Category Archives: philosophy

Parlay with Death

It is not very often that people are given the opportunity to experience something ethereal. Death is something that many a scientist an after life expert have opinions on but, unless they experience it themselves and come back, there is not much premise to go on. This is where our story begins, and ends…sort of. In my life, I have bore witness to 3 deaths. One was from afar, and the other two were in a hospital room. The first one, in the hospital room was my Aunt Maggie. It was nothing like the second experience and she just ceased to be present in her body and all the machines around her stopped their busy, white noise. I imagine this is typical of what most people experience/witness when they are gathered around the death bed of a loved one.

However, is the experience ever different? I like to think so.

When my father died, it was different. It was one of the most difficult and easiest moments in my life. I seen things that are hard to translate into words but I will try my best for the purposes of this blurb. For lack of a better description, his last moment was sucked out of him. Plain and simple. I don’t understand how nor do I want to try and comprehend what it was that moment meant. But for me, it was peace and terror all in one breath.

I don’t recall who was in the room when Dad died. I remember calling his siblings in Washington and letting them talk to him through the phone while he was still breathing. I remember whispering in his ear. The content of those whispers now leave me and only me and a dead man know what those words consist of. I remember I was standing to his right. They had just leveled the bed. It was in the ICU unit of the local hospital. I also remember that he was fine when we were put out for the half hour that ICU requires all visitors to leave for their daily reset. From 6 to 6:30, everyone in the ICU that was not assigned to that room had to leave the ICU ward. It was hospital rules. So we left. Dad was alright as alright could be when we left. We had all planned on coming back and pick back up where we left off. But, when we came back, his bed was tilted so that his feet were up in the air and his head was near the floor. At this 45 degree angle, it was supposed to be easier on his heart. I remember thinking, “Jeez, they are serious about the health benefits of laying with your feet above your heart.” I vaguely remember my mother’s distraught voice “What did you do to him?” The nurse replied it was to help his heart as his heart rate dropped right after we left.

After that, it was like it was in slow motion. Somehow the room became cold. I chalked it up to being August in the deep South. Air conditioning and such. In those moments it never occurred to me that it was not the air conditioning coming on as it was already blowing and had been at a steady enough pace to keep things comfortable. Aside from the possibility that my mother was on the other side of the bed, I felt as if I was the only one in the room at that point. I felt a chill come over me when I pulled the phone from my fathers face for the last time. I stood there for a minute. Something told me to focus on his face. It seemed peaceful enough. They had turned off all the machines and it was just the fading beep beep of the heart monitor that sort of faded into white noise. My surroundings faded into a blur.  It was me and dad and…Death had made its appearance.

Dad had begun to take a breath as if he were coming up for air while swimming. He was a mouth breather when he slept and my mind told me it was him preparing him for that final nap. One breath. Two breaths. Three breaths. Then something happened. I don’t know if it was my mind doing this or if it really happened, I just don’t recall the lighting in the room. I remember when they came to put the white circles on his eyes that the room was dimly lit. But, in the moment that Death had arrived, I don’t remember how the lights were in that room. It was a corner room. The part behind me was part wall and part glass wall and I think there was a window across from me. I am not sure. That part doesn’t matter. That fourth breath Dad took was his final breath. To me, it got dark and cold and his face contorted into an expression I had never seen before. It was not an expression that one can describe as there is not an emotion to attach it to.

c Dad’s last breath. That expression, coupled with the chill in the room and that noise that I heard (or maybe my mind fabricated it) was me watching the life being sucked out of my fathers body by Death itself. His face contorted and twisted up in a way that can only be described as “leaving.” It was every human emotion wrapped up in one second.  I remember taking a step back after that. I looked at the air above my father. Human observers would say it was a moment of shock that Daddy was gone. It was not that. Not that at all. There was something there and it fled. Just like that. The hours after that have since been blocked out of my mind and no matter how hard I try, they still flee any recollection.

In the months that followed, I had nightmares of this black shadow of a creature standing on my fathers chest pushing down and sucking the essence out of him. It turns to look at me as if it were a child caught doing something it shouldn’t and then it turns to flee as only a ghostly apparition can do. Leaving behind only the shell of what I identified as my father, the dream ends when I try to run to the body. Same dream every time. I used to wake up with a start when these first happened. But now, I just stand there as if I had been desensitized to it.  Sure, I wake up. But I simply roll over and go back to sleep.

When my sister passed away this past Winter, I wanted to be there and see if I could meet Death once again. However, I didn’t want to be. It would turn into some sort of sick hobby and I wanted no part of it. I shared a moment with Death. I watched it at work. I seen every detail in hyper focus. I felt and seen its presence. There is nothing that can change that. I am not special. I don’t claim to have a sixth sense. However, I know when it came and when it fled that hospital room. Honestly, I don’t want to see it again until it is my time to walk with it. However, I still try to grasp the concept of why I was one to be allowed to see the apparition at work. People are often granted permission to see things that mortals should never see. There is ultimately a reason. I have yet to figure that out.

Maybe I will find out one day. Maybe I won’t. They say that only use a minute part of their brain. How does that relate to this experience? Only me and Death know that answer. Unfortunately, I don’t have the key to that door in my brain that contains the answer. I know I will never find it. Maybe that is a good thing.

What do YOU think?

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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?

Death is not a tragedy for the surviving but a gift.

Back in March, I lost my sister to cancer. While she and I had not spoken in a years, a few months before her untimely death, we did make our peace. I even shared a few pictures of our trip to New Years Eve in Times Square. I later heard that it made her so happy that I included her in my travels. Her death was still a shock no matter how much I mentally prepared myself. Fast forward to June. My brother is diagnosed with cancer. He must have been keeping it from his family, I imagine it was a pretty easy thing because he lived in another state with his son being the closest relative. Not long after the diagnosis, he moved in with our mother and passed away just a few weeks ago. In all my life, I have always had the opportunity to either make my peace or say goodbye. This time, I didn’t. His son set up a service to be held tomorrow.

It is when we experience the death of a loved one that we find ourselves in frequent moments of reflection. If you are fortunate enough to sit and do so without becoming a slobbering, drooling mess, you can appreciate what those moments of clarity can provide for you. My Daddy has been gone for nearly 8 years and I still find myself in moments of reflection at my mind whispering one of his “Dougisms” into my ear.

BET ME!!! He was so fond of saying.

You see we always feel so wronged when someone close to us has come to their time. When they leave this world and move on to the next life, it is the survivors that feel left behind, saddened, forgotten. However we need to look outside the box. We need to seek it out as a gift. We can witness someone a horrible, painful death. Others will simply go quietly in their sleep. Still, others will be walking along and simply just fall away. It all seems so sad to us but think about it. In the days and weeks after someone has died, they enable you to remember. They have touched your life in some way that make you stop and think. In the midst of our busy lives, we pause and reflect. Maybe we even have a shadow of a smile on our face. By remembering some distant memory, we have been effected in a positive way by the imprint of the loved one’s memory. They were a part of our lives for a moment and we are so impressed with the way they touched us that we are able to never forget. It is in these moments that the gift of the dead shine in our hearts.

Death teaches us a lesson that time with friends and family is precious. That every moment we share with another human being is special and should be treasured. After all, tomorrow is never promised. Don’t let the absence of their presence slow you down. They will be waiting for you in the afterlife. I often like to think that my Daddy is sitting on a cloud somewhere sharing a drink with Pepper (a beloved family pet) and my Sister. That they have just welcomed my brother Tom to their fluffy table and that the four of them are watching us flounder around in this life trying to make sense of everything that seems to be real. Of course they are watching over us. They are forever burned in our memories not as the empty carcass of a body they carried in their final days but of some wonderful memory many years ago.

My father has on his jeans that are rolled up 2 inches thick, his slip on canvas shoes, and a white T-shirt and smells strongly of Right guard with his hair combed back. He has that amazing smile only he can have with his teeth in. Of course he has a Pepsi can and one of those thick glasses filled with ice, Jim Beam, and Pepsi. My Sister is up there with her shoulder length wavy hair, a pair of jeans, cute top, and makeup done to perfection. She has a glass filled to the brim with ice and a coke on the table. She loved her ice. Of course she has Mitzie with her. My brother is sitting in some sort of work garb. Looking like he just got off work at a garage or mill somewhere and of course he has a beer with him. My sweet Pepper is next to Dad, waiting for him to put his glass down so he can sneak a lap or two. His fur is shiny and clean, near white, with that funky little flip of hair that used to be between his eyes that drove me crazy.

They are all sitting there, once again enjoying each others company and looking down at us and our follies. Yes, the individual and collective memories of them brings a tear to my eye. However, were it not for each of them, my life would not be what it is now. They were a part of my life and that is the gift they leave me. The legacy they left for me personally.

We all deal with death and grief differently. Once the sadness stops, do your loved one a solid and remember the happy times. It is certain they would love for you to think of them fondly. I know I would.

What do YOU think?

 

 

Walking Down a Different Road…Poorly.

This title may not be what you think. I have found that I have grown tired of “just making it.” It weighs upon my mind a lot. I have also found that when you do finally start heading toward a point where you can do slightly more than “just make it.” The higher powers tend to see an opportunity to squeeze you for whatever extra it is that you have and put you right back to where you were to begin with. Yes, I tend to not write about things like this on my public blogs. However, writing is a form of release for me and today, I will, walk down a different road.

My family is not your typical american family when it comes to paying bills and debt. We are not drowning under credit card debt or a crushing mortgage. We have abstained from refinancing or taking out additional lines of credit against our house. While that may be the thing to do, I simply don’t feel it to be the right thing to get our bills paid when we can do it just fine without that. Borrowing from one source just to reduce the payments on another or to combing a bunch of nickle and dime things just does not seem like the thing to do. (Oh, Daddy, you should be so proud!) In hindsight, no credit card debt and the fact that we can pay our necessities without worry is great. We have TWO extra things that we have been working on to pay off over time but it is not so much that we have to struggle to make bills. These things are just to improve our credit score. Now that I think about it. I am only feeding into the corporate monster and living the Sheeple life by doing that. However, it seems to be necessary if we want to get ahead in any area of life like to purchase a new car. (Example only, walking is so much better for the environment.) Well, that will be over soon and we will only have to foot the bill for “necessaries” like power, water, mortgage, and internet. Yea, internet is a necessary. Well, at least until the world goes to heck in a hand basket. Then we can do away with THAT bill. Yay?

Still, none of the above is what weighs heavily on me. I think a lot about the vacations my parents took me on as a kid. Those were vivid memories which stood out against the bland backdrop of watching my previous year of school become a fading memory on the highways of this country. Remember, every ending school year meant that Daddy was going to sign a new contract with his company and they would ship up off to yet another state to live for the year while he straightened out the mess of a kitchen they sent him to. He provided for us and we had our vacations. I just never had any roots to grow until I became older. My roots are spread all over this country from coast to coast. Dry, brittle, and long forgotten, the things that stand out the most were the vacations. Maybe that was what they did to make up for uprooting me from potential friends and opportunities which could have been afforded to me growing up. Still, I would not have changed anything.

It’s not that our brood prevents us from taking a vacation. We have a support system and family who can watch the kids while we pick and choose or even watch the dogs while we are away. It’s the fact that, while this country tells you to make memories with your children, they put the financial portion out of the reach of the average person. The nuclear family has to make nearly $50, 000 a year to be able to put away something into savings and even then, you need nearly $5,000 to even think about a 3 day trip for a couple. Everything is taxed and everything is overpriced. When Reagan was president (yes, I know, cost of living, etc. BS to that,) purchasing a brand new car did not mean that you were taking out a note that was near the equivalent of the market value of your home. It didn’t cost $50 to PARK at a resort area only to again pay near the same PER PERSON to get in. Never mind the fact that you then have to pay just to breathe inside the park. Corporate greed, my friends. They try to make smiles only attainable for the extraordinarily rich and, frankly, I am tired of it.

On a different note, do you know why this country has become so fanatically engrossed in the fact that they love to watch the prepping shows and extreme couponing?  It is this: the poor are tired of being sucked dry and being pushed around by the rich. They remember the Great Depression and they know what it will take to hurt the rich. Not to assassinate or rob them. Let the stock market drop. Let the zombie apocalypse happen. Let there be some fantastic computer glitch that takes out the internet. Who is going to survive? Those of us who know what it is like to live without. Those of us who can survive on skill alone and not believe it to be the end of the world simply because your investments took a wrong turn. Snatch those comfy pillow out from under the stuffy rich who sit upon them and what do you have? Sniveling, snarling, rich bastards who believe they have just lost their entire world. Oh, sure, there will be a few who will move on and think that they can do it all over again. However, when the world goes to shit, their money is going to be nothing more than fuel for the fire. With their clean, unscarred hands and the inability to know how to do a hard day’s work, they will not last long. I can assure you of that.

OK. I feel better now. I put a foot on my soapbox and chewed the gum for a few minutes. Thanks for listening peeps. Oh, yea….

What do YOU think?

Good Morning Stranger

I get up and go about my usual morning routine. Only, I stop for an extra moment to ponder what I see in the mirror. Who is this looking back at me? I have not seen you for a long, long time. Good morning Stranger! Where have you been? Can it really be you? From way back when? Thinking back, I don’t know where you went. Did you hide? Was it time well spent?

Why do I say these things to the mirror? After all, it is just a reflection. A reflection of one’s self. However, that reflection can become someone else. Someone you hate, someone you don’t recognize and remain that way for many years. Sometimes, it is not even the fault of oneself that we end up this way. Sadly, in my case, I think it was. You see, the reflection I have been staring at (screaming at) for nearly 20 years was not me but someone much larger, lost, and different. I avoided her. I didn’t take pictures, I didn’t look in the mirror. When I did, I wanted to throat punch her and scream in her face until spit rained upon it. WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ME!!!!????

But this morning was different. I have yet to wash my face and brush my hair but I can only smile at what I see staring back at me. I don’t want to scream at her. I don’t hate her. I know she has come a long way and has a long way to go but I can see her. My best version of me. She is beautiful. She is a mess. However, she is no longer a joke. She is wiser. Things like fat jokes are not funny anymore. She sees the world through a different filter. I like what I see. After all these years, I have found the person I was searching for and I can get back to loving myself. No more happiness in the bottom of an empty plate. That was the same kind of happiness a drug addict chases when they are trying to get high. I am beyond that now. No more turning to food and bad habits when things become stressful. Because I can love me and I am able to stare at the face looking back at me in the mirror, I am a stronger person. I can love me now.

It was strange, this morning, staring at my reflection. I liked what I see. Bed-hair and all. I have not felt that kind of comfort in a long time. Stranger, I don’t know where you went or where you have been, but please, please, don’t go back there anymore. I have a funny feeling you didn’t like it much. I know I didn’t like it when you were gone. I can smile at you and you will smile back. It will be a true smile. One that is not hidden behind a puffy face and slits for eyes. One that is not obscured by more than just a chin. It is you. Beautiful you! While you are not completely back, I can see that you are there and you have that determined look. You are here to stay!

I love you reflection. I know you feel better and I know you are working hard to show the world that you are still here. That you still exist. Thank you for caring enough to come back. Thank you for taking the journey to get here. Thank you for being…me.

Hello Stranger! I am glad you are here. Stick around and show pride without fear. Welcome Stranger, you’ve been gone so long. I can never apologize enough for steering you wrong. Hello Stranger! Where have you been? Can it really be you? From way back when? Thinking back, I don’t know where you went. Did you hide? Was it time well spent? I am glad you are back. Our journey will see, just how we both can stay on track. Stranger no more, I love me. My reflection, I love, is staring back at me.

What do YOU think?

The Breaking of the Beam

Stephen King had it right.

In the writing of the Dark Tower Series, he foretold of the destruction of man via people using their minds to break the beams that hold our worlds together. He wrote about a group of people in a desolate wasteland who went to “work” every day by gathering in a room and concentrating on one thing or another all the while their mental activity is chipping away at reality and causing the erosion of society. This story started in the machinations of this author’s mind long ago.

Translate that into today’s world, this is exactly what is happening. While you sit there, staring into the device that you are using to read this blog post, you are using your mental faculties to chip away at the beam of reality. All the while, the world around you is falling into chaos and disarray. You sit there, for hours on end, focusing on this little gadget. From an uninformed, third party, point of view, it appears that you are just staring at an inanimate object. The world forgotten. Like abandoned homes and buildings, the more attention you pay to the gadget in your hand, the more cracked, disregarded, and uninhabited your life becomes. We, as a society, are essentially breaking the beams to our own realities and letting technology take over. In the stories I mentioned here, there is a mechanical being that controls a thing or two. In our life, it is the cell phones and the computers and tablets that are taking over.The Positronics of the modern age.

It is not to say that this can be reversed. It can. It truly can. However, it is going to take more than one voice to make it so. Even as I sit here and write to you about the startling reality that is going on around us, I am feeding into the chaos and disarray as I compose my message to you.

For all the naysayers that disagree, I urge you to ponder this: How hard is it for you to leave your gadget alone for 24 hours. What about 48 hours? Three days?  It is nearly impossible for anyone to admit that they can do this without worrying about what they are missing or what they are going to come back to.

Tell me, what do YOU think?

Beach Choppers Ain’t Got Nothing on Jet Noise

Gawsh, I miss jet noise.

Let that sink in for a moment. Jet. Noise.

When our youngest daughter was a toddler, we moved to Virginia Beach. We were lucky enough to have lived on former Oceana Naval Air Station base housing. Aside from the obvious, that year alone was one of the most interesting of my life. (Ah, but I digress. Jet Noise is the topic of the day.) Our duplex was situated literally at the end of a takeoff/landing strip on the adjacent air fireld. Literally! It was our house, the back yard, the service road, a fence, grass and then the strip. They rotated the strips in the air field so that some months it would be a landing strip and others it would be a take off strip. On the take off months, our daughter could wave at the pilots AND THEY WOULD WAVE BACK!

Some interesting things to note about Jet Noise

:

1.  Jets, at full power, are flippin loud!

2. When renting or buying a house in the vicinity of a landing strip, consider the waiver you sign acknowledging such very seriously.

3. Jet noise is impossible to talk over. If you are on the phone, even hiding in the center most closet of the house (and burying your head in the middle of the clothes) will not allow for an uninterrupted conversation when a jet takes off.

4. Jet noise pisses off your already possesed pomeranian.

Despite the deafening interruption to life several times a day, it was music every time. Patriotic. It even brought harmony to your heart. Sad to say, it is 12 years later and I still miss it. I miss it even more when I hear one of those snarky little beach copters flying right over our house. In the summer time, those gnats fly sometimes three deep. Annoying.

Before they posted a tourist stop up that put that flight path over our house, some of the local residents complained about the noise from the copters. I should have joined in on that wave. Busy bee copter noise all dayum day is a big bother to me. Certainly true when it makes me all nostalgic for Oceana. These people around here think those copters are loud? Nah…drip drip drop little April showers compared to a REAL bird.
To make my eyes well up even more? The local airport used to belong to an army air base back in the 50’s. The military still uses our tiny airport from time to time and the big cargo planes randomly come lumbering in. They are the only ones that fly so low you can almost read the serial number on the belly of the plane. The sight of these albatross planes make me wanna run outside and cheer. But then again, they are a more welcome, quieter,  reminder of a better place and a better time. I will take a low flying cargo plane over a beach copter anyday.

It took about 20 minutes to compose this blurb. Seven of those damn gnats flew shoobies overhead. Beach choppers.  Colorful helicopter wanna bes. Shoobs…leave the flying for real birds.

Gawsh I miss jet noise.

What do YOU think?

Lessons Learned 21 Bucks.

In a day where electronics have brought about the zombie apocalypse (even though we are unaware of such) and an ever increasing population makes attendance in public dangerous, it becomes harder and harder to teach our children lessons in honesty and integrity.  Today was slightly different.

Thanks to the electronic age and the perfect opportunity to have the boyz go for a walk with me. (1. ANY opportunity to get out of the house. 2. ANY opportunity to have them do something else besides electronic zombie activity.) I decided we were going to walk to pick up a new TV for the rec room. Now, if this was 1980, this would not have been possible with a plastic red rider wagon and two children. Thank gawsh for technology advances. (Yup…take a screen shot of that. Things I don’t say often. Ah, but I digress.)  So we walked there and back and the rec room is splendidly happy once again. However, there was a teachable moment which occurred in between.

Upon entering into our busy WallyWorld, I keep an ever searching eye out for discarded receipts. Savings Catcher has given me almost $100 bucks to spend and it’s great. Another story for another day. The first thing I see is a folded up piece of paper. From the printing along the edge of the paper I knew it was a payroll check of some kind. I sit down on a bench nearby and open it up. It is a SIGNED cashiers check with a deposit slip. I turn it over and see the amount.

$374.42

Wow. I know whomever lost this must be sick with grief. I thought about it for a moment and made a decision. This IS WallyWorld, afterall, and if I just hand it over to the snotty management staff, they will get the feel good credit for my kind deed and the owner will never know about the lesson I am trying to teach the boyz. Instead, I explained what the right thing to do was and then took matters into my own hands.

I walked up to customer service and asked the manager for a phone book. I did find a number that matched the name and address on the deposit slip. I called it but, there was no answer. Like the movies, I snatched the page out of the phone book and stuffed it into my pocket. Then, I told the manager lady that my oldest child had found a check the parking lot abd I wanted to leave her name and number at the customer service desk if the owner came looking for it. The manager demanded the check so they could “lock it up” and I told her again, my daughter found it on her way out and it is not here. So the manager gave me a pen and paper and I wrote.

“I found your check and I will keep it safe. Please call and I will bring it to you. Micaa 845-555-1212.” No sillies, that is NOT my number so don’t try it. You will get information.)

I explained to the boyz why I did what I did. I wanted to see the look on the ladys face when her money was returned to her. I also wanted them to experience the feel good feeling of being nice to a fellow human. As we were exiting the parking lot and, making our way home, my phone begins ringing.

“This is Micaa.”
“Hello! This is Ms. Randall. You have something of mine?”
“Oh yes! How are you? I do. We are at this so and so spot and walking you can’t miss us. When you get done shopping, I will have it for you.”
“Oh. THANK YOU!  I am not nearly as upset as I was thank you again!”

After walking along about ten minutes, a Cadillac SUV pulls up beside us with a lady about my mother’s age in it. The boyz and I walked up to the truck and she asked me if it was OK to give me $20. I told her it was OK and she insisted I spend it on the boyz. I told her of the lesson I wanted them to learn and that each will get $10. She said gratefully “You are an angel!”

Yea, I can say my feeling was that it was going to “pay” off but even the grateful look on her face and the teachable moment accomplishment

image

was enough. Good deeds really do pay off.

On another note, Numba 8 even found a dollar bill on the sidewalk before we reached the house.

See how Karma does good things?

What do YOU think?

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