Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mooove it!

I lost the perfect opportunity for a great photograph today. Didn't have my camera! It would have been so cool. Let me set this up for you: Right now we're living out the country - I mean way out where nothing else is except cows and chickens, a few houses, and a whole bunch of trees. So many trees, in fact, that my cell phone doesn't have a signal! Anyway, one of the things I liked about living in the suburbs for the last 16 years is the way I could just take a walk. You know...just take a walk on the sidewalk, wave to the neighbors, hey how ya doin' - the whole deal. Get a little workout, socialize, walk the animals. Great fun.
It took me nearly six months to remember that when I was a child, I used to take walks out here too even without a sidewalk or streetlights. There's a creek that runs alongside my grandmother's property and it's just a short walk down the road. The woods are too thick to take that route. So in the last week or so, I've started taking Sarah out for little walks down the hill to the creek and then up the hill along the pasture where our neighbor (a third cousin) owns a whole bunch of cows. It's a gigantic pasture that spans both sides of the road after the trees end. There are gates right across the street from each other that allow my cousin to let the cows walk back and forth between pastures so they can graze on fresh grass every couple of weeks. So today, as we were walking up the street, one of the mama cows spotted us just as we were crossing over the creek and started mooing at us. I didn't know or remember all the stuff about the gates connecting the pastures, so I looked down at Sarah and said, "see, that cow's saying hello to us!" Sure enough, a few more cows close to her took the lead and started watching us and mooing too! Before long, they started following us as we walked up the hill on the roadside, just a few yards away in their pasture. By the time we topped the hill, the whole herd was right there mooing at us! We walked a little further and they very excitedly walked too, some of them ran! It was so weird. Then I noticed that they'd all bunched up right there in front of that gate - staring and mooing at us. It was so funny. Just a bunch of cows mooing all at once and looking right at us. There must have been 30 or 40 cows! Some of them were babies too - with their cute little baby cow faces. That's when it hit me. Where's my camera? Oh what a cool shot that would have been! Just then the cousin drives up with his truck and I quite stupidly ask him why they are all staring at me and mooing that way. "Oh yeah, he says, they wanna go over to the other side to get that fresh grass! I'm gonna move them over in a couple of days." We stand and talk for a minute - I have not seen this man since I was a child living at home.
Later, we go out to run an errand, and what do you think is in the middle of the road at the top of the hill? All those cows crossing over to the other pasture. Apparently they decided they weren't going to give up the mooing and just stood right there until their owner started feeling sorry for them and let them on over where the new grass was. So the grass is greener on the other side! Just ask the cows!

Monday, March 29, 2010

What does happiness mean?

I'm about 55 pages into this new book I bought the other night, Bluebird, by Ariel Gore. It's a non-fiction book of course - that's mostly what I tend to read because I'm so in the here and now, so concrete. My brain simply cannot process fantasy or science fiction. I rarely watch television, although I've started watching Kirstie Alley's Big Life on A&E on Sunday nights. Great show for anyone who has ever struggled with losing weight!

Anyway, this book about happiness has me wondering how I define happiness as a woman? Is it 2.5 great kids, a cat and a dog, a great big house with nice furniture? Is it working full time or being a stay at home mother? Is it having a fat bank account or just having enough to meet basic needs? Is it a 100% thrillingly satisfying marriage or just moments along the way that are thrilling? Is it having a close knit family or being able to get away and be free from family ties? Is it helping others or having others serve you? Is it being single with no kids?

What does happiness mean to you? If you don't mind, leave a comment below and let's start a conversation!


Wow! I just read this month's issue of Oprah magazine cover to cover! Dang! When have I ever devoured a magazine like that? Get it if you dare. It's good. And I don't yet subscribe! And I'm not making money off this! I liked every single article. Part of me wishes I could write for magazines like that. Whatever...I really enjoyed reading this one.

Life in slow motion.

I'm rather sick of being sick. I've had four straight days off and all I've done is lay around, sleep, and whine - well I did make one trip to the bookstore...since reading books doesn't require much physical exertion. I picked up two hopefully good books: Bluebird and The Story of Stuff. And I bought the latest Oprah magazine. Should be enough reading material. Thinking about renting another movie via iTunes - so simple. I don't have to go to the video store, and I won't lose the video or forget to take it back because it spontaneously deconstructs all by itself! We watched The Blindside, and even my 5 year old liked it! She didn't quite understand why "it went away" after the 24 hour time period expired. How do you explain the whole idea of something deleting itself to a 5 year old? It went like this:

S: Mommy, I wanna watch the Big Mike movie again.
Me: It's gone honey.
S: Mommy! Just let me show you! (grabs at my iPhone)
Me: (handing it to her) Sweetie the movie isn't on there anymore.
S: Where is it?
Me: It disappeared.
S: Why?
Me: (looking at the ceiling trying to figure out an answer) Because it just did. We finished watching it so it's gone.
S: Mommy, I didn't finish it! (her little cheeks are red from frustration)
Me: Um, well. Sorry.
S: Mommy can we get it again? On your phone?
Me: I really don't want to buy it, that's why I rented it.
S: What's rented?

You see that? I think this flu is affecting my brain. Now it's going to affect her brain because I can't answer all of her one thousand questions in a day. I distinctly remember my ex-step-mother making me write the word "why?" a hundred times one day when I was 6 because I absolutely would not stop asking, Why? Good to know my daughter fell off the same wagon - but how oh so annoying. Raising Sarah has proven to be one of the most fun, terrifying, tiring, expensive, sweet, memorable, wonderful, fattening, prideful, and worrisome things I've ever done. I love that child, but some days I just don't know what to do with her. I say this on the eve of her Spring Break week. Must think of something fun and tiring for her to do tomorrow. Must drag myself out of this house.

In a conversation with psychic Carla Baron when I was trying to decide whether or not to return to Georgia last year, she perfectly described my job in the ER. You'll have to think fast on your feet, it's really stressful, you won't get much sleep she professed. Perhaps she was talking about my life as a mother? :)
Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness

Friday, March 26, 2010

Twitter dee, twitter dum.

One of my favorite movies of all time is Breach, starring Ryan Phillippe. He has a Twitter account and I've been able to say a few words to him that way - and he's replied. This is why Twitter is so darn cool. It is a great way for celebrities to keep in touch with their fan base without the negativity of paparazzi. It also can be a 2 way conversation if they want it to be and they can promote, like all of us, their new favorite things. Messages are limited to 140 characters so it's challenging for those of us who are wordy, like myself! Twitter is pretty darn awesome - wish I'd thought of it! If you're a non-believer, give it a try. It's really easy and free. It's not as personal as Facebook, and basically is just like the "status update" portion of Facebook. Sign up for an account at and get started. You can "follow" people and they in turn can follow you. When you log in you'll see a "feed" of what everyone's saying (just those you follow). You'll also see a list of topics that are "trending." That basically means these are the topics that everyone is discussing worldwide. It's pretty fun. Let me know if you get started and I'll follow you. :)

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not my day.

Today has just not been my day. I'll give you some history. Exactly one week ago, I woke up one night to discover a scratchy throat and a slight fever - this situation rapidly turned into the flu - a new strain! I'm exposed to just about every infectious disease known to man in the ER where I work; however I always expect my own personal immune system to defeat those germs like bands of little green army men. So all weekend, when I had three straight days off, I basically laid around and did nothing since I felt so cruddy. Then I worked two twelve hour shifts in a row Tuesday and Wednesday night - not so much patient drama, thank goodness, but still long hours and little sleep. This morning, instead of sleeping in until 2, I had to report to traffic court. I say 'had to' but I could have just paid the fine for my school zone speeding ticket. If you know me, then you know I cannot just accept this $200 insult to my already meager financial situation! So I go to traffic court at the municipal court in Athens-Clarke county. There I'm greeted by about 200 or so other various members of the public who are also carrying their little crumpled tickets. Some of them are afraid, some of them are annoyed, all of us are impatient. I get there early because one of the police officers I interrogated in the ER one night about how I should proceed with this situation said I should. Did not help. The judge was late so we got started late, but a mere two and a half hours later I was done.

You see, the unfairness of my particular ticket is that I got it in a school zone, but I feel that the school zone is not marked well at all. There are three 55 mph signs on the side of the road, all in a row in about a three mile stretch of road. Then all of a sudden there's a tiny 45 mph sign with two small flashing lights hung from a line stretched over the road. Not where you're used to looking for the signs right? And there are no warning signs for the impending school zone either. Add the sun in my eyes and my visor down and you get recipe for destruction! I did not see that sign!

We sit in the courtroom and I am shushed twice by the deputy for talking - one other lady gets in trouble for reading a book: "there's no reading in the courtroom ma'am!" We are herded in like cattle, then herded back out. There are deputies working the line shouting, "does anybody want to just go ahead and pay their fine now?" This can get you a spot in the front of the line! Cell phones have to be turned off, lest you pay an additional $25 fine. So we are all sitting/standing there in various stages of deep thought, panic, and boredom. Everybody has that defeated look. Just shoot me, we'd say if we could. After an hour and a half of waiting, I get to the front of the line where another lady in a business suit tries to talk me out of taking this matter any further by telling me that the solicitor won't do anything to help me because my ticket is in a school zone. My grandmother always said I was rather "bull-headed" and I display this trait perfectly today by politely insisting that I would still like to speak with the solicitor. I am told to go back into the courtroom and sit. A few minutes later I realize that they are now printing off my driving history to give to the solicitor. A few seconds of horrible thoughts flash through my mind: when was my last speeding ticket? Will all of my Warnings be listed? I imagine myself as a dead duck with $200 cash splayed out in my hand for anyone to take. No! I shake it off. Even with the flu, I'm gonna push forward, undeterred. Finally the small woman in a suit who is the solicitor calls my name, pulls me out into the hall because she says, "I don't normally reduce these fines so I don't want anyone to hear us talking." She's actually quite nice. I plead my case in my weak, congested voice - tell her I didn't see the sign - tell her I actually shot video of me driving that stretch of road again but the cops at the courthouse entrance wouldn't allow me to bring the camera in. (I think about telling her that I'm blind in the eye on top of my head.) But I don't have to; she seems sympathetic. I mention taking my child to a play date that day; going the different road that I'd not taken in a while. I know the mention of a child will stir her - I've already heard her mention her kids. She knows that stretch of road and feels my pain. She lowers my speed so that I won't have any points on my license and she lowers the fine by $50. For a quick second I consider a jury trial, but she's being so nice that I take the deal. I am escorted to the cashier and I pay my fine and leave. Thankfully when I got back out to the car I didn't have a parking ticket even though the meter was expired! I go home not feeling victorious but not feeling quite so stepped on either. These speeding tickets are a CASH COW for the county. I'd love to know how many millions of dollars they take in every year.

I get home, crash in bed and sleep. Hal and Sarah arrive home from school and the doctor's office (yea, medicine!). Sarah is so excited to see me that she wants to jump in my arms. We usually say 1-2-3 and on 3 she jumps and I pick her up and we exchange those sloppy all over the face kisses that mommies and daughters do. But today she was so excited she did not wait for the count of three and jumped the top of her head right into my bottom lip. So I'm out money for the ticket, money for the medicine and doctor's visit, and I have a busted, bloody sore lip to boot. At least I have the next six days off.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Tris addict.

Oh how I love to arrange those colorful falling blocks! This is a recent problem. You see, I hadn't really played Tetris much before purchasing my iphone. Shortly after I bought the iphone, I downloaded a free game called Tris, which is a Tetris knock-off that's (of course) no longer available. Lately, sparked by the insomnia I sometimes experience after working my twelve hour shifts in the E.R., I've started playing this game. You might ask, how does playing a game help you go to sleep? Well, truth is, I'm not sure. I mean, Tetris is action-packed! You have to be alert, on your toes! You have to rotate those blocks to fit them in the grid just right because they keep getting faster and faster! Oh the excitement. Obviously I think it clears my mind because I cannot think about anything else while I'm doing it. Unlike writing, and unlike scouring the internet for anything I haven't seen yet. Tetris does have a few drawbacks though: makes my eyes hurt from the strain, is totally addicting, and something I'd like to call iphone finger...the aching of an overworked pointer finger. You know what I mean? Such a tell-tale sign that you've got a problem. Why Tetris? Why not PacMan or Frogger or Q*bert? I've got all of those games downloaded too. I am a true 80's girl. I admit I have a problem. But right now, I'm not gonna do a thing about it. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mailbox marvels.

Well, wouldn't you know it? It's three a.m. and I'm wide awake again. Something about this time of night and my urge to write. I guess it's the peace and quiet. Tonight is one of those nights that I can't condense the streams of thought in my head down to one central idea that I can then write about. It's just a mixture of junk. Some call it writer's block. I call it messy thoughts. I think everyone can get into that funk at one point or another, even if you aren't a writer. I mean, don't you just have days where nothing quite makes sense? Or things happen that just make you stop and stare?

Today I got a letter in the mail from my mortgage company. They are reducing my payment by over half starting in May. I opened the letter standing by the mailbox and just stood there - I have no idea how long I stood right there in the road. Then I walked up the hill, like I've done a thousand times since I was just a little girl, and stood in the yard. (I can still hear Granny's voice telling me "run and get the mail now honey, your legs are younger than mine!") I walked in circles and wondered who I should call. News like that needs to be shared. Instead I walked in the house and sat on the couch. I'd received two packages in the mail too - but I didn't even tear into them the way I usually would. I just sat there. I felt the weight of the world slowly lift and roll off my shoulders. I took a deep breath.

The very reason I had to move my family to Maryland in cold November 2008 was because my husband lost his job and I was then working three. I couldn't work all the time and I would have had to if we didn't want to lose the house. So I had to find a job that would support us and save the house. I was lucky enough to find a job in MD that included housing and then was able to lease my house to a great family, but when the hospital unexpectedly offered me a full time position to come back to Georgia nearly a year later, I accepted. I missed that work so much I had to return to it. That's why we are now camping out in my grandmother's home until their lease is up in November. But we've been back for six months now and Hal still hasn't found a job. You can imagine that I might be going a little nuts over this.

Not anymore. I'd been speaking with the mortgage company about refinancing my loan, but since I'm not actually living in the home right now, they were reluctant to help me. But now this. I'm amazed.

Eventually I walked back out into the yard so that I could call Hal and tell him - he and Sarah were on their way back from visiting his mother. I had a blissful 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep after work last night because they weren't bumbling around making noise. We wound up talking for a half hour, both of us just stunned. I realized that we can afford to get our house back now, even without him working.

Wouldn't it be funny if, come November, I am sad to leave this little old leafy house in the country? I think I will be. Not because I like living here, but because I feel such a deep connection to my grandmother here. Sitting in the kitchen now in the dark I can almost hear her standing at the stove frying sausages or pulling bread out of the oven. I see her back in my mind's eye, her floral dress, her apron strings dangling from the knot around her waist. In the wee hours of the morning like this I imagine her lying in bed planning what she might have for breakfast, and then getting up and rattling every pot and pan she had to wake us all up! You know, about three days after we moved into the house, a letter arrived in the mailbox we'd just installed. It was addressed to her which strange since she hadn't lived here for more than ten years, and since her address had been changed long ago to reflect her move to my uncle's home where she stayed until she died. Anyway, the letter was some sort of survey for her to fill out, and folded up in the letter was a crisp new dollar bill. It was so odd - this letter with my grandmother's name on it, the dollar in my hands. It was as if she was somehow telling me to stay here and save my money -- that in the end I'd be alright. I cannot bring myself to spend that dollar - I guess that's silly, but I just can't.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Oh how I love the crisp three a.m. air,
my silent walk into the dark.
Drive under the trestle and hear the low pitch roar of
the freight train overhead,
look up and see it gliding grey-blue-black
against the moon lit sky.
I strain to hear the clank, clank, clank of steel
over the sounds of my favorite song.
This is a moment all to myself,
no whine, no worry, no soothing, no tears.
No one needs anything, but me.
The night gives me it's gift of silence and peace
until the morning sun sheds light on society's ills
and mine too.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Where oh where has common sense gone?

Just woke up from a short slumber, but my internal clock is set to this time so whatever, I'll work with it. You know how the most important, nagging, worrisome, or wrath-inspiring thoughts hit you first when you wake up? Well, my first thought moments ago, after the oh man let's go pee thought, was again how much I despise the Department of Motor Vehicles. It doesn't even matter what state you live in. I've done this song and dance in four states - I know, it's my own damn fault (just decide where you're gonna be Heather!) but still, sometimes a big fat dose of common sense would be nice.

I'm sure those ladies and gentlemen behind the counter are of average intelligence, it's just that they don't display that when talking to the general public!

We moved back from Maryland a few months ago. If you are a long time reader of this here blog, you might remember what a total expensive mess that was, so you might understand why I haven't made the effort to go to the Georgia DMV until now. I should be honest and say that there's one other tiny reason I needed to do it now also - I was the very proud winner of one $200 speeding ticket almost a month ago and the oh so nice officer gave me a 'warning' about my inaccurate license and tags. Since I plan to go to court to fight said ticket, I at least need to show a good faith effort to get this other detail worked out. I calculated this in my head of course. Should I just pay the stinking ticket and drive real slow until next January? Yes, that would have cost less money. But, this is stubborn me we're talking about here - the ticket thing I view as unfair, so naturally I am going to fight it. Therefore, I had to go to the DMV and get this changeover process rolling.

I am from this area right? I even remember my GA license number. A couple of weeks ago I changed my address with my bank and ordered paper copies of my statements so I would have the required proof of address. So today I grabbed my MD license, my social security card, and my bank statement and headed out the door with Hal to drive the 20 miles to the DMV. We get there and of course I do NOT have what I need. The girl flatly tells me that I need to prove my U.S. citizenship. My Maryland driver's license won't do, despite the fact that I had to show them everything under the sun last January to get that fine piece of plastic. To add insult to injury, I also need to show why I've changed my name from my original maiden name, i.e. I've got to show them my marriage certificate. I tell her that I haven't been gone that long - I still remember my number - couldn't she just look my up in the computer? Nope, they have changed everything she says. Hal asks the girl if it will be a problem that our certificate is from Jamaica and she asks if it is written in English. He says sure it is, they speak English in Jamaica - and she says oh yeah they just have an accident...uh accent right? (you see what we're dealing with here?)

He gets his license because all he needs is his birth certificate, proof of address, and MD license. I sit over in the uncomfortable chairs with the kiddo trying to calm myself down. Mostly the Zoloft I take keeps me relatively even keel, but today I had to summon a little something I just thought about how the producer of Forensic Files (my favorite show on television) said yesterday that he liked my blog. Over and over I chanted inside my head...forget the license, that guy loves my writing! He says I have talent!

When I'm calm I start to wonder where in the world these documents are that I have to bring back. I need to get this done today because thanks to Georgia's dire state of financial affairs, the workers at the DMV are furloughed tomorrow. Hal, Sarah, and I make a mad dash out of there once he has his dinky new paper license and we high tail it home to find what I need. Luckily, despite our best efforts to be as unorganized and sloppy as we can be, we find the stuff in about 5 minutes and we go as fast as reasonably possible back to the DMV and get there less than an hour before they close. I wait ten minutes before they acknowledge my presence, and then successfully give me my license. The agent working behind the counter this time asked me for all my documents, takes a CURSORY look at them and gives me my license. Then he says, hmmm - you were already in our system as Heather Posey so you shouldn't have had to bring that marriage certificate. My license number is also exactly the same as it always was. I ask the man where common sense has gone. He gives me a phone number to call to complain. It did amuse me that another lady a couple booths down was giving them all sorts of hell about her license, even though she already had it! I guess working at the DMV simply requires patience and politeness rather than just good ole run of the mill walking around sense!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm wearing green for you Keith.

A worry floating around in my head right now is that my blog lacks focus. I'm an average person like the rest of you out there - I have a sense of wonder for many things - so some days are more interesting and thought provoking than others, but there are days when I'm dying of boredom - even though I work in an ER. Often I don't know what I will write here until I start typing, but tonight when I saw the date on my friendly Mac, I knew right away that I must say something about this particular day.

My grandmother, whom you all probably feel like you know by now, had six children: 4 boys and 2 girls. The last of them she called Keith and he lived right here in this house with her until he got up for work one day at the young age of 28, stripped off naked to get in the shower, and then boom - DIED right there in the bathroom. In fact, the sink is still crooked on the wall from where he knocked it down as he fell. Keith was only 28, but he was big and tall - he had beautiful blue eyes, thick black curly hair, and a full beard. He was overweight to a degree, but not that much, and he constantly was trying to figure out ways to return to his slim high-school figure. He wore a hat that said, "It's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every way." He loved singing in the church choir and playing basketball with his friends. One day he shaved exactly half of his beard off and walked around for a while like that until Granny and I and my cousins who were here were rolling with laughter at his antics. He was a nut!

I was 14 years younger than Keith, so he made it his mission in life to aggravate the hell out of me! I remember being a little girl and sitting in his lap. We'd play this stupid game where I'd sit there and he'd take a feather and run it slowly along my lip line. The game? Whoever laughed first lost! Then he'd scrub my face with his beard and listen to me squeal with laughter. There were sunny days out in the front yard when he'd decide to wash his new navy blue 1986 Thunderbird. He was so proud of that car! I'd always be recruited to help, since I was generally always here on the weekends. Every single one of these car washes involved listening to Keith's music and me getting soaked with the water hose at the end. He would insist on the final rinse and I'd try my best to hide but really there was no where to go. I'd make a break for the front door of the house but I'd get soaked every time. He was unfazed. He'd aim that hose right at the door and the stream of water was so hard and fast that it would come right through the screen...which would illicit screams from me and a bit of yelling from my Granny! I know she thought it was funny that we played the way we did. It wasn't that Keith was childlike. He just knew how to have fun. He knew how to laugh and make up silly games and tease me into giggling even when I was mad. Like the time he woke me up out of my mid-day summer nap on the couch by pouring ice cold water in my EAR! I was mad for a minute, but he wanted me awake so we could talk or play a game of crazy eights. When I was 13, Dad gave me a little Panasonic radio/cassette player. Now this was 1988 when it was cool to have huge radios with detachable speakers that ran on battery power so you could carry them on your shoulders and walk around with your friends blasting your favorite music and therefore ruin your hearing...alas, I digress. Regardless, my tiny little radio was cool. It took 4 D batteries and had a handle so I brought it with me over to Granny's. Keith had an old turn-table in his room, but no cassette player - so when the world shifted to cassettes, he made use of my little radio. The weekend before his death 21 years ago today, I spent a Saturday night over here in this house - we listened to his new Fleetwood Mac tape. At the time I was annoyed because I wanted to play my New Kids on the Block tape...but he just looked so happy sitting there in his rocking chair with my radio on his lap, singing along to Little Lies. Even my immature 14 year old self couldn't deprive him of that kind of joy. The next morning after church, we washed his new truck (he accidentally crashed his car after he had a seizure while driving) and as usual he soaked me with the hose! Now in March, it's not too warm even in sunny Georgia - this illustrated his unmerciful side! I ran squealing in the house to the sounds of his laughter and Granny's admonishment, "Keith you're gettin' water in the house!"

And that is my last memory of him. For some reason I didn't see him the rest of that week, but on Friday morning Granny made a chilling, panicky call to our house. I answered the phone and she immediately said to me, "tell your Daddy to come over here quick. Keith's had another seizure. He fell in the bathroom and he's knocked the sink off the wall and he's not waking up. He doesn't have any clothes on and I need help getting him out of the floor." Stupidly (and I've regretted this statement since) I told her that I was sure he'd be alright; I'd tell Dad and would call her after school. Dad slid on his flip flops and ran over there, muttering something under his breath as he went out the door, and I got myself and my brother on the bus to school.

Keith didn't wake up. He stopped breathing right after a few tears rolled down his cheek. They thought it was just another epileptic seizure. He used to have these awful grand mal seizures and doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy at 18. Dad tried to do CPR - Granny called the ambulance but they got lost on the way to the house. When they eventually found it, he'd been down for a while, and my Dad and Granny were frantic with sorrow, rage, and worry. How could such a young man full of life just fall down and die when all he was trying to do was get ready for work?

They picked us up at school that day. I cried like a baby. I was too young to understand death. Losing Keith was mostly like losing a big brother, my weekend companion, my oh so silly friend who involved me in the cool adult stuff he was doing. He was my big uncle who would sing church hymns in his awesome baritone voice at all hours of the night and day. And then he was gone.

That summer I woke with cold sweats during the nights when I dreamed of him. I missed him so much, but Granny's sadness sort of came first, so even though we were all stuck in grief's stupor, we looked after her.

I didn't celebrate St. Patrick's Day again for twenty years. This year though, I've decided that I'll wear my Kelly green pants not to celebrate the day Keith died, but to honor the memory of him and all the fun we had together - right here in this house. And maybe I'll crank up my car stereo and send a blast of Fleetwood Mac through the trees too, because they've been one of my favorite bands for years now. Afterall, I named Sarah after one of their songs.

So to my sweet Uncle Keith, wherever you are, I want you to know that I love and miss you today as much as I ever did all those years ago. Yours was a life unfinished and I'll always wonder what you would have done with it, where in this world your heart would have taken you. You never had a home of your own, you never met 'the one' and had a family - you'd barely gotten your feet on the ground, but even if you'd stayed right here that would have been fine with me. I hope you'll visit me today in my dreams and I hope I'll meet you again someday although I'm not ready to join you just yet!

P.S. I remember that your favorite color was green! :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Husband for hire or rent, you pick.

There's a man living in my house. He's good-looking, tall, and strong, and multi-talented. But apparently none of the two hundred or so jobs he's applied for are seeking the qualifications he has. This is frustrating to him and to me on the level of a gnat stuck in our ears constantly buzzing - we're broke, we're broke, we're broke! He's looked for jobs in Georgia, and while we were there, Maryland. He's found one temp job, due to a referral by a family member, but it lasted 8 weeks and paid a meager $7.75 an hour. In Maryland, he had a part time dispatcher position at the college I worked for, and I'm sure he got that because I knew all the folks there and they knew he was close and easy. Not that I'm taking credit for that at all - it just seems that the trick to finding a job these days is being incredibly lucky and knowing somebody. Sadly, despite Hal's many talents and his wealth of knowledge, let alone his years of work experience - he's gone virtually unnoticed in the sea of resumes and applications collected in response to each job opening. For instance, he worked 19 years for Proctor and Gamble on a rotating 12 hour shift and never, ever missed a day of work. Not one sick day. He can fix just about anything that moves, he has owned and operated his own screen printing business, and he's even very good at accounting and tax preparation (a skill he gained by default while he owned his business and got so interested in that he pursued further study with some graduate courses and an IRS tax prep class). He can make things with wood too, like the two solid work benches we had to sell when we moved to Maryland, and the swing set for Sarah's second birthday. I see all of his skills because I live with him. He's my man around the house. If something breaks, he repairs it. If something needs to be put together or installed, he does that too. He paints, sands, wires, fuses, saws, hammers, and he even kills bugs! He's also the man when it comes to rocking our little girl to sleep...and boy oh boy did he change some diapers and make some bottles a few years back! He's got a strange sense of humor, can beat just about anyone in movie trivia, and has never once smoked pot. How's that for an accomplishment? He doesn't drink or smoke but he does have three black belts: one in tae kwon do, akido, and judo. You can see why I'm dumbfounded about why this man hasn't been able to get a job. I see all of his talent, inside and out. I guess I'm rooting for him - hoping someone in the business world can see the man that I see one day.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A few things I'd forgotten about living in the country.

As you all know, I've been living in the country since early September, in fact I'm living in the house I grew up in. Right now there are tenants in my house in the suburbs, so I can't have it back until November 1st. While I love the fact that I'm free of my mortgage payment right now, I'm *not* loving the fact that I am here in the wilderness once again. I've noticed that I'd forgotten a whole slew of facts about country life. After all, I'd been gone for 15 years! Here goes...

Everybody knows everybody either personally, via family, or they simply know "of" a person. And if you don't know someone in the community, you don't admit it. You smile and wave like you remember everything that could have potentially occurred between yourself and the actual stranger. Also, when riding down the road in your car, you throw up a hand and wave to exceptions. **side note** Once I was in the mall in town 35 miles away, and a complete stranger walked up to me and named my father and pointedly asked if I was his daughter. Um, yes. I was shocked. Crazy but true.

Raking leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. Thousands of them, quite possibly millions of them. Rake them into a big pile, jump in them until you're exhausted and dirty, then burn them and risk setting fire to the entire county.

It's dark. There are no street lights. None. You can pay extra for the power company to install a big light on a pole in your yard, but the city provides nothing because there isn't a city! You're in the country, remember?

If you don't go to church one week, expect to get a phone call from the pastor asking WHY you were absent. Yes, this really happened to my dad.

Burning trash. Yup. Got trash? Get a big steel barrel and light a match. Done. Toxins in the air? Never heard of them. On any given night on my way home from the ER I can smell something burning when I get close to the house. Less likely to be caught burning without a "burn permit" in the dark.

Higher prices. Everything is more expensive way out in the country. But if we want to avoid higher prices, we have to drive way in to the city. Everything is at least a 15 minute drive. Unless you get behind a tractor along the way, then it takes longer.

High school sports. The last time I felt Raider Pride was when I was in high school. Now I drive down county roads and see all these little signs in yards professing their love for the local team. Kinda sweet!

Help when you need it. If your car craps out and you're stuck on the side of the road, someone will stop to help you. They really want to help you, and they probably know you or know someone in your family. If you talk long enough, you'll find that you're 6th cousins once removed, and now, who wouldn't help a family member?

Cicadas, tree frogs, bull frogs, cows mooing, roosters crowing, geese honking and dogs barking. These are the sounds of a night in the country. Kind of cool except for the dogs & roosters. Sometimes when I walk up the steps at 4 in the morning I can hear roosters crowing off in the distance. It's still dark at 4 AM!

Oh I almost forgot septic tanks! What you ask? It a big tank in the ground where all your poop goes. I have no idea how it works, but I have seen the big "honey wagons" riding around. Apparently they need to be pumped out every now and then. Gross!

I'm sure there is more...I'll add as I think of it, but you're welcome to add here too!