Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sleepless in Havelock

Today marks the first day I completely forgot to try to post anything to WordPress.  Thankfully, I have friends who try to keep me from drinking mayo-milkshakes–a punishment I know is probably coming my way eventually.
I spent today sitting on metal bleachers, watching a girl’s all-star softball game.  I love how sports can bring people together.  Simply by routing for a specific team, I found myself surrounded by a crowd of parents who were instantly my comrades in the Battle of Havelock–a rousing skirmish between the gallant ladies of Bladen and the fearsome hordes of Williamston.  The hordes were giant and scary and threw their clubs at frightening speeds.

The ladies of Bladen fought valiantly and bravely in the face of the surrounding wildfires, but the heat and the flying clubs proved to be too much for them to overcome.  They scored nary a hit.

My comrades and I were disappointed, but proud of our brave warrior-queens.

My sister’s reading this right now.  She’s giggling to herself and saying that it wasn’t all this dramatic.  She should realize that dramatic embellishment is always a good thing.

What I’m not dramatizing is how busy I’ve been lately.  Between house-sitting and driving to Havelock (where the battlefield ballgames are being held), I’ve had barely any time to myself.

I do know this though: I’d rather my life be filled with Havelock warriors, hyper house-hounds and saber-cats, and countless hours traversing the dusty streets via our Chevy carriage than be bored and lonely with nothing but my trusty laptop for company.

Life is an adventure!  I plan on living it, even if that means my blog posts aren’t always clear, rational, or understandable.

Besides, pretending everything is a medieval battlefield makes softball games more interesting.  And who wouldn’t want to make things more interesting?
Blogger’s note:  This post was written while the author was half-asleep, after a day filled with sunstroke-inducing hours in the blistering noon-time sun.  It is probably not coherent in any way, shape, or form.  It was written solely to avoid a mayo-milkshake.

Note 2: For whatever reason, this did not publish on Friday night when it was supposed to.  Which means I get a punishment.  Post your suggestions in the comments below!

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Things I Did Today (Exhaustion in 7 Steps)

1: Went to work like a good little hive-worker.

2: Went to a friend’s house.  We were supposed to go to the shelter and pick out a kitten for her, but instead she wound up getting stuck with a very pregnant dog that her friend left behind after a move to Sanford.   I was a little bummed that I couldn’t hug kittens, but I did get to hug a very sweet new dog-friend.  I think that’s a fair trade.

3. Went 45 minutes away from my house with my little sister to my aunt and uncle’s house in an attempt to befriend/appease their very territorial Cocker Spaniel.  I’m house-sitting for them soon and we wanted to be sure that the pup would listen to me and not be belligerent for the entire week.   Not that I was worried.  He minded me before when I stayed there last year and is a total pushover if you give him a treat.   Who knew that a t-bone treat meant instant friendship?

4. Came back home to promptly leave again to go out to eat for my mother’s birthday!  By far my favorite part of the evening (because I rarely get to go out for free on Dad’s dime–thanks, Dad!).  Even though we told the waitress it was her birthday, they didn’t come sing for her.  I said I’d lead the nearby patrons in a rousing rendition of “happy birthday”, but Mom didn’t seem too thrilled by the idea.

5. Went out shopping for Mom’s birthday!  She said she wanted a new pocketbook.  Because my mother is very difficult to shop for purse-wise, we figured it’d be best if she picked out her own bag.  Naturally, all the kids picked out purses and then tried to convince mom to pick theirs as her present.  I pointed her toward my favorite purse brand (which just happened to be on clearance) and tried very hard not to be a sore winner when she liked my suggestion the best.  I think I succeeded, since none of my siblings glared at me on the ride home.

6. Birthday cake at nine-thirty at night is the best kind of birthday cake.  Mom finally got her song.  It was lovely.

7. I goofed off for two hours and then wrote this cop-out blog post.  Because I’m serious about meeting deadlines, but apparently not serious enough to realize that it’s ten o’clock and I really should stop piddling around on the internet and get to work.

Expect a better blog post soon!

Final Friday

No, this isn’t the final day of Friday posts.  I figured I should clear that right up from the get-go.

A few months ago, a friend of mine (who reads this blog–HI FRIEND) suggested that we play Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles together on Friday nights.

We’ve gotten tired of FFCC, but we still get together most Friday nights.

I’m actually in his room right now.  He’s trying to distract me from my writing with suggestive slurping of an orange push pop.  Oh good grief.  You do not want to know what I’m putting up with right now.

Final Friday has turned into something of a carrier of our friendship.  I don’t really see him that much outside of work otherwise.

I’m still pretty young, but I’ve lived long enough to watch friendships come and go.   As I look at the friendships I have now–the ones I’ve successfully maintained throughout the years–the familiar thread through all of them is the abundance of time set aside for each person.

I used to believe that friendships were just things that faded in and out of our lives.  I thought of my years as seasons of friend groups because with each new life stage my friend group changed.

People said that high school would be different; that friends made there would carry over for a lifetime.  Then came came college, and people said the same thing: friends made in college would last a lifetime.

For the most part, they were wrong.  Most of my friends from those years faded into the mist of the past.   It was the same with my camp counselor friends from 2010, when I spent a glorious summer herding fifth graders around the mountains of New Mexico.

It had gotten to the point where I thought there was something wrong with me.  That maybe I was some sort of friendship breaking machine–the kind that ground long-term friendships into dust.

What I hadn’t realized was that you don’t get to keep all the friendships you make.   In fact, you don’t get to keep most friendships you make.

I’m convinced that lifelong friendships exist.  I’m also convinced that you only get two or three of them.  Think of them as rare diamonds in the coal mine of your life.  Most friendships are coal.  They’re nothing special, and they get pulverized by the pressures that life brings.

Every now and then, one of those coal pieces doesn’t crumble and fade away.  Sometimes the life pressures merely refine the coal piece until POP.  You’ve got yourself a friendship diamond, one that’ll last a lifetime.

I stopped beating myself up over my apparent friendlessness.

Instead, I learned to cherish the friendships I do have because they are the diamonds in my coal mine of life.

Beach Day

Fourth of July in NC is rather unusual.

You see, it’s against state law to set off the really cool sky explosions unless you’ve got the proper permits.  All fireworks sold here are lame little things that stay firmly attached to the ground.  They are not very exciting, and have a very low chance of misfiring and causing harm to any nearby viewers.

If this was done to curb the enthusiastic redneck hicks from setting fire to their own appendages, then it failed spectacularly.  It is county tradition to make the forty minute drive to South Carolina and purchase the biggest, most NC-illegal fireworks the stores sell, smuggle them across the state line, then set them off in the backyard and pray that the cops choose not to care.

Because my family tends to be more law-abiding than most when it comes to fireworks–mostly due to Dad’s unwillingness to drive all the way to SC to illegally import banned goods–we get all the boring fireworks.  The only time we see good ones is if we travel to White Lake, where some organization has purchased the proper permits to create colorful explosions in the sky.

Other than firework shenanigans, our Fourth is pretty tame.  Usually.

But this Fourth of July, my family received a surprise invitation to visit a beach house off the coast of North Carolina.

We left the night before, there being enough spare bedrooms in the beach house to fit a small army within it’s walls.

I, saintlike, offered to drive the family’s dilapidated van to the beach house.  Everyone was grateful, until they realized that the only reason I’d offered was because I get carsick in the backseat.

We got there (the younger kids bickering to themselves the entire way, as was proper), and bee-lined for the beach even though it was nearly dark outside.

Except….there was no beach.

Sign, dune, ocean. No beach.

Sign, dune, ocean. No beach.

Even more disheartening was the scary black stick flotsam that slammed into my feet with every wave.   I kept imagining it was jellyfish strings, just waiting to sting me into oblivion.

Then, to make matters worse, I was attacked.  Attacked by a crab.  To be fair, I probably almost stepped on him because he came flying out of that sand like it was on fire.  Scared me to death.  I thought it was a frog at first, because we have lots of those at my house.  But nope.  A pale, beige crab.

Am Crab. Fear me!

He was afraid of me, being a giant and all, so he stood really still like I wouldn’t be able to see him. I saw him. And then gave him his own photoshoot.

It occurs to me that while I find spiders revolting, disgusting, and terrifying, I think crabs are completely adorable.  Let’s see–how many legs does the crab have? I’m counting eight.  Not counting the pincers, which totally don’t count because they’re not legs.  They’re battle claws.  Crabs are basically the spiders of the sea.   And I still think they’re cute.

After his photoshoot, the crab scuttled hastily off into the sea.  And I went inside.  Because I wasn’t going to stay out there in the dark with crabs exploding out of the sand.  I then proceeded to play online Halo with my cousins until two thirty in the morning and suffer a near-sleepless night of my kid sister (with whom I was sharing a bed) needing to  wake me up every so often to make sure I knew that she needed things. Like Tylenol.  And to let me know that the sun was up.  And that she thought she saw an ant on the covers.

I finally admitted defeat and got up and went downstairs to mingle with other early-ish risers who were chipper. They brightly asked me how my night was.

And then I wanted to roundhouse kick everyone and run screaming into the ocean.  But I didn’t.  I drank my coffee and suddenly the world was better.  And much less stabby.

Eventually, we all went out to the beach.  It had decided to become a proper beach while we slept, and there was a good hundred yards or so of gently sloping wet sand.  I was excited about it, decided that the beach wasn’t so bad after all, and immediately forgave it for disappointing me the night before.

I was so happy about the beach that I forgot to take any pictures of it.

Instead, I spent my day out in the waves, being buffeted by salt water and wind.  I also helped build a kick-ass sand castle.  My cousins are very enterprising.

I was so busy enjoying my day that I almost didn’t take any more pictures at all.  But when Chip showed up, I couldn’t help myself.

Chip is a very, very cute bird.

I named him Chip because that’s what his chirps sounded like. “Chip, chip!”

Chip was a tiny little songbird who couldn’t really fly in the strong ocean winds.  He tried his best, mind you, but he always kind of looked like he was just being blown about.  It was kind of sad to watch him try to fly.  We wondered how he got there, since he was so obviously unsuited to beach living.

We didn’t really get to wonder very long because Chip distracted us by being amazing.

He flew over and landed on my brother’s knee.  Like it was nothing.  “Oh, hello there, I’m just going to be a wild bird sitting on your knee.”  We marveled at this for a while.  I sat down.  Then he hopped over to my knee.  I fed him bits of crumbled cracker.

And then he flew up and landed in my hand.

I’m not kidding, guys.  In that moment, I was a fairy-tale princess, charming all the wildlife animals by my pure heart alone, singing soprano in the forest.

When I was a girl, I always wanted to have a wild bird land on my hand like they do in the movies.  I had long given that dream up, counting it as childhood foolishness and wishful thinking.  On July 4th, 2012, my childhood dream came true.

Of course I have pictures:

This happened. This REALLY happened.

That’s my hand. That’s a BIRD on my HAND.

Chip took turns chirping at each of us, and he sat in the hands of three other people.  He seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself.

He eventually flew out into the parking lot behind the house and into some guy’s van. I’m not sure what happened to him after that, but I’m pretty sure the guy wasn’t happy to have a bird in his van.  Maybe he would have felt differently if he knew that Chip was a magical bird out of a fairy-tale.

My family eventually dispersed back into the house for dinner, and we never saw Chip again during our time at the beach.

That night we watched all our beach neighbors shoot off their illegal fireworks from SC into the air before we left for home.  But even though the fireworks were nice, my favorite part of the trip will always be Chip, and his magical childhood-dream-fulfilling-abilities.