I’m literally sitting at my parents’ kitchen table and they’re critiquing my blog. My mom overly loves it and my dad doesn’t seem to know what it is, but has suggestions on how to improve. Yeah, good to be home. As if I needed any more inspiration, here are two great little gems from the trip.
First, I need to post a correction to my last entry about my 5th birthday. Apparently, I wasn’t 5, I was 3.. or 4… my parents disagree, but since my mom says 3 and my dad has had the memory of an 80 year old since he was 20, I think it’s safe to pick 3 here. Maybe I was 3, turning 4 – either way, I don’t care, but my parents are still debating as I type. My mom says Corey was my “heartthrob,” not boyfriend – I’m not sure what the distinction is, but arguing with my mom is like kicking kittens, so again she wins. The biggest discrepancy is what I yelled after storming away from that stupid donkey poster. Everyone, including my husband (who loves the story in a way that makes me want to throw something at him), can’t believe that I don’t remember that I yelled, “YOU’RE A YUCKY MOMMY!” Actually, I can’t believe I forgot either because it’s become an all-purpose phrase around here. For instance, if you’re having a family debate over what to make for dinner and you lose, yell “You’re a yucky mommy!” even if it’s at your dad or husband. It’s just a great phrase, people. My mom also added this little gem while retelling the story tonight: “You ran inside the house and everyone was staring at us in shock at our child’s behavior. And I just kept thinking, ‘that little twerp…'” Awesome. She also wants everyone to know that she’s not “cheap,” she just believes in saving money and that her saving put me through Penn. Did I also mention she’s got a black belt in Guiltjitsu. What does this have to do with food? Nothing.
This little nugget is all about sunflower seeds, though. So… my dad is a self-diagnosed narcoleptic. It’s probably a pretty good self-assessment since I’ve seen the man fall asleep right in the middle of something many times, like: his own graduation from business school, my grandparents’ 50 year vow renewal (which he was leading), the finals of the NCAA Div I Fencing Regionals (which yes, I was competing in), my graduation from college, his office while someone was speaking with him, etc. I’m pretty sure there’s someone’s funeral and a wedding in that list , too, I just can’t say with authority since I didn’t personally catch him. We don’t really hold it against him unless he does it behind the wheel, which is often.
Instead of seeing a doctor, he came up with his own method – eating sunflower seeds. That’s right, he eats sunflower seeds, in the shell, while driving in order to stay awake. He buys them in 10 lb bags and keeps the entire, ripped open bag on the passenger seat, grabbing up handfuls at a time. How does this keep him awake? Well, it’s the process of extracting the tender little seed from its shell that seems to keep his mind and hands occupied so he doesn’t drift off. I guess trying to stay on the road while driving a manual transmission isn’t enough… He shakes the handful of seeds like he’s rolling dice to sift a single shell up to his fingers. He places that shell between his teeth and bites down to crack it open, then lodges one side of the crack shell between his top and bottom teeth while pulling the other side up with his fingers. This dislodges the tiny seed, which he then pops into his mouth.
The best part of this little sunflower jig is when he discards the shell… anywhere… at all… it lands where it lands. From the way his car looks, it might even be a little game where he tosses the cracked shell pieces willy-nilly into the air to see where they land. And damn, the man can consume a whole lot of sunflower seeds in a single drive. Maybe there’s even a little song that goes along with it: “shells go up and land where they may, and I live on to drive another day.” The first time I brought my husband home, he went to get into the car and hesitated before shrugging his shoulders and making a little well in the shells to park his butt. Gotta love a man that doesn’t judge your family’s quirks.
So at dinner last night, when my mom complained that her stomach hurt and my father said she should eat more sunflower seeds because he’d read an article about how it helps with digestion, we all paused, chopsticks in hand, then burst out with hysterical laughter. So if the next time you see me, I’m still brushing off bits of sunflower shells, you’ll hopefully shrug and keep walking.