Sisterly Edition of Birthday Countdown

I hope you liked my first post about the countdown to my birthday!  Before we continue the list, I quick story.  My sister called me after reading yesterday’s post and said,

“I just read your blog post.  All this time I thought you were turning 30.”

I wish I could say my response was cool and casual.  Something like, “No 29.  Gosh, you’re silly.”  This was not the case.  I felt like she had slapped me across the face.  How could she forget!  How could she age me an extra year!?!

After I wiped the foam from my mouth, I thought about my reaction.  I was a little surprised at myself.  If this were three years ago, I don’t think I would be upset if she thought I was turning 26 instead of 25. I like to think I have a handle on this whole getting older thing.  I tell myself ‘our culture is too obsessed with youth’ and ‘age is just a number’ and other mantras to ease my transition into ALMOST 30.  Clearly, this ride could still get bumpy.

This next part of my list is dedicated to my sisters.

29 THINGS I HAVE LEARNED IN 29 YEARS:

a list in 29 days

Day Three: lessons from sisterhood

3. You are the oldest – it’s always your fault.

I’m the oldest of three girls. Being the oldest is pretty tough job mostly because your parents have no clue what they are doing. You are the guinea pig child, and it’s about time you got used to it.  If you’re lucky, your parents will create younger humans who share your genes and will understand the uniqueness of your childhood experiences.  Sisters (and brothers) can be the best.

BUT, if you are the oldest sibling, it is important to know that everything will be your fault*.  Growing up, every tear or scream from your little sisters is assumed to be the result of some cruel torture you have inflicted.  Guilty until proven otherwise.  Even if circumstances prove that you are not to blame for the most recent meltdown, you are still expected to make concessions.  They are younger than you after all! Plus, my baby sister had dimples and really knew how to turn on the water works.  Don’t think for one second that she didn’t abuse this superpower. This will result in countless (and seemingly unjustified) occasions of playing ‘baby’ games, giving up toys, changing the channel, or being sent to your room.

Even once all the siblings are grown, there are times when you have to step up and be a scapegoat.  ‘She’s in a mood – don’t provoke her!’ or ‘She’s sensitive about (insert the issue of the month), why did you bring it up?’  I’m sure it probably goes the other way around, but this is my list so back off!

4. Even if it sounds like fun, it might not be a good idea.

Although learned in childhood, this is a lesson that stands the test of time. One evening, my little sister (approximately 4 years old at the time) created an excellent game. It essentially consisted of spinning around until you were sickeningly dizzy. (There was a second phase of the game that involved jumping on pillows in a certain pattern, but that isn’t relevant to the story.)  While taking a break from the game, my little sister was spinning ’round and ’round (as per the rules of the game) when she fell and hit her head on the coffee table.  She stood up and I spied blood POURING down her face directly between her eyes.  I managed to walk her into the next room (very calmly for my young 7 years) where my parents were watching t.v.  Panic ensued as did a trip to the emergency room. I was yelled at because, of course, this was all my fault.  (See #3) In hindsight, spinning around until you cannot stand was probably not the safest form of recreational activity.

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Except she wasn’t smiling, and her face was bloody.

This lesson can also be applied to:

  • Sledding down a giant hill directly towards a parked car
  • Staying out until 3 a.m. the morning before a final exam
  • Diving into a pool with a glass bottle of beer in my hand
  • Kissing guys who aren’t *technically* single
  • Removing items of clothing in a frat house

5. Sisters know you the best and can hurt you the worst.

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Sisters!!

Your sisters can be the most wonderful people on the planet.  Your sisters will have the ability to drive you completely insane.  Your sisters have probably seen you at your worst but will celebrate with you at your best. They know your insecurities just like you know theirs; please use this information for good and not evil.

You don’t have to be the same people, so don’t bother trying to change them into your clones. Enjoy them when you can because they probably won’t live down the street forever.  Remember you all come from the same place, so they are the only ones who know exactly how crazy your parents truly are.

 

*Ok, the times when I would pin you down and threaten to spit on you…that was mean.  I definitely deserved punishment for that because that was really gross.  Thanks for loving me despite it.

 

Great American Vacation – The End

So, I’m the worst.  No, I have not been on vacation for an entire three weeks.  After (FINALLY!) reaching our destination, we spent two full days in Seattle and then started the journey back home.  While mom and Baby Sis had a three day drive to Mississippi to look forward to, I hopped on a plane and made it back home to my apartment in just 7 hours.

The trip was great.  We took my sister and her boyfriend to my favorite tourist destination: IKEA.  I love an IKEA.  I could go there every weekend.  And having lunch in the middle of your shopping day is probably the best idea anyone has ever had, ever!  I personally enjoy the chicken strips (I clearly have the sophisticated taste buds of a seven year old).  We got some furniture because when we arrived all Middle Sis and Boyfriend had was a bed and a couch.  Because I had put together all of my IKEA furniture myself (a coffee table), I decided that I was a furniture assembly expert.  Guess what?  A dresser and 2 night stands are WAY harder than a coffee table.  What was I thinking?  When I showed Middle Sis the first finished night stand, I also handed her a few parts that ‘clearly weren’t necessary’.  Whoops!  But the drawers opened and the table stood upright, so I considered it a job well done.

A few other tidbits from our trip:

– The Great Debate.  My mother wanted to use a map (she bought an atlas with all 50 states just for this trip) while Baby Sis and I relied on GPS and Google Maps.  Every time a potential discrepancy in the directions came up, we debated which device would give us the right answer.

– Mom can’t use a smart phone.  Even though she has an iPhone, mom is in constant need of tutorials on how to work it.  And if she makes a mistake, she gets very flustered and wants to give up on technology forever.  “Well, I was trying to do what you said, but now everything is shaking on the screen and I just want — will you just do it?”

– We never went to see the space needle.  While driving around, we occasionally spotted it from afar, but I never took the time to take a picture.  I remembered this at 4:30 a.m. when Middle Sis was giving me a ride to the airport.  Here are the results:

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– Yelp! is the best.  We used it countless times on our trek across America.  Yet another feature of the smart phone that my mother doesn’t understand.  While looking for Mexican restaurants, I came across this picture.  Why no one in my family wanted to eat there I do not know!

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I’m not sure my sister’s boyfriend knew what he was agreeing to by letting us stay in their new apartment.  That means my mom, myself, and both my sisters were all under one roof for 72 hours.  (I’m not sure I completely thought it through myself.)  But honestly, we had a good time.  We haven’t spent that much time together (outside of the holidays) in ages – and that includes when we all lived in the same town.

Although it wasn’t a luxury vacation, I’m really glad I went.  I love my family.  However, if my mom had said ‘Driving across the U-nited States!’ one more time in presence, I might have screamed.

Great American Vacation – Day 3

We are almost to Seattle. As I type this (in the car), we are approximately 90 minutes away. It’s been a long two days. And I mean LONG. Let me give you an idea of how my morning started:

Mom: If anyone says one more ugly thing, we are going to have a prayer together before we leave this parking lot.

That’s right. At 28 and 23 years old, my sister and I are still being threatened in the car – however, I’m not sure if we’ve ever been threatened with prayer. Mom might be losing it. The bad moods can be attributed to spending last night driving around until 11 p.m. in order to find a hotel with a vacancy. If you are ever driving through Montana in the summer, call ahead and make a reservation. Specifically in Livingston and Bozeman. I was so tired that I barely had the energy to change into pj’s. (So, sorry for now true Day 2 update.)

The reason we drove so late was because we saw Mt. Rushmore which was pretty rad. The best part was getting to watch all the bikers who were there, too. Apparently the largest biker rally in the country is in Sturgis, South Dakota and it just happens to be going on right now. I have never seen so many leather vests, black boots, and Harley Davidson logos. Here are some photos for your enjoyment:

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The last thing I have to report is that karma really exists. While I was sharing the backseat with all of our stuff, we were all enjoying the best snack ever: dark chocolate covered acai berries. I was passing a few delicious berries to the front seat and a few were dropped. Mom and Baby Sis yelled at me and told me to pick them up. I insisted this was impossible because of the large amounts of stuff everywhere. I passed some more to the front and more dropped again! I was yelled at a second time and finally just gave up on eating a snack. I still did not attempt to pick any of them up (because I didn’t see anything!).

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The junk on the backseat.

When I got out at our next pit stop, I found two berries on the floor by my feet. Problem solved, right? Well, inside the store I turned down an aisle and my mom started laughing hysterically. I’m talking full-on hyena mode. Then, she pointed at me and Baby Sis joined in on the joke. You guys, I had no idea what I had done, and I did not like being left out of the joke. Other people were staring at us. When my mom looked up from the soda display she was leaning on and wiped the tears from her eyes, she informed me that there was a chocolate covered acai berry stuck to my butt.

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Berry on the Butt!

Well, lesson learned: If you drop candy in the car – find it! That candy will find a way to affix itself to your ass.

Great American Vacation – Day 1

Well, on Monday we started driving…..and driving and driving. Mom wanted to get an early start so the plan was to be on the road at 7 a.m. Baby Sis informed us that she had gotten practically no sleep and was extremely tired and wanted to go back to sleep as soon as she was in the car. We picked up our stuff and walked Out the door. See you in a week apartment! Although we parked in a close spot by Chicago standards, Mom complained a little about ‘walking 5 miles to the car’. (It was maybe one block, literally around the corner.)

Due to her exhausted state, Baby Sis had absolutely no patience for anything – especially the way mom was packing the car. She insisted she be able to pack everything herself, the whole time complaining about how much we had overpacked. Finally, all the bags were stuffed in the back seat along with a few of Middle Sister’s things which included two lampshades. It didn’t take long for something to fall and crush one of the lampshades a little. Whoops! Baby sis was asleep when that happened, so mom and I just let it stay crushed for a little while because we didn’t want to wake the beast.

At noon, Baby Sis woke up with a brand new pleasant disposition and happily took over driving. We decided that the personality we had met earlier that morning was named Sybil. Mom and I spent the rest of the day trying to keep Sybil at bay!

Other highlights from Day 1 of driving:

  • When Mom was planning our route, she completely overlooked the fact that we would be driving through Minnesota. This meant, the whole time we were in Minnesota she kept saying “I just forgot about Minnesota!”
  • Our lunch at a Wisconsin Applebee’s was very satisfying. We didn’t feel the need to snack at all before dinner. I recommend the turkey/bacon/avocado sandwich on the lunch combo menu.
  • When we informed our waiter at dinner that we were driving to Seattle his response was ‘Why?’ My response should have been: Why not? Where’s your sense of adventure? Other than an occasional Sybil episode – I really enjoy being around my family. Instead, I just kind of mumbled something and ordered a cheeseburger. Maybe we should stop telling people we are driving to Seattle.
  • If you are ever in Mitchell, South Dakota you should stop by the corn palace and check it out. We did NOT stop – and I fear this regret will live with me forever!!

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Great American Vacation

My apologies for having nothing to update recently!! However, this next week is sure to be eventful.

My middle sister is all grown up and has just moved to Seattle with her boyfriend. Let me tell you, Seattle is FAR away. Anywho, my mother and my baby sister and I came up with a somewhat crazy little plan: we will drive from Chicago to Seattle to help her get settled in. So, mom and baby sis packed up the car in Mississippi (mostly filled with more of middle sister’s stuff) and drove to Chicago on Saturday. Since we were going to be spending at least three days in the car together, we decided to take some time and do something fun in Chicago.

What was my suggestion? Go see the Book of Mormon! This show is SOOOO GOOOD. I had already seen it once, but I made the personal sacrifice and decided to go and see it again. As we were getting ready to leave for the show, I warned my mother about some of the content.

Mom: Kate, I’m a grown woman. I don’t know why you think I’ll be so shocked.

Me: I don’t, Mom. I just wanted you to be prepared for words like ‘fuck’ and ‘clitoris’ and the like.

Mom: Well, I’ve heard those words before. I’ve even said thm!

We all had a great time – Mom is a fan of raunchy humor. My favorite part of the show hands down was the actor who played Elder Cunningham. Ben Platt, who you might know from Pitch Perfect fame, was absolutely hysterical and completely adorable. The first time I saw the show, I was with middle sister (she was visiting and had not yet moved to Seattle – duh). She insisted that I should track Ben down and become his best friend. I guess she thinks that being in the theater means I must know every working actor in Chicago. So, like I do with any guy I’m crushing on (famous or not), I looked him up on the internet. Guess what?? He’s like 19…maybe 20 by now. Ugh, that made me feel old. But he’s still totally precious and if given the chance I would definitely become his best friend.