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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First Annual Mad Mountain Mud Run June 4, 2012

Filed under: family,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 5:29 am
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This is probably the most fun we’ve had in a long time!  I was on a team with three close friends of mine, and Ronnie had a team with three of his buddies.  We had a perfect day for being outside running through mud.  What a great time!

The biggest surprise was that each team had to carry a log with them throughout the race.  We took turns lugging that stupid log around – it got heavy fast!

sliding down a muddy hill avoiding the barbed wire

nearing the finish line with Kendra running along on the sidelines

girls team crossing the logs

we did it!

We laughed a lot.  Some of us cussed a lot.  We ran.  We walked.  We climbed, crawled, waded, swam, jumped, slid, and rolled our way to the finish line.  The volunteers manning each obstacle were very encouraging.

We’ve all decided to run next year.  But this time, I think we’ll train a little beforehand.

What a great time with great friends!

http://madmountainmudrun.com/

the guys rolling under some logs

 

Shape up, Son, I’m serious! May 22, 2012

After the baseball game Friday night, we went to a very late dinner at McDonald’s.  And not just any McDonald’s.  We went to the fancy schmancy one near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.  It’s a strange place, really.  There’s a “magic” grand piano that plays itself, a fireplace, real art…but they still serve the same squashy burgers wrapped in paper.  The whole experience is like an oxymoron.

Fancy Biltmore McDonald's

Fancy Biltmore McDonald’s (Photo credit: Steve and Sara)

Well, there we were.  Eating cheeseburgers at 10:30 at night.  And, for whatever reason – probably because we were grossly overtired – the kids and I had the giggles.  Everything was funny.

“Oh, you got some fake hair extensions in your Happy Meal?”  Hilarious.

“You’re putting ketchup on your fries?”  Stop, stop, my stomach hurts from laughing.

When Max looked at us and asked, “What does moist mean?”, we kind of got carried away.  Well, I guess you would consider it carried away if someone chokes.  And Max did indeed choke.

I ran him to the bathroom so he could hack up the bite of food that was lodged in his throat, and to be honest, we laughed the whole time.  We were just being plain silly, and we couldn’t stop.

When we got back to the table, Ronnie had had enough.  I guess Max’s choking was the final straw.  In retrospect, I guess I can understand where he was coming from.

“No more laughing at this table.  And I mean it.  Just sit there and eat your food.  Stop being ridiculous,” he scolded us.

Max whipped right into shape.  He straightened his posture and transformed his expression from jovial to stoic in a matter of seconds.  Wow.

He looked over at me, and very seriously inquired (with intense interest and focus), “So, have you ever heard of peanuts taking over the world?”

Kendra and I laughed so hard that we both had tears running down our faces.  Ronnie gave Max “the look”.  Max didn’t flinch.  He met his father’s gaze with confidence, shrugged, and gestured towards me with his thumb.  What did he mean by that?  He meant Why Father, I’m shocked that you would accuse me of disobeying your wishes.  I, unlike my sister and mother, am quite seriously sitting here enjoying my late-night cheeseburger.  I’m insulted by this false accusation.

And with that, Ronnie lost his composure and joined in our silly laugh fest.  As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them!  And there’s clearly no beating Max!

 

Would you like nuts with that? April 27, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting,Silly Situations — mandyholbert @ 6:00 am
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It all started with a typical communication breakdown.  We were on our way into McDonald’s for a nutritious dinner.  Max said he needed to use the bathroom really bad.  So, I told Ronnie to take Max to the restroom and that I would take Kendra, and then we would order our food.  Easy enough.

 
I subconsciously noticed that Ronnie and Max were standing admiring the Happy Meal toy display as Kendra and I entered the restroom.  But, when we emerged they were nowhere to be seen, so we girls went to order up some food while the boys finished taking care of business.  I ordered, got the food, poured the drinks, set everything up at the table, and still there was no sign of the boys.  Hmmm…

 

Several minutes later, I heard Ronnie laughing, and I looked up to see him carrying Maxwell.  Max was wearing these strange red pants that I had never seen before and Ronnie was laughing his head off.  What is he wearing?  I was puzzled.

 

Turns out, Ronnie did not take Max to the restroom when Max had to go really bad.  Instead, they looked at the Happy Meal toy display, and Max took a leak in his pants right there.  Ronnie rushed him to the restroom, too late of course, and had to figure out a quick fix.  I would have simply said no sit-down dinner for us and gone through the drive-thru.  Ronnie, on the other hand, used his creative parenting skills and made an unusual, though somewhat effective, pair of pants out of his shirt.

 

Seems he put Max’s legs through the arms of his long-sleeved shirt then tied a knot at the waist.  The result was something I would imagine old dancing drunk men to have worn in ancient Russia.  Maybe kind of Fiddler-on-the-Roof-ish.  If I were a rich man,Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum…Anyways, there was my son sporting his new dry pants and my husband giggling his brains out.  Time to eat.

Well, as if that weren’t enough for one outing, Max somehow managed to pour about half his bottle of chocolate milk on his shirt-pants.  At least the wetness wasn’t a bodily fluid, I guess.  I blotted him off best I could, and laughed it off since that seemed to be the thing to do for the night.

 

He ate his food, then sat happily playing with his Happy Meal toy – a talking Alvin, the head chipmunk of the famous rodent trio.  For whatever reason, Max looked at the toy, pushed the button, and when the toy said, “Hello, Gorgeous!” Max said in delight, “It’s baby Jesus!!”  Don’t ask me!  We laughed again.

 

Everyone wanted dessert, so I went to the counter still chuckling about baby Jesus.  I ordered our sundaes, and the young fellow put them on a tray along with spoons.  I looked at him and simply asked, “Do you have nuts?”  He turned around to get the chopped peanuts, but couldn’t hide his amusement at all, and when he handed them to me he was openly laughing.  Well!  Excuse me!  I didn’t know we were in elementary school.  I laughed along with him and went back to the table.

 

Max made a few more jokes while eating some ice cream, the funniest of which was his naming the nuts “little seeds”.  We finished up and were getting ready to leave.  Max, poor boy, tried to get up from the table holding the rest of his chocolate milk, and somehow managed to pour it on his head and fill his hood with it.  At this point, what do you do?

Ronnie quickly grabbed my purse.  Now, in the ten years we’ve been together, he has never, ever held my purse.  Tonight, though, he grabbed it up with gusto.  I think he even swung his hips a little as he walked.  He would have put lipstick on if it would have sealed the deal that I had to carry that little bundle of mischief out to the Jeep.

 

I scooped Max up, trying to hold him in a position that would keep his shirt-pants on and still keep me from being covered in chocolate milk.  It was awkward, but I thought I was doing a good job.  The McDonald’s employees gave me some really memorable looks when I passed by, but I attributed it to the shirt-pants.

 

Only when I got outside did I realize that Max’s “seeds” were exposed.

 

Oops!  What do you do?  We just laughed some more and drove on home.

 

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

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

 

Very Fa!-nny, Dad! March 6, 2012

Last weekend, my dad performed an exaggerated Heimlich on me while I was brushing my teeth.

Well, first I should say that staying in a hotel with my family is usually a very silly experience.  Ronnie, the kids, and I had a room adjoining my parents’, and the craziness didn’t stop.

I think it all started with Ronnie playing the air guitar.  Kendra grabbed the guitar (yes, I know that’s an impossibility), and he fell backwards, landed on his back, walked his feet on the wall, and did a strange, convoluted back flip, only to jump up and decide to teach the kids how to do a running front flip on to the bed.  It was a very nice addition to their usual hotel room game of “jumping bed to bed”.

I went to brush my teeth and left the door open.  I coughed in the process, and next thing I knew, my dad came running through the wall (as Max described our connecting door) yelling “Emergency!” and started such an exaggerated Heimlich that he was actually lifting me off the floor that I laughed so hard with my mouth full of toothpaste that I probably was indeed in danger of choking.

Then, I heard a knock at the door.  I went to answer it and no one was there.  I stepped out a little into the hallway just to make sure absolutely no one was there, and next thing I knew, my dad shoved me out of the hotel room to lock me out in the hall.

This kind of thing is very standard in our father/daughter relationship.  Let’s see, once in high school, one of his pranks nearly landed me in the emergency room when I couldn’t dislodge the green peanut M&M he shoved up my nose.  Last time we went out for pizza, I asked for the red pepper shaker and turned my head.  When I looked at my plate, the (much-handled, disgusting) pepper shaker was sitting squarely on top of my once-delicious slice of cheese pizza.  That’s just how it is.  My dad loves to make me laugh.

The funniest time I can remember, though, was a time we went grocery shopping amped up on a little too much espresso.  We were in the soap and shampoo aisle, and my dad told me to smell a new soft soap called Fa!.  He held the bottle, and I took an exaggerated inhale…

Right as he squeezed the bottle!  My sinuses filled with Fa!.  It was the most terrible burning sensation, but I couldn’t stop laughing.  There was absolutely nothing I could do about the pain other than trying to blow the soap out.  We were literally laughing so hard that we were wallowing on the Bi-Lo floor.

What kind of dad would do that to his daughter?

Mine.

And I’m so glad that he does.  Well, honestly, I could do without chocolate or soap up my nose or being rescued while I’m brushing my teeth, but I’m so glad to have a dad who loves to make me laugh.  My dad is my friend.