The sisters tour

So my mother and I went on our annual mother/daughter vegas trip this year and a good time was had by all. I’m going to call this the “sisters tour” because from the very beginning, it became a resonant chorus of “I thought you two were sisters.”

Seriously, from the very beginning at the Spirit counter- the fast bag drop counter that is. OK, fast bag drop. Let’s address this briefly, shall we. First of all, I think you have all considered my previous rants about how Spirit tries to FUCK you over on EVERYTHING, but does maintain surprisingly low prices on their tickets in that the intend to RAPE your ass on every other item on the plane.

For example, you can get a round trip ticket to New Orleans for $106.00…provided you don’t check or take on any luggage, drink any water or other refreshment, don’t mind not being assigned a seat, and basically don’t urinate or intake any oxygen in the course of the flight. I personally have mastered the art of sticking it to Spirit. To that end, I packed for four days in Vegas in my Ironman backpack which fits conveniently under the seat. I win again.

Anyway, we were at the fast bag drop which had ONE employee working as opposed to the full service- we will charge you for this- bag drop which had FOUR employees- waiting our turn. Finally after providing full service to like fourteen people who were in the wrong line in a blatant attempt to avoid the charge, the Spirit lady gestured us forward to review our ID’s.

“Parmer and Parmer…” she said. “You two must be sisters!”

Isn’t that sweet! I thought. How nice of her to say that to my mom. Clearly she is just being nice. So I said, “Yeah, that’s right we are sisters.” And we bobbed along to cram ourselves into the 12 inch by 12 inch seating into Vegas. Frankly, not a bad flight once you drop about five vodka sodas carried on with my liquids (thanks Carla) onto the deal.

Once in Vegas, the fabulous Golden Nugget picked us up in the Limo and took us to their very swanky new RUSH tower. I had requested that my casino host move us as the North Tower had recently had some A/C problems on visits. So here we were poised to go into the swanky, youthful new section of the Nugget. SWAGGY.

Anyway, we are checking in and the VIP lady says “Oh, you two must be sisters!” Ummm, Yes, yes we are. (It’s still cute, right?) Hmmmm…

Well, we met our friend Steve and his parents Carol and Nick- they were staying at the Wynn as Steve’s cousin is quite the big wig in the Wynn. But in our honor, they slummed it down to the Nugget where we shot craps and generally ate our way through $1000 at Vic and Anthony’s steak house. Awesome.

About 11:30, I was done, having suffered from my usual insomnia the night before. So I threw Steve out of the Nugget and told mom I was headed to bed. I took a Zquil (on top of several Scotches) and went to sleep.

Turns out I had thrown the dead bolt!!!! Poor Mom. She spent an hour trying to get someone on security to let her into the room, and then for some reason the bolt was mis aligned and they couldn’t throw it. Finally, she got in. I was literally dead to the world.

As an aside I would point out that I did NOT lock her out intentionally because everyone kept saying she looked like my sister. But I did offer to let her lock me out the next day. Terrible.

Anyway, the next day featured two hours on the bike (half IM in April with my Dad- who apparently caused an oil spill in Galveston in an attempt to avoid this race) and a massage with Mr. Clean- my all time favorite sports massage guy in the country. Felt like  a new person. Then we went to Rao’s at Caesars and had a fantastic dinner. The tables were $50 minimum, so back to the Nugget for more gambling fun.

Steve actually played slots, which was hilarious because he had no idea what was going on, but all of the sudden he had $300. Also, the little Thai cocktail waitress remembered me and said “doubles?”- so I’m pretty sure you know where this one ended. Ugh.

Sunday was Brunch at Bouchon which was, as ever, AMAZING. Get this…lobster benedict. WTH??? Lobster with hollendaise? Um yes please. Also, at one point my mom had three different champagne drinnks in front of her…my inquiry resulting in a “fuck you, Betsy.” But what are sisters for?

But here’s the best story. So that night we had reservations at the SW steakhouse at the Wynn. It’s one of those Chrome and gray places, where all the mean queen bitch ass waiters are wearing like chartreause pinstriped shirts and matching vest and skinny pant pinstriped vest/pants combos. We were so NOT TRENDY that the promptly ignored us for the first 30 minutes. Oh wait, did I mention Steve’s cousin who is like super important at Wynn…was with us? She looked like a lovely 50 year old lady, but was certainly not one with the techno music and basic LA “You are not even as good as your waiter” attitudes.

But we had a lovely dinner, finally having corralled a chunky waiter to take our order. Bless that chunk. Then…the bill comes.

Well, Steve’s cousin’s husband had ordered a small steak. Nothing special. Just “i’d like an 8 oz steak.” When the bill comes, that steak is $300. It seems they have brought him Wagyu…which is apparently Japanese for “we are going to fuck your eyeballs out on this steak.”

Steve very calmly explains to our skinny ahole waiter that he did not order Wagyu. To which this genius replies…after sighing noticeably “Sir, it says clearly on the menu it’s priced by the ounce. And he said Wagyu when he ordered.” EXCEPT this jack ass did not take the order so now he has LIED to Steve. Who is getting really really pissed off now. Bring us the manager.

Enter the manager, who much to my surprise, was actually thinner AND bitchier than our waiter. Steve explains the situation and  he leaves, presumably to change the tab. Nope. He returns shortly after and says, “I talked to the waiter and he says the gentleman did order the steak, and I mean, was it a good steak, sir. I mean you ATE it, right?”

Are you fucking kidding me? It’s at this point that I pull $2k in hundreds out of my pocket and throw $300 on the table and say “fuck these people Steve.” Steve calmly tells me to let him handle it. Which I knew, but my point was “listen asshole, I have more than your monthly take home in my pocket.”

So Steve tells the guy, “You have two minutes to figure it out.” After which the guy throws the check on the table and says “well, (SIGH) I guess that’s on us.”

The whole time all I can think is…you IDIOTS!!! There is a woman at this table with Steve Wynn’s cell number. Hmm, lesson learned I guess. I will say this, she was so classy and silent during the entire ordeal, I presume she was watching to see how they’d handle it.

I’m going with FAIL.

I will say the Wynn and Encore were absolutely gorgeous! And, I have permanently place Steve, Nick and Carol on my travel list. What a blast!

Oh, and just for reference, the last words spoken to me on the way out of the limo…You girls must be sisters! Hope you had fun.

I did have fun, Sis!

Never had to have a chaperone, no sir….I’m here to keep my eyes on her. 🙂

Advertisements

Perfect every time…

I’m sorry, I just don’t understand!!!!! Oh my gosh, that was all I could think at the gym yesterday. It was the last thought that went through my head before I started crying. Yes, you heard that correctly, Ironwoman cried. Sigh.

So anyway, as you know I do Crossfit with Shawna for my strength training. It’s really hard for me to get there some weeks, and traditionally, this is one of my busiest months. (The holidays apparently give rise to many people joyously shouting “This is the last fucking Christmas I will spend with you by God”- in celebration of Jesus’ birthday) So, as usual in January- the great New Year’s resolution month- I have only been to the gym about 6 times. I’ve been running like crazy, but that strength training is important, I’m told, so I’ve been trying to get at least two Crossfit workouts in per week.

Anyway, yesterday sucked. All day sucked. I couldn’t get anything right. My clients were needy (you know who you are). And try as I might, it looked like I was going to miss the gym again.

Low and behold, I found myself speeding down 30 to make the 4:30 p.m. class so I could pick Claire up at 6:00 from play practice. It’s a miracle.

Anyway, I got to the gym too late to warm up. So, I changed and came out for strength training and the workout of the day (WOD). When I looked at the board, I was crushed. “Deadlift…” Deadlift is a particular lift focusing on the hamstrings and legs- Youtube it. Ok. There is not enough time to put it here.

Here’s the thing. Apparently (see previous post) I am the worst deadlifter in America. Seriously, I took Crossfit essentials to try and learn all these specific forms cause I really am all about form. And, I always thought I had pretty good form. I’m an ox, frankly. I can lift a lot of weight. It’s almost embarrassing.

But for the life of me, I can’t get my deadlift into a shape that our uberfit Coach Talon likes. And yesterday I was just NOT in the mood. I went all the way into the corner and hid. I thought “I’ll just knock these out as best I can…be reallly careful about form…and maybe he will just leave me alone. Because if he says anything today, I’m likely to cry.” (Thank you menopause.)

So I sneakily skulked into the corner, set up my bar and weights and started. I got about half way through when I saw him…his coal black hair shimmering in the gym light…heading towards me with his perfect 3% body fat body…that look of general disapproval on his face.

“No, Betsy. You are doing a stripper dip.”

Fuck me.

He then proceeds to show me for like the 10000 time how I am doing it wrong. I am watching people around me. I am looking in the mirror. I am watching Talon, like really watching him. And all I can think is…..

FUCK ME!!!! I STILL DON’T GET WHAT I’M DOING WRONG. THIS SUCKS. I HATE THIS. I HATE CROSSFIT. I WANT TO SHAVE ONE OF HIS PERFECT EYEBROWS OFF AND SHARPEE IT BACK ON WHEN HE IS NOT LOOKING. THIS IS THE MOST HORRIBLE WORKOUT IN THE WORLD AND I QUIT.

I literally considered resigning my membership right there. I’d been thrown off the rack earlier in the month. Now this…? Ugh.

But see that’s where Shawna comes in. She knows me so well-even from across a crowded gym. When we started the WOD, she ran WITH ME. (she can smoke me, I think we all know) She encouraged me during and hung with me after during stretching. And after, I felt BETTER, I really did.

Talon is a fantastic coach and I encourage ALL of you to go workout at crossfit with him. He has been very patient trying to describe this lift to me. And, he demands perfection-that’s what it’s all about- the Crossfit culture- of which I am NOT a part.

But, sometimes I don’t need perfection, I need encouragement. That’s why Gibson is my coach. That’s how she got me from fat 40 year old to Ironman. That’s how she will get me to a deadlift that even Talon will approve.

I won’t quit. I won’t cry. I won’t be 46 and inactive. I won’t give up. I will master this move. And then I will lift more than women half my age, cause that’s how I’m built.

So to my GF’s out there in training land- even Betsy cries at the gym sometimes. Shake it off and get it together. We have got this.

TBH…

I’m going to be brutally honest here. I don’t dress like an attorney. I wear what I like- try to look presentable and fashionable at the same time. Sometimes, however, I think my fashion choices are outside the parameters of the general legal community’s concept of acceptable.

Case in point…when I was full on Ironman training- I wore a lot of sleeveless dresses. First, I had generally done between 4-6 hours of cardio that morning in advance of court- so my metabolism was smoking, which in turn made me hot all the time. Second, for the first and perhaps only time in my life I did NOT have lunch lady arms, so I was all about showing them. And finally, I am perimenopausel so, you know, I’m freaking HOT all the time in the summer. To this day, two female attorneys and one judge still remark about me and “wearing sleeves.” So there you go ladies…explanation complete.

Then today, I wore what I consider to be quite a lovely emerald green pancho over black pants and black heels. I thought I was styling, but the first thing I got in chambers was “wow, that’s shiny!”

Really? With all the hideously ugly ties and terrible, terrible man cut suits, my pancho was so out of bonds it required a comment. Sigh…

OK, look, I know I am not the most conservatively dressed person at the courthouse. Maybe I show my arms too much. You will never see me in panty hose-ever. I think pantyhose are the devils instrument designed to choke our female parts. And, maybe, every now and then, I wear a very expensive guess motorcycle jacket over my slacks. But does that really merit this much attention? I’m like that kid in high school all the cool kids make fun of. Isn’t it ok to dress with a little respectful individuality?

If I go out today and buy navy suits and little black pumps and hose will people finally like me? Is it time to conform?

Meh, screw it. I gotta be me.

Greatest ten ever…

So Saturday I ran ten miles with Katherine. My running group was going Sunday, but I scheduled a round of really poor golf with some friends, so we worked in a long run on Saturday instead.

I love Katherine, and I hadn’t been able to see her much. Recently, she’d been spending more time doing hot yoga and barre class than running. She also managed to get herself enrolled at TCU and nurse her love muffin after his elbow surgery- all while working a full time job-wait two jobs.

Anyway, Katherine and I have the Betsy/Katherine rule. If either one of us wants to walk, we do- no complaints. So, since Kat hadn’t been running, we decided we’d do 10 miles. Makes perfect sense, right? Cause we are smarties who simply go out and “do” ten with no training. We agreed to employ the old run for a song, walk for a song method to get us through. Frankly, I didn’t mind. I had six 13 year old girls coming to the house for a sleep over that night, and I didn’t really want to be exhausted.

I have to say I had a blast. Katherine and I have an innate ability to entertain ourselves for long periods of time. We laughed, bitched, danced with each other (oh yeah, to Frank Sinatra at mile eight), told stories, mocked some teenagers who were trying to mock us ( take that you brats) and ended at the food court for a beer. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I had a fantastic time.

Later that evening, I dropped the girls at “Ron Burgundy” and the mall. I’m not really sure what went on in that room, but the next day the entire floor was covered in toilet paper. It seems they wrapped themselves? Not exactly how I remember it, but hey- better than getting arrested.

The next day I went to play split rail and had what can only be described as the worst day of golf in the history of the sport.  I dug so many holes, I might as well have been playing with a gardening shovel. Add to that the wind was OUTRAGEOUS! If you are a golfer, I think you know what I mean. I ended up back at the house with my family and my friend Sammy watching the football games- which turned into a vodka laden hilarious drunk fest. And all I could think was- wow- that ten joyful miles really set the tone for this weekend.

So thanks Katherine. Let’s do it again soon. kat and betsy

Lord help me…

Well, as you know I don’t exactly post regularly, now that I am no longer training. That may change here soon. For Christmas, I got my 74 year old father an entry into the Memorial Hermann Half Ironman as a relay. Yep, what a terrible child.

Merry Christmas Dad! Here’s a wetsuit and BTW you have to swim 1.2 miles. Have some more pie.

Seriously though, I know he is going to rock the swim, and Shawna and I will follow with the bike and run-I think you all know I’m NOT running. I can’t imagine anything better than seeing my father register as an Ironman athlete. Cool.

But again, I digress. I am really here today to post about the most successful thing I have ever done in my life. My beautiful daughter Claire.

Tomorrow, Claire Hinkle will turn 13. Wow! What an amazing, magical, horrible and tragic time in a young woman’s life. First of all, your body and appearance have completely changed. You may remember my slightly chubby daughter’s body image concerns from a very early post. Yeah, not so much. In the past six months this has happened. seriouslyWhat the hell kind of joke is that?

She is absolutely beautiful. But m ore importantly, she is pretty amazing. Let us all be honest, Middle School can be the most horrible period of any young woman’s life. Girls are MEAN in middle school. And, frankly, Claire’s school is no exception. But remarkably (and I don’t know how we did this) my kid is immune to the Machiavellian intrigues of most of her contemporaries. That is to say, if she is not singing, playing bass to Beatles songs, or in her room listening to music- she is spending little if any time being concerned with what other people think about her. She is kind, open, and self assured. She is a self proclaimed “geek” and a protector of kids who are weaker than she and those who are vulnerable to bullying. She proudly wears her pride bracelet-given to her by her “other parents” Sarah and Caren. She compares all exercise regimes to Shawna’s- and they never come out on top. She has her godmother’s hilarious sense of humor. She knows when she has hurt someone and does everything she can to make it right. In short, she has taken all the best from her parents and the village around her and made it part of who she is.

And, even though I may be the official grade nazi of the group, I want to publically state that I couldn’t be more proud of her if I tried. I couldn’t love her more if she was covered with $100 bills. I couldn’t value her company and opinion more if she was dipped in chocolate.

She’s practically perfect. She’s my teenager.

Love you Claire Bear.

A Tale of Two Ironmen

This past weekend was Ironman Arizona. Last year, in all of the hype and glory of my ironman, I agreed to execute sherpa duties for my friend Jules in 2013. To that end, last week I found myself preparing for the 16 hour drive to Tempe for another Ironman experience.

This blog is titled “A Tale of Two Ironmen” because along with Jules, our good friend Tracy was making her third IM appearance. A solid IM competitor, Tracy’s performance would have been according to the book but for one exception. She had a screw put in her foot this summer and only had about 6 weeks to train. Ouch.

Anyway, these two stellar ladies were making their way to AZ to fight the grueling fight in hopes of hearing those amazing words “You Are An Ironman!” announced over the loud speaker. A feeling you never quite forget.

Jules called me before we left, and due to a series of unforeseen circumstances, she was going to do her IM and then drive back alone. Her husband wasn’t going. Her friend wasn’t going. Really!!!??? No blame here but after the enormous amount of support I had for my race, I was CRUSHED that Jules would have all that stress before hers. And drive back 16 hours….alone? No ma’am.

Stacey and I moved my entire schedule so I could drive home. Cause that’s how I roll!! I texted Jules and asked her what I could do…pick up nutrition…drive her home…force Channing Tatum to go with. She replied that she preferred Hugh Jackman. Hmmmm….ideas….

So I texted all our friends and asked them to do their best Wolverine imitation so I could say “well I couldn’t get Hugh Jackman, but I got Travis Jackman.” I got about 12 of the most hilarious pictures- here’s a few of the best.rob jackmantravis jackman

Then  I shot off to the store to pick up a bunch of Ironman (the super hero) stuff, as well as dvd’s of Wolverine and Magic Mike for the road trip. grrrrrrr….

Jules and the lovely Stef picked me up, and we began our trek to Tempe loaded in an SUV full of equipment, water, and snacks…delicious chocolately snacks.

NOTE: due to Jules’ feelings about cursing, the following substitutions will occur in this blog…fruitcup will be substituted for the f word…shirt for the s word…golly gee willickers for the GD word…and any and all references to anatomical parts will be made in the medically correct terms. I don’t want to make a gluteous maximus of myself, after all.

Anywho…we shot down the road at about 90 most of the way. The first two hours were rough. I think we all know that I am NOT a speed merchant. And both Jules and Stef are pretty freaking FAST. So being trapped in a car with people who say things like “the workout was a joke…they were running 7:20’s for their mile repeats…It wasn’t even a workout.” was absolutely horrifying. 7:20’s??? I’m not sure I could even do that on a fruitcupping motor cycle. Also, I’m not really twerky about racing, so to have people say “you know, I don’t race to just finish”- like “finishing” is akin to self flagellating (not to be confused with flatulation- which will be addressed later.) That is to say OH MY GOLLY GEE WILLICKERS I think I must be in the wrong car!!!!! Where is Tracy when I need her.

Well, there is NOTHING like Naked Channing Tatum to even the playing field? Right? So I put Magic Mike on and rode in silence for the next two hours. Bless those abs….they are magical.

We spent the first night at Jules’ brother’s house featuring two jack russell terriers with jingly collars who I swear to Gee willickers have been trained to be nocturnal! They have a doggie door and bark like maniacs all night- then jingle through the door down the hall. The next morning as we were loading up, they were sound asleep, the little rats. But, they were adorable so you couldn’t get too mad.

We made Tempe in record time and decided to meet Tracy and crew out for dinner at Oregano’s. That was nice because I had a chance to be verbally abusive to Tracy, Kerby, the McKaskey’s and Pat Schuster before the race. And you just don’t get enough of that, do you? Four of Five vodka sodas later and we were off to the room for some R&R before registration the next day. (Don’t judge, with the exception of Jules, every IM athlete there had a beer…or two)

Off we go to the Village and registration the next day. Ironman has some excellent people watching, and this served to solidify my soon to be irrational fondness for young Stef of the “I just won Bronda’s duathlon overall by seven minutes” fame. She is HILARIOUS! We cavorted around taking in the sausagey people crammed into compression socks (for which I could clearly qualify) and waited for shell shocked Jules to return from registration. I also cavorted with the newly acquainted Barbi of volunteer and future IM fame. Good peeps all the way round.

So Jules gets all registered up. Then we are off to the mall to get a new phone where we stand at the AT&T store and watch a bald guy basically do an entire magic act trying to pick up the girl behind the counter. Amazing! No, not the magic. The fact that anyone would put that much effort into a girl half his age who was clearly more interested in finalizing the phone deal that watching magic. Buy a  more expensive phone, my man. You might have a chance.

Back at the room, I get a text from Tracy saying can we go to dinner at the same place because So Pro wants to meet me. Stacey So Pro McKinney is a speedy vixen who I’ve only met via facebook. Earlier in the week, Tracy had sent me an email exchange wherein she told Stacey she couldn’t just “walk in and meet Betsy”- to which So Pro responded “Fruitcup off you filthy whore.” so I was kind of excited about meeting her. Unfortunately, she stood me up. Shirt. More vodka with Tracy would have to suffice. OH…and Stef earned her nickname “dimples”- which involved a dance in her underwear that had me and Jules on the floor!!! Be jelly boys, be jelly!!!

Saturday, Jules slipped into her wetsuit (see, I have to CRAM myself into my sausage casing wetsuit, where as tiny Jules can slip into hers) and made the practice swim. We checked her bike and went back to the room to await the BIG DAY!!!!!

Ironman Morning!!! Man is there any feeling. I could tell Jules was nervous. She was quiet and a little introverted, not her usual self. We loaded her gear- Stef and I trying to stay cool. See sherpaing is an art. When your athlete is nervous- you are cool. When your athlete is forgetful- you are detail oriented. You make EVERYTHING happen for them so they can worry about one thing- racing. And I have to say, even though I LOST the closely contested race for head sherpa to Stef- I was perhaps the greatest assistant sherpa in the history of IM-kind.

We made transition and the waiting began. Fortunately, I ran into Jason and Lezley Maloy holding GIANT heads of their athletes. I love those guys. I finally met So Pro- who squealed with delight. (who wouldn’t? Everyone loves Betsy after all) And we waited for Jules to head to the water for the ominous and exciting IM swim start.registrationbig head

Stef and I bolted to the bridge where I guilted two giant men to let me stand in front of them. Before I was even settled, the cannon went off and the churning spiderweb began to expand below the bridge. Jules and Tracy were on their way!!! I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was for both of them.

All of our athletes made the swim, and Stef and I ran to the bike course so everyone could see our smiling faces. Soon enough, the bikes were away, and we began to jockey for position on the run course.

Here’s the thing, I knew Tracy would swim and bike easily. My concern was that foot. How in the world was she going to make the cutoff with that painful foot. 26.2 is a long freaking way to walk.

I made the finish line just in time to see Pat Schuster- our resident studly pro- finish in a time which I knew would be disappointing to him. Do you know why I love this guy? Well, I once watched a pro- let’s call him Atrick Vevoe- quit and be kind of shitty when he was having a bad race. I get it- they have sponsors etc…but it’s not my thing. Schuster freaking pulled a Barishnikov worthy finish jaunting from side to side with a huge grin- ending with a “thank you and good night!” at the finish line. Made my heart smile.

I ran into Stef booty dancing at mile seven to “Bitches and Drinks” (sorry Jules that’s the name of the song), and we waited for Jules. She ran by looking VERY unhappy. GI issues. The toots to be exact. Painful gas cramps are NOT a positive for an IM marathon, I can assure you.

Jules: I need to toot.

Me: toot!

Jules: I’m afraid I may poop myself.

Me: Poop yourself then! Won’t be the first time.

We stalked her for three or so miles and then found the Maloys, Kerby and Schuster to get an update on Tracy and a beer- which I frankly had to guilt Schuster into giving me because he had just done an Ironman blah blah blah. Which he finally threw at me and said “shut your face.” Ah, can you feel the respect?

I don’t know Kerby well, but I know this. I’ve never seen a man THAT concerned for his wife- that full of desire that she finish…that she not be suffering. It was amazing. Tracy’s foot was KILLING her and she too was having salt and cramping issues. But she was walking…moving. She was doing the one thing that is absolutely necessary in endurance racing. Not giving up.

At a little over 14.5 hours, Stef and I positioned ourselves at the top of the hill before the finisher’s chute. I saw Jules at the bottom of the hill. She was walking, but when she realized how close she was she started running. My eyes were watering like crazy (must have been an allergic reaction). I slapped her on her gluteous and said “Don’t you freaking walk again IRONMAN!!!”

Jules said,”I’m gonna cry…”

Of course you are- cry it up girl! You are an IRONMAN!!!!jules im

One down, one to go.

Tracy made mile seventeen. She had an hour and a half to get to 20 to beat the cut off. I tell you what. That Jason Maloy is amazing. He told her “Tracy, you have an hour and a half to make three miles. Walk. Just keep walking.” He was so steady and strong. With friends like the Maloys, Schuster, the McCaskey’s supporting her, I knew she would make it.

At midnight I had to take Stef to the airport. Jason sent me the video of Tracy, with Mike Reilly holding her hand, finishing with eleven minutes to spare.

I cried again.

“You go sister,” I said out loud to no one in particular in my car, as tears rolled down my cheeks.

I was probably just tired, right?so innocent

A Halloween Tale

This morning, as per my usual habit, I went into Claire’s room to wake her for school. She stayed home yesterday. She wasn’t feeling well. I put that off to the fact that she had been out of town with a sick friend of ours, and had somehow contracted the virus. Just a childhood disease, right? If only that had been the case.

“Wake up, babe,” I chimed in my usual happy tones.

Unfortunately for Claire, her mother is a morning person. She growled at me as she usually does, from deep within the cave that is her covers. Was it just me, or was that growl a little more gutturall this morning? Oh well, that’s probably just the congestion from her cold.

I gently prodded her through the covers.

“There is a cinnamon roll out here for you.”

I left the room, meaning to head the the kitchen. I realized I’d left my phone on her night stand, so I wheeled and reopened the door. The cinnamon roll was GONE!!! It hadn’t even be two seconds. I looked around for Sophie, Claire’s dog, thinking she must have gotten it. But Sophie wasn’t in the room either.

I could have sworn that dog was sleeping at the end of Claire’s bed just seconds before.

With no hesitation, I pulled the covers back and turned on the light. Claire was laying on the bed with her eyes closed.

“Come on, kiddon, let’s get going. It’s Halloween.”

“Ok,” she muttered rolling over to look at me.”

“Good lord child,” I exclaimed laughing. “That’s the biggest pimple I’ve ever seen in my entire life.”

Peaking on her chin was what could only be described as the Mount Ranier of adolescent pimples! It was a full three stories high and bright red and swollen.

“I know.”

“We are going to have to pop that thing, honey. That’s is disgusting.” It was the only answer.

Claire cried out in protest, “No!!! it will hurt!”

“I know, but you will feel so much better after.”

I fetched the needle, alcohol, neosporin and some matches prepping for the grotesque surgery ahead. She laid down with her head in my lap.

“Are you ready?” I asked.

“Go for it.” she bravely replied.

One small prick was all it took. The monster burst in a flow of green puss, blood and clear liquid. It was disgusting!!!

“There,” I said wiping the spot with alcohol. Don’t you feel better.

Before she could even reply, I felt something flutter under the cotten swab in my hand. When I pick it up, I gagged with revulsion.

A tiny eyeball was staring up at me. Blinking as clearly as I speak to you now.

In a voice not her own, Claire replied, “Yes, I can see things clearly now human.”

Imagine my horror as I saw two pimples form on either side of the first.

I ran from the room.

I’m writing this now from my office. I have to tell you that small pimple like bumps are forming on my hands where I came in contact with the original. It’s only a matter of time until I too see things “clearly.”

People of earth, beware.

Happy Halloween.

OK, bu the pimple part was true and it was NASTY.