Thursday, October 23, 2008

Workin' in a Coal Mine

Here is another story from the request line....Laura, this is for you.

People are always surprised to hear that I worked in a coal mine one summer. I'm surprised that they are surprised the same way I was when I realized that a camel was a weird high school mascot. I honestly never thought about it until I got to college and people started laughing when they found out. I grew up in a mining community in Wyoming, where the high school mascot was a camel. Seemed normal to me.

Anyway, everyone and their dog worked for the mines in one way or another. My dad was not a miner. We had no direct connection with the mines. This wasn't an issue until it came time to find summer employment. My friends whose parents worked at the mine had the necessary connection to work at the mine. The job certainly wasn't glamorous, in fact and think freakin' scary and dangerous would best describe it. The drove trucks literally the size of my house, around filled with coal or dirt. Yikes. Oh, did I mention they got paid at least double what anyone else was making. Yeah, that's what made that job worth it, I remember now.

Anyway, I digress. The summer after my freshman year of college I was out looking for work. I was late coming home because I had stayed for first summer term at school. I had missed out on most of the summer work. I would have loved to drive truck for the mine, but my dad worked for the city and didn't believe in helping his children find work. Don't even get me started on that one.

I finally got a mine related job. I worked for an independent lab that contracted with the mine. My job was to analyze the coals content so it could be regulated. Translation: I had a job that was mindless and boring, I worked at the mine, but not for the mine so I made $4.00 less an hour than my friends driving the trucks. The work was dirty, dirty, dirty, and I had to wear a respirator so I didn't get the black lung. *cough*

One day I came home at end of a 12 hours shift, plus commute, and I was tired. I mean dog tired. I made my way down to my bathroom and prepared to embark on the de-coaling process. I swear that coal dust chemically fuses to the human skin. I think any of my coal mine workin' buddies could back my up on this one. You have to use a washcloth in order to make sure you get the dust off of your body. When the cloth was black, your face was not. You get the idea.

So this particular night, I was moving at a snail's pace and I got into the shower and started the cleaning process. I quickly realized that I had forgotten my wash cloth. I stood there for a minute debating whether to get out of the warm shower to get it or not. Being as worn out as I was, I decided to go manual. BIG MISHTAKE! (name that movie). So I started the vigorous scrubbing process. Things went fine on the body area because that was mostly covered with clothes during the day. The neck and face are another story. I loaded up my hands with face wash and just went to town. I mean, I was scrubbing hard. When all of a left pinky got shoved so far up my left nostril I thought I might have brain damage. I mean I was scrubbing furiously and all that force went straight up my poor nose. I screamed out in pain and dislodged the foreign object. My nose immediately started bleeding profusely, so much that I had to finish my shower with one hand plugging my nose.

I was more annoyed than anything, but after a little thought decided it was a pretty dang funny story. I mean really, who does these kind of things? So I write up the story and e-mail it to my friend Brad who gets an enormous kick out of anyone injuring themselves. As I'm writing the e-mail I am just laughing hysterically, and the more I think about it, the harder I laugh.

The next day at work I decide to tell my trainer about my experience. I figure she has probably had similar experiences, having worked at the mine a while and all. So I relate the whole hilarious tell, laughing myself silly in the process, and she never even cracks a smile. All she said at the end was," oh." as she looked at me questioning my mental competence. I guess I wasn't surprised, I mean she had the personality of a fence post, but come on. This is top quality stuff.

For whatever reason, her indifference to the story made it that much funnier to me. I laughed myself silly again recounting the story to Brad, whom I knew would appreciate the social blunder associated with sharing it. Picture in your mind telling someone a story that you KNEW was funny and them just looking at you like a moron. Classic, I tell you. Classic.

I learned a few things at the coal mine. 1) finish college 2) don't waste your best stories on the unappreciative.

Any dear readers...hold onto your knickers, soon to come

My mom is the devil
Shamu the 20 year old girl
And countless other stories of humilation

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Ketchup Family

Well, loyal followers, yes all four of you, I'm here with another classic story to brighten your day.

I was about 8 months pregnant with Mia and had just finished teaching summer school. They had given us some coupons for free chicken nuggets. We passed them out to the kids and kept a few for ourselves. This was fortunate because chicken nuggets were a staple in Brandon's diet at the time. Did I mention the coupons were for McDonalds chicken nuggets? For some inexplicable reason I LOVED McDonalds during my pregnancy. It was one of those love/hate things. One bite would make me gag and the next would be heaven. Weird.

Anyway, Dave, Brandon, and I go for a little family outing to McDonalds for a little free dinner. We order our nuggets and find a table. Our table placement is crucial to the story so let me describe. We chose one of the tables along the big long bench that lines an entire wall. They have several tables with chairs on the other side. Well I sat on the bench and Dave took the chair, Brandon was in the highchair in between us.

We start to eat our nuggets which Dave and Brandon are dipping in ketchup...gross. Dave drops a ketchup covered nugget mid bite. It rolls down his freshly cleaned white t-shirt, and I start to laugh. It is really funny how uptight he gets about these kind of things. Spills infuriate him for some reason, and it is so ridiculous that it cracks me up. This was one of those times. I am totally laughing and he looks up at me with his laser eyes and says, "Why would you laugh at that?" I didn't think he would appreciate "because it's funny," so I said, "I'm sorry honey *giggle* are you okay *giggle*giggle*?" He sits there doing his, I-think-I'm-acting-like-I'm-not-mad-at-you-but-I-am-mad-at-you-and-you-totally-know-because-you're-not-a-moron-and-can-read-body-language silent treatment. I continue to try and get a hold of myself.

Not two minutes later, Brandon drops an entire cup of ketchup down the front of him and onto the floor. Dave at least cracks a smile at this point. This is where the story gets interesting. I clean Brandon off, and then think, "I can't leave a whole cup of ketchup on the floor." Now keep in mind I am eight months pregnant. I go to bend over to pick up the ketchup cup off of the floor, and as I lean forward gravity takes over and I realize my bum is leaving my seat and not in a good way. I start to fall off the bench which is bolted to the wall into the table that is not bolted to the floor. The table groans loudly as it crashes into Dave under my pregnant weight. As I fall forward I also scream at the top of my lungs. I hit the floor with my left hand square in the ketchup cup. The interesting thing is I ended up with ketchup on my knee as well, when there was no ketchup even in the knee region of the floor. To make matters worse, I end up wedged under the table and in my huge pregnant awkwardness, I can't get myself up.

With no shortage of commotion, I finally un-wedge myself from under the table. By the time I return to my seat, face blazing, there are about 600 people staring at me. I was pregnant and unstable and practically in tears at this point. Keep in mind not two minutes ago Dave was livid with me for laughing when he dropped a nugget on himself. What does my loving husband say to the woman who is carrying his child? No, not "oh honey, are you alright?" He said, laughing, and I quote, "WHAT THE CRAP ARE YOU DOING?!?!?" What does he mean, what the crap am I doing? I falling on the ground and humiliating myself, what does it look like I'm doing?

I tell him I am going to wash my hands in the bathroom, and huff off. When I had cleaned and composed myself I returned to the table. I calmly asked him, "Honey, why would you ask me what I was doing when it was obvious that I was falling on my face in a crowded room full of people?" He proceeded to explain that he didn't know why I was cleaning up the ketchup when they pay people to do that. He couldn't understand why I was bending over. I said, "In all the time you've known me, have I ever screamed at the top of my lungs as I have bent over to clean something up?" He didn't have much to say about that.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Wedding Singer

Lest you think I am now mature and refined, here's a little story from just a few weeks ago.

Some of you may know, I have this secret desire to be a lounge singer. I would love to sing in jazz clubs (never mind the fact I'm not a jazz singer). Last year I was making a track for one of my voice students. She was in a pageant and needed an accompaniment track for her song. I went to the accompanists house to help make the track. He need tempo markings, cuts, and so forth. Anyway, Steve, the piano guy is really awesome. I mean REALLY. He has played and written things for TV. He lives in the Tri-Cities and commutes to L.A. Anyway, we're making this track and he keeps telling me he really likes my voice. He said I'm good and he'd like to work with me sometime. Total ego trip, right. He told me to call him sometime. I thought he was just being nice, and went on my merry way. I forgot that he ever said anything really.

Fast forward a year. The pageant girl's older sister, who was also a student of mine, is getting married. A day before the wedding they call and ask me if I will sing at the reception. I of course say yes, and get looking through my books for some good wedding numbers. Steve, the pianist above, is going to be playing.

I get to the reception, Stephanie in tow, she happened to be in town for the weekend. We go through the line, and then I go to do my thing. This wedding is probably one of the most beautiful setups I've ever seen. The reception is in the family's backyard. They live in this BEAUTIFUL home right on the river and it's sunset. They have a huge white tent with chandeliers in them. The tables and chairs are in the tent. There is this amazing spread of food. Just past the end of the big tent is the music station. I walk up to Steve and re-introduce myself. He actually remembers me, or at least pretends to. I sing "The Man I Love" and then opt to sing "Unforgettable." I've only sung it a hundred times. Steve starts playing the intro. and all my dreams of being a lounge singer come to life until...I realize it's time for me to come in and I haven't a clue what note to sing. You see, Steve is a jazz musician, which means he's not playing the melody in any way shape or form. I decide to guess and hope for the best....I guessed wrong....REALLY wrong. I sing the first phrase, take the mic away from my mouth and apologize. He plays a few notes of the melody and I'm on my way. The second phrase starts and again, I can't find my note. This is my singing worst nightmare. Finally, Steve starts playing every note with me. How humiliating. That is like the ultimate insult to a good singer.

So I muddle through the rest of the song, and then sing another to make sure "Unforgettable" was truly forgotten. I sigh with relief thinking the worst of the night is over. I sing a few more songs without incident, and Steve even invites me to come and sing on his radio show, so he must still respect me a little.

Steph and I then decide to hit the buffet. We load up, in the most delicate way possible, I still have fat girl complex. I promise not every post will have to do with my weight, but I must explain the fat girl complex. When you are really overweight, people watch you when you eat. They watch you at a buffet, or refreshment table. They may not even realize they are doing it, but they watch everything you put into your mouth. At least it feels like they do. Hence and therefore, I can't comfortably eat at any kind of buffet, I'm nervous to ride in small cars sometimes, and rickety chairs send chills down my spine.

Moving on. Steph and I decide to divide and conquer as far as cake is concerned. My fat girl complex and I are going to throw away plates and refill water cups, and Steph is going to get us some cake. We split up. I walk across the lawn and dispose of the plates, and then proceed across the lawn toward the water. I didn't notice a giant cord running right across my path and totally tripped on it. I didn't fall, but it was close...I did however knock out the power in the entire reception. The chandeliers in the tents went out, as did all other lights and fans associated with said cord. I froze for a moment not knowing what would be more embarrassing. I decided it would be best to just keep walking. Did I mention that it was dusk, and as soon as the lights went out, you could hardly see a thing? Oh yeah, and the part of the lawn I was walking across was right next to Steve and the stage. Man if this guy didn't think I was a moron before...

Giggling, yet trying to keep it casual, I continued walking toward Stephanie. I get to her at the cake and try to whisper in her ear that I had just shut down the power grid, but I was laughing so hard just little puffs of air and snorts were coming out. This was compounded by the fact that she was looking at me like I was speaking Greek, and said, "I can't understand a word you are saying." This just made me laugh harder. I was literally crying at this point. About now, someone found my cord and reconnected it, and the party resumed it's previous buzz. Steph and I walk back to the table to shove down some cake, and get my books. I calm down enough to relay the story.

We have a good laugh and then decide to make a less conspicuous departure. As we're walking out, something strikes Stephanie, "You know, it wouldn't have been that bad if you had just been another wedding guest, but you just sang, and now everyone knows that it was the wedding singer that knocked out the lights." I guess that's why I'm not a lounge singer.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who doesn't love a little muffin top?

As has been eluded to in previous blogs, I was not a thin child. Let me clarify, I have never been "thin." I have always been various degrees of fat, more fat, less fat, chubby, big boned, I think I had "baby fat" until I was 22. No, seriously, I had some MAJOR weight issues as a kid and early teen. In fact, I had gastric bypass at the tender age of 15. Best decision of my life.

So these days I'm anywhere from 80 to 100 lbs. lighter than I used to be. That's right people, I weigh less now, than I did in 6th grade. I'm still embarrassed about my weight. In fact, just today we were buying life insurance for my husband and they were taking my information as the beneficiary. They asked for my height and weight as part of the questionnaire. What the crap does my weight have to do with my ability to collect thousands of dollars if my husband dies? Are they afraid I'm going to buy $250,000 worth of Ding Dongs (It's a possibility). Here's the sad part. I lied! I pride myself on being completely honest, and I could not bring myself to say my real weight out loud so I lied. I only shaved off 3 pounds, but it sounded so much better.

I just told my husband. He laughed and said, "Why didn't you say 160?" FYI, that would have been shaving off quite a few more than 3 pounds. I said, "They're not morons, they could see me."

Moving on. Now, you've all seen some plastic surgery makeover show where the person have something like 327 inches of extra skin on their bodies. My body, not that extreme, but I've got some saggy skin. We've already discussed the thigh slapping issue, so we don't have to go there. Let's just say, I'm not a perfect physical specimen.

On with the story. 6 years ago, Steph and I were both living at home for the summer. She had just returned from her mission, and I was home between semesters. It was supposed to be the best summer ever, but by the time I got home from school she was already seriously dating Travis. Grrrrr. Did I mention she'd only been home 4 or 5 weeks. I had some real issues with Travis...ruining my perfect summer and all. Don't worry, I'm over it now.

ANYWAY, (holy crap, this is as bad as talking to me. no more tangents, I promise) Steph and I come home from work one Friday. My dad is out of town so we're thinking Par-tay. My mom comes into the room and the conversation goes something like this...

MOM: Let's go to dinner!

STEPH & I: Yeah!! Sweet. Let's go.

Visions of Red Robin and Olive Garden fill our heads.

MOM (excited, with crack eyes)...Okay I know I promised no more tangents, but you have to know this about my mom. She is a very enthusiastic woman and when she gets really excited her head shakes and she gets these really big eyes, which we have affectionately named, Crack Eyes. I just realized that the description of this sounds like a seizure, but it's not.

MOM (excited, with crack eyes): Let's go to Costco!

My parent's LOVE to eat at Costco. It is weird. They don't live on a fixed income. They make plenty of money and live well below their means. They could easily afford any of the above mentioned restaurants, but they LOVE Costco food.

ME (really disappointed): Moooomm, Costco? Are you kidding? That is so white trash. Let's go somewhere good.

MOM: Costco is good.

So I grumble off to my bedroom to change out of my work clothes. Then I get this brilliant idea. If my mom wants to eat at Costco, I'm going to dress for the occasion. This is not going to end pretty.

I start to giggle and put on a tank top I use strictly as an undershirt. It hits just below the bra line, so it is short. Its straps are very close to the neck, almost like a halter, so my colored bra straps are hanging out for all the world to see. As are my nasty arms that have the hanging skin previously discussed.

I start to actually laugh out loud when I pull out a pair of shorts from high school that are at least 2 sizes too small and 6 inches too short. The laugh is stifled a little as I lie down and suck in to get them zipped. This is a challenge in itself. You know the situation this is creating just above the waistline. The chub that won't fit in the shorts is hanging over the top in a serious way. Keep in mind I have the short tank top on too.

I then put some socks on my glow-in-the-dark-white, hairy legs and jam my feet into my yellow flip flops. I am laughing out loud at myself at this point, which is only making the situation worse/better because it makes said chub jiggle more.

I strut out into the living room and announce, "I'm ready to go to Costco, Mom." Luckily, it was my mom and not my dad. She laughed until she cried. We all did. Then I went and changed. I wasn't going to seriously leave the house like that. I can't remember what happened next. I don't remember if we ate at Costco or not. Let me be clear, I too love Costco food. I'm certainly not knocking it. It just wasn't what I wanted that particular night.

Later my mom said we should have taken a picture of the "White trash outfit." I'm not sure if she had blackmail in mind or what. Maybe she wanted to show it to my husband the night before we got married so he would know what he was committing to for eternity. That's another story for another blog.

And no Abby, I will not recreate this for a photo.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Modesty At Its Finest

To say I grew up in a conservative home would be an understatement. My dad was, and is strict. Rules of modesty were strictly adhered to, not that I had a body that I would want to flaunt. I was round as a kid....really really round. Honestly, almost a sphere. That is beside the point, shoulders and knees were rarely seen inside the house, let alone outside.

Anyway, in my less round days, around the age of twenty, I bought this great dress. I still own and wear this dress some *cough* seven years later. It is a stretchy black material with a burgundy floral chiffon overlay. It was very in circa 2001. It have a high neckline, to the collarbone. It is ankle length. Its major drawback? It is sleeveless and has a deep-V back almost to the bra line. Not a problem for this little Mormon girl. I simple bought a cute black ribbed cardigan to go over it. I don't like my arms anyway, so I am NEVER tempted to take off the sweater....well almost never.

I was living at home with my parents in between semesters one summer. They had just moved to eastern Washington state, and the change in climate was more than I could handle. It was something like 5,000 degrees outside this particular day. Okay really it was about 107 degrees, but I grew up in Wyoming where you were shouting summer's praises when it his 60. Anyway, we got home from church and I was just roasting in aforementioned dress. I went into my room and innocently took off my little cardigan. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal, it was just my parents and I at home. I then went out into the kitchen and commenced reading the comics.

Not five minutes later, my dad comes into the kitchen looks at me like I was dressed in a micro mini and plastic knee high boots, and says gruffly, "Kimberly, (he ALWAYS calls me Kimberly, in trouble or not, the only person who does this) could you please go and put some clothes on."

I was annoyed in my as-rebellious-as-I-get post teenage way, and grudgingly agreed. On the way back to my bedroom, I got this great idea. I put my sweater back on and then, to show my dad how ridiculous he was being, I took my bath towel wrapped it over my head and across my face so only my eyes were peeking out. Now anyone who knows my dad, knows that this was not a wise choice. He is not a man to be mocked. Nonetheless, I strode back down the hall, giggling all the way. When I got to the kitchen I said, "Is THIS covered enough for you Dad?" The look in his eyes wasn't the friendliest look I've ever seen, luckily, my mom found me absolutely hilarious. She burst out laughing, which made me laugh even harder.

My memory of what happened next is vague, I believe the story ends with my Dad leaving the kitchen muttering something about being glad that there were only 3 weeks of summer left.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Jumping In--Pant less

I'm not sure that I really have much to say. My husband thinks blogs are silly. I told him he doesn't have to read it...and that I would write mean things about him. That isn't true of course. I feel such pressure to write something great, or funny. Here goes, my first blogging story.

When I was in college a series of unfortunate things happened to me, mostly self-inflicted. This is one of them. I came home from class one day and was pleased to find an empty apartment. I was ready to enjoy a few quiet moments, after I went to the bathroom and changed my clothes. You see, I had a routine in college. When I got home I always changed into jeans and a t-shirt, even if I was already wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I would change into different ones. Silly, I know. On this particular day I was wearing dress pants and nylons.

Time out to explain the configuration of the apartment. I went to Ricks College/BYU-Idaho. It was the classic layout which includes a living room/kitchen separated from the bedrooms by a hallway and door. There is one bedroom directly across from the dividing door into the living room. The dividing door provides privacy, and protects least that's the idea. Anyway, in our apartment we had a message board right next to the dividing door....Stage set, back to the story.

So, I decide I have to go to the bathroom. I do my business and then think to myself, "Why would I go to the trouble of putting my nylons and pants back on when I'm just going to change as soon as I get my bedroom. I'll just carry my pants. After all, no one is home, I should be safe." And with this flawless logic I went on my pant less way. Did I mention that I live in the front bedroom across from the living room, and the dividing door was presently open?

I get about three steps into the hallway when I realize I am not alone. I look up to see my roommate's friend AND boyfriend standing at the message board mid message. Our eyes meet and I know there is no turning back. I have to do something. I decide it would be best to pretend that nothing is amiss. I confidently stride down the hallway, my not-so-little-thighs proudly flapping in the wind, smile and say, "Hey guys! How's it goin'?" Like I'd been going pant less everyday of my life. I then run (carefully of course, how humiliating would to be for my thighs to slap on the way?) into my room so fast that I barely hear their bewildered, "...hi...." in return.

I stood in my room having a mini panic attack. I waited for them to leave, got dressed and went about my day, determined never to speak of the incident again. Later that night I was lying in bed chatting with my roommate (it was her friends that witnessed my exhibitionist behavior) and said timidly, "Megann, did your friend maybe say something......" My embarrassed question was drown out by her laughing...her hysterical laughing. She finally managed to say that her friend had mentioned that they'd come by earlier in the day and they "saw Kim, and I don't think she had any pants on."