It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Josh and I lived in a really awful little duplex in Denver. We lived there until just after 2of3 was born. We had these really cool neighbors in the house next door to the awful duplex, and when they sold it, we were sad. They moved away and the new owners moved in. They were a young couple and after a little bit we realized that they rocked, too. And then we moved away. Bygones.

Fast forward 7 years.

So, let's all pretend for a minute that my laundry is all folded and the dishes are stacked neatly in the cupboards and that my bedroom floor does not have a large sticky spot on it caused from what I can only pray was a popsicle and therefore I totally have my shit together and am left with tons of spare time.

In my excessive amounts of leisure time, I have signed up to do a few things. One is NaNoWriMo. I tried last year with Andy, but damn that sweet sweet wine. If you could write a novel full of giggle-giggle-giggle, Andy and I would have Pulitzers. But this year, I'm doing it. I am going to write a very stupid book in 30 days. And no one will read it. But I'm writing it anyway. You can mock my failure here.

I am also doing NaBloPoMo. That's a really hard way of saying National Blog Posting Month. I will bore you to tears for 31 straight days in November. I apologize, whole-heartedly, in advance. The NaBloPoMo site is here. Today, I got a friend request on that site (it's like MySpace for real people) from someone. That someone didn't know me, I didn't know her. She just wandered past me online and asked to be my friend *Gush*.

This is where it gets good.

I clicked on her link, and I'll be a greased Jesus...I totally know her. She is the very same someone who bought the house next to us 7 years ago. She is the same someone who I ran into on my kids' school playground last year because she and her husband, well, they went and had a kid, too. And very unknowingly, just this very day, she stumbled across yours truly.

Does it get more random than that? I think it doesn't.

Anyway, here is her blog. It's seriously good. Like, it's way better than mine.

I wanna be a cowboy

I have this picture sitting in a box.

I have one of my brother, too; same day, same spot. My dad had a thing with Cowboy hats. He had tons of them. My mom had a thing for black & whites. She took tons of them. When Josh's dad died, Josh inherited his WWII pistol and his collection of Cowboy hats. So naturally, I asked my dad for some of his old ones, too. And now, we have a lovely collection of old hats.

They're all dusty and smelly and old and I never, ever thought I'd need to look at them, but I whipped on out today. I learned two things. One: My father has a freakishly small head. Two: I was much cuter at 5, bucktoothed and all.

How to be a very bad cool parent in 10 easy steps

1. Promise your kids you'll take them to an amusement park all summer, but don't do it. Because you're horrible parents, that's why.

2. Take them to a Fright Night thing like Six Flags parks do. Make sure it's one who's website cautions, "Not recommended for ages 12 & under, Seniors 65+, people with sensitivity to strobe lighting, people with high blood pressure, pregnant women or scaredy cats." Make sure they hear the sales lady, the neighbors and the parking attendant say, "You're taking them there?" Take them anyway.

3. Talk it up so much that by the time they hit the main gates, the kids are scared to death.

3. Do easy things first, like the Super Scary Maze of Doom and the swings.

Get their defenses down.

4. Walk them past all the Haunted Houses in the park. Try to drag them in, because you LOVE the Haunted Houses. When they refuse, take them on the whip-you-around-in-a-circle-going-3-bazillion-miles-an-hour rides. (NOTE: if your child is just barely tall enough to ride the ride, he is also just barely short enough to almost slip through he guard rail, and it's really hard to take a good picture going 3 bazillion MPH.

5. If it's your kids' first time being tall enough to ride rides, take them on this first.

The Hellevator. It's that slingshot thing where they shoot you up to the outer layer of the Earth's atmosphere and then pull you down again. Say goodbye to 3/5 of your family, who you are sure were all about to die a fast and fiery death, and hold your breath. Make sure you hold their hand reassuringly when they say to you from 5 miles up in the air, "Dad, I don't think I can do this."

6. Now that they have the cheat-death buzz, take them on roller coasters. Take them on every one they're tall enough for. And maybe one or two they're not quite tall enough for. It's almost more fun if you're trying to hold your kid down in a seat. Once they get this look on their face... know they're hooked.

7. Smile and console when your son, at about this point, confesses that he peed his pants a little on the Hellevator.

8. Find something, anything, called Baywatch, and ride it.

No man can resist Baywatch. Ride that thing over and over again. Let it spin you and whip you around until you remember A)what you had for lunch and B)your chiropractor's number.

9. Meanwhile, the other parent should be walking the toddler around the park. Make sure your baby knows what scary is. "SCARY! Momma, no SCARY!" Watch as the toddler figures out that Scary isn't going to bother her if she looked at Scary (man in Texas Chain Saw/Demon costume) and says, "Bye Bye Scary!" in her really really cute voice. Your toddler is brutally smart, that one.

10. Do ALL of this on a school night. Get them to bed 2 hours past bedtime.

The very next night, also a school night, let them stay up until midnight so they can watch the (expletive expletive) ROCKIES WIN THE PENNANT!

This means I'm pushing 33, doesn't it?

Dear Auntie N,

Your birthday was yesterday (yes, I am aware that I suck and that I'm a day late). I just wanted to say happy birthday.

You know, I have a couple sisters already. I've got that one that looks just like me but it blissfully unaware that her mom & my dad got it on 28 years ago or so. I don't think she even remembers me anymore. I've got the batshit crazy one that I haven't seen since she was 11 and I'm quite happy to keep it that way. And there's the one who I have known, on and off, for her whole life; the one who isn't actually related to me but we sorta grew up togetherish just because her mom married my dad. She's 22. I'm 32. Need I say more?

So yeah, I have a few sisters running around, but I've never actually had a sister before. I always assumed that the whole giggling, secret-sharing, cooking yummies in a kitchen thing was something that happened exclusively in movies. And then I met you. And the giggling started. And then there were a few recipes exchanged. And then a couple shots later and our dirty laundry took a cycle in each others' washers.

Dude, I love you so much I don't know what to do with it. It's no accident that you came into my life. You crack me the hell up, you inspire me, you're not afraid to whack me in the head when I screw up. I wish I'd known you before the marriage and the kids and the real world all set in. I wish I knew you in college or high school or from a ridiculous job in our twenties because I imagine we would have some fabulously scandalous stories to tell our grandchildren later. But instead, here we are with life to deal with and kids to chase and dinners to cook and jobs to do and I think we will never, ever have enough time together. Me moving to Canada certainly didn't help that at all, did it?

At the end of the day, though, I am grateful for every minute I have had with you. It's really rare for me to meet someone I can relate to on any level, and yet in you I am reminded so much of myself, but not the right now myself; more like the myself I could be. We grew up in different universes, led very different lives, taken almost opposite roads, and kind of ended up at the same place within ourselves. If I can look in the mirror and even catch a glimmer of the woman you are, I am doing something very, very right.

I think that you very well may have been my Missing Piece. And so, on your birthday(ish), just know that someone out there in the Great White North really, truly, with all her heart, loves you and misses you and wishes you all the happiness in the world. And her kids do, too.

For always & ever baby....

One more thing

Occasionally, over there where the dreaded ads are,---------------------------->
there's a little heart thingy that asks you to take some survey if you love me.

Would ya? You know, if you love me.

(OK, I really just wanted to know what the deal was with that, and I saw it on a blog I read and clicked through. Now I know; now you're off the hook.)