Jan 29

She stood ready to serve in her red smock and khakis, laughing to herself at how grocery store clerk uniforms just aren’t flattering at all. She couldn’t believe she’d given up her holiday to work.

If only I’d screened my calls instead of actually picking up the phone…. she thought to herself as a customer rolled a full grocery cart toward her.

She made pleasantries with said customer and scanned the groceries with near blind efficiency. She’d done this a thousand times before, with different customers of course, but it really was all the same.

Wasn’t it?

Until a stubborn lemon pie refused to scan. Over and over she went, turning it this way and that, laughing nervously, preparing herself for the inevitable broadcast of:

“Price check please!

Instead, she heard a voice pipe up somewhere further down her ever growing line of customers and say:

“It’s free!”

She raised her eyes with a dirty look of contempt meeting a face full of dimples, biceps wrapped tightly in a t-shirt with the words “ARMY” emblazoned across a sculpted chest and a smile full of brilliantly white teeth. He was standing just behind the lady buying the lemon pie. She exchanged the dirty look with a playful smirk as they held their gaze before she blushed, looked away, and went back to her customer.

Oh, he is cute..” she thought to herself.

The Lemon Pie debacle was solved, in short order, and she was soon face to face with this adorable stranger. She rang up his purchase and asked him if there would be anything else.

“Your phone number would be nice…” he said through his smile. If he hadn’t looked slightly embarassed saying it…she’d have laughed in his face at such a cheesy line…
Instead, she smiled back, playing coy, really doing flip flops on the inside. She said nothing, took his money, completed the transaction and in a split second decision, flipped his receipt over to the backside and jotted down her name and phone number.

She handed it over and he thanked her. He told her he was on his way out of town for the weekend but would call her on Monday.
“By the way, my name is Alan”….she thought she heard him say as she watched an equally sculpted backside walk out the automatic sliding doors.
She stood at her register, smiled to herself, and out of nowhere; pictured herself married to the man she’d just given her phone number to. She put the weird premonition out of her head, chalked up the experience to a harmless flirtation, convinced herself he’d never call, forgot about him, and had a fun weekend with her friends.

On Monday, he called, just like he said he would and clarified something for her after she seemed a bit confused.

His name wasn’t Alan. It was Howard. She’d just misunderstood him.

“Must have been that sculpted backside distracting her…” she daydreamed, while standing over a sink full of dirty dishes and sudsy water….just before she felt her husband’s hands slipping around her waist from behind…kissing her softly on her neck, in just the spot she loves, pulling her out of her reminiscent reverie.

She turned and he enveloped her in his arms, she wrapped her arms around him and returned the embrace.

Burying her face in his warm neck, she thanked God for Lemon Pies, his making her work on a holiday, and for proving that premonition right.

Jan 25

I just read this and teared up.

Only five minutes before that, Howard and I stood in the bedroom hugging each other and laughed because our 3 year old dog, Pepper, and our 15 year old dog, Lucky, were frantically trying to get between us for some love too. Howard and I wrapped our arms around them both and we had a group hug. Then we scooped up the kitty who was meowing and gave her a good squeeze as well.

I don’t understand why people get animals and then refuse to take care of them.

It just breaks my heart. If you don’t like animals, don’t own one. It’s just that simple, people.

Jan 24

This entry from Dooce’s site is hilarious and not unlike a lot of couples, especially Howard and myself.

Howard and I love to travel, as you longtime readers know. We love road trips and plane trips alike. We enjoy it and often bring home great stories after it’s all said and done.

What most of you don’t hear or read about are the screaming matches usually done in the preparation process.

Especially if we’re packing things in the car or checking in at an airline. And oh my God, map reading.

I’m fairly certain that the people at the PenAir counter in Anchorage gird their loins when they see me or Howard hauling our gear to fly back to our village because usually there is visual steam coming from our ears and noses and we’re flinging expletives at each other and calling each other every horrible thing you can think of; perpetuating the redneck stereotype that we already face by being southern transplants. Then it’s all:

“Good morning, we’re checking in” through forced smiles at the poor ticket counter attendant.

We’ve threatened death and divorce on many occasions.

Like the one time we were driving around in Manhattan and I was reading the map. A goddamn AAA atlas that clearly left out a few streets, namely the one we happened to be looking for.

Of course, Howard was driving and just knew that I didn’t know how to read a map.

We were screaming at each other and I told him I hated him and wanted a fucking divorce.

And you know I was smug as hell when we pulled over, he looked at the map, and saw that I was indeed right and apparently DID know how to decipher a map.

An hour later, we were laughing about it over brunch, attributing most of our nasty words and verbal mud slinging to hunger. We apologized, and walked arm in arm all over Manhattan that day without an angry word between us.

I’d lay bets that most couples go through the same thing in different situations and if you don’t, well, here’s your fucking medal. Not all of us are perfect.*grins*

What I do love about it is that five minutes afterwards, we’re over it. There’s no pouting, no grudges, no “oh honey, you hurt my feelings…waaah.” We do apologize to each other and then it’s done. I love that we’re comfortable and secure enough with each other to know that we really don’t want a divorce and really don’t want kill each other. It’s just how we are, it’s how we cope and just get it all out. In the end, there’s no resentment and no pent up emotions.

We also make sure the guns and any items that can be flung hard enough to cause bodily injury are well out of reach. It would just be awkward to try and get over, especially if one of us has a broom shoved up our ass.

Jan 20

While watching a movie…

Chrissy:  That’s just sleazy, screwing the boss.

Howard:  Don’t be so judgmental.

Chrissy:  Well, it is.

Howard:  Oh really?  Well, I was screwing the boss for the past five years….

Chrissy:  You have a point, dear.

Jan 19

Thursday morning, I made the mistake of telling Dusty, in front of another co-worker, that I was sorry I didn’t call him back the night before…and that I’d talk to him about it later.

Right after that conversation, that co-worker, shut the door on the office we share and told me to spill my guts.  She said she could tell something was eating at me and that we weren’t going to leave the office until I let it all out.

So I did.  Or as much as I could form into words.

It was therapeutic and scary at the same time.  My thoughts and experiences are shared with only a select few.  But she was seeing me in a patient/provider capacity so I took the opportunity and ran with it.

Afterwards, I felt drained yet anxious.  Anxious that this co-worker would now somehow look at me differently and drained because of everything I’d just told her.

A few minutes later, she asked to take my blood pressure.  I told her no problem as my blood pressure is always normal and the only time it’s elevated is when I’ve had caffeine.

She took it twice and then had our other provider take it.  It was 190 over 110.

I nearly fainted and then burst into tears because having blood pressure that high is just downright scary.

Both providers explained that it was due in large part to my anxiety.  They immediately called the boss into the room, and asked that he send me home.

“Go home, get into bed, relax, that’s an order.”

So that’s what I did.  Yesterday, I returned to work with a near normal blood pressure with one exception.  My diastolic was still a little elevated which indicates that it’s probably been that way for a while.  She again, explained that it was probably due to my anxiety.

I decided then and there that I will no try to “cope” on my own anymore.  My mental state is now greatly affecting my physical state and I’m putting my foot down.  After all, mental wellness is one of the things I want to strive for in 2008.

While I was lying in bed watching another episode of my beloved and now defunct “Six Feet Under”…a scene from the final episode of season 4 resonated with me.  In fact, it could resonate with anyone who’s been through a painful or traumatic experience and is having trouble moving past it.  The dialogue is between David and his dead father’s ghost who often visits his wife and children to dole out antecdotes beyond the grave.  I’ll end this post with the scenario.  Because I hope it really is that simple.

Nathaniel: “You were brave to face him.”


David: “Not really there was a guard.”


Nathaniel: “Doesn’t matter. I’m proud of you.”


David: “I thought it would set me free but it didn’t change anything, except now I know he really is insane.”


Nathaniel: “You’re missing the point.”


David: “There is no point, that’s the point. Isn’t it?”


Nathaniel: “Don’t give me this phony existential bullshit, I expect better from you. The point’s right in front of your face.”


David: “Well I’m sorry but I don’t see it.”


Nathaniel: “You’re not even grateful, are you?”


David: “Grateful? For the worst fucking experience of my life?”


Nathaniel: “You hang on to your pain like it means something, like it’s worth something, well let me tell you it’s not worth shit, let it go. Infinite possibilities and all he can do is whine.”


David: “Well what am I supposed to do?”


Nathaniel: “What do you think?! You can do anything you want you lucky bastard! You’re alive! What’s a little pain compared to that?”


David: “It can’t be so simple.”


Nathaniel: “What if it is?”

Jan 14

Last night while watching The Amazing Race….one half of the team we can’t stand (the ones who were eliminated..woo hoo!)..were in Taiwan and this is exactly what the guy said:

“I don’t know much about Taiwan except that I really like Thai food.”

Howard and I looked at each other, smiled, and I said:

“Oh no, he did NOT!”

Howard replied:

“Oh yes, yes he did.”

Dumbasses like that deserve to be eliminated.

Jan 14

I don’t often speak of my childhood, especially if it concerns my father.

Most of you know that I am estranged from him, and for good reason. I had to make a conscious decision to end our relationship long ago until he could own up to certain responsibilities. I was tired of carrying his guilt.

Sad as it is, I’ve been a happier person because of it; but I’d also be lying if I said a part of me didn’t miss him.

Well-maybe not him-but I miss those few times when he acted like a parent and I was actually a happy child around him.

Consequently, I’ve also lost touch with much of his side of the family. I do keep in touch with one cousin and I occasionally get Christmas cards from an aunt and uncle.

In August, my cousin and I had a long conversation, and many revelations came out. It was therapeutic and traumatic at the same time.

Truth is? My life hasn’t been the same in the months since. In addition to my autumn blues, I’ve carried these revelations around with me. They haunt my dreams and my thoughts all take a back burner to them. It’s downright distracting, and I’m not at all comfortable with it. I’ve had a barrage of negative emotions wanting to spew out, but I keep it together.

Today, on my lunch break, I went to check my mailbox and found a thick envelope addressed to me with the return address of my aunt and uncle on my father’s side. An aunt and uncle who, when I was a child, protected and rescued me and my sister from some bad situations in our house. An aunt and uncle who, though they haven’t seen or spoken to me in over ten years, always say how much they love me in a Christmas card.

I rushed home, held the envelope in my hands, prepared myself for “anything” and peeled open the package. Inside was a card telling me how much they missed me, wished me and my husband well, and how they hoped to see me the next time we were in North Carolina.

In addition, there was a small pink photo album. I expected to see pictures of all the cousins I’d never met, maybe even a recent picture of my father….

What I didn’t expect to see were pictures of me…and my sister…when we were small children.

There were photos of us with our father, with our mother, with my paternal grandparents, with the two of them (my aunt and uncle), and with my cousins.

We were so tiny…..me with my strawberry blond hair and my buster browns….my sister with her platinum blond locks and her buster browns, our facial expressions varied, our attire reflected the era of polyester.

Most of all, we looked like happy children.

Happy. Me. As a child.

It’s funny how my own perception of my childhood varies greatly from what an outsider might have seen.

A little girl beaming beside her kneeling father in his military uniform, her arm around him, her younger sister (me) standing in front of them, clutching a teddy bear, also smiling.

A little girl (me) curled up in her paternal grandfather’s lap, a huge grin splitting her face.

Two little girls smiling, sitting beside their mother, who looks distracted and annoyed, showing no affection whatsoever but the girls look un-bothered by it. (my mother was a very unhappy woman in those days)

Mainly, I see two little girls who actually knew happiness for a few moments even if it was just for a photograph.

I cried thumbing through it, studying the photos, looking at them over and over again, running my finger over the one of me and my grandfather (he died shortly after the photo was taken). I especially cried over the one of my father with me and my sister. I do believe it is the only photo with just the three of us. He and my mother were each single parents, having divorced by the time I was 3 years old and my sister was nearly 7.

At one time, it seemed they were handling the burdens of single parenthood with relative ease.

Those pictures were before my sister and I were betrayed and abandoned. Before our innocence was shaken loose and tossed to sea.

My tears were bittersweet. Bitter because I knew that not long after those photos were taken, our hell would really begin and would not end for a long time. Not long after those photos, our father would all but forget about me and my sister, and would only return to wreak havoc in our already shaky, unstable world, whenever he chose.

But they were also sweet. Because dammit, my father was a good father at one time. My sister and I clearly were proud to be his daughters. We loved him and believed in him. Put all of our trust in him as our protector.
I told myself I had to hold on to that. Because it really is all I have now. That photo album helped a wound begin to scab over for me. It helped me begin to walk away from the thoughts that have haunted me since that day in August. Have really haunted me all my life.

Because I saw happiness and joy somewhere in those eyes.

Jan 12

I haven’t really elaborated on my job very much because honestly, I’m still in transition and it’s only been a month.

However…..

I can say right now that my co-workers are some of the best I’ve ever worked with.  We’re all pretty comfortable and happy around each other.

My boss, especially, is one of the best as well.  He’s one of those types of bosses that takes time out of his day and asks each one of us how we’re doing…how we’re feeling about things, etc.  He’s very supportive (without being a pushover) and it almost feels foreign coming from a company that only wanted to pull things out of you and give you minimal in return.

I am very very happy to be in this line of work.  I can say that every patient encounter leaves me with a great sense of fulfillment.

The biggest testament is having three different patients tell me how “happy and relaxed” I look.  I had no idea I looked so stressed out at my other job…but those statements speak volumes.

Thursday, a co-worker and I got to fly to a nearby village to do clinical services there.  We flew out in the morning and flew back that very afternoon.  It’s one of the villages I used to service when I ran the store, and it was amusing to see the confusion on people’s faces when I got off the plane.  When I told them about my job transition, they were genuinely happy for me.

That felt good.

Sure, it’s stressful.  I’ve got A LOT to learn.  I feel the pressure every single day.  Sometimes I even question whether or not, I have the ability to ultimately accomplish everything this new position requires.  My co-workers, my mentor, and my boss assures me I can.  And deep down, I know that too.

Jan 11
Happy Birthday Howard, my sweet husband!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Don’t worry, I won’t reveal your age) Just know that I love you and I hope you receive all the happiness you deserve. I think I can safely say that this year’s birthday will definitely be better than last year’s. Heck (knock on wood) we’ve even got running water this year! Woo hoo!!!!!!!! You’re getting a steak dinner tonight!
Jan 9

Howard wrote a little piece on his private blog (meaning only very privileged people get to actually read it)….and was no doubt, inspired by my constant nagging regarding his lack of editing his writing.

Now we all know that I’m not the best at grammar and punctuation but let me throw just a few small stones here.

I do always go back and check my work given I have the time to do so.  In fact, I’ll scroll through my blog on a daily basis and edit old posts if I can.

Howard really is a wonderful writer.  But his lack of editing drives me nuts.  He just writes out his thoughts and hits publish.  I love that he’s comfortable doing that.  I don’t, however, enjoy actually reading his pieces because of it.  In fact, I’m distracted because I begin editing in my mind, immediately. (remember fellow high school friends how I wanted to be an editor at Simon and Schuster or Doubleday and live in Manhattan?
Ohmigod! *rolls eyes*)

Again though, he couldn’t care less because his writing his more for him than anyone else.  We often have debates about this.  My editing drives him nuts, his lack of editing drives me nuts.  Gah.  Luckily, we meet somewhere in the middle.  Most of the time.  Okay about half the time.  Oh alright almost never.  This will always be a bone of contention between the two of us.

I guess it could be worse.

Anywho.  I thought I’d share his piece with you because it’s really funny and I know that Ben and Kristen will get a big kick out of it because he also talks about learning to kill people.  (Tell ‘em Chrissy!)

Enjoy!

Title:  Mispeling

I want anyone reading this blog to know one thing…I spele tings wron alot of the tim.  Some of the problem is the fact that I hunt and peck at the keyboard at a pretty fast pace.  Another problem is that I do not check over my work …I just spost it.  Hell, I ain’t here to win no awards!

The biggest problem is that I am not an English major.  My degree was in History.  Now I know that I had to have some mastery of the English language in order to make my way to a degree: however, without self editing and the editing of Chrissy, I would have had a hard time accomplishing the degree thing.

Believe it or not when I actually think of what I write, I do rather well.  Hell, in the Army I scored the highest one can score on the Nelson/Denny(?) Test.  I scored at the first year graduate level. 

That brings me to a funny story.  In 1988 I went through the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course.  In between learning the newest and bestest ways to kill people, we were also schooled in effective resding  and writing.  During this part of our military education, we were given daily drills and homework assignments.  The final test of our mastery of English was a research paper.

Now, I have allredy told you that I can reed and writ pretty gud write?  I never recieved a grade below a 90 during the course.

I had a topic in mind for the paper, but I am the worlds worst procrastinator.  I put off the writing until the last minute.  I forgot, until the day it was due, to write the paper.  I had not even writen the draft.  I did all of the other prep work…outlines, research, etc…I just never wrote the damn thing.

I did not even try to turn it in late.  It was not worth many points in the scheme of things, so I blew it off. 

Let me clarify.  We had a total of 1,000 points that we could score during the school.  We only needed 750 points to pass.  There were some things that we had to pass regardless ( land navigation, physical training test, rifle marksmanship, etc) in order to graduate.  The reading and writing part was simply another class.  They figured we were all college graduates anyway, so most of the teachings were refreshers. 

That part of being a college graduate was not true in all cases.  I dropped out of college 2 years after I was commissioned.  I was the only officer I ever knew (does not mean there were not others) that was not a college graduate.

A few weeks later the Colonel (full bird for you military types) came in to hand back our papers.  Of course, he had nothing for me and made a point of mentioning it to me.  I gave with the best response I could think of…Hell sir, I turned one in.  He told me that is was probably misplaced and asked me to come to his office latter that day. 

I knew he would not find a paper, but I went anyway.  I reported as ordered, and the Colonel came in to inform me that he could not find my paper.  He said he looked everywhere, but could not find it.  He said that he did have a grade for me, though.  He said that he read it and it was pretty good,b ut not up to my previous work (no shit!  I never wrote it), so he gave me an 85% on my efforts.  I guess he felt bad for losing my paper.

His statement put me in a quandry.  Should I ask wy an 85% when all other grades were above 90%?  Or should I say nothing?  I kept my pie hole closed,  of course. 

That was the best grade I ever recieved for work I never did!

 

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