The story behind the name:

One evening, at the Old Broadway Grill in Fargo, North Dakota, my brother caught the end of a Mountain Dew commercial. In the commercial, a Mountain Dew drinker was riding a shark in the ocean. My brother exclaimed in surprise, not realizing that it was a commercial. When I told him he declared "All I saw was a guy coming out of the shower with a shark." Of course, he meant water, but the idea of showering with sharks has been with me ever since.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

20 Percent

So, I thought it was time - past time, perhaps - for me to post another commute story.

Back story first:

Mark is usually funny, but occasionally he is tear-inducing, can't-catch-your-breath funny. Several years ago, Mark figured his funniness into a ratio. I was talking about how sometimes, with Mark, you have to suffer through a bunch of comments that maybe aren't so funny until you get to that one real gem. I said that the wait was always worth it, because he's come up with some real winners. Mark declared that it was a 80/20 ratio. Eighty percent of the time his comments were poor to average. Twenty percent of the time they were almost-pee-your-pants funny. Mark has pulled out the 80/20 ratio explanation several times. On instance had him explaining the ratio to our friend Jon Auel. I wasn't there, but I guess Mark was particularly "on" at the time. Our friend Jon declared that Mark was 20 percent 100 percent of the time.

Back to this morning:

We were just crossing over Winnetka on our way to daycare. Mark had his hand fisted inside is glove so that all the fingers were empty. He was driving, so don't ask me what exactly he was supposed to be accomplishing with his hand like that. Anyway, he shook his fist at me so that all the fingers waved around.

"Look," he said. "Chicken hand!"

I laughed. It didn't make any sense, but I laughed anyway. I think the delivery was funnier than the actual comment. Also, those flapping fingers were funny.

"It's white meat," said Mark.

I laughed some more. Then I stopped.

"I'm not sure why I'm laughing. That didn't really make any sense. And it's not that funny."

"Yeah," said Mark. "I think it accidentally slipped into the 20 percent. That happens."


Later that same commute:

We were on Hwy 55 driving behind a short bus. I mean, the bus was shorter in length than what you consider to be a "normal" bus. Yes, everyone knows what a short bus is, but I wanted to explain that in this story, it was the literal meaning, not the connotative meaning.

As we followed the short bus around the corner Mark said, "I wonder if anyone drag races short buses?"

"I don't know, honey."

"I bet you could google it."

"You google it. I don't want to google your stupid stuff. I have my own stupid stuff to do."

"But, honey," said Mark. "Our marriage is based on our doing stupid stuff for each other."


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tee Hee

Today I am wearing a new orange sweater I bought in Iowa city last weekend. I'm wearing it with my Levi 515 jeans and my orange moccasins from Land's End that my mom bought me in April when we were waiting for Harper to be born.

This morning I was leaning over the bathroom vanity putting pomade in my hair. Mark was next to me finishing brushing his teeth. He looks over at me.

"You look nice today."

I beamed at him. Usually he only says this when prompted.

"Thanks, Honey!!"

What a great way to start the day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Potty Dance?

Ali just danced into my office. Ali has a lot of energy. Anyway, she danced in holding her laptop bag. She proceeded to dance from foot to foot.

"Are you going to be here for awhile?" Ali asked, almost breathless.

"I'm going to be here ALLLLLLL afternoon," I replied.

"Ok," exclaimed Ali. "Can I leave my laptop in here while I'm in class?" (Yes, exclaimed. Ali never really just says anything.

"No," I said, deadpan. Then, "Of course you can."

"Great!" enthused Ali. She pranced over and deposited her bag. She continued to dance.

"Do you have to go to the bathroom?" I asked, watching her.

"NO!" Ali proclaimed. "I just went!"

I spent the next two minutes laughing.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Parenting is Hard

I realize that many of my blog posts relate conversations or funny things that happen when Mark and I are either on our way to daycare, home or work. This morning is no exception.

We had just dropped Harper off and were on our way out of the daycare parking lot. Our car is a stick shift. Mark was driving. As he's pulling away from our parking space he starts singing:

"Put it into first. Then put it into second. Then put it into third," we are both kinda laughing at this point. "Then put it into... fourth..."

We are both totally laughing.

"It's a song," says Mark. "It teaches..."

I'm still laughing.

"It's a song that teaches how to drive the car."

"Yeah," I said, "Because going from gears 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 isn't intuitive enough without a song."

Mark pulls to a stop at the stoplight. He says, "Ok, lets punch in our coordinates." Then he makes a flurry of button-pushing gestures at the dashboard of our car. There may have been a "doot, doot, deet" in there.

Mark is funny. I am still laughing. He occasionally thinks it's funny to pretend we are driving a spaceship.

As we are sitting at the light, a big RC Cola semi goes through the intersection. Mark says, "RC Cola is going to eff me in the bee."

"You know," I say, "We really need to start watching our language. Harper is going to start picking up this stuff."

"That's going to be hard," says Mark.

"I know, but we need to try."

Mark says, "Yeah, what if Harper started saying "eff me in the bee" at daycare."

We are laughing. Of course, the idea of Harper ACTUALLY saying something like that at daycare, then stating that it's OK because her Daddy says it all the time may haunt me.

As we pull up to the next light, I say, "Sometimes you are like a child."

"I know," Mark says. "It's going to make parenting difficult." He looks at me. "For you."

Monday, February 8, 2010


I'm never quite sure what to expect when Mark dresses Harper on his own. It's not that he comes up with terribly mismatched outfits. I mean, he dresses himself on a day-to-day basis. I have some confidence in his ability to put together clothing that matches. However, from time to time, after Mark has dressed her, Harper has emerged from the nursery in an outfit that looks... somehow... not quite right?

For example, Mark once dressed Harper in a green and white striped onsie with green pants. But the greens weren't the same. One was a sea-foam green and one was more grassy. In addition, the green pants and fleece jacket that went with it were lined with stripes. But, yellow stripes. So, there were multiple stripes and multiple colors of green. At first glance you might think, "oh, that works." But really... no. Mark wouldn't find anything wrong with putter Harper in a red onsie and red pants. The reds might not match. And Harper would be exceedingly red. Or, he might dress her in two shades of pink that weren't complimentary, but seemed ok because they were both pink. You know, as I write this, I can't help but thinking this weird matching is a little odd. I mean, he has training in design. Usually, he's really good with color...

Anyway, when he went into the nursery to dress Harper this Saturday I was interested to see what the result would be. Mark brought her out and I said, "Well, what have we got on today?"

Turns out, Mark had dressed Harper in the green striped onsie from the above description which has brown writing on the front. It says "Mommy's Little Monster" and there is a brown monster on it. In addition, he had put on these cute brown cargo-type pants. You know, the kind with little buttons and loops on them. The pants were exactly the same color as the writing and the monster.

"Oh," I said. "Good job! You love those pants!" It's true. Mark has tried to dress her in these pants several times with limited success (which means that I have not let those outfits persist).

"Yeah," Mark said, as he leaned to to put Harper on the floor. "They are her weekend dungarees!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Be Still My Heart

I had an epiphany last night. It began while watching a commercial for the iphone. The main point of the commercial was that you can surf the net while talking on the phone. In the commercial, the guy with the phone was talking to his wife who says "I can't believe our anniversary is next week!" The guy agrees that it is amazing while using his phone to look at flower arrangements. It occurred to me at that point that I really liked flowers and hadn't received any from my loving husband in quite a while. I decided that since next week was Valentine's Day, I would like to get some flowers.

Now, here's where the behavior change begins. In the past, I would have dropped subtle hints to Mark about how I'd like flowers. Mark, being Mark, probably would have missed the subtle hints because I would have tried dropping them while he was otherwise engaged with television, or Call of Duty, or the computer. Valentine's Day would have come and gone and I wouldn't have gotten any flowers. Then, I would have been mad at Mark and sad and thinking that he did not love me or ever think of me (this is ridiculous, but true). I would have taken out my anger on Mark. It would probably be catalyzed by something not even related to the actual reason I was upset. For example, I may have just started crying that he didn't love me after he didn't rinse out his cereal bowl (that is my brand of crazy). Eventually, I would admit that I was upset he didn't buy me flowers for Valentine's Day. He would console me (because that is his brand of awesome) and I would have apologized and admitted that I overreacted.

Back to the epiphany... I realized last night that if I ASKED him to get me flowers, then he would. I would be happy because I got flowers. Mark would be happy because he made me happy and also because he would have avoided the inevitable crazy. WE BOTH WIN!! I decided right then and there that from now on, when I needed a little romance in my life, instead of just wishing that Mark would spontaneously read my mind, I would come out and ask for it. So, I asked for flowers. I don't know what kind I will get, roses, lilies, daisies, whatever... and that is surprise enough.