The Emperor has no airplanes!

So here’s how it went down:

It was my Mother-in-law’s idea. “Let’s sit at the airfield and watch all the airplanes.”

We were totally alone as we laid out our bedraggled kept-in-the-trunk-blankets and sat down to observe…uh…whatever we thought was going to happen. When you spontaneously unload seven children out of the van to sit at an airfield, you expect something spectacular. Or at least mildly amusing. I’m sad to inform you that it was neither.

Oh, there were plenty of large jet planes to look at. They just happened to be completely stationary. Unmoving. A grand total of two small planes landed and took off. And if I’m honest, I’m pretty sure it was the exact same plane twice. Nevertheless, the kids waved and yelled and jumped around and clapped their sticky hands, and hollered out their love to the sky. 

Then it happened. 

Because we are a huge (ahem, and loud) group, and because our dear children insist on creating chaotic amounts of fun wherever we go, other people driving by thought something spectacular was happening at the airport. 

And so they pulled over. 

And got out of their cars. 

And walked up the hill and stood eagerly with tripod cameras ready to snap up pictures of something FABULOUS.

Mr. Diaz mumbled “Oh good, we aren’t the only idiots out here.” 

I have to point out that he said this while draped in a blue Aztec patterned towel, which the adults and older children were wearing across their shoulders like shawls because none of us thought to bring coats or jackets. That’s how we roll. We make DO when our spontaneity overrules our common sense.

Several car-loads of expectant onlookers came. 

While our children paraded around laughing and pointing at imaginary flying machines, hopeful observers parked and walked up the hill toward us to watch all the airplanes. “Do you see the emperor’s new clothes?!” they asked one another.

Eventually, someone yelled “The emperor has no clothes!” and half an hour later people clued in that there were NO airplanes either landing or taking off, and with disappointed looks, they sauntered back to their cars with empty cameras and sad hearts. 

As for us, we just kept sitting, (because that’s what you do when you’re old and tired) watching our kids roll down the grassy hills until they smacked face-first into the chain-link fences, and running and jumping and laughing in the fresh air. We stayed until we could safely say all children were exhausted. Then we loaded up the party bus and headed home. 

We brought home all the towels-turned-coats, some memories, and several gnarly grass stains. Thank God for Resolve Stain Remover.

I’m sure we will find ourselves back at the airfield again one day soon. If you ever want to join us, feel free. Just don’t show us up by coming with actual coats. Because if you’re ever in the mood to join our Red-nex-ican ho-down, you’d better arrive as ill-prepared as the rest of us.

I’ll throw several more hideous towels into the back of the van, just for you to wear on such an occasion.

You’re welcome.


The land of speedways and broken dreams


If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you’ll be going, ‘you know, we’re alright. We are dang near royalty.’~Jeff Foxworthy

So here’s how it all went down.

Mr.Diaz’ company sponsors a car that races at the Evergreen Speedway, a track about an hour away from our home. It’s basically amateur NASCAR wannabes who drive beat up cars around different track configurations. We could get tickets for half-price and since half of our family is under 5 years old, their tickets would be totally free. So….awesomeness. I mean, it’s not like I have a better way to spend a Saturday night, like, you know, reading or something.

“It will be fun,” Mr. Diaz said. “The kids will love it.”

Sure it will. What’s not to love?

So we loaded up our crew into our giant, really cool 15 passenger van and made the trek out to The Land of Speedways And Broken Dreams.

As we emerged from our van  and got into the line of people waiting to buy tickets, instantly one thing was made very clear. We were hands down the best dressed people in town. And if you know us, and have seen what we look like collectively on any given day, that’s saying a lot.

The air was filled with a sweet aroma of excitement and anticipation. Wait…wait...
No, no it was not. The aroma was grilled onions, beer and BO.

Shorty-shorts exposed massive amounts of cellulite, and butt-cracks  and cleavage tattoos abounded in nearly every visable direction. Yes, I can speak on this as I have a bit of my own postpartum flab that I don’t believe I should subject the general public to. You’re welcome. One woman breast fed her baby while standing up, without a cover. Okay, so that’s not so bad, and I have to say: If you’re gonna whip it out in public and leave it hanging out the top of your wife-beater, nursing  is the ONLY acceptable reason to do so. Unless your child is old enough to be drinking milk out of a glass. In which case, you may want to consider not nursing while standing in a line to buy tickets.

So we took our place to wait between an old man who was decked out with camouflage in the shape of miniature deer, and a very loud woman who had only 3 teeth, whose grown daughter, Billy Sue, proceeded to pop pimples on her exposed, tattooed shoulders, then have her fiancé help her get the ones she missed. Their excited cursing informed me that this might just be a regular pastime. Mr. Diaz looked at me with a smile, completely oblivious, and I snorted. And laughed silently. Hysterically.
Actually appearing refined in comparison.

Eventually we made it to the ticket booth where we forked over our dollars and had the word ENJOY cattle-branded into the backs of our hands. Even now, days later, I still bear the scar from this. We presented our freshly purchased tickets to a young woman who had bangs that literally stood up 4.5 inches off her head, and made our way past the growing crowd of excited yokels. We moved up to a section of bleachers that was slightly removed from the rest of the assembling rednecks so our little boys would have some room to move around if they got antsy.

And the first-round cars drove out.

The first races were qualifying races, which were interesting to watch, and “our” car, number 22, qualified easily. The boys loved it. This would be great!

I watched a Kettle Corn vendor pop a large quantity of GMO corn in a giant vat, and tried not to watch a very heavy, tattooed couple making-out a few rows ahead of me. We chatted with a few people who were nearby. Everyone seemed friendly and kind. These folks were completely genuine. This was a group of down-to-earth, loving patriots who would give you the very shirt off their backs should the need arise. If they had been wearing shirts, that is.

Mr. Diaz bought a giant bag of the Kettle Corn for all of us to stick our germy hands in, (Delicious!) and everyone returned to their seats so the blessed event could ensue. We watched a man in front of us who could barely walk, spend 20 minutes to climb 800 stairs to sit up at the tippy-top top of the grandstands. The whole time we yelled inside our heads “Good GOD man! Sit down right where you are! Do it! Stop the insanity!”  And just when my cynicism and snark was reaching a whole new level, a man came out, grabbed the microphone from the announcer, and prayed. Out loud. He asked God to protect the drivers and keep everyone safe.

We stood patriotically, hands over our hearts, watching the emblem of our great nation flap in the breeze while a woman in a very sparkly silver tank top crooned out her loosely melodious interpretation  of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Aaahhhh.  America. 

The green flag waved, and the loudest moving vehicles on the face of this green earth took off  driving in a circular motion, over and over and over.  If you know me at all, you know how much I love really. loud. noises. It’s right up there on the top of my list; right above finding hair in my food, eating food made by young children with runny noses, and licking the germs off shopping-cart handles.

Amidst the cacophony, the announcer blurted out incoherent words of some sort that couldn’t possibly be understood by any human person. The kids tightly clutched their ears and I wrapped Chatterbox’s head in a burp cloth and prayed he wouldn’t have everlasting hearing damage. I held my hands over his ears, put my head down next to his and prayed. The entire time. “Dear sweet Jesus, just get me through this.”

Mr. Diaz looked over at me and said something while grinning. Who the heck knows what it was. I can’t read lips that well. Especially when my eyes are squinted from grimacing. So I smiled sweetly and nodded at him and told myself, “You’re not really in Hell.”

And that’s how it was for several hours. Good Lord.

People laughed and drank and enjoyed the revelry. Small (deaf?) children danced and played right up next to the fence that lined the speedway. Cars lost their bumpers and limped off the track.

My boys ate Kettle Corn off the dirty bleachers with their mouths (because their hands were being held over their ears) and I watched as our 22 car, which had a clear lead with only five laps to go, stalled out and wouldn’t start after a red flag stopped every vehicle on the track.  We left shortly after that. Because God heard my prayers.

After one more race of cars (that could rival several jet engines in decibels) drove around in a “circle eight” and very nearly t-boned one another at every pass, we finally headed home.

I will spare you the details about how we are so classy that we ate our dinner at a small, crudely painted burger shack, located in the middle of nowhere, right next to the highway. I’ll also spare you the details about how the picnic tables we used were covered in highway dust and bird droppings. You’re welcome for that too.

That, my friends is how we spent our Red-nex-ican, low-budget, Saturday night family time. Aren’t you glad I shared this with you?

So, Mr. Diaz read this post and said “Fine. I’ll go to the races again, without YOU.”
Now that’s a deal. Where do I sign? I can use that time to go to the local WALMART, because it’s guaranteed to be empty.

Now friends, please don’t get the impression that I’m here on this blog make fun of Rednecks. Nah. I’m here to make fun of everybody. As far as I’m concerned, comedy doesn’t discriminate. Turns out the trip to the Speedway left me with some of the best  family memories writing material I’ve ever had.

We are going again next year, but I’m bringing earplugs. And some camo.

And about a gallon of Purell.