Sunday, May 31, 2009

Chapter 5: In Which I Reveal My Inherent Idiocy

I spent the entire day on Friday jumping up and down beside a track, doing my best Stage Mother impersonation, screaming "GO! GO! GO! RUN! RUN! RUN!" at the top of my voice while watching the kids run and jump and sprint and throw with many many other children. It was our annual Track and Field Extravaganza, where we quirky homeschoolers compete with all the other independent schools in town for ribbons. Blue ribbons! Red ribbons! White ribbons!

And just to show me how much everyone has changed since last year, my kids went from wanting a ribbon of each colour ("I need a purple one!" "Now I have one of each colour!") to wanting only blue and red ribbons (1st and 2nd respectively), especially Dominic and FDPG. Max was in his Effortlessly Casually Cool Phase this year, and didn't care about winning so long as his pals were there to discuss important stuff, like all the Star Wars Lego YouTube videos they'd seen lately. And lounge on the grass in between events. And wander around cackling and acting Oh So Cool. Amazingly, even with the pall cast by he and his ECC cronies, he still managed to run faster than many boys his age and run with a certain panache, a fact that endeared him to a couple of girls in his age group. He appeared to be unaware of the female action admiring his little coterie until I teased him later that night, whereupon he said "Those girls followed us all over the place. Jeez they sure talk a lot." (note to girls: get acquainted with Lego YouTube, don't talk so much, and you will win the hearts of silly immature boys everywhere ... but do you really want to?) When we came home Max received some Really Important emails from his band of Merry Fellows, all in the same sort of vein: "How R U?" "R U OK?" "Howz it goin?" "Cool Dude!" The eloquence was almost overwhelming, as were Max's responses: "Hi" "Cool" "Hey there."

Gosh. All this rigorous classical homeschooling is really paying off.

The twins were in their Cutthroat Gotta Win Phase (FDPG adds a "Or I might cry" coda to all her events) and raced to win. Dominic managed to get one of the coveted Relay spots this year, a spot awarded to the two fastest boys in each age group. In a move that was guaranteed to shock and amaze us all, Dominic turned out to be the fastest boy in his age group, in spite of his short little legs. And let me tell you, the entire week beforehand was paced accordingly.

"Mum, are my track shorts clean?"

"Mum, have you washed my track shirt?"

"We need to practice!"

"Only 3 more sleeps until Friday!"

"Only 2 more sleeps until Friday!"

"Only 1 more sleep until Friday!"

Interspersed with that was FDPG and her Sturm Und Drang at not having been chosen for the relay team (she was 3rd fastest girl, sigh). It's hard when one's sibling gets chosen for something and one has to Bear Up and be a Good Sport while quietly gnashing one's teeth. It might have been easier if Max hadn't reminded her of it every few hours...

So while Max was being followed around by Admiring Females Dominic and FDPG were busy being Extremely Athletic. Which extended to me exhorting them to drink lots of water, stay out of the sun, keep their hats on when not competing, eat orange slices, and chew on the Horribly Expensive and Seldom Purchased Fruit Bars I had packed in their cooler bags ("This is the LAST TIME I'm buying these RIP OFF bars so enjoy them while you can!"). Because, Gentle Reader, I might have neglected to mention this salient fact right off the bat but let me tell you now: It was hot. It was really hot. Really really hot. So hot that I wore an hat all day. And it wasn't my HipCool Summer Hat, either; no, this was my wide brimmed Serious-Heat-In-The-Garden-Hat (SHITGH).

Hmm. Nice acronym, Sheila. You sure know how to pick 'em. My shitgah hat.

But even with that SHTGH hat on all day, I managed to get a ExtremelyWellDone rating on my arms. And my feet have a distinct cross and bar mark from my crisscross sandal straps. And the twins started to flag in earnest. Heck, everyone there started to flag in earnest. But we still managed to watch Dominic run like the wind for his relay team, run like the wind in his 100m race, watch several of our older runners run like wildfire in their relay teams, and have an awful lot of fun. We finished that long long day, wherein we won most points for an independent school AND won a trophy (Go homeschoolers!), declined a number of Immediately Afterwards Playdates ("No, Max, I am NOT driving you over to Oliver's house for 1 hour so you can show him your Lego movie, then pick you up when you've exhausted the possibilities of getting Oliver's mum to ply you with chips and pop. Instead I am going to go home, give you some hastily prepared food and maybe fob you off with a rental movie, after which I plan to drink lots of wine and fall apart on the couch because I feel horribly sunstruck") and wended our way slowly home, stopping off at McDonalds along the way, where they divested me of $7.11 for some cruddy ice cream, finally arriving home, whereupon I went out and turned on all my sprinklers because the poor poor garden was also feeling the effects of the day.

But I started all this as a Reveal Of My Inherent Idiocy, didn't I?

I suppose this is where it started...

I was standing in the vegetable patch about 20 minutes after we got home, staring dully at the tomatoes, wondering if I had a bottle of wine in the fridge, when something brushed my shoulder. My burned shoulder. My sun-burned shoulder. My crispy sun-burned shoulder. I looked down and saw an expanse of glowing skin. It wasn't horribly red, because I've spent a lot of time out in the sun, but it was glowing. More than it should've been.

"I know what will fix this," I thought, "I'll get some aloe vera!"

So I did. I cut a long slender rib, split it open, and rolled that lovely cooling gel all over my shoulder. It felt lovely. It looked soothing. Hydrating. I could see the red subsiding.

Fast forward to next day.

As usually happens with this sort of Exhausting Event, the kids had 4,351 activities they had to be at the very next day. Activities which required my Monte Carlo driving skills. Activities which required me to get up early and make lunches and be organized in breakfast preparation. Not my forte, lemme tell you. Nevertheless, we were out the door at 8:30am and off to Round #1. I dropped off one kid, whipped off to Round #2, dropped off another kid, then raced home for some Garden Watering. I changed my outfit because it seemed as though the day was getting hotter, and raced off to pick up kid from Round #1. It was when I was standing at the corral, watching kid at Round #1 get his things together, when a parent approached me. "Look at your shoulder!" she exclaimed. "That's some burn! It looks painful."

We both looked down. My arm was purple. It had dark purple streaks on it. It was red underneath. Red with purple streaks. It DID look painful. I glanced up at the mother, and we both exchanged the same look. That look said "You don't wear sunscreen. You are one of those idiots who doesn't wear sunscreen." In my case that look was tempered by a "But I think sunscreens are carcinogenic!" glint, whereas the speaker's look was pure and simple: "You are SUCH a dope, and now you have a weird and creepy striped purple arm!"

I went through the rest of yesterday with purple streaks on my arms. Purple streaks that everyone stared at, including the Really Cute Guy at the Green Barn Market. We both pushed our carts towards the yams at the same time, and his gaze fell on my Purple Streaked Arms. His gaze changed from Casual Fun Flirt to You Are A Creepy Looking Female (who probably doesn't know anything about Lego YouTube videos) in a matter of seconds. It was very sad.

Then I got home.

Yes, yes, I'm getting to the Idiocy Bit.

Richard stared at my arms.

"What happened to your arms?" he asked. He ran his finger down my arm thoughtfully. "Looks like you have paint on your arm. Weird."

"No, I got burned. Stop staring! It's not THAT weird."

"Didn't you rub aloe vera all over your arms yesterday?" he said. "Might it be that?"

"Ha!" I snorted. "Yeah, right, aloe vera gives me purple streaks. Good one."

But when he left the room I got a wash cloth and gingerly rubbed at my arms.

The purple came off.

So did the streaks.

My arm was left slightly reddened, but sans streaks.

No streaks.

At all.

I had normal arms.

Note to self: when using aloe vera, remember to wash it off afterwards.


Rebecca said...

Girl, we have to go have a bellini. Or two. Because, jeeze, that story made me cry and gave my core muscles an awesome workout.

Suji said...

I haven't had a laugh like that for a long long time :) Not even after I've read some of your other posts :) Thank you. Hope your shoulder feels better soon and thanks for the lesson on using aloe vera! Gonna go check out some Lego-themed you tube videos LOL.

Kez said...

ROFLMAO!!! Loved the story! And well done to the kids on the racing :)

Samantha said...

Oh My Gosh! Your hilarious!!!

By the way, there are a lot of parts to this tale that I can relate to, just so you know you aren't alone out there ;-)

Anonymous said...

I never knew that aloe vera could give you purple streaks. Good think it wasn't permanent.

But I'm with you on the sunscreen - our family hasn't used it for years.

sheila said...

Samantha, care to share those embarrassing moments with us? (no pressure now or anything).

I'm glad someone else out there doesn't trust sunscreen, Nicola. It worries me.

Glad my weirder moments can make everyone laugh. It was a very odd experience.

Samantha said...

Sure I'll share... over drinks one afternoon ;-)

Andrea said...

I concur! Hilarious post! You really do tell the best stories. And I also don't trust sunscreen. We do have some in the cupboard but it is more than 5 years old...

Vivian said...

Oh no! And in front of the Really Cute Guy! Sometimes it's hard to feel attractive when one is married with children.

I'm so glad your arms are back to normal.

BTW, I don't like sunscreen either, but wear it now. I had melanoma when I was in my late 20's and I will tell you it's better to be protected than not. There is this great sunscreen, Blue Lizard, that is free from a lot of the chemicals that are found in the traditional sunscreen.

sheila said...

Vivian! You always give me the most interesting tidbits of information (first it was those amazing erasers, now this sunscreen). Thanks!