bighorn

Land of the free.

Yellowstone National Park.

Raw America.

Untouched land, sitting just four miles over a volcanic hot spot. Geysers spew. The bigs roam freely – elk, bison, moose, wolves and the great grizzly bear. The only shots fired are with a click of a shutter speed. Winters are brutal. Summers don’t exist.

The family decided we would take a break from our family vacation in the Florida Keys. We would head north to a place we have never been. The land of the free. America. Old Faithful. Red, white and blue.

Red, white and blue flashing in my rearview mirror somewhere near hour 12 on our road trip to Yellowstone.

South Dakota Highway Patrol Officer: Ma’am, the reason I stopped you today is did you know you drove past me on the highway and didn’t move over? Did you even see me?

I glared at our friends’ car driving by, honking, with a camera phone out the window.

Me: Uhhhh…Yes. I saw you. I don’t know. I guess I wasn’t paying attention?

Officer: You do know if you see flashing lights on the side of the highway, you need to move over.

Me: Yeah, yeah I knew that. My mother-in-law got a ticket for that once.

I dug through my wallet for my driver’s license.

Officer: Do you have registration and insurance papers?

Me: Um, this is a rental. I don’t really know…

Scott handed me our rental paperwork.

Officer: That will do. Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to step out of your vehicle.

Me: Wait, what?

Officer: Can you follow me to my car? I want to explain the law in detail with you. It’s loud on this highway and I want to talk to you.

Me: Huh? You want me to get out of my car, walk along the side of the highway and sit in your car?

Officer: Yes, ma’am.

I glanced at Scott. He looked confused.

Me: Uh, ok.

I walked in front of the officer.

Officer: Just sit in the front seat there. That will be fine.

I looked over his car to make sure it was a highway patrol car. I looked back at Scott. I opened the passenger door and sat. The driver’s door slammed shut.

Officer: So where are you headed?

Me: Yellowstone.

baldeagle

Officer: You have quite a drive from Kansas.

Me: It’s taking longer now.

roadtrip

Officer: Let’s see Julie. Burton. Are you related to the Burton Snowboards?

Me: Nope.

kate

Officer: And who is that man up there? Your husband, I assume?

Me: Yeah, his name is Scott.

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Officer: And those are your kids?

Me: Yes, two little girls.

emma

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Officer: I see. And what does your husband do?

Me: He’s a VP at a medical software company.

Officer: And what do you do, Julie?

Me: I’m a writer.

The officer stopped punching numbers in his computer.

Officer: Oh. Uh, so does this mean I’m going to end up in the papers or something?

Me: Yep.

Officer: So back to the law you broke. I want to explain to you that whenever you see flashing lights on the side of the road, you need to move over a lane. Especially on a highway. This is a four lane highway. You need to move to the next lane. If this was a two lane highway, you would slow down to twenty miles under the speed limit. The goal is not to injure anyone along the side of the road here.

bighorn

Me: I believe I was more concerned about my speed at the time.

Officer: I clocked you at 81 in an 80. Do you understand the law you broke, Julie?

Me: Yep. I understood it when you were at my window too.

Officer: So where are you staying at in Yellowstone?

Me: Montana. My in-laws rented a house.

Officer: Oh, no camping then?

Me: Not this time.

Officer: I took my wife and kids out there to camp. Watch out for the bison. They’re everywhere. And they’re dangerous too.

bison

Me: That’s what I heard.

Officer: It’s crazy how many animals you will see.

elk

Officer: And the bears. Oh man. I won’t camp there again. They get a little too close. You have to keep your food far from your tent. It’s not my thing.

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bear1

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Officer: So what are you guys going to do if you’re not camping?

Me: Oh, I don’t know. I definitely want to white water raft. I love the thrill of danger and going REALLY fassst uhhhh… I’ve never done it before.

whitewater

Officer: Yeah, that’s pretty fun.

Me: Oh! And I really want to try fly fishing.

Officer: Really? Fly fish? Not many women do that. Man, I could never get my wife to fish.

Me: Yeah, fishing is our husband/wife thing, I guess. We just got back from the Bahamas last week. And we got an invite to fish in Costa Rica with some friends, probably in January. We went to Dominican Republic last year. I caught my first white marlin. So this fly fishing will be interesting.

Officer: REALLY?! Yeah, I want to fly fish. But I decided that will take up too much of my time. I’ll just wait for retirement.

flyfishing

Me: Well, at least you have some pretty views here in South Dakota. Is that where I am at?

Officer: Yes. Ok, world traveler. I printed out your citation here.

Me: Damnit.

Officer: You can mail the fine to this address in South Dakota. It’s not due until mid-August. That should give you enough time to enjoy your vacation and get back to Kansas. If you would like to plead not-guilty, you must appear at this courthouse at this time.

Me: I’m not coming back to South Dakota.

mtrush

Officer: If you would sign here for me, saying you understand you broke the law.

I signed.

Officer: Here is your driver’s license back. And you’re free to go.

baldeagle2

I opened the door and slid a foot out.

Officer: Have fun in Yellowstone!

Me: Thank you.

I slammed the door. I opened my driver’s car door. Then slammed the door again.

Scott: What the hell took so long?

Me: I said thank you, Scott.

Scott: What?

Me: He gave me a ticket and I said thank you.

Scott: You got a ticket? How much? You were in there for 20 minutes! Did he do anything to you? I was about to get out and see what was going on!

Me: I don’t want to talk about it. He just talked my ear off. Thank you. Jesus. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you, Yellowstone.

Thank you, Yellowstone.

zipline

Thank you.

Have you ever been to Yellowstone? Is it on the bucket list? And more importantly – have you ever been asked to sit in a cop car and not be arrested? Has a cop ever asked you to walk along the side of a highway, explain to you how dangerous this is, then give you a ticket for not moving over a lane? I can’t make these stories up.

Or these pictures. 

sealevel

Sea level.

I’m starting to realize our fishing is not normal. IMG_5655My vacations in general are not normal. 

When Boost Oxygen asked me to write about my experience with their product, I told them I would. They saved my life in Colorado and I would love to share my story.*

* I am not being paid. I don’t want to be paid. I write about my life on my blog. It’s that simple.

Ok, back to my impending death – fine, I probably wouldn’t have died in Colorado from the flu and altitude sickness. But on the last day of “vacation,” the oxygen tank and nose plug were pulled from my lifeless body. You can read about the adventure here. 

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We eventually had to start the 10,000 feet decline back home to Kansas. A walk from the hotel to the truck caused my lungs to deflate. I couldn’t get my lungs full. Scott pulled out a can of Boost Oxygen from his bag. He found it in one of the mountain shops and thought it might help. And then I could breathe again. I clung to the can until we touched ground in the thick Kansas City air.

Boost Oxygen worked.

Last weekend, I went to sea level. I went fishing in the Bahamas. And when I say I went fishing in the Bahamas, I went fishing in the Bahamas.

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There are no charter boats. No hotel reservations. The beach and cocktails are for tourists. The sun is our enemy and the moon is our friend.

Yellowfin tuna.

Yellowfin tuna.

These fish were not caught with a throw of a line, cracking open a beer and prayers. We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto. These fish were caught running on 4 hours of sleep, 10 containers of sunscreen, 7 pairs of sea legs, two professional anglers, a can or two of Boost Oxygen and a hell of a lot of cussing at sharks.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner consisted of a bag of chips and a red bull. But if you’re eating, that means you’re not catching fish. Don’t bother mentioning the words, “Taco Bell sounds good right now.” You might as well just walk the plank and swim back because that’s called bitching. The boys won’t turn around for bitching.

A yellowfin tuna bite takes the strongest, most experienced angler on the boat at least 20 minutes to reel. The guys wouldn’t let me attempt to reel in a yellowfin because they thought I would lose it. And they’re right – I probably would have.

The next day, I peed over their heads while I hung on a rope attached to the boat.

The guys went diving to spear fish in 25 feet of pee water. Once someone had a fish on the end of their spear, an 8 foot shark would come straight after them. It’s just a hunch but I’m guessing the sharks were female. It is shark week, folks.

Mass chaos in the middle of the ocean is the only kind of fishing I’ve ever known. After all, this is fishing with outdoor maniac and Salt Armour ProStaff, Brett Cannon and his crew. To end our trip, Brett didn’t disappoint – we got a midnight chase from the United States Customs Service. If that doesn’t cause you to drop your phone and hyperventilate in a bag, hauling 300 pounds of fish on the dock just might.

I’m back in Kansas with a freezer full of fish. I’m sleep-deprived but at least I wake up with a Bahamian glow. And full lungs. I wouldn’t survive another vacation without a boost of oxygen.

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My trip was exhaustion at sea level.

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What is your ideal vacation? Skiing in the mountains? Or fishing in the Bahamas? Do you crave adventure such as skiing or fishing while on vacation? Or do you like having cocktails on the beach or perhaps a beer in a mountain lodge? Hangovers are exhausting too. Next time you need to catch your breath – try Boost Oxygen! It will help. 

bloggesstwitter

The Bloggess follows me on Twitter.

Me: Oh my God. I think my heart just stopped.

Scott: What?

Me: The Bloggess just followed me on Twitter.

Scott: …….

Me: Come on.

Scott: Who?

Me: Oh. My. God. The blogger of all bloggers! The Bloggess! Jenny Lawson!

Scott: Oh. You’re social media’ing right now.

Me: Oh. You’re social media’ing right now. No, you DON’T UNDERSTAND. She’s famous, Scott. She’s written books. She’ll post something about…I don’t know…about brushing her daughter’s hair and she’ll make it funny just by the way she writes it because she’s a genius. The subject doesn’t even matter. My favorite thing about her – she’s humble. She blows off that she’s so famous. She doesn’t even believe it. She has, like, one real ad on her blog. If I were her, I would walk into a store and be like, “do you know who I am. THE BLOGGESS. BOOM.” And people would bow down. But not Jenny. She loves to dress up taxidermy, Scott. And she lives with anxiety. And she fights with her husband. But they funny-fight, like we do. And she’s self conscious. And she’s much better at writing about her life than talking in person. Probably. I’m guessing. She’s ME, Scott. But better. And you’re Victor. I don’t know who’s better.

Scott: Never heard of them.

Me: Can I just stop and take a moment here….  …AND NOW THE BLOGGESS FOLLOWS ME ON TWITTER. She clicked my profile and then she clicked “follow.” This is crazy. Amazing. Crap, do you think she thinks I’m weird for hating bacon?

Scott: Sure.

Me: Sure?! How do you just shrug your shoulders? I think she might top Eric Stonestreet following me. I need to tell someone. Someone that will scream with me.

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Girlfriends 1. Husband 0.

Have you ever gotten giddy around a celebrity or someone you admire? Did you laugh at “knock knock, motherfucker?” You laughed if you know who The Bloggess is. Does anyone else understand my level of excitement right now?

The Bloggess.

Knock Knock, Motherfucker.

The Bloggess on Twitter.

google

Google search.

There is no privacy in blogging.

Wait, stop. I take that statement back – bloggers write and photograph what they want others to see. We can control privacy. We can even screen comments.

We just can’t control who reads it.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – bloggers can see what you put into google after you click the blogger’s link. Sometimes I can tell which blog post got the hit. Sometimes I can’t.

Google search: I’m calling you out, freaks of the internet.

___________

who is brett cannon dating – One of my most common search terms. Stick around and I’ll find out. He’ll be at my house later this week to turkey hunt with Scott.

I'll save ya a click.

Here, I’ll save you a google search.

iphone love text screen shots – I’m married. This is all I got. It’s hard making couples date nights.

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does tyler farr smoke cigarettes – Hm, I don’t remember him smoking when I went fishing with him. To be honest, I was more concerned about sliding down the boat while peeing in an empty bucket and landing in Tyler’s lap.

*And for the record, I am not this cool. This is called the Brett Cannon Effect. You get to fish with famous people.

Tyler me

No cigarette. No bucket of my pee in your lap. High five!

bug bytes ** www bug bytes blog ** bug-bytes.net ** ksu bug blog ** bug bytes blog ** bug – bytes ** bugbytes.net ** bugbytes blogspot ** bug blog k-state ** bug bytes blog julie burton ** bugbytes ** julie burton** – You know, you don’t have to google search this every time you want to read my blog. Just put your email in the subscription box. I won’t tell a scamming soul.

dirty phone call of nurse – So what color scrubs are you wearing?

nude girls at country stampede – I don’t think I’ve ever…wait. Got it. Yes. Yes, circa 2003. Scott’s “show your titays” sign at Country Stampede. Scott never saw any titays. Maybe because “show your titays” is degrading to women, SCOTT. scottcs scott penis covers – Wait, what? FullSizeRender my husband wears a jockstrap to bed – Really? Why? What kind of pounce moves are you guys doing?

jockstrap is a bra for your butt – Not really.

men in jockstraps – I’m regretting writing about a jockstrap.

negative Jayhawk – I don’t know you but I like the way you think.

bugs at st louis cardinals stadium – And cardinal poop in your hair. Probably. Just guessing. Can’t trust those bird mascots. Go Royals. Go Wildcats.

girl says kenny chesny isn’t circumcised – I’m starting to feel sorry for celebrities. People throw their private information all over the Internet. They can’t even go fishing in South Florida without some chick throwing a high-five picture all over social media. Or writing about how your eyes dropped to my boobs mid-conversation, Kenny. 

jack sparrow with cigar  – How the internet connected my blog and Jack Sparrow with a cigar, I have no clue. Thank you, google. Thank you.

comebacks for liars –  “you’re lying.”

turn me into a alcoholic  –  it’s an alcoholic. Not a alcoholic. You’re already in a downward spiral.

i am little psycho but i love u lots quotes  – OH MY GOD! YOU GUYS, TAYLOR SWIFT IS READING MY BLOG. HEY, TAYLOR! “Nice to. Meet you. Where you. Been…”

people of walmart showing nipple – Why?

no bra when taking the bus – They’re probably heading to make their debut on the People of Walmart.

julie is hysterical about a bug in her shorts – Thank you.

popsicle stick with tennis balls – You know, I don’t know what this means. Are you making a miniature weight rack? Are you making a stick figure with giant boobs? Are you making, well, you know. Balls and stick.

witty comebacks – You go first.

mother in law steals thunder on facebook – You shouldn’t care. Take a break from Facebook. Don’t let social media make you crazy.

how do you tell coworkers to not poop on the floor? I can also see which countries are reading my blog and I hope google translated this from russian. Please tell me your are from Russia. Ethiopia? France!

why am i pooping crab body parts – You ate a crab.

he asked me on a date when drunk – Don’t give him an answer until he asks again, sober.

women left a loud fart in shop – Why does this trace back to me.

what happens when you hit a deer in a smart car – Oh dear.

restaurants that give you wedgies for your birthday – That sounds like a good ‘ole fashioned 90th birthday.

penises are ugly – Yes. And do you know what else is ugly – red rockets. I told Scott we are getting a female puppy because ew, Scott. Push it back in.

never let your friends feel lonely, disturb them all the time – Ah, an extrovert. Introverts don’t care for that too much.

“i am the one that taught him” is it a correct engish – Yes, if you speak in a correct engish.

does anyone else brush their teeth in the shower – I do not. I feel like I would smell like mint all day.

** daddy lets his friends play with my boobs ** junior teen camel toe ** picture of little girl pees her pants in the store ** my daughters camel toe ** children’s underwear models ** daddy puts crayons in my vagina ** preschool girls swimsuit pictures – There is no privacy in blogging. I will call you out.

Are you a blogger? Do you read your google search terms? What is the funniest thing someone has searched for? Do you get search terms that make your skin crawl? Can we get together and beg google to find out who the perverts of the internet are? 

soccer

The soccer mom.

Me: Hi, my name is Julie. I’m Emma’s mom.

Soccer mom: Oh! Emma? In the green?

Me: Yeah, that’s her running with the ball there.

Soccer mom: Oh, are you the new ones? Oh, ok. Yeah, I saw you guys at the last game this weekend! Nice to finally meet you!

Me: Well, I’m glad you didn’t say you remembered us from the first game. Emma was the one that cried because we lost! We’re high drama. And which one is yours?

Soccer mom: Right there. Goalie.

Me: Aw, cute. Yeah, we’re new. We’re in the process of moving over to this side of town. The kids started school here today. I wanted to help Emma make friends so we put her in soccer. I’m so glad I did that. She has a few girls in her class.

Soccer mom: Yeah, this team is great. We played soccer here last fall. Sweet girls. And who is this little one?

Kate: ……

Me: Her name is Kate. She’s in kindergarten. She will be playing soccer too. They haven’t started yet.

Soccer mom: My little boy is in 1st grade, running over there. He just started too.

Scott sat down next to us. We watched the girls practice soccer drills.

Kate: Can I sit on your lap?

Me: Yeah but be careful. I did a leg workout yesterday. I’m sore.

Kate jumped on my legs.

Me: Ahhhhh! MY LEGS!

Kate: Sorry! (laughs)

Me: Watch Emma.

Kate looked up at my face.

Kate: WHY YOU HAVE NOSE HAIR?

Me: Shhh!

Kate put her finger up my nose. I smacked it down and shot fire out of my eyes.

Kate: WHAT’S NOSE HAIR FOR?

Me: Don’t know. Shhhh.

Kate: CATCH BOOGERS?

Me: Probably. Everyone has nose hair.

Kate: YOU DON’T HAVE BOOGERS. DO I HAVE BOOGERS?

Me: No. Why do you talk so loud? Watch.

I smiled and rolled my eyes at soccer mom.

Kate: THEY HANGING OUT YOUR NOSE.

I rubbed my nose.

Me: Look up. Oh! Nose hairs too! Now stop it. You’re embarrassing me.

Kate: ARE MY NOSE HAIRS BIG AND BLACK? AND LONG? DO MY NOSE HAIRS HANG OUT MY NOSE?

Me: Get off my lap. NOW. Slow! Go slow. AHHHHH! DAMNIT! OW! MY LEGS!!!

I rubbed my nose again. The soccer mom slowly turned her back to us.

Me: SCOTT. TAKE HER.

Scott: What. What happened?

Me: KATE.

Scott: What’d she say?

Has your child embarrassed you in front of someone you just met? Does your child say things to embarrass you on purpose? Are you an introvert raising an extroverted child? I need nose clippers before game day. What is nose hair for anyway?


 

Earth

Home Sweet Home.

There are 7 billion people on earth.

There are 319 million people living in the United States.

And there are 2 million people living in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

God, fate, karma, hell I don’t know – maybe even this blog itself has a mind of its own and made the world shrivel up to the size of a pea and next thing you know I’m living across the street from the brother of a guy I used to date.

We bought a house this weekend.

I say that sentence like it was a quick, drive-by decision. It was not.

Oh, I drove by. I drove by the house and cul-de-sac in question for months – night time, day time, weekends, middle of the week, 3 am. Stalking. Watching. Counting fire pits. Begging our realtor to stalk and send pictures while I was out of town. Drooling at the chicken parmesan one of the families made for the visiting in-laws.

I’m kidding, Scott. I have no idea if someone made chicken parmesan for the in-laws.

But I did chase down a woman walking her dog. I asked her opinion on the house and cul-de-sac in question.

Who lives on that street? How many kids? Perfect. Oh, really? The “fun” cul-de-sac? But define fun. People really wish they lived in that cul-de-sac? YOU wish you lived on that cul-de-sac? A Sporting KC player, huh. And tell me about that beer sign hanging from the deck of that one house, what’s that story? They lost a fantasy football bet with the cul-de-sac! Excellent! And how many K-Staters live on the cul-de-sac? Ok. Sold.

They say you can’t choose your neighbors. I sure tried. Without ever meeting them, I found my people. Scott found his dream home. Our kids found freedom to kick a soccer ball around with a professional soccer player. The weight was lifted. We found our happy.

We signed the papers. We are the new owners of the house on the cul-de-sac.

We admired the house we would soon be hauling our prized taxidermy into. I noticed the neighbors sitting outside. Of course my people would be outside, it was the first warm night of the year.

Me: Hi, my name is Julie! This is Emma and Kate. We just bought that house.

Man: Awww! NOOO! That was our party house!

Me: Ha! Party house, huh? …. Oh my God. Is your name Andy?

Man: Yeah.

Me: Oh my God, I dated your brother. I met you when you were in high school.  You probably don’t remember me. And actually, I met you too but you were Andy’s girlfriend at the time.

Andy: WHAT?!

(laughter)

Man: I don’t know what’s going on but things just got really interesting on our street.

Me: Do you remember Scott Burton?

Andy: YES!

Me: I married him after your brother introduced us! Oh, he’s walking up the street now!

Man: WHOA!

Andy: WHAT? SCOTT!

Scott: WHATTT! ANDY! What’s goin’ on, man?

Me: My stalking skills failed.

The group of men surrounded Scott. I chatted with the women. The kids jumped all over my kids. We said our goodbyes and told them we would be back soon. We took the kids out to eat in our new part of town.

Scott: What are you doing?

Me: Asking Lacey to be my Facebook friend.

Scott: Don’t be creepy.

Me: Well, you got Andy’s phone number. Am I being creepy?

Scott: Yes.

Me: Oh. Friend request accepted! Yay!

Scott: Are you serious? That fast?

Me: Yeah, she’s my person now.

Out of 7 billion people on earth, I found my people.

They have no idea the blog just arrived at their doorstep.

Do you ever get the “It’s a Small World” song stuck in your head? Do you have a story that proves how small the world really is? Do you like a social neighborhood? Or do you like privacy? How are your stalking skills? Lacey is probably reading this. 

dirtynurse

Dirty Nurse.

A nurse is a woman of science. A writer is a woman of the arts. A nurse lives life with order and facts. A writer is a storyteller. A nurse knows how to keep your body alive. A writer will make you feel alive.

The nurse and the writer are both frowned upon at suburbia’s grocery store. But it wasn’t a nurse and a writer. It was two friends forgetting the world existed during what was overheard as a one-sided phone call.

It was the nurse’s fault.

Dude. I’m pulling up to the grocery store now. Some car almost backed into another car. It wasn’t me but I need to get out the way. No, you’re good. I can still talk.

Why does my mind go blank when I walk into the grocery store? I think I might have brain cancer.

No, I’m not sick. My mind just sometimes isn’t all there.

Ha! I do sound like I’m 80. Hey, at least I have a nurse on-call to help me grocery shop.

No. Ha! What? I didn’t hear that story. Yes. Please tell me about your first time giving a catheter. Hmmm…do I need green onion?

So you actually volunteered to put a catheter in?

Well, I could have told you your nurse friends would ask someone else to put in a catheter of a woman that was 400 pounds.

NO WAY! You had two nurse friends hold the leg fat? 3 of you?

I wonder if Scott wants chicken tonight.

INSIDE THE LIPS?! How many holes are there?

Well you have the asshole, sure. I could find that. Anyone could point that one out. How do you not find the hole in 400 pounds?

Ha! 105 pounds of you elbow deep in 400 pounds of pee hole.

Women’s vagina lips sound complicated.

I need to stop talking out loud. Why do you tell me your nurse stories at the grocery store?

I don’t know, maybe catheterizing a male would be easier for your first time.

Oh, I’d bet they scream like tiny babies. It’s amazing how much more women can tolerate pain up a little pee hole. I’ve only had two, one with each pregnancy. Didn’t even feel it.

Ha! Wait, what did I just say? I think I just got a dirty look.

Can I put you on speaker? I need to have the people of the grocery store listen to your filthy mouth too. I’m not the only one.

Like a piece of rubber? You would think prostate patients would be used to the prodding.

Inflamed penis?! How fat did it get? Is it like a piece of cooked spaghetti? That would be impossible to shove up. Did you lay it on a splint? HA! Oh! I just remembered I saw a recipe for creamy spaghetti on Pinterest. What else did that recipe have? Hold on, I’m putting you on speaker while I check this recipe.

Speaker: “You know body parts just don’t bother me. You’ve seen one hole, you seen them all. Let me tell you, men don’t like talking about shoving things up their penis hole.”

Ok, you’re off. Scott would FREAK OUT if you came at him with a catheter. He’d kick you with his boot.

Oh, he’d insist on boots if you’re around.

I can’t believe you haven’t gotten kicked in the face more. I could never do your job. No way. All of this is making me light-headed thinking of it. Maybe it’s my brain cancer. Would you talk about my leg fat to your other friends?

Ha! Hot mama. OH SHIT. Backing up out of the line. Beep. Beep. I’m like a truck. Excuse me, sorry. Can I just squeeze out of here? I forgot jalapeños. Sorry.

Oh, I look so rude on my phone.

I think I can think clearer with you on the phone.

Yeah, I’m kinda shocked most people can take the pain of something shoved up their pee hole. You would think that would hurt much more than it really does.

Excuse me, where are the jalapeños? Oh, over there? Thanks.

What are we even talking about? I just asked some kid where the jalapeños were. Ew, the jalapeños are shriveled.

Meh. I’ll still use ’em. A little shrivel never tasted bad.

Dude, you and your nurse stories. You’re really the only friend I can trust to send a picture of my cottage cheese tongue.

She’s a nurse. I’m talking to a nurse.

Yeah, that went away. Didn’t even hurt. You think it was thrush? Probably from the flu and no oxygen in the mountains.

Uh, credit. Plastic. Thank you.

Wait, don’t hang up! Don’t let me walk out of here by myself. I’ll have to look people in the eye.

Uh, rest of the day…hm, have to start a few articles for the magazine. I should probably write something on my blog. It’s been awhile.

I don’t know yet. I’ll figure out something. What time is it? Am I going to be late picking up my kids?

Ok, I’m in the car. Thanks for the chat. Ok, bye.

Do you talk on the phone in public? What is the craziest conversation you’re overhead? Do you have nurse friends with stories that make you squirm? They know how to save your life, you know. Or make you pee when your body can’t.

I don’t believe in cold vacations.

Call me ignorant. Call me uneducated. Call me hard-headed. Call me what is that crazy-ass woman screaming about and who is Scott?

In four weeks, my crazy will be showing on top of a mountain.

Scott is taking me skiing in Keystone, Colorado. He will push me down a mountain and expect me to lean forward like I’m on some sort of suicide mission.

Scott’s current annoyance level with me is at a “fine, screw it. I’ll hire private lessons for you on the first day. I’m not dealing with this.”

Whatever level that is.

We took the family to Dick’s Sporting Goods to get snow skiing gear.

Kate: I know how to spell dicks! D-I-C-K-S! Dicks.

Emma: Kate, you’re just copying the Dicks sign.

It was Scott’s last laugh. I don’t know, the words just came spewing out of my mouth and now Scott isn’t talking to me:

 

Scott, I’ve never seen a mountain. I went to Denver once but it was cloudy.

I told you. I don’t believe in cold vacations. All of my beliefs are traced back to my parents. Don’t blame me on how I was raised.

My mom is Mexican.

I was raised normal, Scott.

What happens if I don’t want to get off the ski lift? Can I ride back down?

What happens if I don’t want to go down once I’m pushed off the lift?

Can I ride on someone’s back and close my eyes?

Can you pull me on a sled and close my eyes?

All I’m saying is I’d much rather be three quarters naked on a boat.

Yeah, well fighting a 200 pound fish is a workout too.

How many layers? How is this even considered a vacation?

I swear, if you take off with your friends and leave me on top of a mountain by myself, I will click off those skis and walk sideways down the mountain. I will find you and strangle you.

Given the choice of looking crazy or rolling down a mountain in a ball of snow, I’ll take crazy.

Oh, I’m only shopping for Burton apparel.

Yes, I plan on telling people that my last name is Burton so yes, people will know.

How is that embarrassing?

Hell no, I won’t try snowboarding. I’d rather walk.

What are the ski stick thingies for? Is it a brake?

Why would I need zippers on my pockets? Oh, so you take your phone with you when you ski? Would it be possible to hold a phone out in front of you while you’re skiing? Or is that too much balancing?

I went skiing once in 5th grade on a hill in Kansas or maybe Missouri. It’s called Snow Creek. My friend’s parents took me with their family. All I remember is cold and where’s my mommy.

Is Keystone like the cheap-y economy style skiing resort? You know, like the beer?

How am I acting like a child? Wait, worse than a child? Oh, because I’m arguing about scenarios that haven’t even happened. That makes complete sense.

Avalanches are a real thing.

Frost bite is a real thing.

Mountain lions are a real thing.

Me getting my tongue stuck on the bar of a lift is a real thing.

Uh, can totally see you sneaking off the side of the mountain to go shoot a mountain lion.

I’m not dumb. I’m just realistic.

Well, maybe I can hang with you and your friends on the double black diamond. You don’t know. Maybe I’ll be a natural.

Don’t tell me I’m not allowed on the double black diamond, Scott. You’re not my father.

Then send a helicopter.

Yes, I’ve seen pictures of people having fun skiing. And I feel sorry for them. They look cold.

How is preferring warm weather being judgy?

So it’s going to be the exact same temperature as here? Great.

No, I didn’t bring a coat. I don’t need it running in and out of a store.

So you just go up and down a mountain, like, all day? How about just once then we go see the town?

Yes, I still want to go.

Why would you cancel it?

I promise, Scott. I won’t be the crazy wife.

 

Have you ever been snow skiing? Do you prefer skiing over a warm vacation? Has your spouse quit talking to you because of your hard-headedness? Am I the only person to never see a mountain? Any advice is welcome! I’ll listen to you, just not Scott.

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Uptown funk you up.

No – Julie funk you up, APPLE.

I live a hard life.

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All I want is Bruno Mars on my iPhone’s song list.

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 And to dance like him. I have that same hat somewhere.

I am unable to download songs to my iPhone. Even worse, my songs are disappearing. My beautiful, finely tuned playlists are disappearing.

I can’t live a life like that.

I have been charged for Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars oh I don’t know, 20 times.

Are you sure you want to purchase this? You already purchased this item.

HELL YES, iSURE.

I know those Apple techs browse pictures. I would. Especially after watching a mom and her two daughters walk in the Apple store with fedoras on. Apple doesn’t have a policy against flinging arms while watching Uptown Funk on an iPad’s YouTube app.

Go ahead – browse, Apple techs. But I won’t leave until I get Bruno Mars.

 

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It was for ALS awareness. We’re saving lives.

 

 

Our neighbors love me.

Our neighbors love me.

 

I only have one at my house.

I only have one at my house.

 

And it's not this one.

And it’s not this one.

 

I love bonerfish.

I love bonerfish.

 

Yep. This song has disappeared too, APPLE.

Billie Jean is deleted too, Apple.

 

From Africa to America - where KSU beat OU.

From Africa to America – where KSU trumps OU.

 

My friends are unphased by my "cleaning up a murder" request. I'll murder for Bruno Mars.

Un-phased by my “cleaning up a murder” request. I’ll murder for Bruno Mars.

 

Murder and EAT.

I will murder and eat you to the skeleton. OR APPLE CORE.

 

Um.

Ummm.

 

Bruno Mars has hairy legs.

Bruno Mars has hairy legs and clearly – not lazy.

 

I talk to cats.

I’m crazy and I talk to cats. FIX IT, APPLE.

 

I don't know where she gets her rage from.

I don’t know where she gets her rage from. Probably her mother.

 

 

We left it all on the iPads, Apple.

We left this picture all on the iPads, Apple Store. Thanks for browsing.

 

 

Have you heard the song Uptown Funk? Do you like it? You’re a liar if you don’t. It’s like a new Michael Jackson has graced us with his presence. 

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It was from Africa.

  • Crown Royal Apple whiskey.
  • Absolut Vodka and Bloody Mary mix.
  • A Starbucks giftcard.
  • An Olive Garden giftcard with toilet seat covers in a mug.
  • A hard hat that holds two beers.
  • A Zulu Mcedo – in english: a penis tip cover. 

It was from Africa.

The White Elephants were good to Scott and me this 2014 Christmas season. I’m going to call that last one our African Elephant.

A Zulu Mcedo: Woven with grass and banana leaves, worn by Zulumen as protection under traditional skin clothing.

A Zulu Mcedo: Woven with grass and banana leaves, worn by Zulumen as protection under traditional skin clothing.

It’s a penis tip cover to prevent chaffing in African wear.

Sometimes the small packages are not gift cards. Sometimes the small packages are made for small packages. If you touch the small package and your friends fall over in hysterics while trying to sputter out, “it was from Africa…” 

Drop it. Tell them you forgot the rules. Do not pick small packages from Africa.

I mean, Scott is white. But he’s not that white. This thing fits on my finger tip.

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I swear on the Holy Bible that is my finger tip.

I could end this blog post right here. It would be known as the blog post that proves our friends’ check-on bags from South Africa trumps any Amazon white elephant purchase. No ebola here! Just a penis tip cover. Nothing for kids to see.

Oh, the kids saw. Scott left this thing on the kitchen table for the kids’ viewing pleasure as they crunched on their Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Emma: Mommy, what’s this?

I spilled coffee on my shirt.

Me: Nothing. Your dad’s gift from last night.

Damnit, Scott.

Emma: What is it?

Me: I don’t even really know.

Emma: Maybe it’s a hat.

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It was from Africa.

Kate: Let me see it.

Why isn’t my life filmed.

Me: Let me have it. I think it was a joke.

Kate: I think it goes on my nose.

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It was from Africa.

Me: Hey, let’s not do that. Pretty sure all our neighbor friends had their hands all over that thing last night. Maybe their tongues. I don’t know what really went on.

Kate: It kinda stinks.

Me: I’ll take it. Thank you. It was from Africa. Sit here and eat. I’m going to take this back to daddy.

_________

Me: SCOTT. You left this thing out! The kids are playing with it!

Scott: What did they say about the picture?

Me: Huh? Nothing. It’s just another naked female body to them. They see me naked all the time. It’s the penis tip cover! Scott, get it out of here!

Scott: Really? They didn’t say anything about the picture?

Me: No. They glanced at the picture. It’s really not any different than how you and I dress around the house. They want to know what this PENIS TIP COVER IS!! Should we throw it away?

Scott: No way! It’s my new poker chip piece. I’ll hide it.

_________

The dog plays with it.

The dog plays with it.

It's a tea cup.

The girls have tea parties with it.

It's an African Elephant.

It’s an African Elephant.

It was from Africa.

Did you go to any White Elephant gift exchanges? What did you get? Did you get anything from Africa? Do you think the Zulu Mcedo will expand in water? It’s made out of banana leaves. Maybe we’re doing something wrong.

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