Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ice Ice, Baby

Ice is nice.
It's cold to hold.
When it gets hotter.
It turns to water.

I stole that poem from my friend Annmarie who penned it as a child. It's been on my mind lately. Yes, I'm very cultured.

I do like ice, though. Especially the ice in the Angie's List Firehouse ice machine. I like it so much I go down four flights of stairs, up two and back again to get to that damn ice machine just about every day during the week.

But after spending all day yesterday and this morning with ice snuggled in tight around my right knee, I'm starting to reconsider.

I went zip lining at a place called Dagaz Acres Leadership Center Friday on a work trip.

Here's how much fun it was: I wrenched my knee on the first of about 7 zip line trips through parts of a southeastern Indiana forest. I heard this squishy pop and thought I'd been shot in the knee just as I stepped into thin air and was whisked across a small ravine. On the other side, I had the option of taking a footpath back to the shelter or toughing it out and flying some more.

I kept going.

It was stupid, I know. If I was smart or even responsible, I would have gone back. But it was a lot of fun to fly across that ravine, and most of the leg work (I thought) was behind me. Plus, my friend Betsy had a flask of expensive Irish whiskey and she kept me supplied with courage.

So, supported by the whiskey, great co-workers and a staff of great guys who kept a check on me, I hobbled through the forest, flying occasionally through the trees like a super spy.

I even made my landings -- one legged -- without ever once landing on my butt. I was less muddy than most of my team until we got to the "Burma bridge." The bridge is a cable that crossed a high ravine with a creek that ran with ice-cold water, twisting like an anaconda on the prowl at the bottom.

Betsy kept telling me that I could hop across the wire on my good leg. After a few more swigs, I considered it. While I should have considered whether Betsy's judgment was impaired by the whiskey, I'm pretty sure I had flashbacks to my childhood where if I didn't keep up with my siblings I would have been left in the woods to make my own way back. Or not.

I decided to brave the bridge. I took a step toward the cable and the screaming from my knee was finally loud enough to override the whispers of the whiskey, Betsy and my past. I started down the ravine on my feet but after a couple more steps where I thought my bones might be trying to find the light of day through my skin, I decided I wasn't too proud to slide on my butt through the leaves. Survival isn't always pretty.

I was covered in mud, but it was easier than either walking down or crossing the cable. Above me, my friend Michelle fell and was dangling from her safety rope like a fallen angel. I decided my slide wasn't the worst thing that could have happened to me.

When I had a signal on my phone again on the way back home, I called the doctor. The nurse who called me back quizzed me about the various sounds, sensations and pain level and prescribed rest, ice, and elevation over the weekend. If I'm not feeling better come Monday, I have to face the doctor.

The four flights of stairs that stand between me and my desk seem a little intimidating at the moment, though I am feeling better. Once you get past the pain of the ice, the numbness is actually kind of nice. I've actually graduated to two family sized bags of frozen peas. The ice kept leaking and the water wasn't at all hot.

I can't imagine how I'd ever convince myself to slip into an ice bath like athletes do, though. I'm not sure it's worth the millions they earn.

So Annmarie, I will agree with you that ice is nice. And it's definitely cold to hold. But it takes too damn long to get hotter and turn to water.

I would send you a photo of me looking pathetic and propped up with my ice pack. But the camera and the PC that lets me send it to you are both downstairs. And I'm not going down there.

I was actually more than half-way convinced that the ice/pea treatment had cured me until John and Lisa dropped by with horror stories of what happens to people who try to let their bodies heal themselves.

John has promised to ridicule me if I let it go and end up with a cane and access to those motorized shopping carts at Target. I think John might need a little leadership training...

In fairness to Dagaz, they did warn you not to go zip lining if you were having joint issues, and my knee has been giving me trouble for a couple of weeks. I highly recommend the place -- and zip lining in general. But if you go, here's something else I learned (in addition to how you should pay attention to warning):

Don't take a banana in your pocket if you go zip lining.

It was raining on and off during the whole trip so I was wearing my LL Bean rain jacket. Other than my butt and my feet from crossing the stream, I was bone dry. But when I got back and was packing my jacket in my backpack, it felt a little heavy on one side.

The banana that I'd put in there in case I got separated from my team and had to survive on my own (thought I was joking about my childhood and being left behind, didn't you?!) didn't survive the trip.

It had the consistency of gourmet baby food. The good news is my fancy rain jacket kept it confined to my pocket. Dragging it out wasn't pretty, but I guess I could have still survived on it in a worse case scenario.

So maybe you shouldn't skip the banana. But we may need to invent a banana flask. The whiskey did just fine...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm afraid she's a Republican

Once again I fear my child is a conservative Republican.

My evidence:

Case 1

I've been fully embracing my country roots and playing WFMS when tooling around.

"Hey Mom. You wanna know what I think?" she calls from the back seat.

Of course I bit: "What do you think?"

"I think those people who sing those songs are telling everyone about their PERSONAL BUSINESS, that's what I think," she said, clearly disapproving.

(I couldn't help but wonder how she reacts in Amy Tokash's back seat.)

Case 2

We were at the Fashion Mall shopping for an upcoming birthday. We went past a store where the window display was, well, displaying.

"Well that's inappropriate!" she exclaimed. "Those are boobies!!!"

Case 3

We went out this morning for the Sunday paper and, in deference to her wishes, added a stop at the vegetable stand so we could find the exactly right sized and shaped pumpkins to fulfill her wish to reproduce some examples in her National Geographic Kids magazine. (Like that doesn't spell disaster right there. Next to Martha Stewart, the NGK has the most complicated jack-o-lanterns I've ever seen.)

"Got your money?" I asked.

"Nope," she said, on a direct and unyielding straight for her bike.

Case 4

"Hey Mom," she said the other day.


"Do you think I could add a little bit to my allowance in the next few weeks?"

"Maybe. How exactly do you plan on making that happen?" I ask.

"Well, I was thinking about raking up some leaves. Think that'll earn me some extra bucks?" she asked.

I told her I'd talk to her father, but I thought we could work something out. Did she have a specific expenditure in mind?

"No. I just like having cash laying around," she said.

And the 5th and final nail, I mean case:

We're gearing up for Halloween and are making cookies -- sugar for her to decorate later with a new friend (gasp: a girl!) from school and pumpkin chocolate chip for her dad.

We rolled out the sugar cookies, got them in the oven and she was cleaning up the utensils. She started to escape to TV in the basement as I turned to the next batch of cookies.

"Hey, where are you going?

"Well, I'm not going to eat those cookies, so I didn't think you'd need my help," she said.

I just sighed and let her go. Not only is she displaying signs of the GOP, she still doesn't let chocolate pass her lips. I'm not sure exactly where I went wrong. She is a fan of Hilary Clinton and President Obama.

But clearly, I need to do more.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Weird Science

We've had quite the chemistry inspired morning. Ali, Alex and Hannah got out the chemistry kit, starting in the basement. I monitored from the kitchen, safely upstairs.

They made some diaper dust and oohed and aahed a while then moved upstairs where they mixed baking soda, vinegar and water. They learned they could suspend a bubble right over their mixture.


"So this is how you make a volcano..."


I'm guessing it lasted no more than 30 minutes. No explosions. No burns. Good thing Jeff didn't find Borax at the store yesterday...

One other Ogden-Reed highlight:

Last night they were pretending Alex was a dog and the girls were taking care of him. At some point along the way, the dog was choking.

"Do the Heimlich manure!"

"The what?"

"The Heimlich manure."

"Oooh. What's that?"

"I don't know but people do it all the time."

"Sounds stinky."


The puppy, had it lived, would have expired by the time they rejected the cure...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No lions, no tigers, but bears???

The annual Christ the King 3rd Grade Camp Tecumseh overnight sleepover is coming up. It's a two-day trip that promises to take the kids back in time to learn about pioneer days, nature, surviving alone and all that grimy, furry stuff.

Ali is trying to talk me into letting her go trick-or-treating alone -- as in with her friends by no parent. So, when this camp came up, I immediately thought about dinner and a movie, maybe a bubble bath. Who could say?! Romance was lurking right around the corner.

So on the evening when I had to go learn about what the children would do on this wilderness overnight, I carefully failed to lead my witness.

"So, Ali, you know Camp Tecumseh is coming up, right?"

"Yeah, mom."

"So, you want to go, right?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Did you, um, want to go by yourself and have a little independence, or did you want me or Dad to go along with you?"

"What? You mean I can go By MYSELF????!!!"

"Well, there would be your class and your teacher and probably some parents," I said.

"But I could go without you?"

"Yeah. If you wanted."

She thought a minute but didn't answer. I prompted her.

"Well, Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings."

I advised her that she couldn't hurt my feelings and if she wanted some time without her dad or me bossing her around in the woods, that would be OK.

"Well then, I think I should go by myself," she said, clearly relishing the idea of a truly wild couple of days.

"But Mom," she said.


"Is there any chance I could die out there?"

"Die out there? What? Why would you think that? It's a camp, honey. There will be other people and cabins and stuff."

"Yeah. But will there be BEARS? Bears could kill me. And if there's any chance of me getting eaten by bears or killed, I'd want you to be there with me."

I told her I'd check but I was pretty sure Indiana's bear problems were long past.

So, with romance blooming in my head, I trot off to Camp Tecumseh information night, leaving Ali working on experiments with her dad, using her new Icky Sticky Foamy Slimy Ooey Gooey Chemistry kit/book.

"Oh, you HAVE to go!"

"It's the best trip of the whole school year."

"I'll go if someone like you goes." (I'm still trying to figure out what that meant...)

Romance officially left the building. I'm on the list for parent counselor.

While I'm not ruling out some fun, I am starting to research that bear idea....

Sunday, October 4, 2009


We're gearing up for Halloween at Chez Reed. The decorations are out from storage, if not all perfectly arranged, and Alison is busy planning her spooky menu for what may become our annual party.

If you're around, you should stop by. But be prepared to brave the elements. You may have to fish around the brain of a mummy or drink some witch's blood before you earn a treat...

Today I hope to take it easy. We've had two weekends full of fun and I'm in need of a day on the couch. I'm not inspired with any great insight today, so I'll leave you with this:

Coming home in the car she was telling me that she had the perfect movie for Jeff and me when our next wedding anniversary comes along: Sponge Square Pants' Single Cell Anniversary.

She asked how long we've been married. I told her we got married in 1998 and it was going to be 2010 when our next anniversary came would come along. She figured out that we're coming up on a dozen years.

She asked how long we were married before we had her. We did a little math to determine that it was a little more than 3 years.

"Wow. Three years without me. That must have been hard," she said.


This morning she'd started one of the hardest puzzles known to man. It's 500 pieces and is a platter of donuts -- many identical. We got in years ago while on vacation with Eric and Traci and repetition has not made it easier.

What hasn't changed over the years is that we start craving donuts as soon as we get one of the darn things put together. We've far...

She and Jeff went out for a bit this morning. I wasn't feeling like leaving the house. Ali got ready, lured by the famous Northside News grilled cheese sandwich.

"I'll be interested to see your progress when we get home," she said, patting me on the head.


We had dinner with new friends last night and Ali opted to spend her evening downstairs. At one point she came up and asked if I'd come downstairs with her. Clearly something was the matter.

I assumed she'd spilled or broken something. But no. She'd found a baby spider and smashed it flat with her Littlest Pet Shop tool box. Used to be, we'd usher our unwanted guests out the back door on a piece of paper. She's learned to despise spiders lately; I'm not sure why.

As she'd dispatched the bug, I wasn't sure what the trouble was. Apparently she's OK killing bugs; she just couldn't bring herself to touch the carcass.

"I had to smash it 5 times!" she said. "It wouldn't stop moving so I sat on it for a while. That worked."