The Hiking Industry & the Dummies Who Fell For It

Hiking History

There are several things that really chap my ass, but being such a soft-spoken, girl-next-door type, I usually hold my tongue (see Stupid Suburban Problems and Moms Against Sexy Faces). However, most likely due to my menstrual cycle I have absolutely had it with hiking.

For centuries Homo sapiens have participated in this activity without need for fancy weatherproof boots, or collapsible, aluminum trekking poles. You know what they called it? They called it fucking walking! And they didn’t even brag about it.

So how did this multi-million dollar industry get started?

I’m glad you asked.

It began as a typical Tuesday in the early 1900’s when a third floor building that housed the headquarters for Millican’s Mustache Wax, Inc. encountered an elevator problem. Maintenance was called and it was estimated that the elevator could be out of operation for up to an hour.

Twelve men wearing suits and wingtip shoes took the stairs and ascended to the third floor on foot for the first time. As they rubbed their weary feet and scratched their heads being careful not to muss their heavily waxed coifs, one of them had a brilliant idea.

You know that thing we just did that poor people do all the time? Let’s make it into a sport. We could sell special shoes and make a fortune!

Mr. Merrell, the obese, mouth-breathing CFO having just walked in the door because he actually waited on the elevator to be fixed, chimed in. “Well, I could never do that. Not without a cane, or a backpack full of snacks.”

And that is how hiking came to be. As fortune would have it, Theodore Roosevelt would soon be gallivanting all over the country declaring National Parks everywhere he turned. This only served to reinforce the concept of walking with canes, special shoes and of course, snacks.

Call it a sport if you want to, but find me a pain-clinic patient with an appointment on the other side of town and a car that won’t start and I’ll show you the most extreme hiking you’ve ever seen. No shoes required.

All this typing has made me hungry. I think I’ll hike downstairs and make myself a snack.

Happy Birthday, Baxter!

Baxter turned ten-years-old yesterday and he insisted on making it a big to do.

Now, I’m not one to judge, but I think he let things get out of hand. I made the decision to shut it down after one of the neighbors called the cops. He was clearly angry at me and yelled something about me not being his real Mom before passing out on the couch.

I came right out and this morning and asked him about the three-legged labradoodle I saw him hitting on before the cops showed up. She wasn’t even wearing a collar. Skank.

I’m not sure how much he will remember from last night, but I hope his memories are fond ones. You do only turn ten once.

Baxter's Birthday

Where Have I Been? Kindergarten.

Kindergarten

I’ve been a naughty, absent blogger for the last couple of months and for that I’m sorry. It’s just that we’ve had some big changes in our household that have forced us into a new routine.

I had planned on working more outside the home when Luke started school. In my mind these two things would happen almost effortlessly, but I was in for a rude awakening. Kindergarten is hard, yo!  And I’m not even the one taking classes.

I did NOT expect there to be homework so early on. Now, everyday I dread unzipping Luke’s little backpack and finding our to-do list. What’s it going to be tonight, Teach?

“Instructions: Put two rhyming items into this ziplock baggie and return it in your child’s backpack tomorrow.”

Are you freaking kidding me?! Is this kindergarten or Harvard? 

Luke’s headfirst dive into the shallow end of kindergarten has been less than traumatic. However, I think once his teacher gets to know him she will have a better appreciation for what his previous teacher referred to as “his lovable quirks.”

One day last week he got off the bus and met me with a frown. My mind went immediately to the worst case scenario- three things that rhyme in a ziplock baggie. “Well,” he sighed. “I’ve got terrible news. I’m not allowed to tell jokes in school anymore.”

“Okay. Well, there’s probably a better time and place for telling jokes,” I said as I shook his backpack and listened for the sound of a ziplock baggie. No baggie. Sweet!

“Well, I’m not happy about it, Mom. I’m also not happy because I gotta go to the vet.”

“Why do you need to go to the vet?”

He flexed his bicep and lisped through his gappy grin.

“Because my pythons are sssss-thick.”

The Hell Is My Passat?

Where the hell is my Passat?

What you’re about to read is not for the faint of heart. This is the tale of one woman’s brave journey to find her VW Passat in a parking garage. Like most frightening stories begin, it was a beautiful sunny day with almost no humidity.

Our heroine left her appointment somewhat exhausted and headed straight for the parking garage. She didn’t recognize any landmarks on the two-mile trek to the garage, but then again she never did. After following every sign she finally reached the parking garage, but something was wrong.

She saw a gentleman pass by. Excuse me, sir. Is this the Patient Parking garage?

The news was bad. She had walked to the Administrative Plaza garage. The patient parking was located on the other side of the building. Ignoring the blisters forming on the heel of each foot she pulled up her emotional bootstraps and began the eleventy-million mile trek to the correct garage.

Where the hell is my Passat?

Approximately forty-five minutes and one bathroom break later she arrived at the patient parking garage and found her car. Eureka! She located her keys, but was dismayed to find that her keyless remote wouldn’t unlock her doors. She tried to keep her cool as she pushed the button on the remote two more times. Exhausted and eager to go home, her patience wore thin. That’s when she noticed that someone parked next to her had dinged her car door. All composure was lost.

Are you kidding me? Who does that? What is wrong with this stupid remote? Its only job is to lock and unlock. Is that so hard? MY SPOILER is gone, too! This is unreal! Did someone wash my car? Wait a minute.

She headed back to the elevator while trying to keep a low profile. A passerby may have thought she was trying to break into a car that was very similar in make, model and color to her own.

After a couple strolls around garage levels A and B, our brave heroine located her automobile and was finally on her way home. Little did she know an interstate interchange was on the horizon. She was about to be forced to choose between Memphis and Knoxville when she desired a visit to neither. Learning to navigate I-24 had been on her to-do list for ages. In fact, it was her last New Year’s resolution.

No time like the present, she cried. Literally cried.

When she finally arrived home she was met by her husband. He had been born with logistical instincts and she knew he would never understand her near-debacle. What took so long? He asked.

My doctor was running three hours behind. So typical.

Raising A Tolerant Child For A Better Tomorrow

Tolerant Child

Luke and I have been very busy this summer in my attempt to squeeze in as much fun as I possibly could before the start of Kindergarten. As we ready ourselves to embark on this new phase of his life I can honestly say I’ve spent some time wondering and yes, worrying if I have given him everything he needs in his first six years of life. A parent can only hope that they’ve been a good example and done everything possible to mold their child’s young mind into a form that will create a kind, creative, and loving human.

Had I done my job of raising a tolerant child for a better tomorrow?

After the last few weeks of spending quality time with Luke the answer was apparent. I mean duhh, of course I had.

How can I be so sure? I’ll give you some examples.

Last week, while sitting in the backseat Luke saw someone in the car next to us throw garbage out of their car window. “Mom, unlock my window, PLEASE!”

“Not happening, Luke.”

He banged his fist on the window as he shouted, “Hey LOSER, the earth is not your garbage can!”

We weren’t on the best side of town so I floored it as soon as the light turned green feeling semi-proud. I had a little environmentalist on my hands, yes with possible rage issues, but still. Maybe green bullying is the new black.

I received further confirmation of my ability to raise a well-rounded child when before going to bed one night he informed me, “Mom, I’m not JUST into rap anymore. I like rock music, too.”

Score!

However, the pièce de résistance came during our recent trip to the Nashville Zoo. We were inside the alligator exhibit- a small confined space with room for only a few people at a time overlooking the alligators. We were admiring the hideous reptilians alongside a Middle Eastern family. The women had on their traditional scarves and they were speaking in their native tongue.

I was afraid something was about to go down because Luke took on his super cool stance- leaned against the glass with one foot crossed in front of the other. He addressed the family loudly. “So I noticed y’all speaking Spanish. Doesn’t bother me, though.”

He was giving his typical wink-face and gun hand as I pulled him out of the room and away from the nice family. We were walking briskly to the nearest exit when he mentioned, “There was a whole pride of them. Cool.”

It gives me great pleasure to share with you my accomplishments in successfully raising an environmentally conscious, well-rounded, and racially tolerant human being. I hate to brag, but it takes most parents eighteen years to do that.

What Everyone Else Sees In Your Selfies

Stop Selfies

In an effort to decrease the number of selfies clogging up my social media feeds, as well as photos of your naked son’s rash, photos of a body part before, or after the stitches were placed, and anything else suitable for a medical text book I beg of you- STOP.

“My selfies don’t look…”

STOP!

Yes, they do. They DO look like that.

If you’re interested in further reading material on this matter see also Moms Against Sexy Faces.

That concludes this public service announcement.

Stupid Suburban Problems: Things Just Got Stupid-er

Stupid Suburban Problems, Chapter 2

Welcome back to egocentric community of Withering Lows. A lot has happened since neighbor, Shane lost it a few weeks ago after finding litter on the running trail. I’m assuming he didn’t make good on his threat to quit his job and monitor the neighborhood for hooligans, but who knows.

Irene lives just a few houses down and found herself in the midst of her own conundrum just last week. She needed to defecate badly, but the cleaning ladies were still at her house. Naturally, she took to the Facebook HOA page to ask for advice on what to do. (Personally, I would’ve just Googled it, but different strokes for different folks, as they say.) There was a range of responses including “Go next door,” “Drive to the BP station,” and “If you have a privacy fence, then do it in the back yard.”

There was no official word on how it played out, but rumor has it that when Consuela opened the door to the butler’s pantry to dust the counters she found Irene squatted over a paper sack. Please pray for all of those involved.

The Facebook HOA page became another hot bed of controversy two nights ago when Jean got into it with a few of the other neighbors over premature Fourth of July fireworks.

Here is their conversation for your reading enjoyment.

Jean: To all of you who think it is ok to shoot fireworks tonight… a week ahead of the fourth… think again. My pup is traumatized without any warning. We were prepared for the actual fourth, but now it may be too late. Please be considerate. 

Neighbor 2: Dogs get used to them at some point. Shoot ‘em off. And it’s TWO weeks before the fourth. 

Sandy Vagina: Obviously, Neighbor 2 doesn’t have any compassion for animals.

Neighbor 2: Obviously, Sandy isn’t very patriotic. Maybe she hates America. PS: My dog loves fireworks.

Neighbor 4: My dog hates them, too. 

Neighbor 5: Popcorn in hand. This is going to be good.

[Insert ten more comments for and against shooting off fireworks before the Fourth of July.]

Neighbor 16: You should be more considerate. It sounds like you’re asking Americans not to celebrate their independence. 

Neighbor 17: Go Merica!

Me: My dog is afraid of fireworks AND thunder. While you all took care of the fireworks situation I fired off an angry email to God about that thunder. He has yet to respond. Whew! It takes a village. 

*End Conversation*

In unrelated news, last week Boko Haram was suspected of kidnapping another 90 women and children in Nigeria, mystery still surrounds the missing Malaysian flight, and the U.S. traded five high-ranking Taliban terrorists for one American POW. However, in what turned out to be the biggest news story of all, one of the Duggar kids of the TLC show Eleventy-Thousand Kids And Counting got married, had her first kiss, and found out that THAT isn’t how babies are made.

Once this whole fireworks debacle gets worked out, I’m sure these new stories will find their way through Withering Lows iron gates just as swiftly as the New Kids On The Block- Greatest Hits album sweeps through Russia.

  Stupid Suburban Problems chapter 2

Five Elevator Speeches Worse Than Yours

Elevator Speeches Worse Than Yours

Experts will tell you when trying to pitch a new business, invention, or book proposal that a great elevator speech is crucial. While most don’t require an ACTUAL elevator to get their point across successfully, my five-year-old son, Luke uses the literal eight square feet of space as a way to entrap strangers into awkward conversations of up-close and personal over-sharing.

Here are a few of our recent awkward elevator encounters.

The Getting To Know You… and you and you and you

As the elevator door closes, Luke positions himself in front before turning and addressing everyone.

Hi, I’m Lucas. L-U-C-A-S. This is my mom. She’s name is Lori, of Loripalooza. What’s your names and where do you blog?

The Short Motivational Speech

The elevator stops before we arrive on our floor. A stranger gets on and successfully pushes the button leading them to their floor of choice. Their hard work and determination won’t go unrecognized.

Nailed it! High five, bro!

The Urgent Secret He Needs To Share With Me That Isn’t In A Whisper

Mom, there’s a baby in here and you know I hate babies because they’re stinky and they poop in their diapers and they’re nasty because they crawl around on the floor like bugs, or snakes and they cry so loud, but I’m not going to be rude about it, okay.

Over Sharing With Strangers For No Reason At All

This incident happened recently on vacation and was especially well played by me because I sent Luke down to the pool with his aunt and uncle, sans me.

Hi, I’m Lucas. L-U-C-A-S. These are NOT my parents. This is my mom’s sister, Heather, but you can call her Heather James, and this is uncle Sidney- definitely NOT my father.

De-constructive Criticism Directed At Surly Strangers 

We were still on vacation when this little incident went down. Two gentlemen entered the elevator on the ground floor giving me pause that I was without my pepper-spray. My arms were piled high with take-out boxes because Luke had decided he couldn’t behave at the restaurant with Heather James (Side note- her name is not James. We don’t know why he calls her that) and Uncle Sidney. As the elevator doors close, Luke notices the two fellows on the elevator with us and bursts out laughing while slapping his knee.

You guys look ridickerous! Where are your shirts? I can see your nipples! (More laughing, but only from Luke) Mom, look at their nipples. Is that a tattoo on your neck? I hope it comes off. You can’t smoke in here! That’s uh-scusting!

I had no free hand with which to cover his mouth. At long last, the elevator doors opened and I shoved Luke out with my foot. A couple of the to-go boxes landed just outside the elevator and before the doors closed I was able to shout an apology.

I am SO sorry. I think your ink is great. I smoke all the time!

No, you don’t, Mom. I’m telling Dad you pushed me wif your foot.

Zip it!!!

In closing, if you really want to improve your child’s elevator speech, then try having them use the stairs for a couple of days. It works well, especially when you’re on the seventh floor.

How To Train Your Ginger: Phobias

My Luke has been described as crazy neurotic eccentric quirky.

I certainly won’t argue given his recent phobias- pocket change (not kidding) and escalators.

As if taking him with me to purchase a bathing suit wasn’t bad enough, I completely forgot about his irrational fear of escalators. When I stepped onto the escalator in Macy’s he was right behind me, but I was halfway down when I realized he had never actually stepped onto it.

Despite the slow creep of the escalator, I was already to the bottom when a man walked up behind Luke in what was clearly an attempt to use the handy, automatic staircase. Luke shouted, “I’m scared of exa-lators! I can’t do it!”

I pleaded with the man to please help my son onto the escalator, so we could all move on and go about our completely abnormal lives. However, Luke was a little hesitant. It took a gentle shove from the nice, black man to get both of Luke’s feet onto the escalator. The man steadied Luke with a hand on each shoulder. I was relieved that Luke was on his way down to me, but Luke was beside himself and unable to take comfort in anything.

“Don’t let me go!! Please! Do NOT let me go,” Luke wailed during what felt like an hour-long descent. I felt badly for the nice man who was helping my son, because a small group of people had gathered around me and I had a feeling they were wondering what this man could be doing to illicit screams from a young child. They probably also wondered why I was laughing hysterically. Who knows. I’m not a mind reader.

When they reached the bottom Luke jumped off proudly. “I did it, Mom!”

“Yeah, you really did it.”

I thanked the man several times for helping me as Luke engaged in some celebratory hip-hop dancing, making doubly sure that everyone saw his ground work.

Of course, the fun didn’t stop there because I was off to purchase a swim suit. For the most part, Luke sat quietly outside my dressing room and only occasionally peaked under the door to offer unsolicited advice like, “Disgusting!” and “How did you get wrinkles on the back of your legs?”

I tried to fashion a noose out of several swimsuits tied together, but it was a fruitless effort. It’s impossible to kill yourself with lycra. It’s stretchier than a bungie cord. Luke will turn six mid-June and start Kindergarten in the fall. I hope they have a lot of escalators there.

I believe the best way to train your ginger is baptism by fire. I bet if I put a big pile of pocket change at the top of an escalator he’d hop right on.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

A video- Luke’s Dream