Tuesday, July 20, 2010


And we're back! Betcha didn't know I was gone, eh? That's because I'm stealthy like that. Cat-like. Has "cat-like reflexes" become a cliche? And didn't it originate in Tommy Boy? If both of these are true, I have a deeper respect for David Spade's influence on our cultural consciousness.
Anyhoodle, we were up in the hills, y'all-- the Black Hills, in the great state of SD. Surprisingly, this was our first whole family vacation; I've taken mini-vacations with the boys, and longer vacations with Greg, and even some trans-atlantic jaunts with my own self, but this was the first four in a car, cooler of bars, nest of brochures, gift-shoppin', fanny-packin', roof-stackin', old fashioned family vacation. It was a blast! The boys did pull the "are we there yet?" card before each (endless) tourist destination, but they got along famously, especially in light of the fact that the cooler took up one of the window seats in back, leaving a small opening for their two excited little butts.

It was a flashback-fest, too, because the Salbergs journeyed to the Hills when I was Kaden's age for one of our best family vacations... and that's probably why I always think of the Hills as being very 1987. Doesn't it seem that way, though? Not in a bad sense, or anything: Flintstone Park hasn't changed since my youth, fanny packs are still omnipresent, and every other apparel shop is itching to deck you out in hair-band regalia for Sturgis. See what I mean?

Some things never change

Okay, so I may have staged that last photo to resemble the 80s version. What of it? We still blazed our own path, even as we stayed in some of the same locales, and amassed a heap of new memories. Including some choice sound bites from the boys, which I would share... if I had my tablet, where they're archived in a word document. Never fear-- I'll get it back Monday, when I will generously share the wit and wisdom of my offspring. In their place, I'll leave you with the most glorious lake in this great nation:

Lake Sylvan, I adore thee!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Attack of the Junebugs

Reprinted with permission of myself from the Ft. Randall journal. The following is based on a true story that occured in June of 2010; no names have been changed, but several insects were justifiably harmed in the making of this story.

They don't bite, or smell, or burrow under skin (like the 90+ chiggers currently taking up residence under my flesh), but there is something about those big, bumbling Junebugs I just loathe. Case in point: June 9, 2010. Kade's baseball game at Beresford necessitated a late departure, and an even later arrival at Fort Randall-- 11 PM. Kade and I fumbled to unlock the door in the inky blackness of the moonless night and proceeded to flip on every light in the South trailer. In the words of Pretty Woman, in one of the most satisfying shopping-revenge scenes in movie history: "Big Mistake. Huge."

We heard a few ominious raps on the trailer, which soon became a full-on Night of the Living Dead scenario as every beastly Junebug and moth from miles around began head-butting the screen, glass, and metal, creating a hailstorm of 'clinks' as they mindlessly slammed themselves toward the light. Kaden and I valiantly slipped though the door to fetch our luggage, swatting our buzzy attackers (valiant but stupid-- we left the wood door open and the outdoor light on, creating a perfect spotlight on our path).

Three buggy trips later, there was only one load left: a sleeping Mateo. I dashed to car, threw open the door, and pulled a bewildered Mateo toward me. As I struggled to lift the limp 4-year-old into my arms, the light from the car's interior was drawing the Junebugs (which I keep capitalizing for some inexplicable reason) ever closer...

This is the part where, if this were a movie, everything would go all slo-mo as the muddy soldier lifts his wounded budy into his arms and musters all of his ass-kicking mojo to can to drag him to safety. This was my moment of glory, of valor. As I hoisted Mateo into my arms, a kamikazee bug came for my head; shouting "You Bastards!" I slapped the dumb bug toward the car window, killing it on impact. I cradled my child over both arms, sprinted screaming through the whirling cloud of insects into the trailer, and leaned panting against the closed door.

But the horror had not yet ended, friends. Three nasty Junebugs had slipped behind the door and were now knocking themselves senseless against the track-lighting (this is what my large brother-in-law and junebugs have in common, apparently). "Kill them, Kaden!" I desperately ordered my gentle 6-year-old. Unable to locate the swatter, we grabbed a broom and began blindly smacking the slow insects with even slower slams of bristles in a cloud of trailer dust. We finally corned one, and I flipped the broom to the more deadly plastic edge, pounding it on the doomed bug until death was 100% certain. We located and executed the rest in a similar fashion, leaving their carcasses in full view as a warning to would-be intruders: you mess with us, we will crush your crusty little asses.

This post dedicated to Kaden, who is today no longer a gentle 6-year-old but a manly 7-year-old. Happy Birthday, soldier!