Thursday, July 31, 2014

TCD in the VOB: 2014

Whelp. I've got another TCD under my belt.

It's kind of a tight fitting belt after mom stuffed me full of all kinds of delicious foods and one kind of pretty mediocre brownies (You know what you did, Mom. You're better than those brownies.).

I'm not sure that I've ever been quite as excited to head home for Tall Corn Days as I was this year. I talked about it so much that friends who have absolutely no connection to Sioux Rapids, IA were starting to bring up TCD in the VOB with full comprehension of what that mash up of letters means (Tall Corn Days in the Valley of Beauty, fyi). One co-worker even counted down with me to what she called "Iowa Christmas." 

Mom seemed to be equally excited to have Katy and I both home for a weekend. She'd started planning meals weeks in advance, at one point calling me to ask me to bring a back-up crock pot for her.

Well...she almost asked me to bring a back-up crock pot for her.

"I'll be leaving 'Kato at around 4 on Thursday, so expect me around 7ish."
"Okay...I was going to ask you to bring your crock pot home with you..."
"Are you asking me to bring my crock pot home with me?"
"'s not a big deal."
"I can bring it if you need me to."
"No...I don't want to bother you with it. You have enough to worry about."
"It's really not a problem."
"Oh, no. I can make due without it."
"I'm literally looking right at it. I can just grab it right now."
"I mean...I don't even know if I'll need it."
"Do you want the 5 quart one or the 7 quart one?"
"Just don't worry about it...the 7 quart."
"...Okay. I'll grab the 7 quart."
"Just if you think about it!"

God love her...

It wasn't all smooth sailing in the lead up to TCD weekend though. 

I have a this thing that I do where I completely ignore things that I don't want to deal with in the hopes that everything is fine, and everything worked itself out (it never does). This is precisely what I'd been doing with my car for the past seven months. 

It was straight up hemorrhaging coolant, and instead of going somewhere and getting it looked at, I just dumped gallons of coolant into it every month and only drove it in ten minute increments so it wouldn't overheat. I had no clue how it would handle the almost three hour drive home.

Also, I hadn't had the oil changed in seven months, the left blinker was out, the speedometer didn't work, I'm missing a license plate, two tires needed to be replaced, my back driver's side window doesn't roll up, I'm pretty sure I lost my insurance information, and I definitely lost my gas cap. 

But the coolant thing was what I was super concerned about.

I ended up filling it to the top and then immediately taking off for home, staring at the temperature gauge for three hours straight, looking away only long enough to skip to the next song on The Reunion Playlist. It was the most anxiety ridden trip of my life.

I made it home without my engine imploding, and Dad immediately went out to look over the damage I'd inflicted on that poor Buick Regal. After about twenty minutes he walked back in the house rubbing his forehead. He looked up at me incredulously, threw up his hands and exclaimed, "All of that, and the f#%!er doesn't even need more oil. I don't understand how that car is still running. I wish I had that f#%!ing car."

Turns out, the water pump hadn't been at all...for a number of months. He took it in to get repaired the next day while I slept in, and they were able to fix a good number of the problems. 

When we rode into town to pick it up, I got a pretty good lecture about how I needed to take better care of my car (because my plan to just marry someone who would do it for me isn't panning out). I know when Dad starts in about checking my fluids or whatever, it's best just to let him tire himself out, so I nodded and agreed for ten minutes. 

We stopped at the gas station afterwards and he got out to fill up my gas tank for the drive home. I was entertaining myself with a funny cat gif or something when I heard through the open window. "Jesus Christ, Christopher!" He leaned in to the car and, in probably the most exasperated tone I've ever heard, asked, "Where the f#%! is your gas cap?"

"You're still gonna pay for this gas, right?"

Travis, Beth, and I had a lake day on Friday. We spent the afternoon on probably the most amazing pontoon I've ever seen in my life. It was straight out of the 70's with a funky green paint job and a grill bolted to the deck. It had been run completely out of gas, and we ended up having to borrow a gas can from a guy and his awkward 15 year old son who were launching their pontoon from the same dock. Travis and Beth struggled getting the beast refueled while I held us in place against the dock (complaining for every second of it), and the 15 year old stared slack jawed at Beth's boobs.

After getting the boat out onto the water, having a few drinks, passing around a bottle of champagne, and jamming the eff out to some Michelle Branch, we decided to get into the water. After a few minutes in though, we realized that we'd made a mistake, and that it was far too cold to be swimming (plus my drink was empty).

Travis was the first one to get out of the water, and as he was climbing back into the boat, he broke the shit out of the ladder. Beth and I bobbed up and down on our foam fun noodles, looking up at the three foot gap between the deck of the pontoon and the water we were going to have to drag ourselves out of, knowing full well that neither of us has successfully completed a pull up in our entire lives. I wondered briefly if there was some sort of DNR emergency rescue number that could be called in case of situations like this.

A plan was hatched to get me in from the back of the boat. I knew that all of my strength is in my legs (I have the upper body strength of a kitten) so I decided to hook my legs up on the deck and use them to pull the rest of my body up. Beth floated behind me offering suggestions and directing me where I could get the best traction.

Travis supported us by laughing continuously from the time that he broke the ladder, to when I flopped onto the astro-turf deck, gasping for air and reaching for my drink.

The original plan ended up with me hanging upside down from the side of the boat with absolutely no way of pulling myself up, so we scrapped it. I ended up throwing a leg over the side of one of the pontoons (which, thanks to some quick Googling just now, is one of those two floaty things under the boat. I then cautiously stood up (soaking wet on the incredibly slippery metal surface) and leapt towards the deck.

And if your wondering if maybe I'm being a bit hyperbolic about this situation, luckily there's this grainy cell phone footage of the incident that Travis took rather than helping his distressed friends.


My recollections of Friday night are a bit hazy. I remember everyone deciding to take it easy that night, reminding ourselves that TCD is a marathon not a sprint, and then I remember gulping down mouthfuls of Jag between shouts of, "I'M SO BAD AT SHOTS!" and "SOMEONE ELSE IS PAYING FOR THESE, RIGHT?!"

The TCD parade started at 10 o'clock the next morning, and I was up, neither bright eyed or bushy tailed, but I was ready to get back into it. Typically we get to the parade, and my entire family is already four drinks in, and they're constructing some sort of beer can artwork in the yard, so I grabbed a few beers on the way out the door.

Apparently the entire family matured this year though, because after I took my first few drinks, I realized that I was the only person on the whole block who was drinking openly at 10 in the morning while children ran around collecting candy and old people riding by in antique cars stared out their windows with judgey looks in their eyes.

Luckily my sister can be counted on to have just as little shame as I do, and she cracked one open in solidarity.

I made a brief appearance at my 10 year class reunion, but peaced out when it looked like I was going to need to watch people golf if I was going to continue to hang. Sorry 'bout it.

After leaving the reunion, I met up with Travis, Beth, and a group of Beth's friends from Sioux Falls to continue the festivities on a sandbar down by the river (possibly the most small town Iowa thing we could have done that afternoon), and we stayed there until it was time to move on to the fireman's dance down in the park.

I struggled with how I was going to tell the story of the dance. Nothing too noteworthy happened, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't share at least a few of the highlights. So here they are.


- I made scathing, snarky comments about the new band they got to perform and was almost immediately brought to tears when they played Cruise (I seriously can't understand why I can't handle that song).

- A huge scene was made when I spotted my friend Stacy across the crowd, shrieked, and pushed through a lot of people to give her a hug.

- I danced with a gentleman in a manner that was inappropriate for a small town in Northwest Iowa.

- I had a religious experience with a breakfast burrito that only cost me one drink ticket and, after finding cheese improbably far from my mouth, my dignity.

- A drunk guy cupped my ass while sloppily winking at me, and I started deciding what our adopted children's names would be (be honest, is Charisma the stripper-iest name I could give a girl?).

- Beth played late 90's Robyn and S Club 7 at the bar, and I danced in a manner inappropriate for a small town in Northwest Iowa.

- I had to explain, again, to the bartender what goes into a Vodka Soda (and asked for two so I wouldn't have to go through it again).

- Quite a few ill advised text messages were sent at all hours of the morning.

- I went to my family reunion the next day and had one of those moments where I decided to really step back and look at my drinking habits (which I quickly forgot about after a nap and some Diet Coke).

Only 12 more months 'til TCD, you guys!

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