Monday, October 14, 2013

The Smartest Kid

Growing up, September meant the Apache County Fair and with the Fair came the Carnival. A place filled with sketchy rides and even sketchier people. People we unwisely trusted to toss us about until we tossed our cotton candy.

Last month I was able to return after an absence of four years. The Fair was just as memorable as always and quickly turned into a contest of who could consume the most rubbish.  I was a strong contender.

After we had eaten all the ice cream, funnel cake, caramel apples, nachos, and Mexican food we could handle we gathered to the carnival. Since I felt myself an old pro when it came to the carni scene, I volunteered to go on the rides with the nieces and nephews.

The first was the Sizzler. A ride that in a spinning furry launches you in the crowd and snatches you back in. It was a personal favorite of 12-year-old Lora.

23-year- old Lora, not so much. I feel like giving birth would do less damage on a body. My taller physic made me highly susceptible to whip lash and it was a real treat acting as the cushion for other passengers to slam up against in an extreme version of “corners.”

It’s cool though. I broke a rib, but what’s that to a good ol time?

When the ride finally stopped, my niece Audrey called out to a local girl to help us out of the contraption we were currently trapped in. She replied “um, not I’m not staying here any longer,” and left. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to call someone, let alone a 13-year-old girl, an offensive word more than that moment.

Afterwards the family gathered to go on the Ferris Wheel AKA the bane of my existence. Nicholas, my oldest nephew, was equally not thrilled with this prospect.

I pulled him aside and told it to him straight, “Nicholas you can either go with me or that psychopath” I said pointing to his little sister Audrey, the known cage rattler.

I could tell he was really weighing his objects so I gave the kid a moment. “Ok” he whispered.

As we slide in our little cage Nicholas started chanting “we’re going to fall we’re going to fall.” I laughed and took this photo. When we reached the top I silently joined in on the chanting.

I kept trying to come up with comforting things to say, but all I could think about was the screw squeaking on my left and the likelihood it wouldn’t hold up for the remaining 8 minutes.

Finally I put on a brave face and leaned the cage forward, “Let’s look for grandma.”

“NO!” Nicholas shouted pulling me back in. And he went back to chanting “it’s getting faster, it’s getting faster”

At that point I diagnosed us as lost causes and just sat back praying the screw would hold.

To Nicholas’ surprise, we survived. With our feet safely on the ground, we found a bench to catch our breath.  Within minutes,  Audrey came running up asking if we wanted to go on the Tilt-a-Whirl. We glanced at each other and gave her a firm “no”. As she skipped away Nicholas relaxed and kicked out his feet.

“I’m the smartest kid here,” he said with a solemn look on his face.

“Oh, why’s that.”

“All these kids are just going to get sick and dizzy. Not me. Nope, I’m the smartest kid here.”

I took a good look around at the nauseous spinning lights and felt my bruised side, “Yes you are Nicholas.”

We spent the rest of the night on that bench watching the kids stumble from one ride to the next and every once in a while Nicholas would mutter “I’m the smartest kid here.”

Pre-carni terror footage below: 

Nicholas won the 4H Service Award and made a pretty penny on his Pig Twinkie. 

Don't be deceived by the smiles, Kyle wanted off that death trap. 

I really do have the cutest nephews.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lora Goes Rock Climbing

My name's Lora and I don't do heights. It's not that I'm scared. I just respect them... a great deal. And just like my respect for roaches, I stay far away from it. That's all. And if I do happen upon heights, I just whimper a bit...out of love of course. Not fear hahahahahaha ha ha ah. And even though some describe my reaction to heights as, say crippling, I say everyone shakes and cries when faced with pure happiness... right?

Ok so fine, I hate heights. I hate them. I hate them more than hang-nails and slow drivers, but when my friends suggested we have a go at rock-climbing, I thought why not. I haven't made a fool of myself in ages. 

Upon our arrival at the rock gym, I took a good look around and I knew I needed to mentally prepare myself for a hysterical breakdown. I calmed myself rather quickly, I mean the walls look high, but by no means impossible. Plus our group was peppered with nervous little faces that decreased my dread exponentially.

Since I was a virgin climber, I had to watch a video on how not to kill your partner. All it showed me was the various ways I would kill my partner…and that guys should shirk from such tiny shorts. 

Then a Rock Climbing Pro (RCP) came to show me the ropes. PUN!

In order to test my knowledge, he challenged me to only climb half-way up and then come down. Piece of cake. I started my journey and I have to say I thought I was pretty slamming. After all, there I was confidently latched onto a wall of questionable safety with a smile firmly planted on my face. I was basically this sans the mask:

As I continued up, a curious familiar feeling echoed through me.  It grew stronger and more forceful until I recognized my my old clingy friend Sheer Terror. Reunited at last.

Luckily, I knew I had surely gone above the half-way point and now I would be able to descend with grace and dignity. I glanced down, giving what I believed was  a relaxed smile, and said in a voice that sounded much too high to be my own “ok ready to come down!”

RCP: You’re literally a couple feet off the ground.

Me: “ummm, I’m pretty sure this is half-way.”

RCP: “yeah, it’s not”

I slowly grabbed two more rocks and lifted myself up. I felt my hands begin to quiver. At any moment my little fingers would give up their will to grip. I looked down from my higher perch and found his blond head give a disapproving shake.  After a few more “is this half-way?” we agreed on a mid-point. Sensing my not so subtle resistance to this whole adventure, he insisted I make it to the top. I insisted that he get me down that second.

I won. Dignity gone

With my feet firmly on the ground and the RCP gone to torture another victim, I convinced my partners that belaying was my calling in life and nothing was more fun for me than watching them scamper up the menacing cliffs.

I guess I didn’t quite convince them, because they were pretty determined to have me get above 10 feet. So out of pure peer pressure I climbed that stupid wall and I have to say it wasn’t that bad. Ok it was, but I did it so now I get to act brave.

To cement my small success, I commenced in "Lora and the Wall: round two." To my surprise, the second time featured a significant decrease in whimpering.

Oh and everyone else did awesome. Yay them...