Posts Tagged With: friends

~ Social Climbing ~

I just wanted to do something unusual with my family AND at the same time, see some friends we rarely get to see.  Our friends, Paul and Heather had a gem of an idea: Wall Climbing at EarthTreks in Columbia, Maryland.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO!” was the response from the under-age peanut gallery at the little cottage.

“You’ll enjoy it!” I promised, as I packed snacks and drinks.

“NOOOOOOOOOO!” They cried.

“It’ll be an adventure!” I urged, as I organized everything into the car.

“NOOOOOOOOO!” They pouted.

“Get in the damn car!” I barked.

And off we went, just like that.

Life really is so much easier when you just get straight to the barking.  Everything else is just for show.

Varmint was honestly scared.  She is not a fan of heights.  We could rationalize everything ad nauseam:  My Captain has a ton of rope training and experience from his time on Maryland Task Force One, he would never leave her side,  the ropes are incredibly strong, the floors are very padded, the harnesses will not give.

It didn’t matter.  She was shaking, quite literally, with fear.

Critter, on the other hand, does not know he is mortal, and we have to take the opposite tack with him:   Yes, you have to wear a harness.  Yes you have to wear a rope. No, you may not jump down from the top.

And so the day began.

2013-01-27 14.22.14

This is Paul.  Paul is demonstrating two things:  1) how strong the harness is and 2) how strong he is.  You may remember Paul from the Bethany Beach Fourth of July Blueberry Pie Eating Contest.  He rocked it three times in a row.  He’s my hero.  I’m going to be him someday.

With less facial hair.


Varmint got ready, looked her fears right in the eyes, shot me a dirty, reproachful, “HOW COULD YOU MAKE ME DO THIS?” look, and started ascending the wall….   2013-01-27 14.40.44

…..hating me every bloomin’ step, and muttering to herself quietly enough that I could not discern the exact foul language she may have been employing.

2013-01-27 14.40.47

My Captain had her safely in his belay the whole time, and she eventually trusted that.  But she still hated me for being so dadburn pushy and overbearing.

2013-01-27 15.42.05

That is, until she reached the top.  And then she beamed.  And she glowed.  And she decided to climb up the wall a few more times without me pushing her into it.

And she proved to herself that she had more ability than she ever fathomed.

Oh, she still hated me, but I can take it.  She’s only eleven, after all.  I’ve got a few more years of being hated to go, I reckon.

2013-01-27 15.39.48

Critter, on the other hand…..

2013-01-27 15.40.02

…is blissfully unaware of his own mortality.

2013-01-27 15.40.43

And is wickedly adventuresome….one might say, beyond the voice of reason.

2013-01-27 15.40.57

One might even venture to say he is foolishly, zealously, brazenly over-confident.

2013-01-27 15.41.07

And rather callously unconcerned with his little ol’ mama’s skipping heart.

2013-01-27 15.41.23

In fact, you might say he’s an imp.

2013-01-27 15.41.46

A cocky one, at that.

2013-01-27 15.42.05

This picture has nothing to do with the story.  I just like the looks of My Captain in a climbing harness. 2013-01-27 15.42.57

Paul’s daughter, Zoe, reassured me that there was no need to worry about Critter.

2013-01-27 15.43.40

“Aw, there’s nothing to it,” she promised.  “He’ll be fine.”

2013-01-27 15.43.57

She said this as she herself scrambled like a monkey up the wall….as if gravity were optional.

2013-01-27 15.44.07

This picture has nothing to do with the story either.  I just love his arms and shoulders, and, er backside.

2013-01-27 15.44.31

“Hmmm,” muttered Critter, “I bet I could do that faster.”

2013-01-27 16.54.43

“Me, too!” answered Paul.

2013-01-27 16.55.14

And then he did!

2013-01-27 16.55.30

Rather nimbly, I might add.  Not bad for an 85-year-old man.

2013-01-27 16.55.45

I just wanted to look at this guy again.   BOY HOWDY.

Can you believe he is married to me?  I sure as heck can’t.  I keep waiting for him to realize the enormity of what he’s done.  But in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the view, thank you very much.

Wait, what was this post about again?

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

~ So What? ~

So many of my previous posts have starred my son, Critter, and his many endearing antics. He is a handful and will most likely be the next Dick Van Dyke when he grows up. If we hear one of the cats cry out, or if there is the sound of breaking glass, or the thud of something heavy bouncing down the stairs, we generally look for him.

But I DO have another child. The beautiful and talented Varmint.

My dad used to call her his ‘Rosebud’ before he died. I call her ‘Varmint,’ ‘Peanut’, and sometimes, ‘Butthead’, but only on special occasions.  She is, without a doubt, one of the funniest, sharpest-witted 10.5 year olds I’ve ever met.

But Varmint is a worrier.

She worries about pleasing the teachers. She worries about pleasing her friends. She worries about pleasing the basketball coach. I’m pretty sure she’d worry about pleasing the mailman, given the chance.

(Oddly enough, by the looks of her room, she doesn’t worry too darn much about pleasing her Mama.)

This excessive worrying drives her to go above and beyond the call of duty on too many things. If anyone is ripe for an ulcer, its her. For example, at her school recently, each 4th and 5th grade child had to choose an historic figure in the Revolutionary war, and play the part of that person in a little “wax museum” for parents. Each kid had a lengthy report of facts about their character. And they read these facts. Well, MOST of them did.

Varmint memorized her page of facts, and acted it out as if she was Sarah Bernhardt.

“Why?” I asked?
“Because the teacher said she would like it if we had good eye contact while we were in character.”

I just stared at her. Lemme get this straight. The teacher mentioned eye contact is a good thing, so my daughter memorized a bizillion word essay to please her.  Understand that in preparation for this, we cried over this report.  We lamented over how much work it was.  We fought through each and every agonizing stressful moment of it.  ….and we didn’t have to??

I took a deep breath. “Alrighty Then.”

My goal now is to teach this child the meaning of “So What.”

It’s an important phrase that a wise woman once suggested that I, in my over-achiever, Type-A personality, adopt.  The point is that nothing any of us may fail at will result in end of the world. The universe will not implode if we screw up. (Probably.)

Not enough time to finish homework? So What?
Not straight A’s in class? So What?
Art Teacher doesn’t like your work? So What?
Hair a bit out of place? So what? Its not the end of the world!

Perspective is a hard thing to maintain. We are so tiny in this universe. Our biggest problems don’t amount to much at all. But in the day to day minutiae crap, we forget this! So I try to live with “So What” and not get wrapped around the axle about the small stuff if I can help it. And she so desperately needs to learn this, too. Soon. VERY SOON.

Now, Critter, on the other hand…..

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: