting me borrow her Ford Ranger with the anti-war bumper sticker.  Which I’ve been driving to work every day.  You know, the place I work at with all the retired firemen and military guys who bleed red, white, and blue.

I’ve been trying to figure out why things like this keep happening specifically to my car.  Could be a coincidence, could be a series of human errors, or it could be Satan needed a black car to get around Spokane in for awhile and he didn’t feel like going to the Tri-Cities to celebrate the fact that Jesus beat him in a death match because he doesn’t like reliving bad memories.  I get it.  I don’t really enjoy driving by my old middle school either.

I do believe that there is a specific reason for why all these car troubles have happened in quick succession, but I don’t know why yet.  There is a possibility I will never know.  Maybe Megan and I were saved from a fire-y car-crashy death.  Maybe I was just supposed to stay and interact with people here.  They have been unusually good weekends aside from all the expensiveness of getting a car fixed.  I’ve seen the insides of quite a few apartments for rent on the lower South Hill, got to ride my bike everywhere, and Shelby had to drive me places which is awesome on account of I love hanging out with Shelbs.  Or, maybe Megan and I just needed to play Super Mario.  I don’t know.

I do know this is all pretty funny when you really think about it.

*IT WAS THE THERMOSTAT.  TERMOSTUPID.