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It’s Time To Do It Right, Lace

13 Jun

Do It Right. That’s my motto.

I pride myself on “Doing It Right” in my life but after a morning of meditation, I acknowledged that I have been falling short. I have to make a change. No more half measures. I refuse to be a hypocrite.

How can I go around telling my friends, family and strangers to “Do it right!” when I am not actively giving it 100%? And I so love to tell them, “DO IT RIGHT!”.

Hence, I am discontinuing parts of my blog, My First Hand and Living the Re-Deal, and beginning to write a book. I have real content to share that goes deeper than a 5 minute read once or twice a week. I need to be able to write without leaving parts out “because it would be too long for a blog post.” I also need to stop hiding behind this blog. I know I am hiding. It feels safe here in the world-wide-web but its high time I step out of this comfort zone.

See, me living today is a miracle. Every day I spend on this earth without pain and paralysis is a blessing. God healed my body and because of him I have the opportunity to write my story and share it in its entirety. And my inspired story deserves a book. I am sure of it!

I will leave up the posts in The First Hand and Living the Re-Deal but there will be no more added in the future. It’s time I Did It Right, and started putting my life down on paper. (My mom is going to be so happy about this.)

Not to worry though! You can still look forward to my ramblings, rants and interactions with my son and husband which will be posted in Present Gameplay, as well, I will be putting more into my Cards of Life and The Players.

I’m kind of excited actually. I feel I can give more to my readers now that I am streamlining my content and I hope you enjoy following me nonetheless.

Cheers!

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Welcome to Wal*Mart

4 May

It had been 4 months since losing my job as a nanny, and a month since returning from Italy. During that month I took time to visit my family in Las Cruces which consisted of a 32 hour Greyhound bus ride, copious amounts of Christmas music on replay and a guy trying to fondle me as I slept. Yeah, he tried. As soon as I felt his hand crawling up my thigh he was punched in the face and kicked into the aisle. My loud announcement awoke everyone on the bus and a few men made quick work of roughing up the creep. He was dropped off on the side of the road a few minutes later. It was a rough start to a holiday vacation but it was wonderful seeing my parents and being with them for Christmas through New Years. YAY! 2005!

From Las Cruces I flew to Texas where I met L who had returned from Italy. We were to spend 2 weeks visiting his family and I was to meet them all for the first time, then drive his mustang back to Idaho. I wish I could say this went well and in some aspects it did. Let’s just say his mother did not welcome me with the open arms I was hoping for. I was warned that she is a bit crazy some times, but I was not prepared for what felt like blind hatred. I could understand her not liking me if I was a druggy, a Satanist, a potty mouth, or really ugly… But I was none of those things. I knew then that if I married L she would be an obstacle I would always have to navigate. I was however welcomed and shown love by L’s father and step mom. Over the years we have grown very close and enjoy a loving relationship. I absolutely adore them both. L’s siblings were always cordial and put out effort to get to know me. I always felt like it was out of their love for their brother not because they genuinely liked me or were interested in who I was. Either way though, they were always kind and I really have nothing to complain about. I wish I could say that the relationship between his mother and I improved over the years but I can’t. She remains the only person to ever consistently show me dislike and unjustifiable cruelty. Nothing else to say about the situation, well there is, but there is no point in sharing with the world. It is what it is.

After the visit in Texas which wasn’t very smooth, I was looking forward to stopping over in Las Cruces with L so he could meet my parents. The visit was short but nice, and they seemed to like L so I was pleased.

A few days after arriving in Mountain Home the job search began. I had to start making money and do something productive with my life. I went out on a job hunt. This wasn’t very easy. Mountain Home is a military fueled town with very few jobs to offer. There’s a grocery store, 3 restaurants, a few fast food places, a hardware store, 2 or 3 car dealerships, a movie theatre, a cable company, a hotel, a couple of gas stations…. that’s it really. Oh yes, and Wal*Mart. I applied everywhere on base first but there was a slim chance of me getting hired as the positions first go to active duty family members. Then I applied everywhere but the fast food places. I got an interview with Wal*Mart.

I landed the job. I wasn’t too thrilled to work at Wal*Mart, but it would provide me with income and oh how I missed having money! I started as a cashier and I actually liked it. Well besides the weird shifts I had to endure. 7pm-3am was torture for a couple of reasons. 1, My sleep was all sorts of strange and they liked to schedule me for 7pm-3am and then call me at 6am saying that they needed me for 9am. 2, Think of the people you normally see during the day at Wal*Mart. As the hours get later, they get weirder. Some nights the customers became my form of entertainment.

One family I remember because they left a scent memory. A scent memory is a memory that is engrained inside you because of a scent that’s attached to it. Every time I smell a strong scent of urine, I am reminded of them. The extremely obese couple would come in nearly every night around 11pm, with their 4 obese children in tow, wreaking of pee. I must have been their favorite cashier because  no matter how long my line was, they waited. After they passed through I had to disinfect my entire area to rid the area of the urine stench. I am not exaggerating. A few times I found myself fighting my gag reflex and the urge to call child protective services. I could only imagine the conditions they were living in! Another woman comes to mind too. This woman is a poster child for plastic surgery addiction and scary makeup application. I assumed she was in her 50’s or 60’s but it was hard to tell. It was however obvious she had a completely different face than the one she was born with. She would come in late and I can only attribute the lateness to her ritualistic make-up practices. Make-up that hideous and thick takes a lot of time. Trust me. I tried imitating the make-up with a friend and it took us well over 3 hours to perfect it. And that was with 2 of us working simultaneously. She bought hair bleach and an assortment of Jane makeup on a weekly basis. I am unsure of what the bleach was used for though. It was obvious she bleached the hair on her head, but her roots were always grown out an inch or so…. Where could all that bleach be going? I tried not to ponder on this question.

When I took the job at Wal*Mart my health was improving. I was still taking my herbs and off all pain medications. But the lack of rest and long hours on my feet began to take a toll after a few months. I talked to my supervisor about getting a stool to sit on during slow times, letting him know I was struggling with my muscle issues being on foot all day (He hired me knowing of my condition). He denied my request and said that their store wouldn’t allow sitting as a cashier. So he made me a greeter during half of my shift and that actually worked well. I stood the first half as a cashier and then the second half I was able to sit and smile, which was cake. I sit and smile well! “Welcome to Wal*Mart!” I had to have said it over a million times in 3 months. Sometimes I would go home to sleep and “Welcome to Wal*Mart” would be in my dreams. I would dream of greeting people, all the time. Sometimes I would dream of greeting aliens and animals too, just depended on the kind of day I had I guess.

Anyways, the greeter position was working out really well for me. But when they hired an old lady, I was forced off my stool and back to being strictly a cashier. After a week or 2 I again told my superior I could not manage standing for those hours and he said, “If you can’t do the job as is, then consider yourself let go.” I cried loudly, right there in his office. I believe I made him extremely uncomfortable, but I didn’t really care. I was so upset. This felt so wrong and unjust. At the time I was so distraught and disappointed that I didn’t even think of the Disabilities Act he was violating. Hindsight 20/20 I think I had a legal case with that dismissal. After 6 months of employment, I was unemployed, again.

I was so upset and discouraged. I had lost another job and had to go through all those same feelings of failure. My body was holding me back! I tried to get on disability after my dismissal but that was unsuccessful too. While working at Wal*Mart, L and I had gotten married. His income disqualified me.

Yes that’s right, we married. That’s the next post.

Love-in Italy Part 2

16 Apr

Florence. Aaaahh… SO beautiful! I could have stayed months there, no, I could have stayed the rest of my life there. And I wanted to stay there with L. First thing was first, find a place to sleep. L didn’t make reservations which was kind of our first argument. There we were, 9pm after a very long train ride, dragging our luggage up and down streets, searching the city for a place to stay. We went into a ritzy hotel, me rolling my eyes at L knowing we can’t afford it. We inquired of the price and of course, I was correct. When we asked for cheaper recommendations nearby the man said wait here a minute. We looked at each other a bit confused,  but we waited. A couple of minutes later he returned and said, “Follow me.” We followed hesitantly into the dark alley across from the hotel, through a door bigger than any door I have ever seen, and into an elevator right out of a 1930’s movie. There was barely enough room for us 3 to fit in it, and I swore if we would have jumped, it would have plummeted. But neither L or the desk clerk would jump with me, so we’ll never know if I was right…. “It look older than it is.” says the clerk in a condescending tone. Riiiiiight, then jump I say! I am so right.

The room was amazing! It was 2 stories, with a spiral staircase right in the center sitting room leading up a room with 2 king size beds. The bathroom had heated floors, heated towel racks and even a bidet!!! There was a balcony overlooking the whole city and I could see the Duomo, fully illuminated and majestic! We got this amazing room for the low price of 60 Euro! Can you believe that? We were under budget. So all that irritation with L slowly melted away, as L and I snuggled up and watched the city come to life.

I could not wait to celebrate my 18th year with adventure! Now, something about L and I that differs greatly that I learned on this trip was that we both view “adventure” differently. I also learned that we have different interests when it comes to exploring and sightseeing. I like culture, history, architecture, and a bit of chaos. He preferred safe, leisure, and semi-Americanized surroundings. Hehehe, this made for an uncomfortable time for him, as I won. It was my birthday.

We first headed out in the pouring rain. Yes, pouring. We were drenched in seconds and I knew from that moment this day would be AWESOME. L however, was not impressed with my dancing about “catching your death of cold in Florence, on your pretend birthday” and soon found us both sweatshirts and umbrellas from a street vendor. Fine, fine. I complied. But then I was off. The city was abuzz and the word was that the San Lorenzo Market was going on several blocks away, in a direction pointed by someone who apparently had no sense of direction. We wandered in the rain, ducking in and out of quaint but far-too-expensive stores, tons of bakeries (oh wow, gained 3 pounds), and espresso shops (peed a lot). We went about 12 blocks in the wrong direction until another tourist pointed us in the right direction. Thanks out-of-towner! Grabbed some of the best pizza ever, and went on our way, the other way.

The market was huge and packed full of people. I bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t need and labeled them as “souvenirs” with little intention of actually giving them to the intended people. We walked through rows after rows of hand crafted gems, ate more food (well I did) and the rain never let up for a minute. When we were done with the market, we made our way to see the older parts of town.

This is where I would post amazing pictures but, my camera was in fact stolen out of my bag on our return trip… so, no photos. The city of Florence is so rich in history and beauty, we barely even scratched the surface of discovery. We did however see the most beautiful cathedrals, several neat statues including David, and a few landmarks like the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio bridge! My favorite site was the Basilica of Santa Croce, it was breathtaking. Up close you could see the craftsmanship and I was in awe the whole time. I didn’t want to leave its steps but my stomach told me otherwise. Dinner time!

Finding a restaurant was challenging. Not for the lack of restaurants but because L wanted a menu he could read. I was more willing to take a gamble. So we settled on a place with an English menu and an Italian one. He ordered right away, I pondered over Italian words, trying to think of what Giada would order. I went with something that sounded rustic and pretty, it didn’t disappoint! We ate in true Italian fashion, slowly, with strangers and buckets of wine. I guess this is the thing to do here. Dinner was delicious and the company was entertaining. 3 hours later, on to birthday drinks.

We wandered about some more, in the general direction of our hotel. Not long after the search was over. We came across an Irish pub called “The Dublin Pub” and ducked in as it seemed like the hot spot in the area. Talk about fun! People from all over the world were in that pub. We made some Aussie friends, Irish Friends, English Friends, a couple American ones too! No Italian though… Strange. Shortly a contest was in full swing. L didn’t believe my drinking abilities and neither did a couple Aussies, and so it was on. Long story short, I won. I had about 10 shots, 2 foreign concoctions, and a couple Redbulls. L was done after 6 beers. After the high-fives went around the pub and a couple of hugs from drunk strangers, we staggered back to our hotel room. Or did we? OK, we got lost. Really lost. It was around 2am and we had no clue where we were. We went in circles for over an hour trying to find our hotel. Just when all hope was about to be lost, and we were going to settle for the sidewalk, we see our special little alley way…. Literally next to the Dublin Pub. Oy Vey. Really???? We crashed as soon as our heads hit our pillows. Good night Florence.

The morning came quick and so did the hangover for me. We packed up, grabbed some yummy confections at the bakery on the corner and went to catch our train. Those 2 days were unforgettable and far too short. I loved every moment of that trip. L was a great companion there, and we sure learned a lot about our differences. But ya know what? I didn’t mind that we were so different. I felt that we made a good team and that we brought balance to each other in our extreme areas. Our humour really clicked when it came to having fun and being silly, which has always been a big thing for me in relationships. I could be myself with him, and that was nice.

I only stayed a couple more days with L in Aviano. We went for a few drives and romantic walks, on a few shopping trips and ate at some unique cafes. I took tons of pictures, that of course I can’t show you but at least I have my memories. And those will never be stolen. Well, until I grow old and senile of course.

Saying goodbye to L was hard. I was teary-eyed and he took it rough as well. He even inquired about me staying until he was set to leave Italy, but it just wasn’t affordable. So we hugged and kissed and kissed some more, and I was off.

Farewell L, Farewell Italy.

Hello Mountain Home AFB, again…

Love-in Italy Part 1

2 Sep

I made the mistake of telling my BFF Kiki all the details I had failed to share with my parents about L, and to put it lightly, she was totally not cool with me going to Italy. I had to promise to call her daily or else she was going to tell my parents! Can you believe that? So many paranoid people these days… Oh well, I agreed anyhow. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and the time had finally come for me to board the plane (as well as 2 other planes) that would take me to my boyfriend! It took me 17 hours to reach Venice, Italy and when that plane touched down I was so overwhelmed with excitement that I could barely stay seated. I went to the airport washroom and tried to pretty myself up first, but it wasn’t going so well. 17 hours of travel does not produce anything beautiful or even presentable. I sprayed myself with perfume and gave my teeth a brush… On to meet the love of my life!

 

There I stood looking around for him. Where was he? A nice older man wearing an US military uniform noticed the panic on my face as I scanned every person walking about. He approached me and asked if I was OK and if he could help me. I filled him in that I was looking for my boyfriend, he was thirty minutes late. This seemed to upset the man when he learned L was in the Air Force. He felt L should have been more responsible as a military man. He led me to a bench where I could see the entrances clearly, and sat with me for about 20 minutes. It was a little awkward sitting there by him, chatting idly, but I think he felt a bit of a fatherly impulse to protect me. Finally L came in. I didn’t get to greet him properly though, as the man accompanying me started berating L for his hour-long tardiness. L kept looking between the two of us wondering who in the world this guy was…? A few minutes later the man finished his lecture and Luke was able to apologize. He had got stuck in traffic. At that, my escort left us to finally greet each other!

*Swoon* He swept me up, spun me in a circle and planted an amazing kiss on my lips. The kiss did not disappoint and I found L to be even more attractive in person. He was gorgeous! I was so consumed with being near him that I found it very difficult to talk or even walk for that matter. I tripped all over myself on the way to the car as I kept trying to look at him while walking and holding his hand… I’m not a very coordinated person.

It was total sensory overload seeing Italy. Its beauty exceeded my expectations immediately. We drove to Pordenone, the city I would be staying in for the duration of my visit. It was about an hours drive. This was an amazing drive. The scenery Italy boasts is one of a kind and it was only enhanced by being able to stare at my very handsome boyfriend. I could not believe I was actually living this dream!

A friend of L’s who worked the opposite shift offered for me to stay at his flat while I visited. L stayed in the dorms on base, and I wasn’t allowed there. He ended up being a very nice guy who I got to know quite well over the two weeks I stayed with him. L wasn’t able to take every day off work, so his friend carted me around to the all the fun places and  made sure I was thoroughly entertained while his guest. One evening in particular comes to mind pertaining to his dedication to keep me entertained. He slammed two shot glasses on the coffee table, and set a bottle of Absinth beside them. The bottle was glowing an unnatural green color, and the look in my new friend’s eyes was one of challenge with a slight edge of crazy. I’d only heard of this drink in movies, it wasn’t legal in the states. Well, I never back down from a challenge, bottoms up! We each took 3 shots over 20 minutes and 2 more back to back around the 30 minute mark. Needless to say, I out drank the 6’3 Nordic-built fellow and he passed out on the couch shortly after. The absinth had a strange affect on me. I didn’t hallucinate as its known for, I just felt very light and everything around me became very vivid. My drinking buddy on the other hand must have been enjoying some strange hallucinations as he dreamed away on the couch because he randomly shouted out nonsense and occasionally moved his arms and legs as if he were swimming.

To make up for passing out the night before, my ever-diligent supplier of entertainment took me to Venice the following day. Venice was perfection! Well, minus the faint sewer smell coming from the stagnant water in the canals. I enjoyed endless amounts of my new favorite wine, the best pasta I had ever tasted, unique stores which held items I could only dream of affording but it was fun to browse nonetheless! Everything was so beautiful there. It would have been more enjoyable had L been able to come with me, but my new friend was a pleasant tour guide and spoke decent Italian which made things so much easier.

We celebrated the American Thanksgiving at the house of one of L’s friends. Everyone was very welcoming and the evening was spent watching football and eating good food. I could tell everyone missed their families though and longed to be home with them. It made me wonder if I would like this kind of life if L and I were to get married. I knew I would love seeing the world with him if that’s where his career took him, but would I be able to handle the long period of time between seeing my family? I didn’t know, but, I didn’t need to think about that just yet.

Soon my birthday came and although we couldn’t leave for Florence yet, L made my day special. He took me to a wonderful pizzeria called Vecchios. Now, I love pizza but this was unlike any pizza I had ever tasted. It was heaven in my mouth. That fated day is the cause of my American Pizza Dissatisfaction. Ever since chowing down on that delicious masterpiece of brickoven fired round perfection I have yet to eat its equal. In fact, no pizza has even came close to satisfying me since. It’s so unfortunate… We ended the evening by enjoying the most unique gelato I had ever had. Everything on the menu had a theme. My gelato came out resembling Pinocchio with a cone being placed as his nose. L’s was centered around the chocolate covered mint ‘After Eight’ and resembled the night sky. It was a perfect birthday and unforgettable. I spent it in Italy with the man I loved.

The following day we went for an adventurous drive through the Carnic Alps. They were majestic, I don’t know how else to describe them. I had traveled mountain roads before but nothing ever like this! The road snaked along the side of the mountains in a way that only bettered the view of the surrounding beauty. The snow lightly dusted the trees and there was no end in sight as we made our way deeper and higher into the Alps. I’m not gonna lie though, as beautiful as it was I was scared half to death most of the time. See, L is from Texas and he doesn’t “do” snow or ice for that matter. And he sure as heck didn’t know how to drive on it either. There were a few times I had to coach him through turns and inclines as he was obviously panicking while trying to control the tiny VW Golf he had rented. We began to make our way down the mountain and reached a tiny town called Barcis. A sign stating “two-way bridge” greeted us and I couldn’t believe my eyes…there is no way that bridge was a “two-way”. Maybe they meant there were two ways to die on it and one would be by trying to get across while another car did the same in the opposite direction. Case and point, the picture below.

I’m pretty sure Barcis was a town out of a fairytale. It was built next to a breathtaking, smooth as glass blue-green lake. The lake had a small layer of fog resting on it and swans floated across its serene waters. We held hands as we walked along the lake-side path, talking about nothing at all but everything at the same time. It just felt right to be by his side. Talking to him and loving him was effortless for me. There was nowhere else in the world I would rather have been, than with him. Whether it was in this fairytale swan-lake town nestled in the Alps, or in brown and boring Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. I knew I wanted to be with him wherever he may go… I was beginning to picture a life with him. Could he be “the one”? It sure felt like he was the one. We shared the same silly sense of humor, we valued family and God above all else, we never had a problem communicating and most importantly, he made me happy. I didn’t know if I would marry L, but the thought of it was the only thing on my mind as we drove back to Pordenone.

I couldn’t wait for our adventure to Florence! I was so impatient I could barely sleep that night.

Communal Living

2 Sep

I’ll be writing a “Player” post about Leah very soon but you do need to be brought up to speed a bit so you can understand why living with my sister was such an odd choice. Leah and I grew up without a relationship. Yes, we were sisters and we lived in the same house but that was as far as it went with us. I had longed to be loved by her since as far back as I can remember, but I never got that from her. I didn’t even have mutual respect from her or a casual but good relationship like you would have with a co-worker. No, she hated me and told me it often. That’s the gist of it. We had only just started addressing issues and patching up the pain between us when she offered me a room. Maybe that’s why she did it. To give me help now, since she wasn’t present when I needed her time and time before.

Whatever her reason, I was very grateful when my sister and brother in-law opened their home to me. I honestly didn’t expect Leah to do that and she was the last person on earth I would think to willing have as a housemate. I had several other choices of places to live when it came to moving on in my life. I could have stayed at my Aunt and Uncle’s house, got a job somewhere nearby and eventually moved out on my own. I could have gone back to my parents’ house in New Mexico, or have gone back to school and lived on campus… But for some reason, and I still don’t know why, I chose to move in with my sister and her husband on Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

Living there was easier than I thought it was going to be. Leah and her hubby were happy to have me and it felt nice to be around family. As long as we kept the conversation light and avoided “soft spots” concerning our relationship everything was smooth. I used this living arrangement as an opportunity to get to know Leah’s husband better and he really was meant for her. He’s a man who isn’t intimidated by Leah’s strength and appreciates her abundant uniqueness. Of course, every relationship has its challenges and theirs was no exception. I learned that they were both very passionate, stubborn and always right…. Leah had met her match in wills as well it seemed. Good for her. She needed that!

Overall though I was very happy living with the both of them, excepting that we differ greatly in our habits of cleaning. (Love you Leah, but you are one messy woman…you know this. I guess strangers do now as well. Sorry bout that.) It was a great time for Leah and I to make new memories and build on our new friendship as adult sisters. I was able to be by her side when her personal life hit a rough patch (details don’t matter) and I was glad for the opportunity. She was also there to witness my budding love for L and share those sisterly giggles about boys. Those never go away no matter how old you get…they just get dirtier in context!

Leah encouraged me to take my time in figuring out the direction I wanted to go in my life. I never felt like a freeloader while living there and I did my part to clean up after myself to ensure I didn’t leave cause for her to push me out the door. I did however decide that after I got back from Italy, I would find a job and get my life started.

He Entered MySpace

1 Sep

While waiting to move from my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Oregon to Idaho with my sister, I acquired a lot of down time. I made myself useful by doing household chores during the day and making dinner in the evenings. Usually with the assistance of a Sous Chef; my slightly older and awesome male cousin T. I would also doddle about on the internet when I had nothing else to do…usually by noon. At the time ‘MySpace’ was a very popular online destination for me, and fellow young adults as well. And that’s where I met him.

The condensed version of how I met L: He emailed me through MySpace because he was to be stationed with the Air Force in Mountain Home (where I would soon be living) and was trying to make friends before arriving from Italy. Me being the out-going person that I am responded enthusiastically and began getting to know him. We emailed back and forth 3-5 times a day. I was beginning to get to know him as well as any friend I had, in fact, better than. Here are a few details so you know a bit about him too: He was 20, we shared the same Christian beliefs as well as a admiration for strange humor. He was from a small town in Texas, he joined the Air Force right out of high school and was working as an enlisted Firefighter. After a week of conversing through email we decided to take it to the telephone.

My stomach was all a flutter the first time I heard his voice. It was just as I had imagined it. Calm, light-hearted and with a slight southern draw. I didn’t realize the feelings I had developed for him while we emailed each other the previous week. This was crazy and I knew it. But the free-spirit inside was driving me on, this was exciting!

By the second week of chatting I was completely wrapped up in L. I impatiently waited for his phone call from the moment I awoke, I checked my email obsessively just in case and talked incessantly about him to whomever would listen. I hadn’t met him in person but he already had my heart. I felt silly, but I couldn’t help it. Not long after I realized how much I cared for him, he confessed his attachment to me. He genuinely liked me and his feelings were growing deeper every day. “I have something to ask you and I know it might be a bit weird since we are in different countries. Would you mind not dating anyone, well, dating just me actually?” He wanted me as his girlfriend adding “At the risk of scaring you away I had to ask, because I know your value and I know it won’t be long before another guy will notice it too”. I of course, with my tummy all a flutter and my heart racing, readily agreed to not date anyone else. I was off the market, and waiting to meet my boyfriend. Hahaha, yes I knew it was weird and maybe a bit naive. But I didn’t care. Something was different in this relationship, there was a gravitation-like pull I had never felt toward someone.

A week later L asked me to fly to Italy so we could meet sooner, instead of waiting until February. I’m not going to lie, February was four months away and kind of felt like a painful sentence of time to endure. I also had been dreaming of going to Italy for years and that dream was now within my reach. He even offered to take me to Florence for my 18th birthday! How could I say no? What reason did I have? Everything inside me screamed YES! I knew getting my parents approval might prove a bit difficult but I’d figure something out. I had to go. I told him yes, he began arranging my flights, and I had a ticket to Italy within a few days. In the meantime…

Getting around my parents without lying was kind of challenging. I knew if I was totally honest about how I knew L, or for how long, that they would 100% object. “This guy could be a child predator!”, I could hear it now. Any good parent would freak out and completely object, rightfully so. But I knew L was a good guy and I knew he would never harm me, this just felt right. So I did what any 17-year-old would do, I bent the truth. Ok I bent half-truths. They believed what I offered them though, without any pointed questions that would have caused me to outright lie. They gave their consent with only slight hesitation, and were happy for my dream of seeing Italy to be realized. I did feel guilty about this, and eventually I told them the whole truth. They were a bit shocked by my twisted truths and smooth manipulations, but by that time I was 18 and they really couldn’t do anything about it. All I got was, “Oh Lace…You’re lucky he was a good guy. That could have turned out really bad!” Along with a few displeased glares from my mother.

But before I could fly off to Italy to meet the love of my life, I had to take steps to establish my new life. Ya know, the one that I was going to make for myself in Mountain Home, Idaho? I have no idea why I decided to move to a town I knew was boring and brown. What kind of life could I make for myself there? The place was isolated and dull, it offered me nothing I desired when it came to opportunities or diversity of people. “At least L would be there after the new year” I thought to myself as I packed once more, “He would make life in small town USA more exciting”. But really, what was I thinking before I knew L would be there? Who knows? I sure didn’t, still don’t actually.

Here goes nothin, time to move in with my sister. *Gulp*

Choose a job you love…

29 Aug

and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucius (smart dude knows what’s up)

I dived right into all things Nanny! My bosses gave me a list of what was expected of me as their children’s nanny, and I settled into the routine with ease. I even took on cooking dinner several nights a week as my employers had a crazy schedule and I much preferred home-cooked meals to take-out.

I found my job to be fun and fulfilling, it never felt like work. The girls I looked after were 10 and 12, both very easy to take care of. I could tell immediately that they craved attention and were very happy to be getting mine.  My days usually consisted of waking up the girls, insuring they ate breakfast while I packed their lunches, took them to school, running back home to do a few household chores and prep dinner, picking the girls up from school, helping with homework, feeding them and then seeing they got to bed by a decent hour when a parent wasn’t home. I also played the role of chauffeur during the week and some times on the weekends; taking them to their many sport practices and games. I really was loving life and loving my job. I thought I was doing a great job and reassured myself that I was by the happiness both of the girl exuded constantly. They loved me, and I loved them. The closer I became to the girls the more apparent it was that even though they now had me, they longed for the affection and attention of their parents. It was obvious my bosses put their careers above raising their family and this saddened me. But, if they weren’t workaholics I wouldn’t have this job… So I tried to be everything I could for the girls. I couldn’t replace their mom but I could definitely show them I cared through everything I did. And that was the most satisfying part of being a Nanny for me.

I also loved my new environment, it was big and beautiful. I had a separate entrance and a wing of the furnished basement was completely mine while I lived there. I had been given a brand new Jetta to use as my own without any of the costs related to owning it. And on top of all that I was receiving a really good wage and enjoying every payday!

For some reason my employers weren’t as happy or satisfied as I was. I had been working for their family for nearly 3 months and as far as I knew I was doing excellently. The girls and I were getting along great, I had helped both of them improve their grades, and they were so happy in general. But this wasn’t enough.

In fact, they called my parents expressing concern for me. They told my parents that they didn’t think I was healthy enough to be working (I made the mistake of telling them about my past muscle issues) and that they weren’t fond of the guy I was dating. My parents told them they needed to be discuss these concerns with me and not them, as I am their employee.

So there I sat opposite the mom-boss and dad-boss. They started off saying they thought my health was declining, noting I had been very tired recently and not very active on the weekends. I reassured them this was only because I had been working longer hours as the girls’ schedules were getting busier with sports and they (the parents) weren’t home much recently. See, I didn’t hold a 9-5 type nanny job. My work-day began at 5am each morning with the girls and did not stop until around 10:30pm most nights. So yes, come the weekend all I wanted to do was sleep-in, relax and go visit a guy I was seeing in Portland. With the mention of “the guy”, they disregarded my reasoning for being a bit tired and pounced on their dislike of him. They made it known that they did not like him and did not want me driving in their car to see him. I asked why they disliked him as they had never met him and what they did know of him was his love of motorcycles, his job and his career goals. They had no response to my counter question, they just reiterated that I was to no longer use their car to visit him. I again, without feeling intimidated by their aggressive and out of nowhere questioning, added that they never gave me stipulations in regards to my use of the car. “Did you not say it was to be at my disposal for whatever I wanted to do? That I could leave my vehicle with my parents because I would have one here to be mine?”  They didn’t answer me. They just stared at me, and then each other, and then me again. With the long silence and stare-fest not ending, I again reassured them of my good health and added in that I was sorry they didn’t like my male-friend but that if it was of any consequence, I had no intention of introducing him to the girls or themselves anyways. I let them also know I did not want to mix my personal life with my work life, they needed to be separate in order to maintain good boundaries between everyone. At that, the mother-boss broke their silence and said this was unacceptable. They wanted their Nanny to be like a part of the family, like a big sister to their girls, like a daughter to them. They wanted to be 100% involved in my life and that is why they felt they needed to sit down with me and discuss their “concerns”.

I gave this all some thought before I responded. It felt like hours with stare-a-thon that was transpiring while I pondered. Finally I responded that I view myself as an employee. I am a Nanny, not a family member. This is my job, I already have parents and siblings. Without even giving thought to what I had just said to them the dad-boss stated  he felt on top of the other concerns voiced, that they were needing a nanny that could also incorporate responsibilities of a maid. He said their last nanny did so much house work that they were unaware of now up until now, since I do “very little” it is apparent she was going above and beyond. (Are you kidding me?)

Even this did not discourage me though. Sure I was reaching the “pissed off point” but I wasn’t wanting to quit. I asked him to make a list of household chores he would like me to start doing in addition to my Nanny duties, and we could agree upon a new salary. At this statement I reached a wall. He hesitantly said, No… that will not work. We don’t believe your health is good enough to be our nanny, let alone add more responsibilities. I tried to argue how wrong he was, that this was insane… but I was interrupted.

“We no longer desire you to be our Nanny, we will be seeking someone else to be our maid and to take our girls to their after school activities. They are old enough now that they don’t need the constant care of a nanny, our home needs more attention.” I couldn’t believe he was firing me… “But no need to rush away. You can stay downstairs until you find a new job or a way back home. Please don’t feel as if we are throwing you out of our home. ” I stood up silently and shook my head in understanding, tears now falling from my cheeks and left the room.

I sat in my room stunned, trying to make sense of everything that just happened. The girls did need me, I knew they did. They needed someone until their parents would be around for them. That wasn’t going to change. They were wealthy enough to employ a full-time house-keeper as well as a nanny, I even offered to do both jobs! This was so very out of the blue. I felt so wronged… None of it made sense to me. All of their strange “concerns” should have been put to rest with my explanations…they were determined to fire me by any means and I didn’t know why. What horrible people! They moved me here 3 months ago and now they are telling me they don’t need a nanny, shouldn’t they have given that more thought before moving me 1,600 miles from my home?

No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I called my parents and gave them the short version of what transpired, they were very upset to put it lightly. Then I called my Aunt and Uncle who lived 45 mins away and asked if they would come get me, and let me stay with them till I can figure out where I am going… They were there in less than 30 mins.

The girls were heartbroken once their parents told them I leaving. They came into my room as I was shoving all my belongings angrily into big black garbage bags and chucking them into boxes. I paused to settle my anger and looked at both of their saddened faces. I didn’t know what to say to make them smile, this truly was horrible and I knew they were feeling loss. They were losing the only person in their home who made them feel important and showed them love by actions and not money…they were losing a friend and their nanny. I made it very clear to the girls that I care deeply for them both and that my leaving is by no choice of my own. That this is just as much a shock to me as it is to them. I continued to pack until my Uncle barged in and started moving me out in record speed. I left my email address with both the girls and was out of there within an hour of being “let go”.

My bosses didn’t offer to help me with a ticket home, they didn’t give me that weeks paycheck, they didn’t even say they were sorry.

By no fault of my own I was out of a job and living with my ever-so-wonderful Aunt and Uncle for a month. I broke up with that guy I was seeing a few days after losing my job, funny enough. I realized I desired more than a casual romance and that I deserved far more than he was willing or even capable of giving me in our relationship.

I look back at this short period of my life and I am proud of myself. I was an exceptional Nanny and I handled the firing with a lot more grace than I would nowadays… I lack grace people, its true. Unfortunately I don’t have any life lessons from this experience to share. Well, maybe the obvious and annoyingly true one we’ve heard time and time again, usually from people we don’t want to hear it from: Life can be unfair.

I decided to take my sister up on her offer for me to live with her and her husband in Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. Boy I hoped that was the right decision. Leah and I hadn’t always had the best relationship (putting it lightly)…this sure would test its limits. I also happened to meet a guy on Myspace while waiting for my grandparents to drive me back to Idaho with them. Little did I know he’d end up being more to me than just another internet friend….

Success is not final, failure is not fatal:

25 Aug

It is the courage to continue that counts. ~Winston Churchill

Leaving the city associated with my physical and emotional pain, as well my countless regretful choices, made it so much easier to find perspective concerning the past 3 years of my life and to focus on my body’s healing. To put it mildly though, I had a lot of crap to sort through and learn from. Over the course of a couple of months I stayed strict to my body’s healing regimen and used a journal to recount the prior three years. Sometimes I would just write everything out as it happened, and other times I would express my emotions through poetry. I addressed everything I was proud of and everything I was ashamed of. I addressed every type of pain and what or who was associated with it.  It wasn’t easy looking back in with a clear mind, no longer clouded by narcotics. To see my past as it truly was made me feel terrible inside. What I did to my body and how I misused my parents’ trust was shameful in the least. Oh how I regretted so many things! How do people continue on in life with this feeling and still feel good about themselves? Is it possible?

I found that it wasn’t possible for me. In order to feel good about myself and move on happily in my life, I had to address each regret. I had to “right the wrongs” so to say. Whether it was to my parents, my siblings, a friend, God or myself…

God came first on the list of righting wrongs but he was already in the know. There wasn’t much to tell him since the guy sees everything… I repented for all the sins that stained my soul. I knew I had found forgiveness when he granted me the strength and courage to forge on to the next in line, My parents. I knew there was nothing I could tell them that would change their love for me but seeing their hurt and disappointment was going to be so much harder than baring it all. And it truly was. That day I made an inner-vow to always be transparent and honest with my parents. I kept that vow consistently to this day, excepting one more recent period of time where I felt justified in my reasoning (this will be covered soon). Sometimes I even share when it’s totally unnecessary and contains somewhat inappropriate content for parents… But they love me just the same and take me as I am!

Communicating my regrets with the people I loved became very freeing for me.  There were no more secrets looming about. Lacey has some ugly history and everyone knows it. Talk about a weight lifted off my shoulders! Once I took accountability for my actions and everyone I loved had forgiven me, I had to convince my biggest critic that I was deserving of forgiveness and a clear conscience. It wasn’t easy in the least, but I eventually managed to win myself over. I turned the negative choices into positive learning experiences. Then I let go of all the shame and regrets…time to move forward happily.

 

Now it was time to pursue a life adventure. I was just itching to get out into the world on my own in someway I never thought possible. I was positive my body could handle this now, I could feel it. I wish I would have chosen to go back to college and give a second go at becoming a Child Psychologist, but I didn’t. Perhaps I was too afraid to try again, or maybe it was God’s plan, I really don’t know. But for some reason I got it in my head to become a nanny.

I signed up on a few nanny-search websites and had really good luck right off the bat. Three families were interested in hiring me and actively pursuing me within a month of posting my ad. When it came down to choosing there was one clear choice: The family from Oregon City, OR. They claimed to be a Christian family who was very down to earth and loving. They had two girls ages 10 and 12 who were very active in sports and in need of an “older sister” figure. To top it all off they were very wealthy and offered me a generous wage, a new car to be at my disposal along with a gas allowance, as well as the entire basement of there near-mansion-sized home to call my own. There really didn’t seem to be a down-side to this arrangement. After several emails, phone calls and a background check I shipped my belongings off to Oregon City. Soon after I drove up to Boise with my brother, where I hopped on a plane and arrived at my new life adventure!

(There is a story completely in itself pertaining to the drive from Las Cruces to Boise with my brother, but I’m going to save it for a post that’s coming soon.)

 

So there I was, Lacey the Nanny. I was living my re-deal and it felt good!

Fear not for the future, weep not for the past.

23 Aug

The title of this post comes from Percy Bysshe Shelley, one of my favorite poets.

At 16 1/2 years old my world opened up as my body began its healing. Over a period of 6 months I stuck to a vigorous regime and I could feel my body literally healing from the inside. Against my doctor’s wishes I took myself completely off all pain medications, muscle relaxers and antidepressants, cold-turkey. I was on the fast-track to a new life, and I was ready to take full advantage of this re-deal.

I guess you could say I got a little ahead of myself by picking up my re-deal before my first hand was completely played out. Two months into my seemingly new life I started to dream and see that they could now be a reality. I never thought to go to college because honestly I figured, what’s the point of continuing education if I wouldn’t be able to use my degree in a life-long career? But now I could! I could dream and I could force those dreams into reality, my new reality. I was determined to pursue a degree in Child Psychology and hoped to minor in Sociology. I wanted to help children who struggled with disabilities and dealt with chronic pain. I wanted to be someone they could talk to because I had been there. Who better than to offer perspective and support than myself? I literally knew all they were feeling physically and emotionally. This would be my way of giving back to God for the gift he had given me.

You are probably thinking I had a few years to finish high school and then I would pursue college. Well, because of my inability to attend high school regularly due to all my health issues coupled with my immense brain power, I graduated at 15, right before turning 16. This meant I didn’t have to wait, I just needed to get accepted and sort out financial aid which was easy enough. I charged off into the adventure of college that fall!

I enrolled at Boise State University and took 4 classes to start. My classes consisted of Psych-101, Sociology-101 Creative Writing and “Bonehead” Math (Me and Math never understood each other, and never will).  My parents were a little apprehensive as this whole “no pain” thing was relatively new and college was going to be very demanding on me mentally and physically. I brushed off their concerns thinking they were overreacting, as parents are known for doing. But a few weeks into classes I started realizing they had a valid cause for concern.

I began feeling very fatigued and started peeing out muscle protein again. See, my classes happened to be on opposite sides of the large campus and I was walking back and forth all day. My body also wasn’t getting the rest it needed as I stayed up far too late being a perfectionist on my assignments. To the average, healthy person this wouldn’t have been an issue. But my body-on-the-mend, couldn’t handle this kind of exertion. Contrary to whatever I believed, I wasn’t that average, healthy person yet.

We began calling around in search of a power scooter to help me get from class to class. There was no way we could afford to buy one, but we did have several resources through MDA and hoped they could give us one from their medical equipment loan-locker. We got lucky, they had one for me! The scooter worked its wonders and enabled me to get from class to class that month. But like I said, this was on loan, they needed it back. So now what? There were 3 weeks left in the semester and I was determined to see it through. I was going to force my body to deal with it.

I had no intention of giving up, but my body had no other choice. 1 week before finals my legs failed me. I ended up in the hospital with lower extremity paralysis for the longest period of time I had ever experienced, nearly 36 hours. The pain upon regaining their use was excruciating  as it usually was, but this time I felt something that never had accompanied my paralysis episodes. I felt the sting of defeat, I felt failure. I had never allowed myself to have dreams before in fear of being unable to achieve them because of my body’s limitations. I had crafted this idea of my new future, I had given my heart over to it. I had poured all of myself into this dream and within those 36 hours of paralysis and the days of pain that followed it, my dream had shattered.Well actually, I just threw it in the trash like a 16-year-old twit.

I missed my finals, I failed my classes. Had my body not flaked out I would have finished that semester with a shining GPA and been well on my way to completing my goal. I like to believe that if this scenario had played out when I was 18 or in my early 20’s that I would have given it a second go. That I would have seen this failure as a minor road-block, not a dead-end. Oh how I wish I would have found the determination to dust myself off, figure out a new approach, and gave a re-try to achieve my goal…but I didn’t. I let negativity consume me and I rejected my dream. I could have learned so many things from this experience but instead I walked away thinking there was no point in dreaming, because my dreams will never be able to enter the realm of reality. I felt humiliated, foolish and defeated.It was quite a pity-party I tell you.

After that event my life consisted of the vigorous healing regimen, continuing the process of ridding myself of not-so-great “friends”, resisting the old habits of alcohol and smoking pot, all the while trying very hard not to get mad at God again.

As I was starting to get over my “college failure” and the depression that came with it, my dad got a job in Las Cruces, NM as a Truss-Plant manager (a totally different storyline but my dad left the ministry when I was 13 to give our family a more stable life. Surprisingly enough, church ministry is very taxing on the family of the Pastor in many ways…). It was time to move…again. Usually when it was time to move, as we did nearly every 2 years when I was a child, I cried. I never wanted to move, and often times I would refuse to make friends for several months upon arriving in the new town. Eventually I would get over it, make friends, and fall in love with my new surroundings…usually just in time to be uprooted again. This time was different though. I would miss my best friend K but I was secure enough in our friendship that I knew distance wouldn’t break our bond. I had nothing else tied to Boise besides her.

I welcomed this fresh start. Maybe it would bring me far enough away from my past that I could clearly focus on the present.

If you knew the can was full of worms

21 Aug

would you still open it?

See I’m one of those people who opens the can knowing there are worms inside. In fact, I’ll use any means necessary to get the can open, heck I may even smash the can open with a hammer or use a crude tool to cut a hole for the worms to be shook out… I get the job done people. And if you ask nicely, I’ll help you open your can as well. Because I’m always here to help.

The other night when I wrote the draft of “Anger is the folly of fools” it really irked me that I was struggling with posting about my “Re-Deal”. My re-deal is amazing. When comparing my life 10 years ago to the life I live now there is NO comparison. I am pain-free, I have a wicked awesome son, a husband who is truly superb in every sense of the word…why am I not excited to share this miraculous gift I have been given? Why is it so easy to share the pain I endured and not my present joys? Really, I was so determined to figure this out that it led to a horrible nights sleep and me waking up with a crick in my neck.

I started thinking of everything I had 10 years ago and everything I have now. I was so out of it come 1am that my thoughts started morphing into dreams. Ya know those weird ones where you know you are sleeping but you are still conscious enough to manipulate your dream? Yeah, those aren’t conducive to actual rest. By the time I woke I felt like I had been thinking all night, not sleeping. It was horrible. So what did I do? I continued to think about it of course. Then I thought, maybe if I finish the draft I’ll have some sort of realization of what my issue is. Well I got the realization.

What I discovered isn’t that I don’t love my re-deal but that this pain-free existence has brought me very far away (geographicly) from the people who supported and loved me through my first hand. If I was still sick my world would have remained rather small (that’s if I were still alive), and in that miniscule bubble of a life I would have had physical pain but I would have been physically closer to the ones I love so dearly. So, I seem to have made an exchange. I switched out physical pain for emotional pain. My heart literally breaks that I can not see my parents daily. Sure I video-skype them often, sometimes several times a day, but it’s not enough for me. Call it child-like dependency or whatever you may, but this woman needs her parents in a way that might be unnatural. I want them to come over for dinner, spend the day at the beach or zoo with Beau and I, Go to Starbucks and be a coffee snob with my mom, Hit up a comedy club with my Daddy, hug them and feel their warmth, lick my Dad’s forehead when he thinks I’m going to kiss it… I miss them. I need them. In fact, I need them and so many others too. My brother, my sister, my extended family and special friends… I’m so grateful I had them all in my life when the only reason I wanted to live was to spend time with them. I guess I should be grateful I had them around when I needed them most, but why can’t life be picture-perfect and I have them now as well?

Whoever said “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” well, you just shut up! You jerk! Who would ever buy or make a cake just to stare at it? Pft, Idiot. Don’t you know I’m a “Cake-Eater”?!?!  But for some dumb reason this irritating saying applies directly to what I am going through. My heart is torn between the people I always had present during my first hand, and being with the ones I currently have in my re-deal.

I feel bad for not being content with the life I am living. I’m grateful for my son and husband, so very grateful. But my heart breaks daily as I long for the company of my family and friends. What I wouldn’t give to hug my brother at this very moment!?! He’s going through a lot of life challenges and I just want to hold his hand and help him like he’s helped me so many times before. Or to be with my sister as she’s about to venture into a life-changing experience. I want so badly to hold her hand as she embarks on her journey, to give her encouragement and reassurance IN PERSON and not through Skype or Facebook. But I can’t. I can’t leave Canada with a guarantee that I would be let back in. I can’t risk being kept away from the love of my life to be with the other loves in my life.

T always tells me when I am feeling blue for my family and friends (which is quite often) that someday I can have it all. That by this time next year it will be so much better for him, me and B. I want to believe him with all my heart but only part of it believes. In the grand scheme of things being away from all of them for a few years is just a blip in time in comparison to the lifespan I can now expect to enjoy. But it still hurts…this little blip in time.

No matter how much I sift through this can of worms it doesn’t change the reality. I’m lonely. I often feel an overwhelming sense of despair and mildly-moderate depression that robs me of enjoying my re-deal. Of enjoying my health and the loves that are with me every day. It’s unfair to T and B that I’m dwelling on what I have lost instead of what I gained. God didn’t bless me with a re-deal to have me moping about and not playing the game, that’s not a good way to honour a miracle. And it’s definitely not a good way to show T and B how much I love having them in my life.

Things have to change inside me. So, I’m going to take this can of worms and go fishing in hopes that it will get me out of the Pity-Party (Did someone say Party?…that makes me think of cake. You jerkface! Not you, sorry. I was referring to the woman who thought up that darn saying! And you know it had to be a woman. Only a woman would come up with a reason not to eat cake! Probably some skinny little…Ummm…I’ve derailed. Back to the train-of-thought.) and back to celebrating my life in a way that would make my family, friends and God proud!