mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

My Worst Nightmare May 17, 2014

There are things that happen to people.  Bad things.  Things that test the limits of their sanity.  Things that can break them.  That can push them over the edge and change them.  Things that cause people to lose themselves.

One of these things happened to me.  And I knew that if I didn’t conquer it, I would never be the same.  And while it may not be easy for others to understand, for me it was real.  Very real.  I knew it was a battle that I had to win or it would defeat me.  It would define me for the rest of my life.  It would rule me.  If I didn’t finish that bologna sandwich…if I didn’t force myself to eat the entire thing…if I didn’t consciously choose to chew it up and force myself to swallow it…I’m quite certain there would have been permanent damage in my mind.  I was on the verge of being broken.  Yes, my battle was a bologna sandwich.  I’m not proud of it, but we can’t control these things, can we?  Stay with me.  I’ll explain.

To set the stage, I need to share just one tidbit of background information:  I’m terrified of frogs.  Boy, it feels good to have that off my chest.  Yes, I’m scared of frogs.  I’m scared of frogs!  I know that by disclosing this, you may never look at me the same.  You may think of me as the weird woman who is scared of frogs instead of as me, an otherwise normal individual who functions just fine in society.  But I had to share.  You had to know this in order to understand the sandwich.

So, it all started, well, let’s be realistic, this story started somewhere back in my childhood.  But we don’t have time for that.  We’ll skip over the traumatic frog experiences of my life (did you know they scream when on fire?  did you know they pop when run over?) and get right to the events leading up to the bologna sandwich.

It was a dark and stormy night (seriously), and we were camping.  I thought I would take the dog for a little walk even though it was wet outside.  After all, we were camping anyway.  So, I leashed the dog, and we took off.  A girl and her dog.  Off for a little walk in the rain.  In the dark.  I know, I know – what was I thinking?  I was practically begging for a frog encounter.  But, honestly, I thought I had my fear under control.  I thought I could handle walking in the general vicinity of croaking amphibians without losing it.  And I probably could have.

Until it happened.

My worst nightmare.

I’m not exaggerating.

This is something I have obsessed about ever since I was a little girl.  Something that has been in the forefront of my mind every single time I walk outside at night.  Something I have lain in bed at night an contemplated, only to give myself the shivers and force the thoughts from my mind.  Literally, my worst nightmare.

I stepped on a bullfrog.

Remember, it’s pitch black dark!  It’s raining.  I can’t see a thing.  But I felt that bulbous mass under my left arch and I knew right away what it was.  It was a hideous feeling – worse than I imagined.  But, I had a lightening fast reaction, and I rolled my foot to the left to get my precious foot off the beast.  And something worse than I ever could have imagined happened.  The frog jumped up the leg of my pants.

I immediately flailed and kicked until I caught a glimpse of the reflection of the moon off his grotesque white belly as he flew spread-eagle through the air.  And then I was frozen.  I couldn’t move.  I mean, how could I?  I couldn’t see anything, so I didn’t know where that villainous creature was or if he had an army of cohorts nearby ready to attack.  But I knew the longer I waited, the greater the chance that I was being surrounded, so I began a panic-stricken shuffle back to our campsite.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was doing some sort of high-pitched moan that didn’t quite sound human – certainly not something that’s ever come out of me before.  I couldn’t think.  It was the longest 100 feet of my life – just trying to reach safety.

I’ll spare you the details of the rest of my panic attack.  Let’s just say it was ugly and leave it at that.  It took hours to stop crying, to calm my racing heart, to stop shaking.  Hours of laughing and crying and laughing while crying.  I was not in control of my emotions, to say the least.

And when I finally calmed down, I was hungry.

Enter the bologna sandwich.

I sank my teeth into that sandwich, and all I could think about was the striking resemblance between the cold, clammy, moist skin that was pressed up against my left leg and the remarkably similar texture of that cursed bologna.  Every time I chewed, I felt that frog on my leg.  I felt it like it was really there.  And then I tasted it.  I felt that amphibian skin in my mouth.  I looked at that slice of bologna between two slices of bread, and I saw that frog looking back at me with his ugly little froggy eyes and his arms and legs overhanging the crust of my bread.

I had to finish that sandwich.  Don’t you see what was happening!?  If I didn’t finish that sandwich, the frog would have won.  My mind would have never been the same.  I would have been broken.  I had to force myself to overcome those temporary pangs of insanity.  I had to eat a bologna sandwich made out of a frog.

And I did it!  I gagged my way through it.  I concentrated.  I dug deep and fought to keep myself.  I chewed that sandwich.  I ate that sandwich.  I finished that disgusting, froggish, nightmarish sandwich, and I was victorious!!  I WON!  I will not be controlled by my fear.  I will live a normal life!  The frogs will not rule me!  I will not make accommodations for amphibians.  I will live my life to the fullest!  I finished the sandwich!!!

But I will never wear boot-cut jeans again.  I mean, skinny jeans don’t look good on me, but let’s be realistic – they are much safer.

And I will always carry a flashlight.

Oh, and I’ll never eat bologna again.

 

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That’s all I need! And this remote control…and this lamp. That’s all I need! September 9, 2012

Remember that scene from The Jerk– the “That’s All I Need” scene?  Steven Martin is leaving his fancy house and his fancy life, and he doesn’t need to take anything with him, except an ashtray.  And a paddle-ball game.  And a remote control.  Then a lamp. A chair.  His dog?  Each time he added another item, he declared it was all he needed.

Cover of "The Jerk (26th Anniversary Edit...

Cover of The Jerk (26th Anniversary Edition)

Ronnie and I cleaned the garage yesterday.  It was a mess.  A big mess.  We did it, but he reminded me of Steven Martin the whole time, grasping on to junk like he somehow needed it.  I don’t even think he can explain why half of the stuff in there is even there at all.

Seems to me he could be dealing with some hoarding tendencies, and he of course is in denial, so I took the liberty of finding a diagnostic test and taking it on his behalf.  This will, naturally, be scientifically accurate and utterly indisputable.

DURING THE PAST WEEK.
0                  1                                    2                                       3                             4
Never  Rarely   Sometimes/Occasionally  Frequently/Often Very Often
1. How often do you avoid trying to discard possessions
because it is too stressful or time consuming?

We put off cleaning the garage for several months because of all the stuff.  We knew it was going to be an all-day ordeal, which it was.  3
2. How often do you feel compelled to acquire something
you see? e.g., when shopping or offered free things?

All I can say about this is that I found lots of merchandise still in the bag from the store that he bought for projects that he plans on getting to one day.  3
3. How often do you decide to keep things you do not
need and have little space for?

me – Ronnie, why do you have this kitchen sink faucet?

Ronnie – Because it’s a perfectly good faucet.

me – Then why did you replace it in the first place?

Ronnie – Because it’s a piece of junk.

me – Hmm…3
4. How frequently does clutter in your home prevent you
from inviting people to visit?

Our clutter problem is restricted to the garage, but we have had the strict rule for the past couple of months to have the garage door closed when people are over. 3
5. How often do you actually buy (or acquire for free) things
for which you have no immediate use or need?

see number 2; 3
6. To what extent does the clutter in your home prevent
you from using parts of your home for their intended
purpose? For example, cooking, using furniture, washing
dishes, cleaning, etc.

You mean to tell me that some people can actually park their cars in their garage!? 3
7. How often are you unable to discard a possession you
would like to get rid of?

me – Ronnie, what should I do with all of this stuff?  I don’t even know what it is!

Ronnie – Just throw it away.

me – Okay.

Ronnie – Wait!  Just let me look at everything before you throw it away. 3

I think it’s safe to say that he could have a proclivity towards hoarding.  Thank goodness he isn’t too far gone and we were able to haul a bunch of junk away yesterday.

Our garage is clean as can be!  He only kept what he needed.

“This gas can, this wrench, this watering can, this boat oar, and my dog.  That’s all I need!”

Disclaimer: This post is intended to be tongue-in-cheek.  Ronnie is not really a hoarder.  He is a very hard-working man who puts in long hours and understands that the little free time he does have is better spent with his family than separating the 42,000 different screws in the garage.  All four of us contributed to the mess in the garage, and all four of us cleaned it up.  But, he is a pack-rat, and I did enjoy teasing him about it when I found some of his odder stashes of junk.

 

Better late than never… September 5, 2012

I have put this particular post off for right around twenty-five pounds.  That’s how much weight I’ve put on since last year at this time.  I’m not one to focus on the numbers – I’m just at a point now where I’m not comfortable with myself.  My clothes are too tight, my energy level is too low, and I feel unhealthy.

So, now that the kids are back in school and we’re all on a routine, I’m going to buckle down and drop these unhealthy pounds.  Blogging about it will be my virtual accountability partner.

I actually love exercising.  Ronnie and I (and my sister!) completed Insanity last year.  If you haven’t seen the infomercial, check it out.  I’m a sucker for exercise infomercials in general.  I’ve done Slim in Six, several of the Firms, a crazy version of Tae Bo, the Ten-Minute Trainer, and I bought one called Yoga Booty Ballet, but I never really could get into that one.

We have a Total Gym in the garage that would make Chuck Norris proud.  I also have a punching bag, a bicycle, a vertical knee raise machine, a jump rope, and some free weights.

I guess the point is that I’m well-equipped to go in the garage and get an intense work-out.

So, I just need to start.

And eat right.

Right now I’m a little hooked on bad food.  Okay, to be perfectly honest, my diet is just downright bad right now.  I read a book once that said that Americans are addicted to the combination of sodium, sugar, and fat that is in most of our restaurant food.  I’m guilty right now.  Time to cut the junk and detoxify my body.  I know the first couple of days will be hard, but after that I’ll feel instantly healthier.

Along with that, I need to drink water.  Yesterday, I didn’t even have a single drop of water until dinner.  That’s embarrassing since I know the consequences of not drinking water.  I know better.

I’m not going to bore everyone by writing constantly about my progress.  But, I’m going to be working on it.  Every once in a while, I’ll update you on my progress.  Twenty-five pounds took me a year to put on, and I expect it to take a little while to take back off.

Wish me luck!

 

A Driving Defeat July 29, 2012

We were camping last week at Lakewood Camping Resort near Myrtle Beach, SC.  It was a much-needed getaway, and we had a great time…with a few exceptions.

On the last full day we were there, the guys decided to charter a boat to go fishing on the ocean, so us girls agreed to take the kids to Ripley’s Aquarium.  I drove Ronnie’s truck, which is quite a big larger than the Honda Pilot I drive.  Anyway, I backed out of our campsite and then looked over my shoulder only to see that I had missed a tree by a fraction of an inch.  It was so close that it looked impossible that I could have missed hitting it.  We laughed about it, I made a joke about the truck being too big for me, and we headed to the aquarium.

If you’ve been to Broadway at the Beach, you know how crowded it is, and I was a little concerned about parking the truck.  I was psyched when I found a parking place on the end, and just to be sure I’d be able to get back out, I pulled in and jumped the curb so the driver’s side of the truck was in the parking slot and the passenger’s side was up on the grass.  I’ve seen Ronnie do it a thousand times.  A mountain parking job.

The aquarium was great, and when it was time to leave, I was so confident in my parking job that I backed right out, enthusiastically even.  Then I heard a big smack.  I stopped the truck right away, realizing that I had managed to hit a tree with Ronnie’s side-view mirror.  I jumped out, gathered up the parts of the truck that were scattered around, made an ugly face at the woman who ran over and watched me clean up while she was babbling on in a language I couldn’t understand, and made the phone call to tell Ronnie before anyone else could.

not too bad…

He handled the news very well, as I knew he would, but it was pretty embarrassing to have to ride in that truck for the rest of the trip with the mirror taped back on with electrical tape.  Oh, well!

at least the mirror itself didn’t break, so I should avoid seven years of bad luck…

I don’t think I’ll be driving the truck for a while…

I don’t always mess up, though…remember this one?  Driving Victory

 

The People under the Stairs June 6, 2012

Filed under: children,Confessions,family,humor — mandyholbert @ 6:42 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I have an aunt who is younger than I am.  What can I say?  My mom had me when she was young.  She was the oldest child in her family, and her mother had her young, too.  My grandma just wasn’t finished having children even though she was already a grandmother.  So, I have an aunt, Sandy, who is younger than my middle sister Nickie.

The three of us grew up like sisters.  And you know what that means.  Yep.  The occasional argument.  Three is an odd number, after all, and having an odd number easily leads to problems with children (that, among many other reasons, is why Ronnie and I are stopping at two kids).  It was usually Nickie and Sandy against me or Nickie and me against Sandy.  I guess, looking back, Nickie must have been the smart one out of the crowd.  I never really realized that before now.  Hmm…

Anyway, I have to confess that when it was Nickie and me against Sandy, we were often sometimes occasionally a little cruel in our schemes.  I remember one time, a seemingly innocent game of hide-and-go-seek was actually the front for one of our most brilliant premeditated pranks.

We had a storage closet under the stairs where my dad kept his tools and things.  The knob on the door was broken and could only open from the outside.  On the inside, the knob would turn and turn and never open the door.  Theoretically, if a person were to be in the closet and the door were to be closed from the outside, that person would be locked in the closet until someone from the outside opened the door.  Can you see where this is headed?

When Sandy came over to play, Nickie suggested hide-and-go-seek and even volunteered to be “it” first.  I told Sandy I had the perfect spot, and I led her to the closet under the stairs.  We turned the light off and sat quietly while we listened to Nickie trying to find us.  Finally, Nickie gave up, and Sandy and I decided to leave the closet.

I let her try the knob.  Of course it didn’t work.  I was very shocked and tried it myself.   Then, I yelled for Nickie to let us out.  She jiggled the knob on the outside to make Sandy think it wouldn’t open that way either.  Sandy started panicking.

I remember being very dramatic about this, though I can’t exactly remember if I actually yelled through the door for Nickie to call 911. I know I yelled things about being stuck forever and we had no food or water and we were never going to get out.  Nickie played her part perfectly.  We must have been very convincing to poor little seven-year-old Sandy.

I say we were convincing because she started crying.  Nickie yelled at me to use some of Dad’s tools, so I grabbed a screwdriver and pretended to finagle the knob.  When I turned around, Sandy had grabbed the hammer, and she had it raised and ready to break the door down.  I yelled as she started swinging, and Nickie swiftly opened the door thus saving us from having to explain to my parents why Sandy would have beat the closet door with a hammer.

Sandy didn’t think this was funny.  And I was a little afraid of her still holding that hammer with that manic look in her eyes.  I guess it would have served us right if she broke that door down.

Like I said, we grew up just like sisters.

 

Why I am a Bad Friend May 20, 2012

Filed under: Confessions,family,humor,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 10:08 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I am a bad friend.  Here’s why:

1.  When I say I will attend your _____________, I probably won’t.  Time is more valuable to me than money, and while I don’t have much money, I have even less time.  If you want me to attend your event, plan to serve a meal and invite my whole family – then we will likely come.  Unless, of course, it’s one of those at-home shopping parties where you try to pressure me into buying things because I’m obligated as your friend.  That is very uncomfortable.  I’d rather just give you some cash and avoid the inevitable flipping through the catalog pages to find something I can almost afford.

2. I won’t (not can’t) remember your birthday, anniversary, your kids’ birthdays, or any other important day.  I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays.  I don’t expect you to do anything for mine, and I’m not going to do anything for yours.  What did you expect?  This is about why I am a bad friend, remember?  Did you think I was going to promise to bake you a cake from scratch every year on your special day?  Sorry to disappoint.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. I don’t talk on the phone.  If you have something to tell me, keep it short and sweet, otherwise you’ve lost me.  And even during that short conversation, I’m going to be cooking, cleaning, painting my toe nails, or something else productive because I don’t have time to sit and chat all night.

4. If you make me feel guilty about anything, I’m not going to talk to you any more.  Well, I’ll talk to you when I see you, but I won’t go out of my way.  I don’t like being manipulated.  Oh, and I also don’t like gossip.  Or husband bashing.  That kind of limits the conversation for many people.

5. If your kid is mean, I’m not going to hang out with you.

6. My family comes first.  That includes not only my little family, but also my parents and my sisters.  And the rest of my family.  Even the ones I don’t like.  Just kidding, but not really.  Ha-ha!

7. I probably won’t call you back.  And if I do, I will try to do so at a time when I think you are least likely to answer your phone.

8. I only get along with people who have very low expectations for a friend.  I work full-time, I am a mom and a wife, I have a household to run, I have bills to pay, I have animals and a yard to take care of, I have meals to cook, I have laundry to do, and I’m constantly behind on everything.  Please don’t expect much from me.  Just take me as I am.

So, if you can put up with all of this, I am the perfect friend for you.  Please, don’t all call at once.

Not that it matters, because I’m not likely to answer the phone anyway.

 

Confession: I’m not the Mom you Think I am April 12, 2012

Filed under: Confessions,family,parenting,pets — mandyholbert @ 7:12 pm
Tags: , , ,

Somehow, unintentionally, I have given some people the impression that I have it all together. I appreciate the compliments – I truly do. But, I feel a little hypocritical in accepting them.
Let me tell you why.
I washed all of our bed sheets on Saturday. I finally put ours on our bed this morning (today is Thursday). We’ve been what we call “camping out” all week. That really just means we’ve been sleeping on sheetless beds on top of and under whatever covers we can scrounge up that are actually clean.
I have done an additional four loads of laundry this week, and all of the clean clothes are piled on a couch unsorted, unfolded, and un-anything else that is responsible and motherly.

We have eaten out every night this week – not because we love eating out but because I never made it to the grocery store to buy ingredients for proper dinners. We also are down to the last roll of toilet paper. I really need to get to the store.
My son’s favorite meal is macaroni and cheese from a can. Most people don’t even realize macaroni can be bought in a can. I actually feed it to my child.
I forget to feed the dog sometimes.

My poor husband had to dry off with a hand towel after his shower this morning.
The kids’ rooms look like disaster zones. I only care when I go in them. And I only go in them to tuck them in or to put their laundry away (obviously, a rarity).
The thing is, nothing is perfect around here. Actually, nothing is even remotely close to perfect. I feel like I never have it together. If I get the house cleaned up, the outside is a wreck. If I get outside presentable, then my car is a mess. I don’t think I’ve ever had it all done, and I don’t think I ever will.
I am a working mom. I have to remind myself constantly that I leave my house between 7-7:30 in the mornings, depending on the day of the week, and I get home sometime after 6 and usually before 7. When I get home, I have the family and animals to feed, laundry to do, a house to clean…I could go on naming the mundane tasks that keep a household running, but I won’t. More importantly, I have a family to love and take care of. I have projects to start and try to finish. I have a garden. A tree house. Bunnies. And a dog.
I am so blessed to have a husband who doesn’t demand a spotless house and meals on the table when he gets home. I have a man who doesn’t mind helping me search through the mountains of clean clothes and maybe the drier too to find two matching socks to wear to work. We decided together that we can’t have everything perfect and still have time for our kids, our projects, and fun. So, we compromise. We keep things presentable, but not perfect. When they start to get out of hand, we all work together to get it decent again.
I’d so much rather drop my kids off at the garden on the way home so they can play in the tree house. I’d rather go inside and take off the uncomfortably professional attire I have to wear to work and put on my holey jeans and my Crocs so I can go join them.
I’ll get to the laundry eventually. It can wait.
My family shouldn’t have to.