Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jerry's Surprise Collection

Some people have collections.  Stamps.  Thimbles.  Salt and pepper shakers.  Souvenir spoons.  Turns out my husband is a collector, too, but his collection is quirkier than your run of the mill coins or even cigar bands.  

I stumbled upon his secret treasure when I was cleaning out the cabinet under the sink in our basement bathroom.  Why does he keep it there?  Because he is collecting Q-tips.  

"Don't put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear."
- Mrs. Sweeney, my third-grade teacher
(See?  I WAS listening!)
When you think about it, Q-tips are the perfect thing to collect.  No burglars will break in and steal them and adding to the collection won't break the bank.  Nobody had to file bankruptcy because of a Q-tip habit!  I'm glad my husband collects Q-tips.  He could be buying antique cars or even small airplanes. His collection doesn't even require garage space - although, now that I think about it, I could store it in his toolbox.  On second thought, if I did that, he'd just buy more.

Happy swabbing, Jerry.

Monday, June 2, 2014

On the Canyon Rim

This is a picture of me, Chris Zimmerman, meditating serenely while sitting calmly in the great outdoors.

Or is it?

No, that's definitely not what was going on.  Great big, ugly fear had wrapped icy fingers around my heart and I was trying to calm myself by sitting down, breathing deeply and closing my eyes.


...Because I was sitting three feet from the rim of a canyon.  You see that brown dirt in the foreground?  Step off of that and you die.

Why I consented to yet another hiking trip in a canyon is beyond me.  Apparently I'm a slow learner.  Cloudland Canyon was horrible and visiting the Grand Canyon was THE WORST.  Maybe visiting a canyon is like childbirth.  The torture of going through it fades with the beauty of the results.  A couple of years later, you voluntarily sign up to do it all again.

Enthusiasm is catching, so when Josh called sounding all excited and invited us to Bryce Canyon, I ignored my inner demons and said yes. (It's easy to agree to something that's happening in the nebulous future. My son knows this, so he booked the cabin immediately after he hung up from talking to me. He's a sly fox, that boy.)

Don't get me wrong.  It was breathtaking.  It's just that if you make one misstep, you walk off the edge and plunge to your death. Your. Death.  This is not a joke.  People actually do this.  (The number two cause of death in this National Park is by lightning.  That idea did not excite me either.  They suggest that you go inside during storms.  Great advice - except for when we were two hours into a hike when a storm blew in.  There was no "inside" to go into.)    

After our arrival, we decided to take a quick evening stroll on the rim.  Everyone was encouraging me like I was a three-year-old.  "Come on, Mom!  You can do it."  "You're doing great!"  "Nice job, Mom."  "Just a few more minutes."  That sort of thing. Jerry even held my hand.

We climbed higher and higher and the path got narrower and narrower.  Soon even the cheerleading wasn't producing its desired effects upon me.  I felt dizzy and sick and decided to stop.  I blamed it on altitude, sent the others on ahead then sat down under the tree and tried to talk some sense into myself. When I see the picture, I'm kind of proud that I wasn't actually holding on to the tree. 
I'm pretty sure that thought crossed my mind.

As they were coming back down from the lookout point, the family stopped right near me and Josh took out his camera.  Then it happened.  He was right in front of me, just inches from the edge himself when I heard this strange tone in his voice.  "Don't move, Mom." he said sternly.  I panicked.  I knew there must be a snake coiled up behind me and apparently the snake fear trumps the fear of heights fear, because I jumped up, toward the abyss.

"Why did you do that?" my son said.  "I just told you not to move."

"The tone of your voice scared me," I replied.  "Where's the snake?"

"What?"  He was mystified.  "I told you not to move because the canyon was reflected in your sunglasses and I thought that would be an interesting picture."

Our next vacation together better involve water.  And sandy white beaches.