Posts Tagged ‘1994’

The playland tubes story

August 25, 2013

I recently heard tell that the ball pits that were popular when my kids were babies have been removed from all fast-food playlands.

I once sneaked into one as an adult — they didn’t have stuff like that when I was a kid — and regretted it. I took a flying leap into the pit. The balls are hard. It hurt everywhere.

Being a California native in Boulder, Colo., I struggled with preschoolers and snowy days. I used to call my friend Katherine up, and we would drive to Broomfield for a field trip. There was a McDonald’s there with the biggest Play Place I ever heard of.

It was indoors, but the walls were all clear plastic, so you could see all five stories of colorful crawl paths from the freeway. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the tubing structure had its own ZIP code.

I was such a rude costumer, I would feed the kids at home, and then just take them to play. I knew it was wrong, but it was 10 degrees below freezing and I felt wronged by the world. I spent winters feeling indignant.

The structure was intimidating, both in size and population. My son was pretty shy about it. He lingered around the little-people area, popping peek-a-boo through cut outs in padded plastic, or throwing the little balls that escaped the pit of pain.

One afternoon when I was almost nine-months pregnant with my daughter, he braved up and went into the maze of tubes.

For reasons passing understanding, he waited until he was in the center of the topmost tube path to decide he was frightened.

He called to me through the windows of his tube. I called back, “Crawl out!”

He could neither figure out how to turn around, back out the four miles he had traversed nor understand that going forward meant a short downhill path to freedom.

I had no choice. I crawled in to get him.

Picture an eight and a half-month pregnant woman in several layers of thermals and wool sweaters wriggling through a habitrail lined with dry, gummy ketchup.

The McEmployees were not pleased.

They scolded me, “The Play Place tube maze is for children only.” I supposed it was for customers only, too, but didn’t mention that.

Since then I’ve seen many things, such as the Internet, and learned that those playlands were said to be chock full o’ dirty diapers, vomit and used hypodermic needles. I read terrible tales of children getting trapped and killed in the depths of the ball pits.

The moral here is plain: never live where it gets cold.


Pulp Fiction

February 22, 2013

Last night we watched Pulp Fiction again.

I had made a best-movies-of-all-time list years ago, and my son’s been working his way through it. He agrees with my taste. Pulp Fiction is number 4. Finally we decided he was mature enough to watch it.

There’s a scene where John Travolta’s character is buying drugs, and The Tornadoes’ ‘Bustin’ Surfboards’ is playing. This was the first surf song to get national airplay.

The Tornadoes are from my town. My Uncle Chauncey used to jam with them. The lead guy, Gerald Sanders, is my uncle’s BFF.

When the movie producers came knocking, they wanted the orignal vinyl recording of the song. Gerald didn’t have one.

My mom did.

When Gerald came knocking, she didn’t want to give it up. He promised to have it back before she could say blueberry pie.

He didn’t. What you hear in that movie is my mama’s stolen 45.

If you’re reading, Gerald, give it back. Pretty please, with sugar on top….

Update: This story is not accurate. Please read the comments for a correction from Uncle Chauncey himself.

The dirty bootie story

January 26, 2013

My oldest friend is who persuaded me to blog. We e-mail each other in the evenings. Last night, this educated woman who has a baby and a preschooler asked me, “How do you have time to post a blog every day?”

“My kids wipe their own asses,” I said. Oh old friend, your time will come. But this reminded me of a story.

Will you believe I have an ass-wiping story?

We used to listen to these children’s songs tapes, which included the catchy “Meet Me in St. Louis.”

One night my son was sitting on his training potty, singing this song loudly. We could hear him from the kitchen. Then it was quiet.

Then we heard, “Wipe me up, my bootie, bootie. Wipe me up down there. Don’t be rough or I’ll start whining. Wipe me up with care….”

There was more, but my husband and I were laughing and we missed it.

My daughter’s birth

July 20, 2012

My daughter’s homework tonight is to ask me specific questions about her birth — how long was it, where was it, did I have medication, blah, blah, blah.

The final thing she asked was, “Do you have any anecdotes about my birth?”

Who are you talking to? Of course I have an anecdote.

She was a week overdue, and my certified nurse midwife said I had to come hook up to beeping things that make sure the baby is thriving. My husband and I made a date night of it.

Our birthing room in the hospital had a couch, a VCR, a stereo and a Jacuzzi. What with our having an almost-2-year-old at home, we were looking at this overnight as a belated honeymoon.

We sent out for Italian food and watched “Hook” on cable. I pulled the monitors off and we got in the Jacuzzi. Hey someone, put a do-not-disturb sign on the door.

At about 2:30 pains began to periodically wake me up, but after a few seconds they always stopped, so I kept going back to sleep.

I did not identify this as labor, because my son’s birth was just one long — and much worse — pain. You’ll read about that on Christmas Eve.

Then a contraction hit that made me make an inhuman noise. My midwife’s partner was happening by in the hall. She knew me fine, and slipped a glove on to check my cervix.

She looked lovely in a fuzzy angora sweater and red lipstick. She must have been out. “Call Kate,” she ordered. “She’s at 4 centimeters.”

I cried out to wake the dead and spider-walked up the headboard and wall behind me. I was trying to escape my body. It didn’t work.

Kate’s partner frowned, grabbed my feet and pulled me back down. She thrust her glove back in for another check and gave a holler into the hallway.

“Tell Kate to go back to bed. Mama’s jumped straight to 10 centimeters.” She directed her serious expression at me, “This baby’s coming out right now. Push.”

The head came out.

Here’s the anecdote part. The midwife said my water hadn’t broken, and that she would have to pop it. I have it in my head this was after the head came out, but that seems impossible to me. Maybe I’ve the order screwy.

She reached in with an awl or something, and my water shot around the baby’s head like a geyser, all over my poor, impromptu midwife’s beautiful, fuzzy angora sweater. I had tragically perfect aim.

One more push and the baby slid out.

The whole production took about 10 minutes, but I’ve spent 14 years being upset about that sweater.

Uncle Jer’s perspective

July 12, 2012

Jer and I were the only ones in the house who didn’t go to bed early, back when we had a houseful.

We would stay up on the couch and channel surf until Beavis and Butthead came on.

Whenever we caught a news item about someone, bandaged and bruised, who survived a crash or heinous injury, an anchor or neighbor always said, “You were really lucky.”

This turned Jer red. He would shout at the TV, “He wasn’t lucky! He was in a major accident. Luck is when the other car misses you.”

Uncle Jer sees things much more clearly than the rest of us.

The leg waxing

May 12, 2012

Many of the guys in Boulder were cyclists, including my close friend Jer.

They had to keep their legs free of hair or it would get caught in the gears. I have this wrong. Please see the comments for a correction.

My roommate was from San Clemente, and we used to joke that the only way to tell the guys from the chicks in that hippie town was that the guys shaved their legs.

One year a girlfriend of mine got her esthetician’s license and was preparing to hang her shingle in a spa. She invited Jer and me to get a free facial or something so she could practice.

I’m not the facial type, and neither was Jer, so we asked to get our legs waxed instead.

I should have taken the facial.

Even after Jer hollered like a little girl, she told me I was the biggest baby she ever heard.

The lemon-drop story

April 12, 2012

When I realized I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband was preparing for an exam, the final step in getting his master’s degree.

He had had a vasectomy six weeks before, but hadn’t gotten the go ahead from the doctor. That’ll teach him.

At best, I predicted, he would be too distracted to study. At best was bad. He had even sent me and our son to California during spring break so he could concentrate.

I didn’t want to think about at worst.

Uncle Jer, one of our friends who lived with us, knew. He caught me throwing up.

Uncle Tug lived with us too. One night he said, “I think I’m coming down with you’ve got. My stomach is a little upset.” I kept a straight face.

I was waiting until after my husband’s test to break the news. That meant keeping the secret for a month.

On Easter night we sat around the dining table playing M&M poker. Uncle Jer was making lemon drops.

He passed shots of vodka to whoever won a hand.

I was concerned. I had a full house.

Jer waited until my husband looked away. He gave me a trust-me smile as he pulled a different Absolut Citron bottle from under his seat.

I did shots of water and chased them with sugared lemon wedges.

And in my sobriety, I won all the M&Ms.