Thursday, February 15, 2018

♫ If you Love Somebody, Clap Your Hands ♫

When I was a little girl, the best Valentine experience was in direct proportion to how many “secret” valentines I got in my decorated bag at school. And if was a really special valentine, there would be some kind of candy attached to it as well.

I had absolutely no experience with Valentine’s in Jr High School. I guess I’m going to have to say it was because I had no boyfriends from the 7th to the 9th grade. None that were willing to spend any money on me anyway. What can I say, I was a late bloomer.

But then there was high school and the ever dreaded/popular carnation purchase and swap deal on Valentine’s Day. All the different colors of the carnations meant silly things, but I can remember getting my fair share of them, mostly from my girlfriends.

Because that’s the silent agreement that goes on between females at that age. Girlfriends swap and exchange among one another, that way, no one really knows who did or didn’t get anything from a boy.

And of course there were always the lucky girls who got the huge stuffed teddy bear or a dozen roses that the florist delivers to the front office at school. Although, the boys that were brave enough to drag those stuffed animals to school were the real hero’s.

These days, the gifts have changed and more money is involved with these young kids – but hearts hurt and break just the same whenever anyone is left out or ignored.

It’s so funny how it seemed like life and death back then, depending on whatever happened when Valentine’s Day would roll around each year; that your fate was made and decided that day.

But now I’m a grown-up and it’s even crazier how much my idea of what would make a good Valentine’s Day for ANY day is to me now; like:
1.           When my oldest child comes home for Christmas, and always tries to plan a movie day just for me and him, because he truly likes to do things with me.  
2.            When my husband has worked a six day work week for two months straight, but helps me plant flower bulbs on his only day off.
3.            When my youngest child calls me on a Saturday night, invites me over to eat and play pool with the rest of his friends, even though I’m his 54 year old mother.
4.          When friends send me just-because-cards and surprises in the mail for absolutely no real reason at all.  
5.          When no matter my age, and my parents know I have been sick, they call every day, without fail, to check on me.
6.            When the ever-continuing string text between me and my children sits stagnate for days, then erupts one night in totally inappropriate humor that lasts for hours, because that’s how we roll.

Those are my favorite kinds of expressions of love. Just show me that you love me, show me that you care, listen to me when I talk, and I will listen to you. Valentine’s Day is about love – find a way to show it.  

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Diary of an Amateur

Several years ago now, I was at the hairdresser and we were discussing my hair. The how’s and why’s of its unruliness.
Back story: when I was about 35 years old, my hair just went berserk. Curly berserk. Before that it had a lot of body, but it was straight as a board. I have an old set of hot rollers and my previous hairstylist from home who can attest to that; as well as all the perms she gave me over the years prior to that.
Now when I went curly, it didn't just get a little curly, it got that tight, knotted-at-your-scalp, needs five different kinds of hair products, curly. My hairdresser at the time said there was a chance it could possibly one day revert back because of hormones etc. Regardless, this is not the hair I would have picked to have for all time – as it’s just too much work.
However, the reason for the whole visit, was that I was having my hair professionally colored.  As the processing part of my color was happening, I was looking at my phone, and I saw some Snap Chats from my kids.
I don’t do Snap Chats.  I would look at theirs and laugh, but I had never reciprocated. But for some insane reason, all of a sudden I thought, why not?! So I took a picture of myself, all "colored-up" and sent it to both of my children.
Finally my hair was done, and I was driving home and song that I loved at the time begins to play on the radio in my truck called ‘Shake It Off’ by artist Taylor Swift.

All of a sudden, my hair is young, I am young, and I am remembering how on my previous two hair appointments; my oldest child J was home and how he went with me to those appointments, also getting his hair cut.
As the memories began to flow, I started to get a little weepy; it's strange without him, and I am remembering him "car-dancing" to that song when he was home. So what to do but do the same; I am dancing all over the place inside my truck, in the dark, with my young hair, all the way home, with that song on repeat.
Finally I am home, I'm feeling good about myself and my young hair, I walk into the house and my youngest son Zach is already home.

He’s standing there laughing at me and starts talking about my prior snap chat. I was like "so you saw it?" Still laughing he says "Oh yeah, you sent it as a story, so everybody saw it".

I went nuts! Shouting for him to delete it for me, he’s laughing, practically crying, as he is trying to tell me who all had already seen it.

Technology has not always been kind to me. All these new-fangled apps on these phones, mostly just leave me befuddled. I have since become somewhat educated, enough to not send them to the world anymore, but I still pretty much stick to being a viewer and not a film-maker.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Now THIS is Winter!

Alright folks, I am about to admit an absolutely unbelievable happening. It never even enters my mind to be a potential problem. I can honestly say, I don’t remember the last time it even presented itself; yet here it is, in all it’s glory, bringing me to my knees.

My knees, that I am double-layering with knee socks under my pants! I, Michelle Mims, of sound, mind and body, have been LAYERING my clothing! And, I have worn a winter coat at least five times in the last two months!

When this freeze-out first started, I wasn’t even sure I had a winter coat! I hadn’t even come close to wearing one since my youngest son played high school football. As a matter of fact, that’s honestly the last time I can remember being so bone-chillingly cold; sitting on those aluminum bleachers, which felt like absolute ice under my legs, and ducking wind from whichever direction it came, and many times, draped in a blanket that we had brought from home!

And if you all have been following me each week, you will also remember me mentioning that whole “key fob – automatic start the vehicle” nightmare, which was all because I was actually warming-up my vehicle before I dared to climb into it. And don’t tell my husband, but it was not really to warm that dang engine-up, so the oil would warm-up and circulate, blah, blah, blah, like he asked me to, as much as it was to have that heater running on high-blast when I got in it!

In recent days, I have in fact, raised the heating temperature level in our house to a whole 72 degrees, BECAUSE I WAS COLD. Now you talk about making heads snap around on their shoulders – let me rise-up from my chair to head to the thermostat in our hallway, and watch the eyeballs bulge when I answer them that “no, I’m not turning it down smarty pants, I am actually turning it up!”

I will also add, I have been asked several times if I have a fever as well. Well, no I don’t Mr. Wise Crack, but a house can only stay so warm inside when it’s 21 degrees outside! And yes, contrary to popular belief in my home, I am human, not an Eskimo-Zombie who can withstand any degree of weather, icicles hanging from their noses and never flinch.

I’m just gonna say, hot-natured people like me take a lot of flak. We gripe so much about the heat, people almost dare us to fuss about the cold as well. And I really do say very often, ‘if this heat ever passes, I will never say a word about the cold’, but this winter season is trying me. It’s really trying me.

Earlier last week, very possibly the coldest day yet, I was outside for about five solid early-morning hours. I could not feel my legs when it was over. I seriously considered whether or not medical attention would be necessary. But I wasn’t going to whine about it like a little girl; no sir. Not even if my legs had fallen off.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Life Moves On

I’m an adult. I know things never stay the same. I know that things change as progression takes hold and time moves forward.  As newer land is developed, and new neighborhoods and homes are erected, and businesses flourish in other places; sometimes it seems that parts of a town will die.  

I went home a few days ago to visit my folks. We had a really nice day and I felt much better as I was leaving out to come back to Quincy, my other home.

I knew I needed to fill-up my vehicle with gas and I had decided to do that in Georgia because the price per gallon is quite a bit cheaper than Florida. Normally I would’ve taken care of all that before I ever left out on a trip, but this visit was a little impromptu so I wasn’t quite as prepared.

My parents live in the middle of town in a neighborhood off of Slappey Drive. When I left their house that day, I took a turn to the left which heads towards home for me and decided I would just get gas on my way out.

I’m not sure what has happened to all those gas stations at the south end of Slappey Drive, but none of them had a “pay at the pump” availability. None – where all the places for inserting your credit/debit card were originally – were now covered-up. Your only option was paying with cash inside and then pumping.

I stopped at three different ones, trying to get gas and it was the same at all three. I have never seen anything like it. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t just go inside to pay, well, that side of town has also turned into a lot of places that don’t seem the safest place for an old lady to be by herself.

It makes me sad to say that, because when I was a teenager I worked on that end of town, and never thought a thing about stopping at any place over there. But the other day, even as I was doing it, continuing to stop at first one place and then another, I knew it wasn’t the safest thing for me to be doing; but it was like I refused to let the present intimidate me from what I remembered the past to be.

And honestly, it’s horrible that the people that run that city have let that area become that way. It’s like someone decided to just cut that part off from the rest and let it die a slow death. It’s still living, but there isn’t any quality of life.

I drove in the dark for most of the way home, which is quite stressful for me, especially during deer season. But once I saw the railroad tracks, right next to the old water plant as you’re coming into Quincy, I was relieved to see in the distance, the little town that is the same as it was 20 years ago when I moved here.

I for one, kind of like that time stands still here, if it means we all stay safe.  

Saturday, January 13, 2018

It's All In The Directions

I’m not sure how long ago I may have mentioned my washing machine and it’s being on its last leg, but I can tell you this, it stood on that one leg and washed the heck out of some clothes for almost two full years! Not to say that it didn’t shake, rattle and roll – at times I thought that end of the house would just come apart, but it still did its job, so we ignored it.

Last weekend however, it finally went belly-up. It was a couple of days before New Year’s Eve so I was trying to get all of our clothes washed-up; you know, because of the old, ‘it’s bad luck to wash clothes on New Year’s Day’ deal and all.

Which quite frankly, I think is ridiculous. The whole point of those particular superstitions is that you don’t want to do anything on New Years’ Day that might determine how you spend your year going forward. Well folks, I will ALWAYS have to wash clothes, mop floors and clean toilets, so I don’t really get the whole point. Matter of fact, I’m gonna straight-up call that an inflammatory lie – because NOT doing any of those things has never made my life any different.

Or has it? Don’t even get me started on wondering how different my life could be had I ignored those superstition’s and washed clothes anyway.  Things to ponder another day.

Regardless, I’m washing two days before, and I hear the washer coming to a stop. I know this, because it’s sounds like a helicopter is about to land on our house. I go into the wash room to do the change-out from washer to dryer, and the floor is a puddle of water. This is a rather quick discovery, as I now have soaking wet sock-feet.

Fast forward – now we’re at Stewart’s, our local appliance store, picking-out/buying a washer. My husband decides he can install it himself so we loaded it-up and headed back to the house with a new washer.

With some assistance from my youngest son and his buddies, all seemed to be going well, when my husband announces he’s about to go under the house to make the connection. The boys wander-off outside and suddenly I hear my husband woo-hoo’ing back-up through the hole in the floor.

I hollered back down asking him did he need something and he said in a tone loaded with sarcasm, “well yeah, I needed someone on stand-by to make the connection on that end”. Well you know, full directions are always helpful.

Side story about full directions – I have a vehicle that auto-starts with the key-fob. No matter what I did I couldn’t get it to work. Frustrated I asked my husband one day when he was at home, to show me one more time. Turns out, no matter that you locked your vehicle the night before, it won’t crank until you lock it again. Hence, why I didn’t “follow his directions” of “lock the vehicle then push the start button”, because in MY rational mind, the vehicle was ALREADY locked.

Yes sir, for wives and children, fully explained/sentences will help every time!  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Bright Light of Happiness

I’ll be the first to admit I’m as crazy about Christmas lights as my kids always were when they were little. So when they have to come down, out of the trees and off the bushes outside, it’s kind of sad. I can no longer see my house from up the road anymore; it’s no longer distinguishable in the dark by its sparkling white lights that guide me home.

I used to feel a little refreshed when January would roll around, but that was when I still had my children at home, or at least both of them living nearby. Now once the holidays are over, the youngest who lives on his own now, stays busy, and my oldest lives 2000 miles away in Vermont.

January was always about second chances and new life graces, peeling back the layers of regret’s and starting all over again, with a new attitude and a little extra pep in your step.

But now it’s about people leaving, people that I may not see again for another three hundred and sixty-five days which seems like a lifetime to me when I say it out loud.

So many changes can happen in a year, so many life changes or changes to people from life and happenstance in general. We all start off with such hope, but when you get a little older, you already know, that there will inevitably be some sadness that comes with that happiness as well.

Remember when you were younger?  I don’t think I ever thought past the minute I was living in. And if I did, it was only about the next sleepover, or the cute new boy I saw moving into our neighborhood before winter break, wondering if he would be in any of my classes when school started back.

I sure as heck didn’t worry about much of anything else. I didn’t go borrowing trouble before it came to find me. It seems kind of like we spend a lot of our time doing that when we get older doesn’t it? Borrowing trouble I mean – worrying about things that haven’t even come to pass yet, and may not ever.

That’s the pit-falls of being an adult, already knowing all the realities, because even if they haven’t happened to you, they have happened to someone you know, so it’s like we just sit, and wait for it happen to us too.

Wouldn’t it be so much healthier for us all if we could just enjoy the days as they come. Be glad for the good ones, the ones without sickness or grief, the days that only bring laughter and happy tears of joy.

I’m fifty-four years old now and I’ll be the first to say, it’s hard to change old worry-wart habits. But I sure would like to be that young girl again, the one who wakes up smiling, with no aches and pains, and greets the world with nothing but excitement instead of wariness of what’s to come.

And to always see – to always imagine - the sparkling white lights in this world – even when there are none. 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

New Year Wishes!

Every year, after the “main” event, I am left looking at and listening to, the same ole’, same ole’ words. The same promises, all made with as much earnestness that can be conjured-up year after year of saying the same things. The same heartfelt lines that fill the papers that some believe will make the words have more meaning if you put it in writing. And the same meal cooked with wise and wishful hands, which follow the old wives tale that promises wealth, luck, and good health.

The thing is folks – we all hope and wish for just too darn much. We all need to make our list short and attainable. We need to make that list with words of reality, not fantasy, and we sure need to know and understand that cooked greens of any kind will not bring us a fortune anytime soon – only hard work can do that.  

I understand the need for tradition, I truly do. I too, cook the baked ham, turnip greens and black eye peas, adding some ham hocks to both my peas AND my greens; you know, for good measure and all.

But as for my list – there isn’t one anymore. I don’t talk about or write about, or make promises to, myself or anyone else, that I feel like I may not keep. I have enough disappointments in my life from other people, and just life in general, without me adding to them on my own.

So I try to decide one thing – just one – that I think I can achieve. One thing that I believe I can do better than I’ve done to date, one thing that I truly know, if I try my hardest, I can be proud of myself at the end of another year, instead of disappointed.

I have tried that new method for the past couple of years and I have to say, the outcome has been so much more encouraging for me. You know, it stands to reason, that if you make your goals reachable and doable, that your morale has to be better as well.

So I suggest stay away from the usual suspect of lists like:

A. Losing 50 pounds. Instead just shoot for 15 pounds and manage to keep it off. The next year shoot for another 15 and repeat.
B. Don’t run out and buy a piece of exercise equipment that will become a clothes rack in two months. And don’t join a gym whose doors you won’t darken after 3 months. Walk. Just walk – it’s free.
C.  Don’t empty your cabinets of all sugar products, bread and pasta. If you love it, you’ll never just stop cold turkey. Just cut back, try and make your needs and cravings manageable. Make them a treat for yourself instead of a regular meal-time addition.
D. And for all you shopper addicts, you buy one get one free so you have to – freaks; I don’t know the solution. If you all figure one out – let me know!

Remember manageable, obtainable goals making you the winner is the key. I hope you all have an especially safe and Happy New Year!