Love is.

After yesterday, I needed some peace, some comfort and some ease of mind….

I got it.

Today, love is…

  • Benefits for a family in need.
  • Free Starbucks with my Girl.
  • Coming home to the daughters clean room.
  • The son’s A/B honor roll progress report, with a 100 in social studies.

I am grateful, blessed and overjoyed with my life.  With the friends in my world, the connectedness with my family.  The stability and calm that I have experienced for the past 18 months.  I give it all to Him, for leading me down this path, for taking the negativity from my life and showing me who and what is good in my world.

That, is floating on faith.

That, is love.

Say a little prayer.

I don’t ever wish to repeat a day like today.  Ever.  It’s been a hard one.  All I kept saying all day was “I need a hug!”  Thank GOD for my wife and kids…as soon as I hit the door, they were all there.  Holding me, making me laugh, letting me talk about nothing….as I do.  There was my beautiful daughter, my handsome little man and my love in life.  Waiting for me, like they were living for that moment.

Did I mention how much I love my family?

Mondays are typically pretty hectic at work.  Most days are pretty hectic, but every other Monday is Payroll Monday for me, which means I have to pull the paperwork and payroll edits together for six locations in North Texas and Central Texas and make sure everyone gets a check on Fridays.  I have a great support system with the managers at the office and each location, so by the Grace of God, I don’t do this alone.  They do a lot of the heavy lifting, I just put it together and make it look pretty….

Did I mention how much I love my job?

So, again, Mondays are hectic….I have gotten used to it and they fly by….not today.

I am doing my payroll thing, when a sales rep walks in to let me know another rep has passed away.  He’s been critically ill since before I got there and has worked with intermittent FMLA, so I did get to know him, he was sweet, kind and an all around nice guy.  He was young.  42.  With kids and a wife.

It was a gut punch.  I knew he was not doing well, we had been getting updates, but I didn’t expect it, not today.  His kids are the age of my youngest and it made me profoundly sad.  I have spoken with his wife several times lately, to check in on her, on him, on the family.  Every conversation hurt.  It took a while to get back on track.

Then later that morning, I got the news that my new counterpart in another market that I am friends with, went home on Friday to find that her husband had passed away that day while she was at work.  While we were having a conversation about her working so many hours and to go home and take care of him, to take care of her…while we were making plans for me to come work for a week with her…

THEN, this afternoon, one of my drivers calls to tell me he had an ATV accident, broke his hand, and tore his ACL and he really hopes he has STD so he can provide for his child, his wife and his soon to be here baby….(he’s gonna be a-ok….I got this!)

All on top of some hard luck that has befallen a family member that we now will rally around and help land on their feet.  Because that’s what friends and families do.  We support each other.

Too much sad today….yet, all day, all I could do was say a prayer every time I thought of these people.  “God, keep them, keep their families.  Hold them close to you and ease their pain.”

I do that often, for folks when they enter my mind….say a little prayer.  Different prayers for different people.  But my peace, my saving grace is prayer. 

So, for all of you, I say this prayer: 

“God, keep them safe, keep them well.  Keep them close and guide them.  Let them know they are on my mind and in my heart.  Amen”

Godspeed to those we have lost.  You have touched many.

Girls from the hood.

You know them…the people from your early years, the ones that shape you, the ones that you share your earliest memories with.  These people just get you.  And you never want to let them go.

For me, I did.  Not out of spite, not out of anything other than drifting.  We just simply drifted apart.  My earliest memories, are tied up in my Lakeshore friends.  Actually, they are wrapped up in following Johnny Bus around as a 4 year-old, thinking he was the best darn thing on two legs.  Tall, blond and nice to me…

My Lakeshore friends, Amber, Scotty, Terri, Johnny, Kernie and Jonathan….these were my crew…we ran and ran until we were exhausted and the vapor lights came on.  We vowed we would be friends forever…how little did we know, things happen.

My thing that happened was my parent divorced and I went to live with my father when I was 12.  There, in that place, at that age, I met my girls…Ursula and Shawna and a few years later, we added a Daymion, an Ivan, a Stacey, Robin, Shelly and Lorri…these girls and boys, who grew to lovely men and women, they shaped me.  And I adore them all.  To.this.day.  I have a safe, warm spot in my heart for them, for the memories, for the heartaches, for the fashion sense, most of all, for the friendship that spans decades and will always be there. 

But the Lakeshore crew, we drifted.  And with the advent of Facebook, we have in a way re-connected.  Not always face to face, but I see them from time to time on here.  I may not be in their orbit any longer, but it doesn’t change the fact they are a part of my childhood.  And as with childhood memories, they tend to get put to the side for another day…

I get to see, through my Girl, what those childhood friendships look like when they are kept alive, when they are kept tracked and when these girls who share these memories, these experiences stay in touch.  I get to see what a 30+ year friendship looks like.

And it’s so sweet.

My Girl has a group of five or six friends that she has kept up with since elementary school.  Not just kept up with, but stayed involved with.  They are the Girls from the Hood.  It’s a name they gave themselves on Facebook, their group or “club.”  Just like in second grade, they have a club…but this time, it’s not to swoon over Leif Garrett or Donny Osmond, it’s to laugh, to catch up, to plan on times and places to meet and just be around each other.

And it is amazing.  Through my relationship I am sort of an “honorary” Girl from the Hood.  I get to go to the lunches, be involved in the laughter.  I get to hear the stories of times past.  I get to be a part of their history.

I love it.

These women have fanned out, they all live in different towns, they are married, divorced, single.  They are mothers, sisters, wives, daughters…at the bottom, they are friends.  And they are there for each other. 

They had lunch this weekend and I heard stories of old.  They each spent time catching up on the current events, they each were genuinely interested in parents, kids, husbands, boyfriends, etc.  They were interested in each other.  And I honestly felt the true connection that exists between each of them.

As we left, My Girl looked at me and said, “I love these women.  I would do ANYTHING for them.  All they ever have to do is ask, and I am there.”

I looked at the love in her eyes, not for me at that moment, but for them.  For the memories, for the past they share, for the future they will meet.  And I said to her, “And they would do the same for you.”  I meant it with every bone in my body.

So thank you Shayna, Shannon and Charmaine.  For loving her before I did.  For being in her life.  For sharing your memories with me.

It’s an honor to know each of you!

Road Trip Dialogue.

So it’s been a week of wedded bliss.  Still….no horns, no tail…I should probably be safe now.  I think. 

So…..yep, a whole week.  Week of shiny, cheek hurting smiles and I am happier each day. 

Iowa is a long drive.  Seriously a long effin drive…through alot of small towns, speed traps, and barren fields.  When I say long, it doesn’t do it justice.  Think a walkabout…only not through the Australian outback, but across Oklahoma and Kansas….yeah, THAT long.

In an inspired or insane moment (you decide) I decided to jot down some anecdotes and some of the funnier things that were said.  In just reading them back, I can giggle, or laugh until I pee.

Let’s begin, shall we?

  • It takes 4.5 hours to get across the state of Oklahoma.  It is flat and boring.  I took the best naps through Oklahoma and I can guarantee you, I didn’t miss a thing.
  • I can fall asleep in a car in 12 minutes.  Seriously, I’m like a baby…
  • Oklahoma has an amazing amount of speed traps.  A-mazing….
  • I may be the only person that picked up on the fact that right next to a cemetery on Hwy 69, there is a meat processing plant. 
  • I will not purchase anything beefy in Oklahoma, except Slim Jims, because they don’t count as beef.
  • It will take only 4 minutes to lose $10 in a truck stop casino in Oklahoma.  4.minutes.flat.  *sigh*
  • Reversing on the Oklahoma tollway ISN’T fun.  I don’t care who you are…
  • There is probably the NICEST bathroom I have EVER been in at the Choctaw Truck Stop/Casino.  Seriously, so nice, I took PICTURES of it.  And there are TV’s in the mirrors and upon showing these photos to the son, he has now decided he MUST have a TV in his mirror.  You know….to watch CNN while getting ready….?
  • Our GPS is a menopausal bitch. 
  • I hate the voice of our GPS. 
  • There is only so much beef jerky (purchased in Texas) that this chick can eat.  blech.
  • There are no Slim Jims for sale at any convenience store in Oklahoma.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zip.
  • I really don’t like travelling through Oklahoma.
  • There is a roundabout at the Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri borders that will leave you dizzy if you listen to the menopausal GPS.  And it will take you twenty minutes to get out of it. 
  • Kris lost her shit in Pittsburg, KS.  I mean, lost her shit.  Is it wrong that I am still laughing at it?  Poor thing.
  • It’s great fun eBaying at 80 mph….That’s Kris, both driving AND eBaying…me?  I hid my head…

So yeah….just a few insights…but the conversations…that’s the cherry on the cake:

{Scene:  I have just awaken from a 30 minute (ok, 1 hour) power nap.  As discreet as I was trying to be about actually sleeping while Kris was driving, she cold busted me when I woke up}
Kris: ” How was your nap?”
Me:  “I’m awake.” {blink, blink} “Want some nuts?”

*****

{Scene: Kris looking out the window through small town Oklahoma, sees a “spectacular” couple on a motorcycle, harassing traffic.}
Kris:  “It’s 11:00 AM on Wednesday, what, are they taking a bike ride around small town Oklahoma while draining the state’s unemployment benefits?!”
Me:  “No look, he has a mechanic’s uniform on, maybe he picked her up to take her to the crack house.”

*****

GPS: “Re-calculating.  Re-calculating.  Re-calculating.”
Kris:  “Shut up.  Shut up.  SHUT UP!”

*****

{Scene:  Still in Oklahoma….Kris is drinking some water, unaware that I have two more bottles.}
Kris: ” We are almost out of water.  It’s gonna be survivor mode baby…”
Me:  “I’m gonna eat your hiney.”
{crickets}
Me:  “But don’t worry, we have two more bottles in back.”

*****

{Scene:  Kris, passing cars, which seemed to be a sport.}
Kris:  “Ha!  85 baby!  THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!!!  Hey…did I save a minute?” {looks at estimated time on GPS} “Yes…that’s the way!  Used a 1/4 tank of gas…”
Me:  “Yes…but you SAVED a minute.”

*****

Kris:  “We have two iPhones, a Garmin and we STILL don’t know where we are?!!?!?!?”
Me:  “I’ll download the Map Quest app, then we’ll have four!!!”

*****

{Scene:  we are NOW in Kansas…halleujah!}
GPS:  “Continue 102 miles on current road.”
Kris:  “WHAT?!?!!??  THIS road?  It’s two fucking lanes.  It’s 45 fucking miles per hour.  WITH stop lights!!!  The GPS is on crack….!!!!  Find me an alternate route!!!”

*****

Kris:  “You know, Kansas and Oklahoma are damn Twinkies….”
Me:  “hmmm?”
Kris:  “They have mule lots, they have John Deere tractor lots.  What the hell is this?”
Me:  “A Kum and Go….convenience store.  They have gas.”

*****

Kris:  “If I can’t get a fucking signal in the middle of Kansas and I miss my eBay bid, I am gonna be pissed!”

*****

Kris:  “I am sick of being behind the Coca Cola truck.  It’s making me thirsty…”
Me:  “Great, now I gotta pee….”

*****

I can’t wait for our next road trip.  I think I am gonna throw the Daughter and the Son, maybe a friend or two into the mix and see what I can get…

whee!