I know this story is going to sound exaggerated but I swear to you it is not. You guys. I'm a mess. My life is a mess. The decisions I make? A mess. The ways in which I attempt to correct the messes I make? A mess.

This weekend I was exhausted. The Boulder Ironman is now somehow only a month away. Hashtag what the hell. Hashtag I don't deserve this I didn't do anything wrong. Hashtag dark magic.

Because it is somehow right around the corner AGAIN, I have been frantically trying to cram an entire year's worth of training into every single day because I am terrified. I shouldn't be as terrified as I am. I've been training extremely hard. But as you may have gathered if you've read Stranger before, Ironman and I have sort of a rocky history and I'm not really convinced that it isn't intentionally trying to kill me.

So, because of the above-mentioned, I got up every day last week before most of you even went to bed three days before (don't think about that too hard or I'll lose all credibility and then I'll have literally nothing). I woke up early for excessively long training runs or swims or bike rides and by the time the weekend hit, I was no longer a normal functioning adult human. And that's probably how the below happened.

I got back to my house after a run. It was hot. It was exactly the temperature of the inside of Bob and Cathie's vehicles during the winter time. It has been so bloody hot lately. Suffocating. Miserable. Salt Lake City is currently being considered for the new location of Hell. Actual Hell. The one where Satan lives. The one where family reunions take place and where they filmed all 12,000 seasons of Glee.

Instead of walking back into the house, I went to the backyard where I planned to consume 75% of the raspberries on my 18-foot overwhelmingly large raspberry bush. When I got to the backyard, however, I was distracted by a smell.

I knew where it was coming from. At the back corner of the yard there is an old water fixture of sorts with a concrete retention pond. It is not functioning and it does not appear to have any drainage system. In the spring it rained nearly every day and this constant rain seemed to keep the pond relatively clean. But now the water has sat stagnant for a month or two and it had turned into a thick, green, smelly swamp.

I thought that maybe if I just pretended it wasn't there it would go away. But that evidently did not work. And lately I've become concerned that I've created a bed of disease and since I'm responsible for the life of Young Wade, I decided it was finally time to do something about it.

So something about it I did. Although, again, I was very tired. And hot. And most definitely not in a position where I should have been making any decisions at all.

I began bailing the water with a snow shovel. This was likely a huge mistake. The liquid was certainly toxic and if the government found out about it, Salt Lake City would be evacuated by the end of the day. And I was aware of this as I began accidentally splashing the water onto my skin, into my hair, and all over my clothes.

Every time I felt any of the green sludge make contact with my person, I ran to a hose in the yard and sprayed my entire body, head to toe. Eventually, because I'm Eli Whittleberry McCann, I started shedding my clothing until I had stripped all the way down to my underwear.

You guys. I know this isn't a place where you are supposed to take your pants off. Like the dentist office or the pharmacy. But I was in my backyard. I thought I would be safe there. And rather than go inside to put on clean clothes, I continued to work indecently.


But as I worked, I was constantly interrupted. Part of my lawyer job requires me to answer emergency phone calls at all hours of the day or night to advise people on matters related to child sex abuse. NOT THAT WE KNOW WHAT AN EMERGENCY IS, CATHIE.

As you can imagine, these phone calls tend to be very heavy and often require me to have conversations and say words that would most certainly cause Cathie to wash my mouth out with soap like she did when I was six and ran through the house yelling "damn the world" to the tune of Three Blind Mice.

And I've never spoken or written the word "damn" since.

It just so happened, that eleventy million of these calls happened to come in while I was standing in the swamp, in my underwear, drenched in toxic waste, in the jaws of Hell, as I splashed around, ineffectively attempting to break apart the solid foot of concrete with a small sledge hammer.

I took the calls. I sounded much more professional than I looked. I was grateful that nobody could see the attorney they were talking to. I was proud of myself for multi-tasking. I said all of the awkward and uncomfortable words without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.

I would work for a bit, take a call, and then get back to work. I was switching between two very different lives. Between the calls, I would sing such classics as "I've been workin' on the railroad!" and "Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got, I'm still, I'm still Jenny from the block." I was happy about the progress I was making in the privacy of my own property.

And then, finally:

Mr. Perfect: Uh . . . whatcha doin' back there?

Eli: [standing in the muck in my underwear, holding a sledge hammer] ooooooooof course you are on the other side of this fence right now.

There's a small chain link fence separating this back corner of our yards. It has those boards in it that make it harder to see through the fence, but if you stand up close, you can get a pretty good view of the neighbor's yard.

Mr. Perfect: We've just been gardening back here.

Eli: Exactly how long would you say you've been there?

Mrs. Perfect: I think we got here sometime around "Party in the U.S.A."

Mr. Perfect: That was right before you talked to someone on the phone about prostitution.

Mrs. Perfect: And right around the time you took all of your clothes off.

Eli: I am so done trying to impress you people.

The Perfects were helpful. They told me the whole history of this pond (it's been retaining stagnant water since before World War II). They offered me tools to break it up. I graciously thanked them. Then I looked down and saw what I think were tiny red leeches crawling all over my body.

The last thing The Perfects heard from me was screaming as I rolled around on the grass in my underwear begging Young Wade to spray me down.

Ultimately I gave up trying to tear it out and just turned it into a planter box. Because lazy.

~It Just Gets Stranger