That Time I Fought Captain Hook and Won (Sorta).

On Sunday night, Chris and I watched the next to last episode of Once Upon a Time’s Season Three.

It featured a lot of Captain Hook (Also known as the beautiful and charming Killian Jones), along with a good deal of time travel.

Captain Hook

My subconscious was greatly impacted by these things.

The first time I noticed it was when I stumbled to the bathroom around 1am – stupid water intake.

When I headed back to bed, I ran into the door.


Chris sleepily answered, “Are you okay?”

…except that I heard his response in Captain Hook’s indeterminately British/Irish accent.

Perhaps Chris was also dreaming about Once Upon a Time. Or perhaps I’m just psychotic in my sleep. Most likely the latter.

“Yes, I’m fine. I ran into the door. Hurt my foot.”

Again in the sexy accent, “I’m sorry you’ve been hurtin’ your hands and feet so much t’night, Love.”

I got in bed, confused about so many things. My mind began churning at all of the questions.

Was my husband talking in a Pirate’s accent?

Am I awake or asleep?

Why did he say I hurt my hands? I haven’t hurt my hands. Has he traveled into the future and seen that I hurt my hands later in the night or something? I hurt my hand sleepwalking that one time…is he talking about “night” in a more general sense?

I feel it necessary to say that I distinctly remember having ALL of the above thoughts. Then I drifted off to sleep again, confused but cozy.

Until 2am.

When there was a Pirate on the end of our bed.

On the end of our BED, people!!

I lept out of my sleeping position and pushed him off the bed, where he presumably tumbled two feet to his death.

I heard a loud crash, then I felt an agonizing and stabbing pain in my arm.

That Pirate just slashed off my arm. My LEFT arm?! Seriously, dude? Have some respect for the left-handed woman.

Then the pain grew worse, and woke me up enough to realize that there was probably….not a Pirate lying in our floor, wounded by my heroic save of our Marriage Bed.

Then why was my arm hurting so badly??

I had no idea but considering that I’ve broken my nose and gone to the emergency room from sleepwalking incidents (and yes, those were two separate nights), I had no doubt that I was to blame.

For the second time that night, I stumbled to the bathroom. The pain was getting worse. My entire arm felt like it was being yanked, twisted, and set on fire in some sort of Sadistic Willy Wonka’s Torture Chamber.

I turned on the light and looked at my arm – no blood this time. An improvement!

….Were it not for THE UNENDURABLE PAIN.

I managed somehow to open an ibuprofen bottle and count out the maximum dosage (four pills. But I wanted more.)

Back to bed, where my water was on my bedside table.

But it was dark. And I’m left-handed. I reached out with my left hand and shrieked in pain at the movement. I had my pills in my right hand so there was no logical way to reach with my right hand. OBVIOUSLY.

Chris finally roused. I have no idea how that man can sleep through me fighting a Pirate off the end of our bed and getting mortally wounded in the process. Maybe because he’s had nearly fourteen years of practice.

“What’s wrong?”

He had noticeably lost his Captain Hook lilt.

I started crying. The pain was so piercing that I was sure I had decapitated my arm nerve.

“I can’t even reach my waaaaaaater!! And I need to take these pilllllls!! It hurts so baaaaaaaad!”

He handed me my water and started pacing.

“I can’t believe you’re still hurting this bad.”

“What are you talking about? This just happened!”

“Oh wait. You’re not talking about your infection from last week?”

“NO! Didn’t you see? I hurt my arm sleepwalking because there was a Pirate on the end of our bed! IT HURTS SO BAD.”

By this time, my fingers were curling up against their will and shot fireballs down my arm if moved. I was nearly certain that I had caused significant and irreversible nerve damage – I’d never be able to type again, to hold a pen again, to text again, to gently stroke my children’s faces again, to drive again, and I’d certainly never be able to unload the dishwasher or vacuum out the car again.

I began crying. Hard. Mourning the loss of my independence.

Chris paced. Faster.

“Do I need to take you to the ER?”

“Theeeeeere’s nooooothing theeeey can dooooo <sniff> to fiiiiix me!!!!”

“I will take you if you need me to. You have a very high tolerance for pain. This has to be bad.”

I began reminiscing on our last middle-of-the-night emergency room visit – one that required many stiches in the center of my hand. Every doctor and nurse in that hospital popped into my room to hear me say it.

“How’d you do that to your hand?”

“I was sleepwalking and dove at our dresser to save my baby from falling down the stairs. The dresser has very sharp drawer-pulls.”

A few minutes later, presumably driven by the last visitor patting them on the shoulder and saying “Go ask Room 130 what she did to her hand. You’ve GOTTA hear this one.”, another doctor would peek in on me, feigning care and empathy.


I wasn’t ready for that again.

So that Chris could get some sleep, and because there was NO WAY I could sleep or even quit whimpering from the ever-growing pain, I went downstairs and laid on the couch, where I began trying to remember my Human Anatomy education.

Is there some sort of small arm bone that could be fractured?

This feels just like that time in 7th grade that I broke my wrist. My fingers are definitely doing the same thing.

Maybe I never sleptwalked and really I have bone cancer and I just dreamed that I injured myself to explain the pain. Maybe I’m about to die! Or worse – my arm is going to fall off!

I guess I’ll have to get X-Rays tomorrow. And maybe an MRI. And a PET and a CAT. A full-body scan would be most efficient. But I can’t drive! And Chris has a deadline. I’ll get my parents to take me. NO – I’ll get one parent to stay with the kids and one parent to take me. I DO NOT NEED my kids jostling me right now.

Then I began thinking about the more serious repercussions of my injury.

This means that I have already broken my first New Year’s Resolution!

“I resolve to run into less objects, which leave mysterious bruises on my upper thighs [and arms] that I then spend days trying to remember what exactly I ran into.”

But I always blog about my sleepwalking injuries, so that will count as my second resolution.

“If that resolution doesn’t stick, I resolve to keep a bruise diary.”

Because it’s going to be a good one. Unless I’m dying of cancer.

Once I had everything planned out, the pain subsided enough so that I could sink into sleep.

I woke up Monday morning with nearly-fully functional fingers, no bruise yet, and just an extremely sore forearm, which led me to presume that I’d most likely live after all.

And I did look – and there was not a Pirate to be found in the entire house.

…But I do think my husband can see the future in his sleep.

The Great Alabama Outdoors.

So, camping.

The weather could not have been more perfect when we arrived to the annual family camping trip. They were the ideal conditions for asking your son to pose for a picture,IMG_1088

When in reality you’re trying to covertly snap a photo of your camping neighbors taking their dog for a walk…in a pink stroller.


That pup was the most pampered being in that campground, always parked in front of the fan, “walked” to her heart’s content…


But this camping trip wasn’t about dogs. It was about children, and the wonderland that is having a playground within eyesight and the freedom of coming and going by oneself,


About being made to carry firewood,


No matter what your age.


About playing on the giant rocks in a creek bed that’s never been anything but dry,


About heading to the playground before breakfast and before being de-pajamaed,


And before anyone can force you to put your Crocs on the right feet.


About playing happily with your cousins so that your parents can take a romantic and quiet walk around the campground without any little shadows getting in the way,


About pulling your grandmother in every direction possible because we all know she’s the most fun person on a camping trip,


And about sitting around the campfire with your Granddad while making up ghost stories.


And, since Ali was there and Ali is never unprepared, it was about having a craft table set up and organizing all of your cousins as if you were the activities coordinator on a cruise ship.


This might mean that you have your first Rainbow Loom disaster and major rubberband de-sorting, but it’s worth it anyway.


This is our annual family camping trip. Always at the idyllic location of Buck’s Pocket State Park, low in the valley below Sand Mountain in North Alabama.

It’s a place where you take your dogs along to do the dishes,


(Yes I gagged a little when I saw that,)

Where you force your children to go on long nature hikes,


(Yes these “paths” were most definitely where we managed to pick up Poison Sumac,)


Where you teach them how to climb trails that go straight up mountainsides,


Where you have to come up with a satisfying explanation for the rock-writing along the trail – because after all, some kids can read,


Where, on some parts of the trail, you wish you were as short as they were,


And where the view at the top makes it all worth it.


Well, at least for grownups.


(But the cousin-to-cousin bonding of such shared trauma cannot be denied.)


But this is also the place where my Mother has been hosting The World’s Best Treasure Hunt for over two decades and two generations, so all hiking can be forgiven.


Because the ecstasy of getting your water balloon into a bucket a foot in front of you erases all negative memories.


(As does finding a new best friend.)


At night, there are glow sticks to be had, and light shows to be offered.


But after the children are tucked snugly in their sleeping bags is when the real fun can be had – because the good chocolate comes out for the S’mores, there are glow sticks to burn,


And fiery air-writing to attempt.


And then, after all can be had of the State Park, there are new adventures to discover.


Adventures that require walking up to a ledge and looking over –


To discover what is sure to be one of Alabama’s most fantastic sights, High Falls Park.


If ever there were a Troll Bridge, that has to be it.

And of course, there are sunsets.


Wide, sweeping gigantic sunsets,


Unbelievable overlooks in the middle of nowhere,

141024 The Skies from Langston Overlook Lighter

And awe-inspiring paintings in the sky.

141024b Langston Sunset Lighter

Sunsets that leave the cows unimpressed,

141024c Alabama Longhorns at Sunset

Because they see them every night.

141024d Longhorn Reflections

This is Alabama. Come visit us soon.

(And I might even take your dog’s picture while I’m pretending to take my son’s.)

Just Escape.

Every year about this time, there is a clear and defined day where it actually starts to feel like Fall in Alabama.

And every year on that day, I go crazy.

I become an obsessed antsy fool who can think of nothing but going North. Sometimes I fantasize about North Alabama, sometimes the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, sometimes New England, sometimes Canada, and sometimes Alaska.

(Although I hear Canada’s Autumn has already come and gone. So scratch that fantasy.)

It completely consumes me and I begin nagging my husband to please take me away, and I can even become so psychotic that I consider traveling alone…with children.

And two weeks ago, I actually followed through.

It mattered not that we had a camping trip planned for that very weekend in North Alabama, where my heart so desired to go. I was so consumed with the need to go north immediately that I packed myself and the children up and left a day early, loosely planning to drive about in North Alabama and stay overnight on hotel rewards points. My dear husband didn’t argue and even agreed to do all of the camping grocery shopping in my stead. Because he knows you can’t stand in the way of someone in their Crazy Season.

Our first stop was Weathington Park, one of my favorite overlooks in North Alabama, right above Scottsboro. The crisp fall air and barely-budding fall colors warmed my heart deeply, confirming that this was indeed what it sought.


The kids had never been there and were quite impressed with the view, though perhaps not as big of fans of the wind.


I snapped a dozen pictures of them before they ran away, and they all came out like a mountaintop silly pose photo booth.

Weathington Photo Booth

I especially liked Noah getting slapped around by his sister’s hair.

They ran around at the park while I breathed in the mountainous air. And we were all well satisfied.


They had also never been to Unclaimed Baggage, just down the hill. This cost me many questions on the way there about how luggage gets lost, why luggage gets lost, what happens when luggage gets lost, and why people can’t just go to the store and find their luggage again.

And when we arrived, the questions began again: how could such an enormous surfboard possibly get lost?


Who knows, Ali. Who. Knows.

All troubling thoughts were forgotten, though, when Ali spotted her hero at the store.


I bribed them to hang out with me in the denim section by promising a visit to the kid’s building afterward. Although I did find and buy myself a pair of Armani (Armani!!) jeans for $30, I kinda more so fell in love with these beauties:


Long Live the Queen. And may she one day be photographed wearing something similar.

Speaking of England, I also ran across this book. The British have such a more respectable way of saying “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader”:


Eventually we made it to the kid’s building, and my anti-violence ultra-cautious daughter picked out a pair of these for her one purchase:


Noah stayed true to his stereotype and decided on a motorized train set that was shockingly cheap and even more shockingly functional. We hooked it up for him the next day on our camping trip,


where he let many hours fall through the cracks.


After Unclaimed Baggage, we toured the historic Scottsboro square, where everything felt as if nothing had changed in 50 years.


There was a Soda Fountain,


A courthouse where Noah decisively did not want to pose for a photo,


And a bakery, where the children received their other bribe for playing nice at Unclaimed Baggage:





Then we continued our adventure driving through The Great Autumn Outdoors.


We drove to Huntsville next, because a) I just needed to drive north, and b) I had Marriott points, and Marriott has yet to grace the great town of Scottsboro.

Plus, I haven’t been to Huntsville since I was a tween. It was time.

As tradition states in our family, we had to try the local Greek restaurant. We found Big Papa Gyro hanging out with the Classy ladies. Because he’s Greek. And Greeks have good taste.


I mean, who but Greeks would know how very stylish it is to have a faux rock fountain – on a pedestal – with a hanging garden protruding from its abdomen?


And of course nothing accents such a magnificent piece like a wall-length mirror on one side,


And a Greek mural lined with fake hanging grapes on the other side.


All of this confirmed the most important of facts: This was a TRUE Greek-owned restaurant. And it was going to be delicious.

I had a hard time picking from the above-counter food photos,


But I finally did, and let me tell you – they slaughtered half a dozen potatoes on behalf of my side of fries.


It was all I dreamed it to be.

It was the night of the solar eclipse, so the plan was to go to Monte Sano State Park, 15 minutes above Huntsville, to watch the event. Unfortunately, the clouds did not agree to our plan.


We did, however, see something more rare than an eclipse – this dude was in the park office when we walked in…


Which is when he looked at us, smiled, then licked a twenty-dollar bill.

While holding eye contact.

Then…licked it again.

I have no idea what that meant but it might stop me from travelling alone again for at least six months.

The sky stayed completely dull until we pulled back in at our hotel, because of course it would show off when I no longer had a great view.


But there was no way I was hanging out on a mountaintop with a dollar-licker after dark.

141023 Pinks Over Huntsville

The next morning while we were eating breakfast at the hotel, Chris checked in on us via text. I sent him back a photo that encapsulated that family demeanor for our trip thus far.


He tried to help lighten the mood.


But that just made Ali want to play along, and her grumpy face might be the most frightening thing I’ve seen this whole Halloween season.


I apologize if you have nightmares.

We drove back to Scottsboro and ran at Goose Pond Colony, soaking in yet more North Alabama Beauty before meeting the rest of the family on our camping trip.


And it was exactly what I needed to ease my Crazy Season.


And the kids didn’t seem to mind being dragged along.



…And then we headed to meet the rest of the family for our camping trip, blissfully unaware that it would create a week of misery and the need for four doctor’s visits.

But at least my Autumn need to escape was satiated.