Sunday, September 4, 2016

Civil War Cats

"We are all a little weird. And we like to think that there is always someone weirder. I mean, I'm sure some of you are looking at me and thinking, "Well, at least I'm not as weird as you, " and I'm thinking, "Well, at least I'm not as weird as people in the loony bin," and the people in the loony bin are thinking, "Well, at least I am an orange."
~Jim Gaffigan

My family is weird. We've always been weird but we have honed it, mostly thanks to my husband Dan, to a higher level of weirdness. You may doubt this statement because we try, on most occasions, to present a level of normal while in public, at least within earshot of others, that often proves challenging.

It starts with mixing up a slightly twisted humor sprinkled with sarcasm and adding a dash of inappropriate comments. Throw in some crazy family activities, mini-golf marathons (as in multiple courses in a day), finding the best onion rings in the county (or other counties), possibly getting ordained online at a specific restaurant in Ocean City (it comes with a minister parking pass), playing a version of tennis that you would think was a slap-stick comedy parody but it's just how we roll, or evenings playing board games that often are taken a step too far. Needless to say, we make our own comedy.

We had a free day yesterday so we all went to the barn in York, Lily had a lesson and we had kittens to feed. We then trekked off to The Land of the Little Horses because Dan's business partner told him we had to go. This is the same partner who decided Dan needed a bunny in his office. Yes, Dan now has a literal office bunny. Anyway, it was mostly the land of the obese ponies but of course, we could joke our way through the experience before we grabbed lunch and visited....wait for it....Civil War Tails. Yes, Tails is spelled correctly. Dan heard about it on NPR and decided we had to see this. Two sisters created multiple dioramas of Civil War history with cats.

Sounds too good to be true right? Unfortunately for Lily, they weren't real cats in costume and I was hoping for a taxidermied cat dressed as Lincoln. That was an unfortunate let down. These were tiny cats made out of clay with tiny uniforms riding tiny horses or dead horses or a field of dead cats or, well, you get the idea. And whichever sister was there is passionate about the history and her art (It's good to have passion). We liked her.

As we entered she handed us a paper which is a scavenger hunt. I thought no problem, it would be to find the calico dressed as General Lee. But instead, they were complicated questions about the book-long explanations that accompanied each diorama. Needless to say, we didn't come there to read or learn. It was all about the cats.

So that is the kind of thing we can wrap our weird brains around, mutant horses and clay cats. Later that day in the grocery store a woman told Dan and I we made "such a cute couple" I guess because we were being our usual adorable selves (you may vomit). We spent the next hour coming up with all of the things we could have said to make it awkward.

"We'll tell our mom."

"Thanks, just don't tell our spouses."

"That's great. I picked her from the mail-order catalogue for just that reason."

To name just a few.

So be weird. Be funny. Embrace your crazy. Those of us who have a bit of it tend to gravitate to each other. Because weird loves weird. And life would be a world of normal Civil War dioramas without it.

"I'm very polite by nature, even the voices in my head let each other finish their sentences."
~Graham Parke, Unspent Time

Friday, September 2, 2016

Get Away

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
~Augustine of Hippo

We just booked our next adventure. We decided, as a family (minus Drew due to his schedule), that we didn't need more stuff this year for Christmas. Instead, we wanted an adventure, somewhere none of us has been, which is difficult when it comes to Dan's past life. So this December we will be off to San Diego, California.

I love that my kids want to see the world. Drew was fortunate to do a European People to People trip in high school. We took them to Amsterdam before Dan sold his house where the guys also spent a few days in other parts of the Netherlands while Lily and I snuck off to Paris. They have been fortunate to have my parents who travel with them separately, Lily just returned from Scotland, or as an extended family to Disney, on cruises, or to island adventures.

My parents felt it was very important for my sister and me to see new parts of the world. When I was young we did it very much on a budget, traveling across the country in my uncle's borrowed RV or simply driving long distances with me vomiting in the back of a station wagon (those weren't my favorite). My first trip to Europe was with a family exchange group. We spent a portion of our time staying with a family in Bath, England and traveled from there. Then, in return, we hosted that family at our home.

Dan and I have cut our expenses for this Christmas present trip. Three out of four plane tickets were purchased with our credit card miles (cost $11 per ticket plus the one we had to buy) and the four-star hotel was the deal of the day on, saving %40. Plus not having to stress about what useless something to put under a tree.....priceless.

One of my best friends just returned from an Ireland trip that was a Groupon. She said it was fantastic. Another friend visited Thailand this summer where if you can do the plane fare everything in the country is dirt cheap. There are so many ways to open up the world to yourself or your children today. Airline credit cards, discount websites, last minute deals and date flexibility can all lead to very affordable but amazing life experiences.

That's what it's about, experiencing life. I'd rather have memories of new places, people, cultures and time with my family than a new gadget, jewelry or fancy phone and thankfully they all feel the same. We don't have a lot of time on this planet, see as much of it as you can.

"I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world."
~Mary Anne Radmacher