I interviewed Trooper Ben.

We all have those friends with certain careers that can hook us up.

Maybe you have a friend that works at Chick-Fil-A and you score free chocolate shakes when you walk in.

Or it’s possible you started choking on a fish bone at dinner and your doctor friend jumped up and performed the Heimlich Maneuver on you.

Photographer friend? Maybe she gives you a family photoshoot for your birthday.

Or maybe, just maybe, you know a highway patrol trooper. You can throw questions at him without feeling like you did something wrong.

Meet Trooper Ben on Twitter.

FullSizeRender 9.jpg

_____________

Trooper Ben works for the Kansas Highway Patrol. The man has 28,000 followers on Twitter – although, I would call them more his friends. He’ll answer your questions with humor but he also keeps in mind he doesn’t want you to die either. If he has time, he’ll tweet Q&As from his followers.

FullSizeRender 3.jpg

_____________

FullSizeRender 7.jpg

_____________

FullSizeRender 8.jpg_____________

FullSizeRender 2

_____________

FullSizeRender 6.jpg

_____________

I found Trooper Ben’s twitter handle from Eric Stonestreet.

stonestreet

Yes, this Eric Stonestreet. The K-State family is a close one.

It doesn’t really matter how I met Trooper Ben. We’re friends now even though I’ve never met him in real life. And hopefully, I never meet him because I’m a safe driver.

Mostly.

Ok, like one speeding ticket.

I’ve gotten out of two speeding tickets with warnings.

Oh, and then there was that one time I got a ticket for not moving over a lane while a South Dakota trooper pulled over another car on the highway. Yes, I broke the law and I wasn’t safe. My ticket was fair. I should have moved over a lane. But that wasn’t my question for Trooper Ben.

My question for Trooper Ben:

FullSizeRender copy.jpg

If you want the long version of this story, click here.

In short – I was pulled over for not moving over a lane. The South Dakota trooper asked me to leave my car, walk along the side of the highway, and sit in his car while he chatted and wrote me a ticket. This happened in the middle of the afternoon. My husband and two daughters were in the car. It was clear we were on a family road trip.

Trooper Ben was kind enough to give me a call today and explain the trooper’s possible reasonings.

I did not record our conversation for direct quotes but I did take notes.

Trooper Ben asks drivers to sit in his car for various reasons, although it is rare.

If he smells alcohol, he has been known to ask the driver to sit in his car. Using his car as a “neutral scent” zone, he can smell possible alcohol on the driver’s breath. My breath smelled like coffee, cream, sugar, and nachos cheese Doritos.

Another reason – smuggling drugs. By questioning a person away from the “comfort zone” of their own car, he can gather more information from the driver to make sure stories add up – Who is in the car with you? What are the kids’ names? Where are you going? Believe it or not, people have been known to smuggle drugs with kids in the car. The particular car I was driving at the time was a rental and it had Florida plates. I gave the South Dakota trooper my Kansas driver’s license.

I asked Trooper Ben the number one answer I’ve heard when I tell this story – was it possible the trooper just wanted to hit on me away from my husband? Trooper Ben said he hopes that’s not the case. Looking back, I don’t feel like this particular trooper was hitting on me but I do remember being scared that he might. I felt vulnerable away from my husband.

My biggest question for Trooper Ben – did I have the right to refuse to get into the trooper’s vehicle if I wasn’t under arrest? Trooper Ben said it wouldn’t be an unreasonable request if I feared for my safety. Another option Trooper Ben suggested is to ask if I could record the conversation via video or voice.

In the end, everyone was safe. I still got a ticket. It was possible the South Dakota trooper thought I was smuggling drugs. But I can’t interview that trooper to ask him why.

I can only interview Trooper Ben.

Don’t forget to move over a lane when you see another car pulled over.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

And don’t forget to buy my book, “But Did You Die?”

The letter X.

There are few words in the English language that start with the letter x.

The letter x is more of a symbol than an actual letter.

X means kisses.

X means “sign here.”

X means multiply.

X means “marks the spot.”

X means 10 in Roman numeral form.

X means “you are here.”

The letter X.

X – You are here.

You are here in my writing room, on my laptop screen.

FullSizeRender 3.jpg

When we built our house, Scott suggested I have my own room to focus on my writing. He calls it my writing room. It’s behind the kitchen. It’s really just a smaller living room with its own fireplace. But the room echoes what I love.

FullSizeRender 2.jpg

That’s my white marlin I caught off the coast of the Dominican Republic. He looks much bigger in Kansas. He’s made out of fiberglass. My writing room does not smell like dead fish.

I just mentioned you’re in Kansas. Overland Park, Kansas. It’s not as bad as you think. Look at any of those “best cities” lists and Overland Park is always on there. Kansas is lovely.

FullSizeRender 4.jpg

That’s a real sunset in my backyard without filters. No one really talks about the times heaven opens up over Kansas. Everyone stops and stares. It’s a secret every Kansan knows but never brags about. But I’ll brag. I don’t care.

IMG_4096.PNG

This is not my backyard but I had to include a field of Kansas sunflowers. Did you know the sunflower turns its face towards the sun? That’s why they’re always looking the same way. Sunflowers know about the sunsets too.

I don’t know what you look like. I guess it depends on what I’m writing. But most of the time you’re female. You are probably married with kids. But that’s just a guess. I’m not sure how you found yourself here in my writing room but I’m glad you did. There’s always someone to talk to in my writing room.

It used to be strange, writing to people I’ve never met. It’s hard to judge your thoughts when I can’t see you or hear you conversing back. Maybe that’s one reason I feel like this room can be too much “me” when I also want to hear about you. I worry about that – I don’t want to seem egotistical. As much as I write, I am a good listener.

I am assuming you will stop by when your schedule allows and tell me a little about yourself.

But now I must go. I have a friend picking me up for a yoga class in about 30 minutes. The class is called Namaste and Chardonnay.  I’m going for the chardonnay.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

X 2

 

How to find the Holy Grail of Neighbors.

You may have read it.

10 Signs You Have Found the Holy Grail of Neighbors.

I didn’t write it but I agree with the writer, Lauren Lodder, on every point. Good neighbors are your in-case-of-emergency people, therapists, babysitters, and they make vacations possible because they’re willing to kick the ass out of the wet bandits and take selfies to prove it.

Well, at least my neighbors would be willing.

When you find the Holy Grail of Neighbors, you’ll know. The roots you dig will find a way down into the earth and intertwine with your neighbor’s roots. The roots will strangle you and hold you captive so you will never move again. That’s when you know you found your people.

The article didn’t explain how to find the Holy Grail of Neighbors. I got this, you guys. Follow me. Let’s fly!

 

I say Beetlejuice three times and he shows up on my blog. I don’t know. I live next to the guy.

Define your Holy Grail of Neighbors. Do you even want neighbors? Maybe your Holy Grail of Neighbors is a couple of birds. I know several people that don’t like living close to others. They like privacy and freedom to walk around naked. If this is you, take everything I say and do the opposite. There’s no privacy where I live but I like it like that way. My front door is a turnstile of kids and the eye in the sky is always watching neighborhood parties. If you want to walk around naked, this is not the place to do it because I’ll throw you out on my blog.

The real estate city search. To the beach! I would love nothing more than to live by the beach but I don’t. I live in Kansas. Suburbia, actually – a place where we need to get creative on the weekends to cure boredom.

Sure, white picket fences and kids chasing an ice cream truck paints the ideal place to call home. But here, in Suburbia, the Holy Grail of Neighbors are trying not to spill their margarita while chasing a street taco truck. Kansas can be a beautiful place. All it needs is a little tequila, salt, and lime.

We are not alcoholics. We just like margaritas and tacos at our front door step.

FullSizeRender-3

Location, location, location.  Cul-de-sacs are prime real estate if you have kids. Cul-de-sacs allow kids to run freely. There’s no need to worry about a car hitting a child straight into the next news story. The Internet doesn’t need to scream at parents on the cul-de-sac for being neglectful. We’re not neglectful.

Calm down, it was a photo opp.

FullSizeRender

Look for children on the neighborhood search. I have no clue where my kids are right now. Good. That’s called responsible cul-de-sac parenting. It takes a village. Just don’t hit our village with your car.

Don’t expect perfection in any neighborhood. Street taco truck and margaritas aside, perfect neighborhoods don’t exist. Perfect people don’t exist. I mean even Jesus left mouth germs on the Holy Grail. Probably. Our neighborhood pool got pegged as weak by teenagers. They destroy property. They are loud. They don’t listen to us when they’re asked to leave. I’m guessing there will be an increase of video submissions to MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. 

I’m also guessing one of those teenagers has a police chief dad that won’t listen to our complaints either. Time to get out my dad’s gorilla suit and call in the fake SWAT team because my kids swim in that conception water, dammit.

The Holy Grail of Neighbors will always show you signs they’re there. I’m talking about out-of-the-ordinary signs. Our sign was a sign from above, if you will. It was a beer sign hanging from someone’s back deck. A large, canvas, beer sign with the week’s bar specials. It was there for weeks. I later found out that was the football pot loser’s sign.

Other possible signs: A drone flying, golf carts for the sole purpose of neighborhood driving, college kids sitting on roofs, houses with indoor lights that change colors according to their mood, and hot air balloons landing on rooftops.

The fun people will always let you know where they are. It’s just their nature. They like a good show.

FullSizeRender-2

I realize how this sounds. Before you write us off as rich snobs, we live in Kansas. Home of cheap real estate. Join us!

Stalk before you buy. You don’t buy a car without test driving it. You don’t marry a virgin. And you don’t buy a house without stalking first. I’m the expert, trust me. Slow-drive the street behind the street in question – search for fire pits. Slow-drive past their house during a nice day. The Holy Grail of Neighbors will always have adults on the front porch. Stop and say hello. Ask to use their bathroom. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the Holy Grail itself – the neighborhood’s Best Costume award.

costume

Next year, the trophy will be in my house. Come use my bathroom. Snoop around. My roots run deep, grounded into the earth.

Well, at least until the next drone ride.

___________

Wait, don’t go! Find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Scott pawned us off to Florida.

In the end, I hope my children realize how much our bodies need vitamin D in November.

It helps with calcium absorption and bone growth.

IMG_0836

Call me old fashioned but Vitamin D is meant to be taken by the heavens, sent down on the rays from the Sunshine State. No thanks, Flintstone vitamins.

FullSizeRender-2

Scott pawned us off to Florida in the middle of the deer rut*.

* The deer rut: a deer humping frenzy that occurs in 10 degree weather. The male deer are too distracted by the female deer to notice the scent of a hunter sitting in the tree stand.

 

beach

My husband is too distracted by the male deer to notice who the real winners are because no one from Florida actually wants to visit Kansas in November.

Meet Lindsay.

FullSizeRender-4

Just kidding, Lindsay doesn’t fish.

FullSizeRender-5

Lindsay and I are exactly 26 days apart in age but I was born on a bitter, snowy morning in Kansas City and Lindsay was born with a newborn, baby tan in Key West.

Lindsay and Scott grew up together in Fort Lauderdale. That means the moment I said, “I do” to Scott, I sealed the deal with my eternal summer best friend, Lindsay. Even if summer happens to fall in November.

She doesn’t even own a pair of winter boots.

FullSizeRender

Our daughters, Emma and Madison, have known each other since diapers. They met in, well, where else but the Florida Keys.

kids

So yes, you could say Scott pawned us off to Florida while he froze in a tree stand. But I never complained about his weekend, alone in the woods, during the rut. He cooked, fed the dogs, started his own laundry, and scratched his balls. I don’t really know what men do alone.

I do know I came home to a slap in the face by the bitter Kansas City air. And then another slap in the face when I saw the bloody mess in our garage.

No, the blood wasn’t from a deer.

You guys, Scott did it.

It was a dirty job but it had to be done without women or children. While the girls and I were in Florida, an arrow went flying in Kansas. It went straight through the heart of a coyote.

IMG_0841

A coyote. The canine eating canine of the animal kingdom. If you remember – a coyote attacked and tried to kill our dog, Belle.

Read the story here.

Scott won’t move the family to his hometown of Fort Lauderdale. But he will make sure we’re always warm, including Belle. She’ll stay warm for many Novembers to come under her own coyote blanket.

Does anyone else love the snowbird life? Do you prefer living with seasons or a year-round summer? Do you have a long-distance friend that lives with palm trees? I highly recommend that you find one. Can you believe Belle got the final revenge? 

** Thank you for having us, Lindsay! Until Scott pawns us off again, cheers! Save us some vitamin D.

IMG_0850

Wile E. Coyote.

Somewhere in Africa, a lion named Cecil fell dead and the Internet exploded.

Somewhere in Kansas, Scott and I were sneaking trophy deer and fish mounts into our new house because the Internet shamed the sport of hunting.

Ok, the shame fell more towards poaching. I hope. As it should be.

But still, we’re trying to make friends in this neighborhood and a lion’s death 8,835 miles away didn’t help.

Our trophy mounts are on the walls so the animals can watch us drink beer out of our frosty mugs. Jalapeño venison stick?

To be honest, we’re not concerned about a lion showing up in our backyard because this is America. 

And in America, more specifically at the Burton household – Wile. E. Coyote will be toast. His head will be raised up next. He will have the prime spot to watch the clinks of the whole neighborhood with their frosty mugs.

wile-e-coyote1

Belle, our yorkie poo, was attacked by a coyote on Saturday night.

FullSizeRender

Scott was outside on our patio. He was laying down on the patio couch, watching TV. From the angle the coyote came in, Scott was hidden. The dogs barked. Scott popped up in time to see a coyote pick up Belle and take off in a field.

Scott’s hunter instincts kicked in and he took off on foot. He headed at a full sprint towards the coyote. Belle was dangling in its mouth. The desperate screams that came from Scott scared the coyote enough to drop Belle in the field.

“Julie. Julie.”

“Yeah? I’m in here, trying to help the girls with the shower.”

“Belle was attacked by a coyote.”

Scott appeared with Belle in his arms. I couldn’t comprehend what he said. All I saw was a blood drenched shirt, Belle, and the horror in Scott’s eyes.

My stomach dropped. Bailey. I couldn’t handle telling Emma and Kate about another family member’s death. And a violent one, at that.

The ER vet called her one of the luckiest dogs he’s ever seen.

Surviving a coyote attack is rare. The coyote didn’t press down hard enough to puncture her lungs. She is severely injured but her organs are intact. Scott’s hunter instinct saved her. There’s no doubt in my mind Bailey was right there, flying over Scott’s shoulder.

Belle is healing. She’s slowly getting back to her normal self. She’s well enough to stop her pain meds. She’s still on antibiotics. Her rabies is up-to-date. Her regular vet said she is healing beautifully.

IMG_6468

She will survive. The rest of her family developed the hunters instinct overnight. The neighborhood is on watch. We have family members we need to protect.

I have contacted the city and discovered there is a coyote problem. The city sounded grateful Belle survived and we have ER vet documentation of the attack. Most people cannot come up with documentation simply because the animal does not survive. There may be a chance of the city setting up traps. We’ll do everything we can to push it. And if a coyote ever comes onto our property, well, you know. Cheers.

In this story, the hunter always wins.

Explode away, Internet.

Do you have a coyote attack story? I have heard at least three a day since Belle’s attack. Are you concerned about your dogs or cats when they go outside? What would you do if your pet was attacked by a coyote in front of you? 

The Norton Honor Hunt.

I am home from the Norton Honor Hunt in Norton, Kansas.

20 disabled veterans were taken on a guided deer hunt in Norton, Kansas. The residents of Norton, population 3,000, raised enough money to cover the expenses needed for the veterans. Most of the veterans are not regular deer hunters due to their injuries or disabilities. Each veteran was provided with a personal guide to help stalk and go after deer. Volunteer meat processors were on stand-by to bag up the meat.

19 deer were shot.

Our friends rallied together to help the event. The Norton Honor Hunt was filmed by Killin’ It Outdoors. The veterans were interviewed and then followed around by camera crews. Andy Griggs flew in from Nashville to perform at the Honor Hunt Banquet. I came in town to interview the veterans because I knew every hero has a good story to tell.

They wouldn’t tell them to me.

Not those stories anyway.

I wanted to hear a war story. From any war, I didn’t care – from Vietnam to the current war on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I wanted to hear about someone sacrificing their legs in the name of the United States. I wanted to hear about a man becoming a paraplegic because he saved a civilian’s child from a burning building. I wanted a hero’s tale. I wanted a scene from Hollywood. Good always trumps evil.

I was blind.

They didn’t have stories of valor.

They had horror stories.

Horror stories they would not dare tell a mom with two kids in tow. They only knew sickening stories. The kind of sickening one feels for that split second when you slam on your car brakes because the car in front of you is at a dead stop on the highway. The slow motion gives you time to pray for your kids in the backseat to live.

That kind of horror.

My friend, Will, fought in Iraq after college. He was first in his convoy. His job was to lead the route for his fellow soldiers – his family, his brothers, his loved ones – following behind.

His family didn’t live.

You could say Will was lucky. But to him, he would be reminded his friends were not. Will flew back home a year later. He arrived in Dallas and walked into an airport full of people he didn’t know. There were cheerleaders with signs and people applauding. Hugs and kisses and babies filled the terminal. He felt welcome but didn’t feel understood.

“You tell yourself you are fighting for America, fighting for freedom but it doesn’t feel that way. I feel appreciated at home but it’s not…it doesn’t really matter. It’s a horror story…watching your family disappear before your eyes. Julie, as your friend, that’s all I am going to tell you.”

Will isn’t the same person I knew in college. But I wouldn’t be able to tell you that from my point of view. He has always been Will. He was always the first one to buy me a whiskey in Aggieville when we attended K-State. That didn’t change.

Will bought me a whiskey as soon as I walked into the Honor Hunt Banquet.

The veteran with no legs offered a hand to help carry my kids’ drinks because he noticed my hands were full. He used his other hand to push his wheelchair.

The female veteran teared up when I told her we brought our dog’s ashes to be spread in the field she used to pheasant hunt in.

A Vietnam veteran wiped away tears before my 8-year-old daughter walked up to ask if she could shake his hand.

I am the one that showed up blind.

IMG_1310

Can anyone hear me?

Greetings, from Burton Island!

Land of 72 degrees. The breeze carries scents of pumpkin spice and cheese dip. It’s the busy season on Burton Island. It’s football season. The three TVs in the Man Cave will glow with thousands of fans. Open the taps! Grab a frosty mug! You’re all invited! Sit back …

This is all a big joke.

We’re off the grid.

No cable.

No internet.

I am starting to question my own existence.

And then all of the sudden I grew a pair.

I found myself a football friend. Her name is Carmen. Ladies like us are hard to find. We are part man.

I found Carmen during one of her meltdowns on social media last year after her OU Sooners lost. Her final post: Don’t talk to me. DO NOT talk to me.

I fell in love immediately.

A star-crossed lover. Her Sooner to my Wildcat. We’re not supposed to be friends. Red and purple don’t look good together. Then again, we could never root for the same team. The Football Gods cannot handle that amount of hair-pulling, PMS-screaming, estrogen shooting at the TV. Our combined force would cause the earth to open up a sinkhole under the opposing team. Oh, did we do that?

Text message to Carmen: Thank GOD football is back.

Carmen: Thank GOD.

Me: We’re debating on whether to take the girls to Manhattan for the game this weekend. We don’t have tickets. We could tailgate with them?

Carmen: Tailgating would be a good intro for the girls. We are bringing the boys to Norman. I told the boys I won’t talk to them during the game unless it is answering football questions. I will not leave early. I will not spend the game at the concession stand. And I WILL pound their face into the bleachers if they complain about being there.

Me: HA! Hmmm…maybe we shouldn’t bring the girls. I don’t want to deal with all of the above.

Me: Ohhhh FML. Oh no. Carmen. NO

Carmen: What.

Me: Scott just sent me an email. READ.

 

photo-6

 

Carmen: Wait, what?

Me: I can’t breathe.

Carmen: Tell me this is a joke. What is wrong with him?

Me: Why do I have to be the male in this relationship? He’s texting me nonsense about Google Chrome and streaming from a computer. He told me to buy some bunny ears. From where? The homeless? I just want to reach through the phone slap him. No, maybe grab his balls to make sure he still has some.

Carmen: LMAO

Me:  This blog post is writing itself.

Carmen: I was thinking the same thing.

 

Welcome back to the blog, SCOTT.

Ok, I’ll hear him out. Marriage is about compromise. He has valid points – the price of cable is ridiculous. We never watch TV. We only turn on the TV for one reason – sports.

Oh, but football. It’s the game, man! How can you yank that without asking! 

It’s fine. I will find a way. I will go to Manhattan and Arrowhead. I will drag my kids to the local bars. I will let myself in friends’ houses. I will try streaming. I will invest in bulk aluminum foil. It can be done. I will survive this football season.

Then I woke up Saturday morning to NO INTERNET.

Somewhere in Norman, Oklahoma, Carmen shivered. My scream shook the ground.

 

It’s fixed. The internet will be restored. The cable will be restored. The cable company is sending us several hundred dollars in VISA gift cards for our trouble. They accidentally deleted our entire account when they pulled cable.

The Football Gods want to see a social media showdown on October 18th. KSU vs. OU. Open the taps!

Get me off this island.

 

Are you a woman with the football man gene? Who is your favorite team to watch? Do you use cable or do you stream? Would you curl into a ball and die without internet? OU or KSU, what’s your bet?

deserted_island

 

Color me purple.

Series of text messages on the eve of The Color Run:

Olive's ready!

Olive is ready!

Tank's ready!

Tank is ready!

Bailey's ready!

Bailey is ready!

Belle's ready!

Belle is ready!

Lloyd is ready!

Lloyd is ready!

"I'm too tired to find Sadie." Random stuffed animal.

“I’m too tired to find Sadie.”
Stuffed animal is ready.

“Holy smokes people! 48 missed text messages! No pets to torture here.”

BREAKING NEWS: I DIDN’T DIE DURING MY FIRST 5K.

I am alive and well to write about The Color Run – Lawrence, Kansas. Thank you running Gods for giving us temperatures in the 60s. Thank you friends for taking my hand to stop me from bailing the start of the race when the crowd broke out into Rock Chalk, Jayhawwk…K-UUUUU. You know that hurts my Wildcat ears.

Busting my 5k virginity with flying colors.

There we are. I’m somewhere under the purple.

Advice for newbie 5k runners since I’m allowed to give advice now:

  • You won’t die. I mean, I’m pretty sure you won’t die.
  • You must train for a 5k. This actually depends on how competitive you are. I saw several walkers. Walkers with strollers. Wheelchairs. You could walk the thing. No one really cares – this wasn’t a timed race. No matter how much you train, be fully prepared for an 80-year-old woman to sprint past you with pink, orange and blue tinted grey hair.
  • Adrenaline will play a part in the actual race. I was not expecting this. I thought my sides would cramp. I thought I would give up and walk the majority of the race. My body’s pain level went from good – to hurting – to really hurting – to my legs are numb – to just finish.
  • Find running partners. I had pretty low expectations of myself going into the race. My goal: finish. My running partners, Melanie and Allison, ran the entire time. This was just not in my plan. My non-badass self walked for a tiny bit around the 4th kilometer. I finished 3rd in our group. I wouldn’t have ran for so long if it wasn’t for Melanie and Allison.
  • Bring your own leaf blower for Color Runs. The line to get blown was way too long. Blowing the color off, people. The color.
  • Bring headphones. I wish I would have brought headphones. And pull the headphone strings up through the shirt. Allison’s entertainment factor went up as I watched her swat and attack loose headphone strings.
  • Expect your body parts to talk to you. On the ride home, my quads said, “what the eff did you do to us?!” When I got into the shower, my hamstrings said, “Oh, no you di’int!” The next morning, it was my butt wondering, “what the hell…” Serious.
  • Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet after the race. I was starving after the race. I was still starving after lunch. I porked out on 5 full meals when I got home. I consumed a record-breaking 6,584 calories that day. I’m assuming I burned just as many running. I’m eating a taco as I type this.
  • Drink beer after the race. Because you earned it. Follow up with another beer. And a bloody mary. It was all delicious.
  • No matter how much color is thrown at you, you won’t pee different colors. I checked.
  • Watch out for the KU fans picking on KSU fans. Have witty comebacks. This probably only applies to me.

photo-23

Run a 5K – CHECK! Settin’ goals and bustin’ through ’em! I wish I could write something more inspirational. But that’s just me; I’m not really an inspiring person. I call it as it is —

You runners are effing crazy. You can bet your brand new running shoes that I was cussing you out in my head during the run.

But yes, I would do it again. Olive, Tank, Bailey, Belle, Lloyd and Stuffed Animal want another photoshoot.

There’s no place like the Keys.

Well, that went quick.

It’s hard to write about our vacation in the Florida Keys. My abs are still sore from laughing. I don’t even know what we laughed about because we did absolutely nothing.

We soaked in the Florida sun. We fished. We drank rum all day and night at the tiki bar. We danced in Key West. We washed away our problems in salt water. We talked all night with friends from all around the country. The boys took turns smoking cigars. We listened to the Eagles. We chased our kids around in the warm, tropical rain. We never stopped eating.

We did absolutely nothing.

I loaded my pictures from the trip on my laptop.

What Facebook saw:

You're in the Keys, Emma!

You’re in the Keys, Emma!

What really happened:

Get in the picture, Kate.  "NO! No cameras." (I'm pretty sure there is a wardrobe malfuntion in this picture. Just bra. We're all good.)

Get in the picture, Kate.
“NO! No cameras.”
(Before someone calls me out: I’m pretty sure there is a wardrobe malfuntion in this picture. It’s just bra. I’m fine with it.)

What Facebook saw:

Casey, the cowboy turned Captain Jack Sparrow.

Captain Casey, after a day in the high seas.

The picture immediately following:

I don't even have a caption to this.

Casey, the drunk cowboy from Kansas.

What Facebook saw:

It's a dancin' kind of night in Key West.

It’s a dancin’ kind of night in Key West.

What really happened:

Yes, Scott has a busted knee. And no, that is not me.

Scott and Devon combined their dancing forces to show up the bar. Me? I got roofied and threw up on the way back to our Keys house. One of these years I’ll grow up and just say NO to Key West nights.

What Twitter saw:

Somewhere over the rainbow, there were 25 Mahi waiting for two Kansas girls.

Somewhere over the rainbow, there were 25 Mahi waiting for two Kansas girls.

What really happened:

There is no image because we had to hide our phones and cameras in a water tight storage compartment. There were 4-6 foot seas with an occasional 8 foot wave that day. This type of seas with a 34-foot boat is only for fishermen who truly enjoy the sport or for Kansans that will fish in any sea conditions.

Three people got sick – not me. One proclaimed it was their personal hell – not me. Two crazies rode the bow of the boat because they liked the thrill – not me. My feelings were somewhere in the middle. I would rather not fish in those conditions but I listened to orders from Captain Brett because I want a trophy mahi, damnit.

While trolling, I reeled in two mahis. I cut up bloody bait and threw chunks in the water. I held one of my fish in the water as a decoy while the school of mahis swam up – this was all while trying to hold on for dear life. On the way back, we went airborne a couple times when the 8 foot waves would crash in. We were constantly getting salt water dumped on us from all angles. We were the only boat out there fishing. Just call us Forest Gump fishin’ on the “Jen-nay”.

They are not trophies but we caught dinner, kids. Total fish count was about 65 for the week.

They are not trophies but we caught dinner, kids! Total fish count for the week was about 65 Mahi Mahi Dolphin. Our share made it back to our deep freeze in Kansas successfully.

 

And that is how we do absolutely nothing in the Keys.

As promised, our Keys group gets a shout out my blog. It was one of the best vaycays ever.

Jeff and Kathy, Bill and Kelly, Dave and Sherri, Rob and Janna, Dave and Patti, Kevin, Donalee and Bobby, Mark and Ashley (Hi Tres!), Brad and Lindsay, Beau and Lauren, Casey and Devon, Brett and Paige, Ted and Michelle, and of course Scott:

Thanks for reading about my Brazilian before I got there, you guys!

Seriously — thank you Bill and Kelly. Your house makes great memories for all of us.

Manhattan, Kansas.

Scott: Welcome home. You feel old now?

Me: Nope. Manhattan, Kansas is a transport in time. 10 years magically just came off in Aggieville and I was 21 again.

Scott: Wait. Stop. Why are you walking weird?

Me: I have shin splints.

Scott: What did you do last night?

Me: Went out to eat with Devon. Watched a movie at her house. Went to bed early. It was great.

Scott: What did you do the night before?

Me: Well……the last thing I remember saying before leaving Aggieville was “I never got a picture of me in my graduation cap and gown 9 years ago in front of the Higinbotham Gate.”

Higinbotham Gate

Higinbotham Gate. Image from Kansas State University.

I don't know what happened.

I don’t know what happened.

Scott: OH MY GOSH!

Me: Looks like the night started out well. This is a cute picture of Devon and me.

Devon and me.

Oh, here. I wrote down quotes I overhead while out in Aggieville. Listen to this:

  • There will be no jager bombs. Last time I had a jager bomb, I got in a fight and drug out of a bar.
  • I need to find this cute farm boy and wife him up.
  • Last time I went to a Chiefs game, I caught my pants on fire and passed out in a chair with your brother.
  • Is that queso dip?   — The cheese is.
  • If someone buys me a tequila shot I will throw it back in their face. WA-BAM!
  • Don’t ever lay on a bar floor. Unless you’re on top.
  • My friends can watch me have sex and I’m fine with it. But they CANNOT watch me on a dance floor.
  • It looks like I’m smiling but I’m really not.

My uncles are seriously trying to pick up some chicks. Will you girls come talk to them?

Creepy Uncle Sam buying me a whiskey.

Creepy Uncle Sam buying me a whiskey.

  • I go to a grocery store sober and I damn near get in a brawl.
  • I dunno what happened. *Name withheld* just jumped up on the bar and I started licking her belly button. Then we got kicked out. I didn’t even get to finish the body shot.
  • Did I change underwear? Oh yeah, I did. I showered.
  • I don’t remember what any of you are saying. I think my brain just blocked out that part of my life.
  • (Opening a bag of hot wings) Don’t you just love that smell? Don’t you just want to tongue it.
  • There are two types of people in this world. People who pee in the shower and people who lie. — I seriously have never peed in the shower. — You are just a liar.

I am in the presence of Bill Snyder.

-- I totally forgot Bill Snyder is our coach.

— I totally forgot Bill Snyder is our coach. (I gave my first throat punch at the Spring Game.)

  • What kind of vodka did you use in the delicious summer brew? — McCormick. — Oh. What kind of beer did you use? — Natty Light.
  • Looks like you girls need some testosterone over here.
  • The walk home didn’t even seem that long. — We didn’t walk. We got a ride.
  • Now that I think about it … I’m pretty sure my mom was a huge pothead when she was younger.
  • You look white. — Well, I just got cancer removed from my ankle. — She’s a drama queen. Don’t listen to her.
  • So what do you want to talk about? — I don’t know, you pick. — Religion! Go!
  • Screw it. My bra is the same as a swimsuit top, right?
  • What do you want to do now? — Let’s just get out of the car then decide what happens.

What is the name of that yoga move? 

It's called the naked monkey.

It’s called the naked monkey.

Thank you Manhattan, Kansas. You may have sent me home with shin splints but you are still my favorite place in the world.

And thanks for letting me play with the youngens, Devon! XOXO

Bill Snyder, as always, it’s a pleasure to be in your presence. You can have some XOXOs too. You old man, you.