Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

One of the things I was really looking forward to when I went to Santa Fe for a long weekend was hiking in Bandelier National Monument.

Known for its ancient cave dwellings, it was definitely on my bucket list of U.S. parks to visit. The trail to the caves was a mile and a half loop from the visitor’s center, with options to veer off onto longer trails to see more caves. I decided to stick to the main loop since my feeling was, once you’ve seen one cave dwelling, you’ve seen them all. It’s not like going on a house tour. The decor didn’t really change all that much from one cave to another, especially since they weren’t really into window treatments or designer kitchens back then.

My hiking companions, however, were a little more adventurous than I was and decided to abandon me on the loop back to explore some more caves. There was a 140-foot climb on a series of ladders to more caves they wanted to scale. I have a rickety ladder at home I use to get into my attic and that’s about all the ladder climbing I’m game for. Call me crazy, but if I’m going to fall off a ladder and split my head open, I prefer to do it in the comfort of my own home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The section of the loop back to the visitor’s center took me through a forest and I took my time, enjoying the solitude amongst the towering trees and singing birds. There were no other hikers on the trail and I felt like I was the only person on the planet.

As I made my way down the trail I saw a sign identifying some of the plant life in the forest. Then I came upon a sign identifying some of the birds in the forest. The third sign had pictures of some of the animals I might encounter so I stopped to check it out. There were all the usual animals you’d expect to see – deer, squirrels, bats, badgers… and mountain lions.

I looked again. Mountain lions. WHAAAAAT?

I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and quickly looked all around me. Mountain lions! What the heck? Why didn’t someone tell this to me when I picked up my trail map? Didn’t they think it was worth mentioning that you might encounter a large, predatory cat with sharp teeth and long claws and a bad temper while you are out strolling through the park? I could see omitting the information about the badgers, but mountain lions? Kind of an important warning to pass on, I would think. In their defense, they did warn me about ticks. Not that I’d have to worry about lyme disease if I was eaten by lion.

Since I didn’t think to bring any mountain lion spray with me or perhaps, maybe, a tranquilizer gun, I wondered what I could do to protect myself in the event of a run-in with a lion. Keeping one eye out for any large, man-eating felines, I rummaged through my pack to see if there was anything I could use as a weapon. I found a pen, which probably wouldn’t do me much good unless the lion wanted my autograph. Then I found my car key, which he could use to steal my car after he mauled me. The last thing I pulled out was a laser pointer with a whistle attached. I thought this might actually help. If the mountain lion was anything like the housecats at home, I could point the light at a tree and the lion would go chasing after it. And if that didn’t work, I could blow the whistle really hard and maybe a badger would come rescue me.

With the whistle in my mouth, I picked up my pace and scanned the forest around me for any movement.

All my senses were on high alert. If a mountain lion came out of the woods, I was ready!

I was within visual distance of the visitor’s center when suddenly I saw a rustling in the bushes off to my right. Suddenly an animal came charging out of the bushes onto the trail and I blew the heck out of my whistle like my life depended on it. The animal stopped in its tracks, blinked twice, and then ran back into the woods.

Yeah, I showed that squirrel.

 

©2017, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

bookbutton-04“Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” makes a great gift!! To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE

To become a fan of Lost in Suburbia on Facebook, Visit me here
To follow me on Twitter, visit me here

 

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Filed under travel

Why James Breakwell is Only Dead on the Inside

Like 982,000 other fans, I follow humor writer James Breakwell on Twitter (@Xplodingunicorn), where he tweets really funny snippets of conversations with his four daughters, ages 7 and under, who mercilessly show him who’s boss (spoiler alert: it’s not him).

 

 

 

 

 

… interactions with his wife,

 

 

 

 

… and his pig.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, even the pig is a girl.

So… what do you to keep your sanity when you’re the only man in a house with five women and a sow?
If you answered, “Make sure you put the toilet seat down,” you’re partly right. Breakwell, however, decided to take a different tack: he wrote a book about parenting and zombies. This is not to be confused with other books about parenting zombies. This is a book about fighting zombies as a parent, and using your parenting superpowers to make sure you don’t get eaten.

Sound like something you can relate to?

Well, James Breakwell, is pretty sure the zombie apocalypse is going to happen (hopefully before he has to pay for the weddings of all four of his daughters so he can get out of that expense), and he’s happy to share his practical and hilarious survival tips in his new book, Only Dead on the Inside. Chockfull of sage advice like “Don’t eat the family pet,” and “Don’t kill any relatives, even if they are zombies. It sets a bad example for your kids,” Only Dead on the Inside takes on the dual challenges of potty-training your toddlers and lopping the heads off zombies (yes, often at the same time).

I had a quick conversation with James (you have to make it quick when you’re talking to a guy who’s watching four little girls) to find out definitively, which is scarier, a zombie apocalypse or four girls with a jar of glitter?

Me: Zombies?  Really?

J.B.: They’re a real threat. At first, I thought I was making it all up, but then my publisher told me this book is nonfiction. Clearly the publishing industry knows something about zombies I don’t. Watch your back.

Me:  You do realize that even if you survive the actual zombie apocalypse, your girls will turn into zombies when they become teenagers, anyway, right? Maybe not the flesh-eating kind, but still somewhat frightening.

J.B.: My kids already terrify me on a daily basis.  That’s why parents will be so well prepared for  the zombie apocalypse. The big monsters trying to knock down the front door are nothing compared to the tiny monsters we raise in our own homes every day.

Me: My kids are older now, so we are well past the diaper and umbrella stroller stage. Do you think this means we are at a disadvantage in the case of a zombie apocalypse?

J.B.: To a parent of small children, it seems like the apocalypse has already started: the house in shambles, there are random screams at all hours of the day, and no one has slept in three weeks. If you’re a parent with older kids, you’ve made it out of the crisis stage, but that doesn’t mean you’ve lost your skills. The apocalypse is like riding a bike. Once the zombies show up, you’ll remember what to do.

Me: With Halloween approaching, how can we tell the difference between a real zombie and someone who’s just dressed up as a zombie?

J.B.: Offer them candy. If they bite your hand, they’re a zombie. Or a toddler.

Me: Are you worried that if we have a zombie apocalypse now, it could really mess up your book sales because zombies don’t read?

J.B.: If the zombie apocalypse starts now, my book will be the most read book in the world, even if only two people are left alive to read it. It’ll be a New York Times bestseller by default.

 

About James Breakwell: James Breakwell is a professional comedy writer and amateur father of four girls, ages seven and under. He is best known for his family humor Twitter account @XplodingUnicorn, which boasts more than 950,000 followers. The account went viral In April 2016 and transformed James from a niche comedy writer into one of the most popular dads on social media. Only Dead on the Inside is out on October 10 but is available now for pre-sale at Amazon and fine booksellers everywhere. You can follow James on Twitter @Xplodingunicorn and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ExplodingUnicorn

 

*Note: I was not paid or compensated in any way for promoting this book. I just found it hella funny and wanted to help get the word out! Okay, well, he did offer me some chocolate zombies in return, but I politely declined.

©2017, Beckerman. All rights reserved.

bookbutton-04“Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir. How I Got Pregnant. Lost Myself, and Got My Cool Back in the New Jersey Suburbs” makes a great gift!! To get a copy for you or a cool mom you love, CLICK HERE

To become a fan of Lost in Suburbia on Facebook, Visit me here
To follow me on Twitter, visit me here

 

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Filed under Husbands and other Aliens, Uncategorized