Jan 30
Which Character from Rent are you?

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Jan 29

So, that whole epiphany thing I was talking about?  I’m finally getting around to explaining it.

Let me back up for a second here:

You all know that I’m working on a degree in Nursing.  It’s still a long time coming because I’m only taking one class per semester, because it’s all my job will allow me the time for.  While I stress out over my classes, I really do love them.  I love learning and interacting with my classmates even if it is in a “virtual class” conducted via teleconference.

In December, I registered for an Anatomy and Physiology class, because it was simply the only class offered that fit into my curriculum.  I’ve been nervous about it because let’s face the irony here:  Science and Math aren’t my forte even though I’m seeking a degree that depends on learning a whole shit load of it.   Give me English and Humanities any day, but the Anatomy class is a necessity.  If I’m going to be administering IV’s, I damn sure better know the difference in an artery and a vein right?

With the stress of everything that happened since the New Year, I found myself completely out of the learning mode.  So, after much reservation, I drove over to the satellite campus and filled out a drop/withdrawal form.  That’s right, I withdrew from the class.  Even though I get my tuition back 100%, I still felt sick over it.  It took me so long to get back into school, now I was taking a step backwards!
The very next day, my friend Julie (who happens to be our local Physician Assistant at the clinic) called and told me that she got the “green light” to teach the Emergency Trauma Technician class and would I or Howard be interested in taking it?  I remember Julie talking about it a few months ago when we were fully staffed at the store and Howard and I both expressed interest.  Now, that I was out of “learning mode” and understaffed it was available.  Go figure.  Howard and I mulled it over and finally Howard told me he would forfeit taking it, on the condition that I did. (that would leave one of us to watch the store)  We went back and forth for a while but he made a good point on how I had the free time now, it would look good on my resume, and maybe it was a sign from God that I dropped the Anatomy class.  I called Julie and signed up.

My first class was Monday night.  As I sat there and listened and absorbed the information, I suddenly felt a calm warmth wash over me.  It was as close to any epiphany that I’ve ever had.  And I realized that I was born to do this.  I was born to work in the healthcare field.  Being there, learning about the human body, and saving lives is as close to a calling as singing and acting (my absolute dream job) on stage had ever been.  When I worked for Dr. Martin in Wilmington, I knew I wanted a job working with patients everyday.  I loved the ease with which I felt with another human being.  I loved the feeling of helping another person.  Even if it was just helping them see better with a stylish pair of eyeglasses.

But never before have I had a feeling of “Wow.  This is what you were meant to do in life.”

And I did on Monday night.  It’s an amazing feeling.  The class is four hours a night and I never look at a clock.  The time passes quickly and I’m usually sad when it’s over.  Let me tell you, if you’ve never had that feeling?  Then maybe you’re not doing what you’d really like to be doing.

Julie is my friend but Julie is also brutally honest.  I have it on a very good source that she told someone that I’d be an “excellent health care worker.”  That made me feel good.  Good that I don’t even have to express my feelings to her verbally for her to see that I’m really enjoying this class and I’m really looking forward to a career change in my future.

Let me say right now:  I like my job.  I mean, there’s a lot of frustration that goes along with it but this job has afforded me a way out of debt, a way to travel and see the world, and Lord knows it’s kept me in high thread count sheets, but I don’t usually come home with a deep sense of satisfaction, a sense that I genuinely changed a life or accomplished something important.  Maybe I do, but I certainly don’t feel it a lot.

I do with this class.  So far, I have everytime I’ve worked in a health care related setting.  And from now on, I won’t let fear of failure stop me from doing something that I truly love.

Jan 28

What does a girl do when she has fully fuctioning water and sewer after three weeks of not?

Why she throws a party and deep fries shrimp, scallops, and makes homemade hush puppies to celebrate the occasion.  Alpha and Billy offered up potato salad (with dill and avacado…oh my orgasmic heavens..was it fabulous.), and Baked Beans.  I threw in some cole slaw for good measure.  No longer being the only southerner in my village completely and utterly rocks!
This party of course, involved lots of alcohol.  Lots of Margaritas-or shall I say-”Snowgaritas”?  Man, I LOVE snow and the fact that we don’t have to even touch a blender in the winter.  Of course, there was beer, wine, and spicy Bloody Marys.  We broke out our bottle of Patron for shots.  We polished it off rather quickly.  Dusty, Kathy (his mom), Susie (his aunt), and Brian also came to celebrate with us.  When Dusty’s dad comes home again, I’m cooking that man whatever he wants.  Lord knows we owe him.

Sometime during the night, someone was listening to my iPod and took it to the bathroom and left it playing.  While I was making my zillionth trip there last night (alcohol), I found it after thinking that someone must have spiked my drink and I was hearing voices.  Was I relieved that wasn’t the case.

I picked it up and found that a “Rent” song was playing.  Of course, I ran to show Alpha.  Alpha, the only sober one at the party.  Might I add?  That the girl doesn’t drink because she really doesn’t have to.  She is high energy and can totally hang with us drunks.  She insisted that we play “Take Me Or Leave Me” and sing along.  Which we did.  And we rocked.  Not “American Idol” rocked but we rocked our guests!  I’m sure the fact that they were drunk, really helped too.

The only downside was our camera was completely dead and I charged it long enough to take just one picture:

the one picture I got that night..

That would be Mark after pinning his brother, Billy on the floor in a wrestling match.  Yes folks, there was even drunk wrestling.

I plugged the camera back into the charger and this morning took a photo of some of the remains we found this morning:

the remains of last night...
Note the THREE empty bottles of tequila.  We polished off the Souza first, the mixed with the Jose, then did shots with the Patron.  I mean really.  Brian made a good analogy last night.  “You wouldn’t put Nitrous Oxide into a Ford Focus would you? Then why on earth are you mixing with Patron?  Patron is for smooth, straight shots!”

That Brian.  He’s on to something there.

Nevertheless.  That picture up there?  pretty much sums up what was consumed last night.

You know it’s a huge success when your Patron bottle is empty.

Today it’s 25 above and beautiful.  At 4:30, we’re snowmachining over to the school to meet the gang once again for some tackle football in the snow.  This should be fun.  And my camera is already charged.

Jan 24

All hail the water gods.  For they have smiled upon me.  Once again. A-hem.

By this past Friday, I was feeling pretty low.  I was depressed and finally had a “psychotic episode”, that I wrote about in the previous post.

Come Saturday, I’d already cancelled on a sushi party thrown by Billy and Alpha in honor of his and Howard’s birthday (we cancelled the sledding because it was below zero and that’s just too cold).  I just didn’t feel up to faking cheerfulness.  Though I should have, in hindsight.  So, I came home, curled up in my pajamas and felt sorry for myself.  When you don’t have water and you’re having to depend on someone else’s home to do the simple things like taking a shower or even God forbid going to the bathroom, it can really bring you down. Lesson: NEVER EVER take running water for granted.  You would think that I, especially, could appreciate this because I’ve gone without it so many times in the past.

But I digress.

Come Sunday, Dusty’s dad came over and fixed our problem.  While it involved actually cutting the sewer pipes to thaw them, in a matter of hours, our water issue was resolved.  The ONLY thing we still can’t do is take a shower and that’s because in the process of fixing all the indoor leaks, we discovered that somehow our shower valve was broken.  Once that arrives, Howard will be able to replace it and we’ll be back in business.  And even though we’re still having to drive to Brian’s parents’ house to take showers, we can now wash dishes, do laundry, and pee in our own toilet!  Woo hoo!

Dusty’s dad only gets two weeks off at a time and otherwise works out of town for an entire month, so we had to wait for him to return to help us.

God bless that man and God bless Dusty and his family.

Even while bursting into tears when placing my steak order to go on Friday, (yes, I was feeling that low.  I didn’t even eat my steak at the bar like I usually do.)Susie, (Dusty’s aunt) said: “We’re going to get your water running, we’re family honey, and we’re going to get you through this.”

I know I go on and on but we’ve been blessed by the friends who have all but adopted myself and Howard into their family here.  Dusty’s family especially.  Who are we without our friends?  I’ll tell you right now.  I’d be no one.

Now, Dusty and I can go back to gossiping, making fun of each other,  and talking about the most weird subjects instead of his listening to me cry and whine.

Though, I do whine at times just to get on his nerves.  I reserve the right to heap loads of playful abuse on my friends.  Dusty, especially.  He’s just that easy.

Now, I can look forward to vacation that arrives in less than three weeks!  I’m also taking an ETT (Emergency Trauma Technician) class, which I already love.  I’ll tell you about the epiphany I had my first night, in another post.

I never thought I’d ever say this but I’ve got loads of laundry and dirty dishes that I’m just dying to take care of because I can!

Jan 20

I know I joke about Dusty being my other husband a lot.

Mainly because when Howard isn’t there to talk me down from a meltdown, Dusty is.

However, there are always several differences because we all know that I’m not really married to Dusty and I don’t really have two husbands.  I also don’t sleep with Dusty, nor do I have an urge to do so.  He’s just my friend who happens to be a guy, who is just as self-sufficient as Howard, and for some weird reason, allows me to be a complete and utter nutjob and still loves me anyway.  He’s a nurturer by nature.  And I love that about him.

But tonight on the phone, he crossed that threshold into bona fine husbandry (without the obvious of course) by doing something no one else has ever done before, it went something like this:
“Chrissy, you need to just calm down.”

“I know, I’m sorry, I just feel terrible about having to use Brian’s parents’ house when I should be using my own.”

“But you know you can’t use yours and believe me Brian doesn’t mind, if he did, he would tell you.”

After several rounds of:

“Are you sure?”


Dusty finally got fed up and said:

“God, your OCD is kicking in.”


You know?  We all like to think that our friends, even our best friends, will tell us these sorts of things but when you’ve been clinically diagnosed (ME!), most people try not to point out the obvious.  Most people except maybe a spouse.  Howard is the only one who can point it out (and not be joking about it because I’m all about making fun of myself) and not have me go psycho or be offended.  (I know that’s a loaded statement, let’s not get into analyzing it right now, okay?)  Well Howard was the only one.  I guess Dusty really is like another spouse.  I didn’t freak out, I didn’t get offended, I simply replied “I know”…just like I do when Howard mildly points it out.

Then he did just what Howard normally does.  He talked me through it until I felt sane again.

Next thing you know, I’ll be dropping “honey do” lists off at his house.  He’s gonna love having a “wife” like me.

Jan 17

To the woman who nursed me through two of the worst hangovers of my entire life.  To the woman who shares my love of all things “artsy fartsy”.  Who loves books as much as I do.  Who gets my humor.  Who allows me to just be myself even if I am being fickle.  Who, aside from being another mother to me, is a very good friend as well.  To the woman who always impresses my friends without even trying.  To the woman who raised the wonderful man I married.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Happy Birthday Mama Jean!  I love you!  You are the best Mother-In-Law any bride (or groom for that matter) could ask for.

See you in less than a month!

Jan 17

I admit that I don’t watch American Idol.  I’m probably the only one in the free world who doesn’t really get into that show.  (Not enough drama and dysfunction apparantly, right?)

BUT! I do watch the audition episodes in the beginning.

Because seriously, my tummy muscles need the exercise.

Oh dear Lord, ya’ll.  I don’t even know what to say sometimes.  Sometimes?  I cover my eyes and can’t even look, much less listen.

First of all:  I know that some of these kids know they’re bad and audition just to get some face time on TV or to give their friends and family a good laugh.  And I love that.  I love that they can make a complete ass out of themselves on national television and walk away proud.  Dude.  People like that are my heroes.  Seriously.

But on the other hand…

Who is lying to these other people by telling them they are so good as to have the chops to get past the first audition, nevermind that some of them think they can actually win?

Now don’t get me wrong:  I know that if I ever have a kid, I’d like to think I will nurture their talents.  Therein the point lies.  Nurture their talents.  NOT the lack thereof.  If he or she can’t sing?  I’m going to find a way to tell them if they ever ask my opinion.  I will be tactful about it.  I won’t insult them and I won’t make them feel bad about themselves.  And no doubt, he or she will have other talents on which I can absolutely rave.

Just because my daughter or son can sing really well in the local choir doesn’t mean they’re good enough to go on and be a star.

I know this.  I’m one of those people.  Ask me to sing in my shower?  And I’m told I sound really good.  Ask me to sing in the choir at church or in the drama club at my high school?  I’m also told that I’m really good.  But my mother NEVER pushed me to go any further than that because she knew my limits.  Hell, I know my limits.  Get me drunk?  Well, Howard’s cousin Jason has the videotape to prove it.  Not pretty ya’ll.  Not at all.

Let me say right now:  Singing in the the shower, in the choir, on the karaoke machine, drunken sing-along’s does not a truly talented singer make.  Mom?  Dad?  Sorry to break it to you but before you go pumping such high aspirations into your kids’ heads, be honest with yourself.  Have an unbiased third party give an opinion.  Chances are, you’ll save your kid some humiliation.

Though you won’t save me some pretty hard laughs.  I’m selfish that way.  Without those horrible audition episodes, I wouldn’t give that show a second thought.  Though yes, I do thank them for Kelly Clarkson, Kimberly Locke, and the adorable Taylor Hicks.

No, I have other, more intellectually stimulating shows to watch.  Like “Flavor of Love” and” I Love New York.”  I mean, shitting in the floor is just more real.  Ya’ know?

(Mr. Hateful email sender, please PLEASE see the sarcasm in that last sentence.  Then again, I kind of like your hatemail, it makes me feel important)

Jan 16

Still no water.  Still wearing out our welcome at Brian’s parents’ house (even though he and Dusty say otherwise).  But still.  We have to make time for fun.

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this before but the school principal is from NC!!!  AND she lived in Wilmington for a few years during the time that I did.  Her nephews are here as well and they’re also from NC.  We’ve had a lot of fun with these people.  You have no idea.  Just this past weekend, we were invited over to her house for drinks and all around togetherness.  We figured we might as well mourn together for Val.  We drank Margaritas in her honor.  Or “Snowgaritas” as we coined the term because since we were out of ice, we used the fresh snow from outside.  These drinks were also called “Snow-se Quervos”.  We had a hodge-podge of indian, asian, and southern comfort food.
A good time was hand by all.  I laughed more than I have in a long time.

Also (and this is my favorite part);  Billy, one of her nephews is married to a beautiful, sweet woman named Alpha.  (that’s not my favorite part though they are one gorgeous couple)  Alpha LOVES broadway plays and LOVES the “Rent” soundtrack.  She’s a New York City girl, how could she not right?

Of course that means that she and I were singing drunken “Rent” songs all night.  Oh my God, I wanted to take her home and put her in my pocket.  We really want to start a “Community Theatre” here.  That would be fabulous.  Lord knows, we need a lot of “fabulous” around here.

This weekend, we’re going to celebrate Billy and Howard’s birthdays by going up to the ridge that overlooks the town, building a bonfire, and going sledding!  In light of all that happened last week, of course, we’re going to be very careful. But we’ll no doubt have a lot of fun!

Plus, with my freakish aptitude for running into walls and tripping over objects yards away, this should be hilarious.

Less than month and I’ll be on vacation.  Oh my dog, have I earned it.

Jan 13

I know I’ve talked about this before but I think I really just skimmed the surface.

While there are many advantages to living in such a small place, there are also disadvantages.

We interact with almost everyone on a daily basis.  When we run the only store in town, it’s inevitable.  When someone dies, chances are, we’ve just seen them or talked to them and at the minimum have gotten to know them at least a little.  I have to admit too, that most people we met, we’ve grown to really like.

The downside to that is when a person dies, it really affects you.   You miss that person, you’ve lost that person, it’s never going to be the same not seeing them again.

It’s happened four times now.  In less than four years.  Yesterday morning when I was crying over Val’s death, I told Howard that it’s just too traumatic and I wasn’t sure I could handle it anymore.  All this death;  at close  distances, with people we know and like.  I talked to Val everyday.  Sold her a Large Slush Puppy daily when she got off work and she and I would talk about what was going on in our lives.  There was a time when she opened up to me in the store after losing her temper with her boyfriend.  We talked a long time about depression and anxiety.  I wouldn’t say we were close friends by any means but we were always kind to each other and I’m sad that she’s dead.

I can’t get my last image of her out of my head.  Just like I can’t shake Roger’s, or James’, or Richard’s.  Everytime I saw them last, they were in the store.   I looked them in the eyes.  And we all parted on good terms.  I’m happy about that.

But I’m sad that I’m in a job that puts me in that position so much.

I also understand that when I’m nursing, I will face death everyday.  Howard, even while holding me and comforting me yesterday, asked how I was going to handle it when my patients died, if I couldn’t handle all the trauma of loss on a small scale.

I explained that it would be more anonymous thus affecting me less.  That’s not to say that I’m heartless and I won’t be affected when I lose a patient but I most of them, more than likely, I will have never met.  I won’t know if they like raspberry slush puppies, how they sound when they laugh, if they talk with a lisp when they say my name, or if they love their dog.  I won’t know that and it will allow me to be less traumatized by it all.

I guess I could try to put a positive spin on it and be grateful that I did know these people.  That I allowed them to touch my life and get into my heart.  I do recognize that without pain there would be no compassion.

I guess I should be happy that I am so affected.  But it doesn’t make it hurt any less.

Jan 11

We lost another life this morning. A 38 year old woman who was our neighbor, our customer, who just yesterday, I stood with in the store and laughed about how this year really just sucked so far, was killed in a snowmachine accident. My last words to her were “See ya Val!” Thinking that naturally I would.

But in an instant she was gone. Leaving behind 4 daughters who range in the age of 6 to 17. Daughters she loved and cared for very much and who loved her right back. Also leaving behind two brothers and three sisters and her mom and dad.

And suddenly, my problems aren’t so bad anymore. I’ve got the air in my lungs, my good health, I am alive.

And I am humbled and grateful and sad at the same time.

Today was Howard’s birthday and he’s been deeply saddened instead of happy to have lived another year. But I’m glad I’m married to such a sweet man. A man who held me when I finally did break down and cry this morning. For all I am grateful for. For those babies who lost their mother. For a husband who cares enough to be sad too.

Happy Birthday my dear, amazing, husband.

And Rest in Peace Valkyrie.

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