Friday, April 28, 2006

A Trip Down Memory Lane

I'm the oldest of three children. I was 5 when my younger brother was born and 6 when my sister was born, so for many years, I was the only child. My mother has 3 brothers and 3 sisters, and the oldest of the 7 had a daughter 2 years before my mom had me. So we played together. Really, she's more my sister than my cousin.

My mother's youngest brother is only 2 years older than my cousin (4 years older than me), so he played with us, too, sometimes. Though mostly, he just babysat and picked on us. Still, we grew up very close to each other.

We used to get into so much mischief together. My cousin and I were notorious for causing trouble. Of course, what my family still doesn't realize, is that she was the bad influence....Always.

I guess because she had an angelic face and I didn't, or because she was older and supposedly knew better, I got blamed for everything. Of course, she felicitated that by saying everything was all my fault.

I remember once, when I was about four, we got all dressed up on a Sunday. I can't remember for sure if it was a holiday or just a regular Sunday, but for whatever reason, Mel and I were dressed to the nines. Her in her little blue and white frock and me in my red taffeta dress. Our respective mothers fixed our hair and polished our shoes, then sent us outside with the admonishment, "DO NOT GET DIRTY".

Okaaayy, Einstein. Like that'll happen.

At the time, we were at my grandparents farm in rural Illinois. Though they didn't have a large stock of animals, they did have a chicken coup with several chickens and a rooster, a pig pen with three or four pigs and a bull pen...with one ornery bull named Angus.

As Mel and I were walking past the bull pen on our way to the hayloft in the barn (our favorite place to play at my grandparents house) she said, "We should take a short cut through there. We'll get to the barn faster."

Now, I was pretty young, and still fairly naive. That's the only excuse I can offer for what happened next. I assure you, had I been even a little bit older, I would have seen right through her. Ok, that's probably a lie, because she STILL gets me into trouble, even though were both grown ass women. It's really not uncommon to hear her husband yelling, "Mel, Holly, What the hell is all that smoke from!?!?!" (that was from the Christmas Tree Burning Incident) or, "Holly, Mel, What the hell are all these marbles doing in the hall?!?!?" (that was the Aerodynamic Airborne Experiment) or *in a very high, very squeaky voice* "MEEEELLLLL, HOLLLYYYYY why the hell is my HAIR BLUE?!?!?!" (that was the Does Food Coloring Really Turn Your Hair Different Colors trial run). That was just last month.

But I digress.

So, she tells me we should take the shortcut, and in all of my youthful naivete I believe her, failing to realize that the barn was RIGHT NEXT TO THE BULL PEN, and I'd actually be going OUT OF MY WAY by crossing through it. The evil little sprite knew though.

I protest a little bit, but give in without too much of a fight, because really, she was my hero and plus, she could totally kick my ass, and haul myself up the fence. I drop down on the other side and start walking across the pen,not really paying too much attention to the rest of my surroundings. Then my cousin yells from behind me, "I'll race you." Again, I blame my lack of years on the fact that I didn't even bother to look and see if she was in the pen with me, I just took off like a bat out of hell, determined to beat her to the other side.

That's when I heard the noise. And Lord was it loud!

I let out a terrified scream (though I had no idea where the noise had come from) and glanced over my shoulder. I swear by everything that's holy I blacked out for a few seconds when I saw what was behind me.

The Bull.

To be totally honest, the next few seconds are kind of a blur. I remember the snorting sounds the bull was making, the rapid pounding of my heart...and the maniacal laughter of my evil cousin. I also remember flying through the air and landing with a rather jarring thud...right in the middle of a mud puddle.

I was scared and screaming and so angry I was seeing red (though I know it wasn't just my dress I was seeing, because it had turned brown!) because my evil cousin was still laughing like a lunatic and my one and only thought was, "My mother is going to kill me" (that was pre-DW days).

She finally gets me to calm down some twenty minutes later and we trudge back to the house. Ok, I trudged and she skipped along, happy as a lark. When the house came into site, Mel started running, yelling at the top of her lungs, "Mom, guess what Holly did!!!" The witch.

After much screeching (this from my mother) and hollering (this from my father) and gloating (this from my Aunt, who was convinced her daughter was an Angel and I..Hmm, ironically, The Spawn of the Devil (woman)), I was given two swats on the ass with a wooden spoon and sent to my room to "think" about my bad behavior.

Oh, and my cousin?

For being such a good little girl and trying to talk me out of climbing into the bull pen (I swear, my family thought she was a hero, having saved me from certain death. Yeah, the story was much embellished by HER), she was given chocolate chip cookies, a glass of milk and then set in front of the T.V. to watch a Disney movie. Something that was a rare treat in our house.

Evil, evil thing.

Wondering what happened after that? Not a damn thing...until 22 years later.

Yep, this last Thanksgiving, she finally admitted to my mother that she was behind the whole bull thing. Naturally, all the Devil Woman could do was laugh.

Do I feel vindicated? OH hell no! I'm planning my revenge as you read....

Hey, they don't call me Spawn for nothing. *evil laugh*

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Updated: Saving Face...or Teeth, as the case may be

Little Man had baseball practice last night. Before I get into that, though, he played a game on Tuesday night and got 2 base hits! I was so proud! It was freakin hilarious watching him in the outfield, though. He was turning in circles, staring at the clouds, kicking his feet in the dirt and watching the grass grow. But the best? He kept taking his glove off and throwing it up in the air...WHILE the other team was batting! He's lucky he didn't lose an eye. Or a tooth...

Oh, wait, he DID! Last night.

Well, almost lost a tooth. I took him to practice last night and we had trouble finding a field to play on. They were doing make-up games for a rain-out we had early in the season, so they ended up just practicing in the grassy area in the middle of the park. They have 2 hour practices (which, really, I'm not too keen on. I mean, these kids are 7 and 8. 2 hours practices three days a week, plus games 2 nights a week just seem a bit extreme to me for kids that age, but what do I know, right?) and one of the games got over at about 7:15, so Little Man's team moved onto that field to finish the last 45 minutes or so of practice.

It was all kinds of cold last night, so about half an hour into their practice, I high-tailed it to the car to read while they finished up. The wind was blowing about 60 mph, too, which made it even worse in my opinion (y'all remember that I'm cold blooded, right?).

I talked to MM for a little bit, and helped The Girl with her homework, then got down to reading Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice (which is freaking amazing so far, BTW). At about 7:30, The Girl got tired of playing at the playground and came back to the car. About five minutes after that, the passenger side door of the car opened.

I looked up from my book and smiled, expecting to see my son. My smiled slipped a little when I saw that it was his coach instead and it dropped completely when I saw the first-aid kit in her hand. I leaned forward to see where Little Man was and my mouth fell open when I saw him.

The coach said, "Little Man just took a line drive to the face." And I made a little squeaky noise in the back of my throat. I said, "Get in the car!" Because my first thought was ice, then emergency room. The coach explained what had happened to me, then she said, "You can see his lip is swollen already, but what worries me is...I think his teeth are broken." OH.HELL.NO.

I had Little Man bare his teeth at me around his swollen upper lip and sure enough, his two front teeth were separated from his gums and they (the gums) were already starting to turn black. I'm not sure if y'all understand what that means or not, but basically, if the roots are damaged he's going to have to have a root canal.

Anyway, I hustle him into the car and down to the gas station a block over for some ice, then I call MM. Naturally. He says, "That's not good. Did you tell him he's supposed to catch the ball with his glove, not his mouth?" I made a sound of disgust and told him that was the wrong thing to say. He said, "What, it doesn't sound like he's crying." I yelled, "I'M the one who's upset, you idiot!" In his defense, I had woken him up, so I really shouldn't have expected much from him, but still, I need comfort, not stupid jokes! Jeez, MEN!

So, I got the ice on him and we headed up to MM's (I doubled checked Little Man's mouth and saw there was nothing to be done until the morning, and he wanted to go to MM's). This morning we got up at our usual time, I got them ready for school and headed out. After I dropped off London and apprised the office of the situation, I headed to the Urgent Care Clinic so they could check LM's mouth.

When we got there, the guy told us that I had to take him to the regular Emergency room, because they'd have to take a panoramic X-ray and they don't do that their. So, off we went to the hospital. When we got there, a SUPER cool nurse said we could wait approximately four hours to be seen, or I could take him to his regular doctor and save myself the time and trouble, since they were open now. Since I wasn't trying to pay the outrageous fee for the Emergency room, we headed toward the doctor's office. I called on the way over and my favorite nurse, Karley, told me that the doc was on vacation for a week and she couldn't get him in until Friday to see the fill in doctor guy.

She suggested that I take him to a dentist instead. I called LM's dentist and he was out of town, too, so I looked up another dentist and called them. The receptionist there told me that because of the swelling and the fact that the mouth was probably too traumatized, I'd have to wait at least a week to bring him in. At this point, his gums are black above both his front teeth and his lip is three times the size it was the night before. It didn't make much sense to me that they couldn't at least see him, but I made an appointment for next Thursday and headed toward the school to drop off LM so I could head to work.

When we walked in, Natalie, one of the women who works in the office at the school said it didn't sound right to her, either, that they couldn't see him for a week, so she gave me the number for her dentist. I called them, and they told me (after a rather lengthy conversation) to bring him in today at 2:00.

So, that's where I'm at now. I'm working until 1:30, then I'm going to pick up LM and take him to see the dentist. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's nothing serious and he doesn't have to have a root canal!

I'll keep you posted.

Just got back from the dentist. After some X-rays and an exam, the dentist is pretty sure that basically, his 2 front teeth got knocked loose a few months early. He said it didn't look like there was any damage to his roots or his permanent teeth. Thank the Good Lord! I was so worried. I have to take him back in next Wednesday for a follow up exam, but so far, so good! WOOOHOOO!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Tales of the Devil Woman: Episode 13

I'm sure that you've all heard that twins supposedly have some kind of connection to each other. From all accounts (or most, anyway) it's said that when one twin feels something, so does the other. Like if one of them is in a car accident, the other twin feels his/her pain. Or when one of them is distressed about something, the other knows it.

Supposedly, the same can be said for tastes in music, or clothing, or hairstyles. Like they could be living on opposite sides of town, not talk to each other at all, and meet up at the market wearing the exact same, or a very similar outfit. Some people claim that even their hairstyles will be similar, even though they haven't discussed it.

Apparently, I share the same psycho..err, psychic connection with the Devil Woman. Much to my dismay.

Last week Wednesday I decided to dress up a bit for work. Our office is very casual. My boss calls it a No Tie Zone. He says the only time he'll be wearing a tie is if he's going to a funeral or a job interview, so if we see him in one, we should be worried. He usually wears jeans, tennis shoes and Tommy Bahama Hawaiian shirts.

The rest of us follow his example. Some days I wear capris and t's. Some days jeans and button ups. Some days running suits. Every so often, though, I have the urge to dress up a bit. On those days, I'll scour my closet and pair a skirt with a button up, or wear a dress, and if I'm feeling really daring, I'll even wear a suit. DW does casual, too, but most of the time, she's not as casual as I am. She usually does skirts and t's with flip-flops, or jeans and boots with a nice top. Not always, but most of the time.

But back to my story. So last Wednesday I felt like dressing up a bit. I wore a black and pink skirt with a pink top and black heels. I left my hair down (it's pretty long, falling to just below my bra line at the middle of my back) and just pulled the front back with a clip. I even threw on a necklace and an anklet, something I never do.

I got to work early, before DW arrived and started working. Cookie remarked on my outfit when I came in, saying how cute I looked and how nice and blah, blah, blah. So, about 20 minutes after I came in, I heard Cookie bust out laughing. The I hear DW say, "What?" I turn and look, and my mouth fell open. There was DW, in a pink and black skirt, with a pink top and black strappy sandals. Though the outfits weren't exactly the same, they were close enough that you would have thought we'd coordinated. Even her hair was pulled back like mine was (though she had more curl in hers than I did) and her jewelry was similar.

Now, that wouldn't have been so funny to Cookie, but we do this at least three times a week. If we aren't wearing almost the exact same outfit, we're wearing the same colors or the same hairstyle or the same shoes or the same....something. It's freaky.

Yesterday, I couldn't find anything to wear. I was just having one of those blah days where nothing I tried on looked right. After spending an hour trying on half of my closet (what? So I have a lot of clothes, what can I say...I am the Spawn of the Devil Woman, after all) I finally just threw on a pair of jeans with a burnt orange t and my favorite butterfly sandals (Which, on a side note, sadly broke yesterday....I'm so heartbroken. I hope I can find them again, because they were cute and comfortable, plus, they went with pretty much anything). I left my hair down and did that front pull back thing again and set off to work, running even later than usual.

When I arrived at the office, DW was standing next to Cookie's desk, talking to her about something or other (I assume) and they both glanced up when I walked in. DW made this sound in her throat, stepped around the desk so I could see her, and made this up and down motion with her hands, indicating her outfit.

I just shook my head. She was wearing jeans, sandals and a fairly bright green t-shirt. We looked like twins...again (see pic). This morning, I had another one of those days where I couldn't find anything to wear. I had on a pair of tan cammy pants with a dark brown top and tan flip-flops, but because I wasn't comfortable, I changed into bright blue capris and a black top. When I got to the office, I thanked the Good Lord I'd decided to change, because DW was wearing green cammy shorts, a brown tee the exact same shade as the one I had on initially and green and brown sandals. I just kept my mouth shut and started working.

This whole psychic thing is starting to freak me out. I mean, it's one thing to be the Spawn, but it's quite another to be the mirror image of the Devil Woman.

Lord, please save me now.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Because I remember....

I'm a Bush supporter. I know in this case I'm the minority, but I've always agreed with his politics and respected his morals and values. When this war first started, my nephew had just joined the Marines. He was in boot camp when the first wave of soldiers was sent to Iraq. I was worried. I'll admit it. I hated the thought of him being sent to a foreign country during a wartime. I hated the thought of him being in the military at all, whether it was wartime or a time of peace.

After boot camp, I spent as much time with him as I could. He chose infantry, which made it even worse. They're the guys in the front lines....always. I had many sleepless nights, waiting to see if he'd be deployed. Sure enough, in Nov. of '03 he was informed that he'd be shipping out in '04. They changed his deployment date several times, and he didn't acutally leave the country until April of '04. He was gone until Jan of '05.

It was a terrible time for all of us. Because things were so rough at that time, communications between us were sadly few and far between. I spent months worrying over his saftey and welfare. When he finally came home, he was a changed man. Though he didn't tell us (because he didn't want to worry us) he'd received two Purple Hearts (the metals military officers receive if they've been injured in the line of duty) while he was there. Though his injuries weren't serious, it was still very hard for us to deal with.

When he left, he was still a boy. He was still immature about a lot of things and still naive, I think, about the way of the world. When he came home, he was quiet and withdrawn. He still spent time with me and my children, but he didn't laugh as often or smile quite the same way. I'd often catch him staring off into space with a sad look on his face and tears in his eyes. Three of "his" Marines, the ones from his company, had been killed in front of him while he was there. Besides countless others he only heard about.

My heart ached for him.

He took his leave and went home for a month, and came back more like the Marine I remember before he left. He laughed more readily and joked more often. But he was changed. I mourn the loss of the child...even as I celebrate the joy of the man.

He was deployed in August of '05 again. He came and stayed with me for a long weekend just before he was deployed, and we had a long discussion about what he'd seen during his first tour. I expressed my worries and concerns for his safety, and he confidently informed me, "I have to take care of My Marines. I need to keep them safe. You understand, right?" I did, but that doesn't mean I liked it.

Communications this last time were much better with him. Though I'm a terrible correspondant, I got a phone call from him at least once a month and an email twice a week. You may or may not remember hearing about a convoy of military vehicles that was bombed, killing 6 Marines last year. My Favorite Marine was in that convoy. He called me a week later to let me know he was fine. I said, "You're ok? you're not hurt? No more Purple Hearts?" He said, "I'm fine, Aunt Holly." We talked about other things for a few minutes and then he said, "Oh yeah, I got blown up last week." WHAT THE FREAK?!?!? I screamed at him for leading me on and he said, "I'm fine. They thought I might have a perferrated ear drum, but it's ok now."

After that, I don't think I slept another peaceful night...until he told me he was coming home. On March 12th of this year, he called me....from the states. I cried. I was so happy he'd made it home alive and uninjured.

I picked him up the weekend after his return so he could spend the weekend with me and my children. When I pulled up and he saw me, the most amazing smile split his face and I cried again. He hugged me tight and told me he'd missed me. When we got to my house later that night, he sat down with me and told me about some of the things he'd dealt with on this tour. Though I was horrified, I was also very, very proud of him. This time, I didn't mourn the loss of the child, but instead rejoiced in the man he'd become.

His four years is up in October of this year, and he still hasn't decided if he'll re-enlist for another 2 or if he'll get out and start college. While I'll always worry about his safety, I understand that this is his decision to make, and I'll support him no matter what he does.

We've talked in depth about his feelings towards this war and President Bush. While he has various opinions about World Affairs, one fact with him has never changed. "He is my Commander in Cheif. I go where he sends me. I'm not sorry for the choice I made, and I'm willing to give my life to protect the ones I love."

Maybe because he still has his life, I can still support our president. Or maybe it's just because I understand that he's just a man who's had to make tough decisions. Whatever the reason, I'm willing to stand behind him, even though I may not agree with every decision he's made.

This morning I received an email from Dylan, with award winning pictues of the return of 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body, 24, of Reno, Nev.; assigned to 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., who was killed Aug. 21 by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations near Al Karmah, Iraq.

Because I remember 9/11 and because this is something that hits very close to home with me, it touched me very deeply. I love My Favorite Marine and I can't imagine my life without him. Still, I can't in good conscience not support his decisions, whatever they may be.

I wonder if Katherine Cathey feels the same way? Or perhaps I don't want to know.

Before you look at the pictures below and read their captions, take a minute to thank God for the ones you love. To ask him to be with you and yours, and to remember the families of our fallen soldiers.

First Place

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process: "See the people in the windows? They'll sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They're going to remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."

Second Place

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of 'Cat,' and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it," she said. "I think that's what he would have wanted."

Sunday, April 23, 2006

To Be or Not To Be...Upset that is

My Pyscho Neighbor's wedding was yesterday. After much debate, I decided to attend. Her oldest daughter asked me to, and I found I couldn't say no to her. She said, "If you go, I'll go." To which I replied, "Does that mean if I choose not to go, you won't either?" She said, "No, I'm going to go regardless, but having you there will make it much easier for me."

How could I say no to that? Still, it was very hard for me. Watching them say their vows and stare at each other like they were the only two people in the world, while knowing his addiction stood between them, made me so angry I could barely concentrate. And having their young daughter next to me made it all the worse. It's done and over with now, and there's no going back, but it was still very hard for me to watch....and even harder for me to smile and pretend to be happy for them.

MM had to work the night before (he works 6 p.m to 6 a.m.) and again the night of the wedding (that would be last night), so I knew he wouldn't be able to attend with me - though I craved his support to get through the whole ordeal - because he needed to sleep (the wedding was at 1:00 with a reception following from 2-5). Friday evening, MM had called and told me his computer wasn't working properly and asked if I could fix it. I picked it up from him and took care of the problem, but because my children were already asleep and he was busy with work, I didn't return it to him. We had agreed that I would meet him with it sometime Saturday evening (after he'd started work) and that he'd call me to arrange a place and time.

I called him at approximately 4 p.m yesterday from the wedding reception to confirm our plans. He said he'd call me as soon as he had a chance and we left it at that. His mom, sister and brother-in-law were staying at his house for the evening, because they had a wedding of their own to attend (apparently one of MM's cousin's was getting married last evening), and they had just arrived when I was on the phone with him, so we signed off rather quickly.

After the reception, I headed home to change and then ran a few errands with my children. MM usually calls me around 7:00 on the nights he works, but by 9:30 I still hadn't heard from him. I finally called him and left a message that I was about to put the kids to bed and if he wanted to meet me, it would have to be soon. He called back a few minutes later, saying he'd been at his cousin's wedding reception and hadn't realized how late it was.


I was upset. Perhaps it wasn't justified, but yesterday was very emotionally straining for me. I really needed someone there to offer me support, and since my family had opted not to attend (with the exception of my sister, that is, who, to be totally honest, is very emotionally shallow and not someone I can lean on in a crisis), I had no one to comfort me or to lean on.

Maybe it was wrong of me, but I expected MM to be that person. Though I knew he had to sleep during the day, I thought he'd at least call to see how I was doing. The same goes for the evening, when he had to work. I thought, if nothing else, he'd at least call to check on me, and to make arrangements to pick up his computer.

When I did finally talk to him, he was laughing and joking with some of his family, and he proceeded to share all the details of the reception with me, never once asking how I was or what the day had been like for me. I hate it, but I needed him to, at the very least, ask how my day was. To show he understood the emotional strain I was under and care enough to ask if I was ok. But he didn't.

He asked me to meet him with his computer, and I agreed. When I pulled in, he came over to my car and said I was the greatest for fixing his computer, then he apologized again for not realizing how late it was. He then proceeded to tell me about his night, and then gave me a quick kiss. He said he had to go, but he'd call me later if he had a chance. As he was walking away, almost as an afterthought, he turned around and asked how my day was.

He didn't walk back to the car to hear my answer, but stayed where he was. I said it was hard and he said, "Yeah, it's done now, huh?" I just nodded and he smiled, then said he'd call me later.

I just about burst into tears as I pulled away, I was so upset. I needed some comfort and he offered none. I needed some affection, and I got none. I called my brother and told him I was upset about the day and the thing with MM and he said, "Just call me when you need something, Big Sister. You know I'm always here for you." Which isn't entirely the truth, because he's busy with is friends and college, but it did make me feel better. I talked to him for a few minutes and then signed off. But all night, I was upset with MM.

He did end up calling later, but again he talked about his night and things with him, though he did tell me again how great I was for fixing his computer. He made some comment about sex, too, but I just brushed it off.

Now I'm wondering, though. Was I wrong to be upset? I didn't exactly tell him how hard the wedding was for me, but I guess I thought he should have realized it. Maybe that was wrong of me. I've always prided myself on not playing the same feminine games so many other women play, expecting a man to know when I'm upset without me telling him, but I wonder if that's just what I did last night. Or was I justified in being upset with him?

I'm no closer to an answer this morning. I haven't spoken with MM again, because I know he's home sleeping. I'm sure he'll call me later this evening. I just don't know why I feel this way.

You tell me, should I be upset with him, or is it just that in my overly emotional state yesterday I read more into the situation than I should have? At this point, I'm not capable of making a decision.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Vegas Saga, Part III

Alright, so on to Part III of my Vegas Saga. Are y'all going crazy yet, waiting for the next installment, or are you over it? Well, either way, here you go...

We got up fairly early on Saturday morning, and I, for once in my life, woke up hungry. That never happens to me. I hardly ever eat breakfast, and when I do, it's always about about 11 or 12. For whatever reason, though, I woke up starving and decided to take myself down to breakfast.

My Favorite Marine was sound asleep still, and so was Cookie, but Daph cracked her eyes open and peeked at me, so I figured she'd want to come along (I had already figured out by then that my little Food Monster couldn't go without a meal or she'd get scary, and I wasn't trying to deal with that first thing in the morning). She hopped up and started getting ready and Cookie and My Favorite Marine woke up a bit, too. Cookie was all kinds of salty at me for waking her up, but she shut up after awhile and, after a quick shower, we headed down to the buffet.

We ran into my brother out in the hallway (he was trying to escape the rest of my family...Who are UBER scary in the morning) and he decided to join us. We get to the buffet and start piling up (it was a champagne brunch, so me and Daph hooked up some Mimosa's) and DW, The Drama Queen and Mac showed up. Talk about looking TOE-UP! EEK! I'm pretty sure DQ was still drunk and not feeling too great, and Mac was having issues, too.

Being the Spawn of the Devil Woman, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to torture DQ a little bit....Hey, it's my right as her older sister and the Spawn, right? So I started in on her about how there was champagne available for her...And then moved right into the Buffet sushi and crab legs. Something no half drunk person with an oncoming hangover wants to discuss first thing in the morning. I then moved on to the very rare and bloody prime rib they were offering and the salmon I wasn't sure was cooked all the way. By the time I was done, my poor baby sister was looking a little green around the gills and even My Favorite Marine was looking a little queasy. For once, my sister was silent, though she did swallow repeatedly. Ahh, the joys of big sisterhood.

After we finished eating, we left DQ and Mac to wallow in their misery and DW to make sure they didn't puke on the table and headed up to the room so Cookie could get ready for the day and My Favorite Marine could change. My two Mimosa's (that's champagne and orange juice, BTW) and two cups of coffee with breakfast weren't enough for me, so I stopped on the way upstairs to get a coffee. While we were waiting in line (Cookie had already headed up, so it was just me, My Favorite Marine and Daph), I decided I needed to use the restroom, so My Favorite Marine and Daph got my coffee for me and then headed upstairs. On the way out of the bathroom I saw thee most amazing man, evah! WHOA MAMA!

He was tall, with short dark hair and broad shoulders. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and I could see the muscle definition in his arms and legs as he sailed by me. He was wearing sunglasses, so I couldn't see his eyes, but I imagined they were bright green, or deep blue. Wrapped up in my fantasy as I was, I didn't realize there were three people and a set of stairs right in front of me, and I nearly took out the entire lobby and broke my leg...Of course, I failed to mention this to anyone else when I got back to my room, and luckily didn't run into the hottie again. Luckily because I was mortified. I glanced back at him after my almost spill and he was smirking at me. The jerk...Though if I looked like that, I'd probably smirk, too. *sigh*

Anyway, I made it upstairs without further embarrassing myself and attacked my cup of coffee with relish. After inhaling the entire cup in less than a minute, I decided I was finally awake enough to do something other than lay around our room. DW called and said she was feeling the same way, and since DQ and Mac had passed out she was itching to get out of the hotel. My Favorite Marine and I discussed it and decided we'd head downstairs. Cookie was in the bathroom doing who knows what at that point, and Daph and my brother had fallen asleep, so me and the Marine head down to the bar and get a beer (it was ALMOST noon by then...So don't look at me like that, sheesh) and DW calls, saying she's heading down soon. We sip our beers (ok, I sip mine and The Marine sucks his down) and then DW shows up.

We were staying at the Sahara, and they have this Virtual Nascar thing and a great arcade, so DW suggests we head over that way before getting on the Monorail and site seeing for the day. We agreed and headed over. We bought tickets for the Nascar deal and the roller coaster (though DW looked a little green at the thought of the coaster) and went to get in line for the Virtual Nascar race.

We had to watch a video first, telling us how to get in the car and what to do once we were inside it, but then we got down to business. Before I continue, I should tell you that My Favorite Marine is very competitive. Last year, at my company picnic, I bested him at Archery and he's still salty over it...Almost a year later. He flat out denies he was even there, or that I can shoot better than he can (The RB was BIG into hunting, so I learned how to shoot a gun and got pretty good with a bow and arrow, too), it's hilarious.

Anyway, we're waiting in line, The Marine is talking crap the whole time, telling me he's going to whoop my butt and so on and so forth. I wasn't worried, though, because I figure anything he can do I can do better, right? So, we each to go our respective race cars and climb in. I took a few pictures while waiting for the race to start, and then got ready to kick some series Marine Ass...

The screen lights up and shows all of the cars in position, and I put the petal to the metal and....spun out. WHOA..So not what I was expecting. It took me a minute, but I figured out how to control my car and took off. The race was five laps and towards the end of the fourth, I got nailed from behind....By none other than My Favorite Marine. I cursed under my breath, got my car back on track and raced towards the finish line.

After the race, we had to walk up to the front of the little racing place to see our results...While we were waiting, The Marine moaned and whined because he didn't drive well...He kept saying the cars suck and all that (I was totally snickering, too, because even though I didn't drive THAT well, I just KNEW I was going to have done better than him...hehehe). The worker guy said our results were ready and called out our car numbers. I was car five, DW was car three and The Marine was four...DW came in third, I came in 5th and The Marine? Dead last! Ha Ha Him....

Me and DW gloated a bit (though DW more than me, because she beat both of us...Of course, I say it's all The Marine's fault, because he totally bumped me in the Fourth Lap) and then took our picture with one of the race cars on the showroom floor. After we posed all pretty, it dawned on us that we might want to take a pic with our race results held up proudly, so we did. The entire time, The Marine was shuffling his feet and pretending like the race never happened...hehehehe

Anyway, by the time we got done with that, Daph and my brother had woken up, so they met us in the Arcade and then walked over to the Monorail entrance. The day before, my brother had gotten to Vegas before the rest of us and had found The Drive , this awesome new attraction they just opened that allows you to test drive some of the hottest cars GM makes. He'd driven an H-2 and a Corvette and taken way too much pleasure in rubbing it in. The punk.

The Drive track is set up just below the entrance to the Monorail, so my brother said we should cruise down and see if it was still free (I guess they normally charge $10 for admission, but since it had just opened it was free to the public for a short time). It was, so we got in line to test drive some badass cars. You have to sign a liability waiver and take a breathalizer before you can drive a car, or if you don't want to drive, you can sign a waiver and be a passenger. I was already drooling over the new Caddy they had sitting there, and I couldn't wait to get my grubby little hands on the steering wheel of a new H-2, so I rushed in, anxious to get started. I passed my breathalizer no problem, but My Favorite Marine was past the legal limit, so his poor self had to ride along as a passenger. I razzed him about it mercilessly.

We strolled around the showroom a bit, checking out the new Hummer they had on display, along with a new Chrystler convertible and a new Cadillac. We took some pics and whatnot, then got in line for the driving experience. I wanted to test out a Performance Vehicle first, so Daph went and stood in line for that to save us a place. My brother and DW wanted to hit the Off-Road Track first, though, so I reluctantly agreed and waved Daph over to the other line.

Daph is pretty conservative, so she decided not to drive, but decided (I think to make her boyfriend jealous) to be a passenger. Since The Marine had blown his breathalizer, he had to be a passenger, and DW didn't want to drive either, so she and My Favorite Marine went with my brother to test drive a new H-3. I was more interested in the H-2, so Daph and I headed that way.

When we stepped on to the course, the sweet guys who worked there came over to say hi to us and show us what vehicle we'd be taking. The rest of our group started out before we did, so we pulled in behind them. The driving course was awesome. There were side hills and logs to drive over, a huge hill to drive up and then down the other side and a lot of sand and dirt. It was a wet dream come true (well, for me anyway...I'm not sure Daph was as excited as I was).

We started over the first rise and ol' boy (they had to have an employee ride along with us, much to my dismay...Lucky for us he was easy on the eyes and seemed pretty laid back) made small talk with us while we bumped along on the course. The track was pretty rough. At one point, we were completely sideways, which I was totally digging. I took it kind of slow in the beginning, getting a feel for the vehicle and how it handled, but by midcourse I was ready to see what the puppy could do.

Daph was mostly silent in the backseat, no doubt praying and holding on to the door like her life depended on it, and ol' boy was just chatting away. I sped up a bit through a few sand dunes and ended up a little wet from the feel of all that power beneath me. As we were cresting the final - and largest - hill of the course, ol' boy says, "You're pretty calm about this." I snorted and I think I heard Daph make a scoffing noise in the back of her throat, though I ignored it.

I told ol' boy, "I love off roading. We go all the time. For me, it's all about: Fast cars, motorcycles, off roading, boxing, football and beer." His eyes got wide and he said, "Football and beer?" I said, "Yep, nothing better" and I saw him eye my left hand. ha ha

At the end of the off-road course, there was a paved section and as we approached it, ol' boy had me stop and take it our of 4-high. Then he said, "Ok, you can take it as fast as you want here, to get a feel of how it handles", and I heard Daph mutter, "Oh, shit" from the back seat. It was great. Anyway, we finished the course without mishap and thanked ol' boy for a great ride (*snicker*), then rushed over to the Performance Track.

While we were in line, we were trying to decide what type of vehicle we wanted to drive. I finally settled on a new 'Vette (see picture) and very impatiently waited for my turn behind the wheel. When the time finally came, I rushed over jumped right in. My guy this time wasn't as laid back, and I could tell he was nervous about riding with me. As we pulled up to the quarter mile run, he said, "Ok, just hit the gas and try not to kill us, ok?" I gave him a dirty look from the corner of my eye and said, "No faith, huh?" He said, "Nah, I'm sure you'll do fine. Probably better than most", but I could tell he was just trying to soothe me and didn't really mean it...the jerk. I rolled my eyes and eased down on the gas. I could have told him I used to own a sports car and was one of the best street racers out there, but I let it go instead. I figured after that crack, he deserved to sweat a little.

We got two laps around the track, so I took my time on the first one, getting a feel for the car and how it handled on the track. By the time we came back around to the starting line, my guy had relaxed back in his seat, probably figuring he was in for a granny-type Sunday drive. As I waited for the lights to flip, I gave him a sassy wink, revved the engine, and then floored it. By the time we hit the end of the quarter and started around the first turn, I was going close to 150. I tapped the breaks around the first corner and then hit the gas as we came out of it, still racing along at about 130. Next came the cones, you know, where you go side to side to get a feel for the suspension? Yep, handled those like a pro at just under 110. We hit the last leg of the course, another quarter track, but with a slight curve, and I floored it again. We hit 170 before I let off and started breaking towards the finish line. My guy was white knuckled and sweating, but I could see a gleam of respect in his eyes as I pulled back into my spot. As we were climbing out of the car I said, "And look, we're still alive." He said, "That was probably the best ride I've ever taken with someone." I just smiled and posed pretty for Daph, who had my camera.

After that, we hit the Monorail and headed toward the strip. We just kind of strolled along, doing the tourist thing, taking pictures and people watching. Oh, and drinking, of course. At every casino along the way we stopped to refresh...or I did, anyway. I think My Favorite Marine was keeping up with me, too. When we got to Margaritaville, I called MM to rub it in (he's a die hard Buffett fan) and he laughed. At Paris, we found Daph another pair of really hot shoes and we saw some great t-shirts, too.

Around 4:00, my sister called (she'd just crawled out of bed) and said she wanted to go to dinner, so we needed to head back. We were pretty much ready by then anyway, so we grabbed the Monorail and headed back. Once we got back to the hotel, The Marine and I decided to hit the roller coaster before we got all gussied up for the evening.

WHOA! What a ride. I so was not expecting a ride like that. You literally shoot out of the gate like a bullet, and hit top speed immediately. It was awesome! We rode it twice. Then we got another drink and headed upstairs to get ready for our evening out.

But more on that later.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Being a Bad Friend??

If you know me or have read any of my previous blogs, then you should be familiar with my Psycho Neighbor. I blogged about her here, and here, and here.

I know I've mentioned this before, but let me re-cap for you.

My PN used to have a drug habit. She has two children, ages 21 and 22, who grew up with an addicted mother. They lived on the streets some, in cars, in motels, until her parents finally got custody of them. About 5 years ago, PN turned up pregnant again. She was in jail at the time, serving a sentence for the armed robbery of two old ladies in a parking lot. When she found out she was pregnant, I guess that was the motivation she needed to get clean. She stopped using drugs, cleaned her life up, and has spent the last four years raising her daughter.

Basically, her daughter saved her life.

Since then, she's repaired her relationship with her parents and her older children. Though there are still some unresolved issues there, she'd done her best to clean up her life and be the best mom she can be. Until recently I respected her more than anyone else I've ever met. She was literally in the gutter, and by sheer willpower, and love for her daughter, she pulled herself out of the hole she'd sunk into.

About three years ago, she met a man and fell absolutely in love. They got engaged about a year later and they've been living together off and on since then. Why off and on, you ask? Because he's a drug addict.

When she met him, he was an alcoholic. It wasn't unusual for her to find him lying in a pool of his own vomit after he'd been MIA for days on end. After several months of this, and breaking their engagement twice, she got him into rehab.

During that first year and some odd months, she was living with her parents, trying to find a good job and get back on her feet. Shortly after he went into rehab, she moved in across from me. During the time he was in rehab, she found a job with a lawyers office, established her house, and got back on the road to being independent.

A few months short of a year into his rehab program, her fiance (whom I've dubbed The Crackhead...for good reason), moved in with her. Before that, he was in a rehab facility about an hour away and PN was driving down every weekend to either spend time with him there, or bring him back to her house.

It was around Nov. when he came home for good. At the time, I asked her to please wait until he'd been sober a full year before she let him move in with her. She assured me he was fine and totally recovered. I was skeptical, but supported her decision, because she's my friend and I thought that's what she needed.

In mid-Dec., PN and The Crackhead decided that it would be alright for him to drink on the weekends. As long as he didn't get drunk and stuck with beer - because evidently Vodka was his vice - all would be well and he could be a social drinker. Now, I don't claim to be an expert on these kinds of situations. I've never been a drinker myself, nor have I ever been close to someone with a severe drinking problem, but that seemed rather...Illogical to me. I voiced my concerns regarding the situation to her and she again assured me it would be fine. If he just stayed away from Vodka, all would be well.

Now, when he moved up here and left rehab, he had a job lined up to start at the beginning of the year. As part of the rehab program, he was able to go to a local community college and get a certification as an Air Conditioner Tech. A local company agreed to hire him as long as he got some things with his driver's license straightened out. In mid-Jan. that job fell through. And by the end of January, The Crackhead was drunk. Very, very drunk. He said he just couldn't handle not having a job and supporting his family.

When PN told me this, I jumped all over her and told her, "Don't you dare try to make excuses for him. If he was any kind of man at all, he'd get a job flipping burgers to support his family, not fall into the bottle again." I was livid over this and we had a row. During the next few months it went from bad to worse. He finally managed to get a job, but would come home smelling like a brewery. He finally hit rock bottom about three months after he came home.

PN sent him back to rehab and continued on her merry way. Ok, well, she didn't just walk away from him as I thought she should have done, but she did tell him that she couldn't be with him until he was clean. He sobered up and came home after 60 days in rehab.

He found another job and seemed to be doing alright. Then something happened and he lost it again (I honestly don't remember his excuse for this one, if he even had one), only this time, he didn't go back to the bottle. Instead, he went straight for the crackpipe. After months of him spending all of their rent money and disappearing for days on end, it all came to a head with him threatening to commit suicide and PN rushing to his rescue, assuring him all would be well and she still loved him and blah, blah, blah. He went to jail for a few days, lost his job, and came home, despondent.

Do I have to tell you what happened then, or can you guess? Sure enough, he went right back to his drug dealer. Again, it all came to a head in Nov. of this past year. There was a huge scene that involved the cops and MM and The Crackhead pushing PN out of her house while trying to hang himself with the vacuum cleaner cord....all right in front of her daughter. This was after he'd stolen her daughter's TV, DVD player and stereo and pawned it for drug money.

PN assured me she was finished with him after that. She said, and I quote, "Fuck with me all you want, but you fuck with my baby and you're dead to me". Even so, being the good hearted person she is, she got him set up in a new rehab center, brought him the things he needed while there (i.e. clothes, books, food, money, cigarettes, etc) and visited him whenever possible.

Again, I was against this. I asked her to please stop associating with him until he was at least a year sober (personally, I would have booted his ass and been done with it, but I'm a bitch like that, I guess). I begged her, "Please, stay completely away from him until he's at least a year sober, then try to work things out." Of course, she wasn't trying to hear me. I was in the wrong, because it's un-Christian like not to help someone in need.

After he'd been there less than 60 days, she told me he was coming home. The program was 90 days. She was letting him come home more than a month early?? Then, a week later, she lost her job. I won't go into the particulars, but basically she was in a car accident and due to some bad decisions on her part, she lost her job over it.

She conveniently forgot that she'd already invited The Crackhead to come home, and seized her loss of job as the reason she needed him to move back in. Even now, months later, she still insists that's the reason she allowed him to come home early. This all happened just before Christmas. In Jan., she met with The Crackhead's Christian rehab councilor and he told them that the whole reason he has this addiction is because they're living in sin. If they'd just get married, basically, all of TC's problems would be solved. I scoffed at this. I'm sorry, but does that mean that 10 years ago, he anticipated his relationship with PN and just got a head start? Because he came into the relationship with an addiction, it didn't start after they started living together in sin. Whatever.

I told her, "You're not buying it, right?" She said, "Of course not." Me, being the idiot I am, believed her. Which is why, a scant two weeks later, I was shocked when she told me they'd set a wedding date....for April 22nd. I said, "Of 2008?" She just rolled her eyes. I said, "PN, you need to make him give you a full year sober! Don't marry him until then." She said, "It'll be fine." I said, "Then I won't be there." She said fine and went into her house. A few days later, I started feeling guilty and agreed to be in the wedding. But I never stopped voicing my concerns over this. I never agreed with her decision - and made sure she knew that - but didn't feel, as her friend, that I could walk away from her. Plus, The Crackhead found Jesus and turned his life around (according to them).

Until last week.

The wedding is this Saturday. The weekend before last, The Crackhead found out his kids from a previous marriage wouldn't be able to attend. Did TC rush right to church and get down on his knees and pray? Nope, he sure didn't. He rushed right over to his crack dealer and disappeared for four days, along with the rent money and his job.

This was all 10 days before the wedding.

Now comes the part where I'm a bad friend. I backed out of the wedding. I thought for sure PN would cancel it, or at the very least postpone it, but no, she said, "If I can just get him married, I know everything will be fine." WTF?

I said, "Please, for the sake of your daughter, at least postpone it." She said, "Well, that's the wrong reason to ask." I said, "You want your daughter to grow up with a crackhead for a father?" She said, "That's not what he wants, Holly." I said, "Then where the hell was he the last four days??"

She lied straight to my face and told me he was out working when he was, in fact, on a bender. She refused to tell her parents or her other children about it. After I figured out where he'd really been, she asked me to please keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone about it. I did. I have no idea why, but I kept my mouth closed. Though I still refused to go to the wedding.

My sister, bless her heart, had no such compunction, however. She called anyone and everyone and told them about his latest "episode". PN called me this morning and screamed at me, saying it wasn't my right to tell anyone anything about her and her business. Then she acted shocked when I told her I still wouldn't be in the wedding. I guess she figured I was just angry when I told her I couldn't be there and I would come around. I haven't. I won't.

My sister called me today to tell me I'm a bad friend for not being there to support PN. I should love her and support her no matter what, she said. I say I can't support her in her decision to ruin the life of her daughter. I always say, Once is bad, twice is your bad. And she's been really, really bad. I asked her this morning, "What about the next time and the next time and the next time and the next time?" She said, "What makes you think there'll be a next time and a next time and a next time?" OH. MY. GOSH!

So, am I being a bad friend by not being there to support her in this? I can't even look at him right now, I'm so disgusted with them both. She lied to me and forced me into a situation where I had to lie to others, namely her daughter, someone I care for very much. She says I don't understand what it's like, because I haven't been there. My response was, "You're right, I haven't been an addict, so I don't know. I do, however, know what it's like to be a mother. And to do everything in my power to ensure they grow up in a safe, secure environment." She had nothing to say to that.

What do I do? Do I compromise everything I believe in: my integrity, my morals, my beliefs, what I know to be right and wrong, to support her in this? Or do I walk away, content with the knowledge that I've done everything I can? I'm at a complete loss here. Part of me wants to give in and stay in the wedding, but a stronger part of me wants to wash my hands of her completely.

Oh, and the kicker? She's 43. Yes, 43. She's not some young girl who doesn't no better, she's a grown woman, more than capable of seeing the errors in this situation....

So tell me: What would you do? Because I have no idea where to go from here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Friday Night Lights in Vegas

Per my previous blog about Vegas, you know we got (after a rather eventful trip) to our room around 6:00 p.m. Daphne, Cookie and myself went to one room while my brother, my sister, my sister's friend and my mom went to the other room.

We unpacked and gabbed a bit, then started getting ready for our evening out. Daph and I took showers and curled our hair while Cookie was trying to decide whether or not to straighten her hair. Let me tell you, this girl...I swear, no matter where we go or what we do, it takes her at least an hour to get ready. Unless she's straightening her hair, then it takes between 2 and 3. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, poor Daph had rushed out so last minute that she only had one pair of shoes with her, and they were her work boots. Not only were they not very pretty to look at, but they didn't really go with her outfits (her evening out ones, anyway), so while Cookie was showering and deciding what to do with herself, me and Daph headed down to one of the shops in the hotel to see if we could find a cute pair for her to wear (we'd noticed upon our arrival that they were having a major shoe clearance! YAY US! LOL).

She threw on a pair of my flip-flops (that didn't match AT ALL) and I grabbed my bag. When we got downstairs we went right to the sale racks and started browsing. I found a couple of pairs that I thought were ok, but nothing I was uber excited about. Then I remembered I was shopping for Daphne and not myself, and got down to business (Yeah, I'm selfish like that when it comes to with it).

I found a really cute pair of black shoes I thought would look cute on her, but I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn't that excited about them, so I kept looking. Then I found a cute pair of wedges in silver that I thought were cute but still casual. They were only $6, too, which was a major score in my book! I was thinking she should buy them, but she had that undecided look again, so I reluctantly put them back and kept browsing.

On the opposite side of the rack I found the perfect pair. I was ecstatic! I pulled them off and rushed over to her. She kind of looked at me like I was crazy and then eyed the shoes. It was obvious that she doubted my judgement in this case. I told her, "Daph, try them on. I promise, you'll feel so beautiful!" She just kept looking from me to the shoes with this terrified look on her face.

I couldn't imagine what her problem was until she shyly informed me that she'd never owned a pair of sexy shoes before. My jaw dropped and I just stared at her in dumbfounded disbelief. She'd never owned a pair of "Make me Feel Sexy Shoes"? She'd never had a pair of CFM sandals or boots? Oh hell no! I knew, right then and there, that it was my duty to get her into those shoes and make her feel beautiful. So I told her, "Daph, try them on. I promise, you'll feel like an entirely different woman". I could tell she was still skeptical, but she went up to the counter to get the correct size. While we waited for the sales clerk to come back, she kind of browed the jewelry and found a cute set of hoop hearings she wanted to get. I liked them, so told her she should go for it.

She left them on the counter to try on her shoes when the clerk came back and we went and sat down to see what she thought. She was still nervous about it, I could tell, but she dutifully put them on. The look on her face when she stood up was priceless! She broke out into a wide grin and stood up. Then she kind of giggled and said she really did feel sexy!

I knew then that my good deed for the day had been fulfilled. She looked hot with those shoes on, too. Curious about what they look like? They were silver stilleto heel with an ankle strap and one wide band going across the toes (see picture). I could tell by the look on her face when she took them off that she was pleased with them, but still a little shocky that one pair of shoes could make her feel so different. It was a great moment for me. I felt even more warm and fuzzy when we realized they were on clearance for....$15.00.


Once we got back up to the counter to pay for her shoes, she checked out the hoop earings again and then gapsed when she saw another pair. They were dangly and so sexy! The perfect accessory for her new CFM shoes. After a little bit of an inner debate she decided to buy them (Ok, so really I had to force her into it, but I think she was happy about it later!).

While she paid for her earings and shoes, MM called me. He asked what I was up to and when I told him he busted out laughing. "Only you would go all the way to Vegas to shoe shop", he said. I said, "I didn't buy anything. Daphne needed shoes!" He said, "Yeah, right. I'll ask DW later and she'll tell me the truth." The punk.

When Daph was done with her transaction, we headed up the room so she could swap shoes and earings. Cookie was still in the bathroom when we came in, so I pounded on the door and yelled at her to come and see Daph's new shoes. Daph was all kinds of embarrassed, but she smiled really sweetly and said she had to put lotion on her feet first, to make them feel even more sexy. Cookie and I laughed and then bugged her about hurrying up so we could see them already. She finally finished and put them on, then stood up.

Whoa! Talk about one hot mama! Then she slipped her earings on and Cookie and I about fell over! The girl was looking Hott to Trott! She's lucky I'm not into girls! ha ha

Anyway, we finally headed downstairs to meet up with the rest of our party. My sister and her friend, Mac, were already well into their cups by the time we found them at the casino bar. We ordered a shot and toasted my sister and brother, then got a beer and I put some money in one of the machines.

I'm not much of a gambler, but I like to throw $20 in once in awhile. I won a little bit, cashed out and we decided to go watch the band that was playing in the lounge. My Favorite Marine called just as we were going in to let me know his plane had landed and he'd be at the hotel shortly (he was taking a shuttle from the airport), so I kept an eye on my phone while we watched some '70's throw back do Marvin Gaye and Barry White. He really was good, but man, I had a fit of giggles over the purple velvet suit he was wearing...*snicker*

Anyway, about 11:30, My Favorite Marine finally showed up at the hotel. I met him at the front desk, took him up to our room to drop his stuff and we headed back down to the bar for a few more beers and a couple more shots.

My sister's friend, Mac, met some creepy guy from England while we were in the lounge and by the end of the night they were latched on to each other. At first I thought maybe he was ok, especially after I heard his know I have a thing for accents, right? *sigh* But no, ol' boy turned out to be creepy in the extreme.

Mac is very well endowed. We're talking freaking HUGE! MM always jokes that he has a big head (and honestly, he does...LOL But it's proportionate to his big body, so I don't razz him about it. I mean, he doesn't look funny or anything, he's just got a big head) and I seriously think Mac's melons are bigger than MM's head....maybe twice over. Anyway, I don't think Ol' boy even looked at her face once. Every time I looked at them he was staring at her chest. And she was so drunk she didn't realize it...or didn't care. It kind of sucked.

For the most part we were pretty laid back, though. I was pretty tired from our drive, so I headed up to bed about 2:30, after leaving The Marine with DW. Whenever DW drinks, she has to go to breakfast. It doesn't matter if we'd just eaten an hour before, she still has to have breakfast before she can go to bed. The Marine was hungry, so I left him with DW and went to bed.

Daph headed up with me. I have no idea what time The Marine came back up, but I do know that when I woke up at 4:30 to use the restroom he wasn't there. Apparently he was playing Knight In Shining Armor for my sister and her friend. I was thankful that he was around to save Mac from Ol' Boy, though. EEK!

Cookie came rollin in about 7:00. I guess she had some luck on one of the machines and ended up a few hundred ahead, so she stayed out playing all night. She was all kinds of pissed when I woke her up early the next morning, but I'll save that for my next blog.

Sorry it took me so long to get this one up. I know y'all have been waiting AGES for it. Stay tuned for Part 3. Just as a teaser, it involves me driving a new Vette and an H2.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Poor MM

I was working on my Vegas blog all day yesterday. Then, just before I left work for the day, I went to save it as a draft. I just needed to add some pics from home and it would have been ready to publish. Instead, I guess I didn't save it, because I came back later to double check it and IT WAS GONE! Talk about freaking me the hell out! I was soooo mad! UGH! Anyway, I'm working on it, so look for more about Vegas later, but for now...

I spent the night at MM's the night before last. I do that occasionally, because he only has one day off a week and I wouldn't see him otherwise. Right now it's Tuesday's off, so I like to drive up when I get off of work, have dinner with him and hang out throughout the evening. Before I went up there Tuesday night I had to meet my neighbor at my hairdressers at the mall.

Let me tell you, this girl kills me. She's a sweet, beautiful woman, but she swears she went through a time warp and got stuck in the 80's. It's terrible, but she even does the forward rat teasing of her hair and uses an entire can of Aqua Net to hold her BIG HAIR in place. It disturbs me greatly. She went to her mom's hairdresser originallly and came back looking like something straight out of a bad 80's horror flick. It was awful. So I called my hairdresser and told her I had a hair emergency. Lucky for me, my hairdresser understands about these things and squeezed us in (I love my hairdresser, btw, she rocks!).

Anyway, I took my neighbor over there and sat her down. The poor girl was having an anxiety attack, convinced I was putting her on the butchers block. No faith, I tell you. I left her in the chair and went down to get us a Starbucks. The entire time my children were acting completely out of control. They didn't listen and were running around like wild Banshee's. I was so angry! They were driving me nuts.

Generally they're very well behaved, but sometimes they get hyper and I can't settle them down. It's so frustrating. By the time The Neighbor's hair was done (which I didn't really care for, personally, but she liked it and it looked better than the OTHER style did..*shudder*) the kids had gotten on my very last nerve.

All the way up to MM's they whined and yelled and were basically terrible brats. It was like 2 little demons had posessed my normally docile children (Daphne has had experience with this, the poor girl!). Needless to say, by the time we arrived at MM's I was not in my happy place. I was really glad to see him, since it had been almost a week, but I was basically just trying to maintain my cool and not beat my children senseless.

Of course, MM had to bare the brunt of my anger, because he's an adult and I just took it out on him. It was dumb, but I couldn't see to stop myself. I felt HORRID afterwards! I told him, "Baby, I am so, so sorry. I didn't mean to take my anger out on you." He just smiled and said it was fine, he could handle it. *sigh* I love that man.

We finally went to bed after an eventful supper at Applebees and I was so exhausted I was out before my head touched the pillow. Now, anyone who knows me understands that I am not a morning person. I'm grumpy and irritable and hate facing a new day. I just hate it. Coffee makes me a little more human, but not much. I need at the very least a good hour before I can even function in a normal capacity. Since MM lives almost an hour away from me, I have to get up that much earlier. Plus, I had the kids with me, so I need even more time to get them ready and then to school on time.

I normally get up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m when I'm at home. That means I have to get up between 5:00 and 5:30 when I stay at MM's on a school/work night. I never tried to hide the fact that I turn into Medusa in the mornings from MM. In point of fact, I warned him on our second date about it, just so he'd have time to prepare himself. But even with all of my warnings, I don't think he understood completely.

Me + no sleep + early mornings = hell for MM.

The one thing about me that MM says drives him crazy is that I don't get up in the mornings. The alarm will go off for 5 straight minutes before I have the energy to hit the snooze...for the first time. Most mornings I hit the snooze seven or eight times before I finally drag myself out of bed. I've never understood those people who hop right out of bed in the mornings and act like it's great to be alive. It's just wrong!!! MM is one of those people, so I guess he can't understand where I'm coming from.

Anyway, so on Wednesday morning, the alarm goes off at 5:00 for the first time. I heard it. I knew it was going off. I even knew it would piss MM off that I didn't hop right out of bed and hit the snooze. But you know what? I didn't care. I was tired and that was that. I was staying in bed where it was warm and comfortable.

Now, the first time MM asked me to sleep over on a school/work night, I made him promise that he'd force me out of bed. He knows and I know that I'm not going to do it on my own, so he promised. That's been our standing agreement since. When I sleep over it's his job to make sure I get up. Period.

True to his word, everytime I'm over he makes sure I get up. Sometimes he makes me coffee and brings it to me in bed. Sometimes he jumps on me (literally, you gutter minded people). Sometimes he just pushes me out the bed. But whatever his method, he always makes sure I'm up.

I know this is something I agreed to, but it doesn't mean I have to like it. And I don't. I hate it when he kicks me out of bed. Especially since he's like my own personal electric blanket and it's always freezing in his house.

So anyway, Wednesday morning the alarm goes off every fifteen minutes for a full hour and I'm not even close to being ready to get out of bed. MM keeps telling me to get up and I keep ignoring him. I'm NOT getting out of bed and that's that. End of story.

Finally, after an hour of me hopping out of bed, hitting the snooze button and climbing back on top of him, MM got pissed.

Me: *muttering under my breath* Stupid alarm. Stupid morning. Stupid no coffee
MM: I set the coffee maker last night. You have coffee. Get up.
Me: *still muttering* Stupid MM. Stupid mornings.
MM: Babe, get up.
Me: No, I'm tired. And it's cold.
MM: Get up!
Me: I will, jeez.
MM: Get up NOW!
Me: Ok, fine, I will. *snuggles closer*
MM: Holly, get up!
*The alarm goes off again*
MM: Dammit, get up!
Me: I will. Gosh. *turns the alarm off, the hops back into bed*
MM: Would you just get up already? You're starting to wake me up! You know I need to sleep! GET UP! (He works nights, so he needs to sleep all day.)
Me: I'm sorry. (I really was, too. I know he needs to sleep and he was uber sweet to me the entire hour the alarm was going off)
MM: Don't be sorry, just get up already!
*alarm buzzes again*
MM: *yelling* Turn off the F*cking alarm and GET UP, HOLLY!
Me: *getting out of bed, mumbling under my breath* F*cking MM. F*ucking morning. F*cking coffee. Stupid F*cking shower!
MM: Honey, get in the shower.
Me: Shutup. I am.

I storm out of the bedroom and go wake the kids up. They're having none of it. My kids aren't morning kids, either. I finally get them up and ready to go, then I get myself ready to go (after I take my dog and MM 1 stupid dogs out), kiss MM and head out the door.

And felt guilty the entire hour long drive to work. I felt terrible! I was so mean to him and he's always so sweet to me and takes care of me and does stuff for me. It was awful. I wanted to call and apologize, but I knew he needed to sleep, so I didn't. I emailed him from work instead, apologizing. Gosh, I felt terrible.

After work, while I was on my way home, he called. After making small talk for a minute, HE apologized to ME. He said he was so sorry for being mean to me and yelling at me about getting up. "I knew I had to get you up somehow, because having you next to me felt too good, and I knew if you didn't get up soon I was going to stop trying." OMG! I felt even worse! I even cried a little.

I told him I was sorry and it wasl all my fault and I love him and blah, blah, blah. In the end, we both ended up laughing about how retarded we are. I swear, we're like a couple of high school kids.

Still, I feel kind of bad even now. I mean, I was mean to him and then he felt guilty about it.

Poor MM.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Getting To Vegas

***Please Note: This is the first blog in a three (or maybe four?) blog series about my weekend in Vegas. I'm sure it's going to be a long blog. If you're curious about my trip to Vegas, read on, Grasshoppper. If not, don't bother. We're talking novel size here.***

Alright, here's the story. My sister turned 21 on Friday and my brother turned 22. We started planning this trip about a year ago. Nothing concrete, but just the dates and the hotel and such. Unfortunately, that's all the planning we did. Period.

Friday: I did my last minute packing before I left for work (I'm such a procrastinator *sigh*) then loaded up the car and headed for work. As I was on my way, Daphne called me and said she could probably leave work (she'd been back and forth, back and forth, not sure if she'd be able to get the day off. I talked to her Thursday evening and she was for sure not coming then) and that she'd have enough time to make it out here before we left. I told her to do it. So, two hours before we were supposed to leave for Vegas, Daph decided she was coming. That girl cracks me up. Talk about last minute.

I got what I needed to do done at work and left the office about 11:25 (almost half an hour later than everyone else because I had a client drop in). Daph called me just before I left the office to let me know she was almost here and I gave my dad her number so he could guide her to their house (where we were all meeting). I ran home, grabbed my camera (can you believe I forgot it? YIKES), dropped my daughters overnight bag off at the school and headed up to my mom's place.

My friend Nola called (or maybe I called her, at this point I really don't remember) so I talked to her all the way up to my mom's (about a 35 minute drive). When I got up there, I realized I needed to stop and get cigarettes and cash, so I pulled into the gas station and went to grab my debit card...Only to realize I'd left it at home. 35 minutes away. By now, it's already after noon and we were planning to leave no later than 11:30. Plus, I still had to load my bags into the car we were taking, fill it up and etc. I was totally stressed. I mean, who goes to Vegas with no debit card?

After stressing for a minute (and double checking my account balance) I decided I'd just stop at the bank on the way out of town and withdraw cash. It wasn't ideal, to carry around a wad of cash and nothing else, but I really didn't have a choice at that point. Right? *sigh*

We stopped the next town up at the bank and I did what I needed to do, then we headed out. At the next town, the Devil Woman decided she was hungry, so we ran through a drive-thru. Talk about an ordeal. We're talking six women in one car, ordering from a fast food menu. I felt bad for the drive-thru girl.

After we got our lunch, we finally hit the road. We drove this back way to Vegas that shaves about an hour off of the drive, but goes through the middled of the desert. Literally. There are no gas stations or places to stop along the way. Nothing but Salt Flats and Sand Dunes galore. It's oddly beautiful out there, but not a place I'd live to live. Before we got that far, however, we had to go through this little town made up of nothing but one gas station and a bunch of old mobile homes. As we cruised by them I joked about being White Trash and how some of the most run down ones were going to end up being mine someday. We rolled with it awhile and ended up giggling forever. I was just positive I could see MM buying me one out of spite. The punk.

Anyway, we popped a CD in and I settled in for a nice, relaxing quiet drive. I figured everyone would kind of rest and relax on the way down, so we'd all be hyped for Vegas. Of course, this is my family, so I should have known better. I crank the music and Daph and I are talking some, just about whatever, but mostly I'm just into my driving zone, singing along to the music and not really paying attention to anything but the road.

I might as well tell you: I'm a speed demon. First, last and always. I've toned it down a lot in town and such, but when I'm on a road trip, I'm all about just getting there as fast as possible. We're talking about driving between 80 and 95 mph the entire way. That's just how it is when you ride with me (if there are any police officers reading this blog, I was only kidding about all that. I swear I drive the speed limit - or just below it - at all times. I obey all traffic laws, too. I swear! *innocent look*).

So, I'm clipping right along, jamming to the music. DW is sitting directly behind me and Cookie is sitting next to her. In the third seat is my sister and her friend. Now, I know I've mentioned this before in previous posts, but DW and my Sister (you know, the Drama Queen) are very high maintenence. I mean, I love them to death, but the truth is the truth. They can't go anywhere or do anything without needing this that and the other, RIGHT NOW! So every few seconds she taps me on the shoulder to turn the sterio down. I plan on blogging about this later (Episode 13 anyone??) so I won't go into major detail, but suffice it to say that by the time we'd been on the road an hour I stopped turning the music down to listen to her and just pretended like I didn't feel her tapping my shoulder or screaming at the top of her lungs to get my attention.

Later I would come to regret this, but let's move on with the story for now. So, at the halfway point there's this little old cafe that's closed now, but is actually a historical landmark (Side Note: It's this little old cafe and motel that have been closed for at least six years, possibly longer. But we noticed when we stopped that they have tile samples laid out and there were cleaning supplies all over, so I'm hoping they plan on re-opening...the place is hella cool. See picture). The building is empty, but they have Port-A-Potty's set up outside just in case. So we cruise up, handle our business, stretch our legs and get back on the road.

Now, I've travelled this back way to Vegas several times in the past, but my dad has always written out very clear, very precise instructions for me before hand. Actually, he did this time, too, but instead of written instructions he just drew me a map. Which, to be honest, kind of threw me off. I mean, the map was amazing! I told him I was going to make a copy of it and frame it, it was so good. But it wasn't written out instructions, which is what I need. I'm totally directionally challenged, remember?

Anyway, we leave this little place in the middle of the desert, and I'm supposed to make a turn shortly after that. Totally missed it. This is where I come to regret ignoring the Devil Woman. Apparently she was trying to tell me about the turn from the back seat, but since she'd been talking non-stop, I had no idea. We ended up driving about 40 miles out of our way and having to backtrack.

Now, we didn't have to backtrack, because where we ended up is another way into Vegas, it's just not the way we usually go and it takes a lot longer, because you end up on a major freeway where there's tons of traffic. At that point, I'm hella pissed (we've reached the end of the road at this point have either have to turn back or get on the freeway) and not really trying to hear 6 different opinions about how we got there or how to get back. I just want to get on the damn freeway and say screw it, right? Of course not. I have DW in my hear telling me I have to turn around and go the other way because she doesn't want to get stuck on the freeway.

Normally, that would be all fine and well, but she doesn't know what I know...that we're almost completely empty. We've got about a quarter of a tank left and the point where we were supposed to turn (40 some miles back) is only the halfway point to Vegas. Basically we still have 140 miles to go...on a quarter tank of gas, with no service stations for at least another (at the very least) another 90 miles.

We took my grandma's Ford Explorer, so I had no idea how far it would go on a quarter of a tank, but I was seriously worried. Of course, DW isn't trying to hear all that. All she's hearing is that we're going to be stuck on the freeway in traffic. So, I turned around.

I'm worried about the fuel situation and about getting us there before the weekend is over (with our luck we'd have arrived sometime on Sunday, with just enough time to refuel and get back home), so I get going at a good speed. We find the road I was supposed to have turned on and get headed in the correct direction. I speed up to a good pace (about 85) and am kind of going back and forth with DW about not having listened to her in the first place. I'm saying if she hadn't of cried wolf 500 times I would have listened to the important stuff and she's saying I should always listen to her and it's my fault. Yeah, it sucked.

So, I'm cruising along at about 85 on this desert back road and go around this curve only to see a cop coming in the opposite direction. The speed limit is 55. I'm doing 85. And there's a cop. What do you suppose this is leading up to?

Nope, I didn't get pulled over. I got SUPER lucky and all he did was flash his lights at me was he went by. Thank you, Lord. Talk about freaking me out! After he passed by and kept going we all breathed a sigh of relief.

We finally make it to the gas station and filled up. As we were pulling out, the same cop that flashed his lights at me was pulling in. I kept my eyes forward and hightailed it out of there. Luckily, he didn't follow us.

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful. We got to the hotel about 5:30, four hours after we left home. It's supposed to be a three hour drive. *sigh*

Once we arrived, we left the car with Valet and headed inside to check in. While we were waiting in line, my brother and sister went to the bar and got us all a drink. We finally get up to the counter and the guy can only find one of our reservations. The other has mysteriously vanished into cyber-space somewhere. There were 8 of us there and another one was on the way, so there was absolutely no way in hell we were going to try and squeeze into one room. It took us a good half an hour, but we finally got it straighted out and headed upstairs. Thank the Good Lord.

Stay tuned for Part 2, Our First Night In Vegas.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Quiz: How Selfish Are You?

***Please Note: I'll post a Vegas blog later, for now I'm too busy recovering.***

You Are 35% Selfish

In general, you are a very giving person who treats others very well.
But at times, you insist on getting your way - when it matters most to you.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Viva Las Vegas, Happy Birthday and 6 months

Just a quick, random blog to let y'all know I'll be gone until Monday. It's my baby brother's...and baby sister's birthday today!


They were born a year apart on the same day 21 and 22 years ago, respectively. We're off to Vegas to help my sister celebrate her 21st. To be honest, I'm feeling kind of...OLD today. First my baby boy turns 7 and then my baby sister turns 21. YIKES!

Another quick note: Tomorrow is the 6 month anniversary of my first date with MM. It's kind of cheesy to keep track (and even be excited about it), but I'm feeling kind of cheesy right now, so deal with it. Haha.

I'll be back on Monday, full of stories, I'm sure. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Extreme Makeover: Blog Edition

Yep, I got a Blogger makeover. Much thanks to Mailyn at Imaginary Origin for the design and all the technical help. You rock!

*dreamy sigh* I'm off to bask in the glow of my new template.

Don't you wish you could be me? ;)

Sharing 101

When I met MM, I was surprised at how easy he was to talk to. There were no awkward pauses during our first date, no lack of anything to talk about. I immediately felt like I could tell him anything, and he'd listen without judgment or condemnation. It was an amazing feeling.

Our first date was on a Saturday and he called be the next day...I guess as the follow up call that all women expect. I'm not exactly sure of the protocols, since I'd never dated before, but that's what my girl friends told me.

Anyway, he called, I missed him and he left a message. I called him back, missed him and left a message. He called again, missed me and left another message. At this point, I was kind of tired of playing phone tag, so I called him back one last time with the intention of leaving him a message telling him to just call me the next day. Instead, he answered. After the surprise of having him answer wore off, we started chatting.

And didn't stop for more than five hours.

Yep, five freaking hours. We talked about everything. The next night, he called me again and we ended up talking for more than three. It was...crazy.

I've never met someone in my life that I can talk to like that. Never. I'm a talker, no two ways about it, but even I run out of things to say eventually....except with MM.

We talked about our dreams and hopes. The daily goings-on in our lives. My children. His ex's. My ex. Our childhoods. We even ended our first conversation after a particularity interesting discussion about personal hygiene. Yeah, weird, huh?

After those first few phone conversations, I'd have to say that it's possible that MM knows everything there is to know about me. Or so I thought at the time. He says he learns something new everyday. I'm not sure I believe that, but I know that's how I feel. Like every day I see a different side of him or learn something new about him and it makes me love him just that much more. I didn't know I could fall in love more every day, but there it is.

Ok, enough sappy shit.

So, after our first few conversations, we kind of made this rule....we'd never keep secrets from each other, and we'd never lie to one another about anything. Ever. Even the small, little white lies that every person tells his or her significant other would be banned from our relationship. So far, it's really worked for us.

My only complaint? In my opinion, there's such at thing as OverSharing. There are some things that I truly just...don't want to know. I love that we're open and honest with each other. I don't have to hide the empty pint of ice cream I ate in one sitting. I don't have to sneak my new shoes into the house and hide them in the closet to be taken out later, as if I owned them all along. I don't have to pretend like I don't have an addiction to romance novels...or the heroes from them. No matter what I'm thinking, feeling or doing, I can and do tell MM about it.

But even with all of our open and honest sharing, there are things I keep to myself. Not because I feel like I need to hide anything from him, but because, well, there are just some things he doesn't need to know.

Are you wondering what? Well, I'll tell you.

I don't think he needs to know when I'm PMSing. I don't think he needs to know how or when I blew my nose. I don't think he needs to know about my bathroom visits. I don't think he needs to know - in minute detail - the experience I had while getting my eyebrows waxed.

You know, stuff. Not anything important, but while I'm a firm believer in the old adage that Sharing is Caring, I am not a firm believer in OverSharing. Right?

Apparently not if you're MM. He tells me everything. E V E R Y T H I N G!

So, we're talking last night, just about whatever, and he mentions something that happened while he was in the bathroom. Soooooo didn't want to know, alright? Really. So I tell him, "Honey, I don't think we've reached the point in our relationship where we can share things like that with each other."
He said, "We reached that point after our first date."
I said, "No, we'll never reach that point. Ever."
He just laughed.

Then later, he's telling me about something else that happened. I'll spare you the details, but it's hard for me. They say that misery loves company and I totally agree with that. I really, really want y'all to have the horrible mental image that I'll be having nightmares about for years to come. But, I'm not quite that evil, so I'll keep it to myself.

Suffice it to say, it was another one of those things that falls under the TMI category. Waaayyyy too much information.

I told him, "Honey, we had this conversation. I really don't need to know."
He said, "Was that another OverShare?"
I said, "Times 5. Spare me next time, alright?"
Once again, he just laughed.

Here's the thing, though. I. Wasn't. Joking.

I really didn't want to know.

For some reason, this makes me nervous about our future. I can just see him, 50 years from now, telling me all about his bowel movements and the graphic details of having a stuffy nose.

Uh, yeah, I'm scurred alright.

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