The Friendship Pill in the Hate-Proof Bottle

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Gather around, folks, and let me tell you a story…

It’s a story of love. It’s a story of heartbreak. It’s a story of healing. Best of all, though; it’s a story of how the cosmos aligned to bring 2 people together in a way that would ultimately form a bond that should, with any luck, last for a lifetime.

Once upon a time…

There it is. Trite, I know, but in retrospect, the strange turn of events that created the dynamic duo that would come to be known as… us…we…partners in crime…’S squared’… seems so far in the past that life before then is a hazy memory at best and impossible to recall at worst.

I was merely trying to get through each day without breaking back then. I was recently divorced, and it had hit me hard. When I say hard, I mean sledgehammered heart in so many jagged shards that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men would not dare attempt to reassemble it hard. I mean soggy puddle of continuously sobbing mess that was just trying to do what seemed impossible at the time; scrape myself up off the ground and move in a forward direction hard.

He and I had a child together that we traded parenting time with week to week, and she was ALL that kept my head above water as I bobbed along in my lake of despair. It was hard enough to trudge through my hurt even with her there, but the weeks that she spent with her father made it all the more difficult to bear because I was left hopelessly and stiflingly alone. Sure, I tried “dating”, which often meant jumping into bed with men I barely even knew, because in my grief, I saw physical contact as a salve to rub into my emotional wounds. In truth, though, I was more alone while tangled in some forgettable set of masculine limbs than I would have been if left to curl up and cry myself to sleep with nothing but my pillow to wrap my arms around. Try not to judge; I was a different person back then.

The worst part of it all, the part that made it impossible to move past the pain and misery of the whole ordeal and actually start the restoration process, was the fact that we worked in the same building. In fact, that’s how we’d met. I now had to punch a time clock every day just to see his smugly handsome face wearing its cold, hard expression of extreme…indifference. Okay, in all honesty maybe that wasn’t quite the worst part. The real punch in the face, kick in the teeth, knife to the kidneys came when he got a new girlfriend, and insisted upon parading her around the lunch room at our place of employ for everyone to see. Everyone that knew our history. Everyone that watched me gradually fall apart every day between the hours of 7am and 3pm. Everyone that looked at me with pitying eyes as I hunched over whatever vending machine fodder I had been trying to nonchalantly choke down.

She was a cute little thing, I have to admit; prancing around the cafeteria in her miniskirts and talking in her ‘straight off the boat from England’ accent, which he, of course, raved about and made sure to play up in front of everyone present, including…me.

I can scarcely recall my hatred for this woman now, but I do know that I did indeed hate her. She had everything that I didn’t, everything that I had lost… his devotion, his attention, his desire, his embrace…his heart. I didn’t even truly know her, but I wanted to be her, and for that, I despised her.

They eventually moved into a quaint little upstairs apartment a few streets over from my own humble abode, and even though I was in a relationship of my own by that time, I found myself always looking over my shoulder in public places, hoping that I wouldn’t bump into them …at the bank…at the grocery store… at a stoplight. The time I spent away from work where they couldn’t flaunt their cutesy, giggly, sickening bliss was MINE, and the thought that my glorious oblivion could be ripped out from under me at any given moment seemed so… unfair. I was unreasonably and unrealistically angry for this egregious affront to my fragile state of mind.

So angry, in fact, that I remember storming over to their apartment one day and confronting her with hackles and voice raised because I had found out that she had taken my child to her parent teacher conference, since he was out of town on a hunting trip. I was livid. How dare she? That wasn’t her child. Why didn’t someone tell me about this conference? I would have happily done my parental duty and taken her myself. Oh no, no, no, no …no. I was going over there, and I was giving this woman, this usurper, this replacement for me… a rage-fueled and not so well thought out piece of my mind. In hindsight, I looked like an idiot. It wasn’t her fault; she was just doing what he had asked of her. You couldn’t have convinced me at the time, though. She had become my arch nemesis in my pain distorted mind, and I had declared war.

Eventually, he was let go from our place of employ, and without his ever-existing presence around to remind me that I now had a failed marriage complete with child under my belt, I started to do an amazing thing; I started to heal. After a few weeks without his larger than life shadow looming over me, sucking away my emotional stability like a vampiric cloud, I could get through my days without breaking down. After a few months, the bitterness started to melt away like an ice cube on blacktop. After a few years, well…enter the man that currently holds my now fully restored heart in the palm of his loving, giving, and slightly callused hand.

It was a short courtship for my beloved and I, but as I’ve mentioned before, when you just know, you know. You know? I fell head over heels, hook, line, and sinker almost immediately. He whisked me away like a knight in blue jean and cotton blend armor; 1,200 miles from the place I was born and raised, to be exact. We said ‘I do’ in a small, intimate ceremony on a Florida beach in the freezing cold month of January. We said ‘I do’ surrounded by close friends and loved ones. Sadly, though, we said ‘I do’…without the presence of my child.

I had tried. Lord help me, I had really tried. In the end, though, a judge ruled that my little red haired ray of sunshine was best left in familiar surroundings, with familiar people, and the measure of stability that she had come to know… right where she was. At that point, I had to make quite possibly the hardest decision I have ever faced in my entire life; follow my heart vs. motherly duty. I opted for the purely selfish, but what I knew would be a better life for me, and for the son that I had given birth to between divorce and recourse. I left my old life behind me to the tune of  ‘how could you?’ … ‘what kind of mother are you?’…’what kind of person are you?’ It was hard, of course….so very hard to walk away, especially with a mind full of ‘what ifs’. What if she thinks I don’t love her because I made this decision? What if she grows to resent me? What if we lose touch completely? In my mind, though, I knew that even amid the hurt of walking away from her, she’d be in good hands with her father. He was a good daddy, and he loved her. Time heals all wounds, and it would heal hers.

I went off to my new life, and the world still turned. It turned for me…it turned for him…and it turned for my baby girl. We kept in contact as often as possible. We’d webcam, draw pictures together on our favorite online chat program, and I’d sometimes read her bedtime stories over the phone. She’d come to see me for several weeks every summer, and I’d go back to see her at Christmas time.

My relationship with my arch nemesis had turned to civility in the time that followed my departure. Actually, truth be told, she had become the biggest supporter of my relationship with my child. She’d email me pictures, encourage my daughter to write me letters and create cards and pictures for me which she would send along with some really lovely scrapbook pages that they’d put together with photos of my growing baby girl…and her life without mom. She would make sure my daughter called me regularly, and she would even allow her to use her own computer when we wanted to spend our virtual time together. She had become a Godsend, and I found myself truly thankful that she was part of my daughter’s life in my absence.

Let’s fast forward a few years, to a fateful day set in motion by a distressed phone call. On the other end of the line was a very upset little girl that I would do anything in the world for if it if it was within my power, and if it meant that I could take away her hurt. I wished that I could comfort her in her grief, wrap my arms around her and hold her tight, but the distance between us made it impossible to do anything but listen, and assure her that everything would be alright.

Cue tragic breakup scene. The scene that I had found myself wishing for years earlier but now felt guilty for willing into existence, considering our newfound respect for one another on the common ground that was the role we both played as mother to a sassy little ball of freckles and French braids. I felt bad for her, I really did. I had been her , once, and I thought back to the time when I had walked in her shoes through a world of emotional turmoil with nothing and no one to lean on except my own  convoluted thoughts.

I decided to make a move that would change both of our lives from that moment forward…I reached out to her. It was online that I reached out, but it was probably easier for both of us not to have to speak in person at that point. That way she could feel me out and make sure that I didn’t have ulterior motives other than sheer concern, and I could gauge whether or not she even wanted my help. I asked her if she was alright, to which she admitted that no, she in fact, wasn’t. She had devoted seven years to a relationship that was seemingly gone in the blink of an eye. “Alright” was the farthest thing from what she was.

She moved out of their home and in with the first in a long string of bad attempts at friendship with women that would do her wrong and further beat her down emotionally. Our online chats turned into frequent phone calls. I was giving her what no one was able to give me when I needed it most; a shoulder to cry on from someone that had been exactly where she was now. I was getting to know the woman that she really was without jealousy clouding my vision, and I found that we had a lot in common.  A scary amount in common, in fact.

Things quickly went south for her in her new living situation and I received a call one day from a very upset ex enemy whose psychotic roommate was having what could only be surmised as a bipolar meltdown aimed in her direction. I told her I was on my way without even having to think twice. I gathered my resources, packed a bag, and began the 1,200 mile pilgrimage to retrieve my broken new friend.

I arrived just in time the next day as the frenzied she-devil that she had previously shared a dwelling with was pitching the remainder of her personal, and in some cases extremely breakable belongings out the door and down the long flight of unforgiving cement steps.  I hugged her, gathered up what was salvageable, loaded it into the van, and off into the sunset we went toward home…my home, and toward a new life that included each other.

I’d like to say that the rest is just history, but it’s been a pretty rich history. She stayed with us for a few months and in that time we grew as close as any sisters could ever be. We talked together, cried together… had a few too many one night and fell out of our desk chairs laughing together. With me by her side, she started the long trek down that same path that I had to walk many years before her…the road to restoration.

She eventually got a job offer through an acquaintance of hers in Minnesota, loaded up her car and left a very sad me behind missing her, but we always stayed in touch. That adventure ended in another crazy roommate, and another trip back to Florida, this time to live with her father a few hours south of where I reside. She still lives in Florida today. We find a way to visit each other as often as possible, and we talk almost every night.

She admitted to me when we were reminiscing several weeks ago that she wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for me “saving” her. I never realized how far down the rabbit hole she had actually fallen back then, but to me, the decision that I had made was a no-brainer, especially now. Being an only child, she’s the closest thing to a sister I have, and even though she likes to give me undue credit for picking her up and dusting her off, her friendship has saved me from time to time over the years, too.

Our ex doesn’t come up much anymore in conversation except in a random, “haha, remember when?” moment. I know that they haven’t spoken since, and they really have no reason too. There’s nothing tying them together, they can lead separate lives. She gets to see the child that she helped raise for seven years and remain a part of her life, and my daughter enjoys that fact tremendously.  I think that we’re all doing just fine.

As for my relationship with him, I can now call him friend, and completely mean it. I love him in a healthy way. The way that we should all love our friends and neighbors. As a matter of fact, our relationship is the best it’s ever been. He’s found someone that he cares about, and I have my special someone, and though we may not talk often, we can talk, and it’s always good. He supports me in decisions I make regarding our daughter, who has lived with me now for the past 4 years after he fell prey to economic crisis for a short time.

As a fitting ending to this story, I’m taking my ‘bestie’ on a cruise in 90 days. Call it a tribute to sisterhood. Call it a reward for being survivors of heartache. Call it whatever you like, just don’t call us. We’ll be living it up ocean style, and loving life…together.

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Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

When you spend each waking moment caught in the grip of a stressful, debilitating anxiety disorder that alters what others would think of as normal everyday life, it can cause you to feel like a prisoner in your own body, or in my case, your own home. When my little corner of the world becomes stifling, and the familiar walls that I see every day threaten to close in on me, getting away to a new place is nothing less than priceless. I’ve found that there’s really only one thing that I can truly look forward to, my favorite part of being someplace else, someplace new…

Freedom!!!

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To me, the sweet smell of freedom is the best part of a new place, and anywhere that happens to NOT be home smells just as sweet. Call it that “new place smell.” Getting away is often the only way that I can manage to escape my reality, my own private torture chamber that lies within my mind; anxiety.

If I just can’t get out and steal away to someplace else as often as I’d like, or even need to, I manage to virtually escape every now and then and explore a new place in an online game. Then, not only can I be somewhere else, but I can be someone else as well. It can be just as exciting to escape from being me entirely.

My family will tell you that I’m a different person when I’m not at home. I’m relaxed. I’m fun. Even though home is where the OCD is, I’m able to leave it behind and not pack it up and bring it along when I manage to get out and away. I wish I could be the person that they enjoy being around even when we’re surrounded by daily routine, but I just can’t seem to get to a place where I can be as happy on the inside as I am when I get outside.

I have high hopes for breaking free….someday. Until then, I’ll make the most of the time that I get in different, new, and exciting places. That could be just about anywhere. Anywhere that isn’t…here.

This caged little bird chirps to be free, and freedom, my friends, has many forms.

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How Can I Embarrass Thee?

Let me count the ways…

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I’ve made it my life’s work to embarrass my children any time the opportunity presents itself, as is my right as a parent. The job is quite fulfilling. It keeps them on their toes, because they’ll never know when one of my maniacal mom moments will present itself, and I like to keep them guessing.

After a total of 41 hours of grunting, sweating labor, 8,760 dirty diapers, and having to walk out of a restaurant, miss part of a movie, or cut a trip to the grocery store short 324 times due to screeching temper tantrums (those still happen even now in the teen years), I figure I’m entitled to some sort of emotional compensation. The thrill of watching them squirm for a change pretty much covers that cost. One might argue that parenthood itself is its own reward. I’ll agree, of course. I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, but the added bonus of having the ability to turn their faces 50 shades of red at any given moment is quite lovely.

This venture has gotten even more joyous as they’ve gotten older, considering the fact that just having the parental units in close proximity or, Heaven forbid, addressing them with real live words in a public setting is borderline traumatizing to your average teenager.

You, too, have the power to be a general nuisance in the eyes of your overly dramatic offspring. It’s quite simple, and can provide hours of free entertainment. You’ll also have a few fun stories to file away for your grandchildren someday.

Here I offer up several teen stressing recipes, some of which I’ve already tried, and with great success. They all require one teenager (or more for flavor) a dash of drama, a spoonful of sass, and an eye roll or 2. The ones that I haven’t attempted yet are on my bucket list, of course. They’ll happen eventually, all in good time.

1. When you’re out with your teenager and spouse at a crowded restaurant, point to something on your spouse’s plate and say, “Hey, can I have a bite of that?” Then, as your spouse makes a motion to shovel the bite of food into your mouth, bounce up and down in your seat a little and exclaim very loudly, “Ooo! Ooo! Do the airplane!” Watch teenager’s eyes widen in horror as your spouse makes buzzing noises and twirls the bite of food into your gaping maw.

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2. Take your teenager with you into a public restroom to use the facilities. After spending a quiet moment or 2 sitting alone in a stall reflecting the meaning of life or reading about who’s vowed to love whom forever written on the stall door, stand up and excitedly say, “Hey, you’ve gotta see this one! It looks like a weiner dog!” Listen as the footfalls scramble to make their way out of the restroom with Cheetah-like swiftness.

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3. Wear very colorful socks with flip flops in public. Your teenager, especially the female budding fashionista types like mine, will make it a point to walk at least 5 paces ahead of you in an effort to make it look like you couldn’t possibly be together. Who’s the crazy person behind me? I have no idea. I’ll just shrug, screw my face into a highly disgusted expression, and pretend I don’t know why they’re addressing me as “honey”.

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4. While out driving around with your teenager, don some cheap aviator sunglasses and a backward baseball cap. Roll down the windows in the minivan, and blast the latest Justin Bieber song as loudly as possible without blowing out the speaker system. When you’re stopped at a red light, slowly turn to the vehicle next to you, stick your arm out the window and with a completely serious face, whip them a peace sign with your left hand. Look puzzled as mortified teenager hunkers down in the passenger seat in an effort to disappear.

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5. Take your teenager grocery shopping, and kindly request that they push the cart for you. Now, if you’re feeling particularly daring and energetic, climb into the main basket, or, if you’re just not feeling athletic enough to attempt such a feat, simply hop up onto the end of the cart and excitedly request, “Push me! Push me!” with a large cheeky grin on your face. Sadly wave good-bye as exasperated teen flees for the electronics section.

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6. While also out grocery shopping with your teenager, as you’re in the check-out lane loading your mac and cheese, ramen, and hot dogs (5 kids, remember?) onto the conveyor belt, burst into a stirring (and loud enough for people 3 or 4 lanes over to hear) rendition of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Look around you at the other people in the lane and urge, “Everybody now!” Once impromptu sing along is finished, ask for assistance scraping flattened teenager up off the floor because they’ve dropped dead from embarrassment.

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7. Arrive an hour earlier than the originally agreed upon time to pick up your teenager from the mall. Locate teenager amidst the gaggle of verbally challenged, hygienically questionable, sagging pantsed youth. (Head for Hot Topic, you’ll likely find them there.) Approach teenager and loudly proclaim, “I thought I should take you home early. If you keep skipping your antibiotics, that THING will never go away.” Watch as teenager tries to save face by pretending that you don’t exist. Notice remaining youth trying to puzzle out the meaning of ‘antibiotics.’ Such a big word…

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8. Bring your teenager along on one of your frequent pain reliever runs to the local pharmacy. Hey, the fact that you even have a teenager means that you go often for those economy sized bottles of Tylenol and you know it. While there, look for an employee, preferably a youthful one not much older than the teenager in tow. Drag and position said employee in front of the gleaming wall of adult diapers. Point at the packages of spongy undergarments and very loudly ask, “Do these come in super absorbency? I tend to sneeze ALOT.” After the youthful lad points out what you’re looking for while stifling a chuckle, apologize for needing the assistance because, well…”with age, your eyesight just isn’t what it used to be.” Locate agitated teenager that managed to scoot a distance of 5 isles over within 2 tenths of a second and is currently trying to act nonchalant while thumbing through a magazine.

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9. While your teenager has a friend over, enter their room with panic in your voice, and exclaim, “I think I just found a grey nose hair!” Then tilt your head slightly back, flare your nostrils, point to your nose, and say, “Look! It’s right there! Can you see it?! Tell me if you think that’s grey.” Listen to teenager heave an irritated sigh and try to calmly explain to their friend that they are actually adopted, and that their birth parents are really wealthy movie stars that will return to claim them some day.

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10. Take your teenager to Wal Mart in the middle of the afternoon wearing pajamas, slippers, curlers, and some type of beauty facial mask. While you will likely blend in with the rest of the Walmartian community, your teenager still won’t want to be seen with you. Then again, you could dress in your Sunday best, and they still won’t want to be seen with you…

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I hope that this study guide helps get you started on the road to A+ embarrassment. Feel free to grace me with your own personal stories of creative situations in which you’ve made your teenager want to slink away and bury their head in shame. You know, like… speaking to them out loud instead of attempting to communicate telepathically…or …blinking…breathing… existing…

Until next time, readers… stay dramatic. 

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day.

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

Well, I normally write any combination of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry… so I figured I’d post a video for opposite day.

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A few years back, my step-daughter Grace was out scouring the parking lot for loose change so that she could buy herself a cheap can of soda at the convenience store across the street from my husband’s office.

Being the awesome step-mom that I am, I snagged a dime out of my hubby’s desk drawer and had one of the other kids go out and keep Grace busy while I super glued it to the sidewalk.

Here’s the 42 seconds of awesome that ensued after she noticed the dime on the ground. Enjoy!

Grace finding the dime!

Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation

If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?

Enable Daydream Sequence as I sit with my cheek in my hand and a half crooked smile…

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I step out of my pink stretch limo and tell my driver once again how amazing he is as he stands holding the door open for me. “Oh Roberto, you’re such a gem, I don’t know what I’d do without you” I say, and flash him a gleaming pearly white and impeccably capped smile. With a sly wink I slip him 2 or 3 Ben Franklins, as has become our usual routine because I’ve become wealthier than Bill Gates. I adjust my Vivian Westwood halter dress, don my favorite bejeweled Prada sunglasses, and place my hand atop my oversized Gucci hat to keep it from blowing off my head in the gentle summer breeze. I look up at the gloriously blue California sky. Helicopters circle overhead carrying reporters and photographers trying to catch a glimpse of the scene laid out below.

It’s another marvelous day to be alive and to be…well…me.

My husband exits the vehicle and makes his way around to where I’m standing. He extracts my bulky Chanel bag from the back of the limo and holds open the straps as I slide my arm though. It’s naturally the latest edition, barely off the line. I’ve placed my small, nervous Teacup Pomeranian, Chloe, inside. She blinks repeatedly and trembles for a moment before repositioning herself atop the pile of silk scarves that I carry for her personal comfort. After she’s adjusted herself to her satisfaction, she pokes her freshly groomed head out of the top of the oversized purse. We survey the scene around us.

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It’s hard to believe that it all started with one little blog, and now here I am, attending the dedication ceremony as I receive my own Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I strike a pose and flash the same brilliant smile that I had given Roberto just a moment ago, this time directed at the gaggle of assembled paparazzi. I am looking fabulous after all, thanks to my personal trainer, Jacques, and my nutritionist and food prep guru, Alfonze. Why not flaunt it a little?

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Chloe and I then start to make our way toward the cordoned off section of sidewalk that now bears my name, surrounded by a handful of my personal security team, and my darling husband. He’s such a peach. So supportive. Then again, I’m sure that the new showroom that I had built for him and the acquisition of a dozen ‘mint condish’ classic sports cars helps maintain a level of support that he wouldn’t otherwise display while being drug to these events.

I sign a few autographed pictures of myself along the way for my adoring fans that have amassed in droves to celebrate this great honor with me, as my security team continuously pushes a pathway through the forceful crowd. It’s quite a turnout today. Then again, I’ve come to expect no less in recent years as my fame has grown impressively larger than the Duggar family’s offspring count.

I finally find myself standing in front of the grand display and reason that I’ve come here today. Ah, there it is…my own personalized shrine of stardom, in all its glory. I stoop to touch the gleaming section of walkway. “This will make a stunning picture for the cover of people” I think, as I try not to make my signature duck face at the eager camera wielders.

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After sufficient photos have been snapped and a short speech has been made thanking my wonderful fans for their amazing support, my entourage and I begin the pilgrimage back to the waiting limo. We’re finally able to slip inside after struggling with the enormous crowd of spectators once again. Roberto climbs in behind the wheel and proceeds to whisk hubby, Chloe, and I off into the sunset toward Spago for a deliciously prepared meal of…

A customer at the Thrift Store counter snaps me back to reality. I ring up their 2 dollar and 50 cent purchase of used clothing and wish them a wonderful afternoon. I heave a sigh and scratch at one of my mosquito bites. I bet that celebrities don’t get bug bites. I wonder if I should have Ramen or Macaroni and Cheese for dinner tonight? Someday Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail…someday.  It’ll be a date.

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My Response to Daily Prompt: Singular Sensation

Daily Prompt: Earworm

Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.-

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 When A Good Yankee Goes South.  

Song, Song of the south
Sweet potato pie, and I shut my mouth
Gone, gone with the wind
There aint nobody looking back again” – Alabama

I pulled up to a red light the other day and surveyed the scene in the car next to me. A puff of blue hair poked up over the dashboard, attached to a hunched elderly woman just barely tall enough to reach the pedals. In the passenger seat next to her, suddenly illuminated by a beam of Heavenly light as the clouds broke open and a choir of a thousand angels burst into Hallelujah chorus, was quite possibly the most majestic silver mullet that I’ve ever had the pleasure of beholding. The bearer of this marvelously commanding coif slowly turned in my direction and we locked eyes for a moment. He gave me a small, knowing nod and flashed me an equally glorious 2 toothed grin.

I was awestruck and unable to move for a moment until the sound of the horn behind me broke my trance. The light had turned green, and I was about to lose sight of this amazing creature forever. I was deeply saddened and gave a little wave goodbye as I watched Mulletman and his lady love putter off into the sunset in a ‘Grease’ finale sort of fashion.

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“Where had such a stunning creature come from?” I thought to myself. It took no longer than a moment to snap back to reality and realize that such a wonder should not come as all that grand a shock to me anymore. I was, after all, in the Deep South now.

I was born and raised a purebred Yankee on the distant shores of a land where the locals refer to soda as “pop”, and the tea only comes in one variety; unsweetened…with lemon. There, the grass is lush, full, and real. In this distant land, Hill folk only exist in fairy tales and Baptists are as mythical as Leprechauns and Unicorns.

Then, one fateful day I found love in the arms of a handsome stranger and before I could even say “I do”, I was whisked away to a new and unusual place called “The South”, where the world and the people in it seem to move and talk slower and smoother than a spoonful of chilled molasses.  If you cut them, they will surely bleed red beans and rice, grits, and barbeque. They’ll ask what land I hail from, and the only way to properly communicate the place of my origin is to hold up my flattened right hand with thumb extended and point to a spot somewhere in the vicinity of my lifeline.

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As I settled in and became adjusted to my new surroundings, I never even noticed that I’d been afflicted with a reddening neck as the south seeped into my veins and threatened to take over my body. Then one day, I caught myself turning to my ill-behaving children and proclaiming, “I’m fixin’ to whoop up on ya’ll.” That’s when I realized that I had officially become one of them, like infected prey eventually becomes a zombie after being bitten.

“You’d best be gettin’ used to the ideer of bein’ a Southerner now ‘cuz there aint no cure” I thought to myself. I had become well versed in their language, using phrases like “I’m gonna set fer a spell”, and “Would ya just lookit the size of that varmint”, which is usually directed at the possum or raccoon helping himself to a trash can buffet. I’ll frequently find myself looking up at the mid-day sun while wiping the sweat from my brow and blurting out, “Hoo-wee. It sure is a hot one, aint it?” I’ve also become quite adept at fighting off the giant, man eating cockroaches that still manage to find a way into my humble abode, and threaten to  “carry off them youngins” in the middle of the night.

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The years will continue to drag on and the days will pass, and sometimes in the still of the night I’ll find myself lying awake and feel the battle raging inside of me as I struggle to hold on to the Yankee heritage that is slowly slipping away. I’ll always have fond memories of snow forts and 10 cent refunds on “pop” cans, though, and that’s something that the South can’t take away.

 

Daily Promt: Earworm

Going…going…gone

ChillCentral_Slush_SmallIt was 3 pm. I hadn’t seen my smallish, 11 year old, male offspring since we arrived this morning at the property that my husband manages. I wasn’t overly concerned by this fact, though. Everyone knows everyone in the community, watches out for each other’s kids, and adores all of ours. He’s made friends with most of the kids that live there, and is likely off playing video games with one of them. Someone will have fed him by this late in the afternoon, too. So, I was enjoying the peace and quiet of the day, and getting a lot accomplished in the apartment I was painting. That is until my husband gifted me with…a slushie.

I had no sooner taken a sip of the sweet frozen yumminess, when I spy the boy bopping by the kitchen window, mere seconds away from bursting through the door. I frantically look around for some place to stash my frosty treat, but I just wasn’t quick enough. Before I could make a move, there were 2 big grey eyes staring me down accusingly. “What’s in the cup?” He asked, and before I could even say Pineapple Slushie, he was sucking it down like a desert camel. You got a hump somewhere that I don’t know about, son? Maybe storing some up so that you can bounce off the walls later? Needless to say, the lad made quick work of my slushie.

How did he know?! I thought as I frowned at my empty cup. Then, from out of the blue, it hit me. The greatest epiphany to ever wander through the farthest galaxies of my cranium: Kids share a psychic link with sugar! I’m actually rather upset with myself for not realizing this fact sooner, as I reflect back on my years of life with 5 children.

I can go through the McDonalds drive through and order myself a quadruple biggie sized drink served in a bucket with a straw, and it’ll barely be passing through the minivan window before I’ll hear the first, “Hey, can I have a sip?” This of course results in 4 additional “sips” as it gets handed around. By the time it gets back to me there will be nothing but a half chewed ice cube in the bottom, and several teeth marks in the Styrofoam.

My 16 year old daughter is the worst one of the bunch. She can down an entire drink with catlike stealth.  She pulls this ‘faster than the naked eye ninja move’ and you won’t even know your drink is gone until you pick up the empty cup. I’ll glare at her and say,” Really Amber?” Then she’ll flash me her big innocent emerald eyes, belch like a drunken sailor, giggle, and say, “What? I was thirsty.” Child, where did you even come from? Were you there just a minute ago?

I did discover years ago that if I actually want to try and enjoy a sugary snack, I need to hide it from the herd. Even then, though, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get the pleasure of enjoying my hoarded deliciousness.

I can put my treat in a Ziploc bag, stuff the bag into one of those indestructible black boxes that they use on airplanes, place the black box inside a 3 inch thick steel safe, wrap a couple of thick iron chains around it, secure the chains with 5 or 6 strong padlocks, encase the whole thing in cement, and they’ll still come stiffing around my door like a pack of dogs. “You have an M&M in there, I can smell it.” Nope. That’s just my new perfume. Au De Hershey. You like?

I’ll wait it out until they’re satisfied with the fact that I’m not harboring any rogue goodies.  Then I’ll slide out of bed at 3 am and tip toe to the other side of the house. I’ll crack their doors open ever so slightly and peek in to see the rise and fall of the covers and listen for the gentle sounds of snoring. Then I’ll tip toe back to my room, quietly shut the door, and begin the process of extracting my stowed sweetness. Ah, there you are, you candy coated morsel of pleasure. It’s a green one, too. Just look at the way it sparkles in the moonlight. As the dainty delight starts to make its journey from hand to mouth I look over my shoulder one last time to see….5 sets of imploring eyes hovering over a freshly forming puddle of drool. Sigh. I give up. How exactly does one divide a single M&M into 5ths?

I realize now why so many women that I know with children are always on a health kick. They don’t really want to lose a few pounds, prevent heart disease, or lower their cholesterol. They just can’t get their hands on anything other than vegetables anymore. You like that carrot stick Sally? No? Well, get used to it, you have children. Consider it your new candy bar.

As I depart for the day, I offer those of you with children a deliciously sweet cookie, just to show that I am sympathetic to your plight.

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Oops. Too late. Better luck next time.

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