Archive | June, 2014

How Wendy’s Almost Ruined Our Triathlon Triumph

30 Jun

For me it’s reaching the top of Devil’s Canyon without stopping … or falling … or passing out … that’s when it happens.

 

The gruesome uphill battle that begs for BenGay and Advil the next day.

The gruesome uphill battle that begs for BenGay and Advil the next day.

 

My quads are on fire, my back is aching, and my 38-year-old knees feel like they are 78. But I’m stubborn and I press on. In fact I don’t even want to look up for fear that my muscles will realize what’s in store for them, they’ll cuss me out, and I’ll just fall over. Mutiny.  So I turn up the volume of the iPod, dig deep, and believe that … “King Kong ain’t got nothing on me.”

Yeah … That’s probably what kept me going.

When I got to the top and saw Bob or Dave or Mitch — the volunteer in his bright green TinMan Triathlon shirt handing out water — I felt a sense of awesomeness overwhelm me and a smile stretched across my face as I yelled out: “Duuuuuuuuuuuude I’ve been thinking about you for miles!”

 

This was him ... the dude everyone was happy to see.

This was him … the dude everyone was happy to see.

 

I felt Gatorade-worthy.

It also happened when I took the plunge into the pool, feet first and feeling the cool waters wash over my weary muscles as I surged through the Olympic-sized pool for the first 25 yards …

I felt Gatorade-worthy.

And it happened most when I finally reached the finish line … I saw that red, blue, and yellow banner, and the clock ticking, so I sprinted to reach the end. I knew what was waiting for me … Yes there were high-fives and smiles and the awesome finisher medal that I wore all day but that was not it … It was the watermelon. The finish line watermelon. It’s the juiciest, sweetest, best-tasting reward on Earth. Nothing like it … Finish-line watermelon. I looked forward to it for miles.

It made me feel Gatorade-worthy.

All these moments … these were highlights that kept me going, these were the simple rewards that made me feel amazingly Guatacular all day. I bottle that stuff up and live off of that badass feeling for at least a week. And even though I was proud of myself for surviving Devil’s Canyon and thriving under the heat I was even prouder of my son. For the second time in his five-year old existence he successfully completed the Tiny Tot Triathlon.

 

And they're off!

And they’re off!

 

Dude.

You don’t even know.

I was one of those crazy parents cheering loudly at every leg of the race …

 

It was an easy and smooth transition. He remained serious despite my enthusiastic cheering.

It was an easy and smooth transition. He remained serious despite my enthusiastic cheering.

 

And just as I had my Gatorade-worthy moments and rewards he had his own. Jumping into the pool and being able to swim without me was something that both of us were ecstatic about.

 

Doggy-paddling his way to the finish.

Doggy-paddling his way to the finish.

 

However crossing the finish line and outrunning the two older kids in the green division was something he was high-fiving me about all day.

 

:)

🙂

 

But I’m sad to say that the one reward he wanted that day for this awesome accomplishment didn’t quite happen and it almost ruined that amazing feeling — that emotional high that makes you feel great all day — that juice.

And who was to blame?

Who almost killed it?

 

:(

😦

 

Wendy’s … yeah I said it … it was Wendy’s and you almost killed it. I don’t know Dave Thomas, but I’m sure he would have been so disappointed.

My son has never had a Happy Meal. Never ventured into the Golden Arches … we’ve always been an In-and-Out kind of family. So when he finally asked for one it wasn’t the McDonald’s Happy Meal … it was the Wendy’s Kids Meal. That’s what he wanted … that was the reward he was looking forward to at the end of his race.

Why?

He’d been dreaming of that DC Comics Swooping Superman Glider and the Super Hero Training Comic Book that came with the meal. That was it. That was his “Finish-line watermelon”.  He’d seen the commercial for weeks and decided that that would be his prize. He was so excited that he decided we should order a kid’s meal for his sister too, just so she could get Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and they could form the mini Justice League.

I mean he has superhero action figures here, they both do, but these were Kids Meal DC Comic Superhero prizes and they were way better … they were “finish-line watermelon” so I agreed.

I understood.

So we drove twenty minutes out of our way to find the nearest Wendy’s because apparently there was no Wendy’s near the race.

He walked in wearing his medal, smiling the toothless kindergartener smile, and walked up to the register and ordered a kid’s meal … the one with the superheroes in it.

And then that’s when it happened.

The guy behind the counter just looked at me and shook his head.

Dude.

He had conquered the football field run, raced through the ginormous parking lot on two wheels, kicked and splashed his way past older kids, and sprinted to the finish line. He’d finished. He’d accomplished something big and had a medal to prove it. And we had driven … and driven … and driven in unknown neighborhoods misguided by our outdated Garmin GPS that didn’t even have the freeway we were driving on listed. But we drove and eventually got there ready to get that finish-line kids meal.

And they didn’t have it.

Wendy’s didn’t have it.

The look on my son’s face … Disaster.

I felt bad. His sister felt bad. The guy behind the counter felt bad.

My son assured him that they did have it. This was Wendy’s. He had seen the commercial. He needed to look again. It said that they were soaring into the kids’ meals.

Still nothing.

Dude … parent failure. My heart felt heavy.

The dude reached behind the counter for something else … some kind of connect-the-puzzle-pieces-transform-this-into-anything kind of toy.

My son looked at it bowed his head and slowly walked to the booth where he slumped down in the chair and waited for my arrival.

The guy behind the counter said they hadn’t had any of those in weeks and doubted that any other Wendy’s would have it either. I told him seeing how he was gainfully employed by Wendy’s he should use his connections to stop showing the commercial.

I looked back at my son … sigh.

“Dude. I’m gonna need some kind of chocolate or ice cream ’cause that plastic building set is just not gonna do it.”

Chocolate to the rescue.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

25 Jun

 

:)

🙂

 

Between.

Hanging out in the friendly skies …

Between heaven and Earth.

Feeling Like Rainbow Brite … But A Badass Rainbow Brite

23 Jun

Every time I check one off the list, I feel grateful for the Kodak moments that didn’t kill me.

You see no one ever tells you that when planning a Bucket List Adventure or a Sandbox List Adventure sometimes the stress of the entire mission leads to moments of anxiety, fatigue and eventually gray hair. But in the end the awesomeness of it all outweighs the little setbacks you encountered along the way.

And this is what happened … the crankiness of being woken up at the crack of dawn, the traffic along the way, the crowds at the parking lot, and the delays of the starting line all melted away when they heard the music and our New Balance shoes started moving. This weekend The Guats took on The Happiest 5K on the planet … The Color Run.

 

 

We picked up our gear early and ready to let our awesome out ... even got stickers for my Little Guats.

We picked up our gear early and were ready to let our awesome out … even got stickers for my Little Guats.

 

The only race that I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

Once we got there we began warming up  … The Color Run is the only race I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

 

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

 

They decided to jam a little in order to get pumped up for the race.

The warm-up was followed up with a jam session. They wanted to get pumped up for the race.

 

The countdown begins ...

And then the countdown began …

 

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

 

Ready to get splashed ...

Ready to get splashed …

 

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn't seem to need the stroller any more.

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn’t seem to need the stroller any more.

 

Feeling pretty good after our final color splash and ready to hit the finish line.

In the end, yellow was our last stop and the kids felt proud to be covered with all the colors of the rainbow.

 

When we finally crossed the finish line my kids were ecstatic about the confetti ... and all the high-fives they were getting.

We finally crossed the finish line and my kids were ecstatic about the confetti … and all the high-fives they were getting.

 

My son showing off his colors at the end.

My son showing off his victory colors at the end.

 

Hanging out at the end of the race and getting our paint packets ready for the celebration.

My daughter couldn’t get enough color. Here she is getting her paint packets ready for the finish line celebration.

 

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.  In the end I felt like Rainbow Brite … but a badass Rainbow Brite … the kind who was able to check off a Bucket List Adventure with her family and celebrate it in Guat style.

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

18 Jun

 

Extra, Extra ...

Extra, Extra …

 

 

Wanted to get a drink and noticed something extra at the end of the bar …

 

 

Bucket List Adventure Failure … I Didn’t Count On It … Not Today

16 Jun

Dear Kings,

Everybody is checking stuff off their list. They saw the Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman movie about cancer and it was on. Everybody wrote down their dreams, life goals, and wildest adventures and made plans to make it happen.

They have their woo-hoo! moments throughout the year and share them on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media monster.

Everyone appears to be a successful adventurer. Apparently there are no failures when you’re on a Bucket List Quest.

Well … I’ve broken the mold. I’m the first Bucket List Adventurer Failure of the universe.

It’s a hard being the first one.

Failure … I don’t handle it too well.

It sucks. But I’m here to tell you … you can still survive a Bucket List downfall with the help of little Ben & Jerry’s … well maybe a lot.

I know you know. You couldn’t have gotten to where you are without failure. That’s probably what made you so resilient.

But if you want to know, I finally managed to peel myself off my laminate floor, squash my frustration, and get on with my day. There’s really nothing else you can do other than try again … you know if the opportunity ever presented itself again. And I guess that’s why I’m writing.

There are some items on your Bucket List that you can’t do alone. You have to rely on someone or a group of someones in order for you to take your leap.

In my case?

It’s you.

You made the opportunity happen. You made it happen for a lot of sports fans.

It’s every sports fan’s dream. The championship parade. You need your team to win in order for the parade to happen. You need them to survive the first round of playoffs, the injuries, the adversity, the sudden-death overtimes. You need them to win it all so that you and the rest of your city can celebrate them with the parade.

 

This is where I wanted to be ...

This is where I wanted to be …

 

So it happened for me. You held up your end of the bargain.

Not once, but twice.

However, the first time I had given birth to my second child a few months prior, so I couldn’t very well take a newborn with me. I was sad, but knew it was unrealistic. I thought if it ever happens again. I’ll make it. I’ll be there with the players, the coaches, the fans, the music, the speeches, the confetti, the atmosphere. I’ll be there to relive the season on that Jumbotron. I’ll high-five my son when we see Doughty, Carter, Brown, Williams, and Quick. I’ll take pictures. We’ll all smile and I’ll check one off the list.

Dude.

Failure.

I didn’t count on my kids waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

I didn’t count on running out of Multi-Grain Cheerios and having my daughter flip out.

I didn’t count on them preferring to watch another episode of Disney Jr..

I didn’t count on tiny tot tummy trouble because she didn’t have her regular breakfast.

I didn’t count on having to clean up tiny tot tummy trouble disaster in the bathroom so early in the morning.

I didn’t count on the Mega-disaster of the missing LEGO Microfighter.

I didn’t count on loading up the kids, snacks and stroller into the truck only to have it turn on with the gas tank on E … I mean E to the Extreme. Like when the light goes on and you don’t know if you’re gonna make it to the corner.

I didn’t count on going to the gas station and not finding my wallet. I didn’t count on looking all over the house in a manic state trying to find my beat-up old wallet. I didn’t count on not finding it.

I didn’t count on searching for that “emergency” $40 dollars you keep in the house for emergencies such as these and not finding that money either.

As a mother of two and a member of this-is-not-your-life-right-now-you’re-just-in-the-George-Costanza-phase-of-life club I normally count on disaster happening. Usually everyday. But not today. Not that early. Not when a Bucket List item was on the verge of happening. I hadn’t counted on it and that was my mistake.

But I guess there was a bright side. Two hours later I got a call from the local supermarket … apparently I had left my wallet at the register. I walked to the store picked up some Ben & Jerry’s and made it back in time to see the parade on television.

Again. On television.

Listen … I don’t mean to put any more pressure on you guys, I mean you just won The Stanley Cup, but if you could pull off a repeat … I’d really appreciate it.

 

Thanks,

Your Favorite Guatemalan Fan

 

 

To All The Dads …

15 Jun

 

:)

🙂

 

 

Sports, Family, and Heart Attacks

13 Jun

Chest pains.

Pressure.

Anxiety.

Rapid and irregular heartbeats.

Shortness of breath.

Tingling in the right arm.

High blood pressure.

 

...

 

Dude. I exercise on a daily basis. I take a Vitamin B Complex and that CoQ10 from the Costco. It’s supposed to be good for your heart. But in truth I don’t know if it was working. I didn’t think I was gonna make it tonight. I’ve never needed an EKG or CPR before. I was really freaking out.

And then it happened …

 

Holy Crap!

Holy Crap!

 

SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!

 

Go Kings Go!

Go Kings Go!

 

Instantly … the blood rushed back into my veins and pumped life back into my heart. I took deep breaths and felt the muscles in my face relax. The tension melted away and the pounding in my chest subsided. But in truth there was nothing I could do about the ten new gray hairs that sprouted during this episode.

Those would stay with me.

I earned those. As a sports fan they’re my badge of honor. As a L.A. Kings’ fan I acquired my first series of gray during the first round of playoffs and by the end of this double overtime winning streak, I must have aged at least 15 years. I should have gotten used to all that stress by now … the world of sports does that to you. I should have known better.

However, The Quest for the Stanley Cup is a whole new level of danger. And nothing can prepare you for it, although they try. The PSA announcement before the game warned me that watching the Kings could be hazardous to my health … and if I ate red meat, drank excessively, or smoked the risk would be three times greater. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink excessively, but I’m a Tyrannosaurus Rex kind of carnivore. So I knew I’d be in trouble.

But it was something I was willing to risk.

 

:)

🙂

 

My Dad would want me to … he was a big fan. Loved those Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille days. And it was fitting that I’d be watching the L.A. Kings beat the New York Rangers to win the Stanley Cup wearing my Dad’s hockey cap. Father’s Day is coming up and I’ve been feeling his presence all week long. Thinking of things we’d be doing together and of the cake I’d be baking in his honor.  Yeah … I was thinking and I was grateful for his Kings’ hat. I had a piece of him with me still. And we were  high-fiving each other, screaming, and nearly passing out from all that intense excitement. He was a great couch sidekick and I was definitely missing him this evening.

Yeah … sports and family. They both give you heart attacks but you love them for it.

 

 

It Was The Principle

11 Jun

I don’t know if you’re aware but crossing certain social boundaries within a family dynamic can create a WWE Royal Rumble type of atmosphere.

It can be anything. A look. A word. A phrase. An act. Anyone of these can light the fuse.

And the funny thing is that I was recently reminded that I’m not the only crazy neurotic mom that battles with her family over boundaries.

Earlier this week I hung out with a friend of mine who was in serious need of a girls night out. Apparently Marissa had let her mom babysit over the weekend and when Marissa returned to pick up her daughter, her mom had not only thrown “the schedule” out the window, but also decided to cut the little girl’s hair. And the thing is as a mom I know how important “the schedule” is to a parent’s survival so I thought … man that does suck, but when she mentioned the tiny tot ambush makeover I almost gave her some chocolate.

:)

🙂

I knew my friend — the Aquanet Hairspray junkie — would have a serious problem with that boundary violation. She cherishes her little girls hair and accessorizes it and it’s just on with her, it’s a whole Paul Mitchell obsession with good hair. And the thing is her mom knew that too, so the fact that she decided to go all Edward Scissorhands really surprised me.

Apparently grandma felt that her hair needed a trim … it was just too long.

And that’s when sparks flew.

While hearing her story over pasta and wine, I completely understood why she was so upset. It was the principle … the principle.

This is the root of most wars.

The principle.

An ethical standard or guiding conduct in our lives. The way things work.

Apparently Marissa’s mom did not get the message regarding the principle and hair cutting. And the thing is the haircut itself wasn’t disastrous. It was short, but not terrible. However if that would have happened to me, it would have been serious breech of conduct. So I completely understood her frustration.  Cutting a girl’s hair is serious and shouldn’t be done without the verbal and written consent of the mother. But I tried to assure her that it would grow back and that everyone has battles like these.

Principle battles. I have at least three a week with my own flesh and blood. So what do I do when this happens … When I’ve explained that a boundary has been crossed and the principle has been attacked? Do I stand there and wait for the traditional “I’m sorry?”

No. It’s not coming.

I call a friend, have a girl’s night out with my buddy, tell her my woes, eat some chocolate, laugh a lot, and hope for fewer battles.

She was definitely on the right track to recovery.

 

 

Learning to Leave It Behind

9 Jun

 

:)

🙂

 

 

 

Making Her Mark

6 Jun

It’s something I looked forward to doing as soon as I heard her plans.

I wanted to be part of it … I wanted to conspire with the universe to help her succeed, even if it was a small part I wanted to do it.

I met T.B. Markinson over two years ago and I’ve been a pretty loyal follower of her travel anecdotes, reviews, personal essays and photography. She hooked me with her 50 Year Project premise and I stayed because of the stories.

As a writer, stories are important to me. They have to connect and mean something in some way. Dramatic, touching or humorous, they have to mean something. They have to be original but relatable and this is what she does in her blog posts every week. And this storytelling ability is something that’s crossed over into her novel, which I’m currently reading by the way.

She’s a good storyteller.  And from the thousands of blogs being posted on a daily basis she definitely makes her mark, and now she’s found a way to make her mark as an author. She’s written a book … well correction … three books.

Three.

And one of them is on sale.

 

:)

🙂

 

Her novel, A Woman Lost, was originally priced at $2.99 but is available for $0.99 on Amazon.com and £0.99 on Amazon.co.uk from June 5th to June 11th.

Limited time only people!

So in order to assure you that you’re getting a good read, I thought I’d include a sneak peek.

Synopsis:

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Petrie has it all. She’s rich, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. None of this matters to her mom. Les-Bi-An. That’s all her mom sees.

Even though Lizzie insists her mom’s antagonism does not bother her, Lizzie distances herself from her entire family. When her brother, Peter, calls her out of the blue to announce he’s getting married, Lizzie’s entire life changes drastically. Peter’s fiancée wants to bring the lesbian outcast back into the family. Will this desire cause Lizzie to lose everything dear to her?

Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend, is ecstatic about this change in Lizzie’s personal life. Sarah, the hopeless romantic, wants it all, including settling down with the fiercely independent Lizzie.

Can Lizzie be tamed? And can she survive her family and all of their secrets?

Duuuuuuuuuuuuude.

Are you already heading over to Amazon.com?

Giddy up!

 

Author Bio:

T. B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. A Woman Lost is her debut novel

 

For more information on this awesome writer here are some of her sites.

Making My Mark Blog

The 50 Year Project

Goodreads Page

Twitter Page

 Amazon U.S.

Amazon UK