Sometimes I think my life is funny.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

That Time I Spent a Weekend in Mexico with My Mom and Didn't Kill Her

In the Woodward Family, the relationship between Kim and Stephanie is considered especially contentious. In Solidaridad, Mexico, the dedicated women who care about each other but often can't stand each other were known as the awkward squad of "annoying american women." These are our stories: 


Friday, Aug 25. 3:55am

Dear Diary, 

I just called Mom to ensure she was awake since the plan was to pick her up at 415am. She picked up on the 5th ring - not a good sign. Her voice sounded groggy - even worse.  "Wake up!" I said after her raspy "hello?"


"What time is it?" She asked.  


Awesome. This is going well already.  


"4am. I'll be there at 4:15."


With sudden energy in her voice "What?! Why didn't my alarm go off?!"


"Not my problem.  I'll be there at 4:15." 


Friday, Aug 25. 4:16am


Dear Diary, 


I just called Mom to tell her I'm 60 seconds away from her house.  


"60 seconds?!" She says with surprise, like we haven't planned on a 4:15am pick up for weeks.  


"It's 4:16." I tell her, "I already gave you extra time." 


Well, this is a splendid start.  

Friday, Aug 25. 4:25am


Dear Diary, 


We are in the car on the 10 minute drive to the airport.  Mom is digging through her purse for a mint because, as she puts it, "being in cars makes me feel sick."


We'll be taking an hour long shuttle ride from the airport to our hotel in Mexico.  


Lord help us.  


Friday, Aug 25. 7:40am. 


We are on our first plane.  I am tired and recently found a tolerable position on the plane to fall asleep in.  I just dozed off when Mom woke me up.  I assumed she had to pee or the plane was crashing, as those are the only acceptable reasons to bother a sleeping person on a plane.  


"The drink cart is coming. Do you want a drink?"


She woke me up for a damn drink.  


Because I am tired and because I am petty, I plan to get her back for this.  



Friday, Aug 25. 7:57am

Dear Diary, 


She's begun to dance to the Bruno Mars songs in her headphones and shove her phone in my face to take pictures.  


Make it stop.  

Friday, Aug 25. 8:06am


Dear Diary, 


I cannot go back to sleep so I am sitting here listening to a book.  Mom keeps sporadically trying to shove her left ear bud into my right ear insisting that listening to music is "better than a book." 


I have previously taken for granted all the times I've traveled alone for work.  Never again.  

Friday, Aug 25. 10:28am


We are on a layover in ATL. Kim just came at me with this breaking update: she doesn't know if she's going to watch The Voice this year.  



Friday, Aug. 25. 1:10pm


Dear Diary, 

Our seats were just upgraded from the very back of the plane to first class.  Is this what good karma is? Is this my perk for being nice to my mom? I'll take it. I'll also take this mimosa the flight attendant just handed me.  




Friday, Aug. 25 1:56pm


The pilot just introduced himself as Rusty Wood. Not sure if it's the mimosa or if I'm overtired, but I'm pretty sure I laughed more than I should have when he said that. 



Aug 25 10:04pm 

Dear Diary,

We arrived in Mexico.

Kim has no bathroom etiquette.  She just goes in the bathroom whenever she wants for 30+ minutes without even asking if I need to pee. Who takes the bathroom that long without asking if anyone else needs it first?

My bladder is not pleased. 



Aug. 26, 11:16am 

Dear Diary,


We found the beautiful pool off the ocean today. It's a relaxing pool connected to the ocean and filled with ocean water and sea life.  I snorkeled for a bit in this relaxing pool and then asked mom if she'd like to try it. 

 
First, I put the face mask over her eyes and nose. She immediately announced she couldn't breathe.  


"Try through your mouth, mom" I explained.  She seemed confused.  


Thankfully the lifeguard/snorkel instructor intervened and took over the lesson. 


I suggested she jump in the pool from the area we were sitting in.  She insisted on taking the stairs into the ocean pool.  I watched as she slipped on the stone steps going into the pool.  I didn't laugh, though I wanted to.  


She then announced "ouch! My foot hurts now.  No one told me the steps would be slippery!"


No one told my mom that the stone steps into the pool with salt water, algae, and fish would be slippery.  What is the world coming to? 



Aug. 26, 12:02pm 

Dear Diary,

It's sticky hot, but this pool is lovely and I have a good book.  Kim is behaving quite nicely. This may not be so bad.  


Aug. 26, 1:23 pm


We are eating lunch in the dining area near the beach.  "My foot hurts.  No one told me the steps would be slippery" Mom reminded me.  



Aug 26, 7:13pm

Dear Diary,

We decided to take a cab to Playa del Carmen to do some shopping. Mom really likes to take her sweet time in every store. When we got away from all of the “fancy” stores and into the area with a lot of street vendors, many people were calling out for us to check out their store. I just rolled by them until mom stopped me to introduce me to a man I’ve never seen in my life.

“He was our waiter!” Kim announced. “He just stopped me because he recognizes us from the hotel!”

The man smiled and said “Yes, remember me? From the buffet?”

“No.” I said, “Sergio was our waiter. You are not Sergio.”

“Yes, but I helped you at the buffet” he insisted.

“He recognized us and that’s why he stopped us!” Kim told me.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was full of shit, so I played along and went into the store he said he “helps grandma” with and where his “cousin” showed me a poncho that he wanted to charge me $80 US to buy. I laughed and left. We went to another store, and then back down the road with the vendors where another “waiter” stopped us and my mom happily greeted him. He tried to get us to go in another store. I played along.

Finally, when the third “waiter” stopped us and my mom chatted along with him, I had to break it to her.

“Mom. They see our resort bracelets. They’re not our waiters. They’re lying to get us to go into the stores!”

After that I felt no guilt about buying a $65 bottle of tequila. I earned it.


Aug 28, 11:02 am

Dear Diary,

Mom has no wheelchair etiquette. She keeps touching my chair without my permission. She knows damn well not to touch my chair without my consent, but she keeps doing it. When we go up a slight hill, I suddenly feel her push me. I finally turned around, gave her a dirty look, and said “Stop it!” today, but to no avail. She did it again an hour later. I may need to cut off her hands.


Aug 27, 3:21 pm

Dear Diary,

Mom and I went to the Xcaret Eco Park next to the hotel. It was a ton of walking and it was outrageously hot. We came back for lunch but now Kim is napping in the hotel room. It’s midday. I did not pay for this woman to sleep in the hotel in the middle of the damn day. I’m gonna wake her ass up and make her sleep by the pool instead.


Aug 27, 6:24 pm

Dear Diary,

She did it again. She touched my damn chair when we were going up a ramp. I lightly told her “You have no wheelchair etiquette. It’s rude to touch a person’s chair without their permission. “I know,” she said. “I just do it cuz it looks hard to push up the hill, so I push you.”

It took everything I had not to lose it.

“I know you want to help, but unless we say we need help, do not touch our chairs Mom.”
I don’t know where the “we” came from. I doubt my mom is randomly pushing strangers in public, but just in case, she has now been fully educated (for the millionth time).

Aug 27, 9:36pm

Dear Diary,

Mom and I went to a show at the XCaret Eco Park and it was amazing. It was a 2 hour performance showing the history of Mexico, from Mayans to the Spanish coming to Mexico to the cultures that emerged afterwards. It was filled with so many great performances, from people actually playing old Mayan games (including playing a hockey like game with a ball that was on fire!) to dancing with pineapples to songs.

Afterwards, while we were at dinner, mom announced that she loves the culture, the music, and the people of Mexico. She also said she regrets voting for Trump.

Five minutes later she announced that it’s hard to wear clothes in Mexico.


Aug 28, 10:03am

Dear Diary,

I just want to peacefully read my book by the pool. Kim has decided to narrate our relaxing vacation to Facebook Live. Somehow this is not as relaxing as I had hoped.

Aug 28, 11:44am

Dear Diary,

We decided to switch from the regular pool to the fresh water pool on the ocean. When we arrived at the pool, we were sitting on the edge dipping our toes in the pool. Another girl was walking down the steps into the pool and slipped. Mom looked at me and said “No one told her the steps were slippery. I could have told her that.”


Aug 28, 6:23pm

Dear Diary,

We are eating dinner in the buffet tonight. Mom just came from the bathroom.

“Let me tell you what I did” she says with an embarrassed giggle.

“Okay?” I respond.

“Remember yesterday you asked me where the bathroom was after I went to the bathroom to wash my hands?” she asked.

“Yes”

“Well, I just went in to wash my hands yesterday, but today I needed to go to the bathroom, so I walked past the sinks towards the stalls and I saw urinals.” She tells me.

“What?” I ask, surprised.

“So there’s a kid there and he’s a boy. So I ask him ‘am I in the wrong bathroom?’ and he said ‘uh, yeah!’” my mom explains with a red face.

“So you used the men’s bathroom, not once, but twice?” I ask.

“Yep.”

I’m still trying to decide if I think this is more funny or more proof that we don’t need gendered bathrooms. I’m going with more funny right now.


Aug 29, 6:47am

Dear Diary,

We woke up at 4am to get to the airport to catch the first leg of our full day journey home. When we got past security, I noticed we needed to go through a duty free shop to get to our gate. I stopped before going through the store and explained “Mom, we need to go through this duty free shop in order to get to our gate. Your one and only goal is to walk through the store and not stop. If you stop I will leave you.”

She looks at me and casually says, “Okay, I’ll follow you.”

Three seconds in I hear “OOOH! THEY HAVE PURFUME!” and I turn and she is gone.

One. Job.
One. Damn. Job.


Aug 29, 7:13am

Dear Diary,

Mom found me in the food court. We got breakfast sandwiches and hashbrowns. Kim informs me that they haven’t changed the fryer oil and she can taste it in her hashbrown. I open my ketchup packet, squeeze it into a beautiful tomato pond on my plate, dip my old oil hashbrown in the ketchup, and eat the whole thing.

Aug 29, 7:05pm

Dear Diary,

This morning we flew from Cancun to Mexico City and then Mexico City to Detroit. I haven’t been able to sleep much. This is the last leg of our trip before getting home. We have 20 minutes to get through customs and security and to our next gate. The Delta employees still haven’t brought my chair down the jetbridge and are trying to convince me to use their chair to get me off the plane. I have already read them the riot act once. I have told mom to get off the plane and start going through customs since we have a short layover and this is taking a while. She keeps saying that she’ll stay with me. I think she thinks she’s being polite. She doesn’t seem to grasp that in order for us to have a chance at making the flight, I need her to go now since she moves slow and once I get my chair I’ll catch up quickly, so she should get a head start.


Aug. 29, 7:42pm

Dear Diary,

After I read the Delta employee the riot act, he had the nerve to come to me again and tell me he could bring my chair planeside for me and that I should just use their chair and go to my chair. I may have lost my cool. I may have said something along the lines of “If you can’t get the people downstairs to answer the phone to bring up my chair, do you know what that means? THAT MEANS YOU RUN YOUR FUCKING ASS DOWNSTAIRS AND GET MY FUCKING CHAIR NOW! You have 3 minutes before this becomes an FAA complaint or worse!” Magically, they got my chair planeside and I found they broke it so I couldn’t even sit in it.

This is where I stopped using my screaming voice and started using my calmer, but more unnerving “I will burn you all voice.”

First, I lost all patience with my mother and told her to go to customs. When she hesitated I may have been rude – and by may have, I mean I definitely was – and made her go. To her credit, while I was losing my shit, she kept hers together and did not bring up how nasty I was later on when things calmed down, nor did she add fuel to my sky high flames.

Then I unleashed my fury on the Delta staff. After a few choice words and some legal citations, they quickly called the next plane to tell them to hold it as long as necessary to ensure I got on my connecting flight, and then they rushed me through customs and security and to my gate. 

We got on the plane home and then I looked at my mom. I remembered that she was actually quite great while I was flipping out on everyone and I almost apologized for being mean to her, but then I remembered that on the way here she woke me up over a beverage cart. Instead of apologizing, I took my headphones, put them through her loop earring, and then in my ear to get back at her for waking me up.



Aug 29, 9:30pm.

Dear Diary,

We made it home. Both of us are alive. I don’t have a functioning chair, but the technical aspects of this goal are complete. Mission accomplished.


Monday, May 29, 2017

That Time I Held Myself Accountable for Completing My 30 Before 30

In order to ensure I complete my goals on my 30 before 30 list, I have decided to create a blog post where I will give monthly updates on my progress. If you see an area where I am slacking and you have suggestions on what I can do to complete them, feel free to tell me! I'm open to suggestions and help at all times! 


1. Take 30 pictures with 30 giant animals
5/6 – Picture with Spikes from the Red Wings at Clean Sweep after receiving the Silver Sweeper Award from Mayor Warren. 

Spikes!

2. Give 30 $30 tips on bills that are less than $30
5/19 – South Wedge Diner. Our waitress followed us because she thought I forgot my money on the table. When I told her that the money was her tip, she told my nieces “You’re auntie is so nice. You make sure to give her lots of hugs and kisses” to which my nieces responded “Aunt Steph doesn’t like hugs and kisses. We’re not allow to hug of kiss her.”

5/24 – Ice Cream Jubilee. The ice cream server was the nicest, happiest person I have encountered in a very long time. She was super patient with me as I tasted EVERY flavor ice cream in the joint, told me that calories are just “flavor points” – the more calories a food has, the more flavor it has, so I should just be excited about lots of calories, and she even jumped in a selfie with me and Julia. I loved her and she 100% deserved the $30.

Doesn't she just look like the nicest person???
3. Find out if I have abs
Still have not been found.

4. Dress as a cat all day. Go in public.
No progress

5. Go on vacation alone.
I’ve been thinking about where to go, but beyond that, no progress.

6. Karaoke Jagged Edge/Rev Run’s “Let’s Get Married”
I have sang this in the office, rolling through airports, and at nightclubs whenever it comes on, but as for karaoke, not yet.

7. Try 30 different burgers and rate them. Bonus if I can get 30 different people to buy me the burgers.
5 of 30 burgers complete. See Burger Rating System and all rated burgers here. *notes burgers that have bonus points because others bought the burger for me.

4/22 – Lawful Waffle*
4/26 – 6 Buck Chuck*
5/2 – Southern Comfort Burger*
5/14 – Single Cheeseburger*
5/28 – Wall Street Burger

8. Unplug for an entire day.
No progress. But I did go on a women’s retreat with ladies from my church where I looked at my phone a lot less than usual and didn’t watch any T.V. So it was like practicing for the real Unplug day!

9. Give 30 things away.
4/24 – Gave away a book bag filled with stuff to a person on the street.
4/25 – Gave away a bag of clothes to a coworker.
5/7 – Gave away a bag of clothes to our church collection for refugees.
5/21 – Gave another bag of clothes away to our church collection for refugees.

10. Spend a whole weekend with my mom
No progress.

11. Bake something without a mix
No Progress.

12. Pay off 3 big debts
5/1 – (1). Finished paying off my manual wheelchair! I got the chair in October and have been paying off the bill of over $2500 ever since then (that was just my copay…).

13. Do a headstand
No progress. Need more zen. And balance.

14. Keep a plant alive for 6 months.
5/1 - I have begun asking people what kinds of plants can last with minimal care/an irresponsible plant mom. Some ladies on my church retreat suggested I try a spider plant or an air plant. An air plant apparently just lives on air and this sounds very appealing to me. No plant has been adopted yet.

5/7 – Bought a Banzai tree and named him Fernando. I picked him because he looks resilient and hearty. Plus he came with a stone that says peace, so maybe that will help me to find zen. Anyway, so far he hasn’t died. He looks tough and I think he can handle my neglect. 

5/29 – Fernando is still alive.

Fernando going strong. 
15. Build something.
No progress.

16. Go to a bar alone.
5/10 – I tried to semi do this. I was going to meet Katie out, but she had a meeting she needed to go to, so I figured I would go to the bar early and wait for her and that would count as being alone. For about 20 minutes I sat in my car hesitating. Finally, I got out, rolled to the bar, and when I got inside I found out there was a step to get up to the bar. What the fuck. So basically, this has not been accomplished.   

17. Take a class on something creative, like cooking or knitting.
No progress.

18. Learn a new skill and show it off on my 30th Birthday!
No progress.

19. Complete 30 acts of kindness to show my appreciation for others
5/8 – (1). My coworker Mary works ridiculously hard and is a wonderful coworker and friend. I found out she’s been watching Netflix on her tablet because she didn’t know how to make it go to her T.V. I felt that Mary worked way too hard to not be able to go home and binge watch trashy tv on her actual television, so I bought her a Chromecast to show my appreciation for all that she does and to help her relax when she finally does get away from work.

5/10 & 5/11 – (2) & (3). I regularly collaborate with two people in the City of Rochester to help make Rochester a more accessible and welcoming city for disabled people. We always joke that I’m part of the City’s team and that we need matching outfits. To show them how much I appreciate them both as humans and as advocates for the Disability Community within the City’s Administration, I got them both really cute mugs with the Rochester flower that say “Home.” I got myself one too so that we can have matching cups and show we’re all on the same team J Bonus: these babies are made by a crafty lady I go to church with and can be found here
Check out this super cute mug!!

20. Throw a dinner party.
No progress.

21. Go to a country that I’ve never been to.
No progress.

22. Get a facial.
No progress.

23. Learn how to change a tire.
No progress.

24. Buy a crop top. Wear it in public. - MISSION COMPLETED!  

5/17 – After telling some of our ADAPT teens about this goal, one of them gave me a crop top and told me to wear it during our party on our last night in D.C. I hesitantly wore it around the hotel and my ADAPT family. This was a good practice run, but I don’t think it counts as actually wearing it in public.

5/26 – I took the crop top that I borrowed from a teenager to Atlantic City with me. I wore it the first day we were there for the entire evening and night. I strolled along the boardwalk in it, I ate Mexican in it, and I danced at an 80’s club in it. I didn’t feel one bit insecure. I’m really happy I made this a goal and accomplished it so quickly. I thought I would be super insecure about this and look terrible, but I felt great and might even get my own crop top after I return this one to its rightful owner.  

Rockin a crop top. 
25. Cook a meal without a recipe and buy all the ingredients myself.
No progress.

26. Learn to meditate without falling asleep.
No progress.

27. Help someone else check off something on their list.
No progress.

28. Make a list of 1095 things I am grateful for (or 3 things per day for 365 days!).
Lots of Progress!

29. Go on an incredible 30th birthday best friend vacation.
No progress.

30. Throw a fabulous 30th birthday party!
No progress.