Trying Something New?

There was a day last week when I got to work that I discovered our office temperature was 15 degrees colder than our already “I have to wear a scarf and fuzzy socks to work” kind of temperature.  I tapped away the day at my keyboard with blue fingers and with my coat on, which is not a good look for me because my coat is one size too big and quilted.  It makes me look fat and my extra hips can do that for me without the coat’s help.  After a while I put my gloves on while I worked thinking that my dexterity would not be affected and incidentally, it totally was.

You might think this sounds moderately uncomfortable but nothing that deserves an entire essay.  You’d be right.  But that was the icing on the cake of an already weird day which began when I got trapped in my garage in an effort to leave the house.  After hacking my way out of the ice wall with a spatula, big fun by the way, I merrily drove down the interstate, tootling right along until I got stuck behind a lavender Crown Victoria for 45 minutes whilst a Greyhound bus expired in the only open lane off my exit.  The lavender Crown Vic was equipped with a sound system that produced bass of unbelievable magnitude, and I watched Jay Z shake the license plate nearly off the car.  For 45 minutes.  The grand finale before the arctic office temperature grand finale was the heel of my new boot falling off in a snow drift in the parking lot.

I don’t know about you, but when I have a day like that my normal response is to:

  • Holler “BAD WORD, BAD WORD, BAD WORD, EXCLAMATION POINT”
  • Give the single digit finger wave to life in general
  • Huff around the office
  • Eat cake

And that is exactly what I was planning to do once I got inside the office except Daisy texted me and while I was telling her about my No Good Very Bad Day, I kept saying positive stuff.  Like I said:

  • Blah, blah, blah, dead bus, but it’s sunny outside and that is nice
  • Lavender paint, blah bass is rupturing my eardrums, but the car is pretty
  • So desperately want to be a grouch but no one likes that, so I won’t, word vomit, hee!

Daisy accused me of being a Miss Positive Sunshine and sent me a flower emoji, and I quickly and huffily typed out a message calling her a liar.  Right as I poised my finger over the send button, I had a thought.

See, I have a friend that I haven’t talked about much – his name is Sean – and recently Sean was telling me the story of how he got a speeding ticket.

“I was in a school zone so I slowed down,” he said, “and as I passed the last cone, I sped up ever so slightly.  I was at 21 miles per hour when I saw one more cone and realized I hadn’t made it out of the school zone yet, so I tapped my brakes to slow down. That’s when the cop got me.”

I was all indignant.  “Surely he didn’t give you a ticket for going six miles over! Surely he understood what happened, right?  Did you give him the single digit finger wave?  I would have!”

And Sean, bless his heart, said, “Well, I did ask if he could just give me a warning but he didn’t feel that was right so I got the ticket.  And I know that getting mad doesn’t do any good, so I pulled into a parking lot and read over the ticket.  I just wanted to think about it and understand what my responsibility is in all of this.  I put weekly reminders in my phone for the next month until the ticket is due so that I won’t forget about it and so that I can make sure I have the money to pay for the ticket.  I want to do this right.  After a while I drove on.  It was fine.”

I sat there in silence, my mouth hanging open and swallowing every word that tried to squeak out of it.  Kind of like those baby birds that just sit there, beaks open, waiting for their momma to bring them a regurgitated worm.  Helpless and weak and wheezy.  Kind of like that.

Finally I choked out a, “I’ve never met anyone like you.  How on earth do you find it in you to be so positive?”

“It’s just better that way,” Sean reasoned, and in the time I’ve known him, he’s always maintained that.  In four years’ time, I’ve never known him to throw a fit, get righteously angry over something ridiculous or smear anyone’s name, even if it is well-deserved.  I think if someone stole his dog he’d find a way to spin it happy and the annoying part is that he isn’t even Pollyanna about it.  He’s just matter of fact.

Now I want to be clear – ninety-five percent of my life is spent being happy.  Really, I spend very little time in the kind of anger and snarkiness that involves me hollering bad words and giving single digit finger waves, all dramatic with head weaves and snapping in a z-formation.   But a sizable chunk of that remaining five percent truly is spent in bad behavior, cultivated and cherished and primed for a visit to the cookie doctor or to the mammogram center or when a Greyhound bus expires in the middle of my lane as I’m trying to get to work and I get stuck behind a lavender sedan with the bass causing me arrhythmia.  My unhappy five percent is bad, I tell you, and it does no good.  Not one whit.

That message that I tapped out to Daisy, in which I called her a liar, all huffy and snarky?  I didn’t send it.  I hovered for a moment over the send button and then moved my single digit finger wave finger over to the delete button and deleted it all.  Instead I sent this message:

Daisy.  This is a day.  Thanks for the flowers.  Those flowers are the nicest thing that happened to me all day.

And with that, my day was saved.  It was a good day.

P.S. Sean read all of this before posting because I promise to never write about my friends without their permission.  He said, “I really was upset about that ticket.  Truly, I was pretty mad.”  That may be but where did he put it, that mad?  Where did it go?  Because when we talked about it there was no mad in him, just calm quiet and maturity.  Ima try that on for a while, see how it fits . . .

 

Dating at 42

June – Conversation with a snappy dresser

Dandy:             Would you like to go to dinner and movie?

Jimmie:           Sure, I’d love that.

Dandy:             Great.  Meet me there. Do I need to bring money for you?

Dandy:             Oh, and wait.  You’ll kiss me, won’t you? I don’t go out with girls who don’t kiss on the first date.

July – Series of conversations with a lovely, tall man

Tall Man:         Jimmie, I am so glad that Freddie introduced us.  You are amazing.  I’ve never met anyone like you.  <grinning and blushing the whole time>

Jimmie:           I . . . thank you.  I’m glad she introduced us, too.  <also grinning and blushing the whole time>

Tall Man:         Gosh, I like you.  This is crazy.  It’s wonderful.

Jimmie:           Hee!

Tall Man:         Also, I’m 90% sure I just want to be friends.

Jimmie:           Huh.  In that case, I’m 100% sure I don’t want to be friends.  I already have a lot of friends.

October – Texts with a man with whom I had one perfectly innocent date months ago

Delusional Pervert:     Hey . . . .

Jimmie:                       Hey

Delusional Pervert:     I miss you

Jimmie:                        . . . . okay . . .

Delusional Pervert:     Are you busy tonight?

Jimmie:                       Not particularly.  What were you thinking?

Delusional Pervert:     I could come over . . . .

Jimmie:                       Uh, no.

Delusional Pervert:     But, XOXO

Jimmie:                       You know what, no.

Delusional Pervert:     🙂

Jimmie:                       What is my name?

Delusional Pervert:     Sweetie, XOXO

Jimmie:                       I’m serious.  You’ve been texting me randomly for months, clearly my number is in your phone, and you haven’t once said my name.  What is it?

<Five minute pause>

Delusional Pervert:     I don’t remember . . .

Delusional Pervert:     Look, we can be FWB.  I just really want sex.  XOXO

Jimmie:                       You’ve got to be kidding me.  I’m not your girl.  Get lost.

Delusional Pervert:     (and this part just slays me) Okay

November – Emails with another lovely, tall man

Man:                Email, email, email, question?, email, hahahaha!

Jimmie:           Chat, chat, chat, question?, question?, Chat, email, smiley face

Man:                Oh, email!  Email! Haha, love it, email!

Jimmie:           Blather, blather, blather, talk, email, blather, haha!

<This continues for some days.>

Man:                Email!

Jimmie:           Email!  Also, I know you’ve seen my blog and all my pictures but here’s one we just took today at the beach.

<radio silence> <dead air> <fade away blow off>

Show me the sexy in this.  There is no sexy in this!  There’s no sexy in me at all, is there?

Other dating posts here, here, and here.

UPDATED: Date Night With Pee-Tah

Pee-tah said to me on Saturday night, “Jimmie, this is terrible. We are perfect together except for the whole part where we both like boys and/or your being female. I mean, I’m taller than you and everything.”

“Yeah,” I sighed. “I know. You don’t even have a stupid name and I bet you barely know what NASCAR is.”

We looked at each other resignedly for a minute and then put on our matching hoodies and went to the grocery store.

For the record, my date nights with Pee-tah are the best date nights I’ve had since . . . . er, I’m trying to think here . . . . . okay! I have a story.

A long time ago when I lived in Alabama, I had that group of friends that I wrote about recently, and in that group was a guy I’ll call Lee-Lee. Lee-Lee was just about the nicest man ever, kind of shy, a little endearingly awkward, and significantly taller than me. He was a member of the National Guard, having joined years before as a means to support himself while he earned a degree. One of the perks of that military program was a military ball, and one year Lee-Lee found himself without a date. It was on a random Tuesday night that he called me and said, “Jimmie, can you help me? I need a date for this ball and I’d like to ask someone who will be fun, someone I really like, but someone who also understands that this is a friend date, not a romantic date.”

“Oh, sure,” I yelped as soon as he took a breath, ever helpful. “What about Julie? She would look very pretty in a ball gown and you know how nice she is. Everyone would love her.”

“Well –,“ he started, and then I said, “Or! What about April! She loves to play dress up. She would look gorgeous and would love to hang out with a bunch of men in uniform.”

“Yes, but –,“ he tried again, and I then I hollered, “Hey, what about Jana? She really likes you but you could just tell her that you aren’t looking for a date date, just a friend date. This might make her get over you actually –“

“Jimmie!” he barked. “Stop, would you? I’m asking you if you want to go. Will you go with me to this ball, please?”

Y’all, I seem to have always had trouble seeing myself as desirable, even just as a friend, which is stupid as I’m the most fun person I know. But anyway, I said yes and then I rented the prettiest gown you ever did see, paid money to have my hair put up in pin curls and bought the tallest fancy shoes I could find. Lee-Lee showed up at my door in his uniform and escorted me to the ball in high fashion. We had the best time dancing and laughing, and as I took the 1,000 bobby pins out of my hair that night, I sighed in contented happiness. It was a perfect date. I went out with a gentleman who enjoyed my company, just for me. We laughed and talked and ate and never once did I worry about my safety, my virtue or what he thought when I consumed everything on my plate.

Dating Pee-tah is like that. Every night we spend together watching Bourne movies is a night spent sighing in contentment.

This is what that looks like:

Matching Hoodies!

Matching Hoodies!

Comfort option #1

Comfort option #1 (see below for details)

I love a man in the kitchen

I love a man in the kitchen

Speaks for itself

Speaks for itself

Pee-Tah serenading me from the Methodist Hymnal

Pee-Tah serenading me from the Methodist Hymnal

Studying the BDIYET Recipe

Studying the BDIYET Recipe (also see below for details)

Rawr!

Rawr!

Pee-Tah, the man who thinks eating is a waste of time, does occasionally get hungry, and when he does, he’ll whip out his repertoire of three recipes which includes only comfort foods (spaghetti, tator tot hot dish, and chicken and rice) and let you choose the one that would make you happiest. He then dons an apron and begins to cook, all the while discussing earnestly with you which dessert you’ll make together in his Kitchen Aid mixer. We picked wedding cake and The Best Damn Icing You’ve Ever Tasted. Remember it? It was the icing that I tried to make for Freddie’s birthday which failed miserably?

Icing Failure

Also, remember that Freddie had moderate success with that icing later in the year, making me look like a total novice in the kitchen. Still, it was never quite perfected and Pee-Tah, being a detail-oriented engineer, could not rest until he mastered it. He came as close as anyone will, I suppose, thanks to 45 minutes of whipping sugar and butter in the Kitchen Aid mixer. Our cake was small but completely smothered in icing and was the most delicious cake I have had since I last had cake.

Absolutely magnificent

Magnificent

Later that night, as I took my ponytail holder out of my hair, I sighed in contented happiness. I had just had the perfect date. I went out with a gentleman who enjoyed my company, just for me. We laughed and talked and ate and never once did I worry about my safety, my virtue or what he thought when I consumed everything on my plate as we watched Jeremy Renner beat the snot out of the bad guys. Absolutely perfect.

UPDATED:  The day after I posted this, Pee-Tah sent me a text message that read:  How much do you pay monthly for your cell phone?  Wondering if you and I shouldn’t jump on the same plan.

And then last night he came over and did this.

IMG_3265

(Yes, it was broken again.)

You just don’t find men like this much anymore.

Jimmie Brags, Part Three: The Inside The Actor’s Studio Edition

I don’t know if you recall, but I was nominated for a blog award due in large part to my fine writing skills, yo, and I’ve handled that nomination with a certain amount of grace and gratitude. You will ignore the times I have brayed like a donkey about it. Anyway, the award has three facets, two of which were addressed here and here, and today I am addressing the third one.

For the final hurrah, I am to nominate 11 other blogs for this award and ask 11 questions of those writers. I thought about that for a while and decided, like everything else in my life, that I was going to handle this a little differently.

I’ve stolen 10 of my 11 questions from James Lipton of “Inside the Actors Studio” fame, who stole them from Bernard Pivot, the host of a French show call “Bouillon de Culture.” I then added one question of my own and asked the most actor-type person I know to answer them because nobody wants to look at a bunch of unanswered questions.

Ashley, of Dammit Todd and Ashley, once briefly appeared on an episode of “Nashville,” and today will serve as our guest. I, Jimmie Lipton, will be hosting. Please imagine us sitting in arm chairs on a stage, Ashley looking calm and casual as she talks about her work while the students cheer, and me gently asking questions with a Just-For-Men-colored goatee and a slight comb over.

Ashley, what is your favorite word?

Love. Yep, I’m a total sap.

What is your least favorite word?

I’ll keep this appropriate. Moist.

(Jimmie Lipton’s note: Solidarity, baby!)

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Walking on my Greenway.

(Jimmie Lipton’s note: Eerie, isn’t it? It’s like we are twins . . . )

What turns you off?

When I’m too busy.

What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck.

What sound or noise do you love?

Rain. And owls.

What sound or noise do you hate?

When someone is eating or chewing out loud.

(Jimmie Lipton’s note: Oh, hurk, yes, this!)

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I’d like to be a legal mediator.

What profession would you not like to do?

Storm chaser or maybe washing windows of skyscrapers.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Heaven does exist, and I’d like God to say something along the lines of . . . . “Come here my daughter.”

Finally, Ashley, tell us the nicest thing Dammit Todd ever did for you.

One of the most thoughtful things Todd has done for me was celebrating Easter with me. Why was that so thoughtful? Well it was thoughtful because he went out of his comfort zone and spent the day doing things he wouldn’t have on his own, but did because he knew it meant a lot to me. He went with me to my grandparents’ church and then to their house with more of my relatives he hadn’t met before. It’s not always easy to get Todd to mingle around a group of strangers ;), but he was very thoughtful that day.

Ashley.  Gorgeous, ain't she?

Ashley. Gorgeous, ain’t she?

And now for the 11 other blogs. These are people I think you should read, in no certain order. Some of them don’t fit the criteria for the nomination because they are too famous. Doesn’t matter, you should still read them because there is a reason they are famous.

Is That A Hair In My Biscuit – My sister, the creative one

JDaveRhea – My brother, the creative one, who probably has more credentials to do this than any of the rest of us

The Adventures, Musings and Rants of Nurse Bananahammock – Nurse Bananahammock who plays a nurse in real life

Run♥Yoga♥Love – You guys, this is Freddie! I don’t run and I don’t yoga but she writes so well I can’t help but read it

Bye Bye, Pie – This woman is hilarious and has the fortitude to do this every day

Posie Gets Cozy – This is probably the most peaceful thing you’ll see in your whole life

Ashley Quite Frankly – I have no idea how I even found this one but I like her

I Wanna Be A Writer – we have the same hometown, so every now and again, I know someone she talks about

Skinnytaste – where I get a ton of my recipes

Miss Doxie – she has not blogged in years but read the archives. You’ll pee on yourself.

Looks like that’s only ten but its not like you can take my award away because I’m short one.

Oh, wait, I forgot this blogger. ELEVEN, bitches!

Brittany, Herself – this girl will push your boundaries, and you’ll by turns be squeamish and awed

Bloggers, please accept this Liebster Award nomination and participate if you like. Feel free to steal my stolen questions and answer them on your own blog. Make sure you tag “Liebster Award” to get the views from everyone else participating.

Thanks, everyone, for playing along with me. This was fun!

liebster21

Jimmie Brags, Part Deux

Continuing on with my humble and thoughtful posts related the blogging award I recently received, the one for which I was nominated because of my fine writing skills (yo), today I will answer 11 questions that Martie posed to me. Most of these she knows the answer to but since the point is to engage you people, not her, I’ll graciously answer them. Plus I like talking about myself. It’s the entire theme of this blog.

Answers to 11 Questions Posed by Martie
By Jimmie

1. What color is your hair? Tell the truth, now.

My enhanced color is blondie/brownie with three gray strands, right in the front. I am inordinately proud of my fake hair color.

My real color is mouse with three gray strands, right in the front.

2. What kind of car do you drive?

Oh, I know this one! A grandma car!

3. What is your favorite kind of gum?

Ice Breakers Grape Ice Cubes. I don’t like sophisticated gum.

4. Where were you when you had your first kiss?

Can I tell a story here? You knew this was coming.

In high school I had this mad crush on a boy named Shawn. Oh, I liked him desperately and I yearned for the day he’d discover me, make me his girlfriend and let me wear his football jersey every Friday before the game. A year or so passed from the onset of my crush and to my great surprise, Shawn and I became friends. Perhaps I should have struggled over the dilemma of “do I give up my crush for this really great friend, or do I continue to pine for him as he sits across the table eating Mom’s meatloaf?” For those of you who ever lived as a teenaged girl, the answer is obvious. Never give up your crush. Carry it till your death, or at least until he kisses you for the first time.

One afternoon Shawn came over and was eager to tell me that one of my friends had ratted me out. This friend told another friend who told another friend who told Shawn that I had a crush on him and also that I’d never kissed a boy. The clouds of dust behind the wheels of Shawn’s car as he raced over started Dust Bowl, 1988, I’m pretty sure. Shawn knocked on my front door, parked himself on my mother’s sofa and said, “I heard you’ve never kissed a boy before. I’d like to be the first.” Then he grinned at me with his braces-covered teeth.

Isn’t that romantic? Oh, my heart leapt all up into my throat and my stomach seized up in paroxysms of excitement! Shawn leaned over and sweetly, slowly touched his lips to mine. It was glorious. I swooned. And then he partly opened his mouth and I partly opened mine and he shoved his tongue all the way down my throat. I was so surprised that I bit down, hard, on the offending choking mechanism and he, so surprised at the pain, jerked back and said accusingly, “What are you doing?!”

“Choking,” was my reply, and we both scooted apart, nursing our injuries. I reflected on my first kiss as Shawn and I sat separately on the couch. It was nothing like the George Michael make out session I had dreamed about for the last three years. “What a big fat disappointment,” I thought, and with that, my crush simply disappeared.

So all of that tells you that my first kiss happened at my house, on my sofa with a boy named Shawn. The end.

5. Do you wear glasses or contacts?

Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. I think that neatly explains my single status.

6. How many siblings do you have?

One full, one half, two step and one outlier step that I’ve only met twice. So . . . nine.

7. Where did you go on your last vacation?

I went here:

Marvins

8. Where are you going on your next vacation?

I’ll visit these people:

Daddy-O and JiJi

Daddy-O and JiJi

9. What was your worst job ever?

When I lived in Alabama, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being poor. I didn’t like being poor so I decided that a second job was exactly what I needed. I found one in a factory, cleaning from 5:30 – 9:30 pm, Monday through Friday. I’d leave my professional job, arrive at my factory job and change into ratty cleaning clothes in the bathroom. Then I would don latex gloves, mix up my mop buckets, and cruise around the offices emptying garbage cans. Once that task was completed, I’d make my way into the factory where I’d clean bathrooms, clean the kitchen, and clean the break room. Someone more tenured than I felt that purchasing white, textured tables for the kitchen was a great idea, and lo I spent many hours scrubbing those tables with bleach to the get the factory dust and stains out of them. As the men walked into the break room for their evening meal, their eyes would tear up from the bleach fumes, yet no one complained. My fingernails stayed in a constant state of disrepair. I hated it. I hated cleaning toilets, smelling of bleach and realizing that no one was going to clean up their mess in the microwave. The job only lasted a few months before I tired of it, and someone more tenured than I tired of paying a cleaning crew, so the cleaning positions were eliminated. I’ve never been more relieved in all my life.

I did get a boyfriend out of that job, though. He was probably the nicest boy I ever dated.

10. Have you ever had a bad haircut? Explain!

Instead of explaining, I’ll provide photographic evidence.

Example One – my first real haircut and permanent.

Yeesh

The beauty expert rolled my side wings into those Shirley Temple curls and I, knowing no better, styled my hair that way every day for a year.

Example Two – my second real haircut.

img20141020_15001423

The beauty expert neglected to tell me that my hair was too short for the layered cut I wanted, and that cutting it this way would only emphasize the largeness of my nose, the squinty-ness of my eyes and would do nothing to camouflage my large bosom. Shawn, of the above make out story, said as I walked into school with my new hair cut, “What happened to your hair? Can you glue some of it back on?”

I have excellent taste in men.

11. Where is your favorite place to write?

I prefer writing at Panera, and that is largely due to their Thai Chopped Chicken Salad. But also, the Panera closest to me has a great corner table with two seating options. If I’m feeling cozy I can sit on the booth side of that table, or if I’m feeling rigid, I can sit on the chair side of the table. If my table is taken when I arrive (and I always go early to ensure I get it), I fall into a snit. I park myself nearby and glare at the offending patron until he/she leaves, then I schlep all my stuff over to my table and mark my spot while I get in line for my salad. Love Panera!

Thus endeth my answers, and thus endeth my post for today. Tune back in next week for the third installment of “Jimmie Wins an Award and Crows about It: Finis.” Don’t forget to let me know if you have a blog of your own I can check out. I’d love to feature you if you are amenable to that, and I’d love to read what you have.

Jimmie Brags, Part One

You guys, I got nominated for a blogging award! I’ve never been nominated for anything in my life – never in high school when I barely spoke because I was “shy,” and never professionally because who gets nominated for booking excellent travel? Boss surely wouldn’t have nominated me for anything after my reserving a car for him in the wrong city. Twice.

Still, I was nominated for the Liebster Award and while I am much chagrined to have not yet received a plaque to hang on my wall or a fat check, I will take this award as mine. You are to ignore the fact that Martie, my sister, nominated me, and you are to embrace the fact that I was nominated for my fine, fine writing skills. Yo.

liebster21

Now, by accepting this award, I must promise to do several things. First, I am to tell you 11 things you don’t already know about me. Then I am to answer 11 questions posed by Martie. Finally, I am to nominate 11 other blogs and pose 11 questions to those writers. I’m on board with all of these things except perhaps the last one. I’m not certain that I know 11 other blogs. Does this mean I’m a snoot? I’m a snob, aren’t I? How about this – if you read me and you have a blog of your own, why don’t you reach out to me and let me know who you are. You can do that privately or publicly, but please give me the opportunity to know you.

Because I often get long-winded, I’ve decided to break this award post into installments. I’m writing like Stephen King now. You get one installment today and then two more installments later. It will be worth the wait, I promise. Plus, there’s only so much time you can waste on the innernet at work. I want you to remain productive members of society.

Now that the rules are out of the way, I will begin the promised assignment.

Eleven Things You Don’t Know About Me: A List
By Jimmie

1. When I lived in Colorado, I used to hitchhike all the time. And I picked up hitchhikers all the time. Before you get your panties in a twist, you need to understand that I lived in a tiny little ski town called Crested Butte, and the permanent residents totaled 1500 people. Plus, everyone who lived there, either permanently or temporarily, was either a full blown hippie or at least hovering right on the edge of it. It was a peaceful place, and there was always someone who had a vehicle equipped with better snow tires than mine – a necessity for living on a snow-covered mountain.

2. I dated a man from Kenya for a brief time. He was 6’9” and had legs like tree trunks. I cannot tell you what he looked like or whether or not I thought he was handsome. I only know that for the only time in my dating history, I felt tiny. It was glorious.

3. I think fresh fruit in a salad is an abomination. And I think that citrus flavorings in a wet dessert (for example, pie or cheesecake) is barf. However, fresh fruit and/or citrus flavoring in a cake is divine.

4. Michelangelo’s David, up close and in person, makes me lose my breath. I saw it when I was 19, and it was all I could do to walk away from him when I was summoned. Never has a piece of sculpture or any other artist’s work moved me in such a way.

5. When I was a child, I never ate plain potato chips. I loathed them. Barbeque? Lovely. Sour Cream and Onion? Fabulous. Plain? Ick. I have since mended my ways.

6. Once upon a time I lived in Alabama, and I had a group of friends that loved me beyond reason. I was poor and it was Christmastime and I very much wanted a tree. Unfortunately, I could not afford one. One night while at work, two of that group of friends drove over to see me on my lunch break. In the back of their pickup truck was a live tree, purchased just for me. We decided to make that our group tree and once it was set up in my tiny two-room apartment, we had a Christmas party and decorated our tree with donated ornaments. It was one of the best Christmases of my life. I’d lie in bed and gaze at that tree all night and thank God that He had given me such lovely friends.

7. I gigged a frog once.

8. My cousin won a photo contest with a picture he took of me.

Ice Cream

9. I have had one broken bone. Four years ago on Thanksgiving Day, Martie dropped a skillet lid onto my pinkie toe and broke it. It hurt like a mother-, no. It hurt like the dickens, but I didn’t care. I had my first broken bone and I carried that with some pride. I survived a broken bone. I had a purple toe. I walked, upright, with a broken body part. Y’all, I was a peacock. I am annoying.

10. I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was ten. Madre bought us bikes, pink ones with pretty streamers, and she spent hours running up and down the road, holding on to our seats as Martie and I attempted to learn to ride them. And then Daddy-O bought me a vintage bike, painted it yellow at my request, and put a blue sparkly seat on it and some blue sparkly handles. He spent hours running up and down the road, holding onto my seat as I attempted to learn to ride. None of that worked. I gave up. And then one day a couple of years later, I was talking to Jeanie Sloane in her front yard and I said, “You know what, I’m going to get my bike.” And I got on that rusty blue and yellow thing and rode, just like that.

11. Jesus once spoke to me, in a voice that I could hear. He said, “Amanda, I know everything there is to know about you. I still love you.” I laid myself face down on the floor and cried for the joy of it.

Thus endeth my list, and thus endeth my post for today. Tune back in on Thursday for the second installment of “Jimmie Wins an Award and Crows about It: Part Deux.”

Thank you to Martie over at Is That A Hair In My Biscuit for the nomination. She nominated me because of my FINE WRITING, y’all, gah!

The Cutest Boy In The Whole World: Or, Why You Should Lay Off The Water Consumption In Times Of Crisis

I had dinner with Daisy last night. She and I are on this shopping kick lately, which is weird because I love it but Daisy hates it. I figure that our shopping together should bring us to some happy medium wherein when we need stuff we don’t spend our entire paychecks at Ann Taylor Loft (my preference) but we aren’t going naked to our jobs either (not quite her preference but maybe preferred over shopping). After we shop we usually eat something because shopping really takes it out of you, dontcha know, and while I’m speaking about our kicks lately, I’m on a water one. I’ve not had a Diet Coke in such a long time that I don’t remember the last one and there’s only so much unsweetened tea you can drink without having Austin Powers teeth. Plus, we got this new ice machine at work that makes Sonic ice and I spend the better part of a day trotting up and down the hall to get cupfuls of ice water. Anyway, the whole point I’m trying to make in my meandering way is that last night I had dinner and with dinner I had a lot of water and after dinner I used the restroom facilities approximately eight times and then I went home.

On my way home I ran into a slight snafu in the form of a flat tire. I’ve never had that happen before but like every other major car hurdle I’ve encountered this year (four, not counting this one), I was prepared for it. As I am a self-reliant, empowered female, I whipped out my phone and dialed my trusty Verizon Roadside Assistance people. I ordered myself up a tire change and was promised that my wait would be a mere 65 minutes. With an audible sigh, I said thank you to Cheryl and disconnected. I then caught up with all my friends on Facebook, took a picture of a deer, and dug a book out of my back seat to settle in for a long read.

Deer

Deer

While I read and social media-ed, Daisy frantically texted me. “Should I drive out there? I can wait with you. Don’t open your door for strangers. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I assured her, and I was except I had this niggling feeling in my bladder that it might be a little too full from all the water. I ignored it because while I do like attention, I’m not particularly fond of the kind you get when blurred pictures of your naked behind appear on the 10:00 news with the headline, “Bank employee caught with her pants down after urinating on I-40 – story coming up next!” Plus I had been to the bathroom eight times already and as I reasoned with myself last night, that should have been plenty.

Seems that it wasn’t.

By the time my knight in shining steel arrived, I was about to bust a gut. “I hate water!” I moaned. “I’ll never drink it again! Stupid ice machine!” “Bring me a mayonnaise jar,” I texted to Daisy. “Open your car doors and squat down between them,” suggested my family. “Just find a bathroom already,” yelled my bladder. I am 42 years old. I should not be doing the pee pee dance on the side of the interstate, mere miles from my home. I should have outgrown that by age seven. Ridiculous.

When my RA guy came, he said with a grin, “You doing alright?”

“Sure,” I said, furiously digging around in my trunk for my spare tire in an effort to hurry him along. “I just have to pee in the worst way, naturally, and while in theory I know how to change a tire, I’ve never actually done it. Plus I’m in a dress and my nails are finally all the same length.” In the time it took me to say all that, Mike, the cutest boy in the whole world, already had my car jacked up and my spare tire at the ready, rendering all my futzing around useless and unnecessary.

Cutest Boy

Cutest Boy

“Is your parking brake on?” he asked.

“No, should it be?” I replied and when he said “Please,” I gingerly trotted around to the window to yank the brake on.

It took Mike three minutes to change my tire. Three minutes. That’s less time than it takes me to put on mascara every morning. That’s less time than it takes me to brush and floss my teeth. That’s less time than I spend on one bathroom break, of which I had already had eight and was desperately longing for another. He was frightfully efficient and very handy with a car jack and as I stated before, the cutest boy in the whole world.

Dead Tire

Dead Tire

It took two more minutes for me to sign the necessary paperwork, get his card, tell him I was going to write about him, explain my new love affair with water and the ice machine at work, explain how that water and ice were now affecting my life in dramatic and unwelcome ways, tell him that luffed him for ever and ever for saving me, and then beg his permission to leave for the bathroom.

“Yeah, I know, it adds insult to injury, doesn’t it, when you get stranded with no bathroom,” he grinned and then ambled back to his vehicle.

I leapt into my car, cranked the motor and squealed off with the parking brake still on. I threw my hand out the window as a thank you and a good-bye and only halfway home remembered to release the brake. I cannot imagine why my car has issues, can you?

As I arrived home I hollered to the animals as I wrenched open the door, “Get outcha way, get outcha way! I have to pee! Move, cats!” I tripped over Murphy (Murphy!) and nearly died but made it to the bathroom where I peed for three minutes. Longer than it took for Mike to change my tire. As I had plenty of time for reflection while I did my business, I thought back to my interaction with Mike. He was super friendly, incredibly efficient, gracious and kind. He made it to my rescue in 15 minutes, 50 minutes faster than the time I was promised. I barely remember what he looks like but I’m certain he was the cutest boy in the whole world, just really lovely.

Call these people if you often get stranded

Call these people if you often get stranded

Mike, if you ever read this, thank you. Thank you for being so nice and for not making fun of me to my face for my pee pee dance and for changing my tire like a boss. If we ever run across each other, you’ll have to reintroduce yourself to me, though, because while I am certain that I am 100% accurate in calling you the cutest boy in the whole world, I have no recollection of your face. It’s the water. I cannot help it.

Special thanks also to Cheryl at Verizon for being so nice to me, to the good Samaritan who backed his car half a mile down the interstate shoulder to check on me, and to my friend Casey who offered to rescue me. What fabulous people you are!

Tropical Cruise Part Three: Furfur

Y’all, it looks like I’m getting married. I have been proposed to. A few people told me before I left on this cruise that they either met their husband on a cruise or they know someone who met their husband on a cruise, and so I was expectant. I had high hopes for this trip and they came true!

Before I ever even got out of Nashville, I met a man who I could tell had an interest in me. You know how you just know sometimes? Our eyes met across a crowded airport and he began a slow lumber over towards me, making a beeline (turtleline?) for the available seat next to me.

“I’m going to pick up a rig,” he said by way of introduction. “My boss is sending me to Kansas to drive it back. I do this for a living and I almost never have to fly but this here is a special deal, a real emergency, so I’ll be driving back just as soon as I pick it up.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” I said, and then turned back to my book.

“I make a real good living doing this,” he continued. “I make $77,000 a year before expenses, about $55,000 a year after which is real good. You shoulda known me when I was working for the Opryland hotel, though. Over there I’d get $2 a bag ever time I drove somebody somewhere. That really adds up. I made a lot of money.”

“Really,” I said, and then turned back to my book.

“Yeah, my boss, he trusts me to do the driving. I’m his best driver. He’s having an emergency at home right now or he’d be the one picking up this rig but I’m going out there. I just hate having to spend money on food in these places. I mean, a sandwich here is so much money. I wisht I could have brought some McDonald’s in here. Security is tough.” And then he kicked his Coca-Cola lunch box.

“Right, yes. Actually, I do need to get something to eat before I leave, though, so have a safe trip.” And I was off like a shot.

So that wasn’t the guy. Also, remind me to stop making eye contact with strangers.

Remember Kevin and George, our driver and tour guide in Honduras? Kevin didn’t speak much English beyond “thank you” and “you’re welcome,” and George really had a monologue going, mmm hmmm, so all in all, we didn’t get to know each other very well. After spending the better part of a day with them and arriving back to the ship alive, though, we felt connected. As we were driving back to port, George started hinting that Kevin had a little crush on one of us. He didn’t spill all the details at first because Kevin was still driving and I could see his cheeks getting pink.

All of us in Big Pimpin’ immediately guessed who Kevin was digging on and started the singsong “Squash has got a boyfriend, Squash has got a boyfriend” in our heads, just waiting until we could get her alone to tease her. She’s kind of the resident hottie. We pulled into the parking lot, opened the doors and handed our bags and hands out the doors so that George and Kevin could help us get out. Just as Kevin was grasping my hand, I heard Woney and Nurse Bananahammock from the other side of Big Pimpin’, “Oh, Jimmie! George says he likes the one in white shorts!”

“Sure,” I said, then realized that I was the only one of us wearing white shorts. You shouldn’t feel bad for Squash, though, as she already has a lovely husband. She can’t win them all.

Suddenly Kevin and I were both red-faced. He let go of my hand and jumped into Big Pimpin’ and sped off, his cheeks rosy and his teeth shining in a huge grin.

As we walked with George to the local watering hole, George resumed his running monologue by saying, “Kevin, he kept talking about the girl in the white shorts. He said he would leave his girlfriend RIGHT NOW and marry her. He said she was so pretty. So, what do you think? You like Kevin?”

Y’all, what could I say? I mean, Kevin owns Big Pimpin’, or at least drives it like he owns it. We didn’t die in Honduras in a van so I conclude that he is a good driver. He and George did come back to pick us up from the touristy beach. He’s reliable. This is good information about Kevin. This could work. I have no idea what my new last name is going to be or how, exactly, I am going to get my car over there, but I feel good about it. Should I wait for a ring, do you think?

Fiance Kevin, Bride Jimmie, and Best Man George

Fiance Kevin, Bride Jimmie, and Best Man George

Actually, one of the best nights on the cruise was the night we watched a couple get engaged. We were at the game show knock off thingy and I decided that dancing to the live band beforehand was a great idea. I drug Nurse Bananahammock with me over to the only other person dancing and for two whole minutes we brought the house down with our moves. And then we realized we were alone and were going to remain alone and so the three of us wandered back to our seats to wait for the game show to start.

On the final round of the definition guess, comedian Tim Kaminski stood up to give his definition of the word. He requested audience participation and grabbed a man nearby who had his hand raised. The man grabbed his girlfriend who just happened to be the stranger I was dancing with earlier, and they walked to the stage. Tim was explaining his definition and said as he handed the mic over to the guy he said, “It’s better if you demonstrate it. First you have to get down on one knee and then you have to take the microphone.” I knew. I knew right away. Oh, it was so exciting!

The guy had planned it all in advance, it seems, and the girlfriend had no idea. The next day she probably regretted the fact that she was completely hammered but it was very sweet and she cried and I cried and then realized that the two of us were alone in that, so I stopped. It just made me so happy. I love stuff like that.

Anyway, back to me. I was thinking, should I register at Target? Or Bed, Bath and Beyond? Do they ship internationally, do you think?

With regards to our game, we still have nary a winner. The correct answer is (A), the prancing of a horse. I knew Madre would get it so her answer doesn’t count for a prize. Next question:

Define furfur.

A. The stud mink at the mink breeding farm
B. Dandruff
C. An ivy-like plant used in landscaping

No cheating, leave a comment, yada yada. Please and thank you.

Don’t worry . . . . about a thing . . . .

fiftenn

I’m A Tough Cookie

In my lifetime I’ve seen my mother cry only a handful of times.  When you talk about a tough broad, you think of my mother.  At least I do.  In times like this, with the car and the boy and the new job where I’m still learning my way, I want to be like my mom.  I want to take the bull by the horns and wrestle it down and stand on it and shout about how I did it.  I’ve done a lot of fighting lately and I’ve got to say, I don’t like it, but I think I’d rather be the bull fighter than the delicate, simpering flower.

Right after the break up where I got my heart smashed four years ago, before I really began the healing process, I went home for a visit with my mom.  Actually, what happened was she called me in the middle of one of my crying jags and as I gurgled to her about my horrid, horrid life, Madre realized I was Not Okay.  She instructed me to come home immediately which I gratefully did and while I was there, we went shopping.  During this shopping excursion we ran across a woman whose husband made deer stands.  That woman wanted to talk to my mom about those deer stands and I wanted nothing to do with deer stands because the douchecanoe ex-boyfriend was an avid hunter and used those deer stands more than once.  I kept yanking on Madre’s arm, trying to quietly explain to her that talking about deer stands made me Not Okay, that there was a panic rising inside me I could not control and that I needed to leave immediately.  That woman kept droning on, and Madre kept saying, “Yes, okay, see you later,” and finally I’d had enough.  To the surprise of everyone, including me, I screeched at the woman, “You need to shut your fat f@%*-ing mouth!” and sure enough she did, with an audible snap.  Matter of fact, everyone in the Dollar General did, and my mother, her eyes as big as dinner plates, ushered me out of there so fast you’d have missed it if you blinked.  That’s how bad that break up was.

This break up is not that bad.  Sure, I was down for the count and there will be times where I still suffer from feelings of “All hope is lost and I’m a worthless cow”, but overall, this is not bad.  It helps tremendously that everyone has been very supportive of me.  My brother called.  My friends bought me chocolates and lip gloss.  Dammit Todd had lunch with me.  One friend or another checks on me every day and several have offered to do bodily harm to Slim’s person.  (I’m secretly tickled that people feel so strongly for me but I understand that those lovely gestures must be declined.)  What I’m saying is, you are very sweet to worry about me, but I’m not going to be screeching obscenities to anyone at the Dollar General this go round.  I’m alright.   I’m tougher than I was four years ago.

You know what else is alright? My car.  It only took every penny I had and a three and a half months for it to be alright but my car runs right all the time now, and I got a new BFF out of it.  Kwame, of the Hyundai dealership, has walked me through every step of this repair process even though I really didn’t want him to, and in doing so has given me knowledge I never wanted.  He called me every day that he had my car to tell me what they looked at and what didn’t work.  After his first three minute monologue I said, “Kwame, I have no idea what you just said.  I’ve been in my happy place for the last two minutes and 45 seconds.  What I did hear is that you have no idea what is wrong with my car, correct?”

“Correct,” he said, and then launched off into another monologue about my car’s engine.

This went on for over a week.  Every day.  I finally resigned myself to the fact that Kwame was going to tell me everything he could about my car, and at the first ring from the dealership, I’d drape my elbow over the back of my chair, kick my feet out under my desk and lay there like a wet noodle until he got done with the lesson.  I know more about actuators and starters and batteries and bolts and catalytic convertors than you do, I bet.  Overall, though, this has not been that bad.  Pee-tah let me use his car whilst he went on a luxury vacation and after that, one of my lovely new co-workers whom I shall call Serena lent me her spare car.  Also, because Kwame and I are so close, he knocked a whole chunk off my bill when I asked questions about it.  See, not bad?

I’ve got one more fight in me right now, and I’m hoping it goes the same way as the others.  I’ve started a new eating program.  For those of you in the know, it’s called Whole 30 and for those of you not in the know, I’ve cut out all processed foods, all dairy, all legumes, all grains and all sugar for 30 days.  I figured that while everything still tastes like sawdust and while I’m still carrying injured feelings, I can do some good for myself with regards to what I eat.  Plus, the jeans I bought after the last break up don’t fit quite right and since this is the only thing I can fully control, I’d like to get back in those jeans.

I’m on day five of this cleanse (that’s what I’m calling it – a cleanse, not a diet), and so far I’ve done well.  If you can count the fact that I was victorious with myself after a 16-hour fight over whether or not White Castle would be consumed, that is.  This is how bad my thinking is, you guys.  Seriously?  White Castle?  That’s the arm pit of all food and that is where I focus my craving?  I’m in bad shape.  I have never wanted White Castle in my whole life and I internally war for 16 hours over it?  Bad, I tell you.

There’s a timeline for this 30 days, and in it is the explanation of how I should feel during each phase.  Currently I’m in the “I Want to Kill All Things” phase.  Since I skated through the “Sugar Hangover” phase with relative ease, I’m hopeful that I don’t actively fantasize about mowing down anyone with my fully functioning vehicle.  I haven’t wanted to yet and after the 16-Hour White Castle War, I feel like I can accomplish anything.  (For the record, next up is the “I Want A Nap” phase and I’m here to tell you that that phase is one I’d be willing to embrace.)

I look at all this glorious mess in my life and I see myself becoming my mother.  I see myself toughening up and taking all this on and winning, even if by the tiniest of margins.  I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying I enjoy it.  I’m only saying that if I’m going to have to fight this hard for anything, a car, a boy, a badass pair of jeans, I damn well better win.  My momma did.  She won her fights.  I know I can too.

And Then It Wasn’t

Ashley, Dammit Todd’s girlfriend and winner of my giveaway (the prize is coming!  Really, really!), asked for an update on Slim.  She is adorable.  I don’t usually take requests but I’m going to venture to say that’s because no one ever makes any.  This is all so unprecedented.

Because Ashley asked, and because I have a story to tell, I’m complying with her request and giving you an update.  You know how girls are.  We want to moon over all the new stuff we discover about our person and because I’m mouthy and a wide open book, you know I was just looking for any excuse to share it with you.

I love the feeling of a new relationship.  It’s so hopeful and fresh.  You spend so much time getting to know each other, and although Slim and I were friends first, we still have a lot to discover about each other.  I never asked all my girlie questions of him, like “what’s your favorite color” and “why are you so cute” and “tell me again when things changed for you” because we were just friends and that would have been weird.  I couldn’t hold his hand unless I was about to fall down but in a new relationship, you hold hands all the time.  You spend a lot of time thinking about Slim and he about you and you text each other schmoopy stuff on the reg.  It makes one giddy and we laugh a lot.  My happy knows no bounds.

I also spend a lot of time flirting with Slim and because he is hopeless at flirting, he spends a lot of time being practical with me.  He began buying paper towels for me by the 6 pack instead of the single pack (paper towels are his thing), and I am now fully stocked in batteries and super glue.  He calls me every time he goes to the store to ask if I need anything.

“Just you,” is my standard reply and then we both grin like idiots.

There’s other stuff that we say to each other but I know boys read this blog as well as girls so I will spare you those details.  As time passes, I realize I was right to wait for this.  This is something worth waiting for.

It was anyway.

As it turns out, Slim and I are no longer a couple.  He is no longer my person, and this was not my choice.  The man who told me good night every single night without fail has now stopped all communication and virtually disappeared from my life.  Had I been notified this was coming, I’d have been better prepared.  Instead, I was blindsided and left with a million questions, the foremost being “Why?!”  Lest you worry, he’s fine.  Everyone tells me he’s fine.  Everyone except Slim, that is.

As a whole, I believe I’m authentic here.  I’ve not been afraid to lay it all on the line in an effort to get something off my chest or share my life with you, whether good, bad, or barfy (Murphy!).  The thing is, I’m not sure how raw I want to be here now.  I’m not sure that if I get this all out I’ll be able to reel it back in when I’m better and less beat up.  Truthfully, I feel like I owe you an apology.  Everyone likes to read about new love, the happy story, and I really thought I had a story to tell.  I waited so long for it and I was so sure.  Turns out, I don’t have anything happy to say at all.

Right now I feel . . . . . gray . . . .  Bland.  Flavorless.   For the second time in my life, I have no appetite.  I eat because I’m supposed to and I laugh because it is expected and I do the daily grind because it makes the end of the day come faster.  Someone once said that things were more fun when I was around and asked me to attend some function so I could bring “me”.  I get that.  I try to have fun, to be joyous, to make others feel welcome and appreciated.  I understand that my personality is big and bold yet the thought of being “on” right now makes me tired.  I’m tired.  I don’t want to be on.  I want to . . . . . I don’t even know.  I’m not happy in my house.  I’m not happy out of my house.  I’m uncomfortable everywhere.  I’m not gutted, but I do have a constant rock in the pit of my stomach and it feels awful.

I’m trying very hard not to make this about me, how I’m less and not good enough and undateable and old and never thin enough and mouthy.  Rejected.  Hopeless.  I’m trying to understand that this transition was hard on Slim, a man who gives his servant’s heart to everyone and takes nothing in return.  I’m doing my best to realize that he is likely hurting, too, that he feels depleted by the demands made of him and that perhaps there is nothing left in the coffers to give.  I’m trying, but I’ve taken a hit and don’t feel like coming up swinging.  I guess I just want to lie down and sleep and ask that my brain be wiped clean.  No memories.  No hope.  No nothing.  Just sleep, and I’m sad to say that I can’t even do that.

I’m sorry for those of you looking for a happy update.  I’d give anything to be able to accommodate you.  I wish I could have ended this on a disgustingly sappy note, the kind that makes you want to stick your finger down your throat but also the kind that makes you longingly remember what your relationship was like when it was new.  I can’t, though, and that’s that.

If you see Slim and you want to yell, please don’t.  Don’t be too hard on him.  He’s living without me now.  It can’t be easy.  Right?  Somebody tell me it can’t be easy.

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