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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Why we will always be okay June 5, 2012

Sometimes it’s not really worth talking about a bad day.  Especially when both Ronnie and I have had one.

Max is spending the night at Grandmom’s tonight.  Kendra went to bed early.  Ronnie got home really late.  When we both finally got to sit down tonight, we both started to tell each other about our days.  But we decided there just wasn’t a point.  Some days are going to be hard.  We only get a little bit of time together tonight, so we spent it relieving stress instead of dwelling on it.

I asked Ronnie to go outside and catch lightning bugs with me.  I grabbed a jar, and he opened his truck doors and turned on “Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show, one of our favorite songs.  We ran around the yard together, catching lightning bugs and singing and dancing.

When we had the jar full, we did something I’ve been dying to try with the kids – we put the lightning bugs in Max’s frog habitat in his room.  I always wondered if a frog would glow if it ate a lightning bug, and you know what?  They do!  Ronnie and I laughed and laughed as we watched those frogs gorge themselves on bugs and then become blinking frog lanterns as the bugs lit up inside their stomachs.

I can’t wait to do this with the kids this weekend.  They are going to love it!

And Ronnie and I feel much better.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.  Maybe not.  But we’re going to be okay.

cutting our anniversary cake

 

Welcome to your new home, little goats. May 11, 2012

What in the world am I thinking!?  I am NOT an animal person, and I just spent the better part of the morning wrestling with two baby goats that we brought home last night.  Goats are strong, by the way.  And stinky.

Why do I have two goats in a cage?  That’s a good question.  Let me begin by sharing how we acquired our other animals.

The day we got our dog, we were not even considering a puppy.  I took the kids to the pet store just to look at the animals.  Then I saw her.  She was sitting in that pitiful little pen.  Just sitting there looking at me with those big sad eyes.  Begging to be rescued.  Then I noticed the sign on her pen – CLEARANCE.  I knew I had to have her.  So I paid the slashed price and asked the shopkeeper to hold her while I ran to Wal-Mart to buy the things normal people purchase in preparation for a puppy.  And to call my husband to inform him of the new addition to our family.

Who could resist those eyes?

I was guilted into our next pet acquisition.  Kendra really played me on this one.  How could I not buy her the little kitty when her brother had a puppy.  After all, she had always dreamed of having a kitten for her whole entire life.  So, we bought the kitten and then went back to Wal-Mart for kitten stuff.

Sparkles the kitten.

The dog and cat were enough for a long while.  Until one day, the kids really decided they absolutely couldn’t live without pet rabbits.  So, we bought them.  They had to live in a dog kennel in the garage for a few days while Ronnie built them a hutch.  Why?  Because, once again, we were unprepared.

Pleeease, Mom and Dad, pleeeease!?

Well, after that, we tried fish, but that didn’t work so well as you remember if you read my post To Flush or Not to Flush.  Moving on.

Time went on.  We went through several rabbits, and my sister added a dog to the mix, but we pretty much stayed the same for a few months.  Then, my son started really taking interest in frogs.  Since I’ve always been very determined not to pass my irrational fear on to my kids, I helped him build a habitat in the unused fish aquarium, and we put four frogs he captured in it.  I have to concentrate on not letting it bother me that there are frogs in his bedroom.  I don’t go in there much.

Then, Ronnie decided to get chickens.  Fresh eggs, teaching responsibility, all that good stuff.  I went along with it because the baby chicks were so cute.  However, since we were – you guessed it – unprepared! – the chickens lived in a container in my kitchen too long for me to end up liking them.  And, honestly, now that they’re older, they scare me to death.  They’re like frogs with feathers.  And beaks and long claws.  Terrifying.

So, that brings me to the goats.  We knew we were going to buy them, so we bought all the supplies to build a fence for them.  We even started on it.  Good, huh?  Unfortunately, that’s all we did, so when we went to get the goats last night, we brought them home and had nowhere to put them.  Typical of us, really.

I was supposed to put collars on them this morning, and tie them to something so they could be out for the day until we finish the fence tomorrow.  Good plan, huh?  Well, it was a failure.  Goats don’t like collars.  Goats don’t like being led on a leash.  Goats make a lot of racket, poop all the time, and jump around like bucking broncos.  Who knew they’d be kind of like little donkeys?  Not me, that’s for  sure.

So, Max and I managed to get them to the backyard, but the collars I bought were too big, and everything that could go wrong went wrong, and they probably hate me already, and they’re only 106 days old and now they’re probably traumatized, and I’m afraid they’re going to bite me, and the dogs are barking at them like crazy, and the goats are bleeting at the top of their little lungs, and I have goat pee and poop and hair all over me, and I’m not really sure how I feel about goats now.

We’ll build the fence tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’ve heard a rumor that someone we know has a pot-bellied pig they don’t want any more…

 

 

Why I am Late for Work – Excuse Number 103 April 2, 2012

Filed under: family,humor,Max,parenting,pets — mandyholbert @ 6:16 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a fear of frogs. Not just a casual “ew, gross, a slimy frog” kind of fear. It’s more like a my-heart-is-pounding-get-that-thing-away-from-me-before-I-have-a-heart-attack kind of fear. I know it’s irrational. I can’t help it. My friends used to torment me with it in high school. I remember several times frogs being placed on the hood of my Civic so I could not get in my car therefore could not drive anywhere.
Anyways, it’s dumb, I know, but like I said, I can’t help it. I’ve tried really hard not to let my fear influence how my kids feel about frogs. Kendra (the little angel that she is) understands the repugnance of them and hates them almost as much as I do. Max, on the other hand, catches them and plays with them.
The only benefit in this for me is that when I’m gardening and one jumps out at me (or just sits there, like they normally do, even though I’m screaming and dancing around like a fool) I can call him to rescue me.
This happened three times this weekend, resulting in his capturing three frogs, which he decided to keep as pets. (For those of you who care, I managed not to wet my pants even though I was pretty much on the brink of insanity when the third one tried to attack me.) I tried to encourage him in his amphibian-loving, so I had Ronnie get our aquarium from the attic so we could build a proper habitat for Max’s new pets.
And that’s what we did. We lined the bottom of the tank with mulch and mud and sand and leaves and sticks and rocks and grass. We put a bowl of water in it. We caught a nice variety of bugs to serve as prey for the frogs to hunt. Then, Max put his three new friends in their new home, and Ronnie and I went back to gardening.
When I checked on the frogs several hours later, one of them was rather conspicuously missing.
I asked Max about it, and he grinned and shrugged and altogether avoided answering my inquiries about the whereabouts of the frog in question.
At dinner, I asked again. After brushing me off several times, Max finally gave in and answered me: “I put the frog somewhere where you work a lot, so when you pick something up, it will jump out at you.”
Ronnie almost spewed his drink, and Kendra clutched me in fear.
“Max!! Where did you put that frog!?” I demanded.
“Somewhere where you work a lot,” he repeated.
“I KNOW THAT! Where is it?” I asked again. Ronnie was not helping. He had tears running down his beat red face at this point.
“Mom, I’m just kidding. April Fools!” Max said.
“Okay…very funny. So, where exactly is the frog then?”
“In your car,” he stated, very matter-of-factly.
Ronnie was doubled-over and about to fall out of the booth. I should say here that he would have deserved falling flat on his face – his idea of an April Fool’s joke was to pretend to pick up one of those frogs and chase me with it to put it down the back of my shirt.  Kendra gripped me even tighter as she thought about the ride to school in the morning.
“Maxwell Trenton! Did you really put that frog in my car?”
He ignored me.
I changed strategies. “I know you wouldn’t do that to your mommy. You love me, and you know I’m afraid of frogs. You didn’t really do that, did you, Max?”
He still ignored me.
“Max. Seriously. Where’s the frog?”
“Max.”
“Stop ignoring me.”
“I’m not getting in the car in the morning,” Kendra announced.
“Maxwell, answer me,” I begged.
“Ah, I was just kidding, Mom. April Fools,” he said, with an unsettling straight face.
“Hilarious,” I said, “so where is the frog?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess it just got away.”
And that is why I will be late for work Monday morning. That frog is somewhere. It’s either somewhere where I work a lot – the laundry hamper and kitchen sink immediately come to mind. Or, it’s in my car. I’ll look there as a last resort. First, I’m going to turn this house upside-down looking for that little beast.
Thanks, Max.

 

our Saturday – in pictures April 1, 2012

Filed under: children,family,food,gardening,parenting,pets — mandyholbert @ 5:52 pm
Tags: , , ,

We decided to work in the garden Saturday.  It really needed a lot of work.

The garden is overgrown with weeds and onions.

 

After pulling all of those stinky weeds, we worked on getting the planting boxes ready for vegetables.

 

Since we were out in the garden, we let the bunnies hop around free.  They loved it.

 

They were very curious!

While the rabbits hopped around in the garden, we let the chicks hang out in the rabbit hutch.  They enjoyed a day in the sunshine.  They are growing so fast!

Max wasn’t satisfied with all the animals we already have.  He spent the day trying to capture new pets.  He found several frogs.

We now are the proud owners of three pet frogs.

Ronnie worked on grading so we can expand our fire pit area.

He worked on pushing dirt all day long.

The kids enjoyed riding in the digger with Daddy.  We spent the entire day working outside.  It was a fantastic day!  And boy were the kids dirty!