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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?

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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?

 

The Opposite of Writer’s Block?

All weekend I have had a feeling that I absolutely must write. The only problem is that I did not know what it was. I did get a couple of good posts out of it but the satisfaction one gets after forking out a blurb did not last. I almost felt like it was a drug and it had ceased to work its magic for me. It reminded me of that little “Nugget” cartoon that is going around social media that shows what drugs will do to someone. (Here it is in case you need a memory jog…  see below. ) Mind you, I am normally satisfied to do 2 posts a week and then  wait until the next weekend. However, with this posting on a Monday, you must know that the need for that satisfied feeling has yet to come. I have also felt the need to read something and everything I pick up, with the exception of one book was simply not good enough. I don’t know what it is. I have never felt this way before and like most things that interfere with my rut, it sucks. It sucks a big old fat one and I don’t know what to do.

I have tried all my outlets. From my idea and personal journals, to my book, to my next non-fiction work to my blogs. NOTHING seems right! What is a girl to do? I even thought that if I did this small post that it would satisfy that. Oh no. Like so many other things in my life recently, that was a good idea as it bounced around in my brain but not very fruitful once it came out. Ah, but I digress.

Such it is that we are….

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?

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?

Whatever happened to Miss Ingold?

Back in my lat teens and early 20’s I was a breakfast manager at a local fast food restaurant named Hardee’s. The hours were perfect: 3am-1pm. For me, it was an easy job and presented challenges as well. One such challenge was some of the people that worked the same shift I did. One was the hostess, she is a topic for another story. The other was this big ole German lady named Ingold.

Ingold was not by any means your normal person. To begin with, she had to warm up to you. It was not easy to gain her confidence in your abilities as either a manager or a co-worker. Also, she hated everyone. However, she was good at her job. Ingold only worked breakfast. When it was time to transition, she was out the door. She was a good worker but you had to get her on your side to work for you. You see, Ingold liked to be prompt and start things on time. While the manager was technically not supposed to start or arrive to open the doors until at least 3:45 am, if you showed up at any point after 3:00 am, you were certain to have a bad day. Showing up late made Ingold grouchy and boy…you never wanted that woman to be grouchy. (Grumpy doesn’t even come close to what this woman could be if she was…grouchy. Even Oscar the Grouch was mild compared to when this woman was on a roll. Ah, but I digress.) I liked to show up early just for her because I knew if she started her day off right, I would not have to worry about the kitchen because Miss Ingold handled things. Besides, at 4:01 am, the time the schedule says we are supposed to clock in, she would get in her car and go home. THAT, my friends, is a bad day. Without her, it was difficult at best.

Other workers knew that too. Because I worked hard to get Miss Ingold on my side, she eventually warmed up to me. I think there were a few mornings that I totally earned her respect. “Why? How?” You ask? Like this:

Ingold worked six days a week. The days I was blessed to have her on my shift, I knew I was going to have a good day. She kept that kitchen running and things were hardly ever late. I would giggle at her when there was a special request from a customer during the busy part of the morning because she would yell through the window at me “What the hell do they think this is Burger King? This is not have it your way!” Begrudgingly, she would make the special request anyway. If she was particularly chipper, she would offer to make your breakfast for you on your break and hook a sister up!

Anywhoo, back to the how and why. There were a few times I had overslept. Upon waking, the only thing I would think would be:

“Shit! Ingold is gonna be pissed!”

I would jump straight up, throw on my pants, button 4 of the 7 buttons on my shirt, grab my shoes, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste, and other “get ready” stuff and run to the car just so I could make it on time. One particular morning I got lots of laughter from her (which was rare) because I showed up at 3:05 am and had all my stuff randomly in my arms and was dropping and picking up things all the way from my car to the door. I was apologetic every step of the way. One sock on, one sock off, she actually told me not to worry that she was in a good mood because of me. This thoroughly confused me because in Ingold time, I was late. I think the that she seen that I was stressing out over her being grouchy more than I was at my appearance at Good God It’s Early in the morning. To be honest, I think that was the first time I did that. After that day, I think I had Miss Ingold on my side and we got along famously. Even when she was grouchy.

She was old then and this was in the mid 1990’s. I moved on and life went on but I thought of her often. I really liked that old Broad. I wonder what has become of her?

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?

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