Saturday, June 27, 2009

Put This in the Only Men Should Do Column

There are just some things that men should always do. And this, my friends, goes to the top of the list. Chasing a bat flying around the inside of your house armed with a tennis racket. But first...a little background.

We live in a restored old (and by old, I mean 1730's or so) farmhouse that was totally gutted, rebuilt, and added on to. About three years ago, we got up close and personal with some small bats that had made their way into the house. The bat guy who came to "remove the bats in an ethically and completely harmless way" (yeah...whatever...I say kill 'em, just get them out of my house) said that they had apparently lived in one of the fireplace chimneys for years and made a colony there. Hmm...nice story...again, just get them out of my house. Special vents, foam spray, etc. etc. and a boatload of money later, we were bat-free.

Until last week. There I was sitting on the couch watching Sweet Home Alabama when a little dark thing flew over my head around the vaulted ceiling and back upstairs. I now know that when I'm totally freaked out and try to scream, nothing but a little squeak comes out. I warily made my way to the second floor...nothing...continued to the third floor and found it circling a ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms. I quickly slammed the door, and then thought to myself, "What the heck do I do now?"

After heading back downstairs to the family room I began to pace and tried to think. All rational thought had left. And what do you comes bat number two swooping down into the family room to attach itself upside down to the stone wall that is the whole side of the family room. Seriously freaked out now. So what's a girl to do?

I called our friends, Gregg and Ashley who live just down the road and pleaded with Gregg to come over and get them for me. Yes...I'm a wimp. Both Gregg and Ashley (who was only two days out from delivering their baby boy...yes...she's not a wimp) came over. Gregg armed with two racquetball rackets and some serious kung fu moves, managed to thwack both of them, stun them senseless for a few minutes, and shove them out the door. Yes, he's Ashley's husband, but at that moment, he was my hero. And just where was my hero, Phil, during all of this? Overseas in London for the time being. Grrr....dumb work.

Fast forward to last night. I came home from a night out to be un-pleasantly surprised by yet another bat flying around my family room. That's it, I thought to myself, I've got to man-up. So armed with a tennis racket, (my good ol' Andre Agassi racket from high school days) I managed some sweet kung fu moves of my own and hit that bat so hard he skidded and bounced a couple of times across the wood floor. That felt real good. I sandwiched him between my racket and a pad of paper and threw him out the door.

The living room (which I think is their port of entry into my house) now has both French doors closed with towels stuffed around the bottoms of the doors. Called some animal pest removal companies this morning...would you believe that one guy said this time of year is when female bats create "maternity colonies" and it's against the law to remove them until the end of July because they are considered endangered? Seriously, what?! Any bat that gets into my house is going to face me and my tennis racket and will be truly endangered...against the law or not. There's got to be someone out there who will get rid of these things....I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twenty Years Ago Today...

I promised an explanation of my friend, Schwendy's nickname. To do that...we need to go way back. Twenty years ago today, I stepped off a pontoon boat and stepped on to Word of Life Island to spend the summer waitressing in their STC (Student Training Corp) program. I was a day later than everyone else who had arrived due to my cousin's wedding in New York, but headed up Cardiac Hill, past The White House and over to my home for the summer...Chatterbox.

Sorry for the lousy pictures. I'm not a tech geek and just took pictures of old pictures. I arrived in all my soon-to-be 15 year old glory...big bangs, pegged jeans, and all. Don't you just love the garbage bag aka curtain covering the window?

My best friend, Melissa was already there and soon I met Wendy, Coby, Karen, and April and together, that summer we quickly became known collectively on the Island as the Chatterbox Chicks. As it turned out, all six of us had the job of waitressing. Do you know how hard it is for 6 fifteen and sixteen year olds to get ready by 6:00 am every morning in a bathroom with one shower, one toilet, and two sinks?

We waitressed, we hung out together at the beach, we shared secrets, we sang, we danced, we laughed (so hard), we cried, we endlessly talked, we did everything together and we had one of the most memorable summers of my life. And Schwendy's nickname? At the time Wendy became known as Wendy Woman...then Wendy Kline-Dog...which some time over the years became Schwendy....which if the situations fits, is shortened to Schwen.

Some of my favorite memories of that summer...

1. Buying all six of those Cleveland Browns jerseys in Glens Falls and wearing them all over the place for our Island fashion shoot.

2. The pizza party followed by sleeping out in the dining hall (on the tables...not so comfortable) after the program guys chased all the bats out with brooms. Yep...really.

3. STC Beach parties

4. The night we risked leg and limb to hike to the CIT lean-to camp out only to find campers there so we roughed it by sleeping on the tennis courts.

5. Not having enough sleeping bags for our camp outs so we borrowed some from the guys in Alpine Lodge making sure that we sufficiently sprayed them with lots of perfume before giving them back. We were so fifteen.

6. Finding fabulous dresses on our day off trips to Glens Falls and dressing up for our hot dates at the STC Banquet at the end of the summer and wowing all the STC'ers with our rendition of The Family Feud- Waitress Style.

7. Fields of wild flowers and other fun topics of conversation which became universally known as Chatterbox Chicks Chats...

8. Ripping up bed sheets to create "grass skirts" to put on for the Island laua.

9. Going out on the Food Service pontoon boat on the 4th of July to see the fireworks over Schroon Lake and eating Bill's incredible Baked Alaska.

10. Having Greg Lewis convert us to Uncle Benism and vowing to only eat converted rice.

11. Our songs: When the moon hits your eye...Born to be wild...Wild Thing...I went to the Snak Shak and who did I see...If you want my...Son de Mais, Son de Mais, we eat it everyday, it tastes like corn and hay...etc

12. All the waitresses camping out one night on the beach and getting hosed with freezing water by the lifeguard and boat guys with the fire hose in the middle of the night.

13. Ho Goldie, my dog.

14. The time Bill Schake made his chef hat look like the pope's hat and we crossed out the word pope to make poop and referred to him as Poop Schake for weeks. Yes...we were still fifteen.

15. All the waitresses, dishpit, and Greg Lewis going over to the Inn to work their STC banquet and then while all dressed up, we grabbed hands and did the "Nestea Plunge" off of the Inn dock into Schroon Lake. That was a cold boat ride back to the island.

So, here's to Melissa (Mulder) Austerman, Coby (Emmil) Mercaldo, April Pescatello, me, Karen Polomski, and Wendy (Kline) Bergland...The Word of Life Island Chatterbox Chicks of 1989.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Chick-Fil-A Incident

Fans of the blog have been clamoring to know more details about the Chick-Fil-A incident mentioned in the previous post. ( was just one faithful reader.) So Schwendy, (and that nickname is also a long story which I will elaborate on later this week) this is for you. Happy Birthday! Really...her birthday is today.
So Phil and I were at a local mall getting something to eat at the food court. When at a food court in a mall, usually you'll find me at the Chick-Fil-A counter. There's just something about those waffle fries and nobody, I mean nobody makes a better chicken sandwich. But I digress...
Phil headed over to either pizza place or the chinese place. I can't remember and it actually doesn't make much of a difference but I want to keep my reputation in tact for making a short story long.
As I was standing in line I began to feel really warm. My stomach also began to feel like eating wasn't such a good idea. Things started to blacken a bit so when I reached the counter I leaned over on it to keep myself standing. Now at this point, Phil later related to me that he had turned around to see where I was and saw me slump over to the side and keep going until I hit the floor landing flat on my back.
Now of course, he lost 10 years of his life watching the whole incident. The love of his life, the absolute center of his everything lying motionless on the cold, hard floor of the food court. (A flair for the dramatic...hmm, perhaps.)
And how does a crash test dummy enter into the picture, one might ask? Well, it just so happens that it was some kind of Safety Week being held at the mall. There were dozens of display booths lining the center of the mall. And lucky me, one that housed a couple of guys dressed up as crash test dummies just happened to be parked next to the food court.
So I came to, after a few minutes, with Phil, two guys dressed like crash test dummies, and a police officer (who happened to be manning the next booth over) all looming over me reminiscent of a scene from a movie. And yes, one feels a bit disorientated when waking up from fainting. Even more disorientated when staring into the face of a crash test dummy peering over you while hearing someone off in the distance saying, "You want ketchup or mayonaise with that?"
So there you have it...the Chick-Fil-A incident. All ended well, I'm happy to report. Never did find out why I took the dive. Just hungry and hot, I suppose. Which is why to this day, even if in the middle of winter, I never wear a turtleneck and sweater together while at the mall.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Anyone Ever Need a Vacation after a Vacation?

Our week of Lankford family fun at Disney World is over. It was hot but not as bad as the trip four years ago. That was Disney-in-the-middle-of-July brutal. That was my-shirt-is-dripping- wet-with-sweat-by-9:30-in-the-morning brutal. Yes, there were also crowds but one still had personal space when walking around the parks. (And anyone who knows me well, knows that I have to have me some personal space.)

Some of the most memorable moments?

Scoring the room with the king size bed even while staying at the Pop Century resort.
Spending time with all 13 members of the Lankford fam. (Although trying to keep a group of that size together while walking around the parks has its challenges.)
Phil and I surprising dad with a 7 hour back stage tour of 3 of the parks on Wednesday. I can now say that I've been in the underground "cast member" tunnels underneath the Magic Kingdom. Oh...and I also saw Snow White putting on her makeup with her wig sitting next to her on the makeup table. Interesting picture.
Tower of Terror, Aerosmith's Rockin' Rollercoaster, and Mt. Everest.
Phil, our brother-in-law Matt, and nephews, Zach & Josh in several pictures around the parks wearing many different hats and or wigs.
This close to passing out at Cinderella's Castle as we waited for our table reservations for dinner...truly. Must've been the heat and hunger. Almost was an exact repeat of the "Chick-Fil-A Incident" of several years back. There I did pass out at the counter and woke up flat on my back on the floor with a crash-test dummy guy staring down at me. Long story...
In the van one night on the way back to the hotel, our 4 year old niece, Alexandra says, "Daddy...turn down that music. It's making my head angry." And then later, " that Coldplay?"
That same 4 year old niece walking around the parks in 2 inch platform sandals in order to make sure that she is tall enough to ride the rides. Her mom, Dianne, is a smart one!
Meeting my sister and her family at Epcot for the day on Thursday because they happened to be in Florida for the week on vacation the same time we were down there. Rode lots of Mission Space that day just for you, Jake and Sammy! Fun day!
Winning 210 tickets in the arcade playing the "Deal or No Deal" game (That's right. I was in the arcade.) and trading in my tickets to buy temporary tattoos and enough cherry-flavored Fun Dip to get all the nieces and nephews sugared up for their plane ride home. Did I mention that Phil and I were on a different plane home...

Fun week but now things are back to normal. Or as normal as they get around here.