Thursday, September 1, 2016

Without a Parachute



People Anxiety... The beginning.

As kids, introverts are labeled as shy. They need to speak up more in class (how much did I hate hearing that?) And I always had a little anxiety mixed in with the introversion, which did not help my social standing in schools.

The first incident I remember came from either kindergarten or first grade. My mom had given me a envelope of money to turn into the teacher. I'm not sure what it was for, but I remember it consisted of a lot of change. Possibly a fee of some sort.

I waited for the teacher to ask us to turn in the money, but she never did. Just like that, my window of opportunity slammed shut. There was no way I was voluntarily asking the teacher where to put the money so I kept the money to myself. This probably would've been fine if it wasn't parachute day in gym. Does anyone remember parachute day??? It was the best. I'm not even sure why. I just know it was magic when that parachute would fly above our our heads and we would duck under. Like a giant kid filled apple turnover.

I can no longer remember how it happened, but it was during the time where we all were holding the parachute. The envelope just burst open and change flew from my pocket and landed on the parachute. Silver and copper coins jumped and bounced on the parachute as we flapped it up and down.

The teacher was flabbergasted. Where did the money come from? But I wouldn't...couldn't...say. I kept my mouth shut. I'm sure the rest of the my classmates were confused too. Maybe they still remember the day the parachute started crapping out money!

After that, it's a blur. I'm pretty sure I eventually got in trouble because the teacher told my mom I didn't turn in my money and my mom swore she gave it to me. But that part was less important and less embarrassing. The memory that sticks out is the anxiety I felt knowing I needed to turn that money in. Then realizing I was the one that made money fly on that parachute. Knowing I would never say a word.

At least it didn't ruin my love of the parachute. But it was just the beginning of a long line of stupid decisions ruled by anxiety that followed me throughout my life and all my jobs.

There are more incidents. There always are... Stay tuned.



Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Full Service

Another day in a life of an introvert...

This morning I was driving to work when I realized there was a big smear mark in my windshield. Like some crazy blonde tried wiping the window off with her hand.

The sun is usually rising when I leave the house so it's impossible for me to see through this smudge. It looks like I'll have to stop at the gas station to clean the inside of my window.

Pulling into Wawa, the only pump available is the one that has both diesel and unleaded fuel. I don't like this one because I know it's the only one that diesel drivers can use. But I'm only planning on topping off my tank since I hate using the window cleaner without getting gas and I still have a half a tank.

I pull up thinking I will get this done quickly and as soon as I get out of my car, a big diesel pickup pulls up behind, waiting for the pump.

Suddenly it's like I'm on some gas pumping stage where everyone is watching me. I'm also pissed because there is an empty diesel pump on the other side that he is too cool to use. I guess he had to be on the outside pump! More room to thrust his manly muscles around.

(I'm also assuming he's a man since I never really looked directly at the driver. I apologize for the stereotype. But in my town, mostly men drive the big honking diesel trucks).

So there I am suddenly harassed while the truck sits there, its engine chugging away. When I go to put gas in my car, I realize I'm way too close to the pump. That means I'm forced to sidle to and from the pump to my gas tank. Also, the window wiper fluid/trash can thingie the gas station provides is too far away. Almost at the truck, which is still waiting. At this point, I'm so flustered I don't want them to see me clean my car windshield, lest they think I'm taking my time while they wait. So I sidle back to my car and into the driver's seat, pouting the whole way. Like all of this pressure isn't ALL IN MY HEAD.

I end up pulling away without cleaning my windshield. I even forget to tell the pump whether I want a receipt or not! A voice inside of me--I'm pretty sure it was coming from the smear mark--is like, "What is wrong with you? Don't be such a wuss. You NEED to clean your windshield."

I end up pulling into the last pump on the other side of the gas station. (Do you think I'm crazy yet?) But the squeegee is not in the fluid. It's been taken by the lady on the other side, who is apparently detailing her car at the gas pump. She even has her windshield wipers up while she meticulously wipes every mark off. Annoyed, I pull out a paper towel from the dispenser and dip it into the fluid. It will have to do!

Of course the whole time I'm paranoid someone will come out and be like, "You didn't buy gas here! Give back that teaspoon of window cleaner!"

And I will be like, "I did buy gas! I have a receipt--oh...wait...yeah... Those guys might have my receipt!"

All of this probably happened within a space of 10 minutes, but it was very stressful. What is it about me that makes me so freaking anxious to do the simple things? Why couldn't I be like, "I was here first and I have a right to use this pump AND clean my windows. Maybe even meticulously like the woman way over there."

But no, I'm scurrying around like some mouse scared they were going to be like, "HEY LADY! We have get on the job some time today! You are too much of a wimp to handle the diesel pump!"

The wet paper towel does work and I get work smudge free. But sometimes I wonder how I've managed to make it these 42 years with this kind of crazy inside me. It really is a miracle.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Footprints

I have ugly feet. Ugly. I'm not exaggerating at all. Think Fred Flintstone. I used to want to hide them, but the older I get the less I care. I throw on some nail polish to hide the toes, but I still wear flip flops as long as I can. Socks are a pain that you only wear in winter to avoid frost bite.

I used to avoid looking at them at all. But then one day I glanced down and a memory flashed through my mind. I remembered the day before we lost my dad how we were at the hospital visiting him and I wasn't sure where to look. I wasn't comfortable with my dad being so vulnerable. His blanket didn't cover him all the way and my gaze lingered on his feet. Like mine, they were calloused and rough looking. The toes were kind of ugly. I didn't realize then that I was looking into a mirror.

Not only do I have my dad's eyes, I have his feet. Two very important things. Sometimes living without my dad feels like a test. A bad joke. A reality I will never get used to. But finding parts of him in unexpected places. That helps.

He is me. He's in my eyes. In my sense of humor... My smile. Now he's part of the path I walk every day. He guides me with his feet. And if we were Flintstones, he could even drive my car.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Throwback Myspace

Hi y'all! I know it's been awhile since I've posted here. I've missed this spot! But the other day my blog post, Walking the Dog, about my trip to Petco with Scooter came up in my Timehop. It reminded me of all the crazy ways I found to fill my time during my unemployment. And it still made me laugh.

It also made me think of my Myspace blog. (Do you remember Myspace?? Man I feel old). So yesterday, I went on the site and was able to find a way to download all my blog posts. It wasn't pretty but they were all there! As I looked for my favorite oatmeal cookie story, I stumbled on another Petco story. The same exact Petco! But this time it was about Sheena. My last dog who I still miss a lot. Reading over the story I had forgotten all about how crazy she could be as well. So I decided to share the story here. As a Throwback Thursday Greatest Hits addition.

So here it is... I hope you enjoy! (I apologize for any grammar or formatting errors. Myspace was a more informal place. Tom didn't care!).



3/26/07:


On Saturday, I took my dog Sheena to be groomed at Petco. I made this appointment two months ago when we took her to be groomed the last time.  And we had no problems then.

This time was quite a different story...

She was fine going into the store, but as soon as we turned to go in the door that leads to the grooming place, she stopped and sat down.  I was like, "C'mon Sheena.  Let's go!  Daddy's in there!"  (I only took my son).  She gave me a look like I was stupid.  She knew he Daddy wasn't in there!  I tried some Dog Whisperer tactics, "Ssst."  But that had no effect either. In fact, it seemed to scare her more until the point where she's trying to back out of her collar.

Now at this point, we're still in the little vestibule between the two sets of automatic sliding doors.  If she'd gotten loose, she could've gone either in the store or out the door. Which door will be it be?  Door #1 where you'll just run free through the store or Door #2 where you'll run free through a parking lot full of cars just waiting to hit you?  Neither one a very good option.

Panicked, I change tactics. This time I walked her into the Petco and towards the inside door that leads to the grooming place. Oh, but she was far more clever than me.  I think she can smell torture.  Or shampoo.  She sat down again.

Dammit.

The grooming place is busy as hell so no one is paying the least attention to us.  We're standing in this big open space at the front of the store where they have adoptions events and such.  In fact there is a lady still there putting tables away from one they must've had right before we got there.  She ignores us, too.

I study Sheena who is lying on the floor with not a care in the world. That's when I turn to J.  "Okay, I'm going to pull her by the collar and you push her butt."  And that's what we do. I'm backing up while pulling Sheena's collar and J is pushing her backside.  I'm sure it was quite a picture.   Caesar would've been laughing his ass off if he saw that one.

It doesn't work.  She somehow digs in on the tiled floor and we only get her to move a couple feet.  That's when I start over.  I start walking her around the store, trying to get her to relax and forget all about grooming.  Then I slowly walk over to the door, hoping she's not paying attention.

Yeah, right!

She stops, sits down and starts barking.  And she barks loud.  This is her mad bark.  "Oh, hell no, Mom!  I told you!  I'm NOT going in there!  They make me take a bath!"  Actually, it reminded me of my husband in a way.

Meanwhile, J is all embarrassed.  "Sssssh, Sheena.  Stop barking!"

This is when the adoption lady makes her move.  She hands me a piece of paper.  "We have all kinds of dogs up for adoption.  Mainly hound dogs and beagles.  I guess the hunters just let them go."

I give her an incredulous look.  Did she really think I wanted another one?    Has she not been paying attention?  Or does she think I like to spend my Saturday afternoons hanging out in front of the Petco?  But I just take the paper without saying a word.

I tell J to go inside the grooming place to get one of the treats they have in a jar.  He agrees reluctantly and it takes him like five minutes to get his nerve up to take one. Like the ladies working there were going to think it was for him and start accusing him of stealing dog treats.  Sometimes I wonder about that boy...

That's when I find out that bribery does not work with my dog.  After all, it's not Filet Mignon.  Sheena isn't that cheap!  She sits back down so that she can bark at me some more.  What the hell do they do to dogs back there?

Twenty minutes have gone by and we're now officially late for an appointment that is only about five feet away from where we're at.   I'm just fed up at this point.  I tell J to hold Sheena while I go talk to the ladies inside.

I hand J her leash, and with J holding her, she follows me inside.  WTF???

I had to be pack leader!  That's what it was!  Dammit.  I should really start paying more attention to that show.

But that's not the end of our adventure.  Oh no.

At the front desk, I tell the lady my name and that I have (had) an appointment.  She looks in her appointment book.  "I don't see you."

What?  I look down at the desk calendar where I remember the lady writing down the appointment and point. "There we are.  Sheena."

She looks at me like I'm stupid. "Well, that was for the 24th."

"Umm,"  I look around.  "What is today?"  Yeah, it's the 24th.   This does not make her happy.  I have enraged the grooming lady.  No wonder Sheena didn't want to in there.

"Nobody wrote it down in the appointment book," she says, like it was my fault.  "Well, I don't have time for you today," she snaps.

"Fine.  Make me another appointment then."  Yes, I should've made a bigger deal out of this since I really did have an appointment, but I was tired and cranky and wanted to leave Hellco.

There was another lady nearby grooming a dog who speaks up, "You have to give her 10% off."

 "Fine.  I don't care.  I'll give her 10% off."

Jeez, woman, chill.  Obviously not a dog whisperer or a people whisperer for that matter.
I made an appointment for next weekend and we leave.  But not before Sheena pisses all over the front sidewalk.  You go girl!

I think next time my husband WILL be there.  And maybe even Cesar Milan  If I can get him to fly out from LA.  "Sssst!"


That's it! Thanks for traveling back to 2007 with me! Maybe next time we'll make some cookies...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Camp Time!

In a little over a week, I'm going to participate in the Camp NANOWRIMO. I'm very excited and working on my story idea. But in the meantime, I still have the book I wrote in the NANOWRIMO November session. I also have another book I wrote a couple years ago. Right before I got laid off.

I write books. I just never know what to do with them. Both of them need work. I paid someone to edit the first of these two books and it's completely marked up. The critiques are mostly about my passive voice and my pronouns. I almost need a complete rewrite of this one. But the good news is that I can look at it again. After I got laid off, I shut the book away in my mind so I never saw it again. It was an office romance dedicated to my coworkers and it was such a painful subject then. But looking at it now, the story isn't as bad as I thought. All this time, I think I made the critiques from my editor so much bigger in my mind. Like she said, "THIS BOOK IS AWFUL. AWFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUL."

The second book is my most recent one has not been edited at all, but I have been going over the first draft. I've come to realize that I don't like the style I wrote it in. I wrote it in a past/present style. One chapter would be set in the present, with the next chapter being in the past. Past, present, repeat until the end. The first thing I did with this book is remove all the past chapters and saved them into another folder. Now I just need to read the book without the past and see if any are truly needed.

Fun stuff, huh? I wish that simply writing a book is the hard part for me. For me, it's editing and acknowledging all my weaknesses. I have so many stories in my mind, I just have a hard time putting the down in writing.

I love writing and since that's what I love, I will keep doing it. Eventually something will stick. I've been wrestling with mortality lately and I know I will regret not pushing ahead. Not writing. I know that's why my dad would want me to do. I have his picture in the shelf across from my desk and I look at all day long. I saw his eyes in my rearview mirror this morning. Yes, they were actually my eyes, but today the looked more like his. I always understood the scene where Harry Potter sees Dumbledore in the mirror that Sirrius gave him. It's actually Albus' eye, but I know the feeling. I often seem my dad in the mirror.

The point is that I think if he was here, he would tell me to keep pushing. To keep swimming. Even if I'm the only person that reads these books. Even if they are crap. Because I don't like to think of the alternative to writing.

Wish me luck! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: My First Kiss

My first kiss happened my freshmen year of high school. For some reason I thought I was oldest person ever to not be kissed. Never mind that I was probably all of 14 or 15 at the time. I needed to be kissed and NOW. I started my high school year determined to be kissed, whatever it took.

My first kiss wasn't a DJ Tanner moment where I waited for the right guy and the right timing. I can't even remember how I met the guy we kissed. I just know he qualified for the job by having long hair (in the day of hair metal bands, this was all it took) and lips. Really, that's all I was looking for.

I remember his name, but seeing that we are in the digital age, I won't say it here. I do have one picture of us together in school. In it, I have a really bad perm and crazy eyes. He's wearing a jean jacket and a dopey expression. I believe we are holding a stuffed animal of some sort. I don't know why.

The kiss happened on the bleachers of my high school. I do remember that. I'm assuming it happened during lunch since we had open lunch at the time. 

I have to admit that I didn't like him that much. But I didn't not like him. I was just curious about what it was like to be kissed and he served that purpose. My best friend at the time tried to show me how to kiss (no, this isn't that kind of story...we didn't practice with each other), by having me kiss my arm.

It's not the same. And my arm still hasn't forgiven me for the violation of our trust.

When the kiss did happen, there wasn't fireworks or music. There wasn't even a cheesy 80's ballad in the background. It was weird. There was a lot of tongue. I didn't really feel anything, but self conscious. 

My real first kiss with someone I actually loved came later. In the meantime though, I had been kissed and had started my high school career the way I wanted. I got the worse grades of my life my freshmen year, but I had experience kissing, so what did that matter? I was a mature woman-child who didn't need no stinkin' education! 

I broke up with him a couple weeks later and never looked back. But he will always be a footnote in the story of my life. I think that's pretty cool. He probably wouldn't. And neither does my arm...


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Just Add Salt

Last night my husband and I had a discussion about letting our dog Scooter out in the morning. Now that I leave for work at five, he usually goes out around 4 to 4:15. It's dark at that time! And we live in the country.

Me: When I let Scooter out and feed the cats, I leave the front door open in case of emergency.

Him: Wait. You are saying that while I'm in the house sleeping you leave the front door wide open? So one morning I'm going to wake up with a bear hovering over me??

Me: No, the cats are there, so it can't be dangerous. I'm pretty sure they smell bear.

Him: So one morning I'm going to wake up with a bear hovering over me eating a cat??

Me: Don't be ridiculous. I don't think the bear will walk all the way into our bedroom to eat a cat. It would probably eat it in the living room where its close to the kitchen. In case it needs salt.

Him: I'm glad to know these things happen while I'm sleeping.

Me: What can I say? It's a bear-eat-cat world out there.