Sunday, March 20, 2011

IWC - Pro Rasslin at it's finest?

My brother Todd came home for a visit last night and to bring back our glory years, we found a live pro wrestling show and headed out. My kids were off doing their thing, Randy was working, so I decided to have fun. I did change out of the smokey clothes.

The show was the IWC and at first glance, I didn't recognize any of the athletes. Don't make the mistake of thinking just because it's not 100% legit, that these men and women aren't some of the finest athletes you'll ever meet. Even the doughy-looking pudge balls who are there for comic relief are athletes. You try and do what they do for 20 minutes and we'll see if you are still standing after 5 minutes.

Yes, I suppose I should disclose that I did work as a "manager" or a "valet" for a wrestler many years ago, pre-children, of course. That meant I wore a very tight leather top and a very short leather skirt with black hose and high heels. Of course, I had piles of bleached blonde hair. My name? Well, remember, you asked. I was "The Voluptous Miss Candy!" Nothing is sweeter! Yeah, I'll dig out some photos when I think about it.

My brother also got his day in the ring. He was injured during training and that ended his career. He hit his head after taking a fall and ended up with a bleed in his brain. Thus ended the stellar career of The Living Legend Hollywood Johnny Tambo. Yes, there will also be photos of him.

Back to our night in Clearfield. I buy my ticket, something I haven't done in about 20 years, but tonight I was just a fan. I go to find my seat, there was no Section D, Row 2, Seat 17. SIGH! The night is not looking good for me. The kid sitting in the last seat, was maybe 20 and I told him that means I have to sit on his lap. I thought he was going to cry, so I left him with his red face and all his friend laughing at him. They give me a new seat with the wives/girlfriends of the wrestlers and the announcer. "Hi, Jen!!!"

There is an old joke in the sport, "What has 10 teeth and an IQ of 30? The first three rows at ringside at any pro wrestling show." Sadly, the show prooved it all too real. There were young kids (7, maybe 8) who were so vulgar and their parents were smiling and encouraging it! WHY??? My child talks like that or makes the infamous "Suck It" movements, they're in time out for a couple years! But this is pro rasslin and that behavior is expected.

The undercard was as expected. Kids trying to get a break. They know a few moves, but can't really sell them. (Make them look even remotely believable) They might as well be on a loudspeaker and announce what they are going to do next. They miss the hits or kicks, but their opponent falls to the mat, holding whatever was "hit" and cries for the world .. er .. Clearfield to see.

I LOVE wrestling, I really do. I grew up watching and even took a wrestler to my senior prom. Yes, there are photos of that, too.

There were a couple guys who had just been signed to developmental contracts with the WWE. For those who don't own a TV or have never watched reality TV, The WWE is the biggest federation in the world. It's owned by billionaires Linda and Vince McMahon. Yes, Linda ran for Congress or was it Senate last year and got beat worse than a ham and egger in the first match of the night.

The kids who were signed looked so different than the normal indy wrestlers. One of the kids was from Clearfield, so these were his friends and family there to see his last indy show. I must admit, if I were 20 years younger and single ... No, this is a PG-rated blog. Anyhow, here is a photo of us. (I'm the short one)

We already are planning our next show. This time, Randy gets to go with us. This way, he won't call home to find me and just get screaming fans when I answer the phone. :) Off to my next adventure!

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Girl reporter just wants to sleep

OK, so I can't sleep again. I was up all night and was back downstairs to watch the DVR shows until Randy gets home from work. When that happens, it's never good. It's about 7:45 a.m. when he calls, "GET DRESSED! THE CHINESE PLACE IS ON FIRE!" What? I'm still pretty foggy and not sure I'm hearing him right, but the tone gets me moving. I grab the first thing I see as I'm running to our room. My right shoulder needs surgery, so it kills me to even life it slowly. The fast way it's torture, but I throw on my Team Damon shirt, black jeans and a pair of ripped black slip on shoes and my Alice in Wonderland hoodie. Yes, I'm a true fashion plate!

I'm running down the steps yelling to let the kids know I'm going to work and what's going on. Daughter comes flying down the steps looking for shoes. She thinks I need a ride. Good thing Randy was driving because there is no way on the face of this earth she's going outside in her jammies. She's not a little girl anymore.

The fire is out when we get there, but the damage is undeniable. The blackened building, water everwhere. The smell is unmistakeable. Burned wood and worse. I find the fire chief and he walks over. I think it's almost a relief for him to have someone to talk to. His eyes showed the weariness and something worse. He begins to talk, slowly at first, then the words just tumbled out at the end. There was a fatality, one more flown to Pittsburgh in critical condition and possibly two still unaccounted for. The one who died, jumped from the third story window as the fire became too much for him. His brother is a fireman in the department and he couldn't save his brother. He'll never be the same again.

We're well beyond the police tape, but I might as well be invisible. The firemen and police just look past me. I'm at the fire truck talking to my cousin who is in the department. Randy goes closer to the burned out shells that were once a Chinese restaurant, a financial management office and many apartments. One State police officer challenged him, but quickly let him do his work. One look at the camera and a word from the firemen and he's part of the brotherhood. If you look & act like you belong, you'll be left alone. We've learned that over the last 17 years I've had this profession.

I'm home now, frozen solid. I'm grateful the loss isn't closer to me. While the one lost is part of our community, he isn't family. I'm ashamed to even have that thought, but there's no way I could write the story if he would have been any closer. I've turned down assignments when it hits to close to home.

Next time you read the top of the fold news, it's not only the subject that suffers, it's the reporter, too. Contrary to popular opinion, we are human and do have a heart.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, March 04, 2011

Where did the last 5 years go?

It's been five years since our beloved Michael left us. It wasn't his choice, but someone had other ideas and decided he was needed elsewhere. I can still remember the day in crystal clarity, the sounds, the smells, the screams. It was all so surreal, it couldn't be happening. Til this day, I keep expecting him to walk in through the door.

That morning, I was home alone waiting for the plumber to fix a clogged up pipe when my cousin Jeffrey called me to come to our cousin Kristen's house. I couldn't leave the house, but he was insistent that his mother needed Mom and me right away. There was something about his voice that made me know something was wrong. I called a friend to housesit for me, called my mother at work, picked her up and we raced to Brockway to see what was wrong.

We walked in the door and Judy was there. She looked fine, but Jeffrey's wife put her arms on me and said, "Michael Baxter was killed this morning." WHAT?? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I looked over at his mom and she was just sitting there, not able to move with tears flowing. His sister was in her room screaming and crying uncontrolably. I drop to the floor. It can't be real. Why was she saying such a horrible lie? Michael is only 17, he can't be gone.

I hug Kristen for a minute then go back to find Jessa. I just held her until she calmed down a bit, then I had to find my kids. Nobody would give me the keys to their phone, so I called my mother-in-law to please get my kids and bring them to me. She agreed and I called the schools to say she would be picking up the kids soon and I had no idea when they would be back. Then I had to call the rest of the extended family and Randy at work to come for me. Jeffrey ran to pick up my dad.

I can still hear the screams as each new family member was brought in the house and told what happened. Then the funeral home director called and said he wouldn't recommend an open casket and felt we shouldn't even see him. How can that happen? We never got to see our beautiful boy again? It can't be real. Please, let me wake up now. This nightmare has to end soon.

I've written about the horror many times over the last five years on here and it's pretty easy to find them. I'll never forget what happened, how can I? We're not supposed to bury our children. I don't know how Kristen keeps going. Her three girls are her life and now she's finally found a wonderful man who loves her and the girls. She's smiling again. Yes, she still cries a lot and always will, but is able to live again. She's so strong.

To remember the day, the family got together at his favorite Chinese restaurant. I wasn't able to go because it was senior day to take your parents to school. Randy went in my place.

I know we'll all be together again some day. My religious views might not be the same as yours, but I think everyone agrees that a child goes straight to Heaven, Summerland or the Happy Hunting Grounds. It's a straight shot there with no stops. He's no doubt watching me now, shaking his head and telling me to stop crying, he's fine and it doesn't hurt. I can even see him.

Until we meet again, Michael, I'll love you forever and a day.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A day in the life of a high school sophmore

Yesterday was take your parent to school day at my son's high school. He's a sophmore this year. He asked me if I'd go and of course, I said yes. How could I turn him down? The chance to spend a whole day just hanging out with my kid, even if it was at school sounded fun.

We get to the school and sign in at the office and wait til we can go to his homeroom. When we get there, other kids start to filter in and see me. None of their parents were with. One girl said she'd ask her mom, but "there was a warrant out for her arrest!" Sad. Sad. It was then time for standing for the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Same as when I was in school, a million years ago. The bell rang and off we went to our first class of the day - CAD (Computer Aided Drafting). I felt like I was in another universe when Trevor pulled up the project he was working on and tried to explain it. His teacher came over and welcomed me to the class. My hubby worked with him at another job before he became a teacher, so we had that in common. Trevor was speaking Techno when describing what he was doing and I had no idea what was going on, so I pulled out my Droid and played on Facebook.

The bell rang and it was off to Geometry. The teacher said hello and that was the last word she spoke to me the entire class. I never took Geometry and never would. They took a test and she had the next assignment written on the board. Very little interaction. Maybe it was just my bleary mind. I must have nodded off a bit. Math was never a favorite subject of mine. I don't see the need to add A and B to get XYZ.

When the bell rang and we could escape the world of math, we went to the world of science and an entirely different teaching approach. The kids were working on a lab project that involved dissolving solids in liquids and monitoring their temperature changes. Once that was over, the teacher gave a few notes on the whiteboard and the class was over. It didn't seem to me that it had been over an hour. The teacher welcomed me to the class and explained every step they were taking. A total difference from the previous experience. I wasn't a big fan of science, but I honestly think I would have enjoyed taking her entire class.

It was back to the CAD room for his studyhall. He worked more on his project until it was time for lunch. FINALLY it was time to eat. The cooking class had a special meal prepared for parents. I was the only one we had seen all day. I was afraid it'd be just Trevor and me staring at each other, but one other mother had been able to take off lunch and was there with her son Luke. I've talked about Luke before. He's a good friend of Trevor's and we hang out with him as often as we can. His father was a very dear friend of mine who we lost, entirely too young. The meal was wonderful and the teacher spent the entire time talking to us. Another very warm and friendly teacher. The type we all want teaching our children. She cared and it was obvious.

Once the meal was over, Trevor had to go to his Engineering class. More techno talk that I couldn't understand, so I worked on my Facebook gaming skills again. :)

The final class of the day was Driver's Training. The class was treated to some very nasty, bloody commercials from England showing the horrors of texting or drinking while driving. What fun. I don't believe he even welcomed me. Ah well, he's a former gym teacher, so I didn't expect much. He did say good bye when the class was over and we were able to escape to go home.

The day was eye-opening about how school has changed since I was there. I graduated from that school as did my husband and mother. It's NOTHING like it was then. As the middle school principal said to me about the changes, "Some for the better and some not."

Tomorrow is senior parents' day to go. Of course, I'll be going. I'm sooo looking forward to Spanish. :( I hope a few more parents will be there. I think it's important to show our children we care, even when they're at an age where it's not quite as cool to have mommy or daddy around.

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Wordless Wednesday - Hockey Theme