Straight (paint)ballin’

When I started thinking about what I wanted to do for my 30th birthday this month, I had so many different ideas. I tossed around doing something for others – doing 30 things for others or something nice for 30 people or maybe just a chill dinner with family.

It never once crossed my mind to use this big-deal birthday to cross something off my list.

That’s where the BFF comes in – it crossed her mind, so she and my sister and my cousins made it happen.

The list item of choice? Paintball.

Now when it was mentioned at the paintball place that this was a bucket list item, the toddler who worked there (I picked that saying up from my traffic school teacher this past weekend. My name’s Laura and I drive fast.) acted like having that on a bucket list was stupid. And to that I say “Worry ’bout yoself, Paintball Boy.”

Lemme back up.

So I get all ready on my birthday thinking I’m gonna go get a bit of a pre-dinner buzz from some mini-margaritas at Jennifer’s house.

Then I get blindfolded and after many death threats from Jennifer, to my surprise I end up at the paintball place – this is what we’re crossing off my list and it’s gonna be awesome!!

Once I’m changed out of my dress and into my paintballin’ clothes, the nerves start to hit a little.

There are SERIOUS paintballers there. As in – significant amounts of camouflage and oh look over there, there’s a whole TEAM of guys who have had shirts made and have their shooter code names on the back. COOL.

Meanwhile, the only ones in our group who have played before are Sami and a couple of the boys. And they tell us newbies that, SPOILER ALERT: Paintballs hurt like a motherfucker.

SWEET. Happy birthday, I still might die today.

So anyway, after signing a waiver that probably says “If you die out there it’s not our fault, you just suck at paintball” and me getting a free shirt – because birthday – it’s time to suit up.

This is where I should have known it was gonna be..interesting. You don’t get a helmet – just a mask that covers your forehead, eyes, nose and mouth and a vest that probably is helpful for most people but I have some serious boobage and, well, it was kind of a joke.

Oh and then you go load your gun with marbles, basically. For newbies to paintball, it’s when you see how hard those damn things are, and that’s before they’re being shot at you from a gun that puts a shit-ton of air behind it.

Then a couple of us got a little bit scared. And that was before we even walked over to the scary-looking zombie town kind of place where we’d be “playing.”

I put that word in quotations on account of when we got over there the people that play every other day and think they’re hot stuff were like, “OH, FRESH MEAT.” And I almost peed.

Tavon, our “supervisor” or whatever they’re called gave us a quick rundown of what we’d be doing and what we weren’t allowed to do (take our masks off, basically, everything else was a free-for-all). And then we were set free to attack at each other.

He said “go” and all we could hear was “pop pop pop pop pop pop pop.” And I almost peed again.

It took approximately 20 seconds for me to get shot. First one went right into the side boob. AND OH MY GOD PAINTBALLS HURT. ESPECIALLY IN THE BOOB.

So – once you get over the initial pain/shock of being hit the first time, then you’re ready. The adrenaline’s going, you’re ready to play again and you know that that stupid little hut thing is not good shelter. Oh, and the paintball “regulars” are crazy AF.

We ended up having to pick teams at one point and in addition to the eight in our group, we needed two more. So we ended up with two more toddlers (Trevor and Jase) on our team to keep things even. We had no idea of their shooting ability (or lack of it), but they were standing closest to us, so it made sense.

Other notable moments from the rest of the three or so hours we were there?
– I had two of the professionals cornered at one point and they were pissed that they couldn’t get out or shoot me, so, GO ME.
– Two seconds after I moved out of the position of having them cornered I got shot in the ear.

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT GETTING SHOT IN THE EAR WITH A PAINTBALL.

Rang my bell pretty good. Couldn’t hear for a second. Also thought I was bleeding. And that it took a piece of my ear off. I don’t overreact at all.

Keep in mind that when you get hit, the paint ball explodes. But there are pieces left behind sometimes.

This is NOT what’s going through my head after getting shot in the ear. Instead I am thinking part of it’s missing, a la Evander Holyfield when Tyson bit it off, because when I reach back to feel it, I feel ragged edges of something so obviously it’s my ear. Oh and that wetness? Definitely can’t be paint, must be blood.

WRONG ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Did win me some cool points with some of the pros. And it made for a good conversation piece the rest of the night, especially when I couldn’t get it all out/off before changing into my dress for dinner.

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How hot is that?? (And gosh dang if my eye makeup doesn’t still look great…)

Others got it worse – Jenn, Hope and Ethan, from what I remember, all had paint on their faces – especially around the chin and mouth, where it had hit their mask.

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And I didn’t have nearly the amount or intensity of bruises as some of the rest of them did. Also, Hope almost had to smack a girl wearing an Elmo shirt and Sami shot a guy in the nipple and it ripped a hole in his shirt because she’s a badass.

Let’s see, what else…

OH. We basically adopted Trevor and Jase for the rest of the time there except for a few minutes when we were mad at Trevor for siding against us in one of the games and I called him Judas. Then they told us we didn’t seem as old as we were and we were fun and like their friends so we let them back in.

And Jennifer may or may not have been on her way to starting a small army of children that she was captain of but at that point we were all out of bullets and had to go.

Like I said before, it was the most fun birthday of my adult life and I cannot wait to go again. Especially now that all the green paint is pretty much gone from my ear.

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Best one yet? I’m thinking yes.

Besides the first one, obviously, but I don’t remember that one.

Oh, what am I talking about? Birthdays.

‘Member how I turned 30?

Well. It was kind of a big deal.

So.. I think I’ve been surprised maybe twice in my life. And usually it’s just been a matter of someone showing up somewhere that I didn’t expect to see them. I’m more of a startled person – like don’t jump out at me or you’ll get hit.

I bet I am making no kind of sense, am I?

OK. So last weekend was my 30th birthday. I had made a few plans and thought everyone was going along with it, but boy was I wrong.

A few weeks before the day, I told a few people I wanted to go out to dinner – we’d dress up fancy and just go somewhere and have a small, chill thing. I pitched it in the group text with the Game Night Bitchezzz and they were down, and suggested a pre-party before, because that’s what we do.

My sister, Rachel, convinced me to let Dad make reservations for the dinner so I’m not planning my own birthday stuff and that’s that.

Oh, and I went and bought a dress. It wasn’t only for my birthday, but the birthday seemed a good enough excuse as any.

And I didn’t think anything else about any of it.

Birthday Day came and started awesomely. Lots of birthday love from the second I woke up from friends and family, and of course, all over Facebook because that’s how it counts.

My friend, Stephanie, and I had plans to go get pedicures, so we did that and followed it up with lunch at Havana Rumba, pretty much the best restaurant ever.

Then it was time to go home and get ready.

You guys, I spent soooo much time getting ready. If I wear eye makeup, it must be important, and I worked on that shit for a while. Then put on my dress and headed over to Jenn’s where she said she’d “do my hair before dinner.”

And that, my friends, is when I lost any control I had on the day.

You see, I got to Jennifer’s and before I could get in the door, I was blindfolded, turned around, and told there had been other plans made for the day.

Jenn and Matt kidnapped me, basically, and put me in their car, and were playing some version of good cop, bad cop – meaning Matt was being nice to me and Jennifer was verbally abusing me. Anyone who doesn’t know her would think that’s bad, but as her best friend and after 14 years, I know it’s just the way she shows she loves you.

So here I am, my eye makeup now ruined (I’m thinking) and my hair not gonna get done and I hope wherever they’re taking me isn’t expecting me to look as amazing as I thought I was going to.

Oprah taught me never to be taken to a second location, but that didn’t work in this case and we discussed my impending death, because that had to be what was happening, they were taking me somewhere to kill me.

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I had even brought tiny margaritas for the pre-party. Who would drink them when my best friends murdered me?

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I was allowed to ask questions, but it got me pretty much nowhere.. because I had NO clue where we were going, who would be there, or what I was in for, as you can see.

Please note the “pop pop pop pop pop” sound as soon as the door’s opened. That doesn’t do much to soothe the worries of someone who thinks they are being taken to their death.

But SURPRISE!!!! No dying!!! It was paintball!

When I opened my eyes I saw five of my very favorite people dressed the complete opposite of me, ready to help me cross something off my list.

I found out later, that my best friend, because she’s awesome (despite the verbal abuse from earlier in the day) had decided a couple months ago to do something big for my birthday. She got on this blog and looked at my list for something she could help me cross off. And since my friends wanted to play paintball too, that got chosen!

First of all – the paintball experience in itself is getting its own post. Second of all – I wouldn’t in a million years have thought that’s where they were taking me. So much fun. And I was covered in paint when it was time to change back into my dress to go to dinner.

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Fancy.

So yes, it was at this point I thought we were going to a nice steak restaurant for dinner that I’d never been to before. You know, the one with the small group.

NOPE.

Blindfolded again. At this point I’m figuring we’re ending up at a party somewhere – someone’s house or something. No clue though, really. But I know it’s not the steak place.

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Again I’m completely caught off guard because my family and friends have organized a second surprise for the day. Lining the patio outside of our favorite Mexican restaurant up the street were about 30 people I love a lot. I couldn’t believe it.

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And the rest? Is history. I’ll let the pictures explain, especially since it gets a little bit fuzzy after about 30 minutes of being at the restaurant…

I’ve said it many times before but it bears repeating. I am blessed with some amazingly awesome people in my life. I am so grateful for every single one of them, and they made my (potentially scary) 30th birthday the best I’ve ever had. Love you all!

Highlights? Dad and I slow-dancing at a bar to Liz karaoke-ing to Usher’s “Let It Burn.”

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Oh and my grandma had some tequila.

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day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love

Now, I could put a country song here, since everyone thinks I’m anti-country. But that’s not it. I’m gonna surprise you even more.

People get all excited and lose their minds over 80s music and trends and stuff. I am not one of those. I was born mid-80s and if you wanna talk about the shows, music, styles and trends I remember, I’m a 90s kid all the way.

I was born the year Thriller came out, and while I like MJs music from that decade, there are maybe a handful of other ones from 1980-1989 that I could listen to on repeat.

That said, my song choice for Day 14 – Song that no one would expect you to love, is out there. And honestly, I think the only reason I like it is because Glee redid it.

Don’t judge.

It’s “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. And especially since re-watching the episode of Glee (with the roommate) where Artie dances to it in the middle of the mall, it’s been in my head. And I don’t mind it.

I’ll give you both the Glee version and the original. And holy craps! It’s an 80s song! And I like it!

UNHEARD OF.

Irrational Pet Peeve of the Week

I’ve been slacking as of late – remember that one time, two weeks ago, when I had something for you every day? Yeah.. hope you didn’t get used to it.

Not that I’m going to go all MIA on you or anything. It’s just, I’ve been busy. Plus there’s several other posts I’m working on for you but you haven’t seen them yet – like the one about how this is the best time of the year besides Christmas. On account of I live in Louisville. And if you don’t, well, you probably don’t understand.

Oh, also I gave up sodas. It’s been 8 days. Not as hard as I thought it’d be. The withdrawals haven’t been too bad, I just find myself longing for a large Coke from McDonalds – because they use extra syrup and it’s delicious – about once every 17 hours, as opposed to 17 minutes.

Addictions are hard to quit, people.

Anyway. None of this has anything to do with why I’m writing tonight, which is to remind you that when I don’t have suggestions on Sunday nights, you’re gonna get pet peeves. Because those are fun. And annoying. And seriously, doesn’t this stuff bother anyone else?

I told you about how I loathe window decals that show every single member of your family as stick figures, including your two cats, five fish and three dogs. No one cares. And when someone comes to kidnap your child they’ll know the kid’s name already and probably some of their interests, because you’ve displayed it for the whole world to see on the back of your Dodge Caravan.

Next up on things that drive me nuts – probably irrationally, but whatever – is, wait for it….. WHEN PEOPLE TALK IN UNISON.

I don’t care if you’re twins. I don’t care if you’re cheerleaders. I don’t care if your team is on TV and they’ve told you to say something together for the camera.

It just sounds weird. And it’s awkward. I dunno why it bothers me, but especially when they have a team or some teenagers or something come into the radio station and announce the top five at whenever and they said “You’re listening to blah blah blah” it’s just dumb.

In my opinion, the only times a group of people should speak in unison is when you’re jumping up at a birthday party yelling “SURPRISE!” and when you’re in church. Otherwise? Unacceptable.

Why does it bother me so much? I wish I knew. Maybe ’cause it’s corny? And I’d say I don’t like when things are corny and cheesy but that would be a lie because do you know how many Glee songs I have on my iPod?

Plus there is the inevitable person who isn’t paying attention and is a couple seconds behind and then you sound like none of you were prepared and really why do that many people have to say the exact same thing at the exact same time anyway? What does that accomplish? Is it because they’re trying to be fair?

I don’t care if someone else will get the attention for saying something, I don’t have to say it in unison with other people. Leave me out of it.