Sometimes, the Best Ideas Come from the Strangest Sources

So, I do not know if you watch Survivor, but I do.  Of the 27 seasons (two a year for over thirteen years), I have probably committed myself to 22.  For whatever reason, I did not watch the first two seasons, and somewhere within the sleepless nights and restless days of the first few months of one of my snot-nosed kids beautiful children, I missed another couple of seasons.

It’s great: the alliances; the secret alliances; the double-secret-swear-on-your-dead-grandma alliances (you know, the ones in which neither person swearing has a dead grandma); the challenges, the physical exhaustion and mental toughness– all characteristics that make for a great reality television show.

Last night was the season finale of Survivor Caramoan: Fans verse Favorites.  It was a fun season to watch.  The last four members standing were Eddie, an unlikely fan; Sherri, another fan who made more waves than Eddie in the game; Dawn and Cochran, both favorites from Survivor South Pacific.

Anyway, as all reality television shows go, the cameramen like to pull the contestants aside and ask them questions so that the audience can learn about each person and get a connection.  Right before Tribal Council, a ceremony in which the contestants vote someone off of the island, the cameramen interviewed each remaining cast member.

  • Cochran talked about following his dreams and becoming a writer.  Of course, I felt slightly annoyed.  He will have a best seller before I can say John Jangle Jingle Heimer Schmidt, all because of reality television fame.  Who knows if he has the power of the pen?  He will effectually become an author because of his quasi-celebrity status.
  • Dawn wanted to do more for her six adopted children.
  • I missed Sherri’s interview because I was changing the laundry.  To be honest, I did not think she had a chance in hell of winning, so it was a good time to make sure the wash got into the dryer.
  • Eddie, by far, had the best idea of what to do with one million free dollars. He said if he won, he wanted to open a dog-park-kennel-pet day care type of thing attached to a bar.

How do you say…. Genius!

Cochran graduated Harvard law, but Eddie is the true genius!  How many people do I know who are dog-lovers who love the dog park?  How many of these friends would have more fun if they could indulge in a little libation while playing with their dogs?  Surely, people would come from miles around to exercise their dogs and have a couple of cocktails.  Then, after an hour or two, when the customer gets hungry?   Perfect!  Order yourself a sandwich and a bowl of Kibble for old Fido.

Eddie got me thinking of other ideas I think would work.  I have always dreamed about having a pub with some form of daycare attached.  Why not go out for dinner with the family but have the younger members of the family have fun themselves?  How many times were we in restaurants and our children were bored, asking to leave, playing with sugar packets, or fighting with each other.  Going out to dinner was not enjoyable when the children were young.  It was downright annoying.

But…. if you could go out to dinner and drop your children off in a space where they would be fed, and then they could play, too?  Maybe a place with WII games or Xbox games.  Better yet, why not a bouncy house and a miniature playground.  Kids need to burn off all that energy from the food, and while they are enjoying themselves, mom and dad are luxuriating over their entries, enjoying their conversations, and thinking about a second drink.

Sadly, Eddie did not win.  Cochran did.  As much as I am a little annoyed at the secondary success he will elicit from his performance, I am happy for him.  He did deserve it.  Oh, and as for Eddie– he’s just going to have to keep his dream alive!  I look forward to “The Bark and a Beer” franchise coming to a city near me soon!

(If he uses that title, you heard it hear first.  Officially copyrighted!


Sometimes, You Have to Run Away

I feel very lucky that my oldest daughter and I are close.  We are friends, really.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not the type of mom who is taking her twelve-year-old for tattoos or buying the underage kids beer.  That does not make your child your friend, that just makes you a bad parent.  No, I mean that Carson and I enjoy hanging out together.   One thing we love is that we have “shows.”  If we cannot watch the shows together because one of us is busy, we DVR it so we can watch it together later.  We like Psych, Dance Moms, Survivor, and Touch.  Neither of us will watch any of these shows without the other.

Sometimes, it is difficult to be in the same room with Carson, however.   She is the biggest scaredy cat around.  Anytime she thinks something bad is going to happen, she covers her face.  When she is worried that someone is going to get hurt, she literally gets up and runs out of the room.

With that being said, Touch is a pretty violent show.  The main character, Jake, is being hunted by a killer who is trying to take out the chosen 36.  Jake has special powers that make him understand the interconnected nature of all organisms, and this man claims that he is working for God and God wants Jake dead.

This past week, he killed a few innocent bystanders on his hunt for Jake.  As he slit throats, Carson cowered under a cover.

“Is it over?  Is it over?”  I heard through the muffle of clothe.

“It’s over for now,” I said.  I was on the edge of my seat.

She pulled the cover down slowly so that only one eye was showing.  Seeing that the characters were in a benign situation, she threw the blanket on the floor and ran upstairs.  “I’ll be back,” she shouted.  “Just keep watching without me.”

Right after she left the room, she texted me.  She desperately wanted to watch, but her stomach was in knots.  As much as I wanted her to watch with me, she was too nervous.  I did not pause the show, and within seconds, I was engrossed once more.  Jake was being hunted, his father Martin was trying to help a stabbing victim, and the rest of the cast was trying to escape from the building they had been locked inside.

Out of the corner of my eye, a few minutes later, I saw my phone’s face light up.  I grabbed it and held onto it, unable to tear my eyes away from the screen.  I had pulled my knees up to my chest, and I too, was watching through fingers.  Just as Jake was about to be discovered, it went to commercial.

I was able to breathe.  Literally, I had been holding my breath.

I turned my phone to look at who had called or texted.  To my surprise, this is what I found.


I could not stop laughing.  She was speculating the main character’s demise, not realizing that the main character cannot meet his demise or else there wouldn’t be a premise for a show.

She came back just as Martin was kicking the living crud out of the bad guy.  Jake was fine.  However, she was present to see that the bad guy got away.

Uh-oh, next week, it will start all over again!

Day 319: Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with chronological age.  When I am interacting in everyday life, I always feel somewhere around 25.  Even when I talk about my children who are getting older, I seem to forget that means I am getting older, too.  I spend each day trying to experience it as myself, but the self I perceive and the self that others see is vastly different.

Example #1: During Spirit Week, each day has a different theme.  Wednesday’s theme was Cleveland’s sports.  The entire student body and staff were encouraged to wear Cleveland gear– Indians, Browns, Cavs, or Monsters– and unify as a school.  I decided to wear a Justin Masterson jersey I got for free at a game over the summer.  (Actually, I have five– they gave them to anyone entering the stadium– if you want one, let me know.  You can have it!)  I walked into my first period class of seniors at 7:30.  One of my favorite students walked through the door right after I did and saw what I was wearing.  He said, “Oh my gosh, I almost wore the same thing today,”  pointing at my jersey.

I felt immediate elation.  I felt we had found a bond.  We were at the same game over the summer; we shared a common interest in the Tribe; he is a bright kid excelling in my class.

“You should have worn it; we could have been twins,” I said, probably with a bit too much zeal, mind you.

He smiled at me awkwardly and took his seat.  I heard him say to the girl who sits next to him.  “Thank God I didn’t wear it.  If I would have been wearing it, I would have wanted to take it off.”

Example #2: We were at the Monsters game this past Friday with our girls.  Two rows in front of us was a group of twenty-something men.  They reminded me of what we used to be: fun-loving, slightly obnoxious, but always out to have a good time.  Jokingly, one the guys started to cheer for the Grand Rapids Griffins.  Every time they scored, he would hoot and holler.  It was all fun and games while the Monsters were up 3-0, but as the Griffins inched their way back into the game, it became less and less fun.

At one point, the Griffins almost scored and the entire section booed are new-found enemy.  He turned around playfully and looked at us all, “What?  What?”

I found him slightly cute, and I enjoyed his lively demeanor.   I yelled to him,  “You’re lucky; that was close.  If they score, you have to buy a beer for every adult in the section.”

He looked at me and then said to the crowd, “Oh, that’s right, make the young guy buy the beer.”


In each example I provide I have to admit my ego was deflated.  My student would be embarrassed to wear the same jersey as I?  At the game, the boy and I were practically the same age.  Yet, in each circumstance, I was perceived as old.  If I tell you I was okay with it, I would be lying.  I was angry in both circumstances.

I was angry because:

  • the wrinkles around my eyes just mean I laugh a lot.
  • I witnessed the Challenger explode and that makes me knowledgeable, not old.
  • I saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers before any of my students were born, and that makes me cool!
  • I laugh when someone says “Danger, Danger Will Robinson,” and that just means I watched quality T.V.
  • I remember the World Series of ’95 and ’97.  Because I still feel slighted, it proves I am a true Cleveland fan.
  • I landed my first real job when the majority of my students were in diapers, but that just makes me seasoned.

I am not old.  I do not know what you think of my appearance, but I promise, if you spend a couple of hours with me, you will forget my chronological age.  Someday, those of you who judge people only by the way they look will realize you missed out on some awesome friendships because you chose to judge a book by the cover instead of dusting off the jacket and reading a page or two!