Sweet Mercy, But This Post is Long! Bring a Snack. May I Recommend the Pretzel M&Ms?

We have been on a bit of a sunflower seed kick at the Jedi Manor lately.

Seeds were the only thing allowed, once I threw away the final bag of crack Pretzel M&Ms and made that first phone call to the Betty Ford Center.  The Pretzel M&Ms are the right combination of crunchy, salty and sweet, and the addiction factor cannot even be measured at The Center, because it is OFF THE CHARTS HIGH.

Hubs and I have found some really awful bags of sunflower seeds lately.  And by really awful, I mean TINY, MINISCULE seeds that are all work and no reward.

The boy has the Grandfather King of All Blisters on the palm of his hand (thanks to some serious monkey bar competition at school), so we had to stop at Walgreens for medicinal purposes, in the name of Band-Aides (Where I reminded myself that Pretzel M&Ms actually hold NO medicinal purposes!), and there!  Yes, there!  Right near the cash registers! I found bags of something called Walgreens JUMBO Sunflower Seeds, and the JUMBO part holds true.  These are seeds which have more than likely been pumped up on non-organic, ovary-destroying, blindness-causing, trembling-hands-inducing steroids, but listen, people!  They are ENORMOUS ENOUGH that the reward exceeds all the cracking and working you must do to find the seed inside.

And let’s not even talk about the salt level!  That bag of seeds could be used to cure an entire boar.

So yes.  They’re huge and crunchy and salty.

And if you eat them with a Hershey’s candy bar, you can sort of forget all about the colorful Pretzel M&Ms.

No matter.

I sat down on the sofa today, for ten entire minutes, with the jumbo seeds and my phone, so that I could throw out some Words With Friends tiles and continue my losing streak with Crystal, and then the doorbell rang.  The Schwan’s man had arrived, and we were in desperate need of frozen marinated salmon fillets, which we pretend are homemade whenever we have company for dinner.

After standing before the Schwan’s man and insisting that the Dulce de Leche Caramel Ice Cream wasn’t listed among acceptable dessert options at The Betty Ford, he quietly said to me, “Um, you have something in your hair.  And I didn’t know if I should say anything or not.”

I glanced at my hair, which was falling over my right shoulder and there it was — the floor of the sunflower seed threshing room, right there in my mane.  Apparently I had managed to flick eighteen or so shell particles into my hair.  This moment could have crippled a lesser woman, socially, but I simply said, “Well, it’s sunflower seeds.  Yep; that’s what it is.” And then I gave my hair a solid shake to dislodge all foreign particles, and I ordered my glazed salmon, which we will pass off as homemade very soon for company, and I went about my day.

And that, in a nutshell (PUN VERY MUCH INTENDED) is how my day has gone.

Thankfully, our weekend went a lot better, because low!  Way back in the merry month of February, when I was doing nothing on this blog except complaining about the wicked cold temperatures and how I wanted to up and move myself to Texas or the Sahara Dessert (And really?  Isn’t that the SAME AREA these days, what with all the nasty-hot temperatures the Longhorns and the Aggies have had to play in?), the boy won a writing contest for young authors in his school district.  His story then advanced to the county level, and it won first place there, too.  And then!  Well, it was shipped off to the state competition level, and in May we learned that the boy was a gold medalist, first place winner for 4th Grade Fiction in our state.

(The fact that he wrote the short story the NIGHT BEFORE IT WAS DUE is completely irrelevant.  Regardless of the fact that Hubs and I have been trying to teach our boy that PROCRASTINATION is not the key that unlocks the mysteries of the universe, winning this contest pretty much solidified in his mind that INDEED!  You really can wait until the last possible second to do something and STILL WIN THINGS IN A BIG WAY.)

We were invited to drive across Home State to State Capital City this last weekend, so that the boy could participate in a ceremony and receive his medal.  Naturally, we went.

And the boy was given the gold, which was inscribed with his name and the date, and the ceremony was really quite darling.

When asked questions about his story, the boy pretty much summed everything up by saying, “Well, it’s about magic, and I wrote it the night before it had to be submitted, even though my mom thought I should have started a month earlier.”

And then we had cookies and punch.

And by we, I mean everyone EXCEPT the boy, because Hubs and I found a Sonic to have lunch at, which delighted Hubs to no end, because apparently The Sonic is synonymous with College for Hubs, except they don’t serve cheap beer there.  The boy ordered a double cheeseburger at The Sonic, and listen, y’all.

It was GENUINELY JUMBO, in a way that makes those sunflower seeds look TINY.  I snapped a picture of it with my phone, and I sent it out to a few close friends.  Sister texted back and said, “That burger is as big as his head!” Carrie texted back and said, “I can’t decide if that burger looks good, or if it looks like a belly ache waiting to happen!” Christy responded by saying, “I want to chant his name out loud while he eats it!”

And yes.

He ate it all.

And then, as we were driving to the ceremony, he whispered, “Mom?  Mom, I feel really sick.  Like… Not FAKE SICK at all, but REALLY SICK.  Mom, I might even throw up.”  Hubs and I simply looked at one another, and we knew that if there was ever a time for a boy to barf a double cheeseburger sized for the Jolly Green Giant, it would be OUR BOY at the YOUNG AUTHORS’ CEREMONY.

Thankfully, we made it through without displaying his partially-digested lunch to anyone, and the boy PLUM TURNED DOWN the cookies.

In fact, the boy ate that burger at 11:30 AM, and he did not eat ANYTHING again that day.  He did not even utter the words, “I’M STARVING!” a single time.  It was a day of true history-making, because I don’t think there has ever been a day before Saturday that the boy went more than four consecutive hours without dying of hunger.

Hubs’ parents met us in State Capital City to watch the ceremony, and then we all split up.  Grammy and Papa headed East, on a week-long vacation, and Hubs and the boy and I headed South, into Major Thriving Metropolis, where I nearly barfed my own lunch of SMALLISH chicken tenders from The Sonic, because of THE TRAFFIC!  SWEET MERCY!  THE TRAFFIC!

The reason that I do not live in Major Thriving Metropolis is simple:  I would have a heart attack on the interstate trying to switch lanes, and that would be the end of me.  Hubs doesn’t mind all the big city driving, because Hubs went to college in Phoenix.  Where they have The Sonic. I went to college in College Town, which does not have a population big enough to support a Sonic and its enormous cheeseburgers.  College Town also has two lanes in any given direction.  Phoenix, apparently, has up to eight and ten lanes.  THAT, people, is why Hubs and I dated AFTER college — I wasn’t IN Phoenix, and I wasn’t going to go there to visit him, because I am a literal train wreck in high traffic areas.

Take Saturday, for instance.  I kept insisting to Hubs that we had JUST FIVE MILES!  ONLY FIVE MILES MORE UNTIL OUR DESTINATION!  AND SHOULDN’T HE PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE START MIGRATING RIGHT, SO THAT WE COULD ACTUALLY GET TO THE EXIT WHEN IT WAS TIME??!

For all that was holy, I wanted the man to MOVE RIGHT!  Hug the concrete barrier in the slow traffic and SCOOT THE HECK OVER!

Hubs kept insisting that he was HAPPY! JUST PLUM CRAZY-MAD-HAPPY, LIKE A CLAM IN THE SAND! driving in the far left lane, and that he’d migrate right when we were within a fourth of a mile of our exit.

Words were exchanged.

Polite words.  Calm words.  Civil words. And then I slammed my foot through the floor of my passenger seat in the Suburban, because SWEET MERCY!  We were riding on someone else’s tailgate!  And then Hubs conceded the win to me, and he moved to the far right lane, where he could hug the concrete barrier and ease my stress level.  I think giving in to me even eased HIS stress level, because I quit giving all the RIGHT LANE suggestions.

And then he was forced to shoot off on the wrong exit, because the far right lane was an EXIT ONLY SECTION, and he gave me the Stink Eye of Doom while Doris (our GPS lady) recalculated for us.

And then I shut up, and I quit talking, and I simply texted Crystal and told her that I was going to die on a Major Thriving Metropolis interstate, and she wanted to know if she was listed in my will.

Between Hubs’ mad driving skills and Doris’ mad direction-giving skills, we made it — whole and in one piece, which was a total bonus! — to the aquarium.

Look who survived the shark tank!

The seahorses were my absolute favorite at the aquarium.  I love how gentle they are, and how gracefully they scoot themselves through the water.  I wanted to hold one and rub its nose, but the signs all said, “PLEASE DO NOT ASK THE ATTENDANT ON DUTY TO HOLD THE SEAHORSES OR RUB THEIR NOSES.  THE ANSWER IS NO, YOU CAN’T DO THAT.”

Do y’all know how much I love this kid?

The answer is BIG and PLENTY.

There were starfish at the aquarium.

“Flo?  Has anyone seen my sister, Flo?”

Yes, we quote A WHOLE LOT of lines from Finding Nemo.

And look!  Dorry and Nemo were together!  Hubs and I both said, at the same time, “Just keep swimming!  Just keep swimming!” while we approached this tank, and then we burst out laughing, because how many aquarium visitors do you suppose have said those EXACT SAME WORDS at this particular tank?!

And THIS, people, is why I didn’t join the Navy, or become a pirate, or sign up to work the shrimp boats for loads of dollars off the coast of Alaska, or ask to be featured on Deadliest Catch.

Hubs and the boy were mesmerized by the sharks.  They contemplated ingenious ways of taking one home with them.  I just wanted to go home, period.  I am NOT a fan of the sharks.

Oh, and the aquarium had tigers.  Don’t ask me why, because people like myself don’t normally think of TIGERS when they hear the word AQUARIUM.  But… apparently tigers PLAY IN THE WATER of the rain forests, so there were four of them for us to gawk at.  Hubs and I said, “Yeah.  You know how Cat 1 weights EIGHT WHOLE POUNDS?  And you know how badly she can put some hurt on us?”  And then we’d gaze at the sleeping tiger, whose paws were bigger than my head and say, “CAN.  YOU.  EVEN.  IMAGINE.”

And the answer was NOPE.

300 pounds of orange-and-black cat coming at you with fangs and claws of fury is beyond what I want to even think about, because I can barely handle it when she just weighs eight pounds.

And no.  I have zero pictures of the tigers, because they were NOT playing in the water on Saturday while we were at the aquarium.  They were high, high, HIGH up on the cliffs, sleeping, and the reflection on the glass with my flash from a distance that great equals no pictures.

And also?  One of the boys WASN’T sleeping.  He kept staring at me.  I told him, “Listen!  Don’t look at me like that with your beady yellow eyes, or I’ll tell the attendant to take out the live chickens and goats and give you PURINA CAT CHOW.  And nothing else.

And then he closed his eyes, and we were good with one another.

At the end of the trail through the aquarium, we came to the sting ray tanks, and listen, y’all.  The boy?  Well, he is IN LOVE with the sting rays.  He spent forty-five minutes with his hands in the water, up to his armpits, petting the sting rays, and feeding them, and loving on them, and yes!  Even getting nipped by one of them.

After we had left the aquarium, the boy took out a sheet of paper and wrote out his Christmas list while we (and by we, I mean Hubs and Doris) navigated our way through traffic.

1.  Cell phone of my own

2.  Apple laptop of my own

3.  Antique typewriter of my own

4.  Sting ray of my own

I’m not sure, but I think Santa Claus is sitting in front of his fireplace, laughing at that list and saying, “Not a chance, Boy.”

And me?  Well, I am asking Santa for an enormous bag of Pretzel M&Ms and a FRIENDLIER GPS UNIT, who doesn’t criticize me by saying, “Yes, Hubs.  I really DO KNOW that it was all HER fault that I had to recalculate for you, when you were forced to exit.  I blame her every bit as much as you do.  Why don’t you try knocking her into the shark tank next visit, m’kay?”

Happy Tuesday night, y’all.

2 thoughts on “Sweet Mercy, But This Post is Long! Bring a Snack. May I Recommend the Pretzel M&Ms?

  1. We have a Sonic (or two). For me, Sonic Meal = Migraine. Not edible. But I have to admit…good tater tots and slushes. When we eat there, I am on the high-carb, high-fat, high-sugar, low MSG menu. Basically, tater tots and dessert. I’d rather eat the menu at Taco John’s! (Do you realize how lucky you are?!?!?!)

    Glad you made it safely back to Small Town. Congrats on The Boy’s Honors! Super, super cool! Congrats to The Boy and his awesome Parents!

    And it is going to get cold next week. I’ll start blogging again soon. (promise)

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