Thursday, August 16, 2007

Father Nose Best?

Well hey there y’all! What a week I am having. Our AC has died and we are sweating our butts off in what everyone is calling the hottest summer on record here in Kernersville. Jerry installed a small window unit in the living room, which, of course, is the room in which we are now living. Suffice it to say there is no cooking or cleaning going on in our house. Not that I was doing much of that when the AC was working, but that’s another story for another time.

With all of us spending so much time together in one room, we have moved most of our essential belongings downstairs, giving our house a real trashy, I mean, homey feel. Naturally, all of Jenda’s toys are scattered about, so I am constantly reminded of the look of a trailer park after a twister. But tonight, good Lord, where should I begin?

Jenda was watching some insipid Barbie movie (redundant….they’re ALL insipid) and I was reading a book. Jenda was dancing around and talking to me. “Mommy, I’m a princess. I’m a ballerina. I put a bead in my nose. I’m so beautiful.”

Yes baby, you are so beautif…WHAT?

“I’m a princess!”

No, that other thing. Please tell me you said you’ve got speed in your toes, a weed by the rose, a creed…

“I put a BEAD in my NOSE, Mommy!”

Of course I said the first thing that popped into my head. It doesn’t bear repeating here. (Y’all figure it out!)

I ran and hollered for Jerry, who was in the bathroom. Honey, Jenda shoved a bead in her nose.

“Jenda likes to read as she grows?”

GET OUT HERE! Bring a flashlight! (And a valium!)

Jerry came running out and grabbed a flashlight. We corralled Jenda, who seemed really amused at the havoc she created. Jerry took the flashlight while I held Jenda and took stock of the offending bead. He stayed calm but I was really starting to panic. I tried getting Jenda to blow her nose. No luck. I found her little nasal aspirator and tried that. No luck. Then Jerry told me to wait while he ran out to the garage. He came back with a small, narrow length of hose. I had that sinking feeling you get when you know the answer before you even ask. But I asked. What on earth are you going to do with that?

“I’m going to put it in her nose and suck on the other end to try to dislodge the bead. Y’know, like when you siphon gasoline?” (Thank God she wasn't constipated!)

Um, no. I get gasoline the old fashioned way…by taking out a home equity loan to buy enough to fill the tank. But whatever. Is that hose clean?

Jerry gave me a pained look. I gave him the ‘I will withhold sexual favors’ look. He cleaned the hose and came back to do the horrible deed. (I know what y’all are thinking. I love Jenda more than I love my own life, and if I had absolutely had to, I would have tried to suck the bead out of her nose. Fortunately, I had a man to do it for me. Score one for the Women’s Movement!)

THWICK, THWICK, THWICK! No bead. THWICK, THWICK, THWICK! No bead, but Jenda was horrified, Jerry was red in the face, and I was convulsed with laughter at the sight of Jerry sucking out Jenda’s nose through a tube! I was reminded of that old saying, ‘you can pick your friends, and you can pick your', oh nevermind! Of course I don’t know much about science and the various laws that make up the universe, like gravity and such. But it seemed to me that the bead, which was very small, got in there, and being small enough to get in, we should be able to get it back out again. Of course that must be the same scientific law that keeps leading me to try on the Levi’s that I wore in college that I just can’t squeeze my fat ass into. I guess I should have paid more attention during physics class.

We were stumped. We considered getting the shop vac, but we decided that the hose attachment is too big. No use sucking her brains out. I had to go into ‘Mommy Mode’. I grabbed the phone. Jerry asked, “Who are you calling?”

The hospital in Florida where Jenda was born. Don’t look at me like that, wait, hello? Hi. My daughter was born in your hospital in March of 2004. Yes, y’all were great. Listen, I need you to find the instruction manual. The one y’all give to new parents when babies are born? I’m sure they gave me one when she was born and I must have left it there. I’ll hold while you look for hello? Hello? Jerry, are you sure you paid the phone bill?

Jerry began looking online while calling Jenda’s pediatrician here in North Carolina. He left a message for the on-call nurse. Let me tell you how much I dreaded that return phone call. I could just hear the nurse…”Lemme get this straight. Your three-year old child is up at 1:00 in the morning watching skanky old Barbie, you allowed her to play with small beads that NO child under the age of five should be playing with, and you tried to suck it out with an old piece of hose? Welcome to ‘BAD MOMMYVILLE’, population, you and Britney Spears. I’m calling Child Protective Services RIGHT NOW!”

Of course, it wasn’t quite that bad. The nurse, Brenda, called right back and I told her the whole story. She was really sweet and helpful, but I could tell she was tickled. Of course she asked that we not stick anything else up Jenda’s nose. (Wasn’t MY idea!) We agreed that since Jenda was not suffering in the least, we could bring her to the office in the morning to have the bead removed. Brenda was quick to point out that this happens frequently, but I knew the unspoken thought. ‘My kids have never done this. One of them has won the Nobel Prize, the other one is in Harvard, they eat a macrobiotic diet, and they’re both under the age of ten. Your kid watches Barbie, shoves bead up her nose, and you probably let her eat McDonald’s! LOSER MOMMY!”

I spent the rest of the wee small hours watching Jenda like a hawk. Later in the day, we took her to the pediatrician who looked around in Jenda’s nose, and announced that she could not find the bead. We would have to go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Copayment-wise, this plastic bead was turning into the equivalent of Swarovski Crystal! We sped across town and waited for the next doctor.

He was very sweet and Jenda was really brave. He could not see the bead with all of his lights and other equipment, so he brought out the big guns. He brought out what looked like a rifle case and pulled out some long ten inch probe thingy to stick in Jenda's nose. I guess Jerry held Jenda in place while the nurse was using the defibrillator thingy on me.

As I was being brought back to life, I heard the doctor say that there was no bead and it either dislodged or Jenda swallowed it. We came back home, threw away all of Jenda’s beads, and contemplated our now empty bank accounts. Jerry is napping and Jenda is playing with Lego blocks (giant ones!) I am going to try to call the hospital in Florida again. Y’know, the one where Jenda was born? I just know they have instruction manuals for first-time parents. I’m not sure what happened the first time I tried to call. I guess we just had a bad phone connection, right?

Yeah. Must’ve been….

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Wonder What the Ancient Greeks Would Say About This One!

Well hey there, y’all! With all the talk in the news of the next Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, I guess people are getting inspired. Even for the completely non-athletic types like me, the thought of being able to win a GOLD MEDAL at the Olympics is just incredible. Just imagine being able to run faster than Carl Lewis or being able to jump into midair, spin three times, and land on a metal blade on ice…geeze. It gives you goose bumps, right?

It would seem that such sporting dreams have captured the imaginations of some sports enthusiasts near Dallas, Texas, who, armed with the knowledge that they will NEVER be traditional Olympians, have decided to take matters into their own hands. Yes, friends, I am talking about THE REDNECK GAMES.

Nope. Not making this one up.

These are serious competitions, y’all. None of that wussie shotput throwing. Try ‘The Mattress Chuck’. This is a two man team competition to see which team can throw a mattress the farthest from the back of a pickup truck. Men’s Freestyle High Dive? Nah, try ‘The Mudbog Belly Flop’, with points given for artistic impression, style and ‘the redder the better’. The Decathalon? That’s lame. How about (God help me!) ‘The Ugly Butt Crack Contest’? (I must stop here to take part in ‘The Cookie Tossing Event’.)

Said the news report, “Modeled after similar games that have been going in Georgia for more than a decade, the four-day Redneck Games took place about 70 miles southeast of Dallas and included an estimated 6,000 people and live music.” (This seems like a feat, but it’s not too difficult to get 6,000 rednecks and live music in one place. They’re all related so they live in the same trailer park. Tell ‘em you’ll supply the beer if they’ll bring their banjos.) “The organizer, Oscar Still, could face a misdemeanor charge for not having a permit (only for not having a permit, y’all!), required for any gathering of more than 2,500 people.” How apropos…it just seems fitting that the organizer of this event would be named ‘Still’. (Well, that or ‘Ugly Buttcrack Boodreau’.)

I especially have to laugh at the local sheriff, Lt. McWilliams, who said, “ I'm an old fuddy duddy and all that, but you got a vehicle, you got alcohol, and you got illegal dumping, and you're making a contest out of that?" We are very fortunate that we didn't have a fatality." Obviously, Lt. McWilliams is only doing this sheriff gig part time, because he does the bulk of his work in the field of rocket science. DUH! You have thousands of vehicles and a whole buttload of booze! And you are mistaken Johnny Law, because there was a fatality. I damn sure died laughing when I read this! I love how he ranks illegal dumping up there with driving while impaired. Hey, he’s got priorities.

One of the event organizers said that he knew the residents were upset about the traffic, but the games boosted the local businesses. NOOOO.... For me, traffic would not be the problem. Opening my curtains to let the sunlight in and being confronted with the sight of 'The Ugly Butt Crack' contest would be the more upsetting issue. Imagine the downturn in property values, to say nothing of how it would make your stomach turn!

One of the locals who retired to the area complained that he “has awakened to the roaring engines of all-terrain vehicles, midnight fireworks shows and thousands of drunken revelers who every so often gather across the narrow county road from his property at events like the Redneck Games and the Texas Redneck Muddy Gras.” Said the local yokel, "We're just a nice, calm community, and nobody can get any rest; nobody can get any sleep."

SLEEP? During the Redneck Muddy Gras? No, no no, you must be crazy. You can sleep during the other 361 days of the year. This is one life altering event that no one should miss. I can only imagine what the great cultural anthropologist of our time, Jay Leno, will say about all of this…. “I was in the Redneck Riviera today for the Redneck Games. The ‘Fart Lighting Competition’ really blew me away…bwuhhahaha!”

The article does not give any indication of what awards are given for winning these competitions. Braggin’ rights are real big in the South, but it seems only right that there would be some token awarded for earning the high esteem of the “Brotherhood of Athletes of the Redneck Federation’, hereafter known as BARF. I took the initiative to look online to see what might be an appropriate award for all of the honorable and deserving assletes, excuse me, ATHletes who compete in the games. For the first place winner, a case of ‘Golden Brew Beer’, Hanley Brewing Co., St. Louis. For the second place winner, a case of ‘Silver Edge Beer’, Muessel Brewing Co., Indiana. For the third place winner, well, I couldn’t find anything in a Bronze Beer, but I did find ‘Red Ass Ale’, Cold Springs Brewing Co., Minnesota. For that matter, all the participants could be awarded that one. I plan to contact the members of BARF to suggest these prizes, although something tells me that they are already working the beer angle.

Here in North Carolina, we have some pretty cool events, such as the Spring Folly, the Honeybee Festival in late summer, and various holiday events sponsored by the town aldermen. We don’t have anything nearly as cool and groovy as the Redneck Games and BARF. This could definitely be worth a road trip to attend next year’s games. This little slice of life has really changed my outlook on Americana, and I hope it has done the same for you. So the next time you see some big sweaty redneck surrounded by mattresses, with a red belly and a potentially ugly butt crack, know that he is a respected and winning athlete. Congratulate him, shake his hand and give him a pat on the back.

Look out for back hair.