Funny Things We Have Done
Greg and I have been married for a number of years and we’ve definitely done some stupid and funny things together! Since this past year has held so many challenges and changes, the ability to laugh at ourselves brings relief and even respite from the stress. (see Preventing Burnout) You will enjoy some of our reflections and we’ve worked hard at coming up with things we’ve learned through our experiences, though you may come up with your own that make more sense to you!I hope you laugh at least little and by doing so, uncover some stories you can share as you look forward to the holidays. Laughter is truly a wonderful medicine and you will find many of your stories will be embellished and grow through the years! This is especially true if you have children—they will do it for you! We can now sit back and enjoy their memories and laugh right along with them. (see Growing Old Together)
#1 Funny Thing: The Banana and Popcorn Diet
We were just married and Greg was playing pro ball with the Indians. We arrived at spring training in Tucson, AZ three days after our wedding. Greg was fairly sure he’d be released as he had a hurt arm, which did happen. Instead of heading back to California, we decided to travel across the country for a month and visit all our friends.
Greg never thought about what he ate—it didn’t matter much while he was playing, but I was concerned for myself. I had heard banana diets worked and were very good for you, as well popcorn. So I decided we’d both follow suit. The result was our single focus on a good steak dinner or finding a waffle house after depriving ourselves. Needless to say, those diets did not work for us.
#2 Funny Thing: No Clear Directions
We were still on our extended honeymoon traveling across the country, now visiting a baseball friend of Greg’s in Johnstown. Our directions were less than perfect, as we were told to get on the Pennsylvania turnpike and turn left at the first cow, or something like that.
I was multi-tasking as usual, either working on my needlecraft Christmas ornaments or writing endless thank-you notes from our wedding. (we had a very large wedding!) What I remember is looking up and saying, “I think we were supposed to get off there.” This did not go over well. If you know anything about turnpikes, there are very few offramps. After a number of miles, we were able to turn around and now the offramp was even more unclear. Not a lot was open in Johnstown as this was a Sunday. We found a dingy looking bar that had a pay phone—as it was before cell phones. Eventually, we did manage to contact our friends and they came & found us.
What we learned: Stack your priorities. What was most important was looking for the correct offramp & paying attention. (note to self!) Also, get good directions or have friends that will come and find you!
#3 Funny Thing: Sleeping Under the Stars
It was blazing hot and our upstairs small apartment was stifling. We had no air-conditioning. When my parents went out of town for a couple days, we came up with this great idea. We’d spend the night at their home and drag the sofa bed mattress out on the back lawn to stay cool
It sounded brilliant and we were looking forward to a comfortable night’s sleep under the stars. It started out just fine. We slept with just a sheet over us, but when we awoke, the morning dew had done its work. My hair was drenched and the top sheet was also dripping wet. We were very lucky my dad didn’t yet have automatic sprinklers installed because I’m sure those would have come on as well!
What we learned: Sleeping under the stars is wonderful but be ready for nature’s elements. There’s a good reason for tents. Our final solution was to get a couple very good fans for our apartment.
#4 Funny Thing: Microwaving a Turkey
I had just gotten a new large microwave, our first, and was very excited to try a couple new recipes. I was not tremendously adept at cooking, but I felt I could at least try something special. We were having both sets of parents over for Thanksgiving and I was going to microwave the turkey. It would save time, plus the pictures looked wonderful.
The result was a dried-out carcass of a large bird that was shriveled and dry. We could barely get any meat off the bones. Fortunately, I had enough side dishes to get through the meal, but any time I mention I actually microwaved a turkey, people laugh for some reason! Maybe they tried it too?
What we learned: Don’t always believe those enhanced recipe pictures, especially if cooking for an important event. Stick with the basics!
#5 Funny Thing: Eating Wedding Cake
It was a tradition, saving your wedding cake top to eat on your anniversary. Ours was tucked away in my parent’s freezer all year. We brought it out on our first anniversary as we were going to spend a couple nights in Santa Barbara to celebrate, a couple hours from where we lived.
Trying to be frugal, we decided to only use cash for this trip. This was before debit cards, although we did have a credit card for emergencies and a checkbook. We did fairly well on our budget until started home. It was mid-day and we’d have traffic so we needed to eat. Just then, we realized we had very little cash and only the wedding cake. We surmised the carrot cake was healthy (see banana diet) but we both wanted some protein. All we could afford was a .39 McDonalds hamburger we ended up splitting. We wolfed it down and ate cake. I wanted no more carrot cake for a long while after that!
What we learned: Budgets do work, but if using only cash, realize you should bring a little extra on a trip! (see Managing Finances through a crisis)
#6 Funny Thing: La Jolla
La Jolla was just an hour and a half south our home, but it sounded fun and a bit glamourous to stay at a hotel in La Jolla on our way back from a trip. I was still finishing grad school and Greg was not yet fully launched in his new career after baseball so we still pretty light on cash. The only room they had available was one with twin beds, but we were fine with it. It still sounded glamourous and we knew we could push the beds together.
The room was extremely small, reminding us of a matchbox. We thought that by putting the top mattresses sideways across the box springs, the bed would be more comfortable, but the opposite was true. Both of our rear ends sank down the widening crack of the horizontal mattresses throughout the night. It was by far one of the worst night’s sleep we’ve ever had and our experience didn’t end up so glamourous after all. We were exhausted.
What we learned: The focus on a glamourous experience didn’t pay off. We lost money we really didn’t have to spend as well as a lot of sleep! There are wiser ways to spend your money. Make sure you check out Hero Mountain Summit and the Roundabout Hero™!
#7 Funny Thing: Family Cruise
We had the opportunity to book our whole family on a 3-day cruise to Ensenada out of Long Beach. We had never been on a cruise before and raising three sons, we were watching the cash. I decided we could all fit in one room, as they were still in their teens. After all, it was only for two nights and we’d be fine.
Having all the food we wanted to eat at any time created a fun start for everyone. Our room looked more like a closet than a full room with pull-down bunks from the ceiling, but it would sleep all five of us as the brochure had advertised. We all stayed out for a while that evening and the boys discovered they could gamble playing cards as we were in international waters. As they came in our room to sleep, climbing in their pull-down bunks, we were looking forward to a good night’s sleep. But then both Greg and our youngest David, started their duo of snoring. There was no letup. The next night, Dan, our middle son, produced earplugs for all of us, but there was an issue. They seemed to work very well for both Greg and David, but not for the rest of us. They slept but the rest of us didn’t!
What we learned: We laugh so hard now with the memories of that experience! With a cruise, you spend a lot of time outside of your room, so in retrospect, we didn’t feel it was all that bad to share the room. This has been a story that grows every time it’s told!
#8 Funny Thing: Christmas Lights & Camping
We had a small used tent trailer we camped in for years until our boys surpassed the weight limit and broke the side extensions. One of our first years using it, we had all the boys pack their own bags. When we arrived we noticed our middle son, Dan, had packed a rather large suitcase. We couldn’t imagine what he really needed besides swim trunks and a sweatshirt. We found out that evening.
Out came a large power strip and very long orange extension cable. Then a huge string of multi-colored Christmas lights he had gotten down from the rafters in our garage. He decided it would be nice to have light while playing cards in the evening. He was right. But the bugs thought it was nice too. I’ve never seen so many moths and large flying beetles. Apparently, they love Christmas lights.
What we learned: We learned a lot about our son on that trip. Daniel currently is an attorney and is very specific and prepared in many areas of his life. We learned to relish those differences between our sons and enjoy their uniqueness.
What are Your Funny Things?
There are many more funny things I can think of, but they will be for another time! The important principle I want to leave you with is to be willing to look back on your life and laugh. As you do so, let your heart be filled with thankfulness that you have your memories. Even if circumstances feel less than perfect, you can choose to love, forgive, and remind others of their special worth to you. Holidays are a great time to take the time do this. Make them count. (see Making Family Holidays Fun)
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