Archive for July, 2010

Some friends of ours returned from Abu Dhabi for the summer, and wanted to take a family trip to Atlanta.

It was an opportunity we could not refuse.

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn because of its proximity to the places we wanted to visit, and because Hilton was offering a package called “The Great Getaway” that offered free breakfast. Sign us up!

Here are the places we visited:

In addition to all the wonderful beasts of the waterways, the aquarium also has a whale slide. Billy, who is not a small man, decided he would try it out. Dominic said, “The whale’s gonna choke!”

Gideon and Mana enjoy some alone time.

It’s less a museum and more an educational Monkey Joe’s. Lots of screaming, running, banging, etc. And the kids made noise too (ba-dum-dum). Let’s just call it “collaborative learning.”

Gideon plays with the moon sand.

That place seemed so much bigger (and cooler) when I was an elementary school kid on a field trip. We saw the Galaxy Gameshow at the planetarium. I think the kids enjoyed it, but I don’t really know. I was asleep. And so were the other three adults. In fact, Eddie said as we left, “So we paid $12 for a nap?” Yes, yes we did.

Fernbank is to the American Museum of Natural History as CitiTrends is to Henri Bendel.

It’s my favorite mall in Atlanta, and I used to work in one of the clothing stores when I was in college. (I won’t say which store because it is just too embarrassing, even for me). We weren’t really there to shop, though. I had to get the hinge on my MacBook Air fixed. While I was doing that, everyone else ate ice cream.

The screaming stopped when they got ice cream.

This is my favorite hotel in the world, and I love this restaurant. It’s a little pricey, but it is worth it for the view.

Lunch over Atlanta

On the way there, I noticed this sign.

Only in the South, y’all.

No visit to Atlanta is complete without a naked dog with cheese, fries and an FO (Frosted Orange). Of course, then I slip into a grease-induced coma, but I don’t care.

The plan was to go to The Old Spaghetti Factory (cheesy but yummy and cheap) but it was closed. (For those of you keeping count, that’s the fourth of my favorite restaurants that has closed in the past year. Am I bad luck?) So we went across the street to Mary Mac’s. Despite it being an Atlanta landmark, I had never eaten there. It is Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room and The Lady & Sons restaurant in a larger environment. A butter-induced coma ensued.

  • The hotel pools

There were two pools — one outdoor, one indoor — and a jacuzzi. With five kids in the party, though, there are bound to be time-outs, even at the pool. The award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Role goes to my son Gideon for his role in “Pool Party, Pity Party.”

Time-out, party of four

I found another lovely sign here also.

Does the “mangement” handle identifying the “persons with communicable diseases” using the pool?

Overall, it was a fun trip, but also very exhausting. I think Dominic would agree.

All tuckered out

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When I let the dogs out this morning, I decided to go out also to check on my (rather pathetic excuse for a) garden. It is a good thing I did. Look what I found:

“COPPERHEAD!” my inner girly voice shrieked. The mom, independent woman and rational voices immediately gave that other one the smackdown.

Eddie was taking his Saturday morning constitutional with the SCAD Bike Club, so I was left to my own devices. Ordinarily, I’d leave a snake alone. This one was on my patio, though. I have kids to protect.

So, I looked in the shed for our hoe or shovel, but they were nowhere to be found. Plan C was the post hole digger.

I calmly approached the interloper with my chosen weapon (which was freakin’ heavy, by the way). It saw me coming and slithered under the carcass of the blow-up water slide that has been on our patio for weeks (a sore subject for another time). I beat the snot out of that section of the slide with the post hole digger.

Slowly, I lifted the corner. The snake was not there. I lifted the corner a little more and saw it. My flailing had delivered only a flesh wound.

It coiled and tried to strike. I went berserk.

I think it's dead now.

I turned around and Dominic was looking at me through the window. His eyes were very wide. I couldn’t tell if he thought it was cool, funny or frightening.

Great. He’s probably scarred for life.

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Faithful readers will remember me writing about my eating disorder. Unfaithful — er, occasional — readers may not, so here is the original post.

My new crush: Cheetos Flamin’ Hot Puffs.

The Flamin’ Hot Crunchy version is easy to find. The Puffs, not so much. I found them in the same convenience store where I saw Billy Dee Williams. (It was a very good day.) I bought every bag they had, and now I’m down to my last one. I feel shaky. I’ve been to five convenience stores in the past two days looking for them.

Luckily, Frito Lay has a “Where to Buy” feature on the website. It appears I’ll be headed to the intersection of Hwy. 80 and I-95 sometime today …

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On the way back from Splash in the Boro (again!), we, our party of 11 (!), stopped at a convenience store for overpriced drinks. When I got back in the truck, Eddie said, “I got you some material for your blog.”

Naturally, I have some remarks. Well, questions really.

1. This is a selling point for the convenience store?

2. What would make anyone buy anything Billy Dee Williams is selling? He hasn’t been relevant since 1980.

3. Colt 45? Really? This is what the great Lando Calrissian is reduced to hawking? (Maybe his quote from “Empire Strikes Back” explains it: “I’ve done all I can. I’m sorry I couldn’t do better, but I got my own problems.”)

I took an informal survey of the four adults in the vehicle and none of us had tried this beverage. One had tried Mad Dog 20/20 (Ida, I’m still amazed!).

I’m not above purchasing and consuming Colt 45 in the name of science, but I want to know what I should expect. Anyone care to give me a preview?

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Sans pride

For those of you who think people are too hard on Comic Sans, you can show your support for the font by wearing this:

(Thanks, Morgan!)

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I received a forwarded e-mail with the subject line “I think Beth might like this one.”

It’s true. I do.

The e-mail originated with Jason, significant other of frequent contributor Shane Marshall Brown. And here is the photo:

Seen in Kalamazoo, Michigan

That sounds like an offer I can’t refuse. I could use $7,500 and 15 extra years. I wonder what kind of injury qualifies. Maybe a small flesh wound? I’m not so much into killing …

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Is it wrong that I am counting down the days until school starts again? I am teaching three online classes so I can be home with the kids every day during the summer.

And that was a mistake.

I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom. I admire women who are. And those women who homeschool have my ultimate respect.

Let me assure you that I love my children with all my heart. I think they are funny, interesting little people. I would take a bullet for them. I adore them. However, my amount of patience is inversely proportional to the amount of time spent alone with the boys during the summer when they have extra energy and less self-control. And the days are longer.

Women don’t like to admit stuff like this. They pretend they are always so Zen with their kids. And maybe some are. But I’m not, and I want to talk about it because I know I’m not alone. This sounds like some kind of addiction meeting: “Hello. My name is Beth, and my kids drive me crazy.”

Every day, I say one of the following sentences. (See this related post for sentences I never thought I’d say.)

1. Leave the dog alone.

2. Stop standing on the furniture.

3. Please stop yelling.

4. Keep your hands to yourself (and its corollary: Leave your brother alone).

5. If you don’t put those toys away, I’m getting a trash bag and I’ll put them away for you.

This week, I’ve also been saying this every day: “No, we can’t watch ‘Land of the Lost.'”

Loss of patience can lead to mother rage. That concept is addressed in a hilarious manner by Anne Lamott in this post that is rather old, but still apropos.

Can I get a “Holla” here? Anyone?

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When Trish and I were getting in my car after the Redneck Games, I noticed something stuck under my windshield. I just grabbed it and threw it in the car without looking at it. Much later, when I was about to throw it away, I actually looked at it.

The headline: “Rednecks can be Christians too!”

Oh boy.

Let me share with you some “wisdom” from the pamphlet.

If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I’d choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up. Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit — that’s what rednecks are made of.

Wow. Somehow I don’t think a tire iron is a match for an AK47. But maybe a squirrel gun is equal to an IED made by a weak terrorist in training. Grit, as in gumption, might be equal, although grit, as in particles, probably is not: Sand tends to get in crannies a little more obnoxiously than Georgia red clay does.

I’ve scanned the brochure for your enjoyment.

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Sometimes I love (LOVE!) living in the South.

One reason: The annual Redneck Games in East Dublin.

They began in 1996 in response to the jokes about Rednecks hosting the official Olympic Games in Atlanta. They feature stellar events such as Redneck Horseshoes (with toilet seats), Armpit Serenade, Bobbin’ for Pigs’ Feet, Watermelon Seed Spitting and the Mudpit Belly Flop.

I’ve wanted to go for years, but something always happens to ruin my plans.

This year, I was determined to go. I started badgering Trish two months ago to go with me. I finally got her to commit yesterday. Yesterday! She’s from Iowa, and I think Rednecks scare her.

I almost couldn’t sleep last night. It was like Christmas.

Let me share this magical day with you via a photo essay. Come on the amazing journey, and learn all you should know. (TH=Trish took the photo, BC=I took it)

It began with gator kabobs. (TH)

All dressed up with somewhere to go. (TH)

No festival in the South is complete without the General Lee. (BC)

The band knew their Skynyrd. (TH)

And we knew how to fit in. (BC)

I found a replacement for Eddie. (BC)

And Eddie can have her. (BC)

Or maybe we could join this family. (BC)

Let the games begin with the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. (TH)

Overheard: "Where'd she spit it?" "She swallowed." (TH)

Nothin' like bobbin' for pigs' feet. (BC)

This girl could hold her own. (BC)

But this guy was the clear winner. (TH)

How could this lady be napping? And is that underwear on her face? (TH)

Soon it was time for the Mudpit Belly Flop. (TH)

Competitors displayed many techniques. (TH)

The couple that flops together stays together. (TH)

The odds on favorite was the "Redneck Granny." (TH)

Though she clearly isn't as agile as she used to be. (TH)

Redneck Granny still took the top prize. (TH)

And then it degenerated into a mêlée. (TH)

Pretty Princesses of the Pit. (TH)

And their handsome princes. (TH)

We went to the event, and all you get is a look at this lousy T-shirt. (TH)

And a gander at this guy's very chic, very permanent tattoo. (BC)

Stay classy, Dublin!

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Despite the fact that I don’t give a rat’s ass where LeBron James ends up, I have not been able to escape the news (Miami). Apparently, there are some folks in the Buckeye State who are pretty pissed off — folks like Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who wrote an open letter to fans of the Cavs.

I don’t really care about the letter, except to point out that someone should have proofread it with an eye toward unnecessary quotation marks. Take a look at this excerpt:

To make matters worse, that font is Comic Sans.

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