Ch-ch-ch-changes

Wow… how’s this for the most vague update ever?    if you had told me a year ago that I would be sitting where I am right now I would laugh myself silly.   Yet here I am.. looking out the window of my hotel room in the area which will be our home for the next 3-5 years..

 

Japan

 

Of all the (dare I say?) hair brained schemes that my husband has had this one has got to be the biggest one yet.    When we returned from our second tour in Germany I swore we would never move back to Europe again.  Not only because it’s a huge deal to uproot our lives and re settle but also because the last overseas trip we had took its toll on my husband in a bad way.

He would go through these phases where he would skim usajobs for any possible jobs, promotions, etc.     Something about a day at work with drama would eat at him and he would virtually peer over the employment possibility fence to search for greener lawns.   I became used to getting emails from him like “Hey there’s a job opening in Salt Lake City!”  or “How about Georgia?”   etc etc.    I used to stress myself to pieces when he would get into these moods,   but it wasn’t until he sent me a “Kuwait?  What do you think?”   when I had a giant meltdown and learned that I needed to not take these moods so seriously.

Joke’s on me though…     when he sent me a “How about Japan?”   I chuckled and even shared the email with my co worker.   My friend cringed.    Since we both work at a veterinary clinic with primarily military clients we know the process of taking pets over to rabies free places like Japan, Korea and Hawaii.    Japan is one of the hardest that I’ve learned so far.. just the thought of putting all 4 of my anipals through the rabies FAVN process made my eye twitch and my bank account scream.    But nah.. it’ll never happen.

 

Konnichiwa from Japan!   It happened and after quite a bit of crap that will be featured in a future entry,  we made it here and are settling in.  Lately I’ve been clearing my head quite a bit and am getting back into the flow of wanting to write again.  It’s been a long road of emotions and personal battles, to put it mildly.     Currently I am on a jenky laptop that hurts my wrists when I type on it for any length of time.   I long to have a REAL computer again with a keyboard that I can comfortably set in a way to type instead of trying to on this shared laptop.   I hope to have my very own PC in the very very near future.   When I do,   get ready for some reading!    I wonder if anyone has ever started up a gofundme to purchase a ‘sanity PC’?  lol… tempting…

 

Until then I am going to sign off and hopefully writing again on a daily basis will once again become a reality.

 

 

I went to the live taping of @midnight. This is my experience…

This has been several months in the draft stage due to me not having a computer to finish it on until recently.   It’s nice to have something to type on that doesn’t require glasses in order to see.  But anyways,  for my 46th birthday I wanted to visit my family in California.  I’ve been away too damn long and really needed a dose of vitamin ‘C'(alifornia). My wonderful husband made the arrangements and opted to stay home so I could have some much needed family time with my nephew and his wife and 4 littles .  In preparing for my visit I decided to browse around the internet for ideas of things that my nephew and I could do together.  We both are huge Chris Hardwick fans, so I did some research and found out that 1iota (www.1iota.com) offers audience tickets for many live tapings of shows such as @midnight….

by signing up for their website and submitting a request form giving a brief explanation on why you feel you should be selected as a part of their studio audience (I am assuming that originality in this portion of the request form may better your chances in it standing out from the other requests.   I totally played the birthday card on mine!).  I was given the option of requesting 1 or 2 tickets.  If you want to bring a guest, the site requires that you enter the name and email address of the person that is going with you.   After I submitted my request form I received a confirmation email acknowledging receipt of my request.  After that, it’s a waiting game…..you can check the status of your requested tickets in your 1iota account.  Mine were showing as ‘waitlist’.
A week or so later I receive an email informing me that my tickets request status had been moved from waitlist to ‘priority’!   Priority!  That sounded important!    Yay!   On the website you can once again confirm that you do want to go to the show and in the email there is a link where you can print out your ticket. I printed mine out and kept it safely in a plastic page protector.  

Wait…. does that ticket say ‘LIVE’?  Yep it does!   Because the show was on election night they decided to do a special taping.  Since @midnight covers topics happening in the world and current news, it only made sense that they would make election night (aka The Demo-pacalypse) the granddaddy of all shows extra special!

Of course, with any studio audience admission, there are rules that needed to be followed.

Upscale casual meant finding something cute to wear.  Since losing 60+ lbs clothes shopping has become fun again rather than a painful, embarrassing chore.  I had already decided for my birthday that I was going to wear a tiara all day! So i found a cocktail dress that matched my birthday princess tiara and at the last minute decided to also put on something i had acquired from Disneyland the day before…..   why not, right?!


The other instructions on the e ticket are pretty self explanatory.  No cameras, cellphones, food, drink allowed in the studio.  Understandable but I was bummed that I couldn’t at least get one photo sitting in the studio audience or…. even a selfie with Chris himself.  My nephew and i obeyed the rules though, (begrudgingly!)  and left our phones in the car.

Brian and I had originally planned to arrive a few hours early since we had no idea what to expect, and heading to Hollywood on the night of the election was a guaranteed shitshow, however our GPS directed us right to the studio down a series of residential streets. The next thing we knew we saw a couple members of the 1iota team waving us in. We got there just in time to get a parking space right in front!   Check in was a breeze and the staff at 1iota couldn’t have been nicer. They checked our tickets, ids, and asked if we had any cameras/cellphones.  (Again we were reminded to leave them in the car since photos and video were prohibited inside. 😢 *sniffle* no selfies with Chris and the guests…oh well, maybe some other time).

After we checked in we were directed to sit and wait on some benches located outside of the studio door.  We had gotten there early enough where we were at the end of the first of three long benches (think sports bleachers minus the height)   We met and spoke to a few people who had been guests of the audience before. One lady said she had just found out that afternoon that tickets were available so she cleared her schedule so she could attend (if I lived close by you’d better believe I would do the same thing!)   The 1iota crew were all so nice taking the time to stop and chat with several of the audience hopefuls as we waited to get an update on when we would be lead into the studio.

About a half hour before showtime we were finally filed in, grade school style in the order of how everyone had been sitting on the benches. Just outside the door of the studio was a taco truck with the name TREJO’S TACOS brandished on the side.  Brian and I were dying to grab a taco on the way out, but sadly they had closed by the time the show was over. *sniffle*

We were seated in the second row right in front of the stage!!! One of the lovely iota employees made a comment to ‘let the Birthday princess sit right near the front’ which made my night all that more special.  Yay!   The stage was done up with the election night theme (Murica!), and while everyone was being seated the Daily Show with Trevor Noah was showing on the tv on the stage.  Trevor was sitting at his desk with a bottle of pepto bismol next to him and recapping live election updates.   Since none of us had access to the inter webs and social media, we didn’t have any idea which way the presidential election was going.  The update was met with a mixed gasp and groan from the @ midnight audience.

Pretty soon the warm up comedian came out and started discussing what we were to expect when we went ‘live’.   This was a new venture for @midnight, so tensions were extremely high. He told us that usually the show was filmed in a series of retakes over the span of a couple of hours at most, but on this night everything would be done with mistakes and all in 30 minutes. Thirty minutes!  We were also told to not get up from our seats once the show started.  Some of the cameras passed right over your head and I would imagine could easily clock you senseless if one were to stand up quickly. Also, we were told to laugh more than clap. Applause would drown out the comedians as they played the game and cause the show to lag.

The warm up comedian was great!  Interacting with the audience and getting everyone involved and pumped for the show.  He asked me why I was wearing my tiara in which I simply answered “it’s my birthday!”  And when he asked me who gave me the tiara I said “I did!”  Doh!  Seemed a bit egotistical now that I look back on it.

Showtime!
Out walks Chris looking totes adorbs 😊 (fan girl reference, sorry!) albeit a bit stressed.  Everyone was emphasizing how intense this night was being the first time it was being shown live.  Anything could happen, so everyone was super focused.  Chris, with ear piece in place was listening in to the countdown of when the show would go live (as well as an update on the election)
One by one the guest comedians were introduced and walked out on the stage.

Paul F Tompkins! (A fixture on @midnight and I’ve totally been a fan since Mr Show!)

Whitney Cummings! (Comedy Central roast fame, not to mention the reason behind one of my favorite shows 2 broke girls (and Netflix’s Ridiculous Six)

And………
AND…………….
RON FUNCHES!!! Need I say more?
Pretty kick ass lineup!
There’s me!  you can see the back of my head with the egotistical birthday tiara slightly sparkling in the lights…


The whole show went without a hitch, and for the most part us the audience remained well behaved during the live taping.   There was a guy behind us that exclaimed loudly when there was a mention by the comedians that weed was now legal in the state of California.  He let out a ‘WOOOOOOOOOO!” which people snickered at, but at one of the commercial breaks my nephew overheard one of the producers telling the guy to not do that again.   (Of course I’m sure he felt it was worth it since it warranted a response from Funches.)  Also in between breaks the makeup staff would rush out and freshen up host and guests, and Chris would check his laptop, phone and listen into his earpiece all at once.  He did come out once on break and personally thank the audience for being so great on what was a very tense night for everyone involved with the show.

Oh and there was a surprise appearance from Doug Benson… because… marijuana and tacos.
At the end of the show everyone filed our, we got into our car and headed home.  Overall we had a fantastic time and I had one of the best birthdays ever!  The show went really fast but I’m so happy that we were able to attend the first live taping  which happened to be ON my bday and had an amazing panel of guests.   It really made me miss living in California.  Maybe someday.  Maybe after Japan….
One more thing, at the very end of the show Chris went down into the audience and across each row ‘high fiving’ each of us.  When he got to the person sitting to the other side of my nephew, he somehow stumbled and landed a brief moment between Brian and me.   I may not have gotten a selfie with Chris, but I did get to play a part in helping him not fall onto the floor. lol.

If you are ever in the LA area and want to see a live taping of a show, whether it be @midnight or something else,  check out http://www.1iota.com and see what they have to offer.  They are SUPER nice, and have some great opportunities to be a part of some really great events and live tapings (coughTalkingDeadcough).   Actually they aren’t just in California… just go check it out for yourself and I’d love to hear anyone else’s experiences.  Let me know!

 

One of my earliest memories of my grandmother on my father’s side was her telling me to never ever follow in my mother’s footsteps and be FAT. She would tell me that fat people aren’t the type of people that others want to socialize with.  “You don’t ever want to be fat like your mother!” (Did I mention that my dad’s mother wasn’t too keen on my mom?).  Back then as a little kid i would go home, look at my mom and not understand what grandma was talking about.  My mom wasn’t ‘fat’ at all.  She had what we would call today a ‘badonkadonk’ butt, but she was one of the last full time stay at home super wife/mom of the 70’s.  This label that was placed on her by my grandmother was unfair and cruel, and sort of introduced me to what body shaming was at an early age.  

Flash forward to my early teens and I would fluctuate on my weight pretty often. Nothing extreme but over time I noticed that clothes stopped fitting so well.  

My shameful secret. 

So I have a confession to make… A shameful, embarrassing, stupid thing that I did without thinking, without caring about the consequences.  I had just escaped out from under the thumb of my ex,  moved to Seattle and was suddenly exposed to a social life that didn’t have to be pre approved by anyone. Friends I worked with would go out dancing, bar hopping, wandering around downtown Seattle savoring the nightlife.  No, we weren’t sluts, that wasn’t our goal for going out.   We just wanted to have fun, dance, drink and laugh.  One of my friends had a little apartment a short walk (up a steep hill) from a club called the FENIX UNDERGROUND.  It was one badass club with multiple dance floors and music pumpin’ until 3-4am on weekends. We would go there and basically shut that place down then make the staggery trek (in our heeled boots) up that hill to her place to crash out.  One summer I think I slept on her floor more than at my own place.  

It was also during that time that I was introduced to Goldschlager.  Shots and shots of it.  I get nauseous even thinking about it now. 

But anyways, it was those series of events that lead me one day to do something especially stupid.  I got a really bad tattoo!  I haven’t shown many people this since I finally smartened up and realized that what I had inked on my pelvic area looked nothing more than a poorly drawn donut.  It was fully intended to be a halo. Why a halo?   Because that was my online persona nickname at the time.  So I went down to a tattoo place at Greenlake with a friend and we had tattoos done, side by side.  Hers was WAY cooler!  She had a pagan symbol inked in on the same area that I did. It was so impressive that the tattoo artist took pictures of hers after he was done.  Did he take any pictures of mine?   Would you?  ‘Nuff said.  

Since then I’ve fluctuated on my weight and my gut has bloated out my tattoo where I’ve just tried to forget I even have one down there.   But with my recent weight loss I’ve decided to work towards a new goal.  Once my tummy area is a bit more ‘firmed’, I want to get this ugly ass tattoo covered and have something prettier and more like me added there instead.  So far I’ve found some really beautiful ideas on Pinterest which I’m considering.  I’d love to put in a little tribute to my sister as well as a few other things that express me as who I am.  So far I’ve come up with these three ideas.   This will be a work in progress, and i still have a good 20 lbs to go until I reach my weight loss goal so there’s still time. I’m pretty sure this new tattoo i choose is going to hurt a LOT more than the halo did, but bring on the pain!  I’m really excited about this!  

My review on Nutrish zero grain cat food by Rachael Ray

Life has been traveling at such a high speed lately that I don’t know where all the time has gone. Influenster courtesy of Rachael Ray had sent me a generous sample of her Zero Grain chicken formula cat food to try out on my cats and get my opinion on the results.  Even though life has been moving pretty fast I can say though, that since all of this time has passed by I’ve had the chance to slowly transition my kitties onto this food permanently.  At first I was going to give them a temporary change because I wasn’t sure how they would react to it.  They made their point loud and clear that they absolutely love it!

I have tried to keep them on a high quality diet, but either they would grow bored of whatever they were eating eventually or they would play this annoying game of ‘pick out only certain flavored kibbles from the bowl’ until I would get frustrated and look for something else. My senior orange boy  Kwyjibo is like a toddler and loves cat treats so if he gets bored with a food he will just yowl for temptations or any other cat nummy.  

They took to the zero grain almost immediately and their enthusiasm when they hear their bowls jingling with the sound of the chicken formula kibble inside sends them running to their room to eat. I have a timed feeder for them and they can hear them running at the very first sound of mealtime.  

So now I can say all of my furbabies are now happily on Rachael Ray pet foods.  She really knows her stuff when it comes to the health and well being of dogs and cats. 
Rachael Ray’s Zero grain cat food gets two thumbs up from me and a BIG “Meowww-yummy!” from Kwyjibo and Mimi. 
Thank you once again Influenster and especially thank you to Rachael Ray for giving us the opportunity to do this review.  

Social media kills relationships

I won’t lie. The Internet changed my life….no, the Internet SAVED my life.    I met my husband online back before it was such a thing.  Before there were all these cases of catfishing and long, long before plenty of fish and e harmony was even thought about. Back then, if you wanted to meet people you gathered in a chat room and became an expert at speed reading while the conversations of multiple people scrolled across your screen.  

If it wasn’t for social media I wouldn’t be in the place where I am today.  There would have been no way our paths would have crossed otherwise. So in this sense I am thankful for that.  However, there is such a thing as too much social media.  Too much looking at a computer screen instead of looking into the eyes of your soulmate. Too much reading online articles instead of spending quality time with your soulmate, too much gaming (yes. There IS such a thing as too much gaming!), too much online shopping, too much internet!
I’m as guilty as the next person. I loves me my Facebook, my Influenster, my YouTube and my gaming.  A few years ago I would spend so much time on my computer that going to work and getting directly on the Internet was my daily routine.   If my ICQ chat wasn’t on I would twitch from lack of talking to anybody.  I gamed and would do so for days at a time.  Heck, I would message my husband while he was sitting across from me in the same room!! Nowadays everyone has some sort of device on them which has access to anything they need with just the click of a button.  If you go out in public and sit in a restaurant and look around you see people on their social devices instead of talking to the people they are sitting with. If there is a tragedy such as a house on fire, car accident, etc everyone around will most likely be grabbing videos or pictures to share on social media. It’s like, telling an old fashioned story isnt enough anymore.   Check out my Twitter, YouTube, Instagram or Facebook for the details.    

After a while though, I’ve grown bored with so much computer taking over my life.   I now look to the weekends as an opportunity to venture out and explore something new, or work on and or finish a home project that’s been on my mind.  I want to live while I can, since life is so fragile.  I want to do as much as I can while I can. 
Unfortunately as it stands now I’m alone in my household with feeling this way.  The same old routine still appeals to my husband and so we clash often on what to do in our spare time that we do manage to have together.   I never wanted to be that kind of wife that complains about how her husband never listens to her, but either I have grown more chatty in my old age or it seems that I do carry on one sided conversations more than not lately.  It’s not worth arguing over when we do get one on one time together, so I’ve reluctantly given more space.  In experiencing this I know I’m not alone.   I have heard countless stories of relatively the same thing, some stories worse Hopefully someday soon there will be a happy medium between internet usage and family time.  In the meantime I’ve been planning some sanity trips to visit friends and family. Solo. I think some much overdue social time will help decompress some of this frustration.  

It’s all about the respect…

“Uhh.  Stacey?  What the hell?!”  One of my friends whom I met through my job since she comes in with her dogs often was standing at my desk eying me as if I had a horn protruding from my forehead. 

“What? What did I do?”   I looked back at her and at first thought she was kidding about something but the expression on her face was serious. 
“What just happened?  Why do you let her treat you like that?”
Huh?  Oh. Now I knew what she was talking about.   I guess it happened so often that I didn’t think much of it anymore. You see, a few of my co workers would regularly grow bored right in the middle of a conversation with me and just get up and walk away.  No warning.   No reason.   Even if I was trying to relay something important pertaining to my job it didn’t matter.  The next thing I knew I was left alone talking to myself and feeling foolish.  Rather than pout about it I had learned to shrug it off and move on to something else.  I had been treated that way pretty much since my first day of working there.  I remember some of us were gathered up at the front after a hectic and long work day chatting away about different things before we all headed home.   The moment I chimed in on one of the conversations I was interrupted, talked over and left in awkward silence as people headed out the door and home for the day.   At first i thought it was a fluke but then it happened again and again and again.  At one point one of my other workers had made a comment about it after I was in mid joke telling and the person whom I was talking to had turned to walk out of the room.  I laughed it off but deep down it really did hurt being treated like that.  Even if it was some stupid joke or something else I wanted to share, it got to the point where I just shut off my emotions and did my best to pretend it didn’t happens.  If anything to salvage my pride.   At it was working for the most part.  It hadnt been witnessed by someone else before though, until now.  

So now I had to explain to my concerned friend what had just happened. And it was humiliating. Again.   Ugh. 

“That’s disrespectful!  Why do you let her treat you that way?”

Well.

The truth is, I don’t have an answer to that question. Even though I preferred to blend in to the background as a kid, I had begun to find my voice and my confidence after separating from Chris and therefore started enjoying more of a leadership and mentor role.  Life became fun again, and even though I was struggling to accept the fact that I would most likely never have kids of my own I could leave my mark in this world in other ways.  With life experiences and helping others.  Isn’t that what life is about?

But on the subject of how someone could treat another person with such little regard that they would walk away from them in mid conversation…. It shows an immature level  lack of respect. I know I would never treat someone that way, even if what they were saying was putting me to sleep from boredom.   I guess rather than let it get to me anymore I can be secure with myself in knowing  that I was raised better than that. 
And if they don’t want to hear what I have to say.     Then it’s their loss.   Period.      

Life lessons from a little boy

As a teenager it was an unwritten rule that I act as bad ass and emotionless around my family as much as possible.  Looking back on it now I have no idea why I was like that but at that time  I had legitimate reasons for everything that I did.  I was in a constant battle with my mother over the boy that I swore was my soulmate and would stop at nothing to prove to everyone that we belonged together.  That resulted in almost nightly arguments with my mother who hated him with every breath in her body.  My sister and her two little boys had moved in with my mom and I so they were unfortunately subjected to my stubborn teenage attitude and my regular screaming matches with mom.  Usually after mom and I were done yelling I would retreat to my room, slam the door and turn up my music real loud (yep, I’m sure that showed her, huh?)  one day after a particular loud argument I went into my room, slammed my door and plopped down on my bed. Then, I heard a few taps on my door.

then a few more……..

 

“Aunt Stacey? Can I come in?”

 

my little five year old nephew Brian was standing at my door with his lips pressed between the crack of the door and the frame. Tapping his fingers rhythm style while he asked again

 

“Can I please come in?”

 

I opened the door and he looked up at me with a smile.   I had laid down the law early on when my sister moved in with the boys that they were to ask before coming in my room.   As if my room held the legendary chamber of secrets,  it was still my safe haven and whatever privacy I had at home I intended on keeping in tact.

 

“Yeah,  come in”

As he walked in I closed the door (loudly) behind him, making my point to whoever else was in the house that I was still upset.   He  sat down on the edge of my bed and looked around.   I know he didn’t have any clue what I was upset about or what was going on, he just knew that tensions were  high in our homestead and he wanted to lighten the mood.   That day  I know I must have vented to him at least a dozen teenage angst’y issues and I know he didn’t really understand a word of what I was talking about.   Still,  he sat there patiently and listened as if he did.   Even if he didn’t say a word during my entire rant it didn’t  matter,  it still helped because he was there, and he cared enough to listen.   After that we would ‘hang out’ pretty regularly when I was home,  even if it was to hide in my room and listen to music.   It made it easier to be home when my sister and the kids were home,  especially as the tension between my mother and I worsened the older (and more emotionally dependent) I became to my ex boyfriend.

One particularly awful weekend I had been sick off and on for the past few days and started worrying that I may be pregnant.  The last thing I wanted to do was tell my mom so I kept it to myself for the time being until I was sure.  That Monday I skipped school and went to the health department down the street and took a pregnancy test.  It came back positive.  When I told my ex that I was pregnant he said he was elated but warned me that if anything ever happened to him that his family would make sure that the baby was raised by THEM and not me.  (** more on this subject will be explained in another entry..  it’s just too much to go into right now!**)  I kept the ‘big news’ from my mother for a few days until one night when I didn’t come home from school and instead had gone out with the boyfriend and went to one of his father’s employees’  homes.   His dad was one of the ‘top bosses’  (or so he kept telling me,  who knows if it was even true)  and I noticed that a  small group of people that worked for his dad enjoyed ‘sucking up’ to the boss’s son.  Chris would bring me along to their house (which only was a few blocks from mine) on nights they played board and roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons.   Despite the fact that they were all at least twice our age,  they were all really nice people and I enjoyed visiting with them.    My mother, on the other hand was furious. In her mind they must have been mentally unstable sickos to allow two teenagers to go to their house.   One night we were at their house and my mother comes knocking on their front door.   I have no idea how she found out where we were but just seeing her standing on that porch with that enraged look on her face made me want to crawl into a little hole and die….   That night when I came home it was on between my mom and I!   Not only had she embarrassed me but she made an ass out of herself acting the way she did to people she didn’t even know!     As we argued my nephew came out of his room and stood quietly in the hallway.   I know he hated to hear us fight and deep down I hated for him to witness anything like this, ever.

“Stacey! I’ve had it with your SHIT!”

 

“You are going to be a LOSER just like he is! You are throwing your life away!”

 

“He is never allowed in this house,  ever again!”

 

That last thing she said sent me over the edge!    I remember my eyes welling up with tears and sucking in a huge breath of air as I blurted out

 

“Well then you’ll never see your grandchildren!!!!”

 

The silence was deafening after that.   My mom sat there and looked at me,  speechless with her mouth open.    I had no idea what she was going to yell next… but she didn’t yell,   she spoke softly.

 

“So, that’s how it’s going to be… you’re pregnant now…”

 

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed Brian had vanished from the shadows of the hallway where he had been standing and listening to us this whole time.  I imagined him running into his room, jumping into his bed and hiding underneath the covers to prepare himself for what could only be described as “Mom-ageddon”

 

“YES!  I’m pregnant!   and I feel sick,  and I don’t need this stress!   and I hate YOU! and I hate that you hate Chris because I love him and I am going to marry him!”    I was so mad I could feel my cheeks flush,  and my stomach wanted to throw up.   I knew the neighbors could probably hear me yelling and at that moment I didn’t care.  In my eyes my whole life was crumbling down because nobody understood me.   My mom just sat there and shook her head slowly, burying her face into her hands.  I can only imagine now what she was thinking…   her stupid daughter, and that jerk boyfriend of hers just got themselves into one of the biggest messes of all.    She started ranting on about how I would never go to college now and never have a career.  All of these things that in her eyes had been within grasping distance of me had all been yanked away forever because now I was going to be a teen mom.   She couldn’t even factor consider any of Chris’s family into this situation as being any form of help either.. my mom didn’t like Chris’s father and she thought his mother was a delusional wackjob.   I could tell the gears in my mother’s head were spinning trying to figure out how to even start to comprehend what was going to happen next.   I know she had toyed with the idea of tossing me out of the house more than a few times.   A couple years before all of this  I had abruptly left the house to go live with my father and his new wife for a short time,  but that hadn’t worked out very well.   Back when my step mom and I didn’t get along at ALL.  I was still in the mindset that my mom and dad belonged together and the best thing for both of them was to get back together.   In my mind Donna was just a homewrecker and us living under the same roof was, in her words “a living hell”.   Anyways,  after that short time I had moved out I think my mom had an easier time accepting me getting out to learn life on my own.  Lord knows I wasn’t listening to her!

Just then I felt a gentle tap on my arm.    Little Brian was standing next to me with one of his backpacks over his shoulder  that he used for school.  He had some items stuffed into it,  books, etc.   Tucked underneath his arm was a stuffed toy rabbit that I knew was one of his favorite.   It was a white rabbit with longish springy ears.   Brian used to tell me that this toy was especially special because it had ‘caught his very first tears”.

 

“Grandma?   Aunt Stacey?”

 

I was in no mood for anything else,  and that bitchy, nasty, stone faced teenager once again surfaced in me.  I had never lashed out at my little nephew before .. until now.    He reached up to tap my arm again and I jerked away from him,  even startling myself that I had done it.  I looked down at him and  heaved in a huge annoyed sigh.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT??”   He jumped a bit when I snapped at him but still held tightly onto his backpack and that bunny.  He then turned to my mom,  his grandma
He then said what has to be one of the sweetest things I had ever heard…

 

“We need to start selling some things so we can have some money for Aunt Stacey’s baby”

 

Setting his backpack that contained some of his prized belongings  down at my feet he looked up at me and smiled,  then starting to talk about when we should plan a garage sale as soon as possible.

“I have more things I’ll bring out.   A whole bunch!   We can make a lot of money!”

 

I honestly didn’t know what to say… a lump had formed in my throat that really made me want to throw up.   After all the fighting between my mom and I and all the bullshit we were yelling at one another, the only thing this little boy cared about at that moment was the baby.  As young as he was,  he was so concerned about making everyone around him happy.  His main focus was to try his best to make everything better by trying to help the problem the only way he knew how.     That kid had a heart of pure gold.   Right that moment I  wanted to scoop that little boy up and hug him tightly and tell him how much I loved him,  but then I looked over at my mom who was still staring at me.   I couldn’t let her see me breaking down,  not now..   So instead I did something awful and heartless…

I looked down at my nephew standing next to me and coldly rolled my eyes.   “Oh WHATEVER! That’s so stupid!” I hissed down at him.  I remember he just looked up at me with a big confused look on his face and then quietly watched as I  turned around and stomped back into my room,  slammed my door loudly and turned up my music loud.   Not more than a few minutes later there was a knock my door.  It was Brian…

 

“Can I please come in Aunt Stacey?”

 

“NO!  GO AWAY!”

*deafening silence on the other end of my door*    Then….

“Please?”

“Damnit!   Leave me alone!  Go away!  GO AWAY”

 

I think he stood out there for a few more minutes until he finally walked away.   I had my ear pressed to the door listening to see if he was still there and eventually I heard nothing.    Faintly I could hear my mom telling Brian that he didn’t do anything wrong.     That I was having a temper tantrum and it was nobody’s fault but my own.    She was absolutely right…

That night I laid in my bed buried in my covers and cried my eyes out.  To have treated my littlest ally that way was totally and utterly wrong.  All I could think about was what he had said about offering to sell his things to make our lives easier for a new baby.   He cared so much about me,  and about my well being.     Of everyone under my roof,  this little guy always had my back.. and I had treated him horribly.   I cried all night and woke up the next morning nervous to face him for breakfast.   What would I say?   How would I apologize for being a heartless bitch to this little boy who just wanted to help.   But when I got up to go get some cereal,  he was sitting at the kitchen table watching his cartoons.    He looked up at me with a smile and just said  “Oh!  Good morning Aunt Stacey!”  as if nothing had happened.   The backpack full of things, including his beloved stuffed rabbit still sat in a pile on the floor where he had left it the night before.

 

Brian and I never talked about that day,  at least I purposely never mentioned it again.  Just the thought that I had treated him that way still hurts me to this day.  After that day though,  I saw him in a different light.   He was smarter than the average kid.  His mom had raised him to have a big heart and to put others first.   He was always excited to come home after kindergarten to tell us all about what he learned that day.   Good manners,  always saying please, thank you and excuse me and always helping around the house with chores.    He reveled in doing the right thing and made sure that we were all doing the same.   It was also his influence that helped lessen the tension between me and my mom,   we both realized that if a little 5 year old boy can act more mature than us,  then we had a lot to learn about our relationship.   It didn’t make the quarrels that we had over my boyfriend… but we never fought that way ever ever again.   We worked on a better way to communicate,

 

I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for Brian and thank my sister for bringing him into the world.   I love that kid to the moon and back…  Thank you, Brian..

 

 

The many flavors of JELLY

We are competitive by nature.   Pretty much from the first day you step
foot into the social world you are in competition with everyone else. Whose
lunchbox is the coolest, who is  better in hop scotch,  who has the nicest
clothing, coolest friends,  best hair,  better parents, better car,  higher job title,
spouse, house, blah blah blah…

It never stops!  And no matter what we ALL are guilty of it.

I guess I have found myself being more observant of it lately since my
social life of where I am currently residing is pretty much nil.   I don’t
have a real big friend circle like I have had in the past.  Most of my close
friends have moved away and are scattered all over the place.  So,  I
am a fly on the wall,  a wallflower… and it’s because of that it’s
heightened my senses in other ways.   I notice more of what’s going on around
me.   I still have a hard time keeping my mouth shut though….  working on
that 🙂

The whole competition thing can be entertaining to watch from a distance,
especially if it’s directed at you in some way…  watching someone fall over
themselves trying to outdo you and hoping for a reaction.   In the beginning
when that sort of thing was done to me,  I would bristle up and get
defensive.   “How dare so and so try to think they are better than ME!”    That would make me want to outdo THEM to the point where it turned into war.   I resented that person for even daring to stick their nose into my business in order to steal my mannerisms.  “Why doesn’t she just do things her own way instead of copying mine?  PATHETIC!”    After a while I actually stood back and looked at the situation…  What I’ve come to discover is when someone is going out of their way to do that to you,  it’s actually a compliment.  I mean,  to have someone actually want to pattern a little bit of their life lead by your example is a very special feeling if you actually think about it.   I’ve done it before,  and it’s shaped the person that I am today.. It’s human nature.

So I say,  if anyone wants a little competition…. BRING IT!   🙂

 

 

“Sorry, wrong number”

Calling the right place on post can be a major pain in the ass.  There are numerous extensions and DSNs,  not to mention the turnover is high and people are constantly moving in and out of offices.   And don’t get me started on the ‘phone directory’ provided online… it may as well be in greek since I don’t understand a word of it.   Especially anything to do with the human hospital numbers, I’ve been guilty of just calling one of the numbers in hopes that whoever it is that picks up the other end can direct me easier than me mulling through pages and pages of extension numbers.

Because of that we receive the occasional wrong number from others trying to reach another department.  We’ve had mental health questions, podiatry, home maintenance requests, and once even a poor mother who thought she was calling the nurses’ line that went into a long story about her son’s circumcision before I was able to politely cut her off to tell her she had called the wrong number.   Usually my co worker and I would just say “I am sorry but you have reached the veterinary clinic” and refer them back to the post operator number to most likely play another game of ‘let’s try this number now” until they reach who they need to.   Yesterday though… we got a call that was different.

I could barely hear the lady on the other end.   At first I thought it was her connection but it was obvious she was having a hard time speaking.  I turned up the volume on my phone and listened to what she had to say.    She was saying something about wanting to get information about traveling across state,  and that she didn’t know what documentation she needed.  Being in the ‘veterinary clinic’ frame of mind I figured she was asking about traveling with pets,  but before I opened my mouth to speak I heard her say the word “Veteran”…… then silence.

“Ma’am?   Are you trying to call the….”  I replied, then I could hear her take a deep breath and she half blurted out as if the words had been choking her in the back of her throat

“You see, I’m the mother….”

Oh GOD…  she was trying to call the Veteran’s office regarding having her child’s remains moved!  You could tell this poor woman was having a hard enough time making this call in the first place and just having me say “You called the Veterinary clinic, not the Veteran’s office” would make it all the more worse.

“Hold on just for a few moments Ma’am, I will get the number of the person you can contact for that”

“Thank you….  very much!”

I put her on hold and my hands were shaking.   Even from that short conversation with that lady I could feel the emotion in her words.  To think of what she was going through calling a military post where her child was once at and now where they will be until arrangements could be made to bring them home.. it broke my heart.   The most I could do was get her to the correct people without any more delay.   Thankfully my husband oversees a number of divisions on post including the Casualties.   I gave her the direct number for them and she thanked me again with a little sniffle and we each hung up the phone.

 

I hope she is able to be reunited with her baby as soon as humanely possible..  and I’m glad I was able to help out if even a little bit by not referring her out into ‘post operator’ land.