The Fabulous Fart

In 1991 I was 8 years old. It was in that year that I saw Phantom of the Opera for the first time at the Fabulous Fox Theater and, not to be dramatic, it changed my life. I fell in love with theater that night and have appreciated the arts ever since. Also, there is no place on earth I would rather see a production than the beautiful Arabian background of the Fox Theater.

I remember that night so well. I was wearing a dark blue ruffled dress that had pea-sized round crystals sewn on sporadically and it resembled the night sky painted on the ceiling of the Fox. I had on black patent leather Mary Jane’s and Mom had curled my hair. I looked so fly it was unbelievable. I went with a friend and her family and we sat on the very front row of the balcony which is arguably the best seat in the house.

I was mesmerized by the elaborate sets and costumes and hung on their every word. To this day it is one of my very favorite musical scores of all time. I also developed a tiny crush on the Phantom, but who doesn’t? Right?

Anyway, that year was the very first time that the famed Andrew Lloyd Webber musical had graced Atlanta with its presence and last week marked its very last. I was so sad to hear that Phantom had begun its farewell tour but I knew I had to see it one last time.

I have been excited for WEEKS! Jenn has become so tired of me telling her how excited I am that she has stopped talking to me altogether. I HATE when she screens her calls. Ugh!

Ok, so anyway, my Mom and Dad, Brad and I all had great tickets to go see the show and have all been looking forward to it for a while. In Brad’s case he has not so much been looking forward to it as much as dreading it. He’s not quite as enthused to see musicals as I am. Whatev. But he did agree to go and he was such a good sport about the whole thing. TEN POINTS BRAD.

As we sat down, eager for the show to start, my heart sank as the effing Jolly Green Giant sat down right in front of me. I HATE THAT! Why can’t there be a Tall Person Section for all the giants to sit together?? I’m only 5’6… Come On! So when the show started I had to lean waayyyy to the left to see around the Giant Lady’s Giant Hair and ended up practically putting my head on the shoulder of the dude next to me. He loved that by the way. Yes, it was awkward and inappropriate, but at least I could see-ish.

My dad was sitting on the isle seat and I could hear him grumbling about how the lady two rows in front of him was sitting up really high. I didn’t pay much attention until I saw him flag down one of the attendants and I leaned back over towards him and noticed that, yeah, that chick was sitting really high?! It looked like she may have been sitting on her legs or something, but it was a grown lady and that would just be strange. So he asked the attendant to get her to sit down normally and we went on watching the show.

Well, nothing was really ever said to the lady and my Dad really started to get ticked off and he bugged a few more attendants to say something to her. My Dad said that they all seemed like he was asking something ridiculous but he thought SHE was the ridiculous one blocking everyone’s view! Come to find out – my Dad definitely ended up being the ass. He had caused such a stir that they did go to her to resolve the problem which was a little different that sitting on her legs…. she was in a freakin’ WHEELCHAIR!

Yes, her chair sat up higher than the rest of the seats and, yes, it did block the view, but holy lord you can’t complain about it! She is in a wheelchair for crying out loud! So about 3 attendants came over to her and they had to physically pick her up and put her in the next row where she would be sitting in a regular chair and not blocking the view. It could not have been a more awkward ordeal. And I’m pretty sure that handicapped lady turned around and shot my Dad the bird a few times. Oh well, at least he could see the show, right? Ehh…

After all that hullabaloo had settled down I went back to snuggling with the stranger next to me and Brad continued to use all of his strength to not scratch his own eyes out enjoy the show. Then, just as I was really getting into the show, the Giant Lady with the Giant Hair in front of us let out the most disgusting, nasty, popcorn scented Giant Fart ever! My eyes started to water and Brad began to choke and the man beside me cried out “Why God?? Why??????”

Ugh. Needless to say, Brad did not develop a love of The Arts that night. Next time I'm bringing a booster seat and a gas mask.


One Hot Mess

My parents love to cook and they are pretty darn good at it, too. Before they had kids they actually owned a catering business together and my Mom even has a published cook book. Naturally, a love for cooking leads to a love for cooking supplies and kitchen gadgets; and boy do my parents LOVE kitchen gadgets. My Dad has a particular weakness for items that perform more than one task. Like, he would totally buy a toaster oven that can also mow your lawn. He has also been known to purchase As-Seen-On-TV items on more than one occasion (and by that I mean he has hundreds).

To make matters worse my parents, collectively, have no memory at all. So they will buy the same gadgets that they already own because they totally forgot that they already have one! This has always worked in my favor; I never have to buy anything for the kitchen. If I want a new pot or pan, I just go over to my parent’s house and chances are that they have 12 of the very same piece. No lie. And they will occasionally decide to clean out their kitchen and just give me whatever I want.

So, about a year ago they were having a kitchen-clean-out and I went over to pick up some new swag. I cleaned house! New knives, new pans and even a very nice Le Cruset pot I had been eyeing for a while. In addition to the big ticket items I also walked away with a new zester and a few more pyrex containers. As I was leaving my mom said she had a one more thing that she thought I would like: an As-Seen-On-TV Bloomin Onion Maker that had never been opened. Sweet Mother of Fried Goodness! I’ll take it!

I was so excited to get home and try this bad boy out- I mean who doesn’t love a Bloomin Onion?!?! I opened the package and took out the instructions and recipe book eager to get started. As I began reading it I was totally overwhelmed – it's easier to build a freakin spaceship than make one Bloomin Onion. Let me walk you through it:

Step One – Assemble Onion Cutting Contraption and place a large onion in center to cut. You have to bear down on this thing with your entire body weight and even then I could barely do it. I ended up getting Brad to do it and prayed that he didn’t loose a finger in the process. So now you have an onion that has been cut to look like a flower - thus the “Blooming” Onion.

Step Two – Make a dry mix. The recipe must be for people who plan to eat a lot of these things because it makes a Kroger bag full of dry mix. So then you have to roll the onion in the mix and peel back each individual “petal” to get the dry mix in all of the crevices. Next you shake the onion to get off the excess mixture which, in turn, covers your entire kitchen with flour. It also covers your Pomeranians in flour since they will be standing there waiting for food to drop.

Step Three – Make a beer batter. You then dump the flour covered onion in the beer batter and again have to manipulate the individual petals so that they each get covered with the tasty coating. The combination of dry mix and wet batter makes everything very goopy. You end up covered in this crap up to your elbows and then get it all over your face and body.

Step Four – Put the onion BACK into the dry mix. Re-cover each and every petal, blah, blah, blah… before frying.

Ok, so while this is going on I asked Brad to fill a pot with oil to fry the onion in. I didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing since I was covered in flour and beer batter trying to coat individual petals of an onion. As soon as I go over to the BOILING HOT oil I realize that Nimrod had filled the pot all the way to the rim with oil.

I look at him and asked if he had ever gotten into a bath tub before? If I put this onion in the oil it’s totally going to spill over into the OPEN FLAME below the pot. HELLO! So he had to carefully dump out about 1/4th of the BOILING HOT oil and return the pot to the stove without killing himself. Not an easy task, but somehow he did it. As I gently slipped the onion into the oil it quickly became apparent that Brad had not poured enough out – the oil started running over the sides! Into the flames!

Oil was quickly pouring over the side and we just knew the pot was about to burst into flames so we started to freak out. Brad decided to ball up paper towels and use them as potholders to grab the pot handles and try to pick it up before it exploded. Unfortunately in his panic he forgot that paper towels ARE FLAMABLE and will LIGHT ON FIRE pretty easily. And they did. And Brad freaked out even more and threw the burning towels down. Unfortunately I was standing right beside him and so he threw them at ME.

Burning Paper Towels…. En Fuego!... at ME!!!!

Then we had to stomp on the towels so they wouldn’t burn down the house. And the oil is still spilling over into the flames and all hell just breaks loose. I keep telling Brad to turn the burner off and he just keeps telling me “it’s too late”!!

So, what did my Knight in Shining Honor do? He grabbed all three flour-covered-dogs and a fire extinguisher and freakin ran out the front door. He then proceeded to stop, drop and roll while repeatedly screaming that it was “too late” and to “save myself”.

Oh dear lord.

I went over and just turned off the burner and we somehow escaped the trauma without burning down our house. Once Brad stopped screaming and came back inside we surveyed the damage. The kitchen was covered in flour, beer batter, burnt paper towels and hot oil. We just stood there for a minute in disbelief. Brad was still clutching on to the fire extinguisher for dear life and the only thing he could manage to say was “Oh shit! What about the onion?!”.
We scooped the onion out of the hot oil and laid it down on a square of burnt paper towel and sampled a “petal”...and it tasted like burnt crap.

I looked over at Brad and said that the next time we get a hanker’n for a Bloomin Onion I will be happy to drive to Outback and pick one up myself but unless we increase the coverage on our home owner's insurance I didnt think it was a good idea to ever try this again!


Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

As many of you know, I went to an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, private Christian High School: Providence Christian Academy. I have very mixed feelings about my time there that I will write about on another day, but one of the highlights was my participation in the various Cheerleading Squads. I LOVED to cheer! (hard to imagine, I know) And I was not only on both the Basketball (we did not have football) and Competition school squads, I was also on a couple of All-Star Squads that were not affiliated with my high school.
I actually met one of my best friends through cheerleading: Ashley Reccord. My sophomore year I was Captain of the JV Squad and she was my Co-Captain. Although life has pulled us in different directions I still love that girl to death and we have some VERY funny memories together. We even decided to take a tumbling class together to improve our cheer-abilities. At the time I was 16 and she was 15 so I drove us to tumbling class twice a week after school.

Not only was I old enough to drive, I actually had a car. It was a 1996, white, Honda Del-Sol (or Honda “of-the-Sun” for my Angelo readers) and his name was Leroy. I LOVED that car and it made me feel so cool to have a two-seater! And everyone knew when Leroy and I were coming down the road since I am the only non-Hispanic to ever own this particular make and model car.


One day I was totally playing hooky and stayed home from school – which happened a lot. It was on tumbling class day and I was still planning on going given that I was not sick in any way, shape or form. I wanted to somehow let Ashley know that I would still pick her up from school - and this was way before kids started taking their cell phones to class – but wasn’t sure how to do it. I didn’t want to call in to the front desk and tell them “Hey, can you let Ashley know that Rebekah Samford will still come get her for tumbling class even though she is home stick from school?”. You have to remember, I went to a tiny private school so they would put two and two together and realize that I was not really sick at all. They really shun that you know.

So, I figured out an amazing plan. I called the front desk and asked them to “Please let Ashley Reccord know that Leroy will still be picking her up from school.” Genius, right? I knew she would instantly know that “Leroy” meant my car and therefore that I was still picking her up. Fool Proof!

Only problem was that the ladies who worked in the school office thought it was very suspicious that a man named Leroy was picking up one of their young, female students. Go figure? So they called Ashley in and asked if she knew who Leroy was and, she, being the good friend that she is, denied everything. So then they called Ashley’s MOM and asked her if she knew anything about a man named Leroy coming to pick up her daughter this afternoon. And, like any mother would, Mrs. Reccord freaked out. So then Ashley was forced into telling everyone what had really happened and how Leroy was just my car, not a real man.

Of course the next person they called was MY mother. When they told her that I had caused a real problem by:

1. Playing Hooky
2. Concocting a scheme to pick up Ashley
3. Alarming the staff and Mrs. Reccord
4. General Tom-Foolery

my mom did the responsible thing and Burst. Out. Laughing! She thought is was hysterical that they damn near called the SWAT team to investigate "Leroy-the-Felon" when really it was just a couple of teen-aged, high-schoolers trying to get to tumbling class!!

That did not help my case.

So, after a week's worth of detention and several stern talking-to’s by various school authorities on how immature and reckless my behavior had been I was released back into the general school populace to wreak havoc once again. And I did just that.