Several months ago, I started writing story ideas on a few scraps of paper. The idea was that I’d gather true stories from my own life that I found funny, inspiring, happy, sad, poignant or that highlighted me as being a wicked awesome heroine (few and far between!). These are the stories I whisper to Scarlet before she goes to sleep at night. One day they’ll make sense to her but in the meantime, I’ll publish them here. This is not my first mini story post so if you’re inclined to look back in the archives, I’ve already used some good material. There’s no rhyme or reason to what gets told on any given day. I just look at my crumpled bits of paper and choose what I’d like to tell her today. Bless this little blog for keeping track of the early days of her life and what I want her to read one day. This is what I’m thinking about today:
1. I’m thinking scary. As many of you know, I delivered pizza for two years in college. It was…awesome. The first year, I delivered at a casual place run by a misogynist, (easily) 400 pound man. It was truly the summer of love as the temperatures were high and the hormones were flying throughout this co-ed-staffed Jersey pizzeria in this nothing town.
…It was a dark and stormy night – no, really. I was delivering to what I was told was an old, brilliantly lit farmhouse out in the back woods, or as back woods as you can get in NJ. What I found was a dark and gloomy farmhouse – guess someone forgot to turn on the lights. I really didn’t know what to do. I should have gotten back in my car and driven away. I had a “Saved by the Bell” style cell phone that miraculously dialed the number written on the pizza receipt but no one answered the phone. Again, I should have left. I went around the house until I found a porch, tripped over a branch that made a loud noise, and was suddenly jumped by FOUR German Shepherds who were very focused on protecting their owner. The pizza went flying and I toppled backwards on the ground while they all looked down at me. Suddenly the floodlights did come on (way too late) and a very apologetic owner called off the dogs and helped me up. I didn’t get bitten but the impact of one of the dog’s bodies left a very disturbing series of bruises on my arms for months. I think I lost ten years that day. I’m not sure why I’m not as afraid of dogs at this point as I should be. I guess because it’s mostly human error. Those dogs weren’t so bad but the sight of four large animals charging you on a dark and stormy night will stay with me forever.
2. I usually like to switch genres but since it’s a brilliantly sunny day, I feel secure enough to tell another scary story. I’d like to talk about THE SIXTH SENSE, that Bruce Willis movie that started “I see dead people” jokes long after it should have.
We were visiting my grandparents in Florida and my mom had seen the film and decided to take us to see it one night when my grandparents were safely at home. I have never been this affected by a movie and it’s probably because I don’t take enough cinematic risks anymore to let myself be this affected by a movie. After the first ghost scene, I stood up and tried to leave. My mom told me to sit back down and give it a shot. I literally felt physically ill from fear the whole film. When I tell this to people now, they look confused and say they loved it and it was a thriller, but not a horror movie. Whatever it was, it nearly ruined me. I saw BLAIR WITCH a week after THE SIXTH SENSE and it was like child’s play in comparison. Nothing has ever troubled me as much as this movie. We went home that night and I couldn’t sleep for a week because I kept thinking I was seeing and hearing ghosts walking up and down the hallways. It got better when we got home to NJ and I started sleeping soundly again in my own bed. I think I was mainly so upset because I was away when this happened. I kept blaming the extreme fear on my displacement from home. I was 19, though. Not five. 19. Damn you, M. Night Shyamalan. I still can’t watch even a second of it. Ten years later.
3. So this next story is part humor/part disaster/part breathtaking. A little background is that Cassidy had found the place we got married at on the internet and after spending a night there to see if it would work, I decided it wouldn’t and we looked elsewhere. We soon ran right back to this place – Mountain Top Inn and Resort in Chittenden, VT because they were flexible, kind and could work with our quirkiness. So in December of 2007, they invited us and our families to spend a weekend there. The only thing we had to do business-wise was sign the contract and do the food tasting. The rest was up to us. Our parents and my sister and Cassidy’s two brothers all came along. We had to fly in from California and when we all got there and settled in, we were all giddy and tired and completely immature for the tour of the place. I think we were all lying on the pristine beds and making dirty jokes about our wedding guests using those beds while the staff was leading us around. Then came the food tasting in which they worked so hard for us and we were all laughing and some of us were drinking and a few of us were yelling, “Blah! Cilantro! Barf! Puke! This is NOT being served at the wedding!” I feel badly in retrospect. I was one of the cilantro haters.
I can’t remember the time frame of any of this but Cassidy and I went on a romantic dog sled ride. I’ll never forget the sound of the sled taking off in that cold, silent night and turning back to see my mom and Cassidy’s mom waving us off on our journey. Then we entered a hilly winter wonderland. Every curve was dramatic and I kept thinking that the sled was going to tip over, but those dogs knew exactly what to do to keep us safe. It was awesome and smooth and surprisingly warm to be on that sled letting the dogs lead us around.
Later that night, the “kids” all stayed in The Jewel – one of the resort’s prized cabins. This house was built for a party. We had our own bedroom with a huge flat screen TV, king-sized bed, remote controlled fireplace and a huge spa bathroom. We all hung downstairs playing games and at one point, Lindsay, Cassidy and I were outside for a meteor shower. I hadn’t seen many shooting stars in my life and I think I almost doubled the whole of what I’d seen in this one night. Every time we saw a shooting star, we’d scream. And then we’d laugh. And we’d all see different ones and sometimes all see the same ones. All I remember is screaming and laughing repeatedly standing out in the middle of nowhere in the 8 degree weather. That cold weather was signaling something bad…which we woke up to the next morning.
I think this might have be my only true blizzard in life. It was bad when we woke up and only got worse. Some of us went sledding to breakfast. After breakfast, the power gave up in the Jewel and we got kicked out of our awesome dwelling to go in the main house. They had also lost power and we all huddled at the main lobby fireplace. There were plenty of other guests there. They did a pasta dinner in the dark – I have no idea how it was cooked – and we all gathered and talked all night. At one point a pipe burst and soaked some rooms and the staff had to get in there with flashlights. We were without power for 24 hours and it came on some time in the middle of the night. Of course, we had to get up at 3 am to somehow drive our Pt Cruiser (Loser) off of a huge mountain in the still falling snow where we had to get a small plane out of Burlington into JFK where we’d catch a large plane back to San Francisco. By some miracle we got to the airport and the flight took off, but it wasn’t pretty. New York City was getting the blizzard winds now and we had to land in that. The plane was so violent that several people were puking. Me, being phobic of violent planes and violent puking, blasted my iPod to drown out any noise and felt sorry for those silly idiots who didn’t take their Dramamine. Then we boarded the big plane where I briefly had the middle seat, and then we were off and back home, knowing that we had made the right decision about where to have our wedding. The Mountain Top staff wrote to us after that weekend to tell us that they had finally bought a generator. Good thinking.