Alex and I love the mountains and have been looking forward to the day we turn our city kids into hikers. We chose an "easy" trail to start -- four miles round-trip with an 1,100 foot elevation gain and a killer view -- in the Cascades just forty minutes outside the city.
Our day of nature started off shaky, however, when Lucien eyed the destination peak from the parking lot and asked where the elevator was. I told him there wasn't an elevator and he said, "Do I at least get a ladder, then?" I began to suspect the hike was going to be an uphill climb in more ways than one.
I missed you, smell-good mountain forest
Halfway through the hike, Alex and I each had a frowny-faced child on our shoulders. The kids hung in for as long as they could but the trail was steep and their legs are short and that was not a pleasing combination. As I dragged Lucien up the last part of the trail by his arm, he detailed all the ways I was a horrible mommy for making him do this.
We reached the top and discovered the view almost completely obscured by fog and a sheer cliff staring us in the face. We didn't stick around too long. Good news is the way down was a lot of fun. Lucien practiced counting to 100 about 100 times, which wasn't annoying at all.
That's a cliff behind my baby. Gimme a mother award!
Despite the crabbiness and the fogginess and the incessant counting, Al and I were euphoric to be out there again. There is nothing like the smell of the Pacific Northwest -- fresh and piney and damp earthy with an occasional whiff of red licorice. (I had Twizzlers in my pocket.)
That evening, Alex and I attended a fundraising auction organized by our friend, Seattle Dad. He's part of an organization whose members hit up their friends for money so they can take fancy vacations to Belize and Nicaragua and pretend to do "good work" but they are fooling no one.
While getting ready for the event, I became clothing illiterate. I couldn't pull a decent outfit together to save my life. At one point I looked like a Golden Girl. At another point, Alex said, "You look like you're mentally deficient and you dressed yourself for the first time today." There was an impressive mountain of discarded clothing in the corner. I ended up in something safe and boring and am very fearful I've lost my Paris style mojo.
There was a silent auction and a live auction at Seattle Dad's event. For the silent auction, I had my eye on just one thing -- a set of handmade Zambian chickens. Unfortunately, several other people also wanted the handmade Zambian chickens so we circled and eyed each other for an hour. The bidding got intense until I finally decided the Zambian chickens were too rich for my blood and walked away with head hung low.
In a related thought, silent auctions turn friends into enemies. What was at first friendly wine-drinking and chit-chatting turned into, "B*tch, you best not be bidding on my spa package again." Sleep with one eye open if you're ever a winner at a silent auction.
I have to mention Tuna Fish Girl. Tuna Fish Girl was drunk. I met her swaying in front of a case of 100 cans of tuna. She really wanted that case of tuna. She wanted it so badly she'd even outbid herself. She'd outbid herself by so much, I didn't have the heart to tell her she could buy tuna for less than half that price down the street at the supermarket. She said the tuna fish was going to be "the best gift ever" for her boyfriend. I'm not sure what kind of kinky sh*t those two are into, but I do hope she won the cutthroat bidding against herself.
Alex was later handed his envelope of items he'd won in the silent auction. He proudly pushed the paper towards me, and there was the undeniable proof my Al is the best -- he'd won the handmade Zambian chickens, slid in there two seconds before the auction ended and outbid all those horrible chicken-coveting harpies. I love that man.
We're Zambian chickens. Who the hell are you?
The live auction was a different kind of crazy. It's a bad idea to have a live auction after everyone in the room has consumed large quantities of free wine at the bar. I think a lot of people woke up the next morning and said, "Crap, I bid WHAT for that seven-day golf vacation? I don't even golf!" Maybe it should be a requirement people pass a breathalyzer before claiming their auction items, but then I guess there wouldn't be much money raised.
A friend at our table, Portland Dad (finally, someone with a different name on this damn blog) grabbed Alex's bid number several times and bid "for" him. It got tense when Portland Dad bid $4,000 for a new heating system on Alex's behalf, especially when we don't even have a house to heat. We mouthed to Portland Dad "We will keeeel you" and made strangling motions until, lucky for him, someone who actually had a house outbid us. Then we all had the biggest laugh ha ha still friends, silly!
It's Alex. No idea. It was late.
Alex and I won some great stuff. In addition to the Zambian chickens, we won a V.I.P. day at the racetrack for four people, trapeze lessons for me and Al, private swimming lessons for Lucien with the coach of the Seattle University swim team, and a five-course Indian meal prepared at the house of our choice (it will not be ours because we don't have one) for six people. Alex told me to win the Indian dinner "no matter what" so I bid my little heart out until I won. Then Alex said, "OMG, you bid WHAT for the Indian dinner? OMG!"
You should know by now, Al, that when you tell Mama to win, MAMA IS GOING TO WIN, WIN, BEAT THEM ALL even if it means certain bankruptcy.
After the auction, unfortunately, there was karaoke. As the place cleared and people gathered their loot and went home, everyone we knew was still there being obnoxious and terrible.
Al and Portland Dad doing "I'm Too Sexy."
Gumby suddenly and inexplicably showed up, which made me nearly pee myself.
I didn't ask either Al or Portland Dad if I could use the following footage because I was afraid they would say no. It may disappear suddenly one of these days when they discover it so let's enjoy it while we can. The guys are horrible but it's Inexplicable Gumby that really sends this one over the top.
Happy Valentines Day, all. Fingers crossed you receive Zambian Chickens from your loved ones, too,