Thursday, September 15, 2011

Safeway Shenanigans

Safeway is the gateway to the 80’s.   

I wasn’t aware of this myself until today.   

The first indication of something odd was when I approached the door and my great aunt Bertha was blocking the entire entrance (yes, she had the… presence to block an entire grocery store entrance).  My great aunt Bertha passed away many years ago, so I was quite surprised to see her as you can imagine.  But there she was with her flowered dress on, talking to another lady in a flowered dress about Bob Barker or something along those lines.   

I decided not to interrupt her, and besides, you had to be careful around great aunt Bertha because she talked with her arms when she got excited, and that could be dangerous.  

 Inside the Safeway, I grabbed a cart and started on the weekly shopping.  Within a minute, I was asked by a clean-cut box boy if I was finding everything okay.  He had no tattoos, no metal bits sticking out of his eyebrows, lips or nose, and (get this) his underwear was not visible.  That’s right, I’m telling you that his pants fit.   

It was about this time that I noticed that I was humming a Thompson Twins song.  It was in my head because it was playing over the speakers.   

How awesome is that!  Thompson Twins in Safeway!   

For the next 15 minutes, I sat on a Little Debbie display and sang along with English Beat, Blondie, Howard Jones, and UB 40.  I bumped into another guy in the dairy aisle who was also singing, and we managed some shaky harmony on the Go Go’s classic, "Vacation".   

By the time I made it around to produce, I was feeling pretty happy with my shopping trip.  It was in amongst the potatoes that I decided to do what I wanted to do in 1982 at the local Kroger.  I wanted to make a face on the cabbage… like Mr. Potato Head.   

My mother would not allow one of her sons to handle the produce in the store, so my Mr. Cabbage Head never came to life.  Today, though, was 1982 all over again, so I thought to myself, “Self, you go and make your Mr. Cabbage Head.”   

I found some pearl onions, string beans and snow peas, and went to the cabbages and started rearranging them to suit my needs.  The young man working in produce asked me if I needed any help, and I replied, “No thank you, I’d like to make this cabbage face by myself.” 

It should be noted that his nose only had two proper holes, and his underwear was not visible at all.
Man, I miss the 80’s.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mosquitoes and Oatmeal

At the last minute, my buddy and his 6-year-old son invited us to go camping.

Cool ... except that it was 97 degrees.

After both soccer games, I raced home with the sweaty kids, pulled the soccer bags out of the car, and threw all the camping gear in the car. 

Nothing was packed, so it looked like a Boy Scout had exploded in the way-back of the Subaru.

We met up with the two other dads and their boys, and caravanned to the Minotaur Lake trailhead. The trail was steep... not steep like my insurance rate, but steep like a dusty, rocky, tree rooty, crawl-up trail. 

Within a half-mile, both of my children pulled off their shoes and socks. Neither of my children have skin on their feet.  Whatever it is, it’s tougher than duct tape and has the aesthetic quality of cantaloupe rinds. 

Within the next mile, we passed a couple sliding down the trail. The woman (who must have been a mom) saw my barefooted children with their backpacks on, scrambling up the trail, and gave me a stare that made me feel like I had pancreatic cancer.

After the stare-down, I recovered well enough to convince my kids to finish the trudge by using a box of Mike and Ike’s and a quart of Kool-Aid.

At the campsite, the mosquitoes were doing Rock, Paper, Scissors for first blood. They ate the Deet off of us to kill time. We built a little fire and kept throwing green limbs on for the smoke. While convulsing from smoke inhalation, my daughter managed to spit out, “Why do the mosquitoes not bite us when we’re standing in the smoke?” To which I replied, while gasping for air, “They have to breathe too,”

We abandoned the smoke for a swim in the lake, and in a moment, we were standing on chunks of granite a few feet above a crystal clear alpine lake.

  • There was no one else swimming – clue #1. 
  • There was a snowfield dripping into the lake – clue #2. 
  • There was apparently nothing alive in the lake – clue #3. 

I jumped in anyway.

There is a sensation that occurs when your internal organs freeze. Walt Disney probably can relate. I came to the surface and, without a choice, scrambled for the bank. I apparently played it off well enough, because both of my children jumped in afterward. It was so cold, they couldn’t scream… believe me when I say that they would have screamed if it had been possible.

Back at camp we ate a lovely meal, which tasted like campfire smoke, and sat around telling stories and coughing until about 10pm. Oddly enough, it was so cold at bedtime that the mosquitoes were finally gone.

The next morning we looked like survivors of a Chicken Pox epidemic, and with the rising of the sun, came the rising of the mosquitoes. It was a zombie movie except with mosquitoes and daylight. I got out my iPhone and started calculating how many drops of blood I could loose before needing to lie down with a cookie and a juice box.

I packed up the instant oatmeal and rounded up the children who were standing in the renewed campfire. We made it back to the car in one hour, and headed home. My daughter is excited because it looks like she has a bad case of acne, which, according to her, makes her look like she’s a teen-ager.

I suppose every cloud of mosquitoes has a silver lining.