Annapalooza

My Embarrassing New Year Resolution (Or, Here’s Why You Don’t Want Me on Your Softball Team) January 3, 2014

At first glance, one of my New Year Resolutions may seem a little odd. After all, I basically want to learn how to do something that most people learn when they are about five years old.

 

I want to learn how to throw.

 

Yes, you heard that right. I don’t know how to throw a ball properly.

 

You know those snotty kids who say things like, “You throw like a girl”? Yeah, I’m that girl.

 

You may be asking yourself, “How did this happen? Didn’t you have gym class? Didn’t anyone teach you how to throw?”

 

Well, call it a case of slipping through the cracks. If kids can graduate high school without knowing how to read, then I suppose this gal can be forty all grown up and not know how to throw.

 

Believe it or not, I actually played baseball from ages 6 through 8, and I could hit the ball well enough that I got on base 90% of the time. Heck, I even made the local paper’s illustrious rec league updates. Unfortunately for me, there was no such thing as “designated hitter” in Pee Wee League since my fielding was another story.

 

My ineptitude landed me in right field most of the time; if it was a special day maybe I’d be in left field. My catching was questionable at best, but then the real trouble came after I procured the ball. I was too young and naive to actually be worried about the ball coming my way (that would come later in junior high) so if it ever did, my throw would land maybe 10 yards in front of me, if I was lucky. If I tried to throw it harder, my aim would suffer. I’ll never forget the one time when I needed to throw the ball home. My throw instead ended up slamming against the other team’s bullpen fence, where all the kids cheered even louder as their base runner safely made it home.

 

At no time did my coach take me aside and show me how to properly throw. We weren’t coddled back then, folks. There were no participation ribbons, and we liked it that way! But getting back to my distressing story…

 

My poor throwing skills followed me throughout my gym class career, where I dreaded the days we’d head outside for softball. By junior high not only could I still not throw, but apparently I could not bat any more, either. (Or do cartwheels. This would later be followed by no more Tilt-a-Whirl rides.) When it came time to head to the outfield, I sprinted toward right field and hid behind anyone close by. If the ball did come my way (my worst nightmare), a boy in my class would sprint up to me, yell at me to give him the ball, and then launch it about five times farther than I was capable.

 

It was all for the best, I suppose. Just a tad humiliating though.

 

Come to think of it, most of my high school physical education career was pretty humiliating, probably because very little actual teaching happened. By that time the teacher just expected us to know how to play basketball or do things like say, throw a ball. I did have a few shining moments of glory: The time I hit a bulls-eye in the archery unit while everyone was watching; the four points I scored in a basketball game (hey, don’t laugh – this was a big deal for me); the semi-final finish in the HORSE contest; the dancing unit (of course I rocked that one), and badminton. Eat your hearts out, jocks.

 

It’s a bit pathetic that I still remember these things, however when you are picked last or almost last for all the team sports, you need all the sports highlight reels you can get.

 

So why am I so worried about this now? Why do I care about learning how to throw? It’s not like I’m going to be asked to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game anytime soon. And I’m certainly not involving myself in any company softball teams. For God’s sake, I have nightmares about that stuff, people. Plus I’ve found sports that I really enjoy, like tennis and golf and Crossfit-like workouts. (I can even flip over huge tires – so take that!)

 

Sadly though, my throwing DOES affect my tennis game. You know that nice snapping motion you’re supposed to have when you throw a ball? Well that’s the same motion that is needed for a nice strong serve. I don’t have it. At all. I have an awkward sidearm serve that confuses my opponents. I can’t tell you how many times they’ve asked me if I have a shoulder injury.

 

“No,” I tell them, “My serve just sucks.”

 

Luckily my weird motion and good placement throws them off a little, but if I want to take my game to the next level I need to step it up and learn how to serve – and throw – properly.

 

So in the words of Maria Van Trapp, my tennis coach informed me that we’ll have to “start at the very beginning.”

 

As a result, I may be the first person ever in history to have a tennis lesson with a football.

So I’ve got that going for me.

 

Why Shopping Alone Makes Me Cranky July 23, 2012

Filed under: Bargain Shopping,Humor,Self Deprecation — aniederkorn @ 7:30 pm

I went shopping by myself on Sunday.  No schedule but my own, nobody else’s agenda, no having to wait for someone else while they try on one more top.  I thought it would be awesome.  Boy was I wrong.  Besides having to eat lunch by myself, I discovered that I really needed someone else there to join in my snarky repertoire and overall shopping frustration.  As a result I just ended up being really super cranky.

So now here’s what I would have said, if I had had a shopping buddy along with me.  Notice the progression from mildly snarky to downright pissed.  All times are approximate.

1:30 pm: You people standing in line to get into the Coach Outlet Store are idiots.  P.S., Come to Oshkosh, there’s no line there!

1:35 pm: You people standing in line to get into the Vera Bradley Outlet Store are idiots.

2:00 pm: There is absolutely nothing I want at this outlet mall.

2:15 pm: Except for these shoes.  Uh…but they are $80 here and $80 in the regular store.  What part of “outlet” don’t you understand, Aldo?

2:30 pm: Speaking of not understanding, how is it physically possible for these perfectly healthy people to walk this slowly through a mall?  They have taken “strolling” to a whole new level.  Must pass these people as soon as possible.  On your left!

2:35 pm: I am so over outlet malls.  Never.  Again.  Unless it’s Woodbury Premium Outlets outside of NYC.

5:00 pm:  Salesgirl at Lucy:  “What don’t you like about the capris?”

What I really wanted to say:  “My thighs? Too much cameltoe?”

What I really said:  “They just don’t fit right.”

What I also wanted to say:  “Please stop checking in on me and reminding me this is the last day of the capri sale.  Your pushiness is about to make me leave the store without buying anything.”

6:00 pm:  Who the f*ck has exactly $1.10 in change for an unattended toll?  Now I have to remember to pay online, which I forgot once, and ended up paying a $60 fine.  Curse you, Illinois!

 

I may never shop alone again.

 

I Ran My First Obstacle Course July 8, 2012

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My gym recently created a pretty elaborate outdoor obstacle/adventure course.  To be honest, I took one look at that thing and instantly flashed back to my days in high school gym class where the only units I excelled at were dancing and badminton.  (Oh wait – I was also pretty good at darts, which at least helped me score some free beers in college.)  But as far as the obstacle course went, I’d rather do a matching bikini spread with Anna Kournikova than humiliate myself on that thing.  All I could imagine was getting stuck on the climbing wall while everyone else yelled at me to hurry up, just like Beth from Road Rules/Real World Challenge.[1]  

Flash forward a month as I am standing in a field in front of some logs, ready to begin the course.  I can only blame temporary insanity, false confidence and/or a Xanax stupor for landing me there.  My husband, who undoubtedly was one of those jocks I hated from gym class, is standing beside me, all pumped up on testosterone.  So naturally my eyes are shooting darts into him.

And so we began.

After a short warm-up our instructor starts showing us the course.  Many of the stations include extra burpees (which will be extra suckee.)  The whole explanation gets pretty long, so I may or may not have zoned out and started watching the high school boys in the field next to us as they were doing some summer athlete camp.

Eventually we get paired up, and I notice that we have an odd number of people in the class.  Of course I am left without a partner.  Not even my own husband would run the course with me.  Something about me not being able to keep up with him?  At first I was miffed, but then again we have a hard time flipping our mattress together, so it was probably best that we didn’t do anything that required any sort of physical teamwork.

The first three obstacles all involved logs. First, a series of long high logs that you had to either leapfrog over or squat under.  I chose the path of least humiliation, which was going under every single one of those suckers.  Next, I rode a rope Tarzan-style so that I ended up over a log.  It wasn’t graceful, but I made it.  Then it was onto a balance beam of two logs, which started out with a few false starts but then were manageable.

I was patting myself on the back for a bit until I got to the sleds, a.k.a. my own personal Pit of Despair.  The sleds are these metal contraptions you push on the ground, and I kept getting them stuck in tufts of grass.   I was still struggling in agony with them when the duo behind me caught up to me.  This was not going well.

I next had to run down the length of the field, stopping for a few burpees of course, before getting to this tangle of wire I had to bear crawl under.  After that I crab crawled (yes, another animal movement – no upright walking for this gal!) over to the monkey bars, stopping for a few burpees along the way.  By that point I am panting like Alec Baldwin after an angry Twitter tirade.

I can only pray that no one saw my monkey bar performance.  By “performance”, I mean that I managed to get across three of them and then hung there in agony until I fell off.  (By the way, these were sadistic, super-high monkey bars that went higher in the middle.  That really didn’t make too much difference to those of us who fell off way before reaching the middle, but still.)

After that, things got a little fuzzy and I may have been a wee bit confused about what to do next.  I curse those damn teenage boys who distracted me during the explanation part of things.   So I end up flipping a huge tire a bunch of times, then I tugged another tire back to me with a long rope. 

Soon my husband sees me and tells me that I missed a bunch of stations.  Well yeah…of course I did, there were no numbers on any station, and at that point I had no idea who I was following.  And you ditched me and left me partnerless, remember, Gym Class Hero?

At that point I didn’t care about the order of things, as long as I did every station.  Oh and I may have missed a few burpees here and there.  By accident, of course.

I do a few stations with a medicine ball and this long lunging series with heavy kettlebells which is the worst of it.  But then I still have to face my nemesis, which is the big wooden climbing fence.  Somehow we are supposed to use the slats on the side to go across the fence.  I never got the memo, but of course my trusty husband manages to note my cluelessness.  He yells something out to me, but by then I say, “Too late! I’m done!” and I’m on to the next thing. 

I do a tightrope walk (easy peasy) and then run with a loaded wheelbarrow around a cone a few times.  I jog through some tires, take a look at some web-thing, get confused, yell for someone to tell me what to do, get no answer, then jog back to the start to proclaim that I’m done. 

Surprise, surprise, my husband is there to greet me, claiming that I missed some burpees while pointing to the ground.  At that point I’m pretty sure my devil voice came out, and my head may or may not have spun around as I told him (through gritted teeth) to shut up and get me my water bottle.

Then something super crazy happens.  While I am kissing the ground, people start to do the course again.  This time we can omit the lunges, crab crawl and burpees.  More and more partners start up again.  Damnit, I am going to have to do it again because I can’t be a wussy.  And so I do.  Since I hemmed and hawed so much, I am the last person to start the second round and therefore the last person to finish, but I do.

I’m not going to tie this up with a pretty little bow and say that I am now an obstacle course convert who can’t wait to try it again.  The point is, I faced my fear and I did it.  And since I just entered my 39th year, I’d like to think that this kickedstarted a bit of a renaissance in my life.  I am now eager to try out some more new experiences, although the next one may be something a little gentler.  I’m thinking a new food.

 

 


[1] Beth is from MTV’s The Real World L.A.  She later appeared on Road Rules/Real World Challenge where she was extremely annoying and disliked by everyone.  Oh, and she pretty much sucked at most of the physical challenges and was ridiculed for being 40.

 

 

 

Besides Death and Taxes, These Things are Certain May 13, 2012

Haven’t you noticed that there are certain undeniable truths in life?  I have, and unfortunately most of them cause me great irritation – either with myself or with others.  Here’s what I’ve gathered so far, in no particular order:

1)      The one day you forget your camera, you will meet a celebrity, witness the most fantastic rainbow or have a Sasquatch sighting.  Case in point, Cabo San Lucas, November, 2005.

Me:  Think we’ll need the camera? 

Husband:  Nah. 

Two hours later, we meet Sammy Hagar at his restaurant, Cabo Wabo.  Grrrrr.

2)      The shirt on the 80% off rack will always be the one that appeals most to my husband.

3)      The moment I sit down to read my Us Weekly in peace, my husband will want to tell me every detail of his day.

Hmmm…those all have a common theme.  Love you, honey!

4)      When I go to the post office/grocery store/other errand place at noon during my limited lunch hour, all of the people without jobs will be there too.  In front of me in line.

5)      I will continue to check out five books at a time from the library, thinking I will finish them all on time.  I never do.

6)      No matter how beautiful your home is, going on a tour of new homes will always make you want something different.

7)      The moment you get on the phone, your toddler will either a) Start tugging on your legs, demanding to be held, or b) Have some thunderously loud accident followed by blood curling screams, making the caller think your house is constantly in chaos.

8)      The gynecologist will need to ask me to “scoot down” a minimum of three times.

9)      Whenever I travel by air, I will hear the following types of annoying phone calls:

          a)      The “I’m on the plane now” call.  There is always a person who calls to let one or multiple people know they   are on the plane now.  They must think it sounds pretty glamorous.

b)      The “The plane has landed” call.  The second the flight attendant makes the announcement about electronic devices, this person is on the phone alerting people that the plane is on the ground.  Again, why the play-by-play?

c)      The “look at me, I’m important” call.  You know these.  The business person who probably does not need to make that call, but they feel like they need to announce to fellow fliers how important their job is.  So they call the office anyway, spewing directions about some super important Excel spreadsheet and some “big deal”.  Insert eye roll here.

10)  Dog owners on HGTV’s House Hunters will always choose the dog’s needs over their own.  That house could have a chef’s kitchen, a spa-like bath and a prime location, but if that yard is not good enough for Fido, then the deal is off.  (And this would be the point I start yelling at the television).

 

What Was Your Worst Fashion Crime? April 30, 2012

If there’s one thing I pride myself on, it’s my personal style.  After all, I was voted best dressed in high school and in my freshman and sophomore years of college (okay, it was just for my dorm floor, but still it was an honor.)  Despite this, I still could not escape some of the terrible trends of the 80’s.  I wore some neon green nylon knee highs, rolled down over my tights. I rolled my jeans tight at the ankles.  I wore coveted Coca-Cola brand rugby shirts.  However, despite all of these embarrassing styles, I am most appalled by what I call my “Matronly Moments”.  Allow me to explain.

When I was in my early twenties, I had about the best body of my life.  Back then there was no such thing as Spanx, but even if there were I sure didn’t need them.  If I could go back and give my younger self some style advice from the future, it would be this:  “I don’t care if grunge is the rage! Quit wearing flannel shirts and start showing off that smokin’ body more!  And please put down that navy blazer!”

The navy blue blazer.  For a preppy like me, it seemed like a fabulous idea at the time.  It was a classic Ralph Lauren double-breasted blazer with a huge gold crest on the pocket as well as four rows of eight shiny brass buttons.  I wore it to my first job out of college.  I knew I had made a mistake when one of my co-workers asked me if I was a cruise director.  Sadly, she was right.  I suddenly felt like I was missing my clip board and activities sheet and was late for shuffleboard on the Lido Deck.  I felt like a giant a-hole, just like Danny Noonen did that day when Judge Smails asked him to stop by the yacht club for his boat christening.  What was wrong with me?  Why was I wearing something that was clearly meant for someone who eats dinner at 4:30 and calls a couch a “davenport”?

And then it hit me.  This was not the first time I had commited this fashion crime, and unfortunately there was way too much evidence of it.  I’m talking about my senior pictures.  Whenever my husband sees my hair in said pictures, he starts singing Flock of Seagulls songs.  (I can’t even retaliate and make fun of his horrible 70’s and 80’s style because he was pretty poor as a kid – and that would just be mean to make fun of his sleeveless tee shirts.)    That’s right:  except for the picture in my tennis outfit, my senior pictures looked like I had raided Mrs. Bluth’s wardrobe (aka Jessica Walter from Arrested Development.  Google it.)  There I was adorned in a ridiculous high necked formal, lacey top, as if the mother-of-the-bride section in the Jessica McClintock store had puked on me.  My other choice was a silk top that belonged to my grandmother.  Yes, you read that right.  I was wearing grandma’s blouse in my senior picture.  The real kicker was that every single outfit was peach, right down to my tennis skirt.  Why didn’t anyone intervene and stop this madness?  I’m all for modesty and taste, but this was ridiculous.

Unfortunately, those senior pictures are going to stay up on my parents’ wall for quite a while.  I better get used to hearing my husband’s rendition of “I Ran So Far Away.”

So tell me…what is YOUR worst fashion crime?

 

I Was Dumped by an 80-Year-Old November 22, 2011

Filed under: Humor,Self Deprecation — aniederkorn @ 5:22 pm
Tags: ,

The title of this post alone sounds like some messed-up episode of MTV’s True Life.  Sigh.  If only it were not true.

I take you back to the summer of 1992.  I was hanging out with a college friend who was working on campus for the summer.  Even though this girl was Italian, she was hell bent on going to Pulaski Polka Days.  (The mention of polka should now have you even more intrigued.  Either that, or it explains where an 80-year-old man might come into the story).

Pulaski Polka Days really do not need much explanation.  It’s another Wisconsin festival set in a very Polish town, but obviously it focuses on all Polka, all day long.  Oh and there may be some beer tents involved. 

Aforementioned girlfriend invites a mutual friend along, who then invites his friend.  But let’s be clear here:  they were actually two really hot, fun gay guys we secretly wished were our boyfriends.  We were in serious denial.  Anyway, upon arrival to our selected dancing tent, my friend and Gay One immediately take off dancing.  I was left alone with his “friend” who promptly ignored me.  Thankfully a cute little old man comes to my rescue and asks me to dance.  Even though I was all of nineteen and he was pushing eighty, there was no way I could turn him down.  Of course I would love to dance with you, Grandpa!

So we start to polka, but it doesn’t take long for me to notice that we are just not jibing.  Years of watching Polka Variety Hour before Sunday mass have made me realize that we’ve got a case of CPS – Clashing Polka Styles. 

You see, there are two kinds of polka dancers out there.  One is the bouncing, step-ball-change style (me), and the other is the more complicated, herky-jerky, I-stepped-off-the-boat-from-Poland kind (him).  Try putting the two styles together and you have one awkward mess.  I looked like one of the bouncing twins from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and he looked like he was trying to tame me by having a seizure.  Finally, he just stopped, shook his head and said, “I’m sorry, but this isn’t going to work.”

And then he left me.  I just stood there, alone and humiliated on the dance floor.  Dumped by an 80-year-old.  Oh, the shame.

 

20 Things I Don’t Wanna Do Before I Kick the Bucket November 14, 2011

I owe the idea for this blog to comedy writer Barb Best, who first published “25 Things I Don’t Wanna Do Before I Croak.”  Her hilarious list can be found here:  http://barbsblast.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/25-things-i-don%e2%80%99t-wanna-do-before-i-croak/.

So inspired was I by Barb, I decided to come up with my own list.  To quote Barb, it’s not a Bucket List, it’s a F*ck It List (sorry, Mom).  I will never feel the need to do these things.  For some of you, many of these things might seem fun or even downright dreamy.  Alas, not for me. I just don’t want to do them.  Ever.

1)  Get so drunk that I blame my embarrassing public behavior on “exhaustion.”  (Lindsey Lohan and Kirsten Dunst, you gals are a riot!)

2)  Purposely pet, touch, brush up against, or come anywhere near a cat or anything in the rodent family.

3)  Sleep with an NBA player.

4)  Watch any of the Saw movies.  There’s a reason why they are banned in several countries, and I know enough that I don’t want to find out why.

5)  Take any crap from smug, power mongering school secretaries.

6)  Read Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog.

7)  Have a deep conversation about politics and/or the environment with Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon or Leonardo DiCaprio.

8)  Watch another nauseating Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy.

9)  Go on The Amazing Race with my husband.  Simply moving furniture with him causes our marriage great distress, so I can’t imagine what map reading, puzzle solving, running and cultural misunderstandings (all under enormous pressure) would do to us.  I’m not against being on a reality TV show, however.  That is, if a new version of The Real World is created where they put some hip thirtysomethings in a cushy pad and hand them dream jobs, then sign me up.

10)  Completely remodel another house down to the studs.  Been there, done that, and I didn’t even do much labor.  It’s not as fun or easy as it looks on HGTV.  Most of the time it’s like the horror stories on Holmes on Homes; that show makes me break out in hives. 

11)  Occupy Wall Street.  Yeah, I already know that life isn’t fair.  It’s never going to be fair, and there are always people who will have more than I do, whether they earned it or not.  If life were fair then I wouldn’t have this large thigh gene and a vat of Proactiv Solution at age thirty-eight.  And that’s not even mentioning the most embarrassing  and challenging stuff that’s too personal to share here.

12)  Go on the Atkins Diet for life.  Sorry, but Mama needs her bread.

13)  Go bungee jumping.  Or base jumping.  Or skydiving.  You get the idea.

14)  Run my fingers through Brad Pitt’s beard.

15)  Join the Red Hat Society.

16)  Make crafts out of animal hair.  (Don’t believe me?  Check out this creepy book:  Crafting with Cat Hairhttp://www.amazon.com/Crafting-Cat-Hair-Cute-Handicrafts/dp/1594745250)

17)  Stop being a Green Bay Packers fan.

18)  Go parasailing in Mexico. It might have to do with this story:  One time in Mexico, the same guy who drove the parasailing boat asked my husband and me if we wanted to buy some blow.  Hmmm.  Let me think about it.  I don’t think so.

19)  Weigh more than my husband.  I just don’t want to be one of those couples where it looks like the wife could beat the crap out of her tiny husband.

20)  Get my picture taken while standing next to a professional model.  Except for a male model…that might be okay.