Category Archives: Life

Moving

Twenty years ago, Cal and I moved to the first place we had on our own. We had an already established “home” as my parents lived with us for a few years. However, we were about to embark on our own chapter. We moved 4 hours away to a lovely beach city. With careful planning, he drove the moving truck, pulling his car on a trailer and I drove our Nissan. Of course the Nissan was packed with stuff. However, we decided to put important things in the Nissan. This ensured easy accessibility.

In the Nissan, with me, were the dog, the bird, plants, the fish tank and, of course, our computer and other important items. Behr, the dog, liked to ride in my lap when I was driving and the bird cage was in the back seat with the plants. The fish tank had been emptied to about 2 inches in the bottom of the tank to ensure the little buggers would not jump out. Never in a million years did I think this to be a recipe for disaster. Another thing that both of us had were walkie talkies. During the time before cell phones were an extension of the human arm, people had to find different means to communicate besides the trusty landline telephone. Ergo, we had walkie talkies for this situation.

I was driving in front of the truck to ensure that Cal could see me and that we could stay together during the trip. We had just entered the state of Virginia and this particular stretch of interstate was four lanes. Outside of my normal habit, I was driving on the right innermost lane. Not a good idea. It was about an hour after twilight. All the cars on the road had their headlights on and so did the truck. With the fact that I was in a sedan and Cal was in the truck, the headlights were positioned so that he could see into the car…sort of. Cal had noticed that the car his wife was driving had started swerving and moving back and forth in between the lines. He called out on the walkie talkie once, twice, three times before there came back an answer that was yelly and presented a stressful tone.

Meanwhile, in the car, unbeknownst to me, the bird had escaped the cage.  That tricky little parakeet had done the same thing a hundred times before and I don’t know why I did not cover the cage before putting it in the back seat but that magic little flucker sure did. I had the driver side window down and when he swooped at my head, that was my first instinct. I had to roll up the window. It was a manual window so I was literally rolling the window up with a crank. After getting the window up to a near crack, the dog noticed that the bird had escaped. and began barking and attempting to chase the bird around the car. The plants were falling over in the back seat and the bird had fell into the fish tank and the dog was trying to get in there. All the while, I was doing my best to drive like nothing was going on. In the midst of the chaos, the walkie talkie had fallen to the floorboard under my feet. I heard the squawk of it as Cal started calling me “Hey! What the hell are you going up there?”

I like to pride myself on the fact that I work well under pressure. It has been my experience, in an emergency, that I am quick thinking and able to get it under control. Fortunately, this was no different. In an instant, I grabbed the dog by the nape of his neck, put him under my feet, and grabbed the walkie talkie. He was still barking and Cal was going “Hello? Hello!” on the walkie. I pressed the button and hollered “The fucking bird got out of the cage and Behr is trying to get him!” At that moment, the bird had decided to return to the back seat and flap around in the light and settle down in the back windshield. Cal could see the bird flapping around in the back and told me that he seen that. I could hear the amusement in his voice. Know what he said?

Only you.

The rest of the trip was quite uneventful. We were about 30 minutes away from our new home and I just let the bird stay out of the cage. There was no reason to make a stop at this point. It is not like he was going to get any further as he was still literally confined into a square area. We made it to our new home and, with a gloved hand, I was able to secure the bird back into his cage and get him in the house. This time, I made sure to cover the cage while we were moving the furniture into the house. God forbid the dog tried to get at him again or he flew away.

What do YOU think?

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Momma’s Bar Stool

Not sure if I have ever told you about Momma’s bar stool. If I have, I am gonna tell you about it again. It is an ever evolving story. I will retell it the best my memory will allow. Here goes.

When I was in early elementary school, my mother worked for a Seattle based thrift store. (At least so I think it is Seattle based. I have never seen any outside of Seattle and there were three or four in the city to my knowledge. I was only 6 or 7. What did I know? Ah, but I digress…) It was called St. Vincent De Paul. As the General Manager, she was afforded the opportunity to bring things home from time to time. My childhood was filled with many oddities that came from those stores. Donations straight from America’s attics, back rooms, sheds, and basements. Riddled with yard sale oddities, these stores were the day care centers of my 1st-3rd grade years. You see, Momma would pick me up from school and bring me to work. I would have the run of the place until the store closed and then it was off to the Bingo Hall for the remainder of the evening. But that, my friends, is  a story for another day.

On one of the days I was lucky enough to be able to come home with Daddy; Momma brought home 2 things. The red “bench” chair and an oak bar stool. The red bench chair is still in her kitchen. There is only one place you can actually find one of those chairs and I hope to own one of my own one day, if not THAT one. Seems like a pretty good product if it is still around after nearly 40 years. So is that bar stool. That bar stool has moved all over the country with us. We slowly migrated east with this bar stool (and the rest of our stuff, obviously.) Currently, we are in South Carolina and this bar stool will migrate with me and my family into the far north soon. Boy, the stories it could tell. Yes, after nearly 40 years, it still exists. Albeit not in its original form, but its still hanging on nonetheless. These days it is not much more than an alternately shaped TV tray but still a fixture in the main areas of the house.

Bar stool was made in an era when real furniture was made. Its not made of match stick wood or press board. None of that shit lasts as long as good solid oak. I mean, think about it. How much of the furniture manufactured in the last 20 years is going to be here half a century later. Unless some little old lady owns it, it will likely be destroyed somehow. Even water rings from a sweaty glass can kill a piece of furniture these days. Not old Bar Stool. It’s real. It’s there. It’s here to stay. It shrugs off sweat rings like water off a duck’s back.

About 3 or 4 years ago, I was painting one of the boyz rooms. I needed to paint at the top of the wall, in the corner, behind the door. Of the two boys, the youngest was asleep and the other one was roaming around the house doing things only a 9-10 year old can do. I had the door shut. I was painting the corner above the door and didn’t want to drip sky blue paint on the door. Foolishly, I was standing on the seat of the bar stool. Instead of doing the right thing and going to get the kitchen step bench, I had chosen Bar Stool as my lift to reach the higher parts of the wall. There is still no reason why I choose that as my muse. I just did. It is good to keep in mind that I had successfully painted a quarter of the room before I found myself in this corner. I had meandered on and off the stool from this same standing position for at least the last hour. No problem right? I was about to find out my mistake.

There is another thing you should know about this situation. This happened at the point of my life where I was just over 200 pounds. It was my “fat phase” also known as the era of the Flavor Hog. So, yes, even if I were just 80 pounds soak and wet, at 200 plus, I had no business standing on the top of a bar stool, in a corner, on carpet. Being my first time up on the stool in the corner and confident that I was doing well, I had inadvertently placed the stool a tad too close to the wall. I had painted most of the corner and needed one more round of paint in my cup to finish off what needed to be done. Just as I had done many times before. I had squatted down, in preparation to get my foot on the first slat,  and then it happened.

You have been told before that, when I was overweight, I was quite uncomfortable in my own skin. This made me a little more clumsy. A little more miserable. A lot more misunderstood about the limits of where my boundaries were.  Upon squatting down on the stool, I had bumped the wall behind me with my big fat fanny. The next few seconds happened for me in slow motion but I can still remember them happening like it was just yesterday. I bumped the wall, and the stool began to fall over. Trying not to fall on my face, I tried to stand up and gain my footing on something, anything so that I would not get hurt. We all know I am as graceful as they come. In hindsight, I am not sure if that was the best idea, but it seemed to be the only one at the time. Instead of ending up vertical, I over corrected and fell backwards…right on top of the legs of the Bar Stool. I heard the legs splinter underneath me and laid there on the floor. In full shock of what just happened and wondering if any of that splintering had been something inside my body, my 9 year old son comes banging on the door. Frantically I hear “Mom? MOM! Are you OK? What haaappppeeennnneddd?”  Unable to move and not sure, I hollered back and told him to go get his Daddy. You see, I was on the floor blocking the door and he was unable to get in.

I imagine he took off like a flash. Daddy was at the pond behind the house fishing. A few minutes later, Cal pushed his way into the room and stood over me shaking his head. “Are you OK?” he said. My reply was that everything was fine. By this time I had gained my bearings and figuring out exactly what I had done. I explained myself to Cal and know what he said to me? “Only you.”

Remember at the beginning of the story I had told you that Bar Stool was still around? Yes, the story does not end here. I told Cal I wanted to see if he could turn Bar Stool into Step Stool or something and that is exactly what he did. Essentially, he sawed off the splintered legs to about a foot long, screwed them into the seat of the stool and here I sit on it, in the living room, writing to you. Bar Stool is our cat of sorts. A thing with nine lives.

What do YOU think?

Daddy’s Library

Daddy Reads

In his twilight years, Daddy became an avid reader. Maybe he always was. He just did it a whole lot more when he was older. He always liked to read. Ever since I could remember, Daddy had a book within arm’s reach. He loved his car races, football games, Star Trek, and horror movies just like any other man. He worked on cars and was a hard working man who took care of his wife’s bingo and shopping habits. But one thing he always did, no matter what, was read. When I was a little girl, he always told me that if you loved to read, you were never at a loss for something to do nor would you be poor. Reading provided knowledge and it took you places that you could never afford or even dream of. Daddy was always fond of a good western and later, he liked the horror/mystery books. I can still remember vividly the first time he took me with him to the library. I knew how to read by this point in my life and outside of the libraries at school, I did not know of public libraries where you could check out as many books as your heart desired. That first time, I came home with a stack of books almost as tall as I was. I curled up in the corner and spent the afternoon reading about dragons, the Little Rascals, Mr Frog and Rabbit, and many other stories. I distinctly remember him telling my mother that I had not moved from my spot for hours and spent the afternoon reading.

Thus, the love for reading was passed from father to daughter. In one afternoon, he shared a passion with me that resonated and woke something inside of me that never really sleeps. The love of reading. After he retired and started to become too old and stiff to work on the cars or ride around to auction houses, he started visiting the local libraries. At the time, our county had four branches that were relatively close to where we lived. He always announced to the house when he was going to the library. The older he got, these announcements started to be the only time his voice would sparkle with happiness. Like he was about to embark on a grand adventure and he would be back. It was never a short trip and he would always come home with a grocery bag full of books.

After some time, he discovered the honor books. He became quite fond of them. In this county, the honor book section was quite impressive and it allowed for him to take as many as he wanted and return them whenever he felt like. He would also add into the mix a random paper back that he would find here or there. I remember having a conversation with him once about the honor books. He told me that once he had discovered he had read everything in the honor book section, he would move on to another branch and start reading their honor books. He could accomplish reading an entire honor book section in about a month or two. I like to think this as Daddy travelling his “Honor Book Circuit.” Sometimes, I would ask him. “Yo, Dad, what library in the circuit are you going to today?” He would giggle that Doug giggle and tell me which one then invite me to go. I was always too busy. However, I now wish I would have went every time he asked.

He seemed at peace when he was reading. Even if he was eating a sandwich with his book propped up on the napkin holder, he was at peace and spend many hours sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of 2 or 3 on the table, waiting to be read.

When he went tot he hospital for the last time in 2009, one of the things he asked my mother to bring him was his bag of books that were next to his chair in the kitchen. When I retrieved his things after he had passed, one of the things that was on the table next to his bead was one of those honor books and his reading glasses. I still have the reading glasses and I still have the book. He was never able to finish the story. I kept the book, hoping one day to finish it. It is outside of my normal genre and I never got any further than he did. I did take the rest of the bag of books to the library. The lady at the counter looked at me evilly as I plopped the bag on the counter. “I don’t know where these go. They were my fathers and he got them from the honor section. I am returning them to you as he would have.” Yea, I broke down in tears. I walked away and had never been back to that library since. However, one day I plan on finishing ihe one book I kept. Besides, I have to have something to tell him when we meet in heaven right?

I miss you Daddy…I am still reading.

What do YOU think?

Colored Popsicle’s

Long before I was a work at home professional, and many years ago, I was a manager in a local elementary school cafeteria. I was the new kid on the block as most of the staff had been with the school for many years. I got along well enough and the people who worked in there were what you would expect of the kids lunch staff. One of my duties was to choose and set out a snack for the after school program that often met in the cafeteria at the end of the school day.

This one particular day, we had some Popsicle’s of assorted colors. It was an exceptionally warm afternoon and it was a perfect day to have these out for a snack for the kids. Whenever we had to leave something out that required refrigeration or a freezer, they were often set inside a piece if equipment that housed other things that the kids paid for when they were sent to school with extra lunch money. The school required that we kept a daily running inventory of these items because the money earned from these items was accounted for and used to purchase things like the after school snacks and other things for the kitchen. Our school sold “rainbow pops” of “assorted colors” to the kids during lunch. These were one of the sets of items I had to have inventoried daily.

I would leave a note for the after school teacher directing her where to find the snacks for the day provided to her program each afternoon. This particular day, I had to put some extra thought into the note I was leaving her. I did not want her to confuse the after school snack with the snacks that the children paid to purchase during lunch. I was unable to note that her kid’s snack was “rainbow pops” because that was the literal name of the ones we sold at lunch. I felt that would cause confusion. I certainly did not want to explain to my higher ups why there was a discrepancy. I had to come up with another way to explain on paper what she was to look for. Another term I did not want to use was “assorted colors” because that was also on the label of the for sale Popsicle’s that were not intended for the program.  I was also acutely aware that I did not offend anyone. After much thought, I decided to let her know:

“Today’s snack is the colored popscicles in the freezer. They are right on top. Have a great day!”

I went home and thought that would be the end of it. Early the next morning, the principal came to my office. As a side note, when I interviewed for this position, my husband drove me to the school and waited in the parking lot for me to attend the interview. On the way out, the Principal had walked with me to the car and she met my husband. Both had attended this elementary school and were able to make pleasant conversation. The day ended well and I was offered the job. Ah, but I digress. So the Principal comes to see me and shows me this note that I had left the after school lady. The one about “colored Popsicle’s” Really?

Apparently, the thought I put into this note was a bit much and I was accused of being a racist. Keep in mind, the Principal (and maybe the kitchen clean up guy) were the only ones who knew anything about my family and anything outside of what I was at work. As she was explaining how utterly offended the after school lady was, she noted that we had to have a meeting about it in her office the next day. What struck me as strange was that she was grinning the entire time she was talking to me. Let me put the situation to you in “black and white.” It is not meant to be offensive. If you find offense in this, then you are better off reading other things. There is no other way to set up how this went down. The Principal is white. I am white. The after school lady is black. My husband is black. It is that simple. Because the Principal knew my husband. She asked that he be present at this meeting so that we can squash any conflicts there may be over any misunderstandings.

She asked that DH and I be in her office at 7 AM the next morning. Purposely, she asked that the after school lady show up at 7:15. DH and I were sitting in the Principal’s office discussing our own elementary school adventures when the after school lady came in. Immediately, she noticed someone she had never seen before and stopped at the door. She had a look of confusion on her face. Obviously she did not understand while DH was sitting in this office. The Principal waved her into the cozy office to have a seat. She immediately began by raising the letter into the air and noting that we are here due to a serious accusation of racism. Yes, there is no room in today’s world for such a thing a s racism and we are here to stop this before it becomes something it is not. She went on to allow the after school lady to explain her side of the story.

The after school lady noted that she was utterly and thoroughly offended by the statement and that it was a racist stab at her because she was black. She went on to say that my behaviors during the day were, in her observation, discriminatory and she did not feel comfortable working around someone who was borderline white supremacist as me. I am sure it does not help the uninformed third party that I am as pale as they come. There is no mistake that I am white. There is no way around it. After the after school lady told her side, I explained my side. I told how I had put careful thought into the letter and that I tried not to offend anyone nor create any confusion due to the labeling of all of the Popscicle’s that were in the deep freezer in the cafeteria. After both sides had told their stories. The principal sat there for a minute or two and there was an uncomfortable silence.

One of the things I admired about after school lady was that she was very vocal about her observations. She broke the silence by asking who was this man sitting here in this office with us and what was his purpose for being here? Principal asked DH to introduce himself. (She did so with a grin.) He thrust out his hand to after school lady and introduced himself as my husband. There is not a way to describe the look on after school lady’s face. She was, for lack of a better description, floored. She had no idea that I was married and married to DH. There was not any words she could form to show that she knew in that moment she was wrong for what she had done. After school lady came into this meeting likely believing that I was going to be reprimanded of fired for purposely writing racist slander. Instead, Principal went on to advise after school lady that she should not judge a book by it’s cover and to not assume that all white people that she did not know were racist.

We got along famously after that and the whole thing brought the kitchen staff a little closer. This story has stuck with me over the years. I had never been in a situation like that or have since. It was interesting and a great learning experience for me.

Two things come from this. 1. Don’t be racist. Even when you don’t try to be and 2. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

What do YOU think?

Daily Word Prompt: Elastic

In an effort to work on my blogging skills and try to write outside of my comfort zone, I am trying writing prompts. Today’s word…. Elastic. Brought to you by: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/27030/posts/1618878317

Elastic

Elastic is a term used loosely in life. No pun intended. Life is all about push and pull. While one may feel they have found themselves in a rut, there is still some stretching that is done in life. No matter how deep the rut is. Things happen and life gets in the way. You may be in that grey area and follow the same exact routine daily, but there is always something that provides something elastic to the whole process. For those with anxiety, the change can make for some great self doubt and nervousness. From having the 9 a.m. Monday meeting cancelled to taking lunch 20 minutes late; if you have found comfort in your rut, even the smallest changes can be difficult.

Think about the young child with a blanket attachment. I remember when our son’s blanket was left at the daycare and we did not know where it was. It was quite a difficult night and despite all the cuddles and snuggles readily provided to him, he did not sleep well and that entire 24 hour period was wrought with stress and tears. Something as simple as his blanket being missing for the day made life difficult at best. While it was hard for me, I cannot imagine how it must of been for him. As parents, we tend to discount the paramount importance something as little as a blanket can be to our tiny humans. The reason I mention this tidbit is this: The way we can tackle catastrophes such as this lay the foundation for how our future selves handle the slightest change or elastic situation in our lives. The happy ending to the blanket story is that the next day we found that I had put the diaper bag and blanked on the car and drove away. The next parent found it all and took it inside. We did get the blanket back and he was happy as a lark. Surprisingly, he found out himself (a big revelation for a 2 year old) that he can go to the store or live for a few hours without dragging his blanket with him. He is 14 now. He still has the blanket. It spends most days folded neatly in the top of his closet. However, during particularly elastic days, I will find it laying on his bed. I guess he finds comfort in having an old friend around during a trying day.

Moving from a steadfast constant, to an elastic comfort, the blanket is his safety net. It helps him through days where his routine is thrown out of wack.

Amazing how things transform as we grow.

What do YOU think?

This Morning, I Squirreled

As we all know, I have my “writing days.” This means general laziness and lack of the elixir of life (caffeine.) To begin with, I worked late last night. This, of course, horribly threw off my weekend sleeping schedule. As a result, I ended up oversleeping. I know what you are thinking. How can you over sleep on a sleep-in day?  Sadly, I had to work for a couple hours this morning.

Bottom line? I was tired, I overslept, and I had no choice but to have a couple cups of Java. No, I have not been squirreled yet, I have just begun my day! Groggily, I meander into the office and get my couple hours out of the way and then brush my teeth. Yes, normally I am ready and the brushing of the hair, brushing of the teeth, beating of the boogey man are all done before work. Like I said, I overslept. Anywhoo…I went to brush my teeth and made the mistake of looking up. Toothbrush and toothpaste in hand, I notice a couple of dots on the wall above the lights that are above the medicine cabinet. I know, why in the sam hill would I look up there? I don’t know. Maybe it was my body finding something to do with an extra dose of caffeine for the week cuz BOY WAS I AWAKE! Instead of proceeding to put the toothpaste on my brush and go about my day, my brain said that I absolutely had to see what those two dots were.

OOOOKAY! I was too lazy to go get the utility bench and stand on it so I just went for it. I climbed up on the counter and stood up. So here I stand, on the counter, without my glasses on, and my face is about 8 inches from the wall so I could determine what these little dots were. Here is what my brain is saying: I don’t know why I never seen these things up here before. But dang….its dusty up here and I need to get a wet rag and wipe the top of the cabinet and the light fixture down because; oh…ick. What are those two dots?  Squint. Squint. Think. Squint. Damn, its dusty, let me grab the hand towel and put some water on it because the dusting wipes are in the kitchen. *Looks down* Let me grab my phone by my foot and take a picture and send to Cal because WHY THE FLUCK AM I STANDING ON THE COUNTER? It would be hilarious if he were to walk in the house at this moment from picking up breakfast. Hehe *Click…Send*  Where is that towel, there it is. Lower yourself to get water carefully Micaa, that floor is concrete and you might break something if you fall. How would you explain THAT?!”

Let me step back from this thought process.

At some point in all of that noise, it occurs to me that the dots on the wall were ants from an infestation we had originating from the open bathroom window about 4 or 5 years ago. We sprayed ant spray all over the bathroom and there was a line of ants going from the bathroom window to the light fixture above the medicine cabinet. These two guys must not have been wiped off the wall during any subsequent cleaning adventures. Oh, they were crunchy. I imagine there was nothing biological left of those guys except the fact that they were just there. Mummified so to speak. Ultimately, I wiped the entire wall above the medicine cabinet, dusted the top of it off, cleaned the light fixture, and started laundry.

Yea, I started laundry. Then I brushed my teeth. Whew! That took about an hour. All I was going to do was brush my teeth. I have come to a conclusion about this situation. I am either suffering from busy mom syndrome or I truly have ADHD. That was tiring.

What do YOU think?

 

A Little Bird Told Me

One of the things that makes DH furious about people is that they tend to walk around with blinders on and tune out everything that goes on around them. I admire my better half for his skill in tuning into the details even when they are irrelevant. Apparently, I was walking around like a people (hereafter called sheeple) today and failed to remember that the world was supposed to end today. I got up, went to the cleaning store to buy cleaning supplies and even took the boys grocery shopping. All the while there was supposed to be mass chaos and doomsday going on all around me. BUT….It was just an ordinary day.

Until I came out of the cleaning store….

I hopped on my bike with my thoughtfully balanced bags and mop pointed out in front of me and proceeded to roll down the sidewalk. About halfway to the end of the strip mall, I noted something in the middle of the sidewalk. I always avoid anything I happen to see in the path of my tires because we all know I am the one to hit it and one of two things will happen. I will either pop the tire AND the tube or, the tire will shoot out from under me and I will find a way to become seriously injured and I fall gracefully to the ground. Bottom line? I just avoid things like that. It was a good thing I did this time too. Why?

There was a tiny little bird just sitting there. He was in the middle of the sidewalk and did not budge when I rushed past him on my bike. I happened to look down as I went by and seen him regard me with a calm regard that made me stop and come back. If he curled in his tail feathers, he would be no larger than a golf ball. He continued to sit there and look up at me as if he was trying to tell me something. I parked my bike and lightly stepped over to him and he was watching me just as I was him. There was zero fear in his tiny eyes. I felt compelled to stand there. Not knowing what to do, I took out my phone and snapped a picture. I always share my “adventures” with my family. Thanks to technology, proof is in the peanuts when telling someone something that could be considered a fish story.

After I returned my phone to my pocket, I was unable to leave him there. It was almost as if my feet were glued to that spot in the sidewalk until I was able to make a coherent decision. As I stood there, I looked around to find something I could use to try and pick him up and move him to safety. It has been my experience that when a bird is un-moving when you are towering over them, they are likely injured. Also, if he was diseased in some way, I didn’t want to become a statistic. I had my DH and the kids depending on me. For the first time in what seems like a millennia, I had nothing in my cleaning supplies I could open or use to pick him up as I had all cleaning chemicals. The mop was a cotton mop but it was a tiny one and not nearly long enough to use to wrap around this little guy. Besides, it might have freaked him out. I took inventory of my surroundings and still found nothing. What was I going to do? If I were to leave him here on the sidewalk, he would surely be killed, eaten by a stray or stepped on. I felt helpless. Further, even if I was able to get him to the safety of the bushes in the parking lot, I felt he would die of the heat. Here, on the sidewalk, it was under the roof of the building and it was cooler in the shade. With it being 8 am and 87 degrees already, it was set up to be a hot day.

While I was trying to think of something to do, and still under the spell of having to stay in this spot, I pulled out my phone and started a video. I didn’t expect anything YouTube worthy but it gave some perspective at just how little this guy was. He listened to me talk to him and just watched me. There was obvious trust in his gaze upon me and he did not flinch when I reached out to him. There were busy city sounds going on all around us and every time he startled, it was due to that and nothing I was doing. He trusted me 100% and, for a fleeting moment, I felt like Snow White. Only, I wasn’t singing to the bird. I was talking to it. Here is my proof:

(Kind of ironic that I said it wasn’t YouTube worthy, and here it is….Ah, but I digress.)

After I recorded that video, again, I returned my phone to my pocket and just stood there talking at the bird. I don’t know if I expected it to chirp, talk back to me, or what but I still felt the need to stay right there. Some lady walked by and looked at it like…oh, well…and kept right on going. Sheeple….I swear. I decided that the best course of action, due to lack of other options, was to push him up to the wall of the building gently with my foot. This way, if he angrily pecked at me, it would be my shoe and not a finger. Slowly, carefully, and easily, he let me gently push him to the building wall where it met the sidewalk. He didn’t freak out or anything. He just let it happen. Satisfied, I turned around to my bike and was preparing to leave. Lo and behold, the little guy started hopping in one spot and fluttering his wings a bit. Quickly, I pulled out my phone and this happened:

I was in the middle of wishing the little guy well when, out of the blue, he flew away. You can tell from my expression in the second video, I was shocked. In that moment, I felt a wave of “everything is gonna be alright” come over me. It was almost joy that I felt as I stood there and watched him fly over the building at the other end of the strip mall. I am not sure why that happened or for what reason. However, when it comes to things like that, I do feel there are forces at work that cause people to go through things like this. Most people shrug it off and move on. However, for me, this was out of the ordinary in my ordinary life. It was special. There were forces at work that I could not comprehend and I won’t stress myself out worrying about them. It was a magical moment one in the same. Treat the world right and the rewards will be bountiful. THAT right there is something I believe.

So, the next time you hear me fuss at DH or one of the kiddos about respecting the planet and loving Mother Nature, you will understand. Even in the middle of the city, Mother Nature finds a way. That bird was there for me. No doubt about it. I may not even understand why. Eventually, I will come to understand. For now, I will revel in the magic that it was and appreciate that something happened out of the ordinary to show me that my life is more than just ordinary. It is special.

What do YOU think?

Through Daddy’s Eyes

More often than not, I will wake up remarkably sad. For absolutely no reason at all. I mean, my life is great. I have my family surrounding me. I have a good job. The bills are paid. This house is ours. We have transportation. Sometimes we even have extra. I just wake up and look at my sleeping husband, (This makes me smile because I love him so much!) and I am just so flucking sad! Ugh. I hate this so much. Don’t get me wrong, as I get up and go about my day, the feeling wears off. However, some mornings it is near unbearable.

Let me back up a bit. I used to not understand why people could be sad all the time and not shake it off. I could not grasp the idea that someone could be so happy and sad all in the same breath. It made no sense. Alternatively, I also become offended when people go on social media and run their mouth about people who commit suicide and say that was the coward’s way out. To that I say this: The next time you are in a car accident or you fall and break your back, don’t be a hypocrite and opt for those fancy pain meds that your doctor gives you for pain. That is the flucking coward’s way out. No, it is not comparing apples to oranges. Their pain is just as unbearable as yours. Sometimes, there is no amount of medication that can fix it so buzz off.

Now. I bet you are wondering why I titled this post as I did. I am getting there. Everything has a back story, yes? Yes. In my Daddy’s last decade on this planet, it was hard for me to be around him. No, it was not because he was old. Nor that he would rather not bathe. Hell, he spent 70 plus years on this planet and if it bothered his back to take a bath then he earned that right to marinate in his own stink. Honestly, the only one it bothered to a great degree was my mother. After all, it wasn’t THAT bad. Jeez. That is not the point though. It was his face. There was always something empty there. It hurt me to see it. He would smile, chatter, and carry on. You would see a small glimmer of sparkle when the kids would do something cute or talk to him. But it would fade just as fast as it would appear. He had it pretty OK. He wasn’t hurting for anything. Despite the fact that it appeared that my mother and he had a love/hate thing going on, he was alive and taken care of. He was able to get around for the most part and was never alone. He just had a hauntingly sad look in his eyes. He even had an official diagnosis from the VA doctors. He had dementia and was depressed. Even had medication for it. Sometimes pills are just not enough.

This morning was an especially difficult one for me when I woke up. Good thing it was my blogging day. On blogging days, I don’t work. I don’t clean house if I don’t feel like it. I just basically read, write, and sleep. I also make this the one day that I give my body a break from chugging my daily gallon of coffee. Yea, I sleep. So what?  **Picks up favorite mug with coffee and takes a marvelous sip because today is different** Ah, but I digress… As I said before, I woke up this morning sad. It sucked. It sucked bad. I have good coping mechanisms right now and am able to function after a little talking to myself so seeing a therapist or getting some sort of diagnosis is not necessary. It just took me a few hours only because I had no reason to get up and motivate other than I wanted to. As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready to face the day, I took a moment and looked at the face that was staring back at me in the mirror.

I had never had a ghost look me in the eye before this morning. (I believe in ghosts. They never look at me. They are always far form arms reach. Just sayin…)

My father was in the mirror. Looking at me. With those hauntingly sad eyes. I froze. I swear I stood there for nearly a minute. Now, there is no clock in the bathroom but I know it was close to that because the song my phone was half over and it was about a 3 minute song. So, yea, about a full minute. It is hard to convey in words what I felt in that sixty seconds. Happiness, fear, recognition, sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, joy, shock……all in one breath. Yes, it is possible folks. (Insert empathy statement here, please!) After I came back to the present, something happened. Every. Single. Thing. that had ever caused me sadness, fear, isolation, depression, failure, etc., came rushing into my brain and was like a roar of a crowd that starts out quiet then comes rushing loud in a crescendo of a million voices. In that instant, I knew how it felt to have depression so bad that the only way to make it stop was to walk off the top of a 40 story skyscraper and not look back. Just to want to embrace the darkness and make it all stop. It was the most horrible feeling I had ever had in my life. I seen my Daddy in the mirror this morning. Not that you can see it because I wear glasses but I have inherited my Daddy’s under the eye bags. I swear you could fit a monthly grocery run in them suckers. Gotta love genes for that huh? Anywho…. It sucked.

I had to sit on the side of the bathtub and collect my thoughts because it hit me like an atomic bomb and it even took my breath away. As I gathered my scruples, I had a premonition. I fully understood what Robin Williams must have felt like for the majority of his life. Or anyone who decided that suicide was the best answer. I just could not imagine feeling like that all day, every day, and still be able to function. I also thought of my co-workers who fight with anxiety every day. How hard it must be for them to be crippled by something that not many people understand. It was very, very clear and my heart goes out to people who deal with crippling anxiety and depression every day. The are true soldiers if they are able to live through another day. I had anxiety attacks a lot in high school and early 20’s. They only lasted a few minutes and I had developed my own coping mechanisms. But, to have that as a constant tap on the shoulder day in and day out must really suck. Seriously.

Not that I am bragging. I have my own coping mechanisms. They work for me. As time goes on, they have to evolve. I can only hope that they will last me. I hate doctors and therapists. I feel its nosey and if I am vertical and not contagious, I should be fine, right? Yea, I have seen two instances this year alone where that line of thinking can end badly but hey, that is not everyone right?

My Daddy visited me this morning. He gave me a message. Things (feelings) could be a lot worse than what they are when I wake up to sadness in the morning. I seen that uncut, vivid and, extraordinarily clear. In the words of the infamous Stephen King:

“We all float.”

What do YOU think?

Bingo is Serious Business

I grew up learning how to count in a Bingo hall. Yes, my mother was (and still is) a Bingo fanatic. I have literally played Bingo all over the country. From a basement place next door to my mothers thrift store workplace to the annual really big Bingo games that happen in places like New Orleans and Atlantic City. I watched the rules change over the years. Eventually, you could not bring kids under 18 into bingo halls in most states while others required everyone to possess a “Bingo pass” to simply be inside the building. I have watched my mother play the game for as little as $5 for the afternoon and watched her drop hundreds of dollars on the game in only an hour. There are other things that I have seen in Bingo halls as well. Seriously! I swear it is stuff that will give normal people nightmares.

Before I get to the point. Let me digress. Like I said, I have seen some really strange stuff in the Bingo hall. I mean I have seen women so big that they have to sit on no less than four folding metal chairs side by side. Imagine walking up behind someone and seeing that! Now I don’t have pictures to prove that and it has been quite a few years since I have been to one of the more serious games. This was back before cell phones or I could fill an entire photo book with the things I could go on about here. There are also people who have all their little good luck charms all over the place. Trolls, nick nacks, voodoo dolls, spells, lighters, even holy water. Yes, I have seen a woman sprinkle holy water on her bingo cards before the evening’s bingo games. I guess you can say I also learned how to cuss in a bingo hall. Call “Bingo” by accident and see how many people will cuss you out. They are serious about their games. Mess up their groove or make them think that you got your number before you got yours….if looks could kill sometimes.

That being said, Bingo is serious business! It is almost like living in a gang world. Be the new person in the bingo hall. You have to learn what is a good bingo and what isn’t. You have to learn if you can use multiple color daubers on the paper cards or not and other things like that. However, that is just the basics. What you have to really know about is where NOT to sit. who has brought their own chair (so you don’t sit in it) and, for the places that have computers, which machines NOT to pick. Why? Do you really want some 400 pound woman screaming obscenities at you because you sat in the spot she has been sitting in for the last 2 years? I don’t think so. Do you want to hear how much of a lowlife newb you are because you chose the number 42 machine that this anorexic biker chick has been playing on every Tuesday night since they came out with them? She will tell you about yourself after every stinking game. And, don’t win on that machine either. She will chew you up and spit you out with her evil, bony glare. Another thing you want to be weary of is that you do not want to sit in the middle of a turf war. Sometimes, people will go to the same Bingo hall that have beef with each other. If you happen to be in the middle of the crossfire, you may be forced to choose sides. This is not something you want to do and you definitely do not want to be in the middle of it either. Also, if you move, you will be a pawn in their issues with each other and they will argue over which one made you move away. Never mind you may have to walk by one or the other to go to the snack bar, restroom, or pull tab table.

While you are playing Bingo to have a good time and just hang out or to do something different. Try not take offense if you happen to bingo when you hear everyone muttering under their breath that they are one number away. Sometimes it is worse than an upset in football, especially during the big games, if a new person wins the final jackpot or a high dollar game all by themselves. You will hear papers crumble, people slam their daubers on the table, and cursing. LOTS and lots of cursing.

Now, if you are able to make it through your first night in a new Bingo hall without any transgressions, you may be welcomed back with open arms the next time you come in, especially if it is as soon as the same night of the week the very next week or so. Unfortunately, every night at a Bingo hall is different and there are different personalities that come in on a regular all week while others come in only certain times of the week.

For the smaller Bingo halls, there are even entire rows of tables where it looks like someone’s personal office. they have brought in an office chair, their sweater is hanging from the back of it, there is a cushion and a back up cushion. They may even be cozy enough for that person to leave their bingo bag on the table to “mark” their spot.  Take my advice, stay away from these tables. The Bingo hall manager will likely ask you to move if this person shows up. The person who normally sits there may also have something worked out where someone else is going to be sitting in their spot in the event of their absence. Further, there are relatives watching their stuff. So don’t try to move it an play innocent. You are liable to be jumped in the parking lot by a gaggle of old ladies armed to the gills with pocket books. They will take you out by the knees then trample you with their old lady shoes of yesteryear.

If you are totally new to the game, staking out a spot near the workers and asking them for help would be your best bet. If you happen to bother a pro during the games, they may become aggravated with you and start snorting under their breath like a bull ready to charge. It is not a pretty sight. I promise.

One final word of advise, if it appears that someone has laid a claim to an entire table, go find another one. It is not that serious to you. However, it is serious business to them. After all, Bingo is serious business.

What do YOU think?

The Most Amazing Flower Girl

My sister was 12 years my senior. It only made sense that she married her first husband when I was a young kid. I was about 6 or 7 years old. She invited me to be the flower girl. I was honored to be such an important part of one of the biggest days of her life. She was my favorite sister and it was an exciting time for me. Elaine lived with us in the basement apartment of our house. She and her husband. I loved that house, ah but that is a story for another time.

This wedding was nothing to sneeze at. There were colors picked, a lacy wedding dress, everyone in the wedding party had to have “fitting appointments for their dresses and such. There were flowers to be ordered, a fancy cake, I mean everything a wedding could be. My other sister was part of the wedding party too and my mom was even fitted for a fancy dress. Now, I imagine that it was her husband’s family who paid for everything because our family could never afford such an affair. It was still everything a princess wedding would be in the imagination of a 7 year old girl. Being the flower girl, I was to lightly drop flower petals as I did the wedding walk down the aisle for the bride to walk upon as she made her grande entrance.

I remember being nervous. I didn’t want to trip and fall (surprisingly, I did not have my klutz card at that point in my life,) nor did I want to mess up. I was terrified of messing up and making my sister mad or just making a fool of myself. I assume these fears were one of the first times I ever imagined a “worst case scenario.” To my delight it was nothing of any of the disasters that my little brain had imagined. However, I did do something that my sisters still talk about to this day. Some 35 plus years later, my oldest sister is still talking about what I did walking down that aisle as Elaine’s’ flower girl. Remember that I said I was nervous? Those nerves were about to make me a laughing stock among the members of the wedding party. You see, I was so nervous about doing a good job and everyone was watching me as I alone walked down the aisle supposedly to sprinkle cream colored rose petals all over the carpet. However, sprinkle was not what I did.

In all of the movies I ever watched up to that point, the flower girl skipped gaily down the aisle happily flinging rose petals into the air with careless abandon. However, this was a stuffy, rich persons wedding and I was told to keep my composure and walk a certain way, keep my head up and calmly drop tiny handfuls of petals to be walked upon in my non existent wake. Obviously this is not what I had envisioned doing and it was not fitting in the image of the flower girl I had intended to uphold. However, I did do as I was told. Literally the march down the aisle was step…pause…step…pause…step…pause. After each pause, I was to sprinkle/drop the petals out of my basket.

I did the walk. I kept my composure. Step…pause…drop….step…pause…drop…etc. Everyone was watching me. It was all eyes on the flower girl. To me it was a vast audience of people, most of whom I didn’t know, waiting for me to mess up. As I neared the front of the room, I seen that everyone in the wedding party (all of whom I DID know) were grinning at me. Almost if they were stifling laughter. Off to the right, where the bridesmaids were, I seen my oldest sister move. She made a motion as if she were dropping a softball on to the floor from her bridesmaid’s bouquet. It wasn’t until after the wedding was over, I overheard adults talking about how I was dropping clumps of flowers instead of spreading them everywhere. I heard someone say it was like I was handling rocks or a softball. What confused me was that everyone thought it was funny. Over the years, I would often wonder how such an important job could be so darn funny.

In hindsight, I guess it was because if you think about it. It was more like connect the dots when I was done instead of a field of petals for the bride to gracefully waltz down. In my own 7 year old defense, I did the best job I could without practice. I mean, we had plenty of flowers growing in our yard I could have practiced with or even with grass clippings. However, I had important imaginary friend stuffs to do in the club house (just a wooden pallet under a tree in the corner of the yard) as well as slugs to collect. Practicing my role as a flower girl was not on my mind at all. I was just to busy! I guess I just thought I would be amazing without having to practice. I guess that set the stage for me to write my college papers the night before without an edit.

Ah, but I (nearly) digressed. The bottom line is, I was a flower girl in a princess wedding. I did the best I could. I was amazing. I HAD to have been. They are still talking about it aren’t they?

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