Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Blogger. Aspiring writer. Smartass. Sometimes I say funny things.

Umm…there’s no prize or anything


Let me just start this off with a healthy dose of honesty – I am FULL of awesome ideas. But every once in a while, I pull one out of the ol’ bad idea box and run with it. Those are the ones that usually seem like great ideas at the time, and only reveal their crappiness at a later date.

To better understand this particular story, I should give a little bit of a background here. My sister and I are like two peas in a pod. And our dad was the third pea. The three of us were so much alike in our personalities, our sense of humor, the way we would tease each other. So when his last birthday came around – our first without him – we felt we needed to do something together…something special.

I took the day off work, and we started out eating breakfast at a local diner – one that my family has eaten at for years, kind of a family favorite. At breakfast, we talked a little bit about what we thought we should do for the rest of the day. The goal was to just honor our dad on his birthday and try not to start crying.

We thought we’d get some balloons, write messages to dad on them, and release them down by the river. Simple enough, right? WRONG. There was a national shortage of helium (seriously), so finding helium-filled balloons proved to be not such an easy task. On our third trip to a store trying to find helium, we found some pre-filled mylar foil balloons – one that said “happy birthday” and the other was just a smiley face. Alright, fine. That’s just going to have to do.

As we were looking around the store, we stumbled across this package of yellow rubber ducks. One big one, and two smaller ones. GENIUS!! The big one is dad, and the two smaller ones are US! Omigosh, it’s PERFECT! So we got the two balloons, the package of rubber ducks, a black sharpie, party hats and a 2-pack of Butterfinger candy bars – dad’s favorite – and we headed on down to the river.

To help you paint a mental picture, we drove separately down to the river and parked right along the edge and I got into my sister’s car. Lucky us, we pulled up next to some old dude in a truck who didn’t really try to hide the “WTF?” expression on his face as we took turns with the sharpie, writing the messages on our balloons, going back and forth from tears to laughter. We had the windows rolled partially down, and his were completely down, so he really had a front seat to our little freak show.

I decided to have a little fun with things, so I took the rubber ducks out and started drawing on them. I drew broken hearts on the chests of the two little ones (obviously), and wrote my and my sister’s names on the bottom. Then, I drew my dad’s trademark necklace, his two tattoos, an earring, and hair on the big duck. The resemblance was uncanny.

Then – in a stroke of genius – I had the best idea ever. (Me to my sister: “hey – let’s put ‘if found, please call [my phone #]’ on the ducks and the balloons to see how far they go!”) Ok. Fine. Maybe I’ve seen one too many “Message in a Bottle” type movies. Whatever. My thought at the time was that, say…if it traveled an hour away, NEXT year for dad’s birthday, we would do the same thing from wherever that location was, and so on an so forth. Y’know, kinda like a “grief around the world” type thing.

So… On two balloons and one of the ducks (the biggest), I wrote my phone number and “If found, please call”. We released the balloons, and after a very slow start, they were up, up, and away. The ducks, on the other hand, were little bastards. We took turns tossing ours into the water, and watched them float about 20 feet, and then they just kinda hugged and kissed the shoreline for a good ten minutes. We finally left with the notion that the river current would carry them further downstream.

I need to add something here so that you have a better idea of where this is going. I live in the Midwest, and one thing about us Midwesterners is that we LOVE us some festivals. Parades, food, carnival rides and craft shows all centered around some sort of theme – a flower, a gourd, a bird, etc. Some of these festivals kick off with some “treasure hunt” type shenanigans, which involves reading clues and hunting all over the city for this special object. Once found, the finder is given instructions to “call this number” to verify the authenticity of the object. The super sleuth who finds it is awarded with some very nice prizes – a cruise, goods and services from local businesses, etc. It’s a pretty big deal around here. And it just so happens that my dad’s birthday was one week after one of these festivals.

Fast-forward to a few days after my dad’s birthday. My phone rings. It’s a local number, but not one I’m familiar with. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (with TONS of enthusiasm) “Hi, yeah, I’m calling this number because I found this duck!”
Me: (thinking OMG, yay, it worked!) “yeah, where did you find it?”
Caller: (still enthusiastic) “It was floating in the river down by (MyTown) bridge, so I picked it up and called the number!”
Me: (well that SUCKS. That’s freaking EXACTLY where I put the little bastard in the water) <– and that’s actually exactly what I said to her.
….. LONG PAUSE …..
Me: “Uhhmmm…yeah…there’s no prize or anything, I’m sorry. We just—It was— We just wanted to see how far it would go.”
Caller: “Oh. Ok.” <– and it wasn’t cheerful, like “Oh. Ok. No biggie, thanks anyway” It was more like “Oh. Ok. EFF YOU AND YOUR STUPID SCIENCE PROJECT.”
POP! went her bubble. She probably would’ve punched me and spit in my eye if we were face to face.

At this point, I was half pissed, and half amused. I was pissed that the stupid rubber duck traveled a whopping ZERO FEET in three days, but super amused that this chick found the duck, bee-lined her ass to a phone and called the rubber ducky prize hotline, only to be met with “Uhhhmm…yeah, there’s no prize or anything.” What a dick move on my part, right?

So I told my sister about it. We laughed and agreed that dad was most certainly getting a kick out of all of this. End of story. –WRONG.

A few more days pass, and again, local phone number unknown to me, is calling my phone. I answer.

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (with TONS of enthusiasm) “Hi, yeah, I’m calling because I found this duck and it said to call this number!”
Me: (thinking to myself – you have GOT to be shitting me) “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. There’s actually not a prize or anything. It was something we did for my dad’s birthd—just never mind. I’m sorry. But, since you called, can I ask where you found it?”
Caller: “It was floating in the river down by (MyTown) bridge.”
Me: “Of course it was. Thanks for calling.”
She hung up on me.

Again – half pissed, half amused. PISSED because this meant that the first caller, probably in a fit of rage over not winning anything on the rubber ducky prize hotline, just launched that sucker right back into the river, probably cussing me the whole time….which set Caller #2 up for HER letdown. AMUSED because – well… for the very same reason.

I figured that this last chick – since she hung up on me – would just throw the duck in the garbage. Then again, I thought the first woman would have done the same thing. I was wrong on both counts.

So another several days pass. By this time, it’s been about two weeks since my dad’s birthday, and over a week since I heard from the last would-be rubber duck millionaire. So imagine my surprise when I received a call from a MAN that went a little something like this:

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (again with the enthusiasm right outta the gate) “Hey there, I found this duck floatin’ in the river and it had this phone number on it!”
Me: (Sigh with head-shaking)“Can I ask where you found it?”
Caller: “I found it in (MyTown) down at the (MyTown) bridge.”
Me: “Yeah…it’s been there for two weeks. It was just something we did to see how far it would go, but apparently it’s broken. I’m sorry…there’s not a prize or anything.”
Caller: “oh…” – Mr. Happy Pants has left the building and has been replaced with Mr. Pissy Pants.
Me: “Would you mind doing me a favor and just throw the thing in the garbage for me. Don’t throw it back in the river.”
Caller: “yeah.” —dial tone.

I have to believe he actually did throw it away, because I never heard from anyone else.

This whole thing had me so perturbed. I mean REALLY – can’t a girl just try out an awesome idea without it backfiring in her face by getting three total strangers pissed off at her? Can people not be so greedy? They call up all nice-y nice sweetie pie, and then one “I’m sorry, but there’s no prize or anything” and they turn into a-holes. I mean, these people were seriously…pissed…off. I’m sorry, but did someone sneak some writing onto the duck that said “If found please call this number TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE???” I think not. I didn’t promise anything. I just said “If found, please call”. I mean, it’s not like it was a briefcase or a bag of money floating. It was A RUBBER DUCK FLOATING IN WATER. That’s pretty much their sole purpose. And while I’m on that subject, can someone find me a damn rubber duck that might actually FLOAT? Is THAT too much to ask? Well, technically, I guess “floating” wasn’t really the issue. He actually really excelled at that particular area. But how about one that might actually flow with a current or something? I mean it was very early fall, so I know boats were still traveling through. You’d think some wake action might move the damn thing along. Nope. Not my duck. Mine was a stubborn little $h!t that apparently came with an anchor.

You had ONE JOB, rubber duck. ONE JOB.

But then I just couldn’t stop thinking of how awesome it would’ve been to actually SEE all of this. And the more I told about these people calling me thinking they’d won something and me shooting them down when I tried to explain what I thought was a great idea, the more I realized it really just needed to be told on a broader spectrum…because it’s just absolutely typical of things that only happen to me.

I think we can all take away a valuable lesson from all of this. Well, maybe two lessons. #1 – I’m putting my sister’s phone number on things from now on. #2 – Nicholas Sparks and Sting are both full of CRAP and they can just knock it off with their “Message in a Bottle” crappery that puts such stupid ideas and CRAP in the heads of sentimental fools like me. And again I say CRAP.

But all in all, I got exactly what I wanted – something that brought honor to my dad, and did so in a way that he would have LOVED. With each phone call when I was having to explain myself, hearing the “whammy” sounder in my head as I let these greedy bastards down, feeling dumber and dumber about my idea, I could hear his cackling laughter. I have no doubt that he orchestrated the whole thing. I don’t know what we’ll do for his next birthday, but I’m not sure anything else could have quite the “bite me in the ass” backfire effect that this did. But if it does…I’m sure you’ll hear about it.


2012 in review….not bad, considering my year.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Could you help me with this thing here? Yes, you.

I absolutely LOVE the Golden Girls. My twin cousins and I would spend every Saturday night with our Grandma, and we would all watch it together. Watching old episodes brings me almost as much comfort as my grandma’s hugs used to, or a comfy sweatshirt, or wearing my favorite faded black velvet pants with paint stains. They’re just plain comfortable.

If this linked correctly, it’s a clip from an episode where the ever-so-over-dramatic Blanche decides to write the world’s greatest novel. She comes dramatically out onto the “lenai” and professes to have writer’s block – something she claims to be the worst feeling in the world. I love Sophia’s banter about 10 days without a bowel movement being worse than that, but this clip leaves out the best part. Right after where this cuts off, Dorothy asks Blanche: “Well how much have you written?”
Blanche: “That’s just IT, I haven’t written A THING!”
Dorothy: “That’s not writer’s block, Blanche…otherwise WE ALL HAVE IT.”

I can’t explain it…but that episode just kills me. The sarcasm of Dorothy. The drama of Blanche. The outspoken Sophia. Rose just being…Rose. The truth in all of it. I love it.

In a roundabout way, I guess I’m trying to say that I have writer’s block, but not exactly like Blanche. I’ve got lots to write about, to talk about, to cry about, to smile about, to laugh about, to be mad and hurt about, to joke about, etc. –but I can’t just sit and do it. I want to. I need to. And I love to…but I just…(ahh…i hate saying it)….can’t.

I’ve stated in my few blogs since my father’s death, that I fear if I start writing, I may not be able to stop. So I don’t know if that is what’s keeping me from it, or something else.

Do you ever feel like you’re on the verge of something…you don’t know what it is, good or bad, big or small…but you feel it…and you don’t know whether to jump and shout and leap tall buildings in a single bound, or go sit in the corner in your faded black velvet paint-stained pants and just sit quietly until someone comes and picks you up and says “hey, snap out of it”??

Yeah. Me too. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of all that.

I need your help, reader(s). (If there are any of you left.) Since I can’t get the words from my brain to the keyboard very well (or often), help me out. Whether you know me or not, new reader or followed since blog #1 – what would YOU like me to write about? I’m serious… Please comment and I will pick something from the comments to write about. If you know me, it should be easy for you. If you’re a complete stranger, better yet. Read some of my other stuff and ask questions. I need something to get my creative juices flowing again. (My REAL creative juices…not the pretend ones I keep boldly “pinning” like it’s my job.)

Help a sister out. I know I can write. Just help me through my version of writer’s block. I promise it’ll be honest and entertaining if nothing else.

Readers’ Choice.  Let’s do this.

Oh, and if my sister-in-law happens to read this, I’m still waiting on the Xanax casserole that was promised last Christmas. I’m starting to think that was just a bunch of talk.

Five Thirty-One Twelve

Since I started writing this blog, I’ve written about my funny dating stories, my trust issues, relationships, my quirkiness, funny, light-hearted stuff, etc.  I’ve even written about my mom.  But I haven’t written much about the first man I ever loved – the last man on earth that I trusted completely with my heart and my life…my dad.  I had started writing a piece about him a few months ago, but could never get it “just right” – so I never posted it.  Maybe it’s because the story wasn’t finished.


Sadly (and inconceivably), the only thing I’ve written since my last post has been my dad’s obituary and a speech for his funeral.  In a whirlwind of events that still seem unreal to me, my entire life – my entire family – changed forever.


This is the series of events that runs on a constant reel in my mind…


I talked to my dad on the phone on a Friday. It was a good conversation, ended with “I love you.” He and my mom spent the day together on Saturday. My mom sent me a picture of him teasing and laughing at her (being himself). They went for ice cream later that Saturday evening – my dad told my mom that it was just exactly what he wanted – hit the spot perfectly – the ice cream, and I suspect just the entire day with her as a whole. The next day, on Sunday, he told my mom he was running out to get a garage door opener. He was gone too long. The kind of too long where you start to get a little worried, which my mom was. The next thing we know, the local hospital was calling. He had been in a car accident (minor, thankfully) because he had suffered another stroke. (He had one in early April – minor in comparison). He was being air-lifted to another hospital with a team of neurosurgeons, and my mom had to get there by car – almost an hour and a half away (a trip I think she made in just about one hour).


 I got the phone call that he had had another stroke, and we had to wait and hear more details from my mom. The first time he had a stroke, my sister and I (daddy’s girls, through and through) dropped what we were doing and made the five-hour drive to be with him and my mom.  I was upset and scared by this news.  It had only been 6 weeks since his first stroke.  What did all of this mean? Was he just going to keep having strokes? What can they do about this, etc? I was trying to go with the “no news is good news” theory, but couldn’t convince myself.


Then, in a blur of events that I will never forget, my oldest brother called me and asked if I was home. “Yes”, I said. “Ok, well I’m outside, I’ll be up in a second, just come to the door” – This. Was. Bad. And I knew it.  I started shaking and answered the door to him and my sister-in-law, walked them upstairs and tried to play the “so, what’s up?” card, trying to pretend this was just a surprise visit to say hello. Instead, his exact words were “…our family is f*cked. Dad is on life support, and there is nothing they can do. The brain damage is really bad, and even if they did surgery, it still wouldn’t help…so we have to go there and say our goodbyes and let him go. You’re coming with me and we’re going. Now.”


After collapsing into a puddle of tears and screams, I grabbed some of my things, made arrangements for my girls, and we were on our way there – an agonizingly long drive when you NEED to get there, like, yesterday.  By the very late hours of that night/wee hours of the morning, all five of us kids and most of the spouses and grandkids were there with our mom to say goodbye and let our dad go. We each had some time alone in the room with him, saying everything we wanted and needed to say – if that’s even possible.


Then, the team of doctors came in and were asking my dad to squeeze their hand, checking his pupils, etc. and he was responding. I don’t care how bad the prognosis is…when your loved one is responding to the doctors’ and your own requests for a hand squeeze or a thumbs up, taking them off life support is no longer an option. Period.


There was talk of which side of the brain was involved, etc. and we learned that because my dad was left-handed (meaning he was right-brain-dominant), there might be a little glimmer of hope.  The right side of his body was affected by the stroke (as the stroke had started in the LEFT brain – not his dominant side).  We could deal with a long road ahead of us, as long as we had him, and he had a good quality of life. But we wouldn’t know anything until the brain swelling went down. And so, the next few days were a cruel emotional roller coaster of hopes being built up and torn down over and over again. We were told he was somewhat stable and this would be a long road, so on the 4th day, I was planning to head back home so I could get my girls ready and be with them for their dance recital, which was a 3-night event.  So that morning, we headed up to the hospital to see him before I left, and the doctor met us and wanted to talk to all of us as a family. There’s that sick feeling again.  


In a private conference room, they told us that the swelling in my dad’s brain was getting worse and beginning to shift the entire brain. To have ANY chance of survival at all, they needed to do surgery to remove half of his skull to allow the brain to swell without damaging itself any further. And they needed an answer quickly, as in minutes. It was an extremely risky procedure on an extremely compromised person. They laid out – in no uncertain terms – what our options and likely outcomes were. And all of them SUCKED. We asked each of these doctors – off the record – this is not your patient, this is YOUR DAD – what would you do? And every one of them had the same answer. They would not put him through this surgery, under the circumstances, with the likely outcomes. They would let him go.  Despite the rapport we had developed with them over the past few days, I suddenly hated every single one of those doctors. And their options.  


As someone who used to be a respiratory therapist, I knew what was about to take place. I knew that he would be taken off the ventilator and made as comfortable as possible until the end. I knew that it could happen very quickly, or that he could last several hours, even days. At that point, my prayers changed. They were no longer selfish. My prayers of “please save my dad” became “please take my dad…and end his suffering…and help us all through this.” I remember laying in a reclining chair in his ICU room, staring at him, wondering if he was scared, if he could hear our last words, our cries, our pleas, our prayers. I was actually sitting there trying to telepathically get inside his head and speak to his innermost self – “daddy…can you hear me? It’s ok to go now…” I took pictures of his hand in mine, pictures of his tattoos.


For the next 8 hours or so, we stayed by his side until he passed away at 8:31 p.m. on May 31, 2012.  FIVE. THIRTY-ONE. TWELVE. Numbers that I will never forget.

The world lost a one-of-a-kind man. My mom lost her best friend and soul mate. My kids lost their funny, silly grandpa. My siblings and I lost the best father we could ever ask for.


I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the number or days I haven’t cried since that day.  And I can tell you that, on the days that I DON’T cry, I feel guilty at the end of the day. Guilty for not crying, as if my tears are what keeps me connected to him. I know better than that. I had a very strong connection with my dad. And I know, as if I can hear him saying it out loud, that he would be furious at how upset I am, at how often I cry, scream, fall to my knees, think to myself that I just…can’t…do…this.  


I’ve read about the stages of grief (some sources say there are 5, some say there are 7). Either way, I’ve cycled through all of them and back again – sometimes all in the same day.


SHOCK & DENIAL:    Yep. I can recall every sordid detail about the hospital – the smells, the tile pattern on the floor, the way my dad’s skin felt. I can recall people who brought food to the house, or just stopped by to offer condolences – friends of my dad – grown men – crying. I remember seeing and hugging certain people at the visitation – remember how someone smelled – their perfume or aftershave, what someone was wearing, etc. I can recall everything. But there are many, many times when I have to stop what I’m doing and actually CONSCIOUSLY convince myself that it was all real. And then I tell myself “there’s just no way…”


PAIN & GUILT:   This is self explanatory.  The pain is nothing short of unbearable at times, and comes out of nowhere at any place, any time. God bless the WalMart check-out clerk who hurried me through with my groceries the other day as best she could because we had a moment of eye contact which must have conveyed my need to get the hell out of there ASAP because I was about to completely lose it.

Guilt over all the times I “should’ve” but didn’t.


ANGER & BARGAINING:    The anger part – definitely. I’m so horribly angry. I’m angry about so much…and it’s more than just losing my dad.  It’s as if it set off a domino effect, going back to some of my earliest memories, and falling down piece by piece through different events in my life. Simply put, I am pissed. I have no other way to express it. And I know others around me – those closest to me – are suffering for it. I am quick-tempered (more so than my usual feisty self). I scolded my girls for something that was really nothing more than little girls annoying their sister, and my youngest said “gee, mommy…why are you so mad?” – and I completely lost it, and told them I was mad because my dad died and there is nothing I can do about it. I’ve had to reassure them that my anger is not at them, it’s just because mommy is so sad over losing their papaw.


DEPRESSION/REFLECTION/LONELINESS:    YES, YES, and YES. At times, I have not answered or returned calls or text messages from friends. I have declined invitations to go do things. I think I have even seen people that I know out in public, but I walk around in such a fog most of the time that it doesn’t hit me until later (after the moment has passed) that I just saw someone I know and I didn’t speak. Anyone who knows me knows that is NOT ME.  I avoid going certain places because I just know I will run into someone and it will come up in conversation.  Oddly enough, I WANT to talk about my dad, but on MY terms, if that makes any sense. So, if you are reading this and you are one of those friends – I apologize.  I am so very sorry.  Please know it is nothing personal.  Your sentiments are felt and appreciated more than you know, but more often than not, I just find myself thinking “I just can’t…not right now…”


THE UPWARD TURN:   This is supposed to be when life becomes a little calmer and more organized and depression lessens a bit. *If I have been through this stage, it was for a nano-second.


RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH:    This is supposed to be when your mind starts working again and you can come up with realistic solutions to life’s problems.  Currently, I find myself unable to come up with solutions to some minor issues.  Everything seems monumental to me. For instance, the transmission in my car went out this week. The car used to be my dad’s. That plus the fact that I am a single, working mom without a car right now plus everything else equals me inching closer to my breaking point. I can’t come up with a good solution. You know why? Because this is one of those times when I would pick up the phone, call my dad, and he would have a solution. And I can’t do that. And so, yes, it’s just a car…but it’s so much more. This probably doesn’t make sense to most people reading this, but it’s all I got.


And lastly – ACCEPTANCE & HOPE:   Accepting and dealing with the reality of what has happened.  Again, my time in this stage has been miniscule – tiny stitches in time – and usually sends me right back to the beginning of the cycle.


I know my life will never be the same, and neither will my family. Ever. This is the most profound loss I have ever experienced – that my family has ever experienced.  I find some comfort in a few things – wonderful memories, knowing he is no longer suffering, knowing I will see him again one day. I have some of my dad’s ashes, some of his cologne. I can close my eyes and smell it and imagine myself hugging him and smelling that.  I find comfort in seeing dragonflies after a dear friend shared a wonderful story with me about “waterbugs and dragonflies” You should google the story.  If I knew how to add links here, I would.  It comes from a book about explaining death to children, and is a wonderful story that I still can’t tell out loud without crying. Maybe I will try to post it here in the next day or two.  


Whether this is the first time you’ve read my blog or you’ve read them all – I hope you take something away from this.  Life is uncertain.  Say “I love you”.  Use the good dishes on a Tuesday night.  Go get some ice cream and enjoy it like a kid. *Quick funny story:  speaking of the ice cream, I spent two days in a row eating a chocolate ice cream cone – dad’s favorite – sitting in my car down by the river at lunch time, SOBBING. I mean all-out blubbering sobs. There was a guy in a truck parked next to me who must have thought I was some kind of psycho – licking the ice cream cone, tears just streaming down my face. Sad, but still funny to me. Something only I would do…TWICE.  


The funny, witty, sarcastic girl is very much still here.  She is just under layers and layers of grief, anger, despair, disbelief, and sadness right now.  But so much of my humor and wit came from my dad, so I feel I would be dishonoring him if I stopped writing.  He wrote a lot, too. I intend to do more of it, and I may even share something he wrote once just for me. I can’t guarantee my writing is going to be all Wheat Thins and Catman Don’t any time soon, because I have a lot of things I need/want to get out, but I still remember how to laugh and tell a story. I learned from one of the best.    

Starting Over and Stopping.

I’m going to apologize now for the (very uncharacteristic) serious tone of this particular post, and for the delay since my last post.  This one has been in the works for a couple weeks.  I promise the next one will be more like my usual comedic self. So, without further ado…

I was reminded recently by my 8 year old daughter just how simple love really is, or rather, should be.  With timing that couldn’t have been more perfect, she gave me a little handmade card that said “I love you” on the front, and on the inside, it said “I love you because…” and she put the following: “you help me get through problems, you make supper, and you love me.” Nowhere in there did it say “because you buy me cool things and take me places all the time” – just the basic needs:  kindness, food, and love.

Do you even remember when it was that simple? When it used to be as easy as “Do you like me? Check yes or no.” When people said “I love you” – and meant it, in every sense of the word.  A time long before a rampant divorce rate. Long before social media. Long before societal pressures reached a fever pitch. I’m talking about way back when…like when your grandparents fell in love, and even though they went through some really awful times, they stayed together, no matter what, until the day they died.

Somewhere between the innocence of an 8 year old and becoming an adult, we (grown-ups, collectively) have royally screwed things up when it comes to love and relationships.

When you break it down to its simplest form, the basic needs haven’t really changed. We all need a little kindness – both to have it and show it to others, and to receive it from others.  We all need “food” – as in, “to be fed” – to have every part of our being taken care of.  To be fed emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, professionally, etc.   And we all need LOVE. Plain and simple.

So how did it get so damn complicated?  Why is it so hard for two human beings to make it work? Do we get caught up in infatuation and idealism? Do we expect too much? Do we put too much pressure on each other? Do we get strangled by envy? By selfishness? Are we consistently fooled by the proverbial “grass is greener on the other side” syndrome?  Do we just give up too easily?

I think it’s all of the above.

As a woman who’s been through a divorce with young children involved, I speak from the heart when I say there have been times in my life over the last few years when I honest-to-God thought that the heartache just might do me in.  I’ve dropped to my knees in utter despair, cried until I gagged, thrown my fists up in anger as I cried and screamed through clenched teeth, re-lived every second of my failed marriage to try and find an answer for what happened, cried to my mother/sister/best friend that I just didn’t think I could survive it. It was the worst heartache I have ever been through. And mine wasn’t just an “over and done” type of pain. It was a long, drawn-out, holding on out of desperation – kind of pain. The kind that leaves scars.

I tried to limit my heartache to when my girls weren’t with me, and keep it together when they were around, but when the waves of emotion come, sometimes you just have to ride them.  I recall one particular night when everything just got the best of me all day long, all week long, and culminated with a gallon of milk dropped on the floor only to splatter all over every square inch of my little apartment kitchen.  I was literally crying over spilled milk…and a failed marriage, and feeling sad for my girls to have to go through all this, and feeling broken and alone and exhausted in every sense of the word.  Once I got the milk cleaned up, I just collapsed in a heap of sobs and was consoled – in the very same tender, loving, motherly manner in which I do them – by my two young daughters. 

That was a sort of wake-up call for me.  I told myself then and there that I would never allow them to see me that upset ever again – at least not if I could help it. And certainly not when a man was the source of my hurt.

I know that pain and heartache is not unique to me.  It is universal.  And no matter the source of the pain and heartache, the thought of making yourself vulnerable to ever being put through the same situation again is nothing short of terrifying. Becoming serious with someone new is hard.  It’s hard not to think they are going to do the same crap to you that the one before them did.  It’s hard not to group them into the same categories that everyone before them has been grouped into.  Starting over is hard and it sucks. But it’s a necessary part of living and growing.

I certainly have said “never again” more times than I care to discuss — I’ll never let someone in my heart like that again. I’ll never trust someone like that again. I’ll never believe another man.  If this relationship fails, I’m done for good, I swear it. I will never do it again. Ever.  I say that, but I know myself too well, and know that I won’t actually give up on finding the right person for me. I like the good parts of an honest, healthy relationship far too much to say “never again” and actually mean it.

Often times, when I am at my lowest of lows as far as loneliness, it’s usually in a crowded room full of people – surrounded by people, but not that ONE who just gets me. The one who knows what makes me tick, and can read my face from across that crowded room – and either shoot me a wink and a smile that speaks volumes, or know from my expression that it is time to wrap things up so we can go home. The one that looks at me across the room and just feels content in the idea of me being his girl – whatever that means. The one who would walk across that crowded room just to give me a kiss on my forehead. The one that I can trust – trust with my heart, trust with my mind, trust to let into my life – and know that, no matter what the day brings each of us, at the end of it, I can rest assured in the fact that I’m the only woman he wants to be with, and that he cares what I do and how I feel.  And vice versa. I don’t want someone perfect.  I want someone perfect FOR ME.   

I’m not foolish enough to think that available men my age aren’t going to have some of the very same wounds I have. Most are going to be divorced, and from what I have observed in the men I’ve dated or talked to, a large number of them were cheated on.  That wasn’t an issue in my marriage, but I have experienced it in my dating life. And I absolutely hate – no, I detest – that feeling.  The feeling when you first find out about it.  And then every time you think about it afterward (and get re-pissed, re-hurt).  Even if it happens before the relationship has been clearly “defined”.  It still hurts. It takes awhile to come back from that. But WANTING to come back from that is key to being successful at it.  If you want to move past it, you will.  But it may take time.

If you’re wondering what my point is, don’t feel bad – I’m wondering the same thing.  I know what’s in my heart and my head, but sometimes, getting it all to come out of my fingertips onto this keyboard is difficult to do.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that we all just need to STOP.  Stop over-complicating everything.  Stop taking people and things for granted.  STOP passing up something or someone really great because we think it might be just a teensy bit better on the other side.  I’m not saying we need to become stagnant in life and settle or lower our standards.  I’m saying that, if you find yourself sitting back in your life or your relationship and thinking “man…this is pretty damn good.  I’m not sure what I did to deserve this, but I like it” – then just stop.  Stop there.  Stop and take it all in and just…let it be. 

Don’t run when things are going good just because “that’s what you do.”  Don’t walk away for a possible “what if?” Stay right where you are and just take it all in for a bit. And whatever it is – a relationship or something else – if it’s working, do everything in your power not to screw it up.  And if you do, then do everything in your power to fix it and make it right. Because the person you hurt may have put everything in his/her entire being on the line in letting you in in the first place. It’s not easy, but in my heart of hearts, I have to believe that in the end, it’s going to be worth it.  

I read something the other day that kind of stuck with me. I’ve already forgotten where I read it, but I can’t forget what it said: 

“Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.”

Catman Don’t

Another online dating tragedy of mine has literally become a party favorite. I’m asked to tell this story repeatedly. It’s also probably the only dating story of mine that comes with a “P.S.”

I started chatting with Catman through an online dating pond from which I am proudly no longer fishing. He. Was. A. Charmer. He was a musician and “small business owner”. And an animal lover. And a vegetarian. Each of those things are perfectly fine. All of them together…should’ve been a red flag.

We did the typical cycle of online chats, then texts, then phone calls. There was always plenty to talk about, and we flirted a bit. This went on for the better part of two to three weeks. We decided to meet in person.

Call me foolish (I was), but I had developed a sense of trust with Catman after talking regularly for a few weeks. I’m a pretty good vibe-catcher, and he hadn’t thrown any psycho ones, so we decided that I would drive to his place, leave my car there, and we would go to dinner. Unless I know him (ie. an old classmate, etc.), I never have a man come to my house, or even know approximately where it is. And I called my sister to tell her his name, where he lived and what he drove, in the event he chopped me into kitty kibbles.

I arrived to his house, which seemed nice enough from the curb, parked and walked up to the door. A bit nervous, I knocked, and was rather pleasantly surprised by the face (and body) that greeted me.

Until I stepped into the foyer.

In hindsight, I should’ve just gone with my immediate desire to puke, and just ended the evening there. But, no. I was invested in this, dammit. That, plus I tend to be overly cautious not to hurt someone’s feelings, and I thought ‘oh, what the hell. He’s a nice guy, and it’s just dinner, right?’ Yeah. Right.

Now…I’ll do my best to paint a multi-sensory picture for you of what I encountered when I stepped inside:

*Sight: (aside from an attractive man) layers of dust and cat hair. And boxes upon boxes upon more boxes of his “small business owner” stuff, which loosely translates into “I sell crap on the internet.” …up the creepiness factor here by him handing me a tiny little blue box with a white bow on it (picture a Tiffany-esque attempt) that had pierced, dangle-y “emerald” earrings in it (one of the hodge-podge assortment of items he sold online). I tried to refuse, but he insisted. Yes, I still have them. No, I have not/will not wear them. Ever.

*Smell: While HE smelled very nice (which is shocking, considering it all), I was slapped in the face by the smell of cat. Cat everything. Cat pee. Cat poop. Cat…i don’t know…saliva? Just…cat-ness. And lots of it. (Ever the optimist, I thought ‘welllll… maybe the cat, like, JUST took a dump and a whiz, like two seconds ago. It’s possible, right?’) No. If he had a jungle cat and it took a dump on my upper lip and I dabbed feline urine behind my ears – it wouldn’t smell much worse.

*Sound: Nothing. No meows. No purring. No kitty-sounds whatsoever.

(Side note: I seriously wanna know how his house stunk so bad and yet HE smelled so good. Because I can’t fry a piece of freaking bacon without me and everything in my house smelling like it for 3 days)

But anyway…

Catman: “Where would you like to go for dinner?”

Me: “I don’t care…whatever you’d like.” (standard chick answer)

Well…that was like, mistake #87 on my part. I should’ve suggested a place. I should’ve definitely CARED. Because where we ended up for Friday night, first-date DINNER…was IHOP. Yep. The International House of Freaking Pancakes. (IHOFP…it’s a midwest thing) Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a breakfast-all-day kind of girl. It’s my favorite meal, favorite food. But it’s not a first-date Friday night dinner. I ordered a breakfast with two types of sausage (sausage gravy and sausage links) and had to listen to him make a little squealing sound representative of my obvious murdering of an innocent pig for the sake of my appetite, while he enjoyed these freaking tater tot things with cheese on them. Wussy.

The conversation was flowing as much as it could on a first date at IHOP on a Friday night between two people. Topics drifted to his animal-loving…specifically, CATS and how he liked to rescue them.

 What’s this? A redeeming quality?

Then, the more I listened, the more it became clear that he wasn’t a “rescue, rehab, release” kind of guy, but rather…a collector. So I asked. “So how many cats do you have?” I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had said “five”. That’s a reasonable degree of kooky for a guy like him. I was, however, surprised when he replied “thirteen” – very proudly, I might add.

I know ME. And I know that I should NEVER play poker because of my inability to hide facial expression in the face of, well…anything. So I can only imagine what my facial expression must’ve looked like if it matched my inner thoughts.

Me: “wow…that’s a lot of cats. Are they outside cats, or…?”

Catman: (boastfully) “Nope! All inside…they’re like my kids”

Me: “hmmm”

I survived our breakfast-dinner, and we made our way back to his house where I intended to run like a scaredy-cat (pun intended). When we got there, he asked if I wanted to come infor a drink and keep him company while he “fed all the cats”.

Well now… here’s a little conundrum for a girl like me. I’m beyond convinced that there is no love connection here. But this night has been such a damn train wreck, I’m in it for the long haul, because this is one of those things that only happens to yours truly. There is some comedic gold here. I’m sure of it.

Me: “sure, I’ll come in for one drink” (and to see exactly how one goes about feeding thirteen cats)

I sat, with hesitation, on his couch – only because it was leather and I felt the disease risk was minimal. Still not a kitty in sight.

He was making all kinds of racket in the kitchen, while I just sat on the edge of the couch taking about 16GB worth of mental pictures and notes.

He came out with four styrofoam plates with cat food on them. Still no cats. Then he went to door #1, and out trotted four little kitties. Awww…. Wait, what the hell is he doing…?

He proceeded to talk…literally CHAT…with each and every feline on a more personal level than some humans will ever experience. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. And yes, I’ve talked to my pets….but not like this. It was as if he was getting responses that only he could hear. Trust me, I tried to hear them. Nothing.

This group of kitties finished their dinner and conversation, and were escorted back to their room. Repeat this process three more times until all thirteen of them had been satiated. (One cat had to dine at a table for one, as it seems he was a bit of a troublemaker.) Yes, I got a personal introduction and bio on each of them. I fully believe that I was the topic of conversation at their next meal. (“so what did you guys think of her?”)

The timeline for this whole process? One hour, thirty-seven minutes. You might think I would’ve downed a 6-pack while viewing this, but I didn’t even finish my one beer. I was literally stunned most of the time, unable to drink, speak, or take my eyes off this fantastic display of a freakshow.

I quickly hopped up after the last feline foursome had gone back to their living quarters, and thanked him and got the hell out of dodge. I went home and thought about just deleting his number from my phone. But then I thought “no…this guy isn’t going away…and I want to know if it’s him on the other end”, so I kept his number, but changed his name…to CATMAN DON’T.

As good as I am at picking up vibes, I’m even better at throwing them out there. So imagine my surprise when he called me the next day wanting to meet up, which I declined. I didn’t contact him anymore, and didn’t hear from him either. About a month later, I got a Saturday night text from him asking how I’d been. I contemplated whether or not to reply. I wanted to reply with “who is this?” I mean, it was totally feasible that I would’ve deleted his number. But I pegged him as a “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” kind of fellow, so I just ignored it…something I personally despise, but felt the situation called for it. His profile disappeared from the dating site.

The P.S. to this story:
Fast forward about a year and a half. I reopened my dating profile in attempt #382 to find someone. I was getting several messages a day and would read each of them. And there in my inbox was a message from Catman Don’t…same profile picture, different profile name. Mind you, MY profile name was the same, although I did change my picture, but it was still ME. I was almost afraid to open it, for fear of a verbal assault for my disappearance and lack of response.

But what I got was even better. It was something like this: “wow, that’s some profile you have there! I think we would have a lot in common, what do you like to do, wanna chat?, etc.” Whaaaatttt??? He had NO CLUE who I was, or the fact that we went on one of MY most memorable dates that has been talked about more times than he’s had fleas. My inner comedian toyed with the idea of replying also as if I had no clue who he was, but I chickened out in fears that my inability to be anything other than myself would throw a memory back to him and my cover would be blown. I fancy myself a fairly memorable chick, so my ego has blamed his lack of memory on some sort of amnesia associated with feline fecal poisoning. Yep. That’s definitely it.

Pinky (it’s just unnatural)

For those of you who voted on my next blog topic, THIS was your pick.  And I cannot thank you enough, because I want this story told so I can work on removing everything about it from my mental imagery.  I actually wanted this to be my second blog, but “Trek” (from my very first blog – The Wheat Thins Incident) advised me over a beer one night that perhaps I was still a little too fired up about this one and might oughtta let it mellow a bit.


Well, Trek – the people have spoken. And I am glad they did. Trek (and a few others) got to hear this story through my vivid personal account, which I am told cannot be done justice in writing, but I’m going to try.


I need to give a little back story for those reading who don’t know me.  I’m what some might call… a little spit-fire; personality and sass bursting at my seams.  When it comes to sarcasm and insults, it comes as natural to me as breathing.  I also grew up with three older brothers and a dad with a crude sense of humor.  I developed boobs when I was about five, so male crudeness and comments are no strangers to me.  I always (try to) act like a lady, but about 90% of the time, I think more like a man. I’m not even close to being a prude, and am nearly impossible to offend.  In fact, if you can offend me, I will likely offer my congratulations (first) for the feat you’ve just accomplished, followed immediately by my condolences for the shit-storm about to blow your way. 


 Until recently, I had a profile on a dating website.  This is where some (ok, fine…nearly all) of my dating stories (good and bad) come from.  I joined it about 6 months after my divorce was final, mostly because of peer pressure from some friends.  I hadn’t been in the dating world for about 12 years, and had no clue how to meet people, so this “online dating” thing intrigued me at first.  It is literally window-shopping for your next boyfriend/girlfriend.


If you’re out of the loop on this – first of all, congratulations – but let me give you a brief crash course on how it works, in a nutshell:


  • Boy/Girl sets up profile on dating site – includes a picture and a little bio about themselves.
  • Other Boys/Girls search for their perfect soul mate. The picture is the bait*, and the profile portion (if done correctly) is the hook*, line*, and sinker*. (*This lingo is in no way a subliminal reference to which particular dating site I may or may not have been on.)
  • Boy/Girl finds someone who strikes their fancy, strike up a conversation on the site, and if all goes well there, exchange phone numbers, etc. and then blow each others’ phones up with text messages until they decide to meet face-to-face.
  • There are other things, too, like rating pictures, selecting favorites, and my personal fave – the “daily match”.   THERE’S the guy I want to meet.  The guy responsible for the “matching” – because HE’S an idiot. And yes, I do imagine a GUY being in control of all this, sitting in his college dorm room, drinking with his buddies, like the Mark Zuckerberg of the online dating world, with a lot of “dude, DUDE – check this shit out…” being said.



Another feature of this site is that you can recommend someone for a friend (who is also on the site).  I find this to be a really dumb option: “Oh, hey girl – I don’t wanna date this ass-hat, but – YOU want him?!” That’s TOTALLY a man feature if I ever saw one.  


This particular “match” was orchestrated by my 21-year-old niece, who also has a profile on the site. She and “Pinky” struck up conversation, but she realized that he was about 15 years older than her, so she said “hey – you should talk to my aunt; she’s closer to your age.”  Enter Pinky into the situation.


My intention here is not to brag but rather to emphasize a point.  I was getting about 30 messages per week on this site. I did read all of them, but there was no way I could reply to all of them.  You’ve got to catch my attention if you want a reply.  The “your niece told me to contact you” portion of his message is what got me to reply to Pinky.


We did the usual, chatting/e-mailing, then went to texting each other. It was the usual chit-chat: jobs/family/what do you like to do for fun, etc.  – basically just an exchange of witty banter-y crap. I have a long-standing love for large, loud trucks (always have), so he did send me a picture of some of the huge trucks he owns, and the properties he owned – like that was supposed to just melt my pants off or something? Please.  It was actually becoming a bit of a turn-off for me.  But I get it – he was puffing his chest out trying to make me like him. Whatever. This communication exchange went on for about a week or so.  




Then, on a perfectly good Monday afternoon (thank GOD I was off work that day), it happened.  He sent me a picture ….of his penis.


Now… it had been awhile, but not THAT long ago. I know what they look like.  I also know that in my 35 years of life, I’ve never seen a cute one.  Aesthetically speaking, they are just not really attractive.  Sorry guys, but they’re not. But when I opened the text and saw that, my first reaction was “what the HELL is that?”  This particular one was especially disturbing.


Other than the fact that this image was now permanently embedded in my mind’s eye and it was COMPLETELY trashy and disrespectful, the things that immediately set me off about it were: 1) It was unnaturally pink. BRIGHT pink. Like bubblegum. (Hence, his new moniker). 2) His hand – with disgusting, dirty fingernails – was wrapped around it, apparently choking the color out of it (or into it?) 3) His thigh was showing in the picture as well – with five huge pimples on it. Yes, yes I did count them.


I came un-glued.  Not because I’m a prude, but because I found it insanely offensive. Who in their right mind does that? Who/what do you think I am? WHAT in our brief time of conversing gave you the impression that I might be remotely ok with that?  


Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.


Naturally, I immediately texted my sister and my niece to tell them what he did. My niece had a similar reaction to mine. My sister found it infinitely hilarious how pissed and offended I was.  So I did what any good sister would do, and forwarded the picture to her so she could understand why I was pissed. I wanted her to commiserate.  It worked. Both she and the other handful of women who saw the picture understood why I reacted the way I did.


I was honestly at a loss for words – PROPER words.  This almost never happens. 


I waited almost an hour, and then this is VERBATIM the text exchange that followed (note the time lapses in there – that’s when I was just seething, trying to choose my words):



3:05 p.m.             Pinky to Me:  Pinky sends me the disgusting picture.

3:56 p.m.             Me to Pinky:  “Big F*#king mistake on your part. I’m done.”

4:23 p.m.             Pinky to Me:  “Jeesh. It was a joke, K?”

6:42 p.m.             Me to Pinky:  “No…’jokes’ are funny. And I can take one just as  good as the next guy. This *might* be funny if we were in a long-term relationship. When we haven’t even MET yet, it’s rude and offensive to send something like that to a lady. Yes, I am a LADY. And if this is how you act, makes no difference how big your f*#king truck or bank account is, you are going to attract nothing but trash, which I am not. Just be glad you sent this to me and not my niece, because my brother would FIND YOU and make you apologize.”

6:56 p.m.             Pinky to Me:  “I’m sorry, I was def not trying to offend. I am truly sorry. I can’t say that enough. I suppose I found that sort of thing commonplace since I have been single. I should not have assumed you were anything like anyone else. U are truly going to be a regret and have taught me a valuable lesson and for that I’m appreciative. I have been sick about this since I did it. What seemed funny was hurtful. Again, I am sorry. And thank you in advance for reading this, with no expectation you will. Regards, Pinky”

7:37 p.m.             Me to Pinky:  “Read it. Deleting it.”

7:37 p.m.             Pinky to Me:  “K”


My sister thought I was a bit harsh, as did my sister-in-law.  Whaaaaat??  Did you SEE that thing? That’s in my head, like, FOREVER.  And I will never know why it was so. damn. pink. -which further pisses me off.


So I got to wondering….would I have been quite as offended if it had been a better-looking (albeit still ugly) penis?  Nope. Still would’ve pissed me off.  Call me a prude if you want to.  Call me old fashioned.  I just feel like there should be some dinner/conversation/hand-holding/kiss/ACTUALLY MEETING IN PERSON, etc. before any genitals are exposed in any form.


Guys, if a woman is asking for a picture of your junk while the rest of you remains sight unseen, she’s a trash bag, and yours isn’t the only one she’s asking for.   


Ladies, if stories like this from the dating world don’t make your ovaries want to shrivel up and start collecting cats, then I don’t know what will.  Oh, speaking of cat-collecting… wait til you hear THAT dating tragedy.













Random and Quirky at its finest

Since I’m new to this “writing for other people to read” thing, I think I need to slowly ease you, sweet little reader, into the mind of ME. You know, get more acquainted.

It’s like dating. Showing tiny little glimpses of quirkiness before unleashing the bat $hit craziness.

I thought I’d do a little randomness tonight…some facts about me. I fully realize that the majority of these will either make me look:
A. Legitimately Insane
B. Judgmental
C. Like an a$$hole
D. All of the above

I have a hunch this might become a regular feature. Maybe even a no-holds-barred periodic Q&A. You send me your questions, and once I get enough, I’ll post honest answers. Yes…I think I like that.

Here they are: lastmandyrandoms. Take #1.

1. I have an honest to God fear of midgets/little people/dwarfs, etc. I don’t know exactly why, but it’s very legit and very much real. My 3rd grade teacher was a midget, and was mean as hell. Maybe that’s it. I honestly don’t know. Two ironic twists here:

• My favorite movie of all time is Wizard of Oz, and…
• I’m 3 inches shorter now than I was 15 years ago. I’m shrinking. Dead serious. How’s THAT for karma?

2. I like the smell of skunk. I don’t want to bottle it and dab it behind my ears, but I don’t find it the least bit offensive, and in fact, might even take a big sniff in when I pass one on the road.

3. I separate M&Ms by color before eating them, and I have to eat the odd ones first. (ie. 3 red ones, 4 greens, 6 yellows = I have to eat one red to make it even)

4. When I was 16, I once pretended that the car I was driving (a 1989 Ford Escort) was a stick shift, because I wanted to look super cool driving past the swarm of dudes congregated in the parking lot I was driving past. And this was the best I could come up with. I’m a moron.

5. Never been kissed under the mistletoe. Or in the rain.

6. It is physiologically impossible for a burp to come from my body. Can’t do it.

7. I don’t dance in public. I CAN dance, I just choose not to…just too self conscious.

8. I think drinking RedBull is the closest I will ever come to knowing what Satan’s piss might taste like. It’s disgusting. I can just smell it and have that smell stuck in my nose for 3 days. Pure evil.

9. I like to put a dab of peanut butter in my spaghetti. But only at home. The face you’re making right now is the main reason for that.

10. I smell everything. EVERYTHING. When I give my kids a kiss on the forehead, cheek, etc., I always smell them as I kiss them. It’s just natural for me. What ISN’T natural, is smelling a co-worker’s wrist to smell her new perfume, and absentmindedly kissing her wrist.

That oughtta do it for now.

Big weekend plans in the works (for a change). Should be interesting. Perhaps some new material? Hmm… we’ll see.

The “Houdini” – #1 of a multi-part series. (I’m totally calling you out, Mr. Magic Man)

Single ladies – beware of the Houdini – he wears many faces.


Single men – If this is you, KNOCK IT OFF.


This is the first in a series of introductions to the men that are out there in the dating pool. I’m sure there’s a female equivalent for most of these, but I don’t date them, so I can’t talk about them.  


I like to call this first guy “Houdini”.


This is the guy who starts out being super attentive, calling, texting, etc. He is blowing up your phone with all his contact.  Mr. Totally Into You.  You’ll have a few dates, maybe even several.  Things are really clicking with this guy.  If you’re like me, you’re (almost) cautiously optimistic at this point. By this time, you’ve likely become Facebook friends, but have kept it very casual. Your friends keep catching you with a bad case of perma-grin whenever you read one of his texts, etc.

(*note: this Houdini might also be someone you’ve known for a while but never really in a dating capacity, and he suggests the two of you should date and you actually buy into it)  


This is right about the time when (hesitantly) you start to tell friends and family about how great things are. “This guy is different”.  When someone asks if you’re seeing anyone, you probably answer with “well…kinda, sorta…maybe…?” You might even start psyching yourself up to the fact that there might actually be some potential here. You start envisioning lazy Sunday afternoons being spent together swinging in a hammock in the summer breeze, movie night, snuggled up with popcorn and your favorite candy (which he has memorized and sweetly keeps stashed for you at his place).


Just when you’ve got a little extra pep in your step, a little more wind in your sails, the corners of your mouth take a turn upward….


POOF!! – he disappears.

And you’re left feeling like an audience of one waiting for his mind-boggling re-appearance.


Here’s a little breakdown of how this plays out (at least for ME):


My first instincts are very motherly (and self-preserving): (“Oh my God – I hope he’s ok…what if he got in a wreck? I haven’t met his friends yet so no one would know to call and tell me! How would I know? Oh, I hope Mr. Wonderful is alright. It figures – I meet the perfect guy and now he’s dead.”) <– There’s the self-preservation. That’s the only logical explanation for someone to stop talking to me suddenly and without warning. Death. It’s the only thing that makes any kind of sense (and ultimately, perhaps the better alternative for him).


Then (if we’re friends on Facebook) — I see that dreaded post/comment/”like” —  or recent new friendship. With another female.  


Ok…he’s not dead. Mildly comforting, but it confuses me and pisses me off at the same time.


It makes sense now.  Is my freaking phone working?!? Maybe I look like the a-hole! Maybe he’s been texting me and I haven’t gotten them, so I haven’t replied, and he’s wondering the same thing! (Admittedly, I have called or texted my sister and said “text me” – to make sure I can send and receive one.)


Dammit. Phone works.


Because I’m female and have an impeccable memory, I replay the mental DVR that is everything I have said and done throughout the entire course of this pseudo-relationship. Sure, I’m a little bit crazy (good crazy). Every good chick is. But I haven’t even scratched that surface yet, so that’s not it. And I’m cool as $hit. Who wouldn’t want to talk to me?


The pep has left my step. The wind has left my sails. The corners of my mouth are no longer turned upward.


I fancy myself a very intuitive, insightful type.  I can detect BS-ery from a mile away. So when I am caught off-guard by such magic tricks, it really pisses me off.


For the sake of closure, of course I would like to know WHY.  I might even ask him WHY. — Nothing. No reply at all.


I will then inevitably (and rather quickly) reach the point of not giving a damn WHAT he has to say, and just wish he would find his testicles and the decency to just SAY IT. I would accept any of the following:

  • ·        I don’t like you.
  • ·        I really do like you but I’m scared of how I feel.
  • ·        I can’t stand you.
  • ·        You’re not skinny/pretty/rich enough.
  • ·        I found someone better.
  • ·        I just can’t see anyone right now.
  • ·        Go to hell, Mandy.
  • ·        I’m an immature a-hole.


My whole shock/denial/anger/acceptance/moving on to better things process is a few days, tops. Unless I really, REALLY like him…then I am allowed to re-visit every stage as often as I’d like.  


Unless and until the time that this magic man offers up some shred of an explanation – he will remain dead…just like the real Houdini.  But I am an extremely forgiving person. If an apology is offered, an apology I will accept.


Aside from the fact that people find this kind of behavior (with anyone) to be acceptable, the thing I find most interesting in all this, is that for every instance in which this has happened to me – the guy NEVER un-friends me on Facebook. Not once. And just to keep things interesting, I don’t usually un-friend them either. I relish in the moments when I can bask in the glory of being the bigger person.


I have since adopted a strict policy against dating magicians. I have also adopted the “it’s your loss” philosophy. I’ve shortened the shock/denial/anger/acceptance/moving on to better things process down to mere hours instead of days.


Ladies – there’s no real way to see this one coming. You just have to know how to deal with him. If he wants to disappear – LET HIM.


Guys – please know that if you do this, it really only makes you look cowardly and legitimately a little insane. You want to do some magic? Make us feel like the only woman in a crowded room of people.






Peanuts and Coke

My mom is a good ol’ Southern gal, born and raised. Born in Mississippi, raised in Tennessee. Mind you, she’s been out of the South for about 40 years or so, but she still sounds every bit like she’s just here (the Midwest) visiting. You know what they say – “you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl”. They were talking about my mom.

Her stature is small, but her personality is mighty. Pretty sure this is where I get it from (on both counts). Like every good and true Southerner, she’s still a little bitter that the confederacy lost. But don’t let the accent fool you. I’ve seen her go toe to toe (in Mexico) with a 6’5”+/- Canadian man who had the audacity to bash Americans. She has a no-nonsense, straight-shooter approach to many things that I find very endearing.

One of the reasons why I have dedicated an entire section of this blog to “My Southern Momma” is because there are so many things she does and says that just deserve their own attention. She and her little ways are so funny and cute to me on many levels. And I have perfected my imitation of her accent – pretty proud of it if I do say so myself.

I will admit, more than a time or two someone has commented on ‘my Southern twang when I tawk’. I say it comes from years of living with her. If I am around anyone with a thick Southern drawl for any length of time, mine comes out full force. (Like Madonna’s fake British accent that only comes out when she wants to sound sophisticated…except mine isn’t fake, and it shore as hail don’t sound sophisticated – but I love it, it‘s a part of me, just as she is).

Since you have to read this and not hear it, I need to give a phonetic breakdown of some general words and how different they sound when my mom says them. The basic theory is that the syllables get stretched out and added onto, or in-fact, just the opposite. It depends on the word.

Examples as follows, refer back to it as needed:

Actual word                                            What it sounds like when my mom says it

Damn/Damned/Damn It                          Day-um/Day-umd/Daymit

Shit                                                            Sheeit

Ignorant                                                     Ig-nernt

Thing                                                         Thang

Hell                                                            Hail

Well                                                           Wail (or whale would work here as well)

Mandy                                                       Maindy

Can’t                                                         Kaint

Your/You’re                                               Yer

Sick                                                           Seeick

Baby                                                          Baybee (same but with drawn-out “i” sound as well)

*Totally unintended use of those particular words in that particular order, which might have a hidden meaning, but I’m leaving it as is. I’ll talk about that in therapy years from now.

Anyway – a few years ago, I was going through the first round of separation/divorce proceedings with my then husband. I say first round because we went through a nasty, ugly round a few years back, and somehow amazingly reconciled, stayed together a few more years, then finally had to call it. Second and final time was quite amicable. THIS time was brutal, to say the very least.

My heart was heavy and I was a big ball of stress and nerves – unable to eat, sleep, concentrate, breathe, etc. I was at work one day – and I mean that’s it, I was just “there”…that was all I could manage – and was just having “a moment”. A thank-God-I-sit-in-the-corner-so-no-one-can-see-me-sobbing…moment. And I needed my mommy (who lives five hours away).

I called her and she knew instantly that something was wrong – an innate “mom thing”, but her radar is way finer tuned than most. Freaks me out half the time, to be honest. I was sniveling like an idiot, breathing/sobbing spastically, taking 15 tiny breaths in 5 seconds because I can’t catch ONE – all the while trying to talk and explain what had me so upset.

Now…my mom is very sympathetic and coddling when I am THIS upset – at first. Another great thing about my mom is that if someone has done her baby wrong, she will get on an anti-whoever/whatever bandwagon like none you’ve ever seen. And it matters not who you are. It also does not matter if I am right or wrong at the time. If I am that upset, she is on my side at that moment. She waits until I’ve settled down to remind me that I might be wrong. And she always – without fail – eventually tells me “baybee, you need to stop bein’ so sad and upset and get pissed, dammit!”

I was still in full-on meltdown mode when she asked (knowing me) what I’d had to eat that day. It went a little something like this:

Mom: “Jeet anything yet this mornin?”

Me: “No…”(sniffle, sob, etc)

Mom: “Why??”

Me: “Mom, I just can’t – I can’t even think about eating, I’m too upset, I just can’t do it…”

Mom: “Wail ya kaint do that, baybee, yer gonna hafta eat somethin’ before ya make yerself seeick…even if it’s just peanuts and a Coke…I mean, sheeit…”

Me: (Abrupt pause in my sniveling) – “…what? Did you just say peanuts and a Coke? …and then ‘shit’?”

Mom: “Wail, you know what I mean…ya gotta have somethin’!”

And in an instant, I went from sobbing hysterically to laughing my A$$ off. Then she started giggling. And the more she tried to defend herself, the harder I laughed. #1 – I hadn’t drank a “Coke” in years. But then I remembered that in the South, almost any beverage is “a Coke” (ie. “y’all want a Coke?” “sure” “what kind?” “root beer”) #2 – Why THAT combo? Why THAT specific nut and THAT specific drink? I could throw out the same advice to someone and never in a million would I come up with THAT particular combo. My state of mind, combined with her saying it, and THE WAY she said it (like that was the most logical nutrition she could recommend for someone who just can’t eat) sent me into a spiral of gut-busting, deep belly laughter – which was exactly what I needed. She’s so stinkin’ cute.

The moral of this story is: Moms rock – especially mine. There is no greater earthly power than that of a mom. And as they say in the South: “wail…bless their little ol’ hearts” …all of them.




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