Tag Archives: life

Upcoming Birthday Shenanigans

I have an idea.

Scary, I know. But I’m really excited about this. 

My mama’s birthday is coming up in November and she truly needs some fun in her life right now. And today on my lunch, it hit me: an intervention.

Don’t get me wrong. She doesn’t have a substance abuse problem. It won’t be that kind of intervention.

It’s for shooting opossums.

Let me explain: she owns a farm that’s about 70 acres and keeps getting stray cats dumped on her. She feels terrible for them, so she leaves food out so they don’t go hungry. Of course, since there’s food around, it attracts scavengers like raccoons and opossums and they attack the cats. So my mama shoots them. 

Let me tell you, I have seen my mother run across a house with a gun and no pants waaay too many times. #farmerproblems?

I’m just in the beginning stages of this little plan, but so far I plan to have friends and family writing letters explaining how her “problem” has affected all of our lives (mine is going to be about having to help with body disposal) and consequences if she doesn’t stop (I’m going to make her bag up her own dead critters), a cake in the shape of an opossum that’s been shot – not in the head though (gross!), and varment-themed snack foods.

I’m ridiculously excited to put this together!

I Want a Love Like Carrie and the Girls

Who else likes to sit around in their jammies late at night and settle in for a Netflix or Amazon Prime marathon while they drift into (ahem…postpone) sleep? I’m sure I’m not the only one. Lately I’ve gotten into Sex and the City, which my fiance is still making fun of me for. “It’s just all about sex,” he says, “there isn’t anything else to it.”

But he’s completely wrong when it comes to this show. Yes, it features sex sometimes, but that isn’t the focal point. The focal point is Carrie learning about herself through her relationships. She’s continually questioning everything and in a very public forum – a weekly column in a New York newspaper – and judging by the popularity of that column and her ensuing book deal, her curiosity and explorations resonate with her readers.

Personally, it isn’t just the show I love but also my memories of watching the show in bit and pieces as it was being aired years ago. I was in high school and in the beginning stages of my own explorations. It was exciting to me. Inspiring. It was the first time I considered the possibility of being a writer and I took steps toward my interest in journalism to try it on for size. I took a year of journalism in high school writing for the school paper and even went away for a week one summer to a journalism camp at Ball State University (shout out to my Indiana homefolk!). It wasn’t the right fit for me. It turns out, I only like writing about things when I’m actually interested in them.

It was also the first time I realized that adults don’t always have their shit together either. They each go through their own set of problems that is reminiscent of the real world asskicking that happens when your expectations don’t live up to what actually pans out in your life – and it all works out ok in the end anyway. You make it work, one way or another.

And the main thread through the whole storyline is the girls’ friendship with each other. They may fuss and they may fall out over some pretty big issues at times, but they are always there for each other and always make time to be together. Wouldn’t it be nice if real life was like that?

Instead, it’s more like the end of How I Met Your Mother – all the closeness fades away as some have kids, some pursue their dreams at the detriment of everything else, and some just plain don’t change but your opinion of them does. That’s just life. It boils down to “being there for the big moments” and the next thing you know…you’re missing those too. In the end, everyone is just trying to survive their own lives while hanging onto the bits of the people they’ve been throughout the years.

I think that’s one of the many reasons audiences are drawn into tv shows the way they are. You get pulled into the lives of a core group of people. You evolve with them through their struggles, you grieve the loss of some and celebrate the joys of others. It reminds you of times in your life when you were those people on the screen. The adventures. The laughter. The heartaches. The friendships. The family you make for yourself.

So yeah, I’m gonna keep watching the same old tv shows in my pajamas and wax nostalgic about the way things used to be.

There are some damned good people back in those times.

 

 

A is for the Antihero

I admit it – when Jessica Jones hit Netflix a few months back, I binged. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Fans and critics alike were writing like crazy about it. I even saw articles from a psychological perspective on the characters and their unique quirks, for crying out loud. And don’t get me wrong – I liked it. I wanted to see what would happen next, but I wasn’t hooked on it and felt no connection whatsoever to the characters. 

Jessica isn’t a good person. She’s a drunk, she’s viscious to other people most of the time, and she’s out for vengeance most of the season more than she’s out to rid the world of a bad guy. It’s like, ok, she did a good thing, but it doesn’t make her a hero like people come to believe she is at the end of the show. She’s definitely the antihero.

And I think that’s why people were so adamant Jessica Jones is a good show. Very, very few people in this world are genuinely out to help others all the time. Most of us are just struggling to make it through the day. There’s work, bills, and problems. Jessica deals with all of it too, in some not-so-healthy ways. She’s got her reasons, but then…so do we. We get in shitty moods. We lash out, we push people away, we hole up and try to forget about the rest of the world in various ways. We doubt our worth, and we question anyone who seems to care about us.

People like to think they’d always do the right thing, but you never really know until you’re facing the fire. And even then, your choice may not come easily. And sometimes you don’t do the right thing for the right reasons, like Jessica.

I keep thinking about the last moments of the last episode in season one, where she’s listening to all these sad messages from desperate people with a faraway look on her face like she’s trying to decide if she even wants to help them.

But she will. Sometimes when people put their faith in you, you can’t help but step up to the plate.

Sending Flowers

That itch is back, just under my skin. It’s like a clock ticking loudly while you’re trying to sleep, or a leaky pipe dripping that you can’t find no matter how much you root around.

It isn’t as simple as waking up one morning and realizing things aren’t the way you want them to be. Everybody makes adjustments in life, little tweaks here and there to their expectations based on the reality they’re facing. It happens, you know?

Today I broke down. It wasn’t one thing in particular that did it, but an accumulation of months of trying to be stronger than I am caught up to me. I’m tired of trying to figure out what to do all the time and trying to hold it all together and keep us all moving forward and happy.

Sometimes I need someone to come home with something special to cheer me up, or surprise me with plans to do something special. Just…something. Something different to break up the monotomy.

Alas, it isn’t going to happen. At least not anytime soon. Darrick has been too sick to even notice how restless I’ve become, and the girls are just kids. I’m I’m in charge of making their lives better and happy; not the other way around.

So I lost it. I’m ashamed of my behavior today. I yelled at my ten-year-old for not being able to figure out what cleaning supply to use to clean the bathroom, then pulled away from Darrick when he was trying to be nice and offer comfort.

He left to go to the store angry.

I curled up in bed for a good, ugly cry.

And a nap. I figured if it works for a grumpy four-year-old, it would work for a grumpy mommy.

I woke up feeling awful. I washed my face and did the dishes anyway.

I apologized to everyone and went about my day, but then I got a text message from my little one’s dad that Anya’s step-grandpa had passed away yesterday morning.

It rocked me. It breaks my heart for the whole family. We don’t talk anymore; it was a horrific split between my ex and I, and of course, being his family and all, I chose to cut myself off from them. There was a lot of bitter there for a long time where my ex was concerned. A lot of hurt and wreckage. It was tough as hell for me to let go of the situation and let things be in order for me to heal.

Now, nearly four years later, hearing the news hits me harder than I would have thought possible. He passed away from a heart attack, same as my father. And all I can think about is the first time I was welcomed into their home and made to feel like a part of the family. Enjoying Christmas together. Making plans for the baby and buying her everything she could want. Just hanging out at their house while my ex was at work and I wanted something to do.

I offered my sympathies to my ex via text, but text doesn’t convey emotion well and he just brushed it off anyways. We aren’t friends anymore, we barely even talk. It’s not the way I would have wanted things; It’s just how they worked out when the dust settled.

All I can do for that family now is say prayers of comfort, light a candle of remembrance, and smile about the way things were once.

I’ll send some flowers for the service to honor the short time I was part of their lives. Maybe it’ll make them smile, maybe they’ll just throw them out. But at least I’ll know I did the right thing.

People should always be remembered.

And I should always be grateful for the day, no matter what kind of day it was. 

At least I had this day.

He’s Just Jealous I Didn’t Bring Him One

Last night, Darrick wasn’t feeling well enough to go to my mama’s with me to pick up the eldest and bring her home.

No biggie.

It was a gorgeous day and I wanted to get the kids outside to play. I left around five thirty, nabbed some pizza on the way (always a big hit!) we stuffed our faces and headed out into the big world.

First, swordfights. It’s a must. Everybody grabbed their sticks, made obligatory karate noises, and the chase was on.

You’d think having two girls would mean I’d never have to break up fights about whose stick is bigger. You’d be wrong.

During the swordfights we notice Mamaw’s gutter extensions had blown off due to the massive wind we got the day before. Search and rescue mission underway! After spying it trapped against the back fence, Anya and I trot off to drag it back.

It’s about a six, seven foot black tube with ridges. Not real heavy. She grabbed one end, I grabbed the other, and we started pulling it back to the house.

Then we got distracted yelling into it like it was a giant empty paper towel roll.

A couple minutes later, Sophie was doing something much more interesting than I was. Anya threw her end down and started running. Of course, I couldn’t let her get away with that! So I flipped the gutter around and pretended it was a giant snake chasing after her.

It was hilarious, especially when everyone else picked up their ‘swords’ and beat on it until my hand went numb from the vibrations.

Playing hide and seek inside the house, my mama remembered she had some alligator hats she’d come across at the dollar tree a while back, so we threw those on and roared at each other while we put on our shoes and sweatshirts to go home.

Along the way, I made sure to stop at a gas station so we could go in and show off our hats. Sophie refused to wear hers and was embarrassed Anya and I did, but she’s ten and will survive.

Coming through the door to the house, Darrick sees us, hops up, and asks what in the world we’re wearing. We model them just for him, he shakes his head, and then calls us weirdos.

Deep down, I think he’s just jealous I didn’t bring him one too.

I’m Not Crafty, But I Am Creative

My oldest daughter hit double digits this year. I actually had a really hard time with it, for personal reasons…her turning ten means that my father has been gone now for ten years. I was always a daddy’s girl and losing him had been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with.

But as we all know, life still moves on. And Sophie turned ten. TEN. Jeez! She has been really into Minecraft for a year or so, and thus requested a Minecraft party. I thought, awesome! Minecraft is extremely popular. I’m sure I’ll find tons of decorations to make it easy on me.

Nope. Not at all. Or at least not in my tiny town or the surrounding bigger ones. Online I found a few things, but they were more than I was willing to pay and then my procrastination meant they wouldn’t arrive in time anyways. So what’s a mama to do?

Hello, Pinterest! The place where you see some of the most amazing things and feel so inadequate. Lol! Seriously, I don’t know how some off those people manage to pull it off. I wish I had the tiniest fraction of their talent!

I may not be crafty, but what I am is creative. So I got to work collecting party items in the signature black and green that signals “Minecraft” to the masses, and the result was a slightly unconventional but still really fun birthday party.

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Behind the gaggle of birthday attendees here, you see the green tablecloth my sister-in-law spent a good twenty minutes drawing a creeper face onto.

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From behind the scenes here, you can see the big balloon and streamer spider we made and stuck in the corner, complete with four red eyes painted on there. These were really simple to throw together and everyone loved them. My four year old is now insisting she wants some at her birthday party next year, she liked them so much.

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The table, all decorated up to make the kids happy. You can see another spider on the wall, our balloon chandelier, and the creeper boxes on the table are actually the party favor boxes. You can’t see it, but they’re filled with green and black candies. Just in case I didn’t wind them up enough with cake, ice cream, and karaoke. Ha!

Speaking of cake…

I was going for a look similar to these:

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With the layers and the little figures. I thought, that’s easy enough. Bake two cakes, and one you can just cut up to make layers. Throw green icing on top, put your little figurines in that you can buy at Wal-Mart, and you’re set.

Yeah…not so much!

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My cake wasn’t stiff enough to do that with. It was moist and kept crumbling on me, then the crumbs would spread around with the icing. The icing, which, btw, does not come in that color from the small cans you buy at the grocery. You have to use food dye. I also highly recommend against taking a swig from the bottle when you’re done to see how it tastes. For one thing, it’s gross, and it will dye your lips and teeth. You will brush for fifteen minutes to get it off. You will, however, laugh about it the entire time. Or maybe that’s just me.

So what did I do with my disaster? I looked for a dinosaur in the girls’ rooms. How else could I try to explain this mess? Found none, so I stuck a TNT box there with a creeper running the other direction and Diamond Steve being thrown onto his back from the explosion.

Like I said, I’m not crafty by any means. But I am creative.

Both of the girls now have purged bedrooms, and it’s now onto the biggest mess: my own. I may not have a million and two toys, but my laundry, midnight snack dishes, and trash in general seems to really pile up when I don’t stay on top of it every day.

Come to think of it, I really should make out that chore chart that I’ve been meaning to for the last year or so.

I’m not the only one guilty of it, though. Mr. Darrick is bad about letting his dirty clothes pile up in the corner and having dishes and empty potato chip cans laying around, too. Both of us need to overhaul our closet space, and we still have decorations to hang.

You know, chronicling my whole purging journey like this kinda makes me feel like a failure. Like I suck as a mom and a woman in general for letting it get to this point. If someone walked in my room right now, it would probably take a good minute before they picked their jaw up off of my sticky floor. I’m disappointed in myself. However, at least in admitting to my faults and doing something about it. Everybody lets things get out of hand sometimes. We’re all busy living chaotic, busy lives and minor things continue to pile up until they’re major.

Oh well.

Off to work and then coming home to begin the master bedroom purge. Yay rah!

Exploration

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Where the wild things are.

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The first of many interesting finds.

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There’s a huge hillside in the very back of the property that’s covered in Mayapples. It is absolutely beautiful, like a lost land you can disappear into when broken and come out whole again.

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A closer look at another Mayapple patch.

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I tried to get an overall picture to show the sheer size of the tree, but it was hard to do. While taking this picture, though, I did notice something else…

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It’s branches are so thick that they look bigger than a lot of the surrounding tree trunks.

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Obviously, something has made a home in the trunk. I’m guessing it’s pretty hollow.

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It didn’t translate well in the photo, but this hollow nub is a honeybee hive. Cool to watch, but I sure didn’t want to get a closer view.

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A view of the hillside I’d climbed to get these photos. It doesn’t look like much, but I felt like I’d climbed Mt. Everest!

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This looked like a good place to stop and take a break.

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Especially since the hillside was covered.

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This little guy gave me a heart attack when I nearly stepped on him. I’m not sure what killed it, but it had to have been only minutes before.

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I love national parks, but I love these hidden little places on my mom’s property more. So few people know about them, making these hidden little gems so special.

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I started following the creek, mesmerized by the trinkle of the water and the way the light played along the surface. Ducking briars and climbing over fallen trees constitutes quite the workout. My buns have never been closer to steel form!

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Speaking about the fallen trees, the root structures are truly amazing.

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This tree continues to amaze me. It’s so old and the roots are so strong that it still supports itself even though the dirt below it has long since been washed away by the creek.

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I wanted to show just how far over the water this tree truly is.

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Now I’ve arrived at what is one of my very favorite spots on the property. The slate waterfall. Granted, it isn’t tall, but it is wide and absolutely stunning to me.

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There’s something about being able to disappear into the woods…about finding yourself when you’re alone and nothing to back you if you make a wrong move. You come back so much stronger than when you left.

And smellier. Covered in scratches, mud, and possibly a few ticks as hitchhikers.

I couldn’t be happier.

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Resurrection Day

I’m alive, I swear! It has been a bit, I know. I’ve sat down a million times to write posts, but then this thing called exhaustion kicks in and I suddenly fall asleep. At nine o’clock. I’m like an old person and I’m barely thirty.

I got a job, sort of. It’s a temp job that started in the beginning of December and was supposed to last two weeks, but it’s still going. Of course, it was also supposed to be a data entry job….it isn’t. I literally wait around for someone to hand me stickers to put on boxes. Sometimes I do cycle counts and try to match serial numbers we actually have to those the fancy sheets of paper say we’re supposed to have.

It’s as exciting as it sounds. Lately, they’ve even let me scan boxes to help out the shipping people.

Guess I’m moving up in the world.

It isn’t a terrible job. I get paid well, especially for around my tiny hometown. I don’t stress out about it, and people generally leave me alone to do my own thing. It pays the bills.

I guess the problem is my old job. I miss it. I had a family there. We cared about each other. I felt like I mattered. Yes, I was technically replaceable, but I would be missed. Where I’m at now, it isn’t like that. I only talk to two or three guys there sporadically. Nobody really cares what I do as long as I get most of what I’m supposed to do done. It’s a little soul-crushing, to be honest. But it’s a job. It helps to support my family, which is what it’s all about. That’s the important thing.

Right?