Sunday, January 24, 2010

What It's Like to Be Purple For A Day

"Wonder if they'll find a way to blow it this time."

That's the remark I heard this afternoon shared by one guy to another as they discussed the upcoming Vikings game in the grocery line.

I guess that pessimism isn't completely unwarranted. The Vikings have caused blood pressures throughout the midwest to soar and fall on numerous occasions...only to be heartbroken by the final score.

I have to admit, it's tough not to catch that Vikings fever when you live around here.

I honestly think some of the fans really do bleed purple. And it's fun to watch my hometown's hero Jim Kleinsasser smackin' a guy or two around. Plus my heartstrings get tugged a bit as I read pre-game Facebook posts by Kleinsasser's Mom - that woman must have nerves of steel by now.

But still. She
IS a mother. Her nails must be chewed to the nub.

I really shouldn't do this to myself, but I plop down on the sofa and start watching the game -- secretly (after all, my devoted Raiders fan husband is never sad to see the Vikings lose) hoping those Vikings are headed to Miami.

Please, someone grab the blood pressure cuff.

Why am I letting this get the best of me??

Everything seems okay at first. The touchdowns are bouncing back and forth. But hey, it's okay. There's a lot of game left.

Until suddenly someone from Land O' Lakes decided it would be good advertising if each player in the Vikings offense held a stick of butter. Well, I'm assuming that's what happened. How else can you explain all those fumbles?

Ugh. Painful to watch.

But the blood pressure soars again as they seem to sneak in some good more hope that maybe, just maybe, the Super Bowl is in reach.

Then heartbreak.

Purple Pride just got punched in the gut.

I feel for the fans. (Hey, I cheer for the Raiders. We haven't seen anything remotely resembling a winning team in years. I know heartbreak in the NFL.)

But I feel bad for the players. Maybe not so much about the loss itself. But about the really pathetic interviews they must endure after the game.

"Tell us how you're feeling? Disappointed, I'm sure." (Uh, dude, you just answered your own question. No surprise, then, when all you get for an answer is, "Yeah.")

Or my personal favorite - the lady who interviewed Adrian Peterson outside the locker room. I think she may have been trying to score a date.

"You look really sad. Are you going to be okay?" she asks in a blubbery tone. For a second there, I thought she might give him a hug. The whole thing made me uncomfortable. Just let the guy go shower up and go home.

To some peace and quiet.

Good grief, that Superdome noise must have gotten so annoying. It was starting to irritate me and we don't even have that great of audio on our TV! I bet when those players finally got to a quiet corner they just breathed a sigh of relief.

Of course, they'll be thinking of all the "should have's" for the next six months. Or nursing aches and pains. Favre is gonna have some serious arthritis one day.

I say make the NFL like MLB. Let's play best of seven.

Yeah, I know. The old man would be playing game three from a wheelchair.

Thing is, he'd still be playing. The guy is a marvel.

Well, grocery-patron-man, I guess they did "blow it." But as deep as the pain is for Vikings fans, the pride is just as deep. Because you know by next Fall the fans will be geared up for another season of heart palpitations.

And as Favre responded in his post-game interview regarding sticking it out for another year, "I really enjoy the guys," he said. "I just wonder if I can hold up, especially after a day like today. Physically and emotionally, that was pretty draining.

It was pretty draining on all of us, Favre. Even for this Vikings-fan-for-a-day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One thing you WON'T find me a fan of on Facebook.

I'm a fan of many things.

Chocolate, for instance.

Romantic comedies.


And even American Idol.

But one thing I am NOT a fan of is...the common cold.

I'm pretty sure when Adam and Eve took that first bite of forbidden fruit, a cold virus immediately set in. After all, it was the first moment they realized they were naked.

They probably caught a chill.

Next thing you know they're hacking and sneezing.

And now the rest of mankind is cursed with the torture of the common cold.

Lucky us.

It's misery at its finest, because it isn't like the common cold really justifies a day or two confined to bed.

Nope. People expect you to continue in your normal routine. (Just don't shake their hand or cough in their direction.)

You are still expected to go to work, drive the kids to school, finish the laundry and cook three meals a day.

All the while feeling like you've been hit by a truck.

Because let's face it, a cold is a pain in the...head, ears, throat, chest, nose, eyes, well... Everything.

It starts with that tingly feeling in your sinuses. You know the one...when you think maybe if you wash down a bottle of vitamin C tablets with a gallon of orange juice your body will fight back with such vigor that the pesky virus will be gone within the hour.


My experience is that any attempts to naturally medicate only backfire. By the next morning, my head feels six times its normal size, my mouth hangs open so I can breathe, and I never walk away from a box of tissues.

Which brings me to another thought...tissues. Who invented those? Some incredibly wealthy guy named Mr. Kleenix who laughs with joy as he counts his money when winter's cold and flu season rolls around, that's who!

But I digress. Back to this nasty cold. I really hate that it is common. Basically that means you're going to get it and you're going to get it often.

And when the best thing to do to bring it to an end is extra rest, that's exactly when you will be too congested to catch any shut-eye, so you'll be awake for four hours straight in the middle of the night, only to finally nod off...17 minutes before your alarm goes off.

So you'll get up and go to work, take the kids to school, finish the laundry and make three meals that day.

Now repeat this cycle several more times.

Four Kleenix boxes and an empty Tylenol bottle later, you start feeling a bit better.

So you're ready to crawl into bed for a decent night of sleep.

And then...

Just as you are seconds from drifting off into dreamland, you hear, "Mommy? I don't feel good. My throat hurts."

Pass the OJ. It's gonna be a loooong winter.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Can I make you a mixed tape?

As my 7-year-old perused my tattered childhood scrapbooks she said, "Mommy, why did your mom just paste stuff in here instead of making it pretty like you do?" I explained to her that back when I was a kid they didn't create scrapbooks like they do now with scrapbook papers, stickers and protective covers.

Then I made the fatal mistake of saying, "Kind of like how they didn't have computers back then, either."

Her eyes widened and she gasped, "No computer!? How did anyone write to each other?"

After recovering from my own surprise and a good chuckle, I replied, "With pen, paper and the postal service!"

Her jaw dropped and I rendered her speechless.

We've probably all been forwarded the email about what kids graduating this year will not remember because it happened "before their time."

Like being in a classroom without computers.

Or remembering when Jimmy Carter was president. (Or Reagan, for that matter!)

How about playing an 8-track...or even knowing what it is.

That there used to be a country called the Soviet Union - and it was a superpower.

Watching The Challenger explode on television.

You get the idea.

I read that email once or twice and admit to thinking, "Are you kidding me? Wow, I guess that was a long time ago."

But when it comes from the mouth of your own child. Whoa. Whole different deal.

I suddenly recall the stories my parents used to tell me of getting to school on horse-drawn cart, hauling water, and not having a TV. Soooo archaeic, I thought at the time.

And now that's me. My own flesh and blood is aghast that there once was a day before computers.

I'm not even going to bring up the subject of rotary phones...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Small Town Livin'

There's something to be said about small town livin'.

In North Dakota, if you live in a rural area (and there's a lot of those), anything bigger than 3000 people is considered "the big city." So I guess I'm a "big city girl." And I'm discovering the convenience of Walmart and Starbucks doesn't hold a candle to the perks of a small town.

Allow me to explain.

This week, my family made the 2-hour trek to the small town I grew up in, to bombard my parents' home and celebrate the holidays with 25 additional family members. (Yes, it was tight - but we manage!)

And I learned some things about small town livin'.

1) In contrast to my own doctor stories (see prior blog post), small town residents get the kind of access and respect from their doctors that I only dream about. My sister informed me that she actually can just call the doctor for a presciption without having to go through the exam first! Imagine!!!

If you live in the "big city" and that doesn't enthrall you, keep reading. Your jaw will drop soon.

2) Go ahead and throw away your receipt. As I was helping my Mom with meal prep, we discovered one of the ingredients she purchased was the wrong one, so we sent my Dad to the store to do an exchange. As she stuffed the item into a bag, I asked, "Do you have the receipt?" She looked at me a little funny, then replied, "No! You don't need a receipt. They'll take it back. They know it's theirs."

Now true, most places will take items without a receipt in the "big city" as well, but not without the eye roll and a sigh from the cashier. And if it isn't an exchange, you can forget about a refund. You'll just get store credit.

But that's nothin'.

As a North Dakotan who has lived through my share of winters, I can appreciate a helping hand after a snowfall.

So here is the third and final perk for living in a small town that was brought to light:

3) My brother just returned from a Christmas visit to his in-laws in Kansas, so he wasn't home during the huge snowstorm that hit the area last week. I asked him if he liked the welcome-home gift of large snowdrifts in his driveway.

But do you know what he said?!

He said there weren't any.

Because the "merk" as he's called, (short for mercantile guy, apparently), goes around town and clears everyone's driveway.


I know. That was my response as well.

The mercantile guy knows if people can't get their cars out, they aren't coming to shop at his store, so he has an understandable vested interest in your snowpile.

Maybe some of the retailers around here could learn a thing or two from the merk. Personally, I'd be first in line to shop somewhere if the store owner was cleaning the 4-foot drifts from my driveway.

This "big city girl" isn't quite ready to give up my Y membership or the McDonald's drive-thru option, but I might start checking for doctors in Menoken and asking the clerk behind the customer service desk at Walmart if she'd like to offer me snowblowing services instead of store credit.

I'm just sayin'.