My parents went to Mardi Gras and wrote about it in a newspaper for senior citizens

Avid readers of Senior Perspective, Prairie Edition (and who isn’t!) will recognize a version of this story from the April issue. Avid readers of anything I’ve ever written will know I get a lot of entertainment out of my parents. My mom (the one person who falls into both those categories) has given me permission to share this here, and I’m doing so because everyone needs to know what my dad is like on an airplane. Also, because my parents went to Mardi Gras then got a story about it in a newspaper aimed at Midwestern senior citizens. Words are all my mother’s – even the ones about mardi gras beads – but I added a few pictures.

Vacation Postcard

by Tish Peterson

The back story:

For the first time (ever!) Pete and I took a week-long vacation in search of warm weather. We flew to Dallas, rented a car, and drove down to the gulf coast of Mississippi, with stops in Louisiana along the way. I had every good intention of sending postcards (even went to the post office for stamps ahead of time, but the PO only had post card stamps in rolls of 100.  Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen). But vacation postcards usually arrive after the vacation’s over anyway, so now that we’re home, I thought I’d take a few minutes to send out this version of our postcards.

To clarify right off:  We had fun!!!

It was like we were in our own version of reality shows, starting with:

ICE ROAD TRUCKER:

It took us 3 hours to drive from home to Minneapolis, and highway 494 had more turbulence than any airplane ride I’ve ever been on.  We were in the truck and Pete did an excellent job of driving.  I’m sure if it had been me behind the wheel I’d have gone through all the underwear in my suitcase by the time we got to the hotel.

Pete hadn’t flown in over 30 years, but all went well.  It was weird for ME to be the calm one on the flight, though!  I had a crossword puzzle to keep me distracted, but all he had was the window and the wing to look at.  I gave him my iPod when I realized I had it handy, which helped a bit.  Once he adjusted the volume to a level where he could hear it, however, he tended to yell everything he wanted to say (and you know how his voice carries anyway!).  Every so often he’d boom out, “NO SNOW DOWN THERE”  or  “WE MUST BE OVER OMAHA NOW” ~ which caused a murmur among the passengers, who probably thought we were getting updates from the pilot, as they peeked outside for a glimpse of non-snow or Nebraska.

To clarify, this is my pops - exactly the kind of person you want yelling on an airplane

To clarify, this is my pops – exactly the kind of person you want yelling on an airplane

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY:

When Rachel and I were in Ireland we nicknamed our rental car “The Trusty Steed.”  On this trip, the most frequent reference to the car was “What Does The Car Look Like?” and/or “Where Did We Park?”

SWAMP PEOPLE:

We drove from Dallas to West Monroe, Louisiana, and as we entered the elevator at the Holiday Inn, a young couple got on behind us.  I could hardly believe my eyes, but the guy had a live squirrel on his shoulder.  With a heavy drawl and a shucks-ma’am delivery he explained how he’d found it as a baby when he was hunting, and now it was his pet.  If I could have gotten off the elevator I would have, but instead I just smiled politely and hoped the squirrel wouldn’t look at me, or my underwear would once again be in jeopardy.

The vacation was off to a great start.

The vacation was off to a great start.

We ate at a local restaurant, with service by a darling young girl with a huge smile, but when she asked, “Yallslldoongdeeyah?” without actually moving her lips, it took me three deer-in-the-headlights “Excuse me?”s before I realized she was asking if we all were still doing good here.  Once I had cracked the code and interpreted the question, my joyous and explosive, “yes, Yes, oh YES!”  had other people looking around to see if Harry had just met Sally.

DUCK DYNASTY:

Okay, this was the highlight of the vacation for me, and actually my whole reason for going:  getting a photo op in front of the Duck Commander warehouse, and ambling throughout the gift shop for souvenirs.  I’m easily amused.  The warehouse is actually where the duck calls are still made, and where the show is filmed.  Didn’t see any Robertsons, but enjoyed myself anyway.

PGA GOLF TOUR:

We drove down to the gulf coast, staying for 3 nights in Ocean Springs, MS.  Our first mission was to locate a golf course for Pete.  That was probably the highlight of the vacation for him, coupled with the fact that there was that 7-ft alligator near the tee box on hole #10.  I was the first to spot it and could barely believe my eyes.  Come to find out (later) that there are many alligators on the course (we spotted 7), but the real danger is the SNAKES ~ which I’d been happily unaware of when I was helping Pete locate a lost ball.  Yikes!

Here let's all look at the alligator on the golf course and NOT make jokes about lost balls okay

Here let’s all look at the alligator on the golf course and NOT make jokes about my dad’s lost ball okay

GATOR BOYS: 

Not content to simply see 7 gators on the golf course, we headed over to the Gulf Shores Gator Farm, where Pete got to actually hold a live alligator and we took an air boat ride through their swamp.  We met an alligator in the swamp that came to the boat when called by the guide.  Tidbit:  alligators like marshmallows.  Who knew?

THE HISTORY CHANNEL:

A cool/rainy/dreary day on the coast, so we took in a tour of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis.  It was very enlightening to me.  I had no idea what a deeply committed patriot Jefferson Davis had been, active in the government in DC prior to the civil war. (My Civil War history knowledge consists mostly of what I learned from Gone With The Wind.)  All the doors in the house were literally 12 feet tall, but the bath tub was the size of a coffee cup.  (What did these people look like????)  We really learned a lot, and had a good time in the process.

THE AMAZING RACE: 

Almost every time we had to get from point A to point B, in spite of having written directions, a map, and a GPS, we inevitably spent time and again doubling-back and driving around in at least one circle.  Sometimes we could actually SEE where we wanted to be, but couldn’t actually see how to get there.  the GPS ~ which is named Gertrude ~ has a bit of a devious nature or warped sense of humor.  “When possible, make a U-Turn” or “Proceed to the nearest road.”  You can just about hear her wanting to add, “……Dummy.”

THE BIG EASY:

Although we didn’t spend the night in New Orleans, we stopped on our way through to take the bus tour, and I’m so glad we did.  It gave us the chance to see some of the sights of the city that we wouldn’t have otherwise.  (Passed close to Sandra Bullock’s house/mansion, but I’m thinking she was away for the weekend getting ready for the Oscars.)  I think we rode along a Mardi Gras parade route ~ there were chairs and stands set up along the way, and already tons of beads hanging in the trees from earlier parades.  I actually won some beads on the bus tour, by being able to correctly pronounce the name of one of the streets we passed.  I can’t remember what it was, although it sounded something like Oompa-Loompa……..   anyway, I walked away with 2 strings of green beads, and I didn’t even have to take off my shirt!!!  It was actually so cool on the tour that I had on two shirts, a fleece jacket and a windbreaker, so taking anything off wasn’t even a option!

THE MAN SHOW:

I’m not sure there really is a Man Show (there was, but I’m really glad you’ve never seen it, mom – R), but if there is I’ll bet it includes a 2-hour browse throughout Bass Pro Shop, followed by lunch at Hooters, and a guided tour of the Shreveport Water Works Museum, which was how My Man and I spent Friday, up until the time of………(wait for it)……..

MARDI GRAS PARADE!!!  Although not as expansive as New Orleans, Shreveport has a very respectable parade, with about 50 huge floats, and three marching bands, which lasted about 1 1/2 hours.  Unbelievable to me that we were actually there for a parade, but I have a significant collection of beads (and photos) to prove it.  (Again, no removal of shirts were involved; it’s a family-friendly event)  Almost as amazing as being there, is the fact that I was able to catch some of the beads when they were thrown from the floats ~ I’m so terribly non-athletic, my first instinct was to duck for cover when the beads headed my way.    Ended up with a bunch of them anyway, thanks to Pete.

Mardi Gras MADNESS

Mardi Gras MADNESS

Almost forgot to mention the favorite reality show!  THE FOOD NETWORK!!!  the BEST Mexican food, chicken gumbo, crab po-boy, shrimp creole, fried catfish, alligator bites (deep-fried mush, in my opinion), crab cakes, and some of the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had.

STORM CHASERS:

Leaving Shreveport, the temp was in the 60s, and by the time we reached the outskirts of Dallas it was down to about 28 degrees.  I was behind the wheel ~ saying my prayers through wind, sleet, ice, slush, and rain ~ just hoping we’d be able to return “WDTCLL?”  to Avis in one piece.  God is good, and we made it, but once at the airport the weather only got worse, and we watched the announcement boards as three flights to Minneapolis were cancelled………

Ours was only 45 minutes late, and we made it back to our hotel in the cities by 10 p.m., feeling great that our part in SURVIVOR was over!

Arrived home.
Cold and snowy.
Two suitcases full of laundry.
Nothing in the fridge.
But nonetheless:
We had a wonderful time, but it’s good to be home!

And just in case you’re wondering what my dad had to say about the first vacation he’s had in years, here’s his summary:

"keeping up on face" means "we saw that you made a joke about us on Facebook," as if that was going to stop me

“keeping up on face” means “we saw that you made a joke about us on Facebook,” as if that will ever stop me from making jokes about my parents on Facebook.

I LOVE MY WEIRD FUNNY PARENTS. Next time let’s send them to Vegas.

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The Minnesota Vikings, My Pops, and Me

I wrote this last year, but I’m updating and re-posting it in light of yesterday’s huge Vikings win.  I got to experience it in person, at MOA Field, with my pops. It was great – I am still hoarse from cheering, Pops almost clapped once, and the whole day was pretty much everything I love about being a Vikings fan.

I once theorized that my relationship with the Minnesota Vikings is not unlike my relationship with men (why yes, this theory was developed in a bar!): 1) I care very strongly for them; they are basically unaware I exist. 2) I am always looking for a good tight end; they are always looking for a horny blonde.

Vikings Fan

Like that.

3) Eventually I’m going to have to stop pinning all my hopes and dreams on men who wear purple and tight pants and chase each other. 4) And finally, it’s all my father’s fault.

From age 2-6, Bonding With Pops meant watching whatever action movie was on television while falling asleep on the couch. They have fused in my memory into one long action movie I like to call Crocodile Die Hard Jones and the Hunt for the Lethal Weapons Under Siege 2. From ages 7-12, Bonding With Pops meant getting outdoorsy and going camping and fishing. Sadly, this camping tradition ended about when my dad woke up to me burning an entire deck of cards, one at a time. I wish I was kidding; that is super creepy. Ever since, Bonding With Pops has simply involved sports, and it started with the Vikings.

Together, we watched the 1998-1999 season with as much pride (and then overwhelming despair) as the rest of the state, and despite that famous miss, I was hooked. In 2000, Pops took me to the Vikings training camp to watch a scrimmage. The facts say that I was fifteen at the time, but the memories suggest I was closer to seven. I was giddy to be there, with Pops, watching Cris Carter! Robert Smith! JOHN RANDLE! And we were in the front row, somehow; probably because Pops is early for everything (I did not inherit this trait), but at the time I was pretty sure it was because my dad was magic and/or secretly important. I thought this might be the case when he perked up at some announcement and said, “I think that’s my cousin Rod doing the announcing.”

Before I could say, “You have a cousin Rod and why aren’t we using this relationship to get VIP treatment?” The announcer said, “and here comes the quarterback, Cunningham. Uh, I mean Culpepper…” To which the crowd gave a little boo and Pops said, “Yep. That’s Rod alright.” I decided not to follow this lead after all.

Despite needing to be the first person in his seat that day, Pops couldn’t stay in it for long. He got us a bag of popcorn that (again, in my memory) was as big as me, and I was not a small kid. He also ran off and bought me a Cris Carter jersey. Again, I was not a small kid, but Pops overshot it a bit — to this day, we call that my “Cris Carter dress.” I loved it immediately.

After the scrimmage, we went to the autograph line. Pops plopped me next to the gate with my camera and my notebook and disappeared while I gawked, star-struck, as all the pros walked past me and the rookies stopped to sign autographs.

If you’re wondering what kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in a crowd like that, so was I. I finally brought this part of the memory up to my dad last week. “Where did you go?” I asked, thinking he ran away from the crowd to smoke. He stared at me. “I was right behind you,” he said. “I had a hand on each of your shoulders! Don’t you remember? You were the same height as Denny Green!” What kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in that crowd? Not mine. You’d think I’d remember being held in place by a large man, but no. There is no large man in my memory other than John Randle. I may be a terrible daughter with a foggy memory of one of the best days of my young life but eh! John Randle!

John Randle

Actual picture that I actually took of the actual John Randle. I am that bad of a photographer, and I was that excited. I’m still proud of this.

That was the last time my dad and I went to a scrimmage. Until yesterday, he did not even own any Vikings apparel (I bought him a purple hat – he’s actually lucky I didn’t buy him one of the helmets with horns), whereas I’ve upped the ante with a “cousin” Adrian Peterson jersey, Robert Smith jersey, Vikings sweatshirt, two or three purple pride t-shirts, and one of those sweet blonde-with-horns hats (I will fool you yet, men). I was banned from The Boys’ apartment after Favre threw the last interception of 2010 and I let out a guttural scream that scared the cats. I went to three games at the Dome last year (all losses). And I once picked a fight in New Orleans, with a Priest, because he was wearing a Drew Brees jersey.

To be a Vikings fan is to be stubborn and proud without reason.  I’m a HUGE Vikings fan, and it’s definitely all my father’s fault.

Love you, Pops.

SKOL VIKINGS!

Rachel and Pops

Social/Life

A while back, I went to a totally not embarrassing concert and mused about what the experience would have been like if I’d been able to “live-Tweet” during it. Would it take away from the experience, or would it add to it? At the time, I didn’t have a smartphone, so sharing the experience while it was happening was not an option. Well, now I have one, and after figuring out the basics I’ve managed to become a slight oversharer.

Instagrammed photo of bird poop on my car

“I appear to have deeply offended a large bird.”  Okay, a huge oversharer.

I keep making vague promises to myself that I’ll settle down, but the honeymoon phase between me and my new friend Siri has overlapped with the start of summer. Like any true Minnesotan, I’m not about to let this all-too-brief season slip by. What people in less volatile climates do in a year, I’m going to try to do in three months.

That’s not anything new; last summer, you may recall, I did plenty of things. The difference is now I can share my nonsense in real time.

I think we can all agree this might not always be a good thing.

Dog of Censorship

Someone needs to invent a “Dog of Censorship” App ASAP.

Anyway. Last Saturday, I took myself to another totally not embarrassing concert at the Target Center: Aerosmith. And because I love Aerosmith for no and beyond all reason, my guess from last year’s NKOTBSB concert was not far off – once Steven Tyler hit the stage, I basically just went “Squeee!” and forgot about the ability to share/brag beyond one fairly good picture:

Steven Tyler Instagram

Instagram gets the save on this one.  Some of that confetti is still in my purse.

That (amazing) experience over, I thought I’d answered my own question about how I’d use social media at events. I’d managed to do some sharing while staying in the (really amazing) moment. And anyway, I’d blown my summer budget on that (really, REALLY amazing) ticket, so I didn’t expect to get the chance to try it out again for a while.

Less than 24 hours later, I found myself enjoying some Trampled By Turtles from the comfort of the terrace view at Target Field. Since I didn’t know about the bonus concert until I got to the Twins game, and since I was an hour early for the game thanks to my pops, I had to share the news of my good fortune.

All the mascots at the Twins Game

I was too disturbed by the presence of literally all the mascots to take a picture of TBT, however.

This caused a tiny uproar amongst some die-hard TBT fans I call my friends, but more importantly, it made my pops wonder why I kept looking at my phone. As much fun as it would have been to keep spreading the joy/jealousy of a bonus concert (not to mention a 15-inning baseball game), it was more fun to enjoy Father’s Day with my pops. (We actually only made it through 11 innings and I did respond to a few messages, but hey. We tried.)

After determining that “losing your mind to your favorite band” and “hanging out with your father” are not quite the right times to go live-Tweeting, social-sharing crazy, I struck upon a much better opportunity: the River’s Edge Music Festival in St. Paul on Saturday.

I managed to win free tickets* last week and took Lacy, another twenty-something with a smartphone, and we did it all. We admired the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria‘s magical hair. We blew our budgets on outrageously overpriced beer. We held a few inebriated souls upright in the Sublime with Rome crowd. We soaked in some much needed sun rays to the tunes of Blaqstarr. We lost our voices to Tool. We Facebooked, Instagrammed, Tweeted, sang and danced.

We shared a wonderful day with each other, and then we shared jokes about it on the internet. And that, #youguys, is the best balance of social media and social life I’ve found yet.

girls who look like girls

Just your average Tool fans.

*I won 2 single-day tickets through a Twitter contest, which is awesome. However, the publication which ran the contest was non-responsive about how to get my tickets until two days before the concert despite three attempts to contact them, then they told me (twice) to pick up my tickets at will-call at the River Centre (which is a place in St. Paul, but has nothing to do with the River’s Edge Festival). Finally, the tickets, which were not at the regular will-call at the event either but rather at the media tent, were not for “either day” as promised, but for Sunday only. Luckily two very nice Live Nation employees took my declaration that “75 minutes of Tool is infinitely better than 3 hours of Dave Matthews Band” seriously, and switched the tickets for me. Despite this rant, I did get in completely free, so thank you, Live Nation; less of a thank you, publication with really poor communication/customer service skills.

Luck of the Norwegian: An Essay from the Archives 2

This was written about St. Patrick’s Day 2009 – a memorable but odd one for sure:

I got my St. Patrick’s kicks in a little early this year, choosing to make bad decisions on a Saturday rather than a Tuesday.  Does that make it a good decision?  Call it a wash.  Anyway, my weekend was great, aside from the parts where I felt like dying.  The other parts were too much fun, and I would do those parts again (which pretty much means I’ll do the “feel like dying” parts again, too).

The actual St. Patrick’s day was going to be low-key, but ended up pretty bizarre.  First of all, there were drunk nuns before noon.  Always entertaining.  Then there was a phone call from my mom, letting me know my dad was in the hospital because of a work accident (found a chlorine gas leak with his face), but he didn’t want me to come home because I should “stay there and make money.”  I never listen to my dad; he never makes sense.  So instead, I spent about two and a half hours in the ICU, watching my pops take in oxygen and watch NCIS.  It was exactly like hanging out with my dad at home, except with a few extra tubes and wires.

Around seven, the doctor checked dad’s O2 levels and sent us all home, telling him not to smoke for a few days because it would irritate the acid in his lungs.  The acid in his lungs.  I take that to mean “don’t smoke because IT WILL MAKE YOU BLOW UP,” and dad takes it to mean “Gonna smoke anyway, because I like a challenge.”  My dad: surviving things he shouldn’t for half a century.

And that’s how I ended my St. Patrick’s day: watching my dad watch NCIS (at home this time) and thinking not about my Irish ancestors, but my Norwegian ones, and wondering if I might inherit some of their luck.  And their ridiculously hearty lungs.

Note: Dad’s lungs are not quite so hearty anymore, but I am so incredibly proud of the work he’s put into quitting smoking in the past few months. Love you Pops! Keep taking care of yourself so I can keep writing jokes about you.

Football and Famine

There are really only two things on my mind this week.  The first, and I hope it’s on yours too, is famine.  I urge you to look into it yourself and decide if you can help in some way.  The link to the World Food Programme is still in the right sidebar of this page if you need a place to start, or you can sign up to pack food at a special session through Feed My Starving Children.  I went yesterday (and here’s proof that I look goofy in a hairnet) and will be going twice more in the next month.

I’m not going to spout off any more numbers or link to any more pictures today, I’m just going to share this, which I first heard at A’s Naturalization Ceremony:

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as you ever can.

attributed to John Wesley (probably incorrectly, but what you can do?)

I said I had two things on my mind this week, and you can probably guess the other from the title.  Yes, when I’m not thinking about famine, I am thinking about football.

I once theorized that my relationship with the Minnesota Vikings is not unlike my relationship with men (why yes, this theory was developed in a bar!):  1) I care very strongly for them; they are basically unaware I exist.  2) I am always looking for a good tight end; they are always looking for a horny blonde.

Vikings Fan

Like that.

3) Eventually I’m going to have to stop pinning all my hopes and dreams on men who wear purple and tight pants and chase each other.  4) And finally, it’s all my father’s fault.

From age 2-6, Bonding With Pops meant watching whatever action movie was on television while falling asleep on the couch.  They have fused in my memory into one long action movie I like to call Crocodile Die Hard Jones and the Hunt for the Lethal Weapons Under Siege 2. From ages 7-12, Bonding With Pops meant getting outdoorsy and going camping and fishing.  Sadly, this camping tradition ended about when my dad woke up to me burning an entire deck of cards, one at a time.  I wish I was kidding; that is super creepy.  Ever since, Bonding With Pops has simply involved sports, and it started with the Vikings.

Together, we watched the 1998-1999 season with as much pride (and then overwhelming despair) as the rest of the state, and despite that famous miss, I was hooked.  In 2000, Pops took me to the Vikings training camp to watch a scrimmage.  The facts say that I was fifteen at the time, but the memories suggest I was closer to seven.  I was giddy to be there, with Pops, watching Cris Carter! Robert Smith! JOHN RANDLE! And we were in the front row, somehow; probably because Pops is early for everything (I did not inherit this trait), but at the time I was pretty sure it was because my dad was magic and/or secretly important.  I thought this might be the case when he perked up at some announcement and said, “I think that’s my cousin Rod doing the announcing.”

Before I could say, “You have a cousin Rod and why aren’t we using this relationship to get VIP treatment?” The announcer said, “and here comes the quarterback, Cunningham.  Uh, I mean Culpepper…”  To which the crowd gave a little boo and Pops said, “Yep. That’s Rod alright.”  I decided not to follow this lead for VIP treatment.

Despite needing to be the first person in his seat that day, Pops couldn’t stay in it for long.  He got us a bag of popcorn that (again, in my memory) was as big as me, and I was not a small kid.  He also ran off and bought me a Cris Carter jersey.  Again, I was not a small kid, but Pops overshot it a bit — to this day, we call that my “Cris Carter dress.”  I loved it immediately.

After the scrimmage, we went to the autograph line.  Pops plopped me next to the gate with my camera and my notebook and disappeared while I gawked, star-struck, as all the pros walked past me and the rookies stopped to sign autographs.

If you’re wondering what kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in a crowd like that, so was I.  I finally brought this part of the memory up to my dad last week.  “Where did you go?” I asked, thinking he ran away from the crowd to smoke.  He stared at me.  “I was right behind you,” he said.  “I had a hand on each of your shoulders!  Don’t you remember?  You were the same height as Denny Green!”  What kind of father would leave his teenage daughter alone in that crowd?  Not mine.  You’d think I’d remember being held in place by a large man, but no.  There is no large man in my memory other than John Randle.  I may be a terrible daughter with a foggy memory of one of the best days of my young life but eh! John Randle!

John Randle

Actual picture that I actually took of the actual John Randle. I am that bad of a photographer, and I was that excited. I'm still proud of this.

That was the last time my dad and I went to a scrimmage; as far as I know, he does not even own any Vikings apparel (but he could probably fit into the Cris Carter dress, too), whereas I’ve upped the ante with a “cousin” Adrian Peterson jersey, a Vikings sweatshirt, two or three t-shirts, and one of those sweet blonde-with-horns hats (I will fool you yet, men).  I was banned from The Boys’ apartment after Favre threw the last interception of 2010 and I let out a guttural scream that scared the cats.   And I once picked a fight in New Orleans, with a Priest, because he was wearing a Drew Brees jersey.  Pops and I haven’t watched a game together in years, and we’ve never been to a game together.  I’ve never been to a game at all.  But I’m still a huge Vikings fan, and it’s definitely all my father’s fault.

Love you, Pops.

SKOL VIKINGS!

Happy Father’s Day

Last night I decided to watch the movie Patriot Games.  It came in a set with Witness (and What Lies Beneath, but we don’t need to talk about that), and I thought, “hey, I’ve never seen Patriot Games before.”  I now realize I’ve seen Patriot Games at least seven times.  It’s just one of those indistinguishable constantly-on-television movies that I used to watch with my dad in the early 90s.  They have fused in my memory into one long action movie spanning the length of my childhood; let’s call it Crocodile Die Hard Jones and the Hunt for the Lethal Weapons Under Siege 2.  So even though I didn’t remember anything about Patriot Games beforehand, when it ended I felt like I’d just watched my favorite movie of all time.  You can’t un-love the things you loved before you were 12, and I love action-movies-with-dad.

I need an adult.

A hand lands on my shoulder, followed by an ominous voice: “You have been chosen.”  Pause.  “Bring your sandwich.”  Thus began my illustrious career as a model, when one of the nuns pulled me out of my lunch break and into a photo in which I was instructed to “act natural” and “hold that Cheeto higher.”  Coming to a Catholic teaching publication near you this August: Rachel the Cheeto model.

Other things that happened yesterday: I went for a walk and came home with seven books.  Clearly I need to move to a location not within walking distance of a used bookstore, also to an apartment that is not an inferno.  My heat system is malfunctioning, kicking out high-heat at all hours even though I have it set to “OFF.” It is currently 65/feels like 65 outside, 78/feels like burning inside.  It seems all I do is complain about temperatures; my office is cold!  Minnesota is cold! My apartment is hot!  Will nothing make me happy, you ask?  Well, yes.  Sixty-five/feels like 65 is pretty much perfection.  If I can only convince my apartment of this.

Easter happened.  Family ate its way through Rochester.  My dad said some unintentionally funny things (“Bob Saget? Are you still talking about him? Move on with your life!”).  Then I came home and my brakes failed, kind of.  According to the mechanic, the brakes were fine, but the sensor was broken, a distinction that doesn’t matter much when you find yourself unable to stop at a red light.  Luckily, I remembered all of the pertinent lines from Speed and hit mostly green lights (and no pedestrians) on my way to Target.  Because yes, I didn’t turn around until I realized the store was closed: such was my desire to shop.  Either I’m out to singlehandedly end the recession, or I’m on my way to a Darwin award.

Luck of the Norwegian

I got my St. Patrick’s kicks in a little early this year, choosing to make bad decisions on a Saturday rather than a Tuesday.  Does that make it a good decision?  Call it a wash.  Anyway, my weekend was great, aside from the parts where I felt like dying.  The other parts were too much fun, and I would do those parts again (which pretty much means I’ll do the “feel like dying” parts again, too).

The actual St. Patrick’s day was going to be low-key, but ended up pretty bizarre.  First of all, there were drunk nuns before noon.  Always entertaining.  Then there was a phone call from my mom, letting me know my dad was in the hospital because of a work accident (found a chlorine gas leak with his face), but he didn’t want me to come home because I should “stay there and make money.”  I never listen to my dad; he never makes sense.  So instead, I spent about two and a half hours in the ICU, watching my pops take in oxygen and watch NCIS.  It was exactly like hanging out with my dad at home, except with a few extra tubes and wires.

Around seven, the doctor checked dad’s O2 levels and sent us all home, telling him not to smoke for a few days because it would irritate the acid in his lungs.  The acid in his lungs.  I take that to mean “don’t smoke because IT WILL MAKE YOU BLOW UP,” and dad takes it to mean “Gonna smoke anyway, because I like a challenge.”  And he will, and he’ll be fine, because despite what he does to himself, he’s sort of indestructible.  I’m not sure how he even has lungs anymore, but according to the doctor and some X-rays, they are just fine.  My dad: surviving things he shouldn’t for half a century.

And that’s how I ended my St. Patrick’s day: watching my dad watch NCIS (at home this time) and thinking not about my Irish ancestors, but my Norwegian ones, and wondering if I might inherit some of their luck.  And their ridiculously hearty lungs.