Halfway to 50!

Twenty somethings unite!

How to Get a Terrible Picture Taken for Free August 17, 2012


Church pictures.  Something I thought I’d never be a part of at 27 years old.  I vaguely remember being a part of them as a child.  I know I’ve seen pictures of myself at 5 years of age, permed bangs hair sprayed up 4 inches, and my parents in matching white shirts in front of a gray backdrop.

Yet, as a member of a great church today, I found myself in the same mortifying moment 22 years later.  They advertised “100% participation” in the bulletin for our church photos week after week.  So I signed the hubbie and I up for our photo shoot and what we got was an awkward moment (and photo) to remember…

We walked in at our scheduled time wearing shirts in semi-matching hues (hey, I checked pinterest for tips on how to dress for photos!)  As we waited for our turn, I noticed the hubs had on a pair of blue plaid shorts that completely clashed with my navy striped shirt.  We were off to a wonderful start.  A nice older lady walked up and told us she was ready.  The gray background made me cringe, but I rolled with it.  She directed me to sit on one of two stools.  She stood back, assessed the situation, and said to the hubs, “I’m going to have you sit on the other stool behind her.  Straddle her.”  I fought back a laugh.

My husband did as he was told, we looked at the camera and waited for the click.  I begged the lady to crop out the plaid shorts and smiled.  We smiled for what seemed like 5 minutes… you know when you smile for so long that it begins to look like your third grade school picture?  I knew it wouldn’t be pretty when the shutter finally clicked, but at least it was over.  I stood up and turned to leave.

“So, we’re done?”

“Um, no.  Unless you really want to be.”

How could I walk away from this nice old lady?  She was just doing her job.  OK fine.  She had us stand and face each other.  “Let’s show off this pretty ring!” she said and propped by left hand up on my husband’s chest.  Can you see this in your mind?  It was one of those cheesy engagement picture shots that just make my roll my eyes in the back of my head.  I mean seriously.  Who does that?

I blurted out, “I can’t do this one!!”

Startled, she said, “Why not?”

“It’s too cheesy.  Sorry, I just can’t.”

Instead she had me wrap my arm around his waist so we were now just in a standing hug position.  Not much better than the cheesy engagement photo pose.  This was God’s punishment for being difficult.

Pose number three had my husband sitting on a stool with me behind him.  I was told to wrap my arms around his neck and lean forward.  Really?  Now I was just going to roll with it and get the pictures done.  Finally, the photo shoot was over and we sat at a desk with our photographer.  She brought up all of our pictures on a computer screen and I screwed my face into a horrified expression.  Ew.  The florescent lighting, navy blue shirt, and gray background did nothing for me.  I looked like a meth addict who had been locked in a closet for 3 years.  Not exactly the church photo I had in mind.  I looked about the hubs who could care less what he looks like and even he was cringing.  She clicked through all of our pictures and we decided on one.

She assured us our free 8×10 would be arriving in the mail within a few weeks.  Oh yes.  That is for sure going on the mantle.  When we thought the awkward church photo experience was over, the photographer offered to… um… spruce up our photo.

“Would you like me to add some words to your 8×10?”

???

“For example, I could add something like, ‘Love’ or ‘Together Forever’ on the bottom of your photo.”

“Uh, no thanks.  I think we’re OK…. yep… plain is fine.”

We slinked out of church that night with 2 shreds of dignity left.  We got in the car in silence.  I was clutching a piece of paper containing our black and white photos in thumbnail size.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing.  The whole things was just weird.  These photos would haunt us for years to come – and lucky us!  They’ll be published in our church directory for thousands to see.

I texted a photo of our pics to my mom.  Her response?

“LOL those look like the photos you see on the news when the wife disappears.”

Thanks mom.

The point?  If you can’t laugh at an experience like this, you’re taking life too seriously.  Chill out, laugh at odd situations, and get your church pictures taken.

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The Staple of Summer: The Public Pool June 4, 2012


Do you remember your favorite summer activity as a kid?  It had to be going to the public swimming pool.  If not, you were deprived and missed out on the best life had to offer.  Anyway, I remember waiting for my mom to get off work, in my swimsuit, towel in hand, ready to enjoy summer in the chlorine-filled abyss that is the public pool.

 

Flash forward to now.  I’m 27 and had the opportunity to relive that awesomeness today with a friend,  except… things were a little different from I remember.

 

First, we arrived at the pool and approached the entrance.  I studied the Justin Bieber wanna-be boys with florescent colored sunglasses and daringly low-cut trunks.  I had never been to this particular pool before.  Because we are teachers in the area, we go to great lengths to avoid parents and students.  We like them, however it is quite awkward to catch up with a former parent as you’re rocking a tiny triangle top bikini… So there we were, sitting on our towels and liberally applying sunscreen.  The younger crowd of kids were throwing their towels down, ripping off their cover ups, and dashing into the pool with a carefree attitude.  Damn.  “Don’t these girls know the importance of protecting their skin? Psssh!”  (While secretly wishing I could do that.)

 

Later we decided to try out the lazy river… key word here being lazy.  I grabbed a two person raft and moved toward the water.  My friend says, “Um, don’t you think we should get our own rafts?  People might think we’re together.”  Ha!  If we were in a relationship, she had already taken the role as the butch.  We looked all around for single rafts with no luck.  We agree on the double raft and push it in the water.  A Zach Efron look-alike stopped the raft with his hand and stared at us through his aviators.

 

Zach Efron look-alike: “Uh, you can’t both use this.”

Me: “Why not?

Zach: “Because it’s not meant for two people.”

My friend: “Then why are there two spots to sit?”

Zach: “That side is for babies.”

Me: “That’s dumb.  What mother would lay their baby here and cruise down the lazy river?”

We pulled the raft out past a group of pre-teens laughing nervously.  Yeah, like they knew that’s what it was for (unless one of their friends was a teen mom, then yes, they may have legitimately knew what it was for.)  Moments later another young lifeguard handed us a raft that WAS for two adults and we began our float.  (By the way, what is up with these über young lifeguards?  I don’t seriously think one of these 16-year-old girls could pull my drowning ass from the water.)  In the lazy river, it only took seconds before a group of crazed ADD children began playing bumper boats.  They were ramming and pushing their way through, causing us to hit the wall several times, block up traffic, and end my tranquil summer moment.  Without thinking I snapped… “Chill out guys!”  They all stared in fear and disbelief.  Hey, what can I say?  I can’t turn the teacher in me off.  We continued our gossip-filled float and manged to avoid most of the waterfalls along the way.  Seriously.  Who decided to have waterfalls all over lazy rivers?  Most people are here to float, relax, and keep their hair dry.  If we wanted to get soaked, we’d be in the damn pool!  Once my friend leaned back to avoid a waterfall on her hair and instead it poured onto her chest and stomach.  It looked like something out of a raunchy summer teen movie that would’ve been in slow motion.  Lots of the preteens stopped their banter to watch and I quickly stole the hypothetical butch role back.

 

Later that afternoon we considered trying one of the water slides.  It was a tube slide that literally stops halfway and catapults you 10 feet out into the water.  We looked down at our swimsuits and quickly decided that we’d probably end up all sorts of undressed once we hit the water.  None of these children needed to be a witness to it.  Plus, the kids were coming out of the slide so nice and calm when they splashed into the water.  Pretty sure I’d pull some sort of spastic flailing motion in the air that would cause a viral video.  It would end wonderfully with me exiting the water without my bottoms.  Perfect.  I will not be partaking anytime soon.  Oh to be young again!

 

Finally, we ended the day laying on our towels, talking about work, vacations, and boys.  Next to us a group of teens were actively trying to get thier first romantic relationships started.  They were screaming, giggling, smacking (yes, that’s still how the young ‘ens show affection; however with adult relationships it’s called domestic assault) and draping their arms around each other nervously.  Was I ever like that?  Um yes, probably times ten.  When does one go from slapping cute boys to reapplying sunscreen for fear of early wrinkles?

 

Going to the public pool is always fun, but the experience changes with time.  As a little girl, I was swinging my legs, eating an ice cream cone on a bench.  Then I was chasing boys around and showing off with my sweet cannonball form.  Today, I was slathering sunscreen, avoiding getting my hair wet, and watching the time to be sure I left in time to still get groceries for the week.

 

Have you been to the pool lately?  How was your experience?  Should we embrace our inner child and go for the water slide or sit back and take a spin on the lazy river while monitoring other people’s children?

 

Spring Break… You Dirty B*&%@# March 23, 2012


What the hell is everyone doing?  No, I’m serious, what is everyone actually doing?  I’ve been on spring break for 8 days now.  8 days.  As a teacher, it is one benefit we reap every year in March.  10 days with no students, no assessments, no crazy parent emails (well, actually those keep coming, I just choose to ignore them during my hiatus), and no stress.  With 8 days down and 2 to go, I’m feeling stir crazy and just want to know what everyone else is doing to occupy their time.  Until I can figure that out, let me tell you about the wild shenanigans I’ve been up to.  Brace yourself…

Days 1-3 my parents visited.  I moved approximately 3.5 hours from home (yes hours, not miles, I cannot read a map to save my life and would easily die on Survivor before being voted off first by my tribe) so when they come to visit it is always a fun time.  We went downtown to see the big St. Patrick’s Day parade.  My dad grabbed for my mom’s hand upon seeing multiple “weirdos” as he called them.  “Where the hell are you taking us?” he asked.  After convincing them that this parade is supposed to be really cool and worth our time, we stayed and sat on a curb for an hour.  I tried to keep conversation rolling to pass the time, but it was clear they weren’t exactly impressed with my itinerary thus far.  Finally, the first few floats (well more like large party buses) drove by and were filled with screaming, and I’m assuming drunk, people.  Mom began to enjoy herself as she screamed for beads as each float, er, bus passed by.  She had several within a few minutes and was smitten.  An hour or so passed and my parents rolled up our blanket we were sitting on and promptly announced they’d had enough of the drunken people screaming and were ready to go.  We left.

Day 4 began with my friend calling me around 10:00 screaming, “SPRING BREAK 2012 BITCHES!!!”  A little groggy having just woken up only minutes ago, I managed a small, “Woooo.”  I looked down at my baggy pajamas and tried to run my fingers through my bed head hair.  Spring break wasn’t off to a great start this week.  If only I was hanging out at a swim up bar with my girlfriends in a cheetah print bikini taking body shots off some guy named, Brad, whom we had just met and claimed to be producer for MTV.  Now that would be a real spring break!  “Hello?”  I shook my head as my friend brought me back to reality.  “Oh sorry, I was just trying to figure out what to do today,” I said.

Days 4-6 were filled with my attempt to be a 1950’s housewife.  I am a pretty big feminist so this was big for me, and very exciting for my husband!  I’m sure you heard of Pinterest by now.  If not, get out from under your rock and Google that shit.  I hunted furiously for great recipes I could actually make (the options were limited due to my crap cooking skills and flat-out laziness) and got busy cooking!  Creamy Crock-Pot Spaghetti was up first.  Overall, it went pretty well.  But four hours later when it was time to open the pot and stir, all of my noodles were stuck together.  It tasted alright, but watching my husband eat a wad of 10 spaghetti noodles stuck together and kindly say, “Mmmm, good!” with each bite was just sad.  Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Chip Cookies turned out great!  I put way more care into making these high calorie, carb-filled, bites of pure deliciousness than I had selecting our first house.  Finally, I made Lasagna Spinach Roll Ups.  Although they were more time-consuming than the lovely blog they came from explained, I was proud of their outcome.  We didn’t eat until after 8:00 PM, but hey, Jersey Shore wasn’t an overnight sensation either.

Finally, FINALLY, on Day 7 I found a poor soul to have lunch with.  Seriously, I had been calling other teacher friends all week for some human interaction (apparently my mind craves it after only a few hours alone) and everyone was busy.  What the HELL were they doing all week?  Someone please tell me!  I walked into the restaurant and my friend says, “Wow, did you get your hair done?  It looks cute!  I like your clothes, very fun!”  Nope, no hair appointment.  No new outfit.  The thought of interacting with another person excited me so much that I kind of dolled myself up and went a little crazy.  “Well, you know….” I said and shrugged as if I hadn’t been lounging in baggy sweatpants and old college t-shirts for 6 days in a row.  Lunch was nice and we ended up having a 2 hour convo about moving, school, relationships, and buying furniture from nut jobs who “only accept cash.”  Yikes.

Which brings me to today.  Day 8.  It is Friday and the only part left of my spring break is the weekend with my hubbie as usual.  My “vacation” is over and back to reality I go.  I managed to rearrange some bookshelves after knocking over a lamp and cussing like crazy to nobody in particular.  I also caught up on the latest celebrity scandals and gossip by repeatedly checking my Twitter account and People.com.  (Did you know Tori Spelling is pregnant AGAIN??)

In conclusion, I just have to tell spring break what a dirty b*&%@# she is.  Yes, I got to relax.  Yes, I slept in like a college student with 1:00 class.  Yes, my photos are now perfectly arranged by date and in albums.  But I’m ready to get back to contributing to society.  Back to getting dressed like an adult every day.  Back to having a reason to put on hair spray and mascera.  Spring break, you’ve been relaxing, but you’re also a dirty  b*&%@#.

 

Love Me Some 1995! January 19, 2012


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I have been home sick for the past 2 days.  I have only taken 1 sick day prior to this in 4 years.  That just goes to show you how crummy I feel.  After 24 hours in the house, sitting on the couch, drinking water like it’s going out of style… I found the DVD’s my family gave me for Christmas this year.  They surprised me by putting all of our home movies onto DVD’s so my brother and I could watch them any time we want to.  Not wanting to put my husband through the torture of my awkward years (ages 10-14) I put them in a cabinet under the TV and didn’t think of them for a few weeks… until now!

In hopes of curbing my boredom, I popped disc one into my computer and snuggled in for a trip down memory lane.  Starting in 1995, I watched Christmas’, Easter’s, backyard birthday parties, summer morning T-Ball, soccer games, and lazy days around the house.  I heard my mom cheering me on as I scored a goal at 10 years old, watched my dad wave a flag when the ball went out of bounds, laughed along with my 5th grade friends as we danced around at my birthday party, and saw how truly joyful every moment of my life that was caught on camera truly was.  It was captivating.  I couldn’t stop watching my little brother play in the dirt during his T-ball game at 5 years old.  Man, the 90’s rocked. 

Despite everything, do you know what really caught my attention?  How present and engaged everyone was at each event.  In the 90’s, nobody talked on a cell phone during a choir concert at school, nobody sat in the corner and texted as their child opened birthday gifts, nobody texted during a friend’s party, and nobody missed their child scoring a goal because they were checking Facebook on their phone.  Everyone was present.  Involved.  Together.

I almost long for those years again.  The simplicity of it all.  My parents threw a Halloween party for my friends and I in 5th grade.  Do you know where it was held?  No, not at the Hilton.  I had no celebrity performer and no trapeze performance.  It was in our garage!  Black and orange streamers covered the ceiling, plastic tablecloths with witches covered borrowed picnic tables.  My mom had several party games planned involving toothpicks, lifesavers, toilet paper rolls, and plastic spoons.  My little brother roamed around with us wanting to be a part of the fun and you know what?  We let him!  He danced to the sweet sounds of “The Macerena” with us and even got wrapped up by my friend for the mummy contest!  There was no rivalry, harsh language, slutty costumes, or fighting.  It was just pure joy.

When mom brought my brother and I to the first day of school (he was in 1st grade and I was in 6th) she caught the 90’s in their full glory.  Girls ran around in long jean shorts (OK, maybe a little too long for my taste, but no buttcheeks were hanging out at our elementary school!)  Our hair was done in a simple pony tail with a scrunchy.  We were kids.  Just kids.  Making faces at the camera, smiling from ear to ear, putting our arms around each other with excitement over being the oldest at school this year!  Our only complaint caught on camera? “One recess this year mom, just ONE!”  Nobody complained about a dead cell phone battery, nobody bragged that their cell phone was faster or better than yours, and the girls weren’t concerned about their weight.  We just wanted to have fun!

The 90’s were awesome, I just didn’t realize it until today.  Following hours, literally hours of home video footage from 1995 on (thanks mom and dad!) I can finally see just how good we had it.  I was blissfully unaware of everything around me that made the 90’s so nifty.  My family, my friends, The Macerena, TGIF, and simplicity.  Now, I can only hope to give my own children half of the childhood that my parents gave me in the 90’s.  Hopefully my future children will look back someday and say, “Wow, the 2020’s were the best!”

What year would you like to go back to?  Why do you want to go back?

 

I’m Failing at Fall! September 25, 2011


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A midwest summer is something to experience.  It’s hot, humid, and even opressing at times.  The pools are packed, buttcheeks fall out of girls’ shorts, and foreheads are usually dripping with sweat.  Ok, so clearly I’m not a summer girl.  People shouted it throughout all of spring as the students at our school became restless.  “I am so ready for summer!” They’d yell in passing through the hallway.  “Don’t you just love summer?” my friends would ask as we baked on their decks drinking margaritas.  Of course I enjoy a warm summer night, but no.  I don’t LOVE summer.  My response to all of their “I love summer” chatter was often, “Yes, but I’m so ready for fall!” 

Leading up to fall I couldn’t wait to have the windows open to enjoy a cool breeze through the house.  I anxiously awaited the change in weather to bust out my leggings, tall boots, and comfy sweaters.  I wanted to meet my new students and teach them how to read and write for the very first time.  Finally, I wanted to fill our home with the warm smells of pumpkin bread and chocolate chip cookies baked from scratch to impress my hubbie.  “See?” I would say, “Fall even makes me a better wife!” 

Well, here we are.  Exactly 3 days into fabulous fall and 5 weeks away from Halloween.  I’m living it up right?  Not exactly…

The first day our temperatures dipped below 70 degrees I ran (literally sprinted) into our house after work and through open every damn window in the house.  Yes!  The crisp air whipped through every nook and cranny of our house and I was happy… up until the next morning.  I tightened up the blankets around my shoulders, shivering in the dark at 6:00 AM.  I stared at the 29 used tissues I had used and thrown next to the bed throughout the night.  I rubbed my itchy eyes and attempted to itch the back of my throat with my tongue (not easy.)  I made my way to our bathroom and flipped on the light.  Bloodshot eyes, raw nose, and purple bags above my cheeks only meant one thing: my fall allergies had arrived.  After frantically searching for a leftover allergy pill from last year’s stash, I slammed the windows shut and yelled, “Who’s God damned idea was it to open all of these windows anyway?!”  We’ve had them shut ever since.

My fall wardrobe has been in full force.  It has to be since it’s a balmy 42 degrees in the morning.  Last night I attended Octoberfest with some friends outside and froze my ass off.  It was a lot of fun, but my hands were jammed under my armpits for most of the night in attempt to stay warm.  “You should have worn a hooded sweatshirt,” my husband mused.  Ha!  And deprive myself of these wonderful leggings, tall boots, and beautiful brown and black scarf?  Yeah.  Right.  I froze while drinking my plastic mug full of beer and cringed at the people passing in laderhosen.  So much for the fall wardrobe excitement!

As for the kids who walked through my classroom door in August, they’re wonderful!  However my life is again consumed with tying shoelaces, endless nights creating lesson plans, early morning meetings, and cranky parent emails asking that I prepare materials for their child’s 5 day vacation in which he will be missing school.  Seriously?  I don’t recall going on a tropical vacation at 5!  I’m the one who needs a vacation here!  Me!!  What is happening here?

The yummy chocolate chip cookies did happen though!  Ok, so they were the kind that are already formed into squares.  But I had to put them on a real baking tray and preheat the oven.  Then… then, I had to set the timer and be sure they didn’t burn.  My husband smiled as he bit into the first cookie, so I’d say they were a success!  Today is when I was supposed to create a beautiful aroma of pumpkin bread spilling throughout the house.  I bought the bread pans at the store, checked off my ingredient list… and took a nap.  Damn.  It’s 6:00 and there’s no pumpkin bread.  The pans and recipe are lying on the countertop as if it were a graveyard for unfinished fall fun.  Oh well, there’s always next weekend.

I do LOVE fall!  I’ll just have to enjoy it from inside my sealed up house, while sitting in sweatpants on the couch writing lesson plans.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go throw another blanket on my lap, take my allergy medicine and write some fantastic lesson plans for the week.  Is it summer yet?

 

Wanted: Childless Couple Friends May 22, 2011


I feel like a liar.  I feel deceitful.  I had a birthday last week that makes my blog title no longer true.  However, I don’ t think calling my blog, “Halfway to 50… and then some,” sounds as catchy.  On Tuesday I entered Club 26 (ooo now that has a ring to it!)  I rang it in with my hubbie, a bottle of wine, a vodka shot, and a few unexpected surprises…. let me explain.

The weekend before my birthday the hubbie and I went to dinner downtown.  You know, one of those places with dim lights, long narrow menus, and tiny tables.  The waiter came over and poured my husband a small glass of wine.  I raised an eyebrow at the smidge of wine standing in his glass and anxiously waited for him to fill up my glass when I noticed something great happen.  My husband picked up his wine glass, swirled it around, smelled it, and took a sip.  He nodded to the waiter who proceeded to pour him a full glass and then fill up mine as well.  Oooo classy!  I smirked at my husband who so gracefully handled a situation that made me giggle.  Turns out his fancy job puts him in situations like this all the time so he knew exactly how to handle it.  That’s my oh so grown up man!  We wrapped up dinner and walked, well my husband walked and I stumbled, back to the car.  We hit 2 Redbox machines up on the way home (both were out of order) so we gave up. 

Tuesday night we went out to dinner again with another couple because, well, I’m not about to cook on my birthday.  We ordered a round of shots, which my girlfriend declined.  The waitress came back with a regular glass, not a shot glass, full of vodka for each of us.  “Sorry,” she said with a shrug, “we don’t have shot glasses.”  Gulp by gulp I took about the equivalent of 3 shots and continued with my dinner.  Hey, like 50 Cent says, party like it’s your birthday!  That’s when my girlfriend dropped the news on me.  “We’re expecting,” she said.  Surprisingly my eyes began to well up with tears.  I’m not a super emotional girl so this was big.  I pushed my husband out of the booth, forced her husband out as well, and hugged her.  On the way home I tried to picture her with a baby.  “Well, another one bites the dust,” I said to hubbie.  “One more couple we can’t call to meet at the bar on a Saturday night.”  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for them!  I love kids (I am a teacher after all; it’s not for the money) and I hope to have my own someday, but it’s getting tough to maintain couple friends without kids.  We’re holding tight to the ones we’ve got.  When the topic of babies comes up with them, I often try to make it sound like we’re discussing purchasing a snake. 

Childless couple friend:  When are you two thinking about having kids?

Me: Psh… (gulping a drink) Not for a while.

Childless couple friend: Really?

Me: Yes (taking another drink) I still have so many things I want to do.

Childless couple friend: Like what?

Me: Oh you know, travel, finish school… drink in a bar without paying $50 for a sitter.

Childless couple friend: Yeah… me too.

Haha!  Someday I’m going to laugh at my obnoxious self-centered thinking.  But until then, I’m going to sleep in, write papers until the wee hours of the night, change my plans at the last minute, and plan elaborate vacations.  Please don’t judge me.  Recognize that I just celebrated another birthday, receive news about friends being pregnant almost daily (thanks Facebook), and simply put, am just not ready.  Here’s to all the childless couples out there who are sitting around reading blogs on a Sunday night because there’s nothing else to do!

 

How Aunt Flo Almost Ruined My Graduation May 14, 2011


It has been awhile since my last post and all of my fans are demanding that I put out another hysterical post ASAP.  Well…. that may not be exactly true.  But my growing readership of 4 subscribers is probably going to abandon my fan club if I don’t deliver soon.

Tonight I’d like to explain how I learned one very important lesson a couple of weeks ago: Always, always, carry a purse.

I have been taking graduate level courses for the past 2 years to increase my teaching ability, benefit my students’ learning, and let’s be honest… beef up the paycheck.  I attended my graduation recently and quickly found out how necessary my purse truly is.  Because we had a rather high-profile commencement speaker, we were told through several frantic emails not to bring a bag to the ceremony.  With airport like security (minus the awkward pat down), bringing a bag would cause us extra time in line and frustration.  Knowing my own patience level, I decide that a purse wouldn’t be a good choice for myself, the security workers, or anyone standing next to me that day.  I bravely followed their guidance and left it at home.  The catch?  Like clockwork, whenever I have some sort of important event planned, I also had my period.

“It’s going to be fine,” I told myself.  My mom can carry some lady items (this is what I call tampons and pads, see previous post, “Tampons, Pads, and Condoms Oh My” for further explanation) in her purse and we can trade-off my supplies at some point during the day.  Done.  Little did I know that my family would be enclosed in a different building for most of the day prior to the ceremony due to security purposes.  I was left high and dry… well not exactly dry but I won’t go there.

Once I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to meet up with my mom, I went into straight up panic mode.  I gathered the support of my 2 friends to go in search of a lady item.  We had 2 hours to complete our mission… plenty of time, right?

At first I was reluctant to approach perfect strangers for help.  “Um, excuse me.  Do you have a lady item? ”  I felt stupid and embarrassed.  But after politely asking the only 5 girls in the building who broke the rules and brought a purse with them, we created a new plan.  Let’s get a quarter and I can just buy one.  “Hi, sorry to bother you but I need a quarter.”  This was usually followed with a shrug and cringe from me.  After asking about 15 people, one fabulous female reached into her clutch and handed me what I’d been looking for.  As she revealed the quarter and handed it to me I almost saw it happening in slow motion.  I even think that it glistened in the florescent lights of the arena.  I hugged her like she had just returned from serving in Iraq for a year and ran to the bathroom- wait, I think I skipped- no, I frolicked.  I proudly set the quarter into the slot, cranked the handle around (by the way, why do they make those damn machines so fricken loud?) and peered into the dispenser as if it were a Christmas stocking on December 25th.  My beaming smile quickly faded when I saw nothing.  I started cranking the wheel right, left, and then right again.  Nothing.  Shit.  Now what?  Half of the people in the arena are now aware that I need a lady item, yet none can help me.

I did what any 25-year-old girl would do.  I grabbed my friend’s smart phone and called mom.  Close to tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Mom, I don’t know what to do.  I need a lady item and the machines don’t work, nobody has a purse so they can’ t offer me one, and we have to line up pretty soon to walk into the ceremony.  I’ll never last 3 hours with what I’ve got.  HELP!”  We arranged to meet at a side door and perform a hand off.  I found out about this secret door after speaking with someone in charge.  It went something like this:

Me: “Hi, how do I meet up with my mom who is in the other building?”

Lady in charge: “You can’t.”

Me: “Welllll, what if it’s an emergency?”

Lady in charge: Sigh… “What’s the problem.”

Me: (At this point I had lost all pride and came out with it as if I were talking about a TV show I saw last night) “I need a lady item, desperately, and will NOT last for the 3 hour ceremony without it.  Machines are broken.”

Lady in charge: “You see that long hallway?  Go down there.  There are doors in either side of the garage door at the end of the tunnel.  They open into the next building.  But hurry, we’re starting soon.”

My mission was clear.  Get to the end of the tunnel, find the door, meet mom without being jumped by security, and perform a handoff.

I grabbed my friend by the arm and began pulling her down the tunnel explaining the plan.  The whole while I kept thinking a security guard would be throwing me against a wall at any given moment.  I carefully opened the door praying that an alarm wouldn’t go off, got the goods from my mom, ran to the restroom, and sprinted to my seat just in time for our final directions.  Now I know what it’s like to experience a drug deal.

Although this whole ordeal made me miserable for the first part of graduation day, things quickly turned around and I was able eo enjoy the ceremony.  We took pictures of my family and I with my diploma and had a lovely dinner that night.  Everything turned out fine.  My lesson in all this is simple.  Always carry a purse with you, no matter how harsh the warnings are against it.  Any security line would have been worth waiting in if it meant being better prepared for my bitchy Aunt Flo.