Sunday, March 17, 2019

Aren't we all all snowplow and helicopter parents to some degree?

It's hard to escape news of the college bribery scandal that's caught up some celebrities and exposed a truism that people seem to have forgotten: the super rich are different then you and me.

They have more money than we do. Because of that, they have more power, better connections and they use it all to further enrich themselves and set their children up to reap the same benefits.

If we're honest, I think part of our anger over this latest scandal, is that most of us wish we had the heft to accomplish what the super rich take for granted. Regardless at what level of society we're in, most of us do favors for our friends and family.

We may not have an "in" or a criminally opened side door at Yale, but maybe we' have a friend who's a cop or a nurse. That may mean we get a pass on a speeding ticket we deserve or get a prescription called in when we should really have to make an appointment and be seen by a doctor. Friends and family discount at a department or convenience story? Sent to the head of the line for a movie screening? How about selection for an internship or even a job?

Is it fair that the super wealthy can make a big donation and get their kid into the school of their choice? Nope. It is, however, a more transparent (and legal) bribe than actual (criminal) bribes where people in positions of power take cash under the table to skip the non-deserving ahead.

My first response to seeing that news story was, "Dang. And I was feeling guilty that we hadn't hired an application coach for Alison." 

She's in the midst of college application season. Jeff is monitoring closely but she's been responsible to determine the list of schools she'll try for, filling out the applications, writing the essays, interviewing and doing all the stuff that's required to be considered.

She'd initially limited herself to a few colleges, due to the application fees involved. Jeff encouraged her to cast a wider net and let him worry about the money. Is that snowplowing? For families that don't have the money for the fees, I'd say it is. Other examples of stuff we've done:
  • We knew a couple alums from some of those prospective schools. Jeff quizzed them on tips and tricks for the required live interviews they have between application and true consideration.
  • He and Ali met with them together, so she could get tips firsthand.
  • We've taken her on two tours of one of her favored schools.
  • We're poised to take her to any others she wants to visit.
Ali has gotten three acceptances so far, one rejection and one "ask again in the spring." Five others should respond in the coming weeks.

Juxtapose Alison's college preparation experience to mine. My parents never discussed college with me or, to my knowledge with any of my six siblings. My brothers were expected to join the family construction business, which they'd learn from our father as he had learned from his. My sisters and I would have been laughed out of the room had we suggested becoming carpenters. Like hunting, that was a boy thing.

I don't recall being encouraged or discouraged into any particular kind of life after high school, save the one you'll read about shortly. My best high school friend, Debbie, and I were planning to attend Purdue. We'd applied and had been accepted and had a whole life planned that would involve leaving our hometown for a life of exploration, writing (me) and photography (her).

I came home one day to learn my father had signed me up to attend Indiana State, and I'd start classes the second semester of my high school senior year. My dad, a talented custom home builder, had a debilitating heart condition that upended his career. Unable to do the physical labor he'd done all his life, he qualified for Social Security Disability. Changes within that program meant that unless I was a college student before I graduated high school, his benefits would be significantly decreased. Someone -- I don't know who -- had clued him in to this completely legal sidestep.

So I went to high school two days a week and three others only in the morning so I could go to ISU in the afternoons. The summer after I graduated high school, I got a job at the Terre Haute Tribune Star reporting the news and I never gave Purdue another thought. I was a news reporter -- my dream job. What else in life could I possibly want? I got that job, by the way, based on a recommendation from a teacher -- not a bribe but certainly a favor.

Jeff and his siblings attended Maine universities and each have advanced degrees. Gary's college career had been sidelined by illness, but he worked full-time at a paper mill and went to college at night. That left Marian to be in charge of three kids, mostly alone. I just did a week alone with Ali and have renewed respect for single parents.

When the Reed kids were in college, they secured summer internships at the paper mill where Gary worked -- not a bribe or improper, but certainly it helped that their dad was by then in a leadership position at the company.

My point, and I think I have one, is that decent human beings do things to help each other and to help their children -- and that's as it should be. Like just about everything in life, there's a spectrum of those who do too little and some who do too much.

I think you learn more, grow more when you have some skin in your own game of Life, but that's probably because I don't know what it would be like to have a super rich and powerful parent to snowplow my path.

I have been bingeing on Schitt's Creek which is a look at what happens when the super rich and powerful Rose family find themselves with nothing. I had to push through the first episodes because they're truly hideous people at first. The "kids" are in their late 20s but are totally reliant on their parents, who seem to think there's nothing wrong with that.

I'm in the 4th season now and think it should be required watching for people who are about to blaze an obstacle-free path for their kids.

Compared to my path from high school to college, one could make the case that Alison is closer to the Roses than to the Reeds. I like to think that I'm less a helicopter or snowplow parent and more a mom who's standing by with the first aid kit just in case she falls. The Captain would tell you that I have occasionally gone overboard in trying to make her happy.

If I had a dollar for every sentence he's begun with, "When I was her age I didn't get to..." I'd be able to bribe Yale, Harvard and any other elite college in the world. (Not that I would, of course...)

Jeff takes the position that because he didn't have this or that opportunity, she doesn't need it either. I take the position that because I didn't have those opportunities, she should. It's been a push-pull that's sometimes been an issue but never a real marital problem. Probably because we've been united in expecting her to do her best academically, to consider college her next step and graduate school after that.

Is that the right path for every kid? Nope. And if a trade or gap year is best for yours, I fully support it. Heck, as long as you're a positive force in the universe and willing to support yourself legally, I say, "You do you."

So I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon to harangue Aunt Becky. If I had access to her helicopter, maybe I'd steer it badly, too.

Now, to lighten the mood, let's all celebrate the squirrel who's been after my  neighbor's bird feeder for the past few weeks. When he started, he'd get up the skinny metal pole, reach out a paw toward the feeder and slide right down. He's worked his upper body muscles to the point where he can feed lately, though he does end up on his back on the ground from time-to-time. Ali claims he did a back flip this morning.

Perfect example of what a creature can accomplish even without a helicopter parent. No?


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Angelic Apathy?

It will shock some of you to know I have a bit of a reputation as a bad driver. It's a reputation, mind you, not necessarily the truth. I generally maintain that people who complain about my driving tend to inflate the severity of my traffic infractions.

But last night, I admit, I was entirely in the wrong. Ali and I were heading to Herron High Schools' winter sports awards and I had intended to back into a parking spot but a car came in close behind me. I drove on, but there were no other spots in the lot.
I spied an opportunity to shoot back across the lot to get my original spot, so I took it, ignoring the mutterings of my co-pilot who was advising me that I was now driving the wrong way in the lot. Which was true. I turned left, thinking that would fix it, but no. Again the muttering to my right.

I sighed, decided I was in for more than a penny so I might as well spend the pound. I turn right and came within a sliver of frog fur from being T-boned by a rather fast moving car full of Herron winter sport athletes.

They were none too happy at our near-miss.

It's testament to the strength of whatever metal their car was made of that the shrieks didn't melt the thing down to its tires, but they certainly reached my ears. Ali was no better as she was sitting at the T of the bone-headed move.

Happily, my Mustang anticipated the move and we all braked in time. No gnashing of metal occurred. No blood was spilled. No muscles torn asunder. I took a breath, shot the other driver an apologetic look and told Ali she was fine.

"You almost killed me," she said. "Again."

"You're fine," I said and reminded her of the time and that there were probably cookies inside. I lost track of the driver of the other car as there were a lot of HHS Achaeans and parents in the lot, all of streaming inside for the ceremony.

OK, it's true. I did my best to lose track of the driver of the other car. A. I didn't need any more drama than I already had and B. There were cookies inside.

For the second year in a row, Ali won most improved swimmer and collected some hardware, and we didn't speak of my poor parking/driving skills again. Until today when I picked her up from school.

Of course, she knew the girl I'd traumatized. Said girl apparently confessed to Ali that she was prepared to hunt me down and cuss me out but had been talked down, ironically by the swim team manager. There was little chance of that girl not knowing it was Ali Reed she'd almost smashed.

I mean, they were staring at each other, horror-struck as our cars careened toward each other and probably felt like they were moving in slow motion toward a firey death.

I get it. It was scary. But, again, I say: There was no actual gnashing of metal. No blood was spilled. No muscles torn asunder.

"What would you have done if she had cussed you out?" Alison asked me. "I mean, you were in the wrong, Mom. You know that, right?"

I once again admitted that yes, yes, I was driving the wrong way, it was my fault. However, I would not have approved of a student cursing at an adult. Or an adult cursing at a student. I would have apologized, and I hope that would have mitigated the situation.

"Maybe we actually do have a guardian angel," I mused. After all, I've had more than my fair share of near misses on the roadways.

"I bet your guardian angel is tired of you," Alison muttered.

She's probably not wrong.

In other news, thanks to everyone sending good vibes to my father-in-law Gary Reed who suffered a fall and a heart attack last weekend. He is doing much better and is headed for a rehab facility soon after getting sprung from the ICU, finally.

Jeff flew out to see him and lighten the burden a bit on Jennifer and James, who live in Maine and do a great job of checking in and helping Gary as they can. With James working in Boston, a lot of that falls to Jen and her husband, Peter, who live closest. We're grateful to all of them -- especially to Peter who found and got Gary to the hospital.

On a sadder note, please send comforting vibes to the Bradbury family. Sherry Bradbury, my sister Donna's sister-in-law passed away. I don't remember a time when the Bradburys weren't part of my family, and Sherry's smile would light up the night sky. 

Here's to a brighter weekend and rest of the year for all of us. That's Ali and her friend and swim-mate Navy as they waited to collect their Swim Team Hardware. While it would make sense that they are laughing at me and my driving skills, I was not the focus in this particular moment.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The hate in Hoosier Hospitality

I've probably used the phrase "Hoosier Hospitality" more than a thousand times. Tens of thousands? Maybe.

I don't think I'll be using it again. Because for too many Indiana residents, it's a spirit not fully extended to those whose complexions, accents, true selves aren't what nice Hoosier boys and girls learn in white Sunday School.

Yep. I said it. I mean it, too. I grew up in an all-white community where otherwise well-meaning and Christian-like people toss out hateful words as if they were simple adjectives. There's been progress, sure. But not enough.

When State Senator Aaron Freeman stripped the guts out of a bias crimes bill and said, "In the next five weeks, I'm going to pop popcorn, kick my feet up and watch the show in the House and let them deal with it," I was disgusted.

"Let them deal with it," said this guy elected to represent the will of the people of Indiana.

"It" is the discussion over whether judges should have the ability to add addition time to sentences for for people found guilty of harming other people because of their race, religion, age, ethnicity, national origin, disabilities, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Think about that a little bit.

We're talking about people found guilty of harming others because of things those victims cannot control. We're talking about hate-motivated actions against other human beings.

The state Chamber of Commerce says 75 percent of Indiana residents want a bias crime on the books that includes those protected classes, and I hope that's true. Because I want my state to be a state where hospitality extends to everyone. Where there's no room for hate. Where haters are punished appropriately for their hateful actions.

I honestly don't understand why this bill is so controversial. Worried your whiteness or straightness is going to be targeted? You're protected, too. Not that, statistically you should be worried. Surely you're not worried that you'll be facing additional years or months in prison for committing a hate crime?

Would it help you to remember the  Golden Rule? You remember that one: "do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Matthew 7:12) Matthew apparently thought we would understood that "others" mean everyone.

This discussion exhausts me. Maybe instead of putting his feet up and snacking while others take up the mantle of statesmanship, Sen. Freeman should just give the majority of us what we want: a state where hate crimes are unacceptable.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Hold my beer

One of these things is not like the other...

I went to my first beer share this weekend. If you're unfamiliar with the term, a beer share is like a wine tasting, but with craft beer. All of my beer share knowledge comes via the Captain.

Give him a chance and he'll spin yarns of beer shares among thousands of people in the cold, cold springtime rain of northern Indiana or with a few buddies in the heat of summer in someone's back yard. Or in parking lots between beer lovers who connected online and find a stolen moment when one is driving through the other's state and meet in real life to exchange beers the other can't easily get. 

Jeff has a large group of guys who rotate hosting shares. There are women, too, who take part, but it's mostly a male crew. Beer shares are where friends or strangers from around the globe are united by their deep love of craft beer. They drink from tiny cups with short pours of all sorts of fluids that resemble the beer of your youth much like butterfly wings resemble steel wool. 

Sours, stouts, wheats, saisons, pale ales. Hoppy, acidic, chocolatey, piney, chalky. The adjectives roll off their tongues like rain on a Seattle roof as they sip and swish and swallow. 

I love them all, and they are sincere in their appreciation, but I confess to making light of the conversation when Jeff and his beer buddies get together. They can describe beer so poetically you'd think they were speaking of the loves of their life. And I guess, in a way, they are...

Smart beer sharers arrange their rides home ahead of time because while each sip of the nectar is a small one, within the space of a few hours, you can imbibe from dozens of cans and bottles. See the shot above -- the required "kill shot" that memorializes the samplings of the night. That compilation is in addition to everyone "checking in" the beers they tried on a beer app where people around the world exhalt or bemoan each of the beers they've consumed.

I was in no danger of drunk driving as A.) the beer share was in our basement and B.) some of the beers cracked open last night were beverages I had no interest in. 

I'd opened the wrong bottle of champagne on Valentine's Day and had been nursing that lesser-vintage bottle since Friday. So I brought my own brew to the party and stuck around (mostly) because my friend Sara was also there. She's a more sophisticated beer drinker than I am, though I think it's fair to say her husband loves it more. 

That's right: I went to a beer share and drank (mostly) champagne.  

I usually make myself scarce when Jeff hosts a beer share, and I don't think I've ever gone to one outside my own home. I can't keep up with that crowd for volume or type. I don't have -- and don't really want -- a palate that appreciates beers as dark as Dick Cheney's heart, as thick as a lumberjack's bicep or as sour as a persimmon in May. The range of beer these guys drink is immense. Some of it poured like motor oil. No exaggeration.

I'm a pale ale or juicy Maine Beer Company kind of girl when I drink beer. I would much rather drink champagne. And not Miller High Life, which as everyone know, is the champagne of beers

Bubbly wine doesn't have to be from France to make me happy, and it doesn't have to be expensive. We did, however, have a lovely, 2004 Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque for our anniversary that Jeff had found at a bargain price and had been saving for a special occasion. 

In my opinion, the best side effect of his craft beer obsession is that he often comes home with wine for me. If liquor stores ever focus only on beer, I will be bereft. The bottle I'd opened ahead of the pricey PJ was a Veuve du Vernay Brut, which can retail for less than $10 a bottle. So you can imagine Jeff's dismay when I popped the wrong cork... 

Neither Sara nor I lasted the entirety of the beer share. We watched part of Saturday Night Live drink-free before she and her husband left to take care of their dogs. I went to bed and it was another couple of hours or so before the beer sipping stopped. 

Once he'd made it out of bed this morning, Jeff asked Ali if his revelry had kept her up late. Silly dad.  "I had my headphones on," she said. 

This wasn't Ali's first beer share rodeo. Sometimes I wonder if she's going to enjoy college. She's been surrounded with this high-end, complicated beer for so long I'm pretty sure that kegs of Bud Lite aren't going to excite her. 

I'm OK with that side effect, too.

Speaking of the redhead, here's a picture of her Herron High School record-breaking relay team and a fun shot taken at the end-of-the-season get together. She declared the other day that she has only 99 days of high school left, which may or may not have resulted in me having extra bottles of bubbly in the fridge...

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Naked Monkey v. Hairy Beast

Last weekend, Ali accompanied me to Massage Envy in Avon to attend a celebration of my friend Bree's 10th year in business there.

Bree used to be my favorite mogul. She's a kick-ass businesswoman and an even better mom and friend. Or she was until she offered me free stuff.

"Think about what you want waxed for free," she said when I told her I was bringing Ali with me to her event.

I'm not one to make an effort to get free stuff. I generally follow the old adage of "you get what you pay for."  (See a future blog about my sister Diane and the Indiana State Fair for a philosophy counter to mine.) But I love -- I mean loved -- Bree, so I wanted to celebrate with her.

So off we went. Bree's Massage Envy is well worth your drive. The people are lovely and there's a lot more than massage available. Skin care, candles, snail poop to keep eye bags away... you name it. It's there.

Ali and I got a little bit of a muscle-relaxing treatment that's a pre-cursor to a massage and it was pretty amazing. Ali was ready to make an appointment right after the little device started pummeling her shoulder.

We had to get to a swim lesson Ali was teaching, so we only had time for one more thing. That one more thing was the waxing station.

I'd never had a professional wax job, but it seemed intriguing. The only time I'd tried wax to rip the hair off my legs, it didn't go well. I might have been in high school. I just remember having trouble heating the wax and finding that, while a bit painful, more hair was left behind than came off on the strip of paper.

In my never-ending quest to not resemble an Afghan Hound, I go the razor route. Even though I'm a seasoned pro, I still have near-tragic shaving accidents when I shave my legs. But I persist.

Let's be clear: I am truly a hairy beast. I shave my legs and other parts every time I shower lest I develop Steve Carrell-like patches here and there.

In recent years, my leg hair has apparently had a chat with my chin hair, and the chin hair has given growth lessons to my upper lip hair.

If I'm not shaving, I'm plucking or jumping a little bit as I feel another hair burst through the skin on my chin or lip. I don't know if I really feel them emerge, but it seems like an endless battle keeping the  damn things at bay.

When you're as weary from the black-hair wars as I am, you're vulnerable to suggestions that you wax your hairs away. Alison, who's witnessed me fighting my follicles, did not volunteer to also get something waxed.

Instead, she readied her phone.

I blacked out shortly after learning my esthetician's name. Much like Bree, she seemed like a lovely person. We started with my chin and she gave me all kinds of great information. She gently cleansed my skin and then applied a warm goo that felt kind of nice to tell you the truth.

Then, she ripped it off and I almost peed myself. Seriously. And I had plucked my chin not the day before! I thought I'd gotten all the big one.

"We got some really thick ones," the formerly nice lady remarked as Alison cackled.

Before I knew it, she'd drizzled more wax to get the other side. I clutched the sheets and prepared my Kegels.

The esthetician asked Ali if she wanted a treatment. Ali didn't have to vocalize her refusal. I was feeling my baby-soft, hairless chin and coming down off the Pain Mountain.

There were two of us, so we qualified for two treatments......"How about your lip?"

I thought about it for a second. I'd gone into this to determine if wax could get the few hairs I thought I'd missed on my chin. I was pretty sure my lip was next to hairless. How bad could it be? And, it was free...

I asked if it would be very much worse than the chin pain, which was already starting to fade. My tormentor apparently decided my query was permission to peel.

"This could be a tear-jerker," she said, dousing me with wax. Before I could breathe, she ripped off the cooled wax.

I did not scream. I may have whimpered. I think a tear did escape.

When I realized I had three more strips of upper lip waxing to endure, I fought back panic. But I was stuck. I couldn't emerge with only one side of my upper lip bald. It would make the remaining hairs look all the more thick and lustrous.

Have you ever plucked a single hair from the middle of your upper lip? It's kind of like poking yourself in the eye with a toothpick. Or a steak knife. It's a quick stab of pain that lingers like when you burn yourself getting cookies out of the oven. And there's no cookie to ease your pain.

You hop around a little bit and curse with words you forgot you knew. You think about shaving your lip rather than plucking, the warning that you'll have a moustache like your father if you do. Caroline from the Real Housewives of New Jersey shaved her whole face all the time and she doesn't have a 5 o'clock shadow. 

And that's when your facing one stinking hair. And you're home alone.

When the whole herd gets ripped out by a perfect stranger, you'll swear you've been scalped.

This facial experience killed my curiosity of what a Brazilian wax would be like. Oh. My. Lord. How are those Naked Monkey shops in business? You'd have to duct tape me and knock me into serious unconsciousness to get me waxed down there. I'll braid my pubic hair before I'll expose it to hot wax.

I've rediscovered a deep and abiding love for my razor. Sure, it might make me bleed, and it might be a daily-use kind of thing. But it's bite is gentle in comparison.

I was informed that if I continued waxing on, say a schedule of every three or four weeks, the process would slim down my thick and sturdy facial hair. Each waxing session would less painful than the one before.

I'm actually considering it. But I'm staying strictly upstairs, if you get my drift. I'm pretty sure I'd pass out if I let the wax drip down under.

Here's a picture of Ali and me with Bree (next to me) and a Massage Envy staffer who is not the esthetician. This is before I went into the waxing room. Back when I loved Bree...

OK, I'll admit it. I still love Bree. An you will too if you ever meet her. If I ever meet Miss Wax Alot again, it will be after I've emptied a flask of something high in alcohol content.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Call me Popeye

After a weekend learning about the indelicacies of White Castle, I was prepared to take it easy on my internal system this week. I did a fairly decent job of placating my angry intestines and was rewarded with an amazing chicken pot pie at Tina Noel's Euchre Club. (Julie and I also won but that's another story...)

Next up was Friday Book Club, and as we were reading a book based in India, Indian food was the theme. I'm the only one in my house who loves spinach, and hoping there would be left-overs, I had offered to bring the creamed spinach and cheese dish I always start with at the Indian buffet -- saag paneer.

So Friday comes and I go to a great Broad Ripple Indian restaurant we love, wondering how to order this dish, which is generally a side.  We always eat in when we go there, and I had zero ideas about the actual quantity I needed, let alone whether they had an adequate take-out bowl to put it in.

Here's where not wanting to admit I had difficulty with the waiter's accent came back to bite me. He quite rightly initially assumed I wanted lunch, then thought I wanted to order dinner carryout. 

I explained that I only wanted enough spinach to feed a party of eight as part of a pitch-in offering. Oh, and while I was at it, I might have an appetizer, too, also enough for eight.

We were having a great conversation. Everyone was happy. He asked if I also wanted Naan -- the bread they make on premisesI declined, saying another Book Club member was on Naan duty. "It's a pitch-in," I said, again, thinking that explained everything. 

"You'll need rice, then," he said, clearly worried about me not having Naan. Shalimar's Naan is amazing and he was aright to wonder why I was skipping it.

I thought, "OK, sure," and pictured our Chinese carry-out which always has at least one white carton of rice. 

"Soup?" he asked.

Their lentil soup is also amazing. "Sure," I thought. "I'll skip bringing wine and alert Kate so she can adjust if need be."

He tells me it'll be ready in 25 minutes and off I trot to the other errands on my list. I go back to the restaurant. He greets me with two bags, one medium-sized and one small. I'm thrilled. He says he'll help me carry it out.

I'm sure I looked at him funny. From the Book Club book, I've learned a little about traditional Indian culture, which is heavy on the man being charge. But I can carry two bags. And then I see the rest of my order.

The spinach was in a 9x3 aluminum pan. If my math is correct, that's at least 12 cups of saag paneer. A nutritionist will tell you that a serving of saag paneer is 3/4 of a cup.

That pan of yummy goodness was big enough to roast a Thanksgiving turkey if you're feeding a family of four. And with it was an equally sized pan of rice. 

I had apparently indicated that our dinner of eight was vegetarian and that we would be eating only spinach, rice, soup and vegetable samosa. And that "pitch-in" meant I alone (other than the phantom Naan supplier) was feeding this small army of anti-carnivores.

I swallowed hard, smiled brightly and handed over my credit card. The overage was entirely my fault for not just owning up to the language/accent barrier. So, I had saag paneer for lunch. And then I had more at Book Club. I have a couple tubs in my freezer, too.

Later that night, I was in bed shielding my ears from the angry shouting of my intestinal tract and wondering if you could die from spinach poisoning. And if I did die from it, would I be found in a puddle of green ooze? Was there a green-tinged cloud of noxious vapor hovering over me already?

Turns out spinach can, indeed, be toxic. It's the oxalic acid that'll do you in. The interwebs told me, it would take about 25 grams of oxalic acid to cause death in a 145-pound person, which is about 7.3 pounds of spinach. 

That's about 14 bags of grocery-story spinach, right? Cooking spinach greatly reduces its size, so what does 7.3 pounds of cooked spinach look like, I wondered. Plus, saag paneer has other ingredients in it, so after much internal anxiety, I decided I'd probably survive the night. Spoiler alert: I did.

But at 2 a.m., I wasn't as confident as I am now. It's possible I prayed not to wake up dead. And that any residual gaseousness wouldn't do in the Captain.

This morning, all I can hear is Popeye's song ringing in my head. If you run into me this week and I say, "Well, blow me down," in response to your news, don't be surprised.

"I'm Popeye the sailor man.
I'm Popeye the sailor man.
I'm strong to the fin-ich
'cause I eats me spin-ach,
I'm Popeye the sailor man!"

In Alison news, we are still in the college exploration stage. She's been accepted at a few schools already so we know she'll be going somewhere. But she has a few more interviews with fancy schools to go and then the wait for whether she'll go farther in their process.

If you happen to get a call from an Ivy League school looking for intel on the redhead, don't tell them about this blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Le Chateau de Blanc and Chateau de Pee-ew

I don't mean to cause any trouble here, but last night I had my first night on my new mattress with a proper foundation. I also had my first White Castle experience. The two will be forever enshrined in my olfactory system.

For those of you not blessed with White Castle in your region, it's a mostly Midwest burger chain that some people -- mostly men despite the photos on its website -- claim is next to manna from Heaven. There's even a White Castle Hall of Fame for those who've gone to great lengths to satisfy "the crave" -- think helicopter delivery to people at sea or in other areas of wilderness where there's not "Whitey" delivery.

Somehow I had escaped the actual eating of a slider lo these many years in Hoosierland. My friend Peter used to bring them in by the truckload at Angie's List, and Jeff always includes it in the rotation when we're trying to find something fast to eat.

Last night at the Christ the King Trivia Night, I caved. They're two-bite sized little things. Warm and fragrant, they have onions and pickles. I love pickles. The wait staff convinced Jeff he needed onion fries and crinkle fries as well, so we had those, too. (Knowing we'd have a bunch of bad-for-us-food, I brought a veggie platter with garlic hummus as one of our apps as well.)

I had three sliders and a good portion of both kinds of fries along with champagne (because, if you're going to drink, you should drink champagne) M&Ms, some jalapeno things, a cheesy-cauliflower bacon thing and some guilt-laced portions of the veggies because I'd gone off the rails dietarily.

There were more than 400 people packed into the CKS gym, and they were loud. Particularly the tables around me. Which was a good thing.

Because one of the side effects of White Castle sliders is flatulence. Thanks for that warning, Jeff. Yeah. Like, a lot. Jeff bought 18 sliders. Some with cheese. There were none remaining so I'm pretty sure we gassed up the place like it's never been gassed before. (It's a gym, so thank the good Lord for high ceilings.)

I'm not one to embrace the fart. It's just not my thing. Jeff celebrates them like it's the Fourth of July, and he's passed this on to Alison. I was just thankful Beth Harriman's party was having a good, loud time.

On the way home, I was discussing my dissatisfaction with the cuisine. More precisely with it's residue, and Jeff laughed. He has a buddy whose new wife won't let him have White Castle sliders if he's going to be in their home. She's away for six days.

What's said buddy doing? Indulging his crave, of course. Probably for all six days. I should have Jeff tell him to light a three-wick candle in every room the night before she comes home. Although a spark might send his house up in a ball of greasy slider fire.

But I spoke of my bed. Yeah. It's finally perfect. Right now it's airing out. It's a good thing I have a lot of candles.