Monday, March 28, 2011

Squish My Sauce

The very millisecond that my hand touched his bottom was the exact moment it became a very uncomfortable situation.

The young man was a super fit, 16 year old, high school track star- and a teammate of the teenager. I was an over 40 mother with an eager, outstretched arm, and a hand that was fully cupping a 16 year old boy’s rear end.

I knew it was wrong.

But I did it anyway.

He was going to squish my sauce.

I really couldn’t stand for that.

After spending Saturday morning at the boy’s cold and rainy soccer game, I was to spend the afternoon at the teenager’s cold and rainy track meet. I arrived at the track meet, still chilled, drive-thru burrito in hand. I sat down in the stands on a cold metal bench, directly behind the track coaches. Wishing I had remembered to bring a blanket, I took my burrito out of the bag. In the bottom of the bag were 4 tiny plastic cups of hot sauce. As I searched the crowd for the teenager, I removed the lids and laid out my 4 cups of hot sauce on the bench beside me. I was unwrapping my burrito when I spotted the teenager, who had just landed flat on her bottom in the sandy long jump pit.

I grabbed the first cup of hot sauce and poured a good third on the top of my burrito. I liked the hot sauce, and I knew that today, that hot sauce was going to help keep me warm.

The burrito was fantastic. The hot sauce was warming me up. As I watched the teenager get ready for her hurdle race, I poured some more sauce on my burrito. I was glad I had gotten 4 tiny cups worth. Today, especially, I would need it all.

The super fit, 16 year old track star, a teammate of the teenager, walked down my aisle toward where I was sitting. He wanted to talk to the track coaches sitting in the row in front of me. He stopped just to my right and leaned forward to get the coaches attention. They began speaking to each other. The super fit, 16 year old track star sensed that his conversation was going to be a long one. He decided to sit down next to me. He decided to sit down directly on my remaining 3 1/3 tiny plastic cups of hot sauce.

I watched as time then slowed down. I knew I had entered an alternate slow motion reality. I saw the teenage boy begin to sit. I turned my head to the right to see his bottom approaching my precious, my sauce. I turned my head to the left to see that I still had a fair amount of burrito left. I turned to the right again, toward the almost seated track star. I felt myself panic. I felt myself acknowledge an inappropriate attachment to my hot sauce. I felt a brief moment of confusion and shame, knowing full well what I was about to do.

I saw the track star’s bottom approach my hot sauce. I saw my arm shoot out. I saw my hand, for some reason open and palm up, attempt to protect my hot sauce.

And the very millisecond that my open and palm up hand touched his bottom was the exact moment it became a very uncomfortable situation.

I yelled out an unintelligible, “Ahhhhhhrrrrkkkk….ahh mah …ht sce!!!”

He jerked up a tiny bit and then and hovered the most uncomfortably smallest amount above my hand.

He turned his head to the left and looked at my hand. And then he looked at me. He said calmly, “OH. WOW.”

I yelled out a semi-intelligible, certainly embarrassing mini shriek, “Ahhrkk….it’s my HOT SAUCE! I’m sorry. I didn’t want you to get it on your…um….shorts. I’m sure that would have been uncomfortable.”

The super fit, suddenly supremely suave, 16 year old, high school track star turned to me and said, “Ahhhh….whatever….all my events are done…’s no problem. Who knows? It probably wouldn’t have bothered me… all……..I mean………………thanks.”

I did finish that burrito. And I used every last one of those rescued hot sauce cups. The teenager was pleased with her track meet. Until I told her I had grabbed the bottom of her teammate.

The supremely embarrassed teenager says only her dad is allowed to come to the next track meet. He’s sitting all alone. And he’s eating before he gets there.

Check This Out!

I’ve put it off for months. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. But finally, I’ve read, The Shack by William P. Young. Now, keep in mind, I’m not a joiner. I don’t like jumping on the bandwagon. I’ve avoided reading this book for many, many months.

However, YOU, yes YOU, should read this book. If only, because, the husband hasn’t yet and I need someone to talk to about it. So, if you’ve read it. Tell me what you thought of it. I’d really like to know. If you haven’t read it…hurry up and do so.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

She's a Kicker

I don’t think it would have been accurate to think of the woman as elderly. I’m sure that would have offended her. Perhaps she could have been labeled as older. Mature might have worked as well. For certain, I knew she was a sensibly dressed grandma.

I stood at the very end of the field, down near the goal, watching the boy’s new soccer team warm up for the first game of the spring soccer season. The grandma lady walked toward me and planted herself near me. Her salt and pepper hair was short and curly. Her black jacket was simple and waterproof. Her hair was covered with a clear plastic rain scarf that tied at her neck. Her square black handbag hung from the elbow of her bent arm. Her black rimmed eyeglasses were oversized and sprinkled with rain mist. The pants she wore were polyester knit, I’m convinced. The boots she wore were rubber. They came up to her knees and were covered in ladybugs and shovels and daisy flowers. I watched her raise the arm that didn’t support the handbag. She waved to one of the boys on the field. She yelled out, “Make grandma proud sweetie. You try your very best! You hear grandma, now, sweetie, you hear me? And don’t forget to KICK THEIR BUTTS!” And then that sensibly dressed grandma took a wadded up tissue from her hand and wiped her misty glasses.

As soon as the grandma had spoken, the boy’s new coach turned abruptly toward the sideline where we were standing. He stiffened up, raised his eyebrows and turned a tiny bit pale. His eyes focused on the grandma. As she shoved her wadded tissue back into her hand, she acknowledged the coach, “Hey, coach! Good to see you! You don’t have to worry. I’m going to be better this year! See? I’m way down here at the end of the field away from all the people. No one should get hurt!”

Despite my efforts to do it quietly, the grandma heard me chuckling at the confusing absurdity of the situation. She turned around and faced me.

“Oh honey, I’m blocking your view. Let me move further down the field.”

“Oh please don’t bother.” I told her. “I’m a wanderer during the game. I can’t sit or stand still. I get too nervous for the boy.”

The grandma laughed and said, “Well ok, honey. As long as you keep moving we’ll probably be ok. But I don’t recommend you stand next to me for too long though. “

“Really? Why is that?”

The grandma glanced toward the coach and then turned her head back toward me. “You’re new to this team aren’t you?”


“Well...I’m a bit of a kicker.”

After a short, fairly uncomfortable pause, I managed to mutter, “………uh…what?”

The sensibly dressed grandma then explained, “Yes, honey. I admit it. I’m a kicker. I kick people.” She then pointed up the sidelines. “See that lady in the purple jacket? She was sitting next to me in the final game of last season...well, I kicked her 5 times in the first half alone.” The grandma lowered her head in what I thought was a bit of shame…until I saw the small grin of amusement that she was attempting to hide.

“You actually KICK people? Why……?”

“I’m not sure why. I guess I can’t help wanting to get into the excitement of the games myself. By kicking from the sideline, I feel like I’m helping those boys out. Sometimes people get in my way.”

I had no clue how to respond to that.

“Oh, honey. The game is starting. You’d better start your wandering now...before I get myself going here......”

Said the sensibly dressed grandma.

Check This Out!

The Slightly Exaggerated family recently watched a few Alfred Hitchcock movies. Despite being older movies, both Rear Window and Dial M for Murder kept the teenager and the boy captivated. The teenager handled the suspense by yelling advice to the characters in peril. The boy gave the movies the best review he has ever given, “Uh….yeah. They were pretty good, I guess.” The husband even looked up from his car magazine to watch. And I thought they were so fantastic that I now have all of the Hitchcock movies in my Netflix queue.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fancy Clothes

I was wearing my fancy clothes when I caught the little girl staring at me. I was feeling fantastic and I knew I looked good.

Perhaps, I thought, she had noticed that.

I was visiting the city for the day. All alone, I strutted the streets of downtown in my hip, city girl uniform of black high heeled boots and black pants and dark wool coat. My regular, comfortably frumpy uniform of worn yoga pants and hooded sweatshirt and the teenager’s fuzzy slip-on shoes sat crumpled in a heap on my bedroom floor. My fancy clothes had transformed me into a new woman.

It had been a fabulous day in the city. The black clad, more urbane, cooler version of myself had shopped in stores where I couldn’t afford a thing. I took my time in stores that had nothing to do with cars or sports or electronics. I ogled the spatulas in the kitchen store for over 20 minutes. No one rolled their eyeballs or huffed with impatience or begged me for a thing. No one was so hungry they were going to die. No one had to go to the bathroom 3 minutes after I asked them if they had to. No one burped out loud-twice-because they literally would have exploded if they hadn’t. No one bickered. No one touched breakable things. And no one thought it was funny to see who could squeak their wet shoes on the store floor the loudest. I was on cloud nine.

I held my head high as I took in the downtown life. I saw the sculptures and the art and the intricate oriental rugs. I went to the market and smelled the flowers and the fish and the bread that was just out of the oven. I felt like a giant among the skyscrapers. I watched an entire rainbow of races and cultures around me and knew that I belonged. I knew I was smart and edgy and hopeful. The day was good. Life was full of promise. The world was beautiful. And it all started when I put on my fancy clothes that morning.

I was dressed in those fancy clothes when I sat down on the park bench to eat a street cart gyro for lunch. I was bloated with confidence and attitude and a tiny bit of haughtiness when I first saw the little girl and her family in the park. I smiled at the little girl when I caught her staring at me. I mindlessly nibbled at my oversized gyro and took in the beautiful scenery. I reached for my napkin when I felt the first drip of tzatziki sauce run down my hand. I thought it would be a good idea to rewrap my gyro to stop the drips.

It was not a good idea.

An impressive flood of white, tzatziki yogurt sauce that had been pooling in the bottom of the wrapper was set free when I tried to rewrap my gyro. My lone napkin was no match. The bottom part of my coat, my entire thigh and knee and one of my boots were now sporting copious amounts of white sauce, bits of cucumber and garlic and a few stray lettuce and onion strands. I tried to brush my hair out of my face and streaked it, and the side of my face, with the dripping sauce that now covered both my hands. My self-assured, bloated attitude was immediately deflated. My lone napkin had turned to mush. I sat on that park bench, stunned at my predicament and a little bit lost as to what to do next. My fancy clothes were filthy. In one instant I had become a befuddled, bedraggled mess.

I looked up at that moment to see the little girl and her family walk past me as they left the park. The little girl stared at me with eyes that couldn’t get any wider. She grabbed her mother’s hand and said loud enough for me to hear, “Mommy, look at that lady. Her clothes are so dirty. Why is she so dirty mommy?”

The mother tried to hush the girl. “Shhh. That’s not polite honey. Homeless people don’t have any place to wash their clothes like we do. That’s probably all she has. Now let’s get going.”

I was wearing my fancy clothes on the day that lady called me homeless.

I guess she didn’t notice that.

Check This Out!

Try this tzatziki sauce the next time you find yourself in need of some.

1 pint plain yogurt
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
1 TBL plus ½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup sour cream
1 TBL white wine vinegar
2 TBL lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 TBL olive oil
1 ½ tsp minced garlic
1 ½ tsp minced fresh dill
pinch ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a paper towel or cheesecloth lined sieve and set it over a bowl. Grate the cucumber and toss it with 1 TBL of the salt. Place it in another sieve and set it over another bowl. Place both bowls in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours to drain. (Some Greek yogurt is thick enough that it needs little draining.)

Transfer the thickened yogurt to a large bowl. Squeeze as much liquid from the cucumber as you can and add the cucumber to the yogurt. Mix in the sour cream, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, dill, ½ tsp of salt and the pepper. Refrigerate for a few hours.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Down the Drain

I suppose you could say that I nagged the husband to unclog the pipes. The resigned husband however, had determined that it was simply the least time consuming chore on the honey do list. And that is how he found himself surrounded by the slime and gunk and hair that inhabited the pipes below the backed up sink.

The husband did a fantastic job unclogging the pipes. The sink no longer backs up and my toothpaste spit drains like it did the day I first brushed my teeth above it. I did feel a little bad for the husband, having to confront the slime and the gunk and the hair. It really was most unpleasant.

That didn’t stop me however, from clogging up the garbage disposal a few days later. Again, it might be possible that there was a bit of wifely nagging that took place. And again, the husband did a fantastic job of rescuing the mutilated Beefaroni lid that had taken the disposal hostage. I did feel a little bad for the husband, having to immerse himself among the slime and the gunk and the twisted Chef Boyardee metal.

When the teenager dropped her brand new, not inexpensive, earrings down the drain of the downstairs bathroom sink the very next day, I assumed they were gone forever. I couldn’t bring myself to do any more nagging. But the husband was, by now, feeling confident in his skills with drains and pipes and slime and gunk. Yet again, he lumbered off to the garage for his tools.

When the husband recovered the earrings, the teenager told him he had done a fantastic job. He told her it better not happen again because he was done with drains. And for a third time, I felt bad for the husband having to endure the hardship of the slime and the gunk and the missing earrings.

As the teenager walked away with her slimy earrings, the husband suddenly cried out, “Hey, I think I found a tooth!”

The husband emerged from the bathroom, small tooth in hand, raised it above his head toward the light and reiterated his discovery. “I’ve FOUND a TOOTH!!”

The teenager and I stared in disbelief at the tooth above the husband’s head.

After some delay we heard a cry from the living room, “Did you say a tooth? I lost a tooth in the drain a while back. That’s MY tooth!”

The boy sauntered in and grabbed the tooth from the husband’s hand. He looked the tooth over and announced with certainty. “Oh yeah, this is the one I lost. It fell down the drain. This is my tooth. Wow dad! You should take apart all of the drains! Who knows what we’ll find!”

The husband looked a bit pale.

The boy, running up to his bedroom, yelled back down to the teenager and the husband and I. “By the way, I never got paid for this tooth. You’d better let the Tooth Fairy know….there’s got to be some interest coming to me or something…..”

Check This Out!

The teenager recently read The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I have never read the book but the teenager claims it to be well worth the time. After she finished the book, I showed her the 1985 Steven Spielberg movie that was based on the book. If you’ve never seen the movie, you must. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen it, watch it again. It is such a good movie. It was so enjoyable to see again the performances of Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover and really, every single actor in the movie. All were phenomenal. Two thumbs way up.

Check out one of my favorite scenes. You might want to wait however, if you haven't seen the movie. It gives a few things away.