Monday, January 17, 2011

Yeah, I'm 44 today. And still a bit of a Super Hero.

It's a national holiday today -- my birthday! No, seriously it's Martin Luther King Day, but from time to time my birthday falls on this holiday forcing banks, the post office and other government offices to close. The last time my birthday fell on MLK Day my water pipes burst and I spent the day under my house re plumbing with pvc. My daughters were elementary-aged then. They are 21 and 23 now. I remember that day fondly even though I was covered with mud and soaked with water. I was so cold. There was six inches of snow on the ground and the temperature had fallen into the teens. It didn't matter -- we had no water and I had to get it fixed somehow. So I threw on my cape (it was overalls really) and just did it.
I've never thought of myself as a super hero -- that's my sister -- I call her Ghetto Santa. Her super hero outfit is of course red and white with fur around the edges -- her hair white and when in full getup she dons a curly white beard -- but that's a topic for another blog. After today, though, I am beginning to wonder if maybe, just maybe I am super hero material myself. I have heard things like this run in families.
I slept in this morning to celebrate MLK Day (which is why I had the day off in the first place) and my birthday. Shortly after getting out of bed a good friend called to ask if I wanted to have drinks later during Happy Hour at the Bee. I opted out of that to have a quiet birthday at home to rest and reflect on upcoming plans. When I turned 39 I made a list of four things I wanted to accomplish before I turned 40 -- Lose 20 pounds, stop smoking, get my first novel published and stop being so negative. I accomplished all those things and so much more -- but that's not why I think I might be super hero material -- read on.
After opting out of drinks during happy hour, I decided to make a list of things I want to accomplish before I turn 45 -- get accepted to and start my MFA program, finish my MA in Education, walk more, finish my screenplay adaptation of Sister Blackberry, and write my third novel Knoring Road.
It was the "walk more" item on my list that took me on a wild super hero adventure today.
At about 4 p.m. I trekked out. The weather here has been so cold but today it was 44 degrees -- coincidence, I think not. This four-mile hike was meant to be (the blister on the back of my heel a bonus).
I went to the park near my house and began walking the three-quarter mile track when I noticed two teenage girls looking intently out onto the still-frozen Brickyard Ponds. I passed them once with no alert but thought it was odd they were continuing to gaze out onto the ice and water. The second time I passed I heard one of them talking on her phone using speaker, "Can you just come out here and see if you can crawl across the ice and get the phone?" A young boy's voice was on the other end, "Are you crazy?"
I stopped. Yes, the girl was asking him to go out onto the frozen water to get her phone. I really didn't want to get involved. As super heroes go -- I am one of the more reluctant dynamic participants. But, I also didn't want to see someone die in the frozen water trying to retrieve a phone. I asked the girl, Etta, was her name what had happened. She and her friend were throwing rocks out onto the ice and the phone flew out of her hand, hit the frozen pond and slid about 20 feet out.
"See, there it is right beside that stick," Etta held her head close to mine and pointed ahead to the ice.
Of course I couldn't see it. My contact prescription is outdated by two years and well, I turned 44 today. My eyesight is probably going to be the first to go. But I took Etta's word for it that there was a phone out there -- a leap of blind faith you might say.
She was very upset about losing her phone and said her mother had never approved of the cell phone her father had gotten her in the first place. If she lost it her mother would never replace it.
I looked all around for a long stick, branch or anything that could slide that phone over to the bank -- there was nothing.
I have an in ground pool and two 10 foot poles for scrubbing and leaf gathering. So I asked the girls to stay put while I retrieved these pool tools from my house, "Please don't go out on that ice or let anyone else go out there, I'll be right back."
I carried the poles from my garage back to the park, about three blocks, passersby were slowing down -- probably to see what the hell I was carrying. I was rather proud of myself for getting the poles out of the garage and between the cars in my driveway and arriving at my destination without scratching my car or anyone elses. Believe me, there were plenty of close calls -- it's not easy carrying two 10-foot-poles in a neighborhood where people park on the street. I had thought of everything -- wide pool scrubber and even a roll of duct tape (no super hero is really super without duct tape, now is she?)
We taped the two poles together and put the wide brush on the end. Then, we carefully pushed the brush out onto the ice next to the phone (which I could now see -- my super powers must have kicked in and activated my super vision). Tada! Etta's phone was saved.
My super hero name: Crazy as Hell Ice Lady aka -- Super CHIL
Super CHIL will fight ice and snow, frozen ponds and frozen pipes for the good of all mankind. My outfit -- ice blue of course with lots of silver and diamond bling, my hair is platinum blonde (after all I am still a Southern woman -- super hero or not). Oh yeah, and blue lipstick too -- that would complete my look. I can travel with Ghetto Santa and we can be the new Dynamic Duo. GS will give you a present if your income is close to poverty level and Super CHIL will unthaw your pipes and rescue items from atop frozen water surfaces -- if  you've dropped them there.
Only problem is I think Super CHIL only has powers when her alter ego -- Melissa Newman has a birthday on the same day as Martin Luther King Day, which only happens about once every decade.
So, never fear Super CHIL is out there thawing frozen pipes and rescuing items thrown haphazardly across the frozen tundra -- even if it is only every ten years.
Super CHIL's motto: Keep Your Comb in the Waffles -- That's Where It Belongs.
-- Melissa

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