Thursday, August 30, 2012

Um, There's a Dead Person in Your Kitchen...

One Thursday afternoon I was sitting in my living room having a nice chat with one of my neighbors. Her children drop by on a regular basis and have became very good friends with our children. We talked about all kinds of things but mostly how nice it was for the children to have each other as our neighborhood is filled with mostly young men serving in the military.

Mrs. Haley and I visited for quite some time while the children played outside. Her little girl knocked on the door and asked if she could have something to drink. I offered for her to come in and fix herself a glass of water. Mrs. Haley's little girl walked towards the kitchen to help herself to a glass of water. I sat back down until I heard a deep gasp!

In walks Mrs Haley's daughter. Her eyes are as big as saucers... "UM, excuse me ma'am but you have a dead person in your kitchen"! She was frightened.

Mrs. Haley looked at me very confused and slightly nervous especially since this was our first time meeting. I just laughed and said "oh no she isn't dead, she was never alive per say".

Mrs. Haley looked at me very concerned, waiting for further explanation. I noticed my answer didnt really ease the anxiety on her face... I decided to sip on my lemonade a little longer instead.

Finally Mrs. Haley couldn't hold in her curiosity, " I am sorry but I have to see about this". The stood up and walked to the kitchen to see an only partially constructed "doll" sitting at our kitchen table.

I finally decided it would be a good idea to offer up some information...

"She is a trash woman. We have made her out of garbage that we have collected. Her legs are in the closet. We will finish the paper mache soon and then start painting her body."

Mrs. Haley looked at me with this sort of astonished still slightly confused maybe even slightly judgmental expression on her face and then said, "but why"?

The kids and I didn't know anyone when we moved here... she was our experiment and entertainment for the summer.   "Oh, that's pretty cool", she said.

See, our trash lady is metaphorical... We can make something pretty cool out of a lot of really uncool stuff.

Life is definitively what you make it.

Stay tuned for the grand unveiling!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Keep your trophy, I'm going for ice cream!

There is/are something(s) that have really been nagging at me. I just cant ignore it anymore! I am the kind of person that not only am I going to scratch an itch.... I am going to wear it out until it bleeds and after that I may even pick the scab! UGH... this metaphor just reminded me to pull my bristly hair brush close so I can really let the tick bites around my ankles have it! Anyways...

I am going to bit my lip and try not to use any names here but O MY GAH..... I am so itching too!!!! Grrr its like having a massive itch and someone putting mittens on your hands and  feet then duct taping them together! You better believe I will hop and wiggle over to the nearest fence post and start  rubbing like any four legged ass would do!

Pep talk; Okay, reel it back in Andrea.... Calmly... you are better than that... you are. you REALLY REALLY ARE SOOOOOO MUCH BETTER..... "THAN THEM"! CRAP!?! Did I just say that out loud?
What would my minister say!?!

So here's the deal...

1. It hurts my feelings when close friends or family "misspeaks". I will use the word misspeak or misspoken because I personally like to believe that people who genuinely care don't mean to cause any harm but they unintentionally say things without thought (which would make them??? stuuuu...p.... Stop it ANDREA YOU ARE better! RISE TO THE OCCASION SISTA! RISE TO THE OCCASION! WWJD).
 I have one family member who is a habitual offender and so sometimes I believe this person could benefit with an extra wide piece of duck tape.  Next time I may provide some for her.

Just thinking about the way she says things makes me so mad I just wanna KICK something!

2. Then there is that person who is always the victim. You know the  type! They are one of those who always makes a million excuses as to why something happened and why you are the one cleaning up their mess. Oh, its not their fault! Its NEVER their fault. In fact even though you weren't there and where completely oblivious to anything surrounding their life, you are still expected to grab the dust pan! And to really scratch the nails across the chalk board, although you would love to be the one that makes them take responsibility,  there is too much at risk by letting them have any type of responsibility. People that are innocent and helpless are at risk so you quietly fix as many mistakes this person makes in order to protect those who can not protect themselves. Sometimes I just want to shake this person and SCREAM that the world doesnt owe them anything. I would greatly love to watch this person self destruct but I cant  because I know it would hurt a few people that I love more than anything.  So my love for the un-named little people makes me the trash woman... constantly cleaning up the mess and misfortune of someone who is always the victim. Boy I really want to stomp my feet right now! I wish I could just pout my way through life and have someone make up for my slack!

3. Then there is that other person in your life that you should be able to count on. They should be loyal to you because you play on the same team but no matter which side of the fence you are on they always intentionally choose to be your opposition. Even though I consider myself very loyal, I have this strong desire to dust my hands free of this person.... frankly not a very loyal thing to do so I guess I will try to lead by example but... BOY I AM SO FRUSTRATED I JUST WANT TO STOMP my feet and throw myself on the ground! Why do I have to be the better person when I just dont wanna be!?!?!

4. LABELS ARE ANNOYING! They are so itchy! Especially the ones on the back of the underwear. Dont act like you have never had an itchy underwear label. Labels suck... but whats worse is the metaphorical labels.  I have so many types of labels that I want to discuss... lord have mercy it would take me all day! Like people who judge people from West Virginia or people who believe city people are smarter... and dont even get me started on the race and sex labels!

I have been to many places in my life. I have met a lot of different faces. I have been up and I have been down. I have been the one up high pointing that nose to the sky... until I was the one down below looking up the nostrils of some jerk!

I have hurt and been hurt, so now that I have been on both sides, I like to think of myself as wise. I try to keep an open mind and watch my words. I DON'T know the path that my neighbors have walked. Before I speak I often wonder, not of the brand of shoes they wear but about the path that they had been on that wore those soles down. So when I try to be so conscious it hurts me when other people are not! It hurts when people dont recognize the fact that I have walked a million miles in my pair of off brands AND GUESS WHAT!? ME AND MY SHOES GOT SOUL/SOLE BABY!!!!

 My sneakers and I made it through fire and ice but these people don't see that! They are still comparing my sneakers to bright and shiney Nikes that just saw soil for the first time. So walk around the block a time or two with me and by the time we are done...I guarantee you wont be looking at my shoes!

Sometimes your words hurt people and they make me want to CRY!

 OKAY, SO I made it through this post with out using names... granted I have bit my tongue until it was barely attached...I have scratched my itch until it bleeds and tomorrow when I wake I am sure to pick the scabs... I have kicked. I have screamed. I have stomped my feet and I have cried...

My husband and I joined our church last week. We have really enjoyed our time there. We both take so much away from the services and try to apply them to our life and our marriage.

The Sunday before last our minister preached about "not everyone deserves a trophy" and how sometimes life just isn't fair. My husband nearly jumped out of his seat  to AMEN during the service because he says that all the time! Then last Sunday my minister talked about the importance of forgiveness. Things hurt. We get mad but at the end of the day where are we left at?  This coming Sunday he will be discussing the questions surrounding "unanswered prayers".

So as I take what I have learned from the sermons over the last few weeks I am going to try to apply them to the above. Eventually I am sure I will have to tactfully confront my thoughtless family member. I am going to have to use my patience with the victim and hopefully I will learn somethings Sunday about that unanswered prayer. I am going to have to turn the other cheek to those who are unloyal to me and I will have to lead by example to those who misjudge others. On top of all that I have to realize that though I feel like I should get a trophy for putting up with all this, life isn't fair. I wont be receiving a trophy.

BUT.... who wants a trophy when you have a pint of Ben and Jerry's!!!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Aug. 17th 2007

Aug 17th 2012 the children were still asleep when I looked out of second story bedroom window to see if it was still raining. The storm had moved out and left the sky a silky gray. Some say its gloomy but I find it to be a quite nice and cool soothing morning. The water droplets gently moved down the window pane as I took a moment to reflect.

Today is much different than the Aug 17th 2007. Oh, that day.... that day, I was so ready! I remember waking early but I took my time getting Alexandria ready. I bathed her and plaid-ed her hair in french braids. I had her "fun" bag sitting on the counter in the kitchen. I peeked through it real quick to make sure I hadn't forgot anything. I had her a coloring book with crayons, a small story book, some little crayola clay sticks, and a little baby doll wearing a baby blue hat. I wanted her to feel special as well as to have plenty to occupy herself while she waited.
She was so little too!

My mom came over that morning and I reviewed the schedule with her. I had to be at the hospital by 10:00am or so. In order to not push our luck with the patience of a toddler my mom was going to stay a while at the house with Alex until I gave her the call.

It was a long drive to Nashville. Apparently it wasn't long enough though as I had filled out my paper work I had to wait about an hour or so before we could go up. I was starving and the hospital was filled with the aroma of breakfast.

I was finally escorted upstairs to prepare for the birth of my first born son. They laid the gown on the table and left the room from me to change. I stayed in that room for what seemed to be hours. I walked over to the window.

 Middle TN was having the worst heat wave and drought that they had had in years. Temperature spiking as high as 111! The window pane heated my face as I watched the cars move 5 stories below me. The marble window ledge was surprisingly cool sending my body a mixed message of hot and cold much like my emotions.

I was ready to meet my new little boy but it wasnt a good time in our lives. The business was failing, a shaky marriage, another responsibility, a mouth to feed...I looked down and watched all the people hustling and bustling across the busy sidewalks of the Nashville Medical District and I felt so alone. But I remembered, "Its a boy"! He will be a good boy and grow up to be a great man. He will be strong but gentle. He will love and be so loved. I shook off my slumber and walked back over to the bed. I knew my son was suppose to be something special and amazing.

The anesthesiologist came in to give me my spinal. As soon as it kicked in they would move me to surgery. Soon I would hold my baby boy.

I will never forget that moment I saw him for the first time. Its probably one of those moments that only parents understand... It was like angels singing. He was beautiful! He was everything I ever dreamed he would be. I was in complete and total AWE!

He had dark brown hair and the big beautiful eyes. I will never forget the moment that our eyes first met. I was cradling him in my arms and he slowly stopped nursing. He gently turned his head an with an inquisitive expression on his face, he look up at me. It was almost like he said, "Um... ok... uh wow, there is a person attached to these bottles".

All the craziness that had been worrying my mind previously faded away. My little boy was finally here! I had two beautiful precious babes!

Everyone was thrilled to have him in our lives. Our family congregated around to see this sweet angel.  Alex wasn't sure what to think about her baby brother but he soon won over her heart.

Yes, this morning Aubrey and I have already looked through all of our photo albums and we went through his baby book. We ew and awed over the memories...

I told him about how little his feet were...

and how he has the most kissable cheeks....

We talked about our memories of his birth together. I choked back tears as I told him my version of the story and..... then he told me his version.

He said with great conviction,"Momma I was so SCARED", as if he was recalling an event from yesterday. He asked me if I remembered him crying and I told him that yes I did recall that. He said, "Momma I was crying because I was scared. Here I was sleeping and then the next thing I know I'm covered in blood!" He scrolled through the albums to give me "proof". I laughed at "his version" and gave him a tight hug. "Aubrey, momma loved you so much she would never let anything happen to you". He squeezed me tight and looked up at me with his big brown eyes and said, "I love you and your always going to be my princess".

Everyday I am amazed by his inquisitive nature...
His gentle heart...

His deep thoughts...

His sense of humor...

And the intense love he has for his family...

No matter how old he gets, he will always be my baby boy and I will always be his princess.

Happy Birthday! I love you!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just roll with it

Becoming a highly efficient household via technology...

Growing up, I took technology for granted. We always had radios, TVs, telephones, cars, medical treatment, powered operated tools and all that other good stuff that technology made possible.  When those things tore up we cursed them, had it fixed or replaced them. It was just something that we never had to think much about.

 By the time I was old enough to have one, the pager was the latest advance and then when cellphones made it big, I had one of those too.  Maybe I was just too immature to appreciate how these advances made everything so much more convenient but I can honestly say I just didn't really appreciate it at all. And my life was pretty dang convenient! (My husband is probably reading this and shaking his head. His childhood in El Salvador was very different.)

Perhaps my parents were just so thankful that their bratty kids didn't have to be? After all summer days for the most part weren't spent crying to mom and dad, "I am bored". We did spend most of our time playing outside but when the heat of the summer day got the best of us we had the convenience of going inside to our cooled air conditioned house and playing video games or watching the boob tube. We were sufficiently entertained. When we became teenagers and were out and about with our friends and the parents needed us, they would just send a page or give us a buzz on the cell and by god you better get your butt to that phone and answer it! My parents had it pretty good!

My parents liked technology but they were also pretty thrifty people... They were quite ingenious if I do say so myself!  While other kids were sporting around their new flip phones my parents were working on keeping the phone bills down... So instead I inherited my dads old "brick". 

You better believe I wouldn't be caught dead on that thing!

I remember once pulling into the Piggly Wiggly parking lot  weighing out the options. Which would be worse... leaning down in the seat and dialing my parents on the brick or using the pay phone? My empty ashtray where I kept my loose change decided for me. I pulled to the most secluded part of the parking lot and hunkered down in  the seat of my 88 Toyota Camry. Right about that time my girlfriend Kristie spied my car and pulled in next to me. Mid-conversation with my momma, I unplugged the old brick, shoved it briskly under my seat and quickly sat up nervously trying to act casual by straightening the strands of my flustered hair. 

I was ecstatic when my parents finally decided to give me an upgrade but I never really had the feeling of what a technological advance was or felt like because well you see I was a spoiled brat!  It wasn't about how this item "helped" me, it was about how "cool" it made me look or what kind of bragging rights I would get from my friends.

Now that I am adult, I am appreciating these advances and I mean truly appreciating! Although I think it is important to role with the tide, I also believe that there are some significant draw backs to technology. Facebook for example. It is a great way to connect with friends and family especially if you live far away from them. It also allows your children to interact with family that they would otherwise not really know (like our little boy being able to connect with his extended family in El Salvador) BUT with that said, facebook is becoming the number one cause of infidelity in United States.

 My husband and I share a facebook account. It discourages people from friend-ing us with ulterior motives, helps sensor our postings, as well as keeps the doors of communication wide open. You really have to stay proactive about technology. Make sure that it is going to truly benefit you and your family and get the most out of it. 

When Juan and I opened our joint facebook account we also opened up a joint email account because we couldn't link up the new one with our previously used email accounts. Besides the benefits listed on our joint facebook, there were a few added ones for the email, bill pay and news letters. We set up our bill pay online using our new joint email. We both get to see the bills upon arrival and confirmations when they are drafted. We also get News letters from our Church and from the childrens school. This helps us both to stay equally updated on the important aspects of our lives.

Most of you know that my husband is in the military and that we have a very rapidly growing family. Our here one day gone the next schedules are constantly changing. There are always new briefings events and need to know information coming and going. My husband and I were getting times and wires crossed. A usual conversation would be as followed....
Juan:  "FRG meeting tonight at 6"
Andrea: "I thought it was tomorrow".
Juan: "It was but they changed it because of X"
Andrea: "Well I cant because we have open house"
Juan: "Shit, I forgot about that, let me get back to you"

Now things are changing a bit... Technology has advanced (for me)! I am not here to promote the Iphone or anything because well, most of my friends know that I boo who'd for months when I was forced to retire my blackberry pearl and accept the Iphone that my husband gifted me. I just couldn't get the hang of the touch screen and the novelty of "apps" and such seemed so frivolous since I was quite happy and content with what all that my BB could do. So what if I couldn't play "Angry Birds" or "Fruit Ninja" while waiting at the OBGYN clinic!?!

BUT wait... then I started to figure things out. I set up our joint email account on our cell phones and from there I was able to add important dates times and events to the Iphone calendar through our JOINT email account. AND because of the technology I am also able to set reminder alerts so when an important event is coming  up, it automatically pops up reminders on both of our phones.

We both have access to add replace or remove dates and set the reminder alerts.

ALSO... the Iphone has a "NOTES" app that looks like this.

You can add notes through your email. I use our joint account to make notes for Juan and I. We are practicing the debt snowball right now. Every time a credit card is paid I put the new balance in our joint notes file. If he needs to know credits and balances while he is out all he has to do is check the notes. I also put the grocery list, baby registry and our Christmas shopping list in our notes app, that way if one of us is out shopping and comes across a great deal then we can make the purchase and mark it off. Plus pretty convenient for Juan to swing by the commissary on the way home.

So you see our conversations went from the one above to...

Juan:  "FRG meeting tonight at 6"
Andrea: "I thought it was tomorrow".
Juan: "It was but they changed it because of X"
Andrea: "When did they change it? Its not in the calendar"
Juan: "I don't know, they just told me"
Andrea: "Well I cant because we have open house tonight"
Juan: "I didnt get the Alert for open house?"
Andrea: "I set the alert to go off 2 hours before open house, review the calendar, you will get the alert in an hour"
Juan: "Let me see what I can do"
Andrea: "mmmhmmm"

Andrea:  (note to self; first reminder the day before, set the second reminder 2 hours before hand)

ok, so we are still working out the kinks...

I have two kidos that will be at cell phone age before I know it... Does anyone know where I can get a couple of bricks? ;-)