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Taking the Small Moments for Granted

This morning, Cal told me I looked like I needed a break. So he took Numba 11 and me to the beach after dropping the teenager off at work. It was rather nice with the pelicans flying to and fro, a boat sailing lazily in the distance, and our son happily splashing in the surf.

I love looking out as far as I can see. I enjoy listening to the waves as they crash in around my feet. Even watching the tiny birds (not seagulls, the smaller ones) five for the minnow sized fish as the waves rolled in. All these things are just some of the little things that make the whole beach experience unlike any other.

While enjoying the morning, I happened to note two particular figures walking up the beach. It was a mother and her son. Normally, I disregard the Beach visitors. Living in a resort area, one tends to become inoculated to the tourists. However, this little boy and his mother, while obvious tourists, were different. It was one thing that he was a tad taller than his mother, who as all of four foot eleven, it was another that he was que ball bald. He was even sans eyebrows.

This child was fighting cancer.

He fooled to be about nine or ten years of age. I just found it amazing that he has come far enough to be able to enjoy a morning stroll down the beach with his mother. It was cute to observe them. They obviously been through a lot together and he adored his mother as much as she cared for him. The morning stroll, looking for shells, and splashing in the shallow water was a normal moment for them.

Moments like that are things the rest of us take for granted. It made me look at the love of my life and our youngest with exceptional love. In that moment, I appreciated everything that live had for me. I have a wonderful husband, great kids, and I am alive. I am healthy and able to do for my family.

It’s all too often that we take the small moments for granted. I was reminded, just for a moment, how wonderful life really is.

What do YOU think?

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Their Job is Important

I find it interesting to have epiphanies about things that have changed my line of thinking over the years. It has always bothered me to witness someone talking down to another person just trying to make a living. As a child, I often wondered why people did that. When we studied American slavery in elementary school, I remember thinking why did human beings treat other human beings in such awful ways? I never talked to my parents or family about those things. I observed and studied more than I asked questions when it came to people. Of course, I was curious about all kinds of things. I asked questions about things and how things worked. It was just people that I found I learned more by watching.

I don’t remember where or when, but at some point between the ages of seven and ten, I read a story where a father told his child to always remember the name of the janitor. To not only do that at school, but in life. Janitors are everywhere and they are an important part of living. Schools, apartment buildings, business offices, everywhere you go, there is always the person pushing around the cart or changing the trash. Their feelings and lives are just as important to the greater scheme of things as the CEO or Receptionist. After I read that story, I did just that.

My most memorable and favorite janitor has to be Ms. Georgia. She was the one at my first high school. She never seemed very friendly, but after I had asked her name and began saying hi to her when I seen her, she turned out to be a very sweet lady who loved her job and knew a lot of things. This stuck with me and I try to remind my kids to do the same.

Cal and I take this same token when it comes to cashiers. I mean, if someone is wearing a name tag, speak to them and use their name. You would be surprised the difference it makes. Today, for example, the Walmart cashier looked like she was a cardholder of the Slap a Bitch Quick club. Her name was Michelle. Now think about this. You will be standing in front of this cashier from 2-8 minutes depending on how much you are purchasing. I always greet the cashiers by name as soon as they start scanning my stuff. As soon as I stepped up and said “Good morning Michelle!” Her whole demeanor changed and she carried on small talk with me. I could never be a cashier by trade. However, some of these people like it and make a career of it. Don’t look down your nose at them or treat them bad. Their job is important. Further, there is absolutely no need to use these people as an example for your kids. It is downright cruel. Without these people, you would not have the convenience of shopping like you do.

Further, there is a way to tell your children that you don’t want them to grow up to be a stocker in a grocery store. Standing in front of the guy helping you find something in the pasta aisle at the grocery store and loudly telling your six year old “this is what happens when you don’t go to college” is not at all appropriate, respectful, or getting your point across. Do you know what you teach your kid in that moment? A lot more than “Go to college and make lots of money!” You are teaching them hate. You are teaching them disregard for humanity. You are teaching them that people are not important and, most of all, you are teaching them how to be an asshole…just like you. Nice. Plus one for the dumbass parenting skills there.

My point is, if the job was not necessary, it would not exist. The jobs are important. They enable you to live your life easier and they enable the cashiers, janitors, stickers, wait staff, and call center representatives to work. It gives those people a sense of stability, experience, and most often, livelihood for their families. Just because they are not from the gated community of millionaires like you does not discount their value or importance. If at all, if you have to look down upon them, they are richer than you will ever be.

I am not perfect. I still will be a nasty customer if I have to call customer service. However, I have worked in call centers and know these jobs are important. I will remember the name of the janitors and try to remember to call the cashiers by name. Besides, we see them more than just once. I will sometimes even choose a longer line because I see that miss Elsie is working today. It’s just respect and the fact that I do know their job is important. Not just in the scheme of things but to them too.

What do YOU think?

I broke it. I should fix it.

A few days ago, I got up for a 2A.M. puppy potty party (chihuahuas and their teeny tiny bladders won’t let me sleep a night through. Nothing like a cold nose boop on the forehead to wake you from sleeping in fifth gear at zombie in the morning… Ah, but I digress.) I had decided that I too will participate in the call of nature and headed to the bathroom after locking the rascals out. Normally, they give me an extra hour. Not that night.

In my groggy state, I take a seat upon the throne. Now let me stop and give you a back story, so that my line of thinking in my half conscious state will make sense. When my inner fat girl was, in charge, if I leaned over to reach for a new roll while sitting on the pot, the toilet seat would inch over and those little bumper things underneath would slide off the rim of the bowl and the seat would audibly tell me it had made an unsafe movement. Now, I have since lost quite a bit of weight and put that bitch back in the inner sanctum of my mind, hence her new title: “inner fat girl.”

Back to the present.

As I leaned over for a new roll (gotta love the monsters who don’t have any courtesy for the next potty master,) I heard that unsafe movement noise. Instantly, I was wide awake because that honestly hurt my feelings. Here I am feeling good about me because I am feeling good about my weight and stuff. Then Karma comes strolling along with a sense of humor and lets the toilet seat make that noise and hurt my damn feelings. 😡

So, I wrap up the throne business and stand up. As I teach to flush, by the light of the moon, (no pun intended. I love light filtering blinds sillies!) I see a line on the toilet seat. Knowing I was not making a mess, I turn the light on. Just…wow. The seat didn’t move after all. It broke.

Great. With payday ten days away, we had to suffer with a busted toilet seat. Really?

This morning I found a tenspot doing laundry. So guess what? Cal was dragged to the store for a new seat. When we got home, he was called into work. Well, I broke it. I should fix it. So I did!!!

I am a staunch believer that little girls need to be taught to fend for themselves. This includes fixing things. Cal was busy and I was quite capable. Now we all know how I feel about bathroom germs. So this was a super big deal for me as I had to step outside of my comfort circle to do this. Armed with one glove, a screwdriver, and an entire thing of bleach wipes, I set out to fix the toilet. I fixed it and I survived. And Cal was so proud!!

Remember, teach your girls to be able to work along side their man on house and car things. Tell your sons to teach their girls and find a good woman who can fend for herself. It’s a team effort and boy do Cal and I have the best team!

What do YOU think?

Intelligence Taken Fur Granted

I have never been one to choose a plain dog. Being raised in a dog family, it is my experience that, when you choose a dog, especially a puppy, something about them stands out or is very special to you. I never gave a second thought to the plain dogs of the world. Over the past year, our Mollie (the Shadow Stalker) littered a total of eight puppies. All but one were chosen for their forever homes. This one we had decided to keep. Honestly, it was the next to last one to go that we had initially wanted to keep but how can you say no to the twelve year old girl who fell in love with a particular puppy at first sight? So we were left with Courage. Caption: Courage at seven weeks waiting for the masses to finish eating.

As a tiny pup, Courage wasn’t interested in much. He’s like his mother in that he would rather sit and watch the action instead of participate. Full of manners, he evens let the others get their fill at dinner time and then eat in peace. Just a totally different dog experience for me altogether.

Since the New Year, it has begun to show that there really is something special about this dog. For starters, he is nearly double the weight of his mother and just turned a year old last week! He loves it when I sit down to read, because he knows he is going to get a snuggle and an extended ear rub. Typical dog stuff, I know. Now he usually waits for one of the others to tell me that it is potty time. As you know, I work from home and Courage (and the rest of the pack) are my “Snoopervisors.”)

This particular Snoopervisor has started to show me that he can grab my attention exceptionally well. Sometimes, I will tell the dogs to give me a minute because I want to finish whatever task I am working on before letting them out. This particular day, Mr. Courage was not having it.

Courage has a body more reminiscent of a large weenie dog. Raised up on his hind legs, and still with his butt in the floor, he is tall enough to put his paws on my keyboard tray. Currently, said tray is in a bent track and if you push on it too hard it will jump the track making for a bad day. (Ok, small digression here, it’s bent because I am graceful. That is all.) So, I tell the “team” to give me a minute as I continued to do my work. I must have take a minute or three too long. Courage appears and puts both paws on my leg, Ensures that he has my attention, then proceeds to slowly move his left paw to the keyboard tray. Holding my gaze, this stinker proceeds to push mown on the tray and it pops in warning that anymore pressure and it will fall!

Appalled, I move his paw off the tray. I pop the tray back into place, tell him “Gimme a minute lovey boy!” Then turn back to my task. Without so much as a blink, he literally sighs loud enough for me to turn back to him (mind you, he still has his right paw on my leg.) When I do, again, as if it were a staring contest, he takes his left paw and proceeds to pull down on the keyboard tray. Yes, it popped again.

As I begin to become frustrated with the newly found smart tail gene Courage has tapped into, I remove both paws and put him back down on the floor. I told him that I was almost done. Apparently I did not get the message. Undeterred, Courage moves from the side of my chair to in front of me. All of a sudden, this dog face comes from under my desk and is now between me and the keyboard tray, facing the same direction as I am. Just as quickly, these two stubby legs wit paws come from the same place and proceed to forcefully push the keyboard tray to its resting place under the desk. Caption: That paw!

Courage then looks up at me with this look that says “I know you love me HumanMom!” Of course, it was all over at that point. Potty time it was. No gimme a minute, no wait a second. Right now. Happily, Courage led the pack out of the office to the potty door.

In the days since, other things have happened which show intelligence taken fur granted. I will eventually share some of these.

On a final note, plain dogs are more special than any dog with a special mark or blue eyes. Their special is inside. So far, the biggest dog we have not only towers in size but his heart has so much love and his brain continues to amaze us! I am also of the opinion that plain dogs are not chosen, they are bestowed upon special people!

What do YOU think?

Popularly Overlooked Huge Victories

Since I have left the carefree calorie days of the late twenties and early thirties, I have spent nearly all day, every day thinking about what I am going to eat next. I would fix the planned meal, usually for more than one person to eat, then, to avoid leftovers (as well as no one else eating the meal,) proceed to eat the lot of it. I always had to clean my plate. Then, almost immediately, I would begin to think about what to eat next. I tried to stay busy but not the right kind of busy, because my brain would continually think about food and what we had to eat in the house or what I was going to get at the store. It was frustrating and mentally exhausting.

Not only did it make me mentally tired, I was gaining weight and becoming physically lazy. I hated life. I hated me. Unbeknownst to me, I subconsciously hated my inner fat girl for taking over every thought and replacing it with the next plate of food to shovel into my mouth. I became depressed and it affected my entire family. My clothes were all too small and I was wearing the same three sweatpants and t-shirts all week. Working from home, I could do that. I had one pair of “fat jeans” that I wore every time I had to leave the house. That was it.

Two years ago, someone hurt my feelings in relation to my weight and I used that hurt and anger to drop from 208 to 148. I felt great and it was definitely a huge victory. I was proud to be asked for my license because it was me at my largest and I definitely looked different. What didn’t change was that inner voice constantly thinking about the next thing to eat. So long as I never became overly stressed, upset, sad, or any other negative feelings, I would do just fine. However, it prevented me from not overeating during those times and it was still a mental struggle. Again, all those bad feelings took over and I forgot how to direct the bad feelings constructively toward exercise and strength training. Of this 60 pounds lost in the course of approximately 15 months, I gained almost 40 pounds back.

This was when I discovered, for me, my problem was more mental than the physical. I had to prevent food from taking over every second of my waking day as well as the majority of my dreams. I did some research on the topic and, eventually that of my doctor. Armed with the tools to overcome the strength of my inner fat girl, I se out in a new journey to make some permanent changes. That was three months ago.

It is still a struggle. However, most days, I am allowed to think of things other than food. I have even begun to read, a lot, again. There are days that are exceedingly hard. When I win with any victory, no matter how small, I am proud of myself. Yesterday was one of those days. While the victories of yesterday were quite insignificant to most, they were exceptionally huge for me. Another thing that was a victory was, I still got my walk I. Despite having an off day. Definitely a victory for a day that would otherwise have been horrible and reminiscent of the 208 pound me. Here is an excerpt from my journal regarding other Popularly Overlooked but Huge Victories from yesterday:

Yesterday was a struggle that ended in a victory. I spent most of the day craving a chicken sandwich with cheese and bacon and mayo as well as any kind of milkshake. I was craving like a smoker wanting a cigarette. Living in a resort area, the activities of Memorial Day weekend are quite dangerous so we chose to stay home. After cabin fever se it, we did decide to walk to the store. I caved and did buy the lowest calorie Gelato I could find. (1. Ice cream was not on sale. 2. Other frozen treats were too many calories 3. I have always wanted to try Gelato.) While still not in the right direction, it was still a victory because I was thinking about calories. The draw back was the small box I selected contained seven servings. I ended up eating a little over half which was half my goal intake for the day. 😔 HOWEVER, I still ended the day under the maintenance suggested calories for the day. A small victory there. I also woke up not feeling like garbage for eating with reckless abandon on a cheat day. Overall, a win! Oh, also, I am proud I didn’t eat the entire container. 200 pound me would have done so in one day, if not one sitting. Yay for me!

While these victories may not seem like much it means a great deal to me because it is a win over overly destructive behavior. It gives me hope that I can do this again and again and it becomes a habit. It is victories like these that are going to shut that fat bitch up once and for all. Further, actively thinking about my food choices only when it is time to eat makes choosing to eat healthy and wisely a lot easier. While I have chosen to give up so many of the foods I love, I have discovered others I love and it is best to break up with things I know I cannot control myself around.

It is a struggle but still a journey and I feel I am winning, for the long haul, this time around.

Micaa 2 / Inner Fat Girl 1

What do YOU think?

Small, Edible Victories

I spent most of my life finding solace in the bottom of a plate of my favorite things. Pizza, creamy Mac and cheese, cake, cookies, ribs, other things that just make you feel better when the world is picking in you. After I had my last baby, I paid for that kind of thinking. I got my feelings hurt one year and I lost over 65 pounds with motivation. What I didn’t count on was that, despite getting down to 148, I would go all the way back up to 180 and hate myself again. Since then, I have started this second journey and found that there is such things as eating disorders and all those years of stress eating have wired my brain incorrectly. You have no idea what it’s like to think about what you are going to have for dinner from the time you open your eyes in the morning. To have every waking moment of thought nearly dedicated to the awesome amount of calories you plan to consume at your next meal. To be honest, it’s quite tiring and just makes you consume even more.

Because I am older and my metabolism has slowed, I know I have to count everything I put in my mouth, for the rest of my life unless I want to be knocking on 200’s door and beyond. I am saying this because, I had a victory today that was no small feat.

One cup of Velveeta Mac and Cheese is 360 calories all by itself. My son can eat it with abandon because he is a growing kid. What’s hard for me is that, no one makes it quite like Mom, and, as badly as I wanted some, I settled for a broccoli/Brussels sprout salad with tangy French dressing.

For someone like me, that was an amazing feat. I felt like Rocky Balboa at the top of the steps. The struggle is not over, however. It’s five pm and thus, the start of the hardest part of the day for me. You see, I can do great all day! Eat well, exercise, drink water…but then I normally cave and snack mindlessly until bedtime. Also, there is still part of that mac and cheese in the kitchen. From where I sit, I can see it…calling to me.

I’m gonna fight and smile at the sunrise tomorrow instead of being riddled with guilt about overeating. This is but one victory for me. The small ones all count. Hopefully, they add up to bigger ones.

Wish me luck.

***Defiantly flips the middle finger at the pot in the kitchen in a kiss off gesture!**. Today, I win.

What do YOU think?

You Think You Are Better Than Me

I went grocery shopping the other day. I am not homeless or poor. I am quite talented to be honest. I tetris’ed $200 worth of groceries into a wagon and pulled it the one mile trek home. No, I am not poor either. Know why I was walking? Because my family and I own two cars. No payments. Cal was at work and the other one is a project car. So it’s out of commission at the moment. So? I am not making payments on either one am I? No. I am not. You, on the other hand are paying damn near $400 a month for your car. Likely for the next 5-7 years. On top of having specific (expensive) insurance requirements; talk about ball and chain!

As I walk, I pull my iPhone out of my pocket to check the time. You are damn right I have an iPhone. Before you pass judgement, be awarded that while you forked out four digits for your iPhone 10 and probably have a plan with insurance that you pay dearly for every month…I don’t. You see, I have an iPhone 5s. All the bugs have been worked out and I paid less than 100 bucks. It is prepaid and I have unlimited data. Not that I need it because I work from home and use WiFi more than I do Data. Also, I pay a flat fee every six months for my cell phone service. So, once again Miss High and mighty, I own my phone. Hell, I even paid an extra five bucks to get product replacement/reimbursement if it breaks. No co pay for replacement. Just submit a claim. What? What do you say?? You pay monthly the same amount I pay every six months? I am so sorry. And you say you are better off than me? Hahahaha. I am sorry.

Everything inside our home is paid for. While you have your fancy furniture financed, it won’t last long. By the time you pay it off, you will be looking to finance some more. I may have had mine for a while and it may not be trendy but it is ours free and clear. Further, who gives a flying fur all that I live in “the hood.” Guess what? My house is paid for. We built this house and it is ours. So have fun you….in your credit card clothes that have put you in debt and your house with three mortgages. No wonder you have to work 60 hours a week and make 50,000 a year. I am just fine over here. I won’t be devastated if the stock market fails and I am not one lay off from losing everything I am MAKING PAYMENTS ON.

So before you pass judgement and look down your fake nose at me. Think about who literally has it all and who is working like a hamster in a wheel.

I am going to enjoy my walk. It’s good for the environment…my health…and I am not stuck in Facebook judging everyone without making sure my back yard is in order. Think about it.

What do YOU think?

The Beach Has Eyes

Last week Dear Hubby and I took a walk through the city. We happened by a 5-gallon bucket that seemed to have something in it. Sitting in the border of a lot that belonged to the city and the sidewalk, we peered inside. It was approximately 1/3 full of clear water. There were several pennies, a couple dimes, and an handful of goldfish. We don’t know how long it had been there. I made a comment in passing that they were not going to live in that bucket very long. DH tapped the bucket with the toe of his boot and exclaimed “But they are alive!” To prove his point he did the same again. (Mind you, I almost wrote “kicked the bucket” but that would have been funny and sad at the same time….ah, but I digress.)

We continued our walk and I couldn’t help but to think about those poor goldfish. They were in prison! They even had money! Just….wow. Oh I had a great post to write about it but that inspiration was gone by the time I had an opportunity to write.

Today, we walk by the same place and there is something new. It would have been hard to write about. (Unfortunately, my laptop went to techie heaven and I am composing on my phone.) Ergo here is a picture:

For those of us who have seen the movie, you can see the amusement this brings. Further, it is in the city so there are no hills. Although, there are a lot of strange southern folk around here. Being in the Deep South, there are people around here who have never been out of this county!

Just sharing a little humor from our walk…

What do YOU think?

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?

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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