When I was in my early 20s, my favorite errand was going to the post office.  Then ten years of living in the city got to me and I despised going to the post office to stand in long lines, pay too much, and deal with extremely rude employees.  But, now that I'm back in the country, I absolutely love it again.  Everyone is so friendly, there's rarely a line (if you can even call one person in front of you a line), and I get to visit multiple small town offices (although the government is slowly closing them all down around here--maybe more on that later.)

While I was packaging up some "thinking of you" items today to send off, I remember a time when I had a curse placed on me in Kansas City.  I found my old blog post about it and had a good laugh.  Since I had an allergic reaction to a wasp sting (which got me a bulky epi pen to carry from now on) and poison ivy all over my face and arms in the same day, I've taken to forming to the couch cushions, dosing up on steroids, and slathering on calamine lotion and just don't have the energy for an entirely new post.  So, I'm re-sharing this oldie, originally posted on June 4, 2009.

My trip to the post office today was the perfect example of the weird things that happen to me in public places.

The post office was once my favorite errand to run. But since every trip now seems to hold a price increase on stamps, longer lines, and slower employees, it is much less joyful. Luckily, I am done with work at 2:30 everyday, which happens to be an ideal time for all my USPS needs. The lunch rush is gone and the after work rush has not yet begun.

On today's postal jaunt, I needed postage for two small packages, six two-cent stamps, and a book of forever stamps. When I arrived on the scene, there was one person in line. I patiently waited while she added seventeen cents of postage to her letter. As the postal worker moved at a painfully slow speed, I noticed that a man had joined the line behind me.

I'm usually a very visually observant person, but I didn't have to see this guy to know he was there. I could smell him. As I slowly and discreetly tried to inch myself farther away from him, he crept his way closer to me. I couldn't pinpoint the smell. It wasn't the smell of frying something in grease, or sweaty body odor, or living with dirty pets. It was something I had never smelled before, but from looking at the man, I could only guess that it was just a general smell of filth.

Ordinarily, this would be a person that I would feel really sorry for and go out of my way to show some kindness to. I might make small talk and give him a big smile or an honest compliment. But this guy's stench sent any grain of altruism in my body right down the drain.

As the woman in front of me was fishing the last pennies out of her purse, The Stink tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Ma'am, do you have a lot to mail?" I answered, "Just these two packages." He retorted, "Oh...cause I just have this one would be nice if I could go ahead of you and get out of here..."

Right. You have one package and I only have two packages. So, if you're looking at the glass half empty, I have twice as much stuff to mail as you. But if you're looking at the glass half full, I only have one more package to mail than you. So sorry buddy, but you're gonna have to keep staring at my backside. I'd like to get out of here, too. In other words, I just kind of ignored his comment and didn't offer him the advanced spot in line.

As I approached the counter and paid for my postage, I could hear The Stink mumbling. I figured he was just grumbling about how "inconsiderate" I was, but as I turned to leave he yelled, "Stop!"

I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to face him, sure that he had gone postal (pun intended) and was pointing a firearm at me. He did have a weapon, but not a physical item. Instead, he had a weapon of words. He started mumbling again and then ended by clearly stating that he had put a curse on me!

I looked at the Postmaster who appeared more frightened than me. It was obvious that that wimp wasn't going to do anything about it, so I made an about face, hastily went out the door and jumped in my Jeep.

I actually forgot about the curse until I got home and noticed a pain in my right leg. Jumping to conclusions, I was sure that the curse was starting to work on me. This guy wouldn't just kill me off quickly by having a piano fall on me from a 20 story building or making my heart abruptly stop beating. He was going to make me suffer a dilatory and agonizing death.

Unless I've done something to "reverse the curse", I'll probably wake up tomorrow morning as a limp blob of body fat, unable to do anything but roll off the side of the bed, lie uncomfortably on the hardwood floor and replay the scenario over and over in my mind, wishing I had just let the man mail his package before me, while my insides slowly seep out through my pores.
I have a confession.

For those of you that are my age, you'll understand this comparison: I'm somewhat like Chandler on Friends in the episode, "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs."  And that episode title kind of sums it up.

It's not exactly that I don't like dogs.  It's just that I don't like them in the house.  I don't like them touching or licking me.  I don't like them barking.  I don't like them slobbering or shedding.  I don't like them following me or nipping at my heels.  So basically, I love them if they're just sitting quietly, looking cute, and keeping to themselves.  And cats--well, I flat out just don't like them.  But you are truly are so shunned if you admit this--therefore, I realize that I will lose most of my readership here and probably log into facebook and instagram tomorrow to see zero friends and followers.

I learned in my teen years that my cousin Kelly was allergic to cats.  For the past eighteen years I've wished over and over that I would develop a small animal allergy, too, just so I would have a valid explanation for not oohing and aahing over everyone's house pets.  (Of course I don't really wish I had allergies, and by no means do I intend to belittle or joke about the suffering of those that do have real allergies.)

So, when Cliff came with lots of dogs, I was a little worried.  But, they all have their super beefed up dog resort outside, he does all the feeding, watering, and other caring, they never come in the house (minus that time my brother-in-law brought them in, let them sleep in the guest bed, and they they peed all over it) so it works out fine for me.  I just get to see their cute faces anytime I go outside, and I can't complain about that.

So, Cliff hunts his dogs quite a bit.  Sometimes, he'll even enter competition hunts; a few of which he has actually won.  And sometimes, these competition hunts will feature a swim race beforehand.

Cliff's current favorite hunting dog is named Smoke.  Cliff loves Smoke so much that it has become an inside joke for us.  For example, we'll have a conversation like this:
      Cliff: C'mon, I want to take my best girl for ice cream.
      Me:  Yes!  That sounds great.
      Cliff: Okay, can you get her leash?
And when we were getting ready for our wedding, we had constant jokes about him marrying Smoke instead of me.
So, when Cliff wanted to enter her into a competitive swim race a few weeks ago, I encouraged him to do so.  However, I didn't realize at the time just how serious he was about her winning.  (She won a swim race in Illinois this past winter and once he got a little taste of blue ribbon life, he was hooked.)

Two weeks before the race, Smoke started to get special food.  All protein.  Then a week and a half before the race, Cliff started working her out every night.  The first night Cliff and I walked her two miles.  After I went in, he secretly tried to run sprints with her, which I witnessed from the kitchen window.  After that, he roped my brother and his brother into helping out.  We ran her at a jogging pace about four miles that night.  We were exhausted, but Smoke wanted more.  Eventually, we had her up to six miles and she was running at a good clip.  I think she could have competed in the Iditarod and still wanted more.  The night before the race, he let her rest and prepare.

So, the big night rolled around.  We got the training team plus my mom loaded up to go and cheer.  It's a pretty neat event.

There's a large pond.
The dogs are released from that black box on the back side of the pond and swim toward the pole in the front right of the photo.  The first one to cross the water finish line gets points and the first one to get to the pole gets points.

The time came, Smoke left the start line and took off.

And within seconds, it was all over.  Smoke's on the left in the picture above.  She came in second (you can't really see the first place dog, but he's behind the weeds at the edge of the pond in the middle of the picture).  

It was a lot of work for little reward, but once the race was over, Smoke got to play in the water and swim to her little heart's content.  So, little reward for us was big reward for her.

And this is a relationship with dogs that I never thought I'd have.

Awhile back I posted about the necessity of making your own entertainment living here in rural Missouri.  Our bowling adventures are more of a winter sport.  In the summer, we like water sports.  And they also become an adventure.
Two years ago, I was home for several days in the summer and my brother and his friends asked me to go floating.  I. Love. Float Trips.  Apparently those are somewhat of a country thing, too.  Since I heart canoeing down the river so much, I happily obliged.
We loaded up in the truck and there was no canoe.  We had tractor tire inner tubes.  I hadn't used a tractor tire inner tube since my childhood days at the lake (which were really old coal strip pits) and one Grotewiel float trip that landed me 8 miles down river and caused me to vow never to camp in a tent again.
So, I agreed to give it a try anyway.  We floated a small river near our house.  It was a blast.  Tons of wildlife, lots of fun twists and turns.  Sun, water, drinks, music, laughter.  It was a great time.  We ended up tube floating at least twice a week the whole summer.  Each time we floated we got a little more adventurous.  After an extremely competitive game of race-up-the-steep-mudslide-to-grab-the-beer-can-first, I came back to Kansas City with legs that were shredded from all the slips and tumbles down the mud chute.  It was rough, but it was such a blast.
Last summer was very similar.
This summer, Cliff and I decided to upgrade.  We went and bought a brand new canoe!
(I had to imbed that from instagram because my brand new phone was ruined just before we went to Chicago...more on that later.)

So, the first three days we owned it, we were out on different lakes every day.  We would paddle around, soak up the sun, fish, and then when I got tired of fishing, Cliff would continue to fish and I would lay back, relax, and read a book.  It was so perfect. 

By that weekend, we had planned our first float trip.  Until this point, we had floated the East Fork and Chariton Rivers around here, but Cliff had aspirations to float the Grand River.  Since it was on his bucket list, and he knows much more about anything outdoorsy than I do, and I love floating, I just agreed and packed my dry bag and the cooler the day of the float without any questions.  We stopped to pick up my brother on the way, and just out of curiosity, pulled out a Missouri map.  Here's what we saw:
So, we planned to put in at point A (Bosworth) and float to point B (Brunswick).  Both spots had boat ramps, so it looked like a piece of cake.  We were so amped up and energized that we all agreed that if we got to Brunswick too quickly, we would go on and float to the Missouri (the big river in the bottom right corner of the map) and take out further down in a small town called Glasgow.  
Cliff set a minnow trap at the Bosworth Access, we all jumped in the canoe and shoved off.  The sun was shining, the water was beautiful, we were seeing tons of wildlife, I was smiling.

Then, it started to feel like we had floated at least ten miles with no end in sight.

Then, I felt a drop of rain, the sun went behind a big cloud and the wind started blowing.

At this point, Jacob and Cliff had almost emptied the cooler, Jacob was passed out with his head in the bottom of the canoe and his feet in the air, and I was getting a little nervous.

The sky opened up and it poured rain, the temperature dropped, the wind came in huge gusts, and I was no longer smiling.  I was scared to death.  We'd never floated this river,  Jacob nor Cliff can swim very well and I wasn't sure I could save both of them, and I kept having visions of our shiny, new canoe sinking to the bottom of the channel.

Then I started crying and put on my life vest.

In about ten minutes the storm was over, but I was pretty much done with the trip.  Little did I know, we had about four more hours of floating until we reached our destination.

Before we finally made it to Brunswick, Jacob had come to, eaten an entire bag of pretzels alone, tipped the canoe and taken on water doing a "beer stunt", not to mention we thought we had been sucked back in time to the 1920s (long story), and had a long discussion about whether or not we were even on the correct river.

After eight hours of solid floating, we finally saw the boat ramp.    I don't know how far we actually floated, but we're guessing it was at least fifteen miles.  Then Jacob and Cliff ridiculed me for days about saving myself by putting on a life vest and having no concern for them.  I wasn't sure I ever wanted to see Jacob or Cliff or a canoe or water again.

So, what do I do?  Two weeks later I plan a Grotewiel Cousins Float Trip for three days and fifteen people in South Missouri.  I'll never learn.
So, we had another one of those big Grotewiel weddings this past weekend.  I overshot the runway a little with the cousins pre-party around the pool.  The next morning, as the family slowly gathered in the hotel lobby, I realized I hadn't taken a single picture.  That's partly the fault of my getting down like a flat tire and partly the fault of the few days prior to the wedding.

Cliff and I left at 3am Thursday morning to take the train to Chicago, ended up with only 6 hours of sleep total from Wednesday through Friday, and then had to "bring it" for the Grotewiel reception.  More to come on our Chicago trip in a later post.

But for now, and this is where ANYONE THAT IS NOT AN ADULT WOMAN SHOULD STOP READING, I am posting a couple of pictures from my uterine fibroid surgery back in March.  Posting these has been in the back of mind for two reasons. One, until last week, my surgery was the last time I had set an alarm for 3am and, two, we went for my follow-up appointment several days ago.  Everything looked great.  No new fibroids.  And...yes, we got the go ahead for babies.

So, just like the post describing the events leading up to the surgery--men, those with a weak stomach, fragile children, anyone that doesn't like the words vagina or uterus or scalpel or blood should stop reading now.

They photos didn't bother me until I looked at them just now.  Realizing that that is actually my body cut open kind of freaked me out and made me lightheaded.  So, these may truly be too much for everyone.  I may lose all of my blog following.  And I maybe shouldn't be posting these at all.  But I'm going to anyway, just because I know a few people really did want to see them.

Final warning...

And here it is.

The fibroid that was filling my uterus:

Isn't that absolutely disgusting?

And my uterus after it was stitched back up layer by layer:

I plan to do a wedding post but am waiting on some more photos to include with it.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime...

Cliff and I hadn't been on our library date for a few weeks, so we made time for it last night.  When we got ready to check out, I couldn't help but laugh again.

My books:

His books:

As I was going through my to-read list and typing them into the library catalog search bar, another patron commented on how fast my fingers were moving.  This actually happens to me a lot, although I've never really taken notice of being a fast typist, until...

When I first moved here last summer and started helping Cliff with the law office, we were in the same room typing on our individual laptops quite often.  Apparently Cliff believed that he was a fast typist because he kept offering to type things for me.  I enjoy typing and would always decline his offers.  Finally, I asked why he kept offering.  He told me that he just thought that he could type faster than me.  I just laughed.  He continued to comment on typing faster than me throughout the summer.  Finally, when I realized he was actually serious, not just teasing me, I challenged him to a typing test.

We pulled up because what typing test can be more valid than when it's right there in the URL?  I went first.  When I finished with results that I had expected, I showed them to Cliff.

He was shocked.  He hadn't realized the challenge he had accepted.  He started out, but fumbled around and finally gave up before the test was over on the premise that he had made too many errors.

Since then, I haven't heard a peep from him when it comes to typing.

Just for fun, I asked him to complete the typing test again last night.  Being the good sport that he is, he attempted it again.  Turns out, he is an above-average typist, so there was some legitimacy behind his beliefs.

I'll tell you what he can beat me at though--blogging!  His wedding post has had more views than any of my other previous posts!  Maybe I should seriously consider just turning this whole operation over to him.