Saturday, August 24, 2013


In writing this story, I assumed you were all comfortable with bathroom humor. If so, you may proceed. If not, turn back now.

My mother hated camping. Hated it. With a passion that only equalled any sort of exercise and finding a spider in the bathtub. And because I wanted to be like her, I had no choice but to hate all of those things, too.

This really became an issue when we made the yearly pilgrimage to the Stewart family cabin at Bear Lake. Of course, just saying “cabin at Bear Lake” is a lie. “Vermin house of ill repute” would be more honest—an old A-frame with no running water, no electricity and one bed in the middle of the room with a mattress that drooped so low in the middle, a couple of grandchildren were lost in the folds, never to be seen again.

Now as a kid, I was too stupid to realize how horrible this was, and instead thought it was THE MOST AMAZING PLACE IN THE UNIVERSE! There were sunflowers! And aspen trees! And a hundred acres to explore! Sometimes we’d sneak a can of Pepsi and a cinnamon sucker, and be gone for hours. HOURS, PEOPLE. And not one adult came to find us! Of course, now we know this as “child endangerment”. But back then, we just called it “lucky.”
Most years, we only spent one night at the campsite, even though the children begged and sobbed for more. I have no idea where my parents or siblings slept—could have been in the car. Maybe they drove home for the night? Hard to say. Because I was too happy to be aware of their misery, since I was on top of the world, lookin’ down on creation, sleeping in the loft with the other cousins.

The next day it was time for Bear Lake. We’d pile into the campers and trucks, wearing nothing but a worn out swimsuit and tube socks. Not one of us sought out a seatbelt, but rather found a spot around the outer edge of the truck bed and just held on for dear life.

The hours at the beach were spent in search of little baby shells and squeezing sand through our fists to make piles of fake pooh. I don’t ever recall putting on sunscreen, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t...even though I’m pretty sure we didn’t. Sometimes a scream of pain cut through the sound of the waves, as a child stepped on a pull tab from a pop can, but the sand soaked up the blood pretty good and we kept on making our pooh piles, because yes, it was that intriguing.

Well, the years passed by and our camping excursions came fewer and farther in between. Then I got married and had children of my own, which is when I finally realized what a helluvathing it was for my parents to take us kids camping, even for just one weekend. 

I’ll never forget the year that, as a young family, we nailed our tent to the trailer bed to keep it from getting wet in a torrential downpour...forgetting that nail holes in a tent make for sopping wet EVERYTHING. We angrily mopped it up the best we could and retired for the night. 

Around 3:00 that morning, my two year old son woke me up, needing to go to the bathroom. There was no way I was going out into the muck and mud to take him to the outhouse, so I flung off his underwear, held onto his waist and arched his aimer out the tent door, whispering for Sterling to get me some light.

The seconds ticked past and still no flashlight could be found. This meant I had to try to retrieve his underwear in the pitch black, which proved to be nearly impossible. While groping around and hissing for Ster to hurry up and find some light, I came upon a big ol’ wet, melted candy bar on my lap. What the?!

I didn’t know how it had gotten there without me knowing, but I was getting SO annoyed. I whisper-screamed one last time for Sterling to turn on some light, cursing all the while as I used a dirty sock to grab and pick up the candy bar. And right then, the lantern light flickered on...just in time to ENORMOUS HORSE SIZED PIECE OF YOU-KNOW-WHAT CRADLED IN THE PALM OF MY HAND!

Yes, that’s right. Not a candy bar. It seems when he said he needed to go to the bathroom, he was a little bit vague about which kind. And how something that big came out of a bum that small, is beyond me. 

Well anyway, I won’t bore you with the details of the horrendous clean up. Let’s just return to the notion that it really is a big sacrifice to take your kids camping. In fact, let’s break it down:

Camping gear—$1,000
Swimsuits and tube socks—$30
Pepsi, cinnamon suckers, lanterns and nails—$Gobs of money
Every single word I’ve just written in this article that make me laugh until I cry while I relive and retell, and the people who made them possible, bless their hearts—Absolutely priceless

Friday, August 16, 2013


So glad I'm not covered in puke anymore...

I was scrolling through Instagram today—and yes, I did just name drop a social media term to prove that I’m cutting edge—and saw a girl who grew up with my son. She and Ashton were in nursery together, and her cute little fingers were always covered in warts. Not that that’s important...just kind of hard to forget.

Anyway, now she’s a beautiful, wartless grown woman, about to have her first baby, and she took a picture of her and her husband in the doctor’s office, as they waited to find out their baby’s gender. He was buoyant, but she looked, well, not. Turns out this was because—her words—she was “covered in puke.” 

Seems she was asked to drink a gallon of water before the ultrasound, and then proceeded to throw it all up on the ride over to the clinic. Which made me say a silent thankful prayer, that I belong to a different season.

Not that I didn’t love that season while I was in it...about as much as I now appreciate the sweltering heat of summer—but remember how excited we were about hot August nights when it was February? Yeah, it’s a lot easier to love a season with fore or hind sight.  

Thinking about it I realize that, back then, a lot of people lied to me. One thing they said was that pregnancy only lasts nine months. Freakin' lie. It’s ten. Which, in pregnancy years is, “NEVER, EVER, EVER GOING TO END!”

Another thing they said was that after the first three months, the morning sickness would pass and my world would resemble a Downy commercial. Another freakin' lie. Because just the THOUGHT of laundry softener at that point was enough to start the gagging process, just like the scent of my toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, the sight of my living room couches, my new Avon lipstick, my husband’s entire aroma and my own spit.

I remember one lovely spring afternoon, we drove to pick up our new car at a friend’s house. On the ride there, I had lain back and closed my eyes, hoping the nausea would pass and my head would stop spinning. 
A few minutes later, while squatting in the gravel behind the running car, retching so hard that my nose actually started to bleed—NO REALLY, IT STARTED TO BLEED—I considered that maybe this had been a bad idea. Not just the laying back in the car thing, but also that whole “Let’s have a baby” idea. It was just one big, fat, bad idea.  

But I was not alone in this big, fat, bad idea. I had grabbed my husband and locked him in the seat restraint right alongside me. I remember one night, I started a fight with him. Just out of the blue, I went COMPLETELY ape-pooh crazy.

At first, he valiantly tried to figure out what was wrong, so he could appease me. When that didn’t work, he began to argue his side, believing I’d eventually realize he was innocent. But I would have none of it, and quickly escalated into near hysteria. Finally, in complete anguish, he cried, “LIS! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! I REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO! WHAT CAN I DO? TELL ME! TELL ME SO I CAN FIX THIS!” 

The poor dear. 

I stormed up the stairs, sobbing and renting my garment, shouting that he’d never understand, and blah, blah, blah, a bunch of other trite, emotionally overwrought phrases that made matters worse. 

I locked myself in the bathroom for about an hour. There I went from weeping to whimpering to thinking to realizing to being absolutely humiliated that I had started the fight in the first place, on account of it was pretty clear to me then that I’d made the whole thing up.

So I opened the door, skipped down the stairs and, to his credit, found him still sitting there, unblinking, in the same spot I’d left him. He hadn’t even fled!  

I gave him a sheepish grin and said, “Sorry, hon. I don’t know what that was, but I’m better now. Wanna go eat?”

And eat we did. I ordered three bags of french fries. 

“I MEAN IT! GIVE ME THREE BAGS OF FRENCH FRIES!” snarled the pregnant demon from Hades.

We threw 2 and 2/3 away. But bless his heart for giving in to my unreasonable demand(s)...back then, and now...over and over and over again. And for taking my apology at face value every single time it is offered.

In the end, we ride this ride together, from one season to the next, looking back at our past lives with a soft focus lens. Beyond grateful that what seemed a big, fat, bad idea turned out four times over to be the best things we’ve ever done. 

Which is why I continue to lie to the next generation about what they can expect when they’re expecting. It turns out I was once somebody’s big, fat, bad idea. And look how great this turned out!  :D