Thursday, September 20, 2012


Last month I was looking through some old things in storage when I found a story I had written in 1999 for The Signpost, our school newspaper.  Back then I was a sportswriter and one of my assignments was to write a story about an inspirational athlete.

Luckily, I happened to be friends with one.

As I read what I wrote all those years ago, I reminisced about my old friend.  And I smiled.

And then I cried.  Because today, the story holds new meaning to me.

Kyhaunn Woods played football and ran track for Weber State University from 1995-1997.  After playing football and running track, he then served as the iconic mascot of the Wildcats, Waldo.  And as Waldo, Kyhaunn brought his heart and soul to the role.  He made Waldo hip.  He made Waldo fun.

He made Waldo... Waldo.

In his time at Weber State, Kyhaunn made thousands of Weber State athletes and fans smile while he was on the field, on the track or performing as Waldo.

More importantly, he made us smile when he wasn't. 

He made us smile because he was always smiling.  He was always positive. Kyhaunn loves Ogden.  He loved his time in Utah.  He loved the clear air here.  He loved the mountains.  He loved the things that we often take for granted, like being able to see stars in the sky or playing in the snow.  Those were new experiences for him - a kid from Watts - that he took into his heart and was grateful for.

On Christmas Eve 2011,  Kyhaunn was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, a very aggressive form of brain cancer. After months of chemotherapy and other treatments, an MRI showed that the tumor is growing and his treatments are no longer working.  At this point, there are no more treatment options and his family has decided to go into hospice and give Kyhaunn comfort and quality of life until he is called to go Home.

Since the day Kyhaunn was diagnosed, he has never once felt sorry for himself or asked why me?  According to his wife Andie, his faith has never wavered.  Kyhaunn has always been an inspiration even before he was diagnosed with cancer, and his courageous battle for his life has only exposed what type of man Kyhaunn truly is.  

When I interviewed Kyhaunn for that story in college all those years ago, he said:

"The best thing about being here is all the great friends that I have now.  It has really given me a different perspective on the world."

In the last week since finding out that the treatments he's been receiving did not stop the growth of the tumor, many of us who know and love him have felt helpless. And angry.  He's too young for this to be happening.  It's not right.  It's not fair.  It's impossible to comprehend why Kyhaunn and his family have to suffer through this.

Ultimately, it makes us stop to think about how short life really is.

Many of us are hundreds of miles away and there's nothing we can do to comfort him and his family.  We can't take the cancer away.  We can't fathom why this awful thing has to happen to such an amazing spirit.  Our minds can't face the reality that someone with so much life in him - someone who lives his life without regret or contempt - could be taken from us so soon. 

I have been at a loss as to how to show him and his family how much they mean to me.... how he gave me a different perspective on the world.  And I imagine that many of his friends feel the same.  How can we help?  What can we do?

I've shed a lot of tears for my friend in the last few months.  I have searched my soul for answers and a way to help. The best answer I've come up with is that we help him and his family by letting him know that we care. We help them by reminding not just Weber State, but all of Ogden, what a great man he is and what a great ambassador of the Wildcats he has been.  We need to let Kyhaunn and his family know that his example lives on in each one of us, and that he has made and continues to make a difference in our lives. Even if we didn't realize it at the time.

Kyhaunn needs to know what we all know:  That his time spent here on earth?  It has been well spent.  He has touched more lives than he could ever realize.  His three beautiful children need to know that.  They need to know how much their father was loved and cherished by his teammates, his friends, his school and his community. This is his legacy.  Kyhaunn is everything that is right with college athletics.  But more importantly, Kyhaunn is everything that is right in the world.

Saturday, Weber State will be honoring Kyhaunn at halftime of the Homecoming game.  Friends and former teammates will be there as they always are for the annual game.  My hope is that those in attendance can somehow pay tribute to the man who once ran the field, leaping high to catch a pass for a touchdown.  I hope that we can pay tribute to the man who raced across the finish line at track meets, setting new records and dreaming of being an Olympian like his hero Jesse Owens.  I hope that we can pay tribute to the man who set the standard for what it means to be Waldo.

But more importantly, I hope we can pay tribute to the man who followed his heart even when the odds were stacked against him.  Because that man needs our support right now. His family needs our support right now.  And even if all you can give that man and his family is love... that's enough. 

Fans love passion.  They love heart.  And Kyhaunn.... he's all heart.  Kyhaunn is why we are fans.  We cheer for the underdog.  And we cheer for the good guy.

Kyhaunn is both.

If you have a special story about Kyhaunn, please feel free to share it in the comments section or email me by clicking here.  I will compile them and share them with his family.

And if you have more than love to give and want to help his family with the massive medical bills, please click on the donation button below.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Letter To My Girlfriends

I can still remember what it was like the first few weeks after bringing Hazel home from the hospital.  I can still remember the absolutely overwhelming feeling of not knowing if I was actually going to be able to do this thing.  I can remember thinking that I totally had the pregnancy stuff down.  And how in the world had I forgotten to think about - to REALLY think about - after the pregnancy? That's the part where shit gets real.  And I had completely glossed over it in my anxiety to make sure the wall decal was just so, and that the sheets exactly matched the bird cage hanging in the corner.

As I look back on it now, I realize that I viewed having a baby much the way I viewed a triathlon competition. I did the training (pregnancy) and then had the race (delivery) and when I finished, I had that euphoric feeling you get for a job well done and usually walked away with a medal (baby). Which I would hang on the Christmas tree next to all the other medals. And the next day,  I'd sleep in, stretch a little, watch some Seinfeld and start the whole process over.

But, see... that's not how having a baby works.  NEWS TO ME.

And in those initial days after coming home and having it hit me that this was my new life (and holy crap, what had I gotten myself into?), I was angry.  I was angry at all of my girlfriends who I felt hadn't properly prepared me for life after birth.  Those women who had multiple children (meaning they chose to do this more than once!) who made it look like rainbows and puppy farts.  Those women who chose to have more than one of these things.  Those women who only talked about how amazing having a baby is.


I was really, really angry with all of my friends.  And because I was angry, I was hesitant to reach out to them and ask for help.  Because the help?  The help would have been them telling me up front that it was going to suck, but then assuring me that it would be worth it.  The help would have been them explaining that the first three months of a baby's life is nothing but give, give, give by you, and take, take, take by them.  Take your youth, take your beauty, take your showering time, take your sleeping time, take your perfect shaped breasts, and take whatever sanity you still possessed after giving birth and flush it all down the toilet.

The help would have been them explaining that Baby Boot Camp lasts about three months.  Three whole months before you could start to fight your way out of the haze.  Three whole months before you felt like semi-human again.

So, because I've got girlfriends out there about to give birth, or thinking about getting pregnant, or have a functioning uterus, I decided to write a little letter that they can read at their leisure.  Because there will come a time that they need this letter.

And they'll need my number.

And some tequila.

And when that time comes, I'll be there with a great big hug and a shot glass.

A Letter To The Mommy-To-Be

Dear Friend Who Has No Idea What's About To Happen:

How are you doing?  How's the pregnancy going?  Are you still enjoying that peaceful morning reading the paper?  Are you still hitting up your favorite restaurants, counting down the days until you can bring the little one with you and enjoy the view/peace/community spirit?

I'm writing because I've been thinking about you.  And since you know me and know that I really can't keep my big mouth shut, I'm giving you an opportunity not to read this letter.  Since it will likely harsh your pregnancy mellow.  But it contains some truths that I wish I had known before I had my first baby.  I want you to know that I don't regret having kids.  I believe it's the greatest thing I'll ever do.  But, you're in a really good place right now and I don't want to ruin that.

So feel free to stop reading right now.

Still with me?  Good.  Here goes.

Things are about to get real for you.  Like... Real Real.  And that Real Realness gets even more real because you're going to be fucking exhausted. You'll excuse the profanity because, well, you're you.  And I'm me.  And that's how we roll.  And while I want you to know that having a baby is the single greatest thing you can EVER do in your life, sometimes when we're pregnant, we don't think about what happens after we're not pregnant.  After we take the baby home and OMG... I can't believe they allowed me to take a newborn home!   There is no way I can be responsible for another life!!!  Take me back to the hospital right now!!!!

So, this little ditty is to give you a heads up (not to scare you) that the next few months of your life are going to be overwhelming.  And I know that you'll have plenty of help and that your mom/husband/fairy godmother is going to be great.  But you're still going to feel overwhelmed.  Because you're going to think about how this isn't just a few years of your life.  This is THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.  And nevermind that it's the rest of your life.  Because you'll feel like time moves at mach speed and as slow as a constipated turtle. 

Slow when the baby is screaming non-stop for six hours every night.  (I will circle the drums to send positive thoughts to the universe that this doesn't happen to you.)  Slow when they're waking up every hour to feed.  Slow when they're teething and miserable.  Slow when you just can't take another minute of being attached at the nip to this human that wants to suck you dry... physically and emotionally.  Slow when you just can't get the baby to latch.  Slow when you can't figure out this "natural" thing called breastfeeding. (Let's just be honest here:  Calling it natural accomplishes nothing other than making a mother feel like a complete failure if it's not working.  If it was natural, it wouldn't be that hard, so all of the lactation consultants can suck it, mkay?) Slow when you realize that you really are going to change hundreds of diapers in your lifetime and you honestly can't think past the diapers to the part where they don't need diapers (This will happen way faster than you realize, so embrace the diapers.)(And save the really nasty ones for Daddy.)

The fast happens when you're looking at your baby while she sleeps... and you can swear you can see her eyelashes growing in front of your eyes.  It happens when she giggles the first time... which is the single greatest sound you hear and you wonder why they don't giggle for six hours straight... like they were able to cry.  And trust me, you will do ANYTHING to get that child to giggle.  This holds true for many, many years... so start practicing as soon as possible. It happens the first time they roll over and you get panicked because rolling over means soon they'll crawl and then walk and holy hell, didn't you JUST bring her home??  It happens the first time she sits up on her own,  the first time she claps, the first time she eats solid food, the first time you leave her with a babysitter, the first time you leave on a work trip, the first time she says a word that isn't goooo.  All of the firsts you are about to experience are going to make it seem like life is moving way too fast.

I hope you don't mind unsolicited advice, but I was where you are right now almost three years ago.  And I had read the book.  I was ready.  I was educated.  I had a loving husband.  I had done some great things in my life and felt like I could do anything.  But I'll tell you that those initial months of being a Mommy remain the hardest thing I've ever done.  Pregnancy and delivery?  Please.  I pushed three times and there was my new life.  A screaming bundle of joy that desperately needed a bath. 

And the thing is, not one of my Mommy friends gave me the low-down on life after pregnancy.  No one told me how freaking hard it really was.  No one told me that I would actually forget to eat because I was so stressed.  Can you imagine that?  Me?  Forgetting to eat?  That's some serious stress.  I spent weeks and months with self doubt and anxiety.  When I was irritated with my baby, I felt like I wasn't a good Mommy.  And that no one else had these problems and feelings. That's a harsh belief to saddle yourself with... feeling like you're a terrible mom because you really don't know what the hell you're doing.

So, I played catch-up and read  tons of books looking for the secret answer on how to get the baby to sleep.  Because - and this was news to me - babies just don't fall asleep when they're tired.

No.  They like to fuck with you.  And babies... they come out all screwed up so they sleep during the day and stay awake all night long.  Babies, it turns out, don't come with instruction manuals about how they are supposed to behave.  Because they can't read.  I, however, could.  And I read so much that I made myself crazy. 

Turns out, there's no secret to being a Mommy.  Certainly not anything you can find in a book.  You have to just blindly stumble from one catastrophe to another and learn from each bruise to your soul.  But lucky you, you also have friends that you can call when you need a good cry.  Those friends will tell you that it's okay and that it will get better.  Your baby won't always be two-weeks-old. Oh, it will feel like she will be, but trust us... they do actually grow up. And yes, it's okay that you wish she was older already.  That doesn't mean you don't love her or cherish her.  It just means that you're tired and holding her all day to keep her from crying is catching up with you.  Don't worry.  She actually will age and mature and figure out the sleeping thing.  You friends will tell you that it's okay if your milk doesn't come in or clue you in on secrets to breastfeeding that worked for them.  But most importantly, they'll tell you not to get stressed out if you have to give your baby (gasp!) formula to supplement the breast milk because the twins are just not getting the job done.  Because it turns out, all that matters is that they're eating.  They'll tell you horror stories of their own baby boot camps that will make you feel better... even though at the time you won't really be listening because one of your ears will be tuned to hearing any cries that indicate the baby is awake.  Again.  And you won't really be thinking about their horror stories... because you'll just be so engulfed in the life that is yours right now.  And that's okay.  Because you're a new mom and you get a pass on all of that.  Oh, also, you'll be exhausted.... have I mentioned that?

And when the time comes, I want you to know that you can call me.  You can call and bitch and moan, or you can call and ask questions, or you can call just to tell me how much you truly love being a Mommy.  (What you can't do is call to tell me your baby is sleeping through the night at 2 weeks old... if you do, FRIENDSHIP OVER). 

Just know that you can call and you'll have someone on the other end that will be real with you.  You can tell me if you wonder why you ever had a baby (not that I um... did that the first month of Mommyhood).  You can ask me what we did when our first-born cried for six hours a night for a week.  You can ask me how we got our girls to sleep... and ideas of what to do and what NOT to do.  Trust me, I'm an expert in both.  And you can ask me what I did for cracked nipples.  Oh yes... that does happen. And it's tons of fun.  (Cabbage leaves, btw... trust me.)

Just know that whatever you call me for, it's a safe place.  You can exorcise your demons and hopefully see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Because honestly?  In the end?  Having and raising a child?  Totally worth it.

And I've got a second one to prove it.

Good luck and I'll be thinking of you.


Knowns and Unknowns - Life With Millie

Dear Millie,
You are 18-months-old by the calendar.  But by pure Do-Everything-My-Sissy-Does, you're much closer to 3-years-old.  Seriously.  You've lived a lot in 18 months.

You know, there are not a lot of guarantees in my life.  Often, I find myself flying by the seat of my pants as a Mama with two little girls.  And I've had to swallow a lot of pride and admit that I can't do everything.  And that there are just some bridges we'll cross when we come to them.

And I have to accept that every day I have a lot of knowns and unknowns. 

- If I'm going to get a call from school telling me one of the two of you are sick.
- If I'm actually going to survive a workout at Crossfit (it's 50/50 every day).
- If I'll be able to get my coffee-sugar-creamer formula just right so that I'm not drinking just coffee or just creamer.
-  If I'll remember to fill up the tank in the car before I run out of gas.
-  What we'll be having for dinner on any given night.  And if that dinner will be well-received by my girls.

- Both you and your sissy will demand a banana each morning.
- Neither of you will actually eat the banana.
- If Mommy and Daddy have had a late night, the wake up time for both you and your sissy are directly proportionate to the lateness of us falling asleep.  AND NOT IN THE GOOD WAY.
- If your sissy does something, you will immediately do the same thing.  Even if you see that what she just did caused her pain. (ie: falling off the chair, poking herself in the eye with a bobby-pin)
- No detail of copying your sister is too minute for you.
- When you say No, you mean No.
- Except when you say No and you mean Yes.
- You like to tease your sister.  Mercilessly.
- You are going to find mischief.  Even if Mommy specifically hid mischief, and told you not to find it.  Not to even look for it.  You're that good.

As you've likely noticed, I compare you and your sister a lot.  Not comparing by wondering why you aren't more like Hazel... but more like: "Wow... Hazel never would have been able to find the yogurt, dump it on the ground and then swim in it while I wasn't looking."

Because I was always looking.  I was on that poor kid like white. on. rice.  She never got to find mischief. And for that, I owe your sissy an apology.  I wish I could turn back the hands of time and get the hell off her back and let her experience things like you get to.

Like I try to let her do now.

I wish I could go back and not helicopter parent her.  Because OMG... she never got to do some of the things that you manage to do.  And how sad for her!  There were so many things to ruin that I just never let her ruin.  But you... you have amazing closing speed for attempting or succeeding at ruining things.  (But you ruin them in the nicest way).  You love finding new things to make messes with/of.  And it's made your eyes twinkle and your giggle a little more sinister when I find you sitting in a puddle of nasty, old yogurt.

Life with you is an experience.  You're so courageous and such a scaredy cat at the same time.  You love to see the fish in the aquarium, but when we took you fishing up in the Uintah's with Daddy, you absolutely freaked out when he caught a fish and tried to show you.  It was as if we'd asked you to look at your own eyeball.  You screeched, cried and tried to climb up on to the top of my head, Curious George-style.

You are deathly afraid of bees.  If a bee comes around you, you lose it, start wailing and run for safety.  Now, roly-poly bugs... those you're okay with.  But you don't mess with bees. EVER.

Yesterday at your future BFF's birthday party, you completely dominated two little boys who are older than you in the jump house.  Dominated.  Dominated and then stole one of the little boy's Mickey Mouse figurines after dominating him. LIKE A BOSS.

Yep, you're sooooo gonna have lots of dates when you grow up.  Cuz if there's one thing I learned growing up and not dating is that boys LOVE it when you beat them up and steal their stuff.  Especially if after you beat them up and steal their stuff, you softly pat their head as if to say:  "Don't worry.  That's just the way it is.  Embrace it... cuz it's gonna happen again.  Soon."

That's totally how I landed your Daddy, btw.

You're still doing a lot of babbling.  Your favorite words are No! and Mine!  And those are really the only words you communicate with.  You often call for your blankie when you're upset... but you pronounce it Bee-Bee! 

And let's talk about your blankie for a moment.  You know... that thing that can pretty much stand up unassisted because the only time I can ever manage to wash it is the one time a month when you don't have it clutched closely while you imitate your sister falling off the bed?  That blankie.  It's seriously disgusting, but it's the only thing that bring you comfort when you're crying... because your sissy is crying.

Anyway, you may not have a lot of words, but I'll be damned if you don't know exactly what we're saying.  I can tell you to go get me your teddy bear, and you run off to go get it.  I can tell you to throw your diaper away, and you grab the diaper, and run to the trash.  I can tell you to brush your teeth, and you know right where the toothbrush is and start to scream for me to come put on toothpaste.  I can tell you to share the stool with your sissy... and you completely ignore me.  That's how I know you have selective hearing.  

Speaking of your hearing, we just found out you have yet another ear infection... we're pretty good at catching them early so you aren't in too much pain yet.  But that means you're at something like 6.  Awesome.  You now qualify for your very own set of tubes.  Just like your sissy.  And that hopefully means that your speech will improve and you can add Yes! and Share! to your dialogue.

We recently had to put you through a little sleep routine maintenance.  Because after your last ear infection, your sleep patterns changed and you just couldn't understand why we weren't down with you waking up 30 minutes after we put you down for the night. And you couldn't understand why we weren't down with you still being awake at 9 p.m.. And holy geez, little girl.  Have you got some lungs.  Like... SERIOUS lungs.  We tried everything but you simply would not go to sleep unless we rocked you to sleep.  And yea... I'm down with that for about two days because you were never one to let me rock you to sleep so I tried to soak it up.  But, let's get real here... you're 18-months-old.  And you're 26 pounds.  And you squirm.  And while I might be the strongest woman in the world, you may well be the strongest baby in the world.

Luckily, it just took a couple of nights of listening to you scream before The Good Ship Millie righted its course.  You're now in bed by 7:30, and sleeping through the night again.

You bring so much excitement and joy to our little family, Millie.  Even when you're in the middle of making some very big mischief  that could very well burn the house down, we can't imagine our life any different.

Do me a favor.  Keep being you.  It keeps me young.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Big Fat Juicy Ones

Before we had kids, Benny and I were pretty footloose and fancy free.  That is to say, Benny regularly set up school dances in a community where dancing was against the law, and I was a star ballerina.

Or, to be more truthful and realistic, we watched Footloose while taking a shot every time we called it Flashdance and wondered where the strippers came into the story... and whether or not, if in the history of the world a stripper has ever actually become a ballerina.

But that's a whole 'notha life that I will deny to my parents.  They still don't know I've ever watched Flashdance because I was told specifically not to watch it.  And I always do what I'm told.

Also, eventually, my girls are going to be able to read and I'll have to explain to them some things.  Like why it was okay for Mommy to throw down an f-bomb into the webiverse, but they can't say it when they're asking me to pass the mashed potatoes.  I know.... life is unfair.  And then you get pregnant twice in two years, and then can't lose the weight.  SUCKS, HUH?

Anyway, pre-kids we had a Sonata that I drove when I had to, and Benny had his "dream truck" (more on that in a future post) - a Toyota Tacoma.  But more importantly, we also owned five bikes and a Scooter by the name of Roxy.  Those days were amazing.  When I didn't ride my bike to work, I rode the scooter to work.  And when Benny didn't ride his bike to work, he had the dream truck to fall back on.

And then we had Hazel and things got real.  The Sonata was a great car... but not great for putting a carseat in.  There was little-to-no leg room in the back.... depending on who was driving.  Because, for those of you who haven't seen it first hand, Benny likes to roll like a gangsta and lay the seat all the way back while he drives.

Anyway, we ended up selling the "dream truck" and getting a more family-friendly Honda Pilot.

And just like that, our principles left the building.  Sure, when I was starring in Footloose, I had no use for SUV's or Mini-Vans.  In fact, I openly scoffed at them and TOTALLY passed judgement on the people who had no concern for Mother Earth.  But then I had a baby and OMG... THERE ARE MANIACS ON THE ROAD. I NEED MORE SECURITY. AND OMG, IT IS SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS TO TAKE THIS CARSEAT IN AND OUT OF THIS TINY CAR.

Yep.  So long principles.  Hellllloooo convenience and peace of mind .

And that's how we've been operating for the past three years.  Benny drives the Sonata to-and-from work while I drive the Pilot with the girls. We sold the scooter to some neighbors who promised to take good care of her.  We're down to four bikes, with one of them on the market.  All in the name of growing up.

But, as of late, it seems like we need a new game plan.   If Benny ever has to pick up the girls, we have to coordinate our schedules with the accuracy of a gold-medal-winning relay team.  And let's just say that Benny's not down with the way I treat the car.  He doesn't see the charm in the girls artwork that sits in the console of the Pilot that I have neglected to bring in to the house for 2 months.  He doesn't get how keeping bills under said artwork will (eventually) remind me that I need to pay them.  And he really doesn't understand the virtue of both cupholders being filled by two cups... one with Coke and one with iced-tea... that have no lids.  Because this means that there's an 80% chance that underneath the artwork and the bills is a sticky, slimy mess.  Because one of the girls needed something while I was driving - for the sake of argument, we'll say they needed a pound of flesh - and WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?  NOT SWERVE WHEN I HEAR THEIR SCREECHES?  What am I?  A robot?

Anyway, I say all this to preface what went down a couple of weeks ago... which led to what went down today.  And, I guess that this whole mess that you're about to read about is actually my fault.  A few months ago, I was talking with a friend about thinking about wanting to get a mini-van (not a typo... I was actually thinking about wanting one.  I'm nothing if not thorough.) but worried that I would then have to invest in the mom-jeans that we all know are a requirement for mini-vans (calling it a swagger-wagon only makes it cool for the first few days, and then on go the jeans). But, around Thanksgiving, I witnessed the absolute beauty of the mini-van in action at a family reunion.  And seriously... I GOTTA HAVE ONE OF THESE THINGS.  Doors that open by themselves?  Seats low enough for the kids to crawl in on their own?  Do you have any idea how much money I could be saving each month by not having to go to Crossfit just so I can lift my kids into the car 15 times a day without hurting myself??  That's half the car payment!!!

So, I broached the subject of wanting needing a mini-van with Benny.  And, long story short (because this is already too long)(and if I tell you his side of the argument you might agree with him) he immediately started looking for a truck.

We weren't in a hurry by any means.  Since we had to replace our roof and a fence the blew over during Utah tornado season (January for those of you not in the know) we've had to keep the purse strings pretty tight.  So, adding a car payment to our budget just wasn't a top priority.  

Two weeks ago, Benny decided to make a quick run to the liquor store for some paint thinner whiskey.  Two hours later when he still wasn't home, he called to tell me that he'd found his "dream truck".  Funny... I'd just been debating the best way to tell him I needed new workout shoes for Crossfit... because my current shoes were making my arches spasm.  And my dream?  Feet that don't hurt.

The next day, guess who was a co-signer on a Toyota Tundra?  Yep.  (Oh, don't worry.  I also went ahead and asked them to roll the cost of my shoes into the loan.  So, we all won.)

Benny has been driving that truck non-stop.  He even found an excuse to drive it to Escalante for a work trip, rather than taking a work car.  We've taken trips to the Uintah's and thrown the bikes in the back for a quick bike ride with the girls along the river walkway in Ogden.  Let's just say, although it's a bit of a learning curve for him to drive such a big truck (and I've yet to see him park it straight on his first attempt), I've only seen the man this happy twice before.  And that was the births of both of our girls.

That's right, our wedding day doesn't even make the top three, now.

But a funny thing happened yesterday.  We started to notice an odor in the truck.  An odor that only someone with experience in identifying a certain disgusting smell or stain with her eyes tied behind her back can determine and treat.  This job called for a mom. Let me tell you about my nose.  It can smell through a stainless steele fridge door and determine that Benny has opened a can of corn, placed it in tupperware and put it in the back of the fridge.  It can smell the exact moment that The Bean has dropped a load even when she's 15-feet away playing in the sandbox.  It's that good.  So, upon examination, I proclaimed that it smelled like rotten milk that had been sitting in a coffee mug for several days and had been spilled somewhere in the truck.  Further, there were notes of where someone had obviously rubbed the scent bag of a skunk all over the cab of the truck.

But the exact location?  Impossible to determine.

And because we're from the generation that lived and breathed the genius of Jerry Seinfeld, both Benny and I immediately concluded that the car dealer whom we'd bought the truck from had somehow hidden the smell with something in order to get us to buy it... and basically had sold us a Seinfeld Smelly Car.  Which is why we got such a smoking deal on it.

This morning, it was even worse.  The girls didn't seem to mind, though, so we made our way to the river to play. I was busy mentally calculating the cost of getting the car detailed to get rid of the smell and how that would affect me getting new workout shoes... and wondering if we could take it back to the dealership and Lemon Law them when I heard Hazel ask:

"Where are my worms, Daddy?"

These worms she was speaking of were the worms we had helped her dig up at the park the previous day.  Which, unbeknownst to me, had apparently left the park with us.  And, if you've never seen an ephiphany take place on someone's face in real-time, it's strikingly similar to an "O" face.  But way more sexy.

"Oh!  That's right!  I put the worms in the truck yesterday.  That's what the smell is."

"I'm sorry?"

"Worms.  The worms are what is stinking up the truck."


"You put the worms in the truck? Like... in the truck?"

"Yea.  In the ashtray."

"You're kidding."

"No.  Babe!! C'mon!  I'm a fisherman."

And when we got back to the truck, he proceeded to show me the worms in the ashtray which had been cooking in the car for a day or so.   And I now have added cooked worms to my odor identification list. 

So, that happened.

In a way, I'm glad it happened.  Because while I may have the occasional spill in the console of the Pilot that leaves a sticky mess, it's far from the gooey mess that was in that ashtray.  I expect that Benny will be keeping his mouth shut about such things for a long time.

And if he doesn't, I'll go all street on him.