Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I brake for butterflies

I wasn’t one of those lucky kids who turned 16 and got a set of keys to her very own car. Instead, on my 16th birthday, I got a key to my mother’s car which I was welcome to use any time she wasn’t using it herself, and I had asked for permission, and the moon was full and Mars and Jupiter were in perfect alignment. THEN, I could drive the car.

One night when all those things made it possible for me to drive the car, I was driving home from some kind of late night practice at school. I can remember this so well: I was driving down the highway and out of nowhere a huge raccoon ran in front of me. I didn’t know what to do so I just plowed over it. The sound and feeling of plowing over that animal made me feel terrible. Of course, I went straight to the car wash to wash away any evidence of my “crime” and never mentioned it to my mother.

Years later I was driving down a highway in Colorado. Surprisingly, it had been almost ten years and I hadn’t hit anything since the unfortunate raccoon. Well, on this snowy morning I was driving to church and a prairie dog ran out in front of me. Remembering how it felt to hit that raccoon, I panicked. I swerved hard, lost control of the car, and crashed into the concrete barrier separated me from oncoming traffic. My car was totaled but, darn it, that prairie dog lived.

So there I was in the emergency room in a state where I had no family, having an EKG while a police officer was writing me a $400 ticket. I no longer had a car and wasn’t even sure how I was going to get home. But I promised myself something that day – the next time an animal ran out in front of me, I would not swerve. Especially not for a cannibalistic rodent which is known for carrying the plague.

I had my chance on Valentine’s Day. I was driving to meet Bryan for dinner at a restaurant about an hour away. The boys were with me and my dad was in the passenger seat. As I drove past a house in the middle of nowhere, I could see a little cat running out towards the road. It was all happening in slow motion. I didn’t know whether to slow down, speed up, or swerve the car off the road and into the woods. But then I remembered, “I will not swerve!” I kept on a-going and closed my eyes, hoping desperately to miss the cat. Not because I am a lover of cats or anything but because I had just washed the car. Ha ha. Then a THUD, THUD and I opened my eyes. My dad said, “Well, I don’t think it was that cat’s day.”

I was sick But I have to say I was relieved that I hadn’t swerved and totaled another car.

Sorry, kitty.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I am reading a book right now about a woman who is a mother of five children. I would love to have five children, in theory. Reality is that sometimes my two boys use their magical powers to produce the same effects as five children. It’s a talent they have, really. But I am getting off the subject. In the book, the mom suggests that every mom make a list of 25 “things” about herself. She says that we should all make this list every few years because it will likely change as our phases of life change. I know it sounds kind of silly, but I really enjoyed reading her list and have been thinking about what would go on my own list. (And how a mother of five small children had time to make a list of 25 anything is beyond me…)

1. I love to make lists. Bryan thinks it is an obsession and maybe it is, a little. I love making them – especially when I am bored or feeling motivated. I usually carry a purse-sized notebook with me and make lists of every kind – groceries, people I need to call, places I want to go this summer, etc. And isn’t it ironic that I am currently making a list of my lists?

2. Despite the fact that I post on this site about once every three months, I think about writing every single day. Probably five or ten times a day, something happens or I hear something and want to write about it. I love, love, love writing and posting on okiemom. I like the satisfying feeling of “publishing” a post that might make someone laugh. I dream of having a site that lots of people read every day. What keeps me from actually writing more regularly is lack of focus. I can waste a whole evening better than anyone I know. I need to remedy that in the near future.

3. The stack of books that I have and plan to read is taller than the Jolly Green Giant. I could probably get through them faster if I would throw a brick through my television.

4. I want to be a runner. I used to subscribe to the magazine, “Runner’s World” just to read what real runners do. Unfortunately, it’s not like a club you can just pay your dues to and become a member. You have to actually RUN which takes a little more work that subscribing to a magazine and reading the articles.

5. I like to look at my boys when they are sleeping – they are so cute when they are unconscious!

6. I don’t understand why anyone would ever have their nipple pierced. Ever.

7. I have always wanted to adopt a daughter from China. (Okay, maybe not “always” but at least since I was old enough to know that it was an option.)

8. I like to watch movies with the subtitles playing. English movies. I don’t know why, but having the subtitles to read while I listen helps me follow the movie better. I know – I’m like an old man. Next thing I know I’ll be watching the weather channel for fun.

9. I like to watch TV shows about true crime. I hope this is never used as evidence against me in court. As in, “Well you know, she was always interested in watching all those shows about crime…” I think it’s the psychology part of the cases that I like to ponder. Yes, I’m going with that.

10. When I was in middle school, I wanted to be a dentist. I’m not sure why this was my goal at the time. Especially since my dentist growing up was a gruff man who smelled of cheap cologne and cigarettes. He was not a “kid person.” I think my dream of becoming a dentist faded after I realized I would have to spend all day looking at other people’s teeth. And that I would probably have to start flossing daily.

Okay, I am going to continue this list tomorrow. I don’t want anyone suffering from “Laura List Overload.”