And I don’t care.

It makes me do this (but I cannot pull off the ENORMOUS cuteness quotient):
The bits stuck to Paisley's face are apparently 'Baby Puffs' - fruits and vegetables disguised as packing material or something like that.

On the night of the banquet, I arrived in Park City for the 50,000th time in five days – this time WITH luggage AND having showered, damn it. I arrived just in time to meet the caterer and give her her thank you gift and her metal drink tubs (the card was BLANK and I explained that it would have said lots and lots of nice things and she very sweetly told me that she could always use a thank you card) and to walk into the banquet JUST as it was supposed to start. (It was NOT the BANQUET FROM HELL yet; those were the innocent days – the days when I thought I’d SEE the bill before I was charged and the days when I believed the the bill would not be based ENTIRELY IN THE REALM OF IMAGINATION.)

I’d been there approximately two minutes when my Father turned to me and said, “So and So and So and So solved the very difficult equation of [INSERT ENGINEERING PHRASE THAT – ESPECIALLY IN A SLEEP-DEPRIVED STATE TO A NON-ENGINEER – MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BEEN “BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH”] and I promised a little prize and an award. Do you have anything?” I looked at him blankly for a minute. He continued, “We’ll call the prize the Anderson-Schulz Flory Award. Do you have a something – uhm, a certificate?”

Mind you, at home, it is not unusual for my Father to say, “It’s So and So’s birthday and I need something in two minutes.” My Mother and I are prepared for this regular occurrence.. We have the Kate and Karen gift shop, with an assortment of little presents as well as accompanying gift bags, wraps and bows. I can put together a gift basket in two minutes flat – LESS than that on a good day. This impresses my Father. I have also stopped him as he is leaving the house with – I kid you not – a HALF-EATEN BAG OF CANDY which he intends to give to some neighbor family as a gift. Oh, the multitude of times that Man has been sent out the door with a REAL little gift/token as opposed to the some weird crap he pulled out from under his bed (he keeps candy there – don’t ask). Perhaps this has given him the wrong impression. Perhaps he thinks my Mother and I can perform GIFT MAGIC.

But at the banquet, I could only gawk in amazement . He WAS sleep-deprived, but not NEARLY to the extent that I was.

Here’s the connection to the Healthy Back Bag – oh the the perfect ergonomic design and it’s capacious interior…. I was cruelly mocked for using this bag. YES, it is an OLD PERSON BAG. So what? I have back trouble (don’t worry – I shan’t launch into a treatise on my rheumatism and my gout and the vapours and whatnot) and it seemed like a good idea. Finally, after years of faithful service, some of the teeth on the zipper to the main compartment gave way. I stood in the shoe repair shop, tears welling in my eyes, begging, “Could you REPLACE the zipper?” But NO, it’s embedded into the design in a way that makes replacement impossible. So now, in keeping with womanly folly throughout the World, I have multiple handbags. At the moment they are mostly summery clearance items from Steinmart and Tuesday Morning, but I still have MORE THAN ONE. This means when you switch things about that NOT EVERYTHING MAKES IT INTO THE OTHER HANDBAG. Granted, I had my multi-tool, but I DID NOT have my pocket knife (it’s PERSONALIZED) or my tiny level. Nor did I have my electronic three-language (four?) translator cum calculator. Most importantly, it means I DID NOT HAVE THE TINY TUPPERWARE KEYCHAIN WITH THE HELPFUL EMERGENCY MEDICATION.

Had the smart-ass in me been awake, I might have said, “Wait one moment Father – let met examine my on-hand awards selection. Okay, I have ‘Best Performance as a Jewish Religious Authority after recovering from a serious Beard Mishap,’ I have the ‘Life-time CRAZY Hair Achievement Award’ – wait that’s mine – I have the ‘Most Engineer-like Faux Pas at a Social Function,’ but that’s not really the right one, ‘Best Malapropism on Tuesday,’ but it’s Thursday, anyway – WAIT – I have the ‘Anderson-Shulz…’ – Damn! I have the ‘Anderson-Schulz Mc-Flurry Award.’ So close. Wait – I will take my multi-tool, cut out a piece of the tablecloth, quickly pen an award (in CALLIGRAPHY – suitable for framing, NATURALLY), decorate it with a little lip gloss from my extensive collection (a story for another time), embroider it with dental floss and THERE YOU HAVE IT! And let me thumb through my envelope full of gift certificates from all regions of the country – PERFECT – I have one for Washington State AND one for Houston, Texas. How lucky! Let me check on my wallet-sized Periodic Table of the Elements and see what the appropriate Noble Gas is for such an occasion….

OKAY – I do – IN TRUTH – carry a wallet-sized Periodic Table of the Elements and have done so for at least twenty years. Mind you, it’s an old enough version that’s missing some of the newer synthetic/atomic/nuclear elements like “Mister Burnsiom” and “Tela-Tubbium,” but I could STILL whip the thing out and tell you in a few short moments that the atomic number of Tungsten (the symbol is “W” by the way – HA) is 74. So there. Awards and gift certificates, no dice (literally – no dice – though sometimes a finger puppet, a rhythm egg and TINY face cards). Cash, upon occasion…