Happy New Year, everybody!
First off, I should clarify that it is not actually the Year of the Angry Otter. It is the Year of the Snake. But I found this picture, and decided that this guy represents the skepticism I have about 2013.
I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions. Not since I attempted a deeply meaningful New Year’s ritual as a teenager and almost set my family’s house on fire. I decided I would burn strips of paper with all of the negative things that happened in the previous year while watching the ball drop. Well, I guess a lot of negative shit happened in 1993 because pretty soon I had a pretty decent bonfire going in our TV room. I can’t remember how I put it out, but I do remember thinking that this had all gone terribly wrong and that it was exactly the kind of thing that happens when you try to create a memory using fire.
Making memories has never gone as planned for me, and it doesn’t look like that is going to change in 2013. Yesterday morning we decided to take the kids down to the beach to see the annual Polar Bear Plunge. In the end, only two of the four of us made it and our dog almost got run over.
BECAUSE THAT’S HOW WE MAKE MEMORIES, BLAND-STYLE.
We got ready to go down there about 20 minutes before the plunge. We should have started this an hour early, because we have small children who take half an hour to put on socks. But we like to live dangerously, I guess. Anyway, my daughter — who would wear a tank top and sandals in the snow if she could — was refusing to wear a coat and then decided she wanted to change her outfit completely. I had had more than enough of that mess (OMFG PUT ON A GODDAMN COAT!) so my son and I left with the understanding that my husband and daughter would meet us there when she finally got her shit together (spoiler alert: she never did).
The beach is a 10-minute walk from our house, down a busy road which usually has a pedestrian walking path along the side. Unless, of course, it is the day of the Polar Bear Plunge, and then people park their cars on the walking path so that pedestrians have to walk in the street. This forces traffic to choose between running over families or hitting oncoming traffic. I did not realize it was going to be a “Sophie’s Choice” of suicide or murder, so my son and I edged our way down the street as close to the parked cars as possible, with me trying to keep me son walking forward which is a shockingly difficult thing for a 5-year-old boy to do when there is sky to look at and feats of balance to achieve:
“Hey Mom! I can walk with my eyes closed!”
“NOT NOW, BEN!”
And then there was the dog, who does not understand what it means to walk single file. I ended up pulling him along with his leash between my legs (don’t ask…I have no idea how it ended up there). All of a sudden, I heard the car in the lane squeezing past us brake quickly. I look over, and there is Chewie, who has managed to work his way out of his collar. He is standing in the middle of the road, with no collar on, looking at me like, “Uh…am I gonna get in trouble for this? I feel like I’m gonna get in trouble for this.”
I yelled, “OH SHIT!” and dashed out into the road to scoop him up. I gave a “hey thanks for not killing my dog” wave to the driver (he did not wave back), and went behind a car to recoup and also freak out just a little bit.
From there on out, we went hiking. I was not willing to go back into the street, so Ben and I hiked along the embankment on the other side of the parked cars. I didn’t care if it was going to take a compass and a machete to get through the foliage, I was NOT going back on that street.
So yeah, this was all going beautifully. I wanted to respectfully tender my resignation to life at that point. I don’t see how I can be expected to work in these conditions.
Despite all of this, we did make it to the beach — about 1 minute after everyone had already gone in the water. There to see the end of the festivities, it’s the Blands! We’re all about “3-2-1-Hurray! Oh hi, Blands! You just missed it!”
We stood there holding hands, watching everyone dry themselves off. I said, “Well, Ben…do you want to go look at the funny costumes people are wearing?”
Ben said, “I want to go home.”
Mike and Megan came to pick us up, and we went back to the house. I told Mike our tale of woe, and he said that this was exactly how our family makes memories. I’m terrified that he is right.
So, bring it on, 2013! I started you by nearly getting my child and dog killed on the way to see people in viking helmets jump into freezing cold water.
What else you got?
The angry otter and I are waiting.