Friday, March 25, 2011

All The Right Friends In All The Right Places. . .

This blog is going to be about my night with an old friend who's a rock star now. I don't want it to seem like I'm bragging, even when I clearly am, so you'll just have to forgive me for my good fortune.

I met him in college, which is remarkable given that I went to college with some world class nerds. Forty percent of the student body was studying engineering. If any of you have seen The Big Bang Theory, it was those guys. Not that every one was that smart or fashion challenged though. Most of my girl friends were almost completely normal. There was this one girl on my floor that had a freaky Winnie the Pooh fascination, but other than that, they were great. And there were a decent amount of cool guys. Coincidentally, most of them were aviation majors. (*My R.A.'s boyfriend was an engineering major and he was as chill as Dr. Dre himself. And, on a completely unrelated note, he reads my blog. My R.A.'s former boyfriend, now husband. Not Dr. Dre. Or, if Dre is reading it, he hasn't signed on as a follower.)

But one of the more entertaining guys I hung out with in college was Zach. He worked with me in the admissions office and we were good friends. Actually, I ended up marrying one of his roommates, who is also one of the coolest engineers I know. (*On a completely unrelated note, my husband pays our mortgage.)

Zach and I, along with a crew of collegiates we traveled with, went rollerblading, hung out at the IHOP, and tried to find any activities we could to postpone studying. Oftentimes, he and one of my husband's other roommates would sit around the apartment and play music. I thought he was talented, and it turns out, he is. He's the lead guitarist for One Republic. And if, for some unexcusable reason, you don't know who they are, let me assure you that you've heard their song Apologize. (BTW: Zach is a celebrity, thereby forfeiting all rights to privacy, so I can use his name in my blog.)On Tuesday, my husband and I traveled an hour away to see them perform. We showed up early and went out to dinner with Zach. He was happy to sit down at a restaurant and eat a square meal because they do a lot of fast food and pizza when they're touring so rapidly. (I've found those things helpful even when I'm not on tour.) Anyway, I thought it might be strange to be reunited with him now that he's a big rock star, but it wasn't. He was the same guy I remembered from college, but with a few added "laugh lines". The placement of them led me to believe we find the same things funny.
We found this hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant in a strip mall. It seated maybe thirty people, which is ideal if you're a rock star playing in a small town and trying not to get mobbed. But the place looked a little sketchy from the outside, possibly because it was a couple of doors down from a pawn shop, and we weren't sure if we should go in, but our only other option was McDonald's and that just seemed wrong under the circumstances. So, we went for it, and the food and service ended up being fantastic. At the end of the meal, my husband leaned across the table and told me, "This was the best strip joint I've ever eaten at." I'm pretty sure that's not the way he meant that sentence to go, but it was good for some more laugh lines.

Our seats were awesome. The concert was awesome. Zach talked to me from the stage and dozens of surrounding girls gave me the evil eye, which was beyond awesome. I'm not sure if that or Brent's cello playing was the highlight. No, wait, it was probably when Ryan Tedder came and stood on my chair to sing. Seriously, that happened! After he went back to the stage, I looked around to see if hundred dollar bills had fallen off of him in my vicinity, but, alas, they had not.
After the concert, Zach told us to meet him at the bus and we'd hang out. So we went there, only to be told by security that we couldn't loiter around there. I really hated to pull out the cliche "We're with the band," but we were, so we said so. Of course the security guy didn't believe us and he sent us away. About a minute later, my husband's cell phone rang and Zach told us to come on. The security guy felt a bit sheepish watching us climb aboard the bus WITH THE BAND!

We chilled while Zach and other band/crew members munched on the homemade chocolate chip cookies I baked for them, and I met this one crew guy who was hilarious. Like I would sponsor his Comedy Central stand-up special. If I had found any of those loose hundred dollar bills that is. So, ironically, I asked my husband to take a picture of me with him. The crew guy. Not the other rock stars. Just an average joe sound guy or something. That's who I was starstruck by. Top ten hits are impressive, don't get me wrong, but anyone that can make me laugh until I'm crying is the real rock star!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scarred For Life

Most of my weekends are trauma free, so to be on my second one this weekend already is a bit disconcerting. Normally, I’d be working on Friday and Saturday nights, smiling and encouraging people that have no business eating fried food to try what was a harmless onion that our cooks have turned into a potential heart attack. But this weekend, I took time off to have some fun with my friends, which hasn’t exactly worked out yet, but I have to say I’m okay with that because I’m getting in lots of quality family time.

The quality time started when I heard my husband and three screaming children come busting in the front door last night at 6:30. I had just stepped out of the shower and was trying to find something fabulous to wear out with my best friend. I didn’t panic, initially, because it’s, unfortunately, not uncommon to hear all three kids screaming. But after my husband bounded up the stairs with Reckless, both of them covered in blood, I realized I probably didn’t need to waste any more time finding the perfect shirt, that I should probably just grab a disposable one.

My husband, ever the calm one, said, “She had a bike wreck; I was just going to see how bad it is and if we should take her to the Emergency Room.” I was like, “IF?!!!?!?? She’s got maybe a pint of blood left in her and isn’t that her chin bone!?” He looked and was like, “Oh. Yeah; let’s go.” Meantime, the other two were screaming, crying and grieving for her. I heard my son tell her twin, Stretch, that she was dead. I quickly interrupted their loud memorial service to assure them that she was alive, and while not necessarily well, she would be soon. I know you’re wondering, “How bad could a four-year-old’s bike wreck be?” Well, she stopped using training wheels when she was three and a half and now she’s training for motorcross. General Mills is thinking about a sponsorship since she’s pretty heavy into Kix cereal, too.

She was so brave at the hospital, as they examined each and every bone and joint and looked over the less serious abrasions and bumps. This is a girl that doesn’t cry when she gets shots, doesn’t cry when she falls down, and doesn’t even have a healthy dose of fear. So when they told us they often have to put children her age to sleep to stitch up their faces, we were confident in letting them try it on her awake. Funny how ten seasons of ER, several years of playing that game Operation, and even watching as I got my own stitches a few years ago did nothing, NOTHING, to prepare me for the horror of what they had to do to her chin. Seeing layers of flesh and tissue in a textbook is so much less threatening than seeing it on your child. I had to look away. But when I did, I saw my husband, who watched the entire procedure, which was a lot more than sewing. I thought it was very brave of him. Until. . . (WARNING: Mom stop reading now! Seriously, don’t read any further!)

I saw him slaughter an anaconda in the backyard this afternoon! I was passing by the big bay window in the breakfast nook, where Reckless and Stretch were painting, in lieu of working on meeting their health care deductibles, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw my husband raise a shovel over his head. That didn’t correlate with the seeding the lawn work he was supposedly doing outside, so I looked. He was clearly trying to kill something, and from the amount of blows he was giving it, it wasn’t a tiny creature. I told the girls to stay put and then stepped onto the deck. Which I wouldn’t have done had I realized that it meant never sleeping peacefully through the night again. I guess, technically, it was a black snake, but its resemblance to the reptiles I saw in that J.Lo movie, Anaconda, was uncanny. Like they were separated at birth or something. Now I’ll have to ask all but the bravest of readers to stop reading; it’s about to get freaky. . .

He had chopped this huge snake into several smaller, less threatening snakes. BUT, (excuse me while a shiver runs down my spine) they were all moving!! And not just a little bit. And not just for a few seconds. Did I mention that I left that back door open and my kids, along with a neighbor kid had come to see what the commotion was about? So, I won’t be the only one having nightmares tonight.

I’ve put a For Sale sign in the front yard, and in my best friend’s front yard, because obviously I can’t move to Hawaii, where there are no native snakes, without her. I like it here, but after cleaning up all that blood last night like a crime scene investigator and now with my new inability to go into the breakfast nook, let alone go outside, it’s probably time to move on.

*Correction: My husband dismembered the snake with a switchblade, not a shovel. And he’d also like you to know that he can bench press 450!Photobucket