Posts Tagged ‘Facilities crew’

Dear McKinnons,

Every time we stay with you, we have something to laugh about. From Petra trying to fatten us up like Thanksgiving turkeys to Patrick disappearing in the middle of the conversation to go to Home Depot, it’s always an adventure.

On Thursday, I walked into your house with the family. Patrick took one look at me.

Him: What’s on your pants?
Me: Serial killers.
Him: Is that a band?
Me: No. Real serial killers. You know. Like Charles Manson.

(The leggings I mentioned in this post.)

This time, even Ryder and Mia gave us a laugh.

After I tagged along on the guys’ outing to see “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” Friday (the bros and a bra), we discussed the finer points of some key deaths. (No spoilers.)

Ryder went back into the vault to describe Obi Wan’s death like this:

His towel dropped.

I laughed so hard, I was wheezing.

(Ryder then asked if he was going to make it into my blog finally. Yes, my young padawan.)

Mia, who has a competitive streak like her father, did not want said father to win the Uno game Friday.

She turned to me, sitting next to Pat as I always do.

Her: You got something for him?
Me: I do.

She plays a color she knows I have. I throw down a reverse. She wins the game. We high five, because she won and not Pat.

Evil. I love it.

Saturday, Petra and I were having a serious conversation about the deaths of our fathers and subsequent guilt.

Here comes Pat to vacuum right behind her.

Petra and I looked at each other. Shocked. Then started laughing because OF COURSE HE HAD TO DO THAT RIGHT THEN.

Then last night, we all played a Pictionary-like game called “Buzz Draw.”

Naturally, someone yells out “penis” if anything is remotely phallic. (Like there is ever going to be a penis prompt on a family game card.)

Gideon drew “winter.” He thought at first that no one got it.

Mia: I said ‘winter’ a long time ago!
Pat: But I yelled ‘penis’ at the same time.

Speaking of penis, your dog Angus took an unusual interest in me.

I feel like I need a restraining order. Counseling at the very least.

Here he is rubbing his slobbery toy all over me under the table.

It’s better than what he usually rubs on me. (Hint: See theme of the game above.)


Anyway, thanks for letting us stay with you this weekend. And thanks especially for the laughs.


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Dear Carnival:

It was so great to see you again. I’m sorry our three-family tribe cheated on you with Royal Caribbean.

It won’t happen again.

You have everything we want:

Comfy chairs where Edgar can nap, and Pat can play his games

Photographers willing to take unusual pics


Limited tolerance (for what, I’m not sure)

Maybe for Swedish girls throwing gang signs (?)

Places for Uno battles to break out

PLENTY of places

Places to play with children too

Even enough room to pay a push-up penalty if you are too loud while playing Uno

An unflappable wait staff

Exotic food liked smoked oysters with some kind of weird froth

Games designed to titillate while taking Edgar’s money

Elevators big enough for parties of 11

The ability to get intimate with sea life

And, most importantly, the chance for friends to get together and have fun year after year

There is only one thing we needed but couldn’t have: unlimited bacon.

Fix that, and we’ll love you forever.

Still, we’ll see you next year.

Wet, sloppy stingray kisses,

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Dear Eddie:

Seventeen years ago today, we paraded around in Forsyth Park. You were wearing a tuxedo and I was wearing a lacy concoction I’d never wear today. Your hair was super tall and curly. I had accidentally dyed mine black. We still looked OK — for ’95 anyway.

Most of our friends were there with us, wearing clothes they’d never be caught dead in today. Remember Pat’s teal suit?

Since that day, we’ve had so much fun together. We’ve traveled around the world, kept great friendships and made new ones, created two new human beings, and laughed with/at each other every day. You roll your eyes at my reality TV obsession while I sigh at your fitness ones. You sew while I like to raise chickens. You like to play the part of Megatron with the kids while I’m off playing Words with Friends. It works.

Some people get together and want the other person to change. But we don’t do that. We are essentially the same people we were when we got together. We’re both independent and self-sufficient. We don’t need each other; we want each other.

We’ve gone through some rough patches, but we both realize that marriage is work. That work reaps amazing rewards. I credit She Who Must Not Be Named for helping us strengthen our relationship early. It was the opposite of what she hoped, I know (cue evil laughter). And to Nancy Lopez, who said we wouldn’t last a year, well … [the title of a Cee Lo Green song applies here].

I think we’ve lasted because we took our time getting together in the first place. You know that saying: Good things come to those who wait. OK, yes, it was a ridiculously protracted time, but whatever. It worked.

And it doesn’t hurt that you look better now than you did when we got married.

I’ve seen pictures of some of the people I used to date and I think, “Dear God! What is that thing?” “Well, I certainly dodged a bullet.” “My husband is unusually handsome!” So thank you for not letting yourself go all to hell. And I hope you don’t think I look too raggedy. I’ve tried to keep it together.

Anyway, happy anniversary. I love you (duh!) but I also still like you. And I think that’s more important.

Love always,

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I love Halloween. Fortunately for me, I have family and friends who like it too. Before the kids arrived on the scene, Eddie and I hosted a big party every year (Frankenparty). Now we just put our energy into costumes.

This year, we teamed up with two other families and went as the cast of the “Wizard of Oz.” It took more than a month of construction for Eddie, the Tin Man.

It took an hour and a half to get Eddie into the costume, and there was tape involved.

The end result was worth it:

Here’s the cast list:

Tin Man: Eddie
Toto: Dominic
Lion: Gideon
Glinda: Me

Scarecrow: Eggy
Wicked Witch: Sophia
Dorothy: Ava

Munchkin: Carmen
Flying Monkey: Daniel

We were a big hit in the neighborhood.

We lost track of how many people asked to take pictures of us.

After trick or treating, it was time for four of the adults to enjoy some treats of their own. Carmen and Daniel, Eddie’s sister and brother-in-law, agreed to watch the kids so we could go to my friend Terri’s party.

Getting there was … interesting. We couldn’t use ruby slippers or a broom, so the Element had to do.

It took about 15 minutes for us all to reassemble ourselves once we got to Terri’s house.

But the night didn’t end there. Oh no. We were so happy to be out that we even went to see a movie: “Paranormal Activity 2.” The witches definitely needed a break!

Witches’ Night Out

After all, Glinda and Elphaba hadn’t been able to spend much time together since college.

Next year: Sesame Street. Oh, it’s on!

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Brokeback wrap

It is Tuesday, July 6, and the last of the house guests just pulled out of the driveway. Almost one whole week of multiple comings and goings of great, longtime friends. Whew!

Guests in the house included the following (most at the same time):

Eggy, Sophia, Ava, Alex, Ida, Billy, Miwa, Niina, Felipe, Mana, Brenon, Janet, Brian, Joel, James R., Patrick, Petra, Ryder, Mia, James G., Deb, Bear, Cassie, David, Cissy, Salua, Aisha and Sasha.

That’s a grand total of 28 unique visitors. And then add the four of us. And three dogs.

There were two tents in the back yard, filled with four guys one night (with surround-sound snoring provided by Alex and Billy), and five the next. (“Ennis, quit yer hammerin’ and get in here!”) Note: Pat bailed at the last minute. I was like Goldilocks in my own home. My room was too loud because it contained Brannens. Sophia’s room had an early-rising Baby Ava. So Ida and her air mattress became just right. Cozy!

The distance award could go to Billy and his family, as they flew in from Abu Dhabi. But they were coming anyway. So the award should go to Brian, who flew in from Santa Monica.

Injuries were minimal. Eddie has a pressure-washing slash thanks to Eggy, and the trampoline only claimed two victims: Billy and me. I did not break my toe (it was just bruised) and Billy’s strawberry (see below) is almost gone now. Brenon did not get injured. It’s a miracle!

Eddie says the injuries were limited because we didn’t put out the Slip ‘n’ Slide. He’s probably right.

There were numerous dogfights, but not the illegal gambling kind. Maggie and Pearl did not bond, and Maggie kicked her ass a couple of times. Then Maggie kicked Mona’s ass for good measure. Pearl also has a small singe mark from the fireworks (her own fault).

Facilities crew reunion: (left to right) Pat, Brenon, Alex, Bear, Eggy, Eddie, David, James, Billy, Brian, Joel and James. And there's Sophia horning in on the right. Holla!

There were lots of laughs, and that’s the whole reason Eddie wanted to stage this whole shebang. Maybe next time the ladies should buy plane tickets and send them out of town …

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A former student, Elyse, suggested that I take on a particular challenge: Write a letter to my 20-something self. (She got the idea from blogger Cassie Boorn.)


The only thing is, I’m not much for regrets. All experiences — especially the bad ones — shape us and make us the people we are. I have a decent self-esteem, so I’m fine with how I turned out. If anything in my history changed, I might now be living alone in a van down by the river.

But anyway, here goes the exercise:

Dear Self:

First, the good news: You are going to turn out fine, and you’ll end up having a great job, fun husband, smart kids and good friends. Now the bad news: It won’t be an easy path to get there.

Here’s some advice:

1. Send tapes — VHS, not Betamax — out everywhere, not just stations within a four-hour radius of your boyfriend.

2. Speaking of the boyfriend, break up with him soon. Yes, he’s hilarious and treats you well, but he’s not “the one.” Make an effort to keep him as a friend. If you let the relationship limp along to the end, he’ll be hurt and never want to speak to you again. And you’ll miss his friendship.

3. Don’t date the guy who comes next. Just don’t. And because you are stubborn and won’t listen to that advice, at least listen to this: Break up after your first argument. That really is the real him and that really is how he feels. Save yourself pages and pages of journal angst.

4. Thanks for trying to be a good girl (and thank you so much for not loading us up with STDs or an unplanned pregnancy), but you really should date more people. Don’t be in a hurry to settle down into monogamy. You’ll have plenty of that later. But don’t date the stick figure or the rodeo clown. Stick figure causes more journal angst, and the rodeo clown will make you fear for your life.

5. Only have one credit card and pay off the balance each month. For the love of God, please do this. You’ll add years to our life.

6. Stop going to antique stores. You really don’t need freaky old-lady doilies, mismatched china, and costume jewelry that leaves a greenish tinge on you when you wear it. Save your money for important stuff like traveling.

7. Travel extensively. Take the summer off after college and go to Europe or Botswana or wherever. Just go. You will never be that unencumbered again. And then, when you are older and in that great job, you will try desperately to make a student named Travis heed this advice. He will look at you skeptically, and then squander his own opportunity.

8. Don’t cut your hair short. Or if you do, go to someone who knows what he/she is doing. Otherwise, you’ll look like you are wearing a wig, and you’ll want to burn every picture from this period. The only palatable one looks like this (and that hair is still really bad):

9. Wear clothes that fit. Stop wearing men’s shorts, fat-girl tunic shirts, and anything with pleats. Walk around naked more and stop being so self-conscious. You will miss that body later when you have kids and more closely resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

10. Forget French. Learn Spanish.

11. Don’t let the lack of outdoor space and the two fixer-upper basement apartments scare you away from buying that townhouse on Jones Street. It’s a steal. Trust me.

12. Spend more time with your parents.

13. Practice saying “no” to people who want you to adopt strays. If you don’t, you’ll end up with four cats and four dogs, and everyone thinking you are weird/deranged/stinky.

14. Don’t mix beer with all those Wet Willie’s drinks on St. Patrick’s Day 1993. Seriously.

15. Pay more attention to the cute Puerto Rican in facilities. You’ll be happy you did.


Self Plus 20

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The summer me is so different from the fall, winter and spring me. I wear hats. I don’t wear shoes. I wear T-shirts. I don’t wear makeup. I have plenty of things to do. I don’t have motivation. I didn’t take a shower yesterday until 10 p.m. because I spent most of the day in my bathing suit.

My house is a wreck and I have people coming over tonight. I’m finding it hard to care about cleanliness. Eddie and I have a list of 20 things that have to get done before we have about 40 people at our house next weekend for what we have dubbed “Brokeback Weekend.” It is a reunion of the facilities crew.

There will be tents in my backyard. Tents!

Eddie claims that most of the guys will be sleeping in one large eight-person tent. The ones who stink or snore will be booted to two smaller tents.

He also begged me to buy a small trampoline to insert danger into the act of jumping in the lake. His words: “This will increase the chance of medical attention by at least 50 percent.” Fantastic.

Gideon tests out the Injury Express

While the guys are out threatening each other, wrestling, farting and whatever else a guy herd does, the ladies will be inside wrangling children and enjoying the air conditioning.

And not noticing the layer of dust, I hope. (Cleaning, I do know how to quit you.)

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